Iranian blogger, Soheil Arabi. Photo courtesy of: HRANA
by, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran | David Wood @ Answering Muslims
IRAN: A blogger found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammad in his postings on Facebook has been sentenced to death. An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the blogger, Soheil Arabi, will be able to appeal the decision until September 20, 2014.
Agents from the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Sarallah Base arrested Soheil Arabi, 30, and his wife in November 2013. Arabi’s wife was released a few hours later, but he was kept in solitary confinement for two months inside IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison, before he was transferred to Evin’s General Ward 350. Branch 76 of the Tehran Criminal Court, under Judge Khorasani, found Arabi guilty of “sabb al-nabi” (insulting the Prophet), on August 30, 2014.
“The way he was arrested was illegal. It is not clear how the agents were able to enter their home at that time in the morning. All the doors were locked and family members were asleep. Agents entered his home and bedroom. He and his wife were arrested and some of their photographs and personal belongings were taken after their home was searched,” said the source.
“Soheil had eight Facebook pages under different names, and he was charged with insulting the Imams and the Prophet because of the contents of those pages. He has accepted his charges, but throughout the trial, he stated that he wrote the material without thinking and in poor psychological condition,” the source told the Campaign.
The source noted that the Tehran Penal Court issued its ruling without regard for Article 264 of the Islamic Penal Code. “Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code states that if a person insults the Prophet of Islam, his punishment is death. But in Article 264, it explicitly says that if a suspect merely claims in court that he said the insulting words in anger, in quoting someone, or by mistake, his death sentence will be converted to 74 lashes. I would like to emphasize that if only the suspect claims this, he will not be eligible for death, and there is no need to even prove his claim,” added the source.
“Unfortunately, despite this Article and the explanations provided, the judges issued the death sentence. They didn’t even take any notice of Soheil’s statements in court in which he repeated several times that he wrote the posts under poor [psychological] conditions, and that he is remorseful. Three of the judges ruled for the death sentence, and two ruled for imprisonment,” said the source.
According to the source, Soheil Arabi has another judicial case. On September 4, 2014, Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati sentenced Arabi to the maximum punishment of three years in prison on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the state,” through his writings on Facebook.
F R E E S O H E I L A R A B I N O W !
*This story has been updated to note that all the sites included in a list of “official Islamic State accounts” have now been suspended by VKontakte
by, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai | Mashable
The Islamic State may soon be running out of social networks.
When Twitter ramped up its crackdown on several accounts in the wake of the brutal beheading of James Foley, the militants were forced to move on to different social networks like Diaspora and VKontakte (or VK), the Russian equivalent of Facebook, looking for more permissive digital pastures.
But VKontakte, which boasts of 260 million users, has also started to crack down on accounts related to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL).
“We are shutting down all communities and personal accounts that promote ISIS and have been found by our moderators or reported by users,” George Lobushkin, VKontakte’s spokesperson, told Mashable.
Experts who track Jihadists online confirmed that the crackdown has indeed started. “They have just suspended two of their top accounts,” Laith Alkhouri, a researcher with Flashpoint Partners, told Mashable.
J.M. Berger, who writes the influential Intelwire report also confirmed that two popular pages, named “al Hayat” and “Ajnad” — ISIS used both accounts for propaganda and recruiting — had been suspended.
Until Thursday, however, experts were critical of VKontakte’s leniency with ISIS accounts.
“VKontakte is their safe haven for now,” said Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a researcher who’s been tracking ISIS fighters and supporters on the Internet for months. “The main fact for these guys to move there is because they don’t get kicked off all the time.”
In the last three months, as ISIS fighters have carved a bloody path through Syria and Iraq, the group has shown an unprecedented ability among Jihadist groups to use social media to spread propaganda and recruit new fighters. But as large social networks like Facebook and Twitter crack down on their accounts, they have been forced to move to smaller networks with a more limited reach, but also more freedom to operate.
