Trump still has not condemned the Minnesota mosque bombing. Muslim leaders are waiting.

While President Trump’s Twitter feed remained mum on the August 6th Minnesota mosque bombing, other local, state and federal leaders have been quick to address and denounce the attack.

Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton called the attack “terrible, dastardly, cowardly act” and that it was “an act of terrorism.”  The Governor was joined by the state’s lieutenant governor, the mayor of Bloomington and state Representative Andrew Carlson and state Representative Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American elected the legislature.  Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, also joined the condemnation of the attack and praised the the community for rallying behind the mosque. He said: “This is the right spirit and there is no better way to condemn the person who would throw a bomb into this mosque than to react in a loving, kind, inclusive way.”

 

All the while, Minnesotans and others are still waiting for the president to condemn the attack.

Jihadi Achraf (17) from Amsterdam died in Syria

Achraf father Farid has confirmed that his son, Achraf – alias Abu Jihad, has died in an anti-IS bombing. He received photographs of his killed son. The man was trying to get his child back to the Netherlands.

Last November Farid told about his son in the media. About how he used to wear designer clothing and never went to the mosque. But suddenly this changed. He started praying and hang around with ‘men with beards’. Achraf always wanted to work for the police, but suddenly he viewed them with suspicion.

Farid says that official agencies have failed in keeping his son from leaving the country. He asked the doctor to institutionalize him, but Achraf was not considered to be a danger for himself or his surroundings.

Radicalization experts told the father not to be worried, that they kept an eye on Achraf. But on December 29 he was able to fly from Amsterdam to Turkey, even though is passport number was registered.

Running the Boston Marathon in a hijab

April 19, 2014

 

Like many participants in the Boston Marathon on Monday, Leanne Scorzoni will be running to honor the victims of last year’s bombing. But Scorzoni will also be running in a hijab: she converted to Islam after the attack, and wants her participation to emphasize that Boston’s Muslim community was also hurt by the bombings.

Scorzoni has never run the race before, but the thirty-two-year-old Boston native has watched from the sidelines for decades. Scorzoni was raised in nearby Danvers, and every year her family would arrive at a spot near the corner of Clarendon and Boylston Streets at about 8:30 A.M., sometimes bringing pots and pans to help cheer on marathoners.

Last year, Scorzoni staked out the same spot near the finish line and waited to be joined by a friend of hers named Sam. Unfamiliar with Marathon Monday tradition, he arrived late and, at about 2:30 P.M., he asked where the nearest bathroom was. Scorzoni was reluctant to give up her view of the race, but eventually agreed to guide her friend through the crowds. When the bombs exploded at 2:50, the two were browsing at a nearby Banana Republic on Newbury Street, approximately four blocks away from the finish line. The store’s loud music muffled the blasts, but when Scorzoni turned on her cell phone, she found dozens of texts from friends and family, asking where she was and if she was O.K.—she had been standing less than two blocks away from the initial explosion. Scorzoni doesn’t believe a divine power carried her away from the attack that killed three people and injured more than two hundred and sixty: “It was because my friend had to pee,” she said.

The next day, Scorzoni says, local F.B.I. agents visited her at her job at Massachusetts General Hospital, where they asked about a photo she had uploaded to Facebook of Sam, who is Muslim and from the Middle East. Shaken by the bombing and the encounter with the F.B.I., Scorzoni regularly checked in on her Muslim friends in the days after the bombing. As the media began to sort out the background of the Tsarnaev brothers, local reports also began to surface of sporadic verbal and physical attacks on Muslims, and of hate mail being sent to mosques, including the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, in Roxbury, which the Los AngelesTimes originally reported that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had attended, confusing it with the Islamic Society of Boston, located in Cambridge. Scorzoni read about the letters on the center’s Facebook page, but she also saw the many comments of support that came from across the country.

