Taliban punishment in Pakistan.
Taliban lash men in public in Afghanistan for “trying to kidnap a 10-year old boy”.(AA).Taliban militants lashed two men in public on Saturday, witnesses and officials said, just weeks after a video surfaced of a woman being executed for adultery before a crowd of cheering men. The men received 40 lashes each with a leather whip in front of more than a hundred people in Shash Qala village of Charkh district in Logar province, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of the capital Kabul. They were arrested by Taliban insurgents while trying to kidnap the son of a rich man three days earlier, Bashir, a villager, told AFP. “This morning, the Taliban called people on loudspeakers to gather and watch two men being lashed by them for trying to kidnap a 10-year old boy,” Bashir said. “They were lashed 40 times each by two armed Taliban whose faces were covered.” Charkh district chief Farooq Humayun said the local administration was aware of the incident and an investigation was under way. A local Taliban commander in the area, who did not want to be named, told AFP that they had carried out the punishment to establish sharia law in the country. Public punishments and executions were common when the Taliban regime was in power from 1996 until 2001, when they were ousted by a U.S.-led invasion and launched an insurgency against the Western-backed government. Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week admitted his administration was unable to deliver justice to the people, despite decade-long international efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation. “The reason that the people of Afghanistan in the villages and across the countryside, (even) in the cities, still seek justice through the traditional method is because the government neither has the ability to provide that justice nor can it be addressed on time,” he said. Because of corruption in the courts many Afghans prefer traditional justice systems, often local community councils, to settle their disputes. In parts of the country where Taliban insurgents are most active, the villagers turn to the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law.Read the full story here.
well… I hate to say it… if I were faced with anarchy, I might turn to the Taliban and Sharia as well.
|(Nour Party chairman tries to ease fears | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today’s News from Egypt – Emad Abdel Ghafour, the party’s chairman Photographed by Noha El-Hennawy)|
(hudson-ny.org) The extreme Islamist “Nour Party” [“Party of the Light”], with 25% of the ballots, produced the biggest surprise of the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary voting at the end of November. Its advance overshadowed, in media attention, the widely-anticipated 40% received by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Nour Party had formed a coalition, the “Democratic Alliance for Egypt,” with the Brotherhood but withdrew from it in September. The Brotherhood and the Nour Party are now in bitter competition.
Commentaries, although reflecting shock in the Arab and international media on the Nour Party’s rise, were predictable. The media have accommodated the Nour Party by referring to it under the party’s preferred ideological banner as “Salafis,” or by describing its supporters as “religious conservatives.” The truth is different. The Nour Party embodies Wahhabism, the fanatical interpretation of Islam that is the sole official religious doctrine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The media have tiptoed around the authentic character of the Nour Party, with leading sources noting only that the Nour Party’s program is derived from or influenced by Saudi Wahhabism. But the Nour Party reproduces Wahhabism – the ideology that inspired Osama Bin Laden – in its entirety.
The term “Salafi” refers to a Muslim who emulates the first three generations of Muhammad’s companions and successors. Traditional Muslims and conscientious historians recognize the falsity of the Wahhabis masquerading as “Salafis.” For moderate Muslims, comparing oneself to the pioneering figures in Islamic history is offensively arrogant. In addition, a “Salafi” reform movement existed in the 19th century, but unlike the Wahhabi “Salafis,” the 19th century “Salafis,” such as Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), an Egyptian scholar and writer, were not violent and did not preach against the West.
The 19th century “Salafis” sought to modernize Islam and adapt it to Western modes of thought. They also condemned spiritual Sufism, as do today’s Wahhabi “Salafis.” But unlike the recent Wahhabi “Salafis,” the 19th century group did not demand the right to expel Muslims from the global Islamic community over doctrinal differences, and then kill them as “apostates” – as the Wahhabi “Salafis” have been doing in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, and Iraq, among other countries. The 19th century “Salafi” reformers appealed to Muslims to imitate the personal integrity and dedication of the early Muslims, but did not seek to reinforce abuse of women, hatred of non-Muslims, or limitations on free thought. They, in fact, prized freedom of inquiry as an Islamic value.
