Chattanooga Gunman Researched Islamic Martyrdom, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — Counterterrorism investigators have uncovered evidence the gunman who killed five service members last week in Chattanooga, Tenn., searched the Internet in the days leading up to the attack for Islamic materials about whether martyrdom would lead to forgiveness for his sins, like drunkenness and financial debt, according to law enforcement officials.

A family representative in Tennessee, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, said Mr. Abdulazeez went to Jordan last year because “folks in his family wanted to get him out of being around bad influences in Chattanooga,” including drugs. The uncle and grandfather “were going to give him some work to do and watch him and see if they could get him back on the right track.”

 

Military jury sentences Army psychiatrist to death for 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas — A military jury on Wednesday sentenced Maj. Nidal Hasan to death for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, handing the Army psychiatrist the ultimate punishment after a trial in which he seemed to be courting martyrdom by making almost no effort to defend himself.

 

The 13-member panel spent less than two hours deliberating privately, and the president — or forewoman– announced the finding in open court with a clear voice, that Hasan “be put to death.”

The rare military death sentence came nearly four years after the attack that stunned even an Army hardened by more than a decade of constant war. Hasan walked into a medical building where soldiers were getting medical checkups, shouted “Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great!” — and opened fire with a laser-sighted handgun. Thirteen people were killed and 32 others were wounded.

 

The convicted killer said nothing as the decision was announced, and had appeared emotionless earlier in the morning when dramatic closing arguments in the sentencing phase were held without his participation.

 

The judge quickly accepted the verdict; the matter now goes to the “convening authority” — an Army general who will review the four-week court-martial proceedings and make the binding decision whether to accept the guilty verdict and capital sentence.

 

It is a process that could take a few more months, and only then will the verdicts become official.

The convening authority has the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison without parole. The defendant will then have the right to appeal through the military justice system.

 

Appeals could take years

 

If swift justice is the goal, history may not be on Hasan’s or the government’s side. The last military execution was in 1961, and only five servicemen face lethal injection. Three are African-American, two are white.

 

If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won’t let him go down without a fight — whether he likes it or not.  But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won’t be allowed to represent himself.

The mandatory appellate process could take years, even if Hasan voluntarily foregoes many of the procedural steps available to any defense.

 

John Galligan, a retired Army colonel who was Hasan’s former lead civilian counsel, said he doesn’t believe Hasan is seeking execution, as his appointed standby lawyers at trial have suggested. He has met with Hasan frequently during the trial and said several civilian attorneys — including anti-death penalty activists — have offered to take on his appeal. Galligan estimates the military has already spent more than $6 million on Hasan’s trial. He said that will triple during appeals, which he believes will take longer than Hasan’s remaining life expectancy.

 

Many Fort Hood victims believe shooter wants death to be martyrdom, but still back punishment

Maj. Nidal Hasan and many of his victims in the Fort Hood shooting seem to want the same thing — his death. But while survivors and relatives of the dead view lethal injection as justice, the Army psychiatrist appears to see it as something else — martyrdom.

As the sentencing phase begins Monday following Hasan’s conviction for killing 13 people in the 2009 attack, the conflict has not gone unnoticed.

Autumn Manning, whose husband, Shawn Manning, survived being shot six times, views the death penalty as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Hasan would get what he deserves. On the other, it also gives him exactly what he wants.

In the end, she said, it makes little difference because the military has not executed anyone since the 1960s.

The attorneys protested, telling the judge he had a death wish and was paving the way for his own execution. The judge rejected their request to take over the case or to leave Hasan on his own.

Hasan, a U.S.-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, has indicated that martyrdom is a goal.

Martyrdom manifests itself in the Islamic holy book, the Quran, in two ways, said Emran El-Badawi, director of the Arab studies program at the University of Houston.

The shahid — or martyr — is adopted in one sense from Christianity and other early religions as someone who dies for the faith and goes to paradise alongside prophets and saints. Martyrs also appear in the Quran as fallen soldiers or those who died in battle, he said.

This modern concept of a martyr “is incoherent. It is unstandardized, and it is messy,” El-Badawi said, but it has been exploited by extremist groups like al-Qaida to encourage suicide attacks, even though some of Islam’s most prominent religious leaders have condemned this type of warfare.

Hasan apparently communicated with some al-Qaida leaders prior to the attack on the Army post and has repeatedly stated that the rampage was designed to prevent U.S. soldiers from going to fight in unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hasan was to be deployed with some of the troops he killed.

Hundreds of Toronto Shia Muslims Commemorate Martyrdom Anniversary

Ahlul Bayt News Agency – August 11, 2012

 

In Toronto hundreds of Shia Muslims  participated in the procession of the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s) on August 10th. Despite a rainy day in Toronto, housands of Shia men and women were goatherd in the Miliken park in  Scarborough before start the procession there was a program held in the park in which Molana Sakhawat Hussain Sandralvi gave the speech. After the end of the program, procession was taken out from the park and moved towards Hussainiyah Pasmore after three hours procession end before Maghrib prayer.