Even after the suspension of “al Hayat” and “Ajnad,” Alkhouri told Mashable that VKontakte is “not doing enough.”
On Thursday morning, Van Ostayen also pointed to a list of VKontakte profiles circulated on Twitter in the last week, titled “The Official Accounts of the Islamic State.”
Of the 16 links on the list, nine were still active at the time this article was written. And four of the ones that are now suspended were still active on Thursday, according to an analysis conducted by Mashable with the help of Dlshad Othman, a Syrian hacker and technologist who now lives in D.C. (After this story was published, VKontakte blocked all the links in the list.)
Vkontakte’s seemd to ramp up its crackdown on the same day a Russian news site Apparat published an investigation into Islamic State activities on VKontakte, revealing that the militants were widely recruiting and fundraising on the site, which Apparat defines as “free” and “comfortable” for the militants.
But VKontakte’s spokesperson Lobushkin rejected the idea that they’ve been too slow in their crackdown. He said the first account of the 62 was blocked on Aug. 7, but he also said that in the last two days, they shut down “about 20.”
For Alkhouri, compared to other social media companies, 62 “is a very small number” that dwarfs compared to others. Even after this fresh round of suspensions, “[VKontakte]’s standards remain lackluster,” he said.
This story has been updated to note that all the sites included in a list of “official Islamic State accounts” have now been suspended by VKontakte.
by, Jakarta Globe | h/t Trop
An Indonesian atheist was lawfully jailed for two-and-a-half years after being accused of blaspheming Islam, the Supreme Court decided in a ruling posted on its website on Tuesday.
The court said it upheld the sentence for former civil servant Alexander Aan, who was found guilty of disseminating cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad and saying on Facebook that “God does not exist.”
“The defendant was proven to have spread information which blasphemes the Prophet Muhammad in eleven cartoons,” the court said in its ruling.
Alexander, who worked as a civil servant at a local government office in West Sumatra, was beaten by a mob prior to being taken to jail, after posting the status and cartoons.
The Indonesian state requires every citizen to believe in Allah and Muhammad.
The Muaro district court in June 2012 sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in jail and a Rp 100 million ($8,500) fine for inciting religious hatred. The sentence was upheld by the West Sumatera High Court in August 2012.
The case sparked international outrage and Alexander was labeled a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He was released from jail in January this year.
by, J. Schuyler Montague | sharia unveiled
An organization by the name of “Muslim Advocates” is working diligently with high ranking executives from Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube and many other social media giants to silence any criticism of Islam. Hiding their true agenda behind a cloak of ‘..freedom and justice..’ they are pushing hard to have “all” Facebook pages, websites and videos with any negative connotation towards Islam removed immediately.
This organization which touts itself as a voice of reason and moderation is nothing more than a facilitator of silence through subjugation. They are the “IslamoNazi Gestapo” in disguise. Muslim Advocates initiated a campaign entitled: “Click Here to End Hate” which essentially is a ‘How to Guide’ to shut-down any speech that they disagree with.
Here is a screenshot from their website which clearly reveals their underlying motivations:
They actually give a couple “alleged” examples of ‘..hate speech..’ they found online. I would not be at all surprised if Muslims wrote these themselves under alias accounts:
And speaking of ‘..freedom of speech..’ they actually have the audacity to quote in their campaign program:
‘..Given today’s widespread use of the internet, all Americans should remain actively engaged and vigilant to prevent “our” freedom of speech from being abused..’
Here is a screenshot of that section:
This is their idea of ‘..freedom of speech..’ Robbing us of our freedoms, while defending their own. As if ‘freedom’ is a zero-sum commodity in which they must steal our’s in order to acquire their’s.
But we all know..it’s not about hate, because there is no hate on our end.
Islam possesses a monopoly on hate.
With us, it’s all about “truth.”
And they can’t handle the truth, so they seek to hide it.
‘..I possess but two weapons, in my right hand a pen and in my left, a sword.
