ISIS Loots Churches, Sells Artifacts To Western Buyers

From Christian Today:
A church in Maaloula, Syria, is among those desecrated by Islamic State militants. (Reuters)
Western collectors are thought to be in direct contact with Islamic State looters, who have taken millions of pounds worth of artefacts from ancient churches across Iraq and Syria, it has been claimed.

President of the Belgian federal police council, Willy Bruggeman, told The Times that ISIS are "using their own networks to come into contact with the final buyers...they want to have a one-to-one relationship with the collectors".

Bruggeman also said that some looted goods had almost certainly been sold to UK buyers, though none have as yet been traced.

Goods are most likely smuggled across the borders using the same illegal channels as oil and arms. ISIS has secured huge amounts of money from oilfields in eastern Syria, and has also pillaged ancient sites – taking priceless antiques from monasteries and churches, among other sites.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official told the Guardian in June that militants had taken $36million, around £23million, from the al-Nabuk area – a mountainous region west of Damascus – alone.

The group has specifically targeted Christian sites, and Bruggeman confirmed that murals and masonry ripped from church walls are among the most commonly traded artefacts. ISIS doesn't just steal, but also usually entirely desecrates religious sites. A fourth-century Syrian monastery was seized by insurgents in July, and militants also destroyed a tomb thought to be that of biblical prophet Jonah.

Bruggeman said the attack of religious sites is a means by which ISIS can "undermine the morale of the communities they invade".

"You...see a kind of cultural cleansing," he said.

Last week, it was revealed that churches in Qaraqosh, Iraq, are being used as torture chambers by Islamic State militants.

Abu Aasi, told The Sunday Times that Bahnam Wa Sara and Al Kiama churches in Qaraqosh were being used to hold and torture prisoners.

"Most inside are Christians and they are being forced to convert to Islam," Mosul priest Abu Aasi said.

"Isis have been breaking all the crosses and statues of Mary."

Woman Who Inspired #illridewithyou After Sydney Jihad Siege Now Admits She “Editorialized” Much Of The Story

From Jihad Watch:
Rachael Jacobs claimed that she saw a woman take off her hijab over fear that she would be attacked by “Islamophobes” during the Sydney jihad siege at Lindt Chocolat Cafe. Now she admits that she had no idea why the woman took off her headscarf: “She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm!”

Meanwhile, predictably, no Muslims have been victimized by raging anti-Muslim vigilantes. The specter of such attacks is merely a tool that the mainstream media and Islamic supremacists use to intimidate people into think that jihad terror cannot be resisted, because if it is, innocent Muslims will suffer.

“Sydney siege: backtrack over post that inspired #illridewithyou,” by Brighette Ryan, The Australian, December 18, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
GAPS have appeared in the story that inspired the #illridewithyou Twitter phenomenon.

University lecturer Rachael Jacobs had originally posted a status on Facebook, explaining how she offered to protect a woman who felt uncomfortable wearing her hijab.

According to her story, Ms Jacobs had seen the woman beginning to remove her scarf, and ran after her, saying “Put it back on. I’ll walk with you.”

The exchange took place on a Brisbane train, while the Sydney siege was taking place in Sydney’s Martin Place.

However Rachael Jacobs has admitted that she “editorialised’’ parts of her story.

“Confession time. In my Facebook status, I editorialised. She wasn’t sitting next to me. She was a bit away, towards the other end of the carriage,” she wrote.

Detailing her thought process, Ms Jacobs now says she wondered if she even needed to help.“She might not even be Muslim or she could have just been warm!,” she wrote.

The hashtag continues to divide people on social media, with some lauding it as Australia’s way of combating Islamophobia.

Others say it detracts from the real tragedy of two people being murdered at Martin Place.
Uh, yeah.

Tsarnaev Appears In Court For 1st Time Since 2013

From Yahoo! News:
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings.

