Friday, October 9, 2009

Iran to execute Juveniles

Thursday, 8 October 2009
Urgent Action: Juveniles to be executed in Iran within the next three days
Urgent letter from Mina Ahadi and Nazanin Afshin-Jam to save the lives of convicted juveniles who will be executed within the next three days
Behnoud Shojaee and Akram Mahdavi are scheduled to be executed in Evin prison this Sunday October 11 which falls one day after the International Day Against Execution. Some reports say that they may be executed tomorrow. Another juvenile,Safar Angooti is scheduled to be executed on October 21st. The Supreme Court is also deciding the fate of another minor on death row, Ali Mahin Torabi. This sad news is worrying the families of these youngsters, NGO's and human rights activists internationally.
We ask all human rights defenders, and international organizations to act immediately to stop child executions . We invite all Iranian freedom fighters to protest by showing their solidarity and showing their displeasure and disgust by pressuring the Iranian authorities for a stay of execution. . Hand in hand let's do the right thing to save these young lives.
For more information about these children and 160 + other children on death row, please visit

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in your own language:
* Expressing concern that Behnood Shojaee and Safar Angoti are at risk of execution for a crime committed when they were under 18;
* calling on the Iranian authorities to commute his death sentence;
* reminding the authorities that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), both of which prohibit the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.
Leader of the Islamic Republic:
Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via website: (English) (Persian)
Head of the Judiciary:
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran 1316814737,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via website:
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name;
third: your email address
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of IranMohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri,
Tehran 1316814737,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax 01198 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)
Email: or ;
Mina Ahadi, Head of the "International Committee Against Execution"
Nazanin Afshin-Jam , President and Co-Founder "Stop Child Executions"

A bit premature? President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel committee sent a message to the world, in particular about Middle East peace in awarding the peace prize to Barack Obama.  They were perhaps a bit hasty in awarding the prize, which has an unfortunate tradition: Previous winners included Ralph Bunche, who already made peace in the Middle East back in 1949, Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, who made "peace" in Vietnam, and Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, who made "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. In each case, but especially in Vietnam, it was shown that dialogue and negotiations are not always the route to peace. Of the recipients,
By Scott Wilson and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 9, 2009 6:23 AM
President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for his work to improve international diplomacy and rid the world of nuclear weapons -- a stunning decision to celebrate a figure virtually unknown in the world before he launched his presidential campaign nearly three years ago.
The announcement, which drew gasps of surprise from the audience in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, praised Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" during his nine months in office.
The committee singled out for special recognition Obama's call for a world free of nuclear weapons, which he first made in an April speech in Prague.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
Obama, 48, is the third sitting U.S. president--and the first in 90 years--to win the prestigious peace prize. His predecessors won during their second White House terms, and after significant achievements in their diplomacy. Woodrow Wilson was awarded the price in 1919, after helping to found the League of Nations and shaping the Treatise of Versailles; and Theodore Roosevelt was the recipient in 1906 for his work to negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese war.
The committee's decision to chose Obama from among 205 nominees appears in part to be a rebuke to the Bush administration's unilateral approach to world bodies and alliances, most notably in its decision to go to war in Iraq without U.N. approval. It sparked immediate questions from reporters in Oslo, who noted that Obama so far has made little concrete progress in achieving his lofty and ambitious agenda.
Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the five-member Nobel committee, said committee members were hopeful that the prize would add momentum to Obama's efforts as he considers whether to expand the war in Afghanistan, prepares to withdraw from Iraq, and struggles to build momentum to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and assemble an international effort to stop Iran's nuclear program.
At the same time, Jagland said, "We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do."
Jagland specifically cited Obama's speech about Islam in Cairo last spring, as well as his efforts to address nuclear proliferation and climate change, and to use established international bodies such as the United Nations to pursue his goals. The prize "is a clear signal to the world that we want to advocate the same as he has done to promote international diplomacy," Jagland said.
"Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics," the committee said. "Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play."
The committee did not mention Obama's status as the first black U.S. president.
Jagland told reporters that the U.S. president had not been notified of the award in advance of the announcement, which was made at 11 a.m. in Oslo (5 a.m. in Washington). There was no immediate comment from the White House 0fficials, who also appeared to be surprised by the decision.
Friday's announcement came a week after the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen rejected Obama's personal appeal to award the 2016 Games to his hometown of Chicago.
Obama and his advisers have described the tenets of his foreign policy as one emphasizing "mutual interest and mutual respect" and the idea that global diplomacy functions on the principles of "rights and responsibilities" of sovereign nations.
"Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts," the committee said in its statement. ". . . the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened."
Former President Jimmy Carter won the 2002 award more than two decades after leaving the presidency, during which he helped negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, the first Arab nation to recognize the Jewish state. Vice President Al Gore won the 2007 prize along with the United Nations panel on climate change.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Former Muslims on Capitol Hill to protest fear of murder for apostasy

