Robert Spencer: A Landmarks Commission Hearing, and Much More
Perhaps predictably, the Landmarks Commission hearing today to consider landmark status for 45 Park Place, the proposed site of the Islamic supremacist mega-mosque overlooking Ground Zero, was about much more than just whether the building at 45 Park Place merited landmark status or not. It quickly became a public forum on Islam, Muslims in America, and the appropriateness of a huge mosque at Ground Zero. [...] I spoke. I started by saying that I shared the view that some others had already enunciated, that this was supposed to be a hearing on the landmark status of 45 Park Place, not about what good citizens Muslims were and how much New York needed an Islamic “interfaith” center. But since that discussion had not been stopped and was thus apparently deemed relevant, it was also relevant that the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the mega-mosque project, was pro-Sharia — a system of law that mandated discrimination against women and non-Muslims, and extinguished the freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. It was also relevant, I said, that he had been dishonest about his funding sources, saying in English that the mosque would be funded by American Muslims, and saying in Arabic that funding would come from Muslim nations. It was further relevant that he had declined to denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization, and that he had helped fund the jihad flotilla that was trying to take arms into Israel. I closed by pointing out that Riddle had said that the building had no unique historical value, but that it did, because it was the only building into which part of a 9/11 plane had crashed, and as such should be a war memorial. A Communist (really! At the Staten Island mosque hearing he actually shouted, “Workers of the world, unite!”) started shouting that I was a bigot, to which I responded that it was not bigotry to point out dishonesty and subversion, and that the Commission should consider carefully whether or not it was being lied to by the mosque proponents.
France’s lower house of parliament Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a ban on any veils that cover the face – including the burqa, the full-body covering worn by some Muslim women. The vote was 335 to 1. The measure must still go to the French Senate before it becomes law. The Senate is expected to vote on it in the week of September 20.
Abigail Pesta: An American Honor Killing
Around the sprawling, sunbaked campus of Dysart High School in El Mirage, Arizona, not many people knew about the double life of a pretty, dark-haired girl named Noor Almaleki. At school, she was known as a fun-loving student who made friends easily. She played tennis in a T-shirt emblazoned with the school mascot — a baby demon in a diaper. She liked to watch Heroes and eat at Chipotle. Sometimes she talked in a goofy Keanu Reeves voice. She wore dark jeans, jeweled sandals, and flowy tops from Forever 21. She texted constantly and called her friends “dude.” In other words, she was an American girl much like any other.
But at home, Noor inhabited a darker world. She lived a life of subservience, often left to care for her six younger siblings. Noor’s father, 49-year-old Faleh Almaleki, was strict and domineering, deeming it inappropriate for her to socialize with guys, wear jeans, or post snapshots of herself on MySpace. Her responsibility was to follow orders, or to risk a beating. From her father’s perspective, the only time Noor’s life would ever change would be when she married a man he selected for her — back in his homeland of Iraq. Noor, however, had a different vision for herself. Having lived in the U.S. for 16 years, she held dreams of becoming a teacher, of marrying a man she loved, and, most importantly, of making her own choices.
On a cloudless, breezy afternoon in late October 2009, her father set out to end those dreams. As Noor walked across a suburban parking lot to a Mexican restaurant with a friend – a 43-year-old woman named Amal Khalaf – Faleh Almaleki gunned the engine of his Jeep Grand Cherokee and bore down on his 20-year-old daughter and her companion. The women took off running but were no match for the SUV, already traveling close to 30 miles per hour. Suddenly Amal turned, held up her hands in a futile attempt to stop the Jeep, and froze. Moments later, the vehicle struck the women, tossing them into the air. Amal hit the pavement; Noor landed on a raised median, in a patch of pebbly landscaping. Faleh wasn’t done, though. Swerving onto the median, he ran over his daughter as she lay bleeding, fracturing her face and spine. Then, he reversed and sped away.
Passersby heard the roar of the engine, screams, the impact of the bodies as they hit the Jeep’s grill. They saw the women lying on the ground, their sandals scattered across the lot. A witness called 911, and emergency vehicles converged. Amal’s condition was stable; Noor was comatose. Local police characterized the incident as an attempted “honor killing” — the murder of a woman for behaving in a way that “shames” her family. It’s a practice with deep, tenacious roots in the tribal traditions of the Middle East and Asia. (The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women die annually from such crimes.) Women are stoned, stabbed, and, in the recent case of a teenage girl in Turkey, tied up and buried alive. But honor killings in America are a chilling new trend. In Texas, teen sisters Amina and Sarah Said were shot dead in 2008, allegedly by their father, because they had boyfriends. That same year in Georgia, 25-year-old Sandeela Kanwal was allegedly strangled by her father for wanting to leave an arranged marriage. Last year in New York, Aasiya Hassan, 37, was murdered in perhaps the most gruesome way imaginable: She was beheaded, allegedly by her husband, for reportedly seeking a divorce. And this past spring, 19-year-old Tawana Thompson’s husband gunned her down in Illinois, reportedly following arguments about her American-style clothing.
Amazingly, honor killings in the U.S. have been largely ignored by the national media. That’s because these incidents are typically dismissed as “domestic” in nature — a class of crime that rarely makes the headlines. Since the murderer is a member of the woman’s family, there’s no extended investigation to capture the public’s attention. Also, the family of the perpetrator rarely advocates for the victim, due to either fear or a belief that the woman got what she deserved. “From the family’s point of view, if the goal is to end rumors about their female relative, the last thing they want is to have the press talk about the case,” says Rana Husseini, a human-rights activist and author of Murder in the Name of Honor. Still, the lack of media coverage or public outcry cannot erase the evidence: Honor killings have washed up on our shores.
