Isolated Incidents for an Islamophobic New Year

Our Austrian correspondent AMT has collected a series of articles about recent “isolated incidents” that just happen to involve the followers of Mohammed.

Good-bye 2009, Hello 2010!
Nothing new from the Religion of Peace
by AMT

The last days of a decade characterized by and remembered for the relentless rise of Islamic terrorism, beginning with the Al-Qa’eda-led attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001, ended with comparably small bangs, and the new year — and with it a new decade — started with even more small bangs. As always, we are led to believe that these attacks are isolated cases, but so far none of our politicians has stooped to explain to me — their potential voter — what exactly they mean by an “isolated” case. Since I might have misunderstood the exact meaning of the word “isolated”, I consulted my favorite dictionary, the Longman Exams Dictionary, for its definition:

An isolated action, event, example etc happens only once, and is not likely to happen again.

Ah yes. Here we have it. Happens only once, unlikely to happen again. Now let us see if some of last week’s incidents fit the definition of “isolated”.

December 25, 2009

White House: Failed Airline Bombing Was Attempted Act of Terrorism

A male passenger on an international flight bound for Detroit Friday tried to blow up the plane with an explosive device in an incident that the White House is labeling an attempted act of terrorism.

Several people were hurt on the plane, which had Delta markings, but was listed as Northwest Flight 253. One person, possibly the suspect, was admitted to the University of Michigan Medical Center at Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said.

The suspect, who ABC reported suffered second-degree burns, told federal investigators he was connected to Al Qaeda, though authorities are questioning the veracity of that statement, Fox News confirmed. A federal situational awareness bulletin noted that the explosive was acquired in Yemen with instructions as to when it should be used, ABC said.

Isolated? Flashback to 2007: Glasgow: Blazing car crashes into airport and Bomb plot: Arrests and releases. Notice the names of the terrorists…

December 29, 2009

Church screening of ‘Jesus’ film attacked in Pakistan

As many as 50 Muslim villagers armed with clubs and axes recently attacked a showing of the ‘Jesus’ film near Sargodha, Pakistan, injuring three part-time evangelists and four Christians in attendance.

Two of the evangelists were said to be seriously injured. The Muslim hardliners also damaged a movie projector, burned reels of the film and absconded with the public address system and donations from Christian viewers in Chak village, about 10 kilometers northeast of Sargodha.

Officers at the Saddr police station refused to register a case against the Muslim assailants, sources said.

See how isolated, never-to-happen-again this incident was:

December 29, 2009

Muslims attack and set fire to a house of prayers
– – – – – – – –

A group of unknown assailants attacked and set fire to a house of prayer in early December in the village of Tlogowero in Bansari sub district (Java), local Police Chief Anthony Augustine Koylal said. “The motive is not yet known. We are still investigating the case with local authorities,” he added,

Police sources said the attack occurred late at night when a group of people stormed the building. After breaking windows and doors, they set fire to the building, which was razed to the ground. The attackers fled the scene when the house began burning.

The police chief also said that a similar incident occurred two years ago in the same area.

Local sources said that the main reason for the attack was the objection by local Muslims to the presence of a praying house for Christians near their villages.

So far, the authorities conducted out a cursory inquiry into the facts. No one who might have information on what happened has been interrogated.

This attack is just the latest in a long series of aggressions against Christians in Indonesia.

December 30, 2009

Radical Muslims threaten women’s minister

By David Rogers

A banned radical Islamic organization has sent a threatening letter to Social Democratic (SPÖ) Women’s Minister Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek after she called for a ban on burqas, according to the Österreich newspaper.

The newspaper reported today (Weds) that the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization based in Lebanon had sent it a three-page email after Christmas in which it condemned the minister’s remarks last week and threatened her using the sentence from the Koran: “And know that Allah is strong in punishment.”

The organization’s Vienna spokesman Shaker Assem also called “on Austrian Muslims to cease supporting the SPÖ”. (article in German)

Österreich said it had handed the document to the Federal Crime Office (BK), adding that to date there had been no serious investigation of Islamic fundamentalists in Austria.