If you ever take my pen away..you leave me with only one weapon to choose..’
- j. schuyler montague
If you would like to read their campaign program in it’s entirety, please link here:
The actual home of the Ahmadi Muslim family. Photo courtesy of: The Express Tribune
One baby, one toddler and one woman burned alive, 9 others injured by Muslims over a picture on Facebook
by, Asad Kharal and Rana Tanveer | The Express Tribune | h/t Trop
GUJRANWALA, Pakistan: Three members of the same family including one woman and two minors were killed and nine other people were injured when an angry mob set a house on fire in Arafat Colony, Gujranwala.
According to details, the clash started when an Ahmadi, Saqib s/o Ahmad Din, allegedly shared a blasphemous picture with Ejaz on Facebook.
Ejaz along with Zakariya s/o Imam Jama Masjid Sadiqia Qari Muhammad Hakim and others gathered outside Saqib’s house to protest.
However, Ahmadis belonging to the community had gathered at a Dr Sohail’s house at the time. The angry mob attempted to raid the doctor’s house in search of Saqib when, according to Ejaz, people inside the house opened fire on them, injuring Zakariya.
After that the angry mob set one house on fire, due to which Bashira Bibi, 30, and two minors including eight-month-old Hira, and five-year-old Kainat, died of suffocation, while nine others, including a woman and two minors were injured.
The injured were transferred District Hospital Gujranwala where they were given medical treatment. They were identified as Ruqia, Razia, Humaira, Noor Tabassum, Samar, Atta, Atiya and an infant. However, they were later shifted to Rabwah hospital because of security reasons.
SHO Peoples Colony Station Malik Asghar has confirmed three casualties. Six houses and a shop were damaged in the incident.
A cases was registered against 420 people, including 20 nominated, under sections 302, 436, 148 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act on the complaint of Bhutta, father of the deceased minors, at the Peoples Colony Station.
Majority of the male members of the Ahmadi community have still not returned to their homes out of fear of another attack.
Family members have taken the bodies of the deceased into their custody and are heading towards Rabwah for burial.
Also, a seven-month pregnant woman, identified as Mubashira, had a miscarriage because of the incident.
Police have been deployed in the locality and no arrest has been made till the filing of this report.
עד שהנערים חוזרים – בכל שעה במחבל יורים
by, Lazar Berman | The Times of Israel
A Facebook page calling for the execution of a Palestinian convict every hour until three Jewish teens kidnapped Thursday night are returned had garnered more than 15,700 likes as of early Monday morning.
The page, whose cover photo featured the Hebrew slogan “Hotfim? Hotfim!” uses the word for kidnapping — referring to the three boys — which in slang also means to receive a harsh punishment, a reference to the Palestinian prisoners.
The cover photograph shows a picture of the three teens in blue, next to photographs of Palestinians convicted of murdering Israelis in a crosshairs. “Until the teens return — every hour we will shoot a terrorist,” the page reads.
The page was created on Friday, when news surfaced of the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, who were hitchhiking in the West Bank.
Among the updates on the page are profiles and photographs of specific convicts in Israeli jails, with calls for their execution. One post called for Israel to learn from the biblical King David, who is described in Samuel I 30 as tracking down and slaughtering the Amalekites who sacked an Israelite town and imprisoned its women and children.
Though most of the commenters were strongly supportive of the site’s message, there were some who posted comments in Arabic mocking Israel and the captives. “#3 Shalit,” one read. “To Hell,” wrote another under a picture of the three teens.
Security forces further intensified on Sunday night the ongoing search for Yifrach, Shaar and Frenkel.
The army has placed the southern section of the West Bank under curfew and flooded the region with troops.
Thus far, over 100 Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials and activists have been apprehended, including one of Hamas’s founders, Hassan Yousef, and several former government officials.
On Sunday night, IDF troops converged on a house in Hebron and arrested two men wanted in connection with the kidnapping.
