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Archives 1999
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December 1999
31/12/99 Hundreds Die in Christian-Muslim Riots in Indonesia
More than 320 people have died this week in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the Spice Islands. (250 on Halmahera island and 74 in the neighbouring province of Maluku) This brings the total to over 1100 for the year 1999.
27/12/99 The latest violence broke out after a bus driven by a Christian struck a Muslim pedestrian in Ambon. The Silo church, the largest in the city, and a nearby mosque were burned in Ambon. Last Thursday, 43 people were killed on Buru Island.
23/12/99 A priest was among 5 people killed on Ambon. More than 170 homes, churches and shops were set on fire. Tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting.
24/12/99 President Abdurrahman Wahid has freed 105 political prisoners and 3000 others as an act of amnesty for the New Year.
20/12/99 Over 100 bodies are being exhumed in East Timor, 67 of them victims of the April 6 attack on the main Roman Catholic chuch at Liquica by Indonesian soldiers and militia. Australian navy divers have recovered about a dozen bodies dumped in the lake at Maubara. Indonesian official human rights group, Yayasan Hak is blaming top generals for the bloodshed.
7/12/99 Today East Timorese commemorated the day, 24 years ago, that Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony. Some 2000 East Timorese died in the first few weeks of the occupation with an estimate of 100,000 deaths in the 24 years.
12/12/99 A Muslim mob threw gasoline bombs and rocks at a dance club in Jakarta. No one was injured. Islamic protesters are demanding that all nightclubs be closed during during Ramadan. For 21 years state schools have been open during Ramadan but this year they have been closed for 37 days. We deplore this attack on education.
7 Dec '99 Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman said new charges of corruption against former president Suharto will be brought against him. Suharto and his family amassed a fortune during his 32 year rule.
1/12/99 Tens of thousands of West Papuans raised their flag, the "Morning Star" during a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura, the capital of Irian Jaya. The 2 million people are Melanesians, not Malays. The province has large gold and copper mines which would make a separate nation viable.

28/12/99 Shiite Gunman Attacks Sunni Muslim Funeral in Pakistan
Salamat Shah attacked a funeral procession killing 12 Sunnis and injuring 6 others in Sikunder Pur, NW Pakistan. They were all members of the militant group Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), "The Guardians of the Friends of the Prophet". The organization has been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Shiite Muslims in Pakistan.
31/12/99 All 155 remaining passengers and crew of an Indian air-line jet have been released after being held for a week. One passenger, Rippan Katyal, 25, on his honeymoon, was stabbed to death. The Indian government had agreed to release Pakistani Muslim cleric Maulana Masood Azhar and two other Islamic militants. Azhar is the ideologue of the Harkat ul-Ansar, a group on a US list of terrorist organizations. The hijackers had threatened to kill all on board the airliner.
24/12/99 The Pakistan Supreme Court has ruled against riba and said the country must introduce an interest-free economic system by 2001. The ruling is that "any amount, big or small, over the principal is prohibited by the holy Qurt'an".Usury is forbidden in four verses but Qur'an (3:130) says: "O ye who believe! Devour not usury, Doubled and multiplied …" which could distinguish between reasonable and exorbitant rates of interest. It is hard to see Pakistan obtaining loans without some sort of "mark-up".

30/12/99 Turkmenistan Bans Death Penalty
The Turkmen government on Wednesday banned the death penalty, replacing it with a maximum 25-year prison term. Hundreds of offenders were on death row, mostly for drug running. HRAIC sees this as a positive step. More than 5,000 prisoners will be freed in January under an amnesty but they will have to swear on the Qur'an that they will not commit any more crimes.

