A TERROR attack in which a serving British soldier has been ‘beheaded’ in a London street has been described as ‘truly shocking’ by Prime Minister David Cameron.
By: Dion Dassanayake
One man has died and two others – believed to be his assailants – are in a serious condition after the ‘machete-style’ assault in Woolwich.
Police have confirmed that they are treating the incident as terrorism and it is believed the killing was likely a politically-motivated Islamist attack.
A Whitehall source claimed the men were heard to shout ‘Allah Akbar’ as they attacked the victim in broad daylight.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who described the incident as ‘sickening and barbaric’, has held a one hour meeting tonight of COBRA, the Government’s emergency committee.
They were briefed on the details on the killing, and told security has been tighetened at the Woolwich barracks along with increased security at all London barracks.
Mr Cameron, who is currently on a trip in Paris for a meeting with French President Francois Hollande, described the attack as ‘the most appaling crime’ and ‘truly shocking’.
He said: “Tonight our thoughts should be with the victim, the family and their friends.
“We have had these sort of attacks before in our country and we never buckled in the face of them.”
Police were forced to close John Wilson Street some 200 yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks, adjacent to Woolwich Common, the historical home of the Royal Artillery.
One man was confirmed dead at the scene of the incident in Woolwich, south east London, and two other men were taken to hospital, one of them in a serious condition, a London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said. It is thought police confronted and shot the two assailants.
The barracks, also known as the Woolwich station, now houses a number of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards.
According to barmaid at a local Wetherspoons pub, her friend who is a soldier told her him and his fellow soldiers have been confined to the barracks following the brutal attack.
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford said: “At approximately 14:20 we were called to reports of an assault in John Wilson Street, Woolwich where one man was being assaulted by two other men.
“A number of weapons were reportedly being used in the attack, and this included reports of a firearm.”
Commander Letchford confirmed that the two men, who had been seen carrying weapons, were shot by police and taken to hospital and are being treated for their injuries.
He was unable to give any details on the victim of the attack.
Shocking footage obtained by ITV News has shown a man believed to be one of the Woolwich attackers covered in blood and wielding two knives.
It is thought the footage was taken moments after the attack, and it he says: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
The man later adds: “I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same.
“You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you.”
Woolwich and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford said he had spoken to both borough commander Richard Wood and Lieutenant Colonel Bob Christopher at Woolwich Barracks about the incident.
Mr Raynsford said: “The incident occurred early afternoon. One individual is dead, two others are seriously injured and in hospital.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Queen is being kept informed of the events in Woolwich and is concerned by news of the attack.
They added the Queen will visit the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich barracks on May 31, a trip that was planned before news of the attack broke.
The Prime Minister will be cutting his trip to the French capital short and returning tonight to attend a COBRA meeting tomorrow.
His party compatriot and London Mayor Boris Johnson tweeted that the attack was ‘sickening deluded’ and that it was an ‘unforgivable act of violence’.
In a statement Mrs May added: “It has been confirmed to me that a man has been brutally murdered this afternoon in South East London. Two other men were shot by armed police and they are currently receiving treatment for their injuries.
“I have called a COBRA meeting where I will receive further briefing. This is a sickening and barbaric attack.”
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have said they are urgently looking into reports that the incident involved a soldier but had no further comment.
The incident occurred some 200 yards from the barracks, adjacent to Woolwich Common, and is the historical home of the Royal Artillery.
Twitter users gave rolling updates on what they saw, claiming that onlookers were shocked by the scenes they had witnessed.
Eyewitnesses said a man wearing an Army charity ‘Help for Heroes’ T-shirt was attacked with a machete and dumped in the street.
One witness, identified only as James, told LBC radio that he and his partner saw two black men attack the young victim with knives, including a meat cleaver.
He said: “They were hacking at this poor guy, literally.
“They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him.”
The witness was fighting back the tears during the interview, saying that attack was ‘horrendous’ and comparing the two men to ‘animals’.
He said a number of ‘brave’ women had tried to shield the man who was on the ground from the two men.
James said that the men stood around waving knives and a gun, and even asked nearby people to take pictures of them.
Pools of blood and weapons were spotted at the scene.
A woman working in an office overlooking the street said that she could see three bodies lying in the road.
She said: “All the bodies are within about 30-40 metres of each other. I could see armed police all over the place.”There was a lot of commotion, police running around in all different directions, as if they were looking for other people.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) condemned the attack, calling it ‘truly barbaric’ and asking for members of all communities to come together in an act of solidarity.
A statement said: “This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly.
“Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.”
While UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage described the attack as ‘appaling’, but said he hopes it is an isolated incident.
Mr Farage said: “We are all left horrified by this appalling attack on the peaceful streets of London, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the young man who was killed and those who were injured.
“I hope and believe that this is an isolated incident and appeal for calm amongst all our communities.”
London Air Ambulance confirmed that one person has been airlifted from the scene, but would not confirm the nature of the injuries or where they were taken.
On its Twitter account, the Metropolitan Police helicopter team called the incident “serious”.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers have responded to an incident in John Wilson Street at 2.20pm today.”We believe at this stage officers were called to reports of an assault.”
A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service added: “We were called a 2.20pm to reports of an incident at John Wilson Street.
“We sent two responders in cars, three ambulance crews, two duty officers and London Air Ambulance were called out.
“We still have staff at the scene.”
Pakistan: A Muslim political candidate suspected of murdering a Christian has instigated calls from mosque loudspeakers for attacks on Christians, whom he blames for his May 11 election loss.
