MUSLIM SCHOLARS URGE UN TO OUTLAW ‘CONTEMPT’ OF RELIGIONS

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Draft law submitted to UN calls for defamation of religions to be outlawed

A leading Islamic organisation has called on the United Nations to make “contempt of religions” illegal and urged the West to protect Muslim communities following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, appealed to Muslims to continue peaceful protests against images of the Prophet Mohammed but “not to resort to any violence”.

The latest cartoon of the prophet in Charlie Hebdo has angered many Muslims and triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
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In a statement released Tuesday, the union said there should be protection for “prophets” and urged Islamic countries to submit a draft law to the UN calling for defamation of religions to be outlawed.

The union said the UN should then issue a “law criminalising contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites”.

It also called for the West “to protect Muslim communities from attacks, whether they are citizens or residents or visitors”.

The union has condemned the publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven” in the first Charlie Hebdo edition since Islamist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on its offices.

It said that the new drawing would give “credibility” to the idea that “the West is against Islam” and warned the image would incite further hatred.

Qaradawi, 88, is seen as a spiritual guide of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi.
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Russian spy ship in Havana ahead of US delegation’s historic visit

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    A Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov at the port in Havana, January 20, 2015. (Reuters / Stringer)

The Russian Navy’s intelligence collection ship, the Viktor Leonov, has docked in Havana just a day before the arrival of an American delegation. The Russian warship is moored in open view of a pier usually used for cruise ships.

The ship’s visit, unannounced by the Cuban authorities, comes as the US and Cuba are attempting to restore diplomatic ties broken in 1961.

The Americans will conduct the first official negotiations with the Cuban leadership in more than half a century.
The Viktor Leonov is part of Russia’s Northern Fleet and is fitted with a wide range of intelligence equipment, a crew of 220 and high-tech electronics.

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“It’s not unprecedented. It’s not unusual. It’s not alarming,” a US defense official told AFP.

In 2014, the Viktor Leonov called at Havana at least twice, in February and March, and those visits were also unannounced. In April, the ship was spotted operating along the US East Coast, in close proximity to a nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, and other American military facilities in the area.

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The Soviet Union and subsequently Russia used to have a huge signal intelligence center (SIGINT facility) in Cuba’s Lourdes, located a mere 250km from continental USA.

In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied media reports that Russia was planning to reopen the SIGINT facility in Lourdes.

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Embargo remains in place
The high-level talks begin in Havana on Wednesday. The US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson is leading the American delegation, with Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, heading the Cuban negotiators.

The talks will aim to elaborate a roadmap for putting diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US back on track, normalizing ties and re-opening embassies.

The US authorities announced plans to allow American companies to offer their services in Cuba, creating infrastructure on the island and improve communication links with mainland US. America is also likely to unblock the personal accounts of Cuban citizens and companies frozen in American banks. Foreign vessels that dock off Cuba’s coasts will be allowed to call at US ports.

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Some revisions to the decades-old embargoes between the United States and Cuba came into effect on January 16, implementing major changes to the long-standing trade and travel restrictions between the neighboring nations.

READ MORE: New US-Cuba trade, travel rules to take effect Friday, 1st steps to end embargo

New policies, announced by the Obama administration on Thursday this week, are expected to allow American travelers within 12 categories to travel to Cuba without applying for specialized visas, alleviating restrictions that have largely excluded the US public from the island for more than 50 years.

However, the US embargo placed on Cuba in 1962 will remain in place until the US Congress votes to lift it.

In a statement ahead of the talks, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry noted that ties between the two countries could only be normalized when Washington drops the unilateral sanctions against Havana.

Cuba’s official Granma newspaper acknowledged that “certain aspects of the blockade against Cuba are changing.”

But they stressed the measures announced by the US authorities are “just a step in a right direction,” and there is still “a long way to go,” the newspaper said, as quoted by Itar-TASS.

VIDEO: The Three Stages of Jihad – Islam Explained!

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Ashoura is a bloody Shi’ite Muslim ritual where the men beat themselves on the back and face with knives and whips until blood flows in the streets.

    Islamic scholar David Wood explains the “Three Stages of Jihad.”
    Stage #1: Stealth Jihad
    Stage #2: Defensive Jihad
    Stage #3: Offensive Jihad

WATCH THIS VIDEO: and share it with anyone who believes Islam is a Religion of Peace!