Former Muslims Address Islam on Capitol Hill            By editor • on October 2, 2009

by Alicia M. Cohn, Human Events, October 1, 2009

            The Muslim call to prayer was heard on Capitol Hill Friday, Sept. 25 at the "Day of Islamic Unity" in Washington, D.C., but the day before, former Muslims announced that they do not feel safe announcing they have left the faith, even in the United States.
            According to Nonie Darwish, author of "Now They Call Me Infidel" and one of the founding members of new organization Former Muslims United, there are thousands of apostate Muslims "in hiding" across the U.S. Darwish also said that the number of Muslims leaving Islam is increasing because there is a new generation of Muslim Americans "who are revolting against their parents' radical Islamist views."
            Darwish's appearance came the day before the "Islam on Capitol Hill" event which – though touted as expecting a crowd of 50,000 or more – was only attended by about 3,000. Darwish said that the launch of Former Muslims United was not planned to coincide with the event. "They have the right to gather and express their views, and we have the right to gather and express our views," she said.
            The views expressed by Hassan Abdellah, an organizer for the prayer event, included praise for President Obama. He told the crowd at one point, "Don't be afraid to be Muslim in America because we have established that the Muslim community is a great community, a diverse community, a loving community."
            Darwish called it "a little outrageous" for Muslims to claim victim-hood. "I lived as a Muslim in America for a very long time and I was never afraid; I don't know what [Abdellah] is talking about," Darwish told HUMAN EVENTS on Tuesday. "Nobody discriminates against Muslims. They are free to build mosques as much as they want, they are walking on the streets and nobody bothers them. … I don't see anybody that's running away from America and going back home. They have more rights in America to practice Islam than many other countries."
            In stark contrast, Darwish and the other former Muslim members who spoke on Thursday, Sept. 24 at the launch of Former Muslims United said that they are the ones with a reason to be afraid. "We're scared for our lives," said Darwish. "We live in America, with books being sold and bought and read in mosques instigating people to kill us. This literature [teaching Muslims] to kill apostates is not something only taught in the East. It is in every Muslim institution."
            Part of the mission of Former Muslims United is educating the public, media and government about the threat Islamic law poses to former Muslims. "There isn't another group that actually demands the murder of anybody who wants to leave," she said, adding that Islam is like the mafia. "At least the mafia, you walked in. Islam, you're born into it."
            She used the case of 17-year-old convert Fathima Rifqa Bary as an example. Bary, whose case remains under investigation in Florida, told authorities that she ran away from home because she was afraid for her life after renouncing Islam for Christianity.
            "I don't understand how anybody cannot believe this girl," said Darwish. "Even if her father and mother are the nicest people in the world … her parents are under a lot of pressure from the Muslim community to do something. She has crossed the line."
            Darwish believes that former Muslims need legislation that would make them a protected group. "This is a national threat, but it affects us personally. People like me, and others, who left the Middle East, came to America, running away from the oppression of Sharia, only to find people calling it a religious right in America," she told HUMAN EVENTS. She suggested that adding a statement specifically about Sharia law to the immigration application would be a good place to start addressing the problem. Even something as simple as declaring "if you believe in Sharia Islamic law, please state if you want to live under it" would help, she said.
            Former Muslims United members, including Darwish and fellow apostates and activists Mohammad Asghar, Amil Imani, Wafa Sultan and Ibn Warraq, also sent a "Freedom Pledge to over 50 Muslim leaders asking them to repudiate the Islamic law that requires the execution of apostates who have left Islam," according to the press release dated September 23. That same date, they also delivered letters asking for investigation into "possible hate crimes and civil rights violations against apostates from Islam" to Gerald Reynolds, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
            "We [apostates] have to come from behind the rock, and from behind the tree, and say `enough is enough,'" Darwish announced at the launch event. "There's strength in numbers, and … that's why I formed this group."
11856 Balboa Boulevard, #241
Granada Hills, CA 91344
            For more information, contact Former Muslims United director Nonie Darwish
(818) 314-3972 or

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Five years in jail for Saudi kiss and tell

Kiss and tell is not nice, but the Saudis have gone a bit far in punishing it - five years in jail and 1,000 lashes in this "moderate" regime that is supported by the US.

Saudi gets 5 years in jail for frank TV sex talk

Oct. 7, 2009
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

A Saudi court on Wednesday convicted a man for publicly talking about sex after he bragged on a TV talk show about his exploits, sentencing him to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes, his lawyer said.

Talking about sex publicly is a taboo in ultraconservative Saudi Arabia.

Lawyer Sulaiman al-Jumeii said he plans to appeal the court's ruling and is confident the sentence against his client, which includes a ban on travel and talking to the media for five years after his release, will be revoked.

Al-Jumeii maintains that his client, Mazen Abdul-Jawad, was duped by the Lebanese LBC satellite channel which aired the talk show and was unaware in many cases he was being recorded.

"I hope you will not consider the case closed," the lawyer said. "I will continue pursuing the TV channel, even if no one stands by me, until it gets the punishment it deserves."

