Merv Mitchell, also known as Imam Mabul Shoatz, is charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and related offenses. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Police Department photo. Courtesy of: Reuters
by, Daniel Kelley | Reuters | h/t Stefanie Simmet
Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.
The 46-year-old victim said two officials in the mosque accused him of stealing jars of money from the house of worship after morning prayers on Monday.
Video courtesy of: Brigitte Gabriel (Thank you Brigitte)
The officials, described in police reports as the mosque’s imam and amir, dragged the victim to the rear of the mosque, and attempted to chop off his hand with a machete, according to a police statement.
He sustained a severe laceration to his right wrist, and was transported to a nearby hospital by medics.
Officers served a search warrant on Thursday on the mosque, located in a house in the city’s Overbrook section, where they arrested Merv Mitchell, also known as Mabul Shoatz. They recovered a 2-foot-long machete from the scene.
The mosque’s imam, an unidentified 35-year-old male, has not yet been located, police said.
Mitchell was charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and related offenses.
by, Tom Sullivan | Yahoo News | h/t Brandon Watkins III
Stockholm, Sweden (AFP) – Swedish police launched a manhunt Thursday after the third arson attack against a mosque in a week, amid growing tensions over the rise of a far right anti-immigration movement.
“People saw a man throwing something burning at the building,” police in Uppsala said in a statement, adding that the mosque in eastern Sweden did not catch fire and that the suspect had left behind “a text on the door expressing contempt for religion.”
A police spokesman told Swedish news agency TT that the burning object was a Molotov cocktail and that no one was in the building at the time.
Sweden’s Islamic Association posted a photograph online of the main door of the mosque, which was emblazoned with the slogan “Go home Muslim shit”.
The police were alerted by passers-by, who reportedly witnessed the attack at around 0430 GMT.
“The crime has been classed as attempted arson, vandalism and incitement to hatred,” the police said, appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Thursday’s attack in Sweden’s fourth-largest city came just three days after a late-night blaze at a mosque in Esloev in the south, which police suspect was also arson.
On Christmas Day, five people were injured when a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of a mosque in Eskilstuna, east of the capital Stockholm.
Sweden’s leftist Prime Minister Stefan Loefven led condemnation of the latest attack.
Video courtesy of: RT
“The most important thing now is that everyone distances themselves from this,” he told TT.
“In Sweden no one should have to be afraid when they practice their religion,” he added, saying the government would increase funding for securing places of worship.
– ‘People are afraid’ –
According to the anti-racism magazine Expo, there have been at least a dozen confirmed attacks on mosques in Sweden in the last year and a far larger number are believed to have gone unreported.
“People are afraid, they fear for their safety,” Mohammad Kharraki a spokesman for Sweden’s Islamic Association told AFP.
“We’ve seen through history that people use violence as a way of polarising society against minorities.”
The attacks come as debate intensifies in Sweden over immigration and the integration of asylum seekers in the traditionally tolerant Nordic country, which is expected to receive more than 100,000 asylum applications this year, breaking all previous records.
Last month the far right Sweden Democrats — which doubled its support to 13 percent in September elections — came close to bringing down the left-green government over its liberal refugee policies. The party’s support in opinion polls has risen to around 16 percent.
However in a last minute agreement on December 27, the government and centre right opposition parties cut a deal effectively denying the Sweden Democrats influence over major policy — including over immigration.
Kharraki said the arson attacks could be carried out by “Sweden Democrats people who are angry because they’ve been pushed aside.”
“They think Muslims are the problem,” he said, while “mainstream political parties have taken a stand against racism and Islamophobia.”
However, a spokesman for the Sweden Democrats said there was no reason to consider the attacks to be politically motivated.
“This is not political, it’s criminal. It’s criminals doing this and it’s a police matter, not a political question,” said Henrik Vinge.
“This type of violence is something we take very seriously…. It’s unacceptable of course.”
Muslim groups have called on politicians to join vigils in several cities around the country Friday to show their opposition to racially-motivated violence.
