Iran: Muslim Convert To Christianity Gets Five Years In Prison

From Jihad Watch:
Ibrahim Firouzi, a Muslim convert to Christianity in Iran, was sentenced to the maximum five years in prison for “action against national security through collusion and gathering.”

After Firouzi converted to Christianity, he was arrested on August 25, 2013 and convicted of evangelizing, colluding with “anti-regime” foreign networks, launching a Christian website, and, in short, working against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Although his prison term was supposed to end on January 13, 2015, authorities continued holding him illegally, and on March 8 sentenced him to serve another five years “in very difficult conditions.”

Christians Are ‘Prisoners Of Conscience’ In Uzbekistan

From Jihad Watch:
Reports appearing in April told of the harassing, jailing and fining of several Christians in Uzbekistan for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief. One of the prisoners of conscience—Council of Churches Baptist Doniyor Akhmedov—was fined more than three years’ official minimum wage after his release from 15 days in jail.

Other prisoners of conscience to be jailed for short periods include a Protestant in Bukhara, who received seven days’ imprisonment for “illegal” religious activity and another Protestant who received 10 days’ jail time for “teaching religion illegally.”  Their identities remain anonymous due to fears they might suffer further state reprisals.

Nine more Protestants were fined for “illegally storing” Christian literature and materials in their homes. Their homes were raided earlier by police who confiscated various Christian books and CDs and DVDs.

“Religious minorities face tight scrutiny in Uzbekistan as they are unable to openly practice their beliefs without facing major penalties such as jail terms or heavy fines,” reports Forum 18 News.

Muslim Man Stabs And Drowns Coptic Christian Woman

A Muslim man stabbed a Christian woman with a knife multiple times and then threw her body into a canal last week in Egypt.

The Coptic Christian woman, Gamila Basilious, was 48-years-old and married, living in the Ibrahmiya region of Minya.  According to police reports, the man, Mahmoud Hassan Abdulhamid, came to her door inquiring about her husband. When he discovered her husband was not present, he took advantage of the situation by attacking her with a kife, with repeated stab wounds found on her neck and chest region.

As Christian (or “infidel”) minorities, Coptic Christians are regularly attacked in an assortment of ways in Egypt, including kidnapping, church attacks, and slaughter.

Turkey Bulldozes Armenian Christian Orphanage

From Jihad Watch:
The orphanage was built in 1962 on the initiative of the Armenian Protestant community. Reports Agenzia Fides:
Thanks to its activities, the institution has helped 1,500 children to grow up in an environment based on the spirituality and culture of Armenian Christianity. There was also Hrant Dink among its students, the Armenian Turkish journalist, founder of the bilingual magazine Agos, killed in 2007 after being repeatedly threatened with death for his positions on the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish State had expropriated the orphanage in 1987, and all legal attempt by the Armenian Protestant communities to regain control of the building fell on deaf ears.

New York: Muslim Pleads Guilty To Jihad Plot To Murder U.S. Military Personnel

From Reuters via Yahoo! News:
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Yemeni man who prosecutors said was a member of al Qaeda and engaged in attacks against U.S. military forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring to kill Americans overseas.

Saddiq al-Abbadi, 40, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, to four counts including conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals abroad and conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Al-Abbadi, who appeared in court with a black beard and wearing blue jail clothes said that during the period in question, “I and others agreed to provide material support to al Qaeda.”

The plea came after prosecutors in January unveiled charges against al-Abbadi and another Yemeni man, Ali Alvi al-Hamidi. Both men had been arrested in Saudi Arabia and were subsequently expelled.

Al-Abbadi faces up to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis scheduled sentencing for Sept. 25. His lawyer declined to comment after the hearing.

Prosecutors have said that al-Abbadi fought against U.S. military forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2007, before traveling with Al-Hamidi to Pakistan in 2008 to train and fight with al Qaeda.

In mid-2008, al-Abbadi and al-Hamidi traveled from Pakistan to separate parts of Afghanistan to conduct attacks against the U.S. military, prosecutors said.