Hizb ut-Tahrir — which experts say is the first transnational organization dominated by Palestinians calling for a caliphate or world-wide Islamic state — is considered dangerous and was banned in 2003 in Germany for its support of violence.

A spokesperson for Heinisch-Hosek said her ministry had been in contact with the Office for Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism and was taking the matter very seriously.

Some Austrian media have reported that the Office for Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism has had Hizb ut-Tahrir under observation.

In her comments in several interviews on 23 December, Heinisch-Hosek had said: “I consider the burqa a sign of the submission of women. It greatly hinders women from finding jobs in the labour market. If more women wearing burqas appear in Austria, I will test a ban on them and enact administrative fines for women wearing them in public buildings.”

She added that Islam was a danger to women’s rights when it led to “politically fundamentalist-oriented policies” such as the mandatory wearing of burqas.

An isolated attack? Not expected to happen again?

December 31, 2009

More attacks against Christians in Mosul

Attacks continue against Christians to push them to flee from Iraq. Yesterday afternoon Zhaki Homo Bashir, a Christian deacon, was hit by gunfire from a group of unknown criminals. The man had just entered his shop located in the district of al Jadida. Seriously injured, he was transported to hospital. AsiaNews published the news yesterday of the kidnapping a college student from an Islamic group. News has also reached the agency in recent days that another Christian was killed on Christmas Eve; Basil Isho Youhanna was hit by gunfire in front of his house in the neighbourhood of Tahrir, in northern Mosul. In recent weeks there has been an increase of killings of Christians and attacks on churches and convents. All the violence is part of a project of “ethnic cleansing” against the Iraqi Christians, reported to AsiaNews by Msgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk. The national government and the local governorate are powerless before these attacks, while the different ethnic groups Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen — with the possible infiltration of extremist cells — are all blaming each other.

According to local sources, since 2003, the year of the fall of Saddam Hussein, at least 1960 Christians have been killed in Iraq. Their presence has been reduced by at least half because of the exodus to other quieter areas of the country (Kurdistan) or abroad.

Here is another isolated incident, where this tiny minority of extremists denies the majority the pleasure of sports:

January 1, 2010

Pakistan volleyball bombing kills 88

A suicide bomber killed scores of people Friday during a volleyball game in Laki Marwat, a city in northwest Pakistan, police said.

Police said the bomber drove a truck packed with explosives onto the sports field in Laki Marwat, The Times of London reported. The confirmed death toll climbed rapidly during the day with the Times putting it at 88. Most of the victims were children as young as 12, the newspaper said.

Anwer Khan, 18, told The Times he saw a black pick-up truck head toward the spectators. “A giant flame leaped toward the sky,” Khan said. “There was bright light everywhere, just like a flash, and then a very huge blast shook everything. Two pellets hit my forehead and blood started flowing.”

Isolated incident? Flashback to last year: Day of cricket that turned into 30 minutes of terror:

In the early morning sunshine over Pakistan ‘s cultural capital, Lahore, the Sri Lankan cricket team’s coach glided out of one of the city’s most luxurious hotels, the Pearl Continental, and edged into the morning traffic. The squad were to take to the field of Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium, one of the subcontinent’s cauldrons of cricket, in the third day of their Test match against Pakistan.

Winding through, the coach stopped at the junction of Liberty roundabout, a landmark noted for its sculptured pond. Mohammad Khalil, driver of the bus carrying the Sri Lankan team, remembered thinking how quiet the roads were.

But at 8.30am the city’s roar was replaced by a deadlier boom: that of a rocket launcher.

“As we approached the Liberty Roundabout, I slowed down. Just then what seemed to be a rocket was fired at my coach, but it missed and I think flew over the top of the vehicle,” said Khalil. “Almost immediately afterwards a person ran in front of the bus and threw a grenade in our direction. But it rolled underneath the coach and did not seem to cause that much damage… I was shocked and stunned.”

What had begun as a day of cricket turned into half an hour of terror. The first explosion had in fact missed the cricket convoy by 20ft. From the shade of the trees that line the main boulevard in eastern Lahore a dozen men came armed with rockets and guns in their hands.

