The Bangladeshi man who was arrested Wednesday on charges that he plotted to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had an accomplice in San Diego, who was arrested later on unrelated child-pornography charges, a law enforcement official said on Thursday.
The man described as the accomplice, Howard Willie Carter II, was arrested after an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation found 1,000 images and three video files containing child pornography on a laptop and hard drive in the trash near Mr. Carter’s apartment, according to a government document. Officials used material stored on the computer to trace it back to Mr. Carter.
The computer also contained e-mails addressed to “Yaqeen,” a name that Brooklyn prosecutors said Mr. Carter had used in the plot to bomb the Federal Reserve building.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged the Bangladeshi man, Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and with providing material support to Al Qaeda. They said he had tried to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb hidden in a van parked near the Federal Reserve building, on Liberty Street, in the financial district.
The Globe and Mail – October 6, 2010
Child-pornography charges have been dropped against a Canadian Muslim preacher, with a judge ruling that “threats and intimidation” by the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) agents railroaded the man into handing over evidence. In 2007, Brampton’s Ayad Mejid had had enough of a long-standing CSIS investigation. Targeted as a suspected supporter of terrorism, he lent his laptop to authorities to try to prove his innocence. CSIS agents who searched the laptop without a warrant passed it to Toronto Police detectives, who in turn arrested Mr. Mejid. Police alleged that they found child-pornography images inside.
On October 6th,, on the eve of a long-delayed trial, a court ruled that any Crown evidence against Mr. Mejid was moot. Faulting CSIS for being beyond aggressive, Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly tossed the case. CSIS agents began zeroing in on Mr. Mejid in 2003, amid suspicions he had a hand in starting an Internet outfit known as the Global Islamic Media Forum. GIMF attracts Islamists whose posts can glorify terrorism – not a crime in Canada.
Saving and investing in line with religious principles is important for many Muslims and an increasing range of financial products is now available to meet Sharia rules. There are 1.8 million Muslims in Britain and surveys show that about three-quarters are interested in the idea of running their savings and investments in keeping with principles laid out in the Koran. While Sharia products are in their infancy in the United Kingdom, the uptake is very rapid.
While trade and investment are encouraged, Sharia rules prohibit involvement in companies whose activities touch on a wide range of industries including alcohol, gambling, pornography, human cloning, arms and many forms of entertainment. Industries associated with pork are also out. However, the biggest difficulty for devout Muslims and those financial groups which aim to serve them is the principle of riba. Riba means that you cannot receive or pay interest, because Islam defines interest as a form of usury.
Interest is hard to remove from any financial transaction. The entire conventional banking industry, with products from mortgages through to credit-cards and deposit accounts, depends on calculating interest. The answer that Sharia-compliant accounts offer is to convert the interest normally paid into a form of profit or loss. Accounts or mortgages will often be marketed as offering competitive rates measured against non-Sharia, interest-based products, but the structure of the financial proposition is different. British banks have come up with a wide range of Islamic financial products such as accounts, mortgages, investment plans and credit cards, adapting to the strong demand among the Muslim population.
A link between terrorism plots and hardcore child pornography is becoming clear after a string of police raids in Britain and across the Continent, an investigation by The Times has discovered. Images of child abuse have been found during Scotland Yard antiterrorism swoops and in big inquiries in Italy and Spain. Secret coded messages are being embedded into child pornographic images, and paedophile websites are being exploited as a secure way of passing information between terrorists.
British security services are also aware of the trend and believe that it requires further investigation to improve understanding of terrorists’ methods and mindsets. Concerns within the Metropolitan Police led to a plan to run a pilot research project exploring the nature of the link. One source familiar with the proposal said that this could eventually lead to the training of child welfare experts to identify signs of terrorist involvement as they monitor pornographic sites. Concerns have already been expressed at Cabinet minister level about the risk of vulnerable Muslim youths being exploited by older men. Officers have noted that child sex abuse images have been found during investigations into some of the most advanced suspected plots. However, it is understood that the proposed research project was never implemented because the AntiTerrorism Branch was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases it was having to deal with. Richard Kerbaj and Dominic Kennedy report.