20/12/99 Algeria Says 250 Rebels Surrender
More than 250 rebels of the AIS (Islamic Salvation Army) have surrendered under the amnesty, Civic Concord Law, which expires on January 13. More than 1,000 guerillas have given themselves up since July. The amnesty only applies to those who have not killed, raped or kidnapped. The Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and Da'wal Djihad (DD) oppose the concord and will keep on fighting for an Islamic state. AIS is integrating 3,000 of its fighters in the pro-government militia to help against the radical groups responsible for 500 deaths since July.
22/12/99 Boulemia Fouad,27, has confessed to the assassination of FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) leader Abdelqader Hachini on Nov. 22. He and 7 others were sent by GIA to kill Hachini.

11 Dec '99 Conditions for Turkey to Join EU
The European Union says Turkey must improve its Human rights record, improve relations with Greece and abolish the death penalty before being accepted into the EU. Some Turkish members of parliament are talking of allowing Kurdish-language television as a first step towards reconciliation with its millons of Kurdish "second-class citizens". The EU has made it clear that it expects Turkey to spare Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
12/12/99 Several thousand people demonstrated in Istanbul demanding improved Human rights. Police arrested 150 of them.
14/12/99 Turkey opposes re-unification of Cyprus, divided since its invasion of the island in 1974.

29/12/99 Israel Tears Down Shrine to Mosque Murderer
In February 1994, US-born settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslims as they prayed in Hebron's main mosque. He was beaten to death by survivors. Ultra-nationalist Jews raised a shrine to him which said he was "a martyr murdered in sanctifying God's name". The Israeli Knesset passed a law banning monuments "dedicated to murderers" and "terrorism". Settlers clashed with Israeli troops as the shrine was removed.
17/12/99 Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin warned Israel that the holy struggle of HAMAS against Israel would continue even after a peace treaty between Palestine and Israel.

24/12/99 Bangladesh Police Arrest 18 Islamic Extremists
Police raided several villages in Jhalakahti district after "Islamic Jihad" had wounded a businessman who refused to help them with money. Sawn-off rifles, meat cleavers and Taleban literature were seized.

8 Dec. '99 Proposed Discrimination Against non-Muslims in Malaysian State
The Terengganu government, dominated by fundamentalist PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) proposes to tax non-Muslims with kharaj (land tax). Such legislation would be discriminatory and be unconstitutional under Federal law.Kharaj and jizya (poll tax paid by non-Muslims) were methods of converting dhimmi (zimmis, non-Muslims in a Muslim country) Other methods were banning zimmis from many jobs, discriminatory clothing, the inability to ride horses and camels or to marry a Muslim woman.

November 1999
30/11/99 No Vote for Women in Kuwait
Kuwait's parliament, the only elected legislature in the Arab Gulf states, voted 32-30 against allowing women to vote and run for office. Muslim fundamentalist Hassan al-Azimi said, "Women should stay home and take care of the children." Police and members of the armed service are also disallowed the vote.

26/11/99 Three Priests Among Bodies in West Timor
Twenty five bodies have been uncovered two miles inside the Indonesian border. In September the pro-Jakarta militia attacked a church at Suai, East Timor not far from the border.
11/11/99 More than 200,000 East Timorese refugees remain in West Timor. Fifteen thousand pro-Indonesian militiamen are preventing their return. They also tell the refugees that the peace-keeping forces have imposed a reign of terror: for example, "Australian soldiers are eating babies."
12/11/99 The official Indonesian news agency Antara reports that 158 children and 136 adults have died in West Timor refugee camps resulting from lack of drinking water, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.
28/11/99 Thirty-eight more Ambonese have been killed in riots between Muslims and Christians. About half of these are said to have been shot by Indonesian security forces. Religious fighting in the Moluccas has caused over 700 deaths so far this year.
19/11/99 The Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses in East Timor, an official Indonesian body, plans to subpoena generals Wiranto, Damiri and Zacky Anwar for their part in the atrocities committed in East Timor.

