Picture of the Week: Islam's War On Freedom Of Thought In Bangladesh

From The Religion Of Peace:
Hacked to death by Religion of Peace activists in the last two years:

Niloy Neel - Secular Blogger
Oyasiqur Rhaman - Atheist Critic of Religion
Hussein Ali Sarkar - Convert to Christianity

Shafiul Islam - Professor and Secularism Advocate
Jogeshwar Dasa Dhikari - Hindu Priest
Nazimuddin Samad - Liberal Blogger

Ananta Bijoy Das - Science and Logic Blogger
Xulhaz Mannan - Gay Rights Magazine Editor
Faisal Arefin Dipan - Secular Book Publisher

Tanay Majumder - Theater Actor and Accused Homosexual
Rezaul Karim Siddique - Professor and Music Promotor
Avijit Roy - Atheist and Author

FBI Arrests Brother Of San Bernardino Jihad Murderer And 2 Others

From the Los Angeles Times:
Federal agents arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, on charges of marriage fraud, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators on Thursday morning, according to a criminal complaint.

Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister Mariya Chernykh were all arrested Thursday morning and charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court that centers around a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez, who has been charged with aiding in the deadly Dec. 2 attack at the Inland Regional Center.

Two people were arrested at Raheel Farook’s home after the FBI conducted a search warrant Thursday morning, according to Sgt. Paul Mercado, a spokesman for the Corona Police Department. A second search warrant was served at Chernykh’s home in Ontario, federal prosecutors said.

In the course of the investigation into the terrorist attack, federal investigators determined that Marquez received money to marry Chernykh, who took part in the wedding only in order to gain legal status in the U.S. FBI agents interrogated Chernykh as part of the probe into the terror attack, and prosecutors say she lied during those interviews, saying she lived with Marquez, when she actually resided in Ontario….

Italy Arrests 4 Muslims In Islamic State Plot To Attack Israeli Embassy, Vatican

From Jihad Watch:
“Italy nabs four suspected in ISIS plot to attack Israeli embassy, Vatican,” Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2016 (thanks to Cecilia):
Italian police on Thursday arrested four people suspected of conspiring to carry out attacks on behalf of Islamic State in Italy.

The Israeli embassy in Rome and the Vatican were among the alleged targets, Newsweek cited Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli as saying.

“I want to hit Israel in Rome,” one suspect named as Abderrahim Moutahrrick was said to have told another suspect in an intercepted conversation, according to the report.

Investigators believe one of the suspects asked another to plan an attack in Italy and mentioned Rome.

As part of the same investigation, police also issued arrest warrants for two fugitives – a Moroccan man and his Italian wife who left Italy and headed towards Iraq and Syria last year.

The four arrested Thursday include a man and wife living near Lake Como — a 23-year-old Moroccan man, and a female relative of the fugitive couple….

Terror Warning For Sweden: Tourists Told To Avoid Crowded Places In Stockholm

From The Express:
The alert comes amid heightened fears across Europe of a Paris or Brussels-style terror attack involving Islamic State jihadis who have returned home after training in Iraq and Syria.

Swedish police are investigating a potential terror threat planned in the capital Stockholm, the US embassy said.

Officials warn "terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation".

A statement on the embassy's website said: "US citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.

"Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.

"Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events."

Palestinian Woman Throws Knife At Border Guard, Is Killed Along With Suspected Accomplice

From Times-Of-Israel:
A Palestinian woman and young man attacked border guards with a knife at the Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank on Wednesday, police said, and were gunned down by forces on the scene.

No Israeli forces were injured in the incident, but the two assailants were killed in the attempted assault at the Qalandiya checkpoint, police said.

The man and woman, who were identified later as a sister and brother, arrived at the crossing and began walking towards the Border Police officers stationed at the checkpoint, which lies just south of Ramallah, a police spokesperson said.

“The officers called them to stop a number of times,” according to a police statement.

Initially, the couple did stop and started walking away, but “suddenly” the two turned around, and the woman took a kitchen knife out of her purse. The Arab woman then “approached Border Police officers in guard posts with a knife in her hand,” police said.

When she got closer, the woman “threw [the knife] directly at an officer, who was unharmed,” police said.

“The officers and security guards worked quickly and shot at the terrorists, neutralizing them,” a spokesperson said.

A butcher’s knife and a Leatherman-style multi-tool were also recovered from the man’s belt, police said.