Al-Abbadi led at least two separate attacks against U.S. forces in Pakistan’s Paktya province, including one in May 2008 in which a U.S. Army Ranger died and several others were wounded, prosecutors said.

The pair also helped Bryant Neal Vinas, a Long Island, New York, man, join the Islamic militant group, prosecutors said in court documents. Vinas pleaded guilty in 2009 to helping al Qaeda plan an attack on the Long Island Rail Road.

Al-Abbadi had been a longtime member of al Qaeda, prosecutors said, and engaged directly with its senior leadership, including Abu Saeed al-Masri, its former third-ranking member who was killed in 2008….

For An IS Fighter, A Paid Honeymoon In Caliphate's Heart

From the AP:
The honeymoon was a brief moment for love, away from the front lines of Syria's war. In the capital of the Islamic State group's self-proclaimed "caliphate," Syrian fighter Abu Bilal al-Homsi was united with his Tunisian bride for the first time after months chatting online. They married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa's restaurants, strolling along the Euphrates River and eating ice cream.

It was all made possible by the marriage bonus he received from the Islamic State group: $1,500 for him and his wife to get started on a new home, a family — and a honeymoon.

"It has everything one would want for a wedding," al-Homsi said of Raqqa — a riverside provincial capital that in the 18 months since IS took control has seen militants beheading opponents and stoning alleged adulteresses in public. Gunmen at checkpoints scrutinize passers-by for signs of anything they see as a violation of Shariah, or Islamic law, as slight as a hint of hair gel. In the homes of some of the IS commanders in the city are women and girls from the Yazidi religious sect, abducted in Iraq and now kept as sex slaves.

The Islamic State group is notorious for the atrocities it committed as it overran much of Syria and neighboring Iraq. But to its supporters, it is engaged in an ambitious project: building a new nation ruled by what radicals see as "God's law," made up of Muslims from around the world whose old nationalities have been erased and who have been united in the "caliphate."

To do that, the group has set up a generous welfare system to help settle and create lives for the thousands of jihadis — men and women — who have flocked to IS territory from the Arab world, Europe, Central Asia and the United States.

"It is not just fighting," said al-Homsi, who uses a nom de guerre. "There are institutions.There are civilians (that IS) is in charge of, and wide territories . It must help the immigrants marry. These are the components of a state and it must look after its subjects." Al-Homsi spoke in a series of interviews with The Associated Press by Skype, giving a rare look into the personal life of an IS jihadi.

The new IS elite is visible in Raqqa, the biggest city in Syria under the extremists' rule.

Luxury houses and apartments, which once belonged to officials from the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, have been taken over by the new IS ruling class, according to a member of an anti-IS media collective in the city who goes by the name of Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi.

Raqqa, at the center of IS-controlled territory, is cushioned from the fighting around its edges. Its supermarkets are well stocked and it boasts several internet cafes.

"The city is stable, has all the services and all that is needed. It is not like rural areas the group controls," al-Raqqawi said. "Raqqa is now the new New York" of the caliphate. Like others in his media collective, he uses a nickname for his security and doesn't specify his whereabouts.

Helping fighters marry is a key priority. Aside from the normal stipend, foreign fighters receive $500 when they marry to help them start a family. The 28-year-old al-Homsi got a particularly large bonus because his new wife is a doctor and speaks four languages.

The AP has spoken with al-Homsi repeatedly over the past three years, since he started as an activist covering the fighting in his home city of Homs in central Syria. An IT specialist before the civil war in 2011, al-Homsi always espoused ultraconservative views in media interviews, sympathizing with the idea of a caliphate.

He said he had supported IS as early as 2013. But it was in mid-2014, after a two-year punishing siege of Homs, that he turned into a fighter. When the siege ended in a May 2014 truce, al-Homsi emerged as an official IS member.

It was from his social media activity that he met his wife, who admired his online media briefings.