Tensions were high in Punjab Province’s Okara district after provincial assembly seat candidate Mehr Abdul Sattar, sought by police in connection with a 2008 murder, on May 13 arranged for mosque calls for violence against Christian villages.
“Burn their homes to the ground … Punish them such that they forget Gojra and Joseph Colony,” blared village mosques in the district, according to Younas Iqbal, chairman of the Anjuman-e-Mazareen Punjab, a peasant movement fighting for land rights.
Iqbal told Morning Star News by phone that that when unofficial election results were announced on May 12, Sattar’s supporters ambushed a convoy of about 100 Christians on their way to congratulate his opponent on his victory.
“They destroyed two motorcycles and threw them in the canal, besides damaging a tractor,” Iqbal said. “We went to the Okara Saddar Police Station to register a case, but the police officials refused to move against Mehr.”
Recent religious furor has been easily stoked in Pakistan. In Lahore on March 9, about 3,000 Muslims attacked Christians in Joseph Colony, destroying 175 homes, after rumors spread of an alleged remark against Islam by a Christian. In Gojra in 2009, eight Christians were burned alive, 100 houses looted and 50 homes set ablaze after a blasphemy accusation.
Sattar has targeted Christians in several villages, designated by number-letter combinations from British colonial times, particularly village 8/4-L, for voting against him, Iqbal said. Christians largely voted for Mian Yawar Zaman, also a Muslim, for a provincial assembly seat in the general election on May 11.
Iqbal said that early on May 13, Sattar’s men prevented the Christian principal of the Government Primary School, Shamoun Masih, men from entering the institution.
“They told Shamoun that since the Christians had voted against Mehr, he wouldn’t be allowed inside,” he said. “They also roughed him up, but there were no serious injuries. In 3/4-L village, Amjad Masih was harassed.”
Iqbal added that Sattar’s supporters had also forcibly occupied land of some Christians.
“The threat of violence in 8/4-L is most serious because of the tiny Christian population there,” Iqbal said of the village of roughly 600 Christians. “Sensing the gravity of the situation, we immediately informed Zaman, the legislator-elect, who pressed the police to deploy personnel in the village.”
Okara Police Chief Rao Jabbar told Morning Star News that officers would take all necessary measures to protect the Christian peasants.
“We have taken notice of the inciting speeches made by Mehr Abdul Sattar, and I have assured the Christians that we will initiate legal action against him,” Jabbar said. “Meantime, I’ve directed all police officers concerned to remain vigilant and ensure that there is no damage to life and property of the Christians.”
Police have been helpless in the face of Sattar, though, Iqbal said.
“Even though the district police chief has promised to protect the area’s Christians, the danger will always remain there,” he said. “Several cases have been registered against Mehr, but no action has been taken against him. In January this year, the police tried to arrest Mehr and his men in a murder case, but his supporters blocked three main highways for several hours, forcing the police to abandon action against him.”
Police sought Sattar in connection with the murder of Javed Masih, a Christian who had opposed Sattar in a 2008 election.
“The late Javed Masih used to tell the peasants to vote according to their conscience and not get intimidated by gangsters like Mehr,” Iqbal said. “His efforts bore fruit, and Mehr lost the general election in 2008. Unfortunately, Masih had to sacrifice his life for the cause, while several others were injured in an armed attack by Mehr’s men.”
In this month’s election, Iqbal likewise told Christians to vote for the person they thought best. Zaman belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which has emerged as the single largest party in national and Punjab assemblies.
“The humiliating defeat further stoked anger in Mehr, and he’s now bent upon punishing us,” he said, adding that Sattar has targeted no Muslims for opposing him.
“Our application against Mehr Abdul Sattar is still pending with the police, but it seems more Christian blood will be shed before he is brought to justice,” Iqbal said. “But this will not deter us from using our right to vote. We refuse to give in to the tyranny of criminals like Mehr.”
Besides village 8/4-L, the threatened Christian areas in provincial constituency PP-191 are village 10/4-L, with an estimated Christian population of 3,000; 11/4-L, where 2,000 Christians live; and 26/4-L, in which around 1,000 Christians are settled.
The peasant land movement that became the issue of contention for Sattar arose more than 10 years ago in response to what Iqbal calls the Pakistan Army’s illegal occupation of 64,000 acres in some 10 districts of Punjab. Catholic Capuchins had relocated Christians to the area of central Punjab Province to provide dairy products to the British Army during World War II, and the British turned the land over to the Pakistan Army when the sub-continent was partitioned, Iqbal said.
“At the time of partition of the sub-continent, the Christians were not given the land rights which were promised to them by the Capuchin fathers,” he said. “Because of this, Christians are at the forefront of the peasants’ movement, which is facing the powerful Pakistan Army for their due right, as the Britons had handed over the lands to the Army after the partition.”
Sattar had initially worked with the peasant cause, he said.
“But then he began creating fissures in the movement, coaxing the Muslim members not to take directions from the Christian leadership,” Iqbal said. “He then left the movement and got involved in criminal activities, subsequently landing in politics. However, Mehr’s political career failed to take off because thousands of Christians of the area don’t vote for him.”
Federal Judge Issues Ruling: “Suppression of Christian Speech Allowed..”
A federal judge has issued a startling ruling that suppressing Christian speech is allowed when Muslims threaten violence because they’re upset over the message.
The ruling from Judge Patrick J. Duggan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment of a lawsuit brought by a team of Christians who were badgered, bullied and targeted with garbage thrown by Muslims who disliked their message at last year’s Arab Fest in Dearborn, Mich.