The female assailant was identified as 23-year-old Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, based on an ID card found at the scene. The male attacker was later identified as Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16, her brother. Both were said to be residents of Surif, a village in the central West Bank.

Qalandiya and the adjacent crossing between the West Bank and Israel have been frequent hotspots of conflict in the recent wave of violence that has rocked Israel since September.

Last week, IDF troops clashed with Palestinian residents of the city while carrying out a demolition order for the home of a terrorist who killed 23-year-old Shlomit Krigman in a January attack. Two soldiers were lightly injured in the scuffle when rocks were thrown at troops.

Bombing Injures 10 In Turkish City

 From WSJ:
A woman blew herself up Wednesday near the Grand Mosque in Turkey’s major manufacturing hub of Bursa, officials said, injuring at least 10 people in the latest attack to hit Turkey as it grapples with dual threats from Islamic State and Kurdish separatists.

The attacker, identified by Turkish officials as a young woman who died at the scene, carried out the bombing in the busy bazaar outside Bursa’s 14th-century Grand Mosque, which is one the city’s biggest tourist attractions.

The attack was the fifth bombing targeting a major metropolitan area in Turkey this year, and it came less than 24 hours after the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a public warning that there were serious concerns about terrorist attacks at popular tourist sites around Turkey.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that investigators were working to figure out who was responsible for the bombing.

“These terror attacks won’t lead Turkey to step back from its decisive attitude towards fighting terrorism,” Mr. Davutoglu said in a late night press conference in Ankara, the country’s capital. “We will maintain the most decisive attitude towards terrorism.”

Bursa, which served as the second capital of the Ottoman Empire, is a popular stop for tourists and lies about 100 miles south of Istanbul, across the Marmara Sea.

Turkey has stepped up security across the country in recent weeks amid persistent concerns about militant attacks.

Last month, a suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed three Israelis and an Iranian walking on Istanbul’s busiest pedestrian mall, an attack that prompted Israel to urge its citizens to immediately leave Turkey. That same week, a Kurdish car bomber hit central Ankara, killing at least 35 people.

Wednesday’s attack came as the Turkish military is stepping up its efforts to clamp down on Islamic State’s main route out of Syria. On Tuesday, Turkey and the U.S. said they were sending more military personnel and advanced weaponry to the Turkey-Syria border to help Syrian rebels struggling to push Islamic State out of key battlefields.

At the same time, Turkey is entangled in a protracted conflict with Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey who are fighting for autonomy and increased rights.

While most of the fighting has been confined to Kurdish majority areas near Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq, Kurdish separatists extended their fight to Ankara in February by targeting a convoy of buses carrying Turkish military personnel home for the day. A small Kurdish splinter group claimed responsibility for the car bombing, which killed 30 people, including the attacker.

In January, another suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed 13 German tourists gathered in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist quarter.

The increasing threats prompted the U.S. government last month to order more than 650 relatives of American personnel working in Turkey to leave the country. The U.S. government’s steps have been closely watched in Turkey. In February, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning about a possible attack in Ankara two days before the first Kurdish car bombing.

In Ankara, Mr. Davutoglu criticized America for issuing the alerts. “Such kind of warnings unfortunately psychologically lead to unnecessary concern,” he said. “Terror is a global threat.”

Christian Woman Gang-Raped In Pakistan As Attacks Against Believers Escalate

From Christian-Post:

A Christian woman in Pakistan was brutally attacked and gang-raped by two young Muslim men while her husband was away serving in the army.

The attackers also threatened the woman's young daughter, the British Pakistani Christian Association said on Monday, forcing her to comply to their demands.

"The men treated me like an animal, telling me I was a worthless Christian, but I know my God is a great God. When I screamed they told me that they knew my husband was away and that I was unprotected. They threatened to kill my child if I did not comply with their perverse demands," said the victim, 30-year-old Asia Mushtaq from the Toba Tak Singh district.

"They said Christian women are all whores and they would come back and repeat their debauchery if I ever told anyone. I feel so unclean now, but have done nothing wrong. I want these men to be punished and hope the law will protect me," she added.

The husband, 32-year-old Shakil Khan, was on duty in Peshawar at the time serving the army.

The Muslim attackers knew that Khan was away when they entered the family home at night and attacked Mushtaq. They reportedly bound her wrists and ankles to the bed, before raping her, and threatened to kill her 2-year-old daughter if she resisted.

The Christian woman reported the violent attack at Rajanan Police Station first thing in the morning, and BPCA confirmed that a First Information Report has been registered.

