Council defends decision to stock extremist books in Woolwich library

A council has defended its decision to stock extremist books at Woolwich library – yards from where Lee Rigby died (The soldier who was killed in an attack in Woolwich on 22nd May 2013) – including one by a banned cleric claiming “every Muslim should be a terrorist”. Radical preacher Dr Zakir Naik was banned from entering Britain after his presence was deemed not conducive to the public good, yet three of his works are available in the public library. Greenwich Council has defended their right to stock the texts, written in Urdu, which contain controversial statements on women, Jews and terrorism in a library 200 metres from the spot where Lee Rigby was killed in May.

 

“We are not aware of any lists of books banned by the Home Secretary,” a spokesperson said. “Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has been publicly available on the shelves of Britain’s public libraries for decades and remains available for any citizen in the UK to purchase.” The book is said to be available at libraries up and down the country.

 

In one of the texts Dr Naik states he is “proud to be a fundamentalist”, adding: “Every Muslim should be a terrorist. A terrorist is somebody who spreads terror and fear.” The statement was specifically examined by the Court of Appeal when it upheld Theresa May’s decision to ban the Islamic scholar from the UK.

 

Former Islamic extremist Dr Usama Hasan, of counter-extremist think tank Quilliam, said it was “strange” that such “niche” works should be available, warning that there was a small risk potential jihadist could use the text as “justification”. “It is difficult to see how the council justify it and defend their decision,” Dr Hasan said.

 

Fort Hood shooting suspect releases statement to Fox News, saying US at war with Islam

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting said in a statement to Fox News that the U.S. government is at war with Islam.
It’s the first statement Maj. Nidal Hasan has put out to the U.S. Fmedia. In the past, he has spoken via telephone with Al-Jazeera, the transcript of which is evidence in his upcoming trial.
“My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land,” Hasan said in the lengthy statement released to Fox News (http://fxn.ws/1cafkA2 ) on Saturday. He then says in reference to a war on Islam, “I participated in it.”
Hasan also said in the statement that he regrets serving in the Army.

Judge Says Ft. Hood Shooting Suspect May Act as His Own Lawyer in Court

HOUSTON — The Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex., in 2009 will represent himself when his trial begins next month, the latest twist in a long-delayed case that is likely to raise numerous legal questions and could provide him with a stage to promote his radical Islamic beliefs, experts in military law said.

 

At a pretrial hearing at Fort Hood on Monday, the judge overseeing the court-martial of the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, approved his request to release his court-appointed military lawyers and determined that he was physically and mentally capable of representing himself, Army officials said. Major Hasan was shot by the police at the time of the attack and is paralyzed below his chest.

 

Major Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Killeen, Tex. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

The complications arising from his decision to represent himself became apparent almost immediately. Not long after Colonel Osborn approved his request, Major Hasan made one of his first legal maneuvers, asking the judge for a three-month delay of the trial, which had been scheduled to begin July 1.

“Hasan is highly intelligent and has been using the trial process all along to advance his belief in radical Islam,” said Jeffrey F. Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. “Hasan does not care about doing a good job. He only cares about getting maximum press.”

It was unclear why Major Hasan released his Army legal team, and his objective in representing himself in a capital murder trial is unknown. He may cross-examine witnesses and even the shooting victims if they are called to testify for the prosecution, and there is also the possibility that he will interview prospective jurors when selection of the panel is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

130 Men Are Starving Themselves to Death Because Political Cowardice Keeps Them Locked Up in Guantanamo

86 Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release, yet they rot in prison far from their families. Their only hope is for the world to pay attention again. The U.S. military has acknowledged for the first time the number of prisoners on hunger strike at the military prison has topped 100. About a fifth of the hunger strikers are now being force-fed. Lawyers for the prisoners say more than 130 men are taking part in the hunger strike, which began in February. One of the hunger strikers is a Yemeni man named Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel. In a letter published in The New York Times, he wrote: “Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made. I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.” We speak to attorney Carlos Warner, who represents 11 prisoners at Guantánamo. He spoke to one of them on Friday. “Unfortunately, they’re held because the president has no political will to end Guantánamo,” Warner says. “The president has the authority to transfer individuals if he believes that it’s in the interests of the United States. But he doesn’t have the political will to do so because 166 men in Guantánamo don’t have much pull in the United States. But the average American on the street does not understand that half of these men, 86 of the men, are cleared for release.”

Muslims and Evolution in the 21st Century: A Galileo Moment?