After communicating online, al-Homsi found out that her brother had joined the group and was in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour. As is customary, he went to ask her brother for her hand in marriage.

The 24-year-old bride-to-be traveled through Algeria to Turkey, and from there to Raqqa with a group of other women joining IS. They were housed in a guesthouse for women, where the IS women police force also resides.

Al-Homsi made the hazardous 150-mile (250-kilometer) journey from Homs to Raqqa to join her, after getting a recommendation from his local commanders.

It was a rare marriage of a Syrian male fighter with a foreign migrant. Usually, foreign women marry foreign fighters in IS.

During the few days of their honeymoon, al-Homsi and his bride enjoyed Raqqa's relative tranquility, riverside promenades and restaurants.

Then the couple travelled back to the Homs area, where IS fighters are holding ground against Assad's forces and rival rebel groups.

There, al-Homsi used the money from his grant to prepare a home for his new bride, and four kittens. The couple is now expecting a new baby and hoping for another cash injection, as the group can pay up to $400 as a bonus for each child.

For now the group provides a stipend of $50 a month for him and a similar amount for his wife.

He also has an allowance for his uniform and clothes, some household cleaning supplies, and a monthly food basket worth $65.

Soon after speaking to the AP, al-Homsi was back on the battlefield, among the fighters who took over the ancient city of Palmyra earlier this month.

"The fighter is on the front," al-Homsi said. "How will he bring food to the house?"

Egyptian Sheikh Khaled Kholif: We Must Commence Our War With The Shiites

With anti-Western and anti-Semitic rhetoric sprinkled in ...

In a May 15 Friday sermon titled "Let's Start with the Shiites, before the Jews," posted on the Internet, Egyptian cleric Khaled Al-Kholif said that Sunni Muslims should commence their war with the Shiites or else "the Jews and Crusaders will become the decision-makers" in our own countries.

Belgium: Islamic Extremists Call On Antwerp Mayor To Convert To Islam Or Die

From Sputnik News:
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Islamic extremists in Belgium have publicly threatened to kill the mayor of the Belgian city of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, if he does not convert to Islam, local media reported Monday.

A sign written in French stating threats against de Wever, who is also the head of the nationalist political party the New Flemish Alliance, was placed on one of the main squares of Antwerp. Experts are currently assessing the seriousness of the action and the message.

“I always warned that we will not get rid of the threat from Islamic extremists in the near future. This was ignored for years. This wound became apparent now with [the current developments in] Syria and will fester for a long time before we will get rid of it,” de Wever said.

Throughout his political career, De Wever has repeatedly received threats. The Belgian government has provided him with security guards at state expense.

In the light of advance of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the Middle East and a number of ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks in Europe, the European Union has currently seeing a surge in anti-Islamization sentiment.

According to September 2014 statistics from Belgium’s Ministry of Interior, between 300 and 350 Belgians have gone to fight alongside the ISIL in Iraq and Syria since 2012.

Shiite Iraqi Militia Leader Qais Khazali: The U.S. Ambassador Acts As If He Owns Iraq

Qais Khazali, secretary-general of the Shiite Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq militia in Iraq, recently criticized the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, saying that he "had the audacity" to set conditions upon Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi's entry into Al-Anbar Province, "as if Al-Anbar is one of the states of the USA." "It is as if you own this country and we are the foreigners," he said on May 18, 2015.

Egypt: Grandson Of Medical Pioneer Cannot Follow Same Profession For Being Christian

From Jihad Watch:
Dr. Khaled Montaser [left], an Egyptian intellectual and frequent critic of the Islamization of the country, recently discussed how discrimination against Christians is widespread in certain medical professions.

During a televised program, he pointed out that, although the pioneer of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Egypt was a Coptic Christian (Dr. Naguib Mahfouz), his grandson is essentially banned from entering these professions because he is a Christian.

Montaser confirmed that this policy has caused Christian students increasingly to continue their studies abroad, pointing out that this “policy” has become a norm—one of many that discriminates against Copts—even if not a formal law.