Five weeks after the bombing, she called Suhaib Webb, the imam of the I.S.B.C.C., and told him that she was ready to convert. She walked to the mosque in jeans, a shirt, and flip-flops; after the ceremony, she and Sam celebrated just as casually, eating watermelon and chicken fingers on the mosque’s steps.

The I.S.B.C.C. has been a visible force in the local Muslim community’s efforts to support victims of the bombing. Last Friday, the I.S.B.C.C. organized a khutbah, or sermon, in remembrance of victims, and, on Tuesday, Webb spoke at a night of “Remembrance and Hope” at the Old South Church. Scorzoni was also in attendance and, at one point during the evening, runners were asked to stand. “Everyone started clapping, and all the runners just started crying, and soon everyone was crying,” she said. “Everyone in the church prayed for all of us, not even just the runners—prayed for the city.”

The New Yorker.com: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2014/04/running-the-boston-marathon-in-a-hijab.html

16 years in prison for man in NYC terror bomb plot

March 25, 2014

 

An al-Qaida sympathizer who admitted trying to build pipe bombs to carry out a homegrown terror campaign was sentenced Tuesday to 16 years in prison, capping a case authorities called an illustration of the threat of lone, local would-be terrorists but his lawyers portrayed as an example of police entrapment.

Jose Pimentel, his hands shackled and enclosed in mitts, declined to speak as he was sentenced in the rare state-level terror case; most are federal. City Department of Correction representatives had no immediate information on what the mitts were for.

Pimentel, 29, last month admitted he tried to fashion a pipe bomb out of household items in an informant’s basement in November 2011 and aspired to use it to “try to undermine public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He had been recorded brainstorming about attacks ranging from killing returning soldiers to blowing up a police station to bombing the George Washington Bridge, authorities said.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the case demonstrated the growing threat “from radicalized local actors” and local authorities’ ability to stem it.

Pimentel, a Dominican native, grew up in the United States, converted to Islam around 2004 and became an outspoken extremist who also went by Muhammad Yusuf, authorities said. He maintained a website with articles lauding Osama bin Laden, saying it was valid to target those killed on Sept. 11 and giving reasons to “nuke the USA,” and he repeatedly clashed with relatives over his militant views, prosecutors said in court papers.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/16-years-in-prison-for-man-in-nyc-terror-bomb-plot/2014/03/25/67691086-b47c-11e3-bab2-b9602293021d_story.html

U.S. to seek death penalty in Boston bombing case

January 30, 2014

 

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 20-year-old man whom prosecutors have accused of bombing the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 200 others.
“The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a short statement. The announcement ended months of speculation over the issue. Although Holder has said that he is personally opposed to the death penalty, the bombing was among the worst terrorist attacks in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings.

The decision sets the stage for the biggest federal capital murder case since Timothy McVeigh went on trial for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police in April, constructed and set off homemade bombs near the finish line of the marathon, according to investigators. Tsarnaev faces multiple counts in the April 15 bombing and is also accused of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer in the days after the attack.

The case is in its early stages, and prosecutors could yet use the threat of death to strike a plea bargain with the young man and avoid a lengthy trial with bombing victims taking the stand to recount the attack. Since 1964, the federal government has executed only three people, including McVeigh. The Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States in 2002 from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Authorities have said Tamerlan Tsarnaev came under the influence of radical Islam and probably recruited his brother to help him with the bombing, a possible line of defense if the case goes to trial.