Officials with American Freedom Law Center, who have been arguing the case on behalf of the Christians, also said the judge denied AFLC’s motion requesting that the court issue an order preventing the Wayne County Sheriff and his deputies from restricting the Christian evangelists from displaying their banners and signs on the public sidewalks outside of this year’s Arab Festival.
It is scheduled for June.
In his ruling, Duggan said, “The court finds that the actual demonstration of violence here provided the requisite justification for [the Wayne County sheriffs'] intervention, even if the officials acted as they did because of the effect the speech had on the crowd.”
The case had been filed by the AFLC after several Christian evangelists were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at the festival last year in Dearborn, which has the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States.
The lawsuit, which will be appealed to a higher court, alleged the county, sheriff and deputies refused to protect the Christians from the attack, and they threatened to arrest the Christians for disorderly conduct if they did not halt their speech activity and immediately leave the festival area.
Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, said, “The First Amendment was dealt a severe blow today as a result of this ruling. Indeed, this ruling effectively empowers Muslims to silence Christian speech that they deem offensive by engaging in violence. And pursuant to this ruling, the Christian speakers are now subject to arrest for engaging in disorderly conduct on account of the Muslim hecklers’ violent response to their speech. In short, this ruling turns the First Amendment on its head.”
David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added: “This fight for our fundamental right to freedom of speech does not stop here. We have filed an immediate appeal of this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While Judge Duggan may have been the first judge to rule on this issue, he won’t be the last. Indeed, we are prepared to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary because it is imperative that our free speech rights not be subject to mob rule. This is the United States, not Benghazi.”
The violence developed at the 2012 events when Christian evangelists walking on public sidewalks surrounding the event while carrying signs with biblical messages were assaulted with stones, bottles and debris by attendees of the festival.
The signs that brought on the attack included “Know the God of the Bible” and “Trust Jesus.”
Several of the Christian demonstrators walked away bruised and bloodied from the attack. Ruben Israel, the leader of the group, pleaded with law enforcement officials to intervene so that the demonstration could continue peacefully.
However, the officer refused and demanded the Christians leave the premises or face arrest for disorderly conduct.
Shortly after, Israel contacted AFLC, which filed a federal lawsuit against Wayne County and several officials from the Wayne County sheriff’s office. AFLC charged that the officers failed to uphold their constitutional duty to protect the Christians.
A video has been released of the 2012 confrontation that explains authorities not only failed to protect the Christians, they ordered them to leave the Arab festival under threat of arrest for “disorderly conduct.”
However, not one Muslim was arrested for the attack, which left several members of the Christian group injured, the video says.
The video, and a related complaint, showed the crowd – reminiscent of a rock-throwing “intifada” scene from the Middle East – hurling a dizzying barrage of objects at the Christians, who were standing passively with their signs.
WND later learned that the Christian crowd had been carrying a pole with a pig’s head attached to the top, further angering the Muslim crowd. At the beginning of the video, Christian street preachers shout, “God is good, and God is not Allah!”
A the 2:17 mark of the video, the mob can be heard screaming: “You want to jump ‘em? C’mon, let’s go!”
One boy yells, “Let’s beat the sh-t out of them!”
A girl shouts, “Go home! Do you understand English?!”
Despite the attacks the Christians endured, a man identified in the video as Deputy Chief Dennis Richardson of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office tells them, “You’re a danger to the safety right now.”
Officers claim they don’t have the manpower to protect the Christians at the festival.
“Your safety is in harm’s way. You need to protect everybody,” said Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “You do have the option to leave. I just want to make that clear.”
Israel replied, “You have the option to stand with us” as Jaafar walked away, leaving the Christians to the mob.
When police leave, the crowd continues harassing the Christians and screaming profanities.
Then police begin escorting the Christians away from the crowd.
Richardson tells Israel: “We have the responsibility of policing the entire festival, and obviously your conduct is such that it’s causing a disturbance and is a direct threat to the safety of everyone here. Someone could get hurt. You already have blood on your face. One of the festival people, one of my officers, anybody can get hurt. Now we’re going to escort you out.”
Israel explains that the mob throws things and becomes more aggressive when police leave the scene.
“Part of the reason that they throw things on someone is because you tell them stuff that enrages them,” Richardson argues.
AFLC said the Christians were wearing shirts with Scripture quotes and Christian messages.
By Jim Kouri
Members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Boko Haram allegedly assassinated a Christian leader on Tuesday in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State, according to an Israeli police intelligence analyst who monitors African Islamist groups.
According to the Rev. Ayo Oritsajafor, a spokesman from the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Faye Pama Musa was shot dead at about 7:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday at his residence in Maiduguri by Boko Haram jihadists.
“The Borno secretary has been killed. We’ve got the report and the national president received it with heavy heart. It is very sad,” the spokesperson added in a statement.
The Israeli police source said that there were reports that the deceased Christian pastor had “attempted to run away but his assailants caught him and they “shot him at close range.”
The killing of the popular Christian pastor occurred shortly after Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the most troubled states in the northeast part of the country where Boko Haram is believed strongest.
The states most at risk for Boko Haram attacks are Yobe, Adamawa, and Borno, the source noted.
Also on Monday, the Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the recent major assault on Baga and Bama, in Borno state, in which up to 200 people, including soldiers, policemen, prison warders and civilians, were massacred.
Meanwhile, last week Nigerian police and security forces reported that upwards of 60 people were fatally wounded when suspected al-Qaeda affiliate Boko Haram Islamists attacked security formations in Nigeria’s terrorist-infested Borno region, according to Jorge Vega, an international counterterrorism and security expert.