The program, which aired July 15 on LBC and was seen in Saudi Arabia, scandalized this conservative country where such frank talk is rarely heard in public. Some 200 people filed legal complaints against Abdul Jawad, who works for the national airline.

The program, "Bold Red Line," begins with Abdul-Jawad, dubbed a "sex braggart" and "Casanova" by the media, describing the first time he had sex at 14. He then leads viewers into his bedroom, dominated by red accessories, and then shows off blurred sex toys.

He is later joined by three male friends for a discussion on what turns them on.

Abdul-Jawad's lawyer maintains his client was referring to other people's sexual experiences and the toys were provided by the TV station.

The government moved swiftly in the wake of the case, shutting down LBC's two offices in the kingdom and arresting Abdul-Jawad.

The other three men on the show were also convicted of discussing sex publicly and sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each, according to al-Jumeii.

The case itself was also tried before the wrong court, maintains the lawyer, who says it should have been heard by a specialized court at the Information Ministry qualified to issue decisions regarding editing, dubbing and other technical issues related to the case.

In his statement, al-Jumeii said the decision in the case was made "under pressure from public opinion" due to the media frenzy surrounding it.

He also said he will continue pursuing a lawsuit he has filed against LBC.

The kingdom, which is the birthplace of Islam, enforces strict segregation of the sexes. An unrelated couple, for example, can be detained for being alone in the same car or having a cup of coffee in public.

Saudis observe such segregation even at home, where they have separate living rooms for male and female guests.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Canard: Ahmadinejejad is not Jewish

A great canard has been exploded. Jew hater Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  has no Jewish roots it seems, contradicting an earlier story (see Ahmadinejad Jewish? )
In June 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's meteoric rise from mayor of Tehran to president of one of the most influential countries in the Middle East took everyone by surprise. One of the main reasons for the astonishment was that so little was known about him.
One recently published claim about his background comes from an article in the Daily Telegraph. Entitled "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past", it claims that his family converted to Islam after his birth. The claim is based on a number of arguments, a key one being that his previous surname was Sabourjian which "derives from weaver of the sabour, the name for the Jewish tallit shawl in Persia".
Professor David Yeroshalmi, author of The Jews of Iran in the 19th century and an expert on Iranian Jewish communities, disputes the validity of this argument. "There is no such meaning for the word 'sabour' in any of the Persian Jewish dialects, nor does it mean Jewish prayer shawl in Persian. Also, the name Sabourjian is not a well-known Jewish name," he stated in a recent interview. In fact, Iranian Jews use the Hebrew word "tzitzit" to describe the Jewish prayer shawl. Yeroshalmi, a scholar at Tel Aviv University's Center for Iranian Studies, also went on to dispute the article's findings that the "-jian" ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews. "This ending is in no way sufficient to judge whether someone has a Jewish background. Many Muslim surnames have the same ending," he stated.
Upon closer inspection, a completely different interpretation of "Sabourjian" emerges. According to Robert Tait, a Guardian correspondent who travelled to Ahmadinejad's native village in 2005, the name "derives from thread painter – sabor in Farsi – a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan province, where Aradan is situated". This is confirmed by Kasra Naji, who also wrote a biography of Ahmadinejad and met his family in his native village. Carpet weaving or colouring carpet threads are not professions associated with Jews in Iran.
According to both Naji and Tait, Ahmadinejad's father Ahmad was in fact a religious Shia, who taught the Quran before and after Ahmadinejad's birth and their move to Tehran. So religious was Ahmad Sabourjian that he bought a house near a Hosseinieh, a religious club that he frequented during the holy month of Moharram to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein.
Moreover, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mother is a Seyyede. This is a title given to women whose family are believed to be direct bloodline descendants of Prophet Muhammad. Male members are given the title of Seyyed, and include prominent figures such as Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei. In Judaism, this is equivalent to the Cohens, who are direct descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. One has to be born into a Seyyed family: the title is never given to Muslims by birth, let alone converts. This makes it impossible for Ahmadinejad's mother to have been a Jew. In fact, she was so proud of her lineage that everyone in her native village of Aradan referred to her by her Islamic title, Seyyede.
The reason that Ahmadinejad's father changed his surname has more to do with the class struggle in Iran. When it became mandatory to adopt surnames, many people from rural areas chose names that represented their professions or that of their ancestors. This made them easily identifiable as townfolk. In many cases they changed their surnames upon moving to Tehran, in order to avoid snobbery and discrimination from residents of the capital.
The Sabourjians were one of many such families. Their surname was related to carpet-making, an industry that conjures up images of sweatshops. They changed it to Ahmadinejad in order to help them fit in. The new name was also chosen because it means from the race of Ahmad, one of the names given to Muhammad.
According to Ahmadinejad's relatives the new name emphasised the family's piety and their dedication to their religion and its founder. This is something that the president and his relatives in Tehran and Aradan have maintained to the present day. Not because they are trying to deny their past, but because they are proud of it.