Raking bullets into the side of the coach carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team, a dozen young men were intent on causing bloody mayhem in the upmarket avenues of the city. The first three gunmen on the scene, captured by television cameras, calmly opened fire with AK-47s on the coach — mowing down Pakistani police.

They then turned their attention to the bus, coolly aiming first at the tyres, then the chassis before shattering the windows. The coach quickly filled with shards of glass and pools of blood.

Injured players hit the floor and there were cries of “Go! Go!” as the coach zigzagged its way through the ambush. “We all dived to the floor to take cover,” said Sri Lanka ‘s team captain, Mahela Jayawardene.

Maids being mocked, raped, assaulted, attacked, treated as slaves… Isolated incidents? Unlikely to happen again?

December 31, 2009

Filipino migrant in Saudi Arabia: exploited and mocked for her faith

“My Life in Saudi Arabia was like a prison and the anguish of those moments was unbearable.” This is the story of Norma Caldera, a Filipina domestic worker who emigrated to work in Saudi Arabia and escaped after seven months of constant harassment due to her Catholic faith. “Every day I got up early to pray — she tells — and every time my colleagues and employers saw me they began to insult and mock me for my Christian faith.”

Like 10 million other Filipinos, Norma was forced to leave her country to seek work abroad. For 17 years she worked in Hong Kong, but the crisis has forced her again to leave to go to Saudi Arabia to work as a maid in a family. The Arabian country employs around 200 thousand Filipinos. These as well as being exploited and poorly paid, are subject to verbal and physical violence because of their Christian faith. The last case concerns a girl, Sylviane Hugilon Baser, who died in mysterious circumstances. So far, Saudi authorities have refused to provide explanations about her death and to return the body to the family which has been lying in a morgue for months.

“When I told my employers that I was Catholic and wanted to die a Catholic, the first thing they did was lower my salary from $ 1,000 to 700,” says Norma. “During Ramadan — she continues — they forced me to fast with them. For me it was difficult to work with the same pace without being able to eat. But unfortunately I had no choice. “ The woman adds that in the seven months of work she was not allowed to leave, even to go to Mass on Sunday. She also did not have her own room or a bed to sleep. The only place to rest was the kitchen floor or a tent pitched in the backyard.

“I lived this occasion, praying and having faith in God — she continues — I was willing to make this sacrifice to be able to pay for my two daughters education.”

On 29 December, the woman returned to the Philippines, five months before the expiry of the contract. Norma says that he will try to find work at home or in another non-Islamic country.

Isolated case? Take a look at this report from 2005:

Another Maid Fights to Stay Alive After Rape, Torture

Another Indonesian guest worker is battling to stay alive after being subjected to sadistic tortures and rape by her sponsor.

Twenty-five-year-old Suniati Binti Nibaran Sujari is in intensive care with burns to more than half of her body and brutal injuries to her genitals as her life hangs in the balance.

The woman, who worked as maid, was rushed to the intensive care unit of the Riyadh Medical Complex (Shumaysi Hospital) on Thursday morning. Her employer has been detained and is being questioned by police about allegations of sexual harassment and physical torture.

This is the second case of inhuman torture of an Indonesian maid that has surfaced within the last three weeks. Nasser Al-Dandani, the Saudi lawyer who represents the Indonesian Embassy in this case, confirmed the reports of the torture of Suniati but refused to divulge details of the case.

“I don’t want to influence the investigation currently being carried out in this equally tragic case after the much-publicized case of Nour Miyati, who is currently recovering in the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.”

However, Arif Suyoko, a spokesman for the Indonesian Embassy, gave details of the case.

“Suniati has suffered extensive burn injuries on her face, her hands, legs and all across her abdomen and genitals. She could only nod her head and blink her eyes when the name of her employer as culprit was mentioned to her in the hospital,” said Suyoko, referring to her deteriorating condition at the ICU. She is unable to swallow solid foods because of severe burns on her chest.