29/11/99 PAGAD Blamed for Bomb Blast in Cape Town
Militant Muslim group, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD), is blamed for planting a pipe-bomb which exploded inside St. Elmo's pizzeria, Cape Town. Forty-eight people including seven children were taken to hospital. The bombing was similar to that on the Planet Hollywood restaurant which killed 2 people. PAGAD members have been arrested for possession of explosives and a promonent PAGAD member was convicted on Friday for murdering four people.

28/11/99 Moderate Muslim Assassinated in Algeria
Algerian police have rounded up dozens of Islamic radicals for questioning about the murder of the third-in-command of FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) Abdelqader Hachini. Hachini was committed to ending the conflict in Algeria which has claimed 100,000 lives since 1992. The GIA (Armed Islamic Group) opposes the peace plan and wishes to set up an Islamic state.
21/11/99 One child was killed and three wounded when Islamic militants bombed a school bus in the village of Tamerdjit 200 km East of Algiers.
20/11/99 Fifteen people were killed and eight wounded at a GIA roadblock near Blida, 60 km south of the capital.
9 Nov '99 Northhern Nigeria Adopts Shariah
Minority Christians in Zamfara state are worried about the adoption of Islamic law there. However as we have pointed out strict Shariah is a threat more to Muslims. We will monitor how many of the harsh laws will be instituted.
21/11/99 Engineer Kidnapped in Southern Philippines
Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf have kidnapped for ransom engineer Robustiano Hablo Jr. in Sulu province, 900 km S of Manila. Kidnap and ransom are Sunnah, practices of Prophet Muhammad to help finance the young Muslim state of Medina.
19/11/99 MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) guerrillas attacked a military camp on the island of Mindinao. About 30 rebels died and two government soldiers. The MILF is seeking a separate Islamic state and has about 8,000 men under arms. Thousands of villagers have been displaced by the fighting.
10 Nov '99 Revenge Killings by Kosovar Muslims
Serbs and gypsies, totalling 447 people have been killed in Kosovo since Serbian troops were expelled. This is high because most Serbs have fled the territory.
11/11/99 UN investigators have stopped exhumations for the duration of winter. So far the bodies of 2,108 Muslim ethnic Albanians have been dug up. About 20 per cent were women and children.

9 Nov '99 Blasphemy Jailings in Iran
Three students have been jailed, two for two years and one for six months, for publishing a satirical play considered insulting to a Shi'ite Muslim saint. More than 1,000 students held a protest rally.
28/11/99 Abdollah Nouri, director of the daily Khordad, was jailed for 5 years for publishing sacrilegious articles and the paper closed. He had allegedly opposed the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini in his newspaper and advocated better relations with the USA and Israel. A number of reformist newspapers have condemned the sentence. The conservative clerics who rule Iran are unelected by the people but the elected president, Khatami has called for greater democracy and pluralism in Iran. Parliamentary elections are to be held in February.
16/11/99 Thousands of marchers voiced opposition to the house arrest of dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who is close to Khatami.

1 Nov '99 Blasphemy Trial in Lebanon
We were shocked by the charge of blasphemy against singer Marcel Khalifa because Lebanon is usually regarded as liberal and pluralist. His song "I am Yusuf, oh Father" contains only the words "I saw the11 stars and the sun and the moon. I saw them kneeling in prayer before me." from the Qur'an.
Islamic law dictate that Qur'anic verses be read or chanted according to conventional styles known as "Tajweed". Any improvisation is considered blasphemous. If convicted Khalifa faces 3 years jail.

9 Nov '99 USA Told to Expect Earthquakes and Storms
The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar as saying that Allah would visit quakes and storms against the USA unless it "ceased hostility" against Taleban Afghanistan. The USA initiated sanctions against them in the UN Security Council unless it expelled for trial Osama Bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the bombings in 1996 of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.. The 200 plus people killed, we might add, were mainly innocent Africans not Americans and, by the laws of probability, 20 of them were Muslims.
19/11/99 Taleban jets hit the civilian neighborhood of Bazarakh and refugee camps in the Panjshir Valley killing 13 people and wounding64.
30/11/99 Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan has come out against human rights violations by the Taleban and opium growing in their areas (for financial reasons. It is ironic on the other hand that alcohol is strictly banned) He criticized its neighbors for supporting the Taleban militarily, in particular the religious schools in Pakistan which provide new recruits.
12 Nov '99 Rockets Fired at US Targets in Islamabad
Four rockets were fired within the space of two minutes at the US embassy, a US cultural center and a Citibank branch. The explosions may have been connected with UN sanctions against Taleban Afghanistan.

