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December 1998 
10 December 1998 Fifty Years of UDHR
Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the signing at UNO of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can obtain a copy at udhr.HTM
The Advertiser 10/12/98 by Ian Mc Phedran:
Australia has spectacularly reversed years of quiet acceptance of human rights abuses in some Asian countries.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Downer, has attacked the "Asian values" argument used by Asian governments and has blamed those very values for the Asian economic meltdown. The "Asian values" concept was first used by Singapore's strong man Lee Kuan Yew as an excuse for developing Asian countries to ignore global human rights standards. It has been used for years by the military junta in Burma, Malaysian leader Dr Mahatir Mohamad and former Indonesian leader General Suharto.
Until yesterday, Australian governments had quietly tolerated the "Asian way on human rights. The Asian approach to human rights has allowed brutal military regimes from Burma to Indonesia to suppress millions of people.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights yesterday, Mr Downer attacked countries using economic and social development as an excuse for ignoring political and civil rights. "For too long there have been people in Asia and elsewhere who have clung to the misguided notion of "Asian values" as a justification for clamping down on democratic movements or the natural inclination of people to participate in the democratic process. "They have also used so-called "Asian values" as an excuse for not allowing for an appropriate evolution of an open civil society. It is only an open civil society which can be inclusive, tolerant and truly outward looking ," Mr Downer said.In a direct warning to the Indonesia leadership and a veiled criticism of Dr Mahatir, Mr Downer said it was not enough for governments to merely hold elections. "If they follow those elections by erecting barriers to civil society such as suppressing dissent, hobbling the judicial system, cracking down on the media … they are weighing the scales unfairly and undermining democracy."That lack of transparency was arguably, more than anything else, the underlying reason for the Asian economic crisis - the greatest economic crisis of a generation." 
US "Mistakes" in Foreign Policy
The United States is continuing many of its policies dating from the Cold War. Sticking out, for example, its support for undemocratic military regimes in Turkey and Chile in the 1970s.It has been silent on the arrest of General Pinochet who led a coup, with US help, against the democratically elected marxist government of Salvadore Allende. Augusto Pinochet murdered thousands of progressives and "disappeared" hundreds of others.It has, however, called for the extradition of Abdallah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) to stand trial in Turkey. Does the USA forget its fight in 1776 to free itself from foreign domination?
The Kurds want an independent homeland in its areas of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and Iran. The US calls Ocalan a "terrorist" and Turkey blames him for the deaths of 30,000 people mostly killed by Turkish bombing!We support national liberation movements wherever provided that they have a democratic, secular agenda (thus Hamas which aims for an Islamic state is unacceptable) and do not target innocent men, women and children.
 Algeria - A Few Days in December
10 Dec 1998 GIA (Armed Islamic Group) bands attacked three villages near Tadjana, 170 km southwest of Algiers killing 81 people on their hit lists. (They singled out families with relatives in the civil defence forces.) They slashed the throats of children, cutting off the arms and legs of one of them.
Killing children does not follow the role model of the Prophet. (As in the previous article, he would not kill males who did not have pubic hair.)
They also kidnapped 20 women who in the past have been used as "temporary wives" and then killed..(Nor did the Prophet take Muslim women as concubines.)
6 Dec '98 GIA rebels attacked the hamlet of Tadjana killing 3 children, 3 women and three men.
10 Dec. '98 Digging has ceased at two wells which contained 67 bodies at Maftah, 20 km SW of Algiers. None of the victims have been identified but they are thought to have been those of women kidnapped as sex-slaves in 1996 and 1997.
8 Dec. '98 Three peasants were killed at the Bou Ismail area in Tipaza province, 60 km west of Algiers.
9 Dec. '98 Nine farm workers, mostly women and children were killed also in Tapaza province. 
 
6 Jan. 1999 Hardline Fundamentalists Assassinate Critics in Iran
Today the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran admitted that "rogue elements" in its own ranks had been arrested for the killings of dissidents.Majid Sharif, a translator and journalist who contributed to the now banned publication Iran-e-Farda, was found dead in a morgue in Tehran on 24 November 1998; Mohammad Moukhtari, a poet who was one of six writers questioned for trying to set up an independent writers' association called "Kanoun" was found dead on 3 December 1998 bearing marks of having been strangled; and Mohammad Ja'far Pouyandeh, an essayist and translator was found strangled on 11 December. We reported last month the murder of two other dissidents, Dariush and Parvaneh Foruhar who had been stabbed to death.
Now assassination of critics of Islam is Sunnah: the Prophet had three poets, Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, and Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, assassinated and another, Nadr executed for writing negatively about him,.so we must see that these latter-day assassins are punished. 
 
21/12/98 Tenth Anniversary of Lockerbie Bombing
On the 21 December 1988 a most heinous crime took place which has yet to be resolved. Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to New York, via London exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew were killed and 11 people on the ground.Clothing in the suitcase containing the bomb implicated two Libyans, working for airlines security in Malta. The two are Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, 46 and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 42 both officers in the Libyan Intelligence Service. Libya refused to hand the duo over for trial despite the imposition of sanctions against it. Now, it seems, Colonel Ghaddafi is willing for a trial to be held under Scottish law in a neutral country.Included among the victims was a contingent of students. One lot of grieving parents have "turned the other cheek" (an attitude only some Christians can maintain) and are helping orphans in Muslim Pakistan! 
 
15/12/98 "Irregularities" in Turkish Trial
Five of six police officers charged with killing Metin Göktepe have been temporarily released due to "procedural irregularities". Göktepe was a journalist for the far-left daily "Evrensel". Over the last ten years, twenty journalists have been killed without anyone being brought to justice for these assassinations.
30/12/98 Journalist Nuredin Sirin was sentenced to 20 month's jail for his editorial "One has to side with the oppressed even if they are atheists". Sirin presented his political view of the "Kurdish question" and recognized the Kurdish people's cultural identity. 
 
4 December '98 Muslim Mobs Burn Christian Church in Indonesia
Cheering Muslim mobs on Friday burned a Roman Catholic church in Ujungpandang capital of South Sulawesi province, 1350 km east of Jakarta. Thousands of rioters blocked fire trucks from reaching the church and two nearby houses.Last month we reported "tit for tat" burnings by Christians of 15 mosques in Kupang, West Timor in retaliation for the burning of churches in Jakarta on Nov. 22.
10 Dec. '98 More than 500 peacefully marked Human Rights Day in Jakarta today. High on the list of demands were: for Suharto to go on trial for corruption and human rights abuses, an investigation of the "disappearance" of activists, for an end to military involvement in politics, for women's rights and for independence for East Timor. 
 
8th Dec. '98 Fighting in Comoros
About 50 people have been killed in fighting between separatist groups on the Muslim island of Anjouan. The president, Foundi Abdallah Ibrahim, has escaped his second assassination attempt in a week. 
 
7 Dec. '98 Mass Grave Excavated in Bosnia
A deep cave near Sanski Most, 140 km SW of Sarajevo is thought to contain the bodies of more than 150 Muslims from the former Bosnian Serb detention camp of Omarska.
About 200,000 people were killed during the 1992-1995 conflict. More than 20,000 are missing and feared dead. 
 
December 1998 More than 1.9 Million Killed in Sudanese Civil War
The Committee for Refugees has collated figures from 40 aid groups working in Sudan to come up with the figure of 1.9 million deaths in Sudan since 1983. The black southern rebels, an alliance of animists and Christians are resisting the imposition of Shariah (Islamic Law) by the Muslim Arab government of the north.The report said the government has systematically blocked food assistance to southern populations, has attacked villages and has driven large numbers to areas where they could not survive. "It's a very deliberate strategy on the part of the government of Sudan to depopulate large parts of southern Sudan."
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November 1998
27/11/98 Two Hundred Bodies Found in Algerian Well
The GIA (Armed Islamic Group) is blamed for the deaths of 200 men, women and children of families which support the military-backed government. They had been kidnapped in the area 12 miles south-west of Algiers before being executed.
29/11/98 GIA posing as police at a roadblock killed two people near Ain Detfa.A father was killed and his son and wife seriously injured when his horse and cart struck a mine on a roadway near Chlef.
Hospital workers at Constantine were arrested for supplying medicines and transport to the GIA.Forty two people were wounded, two seriously when a roadside bomb exploded near a passing bus in the Oued Attoli area.La Nouvelle République reports that 500 Algerian Muslim rebels have moved from Afghanistan to Lebanon and are in training at Baalbeck.
13/11/98 Seventeen people including five women and eight children had their throats slit in the Ain Defla region. The GIA have a base in the forests nearby.
22/11/98 Five rebels wearing Afghan-style dresses were killed on Saturday by Algerian soldiers. They were held responsible for the recent killings in Ain Defla province.
On Friday a bomb exploded beneath a train in Saida province wounding three passengers.
4/11/98 GIA rebels stormed Boukaat Sidi Touil village and slashed six throats.Twenty one bus passengers were wounded, two critically when a bomb placed on a road near Medea exploded.
16/9/98 Amnesty International says that the Algerian government is holding 20,000 "terrorists" without charge and uses torture and extra-judicial executions. "There is a human rights crisis in the country." 
 
20/11/98 Christians Murdered in Pakistan
A Muslim group cut the throats of the Bhatti family (4 adults and 5 children, including a one month old baby) in Noshehrsa, NW Pakistan.The father, Sabir John Bhatti, had been involved in faith healing sick Christians and Muslims. Attempting to convert Muslims to another religion carries the death penalty by Islamic Law, which is not yet on the statute books. The Shariah Bill (Amendment 15 to the Pakistan Constitution has yet to be passed by the Senate. 
 
16/11/98 Sudan Bombs Hospital
For the fourth time the NIF (National Islamic Front) government has bombed the hospital at Lei, southern Sudan) killing two civilians. The pharmacy, theatre and maternity ward of the hospital, run by Norwegian Aid agency, were hit by five bombs at 8:30 a.m. today.Lei is in the rebel-held (SPLA, Sudan People's Liberation Army) area, an alliance of Christians and animists who refuse to be bound by Shariah. 
 
30/11/98 Churches, Mosques Destroyed in Indonesia
Tit for tat burnings of two mosques took place in Kupang, West Timor as Christians reacted to the destruction of 11 churches in Jakarta.Mainly Christian West Timor would have much more in common with an independent East Timor than the rest of Indonesia.
22/11/98 A Muslim mob of more than a thousand cornered six Ambonese Christians in a Jakarta Chinatown shopping plaza and killed them. Twenty Christians were saved by the military but, on the other hand, reports say that soldiers stood by while mobs looted two churches.
23/11/98 Another 8 bodies of Christian Ambonese were pulled from a burned gambling hall in Jakarta. Gambling is forbidden by Islamic law. A joint statement by Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri (Democrat) and Muslim leader Abdurrahman Said said, "The violence was not spontaneous. There were certain groups of people who purposely led the mobs to destroy the churches."
25/11/98 Reports indicate that 44 East Timorese were killed by Indonesian troops in the Alas region 200 km from Dili. One of them was the village chief, Mr. Vincente Xavier. Thirty people have "disappeared".We call for a genuine withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor and a UN-supervised referendum on self-determination. 
 
22/11/98 Dissidents Murdered in Iran
Outspoken critics of the Islamic government of Iran, Darinsh Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh were found stabbed to death in their home in Tehran. They had both often criticized violations of human and political rights via Western radio programs beamed to Iran.The Forouhars often protested against the restrictions placed on their non-violent political activity by the Iranian authorities and had expressed fear about their personal safety. HRW (Human Rights Watch) had observed that their telephone was tapped and visitors to their home were monitored. 
 
16/11/98 Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal Judgments
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has convicted two Bosnian Muslims and a Bosnian Croat on charges of war crimes against Bosnian Serb prisoners in 1992. However the court found that the leadership of the Muslim army was not responsible for planning atrocities.But by far the most atrocities were committed by Bosnian Serbs due to intense nationalistic and Serbian Orthodox opposition to Islam since the Turks invaded half a millenium ago. The Bosnian government is calling for the arrest and trial of wartime Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Ratko Mladic, ultimately responsible for the "ethnic cleansing" of 200,000 Muslims.
13/11/98 A UN refugee agency study says that nearly 60 per cent of homes in villagesattacked by Serb police have been destroyed or heavily damaged. 
 
6Nov98 Jewish Market bombed
Two members of Islamic Jihad were killed when their bomb exploded prematurely near the Mahane Yehudi market in Jerusalem. Twenty one Israelis were injured, one seriously.The Palestinian Authority has condemned the bombing and says that it will give PM Netanyahu an excuse to negate the "land for peace" deal.By the Wye agreement Israel was to free 750 Palestinian prisoners but only 250 common criminals (thieves, drug users, etc.) have been released to date. Palestinians want 2000 political prisoners freed but PM Netanyahu denies that he ever meant terrorists should be released. We consider that membership in Hamas or Islamic Jihad is sufficient justification for incarceration but has this been proven in all 2000 cases?Israelis are clamoring for their army to withdraw from the Southern Lebanon Security Zone especially since 7 Israeli soldiers were killed there in two weeks. However Netanyahu is concerned with the Hezbollah (Party of God) being able to shell kibbutzim in northern Israel from Lebanon. 
 
