LONDON (AP) – Speaking in London late Tuesday, Ayaan Hirsi Ali said that Muslims must protest against terrorism committed in the name of religion. Hirsi is the Dutch ex-lawmaker whose criticism of radical Islam has made her a target of death threats.
Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor 23, stated that it is time for friendly and clear dialogue with Muslims, and that Catholics need not be fearful in their interactions with members of the Muslim community. Monsegnor Michel Dubost highlights the 140 known conversions from Islam to Catholicism, many of whom receive death threats for crossing religious boundaries. He argues, it is necessary for the Catholic Church to present itself in a better light, while avoiding being accused of proselytizing.
A former Dutch parliamentarian of Somali origin facing death threats for criticising Islam declined an asylum offer from Denmark on Tuesday, saying she wanted to return to the United States. “I am very touched and thank (Denmark) with all my heart,” said Ayaan Hirsi Ali in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten daily published Tuesday. “But my home and my work are in the United States and I am concentrating now on trying to get funds to ensure my security out there,” she said…
[ By Leon de Winter in Amsterdam] Fear of fanatical Islamists prompted Ayaan Hirsi Ali to leave the Netherlands, her adopted home, and now she has been forced to return. Paying for her bodyguards in the United States is too expensive for the Dutch government — what a disgrace. There are exactly five people that the Dutch government has to protect against death threats from radical Islamists. This sort of protection is expensive. Society bears the costs because freedom of opinion, a cornerstone of our culture, is on the line. The extremists, for their part, are prepared to risk their own lives to kill those under government protection. The costs of protection are completely disproportionate to the outcome: the continued existence of our values and norms.
MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Jos_ Luis Rodr_guez Zapatero on Friday downplayed the latest threat against Spain by the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda, saying the government was working hard to prevent attacks against Spanish interests. “We’ve been receiving more or less explicit threats for a long time now (and) it’s nothing new although this time it’s gotten a lot of press play,” he said in a radio interview. In a video released this week, Al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, urged Muslims to “clean the Islamic Maghreb of the sons of France and Spain.”
Swedish artist Lars Vilks is taking no chances. After a cartoon he drew of the Prophet Muhammad was published, the cartoonist received death threats and has temporarily gone into hiding under police protection.
Dutch ex-Muslim youth have united under a new organization in Amsterdam, the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims, according reports on Wednesday. Ehsan Jami, one of the founders of the committee and a city council member for the PvdA Labour Party in Leidschendam-Voorburg, a small city near The Hague, said the committee aimed to help other so-called Muslims apostates. According to Jami, people who officially renounced their Muslim faith often received death threats from former co-religionists. The committee also aims to discuss issues like domestic violence and the violation of women’s rights in the Muslim world, Jami said on Wednesday in the news radio broadcast De Ochtenden. The organization called on the Dutch government to assist former Muslims receiving death threats. Former Iranian refugee Afshin Ellian, a well-known professor in international law and philosophy who plays an active role in the ongoing public debate about Islam, immigrants and democracy in the Netherlands, has agreed to help the Committee.
A French philosophy teacher yesterday entered his third week in hiding after writing a newspaper comment piece calling the prophet Muhammad a merciless warlord and mass-murderer. Robert Redeker, 52, who teaches at a suburban Toulouse high school, this week won the support of famous French intellectuals including the philosopher Bernard-Henri L’vy, who warned that death threats against him were an attack on freedom of speech akin to the persecution of Salman Rushdie. But the case has divided opinion in France, with some human rights groups and academics condemning the death-threats but at the same time accusing Mr Redeker of deliberately writing a “stupid” and “nauseating” provocation.
Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten has been forced to hire security guard to protect employees from angry Muslims, after it printed a series of cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. Death threats have forced daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten to hire security guards to protect its employees, after printing twelve cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. The newspaper has been accused of deliberately provoking and insulting Muslims by publishing the cartoons. The newspaper urged cartoonists to send in drawings of the prophet, after an author complained that nobody dared to illustrate his book on Mohammed. The author claimed that illustrators feared that extremist Muslims would find it sacrilegious to break the Islamic ban on depicting Mohammed. Twelve illustrators heeded the newspaper’s call, and sent in cartoons of the prophet, which were published in the newspaper earlier this month. Muslim spokesmen demanded that Jyllands-Posten retracted the cartoons and apologised. ‘We have taken a few necessary measures in the situation, as some people seem to have taken offence and are sending threats of different kinds,’ the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, told national broadcaster DR. The same day as the newspaper published the cartoons, it received a threatening telephone call against ‘one of the twelve illustrators’, as the caller said. Shortly afterwards, police arrested a 17-year-old, who admitted to phoning in the threat. Since then, journalists and editors alike have received threats by email and the telephone. The newspaper told its staff to remain alert, but then decided to hire security guards to protect its Copenhagen office. ‘Up until now, we have only had receptionists in the lobby. But we don’t feel that they should sit down there by themselves, so we posted a guard there as well,’ Juste said. Muslim organisations, like the Islamic Religious Community, have demanded an apology, but Juste rejected the idea. He said the cartoons had been a journalistic project to find out how many cartoonists refrained from drawing the prophet out of fear. ‘We live in a democracy,’ he said. ‘That’s why we can use all the journalistic methods we want to. Satire is accepted in this country, and you can make caricatures. Religion shouldn’t set any barriers on that sort of expression. This doesn’t mean that we wish to insult any Muslims.’ Juste’s opinion was not shared by _rhus imam Raed Hlayhel, who gave an interview to the internet edition of Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera to protest the newspaper’s cartoons. Hlayhel told al-Jazeera’s reporter that he considered the cartoons derisive of Islam, and described one of the drawings as showing Mohammed wearing a turban-like bomb, and another as brandishing a sabre, with two burka-clad women behind him. Hlayhel said he did not understand how such illustrations could be printed with reference to freedom of expression, when Denmark did not tolerate the slightest sign of anti-Semitism. Al-Jazeera concluded that the drawings seemed bizarre.
The man shot dead on an Underground train in south London on Friday was not connected to attempted terror attacks on the capital, said police. The statement came as it emerged that police have been given secret new shoot-to-kill guidelines in recent weeks. The dead man was named as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year old electrician from Brazil. Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, had been working legally in Britain for three years. This is a tragedy. The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets, Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told Sky News on Sunday. The shooting happened in Stockwell on Friday morning when armed plain clothes police officers shot a man as he tried to board a train at the Underground station. He had emerged from a house under surveillance following Thursday’s attempted bomb attacks on three Tube trains and a bus. New shoot-to-kill guidelines for armed police and surveillance officers confronting suspected suicide terrorists advise them to shoot to the head and not the body in case the suspect has a bomb. Sir Ian on Sunday admitted the police had a shoot-to-kill policy to deal with suicide bombers and that it would continue. Somebody else could be shot. But everything is done to make it right,” he said. Friday morning’s shooting at Stockwell came as the hunt continued for terrorists behind bomb attacks that have killed more than 50 people. Over the weekend police questioned two men arrested in connection with the attacks. The admission by the police that the dead man was not connected to the terror attacks will stoke debate over counter-terrorism tactics and the implication that police were operating a so-called shoot-to-kill policy against suspected terrorists. On Friday night the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission called for a public enquiry into the shooting in Stockwell. This is an extra-judicial killing by police who have been trained in shoot-to-kill, it said. The police now face inquiries into their actions that could hit morale, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the Stockwell shooting. Sir Ian said the force was confronting what he called its greatest operational challenge ever. They faced previously unknown threats and great danger, he added as he appealed for the understanding of all communities. Sir Ian said the dead man had been challenged and refused to obey police instructions. Police raided at least three addresses in London on Friday and made two arrests. Police Issue Pictures Of Four Bomb Suspects Police released closed circuit TV pictures of the four suspects and sought public assistance as forensic work continued on what appeared to be home-made explosive devices used on Thursday. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said on Friday night a special project group had developed operational tactics to help police respond swiftly and effectively to such threats. The guidelines were secretly developed in consultation with police forces including Israel, Russia and the US.