Wahhabis know that Muslims hate and fear them for their terrorist acts and repressive practices in Saudi Arabia. Few Egyptians admire or to desire to live under a Saudi-Wahhabi system. That is why, with the complicity of Western media, the Egyptian Wahhabis have adopted the term “Salafi”. But they should not be allowed to pretend that they are conservative imitators of the early Muslim generations when instead their views are radical.
There is no mistaking the Wahhabi foundation of the Nour Party’s politics. Its male leaders and candidates affect the untrimmed beard cultivated by Wahhabis, in an alleged imitation of Muhammad. They claim to have a single real candidate: Muhammad. In an obvious mimicry of past Saudi-Wahhabi restrictions on women, the Nour Party relegated women candidates (whom Egyptian law required be included) to the bottom of their list to prevent any from being elected. The Nour Party’s leader, Yasser Borhami, denounced participation by women in parliament as “corruption.”
Nour Party representatives in Egypt have said they would reinstitute payment by all non-Muslims of the jizya tax, an obsolete Islamic practice that exists in no other Muslim country. Borhami has also called Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, who make up 10% of the population, “unbelievers.” One prominent, if unsuccessful, Nour Party aspirant to office, Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, referred to the writings of Egypt’s Nobel Prize winning author, Naguib Mahfouz, as the “literature of prostitution.” Al-Shahat, who appears frequently on television talk shows, appealed for the Pharaonic statues that are a part of Egypt’s pre-Islamic cultural legacy to be covered with wax because they had, in the past, been worshipped as idols – the same attitude that impelled the Taliban to destroy the Bamiyan statues of Buddha in Afghanistan.
In addition to flattering the Nour Party by referring to it as “Salafi” or “conservative,” the media have further softened the image of the Egyptian Wahhabis by labelling them “Puritan.” This they are, but while “Puritan” has lost its edge as an item in Western religious history, Islamic Puritanism represents an exaggerated attempt to return to the world as it existed in Muhammad’s time. Representatives of the Nour Party are vague when they discuss some of their most basic objectives, which include Shariah [“The Path:” Islamic religious law] as common law; gender segregation of unmarried or unrelated people; enforced full-body covering for women; promotion of “Islamic banking” as a leading economic institution, and a ban on alcohol among non-Muslims.
Except for Saudi Arabia, which supports a non-traditional, arbitrary form of Shariah as public law, and enclaves in Africa, Pakistan, and Indonesia, every Muslim country in the world has adopted Western canons of common law, and left the interpretation of Shariah as applicable exclusively to religious matters. Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution now states that the “principal source of legislation by the state is Islamic jurisprudence (sharia).” This left space for the retention of non-religious law, since Islamic jurisprudence recognizes the validity of non-Islamic common law. A Shariah-state experiment in Sudan failed after the South Sudanese rejected it, and led to the division of the country. The current ruler of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, has threatened to adopt something like Egypt’s law, likewise defining Shariah as a “principal source” of legislation, although his government has not yet done so. The Nour Party would subject Egypt to an experiment in applying religious jurisprudence as the only, rather than the “principal,” basis for law.
Whether family or inheritance law should follow universal standards, or Shariah guidelines that discriminate against women, is widely argued in the Muslim countries. Morocco, for example, in 2004 adopted a family code that: makes women equal heirs to property; bars marriage of women against their will; allows wives to prohibit their husbands from engaging in polygamy, and to divorce their husbands if they take a second wife; places divorce under secular, rather than religious authority, and makes domestic violence by men a basis for divorce by women. The recent electoral success of a Muslim Brotherhood local branch, the Justice and Development Party, may affect the status of this law, but it is unlikely given that the law is supported by the king, Mohammed VI.