After the bombing, investigators said a friend linked the older brother to a gruesome triple homicide in Waltham, Mass. Ibragim Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, said the older brother was connected to the killings in which three men had their throats slashed. During a May interview in Florida, authorities said that Todashev attacked an FBI agent. The FBI agent shot and killed the Chechen American. The senior FBI official said the agent who killed Todashev was acting in self-defense and described it as a “clean shoot.” But the FBI has not made public the results of an internal review into the shooting or a larger review that examined the attack.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-to-seek-death-penalty-in-boston-bombing-case/2014/01/30/c15465d8-8785-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

CNN’s Stelter: Media May Have ‘Overreacted’ to Boston Bombing, Cites ‘Low Number of Deaths and Injuries’

December 29, 2013

By Tommy Christopher

 

During another of the incessant end-of-year recap segments on cable TV these days, CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter delivered what he felt would be “an unpopular opinion” to CNN Newsroom host Carol Costello Friday. In a discussion of the media’s coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Stelter said “I wonder if there was an overreaction in the press, considering the relatively low number of deaths and injuries.”

The segment was pegged to partisan bias, with Newsmax‘s Steve Malzberg arguing that the media tried to downplay the involvement of radical Islam as motive, and Media MattersEric Boehlert reminding the panel of the rush to judgment that caused innocent people to be smeared in the press by the likes of the New York Post and Glenn Beck. Stelter, though, ventured far afield of the premise to offer what he acknowledged “might be an unpopular opinion.”

“I wonder if the press, overall, in retrospect, overreacted to the attacks in Boston,” Stelter said. “It was a very scary week. I was scared, along with the rest of the country. In retrospect, I wonder if there was an overreaction in the press, considering the relatively low number of deaths and injuries, whether it was taken out of proportion, given all the other violence we see all the time.”

He concluded, “Because the word ‘terrorism’ was applied, I think there may have been an overreaction.”

Where this segment, and media criticism in general, goes wrong is in focusing on the “bias” angle, instead of on the more serious problem of just plain bad reporting. In an act of pure generosity, none of the panelists brought up CNN’s own disastrous reporting of a “dark-skinned” suspect with “brown skin” who was definitely in custody, until he wasn’t.

Partisan bias is an interesting topic, but it shouldn’t eclipse the reason journalism is supposed to exist in the first place: to truthfully inform the public, in the public’s interest. The Boston Marathon Bombing, and this segment in particular, prove that the “view from nowhere” can be as toxic to the truth as anything else.

 

Mediaite.com: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnns-stelter-media-may-have-overreacted-to-boston-bombing-cites-low-number-of-deaths-and-injuries/

Lockerbie bombing police to visit Libya for first time

December 21, 2013

 

Following talks in Tripoli with Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan, David Cameron said officers from the Dumfries and Galloway force had been granted permission to travel to the country. “I am delighted that the Dumfries and Galloway Police team will be able to visit your country to look into the issues around the Lockerbie bombing,” he told a joint news conference.

Although police investigating the murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher – who was killed by shots fired from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London in 1984 – have visited three times since the revolution in 2011, similar access had not previously been given to the Lockerbie team. The only person to have been convicted of the attack, Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, died last year of prostate cancer, having been released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after serving eight years of a life sentence.

Dumfries and Galloway Police want to investigate whether anyone else was involved in the attack, while the families of some of the victims remain convinced that it was nothing to do with Megrahi and he was an innocent man.

Two hundred and seventy people died when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on December 21 1988 – including all 259 people on board and 11 town residents – in what remains the UK’s worst terrorist atrocity.

In December last year, the Libyan administration said it was preparing to release all files relating to the bombing.

But Robert Forrester, secretary of the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, which wants an independent inquiry to look again at the conviction, dismissed the prospect of further investigations. “As far as I am concerned, the conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice and the efforts the police and Crown Office are making to locate other Libyans who may have colluded in the bringing down of Pan Am flight 103 amounts to little more than eye-wash,” he said.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/independentplus/indyplus-more-lockerbie-bombing-police-to-visit-libya-for-first-time-9020156.html

Vatican representative meets with Islam scholar in Cairo

December 4, 2013

 

Vatican City – The Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Msgr. Miguel Angel Ayuso, met Tuesday in Cairo with a senior scholar specializing in the Sunni Islam faith, said a Vatican spokesman. Ayuso met for 45 minutes with Abbas Shouman, the second-highest official with Al Azhar University, a world-renowned center of religious research of Sunni Islam, emphasizing the strong relationship between the pontifical council and the Islamic university, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. The meeting was positive and encouraging, said Lombardi. “The result is a willingness to resume…dialogue and collaboration,” he added. The Vatican has worked to mend fences with the university that suspended relations after the former Pope Benedict said in late 2011 that Christians were the world’s most persecuted religious group. Benedict’s comments came after a year of incidents including a bombing in Alexandria, Egypt in early 2011 where 23 Copts were killed.

