Prosecutor: Man sought martyrdom in attempt to blow up flight over Detroit with underwear bomb

DETROIT — A young Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear made a defiant political outburst Tuesday, demonstrating again why his courtroom behavior will be closely watched throughout the trial where he’s representing himself.

“The mujahadeen will wipe out the U.S. — the cancer U.S.,” said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, scowling as he referred to Muslim guerrilla fighters.

When marshals removed his handcuffs, he also claimed that a radical Muslim cleric killed last week by the American military is still alive.

Virtually everyone aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had holiday plans, but Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab believed his calling was martyrdom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel said. The bomb didn’t work as planned but Abdulmutallab was engulfed in flames, said Tukel, who displayed the flight’s seating chart on a screen to show jurors where things happened on the plane.

The government says he told FBI agents he was working for al Qaida and directed by Anwar al-Alwaki, a radical, American-born Muslim cleric recently killed by the U.S. in Yemen. There are photos of his scorched shorts as well as video of Abdulmutallab explaining his suicide mission before departing for the U.S.

Closing arguments expected in Irvine 11 case

But at UC Irvine, the case of student protesters who disrupted a speech on campus by the Israeli ambassador last year appears to not have resonated.

In a Santa Ana courtroom Monday, closing arguments will be heard in a case involving Muslim students and the right to free speech. But the so-called Irvine 11 trial, the issues of which are deeply rooted at UC Irvine, has not quite resonated on campus — yet.

The jury’s verdict is what could matter, said David Snow, co-director of the school’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, a group that promotes reconciliation. “The hammer hasn’t really fallen yet.”

Family of ‘veil martyr’ files case against Dresden judges

3 December 2010

The family of the pregnant Egyptian woman murdered last year in a Dresden courtroom has filed a case against the two judges on the bench that day for not preventing her death.
Marwa El-Sherbini, dubbed the “veil martyr,” was stabbed to death in a courtroom in July 2009 in a racially motivated crime that outraged the Muslim world.
The 31-year-old was stabbed by Russian-born Alex Wiens at least 16 times with an 18-centimetre kitchen knife. She was three-months pregnant with her second child. Her three-year-old son, Mustafa, watched her bleed to death in the courtroom. Sherbini’s husband, Egyptian geneticist Elwy Okaz, rushed to her aid but was also stabbed and then shot in the leg by a police officer who was unsure who was the attacker. Wiens confessed to the crime during his trial, which resulted in a life sentence.
Sherbini’s family has now filed a case to force the higher regional court to review their accusations against the court officials present the day of the murder, who they say did not properly insure her safety

Dresden honours Egyptian “veil martyr”

The city of Dresden on Thursday paid its respects to a pregnant Egyptian woman who was stabbed to death in a courtroom one year ago in a racially motivated crime that outraged the Muslim world (http://www.euro-islam.info/2009/09/02/the-marwa-al-sherbini-case-investigators-believe-killer-hated-non-europeans-and-muslims).

Officials including Saxon Justice Minister Jürgen Martens honoured the memory of 31-year-old Marwa El-Sherbini, dubbed the “veil martyr,” with a plaque to serve as a warning against racism. “One year ago all of us were forced to realise the deadly logic of the hatred of foreigners,” said Martens, adding that the murder had shaken “Dresden, Germany and the entire world.” He promised not to stop fighting this misanthropic attitude. Members of the local Muslim community took part in the ceremony and a commemorative march was held later in the day.

A commemorative plaque was unveiled in the foyer of the regional court where the murder took place. The plaque’s inscription, written in both German and Arabic, read that the Egyptian has fallen victim to islamophobia and xenophobia, which she had fought with dignity and exemplary moral courage. “We bow to the victim of this dreadful and incomprehensible deed and join her family in grieving for her”, it reads.

Christian Demuth, of a local association for civil courage, and artist Johannes Köhler placed a sculpture in front of the court. It is a large knife of 1.50m made of concrete and is supposed to remind the citizens of Dresden of the everyday racism in the city. The association will set up 18 similar sculptures to the end of July, standing for “the small and big stabs that people in Dresden have to endure every day because of masked or open racism”, Demuth says.

Yearbook published on Islamophobia in German-speaking countries

The Austrian publisher Studienverlag has published a yearbook of research on Islamophobia in the German-speaking countries (Jahrbuch für Islamophobieforschung 2010: Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz). It is an introduction to the academic use of the term “Islamophobia” and includes recent empirical examples such as the courtroom murder of Egyptian Marwa El-Sherbini or the Swiss minaret ban. Further case studies derive from the fields of media, politics, law, discrimination in everyday life and theoretic reflections.