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sharia unveiled quiz:
Q.- Do you believe these 3 mosque fires are the result of:
a. Global Warming
b. Spontaneous Combustion
c. Flaming Fireballs
d. Who gives a damn. Bring on #4
5-Year-old, Moeen, found molested and hanging in Mosque. Photo courtesy of: The Nation
5-Year-old boy Raped and Murdered by Muslim Imam
by, Geo.Tv | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
LAHORE: The body of a [five] year old boy was recovered from the room of a mosque located in the Green Town area of the city.
Police had received a tip on Rescue 15 that the body of the child was hanging in the upper room of the mosque. Police identified the boy as Moeen who had gone missing on Thursday. The body was also identified by the boy’s father.
Police have launched an investigation and state that the imam of the mosque has fled.
– – –
‘The Nation’ Newspaper in Pakistan is reporting:
LAHORE – A five-year-old boy was found dead in a mosque after being molested in Green Town area, police sources said Friday.
“The body was hanging from the staircase grill with the boy’s left hand tied to his back, as investigators reached the crime scene,” a police officer said.
On Friday noon, an unidentified man informed the police through phone that the naked body of a boy was hanging from the staircase grill on the upper portion of the mosque – Masjid Baitul Mukarram – located near Behari Chowk. It was learnt that some boys, on their routine duty, were cleaning the mosque before Friday prayers when they witnessed the boy hanging from the staircase grill.
Heavy contingents of police rushed to the spot and the body was moved to the morgue for autopsy. The deceased was identified as five-year-old Moeen, a resident of the same locality. The police are yet to recover the clothes of the child.
“Apparently, it seemed the schoolboy was strangled and hanged with a rope after being molested by unidentified criminals,” SP Ejaz Shafi Dogar told the reporters outside the mosque.
A local resident Muhammad Mushtaq said that Moeen along with other children was busy in collecting donations, a common practice ahead of Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations, in the low-income neighbourhood when he disappeared mysteriously.
“At about 5:20pm on Thursday, I saw some boys were collecting donations in the street. Moeen was among them,” Mushtaq pointed out.
Locals say they believe the boy was abducted during the hour of power loadshedding, at about 6:00pm.
A painter by profession, Muhammad Yaseen, told the police that the mosque, from where the body of his son was recovered, located a few hundred meters away from his house.
Poverty-stricken Yaseen lives in a one-room rented house along with his wife and nine other children. Moeen was at 6th number among his siblings.
Ironically, the Green Town police did not take any action when the poor father reached the police station and told the on-duty officers that his son had gone missing.
“The police did not take the case seriously. We were asked to search the boy in the colony on our own,” the poor father said while tears in his eyes.
Announcements were made on the loudspeaker of the same mosque to find the child. Investigators said that the killer had the information that the parents were desperately searching for the boy. “We believe that the killer hanged the boy fearing his identification,” an investigator said.
“What has happened to me, I wanted to set the whole city on fire,” said the boy’s father. On Friday, the Green Town police, in order to save their skin, registered a kidnapping case under section 363 of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified men. Later, the police added murder section in the First Information Report.
“It was quite terrible. I have never seen such a brutality in 15 years of my career,” a press photographer commented after visiting the crime scene.
Police sources revealed that two suspects including the Moazzan of the mosque have been taken into custody and are being interrogated.
However, the police officially denied any arrest and said that investigations were underway to unearth the killers.
The mother of boy lost her mind after witnessing the body of her son. The ill-fated mother was seen desperately kissing the face of her child as the body was taken to the house from the mosque. Later on, it was moved to the morgue.
Following the media reports, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif did what he does the best – took the notice of the issue. The CM also sought report from the top cop whose ‘brilliant’ team had already refused the boy’s father of any help, asking what they could do to find his son.
According to an official handout, the chief minister also ordered the police to arrest the criminals and justice should be ensured at any cost.
It may not be out of context to mention here that after the killings of 133 children in an army-run school in Peshawar, authorities have been stepping towards establishing military courts and scrutinising seminaries involved in terrorism or linked to militants one way or another.
by, Victor Fiorillo | Philadelphia Magazine | h/t Creeping Sharia | h/t Robert Chidester
Bensalem has its fair share of churches and other houses of worship. The Bucks County township of 60,000 has Catholic churches, Protestant churches, synagogues, a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, and a Buddhist Temple. And there are two Hindu temples under development. But if you’re a Bensalem Muslim, you’re out of luck, because Bensalem doesn’t have a mosque. Instead, local Muslims meet once a week for Friday prayers inside a rented fire hall.