The alleged rapists have since been apprehended by the police, the human rights group said, but because they come from wealthy and influential families, the Pakistani Army has so far refused to offer assistance to Khan as he pursues justice for his wife.

"Another woman finds herself a target of the whims of brutal Muslim rapists in Pakistan, in a society that targets its most vulnerable community: Christians. Furthermore, this time a soldier, whose only desire was to serve and protect his country, has found that the majority of his country do not feel the same way about him," said Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA.

"Moreover, the army he serves has offered little or no protection despite threats being made against him and his family. It pains me to say this but the complex acts of betrayal leave me feeling that Christians have no place in Pakistan's theocratic society," Chowdhry added.

Christian girls and women have been subjected to increasingly violent attacks this past year at the hands of Muslim attackers. Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a lawyer with Legal Evangelical Association Development in Pakistan, said earlier this week that at least five Christian girls have been been kidnapped, married off and forced to convert to Islam in April alone.

"In April in the area of Kasur alone, five Christian girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam and forced to marry their captors. These girls are denied the legal protection of individual rights," Gill told Fides News Agency.

On many occasions Pakistan's local police has failed to register a First Information Report of the crimes, reflecting the persecution that Christians in the country face.

Gill argued that the 'phenomenon continues to have unacceptable proportions,' with a number of cases each year of Christian girls being forced into Muslim marriage going unreported.

French Soldier Sliced By 'Arabic-Speaking Man'

From The Local (France):
The attack occurred on Saturday night near the central train station in Strasbourg, reported BFM TV.

At around 8pm, the man was reportedly walking in the same direction as some patrol troops when he turned around, sliced the face of one of the soldiers, then fled the scene.

The soldiers, who were patrolling the station as part of France's heightened security measures following last year's terror attacks, allowed the man to escape rather than risking the safety of the public or causing a stampede, they said.

The aggressor was reportedly speaking Arabic at the time, though did not say "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as has been the case in previous random attacks on soldiers and police in France.

The soldier did not sustain serious injuries, the channel reported.

Ever since the terror attacks in Paris last January, France has seen armed soldiers patrolling the streets, especially in busy areas like train stations and tourist attractions.

Since then there have incidents where soldiers have been attacked, by individuals.

In February last year, a man attacked three soldiers with a knife in southern France's Nice. Two of the troops received wounds.

In January this year, a man was shot and wounded after driving his car at four soldiers guarding a mosque in southeastern France.

In May 2013 a solder was attacked by a man with a knife in La Defense business district near Paris.

Irish Solicitors Told To Carry Bible And Quran

From ABNA:
The Law Society of Ireland has warned its solicitor members that they must always carry a copy of the Bible and the Quran if they are to strictly fulfill an order issued by one of the country's most senior judges.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, has made it clear that when a solicitor oversees a sworn affidavit, a Bible or other relevant religious text must always be used.
The only exception is where somebody objects to the use of such a text on religious grounds.

Now the Law Society, in a circular seen by the Sunday Independent, has privately warned its members that they must strictly abide by this ruling. Christians use the New Testament, Jews tend to use the Old Testament, while Muslims swear on the Quran.

But Judge Kelly's ruling means that in practice solicitors must now always have a copy of the Bible or the Quran in their possession during working hours, in case they have to administer an oath and neither is available.

A legal source said the judge was well known for his strongly held views on certain issues and this ruling was in line with his overall approach to such matters.

It is understood that the Prison Service does not have copies of the Bible or the Quran available in a number of institutions.

In such situations, it is incumbent on a solicitor to make their own arrangements when overseeing the swearing of an oath.

Syria: Eight Children Killed In Christian, Kurdish Communities

From Christian Today:
Christian and Kurdish neighbourhoods in Aleppo have come under attack and a number of children have been killed as Syria continues to struggle with intensified fighting, more than five years into its civil war.

On Monday the Christian neighbourhood of Sulaymaniyah in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria and populated mainly by Armenians and Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs, was attacked.

A Demand for Action (ADFA), a group working for the protection of minorities in the Middle East, said in an update on Facebook that Sulaymaniyah came under fire from "terrorists".

"It was only weeks after photos had been circulated all over the world, depicting the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II celebrating with the inhabitants of Aleppo, that Christians were finally safe. Now, they are under heavy attack again. Many children were killed today," ADFA said.

It posted a video clip by Inews, in which Aleppo residents "are begging the world not to forget them. They cry out: 'They want to exterminate us. Enough is enough. We have been forgotten, why... why... we are begging...'"