Lawsuit says military pushes religion

By John Milburn TOPEKA, Kan. — A foundation that has sued the military alleging widespread violations of religious freedom said Tuesday that it has evidence showing that soldiers are pressured to adopt fundamentalist Christian beliefs. The photos and videos of religious materials and activities are part of a lawsuit filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, an atheist, against Maj. Freddy J. Welborn and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The material was gathered from Fort Riley in Kansas, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Fort Jackson, S.C. Examples at Fort Riley, where Hall is stationed, included a display outside his military police battalion’s office with a quote from conservative writer Ann Coulter saying, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” Another photo from Fort Riley shows the book “A Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” for sale at the post exchange.

Girl’s Beating Not Reported, Family Says

Relatives of Mohamed Shnewer, one of six men accused of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, said yesterday that his 12-year-old sister was beaten by a boy at her middle school last month — and that school authorities told them to keep quiet. The boy told Mr. Shnewer’s sister there was a terrorist on the loose, choked her and punched her in the face, the family said. He also told her, ”Your brother is never going to come back,” according to family members, who have requested that the girl’s name not be published…

Terror Arrests in New Jersey; 6 Men Arrested In a Terror Plot Against Ft. Dix

Six Muslim men from New Jersey and Philadelphia are charged with plotting to attack Fort Dix with automatic weapons and possible rocket-propelled grenades; taped conversations show plan was to kill as many soldiers as possible; arrests follow 15-month investigation during which Federal Bureau of Investigation and two informers taped group training with automatic weapons, conducting surveillance of military bases in Northeast, watching videos of Osama bin Laden and and trying to buy AK-47 assault rifles; authorities describe suspects as Islamic extremists and say they represent newest breed of threat: loosely organized domestic militants unconnected to–but inspired by–Al Qaeda or other international terror groups; complaint describes effort that was alternately ambitious and clumsy, with men eager to sacrifice their lives in name of Allah; suspects include ethnic Albanian brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, whose immigration path is not known, but who may have fled after US-led NATO air attacks against Yugoslav forces in Kosovo; coordinator of plot is Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, Jordanian-born US citizen; other suspects include Agron Abdullahu, born in former Yugoslavia, and Serdar Tatar, legal resident of US born in Turkey; it is unclear when attack was to take place, because in taped conversation suspects say there were waiting for fatwa.

From Head Scarf to Army Cap, Making a New Life

By ANDREA ELLIOTT LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Tex. – Stomping her boots and swinging her bony arms, Fadwa Hamdan led a column of troops through this bleak Texas base. Only six months earlier, she wore the head scarf of a pious Muslim woman and dropped her eyes in the presence of men. Now she was marching them to dinner. I’m gonna be a shooting man, a shooting man! she cried, her Jordanian accent lost in the chanting voices. The best I can for Uncle Sam, for Uncle Sam! The United States military has long prided itself on molding raw recruits into hardened soldiers. Perhaps none have undergone a transformation quite like that of Ms. Hamdan. Forbidden by her husband to work, she raised five children behind the drawn curtains of their home in Saudi Arabia. She was not allowed to drive. On the rare occasions when she set foot outside, she wore a full-face veil. Then her world unraveled. Separated from her husband, who had taken a second wife, and torn from her children, she moved to Queens to start over. Struggling to survive on her own, she answered a recruiting advertisement for the Army and enlisted in May. Ms. Hamdan’s passage through the military is a remarkable act of reinvention. It required courage and sacrifice. She had to remove her hijab, a sacred symbol of the faith she holds deeply. She had to embrace, at the age of 39, an arduous and unfamiliar life. In return, she sought what the military has always promised new soldiers: a stable home, an adoptive family, a remade identity. She left one male-dominated culture for another, she said, in the hope of finding new strength along the way. Always, I dream I have power on the inside, and one day it’s going to come out, said Ms. Hamdan, a small woman with delicate hands and sad, almond eyes. She belongs to the rare class of Muslim women who have signed up to become soldiers trained in Arabic translation. Such female linguists play a crucial role for the American armed forces in Iraq, where civilian women often feel uncomfortable interacting with male troops. Finding Arabic-speaking women willing to serve in the military has proved daunting. Of the 317 soldiers who have completed training in the Army linguist program since 2003, just 23 are women, 13 of them Muslim. Ms. Hamdan wrestled with the decision for two years. Only in the Army, she decided, would she be able to save money to hire a lawyer and finally divorce her husband. […]

Experts and Army Meet to Discuss Muslim Concerns

KOBLENZ – The Civic Education Centre (Zentrum Innere F_hrung) of the German Armed Forces, Catholic and Evangelical camp priests, the women’s commissioners and the deputy chairman of the Central Council of the Muslims in Germany held a discussion in Koblenz. Among the topics were the appointment of a “camp imam” for the religious support of Muslims in the army, the preparation of soldiers for duty in Afghanistan, and the insufficient attention paid to Muslim women’s issues in the ongoing official integration discourse.

East Berliners Oppose Mosque

Germans in a small East Berlin neighborhood are protesting plans to build a mosque there. They’d prefer their small garden plots to a minaret on the skyline. Mosques are by no means a new development in Germany. As far back as the 16th century, Prussian king Frederick William I had the first mosque built in Potsdam for his Turkish soldiers.

German Intelligence Monitoring Turkish Movie

BERLIN — German intelligence officials have acknowledged that they are monitoring the audiences of a new Turkish film with anti-Semitic and anti-US themes. Valley of the Wolves, by director Serdar Akar, shows crazed US soldiers massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners. Showings have sold out since the film opened two weeks ago, and more than 130,000 people, most of them young Muslims, saw the film in the first five days of its opening, The Telegraph reported.

Newspaper Cleared Over ‘Kill Muslims’ Letter

PHOENIX: The Arizona state Supreme Court ruled on Friday a Tucson newspaper could not be held liable for publishing a letter that urged people to kill Muslims to retaliate for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. In a 5-0 ruling, Arizona’s highest court found unanimously the Tucson Citizen was protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution and could not be sued for printing the letter in December 2003. The opinion reversed a lower court judge. The court stated the letter to the editor does not fall within one of the well-recognised exceptions to the general rule of First Amendment protection for political speech. It ordered the case be sent back to Pima County Superior Court and dismissed without the chance to be refiled. Michael Chihak, the Citizen’s editor and publisher, said the ruling vindicated the paper’s decision and could have broader ramifications for others. It is obviously a favourable ruling for us, and not just for us, but for the First Amendment, he said. If the ruling had been unfavourable, it may have led people to curb expressions of their thoughts, opinions and feelings rather than adding to the public dialogue. Herb Beigel, a lawyer for the two Tucson men who filed the lawsuit said he was disappointed by the ruling and had not yet decided whether to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court. Beigel condemned the decision as giving the press protection that is far broader than the US Supreme Court has ruled in the past, and said a deeper investigation into the facts of the case was needed before a decision was rendered. The lawsuit, filed by Aly W Elleithee and Wali Yudeen S Abdul Rahim, stemmed from a three-paragraph letter in the Citizen that called for quick retaliation for soldiers’ deaths. Whenever there is an assassination or another atrocity, we should proceed to the closest mosque and execute five of the first Muslims we encounter, the letter said. After all, this is a _Holy War and although such a procedure is not fair or just, it might end the horror.