From early in Islamic history, Muslim scholars have argued that Shariah was legitimate only in dealing with matters of religion, and that Islamic law could draw on existing, pre-Islamic law and custom. In addition, Muhammad called on Muslims who migrate to non-Muslim lands to accept the laws and customs of the countries to which they move. This pattern – Shariah as appropriate only to aspects of faith – dominated the Islamic world for almost a millennium, ever since the Mongols, who conquered Baghdad in 1258 CE, accepted Islam but refused to abandon their Mongol customary law. The same pattern was seen in the Ottoman Empire, which preserved its Turkish customary law. If the radicals of the Nour Party were to have their way, however, the basic law of Egypt, which is borrowed from French law, would be abolished.
Even Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has eased the influence of extreme Wahhabis in the judiciary of his country. The Saudi monarch has reduced the financing of the infamous morals patrols or mutawiyin – often wrongly called the “morals police,” but in reality a body of militia and volunteers. He also opened up opportunities for women to participate in professional and public life, although they are still not allowed to drive a car, travel, open a bank account, or see a doctor without the permission of a male relative or guardian. In reality, in rural areas, driving by women is common but overlooked.
The unmentioned factor in the emergence of the Nour Party has to do with its financing: Who provided funds for the organization of a new and expanding political party in Egypt? Before the election, Nour Party representatives discounted concerns by their Egyptian opponents that they were backed by Arabian Gulf states, which for decades had paid for Wahhabi “Salafi” mosques and networks of Islamic charities in Egypt. Kuwait and Qatar have been mentioned as backers of the Nour Party, but solid evidence is scarce. This is not surprising, as the Wahhabi “Salafis” are not known for transparency in their financing; to discover the source of Nour’s backing still requires investigation. While the Saudis have been mentioned as a possible backer of the Nour Party, there is not yet any evidence to support that theory. The disconcerting gains of the Nour Party suggest that it has nevertheless benefitted from large financial donations, which might come from outside the country, or from political support from inside the existing Egyptian institutions, rather than because of a pure religious fervour animating a large pool of volunteers.
From a different perspective, on December 9, Time magazine quoted an Egyptian as saying, “I think the deal has already been made between the Islamists and SCAF [the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Egyptian military that ousted Hosni Mubarak], and SCAF wants them in power,” said Shadi al-Ghazaly Harb, a liberal young politician whose Awareness Party fared poorly. “I think SCAF wants to scare everyone with the Islamists — the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis — so that they will push an ex-military figure forward as the next presidential candidate. That will be the true end of the revolution.”
One aspect of the appeal of the Egyptian Wahhabi “Salafi” movement – observed before, in the history of both the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist groups in South Asia – was noted in the London Financial Times of December 9 by Borzou Daragahi: “Nour’s educated and professional supporters and leaders tend to hail from modest backgrounds – recent arrivals to the middle class, perhaps bitter that their education or newfound wealth did not bring them the status that comes with lineage and connections.”
Wahhabi “Salafi” Islam often reflects frustrated upward mobility and rising expectations, rather than desperation and poverty. The overeducated and underemployed in Egypt and elsewhere have no plan they think can resolve their problems, so they withdraw into an irrational fantasy of Muslim life in the past. This view is not conservative, but radical; it is dangerous for Egypt, for Islam, and for the world.
Forty-five students found held in basement in chains by police raiding Islamic seminary thought to be ‘Taliban training centre’December 14, 2011
(dailymail.co.uk) Forty-five students, among them young children, were discovered held in chains in a basement when police raided an Islamic seminary in Pakistan last night. The male students, some said to be as young as 12 but appearing even younger, were found in what amounted to a dungeon at the Madrassa Zakarya in the Sohrab Goth district of Karachi.Led barefoot from their prison, captives told officers they had suffered regular beatings and been hung upside down as a form of punishment.Freed: Young Pakistani students sit a room after being rescued following a police raid on Madrassa Zakarya in Karachi last nightA young student cries after being rescued. Pakistani police found 45 students found chained in the basement during the raidA young student carries his belongings as he leaves the madrassa after the raid last night
Others said they had been visited by Taliban fighters and that 10 of their fellow students had disappeared in recent months.
One boy said that visiting Taliban members had told them to ‘prepare for battle’. Some Pakistani madrassas have long been suspected of grooming Islamic militants.