Jihad proceeds in stages. Stage One: Stealth Jihad. Stage Two: Defensive Jihad. Stage Three: Offensive Jihad.

Thus, CNN quoted two carefully edited portions of a passage that justifies the killing of enemy combatants and used them to show that Islam condemns attacks such as the Fort Hood shooting. While deceptions like this are easily spotted, there is much confusion in the world concerning the role of violence in Islam. This short pamphlet will clear up some of the confusion.

I. PEACE, VIOLENCE, AND ABROGATION
Muslims in the West are quick to point to passages such as Qur’an 109:6 (“You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion”) and 2:256 (“There is no compulsion in religion”) as evidence that Islam is a religion of peace. When confronted with harsher passages such as 9:5 (“Slay the idolaters wherever you find them”) and 9:29 (“Fight those who believe not in Allah”), Westernized Muslims interpret these verses in light of the more peaceful teachings of the Qur’an, typically saying something like: “Well, the Qur’an can’t be commanding us to kill unbelievers, since it says that there’s no compulsion in religion.”

Hence, Westernized Muslims pick the verses of the Qur’an they find most attractive, and they use these verses to sanitize the rest of the Qur’an. But is this the correct way to interpret the Qur’an? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The Qur’an presents its own method of interpretation—the Doctrine of Abrogation.

II. THE CALL TO JIHAD: THREE STAGES

When we turn to Islam’s theological sources and historical writings (Qur’an, Hadith, Sira, and Tafsir), we find that there are three stages in the call to Jihad, depending on the status of Muslims in a society.

STAGE ONE—When Muslims are completely outnumbered and can’t possibly win a physical confrontation with unbelievers, they are to live in peace with non-Muslims and preach a message of tolerance. We see an example of this stage when Muhammad and his followers were a persecuted minority in Mecca. Since the Muslims were entirely outnumbered, the revelations Muhammad received during this stage (e.g. “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion”) called for religious tolerance and proclaimed a future punishment (rather than a worldly punishment) for unbelievers.

STAGE TWO—When there are enough Muslims and resources to defend the Islamic community, Muslims are called to engage in defensive Jihad. Thus, when Muhammad had formed alliances with various groups outside Mecca and the Muslim community had become large enough to begin fighting, Muhammad received Qur’an 22:39-40

STAGE THREE—When Muslims establish a majority and achieve political power in an area, they are commanded to engage in offensive Jihad. Hence, once Mecca and Arabia were under Muhammad’s control, he received the call the fight all unbelievers.

III. WHEN MUSLIMS REACH STAGE THREE
Abrogation also accounts for shifting attitudes regarding Jews and Christians in the Qur’an. While Muslims are to be friendly to Jews and Christians when the former are outnumbered, the Islamic position changes when Muslims reach Stage Three, at which point Christians and Jews are to recognize their inferior status and pay the Jizyah (a payment made to Muslims in exchange for not being killed by them).

IV. MUSLIMS IN THE WEST
Since Muhammad obviously commanded his followers to fight unbelievers (simply for being unbelievers), why do Muslims in the West deny this?

Is Islam a religion of peace? No. Islam is a religion that pretends to be peaceful when Muslims are too weak to win a war. Of course, there are many Muslims who aren’t violent. Many Muslims in the West love peace and tolerance. But they didn’t get these values from Islam. They got them from the West, and now they’re reinterpreting Islam based on their Western values. For dedicated Muslims, however, there are only two possible situations to be in: (1) fighting unbelievers, and (2) pretending to be peaceful while preparing to fight unbelievers. Either way, fighting non-Muslims and conquering the world in the name of Allah is always the goal.

US Announces Transfer of Five Gitmo Detainees to Oman, Estonia

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    The US Department of Defense announced the transfer of four prisoners from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Oman and one – to Estonia.

WASHINGTON, January 15 (Sputnik) — The Defense Ministry announced the transfer of Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati, and Mohammed Ahmed Salam to Oman, adding that the United States “is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.”

© EAST NEWS/ TECH. SGT. MICHAEL R. HOLZWORTH
Guantanamo Ex-Detainees Recidivism Rate Drops Three-Fold Since 2009
The ministry also thanked the government of Estonia for accepting the transfer of Akhmed Abdul Qadir to the country.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp was established in 2002 following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Ever since, the military prison was subject of criticism by human rights advocates, as former detainees described the inhumane conditions of their imprisonment, including use of torture.