Amie Ferris-Rotman: Russia’s Muslim South Triples Sharia Bride Price
Against the backdrop of a bubbling Islamist insurgency, the revival of Islam in the North Caucasus following the break-up of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago has brought sharia law to the region, revered by both rebels and ordinary citizens alike. The issue of the ‘kalym’, a price paid by a groom to the family of the woman he chooses to marry, is the latest example of a broader trend that has troubled the Kremlin. [...] Polygamy, illegal under Russian law, is encouraged by local authorities in the region. Last month rights workers blamed police for paintball attacks on Chechen women for not wearing headscarves, and Islamist fighters in Ingushetia have gunned down kiosk workers for selling vodka.
Saeed Kamali Dehghan: Campaign for Iranian Woman Facing Death by Stoning
A 43-year-old Iranian woman is facing death by stoning unless an international campaign launched by her children forces the authorities to quash what her lawyer calls a bogus conviction. In a case that highlights the growing use of the death penalty in a country that has already executed more than 100 people this year, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted in May 2006 of conducting an “illicit relationship outside marriage.” Sakineh already endured a sentence of 99 lashes, but her case was re-opened when a court in Tabriz suspected her of murdering her husband. She was acquitted, but the adultery charge was reviewed and a death penalty handed down on the basis of “judge’s knowledge” – a loophole that allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present. Speaking to the Guardian, her son Sajad, 22, and daughter Farideh, 17, say their mother has been unjustly accused and already punished for something she did not do. “She’s innocent, she’s been there for five years for doing nothing”, Sajad said. He described the imminent execution as barbaric. “Imagining her, bound inside a deep hole in the ground, stoned to death, has been a nightmare for me and my sister for all these years.” Under Iranian sharia law, the sentenced individual is buried up to the neck (or to the waist in the case of men), and those attending the public execution are called upon to throw stones. If the convicted person manages to free themselves from the hole, the death sentence is commuted.
James Gordon Meek and Katie Nelson: Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Puts ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed’ Cartoonist Molly Norris on Execution Hitlist
A charismatic terror leader linked to the botched Times Square car bomb has placed the Seattle cartoonist who launched “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” on an execution hit list. Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers – singled out artist Molly Norris as a “prime target,” saying her “proper abode is hellfire.” FBI officials have notified Norris and warned her they consider it a “very serious threat.” In an English-language Al Qaeda magazine that calls itself “Inspire,” Awlaki damns Norris and eight others for “blasphemous caricatures” of the Prophet Muhammed. The other cartoonists, authors and journalists in Awlaki’s cross hairs are Swedish, Dutch and British citizens.
Dutch News: Van Gogh Killer Has No Regrets
Six years after murdering film maker Theo van Gogh, his killer Mohammed Bouyeri has no regrets about his action, the AD reports on Friday. The paper has got hold of a letter written by Bouyeri to a Muslim group which turned up in Belgium. In the letter Bouyeri writes that he has ‘no regrets’ about the choices he has made and the road he has traveled, the paper says. ‘Not one second in all these years.’
Elnaz Babazadeh, a 26 year old woman was raped and murdered by Basij forces in the city of Tabriz (northwestern Iran) last week. According to the reports, Basij forces stopped Babazadeh in her car for not following the Iranian regime’s dress code. Elnaz resisted and ignored orders given by the Basij forces. Then the Basij forces who had initially stopped her jumped into her car and threatened her with a gun. Two other Basij members joined in and all together they beat and raped her. They murdered Babazadeh and dumped her body close to Emamiyeh cemetery. After local investigation was conducted by HRANA members in Tabriz, it was confirmed at Babazadeh’s funeral that the person who killed her was the son of a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards member.
All articles continue at links. Part of a series that never ends…  and etc. It is not the proper role of the State to moderate clothing, but it might be the proper role of the State to make crime and violence more difficult. A legal ban on the burqa in all circumstances is inappropriate, but a legal compulsion to reveal oneself in some circumstances (banks, airports, during arrests, getting a photo license) might be appropriate. Hospitals (State and private) should have policies mandating hygienic behavior as a condition for continued employment no matter the religion of the employee. If washing one’s hands includes revealing one’s hands and is thus against Islam, so much the worse for any would-be Muslim health care worker. Private businesses are best left to private policies regarding required or forbidden clothing. And having said all that, it is better of courts in France to fine women who wear the burqa than it is for courts in Iran to rape and murder women who no not wear the burqa. These legal and cultural systems are not only different from one another, but one is better than the other. How can I tell? One rapes and murders women who no not wear the burqa, and one does not. The one that doesn’t is better. One culture threatens cartoonists and murders film makers, and one does not. The one that doesn’t is better. One culture has neighborhood stonings of half-buried women as a trial by survival, and one doesn’t. The one that doesn’t is better. When individuals from the culture that is worse identify themselves plainly, such as with the burqa, the State of the culture that is better can be tempted to use that easy identifier as a means to preserve itself. But liberty is not easy. Do not ban the burqa. Do not ban Islam. Existing laws in the West protect freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and protection from violence and intimidation. Islam is against these laws, but no new anti-Islam laws are needed to keep it at bay.