9 Nov '99 Tajikistan Votes for Secular President
President Emomail Rakhmonov won a landslide victory on Saturday against Islamist Davlat Usmon. The two leaders were on opposite sides in the civil war that ended in 1997.
17/11/99 Islamists Active in Uzbekistan
Why rebel gunmen would want to kill 3 forest workers near Yangiyabad we do not know. Three policemen were killed in a separate attack. The rebels want an Islamic state.

24/11/99 Attack on Lawyers in Sudan
The ACIJLP (Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession) has denounced the attack by security forces on a meeting of lawyers in Khartoum, the Islamic Republic of Sudan. A number of the 50 people present were injured and 11 were arrested for holding an "illegal" meeting. Click here for more details. Press Release


 October 1999
Editorial: Say "No" to a Malaysian Islamic State
PAS, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, still has the formation of an Islamic state in its constitution. The three other parties in the Opposition Front, DAP, PKN and PRM, should beware of this. PAS should define exactly which Islamic laws it proposes to introduce -- surely not the whole spectrum so that Malaysia ends up like Taleban Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan or Saudi Arabia? Already PAS deputy president, Abdul Hadi Awong has attempted to table a bill to restrict the propagation of religions other than Islam. He has tried to make apostasy from Islam a capital offence -- yes the death penalty! ("Apostates are guilty of high treason against the country and their fellow Muslims.")
Nor has he ruled out amputation of a hand as punishment for theft.
An Islamic state would be disastrous for Malay Muslims -- some laws could include the death penalty for adultery and 100 lashes for pre-marital sex, eighty lashes for drinking alcohol, death for sodomy and bestiality, banning of music, TV or videos as in Afghanistan. Muslim women would particularly suffer: easier divorce, polygamy and custody for the husband, lesser inheritance, less credibility as a witness, less mobility -- for example women are banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, have to completely cover their faces in Taleban Afghanistan, not allowed to marry a non-Muslim … Non-Muslims would also be affected -- no proselytization, no non-Muslim church services as in Saudi Arabia, the death penalty for sex with a Muslim woman as in Iran, no government jobs?
Fortunately PAS has no chance of gaining power federally. 2/10/99 The proposal by Deputy Minister Datuk Ibrahim Ali to bar lawyers from politics has been attacked by the Bar Council. All people should have the right to participate in politics. Indeed what better than some lawyers in parliament to help draw up the laws of a country? 19/10/99 More charges of khalwat ("close proximity" e.g. being alone with a woman in a hotel room) have been laid this month. Is it a coincidence that two of these were deeply involved with the opposition Parti Keadilan Nasional (National Justice Party)? The punishment for khalwat is a fine and two year's jail.
21/10/99 HRAIC opposes the inclusion of religion on Malaysian Identity Cards. After wanting to include all Malaysians, Cabinet has now decided that only Muslims will have this done. Authorities would be able to identify a Muslim who committed an offence such as visiting a casino or eating during daylight in Ramadan. (In some Islamic countries, including some hot and dry ones water is turned off during those hours.) This will affect nearly 55 per cent of Malaysia's nine million citizens.

People who were born of Muslim parents should have the right to become free-thinkers, humanists, rationalists, atheists, etc. or convert to another religion if they wish. Religion should be a personal matter and not one for the state -- this viewpoint is called secularism. It would be much more to the point if a person's blood group was placed on his card.