עד שהנערים חוזרים – בכל שעה במחבל יורים
Pictured above is the atheist Facebook page entitled: ‘Colorless’ after the Muslims abducted the atheists and hacked their page
‘..First, they came for the Jews..but, I remained silent..because I wasn’t a Jew. Then, they came for the Christians and again I said nothing..for I wasn’t a Christian either..’
by, Zaheena Rasheed | Minivan News | Halal Pork Shop
Vigilante mobs have abducted and interrogated several young men in Malé City in a push to identify online activists advocating secularism or professing atheism, Minivan News has learned.
Eyewitnesses told Minivan News the young men were taken to isolated locations in Malé City in separate incidents in recent days.
A vigilante mob interrogated them on the identities of administrators of Facebook groups advocating secularism and atheism in the Maldives.
Minivan News understands the abductions are also related to the hijacking of a Facebook group called ‘Colorless’ on Sunday.
The group has 4,865 members and was set up with in the wake of February 2012’s transfer of power with the aim of bringing a “divided nation to a common ground as a platform to advocate peace, love and harmonic co-existence.”
The group’s administrators were expelled on Sunday and new administrators have changed the group’s banner to a black flag with the Shahadha or the Islamic creed declaring the oneness of Allah and the acceptance of Mohamed as Allah’s prophet.
Meanwhile, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) issued a statement condemning the abductions and said the hostages were threatened with death. The party has called on the government to take immediate action.
The Maldives Police Service said it is looking into whether these incidents have been reported. The President’s Office was not responding at the time of press.
The vigilante mob – estimated at 40 men – accused the young men of homosexuality and atheism, eyewitnesses said. The mob consisted of religious extremists and prominent Malé City gang members, sources said.
Eyewitnesses said the young men were interrogated on their religious beliefs and asked to recite the Shahadha as a test of their belief in Islam. They were also tested on prayer verses and passages from the Quran.
The young men were threatened and forced to hand over the passwords to their Facebook accounts.
They were also asked to identify the administrators behind the ‘Secular Democratic Maldives Movement’ and ‘Maldivian Atheists’ on Facebook.
The ‘Secular Democratic Maldives Movement’ page was founded in December 2012 to advocate for a secular democracy in the Maldives. It has 2,463 followers.
The ‘Dhivehi Atheists/ Maldivian Atheists’ page has 575 followers and advocates for the rights of atheists in the Maldives. It was set up in June 2013.
All abductees were eventually released, sources said.
The MDP believes religious extremists were behind the abductions.
“The Maldivian Democratic Party has received information that some religious extremists have kidnapped young people claiming they had committed irreligious acts. The extremists blindfolded the young people, took them to remote locations against their will, threatened them with sharp weapons, threatened them with death, issued sentences in a vigilante trial and are now implementing these sentences,” the party’s statement said.
The kidnappers then told the hostages they would be killed if any news of the abduction were shared, the MDP said.
The party said it believed “these dangerous acts of terrorism” are against the Maldives constitution, laws and Islamic Sharia and committed by individuals for a certain gain.
Jennifer Latheef, a human rights activist and former administrator of ‘Colorless’, said the four administrators of the group had received several warnings from Facebook users over recent months to remove offensive comments posted by members allegedly mocking Islam.
However, the administrators opted to allow free speech and appealed to all members to be responsible and refrain from attacking and insulting the other’s religious beliefs.
Pictures identifying the group’s administrators were then posted and circulated online by a separate Facebook group called ‘Shariah4Maldives’.
The group alleged ‘Colorless’ administrators had allowed “the mocking of the Prophet Sallalaahu Alaihi Wassalam and outright lies about Islam on their group, and when we warned them about this issue, they refused to remove such posts mocking Islam.”
On Sunday, infiltrators expelled and removed Jennifer and the group’s original administrators without warning.
Jennifer, who currently lives abroad, said death threats have been issued against the group’s administrators.