Early last month, a conference was held in London, entitled “Have Muslims Misunderstood Evolution?” under the auspices of The Deen Institute, an organization which aims at promoting engagement between the Islamic tradition and modernity. The event sparked off a debate on social media and op-ed columns regarding the place of evolution in the Islamic worldview.

The conference, whose lectures were recently published online, brought together scientists like Prof. Ehab Abouheif and Prof. Fatimah Jackson with theologians like Dr Usama Hasan and the prominent Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. Also invited was Dr. Oktar Babuna, representing the hardcore creationist ideas of Harun Yahya, who is deemed by many Muslim scholars to be a charlatan. Sadly, by the end of the day, Babuna was reduced to such a laughing stock that even Qadhi distanced himself from him.

Some commentators have described this conference as marking a Galileo moment for Muslims. I would argue that this isn’t quite the case, as Islamic religious authority is decentralized, and there is no formal ‘religious establishment’ that has binding authority over Muslims. With even the historic center for Sunni learning, al-Azhar University, and influential scholars like al-Qaradawi accepting that Muslims could believe in evolution–though neither seems to–it doesn’t seem like this is a serious issue in theology. Rather it seems to be so only in the popular Muslim consciousness. As Muslims continue in the path of learning, as encouraged by the Prophet, I hope that a more nuanced attitude to this issue will emerge at a popular level, and then we can focus on more important discussions like that of climate change or alleviating poverty. This conference was an important step in that direction.

Plans to open Chipping Norton Mosque was cancelled after threats

The Muslim Community of Chipping Norton came under shock after winning a permission to build a mosque. It has been reported that the landlord received a threatening phone call and cancelled the deal. He said: “Someone rang up and said if you go ahead with the mosque then it will get very hot. They were saying they would burn it down. I have got people in the flat above [the proposed mosque]. I cannot take the risk.”

One of the applicants, Tahirul Hasan, who is also a Chipping Norton town councillor, said: “It is absolutely shocking. I did not expect this from our local community.”

Mr Hasan added he was worried about his own safety, especially as he is a taxi driver who receives late call-outs to remote locations.

Army’s highest legal branch appoints new judge to preside over Fort Hood shooting case

FORT WORTH, Texas — The military’s highest court ousted the judge in the Fort Hood shooting case Monday and threw out his order to have the suspect’s beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Col. Gregory Gross didn’t appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

But the court said it was not ruling on whether the judge’s order violated Hasan’s religious rights. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, although facial hair violates Army regulations.

In a statement issued Monday night, Fort Hood officials said proceedings in the case will resume after a new judge is appointed by the Army’s highest legal branch. That indicates Army prosecutors will not appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

An Army appeals court had upheld the shaving requirement in October. But on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said the command, not the judge, was responsible for enforcing grooming standards. The ruling said that was one example of how Gross did not appear impartial in the case.

Gross had repeatedly said Hasan’s beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that his beard interfered with the hearings.

Fort Hood shooting rampage survivors, victims’ relatives want it declared terrorist attack

FORT HOOD, Texas — Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims’ relatives otherwise won’t receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone.

About 160 people, including relatives of the 13 people killed at the Texas Army post and some of the more than two dozen wounded and their families, released a video Thursday expressing their frustration.

They say soldiers injured or killed deserve fair benefits and Purple Heart eligibility.

“The victims are being forgotten and it’s frustrating,” Kimberly Munley, one of the first two officers who arrived at the shooting scene on Nov. 5, 2009, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. The case is on hold as his lawyers fight the trial judge’s order that Hasan either shave his beard, which violates Army rules, or be forcibly shaved before trial.

U.S. officials have said they believe Hasan’s attack was inspired by the radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and that Hasan and the cleric exchanged as many as 20 emails. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last fall.

Defendant Told to Shave

An Army appeals court has ruled that the defendant in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 can have his facial hair forcibly shaved off before his murder trial. The United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion issued Thursday upheld the military trial judge’s decision to order Maj. Nidal Hasan to appear in court clean shaven or be forcibly shaved. Major Hasan has said the beard is an expression of his Muslim faith. His lawyers say he will appeal. Major Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted.

Army officials say Fort Hood shooting suspect hospitalized in good condition; won’t say why

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage has been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons, military officials said Monday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan was listed in good condition after being admitted to the Texas Army post’s hospital Saturday, and he should be released within two days, according to a Fort Hood new release. Medical privacy laws prevent the disclosure of information about Hasan’s health or why he’s there, the release said.

Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted in the November 2009 attack that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.