Hospital officials did not pick up the phones despite several calls made by Arab News yesterday. But, a source at the hospital, on condition of anonymity, said Suniati is in a critical condition. The source, however, refused to comment on her chances for survival.

“Suniati probably has been raped besides being tortured by her sponsor and his family members,” Suyoko said. “On different parts of her body, there are deep burn injuries and scars, while the skin has been badly damaged.”

He said the embassy appreciated the cooperation extended by Saudi officials in the two cases. It was not immediately known how long Suniati worked for the family. She hails from West Java in Indonesia. Embassy officials also expressed concern that cases of sadistic torture and brutal beatings of housemaids appear to be increasing.

“There is a need to streamline the whole process of maid deployment,” said another diplomat, adding that Jakarta’s ban on deployment of maids in Saudi Arabia continues. “A joint meeting of senior Indonesian officials from the Ministries of Labor, Law, certain human rights organizations and ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Jordan is likely to be convened in Jakarta this month to make an assessment of the situation and review the ban on maids.”

Saudi Arabia currently is home to more than 600,000 Indonesian women workers — mainly maids. The Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh has been receiving nearly 10 complaints every day from maids, while the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah has been handling some five to seven complaints a day.

Several Indonesian maids committed suicide during the last 18 months. More than 5,000 maids are currently stranded in Riyadh alone awaiting deportation.

Today’s attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard constitutes but the last in a series of isolated incidents. Westergaard committed an inexcusable act of blasphemy by drawing a less than favorable (in the eyes of the followers of the religion that favors isolated incidents) cartoon of the prophet Mohammed.

January 2, 2010

Danish cartoonist saved from attack

Police foiled an attempt to kill artist Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoons several years ago depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked outrage in the Muslim world, the head of Denmark’s intelligence service said today.

A 28-year-old Somalia[n] man was armed with an ax and a knife when he tried to enter Westergaard’s home in Aarhus last night, said Jakob Scharf, who heads the PET intelligence service. The assailant has “close relations” to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab and to al-Qaeda leaders in eastern Africa, Scharf said in a statement.

Westergaard, 75, who had his 5-year-old granddaughter on a sleepover, called police and sought shelter in a specially made safe room, authorities said. He was not hurt. Police arrived and tried to arrest the man; he wielded an ax at an officer, who then shot him in the knee and hand, authorities said. The man is to be charged today with attempted murder, Scharf said.

In 2008, plans for an attack on Westergaard were foiled:

Murder plot against Danish cartoonist

Early Tuesday morning, Danish police arrested three men with a Muslim background suspected of conspiring to kill Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Two of those arrested are Tunisian citizens, one a Danish citizen, according to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, which has kept the group under surveillance for months.

The 40-year old Danish citizen is of Moroccan origin. Upon his arrest, he was charged with attempted violation of section 114 of the Danish anti-terrorism act. On Tuesday evening, after being interrogated, he was discharged.

Pursuant to the regulations of the Danish aliens’ act, the two Tunisian citizens are held in custody in preparation for expulsion from Denmark. On Thursday 14th Feb., the two Tunisian citizens will be brought before a judge for the latter to determine whether detention regulations have been observed. The Danish Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs has sanctioned their expulsion from Denmark.

As I ponder the above short list of isolated incidents as well as the very long, more comprehensive list of terrorist incidents at TROP, namely more than 14,600 since 2001, I experience a certain uneasiness. What is it with the word “isolated” that it is used so often, so indiscriminately by our politicians concerning atrocities committed — let’s come out of the bush and say it — by Muslims? Where do these men and women — who are, after all, paid by us, the taxpayers — get the idea that 14,600 attacks since 2001 by, mind you, Muslims, are mere “isolated incidents” committed by “a tiny minority of extremists”?

My only conclusion is that we need to change the entry on the word “isolated” in all English dictionaries:

An isolated action, event, example etc happens more than once, and is likely to happen again.

One thought on “Isolated Incidents for an Islamophobic New Year

  1. How about 1,000 automobiles torched in Paris over New Years. How about pirates capturing 4 ships this week. I think AMT is just warming up.

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