21/10/99 One of us Killed by Bomb in Turkey
Prominent secularist university lecturer and academic Ahmet Taner Kislali,60,father of three, died on Thursday when he picked up a parcel left on the roof of his car in an Ankara street.
Kislali was critical of fundamentalism and was an advocate of a secular, democratic Turkey. He had traded words with a Muslim sect which had said that the deadly earthquake in Turkey in August was divine retribution for the country's rejection of Islamic law. (See August "Left Shoe News")
No one has claimed responsibility but police suspect the outlawed IBDA-C (Great Islamic Eastern Raiders Front)

31/10/99 Hundreds of Civilians Killed in Chechnya
In order to lessen infantry casualties, the Russian military have been pounding Chechnya with heavy artillery, rockets and bombs. As a result hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed -- at least on a par with civilian casualties in Serbia from the NATO bombing which drew so much Russian criticism. Again TV has shown us injured women and children in hospital. Hopefully the rout of Islamic militants, who attempted to infiltrate and set up an Islamic state in Dagestan, will soon be achieved and peace return to the region.
Russia also has memories of apartment-bombing which killed 300 civilians in Moscow and other centres.
Thousands of refugees wishing to flee Chechnya should be allowed into Ingushetia says its President, Ruslan Aushev. Border guards can easily prevent armed men from entering the country. On TV we also saw the arming of Ingush civilians to defend themselves. One armed woman said: "Although I am a Muslim, I certainly don't want to live in an Islamic state."

31/10/99 TNI Involvement in Beutong Ateuh Massacre Exposed Yesterday the fact finding team set up by the Aceh regional government reported its conclusions. The 51 men killed by the Indonesian army on 23 July were unarmed. More details: tni.html
HRAIC does not support the setting up of an Islamic state in Aceh but cannot condone brutality towards its citizens.

30/10/99 GIA Killings Continue in Algeria
Guerrillas from the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) attacked Tadjemat hamlet, 330 km S of Algiers and slit the throats of 12 people. They also kidnapped 2 girls.
24/10/99 GIA rebels cut the throats of three brothers, aged 6, 12 and 13, who were collecting fire-wood in a forest 225 km SW of Algiers.
21/10/99 GIA rebels slashed the throats of six shepherds and kidnapped three others and their flock. Three peasants were seriously injured by a bomb planted in a farm in Tipaza province, 70 km West of Algiers.
Twenty one rebels have been killed by government forces in the last month.and 531 have applied for amnesty which applies to rebels who have not killed, raped or kidnapped anyone. On September 17 a referendum overwhelmingly supported an end to the war although the GIA and the Da'wa wal Djihad (Muslim Mission and Holy War) opposed it.
Since 1992 the war has cost 100,000 lives.

2 Oct. '99 Sectarian Violence Continues in Pakistan

Two activists of the Shiite Muslim Tehrik-e-Jafria party were killed today by two men on a motorcycle. The night before four Sunni Muslims were gunned down outside a religious school in Karachi. Earlier in the day a Shiite doctor, vice president of the PMA in the Punjab, an assistant and a patient were gunned down in Lahore. Nine worshippers were killed when Sunni gunmen attacked a Shiite mosque in Karachi during prayers.
25/10/99 Pakistan's 10 year experiment with democracy has ended with the army's grab for power. The last military dictatorship introduced many Islamic laws. We certainly hope General Musharraf, unlike General Zia, does not try to woo the Islamic extremists.