A Nigerian spokesman for the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno, Col. Sagir Musa, reported that the gunmen attacked Bama, a commercial town about 200 miles away from Maiduguri, which is the Boko Haram-controlled region.
“Suspected Boko Haram terrorists in 18-seater buses and vehicles mounted with anti aircraft machine guns, attempted an attack on 202 Battalion Barracks in Bama, about 10 insurgents were killed during exchange of fire. We lost 2 soldiers during the attack,” Col. Musa said in a statement. “They came in army uniforms pretending to be soldiers but were able to detect them,” he added.
According to Jorge Vega, the Boko Haram terrorists also executed 14 Nigerian prison officials in cold-blood and they freed more than 100 Islamist prisoners, who will probably return to the battlefield.
The suspected terrorists also torched a police station and its adjoining police barracks, as well as a local courthouse and Bama’s government complex where some of the buildings were totally destroyed.
During the attack, the terrorists perpetrated extensive arson on the divisional police station and police barracks. More than 20 police officers lost their lives, while three Children and a woman were burned to death.
In April, a fierce battle in Baga, Nigeria between security forces and Islamic terrorists left at least 200 Nigerians dead in that nation’s northeast coastal region, an Israeli terrorism analyst who monitors jihad in Africa said.
The source said that the terrorists initiated the attack with rocket-propelled grenades and soldiers retaliated with intense machine-gun fire in Nigerian neighborhoods and many of the casualties were civilians.
The fighting in Baga forced civilians to flee into the surrounding community adjacent to Lake Chad.
After the violence subsided, government officials were able to view the destruction firsthand, and their inspection revealed homes, small business establishments, and automobiles and trucks were torched as a result of the intense battle, according to local media.
The terrorists living in the northeast part of Nigeria, including Baga, are said to be armed with military-grade weapons, according to the Africa Daily.
The Islamic jihad in Nigeria started as a riot in 2009 by members of an Islamist group known as Boko Haram. That first encounter turned into a full-blown gun-fight between Boko Haram and its supporters and the police and the military.
Since 2010, Islamists have perpetrated drive-by shootings and suicide bombings that have killed 1,548 people. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege,” has said it wants its imprisoned Islamists released and for the current Nigerian government to institute Sharia law throughout the nation.
Police barred Jews from entering the Temple Mount after Muslim groups threatened violence over a planned visit by Jewish children.
By David Lev
Police barred Jews from entering the Temple Mount on Thursday, after Muslim groups threatened violence in the wake of a plan to bring Jewish children to visit the site. The plan, organized by groups encouraging Jewish visits to the Mount, was meant to be an educational program that would demonstrate rituals associated with the Temple, such as the bringing of bikurim (“First Fruits”, the gift to the Temple brought on Shavuot).
Over the past few days, chatter on Islamic web sites indicated that the groups would be met by rioters. Instead of seeking to defuse the situation or defend the groups of visiting children, police chose to capitulate to the threats, and announced that they were closing the Mount to all non-Moslems out of “concern for public safety.”
The decision came only a little while before the tour was set to begin, at 8:30, and after dozens of children and their families – many coming from far distances – had already gathered at the Kotel.
Groups sponsoring the visit strongly criticized the police for their decision. In a statement, the groups said that the police decision was “unfair, and gives a prize to violent attackers who threaten the victims – simple, peaceful families whose only desire was to visit the Temple [site] with their children and observe the special rituals of the Shavuot holiday. We look forward to the day that Israel will have more worthy security organizations, and to the day that police will understand their role, and stop avoiding it,” the statement said.
Over Shavuot itself, the groups reported, hundreds of Jews were able to visit the Mount – but they were a small percentage of the thousands who sought to get in. Police severely limited Jewish access to the Mount, with visitors being allowed to enter only in small groups beginning on Tuesday, the day before Shavuot. In several instances, dozens of Muslims sat and blocked the entrance of the Mughrabi Gate, used by non-Muslims to ascend the Mount. Those Jews who did manage to run the Arab gauntlet – with little, if any, police assistance – were followed and harassed by Muslims, and verbally assaulted the entire time they were on the Mount.
Police intervened only after a riot broke out – with their response to close the gates of the Mount to Jews altogether, evacuating the Jews who had managed to enter via a side exit.
CHURCH IN BANGLADESH UNDER THREAT AMID VIOLENT ISLAMIST PROTESTS
Barnabas Aid has received requests for prayer and practical help from Christian leaders in Bangladesh as the Church is endangered by a violent uprising by Islamists who are demanding that the country become an Islamic state.
Christian homes have been torched and churches threatened as increasingly volatile protests have rocked the country.
Scores of people have been killed in the clashes, which erupted in February. At least 37 died earlier this week as police tried to quash protests in the capital, Dhaka, where 70,000 Islamist demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday (5 May), calling for the introduction of an anti-blasphemy law.
This was the deadline that one Islamist group, Hefazat e-Islam Bangladesh (HIB), had given the government to implement its demands, which include sharia rule, virtual segregation of women and the death sentence for those who insult Islam or Muhammad.
An anti-blasphemy law would be disastrous for Christians in Bangladesh. Their counterparts in Pakistan suffer grievously as a result of the blasphemy laws there, under which they are vulnerable to malicious, false accusation. Devotion to Muhammad is a particular feature of South Asian Islam, and the Pakistani law specifies a death sentence for anyone who insults him.
Jama’at-e-Islami (JI), the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh, has threatened to “kill all the Malauns [infidels]”. Muslims view Christians and other non-Muslims as “infidels”.