15/11/98 Saddam Nearly Brought Destruction to Iraq
Saddam Hussein's backdown to UN inspections came nearly too late to save Iraq from hundreds of missiles and bombs. Now he must cooperate fully as he will not get a warning next time.Saddam has been responsible for the deaths by malnutrition of thousands of Iraqi children as the sanctions would have been lifted years ago had he expedited the UN search for weapons of mass destruction. He has lost $100 billion worth of oil exports and wasted on the military, money which could have been used for food and medicines. He has even been caught out recently trying to buy missiles from Romania - it seems he never learns! 
 
24/11/98 Why the Harsh Treatment for Anwar?
Why have the Malaysian police treated Anwar Ibrahim as a dangerous criminal? His door was broken down when he was arrested, he was blindfolded and held incommunicado for days, not allowed bail and later appeared in court with a black eye and bruises. He has only been charged with corruption and sodomy (the latter not even a crime here in South Australia) The charge against him of sedition has not been proceeded with. What is sedition anyway? I have never heard of it being used in Australia if it is on the statute books? Surely opposition to a leader or his policies cannot be a criminal offence? 
 
6 Nov 98 Satellite TV Station Closed in Jordan
Under a new censorship law passed in September, the Amman office of Al Jazira TV station has been closed for "insulting the political regime". Reporters Sans Frontičres" want appeals to the King that journalists in Jordan be free to pursue their work as allowed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Jordan.
26/11/98 More than 250 women, including the king's sister, marched through the streets of Amman to protest against domestic violence. Two days before a father had been arrested for killing his 17 year-old daughter who had eloped with a boy-friend. About 25 women each year are killed in "crimes of Honour" and the imprisonment ranges from three months to two years.Delegates from ten Middle Eastern countries recommended on Monday that governments modernize their laws so those who commit violence against women receive tougher penalties. 
 
13/11/98 Shariah Imposed in Afghanistan
Radio Shariat says that Taleban religious police are enforcing their brand of Islamic law, particularly in recently captured territory. Most forms of light entertainment such as music, videos, chess, gambling, and alcohol are banned, men must grow beards and women must be covered from head to toe not even showing their faces. 
 
Sep. '98 Syrian Prisoner of Conscience Denied Life-saving Treatment
Nizar Nayyuf , in detention since1992 is suffering from Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer. The specialist treatment urgently needed to stop the disease spreading is not available at the military where he is kept.Amnesty International regards him as a prisoner of conscience as his "crime" was to lead the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights (CDF)Syria has signed the International on Civil and Political Rights, which stipulates in Rule 22 that "sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specializes institutions or to civil hospitals." 
5 Nov '98 Saudi Arabia Deports More Christians
Pann Ronquillo is the latest (22 Oct.) Philipino Christian to be deported for "blasphemous activities", in this case distributing Bibles. For several days he was in a cell 10m by 15m with 60 other prisoners. In June, 11 other Philipino Christians were deported.  
 
23/11/98 Bangladesh: Taslima Nasrin Granted Bail
Taslima is being tried on two charges of "insulting religious sentiments" for writing about attacks on the Hindu minority by Islamic militants. The charges carry two years imprisonment. While on bail the government has agreed to protect her from attack.20/11/98 The magazine "Jago Mujahid" has been raided following articles calling on Bangladeshi Muslims to launch an armed revolution modeled after the Taleban movement in Afghanistan and had printed an interview with Osama Bin Laden, accused of materminding the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.13/11/98 Eleven journalists were attacked (one is in intensive care) by militants of Jamaat-I- Islami.
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October 1998

Hamas "Heroes" Target School Bus
30/10/98 Islamic group, HAMAS has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Jewish school bus. (An Israeli soldier was killed instead as an army jeep intervened and took the full blast.) And yet many Palestinians complains because the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government are rounding up Hamas activists! Let them be warned that enough is enough, that membership in an organization that attacks innocent civilians and children is unacceptable and that the peace accord be made to work. 
 
16/10/98 University Suspends Students for Political Activity
One of the rights throughout the world is political activity but here in Malaysia this right is denied them. Eight students of the Universiti Utara Malaysia have been suspended from classes for one semester. The young men, aged between 20 and 24 admitted to handing out political leaflets. 
 
31/10/98 Muslim Mothers Face Discrimination in Malaysia
Existing Syariah (religious) law limits the rights of Muslim mothers who have custody of their children. They have problems not faced by non-Muslim mothers when seeking identity cards or passports for them or when sending them for studies. "Sisters in Islam" says, "There should not be two sets of laws on this." "Our call may not please some people, especially religious authorities, but it is a basic right." 
29/10/98 Positive role of DAP in Malaysia
The Democratic Action Party has repeated its call to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) whereby critics can be held indefinitely without trial. "There cannot be a check on the abuse of power by the Government if the ISA is still on the statute books."
31/10/98 The DAP has urged the police to act calmly in crowd control and not use force against any peaceful gathering.  


20/10/98 Another Mass Grave Found in Bosnia
A grave containing 274 bodies has been found near Zvornik, 80 km from Sarajevo. "Ethnic cleansing" by Bosnian Serb forces resulted in the deaths of up to 200,000 Muslims in the 1992-95 war. The Red Cross estimates that 20,000 Bosnians are still missing.  


24/10/98 Pakistan a Powder Keg
Religious and political violence in Pakistan "threatens civil war" say top Shiite sources. In Karachi alone 780 people have died this year and hundreds more in Punjab province.Sunni militants are "being trained in Afghanistan" and "aided by Saudi money. In turn Sunni groups blame Iran for aiding Shiite militants.
Four civilians were killed in a cross-fire between police and separatists in the Gandoh area of Kashmir.  


30/10/98 Islamists extradited to Egypt
Albania, Bulgaria and South Africa have extradited Islamic militants of the "Jihad" group held responsible for the 1995 suicide bombing which killed 16 people at Egypt's embassy in Pakistan About 1200 people have been killed in Egypt since 1992 when militants took up arms to create an Islamic state.  


30/10/98 Turkey Jails Academic
Prominent left-wing academic, Yalcin Kucik, was jailed for two years on charges of separatism after writing a book from the Kurdish viewpoint.  


31/10/98 Togo Bans FGM
Two Muslim women out of three have suffered female genital mutilation in the past. Now the west African nation of Togo has passed a law which sets jail terms of two months to ten years and fies of $182 to $1820. In Togo the mutilation, "female circumcision" consists of removal of all or part of the clitoris. The practice is favoured by the religious on the grounds that it lessens zina (pre- and extra-marital intercourse) although Prophet Muhammad did not have it inflicted on his daughter, Fatima.  


31/10/98 Kidnapped Priest Still Alive
Muslim renegades in Zamboanga province, southern Philippines are demanding 15 million pesos for the release of Father Lucio Benedetti who has been held captive for two months.  


31/10/98 HRW Calls for Probe into Taleban Atrocities
Human Rights Watch say that Taleban soldiers went from house to house after conquering Mazar-e- Sharif in August. Some 2000 Shia civilians are reported killed. HRW also calls on the United Nations to probe a massacre in 1997 of over 2000 Taleban prisoners-of-war reportedly thrown into wells and killed with hand grenades.  


31/10/98 Rushdie Still Under Threat
Although the moderate President of Iran has softened his stance on the British author of the "Satanic Verses", Salman Rushdie's life is still in danger. Thousands of Iranian clerics and theological students have pledged a month's salary for the killing.
25/10/98 Unfortunately Iran is a theocracy where the Supreme Leader of Islam, Ayatollah Khameini, has more power than the elected president, the final say in government decisions. An undemocratic selection system chooses the Supreme Leader - the Council of Guardians oversees the "competence" of candidates for the 86-member "Assembly of Experts" which chooses the "Supreme Leader" so that about 80 per cent of the candidates are conservatives. They narrowed down candidates from 396 to 161, eliminating moderate Khatami supporters. Most Iranians did not see any point in voting for the Assembly.
30/10/98 At prayers on Friday spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khameini branded Palestine leader, Yasser Arafat, a "traitor" for wanting peace with Israel. Return to ContentsContents  


October 16 1998
  We apologize for the late appearance this month and to our contributors whose work we lost. A large newsletter was ready when our hard disk crashed. Shortage of money prevented prompt repairs. We know that many of our readers come from poor countries but if you can afford a donation or the purchase of a book (link Membership.html) it would be much appreciated. We have quickly put together a few current events.  

Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo
 
The KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) has been blamed for several human rights abuses against the Serbian minority but by far the major abuses have been by Serbs against Kosovars. Whole villages have been destroyed and we all saw on TV the exhumation, at Gornji Obrinje, of 16 corpses of children, women and old men all killed at close range. The United Nations must not allow the horrors of Bosnia to be repeated any longer in Kosovo.
4 Oct '98 HRW (Human Rights Watch) condemns the Yugoslav government for restricting the ability of humanitarian aid workers to treat adequately the 250,000 people who have fled attacks on their villages. Many are living without shelter in the mountains and woods, where harsh winter conditions are expected in coming weeks. The Yugoslav government has restricted the work of journalists who seek to report the atrocities. Independent Serb media have been censored so that the Serbian people do not know what is happening in Kosovo. Human rights activists including lawyers, and humanitarian aid workers including doctors have been detained and many physically abused. Five people are known to have died from abuse in prison. In the Drenica region three villages were attacked while still occupied by civilians Eighty three people were killed including 24 women and children. Seventeen men were tortured and executed after they had surrendered.  


Freedom of expression in Malaysia
Mahatir has shown that he considers it "treason" to oppose him and to try to implement reforms. While we do not support the push by PAS and other radical Islamic groups to promote their policies and Anwar Ibrahim to the leadership position, we oppose the use of the ISA (Internal Security Act) against legitimate political dissent.. The ISA allows police to arrest any person considered to "be acting in a manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia" They can be questioned for up to 60 days and then kept in detention when the Minister signs an order, which can be renewed every two years. (We reported in April that Shia activists were detained under ISA)
Amnesty International has called for: The ISA to be amended so that it no longer allows for those who peacefully express religious or political beliefs to be arrested and imprisoned, The ISA to be amended so that those suspected of threatening national security have the opportunity to defend themselves before a court of law, and are not held incommunicado at unknown locations. AI has concerns that the Malaysian government has used restrictive legislation including ISA, the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act to curb freedom of expression. AI is concerned about the cases of opposition parliamentarian Lim Guan Eng, who has served 6 weeks of an 18-month sentence for sedition and printing "false news" and the trial of women's rights activist Irene Fernandez charged for publishing "false news" about the ill-treatment of detainees in camps for migrant workers.
10 Oct "98 Some 2,500 of the 7,580 members of Malaysia's Bar Council demanded the release of Anwar and others detained under the ISA., for an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality and the harassment of defence lawyers.. The Council stressed the meeting was not to support any particular personality or group but for "the rule of Law".  

10/9/98 Ethnic Cleansing by Taleban
It is reported that five thousand Hazara Afghans were massacred by the Taleban in Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan. The Hazara who make up 15 per cent of the population are Shia and are hated by the Sunni Taleban. The Taleban are to hand over the bodies of 9 Iranian diplomats (one of ten survived by playing dead) also killed at Mazar .
21/9/98 Five Iranian truck drivers have returned to Teheran after periods up to 3 years captivity saying that they were tortured by the Taleban.
4 Oct '98 Muslim separatists in north-west China are being trained in Taleban-run camps in Afghanistan. To change the demography of the region many thousands of Han Chinese refugees from flooded central China have been resettled in the Muslim areas. 8 Oct '98 The Taleban Ministry for Promoting Virtue and Suppressing Vice has banned tailors from taking women's measurements. Also barbers have been forbidden to trim men's hair and beards in non-Islamic fashion.
4 Oct '98 Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, blamed by Washington for masterminding the attacks on American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August., has built a new fortress near Kandahar, western Afghanistan to replace the complex destroyed by US missiles. Three thousand recruits are housed there. In an effort to patch up relations with Saudi Arabia, the Taleban have offered to try bin Laden for the 1996 bombing of a US military complex in Dhahran.  


2October '98 Arrests in Cape Town Blast
Two pipe bombs, which did not explode, were thrown at police when they arrested six members of the Muslim vigilante group, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs. Two people were killed and 25 injured when the Planet Hollywood restaurant was bombed in August.  

10 October '98 Death Sentence for German Businessman in Iran
Helmut Hofer, 56, will be executed for having "illegitimate relations" with a Muslim woman. He claims to have converted to Islam several years ago, which would have reduced his punishment to a flogging. His partner, 26 year old medical student Vahiddeh Oassemi, was sentenced to 100 lashes.   
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August 1998
Free Competition
Win a free copy of "The Wrath of Allah" by Robert E. Burns. All you have to do is answer the following question: What is a synonym for "wrath"? E-mail your answer to reburns@hraic.org.au
 

28/8/98 Black Day for Pakistan
At the insistence of fundamentalists in his government, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is to introduce Islamic Law. Shariah was a backward step for mankind even in the Seventh Century CE when Prophet Muhammad started practising it. In its full rigour Shariah includes amputation for theft, flogging for drinking and fornication (between unmarried lovers), stoning to death for adultery (between lovers married to others), death for apostasy (renouncing Islam) and opposing Islam, polygamy for males (women cannot have more than one husband), easy divorce for men and custody of the children, purdah (seclusion and Islamic dress) and lesser inheritance for women, ?
We had hoped to see Pakistan to become more democratic and humane. Theocracy is undemocratic because it entrenches the demands of a god and not human rights ? what is best for mankind.  