30_September_1999 East Timorese Punished for Voting for Independence.
that On August 30, ninety-nine percent of East Timorese flocked to the polls and voted 78.5 percent for independence. As a result hundreds have been murdered, 200 000 deported to West Timor and the territory virtually destroyed by the Indonesian army and their militias. Interfet forces have found corpses in burnt-out trucks, the bush, streams, gutters and wells -- the latter a dirty (especially in Arabia where there is a shortage of water) Muslim custom practised by Prophet Muhammad.
22/9/99 Dutch journalist, Sander Thoenes, 30, was killed and disembowelled by armed men wearing the gray uniforms of Indonesian police in Dili. His Timorese driver lost an eye.
27/9/99 Nine Christians from Liquica, including 2 nuns, were killed by Muslim gunmen while returning from an aid mission to Los Palos. About 30 pro-Jakarta militiamen were seen fleeing into the hills. More than 20 people were killed at a Liquica church in April, hacked to death by machetes.
28/9/99 Indonesian news media have attempted to portray Interfet troops as committing atrocities. One newspaper headline was "Bakar Tentara Australia" (Burn the Australian Army) after alleging they had burnt militiamen and destroyed an Indonesian flag.
Dr. Mahatir Mohammed, PM of Malaysia, alleges Australian brutality: noone has supplied photographs or videos supporting these statements but we have seen his police kicking protesters in the head.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander said that Australian troops had shown remarkable restraint in disarming the brutal militia and had confiscated and destroyed 1,000 weapons.
The Editorial of Jakarta Post linked here ( Editorial Jakarta Post ) provides some reasons why the East Timorese chose independence but neglects to mention that some 200,000 of them were killed or died from hunger and disease in the 24 years of Indonesian occupation.
24/9/99 Protesters Killed in Jakarta At least 3 students or their supporters were killed protesting against a new bill which would give the army even greater power to crush dissent. The danger is the army could manufacture a crisis and seize power from the democratically elected government due to be sworn in soon.

30/9/99 Suffering in Russia and Chechnya Due to Islamists

Over 300 Russian men, women and children have been killed by terrorist bombs in Moscow, Buinaksk, Volgodonsk and Petersburg. And perhaps as many as 200 civilians have been accidentally killed in Chechnya by Russian air raids aimed at Islamist strongholds.
A video, apparently taped by Chechen militants has hardened Russian resolve. It showed captured soldiers being executed by decapitation or having their throats slit.
People are coming back to their homes in Dagestan now that fundamentalists have been driven out and peace restored. However, thousands of Chechen refugees are trying to escape across the border into Ingeshutia.

27/9/99 Massive Vote for Peace in Algeria

Of the 85 per cent of the population who voted in the September 16 referendum, over 98 per cent voted for peace despite opposition by the GIA (Armed Islamic Group). This shows that the extremists have almost completely isolated themseves from the Algerian people by their indisciminate violence. Islamic insurgents who surrender will now receive an amnesty or reduced jail sentence except those convicted of rape, murder or planting bombs. Already 13 militants in Oran have surrendered bringing with them Kalashnikov rifles and 17 kg of explosives. Over 100,000 Algerians have died in the emergency.
24/9/99 GIA rebels slashed the throats of 5 farmers in the Attatba area, 60 km W of Algiers. 29/9/99 Another 7 people were forced out of their cars and killed at a roadblock near Berrouaghia, 70 km W of the capital.

26/9/99 Taliban Bombs Kill 27
Taliban jets killed 27 civilians, many of them children, in Taloqun, northern Afghanistan. The Taliban now rule 90 per cent of the country which they are turning into a fundamentalist Islamic state. Women have been forced out of jobs and must completely cover their faces. Girls schools and sports have been banned and television sets and videos destroyed. Public amputations for thieves and executions are carried out in stadiums.

21/9/99 Premature HAMAS Bombs in Israel
Three Arab Israelis were killed on Sep.5 when two bombs intended for the Haifa-Jerusalem and Tiberias-Jerusalem bus lines exploded in their car.
Ibrahim Abed al-Majid, 20, who was temporarily out of the car was detained. Nine others have been arrested. A week before an Arab Israeli from Mashad confessed to stabbing to death a young Jewish couple of hikers.
Israeli Jews are shocked that there are, among the million or so Arab citizens who make up 20 per cent of the state, those who can be recruited to violence. Israeli Arab leaders issued a public call to HAMAS to keep out of Israel and to refrain from recruiting among the community's youth.
3 Sept.'99 In renewed peace talks, new Israeli PM Ehud Barak has agreed with Yasser Arafat that: Israel will relinquish another 11 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian control giving them 42 percent of the territory. Israel will release 350 prisoners The final framework of peace talks will be established by February 15, 2000 The Palestinians can begin building their own seaport in Gaza. Israel will guarantee safe passage corridors for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians will be responsible for collecting illegal firearms and security in their areas.