The Bensalem Masjid, a religious organization with some 200 families in its congregation, wants to change that but says that Bensalem Township and its Zoning Hearing Board haven’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for its proposed mosque (rendering above) on the 3800 block of Hulmeville Road, which has several other houses of worship within a one-mile radius. And now the group has filed a lawsuit (below) against the township and the board in federal court.
The group has been looking for property for its mosque since 2008. And due to zoning regulations in Bensalem, you can’t just erect a mosque — or any other house of worship — wherever you want.
The Bensalem Masjid says that it tried to buy existing houses of worship, which would already be zoned correctly, but none were interested in selling. It put in bids on other properly zoned parcels, but those bids were rejected or went unanswered. Finally, the group found a 4.58-acre, three-parcel stretch of property on Hulmeville Road that would be perfect for its needs — big enough for a cafeteria, a school, and all of the other facilities they wanted to bring to the Muslims in the area — but the group of properties weren’t zoned for house-of-worship use. And so, the Bensalem Masjid went before the zoning board to try to get a variance.
In February, the board expressed certain concerns about the project, and so the group changed its physical plans, eliminating a proposed basement and cafeteria. Another hearing was held. And another. And another. In total, six hearings were held, making the process one of the longest — if not the longest zoning hearing process — in Bensalem’s history.
Board members questioned the Masjid about parking and traffic. One board member expressed concern that the mosque would bring in Muslims from New Jersey and nearby Philadelphia.
Community members were invited to air their concerns about the project. One suggested that unlike a church or synagogue, the mosque wouldn’t bring the same kind of benefit to the overall community that a synagogue or church would bring.
The fears of another community member who spoke were a little more clear:
…mosques have patterns and the pattern of mosques has been that when they — when the congregants outgrow the mosque, they spill out on to the streets. And what they do is they — they block — pull up blockades and they bring out their rugs, and they put them down on the street, and they do their prayers out on the streets. I have a video of this if you would like to see to back it up, in several cities around the world … What they do is they put up their barricades and they lay their carpets down on the street and they pray. And it takes them 45 minutes. It draws a lot of people, and it creates problems for the businesses on that street because they cannot do commerce because nobody can get in or out of their stores.
The Masjid brought in at least 10 expert witnesses to testify on its behalf — from a civil engineer and traffic experts to an Islamic theologian — but the board still said no. And the group contends that the same board granted variances to other nearby religious organizations similarly restricted by the zoning laws. The variance obtained in April to build a Hindu temple on the site of a restaurant was reportedly not met with significant objection.
So is this Islamophobia at work?
“We can’t see into their hearts, so we judge them by their conduct,” says Ryan Tack-Hooper, the Masjid’s attorney from the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who suggests that the board’s concerns over traffic and parking were unfounded and that the board didn’t make an issue out of traffic and parking for others houses of worship in the area. “It’s very clear that they treated this case differently than they treated other faith centers. There’s definitely some prejudice at work here.”
In its lawsuit, the Masjid accuses Bensalem and the board of violating laws regarding religious land use, Pennsylvania’s Municipal Planning Code and Religious Freedom Protection Act, and the group’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The zoning board’s attorney could not be reached for comment, and an attorney representing the township did not immediately return a call seeking comment. One board member, realtor Joanne Redding, hung up on us when we tried to ask her about the mosque.
Mosque initiative defeated in 4-1 city council vote
by, Patrick Howell O’Neill | The Daily Dot | h/t Jack Hansen
A small Georgia city has voted to ban an Islamic group from renting a retail space to open a temporary mosque in the city, even after the landlord agreed to the deal.
The City Council of Kennesaw, a city of about 30,000 people in north Georgia, ultimately voted down the Muslim group’s request 4-1.
The issue has engendered a lot of tension in the town, and from critics outside of it. To give you a small idea of the intensity of the attitudes at play, here’s the video’s description from the man who recorded this week’s City Council vote: “The scumbag lawyer for the terrorist org. says he will sue… good luck with that.”
Attorney Doug Dillard called the decision unconstitutional and “a blatant attack on First Amendment rights.” He says the group will continue to fight and is strongly considering a federal lawsuit against the city.