Indonesia?s Killing Fields
Now that Suharto is gone, people are not as afraid to tell the story of the 1965-66 massacre of up to a million communists. It appears that Suharto himself was responsible for the murder of the seven generals and had planned in great detail to inflame the people against the leftists and President Sukarno. For example, stories that the Gerwani women (PKI, Communist Party women?s organisation) had sexually mutilated the bodies of the generals has recently been denied by Major General Moersjid who saw the bodies at that time. No less a person than Abdurahman Wahid puts the blame squarely on Suharto?s shoulders. The motives for the killings were both religious and political. The communists were seen as atheists bent on land reform ? taking land from the mullahs and giving it to the poor landless. The military provided names of people to be killed and weapons to Bansa, the military wing of Islamic Ansor. The US Embassy in Jakarta (through Robert J. Martin) provided a list of 5,000 communists to ABRI. Recent interviews show Mawardi and Idris to be quite unrepentant although many of the lesser participants appear to regret their actions.
Because the judiciary, military and police were all involved in the slaughter, there is a call for Suharto to be tried before an International Court. For him to be tried in Indonesia, the law on the 18 year Statute of Limitations will have to be changed. The few remaining PKI must be released with all political prisoners.  


Embassy Bombings Kill Hundreds of Africans
.  Almost simultaneous bombings on August 7th   of  the US Embassies in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania killed 12 Americans and 247 innocent Africans (Kenya has a 10 per cent Muslim population and so there was a chance of 24 Muslims being killed). Two Islamic militants have been arrested after flying from Nairobi to Karachi en route to Afghanistan. Mahommed Sadeek Odeh and Mahommed Rashed Daoud al Owhali have implicated al Qaeda, a terrorist group financed and organised by Osama bin Laden a Saudi multi-millionaire, exiled in Taleban Afghanistan. His HQ is a compound at Khost near the Pakistan border and was built by the CIA in the days of the Cold War. One of their many mistakes was to support the Mujahideen (Holy Warriors), even with missiles, against the progressive government of Najibullah (at least so in its attitude towards health, education and women?s rights.)
President Bill Clinton addressing the American people said that the terrorists were out of character with Islam which is a "religion of peace". We agree that many Muslims are easy-going, peaceful people but this is in spite of, not because of, the role model of Prophet Muhammad. Obviously Bill Clinton has not read our web page "The Pathogenesis of Fundamentalism" or "The Life of Muhammad".which showed the low esteem in which he held life. Besides the hundreds of men killed in his raids on 82 caravans and the ensuing battles with the Meccans, he had a number of critics assassinated, lovers stoned to death, and the entire adult male population (700 men) of a Jewish tribe beheaded

August 1998 Mass Graves in Aceh
Suara Karya has quoted an Indonesian parliamentary fact-finding team that it had seen "thousands" of skeletons in mass graves throughout Aceh, northern Sumatra and suspected that "more than 5,000" people were missing.
Amnesty International estimates that more than 2000 people, including women and children, were killed by the military in a crackdown on a separatist rebel movement between 1989 and 1993. Many men were seized while working in the fields and their widows claim that they took no part in the insurgency. Indonesians were kept in the dark by Suharto's tight controls on the media. A detention camp in Pidie had been used to tortue and execute rebels. Former General Prabowo Subianto, the son-in-law of President Suharto, said Kopassus, his army unit, had merely been following the President's orders. The army must be removed from politics and stripped of its quota of seats in the legislature. The rebels had been fighting for an Islamic state which we did not support - we want democratic, secular government free from religion. Nor do we wish for legitimate parts of Indonesia to separate - the independence of East Timor and West Papua (Irian Jaya) who are not ethnic Indonesians or Muslims is a different matter.  

20/8/98 Church Blown Up in Albania.
An Orthodox church in the northern Albanian city of Shkoder was destroyed early Wednesday morning. Generally the Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic communities tolerate each other but this attack may have been due to ethnic cleansing of Muslim Albanians in Kosovo by the Orthodox Serbs.
22/7/98 KLA rebels attacked the Orthodox monastery of SS Cosma and Damian in Zociste village near Orahovac, Kosovo. Two grenades damaged the monastery and the seven monks and one elderly nun surrendered. About 30 Serb refugees were sheltering there after a KLA attack on their village.
2/8/98 The Albanian government has shown its opposition to terrorism by extraditing Islamist, Ahmed Ibrahim el-Naggar to Egypt. He was convicted in absentia for plotting to kill government officials and sending money to help Jihad Islamiyya, who assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
28/8/98 Three women and eight children, Kosovar refugees, were killed when a Serb grenade landed on their tractor trailer. They were fleeing from their village of Grape, 25 km SW of Pristina.
25/8/98 Serb police allowed a tractor laden with food to pass and then shelled it killing three aid workers. They had registered at a previous Serb checkpoint as a humanitarian mission. As many as 50,000 refugees in Kosovo are living in the open.  

16/8/98 Abdelfattah Killed in Algeria
Troops have killed Bekati Rabah (Abdelfattah) commander of the al Ahoual (Terror) phalanx of the GIA (Armed Islamic Group). Al Ahoual has been blamed for the massacres of thousands of civilians. A week ago security forces killed another GIA commander, Hamou el Eulmi, sentenced to death in absentia in the case of cutting the throats of a father and son in front of other members of the family.
10 August '98 Nineteen members of the GIA were killed in a forest near Tiaret 220 km southwest of Algiers. This followed the killing on August 5 of 10 villagers in Tiaret. Eight other GIA were killed in the Boumerdes area, 40 km east of Algiers and Medea, 70 km south of Algiers.
31/8/ Seventeen people were killed when a GIA bomb exploded in the Bab-el-Oued market, Algiers. 25/8/98 The bodies of five teenagers were found in a cave near Algiers. Six border guards were ambushed and killed by GIA 700 km SW of Algiers. Five GIA were killed in the bush at Sidi Bel Abbes in Tlemencen, 440 km west of Algiers.
20/8/98 A bomb exploded in El Khemis killing 13 people. Seven people were killed near Khemis Miliana. On Wednesday a bomb on a railway track killed 7 people. Five people were killed in Laghouat, 400 km south of Algiers ? The GIA are wanting to set up an Islamic state.  

20/8/98 Amputations in Iraq
The Islamic practice of cutting off the right hand for theft has been revived in Iraq. Odai Hussein, son of Saddam, ordered amputations for 6 members of the elite commando unit, Fedayeen Saddam for robbing the general public. We consider amputation a barbaric practice, a terrible violation of the integrity of the person, a form of torture.  

August 1998

Human Rights in Malaysia
What is happening to human rights in Malaysia? Heavy handed and undemocratic practices such as the use and threats of the use of ISA (Internal Security Act) whereby people can be detained for years without charges being laid, the use of sedition laws (if Australia has any, I cannot remember them ever being used), the intrusion into the sexual behaviour of consenting adults, witch hunts against deviant Islamic groups (even Shiites), the banning of books, spying on e-mail, ...
25/8/98 Amnesty International "believes that Lim Guan Eng is a prisoner of conscience solely for expressing his opinions and fulfilling his duties as a parliamentarian." Lim received 18 months prison term for sedition and publishing a pamphlet entitled "Ceramah Kisah Benar" (The True Story) which criticised the government's handling of allegations of statutory rape against a former state chief minister. Lim was led off to prison in hancuffs as if he were a dangerous criminal! Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), a local human rights group, says "today is a black day for justice and freedom of expression in Malaysia.""The case was politically motivated."
Two top newspaper editors and the chief of a private television station recently quit under pressure in what the opposition and press freedom groups said was a media shakeup under Prime Minister Mohamed. In Petaling Jaya, Dr. Sanusi Osman spokesman for the Council for Freedom, Justice, Democracy and Good Governance said the judgement now made it more difficult for any MP to take up the cause of those who were victimised, or speak out against corruption.
17/8/98 Muslim women are discriminated against when seeking birth certificates, passports and custody of children, Husbands are presumed to be better guardians than mothers, and it is hard for women to be given guardianship even when their partner has died or separated.
17/8/98 Johor is to increase punishment for illicit sex under the new Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment: a RM5,000 fine and/or three years' jail and/or six lashes. (We consider whipping is a form of torture.) Penalties for Khalwat (being alone with a member of the opposite sex), gambling, failure to perform Friday prayers, consuming alcohol and indecent acts in public places such as transvestism have been increased.  


5 August '98 Afghan Women Brutalised by Taleban
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) reports "Taleban policies of systematic discrimination seriously undermine the health and well-being of Afghan women. Such discrimination and the suffering it causes constitute an affront to the dignity and worth of Afghan women, and humanity as a whole." A PHR researcher, Zohra Rasekh,who speaks fluent Farsi interviewed 200 women in Kabul. Islamic Taleban "has targeted women for extreme repression and punished them brutally for infractions.""To our knowledge, no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of punishment from showing their faces, attending school and seeking medical care without their husband, father, brother or son escorting them. Taleban is a group of "poorly educated rural Pashtun youths mostly recruited from refugee camps and religious schools in neighbouring Pakistan.""In public, women must be covered from head to toe in a burqa, a cloth covering with only a mesh opening to see and breathe through.."
Aid organisations working in Afghanistan have complained that their access to female aid recipients has been severely curtailed by the Taleban's rulings.  

4 August '98 Islamists Shoot Two Christians in Egypt
Three militants shot a Christian carpenter to death in Dairut Umm Nakhala village in Minya, 236 km from Cairo. Residents chased the attackers and one was killed and three more injured.
20/8/98 The arts weekly Alf Leila (A Thousand Nights) has had its first two issues banned. They apparently carried a column by Nasr Abu Zaid, an Egyptian academic who lives in Holland since an Egyptian declared him an apostate (deserter) from Islam in 1996.  

2 August '98 Two Priests Missing in Sudan
Fides, Vatican news agency, reports that Reverends Lino Sebit and Hillary Boma were arrested on July 28 and have not been heard of since. They have been accused of participating in explosions on June 30 in Khartoum  

3 August '98 Islamists Cross into India
Thirty eight people were killed at Kalaban when Kashmiri militants crossed into Himachal Pradesh state. The victims were labourers working in the mountains. Some had been beheaded and hands chopped off. Prime Minister Vajpayee says that Pakistan must stop aiding the guerrillas.  
 
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July 1998
Free Competition Win a free copy of "The Wrath of Allah" by Robert E. Burns. All you have to do is answer the following question: What is a synonym for "wrath"? E-mail your answer to reburns@hraic.org.au
 

23/7/98 Iran Hangs Apostate
Ruhollah Rowhani, 52, was executed on Tuesday for converting to the Baha'i faith from Islam. The US State Department has called on Iran "to protect the lives of 15 other imprisoned Baha'is. Three of them, Ata'ullah Hamid Nasirizadih, Sirus Dhabih- Magadamme and Hidayad Kashifi, have already been sentenced to death. Moderate President Khatami can do little to help as the courts are controlled by religious hardliners.
15/7/98 Mekki Kuku is held in a Khartoum jail awaiting trial on a charge of apostasy from Islam to Christianity. Sudan has the death penalty for "deserting Islam." Execution for apostasy is  Qur'anic: “But if they turn renegades seize them and slay them wherever ye find them” (4:89) Prophet Muhammad killed a number of people who deserted Islam and so the punishment is Sunnah (actions and sayings of Muhammad) and Shariah, Islamic Law. One whose name has been left to posterity was Abdullah ibn Saud, one of Muhammad's scribes (Muhammad was illiterate). Abdullah had come to the conclusion that Muhammad himself, and not Allah, was the author of the Qur'an and left Islam.  

28/7/98 Three Nuns Shot Dead in Yemen
Three Roman Catholic Nuns, two from India and the other from the Philippines who worked as nurses in a medical clinic at Hodeidah were killed by a Kalashnikov. Abdullah al-Nasheri has confessed to the crime. Reports say that he had fought for the Muslims in Bosnia and that he is convinced that he will go to Paradise as a shaheed (martyr) if executed.  

22 July '98 Church Closed Down in Egypt
With a great show of force including sirens, motor cycles and seven armored cars Egyptian security forces evicted worshippers and sealed a Coptic Christian church at Maadi, near Cairo. It is alleged that the Copts did not have the necessary permit four years ago when it was built.
25/7/98 Archeologists have turned up bones and artifacts of workers who built the pyramids. They are those of Egyptians - there is no evidence that foreign slaves were employed.
9 July '98 Ayman el-Zawahri a leader of Islamic Jihad and Rifa'I Taha leader of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya said that action against US and Israeli interests would intensify. It aims to remove the cdorrupt state of Egypt and replace it with a strict Islamic government. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for killing President Anwar Sadat in 1981.  