In 2010, a constitutional amendment that had allowed religion-based politics was declared null and void, a move intended to underline the secular nature of the state. The government has, however, indicated, that the ban on religious parties will not be strictly enforced, giving groups like HIB and JI a platform ahead of the general election due early next year.
by, Richard L. Russell
Americans of all political stripes have embraced the promotion of democracy as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy. But this American democracy crusade has caused huge, and largely overlooked, collateral damage since the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks against the United States in 2001. The fall of authoritarian regimes throughout the greater Middle East has fueled growing persecution of minority Christian communities. The Pew Research Center has charted extensive government restrictions on non-Muslim religions in numerous countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. Pew also has gauged very high social hostilities in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
These government restrictions and social hostilities directed against Christians are causing many to flee the region. In the early twentieth century, Christians accounted for about 20 percent of the Middle East population, but now that figure is down to only 5 percent. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the “Arab Spring,” Christian communities throughout the greater Middle East find themselves increasingly besieged. While the United States seems to notice bits and pieces of this picture, the full magnitude of the horrific Christian plight is largely ignored.
Sieges against Christians in Lands “Liberated” by the American Military
A democracy enthusiast would anticipate that the Christian community would be thriving now that a “democratic” Afghan government was installed by American military power after the ouster in 2001 of the Taliban regime. After all, Afghanistan’s constitution, adopted in 2004, guarantees freedom of religion. But Afghan Christians today are compelled to worship in secret lest they be accused of apostasy for converting to Christianity from Islam, a charge punishable by death. Such persecution no doubt will grow after 2014, when American soldiers are largely gone and Washington is less able to influence the government in Kabul.
Across a troublesome border, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are wielded more and more aggressively against Christians by a weak civilian government propped up by Pakistan’s Islamized military and society. Christians, who make up only about 2 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people, are living under growing fear of persecution and economic discrimination. The assassination in March 2011 of the only Christian minister in Pakistan, who bravely criticized harsh blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam, has chilled the willingness of secular and liberal Pakistanis to speak out.
Iraq’s open warfare against its Christian community has led to a mass exodus of Christians from that country since the 2003 American and British military invasion ousted Saddam Hussein, whose repugnant regime was nevertheless relatively hospitable to Christians. Iraqi Christians are severely embattled by Sunni extremists linked to Al Qaeda and are discriminated against by Iraq’s Shia majority, largely in control of the government. Incidents such as the 2010 suicide bombing of Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, which killed fifty Christians and two priests, have terrified Iraq’s Christian population, which has dwindled to less than 500,000 from between 800,000 and 1.4 million in the time of Saddam.
Sieges against Christians in Lands Coping with the Arab Spring
The current Egyptian regime, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, poses a far greater threat to Egypt’s sizable Coptic Christian community than its authoritarian predecessor under Hosni Mubarak. A Coptic church in Cairo was set ablaze by Islamists in 2011 and many Copts—an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people—live in fear that Egypt is on the path to being governed by Islamic law, or Sharia. In early April 2013, Egypt’s police sided with an angry crowd of young Muslims throwing rocks and firebombs in a siege of Egypt’s major Coptic Cathedral. Nor have Egyptian Copts, who have sought work in neighboring Libya, fared well in the chaos that has reined in that country since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Christians were shocked in December 2012 by the bombing of a church in Misrata, Libya. That attack has stoked fears that Libyan Islamists are growing in power and more such attacks against Christians are in store.
Islamists also are emerging as a powerful force in Syria, generating fears that, should they gain power, they would persecute Syria’s Christian community. About three hundred thousand Christian Syrians have already fled the country and are refugees. A Christian patriarch in April 2013 warned, “The future of Christians in Syria is threatened not by Muslims but by…chaos…and the infiltration of uncontrollable fanatical fundamentalist groups.”
Now Syria’s violence is spilling over into neighboring Lebanon. The Shia Islamist group Hezbollah is flexing its military muscles and lending support to embattled Syrian forces. Many Lebanese Christians have fled over the years due to civil war and, more recently, in fear that Hezbollah eventually will control the country and turn it into an Islamic state. Christians made up about fifty percent of the country in 1932, during the last national census, but now by some estimates are only 34 percent of the population. A similar trend has long been under way in the Christian Palestinian community, caught in the middle of the conflict between the Israelis on one side and secular and Islamist Palestinians on the other. The Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has lamented that the Holy Land is fast becoming a “spiritual Disneyland,” with holy sites as theme park attractions bereft of worshipping Christians.
In the small, rich Arab Gulf states, Christian communities, formed primarily by Asian immigrate workers, quietly practice their faith, but that isn’t happening in the region’s powerhouse Saudi Arabia. Qatar, for example, has allowed the construction of a Catholic church in Doha for one hundred and fifty thousand Catholics. Churches in Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are seen as a way to lure expatriate labor to those countries. These Gulf States have survived the political torrents of the Arab spring, but should they fall to street protests, successor regimes likely would resemble Saudi Arabia today, which forbids Christian worship by the estimated eight hundred thousand Catholics in the kingdom. The Saudi government publicly lauds interfaith dialogue, but Saudi-sponsored conferences take place outside the kingdom to avoid domestic religious-political backlashes from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi religious establishment.