Anti-Muslim protesters stood outside the meeting with signs such as “Ban Islam” and “Islam Wants No Peace!” but the issue of religion didn’t actually come up in the meeting itself.
That was deliberate. Mayor Mark Matthews forbade comment from the public about religion, so critics instead said they opposed the temporary mosque on the grounds of the center’s hours of operation, attendance, and parking.
The Muslim group had already agreed to limit attendance in the 2,200 square foot space to 80 worshipers at a time, building 40 parking spaces, and signing a two-year lease. In the end, it wasn’t nearly enough—because those were never the biggest issues at play.
A public hearing last month had no off-limit topics, so many citizens were blunt about their opposition to the mosque.
“I am first a Christian and then an American citizen,” resident Jo Talley said. “As a Christian I am to put no other God before my Lord, and I am also to love my neighbor. If you know me, then you know that I do my best to do those things … but I also have the right to protect myself. This project has to do with Sharia law.”
Resident Anthony Bonner said the debate was “bigger than just zoning and parking. This is bigger than right and wrong. This is not a religious debate. This is about a comment on the value and the merits of a community.”
In fact, the Marietta Daily Journal reports that the city allowed a Pentecostal church to rent a retail space for exactly the same purpose in July.
“You know, if Christianity were killing people, I’m pretty sure I would have a problem with it,” Pastor C.S. Clarke of the Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church told the media. “Then I would be concerned with that moving into my neighborhood. But, I’m open, I’m inclusive. Christianity does teach love, inclusiveness, creating a better environment for everyone.”
– – –
Here is a comment from our source article:
by, Megyn Kelly | Fox News
A Minnesota youth center is at the heart of a federal grand jury investigation into a suspected ISIS terrorist pipeline.
The FBI says that someone on the ground in Minnesota is convincing young people to join the terror fight in Syria, then giving them money to get there.
Up to 30 Somali-Americans who have reportedly joined or tried to join terrorist groups overseas had attended Al Farooq Youth and Family Center in Minnesota. That’s the same mosque that kicked out 31-year-old Amir Meshal this summer for allegedly proselytizing radical Islam ideologies.
by, Outlook | h/t Trop
Uttar Pradesh, India: An imam of a local mosque in Nai Colony area was arrested today on charges of sodomy of an eight-year-old boy, police said.
District Superintendent of police S Chinappa said the imam of a mosque in Nai Colony in Kotwali area lured an eight-year- old boy studying in the same mosque to a room and committed the crime.
On reaching home, the boy recounted the incident to his family members who handed over the culprit to police, the SP said.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced the filing of a lawsuit against the city of St. Anthony for an alleged violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. Photo courtesy of: The Star Tribune
by, Shannon Prather & Randy Furst | The Star Tribune | h/t Dakota Fattal
The U.S. attorney said St. Anthony violated the rights of a religious group by not allowing a prayer center to open.
The federal government on Wednesday sued the small north-metro city of St. Anthony, contending that its City Council violated federal law in 2012 by rejecting a proposed Islamic center.
The lawsuit sprang from a controversy that echoes those that have flared in many U.S. cities when Muslims have sought to establish worship centers.
“An injustice has been done,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said at a news conference in Minneapolis. “I will not stand by while any religious group is subject to unconstitutional treatment that violates federal civil rights laws.”
The lawsuit alleges that the council’s decision to deny the Abu Huraira Islamic Center the right to establish a worship center in the basement of the St. Anthony Business Center violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act passed by Congress in 2000.
It marks the first time federal prosecutors have sued a Minnesota city citing the law, although the Justice Department has filed similar suits elsewhere in the country on behalf of Islamic centers, according to a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman.
Federal authorities are seeking an injunction ordering St. Anthony to permit the group to use the business center. However, Luger said, there could be a more harmonious outcome.
“Though we have filed our lawsuit, we hope the good people of St. Anthony, including the elected officials who made this decision, will change their minds and allow Abu Huraira to conduct prayer services in this space,” he said.
Although the St. Anthony project drew some of the most heated opposition, mosques and Islamic school projects elsewhere in the state have faced opposition. Projects in Plymouth, Willmar,Bloomington and Blaine met with objections, but ultimately all were approved.