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.

Website links Martyrdom and Massacres

The Austrian Liberal Muslim Initiative (ILMÖ) has declared the Islamic website nektar.co.at “dangerous,” resulting from the website’s definition of “jihad” as a type of martyrdom in Islam which is not only found on the battlefield, but also through the massacre of civilians.

The Federal office for the protection of the constitution and combating terrorism admits that the website in question is under surveillance, however legally there has not yet been a reason to intervene. The website gives no information as to who the contributors are, though it does say that its goal is to spread knowledge about Islam in German. The owner of the website did not respond to telephone calls from Der Standard.

Staten Island Muslim woman kills husband, raises questions on possible violence increase amongst US Muslims

In what may be the first recorded instance of a Muslim wife attempting to murder her husband for not being pious enough, a Staten Island woman was charged this week with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Rabia Sarwar, a 37-year-old Muslim, said she did it because her husband, a 41-year-old Pakistani native, enjoyed booze and pork and wanted her to dress in revealing clothes. (She held fabric over her face and threw a shawl over her head before leaving court on Thursday.) “He made me do so many things that are against Islam,” she said in a police statement. “I did all that just to make him happy, but inside of me there was a war.”

“This is not a reverse honor-killing — it’s martyrdom,” says Islamic apostate and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself the target of death threats.

“The kind of American Muslim you’re seeing now is changing — not because America is changing, but because the world is. Someone from Pakistan is coming here not for freedom, but to escape a horrible situation. [Once here], they are being radicalized,” she says.

“The vast majority of honor killings do appear to be cases where there is some attempt to violate or leave [Muslim] cultural norms,” says David Bryan Cook, associate professor of religious studies at Rice University. “They’ve been going on in the US and Britain for a number of years, but in the recent past they’ve gotten a lot more publicity.”

Some believe that the sheer vastness of the US has kept such incidents largely off the radar. “We’ve not been seeing it yet because our country’s so big,” says Amil Imani, who was born in Iran but raised in the US, and is the founder of Former Muslims United.

Muslims and Christians do not fully understand each other says Rowan Williams: The Archbishop of Canterbury says theological differences separate Islam from Christianity

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, admitted yesterday that the Christian and Muslim faiths are so fundamentally different that both sides are still unable to understand each other properly. Dr Williams, speaking at an interfaith conference in Cambridge, said that it was possible for Islam and Christianity, two of the three Abrahamic faiths, to agree around the imperatives to love God and “love your neighbour”. Muslims and Christians agree about the need to alleviate both poverty and suffering, he said. But at a theological level there was still massive disagreement. Dr Williams contrasted the “self-emptying” aspect of Christianity, a faith built on the failure and weakness of its founder through his death on the cross, to the Islamic narrative of “trial and triumph”. The Archbishop said: “Even in its narratives of Jesus, [Islam] questions or sidelines the story of the death of Jesus as Christians tell it – an issue that is still a live one as between our faiths.” He said that the two faiths’ concepts of martyrdom were also different. In Christianity, martyrdom was a way of validating failure while in Islam, it constituted part of the “struggle” in fighting evil. “And how far an Islamic ethic would see love of neighbour as essentially involving the kind of self-abnegation privileged by Christianity is a point worth exploring,” Dr Williams said. The Archbishop was criticised earlier this year following a BBC interview in which he suggested that the adoption of some aspects of Islamic sharia law in the UK seemed “unavoidable”. His lecture in Cambridge, however, illustrated a clear understanding of the issues at stake between the two faiths. Dr Williams did not in any form come across as an apologist for Islam but as someone using his formidable intellect in an attempt to bridge the divide. Dr Williams was one of a number of leading Christian and Islamic scholars addressing the conference, A Common Word at Cambridge University. It marked the first anniversary of the publication of A Common Word Between Us and You, a letter from 138 Islamic scholars, clerics and intellectuals promoting understanding and tolerance between the two faiths. Ruth Gledhill reports.

Alleged would-be suicide bombers made ‘martyrdom videos’

Six Islamic fanatics recorded violent martyrdom videos as they prepared a terrorist attack on transatlantic aircraft, a court heard today. The gang’s leader told Western leaders to “stop meddling in our affairs” or body parts will be left “decorating the streets”, a jury heard. Another alleged bomber’s video message appeared to address the British public, accusing them of being too busy watching EastEnders and Home And Away to “care about anything”. Prosecutors said defendant Abdulla Ahmed Ali was willing to carry a home-made liquid bomb aboard a flight to north America and detonate it himself. Ali is one of eight men on trial accused of conspiring to murder and to endanger aircraft at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London. They deny the charges. Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the gang considered other targets in addition to at least seven flights leaving from London Heathrow airport within hours of each other. He said there was evidence Canary Wharf, a gas pipeline between Belgium and the UK, chemical companies, oil refineries and other UK airports were possible targets. The jury also heard how the gang stockpiled materials for their home-made liquid devices which were to be smuggled on to aircraft disguised as 500ml soft drinks.