Sieges against Christians in Non-Arab Middle East Lands
The tightening sieges of Christian communities in the Arab Middle East is running parallel to sieges laid against Christian communities by non-Arab Muslims elsewhere in the region. The Assyrian Christian population in Iran has plummeted from about one hundred thousand in the mid-1970s to about fifteen thousand today. More than three hundred Christians have been arrested by Iran’s Islamic regime since mid-2010. Churches operate in fear. And Christian converts face persecution. Meanwhile, Turkey is praised in the West as a democratic success story in the Muslim world, and the government in Ankara often is characterized in the media as “mildly Islamic.” But the steady erosion of free-speech rights in Turkey, as evidenced by the increasing imprisonment of journalists and the government’s aggressive purging of the secular Turkish military, raises doubts about the future prospects for Turkish political and religious tolerance. Attacks against Christian leaders in Turkey have raised concerns about the security of roughly one hundred thousand Christians living in a country of 71 million Muslims. A Catholic bishop was stabbed to death in southern Turkey in 2010, and several years earlier a Catholic priest was murdered in a Turkish town along the Black Sea.
Demand for Blunt American Talk and Diplomacy
Democracies consist of more than just elections. They must also have divided powers among executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as protected practices of freedom of expression and religious belief. The mistreatment of Christian communities throughout the Muslim Middle East powerfully undermines any assertion that Islamic societies are tolerant of other faiths, and will continue to rebuke such assertions so long as the regimes and societies writ large fail to protect Christian minorities with words and deeds.
The United States cannot be the world’s policeman in behalf of democracy and religious tolerance. The horrendous loss of our national treasure, both in fallen soldiers and enormous costs, vividly and painfully reminds Americans that we lack the power, means and interests to militarily intervene wherever there is human tragedy. Nevertheless, Americans ought to recognize that the “soft power” of rhetoric and diplomacy can influence world events at the margins. Regimes in the greater Middle East, like nation-states everywhere, want power and prestige in international relations, and they can be “shamed” in the eyes of world opinion. Washington should seek to embarrass governments and pressure them to lift the sieges of Christians that are now so prevalent throughout the Middle East. Then we would see whether they truly aspire to be called, and treated as, genuine democracies.
*Richard L. Russell is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Near East and South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. He is the author of Sharpening Strategic Intelligence, Weapons Proliferation and War in the Greater Middle East, and George F. Kennan’s Strategic Thought.
By Farrukh Saleem
The writer is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Center for Research and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007, and son in law of Khalilur Rehman of the Jang Group.
There are only 14 million Jews in the world:
seven million in the Americas
five million in Asia
two million in Europe
100,000 in Africa .
For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims.
Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together.
Ever wondered why?
Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish.
Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ’Person of the Century’, was a Jew.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew.
So were Karl Marx, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.
Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity:
Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle.
Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
Albert Sabin developed the improved live polio vaccine.
Gertrude Elion gave us a leukemia fighting drug.
Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B.
Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis.
Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.
Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission.
Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology.
Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy.
Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.
George Wald won a Nobel for our understanding of the human eye.
Stanley Cohen won a Nobel in embryology.
Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.
Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).
Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip.
Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor;
Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable;
Charles Adler, traffic lights;
Benno Strauss, Stainless steel;
Isador Kisee, sound movies;
Emile Berliner, telephone microphone;
Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.
Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include:
Ralph Lauren (Polo),
Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans),
Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s) ,
Sergey Brin (Google),
Michael Dell (Dell Computers),
Larry Ellison (Oracle),
Donna Karan (DKNY),
Irv Robbins (Baskins & Robbins) and
Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).
Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (Fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman (US Senator), Madeleine Albright (American secretary of state), Casper Weinberger (American secretary of defense), Maxim Litvinov ( USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal ( Singapore ‘s first chief minister), Issac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia ), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Barry Goldwater (US Senator), Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal ), John Deutsch (CIA director), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary), Bruno Kreisky (chancellor of Austria ) and Robert Rubin (American secretary of treasury).
In the media, famous Jews include:
Wolf Blitzer (CNN), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer (Washington Post), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post), Joseph Lelyveld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).
The most beneficent philanthropist in the history of the world is George Soros, a Jew, who has so far donated a colossal $4 billion most of which has gone as aid to scientists and universities around the world.
Second to George Soros is Walter Annenberg, another Jew, who has built a hundred libraries by donating an estimated $2 billion.
At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by winning seven gold medals; Lenny Krayzelburg is a three-time Olympic gold medalist.
Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker (Tennis) are all Jewish.
Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Cary Grant, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jews.
As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew.
Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling ( Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky andHutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The Thief of Baghdad ) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.
So, why are Jews so powerful? Answer : EDUCATION
Why are Muslims so powerless? There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas . Every fifth human being is a Muslim; for every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are 100 Muslims.
Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless? Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims.
The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407.
In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ , and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.
As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent.
A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent.
Some 98 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.
Around 40 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.
Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million.
In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million).
The Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.
Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge!
Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society.
In Pakistan , there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK , the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.
Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.
Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Pakistan ‘s export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at one per cent. The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3 per cent; Kuwait , Morocco , and Algeria are all at 0.3 per cent, while Singapore is at 58 per cent.
Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.
Why are Muslims powerless?
…..Because we aren’t producing knowledge, …..Because we aren’t diffusing knowledge., …..Because we aren’t applying knowledge.
And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.
Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion.
America , just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion; China $8 trillion, Japan $3.8 trillion and Germany $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).
Oil rich Saudi Arabia , UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion; Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion, Catholic Poland $489 billion and Buddhist Thailand $545 billion.
….. (Muslim GDP as a percentage of world GDP is fast declining).
All we do is shout to Allah the whole day and blame everyone else for our multiple failures!