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London Daily News
The launch of controversial novel The Jewel of Medina about the Prophet Mohammed has been postponed: American writer Sherry Jones has also delayed a three-day publicity tour of the UK for her book scheduled for next week. The novel focuses on Mohammed’s relationship with his child bride Aisha but has been dismissed by one academic as “softcore pornography”. The Jewel of Medina was due to be released by Gibson Square Publishers this month but two weeks ago the home of Martin Rynja, who works for the publishing house, was targeted in a suspected petrol bomb attack. Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas, was quoted in the US media as saying the Jewel of Medina took “sacred history” and turned it into “softcore pornography”. A spokesman for Gibson Square Publishers said today: “We respect Sherry Jones’s decision. In her view the best thing to do is to postpone her visit and the publishing of the novel in Britain. “It is not an easy call for any author, particularly in the case of a debut novel that attracts so much attention from the British media. “We appreciate that she will continue to make time available to any interested British groups to dispel misinformation about The Jewel of Medina.” The statement added: “We hope that they will get in touch with us to receive further information about her hopes for her novel to foster greater understanding of Islam for Western readers.
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There has been a substantial Muslim community in the UK for at least 300 years, so UK financial companies may have been a little slow to cater for their monetary needs. But mainstream financial groups are quickly waking up to the fact that there are some 2 million Muslims in the UK whose financial needs must be met, as well as many more non-Muslims who agree with the ethics promoted by Islamic law, or sharia. Sharia governs, among other things, a Muslim’s economic and social life, dictating how believers should conduct themselves. It forbids certain activities and transactions: those involving alcohol and pork-related products, but also armaments, gambling, pornography and other activities deemed socially detrimental. Crucially, Islam places no intrinsic value on money, so earning or paying interest (riba) is prohibited – ruling out the majority of traditional mortgages, investments, savings and insurance products. So financial providers have had to do some creative thinking. The result, however, has been the launch of a wealth of new interesting and innovative products – some of which are now starting to capture the attention of non-muslims as well.
Anti-terrorism investigators in Paris are examining threats against a leading French cable TV channel over pornographic films that can be viewed in North Africa. Canal-Plus, the pay-TV channel, received letters from people claiming to be Muslim and threatening to blow up its headquarters if it continues to broadcast a once-a-month pornographic film Saturday evenings. The threats began in September 2006.
Canal-Plus shows a range of programming, much of it family-friendly. As a new broadcaster in 1983, Canal-Plus introduced X-rated films on the first Saturday of the month to distinguish itself from other channels. It can be viewed via satellite in North Africa, where French is widely spoken but where social standards are vastly more conservative than in France. In the past, French regulators and other critics have also expressed concern about the films, citing the degradation of women and their encouragement of unprotected sex.
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International Herald Tribune
Artwork by artist Ellen Vroegh have been removed from the municipality building where they had been displayed, after several Muslim men complained about the abstract paintings of half-naked women in the paintings. Vroegh commented that she was showed, and completely puzzled that the municipality removed her artwork because a few people had objections to them. She also responded that the paintings are not pornography, but abstract imagination, figurative art, where genitals are not even shown. A municipality spokesperson said: “We respect voices from society, regardless of which religious convictions people take offense to these naked women.”
As Islamic finance and banking products continue to grow, Switzerland will soon get its second Shariah compliant bank in less than two years. The bank I set to be launched before the end of the year, and will target investors and wealthy individuals from the Gulf region. The new bank will be the second private Islamic bank established in Switzerland; the first Shariah complaint bank – Faisal Private Bank – opened in Geneva in 2006. Among the principals advocated by Shariah banking institutions include the forbidding of Muslims from usury, receiving, or paying interest on loans, and Islamic bankers and finance institutions cannot receive private funds for transactions involving alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons, or pork.