19/7/98 Jail for Cross-dressing in Malaysia
How petty is Syariah (Islamic Law) punishment,and vicious! Ten transvestites were arrested last Wednesday in an operation by the State Islamic Religious Affairs Department at the Jalan Tun Ali bus station for wearing women's clothing. Five of them, Khairudin Mohamed,18, Nik Mat Nizam,18, Abdul Rais Abdullah,40, Modh Radi Hansa,24. And Abu Abdullah,40 were sentenced each to five months' jail and fined RM800. The five others, Ismandi Bulu,21. Mohamed Yasim,32, Suhaimi Majid,18, Muhin Said,23 and Suhimi Mamat,24 were fined RM800, in default two months' jail
9 July '98 Another example of the intrusion of syariah into people's lives is proceeding in the Penang Syariah Court. Film producer Julie (Junaidah) Dahlan,40 , has been charged with khalwat, being alone with a member of the opposite sex without chaperone. She and her production manager had been found to be together in a hotel room. We doubt that 50 per cent of the country supports syariah domination of the population. A referendum should be held of all citizens whether it should continue. Non-Muslims are also affected by the fact that Islam is the state religion: for example their children are indoctrinated in its teachings if they attend public schools.
20/7/98 A 36-year old man was fined RM1,000 at The Sandakan Magistrates Court for selling dildos and other sex toys. The prosecutor described it as a "serious case"!
8 July '98 The viability of the KL Commonwealth Games is now in doubt after fundamentalists forced the brewery and $1.5 million US to promoters for wasted publicity material, including repainting hundreds of taxis and buses.
government to sack its main sponsor, Carlsberg Beer. It will have to repay $1.2 million US to the Danish Alcohol is forbidden to Muslims. After (83:25) "Choice sealed wine shall be given to them to quaff", and (76:17) "And the righteous will be given a cup of wine mixed with ginger", Muhammad revealed (5:99) "O believers! Surely wine and games of chance and statues ? are an abomination of Satan's work."
Allah apparently changed His mind about the devil's drink!
3 July '98 The Sabah Islamic Affairs Department was told that,excluding sums spent on mosques, suraus and religious schools, RM 10Mil was spent on religion in Sabah each year. Payments are made to 1,769 officers and staff.
21/7/98 A "witch hunt" is proceeding in Selangor where the Religious Affairs Department and police are checking the orthodoxy of 71 community organizations including martial arts groups. Already deviation from true faith such as mysticism and shamanism with rituals such as the slaughtering of chickens and taking of oaths have been uncovered in 20 groups.
26/7/98 The national Islamic Women's Rights seminar in Petaling Jaya has been told that many men were marrying without their wives' or the court's consent. Lawyer, Azalina Othman Said said that records of the various Islamic Religious Departments were not accessible in other states, that provisions of family law varied from state to state and to really complicate things all of their records were in Arabic.  

19/7/98 Kidnapper Killed in Southern Philippines
Sunday near Marawi. Three kidnap victims seized the gun from a Muslim separatist guerilla, shot him, wounded another and escaped.  

11 July '98 Jordan Bans Land-Mines
Jordan decided to sign the international treaty banning landmines at a conference of survivors in Amman. Queen Noor is active in the campaign and calls on other Middle East countries to follow suit in stopping their use, production, export and stock-piling. Apart from Jordan, the only Middle East countries to have signed the Ottawa treaty are Algeria, Tunisia, Qatar and Yemen. Still producing landmines are Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Israel.  

23/7/98 Nigeria Must Be Democratic
General Abdul-Salam Abu-Bakar has taken power after the death of former military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, who ruled for five years, prevented civilian Moshood Abiola from assuming presidency after his apparent election victory and executed Ken Saro-Wiwa and eighyt members of his Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People All political prisoners must be released and military power relinquished. (The military power base in mainly in the Muslim north of the country.) The Nigerian leader has agreed that a democratically elected president be in place by May 1999.  

23/7/98 Lockerbie Suspects to Stand Trial in Holland
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhaffi who had opposed a trial in Britain or the USA has agreed that it take place in a neutral country. The two suspects of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 270 people including a number on the ground are Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.  

13/7/98 Protestor Killed in West Papua (Irian Jaya)
Law student Steven Suripatti died after being shot in the head by Indonesian security forces today at a pro-indepence rally at Cendrawasih University, Jayapura.
11 July '98 Closed to most Westerners, West Papua is rarely in the news. What does come out is mainly from missionaries although many of these hold their tongue fearing for their foothold in the country. The former Dutch colony of 1.5 million people was annexed by Indonesia in 1963 by the so-called "act of free choice" which was not based on a one-person-one-vote principle but a consultation of tribal leaders who were terrorized into accepting the integration of West Papua into Indonesia. The people are Melanesian, not Indo-Malays, are not Muslims but Christians if they have come into contact with missionaries and are of identical stock to the people of independent Papua New Guinea. (The latter are afraid of supporting their brothers in West Papua lest they offend Indonesia.)
The Human Rights Advocate for the People of Irian Jaya told Reuters that thousands of people had raised the Kejora Star (separatist) flag and demanded that B.J. Habibie conduct a referendum for independence, resulting in the death of six people on Biak Island and a pregnant woman in Sorong. West Papua could be viable as a separate country as it is rich in minerals. If it so desired it could join with the rest of Papua.  

28/7/98 Land Claims in Indonesia
It appears that Indonesia needs to tighten up land title procedures. Ex-president Suharto was able to take over land belonging (?) to small farmers. For example, he grabbed hundreds of acres of farmland from 300 poor villagers just south of Jakarta to build a cattle ranch. Suharto claimed that it was vacant land but villagers say that they were growing bananas and vegetables on it. The farmers have cleared scrub, dug small plots and planted crops to stake their claim but security guards have evicted them three times in the past month. Lawyers for the National Human Rights Commission plan to take Suharto to court to claim back their land. In two other cases golf links had been built over land claimed by farmers - one had been rice fields.
15/7/98 At least 12 political activists are still missing since March. General Wiranto has admitted that some members of the military were involved in their abductions but human rights campaigners want to know the mastermind behind them.
6 July '98 President B.J. Habibie has asked Indonesians to fast every Monday and Thursday and so save 3 million tons of rice each year. However millions of impoverished people are facing food shortages and already subsist on a minimum diet. On Sunday the Singapore Red Cross sent two planeloads of food and medicine to Indonesia. Three more missions are planned. The supplies are earmarked for children, the elderly, needy families and pregnant or lactating mothers.
6 July '98 Rights for primates. The orang-utan, one of man's closest living relatives, faces extinction in the wild within 20 years because of the uncontrolled and illegal destruction of Indonesia's forests reports the Environmental Investigation Agency. An estimated 180,000 orangutans lived ten years ago in on Borneo (Kalimantan) but the numbers are down to less than 30,000. Contrary to claims made by some Indonesian government sources that El Nińo and slash-and-burn farmers were to blame, the agency blames the forest fires on huge Indonesian companies extracting timber and clearing land for oil palm plantations. It named 176 companies many of which were linked to Suharto's family and the military. Only one company has been brought to court and fined for starting fires. It was fined $4 million but has refused to pay.
On the positive side, Malaysia was creating another orang-utan sanctuary at Ulu Sebayu, Sarawak. Tourism, which will help the economy, is strictly controlled, only small groups of four to six people with a guide will have to make the trek of sensitive areas on foot.  

July 1998 Christian Women Arrested and Interrogated in the Maldives
The Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka reports that the Islamic Republic began arresting citizens believed to be Christians on 18 June. Two were Aminah Moonisa, 17 and Aneesa Hussain, 32, both of Pareeru-ge, Male. The latter is reported to have been physically assaulted and her life threatened. The Maldivian newspaper "Haveeru" on 21 June reports that they were arrested because they "were discovered to be involved in spreading Christianity".  

July 1998 Report on Azeri Abuses of Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights (UK) have released a report based on interviews with some 67 ethnic Armenians who had been abducted during the 1988-1994 war between Muslim Azerbaijan and Christian Armenia over the control of Nagorno Karabakh, a largely Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan. All but one had been beaten, many severely and repeatedly during periods in captivity that lasted from two weeks to five years. More than a quarter had suffered some sort of sexual violence. Many were burnt with cigarettes, had gold teeth pulled out without anaesthetic, had their finger nails pulled out or were given electric shocks. Some were doused in lighter fluid and threatened with matches. One man was subjected to a mock execution, another was forced to walk through a minefield. Some were forced to watch other prisoners being beaten and raped. Eight said they had seen people deliberately killed by their guards.  

30/7/98 One Killed in Clash over Mosque Car Park
Nairobi Council sold a block of land used by merchants to a mosque for a car park. A court had ordered that no evictions take place until September 23 . The "Blue Market" popular with tourists was attacked and burnt by Muslims, who fought the vendors for five hours. It is not clear on which side the victim was.  

14/7/98 Saudi Arabia Releases and Deports Expatriate Christians
Several dozen foreigners alleged to be involved in Christian activities were arrested in June. Five of them, four Filipinos and one Dutchman have been expelled from the country without trial. Twenty six Filipinos remain in detention but the Filipino embassy, for its own reasons, remains silent. According to the Vatican news service Fides, one of them carried marks of physical torture. Gaudencio Lorenzo "suffered several broken bones and multiple wounds" and had been forced to "convert" to Islam before his release.  

July 1998 Pakistan Leads the World in Heroin Addiction
According to WHO, Pakistan has the largest number of heroin addicts in the world, a quarter of the total in the world. Pakistan says that it has rid the country of opium poppies but is not doing enough to prevent it being flooded by Taleban Afghanistan. The Islamic hardliners tax heroin income and see it as a struggle against the West, but in this case it is neighboring Islamic Pakistan which supports the Taleban which is suffering.
29/7/98 Sixteen Hindus were killed by Muslim separatists in Kashmir, six men and two women in Shana Thakrie village and another eight people at Sarnawah village bringing the total since January to 119.
23/7/98 One civilian was killed and one injured when Pakistani troops shelled the Rigal Border Post on the Indian side of the border.  

19/7/98 Taleban Orders Aid Agencies out of Kabul
Thirty five non-governmental organizations with 100 foreign staff have been ordered to close down because they would not move to a derelict college building with no water or power. In the past they have angered the Islamic militia by their use of women workers and their stand on women's rights. What is to happen to the 400,000 people (out of a total of 1,200,000) who have been relying on them for food, water, shelter and medical programs?13/7/98 Afghans have 15 days to get rid of television sets, VCR's audio equipment and satellite dishes. The music library of Kabul radio station has already been destroyed. Haji Mullah Qalamuddin says the ban will give people more time to pray. "We want to reform society and make it 100 per cent Islamic."
 18/7/98 Algerian Beaches Targeted
Beach-goers and bathing costumes are considered un-Islamic by the GIA (Armed Islamic Group).Six children were injured at Rais Hamidou on Friday when a bomb planted in the sand exploded, one cdhild losing both legs. On the same day seven people were wounded at Tipaza beach by three other devices.
23/7/98 The government continues to carry the offensive against the GIA. Sixty rebels were killed in the Sidi Ali Bounab forest, 90 km east of Algiers. Forty five were killed in the mountains near Chrea, 50 km south of Algiers.
19/7/98 The GIA has claimed responsibility for the death of Berber singer Lounes Matoub. "It is common knowledge that the slain Lounes Matoub was among the most stubborn enemies of religion and the Mujahideen (Holy warriors)", their statement read.

 
2 July '98 Fifth Anniversary of Sectarian Deaths in Turkey
Thousands of Alevi Muslims gathered in Ankara on Thursday to mourn the deaths of dozens of their members in a Sunni arson attack. The attack took place in 1993 at Sivas and 37 writers, musicians, artists and others were killed. The Alevis are a liberal Shiite sect, "heretics" because of their use of wine and dance during worship. They have a tradition of support for leftist, secular parties and are seen as a bulwark against radical Islam.
19/7/98 The Greek Cypriot government accused Turkey of "threatening peace" by sending 12 warplanes and 10 warships to the Turkish-occupied north of the island. These were sent to participate in weeklong celebrations to mark the 24th anniversary of Turkey's invasion of the island. Greek Cypriots are holding memorial services for the 5,000 plus Greek Cypriots who were killed or went missing during the invasion.

 
24/7/98 "Angel of Mostar" Arrested in Kosovo
Sally Becker, British aid worker, known as the "Angel of Mostar" for her help in Bosnia has been jailed for a month by Serb authorities. She had illegally crossed into Kosovo with a shipment of food and medicines and was on her way back to Albania with a number of women and children refugees.
27/7/98 Amnesty International reports on Serb attacks on Kosovar villages: "Unarmed civilians, unconnected with any of these attacks, are being injured, killed, or even summarily executed by a police force apparently out of control." "We reiterate our appeals that all Serbian police and Yugoslav Army forces be given strict orders to respect international human rights and humanitarian law." 
5 July '98 Palestine to Search Ottoman Archives
Turkey will open its archives to allow Palestinians evidence of the unlawful sale of land to Israelis. The Ottoman empire controlled Palestine until World War I (1914-18)Israel is moving to expand the municipal borders of Jerusalem to ensure that its Jewish majority is 70 per cent.
25/7/98 An opinion poll published in the Maariv newspaper shows that 59 per cent of Israelis support the US proposal to withdraw Israeli troops from 13.1 per cent of the West Bank, while 32 per cent oppose it and 9 per cent are undecided.