Muslims are not happy
They’re not happy in Gaza
They’re not happy in Egypt
They’re not happy in Libya
They’re not happy in Morocco
They’re not happy in Iran
They’re not happy in Iraq
They’re not happy in Yemen
They’re not happy in Afghanistan
They’re not happy in Pakistan
They’re not happy in Syria
They’re not happy in Lebanon
So, where are they happy?
They’re happy in Australia
They’re happy in England
They’re happy in France
They’re happy in Italy
They’re happy in Germany
They’re happy in Sweden
They’re happy in the USA & Canada
They’re happy in Norway
They’re happy in almost every country that is not Islamic!
Not their leadership…
THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN
And they want to change the countries they’re happy in, to be like the countries they came from, where they were unhappy.
Try to find logic in that!
The violence is the latest in a spike of vigilante killings and part of an increase of criminal activity since the Muslim Brotherhood’s election win.
An angry mob in Egypt lynched the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, a teenager accused of killing a man over Facebook comments that had disparaged the Islamist movement.
Sixteen-year-old Yussef Rabie Abdessalam pulled out a gun and began shooting indiscriminately after a heated argument with a man who had openly criticized the Brotherhood on the internet. Yussef’s action – in which he killed one man and wounded another — infuriated residents in the Nile Delta, where his father, Rabie Lasheen, is an official at the local branch of the Justice and Freedom Party (JFP). The party is a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The angry mob surrounded the teenager’s home seeking revenge. Yussef’s family responded by hurling stones at the group from inside the house, fatally injuring a man outside the residence.
After rannsacking the house of Lasheen, the crowd set his apartment and three cars ablaze, before they dragged his teenage son into the street and attacked him, lynching him using bladed weapons. Thinking he was already dead, the assailants dumped his inert body in the street. Youssef was taken to hospital where he shortly died of his injuries.
The police were completely absent while the mob assaulted Lasheen’s son and damaged his property. Media reported that only two policemen were dispatched to the crime scene at dawn after the end of the violence.
The violence is the latest in a recent spike of vigilante killings in the region, and part of an increase, in general, of criminal activity since the Muslim Brotherhood’s election win.
In another incident, villagers in Sharqiya province beat up a man and then lynched him, accusing him of car theft. The lynching occurred just days after residents of another town killed two men accused of kidnapping a girl.
At Belbies Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the village, officers admit that they cannot do anything to restore law and order and no proper preemptive or responsive measures are taken by the government.
Major Mohamed Dabbous told Ahram Online that “What do we do when we receive reports about such incidents? Absolutely nothing. It happens in an instant. There is no way we would make it to the crime scene on time, especially if the road is blocked, that happens quite frequently here [due to protests, riots or other types of disturbance]. Even those who clearly appear in videos are usually released in the end, because the prosecution can’t prove that this person actually killed the victim. There are always crowds of people in the videos that typically only show a bit of the incident. The accused would say that he just hit or hurt the guy, but didn’t kill him. The video cannot prove otherwise.”
Basma Abdel-Aziz, a psychiatrist at Cairo’s Abbasiya hospital said that blind revenge is what turns a normal person into a cold-blooded killer. Other contributing factors are impunity of outlaws, mob mentality and daily violence.
Aziz explains that the victim is at the mercy of the violent mob that will typically punish him with a slow death and even mutilate the body because this is an act of revenge not for a single abuse, but for all the wrongs that have befallen the group waging the attack.
President Barack Obama and much of the Western press seem to have difficulty saying in close proximity to one another: ‘Islamic’ and ‘terror.’
By MICHAEL FREUND
The past few weeks have been difficult ones for the United States and its allies, as they received some painful reminders that the war on terror is far from over.
In a dastardly attack on April 15, two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three people, wounding 264 others and leaving more than two dozen amputees. A week later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced that they had arrested two people in a plot to attack a passenger train heading to Toronto from New York.
There were other incidents as well. On April 18, gunmen stormed a hotel in the Kenyan town of Garissa and sprayed bullets into the restaurant, killing 10.
And on April 28, two assassins opened fire on army intelligence officers in the town of Lamitan in the Philippines, killing two people.
What all these episodes have in common is one highly conspicuous fact: they were all carried out by Muslim terrorists bent on killing as many “infidels” as possible.
Indeed, despite an ongoing avalanche of violence being perpetrated around the world by Muslim extremists, there are two words President Barack Obama and much of the Western press seem to have difficulty saying in close proximity to one another: “Islamic” and “terror.”
They would rather soothe themselves – and us – into complacency, as if refusing to call something by its name will magically make it go away.
Take, for example, a May 4 Associated Press story about the prison sentence being sought by US prosecutors against Manssor Arbabsiar for his 2011 plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. Arbabsiar, who admitted that he had been sent by Iranian intelligence and that he had “no problem” with the possibility of causing mass casualties, is described by the AP as a “Texas man” and a “US citizen with an Iranian passport,” as though either of these had anything to do with his motivation.
Nowhere in the story does the vaunted news agency bother to state what we all know: Arbabsiar was an Islamic terrorist.
This kind of self-deception and denial might provide some fleeting sense of comfort, but it obscures the very nature of the threat that we are all facing. It is bad enough that the media is playing this game, but it is far more worrisome that the Obama administration is doing so as well.
As commentator Charles Krauthammer recently pointed out, Obama “won’t use any words that might imply a connection between radical Islam and terrorism, which anyone over the age of nine knows is the single greatest cause of terror in the world today. This matters because you have to be clear with your own people about who the enemy is.”