Security was tight at the federal courthouse in Boston for Tsarnaev's final pretrial conference. Tensions ran high, and one bombing victim had a testy exchange with protesters outside.

During the brief court hearing, U.S. District Court George O'Toole Jr. made no rulings, saying he would rule in writing on pending motions, including the defense's latest push to move the trial out of Boston.

David Bruck, one of Tsarnaev's lawyers, told the judge that the defense plans to file a motion to delay the trial, which is now scheduled to begin on Jan. 5 with jury selection. Bruck did not say how long of a delay the defense will seek.

At one point, the mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev called out to Tsarnaev in Russian in the courtroom. Elena Teyer said she told him: "We pray for you. Be strong, my son. We know you are innocent."

Later, in English, she yelled to the law enforcement officers escorting her out of the room: "Stop killing innocent people. Stop killing innocent boys."

Tsarnaev never flinched or acknowledged the shouts.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the April 2013 marathon. Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted.

Tsarnaev, 21, wore a black sweater and gray trousers and had a scruffy beard and a curly hairstyle similar to the one seen in earlier photos. He smiled to his attorneys and one patted him on the arm.

The courtroom was packed with FBI agents, police who worked on the case and more than a dozen survivors and family members.

Outside the courthouse, a man who lost his right leg in the bombings had a testy exchange with a small group of protesters holding signs supporting Tsarnaev and questioning whether authorities have proof that he is responsible for the bombings...

UK: Muslims Kept Slave Workers In Squalid Conditions

From Jihad Watch:
The Qur’an has Allah telling Muhammad that he has given him girls as sex slaves: “Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty.” (Qur’an 33:50)

Muhammad bought slaves: “Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported: There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) on migration; he (the Holy Prophet) did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave (or a free man).” (Muslim 3901)

Muhammad took female Infidel captives as slaves: “Narrated Anas: The Prophet offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was still dark and then said, ‘Allahu-Akbar! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.’ Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiya was amongst the captives. She first came in the share of Dahya Alkali but later on she belonged to the Prophet. The Prophet made her manumission as her ‘Mahr.’” (Bukhari 5.59.512) Mahr is bride price: Muhammad freed her and married her. But he didn’t do this to all his slaves:

Muhammad owned slaves: “Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle was on a journey and he had a black slave called Anjasha, and he was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Waihaka (May Allah be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!’” (Bukhari 8.73.182) There is no mention of Muhammad’s freeing Anjasha.

“Squalid homes of freed slaves,” Oldham Evening Standard, December 17, 2014 (thanks to Melanie):

Police have released images of the squalor that they say 10 alleged slave-workers had to endure in Rochdale after two men were charged and three others arrested in connection with enslavement and trafficking offences.

As the Chronicle reported yesterday, 20 east European men and women were rescued after police swooped on a picture framing factory in Ings Lane, Rochdale.

Greater Manchester Police officers — alongside partner agency teams from Rochdale Council, the Home Office and HMRC — executed a warrant at the factory on Monday.

The search warrant was executed at part of the Caldershaw Centre, on Monday as part of Operation Retriever, which is designed to tackle human trafficking in Rochdale.

It is alleged that the men and women who lived there were paid £25 for an 80-hour week after deductions for rent and travel.

Images released by police also show the shocking conditions in which the workers were living. They were all cramped into one small terraced house in Rochdale which had plaster falling from the damp-infested walls.

As a result of the warrants Mohammed Iqbal (51), of Belmont Way, Rochdale, and Najum Mohammed Iqbal (40), of Harrison Close, Rochdale, were both charged yesterday with knowingly requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Two other men, aged 34 and 43 were arrested on suspicion of the same offences, while a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences. All three have been bailed an are due to appear before court.

A police spokesman said: “Of the 20 people found to have been working in the factory, 13 men and women, all from Slovakia, are now thought to have been victims of the enforced labour and trafficking offences….