 
4 July Twenty Years Without Trial in Iraq
The London-based Centre for Human Rights of the Iraqi Communist Party claims that Saddam Hussein has detained 2,000 Kurds and Shiites without charge since September, 1980. Most are suffering malnutrition, chronic diseases and mistreatment. Shiite Muslims and Kurds make up a majority of Iraq's 22 million population but Saddam's Government is mainly Sunni. 

1 July '98 Taleban Heroin entering Iran
The Islamic militia, Taleban, is doing more than just turning a blind eye on drug smugglers; it is taxing them and providing them with communications equipment says Iranian officials.Iran has between 500,000 and a million addicts in a population of 60 million, and has recently passed laws under which those volunteering for rehabilitation will not be prosecuted.
6 July '98 Gholamhossein Karbaschi, popular mayor of Tehran on trial for corruption and embezzlement was prominent in helping moderate President Khatami win election. He is calling his trial a sham (The judge is also the prosecutor) built on false confessions and torture. He tendered evidence from Kamal Azimi Nia, one of his deputies, that "When they brought me into court, I had been beaten so badly in prison with whips and clubs that I could hardly walk." "They forced me to write and sign lies about myself and other persons."
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June 1998
June 1998 A Letter from Kosovo
It is hard not to look back fondly to the regime of Josep Broz Tito when Kosovo was semi-autonomous and the power of the chauvinistic Serbian Orthodox Church was restrained. Since 1989 all this has changed so that Kosovo resembles an occupied territory whose Muslim-Albanian majority (90 per cent) has little say in their own affairs. Now the Kosovar pacifists have lost all semblance of respectability and the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) is seen as the only hope for a beleaguered people.The KLA is not a sectarian body: it has almost zero input from Islamists, indeed its leadership includes non-religious marxists. Thus the struggle in Kosovo is not a matter of Islam versus Orthodox Christianity. The people of Kosovo are completely "Westernized"; the women do not wear jilbab and are not in purdah like many of their Muslim "sisters"."Ethnic cleansing", therefore, is a nationalistic question and the Serbs, by their use of heavy artillery against Kosovo villages, have lost any moral right to retain this region ... 

30/6/98 Pro-Integration Scam in East Timor
Tens of thousands of East Timorese rallied on Friday 12 June calling for a referendum on independence for East Timor. In an attempt to counter this, Govenor Abilio Soares organized a pro-integration rally in Dili for 26 June.Despite the 150,000 non-indigenous people (transmigrasi) Indonesia has brought into East Timor, Abilio found it necessary to bring in 11 truckloads of West Timorese from Atambau, Nusa Tenggara Timor (NTT). Abilio also forced civil servants to join in, threatening to sack those who refused. NTT residents physically resemble the people of East Timor and TVRI, Friday 26 June, did not show close-up shots of the pro-integration crowd. A further pro-referendum rally was held on Sunday 28 June in which 80 trucks and hundreds of motor cycles were used.
28/6/98 Today the governor organized another demonstration bringing people in from Lospalos, Aileu and Same to "welcome the foreign ambassadors". When the young people of Manatuto found out that they had been tricked they tried to warn the people coming from Lospalos. They were fired upon by Indonesian soldiers with a 23 year-old man killed and four others seriously injured.
29/6/98 Ethnic Chinese women raped by rioters on May 13 & 14 should not be ashamed or fearful to report their attackers to the police or military. Unfortunately the authorities say they have no information to work on.26/6/98 Unemployment threatens to blow out to 20 million (22 per cent of the work force) and wages are as low as 7,000 R (90 c) a day at a time when food and fuel prices have risen sharply. Jakarta military commander, Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin has threatened to "cripple" protesters who come out on the streets.
18/6/98 Herman das Dores Soares, 21, was shot to death while collecting wood near Manatuto (100 km east of Dili). The officer responsible has been arrested.
20/6/98 More than 30,000 people rallied to the grave-site of founding President Sukarno today. Sukarno led the struggle for merdeka (freedom) from Dutch colonial rule. Sukarno was put under virtual house arrest by General Suharto until his death 28 years today.

 
28/6/98 Ban on Berber, French Languages in Algeria
Is the Algerian Government trying to curry favour with the fundamentalists by making Arabic the only official language in Algeria? Arabic is, of course, the language of the Qur'an but Berber was the language of the people until the Arab Armies invaded in the seventh century CE and imposed their culture.Tens of thousands of Berbers attended the burial of popular singer Lounes Matoub,42, murdered on Thursday (by Islamic rebels?) He was "a staunch democrat, anti-Islamist and symbol of the Berber cause". (Reuters)Signs at the Taourirt Moussa cemetry read, "No peace without the Berber language", "Zeroual, murderer", "We are not Arabs", "Tamazight (Berber) in school"
.26/6/98 Two people were killed and 100 wounded by security forces in Tizi-Ouzu, 90 km east of Algiers during riots over Matoub's death. One of those dead was Ait Idir Rachid, an 18 year old university student who was shot in the chest.

 
28/6/98 Israel: No Detention Without Trial
A Lebanese man, Ghassan al-Dirani, jailed without trial in Israel for seven years has been ordered to be released by a Jewish court. Human Rights groups have criticized the practice as "state-sponsored hostage-taking."
11/6/98 Palestinians are protesting against the expansion of a Jewish seminary on the slopes of the biblical Mount of Olives. They say that the area is an Arab neighbourhood; however it is holy to Jews and Christians. Tens of thousands of Jewish graves dating back to the fifteenth century are there and according to prophecy here will begin the resurrection of the dead with the appearance of the Messiah. It is difficult to resolve differences when the "Muslim Quarter" is also the ancient "Jewish Quarter". The only solution is for Jerusalem to be the capital of both the states of Palestine and Israel and some power-sharing to ensure fairness.. Arguments about the ancient boundaries of biblical times cannot be sustained any more than, say, a Muslim claim to Spain (I have seen one such on the Internet) or a Greek claim to Istanbul (Byzantine Constantinople).

 
30/6/98 Thirty Four Dead in Yemen Riots
Violence has gripped Yemen since the government decided to raise food and fuel prices by up to 40 per cent. Yemen is one of the poorest Arab states and is populated mainly by mountain tribesmen who usually carry weapons. 

30/6/98 Censorship in Syria
Journalists breaking the "State of Emergency Law" (1962) by reporting on the economy ("disturbing public confidence") or on peace talks with Israel ("Opposing the aims of the revolution") can face detention without trial, ill treatment while in custody and loss of their civil rights.
25/6/98 Syria has missiles and artillery shells containing the nerve gas Sarin according to the Clinton administration. Syria has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

21/6/98 Killings Continue in Karachi.
Nine young men, bound, gagged and showing signs of torture were found shot on Saturday. Ten people were killed on Friday.Factional fighting in the MQM (Mutahida National Movement, whose members are Muslims from India) and sectarian violence betweenSunni and Shiite Muslims have been blamed. The MQM is a coalition partner with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League. 

15/6/98 "Animal Farm" in Malaysia?
General secretary of the DAP (Democratic Action Party) Lim Kit Siang has compared police action to George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm" about a fictional authoritarian regime run by pigs. "The mobilization of fully armed riot police to an orderly and peaceful political dinner by a legally registered political party in Malaysia is an awful waste of public resources." Five meetings of the DAP in support of Guan Eng who is appealing against 18 month jail sentences for sedition and violating a publishing law. 

30/6/98 Islamists Shell Philippines Provincial Capital
Five people were killed when former MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) members fired mortar shells at Sulu, Zamboanga, Southern Philippines. The Muslim successionist group signed a peace treaty with the government in 1996 but many MNLF are still armed
6 June '98 Former MNLF leader Kamlon Awolon faces kidnapping, extortion, murder and robbery charges. He and his followers fought off government forces who tried to arrest him. Two people were killed and a 4 month old girl wounded. 

8 June '98 Stop the Oppression of Our Muslim Sisters
by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Australian traveller)
Assalam u alaikum to all those of you who call yourselves our brothers. I write as your sister, your friend, your partner in life's journey, but mainly as your victim.I have discovered that some things are indeed more unpleasant than encounters with Israeli soldiers and interrogations at checkpoints. These are the encounters with one's "own kind".I do indeed feel for my sisters if every time they leave their homes they have to run the gauntlet of … numerous advances and remarks that had to be fended off, and the disgusting and perverse ogling and leering that had to be accepted as part of the journey. In Cairo … there's a stretch that is peopled exclusively by young men whose only object in life, it seems, is to wait for women to appear on the pavement, and then harass them to the point of tears or worse. …men who would walk every step of the way with us, hissing, catcalling, swearing and making crude jokes … brushing against you, leering, pinching, groping …If you ignored them, they heaped on greater abuse. If you spoke to reprimand them, they took it as an invitation. If you invoked the name of Allah, or the Prophet, and you told them "haraam alaik, you call yourself a Muslim?", they simply made fun of your Arabic accent.It really makes no difference if you're covered or not. I have experimented with this. From full hijab, to uncovered hair and modest clothing.It was worse in some places than others…Cairo is dreadful, Amman tolerable, Jerusalem pleasant, Lahore unthinkable.(I tried) explaining to my American friend with embarrassment and apology why Muslim men have no respect for women… Our men treat foreign women as if they exist to be preyed on since they are "immoral", and note that no thought is given to the immorality of the men who would prey upon them.One feels sympathy (for the men with their) hidebound and rigid reading of Islam (and) oppressed by your poverty and illiteracy …but the greater sympathy is for the victims of your predicament. … I believe it to be a direct consequence of authoritarian, literalist and hegemonic readings of Islam - readings imposed upon the poor and powerless until they adopt it as their own creed. … Before we hoist up the flag of Islam, and talk about the Qur'an as the only model, and the evils of the integrated societies of the West, we need to take a very close look at the realities begotten by Islam.(Abridged from The Australian Islamic Review, June 8, 1998)
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May 1998
21 May 1998 Victory for the Indonesian People
Suharto has been forced to step down and now there is a chance for democracy in Indonesia. Under Article 8 of the Constitution, Bucharuddin Jusuf Habibie will assume power but he is a part of the old economic and political problem and must go.
According to reports, the Indonesian state is almost bankrupt and immediate steps should be taken to recover the billions looted by the Suharto family and cronies. (Has some been smuggled away to foreign banks as Marcos did in the Philippines?) It appears necessary to accept foreign aid for the time being but there must be no cuts in the subsidies to necessities of life such as rice, cooking oil and fuel.
Free elections should be called as soon as possible with no presidential bans on candidates - Let the people decide who should represent them. New political parties can blossom and hitherto banned organizations may also stand candidates. Political prisoners should be freed.
The military must be responsible to the new government. It should play a lesser and lesser role in running the country. Certainly no general should lead the country. Indeed Prabowo Subianto should also be tried for his part in the looting of Indonesia and the occupation of East Timor.
A coalition of all reform groupings should be elected to ensure that Indonesia becomes a democratic, secular state committed to the welfare of all the people.
 
31/5/98 Indonesia must be Secular
We have been asked why Indonesia should be secular and whether religious parties should exist. Yes, we respect the right for people to organize themselves into political parties and even peacefully seek an Islamic state. It is better that the agenda of a movement is known rather than be hidden. However a theocratic state, by definition, is undemocratic; the people should rule and not a set of dogmas. Society must be open, pluralist and liberal. Beware of those who advocate Shariah, Islamic law; many of its punishments were a backward step even in the Seventh Century.
An Indonesian "sacred cow" which needs to be re-examined is the provision of Pancasila that everyone should have a god. We respect the right of people to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, etc.but it should also be a right for a person to be an atheist. Over 20 per cent of Australians have no religion and this figure includes many prominent people and not the "dregs of society". Morality is based on what is good for humans (Humanism) and not what is required by a deity. Sectarian divisions such as in Ireland, Pakistan/India, Serbia/Kosovo, Israel/Palestine would be minimized without the role of religious fundamentalism.
25/5/98 Yunus Yosfiah, newly appointed Minister of Information is a questionable man for the job. On 16 October 1975 as major in command of the Korps Marinier he had killed 5 journalists working for Australian television at Balibao to prevent them reporting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor to the world.
 
31/5/98 Pakistan in the News
Pakistan is the first Muslim nation to acquire nuclear weapons and shows that the technology is available even to poor countries where most people are uneducated. Political and religious ideology must not be the basis for a "first strike" nor should the technology be passed on to Islamic states which may not be rational when it comes to using them. (For an article on this question by Pakistan physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, click TIBen.htmlThe_Islamic_Bomb.) The defence budgets of India and Pakistan come to about $15 billion, which could be far better spent on education, health, housing, water and power supplies, etc.
15/5/98 A crowd of about ten thousand Christians demonstrated in Lahore against the Blasphemy Law which carries a mandatory death sentence for insulting Islam or Prophet Muhammad. Police used tear gas against the crowd and charged into it using batons. Up to 100 people were admitted to the United Christian Hospital. (Other hospitals allegedly turned Christians away.) The protests were brought about by the suicide, on 5 May, of Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph as a protest against the death sentence passed on Ayub Masih, 26. He is alleged to have praised Salman Rushdie's novel, "The Satanic Verses".
10/5/98 While Bishop Joseph was being buried a crowd burned Christian homes, shops and Bibles.
22/5/98 More than 30 people were killed yesterday throughout the Punjab in local election clashes between supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.
 