“I am scared for Maldives. I am scared for the people who are there,” she said.
Analysts have raised concerns over the growing threat of extremism in the Maldives. A recent report by the US State Department expressed concern over radicalization of youth groups and said funds are being raised in the Maldives to support terrorism abroad.
Maldivians are alleged to have died in suicide attacks in Syria, and online jihadist groups last week insulted and taunted the Maldives Police Services after they said they were investigating the deaths.
Maldivian media have also said they feel threatened by religious extremists and gangs.
by, Joe Newby | The Examiner | Thank you to Christopher Collins
On Wednesday, Dave Gaubatz, a former Air Force investigator and author of “Muslim Mafia,” told Examiner.com that he “infiltrated” a Muslim conference held in Detroit earlier this month. While at the conference, he reportedly spoke to a representative of a group known as Muslim Advocates, who said the organization is working “closely” with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to close down accounts of users critical of Islam.
“They are asking these groups to close the accounts of anyone who is critical of Islam,” he said. “This is considered serious hate speech and should not be allowed on the Internet.”
According to Gaubatz, the representative also said that “anyone critical of Islam and sharia law are haters.” Ditto for those who oppose either the construction or expansion of a mosque in the United States.
“We are experts with deep experience in the courtroom and powerful connections in Congress and the White House,” Gaubatz recalled being told by the Muslim Advocates representative.
“This should be of no surprise to anyone,” Gaubatz said.
Gaubatz also said the conference, which was attended by representatives and leaders from several groups, should have been named the “U.S. Constitution and the 1st Amendment are for MB terrorists and not for American Patriots.” For four days, he said, he stayed at the same hotel as leaders from over a dozen groups that support the Muslim Brotherhood.
He reportedly met and spoke with executives from the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust.
“I was informed that NAIT owned several hundred million dollars of property in America, and has the funding from 400 plus Islamic Centers in America,” he added.
But Gaubatz’ report of collusion between these groups and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter present a clear danger to the fundamental right of free speech and Americans’ ability to freely express themselves online. As we have reported multiple times, Muslim activists have called for global blasphemy bans and an end to free speech in the United States, despite the clear language of the First Amendment.
Last Wednesday, we reported that one page critical of Islam — “Islam Exposed” — was yanked by Facebook after administrators received death threats. Facebook later restored the page, saying it was yanked in error.
On Wednesday, a post at the page advising visitors to avoid hateful speech was removed by Facebook for allegedly violating the site’s community standards. Facebook did not explain why the post was pulled and one administrator received a 30-day ban.
But as we have reported, Facebook routinely turns a blind eye to threats from users with Muslim-sounding names. Last August, for example, Facebook told a conservative female they could not confirm direct threats she received violated their community standards. One threat reported to Facebook was quite specific: “We will kill you.”
Ironically, Facebook has said it supports free speech and reviews all complaints equally.
We contacted both Facebook and Muslim Advocates to verify Gaubatz’ claim and received no reply as of this writing.
Update: A few hours after this article was published, Facebook falsely flagged the link as “unsafe” in what appears to be a bid to keep it from being circulated. We have reached out to Facebook, but have not received a response.
Update #2: Muslim Advocates spokesperson Fatima Khan responded with an email claiming we misquoted their representative, even though we did not. The statement relayed to us was Gaubatz’s recollection, not a direct quote from MA or any of their representatives. We specifically asked Khan about the quote, and about allegations the group is working to shut down social media accounts of those critical of Islam. Khan never responded. The article was flagged by Facebook after our contact with Khan. More on the incident can be seen here.
by, Joe Newby | The Examiner
Is Facebook okay with death threats from Islamists? That’s the question administrators of “Islam Exposed” asked earlier this week. After administrators received a number of threatening messages, Facebook pulled the page, citing “harassment,” but restored the page on Tuesday, telling Examiner.com it “was removed in error.”