UAE: British Citizens Warned To Observe Shariah This Christmas To Avoid Long Jail Sentences

From Breitbart:
The Foreign Office has launched a campaign to remind travellers to respect Islamic law at Christmas while abroad, releasing a series of rhymes inspired by American 19th century seasonal poem Twas The Night Before Christmas, or as it is more formally known, A Visit From St. Nicholas.
Clearly conscious that the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are not at all reluctant to put British citizens behind bars for infringing the strict Sharia law imposed there, the poems are careful not to strike too dark a tone, following a fictional ex-pat who wants to go out for a drink. The story begins with the familiar rhyme describing his departure, and warning any would-be travellers to pack their passports, and to check their travel documents are in order.

The cautionary tale takes a turn for the slightly more surreal, however, when Stuart Nicholas goes to a party. The Foreign office warns kissing what we can assume is his wife, or appearing drunk in public could land him in prison.
Go here for more.

Egypt Jails 40 Morsi Backers For Church Fires

From France 24:
An Egyptian court sentenced 40 backers of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to up to 15 years in jail Thursday for violence including torching churches, a judicial source said.

Followers of Morsi have been the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since he was deposed in July 2013 by ex-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The criminal court in Assiut in southern Egypt sentenced two defendants to 15 years each, while the others were given jail terms ranging from one year to 10, the source said.

They were accused of taking part in acts of violence in Assiut last year during which five churches, several police stations and a number of shops were set on fire. There were no reported casualties.

The court acquitted 61 others standing trial in the same case, the source said.

Violent clashes erupted across Egypt on August 14, 2013, as news spread across the country of a violent dispersal by the police and army of two protest camps in Cairo set up by Morsi supporters.

Dozens of churches and church properties were attacked across Egypt after the bloodshed, in response to perceived Coptic Christian support for Morsi's ouster.

The crackdown since then has left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 15,000 imprisoned.

The ex-president and many top leaders of his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood are themselves in jail and on trial in cases in which they face the death penalty if convicted.

Dozens of Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death after mass trials which the United Nations says are "unprecedented" in recent history.

Taliban Death Squad: 'We have killed all the children, now what do we do?'

From the Daily Mail:
The depraved Taliban gunmen who slaughtered 132 students at a school in Pakistan contacted their commanders to ask: 'We have killed all the children, now what do we do?', it has been revealed.

Having stormed the Army Public School in Peshawar using machine guns and rocket launchers to massacre those inside, the six men were instructed to await the arrival of soldiers before detonating their suicide vests, according to a security official citing unspecified intelligence gathered on site.

The details come as it emerged sixteen prominent commanders from different wings of the Pakistani Taliban were involved in organising the attack, with another senior militant named Umar Adizai - also known as Umar Naray and Umar Khalifa - acting as the six killers' overall 'handler'.

The hunt is now on for the 17 men, all of whom have been named, with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moving to end the moratorium on executing those convicted of terrorism - effectively signing the death warrant for the savage Peshawar commanders should they be caught.

Parents of the 132 victims of the Peshawar massacre now face the horrific ordeal of having to identify the remains of their children, many of whom have had their heads separated from their bodies either by bomb blasts or as a result of the militants' indiscriminate gunfire.

The news came amid reports that a five-year-old girl named Khola Altaf was the youngest victim of the massacre - despite alleged instructions from Taliban commanders not to kill 'small children'.

Khola is understood to have been on her first day the school's kindergarten when gunmen burst into the room and shot her at point blank range.

Following Tuesday's massacre, the Pakistani military carried out 20 airstrikes in a remote Taliban stronghold in the north west of the country, killing at least 57 militants.

The order for the raid was given by the overall leader of the Pakistani Taliban Maulana Fazlullah, whose previous crimes include ordering the failed murder of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

His capture will now be the highest priority for security officials, although, like many Pakistani Taliban leaders, he is believed to be hiding over the border in Afghanistan's Nuristan province - the same frontier region where the sickening Peshawar attack is thought to have been planned.