31/5/98 Massacres Decreasing in Algeria?
We have received reports of "only" 151 civilians being murdered this month by GIA (Armed Islamic Group) terrorists while in the same time security forces have killed 129 GIA, and fifty members of the AIS (Islamic Salvation Army) have surrendered. For too long the Algerian Army was hesitant in taking the battle to the terrorists but hopefully the tide is starting to turn.
 
31/5/98 When is an Arab Not an Arab?
The Egyptian government has just completed repairing the 4640 year old Great Sphinx, image of god Harmachis, but many Islamists are not pleased. They regard Egyptian antiquities as belonging to the Age of Jahiliyya (Ignorance) as they pre-date Islam by over 3200 years. They do not identify with the Pharaohs as they believe themselves to be Arabs but the truth probably is that they are really Copts in the sense that they are descendants of the ancient Egyptians and not of the Arabs who invaded in 642 CE. It is true that the Egyptians were not converted by the sword, but the pressure to convert was great. [ non-Muslims had to pay the jizyah (tax on dhimmis), could not marry Muslim women, could not be employed in many jobs including the army, the bureaucracy or in any way be in a position of authority over a Muslim, they could not repair their churches or celebrate Christian rites, could not be the first to address a Muslim, had to step down into the gutter if the footpath was narrow, often had to wear distinctive clothing, live in a smaller house than Muslim neighbours, could not ride a horse or camel - the list goes on.] The same is true in many other places, e.g. many Lebanese would be descendants of the ancient Phoenicians rather than the Arab invaders. In North Africa the Berbers resisted the Arab Armies for 30 years and many Algerians are descended from Berbers rather than Arabs. Ethnic origins would not, of course, be important but for X to hate a Christian Copt, for example, is rather ironic if X is descended from one himself and his ancestors were virtually forced to Arabize. Please note that we are opposed to racism and national chauvinism. We do not ask people their race but, going by names, we probably have a number of Arab members. (As an Australian, I personally am sorry for what my ancestors did to our indigeneous people. This disclaimer because some people do not always understand our meaning.)
18/5/98 The brothers Saber and Mahmoud Abu el-Ela were hung at dawn in Cairo's Istinaf prison. They had pleaded guilty to killing 9 German tourists and their Egyptian bus driver in September 1997. Saber's only defence was that he thought the tourists were Jews. Al Gama'a al-Islamiya has hailed the brothers as shaheed (martyrs) to the Islamic cause and warned tourists to stay away from Egypt. (In November, Gama'a members slaughtered 58 tourists at the ancient temple of Luxor.)
13/5/98 Journalists, editors and newspaper proprietors are being imprisoned for their peaceful exercize of freedom of expression, despite pre-censorship of the media. The "Cairo Times" and "Al Dustoor" have recently been banned.
11/5/98 Amnesty International has protested against torture in Egyptian detention centres which has led to the death of a number of victims.
 
May, 1998 U.S. First Lady Supports Palestinian State
Hillary Clinton, wife of the US President, has urged the establishment of the state of Palestine, but administration officials said that her remarks did not represent US policy. Under Israeli-Palestinian peace accords which are in limbo, the five-year period of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip ends on May 4, 1999. Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat said that they would do their best to negotiate with Israel but that if progress is not made by that deadline, they would declare a Palestinian State in the West bank and Gaza strip.
12/5/98 King Hussein of Jordan praised Arafat's "constructive" approach towards the latest US proposals on Israeli withdrawal from 13.1 per cent of the West Bank.
23/5/98 The United Nations Committee against Torture repeated that Israel's use of force to interrogate prisoners violates international law. In the Israeli Supreme Court, leading Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem alleged that Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security force, tortures during questioning at least 850 Palestinians a year. The methods may not be as bad as some Islamic countries but include hooding and shackling detainees, putting them in painful positions, sleep deprivation, playing loud music and shaking them violently.
 
22/5/98 Civilians Killed in Sudan
Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), which is helping combat hunger in the south of the Islamic Republic of Sudan, reports that dozens of villagers had been killed and women and children abducted from the Christian/animist regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Abin Dau and Aweng by Arab militia. The Sudan People's Liberation Army is fighting to secede from the Sudan, which threatens to impose Shariah, Islamic Law.
 
12 May 1998 Unrest in Comoros
Riots and strikes are threatening the position of President Mohamed Taki in the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros. The government closed private radio station Tropic FM because of "subversion" and in retaliation a transmitter for state radio was destroyed.
 
12 May 1998 Attempt to Kill Human Rights Activist in Turkey
Two men dressed in dark suits demanded an interview with Mr. Akin Birdal, President of the Association of Human Rights. They shot him 8 times and he is in a private hospital in Ciyigi in a critical condition.
 
11 May Arson Attacks in Jordan
Eight members of a "foreign-backed" Islamist group have been charged with a number of arson attacks in Amman. An American school was attacked in March with no casualties, next several cars belonging to prominent Jordanian officials and then on April 30, to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, the car park of the Jerusalem Hotel.
 
7 May Political Prisoners in Syria
Amnesty International states that, "Hundreds of prisners of conscience and political prisoners are currently serving long-term prison sentences in Syria, of up to 22 years, in connection with their involvement and membership of various unauthorized political parties. Torture and ill-treatment of such prisoners is routine, particularly during the interrogation stages of detention. This, combined with a lack of medical care, has led to dozens of deaths in custody in recent years."
Eight men in particular whose health is in a serious condition are : Abdalla Qabbara, a 60 year-old lawyer, Nu'man Abdu and Juryus al-Talli both over 60, Jalal Ali masu'd,46, Akram Wajih al-Bunni, 42, Faysal Aqllush, 40, Marwan Hammad al-Ali, 36, and Munir Sha'bu, 35.
 
6 May 1998 Campaign for Shariah in Nigeria
Shi'ite leader Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky faces charges in the northern city of Kaduna for inciting dissent after riots last month in which three people were killed. He is leading the campaign for the imposition of Shariah, Islamic law, in Nigeria. Only half of Nigeria's 104 million people are Muslims and most of those are Sunni. The danger of Shariah is a human rights question, both for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
 
4 May '98 Newspapers Censored in Mauritania.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania continues to ban newspapers.The arabic version of the independent weekly "Le Calame" was banned again today, the third time since January. No reason was given.
29/5/98 Under article 11 of the Press Law , the minister of the Interior can arbitrarily censor newspapers without explanation. This happened today to the arabic version of the weekly independent "La Tribune".
 
1 May '98 Churches attacked in Bangladesh
On 28 April, 1998, fundamentalists falsely announced over the loudspeaker of the Shahi mosque in Dhaka that Christians in the adjacent St. Francis Xavier Girl's High School and Holy Cross Church were to attack the mosque. Police were called but were unable to control the large crowd which rampaged through the school causing extensive damage and terrorized the nuns, priests and other occupants. They then attacked the nearby , 175 year-old St. Thomas Church smashing doors and windows, setting fires and threatening the lives of the priests. Next they attacked the Sadarghat Baptist Church, smashing the gate and furniture and threatening the occupants. The offices of Christian Concern were totally ransacked.
25/5/98 Two Bangladesh students were killed in clashes between rival groups at the Sylhet Medical College, northeastern Bangladesh. One victim belonged to Islami Chhatra Shibir, a student front for the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party, and the other to the Bangladesh Chhatra League allied to the ruling Awami League.Islamists objected to a satellite dish being connected to their dormitory.
29/5/98 The Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) has rescued seven Bangladesh women from Karachi, Pakistan where they had been "sex slaves". Pakistan police estimate that there are "thousands" of Bangladesh women in brothels or imprisoned under Pakistan' harsh religious laws against zina (extra-marital sex).
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April_1998
30/4/98 Editorial The Nature of HAMAS
Earlier this month we were treated to the grief and anger expressed over the death of chief Hamas bomb-maker, Mohyiddin Sharif, at Ramallah, Palestine. Then blamed on Israel, it now emerges that he was killed by another HAMAS leader, Adel Awadallah. The point remains that although Israel did not commit the assassination it would have been within its rights to have done so. While we do not oppose national liberation movements, those attacked also have the right to strike back. However, as we have said before, there can be no justification for the killing and maiming of innocent civilians whether it be in Ireland, Spain, Chechnya, Bosnia or Israel. Thus we condemn the killing last week of Lebanese farmer, Asaad Muhammad Hattab in Southern Lebanon by an Israeli missile while transporting water with his tractor.
Another criterion of our support is whether the liberation movement aims for a broad, democratic, secular state. However HAMAS fails both these criteria; it attacks civilians and its Covenant shows that it seeks a fundamentalist theocratic state similar to Iran or Sudan.
To quote Hamas is a "Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine" (Article 6) "Israel will continue to exist until Islam obliterates it, just as it obliterated others before it.: (Preamble) "The land of Israel is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day." (Article 11) "So-called peaceful solutions … contradict the principles of Hamas … There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad" [Holy War] (Article 13) "The Day of Judgement will not come until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: "O, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him." (Article 7, quoting a saying of Muhammad) Please note that these are not our words!
30/4/98 Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of HAMAS, speaking at Ayatollah Khomeini's tomb in Iran, vowed to continue the fight against Israel "to our last drop of blood" and that they "would never forget the support of the Iranian government".
!9/4/98 Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, accuses Hamas of playing into Israeli hands, as suicide attacks give Netanyahu an excuse not to hand over more of the West Bank.
2/4/98 President Ezer Weizman told Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that the "Arab situation was going to explode". That day thousands of Arab Israelis marched to protest the demolition of Arab homes and held a strike which closed schools, offices and shops. One million Arabs are Jewish citizens but claim they have suffered "years of discrimination and inequality."
 
April 1998 Freedom of speech in Indonesia, or lack thereof.
The International Commission of Jurists has called on President Suharto to repeal the "Anti-Subversion Law" which is used to silence government critics, and threatens freedom of speech. The Commission monitored 6 trials under the law in 1997 which carries penalties from 18 month's imprisonment to the death sentence. "The failure to adhere to court procedure, the improper rejection of defence evidence, judicial pressure on witnesses, the admission of hearsay evidence and the reliance on irrelevant evidence are a common occurrence in the conduct of the anti-subversion trials in Indonesia" says their report.
22/4/98 Ratna Sarumpaet, a prominent pro-democracy proponent and Coordinator of Solidarity between the Muhammudiya and the Democratic Party (SIAGA), has been in police custody since 10 March after she called a meeting at the Horison Hotel to discuss the economic crisis. The other eight arrested include her daughter, Fathom Saulina, freelance journalist and SBS correspondent Ging Ginanjar, freelance journalist Adi Hermawan, and Bonar Tigor Naipospos, a human rights activist who was imprisoned four years ago for distributing the works of banned novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. All those arrested are to be tried under law 5/PNPS/1963 which punishes "unacceptable political activity" with a 5-year jail term. Ratna Sarumpaet additionally faces charges under Article 154 of the Criminal Code which punishes the "public expression of feelings of hostility, hatred, or contempt towards the government" with up to seven years imprisonment. Ratna is a playwright and one of her plays, "Marsinah's Song from Beneath the Earth", about the death of a woman worker, has been banned from publication and performance in Indonesia.
9 April 1998 Indonesian anti-riot police beat two Indonesian journalists, Bambang Soen of the daily "Republika" and Dewi Gustiana of the evening "Suara Pembaruan", who were covering student protests in Yogyakarta. Police also arrested Akhihiro Nonaka, a journalist for the Japan-based "Asian Press", and Anthony Ashley photographer for the "West Australian" and seized their film.
 
24/4/98 Iran Accuses Iraq over Leading Cleric's assassination
Iran blames Iraq over the killing of 70 year old Sheikh Morteza Ali Mohammed Ebrahim Borujerdi, Shiite leader in the holy city of Najaf, southern Iraq. In London, the Iraqi opposition group, the Al-Khoei Foundation accused Saddam's agents for the attack, saying the Sheikh had been a senior candidate for the position of grand spiritual leader of Shi'ite Muslims worldwide.
29/4/98 A private US organization, AmeriCares, delivered 35 tonnes of badly needed medicine and food worth $2 million to Iraq on Tuesday. The supplies are to be distributed to 22 Iraqi hospitals.
14/4/98 In his report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Max van der Stoel says that over 1500 executions took place last year for political reasons. In the Iraqi "Prison Cleansing Campaign" most of those executed were those who had been sentenced to 15 or more years of detention. Relatives of those executed had to pay for the cost of the bullets to retrieve the bodies, many of which showed signs of torture.
 
21/4/98 Struggle between Hardliners and Moderates in Iran
Students have rallied in support of Tehran mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, a supporter of moderate President Mohammad Khatami, on what they say is a trumped-up charge of corruption. Club-swinging police broke up a demonstration of 4000 people on Tuesday.
 
14/4/98 Algeria Arrests 120 Officials for Rights Abuses
Police, local pro-government militia and local officials have been accused of extra-judicial killings of civilians. Details are sketchy but one mass grave in Relizane contained 62 bodies many of them buried alive. Obviously, GIA (Armed Islamic Group) terrorism must be combated, but the rule of law must be observed.
 
