Arab League in Netherlands faces fines for cartoons

Thu Dutch branch of the European Arab League should be fined for publishing a cartoon implying that Jews invented the idea that six million people died in the holocaust, according to the public prosecution department. The comments refer to the cartoons published on the EAL’s website four years ago in response to the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. The prosecution department made the comments Thursday, suggesting that the EAL be fined one thousand Euros and that Dutch representative Abdimoutalib Bouzerda face an additional five hundred Euros.

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.

Are we making the most of what Abdulmutallab knows?

This opinion piece by Michael B. Mukasey criticizes Obama’s reaction statements to Abdulmutallab’s actions, challenges the relevance of Yemen’s “crushing poverty” in its terrorism problem, and connects the country’s insurgency with the Yemeni government.

It also supports lengthy detention time in military custody for Abdulmutallab, and criticizes taking a civilian law approach to his prosecution. According to Mukasey, this would foster better intelligence collection from Abdulmutallab, and position him as an information source rather than a criminal who must be punished.

Arab League to Face Prosecution for Anti Semitic Cartoon

The Arab European League (AEL) is being prosecuted for insulting Jews by publishing a cartoon suggesting they invented the Holocaust, the Dutch public prosecution office said today.

Last month, Dutch prosecutors ordered the league to remove the cartoon from its website or face prosecution. The cartoon was punishable, they found, “because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion”, Agence France Press reports in The Peninsula. The public prosecution office said it told the AEL two weeks ago that publishing the cartoon was illegal but that it would drop the case if the group removed the cartoon from its website within two weeks and agreed not to republish it.

According to Reuters reports in SABC News, Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda, chairman of the Dutch AEL, said the group had published a disclaimer at the time saying it did not support the views of the cartoons it used. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that the AEL acquiesced to the request, but then it put the cartoon back on the website claiming that the ruling was an instance of double standards, since the republication of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was allowed in the Netherlands. It removed cartoon once again on September 2. Finally, DutchNews reports that the cartoon was taken off the AEL’s website three years ago, but the league decided to republish it to highlight the double standards operating in society, as the AEL prosecution comes after a decision not to put politician Geert Wilders on trial for republishing Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad on his website.

Islamic Schooling Foundation Will Not Be Prosecuted For Misuse of Subsidies

The public prosecution will not deal with a complaint by State Secretary of Education Sharon Dijksma against the Helmond Foundation of Muslim Schools (Stichting Islamitische Scholen Helmond). Dijksma claims that the school administration wrongly spent over 900, 000 euro in subsidies. The claims came following Dijksma’s report to parliament last year which claimed that 90% of Muslim schools are misusing subsidy money. In the case of the Helmond Foundation, Dijksma claims that subsidy money has been used for self payment and compensating “phantom workers”. Prosecution recognized that the money was not spent as intended, but that it was not used for purposes of “grave self enrichment”, Trouw reports. The State Secretary says that she will respect the decision.

UK suspect ‘key al-Qaeda member’

A British Muslim man was an important member of al-Qaeda with a terrorist contacts book that had sections written in invisible ink, a court has heard. Rangzieb Ahmed, 33, of Manchester, denies directing terrorism and being a member of al-Qaeda. The prosecution at Manchester Crown Court alleged he was assisted by Habib Ahmed, 28, a city taxi driver. It is alleged Habib Ahmed, who denies all charges, travelled to Pakistan to receive terrorist training. The trip is also said to have included explosives training. And the prosecution claims that Habib Ahmed’s wife, Mehreen Haji, 27, sent £4,000 to fund his training. She is accused of two counts of arranging funding for the purposes of terrorism.

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Terrorism Trial: Suspect admits Heathrow blast plan: I expect to go to jail, says airline bomb plot ‘ringleader’

The alleged leader of a gang of eight men accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic planes in mid-air today told a court his intentions had been “taken out of proportion”. Abdulla Ahmed Ali said he expected to go to prison for planning to detonate a device at Heathrow airport’s terminal three. However, the 27-year-old insisted the device was not intended to do any damage and was a protest against Britain’s foreign policy. He denied the prosecution’s case that he planned to smuggle liquid explosives, hidden in soft drink bottles, on to planes and detonate them during flights to north America. The prosecution alleges that the plot, which was foiled in August 2006, would have killed more than 1,500 people. Ali told jurors at Woolwich crown court: “I understand that admitting to use an explosive device in a sensitive place such as an airport is an offence, and I don’t expect to go home after the trial – I expect to do time for that. “This whole thing has been blown up out of proportion. I’m not going to admit to something I didn’t do and never intended to do.” He maintained that the plastic bottle and battery explosive device he attempted to make was never intended to harm. “That’s the truth,” he said. “I’ve done something which is an offence, I’m putting my hand up to that.” He claimed the charges against him had been “exaggerated”, with the media being used “to ruthless effect”. Ali and five other defendants made alleged “martyrdom” videos in which they threatened bloodshed in response to UK and US foreign policy. In Ali’s video, he vowed to teach non-Muslims “a lesson they will never forget” and warned of “body parts … decorating the streets” if Muslims were not left alone. He has claimed the films were meant to form part of a “documentary” that would be posted on the internet and highlight unjust foreign policies. Haroon Siddique and agencies report.

Jury hears ‘suicide recordings’

A jury has heard recordings in which one of eight men accused of an aircraft bomb plot is alleged to be showing another how to present a suicide video. Woolwich Crown Court heard the bugged conversations took place at an east London flat the prosecution claims the men used as their bomb factory in 2006. The jury heard that the man said in the recordings: “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression.” The British men deny conspiring to murder and endangering planes. It is claimed they planned to make hydrogen peroxide liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks to detonate in mid-air on at least seven passenger planes flying out of Heathrow Airport. The prosecution said the surveillance recordings were made when two of the defendants, Abdullah Ali, 27, and Umar Islam, 29, were inside the alleged bomb factory. A man, said to be Mr Ali, tells the other man to relax. “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression”, he says. There follows a long section where a man who calls himself Umar Islam is allegedly recording or rehearsing a suicide video which was found by police.

Imam prosecuted for not preventing murders

Prosecutors in Ghent have demanded a one-year prison sentence for Muhsin Paksoy, the former imam of the Ghent central mosque. Paksoy is accused of doing little to prevent the murder of four women, after being approached by the killer. On November 11th 2004, Osman Calli called up Paksoy; the next day he killed four women. Calli’s wife also told the imam that her husband was going to kill her, but Paksoy did not intervene. Osman Calli locked his wife, along with her sister, in a cellar of his residence in Ghent. He nicked his wife’s face with a knife, trying to get her to confess to adultery, before killing them both. The prosecution claims that the imam knew the wife was in grave danger; while Calli condemned Calli taking matters into his own hands, the former imam did not contact police.