Pakistani Honor Attack: Nephew Attacks Aunt With Acid Over Alleged 'Loose Morals'

From the Express Tribune:
A boy attacked his aunt with acid on Tuesday accusing her of loose morals. The woman was taken to Nishter Hospital where doctors treating her said her condition was critical.

Police said Asfar*, 16, a resident of village Jalalpur Khaki, Shujabad, had attacked Sehrish, 24, his aunt, a daily-wage worker and a mother of two.

On Monday night, Asfar had accused her in front of her family of speaking to strangers on her phone, police said. He had said he would kill her if she did not hand over her phone to him.

Amjad, Sehrish’s brother, told media men on Tuesday that Asfar brandished a gun in front of the family demanding that Sehrish give him her phone. He said Sehrish denied the allegations and refused to hand over the phone. Then Asfar left their house, Amjad said.

“Asfar returned half an hour later with a bottle of acid and threw it on Sehrish and fled,” Amjad said. 
Sehrish was taken to the tehsil headquarters hospital in Shujabad but doctors referred her to Nishter Hospital in Multan.

Doctors at Emergency Ward of Nishter Hospital told The Express Tribune that the victims had lost both her eyes. The doctors said that the woman had 60 per cent burns on her body and was being kept at the ICU ward.

“We are trying our best to save her but she is still in a critical condition,” they said later.
Saddar Superintendent Atif Nazeer said they had registered a case against Asfar. He said they had constituted teams to look for Asfar. “We will arrest him soon,” he said.

Suspected Islamic Extremists Kidnap 185 In Nigeria

From ABC News:
Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185 in an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April, witnesses said Thursday.

In Sunday night's attack on the village of Gumburi, most of the kidnapped were young women, children and members of a civilian defense group fighting Boko Haram, according to residents, a security official and a local government officer.

Teenager Aji Ibrahim said he was lucky to escape into the bushes.

"No doubt they were Boko Haram members because they were chanting 'Allahu akbar' (God is great) while shooting at people and torching houses," he told The Associated Press.

News of the attack took days to emerge because the militants have destroyed communications towers and people walked for days to avoid areas under extremist control.

Gumburi is 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Chibok, the northeastern town where extremists kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in April. Dozens of the students escaped that attack, but 219 remain missing.

The militants have kidnapped hundreds of people, but the mass kidnappings of the girls from a boarding school attracted international outrage and condemnation of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his military for their failure to rescue the hostages.

The United States, Britain, France and China were among countries that sent security experts and hostage negotiators to help free the girls. Washington also flew drones over the area where it believed the schoolgirls were held. None of them has yet been found.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau initially demanded the release of his fighters who are being held illegally without charges or trial. But Jonathan said he would not negotiate with terrorists.

There were reports that some of the girls had been married to their captors and some carried across borders.

In a recent video, Shekau said the girls were "an old story," implying their release was no longer up for negotiation.

A series of attacks by young female suicide bombers in recent months has raised fears that Boko Haram is using kidnapped girls.

Boko Haram has seized a score of towns and villages in Nigeria where it has declared an Islamic caliphate along the northeast border with Cameroon.

Last month the insurgents seized Chibok and held it for two days until they were ousted by Nigerian troops.

Thousands of people have been killed in the 5-year-old Islamic uprising that has driven some 1.3 million from their homes.

Egyptian Human Rights Activist Ahmad Harqan: ISIS Is Doing What The Prophet Muhammad Did

In an October 21 TV interview, Egyptian human rights activist Ahmad Harqan explained why he had become an atheist and said that Islam is a "harsh religion," which was being implemented by ISIS and Boko Haram. They are doing "what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did," said Harqan. According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife survived an assassination attempt on October 25, and when they went to the police to complain, were arrested for disrespect to Islam. They were later released, and all charges were dropped.