6 April '98 The Algerian government is drafting new legislation on women's rights. Current law, based on Islamic Shariah, gives men huge powers over women in relation to marriage and divorce and total control over their children. It also allows men to have up to four wives at the same time.
 
6 April 1998 Islamists kill Two Egyptian Farmers
Two farmers from Ibshahadat village near Mallawi about 250 km south of Cairo, Moussa Shehata Youssef,36 and Fadl Zaki Ishaak,55 were killed by militants of Gama'a al-Islmiya. No motive is known and the pair were not Coptic Christians.
 
6 April '98 Unrest in Bahrain
This US ally in the Gulf is affected with the Shia-Sunni divide. They are roughly equal in numbers but the rulers are Sunni and the Shiites are demanding jobs and an end to cronyism and corruption. (200,000 expatriate workers from South Asia take the lower paid jobs) In the last three years the death toll has been over 40 people and dozens of businesses and stores have been burnt to the ground.
 
20/4/98 Twenty-nine Hindus killed in Kashmir
Twenty-nine people including 12 children belonging to four families of Dhakikot village in the district of Udhampur 185 km from Jammu were killed and their homes destroyed on Friday night. Police blame the Islamic Hizbul Mujahideen and the Laskar-e-Toiba which have been holed-up in the area.
 
3 April "98 Driver of World Trade Centre Bomb Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
The driver of the van, Eyad Ismoil received a 240-year non-parole sentence for his part in the blast. Six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured on Feb.26, 1993. Previously sentenced have been Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad, Mahmud Abouhalima, Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and El Sayyid Nosair. The bomb was packed with cyanide which, Insh'Allah, would have been sucked into the air-conditioning system killing 250,000 people.
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March_1998
 
30/3/98 Palestine Prisoners' Hunger Strike
Thirty seven political prisoners, detained for seven months, have been on a hunger strike for 5 days in the PNA Juneid prison, Nablus. It may well be that they are members or supporters of HAMAS but they should be either charged or released. Three detainees, Jamal Alkatut, Iyad Abu Zahra and Bashir Nofal have had to be transferred to the National Hospital in Nablus.
31/3/98 Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader, visited the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam. His sympathies were with the Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust.
30/3/98 Bat Shalom, a Jewish peace group, the Jerusalem Link (a joint Israeli-Palestinian women's group) and the Christian Peacemaker Team have tried to rebuild the demolished home of the al-Attrash family in Hebron. Israeli forces arrested the parents and two oldest children, beating the daughter so severely that she was hospitalised for a week. The women of The Jerusalem Link support full human rights for both peoples, with two states and Jerusalem as the capital for both.
13/3/98 The CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) claims that Israeli soldiers deliberately fired rubber-coated metal bullets on a group of Palestinian reporters. Injured were Nael Shiyouki and Mazen Dana of Reuters, Majdi al-Tamini and Amer al-Tabari of ABC News, Hazem Bader and Imad al-Said of the Associated Press and Wael Shiyouki and Ayman al-Kurd of Amal TV. The reporters said that they were 20 metres from the soldiers while the protesters were 200 metres away in a different direction. They said that they had "repeatedly identified themselves as journalists.
 
31/3/98 Some Genuine Political Refugees in Malaysia
Malaysia is deporting illegal Indonesian immigrants even though some face persecution if they return to Indonesia. For example, separatists from the province of Aceh face deportation. Eight Achenese were killed on Thursday during an operation carried out by Malaysian police.
 
29/3/98 Killings Continue in Algeria
Fifty two people, including 32 children under the age of two years, were killed at Had Sahary Yaib, 240 km south of Algiers. About 15 members of GIA (Armed Islamic Group) armed with axes and knives were responsible, and they also abducted three young women. Officials are considering the right to abortion for women raped by the militants, who regard this abduction as "temporary marriage."
29/3/98 Government killed more than 50 suspected Islamic terrorists at Relizane. They had been held responsible for the mass killings of villagers in the province during Ramadan.
27/3/98 Forty seven civilians were massacred in Djelfa province and eleven in Saida province. Homes were burnt down and livestock killed.
23/3/98 Twelve GIA members have been charged with the murder of French Roman Catholic bishop at Oran in August 1996. It is claimed that the group planted the bomb which killed Monsignor Henri- Pierre Claverie and his bodyguard during a ceremony for 7 French priests also killed by Islamic militants.

28/3/98 Dissidents Executed in Iraq
The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq claims that Saddam Hussein executed 60 Shiite activists in March. Their bodies were handed over to their families in Nassiriya province 440 km south of Baghdad.
The exiled Communist Party of Iraq claims that 200 political prisoners (their names were supplied) have been moved to Abu Ghraib prison prior to their execution. They are said to be mainly Kurds and Shiites. The population of Iraq, 22 million, is mainly Shiite but Saddam's government is mainly Sunni.
24/3/98 Nassir Hindawi, top Iraqi germ war scientist, has been arrested while trying to flee the country. Trained as a chemist and microbiologist in the United States, he had been involved in the production of chemical and biological weapons.
 
29/3/98 Taleban Jets Kill Five Civilians
Three women and two children were killed in the city of Pul-e-Kumri, northern Afghanistan when a vegetable market was bombed.
 
29/3/98 Arrests Follow Religious Clash in Malaysia
Hundreds of people were arrested on Friday by Malaysian police and weapons, including 28 petrol bombs and machetes seized following a fight between Muslims and Hindus at Kampung Rawa in Penang. It was said that a Hindu shrine, the Raja-Raja Maduraiveeran, was situated too close to a mosque and calm has returned with the shrine moved further away.
 
25/3/98 Philippine Cinema Bombed by Islamists
A cinema in the southern Philippine was bombed injuring three civilians. Ipil is a largely Christian community which captured attention in 1995 when the town was torched and 53 people killed.
22/3/98 Philippine government forces killed six members of an Islamic rebel group in the southern islands of this mainly Catholic country. In retaliation, home-made bombs were exploded in the commercial centre of Tungawan, Zamboanga del Sur province. Smaller rebel groups continue to fight for an Islamic despite the cease-fire between the government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)
 
23/3/98 Corruption in Pakistan (Land of the Pure)
Pakistan found that it had thousands of schools on its books which did not exist. Corrupt officials have pocketed salaries paid to fictitious teachers even sending in long lists of pupils, budgets for maintenance and exam results.
22/3/98 The Shiite Tehrik-I-Jafaria group reports that 6 members were killed by Sunnis during the Nauroz spring festival. The Sunni Supreme Council had warned Shiites not to celebrate Nauroz as it is an "un-Islamic ritual".
4/3/98 Kanwar Ahson of Karachi is fighting for his life with gunshot wounds to his chest, abdomen and spinal cord. He was attacked (the crowd was 250) for marrying 18 year-old Riffat Afridi against her parents' wishes. The young couple was charged with "illegally having sex outside of marriage" although they were able to produce the marriage license. Women's rights activists say that 500 women are in prison in Pakistan under this law.
 
22/3/98 Turkish Economy in Trouble
One hundred per cent inflation, a growing gap between the rich and poor and worse than ever corruption are problems facing this Muslim country. Human rights were another potent reason why Turkey was not invited to join the EU (European Union). The military still attempts to run the elected government.
18/3/98 Eight Americans were arrested for distributing free Bibles in the city of Eskisehir :249 Bibles printed in Turkish were seized from their hotel rooms. The sale of the Bible is not banned but missionary work is.
 
18/3/98 Iranian Editor on "Obscenity" Charge
Reza Ghanilu editor of the magazine Fakhur (Thinker) has been fined and barred from running the magazine for 6 months. His crime was to publish fully-clothed photographs of Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky.
 
5/3/98 Sudan Bombs Hospital
A plane of Islamic Republic of Sudan dropped 13 bombs on the Yei hospital in rebel-held territory. (A Christian-animist coalition is fighting for independence from Shariah). Five bombs hit the hospital killing 7 people, including a nurse and two children. The attack took place in broad daylight.
 
3/3/98 Bomb Arrests Made in Bombay
Following several explosions in Mumbai (India), six arrests have been made: Mohamed Yakub Abdul Majid (24), Afzal Abdul Hanif Khan (48), Mohammed Iqbal Mohammed Shaik (24), Jafferbhai (35), Aftab Sayeed Shaikh (31) and Asgar Shaikh (24) The police say that Pakistan's ISS (Inter-Services Intelligence) is involved.
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February_1998
 28/2/98 Editorial Islam and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Pakistan physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy in a recent article, TIBen.htmlThe_Islamic_Bomb asks why Islamic countries should not have WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) on an equal basis with non-Muslim countries. While we do not agree with everything he says, we have provided this link as it raises some important questions.
We do believe that Islamic fundamentalists, that is those who act upon the literal words of the Qur'an and Sunnah, cannot be trusted with WMD such is the hatred expressed in the Qur'an for kafirs, non-Muslims. (e.g. 98:51, 9:28, 9:14, 9:123, 9:5, 48:29) Apart from this malign ideology they have the certainty that, even if they were to be destroyed in a retalitory strike, they would go to Paradise as shaheed, martyrs.
 
28/2/98 Israel Must Leave Southern Lebanon
Peace groups in Israel are calling upon PM Benjamin Netanyahu to abide by UN Resolution 425 which requires Israel's unconditional withdrawal from its 15 km security zone in Southern Lebanon.
President Hrari of Lebanon would then have greater influence on Syria to withdraw its 30,000 troops from that country and to bring about the disarming of Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerillas.
Understandably Netanyahu is concerned about Hezbollah attacks on Jewish kibbutzim in Northern Israel but the impasse must be broken and the UN Resolution implemented. The world could then put pressure on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon.
 
27/2/98 Rubber Stamp for Suharto
The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) is meeting for eleven days to, among other things, choose a president for Indonesia. Of the 1000 delegates there are 425 from the three parties allowed by Suharto, 75 appointed from the Armed Forces and 500 delegates appointed by the government made up of Suharto's friends and relatives (including his four daughters and a daughter-in-law)
It is a costly exercise, $5 Million US for accommodation and other expenses. Twenty five thousand troops will protect the MPR from protests and microphones have been removed from the delegates' seats so that no-one can dissent.
As one observer commented, "The President picks the MPR, the MPR picks the President."
 
27/2/98 Public Flogging and Amputations in Afghanistan
Thirty thousand spectators at the Kabul sports stadium watched while a teen-age girl received a hundred lashes for walking with a non-related male.
Two men, Hamidullah and Habibullah had their right hands amputated by the Taleban for stealing from a shop.
26/2/98 A specific form of stoning was carried out in Taleban Kandahar on Wednesday. Three men convicted of sodomy were ordered to be put to death by having a brick wall toppled on them with the use of a tank. Thirty minutes later when they were dug up to be buried they were found to be still alive. For some reason they are to be freed after they come out of hospital.
 
27/2/98 Bomb Blasts in Southern India
The Al-Umma and All-India Jihad Committee have been banned following 13 explosions which killed 41 people in Coimbatore. Six Islamist suspects blew themselves up when trapped by police and eight were arrested. The arrests led to the discovery of a cache of arms, 500 pipe bombs, 500 petrol bombs, 1000 detonators and 200 sticks of gelignite.
 
25/2/98 More Sectarian Violence in Pakistan
Doctor Syed Jawahar Hussain Abidi , Shiite activist in Lahore, was gunned down by two men on a motor cycle. A similar killing took place yesterday of Syed Razi Abbas Naqvi Zada 60 km to the north at Gujranwala. On Saturday two Iranians, Murtaza Adeebi 50, an engineer and Habibi Zada 36, both of the construction company, Machine Sazi Arak were shot dead in Karachi. (Iran is a Shiite state but only 15 per cent of Pakistanis belong to that sect.) Sunni Muslims blame Tehran for aiding the Shiites, who in turn blame Saudi Arabia for assisting the Sunnis.)
 
25/2/98 Troops Go on the Offensive in Algeria
Probably stung by accusations that they were not doing enough to counter terrorism, the Algerian Army and Air Force have killed over 250 rebels of the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) since they killed 1,200 civilians during Ramadan.
24/2/98 Fifteen trucks with sixty tonnes of food, clothing, medicine and school material provided by trade unions and many other groups with support from the government are visiting Bentalha, Sidi Rais and Sidi Hamed, three towns most badly hit by GIA attacks.
20/2/98 A bomb placed on railway tracks near El Affroune, 16 km south of Algiers, killed 18 people and injured 25 others.
22/2/98 Nineteen people were killed in an ambush near Boghni, 90 km east of Algiers. Twenty seven soldiers were killed when their truck was bombed…….
26/2/98 Ten passengers were killed when a bus hit a mine near Medea, 100 km south of Algiers,…
19/2/98 A French court sentenced three men, Djamel Lounici 35, Abdel Hakim Boutrif 38 and Kamel Zahaf 40 to jail for smuggling weapons and explosives to Algeria.
15/2/98 Ten civilians killed at Sidi Amer. Seventeen people had their throats cut in the Tamesna region. On Saturday night four civilians had their throats cut in a road block near Ain el Melh and similarly three civilians near Ain Defla and last Wednesday ten civilians in western Telagh…
 
22/2/98 Pakistan Enforces Study of Qur'an
Students in Pakistan now have to study the Qur'an in full. This is a blow to secular education in that country as the literacy rate of 39 per cent is one of the lowest in the world, especially as the Pakistani definition of literacy is being able to write one's name. The Qur'an will be studied in the original Arabic which none of the students understand.
 