Video courtesy of: CAIRtv
In June 2012, the St. Anthony council rejected Abu Huraira’s proposal, concluding that a religious and cultural center was incompatible with the light-industrial zoning. The council’s 4-1 vote went against a city planning commission recommendation that it approve the 15,000-square-foot center in the former Medtronic headquarters at 3055 Old Hwy. 8.
The vote came after some residents of the city of 8,200 spoke out against the center. More than 150 people packed one meeting about it, and some made disparaging remarks about the Muslim faith.
Jim Roth, the lone council member to back the center, predicted then that the council’s rejection would spawn a lawsuit. Roth said he was “embarrassed” and “stunned” by some of the remarks made.
On Wednesday, St. Anthony officials continued to defend the council’s action, saying that the rejection was based purely on zoning issues. It “was not based on discrimination at all,” said City Attorney Jay Lindgren.
“Religious uses of any type are allowed in the vast majority of the city,” he said. “They are just not allowed in the roughly 5 percent of the city reserved for industrial uses. … An industrial zone is designed to create jobs and be an economic engine.”
But Luger said the Islamic group would use only the basement for gatherings and would continue to rent out the remainder of the building to the current business tenants, using the income to maintain the worship center.
Unequal treatment alleged
The U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis has spent two years investigating the matter, with its spokeswoman saying at one point that it had sought to reach an out-of-court agreement with the parties. Luger declined to describe discussions with St. Anthony.
Mayor Jerry Faust said that more than a year ago, the city turned over documentation on the matter to federal authorities. On Aug. 18 of this year, the City Council met with its attorney behind closed doors to discuss the threat of litigation.
At the heart of the federal suit is the allegation that the council treated an application for a conditional-use permit to assemble at the business center on less-than-equal terms from nonreligious conditional-use permits for assembly.
For instance, the suit contends that while prohibiting the Islamic center in the light-industrial zone, the city allowed a conditional-use permit for a union hall in the same zone in the late 1990s. “In fact, the city of St. Anthony held its own city awards ceremony — clearly an assembly or meeting — in the union hall in the early 2000s,” Luger said.
And in 2008, the City Council approved a conditional-use permit for assembly for a church, the Twin Cities Christian Association, to operate in a business center in the commercial zone, he said.
The federal statute that forms the basis for the suit “was designed by its drafters to protect against what happened here,” Luger said.
But Lindgren said that the city denied another Christian organization’s request in the past few years that was similar to that of the Islamic center.
‘We are citizens’
After the council’s 2012 vote, the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked federal authorities to investigate whether the city had violated the federal law on religious land use.
And even after the council’s vote, the Muslim group proposing the Islamic center bought the former Medtronic Inc. headquarters for $1.9 million.
Ellen Longfellow, the group’s civil rights attorney, said, “We applaud this decision in support of religious freedom and hope for a speedy resolution to the case so that the local Muslim community may have access to the facilities required to meet its needs.”
Attending Luger’s news conference was Abdirahman Omar, president of the Islamic center, who praised federal authorities for filing the suit.
“We thank the Justice Department for doing this,” he said. “We think [the council’s denial is] unfair. … We are citizens of the United States.”
Luger noted that the Abu Huraira Islamic Center was formed by a number of Minnesota Somali-American community leaders who conducted an “exhaustive search to accommodate” the state’s growing Somali population. “Many members were unable to practice their religion with others from the community because there was not an appropriate location for communal worship,” he said.
From 2009 to 2011, he said, the organization offered to buy at least two other locations but was turned down. In 2011, they found the “ideal space” at the St. Anthony Business Center.
Luger said he has toured the building and basement area. “It is a large, empty space that is perfect for this community’s Friday evening prayers,” he said, and has a large parking lot to accommodate worshipers.
A desire to be welcoming
Soon after the council denied the permit in St. Anthony, three churches in the city held an interfaith meeting to counter some of the negative comments made at the council meeting.
“Some things had been said … that sounded unwelcoming and unfriendly. There was a desire to show a different face on things,” said the Rev. Paul La Fontaine of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, which co-sponsored the event. “It was an opportunity to get together and see some other people. Everyone is interested in having a good job and raising a family.”