 

Gazzette del Sud: http://www.gazzettadelsud.it/news/71338/Vatican-representative-meets-with-Islam-scholar-in-Cairo.html

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect seeking family testimony, immigration records

November 7, 2013

 

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect seeking family testimony, immigration records
Tsarnaev’s lawyers say prosecutors should turn over all of the materials they have to give a full picture of Tsarnaev as Attorney General Eric Holder decides whether to seek the death penalty and possibly for a jury “to see Mr. Tsarnaev as a complete human being who should not be sentenced to death.”

In a memo filed in court last month, prosecutors said many of Tsarnaev’s requests for evidence are premature because a death penalty hearing in the case is not imminent. Prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz have not said whether they have recommended seeking the death penalty to Holder.

Tsarnaev is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and 29 other federal charges in the April 15 bombing. Authorities say Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan, 26, built pressure cooker bombs and placed them near the finish line, killing three people and injured more than 260. Seventeen of the charges carry a possible death penalty.

The Tsarnaevs, ethnic Chechens from Russia, moved to the United States as children. Authorities have said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote about his motivation for the bombing on the inside of a boat he was found hiding in after the shootout with police.

“The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians” and “We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all,” he allegedly wrote.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers say prosecutors continue to withhold reports and testimony concerning Tsarnaev’s family, including immigration files they say contain information important to defend Tsarnaev and to argue mitigating factors during sentencing. They say that even after getting signed releases from certain Tsarnaev family members, immigration authorities have refused to release their files, citing the ongoing investigation.

His lawyers also said they believe numerous law enforcement interviews of teachers, neighbors, classmates and friends of Tsarnaev have not been turned over by prosecutors.

 

The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/lawyers-for-boston-marathon-bombing-suspect-seeking-family-testimony-to-give-full-picture/2013/11/07/c13e7114-47ee-11e3-95a9-3f15b5618ba8_story.html

‘You’re a Stooge and a Frontman!’:Hannity Guest Explodes at Million Muslim March Organizer

If you thought things got heated during last week’s Hannity discussion on the Million Muslim March, tonight took things to an entirely new level. Chris Phillips, one of the organizers of the march faced off in a contentious back and forth with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocated for the “separation of mosque and state.”

Phillips said the march is not only about supporting “victimized” Muslims in the United States, but also the innocent Muslims who have died all over the world since 9/11. Asked for an example of how America “villain-izes” Muslims, Phillips asked Hannity, “aren’t you villain-izing them with this broadcast? These people are not radical Islamists. these are innocent Americans practicing their constitutional liberties, brother.”

“I haven’t met a Muslim that isn’t offended by the exploitation of 9/11,” Jasser said when it was his turn to speak. He suggested renaming the upcoming event, “How to radicalize Muslims in one march.” Calling the march a 9/11 “truther movement,” he accused Phillips of promoting the same ideology that produced the Boston Marathon bombing and the Fort Hood attack.

Hannity proceeded to bring up a picture of him dressed as a clown that Phillips posted online. “How would you feel if someone did that to the Prophet Mohammad?”

“I don’t worship Islam and I would be offended if friends of mine were offended,” Phillips said, shocking the other two men. “I’m not a Muslim.”

“So you’re a stooge,” Jasser responded. “You’re a stooge and front man for an organization that is destroying the mission to fight radical Islam around the globe.”