21/2/98 "Saddam's Secret Time-bomb"
Channel Four (UK) reported on Halajba, northern Iraq where ten years ago Saddam Hussein killed 5,000 Kurds in a mustard and nerve gas attack. Journalist Gwynne Roberts visited Halajba in 1988 and again in 1998 to find that survivors are suffering "increased rates of cancer, heart and respiratory diseases and medical conditions identical to those shown by American veterans complaining of Gulf War Syndrome, only much more severe."
Professor Christine Gosden, a geneticist from Liverpool University, said the people of Halabja were suffering from much increased rates of leukemia, asthma, bronchitis, mongolism, respiratory diseases and heart failure. The number of miscarriages was four times that of the neighbouring town of Sulameiniya. The chemical weapons apparently cause cells of the body to mutate genetically.
The sick thing is that Saddam was able to buy the ingredients for his weapons from Europe and South America.
 
16/2/98 More Churches Attacked in Indonesia
Jatingi: The Kadipaten Indonesian Pentecostal Church and its pastor, Rev. Yessi Pande Irot were attacked by a Muslim mob. They were not able to get inside due to the small windows.
Also at Kadipaten, the mob tried to burn the Penebaran Injil (Spreading the Gospel) Church which was vandalized a few days ago, but the fire was extinguished by locals.
The Jamblang Indonesian Christian Church was vandalized. The Filadelfia Pantecostal Church also in Jamblang had its windows broken.
13/2/98 Pamanukan District, Subang Municipality, West Java Province : All churches in Pamanukan were attacked.(1) Indonesian Pentecostal Church ( Rev. Gideon Erwanto) The door, benches and musical instruments were destroyed. The pulpit and Bibles were burned. The mob tried to burn the church building but were stopped by the local neighbours. (2) Filadelfia Indonesian Bethel Church (E. Tirtapraja Street, Rev. M.Lumban Raja) The interior of the church was vandalized. They destroyed the church's car and the pastoral room, and looted musical instruments. and property of the minister (3) The Hosana Indonesian Bethel Church (Rev. Immanuel) The mob destroyed the pastoral room and broke the church's glass ornaments. (4)The Kemah Daud (Camp David) Christian Church (H. Ichsan St.) Glass, the roof and the garage with the church's car inside were destroyed. (5) The door, windows, benches and musical instruments were destroyed. (6) The Maria Pembantu Abadi (Eternal Helper) Catholic Church The altar, organ, benches and all utilities in the Pastoral room, meeting room and the church office were destroyed. The mob tried to burn the church but did not succeed.(7) Mother Mary Kindergarten, Elementary School and Junior High School were stoned by the mob and windows broken
13/2/98Pusakanegara District, Subang Municipality, West Java Province Indonesian Pentecostal Church (Pusakanegara Av., Rev. Yohannes Mawikere) For five hours the church was attacked. The pastor's wife and children were able to hide with neighbours.. The roof and windows were destroyed. Eventually security officers were able to turn the mob away.
Sukamandi District (1)Indonesian Pentecostal Church (9A Yani St. Rev. YAEF Rorong) The mob destroyed the door, the roof and the windows. Musical instruments, half the benches ,Bibles and church documents were burnt. The pastor came down and asked them not to go upstairs as his baby grandchild was upstairs, He was not attacked but they still tried to burn the church. (2)Pasundan Christian Church (about 100 metres from the previous one) Musical instruments, benches, glass. the roof and the church office were destroyed by the mob yelling "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is great)
Purwodadi District Indonesian Bethel Church stoned but the mob did not get inside,
Kadipaten Two molotov bombs were thrown into the Pasundan Christian Church breaking the glass but the congregation extinguished the fires.
Jatiwangi The Penyebaran Injil Church (199 Tanjung Kerta St., Rev. F.Rewa) vandalized. Sound system and musical instruments destroyed or looted. A Suzuki Carry owned by the church was destroyed. Neighbours put out the fires when the mob tried to burn it. They returned the next day and tried to stone the pastor, who was saved by the neighbours.
Indonesian Christian Church (Lanud S. Sukani St.) The church was burned to the ground. According to officials the fire came from neighbouring shops.
Jamblang Indonesian Christian Church. Unfortunately the church was made from a lot of glass which was destroyed, as was the roof. Jamblang Pantecostal Church Filadelfia was stoned, the door and lawn damaged. The fences were torn down. The pastor's (Rev. John Oroh) house, 700 metres away was attacked.
West Losari, West Java. The Catholic Church "Stasi Paska Kristus" (the Easter Station of the Wayof the Cross of Christ) The church was stoned, breaking the windows. After the military left the mob returnedand tried to burn the church but the military returned. (It was near here that one rioter was shot dead by the military) Also at West Losari, the Pentecostal Church of Indonesia was heavily guarded by military. Not being able to attack from the front, the mob successfully came in through some banana plantations vandalizing the pastoral room.
Ciledug, West Java: The Indonesian Bethel Church was stoned and the roof destroyed. The Ciledug Catholic Church was only lightly damaged. As was the JatiSeeng Catholic Church.
Patrol, West Java: The Pentecostal Church of Indonesia was attacked while the congregation was inside. The mob tried to get some petrol from a neighbouring Hajji (One who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca) but he refused.
Eretan,West Java: The musical instruments of the Pantecostal Church of Indonesia were taken away and dumped in the river.the mob made a policeman release one of those caught inside the church. (2)The Christian Church of Indonesia was attacked but some Muslim neighbours guarded the church so only light damage was done.(3)The Seventh Day Adventist Church was attacked and "devastated".(4) the Bintang Laut (Star of the Sea) Catholic Church had its door, window, roof, benches and Bibles destroyed. The church building and the pastoral room were completely "devestated".
Pangalengan, West Java: The Pantecostal Church of Indonesia was stoned and its roof and windows were damaged.
This information was supplied by http://www.fica.net
Ushering in the New Order 33 years ago, Indonesian santri (righteous Muslims) were responsible for the deaths of 500.000 "communists", many deemed so because they were not good Muslims, were "different" or were envied (tens of thousands of teachers, ethnic Chinese and trade unionists were killed) or because they subscribed to the wrong newspaper.
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 January 1998
31/1/98 Iraq: Innocent People Must Not Suffer
United Nations Inspectors have destroyed huge amounts of Saddam Hussein's WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) but insist that there are still more.
However ways must be found to eliminate the WMD without harming innocent Iraqi citizens. Bombing of targets near populated areas could release tons of anthrax, botulin toxin and VX nerve gas.
We agree that Saddam cannot be trusted and that he even used chemical weapons against his own citizens in Northern Iraq.
A ten kilogram anthrax bomb could cause as many deaths as the atom bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Iranian prisoners of war used as guinea pigs by Saddam suffered terrible deaths from internal bleeding.
Should diplomacy fail, the megalomaniac should be removed with minimum danger to the people of Iraq.
 
31/1/98 We Wish Success to a Secular Lebanon
The government of Lebanon moved today against the armed forces of dissident Shiite leader, Sheikh Sobhi Tufaili. Sectarian groups must be disarmed and the country re-unite to rebuild the devastation caused by civil war.
19/1/98 President Hrawi, a Maronite Christian, is being opposed by both Christian and Muslim clerics in his endeavour to introduce civil marriage. He says that it will be a "first step on the way of eliminating sectarianism in Lebanon". At present mixed marriages are not possible in Lebanon and young couples of different faiths usually go to Cyprus to marry.
 
31/1/98 Crisis Looms in Indonesia
Trillionaire President Suharto, his family and cronies have brought Indonesia to the brink of economic disaster with the rupiah a fraction of its former value against the dollar. But riots by young Muslims in East and Central Java have been directed against the wrong people, small Chinese traders who have to pass on the price rises.
Mr Amien Rais, leader of the 28 million strong Muhammadiyah movement has asked Mr Abdurrahman Wahid, leader of the 38 million member Nahdlathal Ulama and Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, leading Democrat to join together to ensure that Suharto does not does not stand for a seventh term in office.
27/1/98 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jose Ramos Horta has called on the United Nations for humanitarian aid to Indonesian-occupied East Timor which is threatened with lack of food and water. "If there is no action now there could be thousands of victims in the coming months."
In news coming out of another Indonesian colony, West Papua (Irian Jaya) hundreds of indigenous people have died from starvation despite the huge sums that Indonesia gains from their mineral wealth.
12 Jan '98 The Beggar' Resistance Foundation (Holland) bestowed a medal on Muchtar Pakpahan, jailed Indonesian trade union leader for his work "on behalf of the oppressed and poor."
 
31/1/98 PNA Aims for a Democratic, Progressive, Secular Society
The Palestinian National Authority plans to enhance the status of women, improve education in its areas and is studying the legal system in Australia as a model for Palestine. (The Australian Muslim News, Dec.1997 asks why Arafat should not use Shariah. Without going into gruesome details, we can only say that the laws of a country should be in line with the twentieth century. Nor will Palestine be a wholly Muslim state: it will contain numbers of Christians and Jews who should not be dhimmi, second rate citizens. Arafat has shown himself willing to attend Christian church services and visit the Holocaust Museum, even though some Jewish hardliners did not want him to.)
15/1/98 Palestinian police uncovered over half a tonne of explosive materials in a HAMAS factory in the city of Nablus and handed it over to the Israeli army. The group was planning to bomb the Israeli port of Haifa.
15/1/98 Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a co-founder of HAMAS, says, nevertheless "Israel … will not escape God's Will" and that the "holy struggle" must intensify.
 
29/1/98 GIA Celebrates Ramadan
More than 1200 civilians were slaughtered during the holy month of Ramadan. The Algerian government rejected offers of assistance and an inquiry by the European Union. This does nothing to allay claims that it is not doing enough to combat terrorism, may even have infiltrated GIA (Armed Islamic Group) cells or, worse still, is itself implicated in these crimes against humanity. On Thursday, the Algerian Foreign Ministry defended the government against Iranian claims that it is responsible for the massacres of civilians: "The Iranian regime, having indoctrinated, trained, armed and financed terrorist groups knows better than anyone who today is committing crimes against the Algerian people".
 
26/1/98 23 Hindus Massacred in Kashmir
Ten men, nine women and four children (one only a year old) were shot dead in the village of Wandhama, 26 km from Srinagar. A house and a temple were torched. Pandits blame Muslim separatists supported by Pakistan.
26/1/98 Bangladesh officials have called on Pakistan to "express regret" for the genocide of three million Bengalis in 1971 in what was then East Pakistan. Those killed were mainly Hindus but did include many liberal and nationalist Muslims.
21/1/98 Two editors of the daily Pakistan, Jamil Chishti and Hameed Jhelumi, have been arrested for publishing a story which is regarded as blasphemous against Ali, Islam's fourth caliph. If convicted, they face ten years in jail. (Blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad is more serious and carries the death penalty.)
12 Jan '98 Jhangvi, a clandestine Sunni Muslim group has claimed responsibility for the killing, by two gunmen on a motorcycle, of 28 mourning Shiites at a cemetery in Lahore, Pakistan. Angry Shiites then smashed cars and set buildings alight.
 
23/1/98 Malaysia Acts against Shiites
Several recent news events makes us worry about undemocratic practices and discrimination in Malaysia.
Professor Lupti Ibrahim of Universiti Malaya and lecturer Fadzullah Shuib of Institut Teknologi Mara have been detained for two years under the Internal Security Act. They and others have been sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre for allegedly being involved in Shiite practices. Public Relations official, Ghazali Mohammed Amin stated that "their detention was due to activities which were detrimental to national security, particularly the unity of Muslims".
Eighty bus drivers who went on strike because Naeila Express owed them money may lose their licences to drive. Datuk Pahamin Rajab, director-general of the Road Transport Department has said, "We will make sure they don't drive buses anymore".
The Health Ministry only allows single women between the ages of 18 and 25 to train to become nurses. The Malaysian Union of Nurses is asking that married women and those over 25 and also men be allowed to become nurses, particularly as nurses are "overworked and stretched to the limit".
 
 
 
23/1/98 Turkish Attacks on Churches
A 73 year-old caretaker was killed when an Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul was attacked and set on fire. Police are investigating. A priest was injured when a bomb was thrown at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul last month.
16/1/98 To our knowledge none of our members supports the Islamic Welfare Party, which gained 21 per cent of the vote at the 1995 elections . However we protest vehemently at its banning by a Turkish court, obviously at the behest of the military. Its leader, Necmettin Erbakan has been forbidden from playing an active role in politics for five years.
The reason given was that the Welfare Party violated the principles of secularism. We strongly support the separation of religion and state but democratic principles must be upheld and we point out that forcing movements underground can well lead to an Algerian-type response. Erbakan has foreshadowed this by calling Welfare an "Islamic jihad army" and that it will one day rule Turkey whether the transition is "sweet or bloody".
15/1/98 The Turkish parliament has passed a law making wife-battering a criminal offence punishable by six months prison. The Islamic Welfare Party opposed the legislation on the grounds that it interfered with family life. Light beating is Sunnah and the Prophet said, "do not beat your wife on the face or in such a way as to leave a mark on her body".
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