Administrators were extremely grateful to see the page restored, but questions regarding the threats remained. Would Facebook take action against those issuing the threats? The social media site did not say, but the group did not wait and filed complaints with the FBI.
“A single bullet will strike ur (sic) head one day [admin] from a jihadist. Insha-Allah,” one threat read. Another Facebook user with a Muslim name threatened to cut off administrators’ heads if they continued to post articles in a rant too profane to quote here. Yet another person threatened to blackmail one of the administrators.
“I am giving u (sic) warning,” said another person. “Stop this page.”
According to the group, one administrator received several threatening phone calls, with some including a Muslim prayer in Arabic. He reported it to the police, they said, but nothing was done. Just this week, they added, he received two threatening calls.
Adina Kutnicki, an investigative journalist based in Israel, said she has been harassed on Facebook by an individual she identified as Iranian Mohamed Erdem.
“Back off you satanist scum of the earth! You want war, war with me!” he told Kutnicki on Facebook. The threats she received from Erdem was so alarming, she added, that “heavy duty counter terror contacts decided to ‘check things out.'”
The face of another administrator was photo-shopped into a Nazi uniform and added to a Facebook post intended to incite harassment. Another picture depicted Kutnicki superimposed on a nuclear mushroom cloud with a warning that Israel would be destroyed and wiped off the map.
All of these incidents have been reported to Facebook, they said, but the social media giant has so far done nothing. Instead of punishing those actually making the threats, Facebook responded by retaliating against the victims. Unfortunately, this is not all that uncommon.
Last August, for example, we reported that a conservative female said she was targeted with explicit threats of death and rape from users with Muslim-sounding names, but Facebook dismissed them. According to that user, Facebook responded with a private email saying they could not confirm the threats violated their community standards. One threat reported to Facebook was quite specific: “We will kill you.”
At the time, Facebook told The Blaze it not only supports freedom of speech but enforces its standards uniformly across the board.
“We review every piece of content that is reported to us or flagged in the system and each one is held to the same exact standard – as is every person who uses our service and we will enforce our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities equally,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
But the administrators we spoke to — along with many hundreds of others who have reached out to Examiner over the last two years — dispute that. For Kutnicki and others, the issue is Facebook’s willingness to turn a blind eye to those who attack Jews and Israel while hammering anyone who even mentions Islam in a post.
by, Deccan Herald | h/t Trop
Bangladesh: A mob of nearly 3,000 attacked Hindu households and a temple in eastern Bangladesh after two youths from the community allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.
Police today arrested 17 people, including the principal of Bagmara Madrasa, for the attack on the temple and over two dozen households at Homna in Comilla district, about 100 km south east of Dhaka, last week.
“We so far arrested 17 people and some of them made confessional statements regarding the attack. A manhunt is underway to arrest the rest of the culprits,” police chief of Homna Aslam Shikdar told PTI on phone.
He said suspected mastermind of the attack Nazrul Islam is still on the run. The local police chief said steps were underway to put the accused on trial on charges of attacking the Hindu households and the temple under a planned manner.
A Hindu woman cries after her home was destroyed. Photo courtesy of: Pamela Geller
A makeshift police camp was setup at the village where the incident took place on April 26 following rumours that two Hindu youths had allegedly insulted the prophet in a Facebook post.
Earlier reports said culprits mobilised attackers mostly belonging to fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami and several other ultra right groups who ransacked the temple and the nearby households and looted some valuables.
“The attack continued for some 20 minutes but during the time, the culprits preferred not to injure anyone…our initial investigation found it was a pre-planned attack as they used loudspeakers and distributed leaflets to mobiles the attack,” Shikdar said.
People at the neighbourhood said nearly 3,000 attackers, mostly from outside the locality, staged the attack as the village elders were set to hold a meeting to resolve the issue of the alleged defamation of the prophet.
Shikdar said police immediately rushed to the scene but reached the remote village only when the attackers had fled.