Police arrested a cleric and two others at the scene, but the madrassa’s administrator managed to escape during the raid, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported.
Local police Superintendent Rao Anwar told the paper: ‘Those recovered are aged between 12 and 50 years and are mainly of Pakhtun ethnicity.
‘A few drug addicts and mentally challenged persons were also among those who were recovered.’
‘It seems that the administration was running a sort of religious school-cum-rehabilitation-centre and were receiving considerable sums of money from parents of those kept in for that purpose.’Rescued Pakistani students sit in a police vehicle after the police raidNot all the captives were young children, but all were of ethnic Pakhtun originThe students had been kept chained and told of regular beatings and visits from Taliban fighters
Sanaa TV, a local station, showed footage of the raid and the chained students, who danced and cried as police began to free them.
‘We were kept in chains and hung upside down and beaten with sticks if we didn’t comply. We were told that we would be given training to fight in Afghanistan,’ one boy said.
Another told how Taliban fighters had visited the seminary, led prayers and told them to prepare for battle.
The raid came after an anonymous tip-off to authorities. Police official Mukhtiar Khaskheli told Agence France-Presse that a full investigation would probe any possible links with militants.
‘The madrassa officials claim that they had chained those students because they were drug addicts and they wanted to rehabilitate them and make them better Muslims,’ he added.Policemen continue to search the basement of Madrassa ZakaryaPakistani policemen examine documents found at the Islamic seminary. One cleric and two others were arrested at the scene
According to the Press Trust of India, most of the captive students had been brought to Karachi from remote parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, a hotbed of Taliban activities.
‘What we have learnt is that the parents used to pay the seminary for the education of their children who were sent to Karachi to get religious education,’ a police official told the agency.
Pakistani government records seen by AFP suggest there are 15,148 seminaries in Pakistan, with more than two million students.
But officials suspect many more unregistered schools exist, providing the children of Pakistan’s poverty-stricken majority with the only education they can afford.
Men in Glass Houses don’t Dress Children in Basement
(h/t @ChallahHuAckbar DailyMail) A U.S. soldier held by the Taliban since 2009 has been recaptured after he went on the run for three days.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s daring escape failed when a manhunt was launched in Pakistan to find him, Taliban commanders said.
He is now facing his third Christmas in captivity.Bowe Bergdahl, left, appeared without beard despite captors’ claim he has converted to Islam in the latest video released by the Taliban last May
Sgt Bergdahl has been a prisoner of the Taliban since his capture on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.
Since then, he has appeared in a least five Taliban propoganda videos, one of which was released in May.
He is the only known U.S. soldier to be captive of the Taliban.
It is thought he learnt Pashto and converted to Islam to build up a rapport with his captors.
The soldier then reportedly jumped from a first-floor window of a mud-brick house in Pakistan where he was held, and made his escape into underbrush and forested mountains.The 25-year-old made his daring break for freedom by jumping from a first-floor window before going on the run PakistanSgt Bergdahl, who launched a daring escape attempt, was reported to have adopted the Muslim name Abdullah, according to his captors
His captors found him three days later hiding in a trench, covered with leaves and virtually naked, according to the report.
The sources described Sgt Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, fighting ‘like a boxer’ when found.
Quoting a Taliban source, The Daily Beast reported that Sgt Bergdahl told his captors that he wanted to find civilian villagers who would help him and notify the U.S..
But that hope proved futile as villagers had long since fled Pakistan’s North Waziristan region because of the conflict.
Now he is back in captivity, Sgt Bergdahl is once more restrained at night and being moved frequently to avoid detection by U.S. forces.
Drone strikes have killed several senior militants in the area he is being held and sources say the Taliban is ready to make a deal to release the soldier.
A source told The Daily Beast: ‘There’s a fear that a dronecould hit the golden [goose].’
Colonel Tim Marsano, an Idaho National Guard spokesman based in Boise, was quoted in the report and has spoken with Sgt Bergdahl’s family.
‘There is certainly a lot of new information in that article that was news to the Sgt Bergdahl family,’ he said. ‘Any mother would be glad to hear that her son is alive and well at this point.’