Making matters worse is the fact that we like to lie to ourselves and stress repeatedly that moderation prevails in the Muslim world and that only a small band of Islamic extremists support the use of violence.
If only that were the case! But the facts most assuredly indicate otherwise.
On April 30, the Pew Research Center issued the results of a wide-ranging survey, “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society,” which entailed more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews conducted in over 80 languages with Muslims on four continents.
Among the more chilling findings – and there are plenty – relate to the question of support for suicide bombings. It turns out that 40 percent of Palestinians, 29% of Egyptians and 15% of Jordanians say they believe suicide bombings and other attacks targeting civilians are justified to defend Islam.
At first glance this may look reassuring; a majority of those surveyed disagree.
But consider how vast the number of people supporting such attacks is: out of Egypt’s population of 82.5 million, a whopping 24 million think it is OK to strap explosives to one’s chest and detonate them in a crowd of innocent people. If even 1% of these Egyptians are willing to actually carry out such an attack, it would mean there are a potential 240,000 suicide bombers in the Nile state alone.
And the problem is not confined to the Middle East.
According to Pew, nearly 1 in 5 Malaysians, 1 in 4 Bangladeshis and 1 in 7 Pakistanis also endorse suicide attacks. That translates into 5 million Malaysians, 37 million Bangladeshis and 23 million Pakistanis who see nothing wrong with suicide bombings.
Sure, there are plenty of honest and decent Muslims out there who want peace and quiet. But it is time we stop deceiving ourselves into thinking that moderate Islam is more prevalent than it really is. To win the war of civilizations that is currently taking place, we need to recognize the cold, hard truth that is staring us all in the face: there are tens of millions of Islamic extremists out there who support jihad against Israel and the West.
And no amount of wishful thinking or political correctness is going to make them go away.
Christel Golze, a Christian girl in Heidelberg, Germany was riding on her way home on streetcar line 3, headed from Bismarckplatz in the direction of Leimen. Three muslim men with long beards and embroidered caps on their heads climbed aboard. One told her when he saw the cross she was wearing on a chain around her neck: “We will annihilate all of you.” And: “We will exterminate all of you.” Another obliged: “You will all go to Hell if you don’t accept the law of Allah.” Christel made the scandal public by writing a letter to the editor of the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung newspaper, which was also published there. In it she asked the question: “In what direction is this supposed to lead?”
By Michael Stürzenberger
This question is more than justified. If the appeasing collaborators in politics, media, churches, unions and social clubs continue to roll out the red carpet to Islam without criticism, then this country will have eliminated itself within a few decades according to Sarrazin’s line of argument. That which Christel had to hear from the Moslems is something we have had forced in our ears in similar fashion for a year and a half at our rallies in the streets of the Bavarian capital. With one small exception:
“You Christian pigs! When we finally have power, we’ll hang the whole lot of you!”
“If the police weren’t around, you would long since have been dead!
“You can’t do anything at all; Islam will take power here anyway!”
“We will cut of your head!”
“I will stick a gun in your crotch and pull the trigger!”
“Sooner or later I will ram a knife into your head from behind!”
The worst, though, is this: They mean it. This is precisely in accordance with their ideology of conquest, which – under the guise of a “religion” – has carried out its abominations for 1400 years and at this point has cost the lives of 270 million people. We constantly run into Christians from islamic countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Dubai and Turkey, as well as Hindus from India and Bhuddists from Thailand and Malaysia who have fled from the worst conditions in their countries.
All of them complain that Islam is catching up with them in the country where they had hoped to find refuge: In Germany. And they strengthen our resolve of carrying on at all costs because it is of such importance that we inform the people.
You can all rest assured: We will carry on and will not let our mouths be stopped by anything or anyone.
editorial footnote: Thank you to the Muslim Issue Worldwide for this story.
By Jordan Sekulow
After more than a week, including his 33rd birthday, spent in the “small dark hole” of solitary confinement, American Pastor Saeed Abedini has once again been returned to the main prison population in Ward 350 of Evin Prison.
Our sources in Iran have confirmed that Iranian authorities returned Pastor Saeed to his cell in Ward 350 yesterday.
This is a critical development and does raise hope after a very discouraging week. It was believed that Pastor Saeed may have faced 20 days or more in solitary confinement. Pastor Saeed described the first time he spent in solitary confinement, some 200 days ago when he was first imprisoned for his Christian faith, as some of the worst days he has ever faced. Days felt like years he said.
The severity of his medical condition remains a concern as he began complaining of symptoms of kidney issues before he was placed in solitary confinement.
Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, had been confined to solitary since April 29th along with nine other prisoners in a retaliatory response to fellow prisoners’ protest of Iran’s lack of medical care for Pastor Saeed and others.
It is unknown how many of the 10 prisoners that were placed in solitary confinement have been returned to the political prisoner ward of Evin.
We are hopeful that Pastor Saeed’s early return to the general population of Ward 350 is a sign that international pressure on Iran is beginning to have an effect.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, responded:
His release from solitary is a direct result of the multitudes praying. I am relieved my husband is out of solitary, but still am deeply concerned about Saeed’s health. While this is a small victory, I am still demanding justice be done and that Saeed be released.
More than 575,000 people from all across the world have signed a petition for his release. International media, world leaders, and governments including the European Union and United Nations have raised his case. Now, over 50,000 people have written him letters at SaveSaeed.org.
All of this has led to unparalleled pressure on the Iranian regime. The more pressure is placed on Iran – the more Iran is put on notice that the world is watching its unconscionable human rights abuses – the regime is forced to take action.
We will keep you updated with new information as we are able.