Father and brother plead guilty in “Honor Killing” in the greater Toronto area

On Dec. 10, 2007, Asqa Parvez’s father called 911 saying he had killed her. When police arrived, they found Ms. Parvez’s mother crying hysterically and her father with blood on his hands.

In a Brampton courtroom last week, Ms. Parvez’s father, Muhammad Parvez, 60, and her brother, Waqas Parvez, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. They will be sentenced to 25 years in prison. When asked by his wife why he had killed their daughter, Ms. Parvez said her husband told her: “My community will say you have not been able to control your daughter. This is my insult. She is making me naked.”

Observers say the case, among the first so-called honor killings to gain widespread attention in Canada, will cast a spotlight on generational strains that can tear at families adapting to a new culture. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said it’s a particularly pernicious form of murder to kill a member of one’s own family for cultural reasons.

Muslim Canadian Congress founder Tarek Fatah said the guilty plea is a wake-up call for parents to understand that young women are not the possessions of men. Muslim leaders who do not call Ms. Parvez’s murder an honour killing are avoiding the real issue, Mr. Fatah said.

Veils spark courtroom clothing debate in Ontario, Canada

The issue of whether the courts or Parliament should decide if a Muslim woman can wear a veil while testifying was at the centre of arguments on the first day of a potentially landmark hearing at the Ontario Court of Appeal. The court must determine whether a 32-year-old Toronto woman, who is accusing her uncle and cousin of sexually abusing her while she was a child, can testify against them while wearing a niqab.

A wide range of suggestions was put forward by lawyers representing the woman, the defendants, the province and five interest groups. The three-judge panel appeared reluctant to turn the case into a referendum on the use of the niqab in Canadian society and other social issues. It will likely be several weeks before the court issues its ruling.

When a lawyer for the Muslim Canadian Congress, which is opposed to women wearing the niqab, noted that the complete outfit restricts the ability of a lawyer in court to see not only her face, but the body language of a witness, the panel interjected. In its argument, the Ontario government urged the court to avoid imposing any general rules. Instead, a “legal framework” should be created that would be applied in individual cases. Under the suggestions put forward by the province, it would likely be more difficult for a witness to wear a veil at the actual trial, because of the impact on the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

9/11 trial moved out of Manhattan

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was set to be tried in a civilian court in Lower Manhattan. But after an assessment on the costs, logistical and security measures that would be required, the Obama Administration has decided to move it. The new location has yet to be disclosed.

NYC is responding with mixed reactions: some don’t want a vivid reminder of the event, some are concerned about security. Some want him tried in a military tribunal, others want justice for victims in a federal courtroom where the attack occurred.

Mayor of the small upstate city of Newburgh says his community would be a perfect place for the trial. They have a new courthouse, security could be easily implemented, and it is only a 90 minute drive from Manhattan.

Despite 2009 difficulties, promising horizons for German Muslims

In this article, the author sums up the major 2009 events concerning German Muslims. She refers to surprising statistics and remarkable conferences as well as political progress, pointing to the increased goodwill and determination of politicians to improve German Muslim living conditions.

The most painful event was, without doubt, the racist murder of Egyptian Marwa el-Sherbini in a Dresden courtroom. However, the author closes on a positive note and welcomes the start of Cologne’s mosque construction and the fact that minarets are present at many mosques throughout the country.

Wilders’ trial begins in Amsterdam

The commencement of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders’ trial for discrimination dominated Dutch press this week. The right-wing politician is standing trial on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims, insisting on his right to speak out about “Islamization”. Although as an MP Wilders has immunity for any comments made in parliament, he is not protected for anti-Muslim comments made in public to the media.

Numerous politicians from Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) attended the hearing, as well as 300 protestors demonstrating in his defense. In the courtroom Wilders stated his belief that the trial is politically motivated, and that his defense will rest on the fact that he is “telling the truth”. He urged the court to permit his list of 17 expert witnesses, including university professors, radical imams, and Mohammed Bouyeri, the man who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh, to be called to testify. The prosecution is not planning to bring any witnesses to the trial, public prosecutor Birgit van Roessel announced.

The trial is set to resume on February 3, following a two week recess during which the court will determine how to proceed through the trial.

In addition to reporting on the trial, a number of daily newspapers ran commentaries and opinion pieces. Dutch News posted a poll asking whether Wilders should face prosecution for inciting hatred. Radio Netherlands Worldwide juxtaposed Wilders’ position on tolerance with South African poet Antjie Krog and lawyer Gerard Spong. Its in depth coverage also considered whether Wilders’ has broken the law, and questions how he will finance his defense campaign.