In 2009, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order to review the status of all individuals detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and to shut down the detention facilities there. Up to date he has cut the number of detainees nearly in half but the complete shutdown has not taken place yet.

There are currently 122 detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Republicans call for moratorium on release of Gitmo prisoners

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Citing danger to the US and its allies, Republican senators have proposed legislation that seeks a moratorium on the release of “medium- and high-risk detainees” held at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In addition to imposing a two-year hold on the transfer of the majority of the 127 prisoners at the facility, the legislation would also bar the transfer of any detainees to Yemen for two years.

“It’s clear that we need a ‘time out’ so that we do not re-confront the terrorists that we had captured and are currently in Guantanamo,” US Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the bill’s sponsor, said at a Tuesday news conference.

“We shouldn’t just release them back out in this security setting that they could come back and attack us again,” Ayotte added, according to AFP.

The Guantanamo prison was first opened following the attacks of September 11, 2001, to house suspected jihadist militants with ties to Al-Qaeda. It eventually became an international symbol of human rights abuses.

In 2014, the Obama administration made progress in releasing low-level detainees, finding host nations for 28 prisoners — the highest number of transfers from the prison in one year since 2009. That year, President Obama first took office after vowing to close the facility, where many detainees who remain today have been kept for well over a decade without being charged or tried.

“I’m going to be doing everything I can to close” Guantanamo, President Obama told CNN in an interview aired on Dec. 21, echoing sentiments he has expressed often since taking office. Congress, he continues to insist, is to blame for the prison’s extended existence. Among other obstacles to shuttering the detention center, Congress has instituted a ban on detainee transfers to the US mainland.

“It will be very, very difficult for us to achieve that goal (closing the prison) before the president leaves office as long as Congress continues to block that path,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, a longtime supporter of the prison’s continued existence, said his committee would eventually take up the new bill, which, he said, will likely garner substantial support among Republicans in the GOP-led Senate.
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“We know for a fact that roughly 30 percent of those who have been released have re-entered the fight,” McCain said during the news conference.

Reuters reported that an anonymous Obama administration official countered McCain’s 30-percent figure, saying the senator has combined “suspected” and “confirmed” cases of recidivism, which creates a “damaging misperception” about how many released Guantanamo detainees engage or reengage in militancy after release.

“Over 90 percent of the Guantanamo detainees transferred during this administration are neither confirmed nor even suspected of having reengaged in any terrorist or other hostile activity,” the official told Reuters.

He added that nearly half of those suspected of “re-engaging” are now either dead or in custody.The

The provision of the legislation that prohibits transfers to Yemen – where 81 Gitmo detainees are from, more than any other single group at the facility – was justified, the senators said, by last week’s attacks in Paris – most notably the assault on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. One of the two brothers who executed the attack had sought weapons training in Yemen in 2011, according to French authorities.

“The last thing we should be doing is transferring detainees from Guantanamo to a country like Yemen,” Ayotte said, according to Reuters.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the France attacks show that some detainees should be held in jail the rest of their lives without a chance of release under supervision.

“The idea that you can release these people and watch them has a hole in it,” Graham said, AFP reported. “Monitoring has its limitations.”

The legislation also extends the ban on transferring released Guantanamo prisoners to the US for two years, and bars the construction of facilities to hold detainees in the United States.

Over the weekend, activists took to the property of former vice president Dick Cheney’s Virginia home to protest the 14th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

FRENCH NEWSPAPER SAYS IT RECEIVED DEATH THREATS AFTER HEBDO ATTACK

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    Newspaper received “it’s your turn” threat

by SPUTNIK | JANUARY 14, 2015

Le Canard Enchaîné, a major French satirical weekly, received death threats the day after the Charlie Hebdo deadly attack, the newspaper said in the issue to be published Wednesday, part of which has been released on its website.

The message that Le Canard Enchaîné received warned “It’s your turn”, saying that journalists, working for the weekly, would be slashed with an axe and not killed with a Kalashnikov like their fellow-colleagues at Charlie Hebdo.

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According to Le Canard Enchaîné, surveillance of the newspaper has been heightened and police are conducting an investigation.

The Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine was attacked by gunmen on January 7. As a result 12 people were killed and another 11 were injured. The two terrorists responsible for the attack were killed later during a police raid. The third suspect turned himself in.

Prior to the attack, the magazine posted a caricature of the leader of the Islamic State militant group on its Twitter page. Previously, Charlie Hebdo received several threats from radical Islamists over its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.