28/9/99 Grenade Attack Kills Two in Kosovo Market
Muslim Kosovars indiscriminately fired two rifle-propelled grenades into a Serbian market at Kosovo Polje killing 2 people and wounding 35. More than 300 non-Albanians have been killed, about 500 kidnapped and about 250,000 have fled Kosovo since the arrival of the international peacekeeping mission.
29/9/99 Thousands of bodies, mainly Muslim, have been exhumed from over 150 mass graves in Kosovo.
17/9/99 The UN war crimes court was told how Bosnian Serb, Goren Jelisic had killed at least 500 Muslims at Brcko in May 1992. Bodies, some in pyjamas, had been shovelled into pits, 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide and rubble from demolished mosques strewn across the site.
21/9/99 Fifteen more Muslim bodies were found accidentally in the village of Lisci, just north of Sarajevo. They had been bound with electric cable and then set on fire. Some 200,000 people were killed during the Bosnian ethnic and religious war and more than 24,000 are still missing.

20/9/99 Newspaper Closed for Opposing Capital Punishment in Iran
Latif Safari, publisher of a pro-reform Iranian newspaper was given 30 months jail for opposing capital punishment, calling on the clergy to stay out of politics and so insulting Islamic values. So far 4 people have been sentenced to death with more than 800 yet to be tried for protesting against attacks by police and Islamic vigilantes on a peaceful student demonstration.

30/9/99 Syariah in Malaysia
Azizan Abu Bakar was sentenced on Tuesday to 3 months jail and a fine after he pleaded guilty to charges of khalwat (being alone with his fiancee) and attempting to have illicit sex with her. They have since married. HRAIC opposes khalwat: sex between consenting adults should not be a crime. 25/9/99 Former MP Lim Guan Eng has been released after 12 months in prison for "sedition and spreading false news". Seven opposition party members and supporters have been arrested following an "illegal" meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.


 31_August_1999 East Timor's Faces of Hope ¨ The brave people of East Timor came in droves to determine their destiny. ¨ Clutching voter registration cards, they queued for hours outside polling booths yesterday to have a say whether the the former Portuguese colony becomes independent or retains its links with Indonesia. Over 451,000 voted in the historic election after weeks of bloody violence.

24/8/99 Turkish Rescue Efforts Improve International, Relations
Many non-Islamic countries, including Israel and long-time foe, Greece have sent in aid workers to help victims of last Friday's disastrous earthquake. Many say it is time to accept Turkey into Europe. (Indeed human rights violations in Turkey are about the only sticking point remaining.)
24/8/99 Some Turks claim the government, or the military, or immorality is the reason for the earthquake. However, do not let us blame Allah for the deaths of these 14,000 people - many of them must have been innocents. An earthquake is a natural event which occurs on a "fault line" where two rock masses floating on semi-liquid magma get stuck and cannot readily slide past each other.
If blame is to be laid, then the shoddy construction practices of the builders must be examined. In an earthquake-prone region, the population has the right to safe housing. If people must live in such regions then appropriate building designs (single storey, prefabricated designs?) should be examined. - Huge slabs of concrete crushed many occupants and made rescue work difficult.

28/9/99 Muslim Rebels Kidnap Four Year-old in Southern Philippines
Wilmarie Furigay, four year-old granddaughter of a former mayor of Lamitan, was kidnapped a fortnight ago by a group of MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) rebels. Fourteen guerillas and two soldiers were killed in an effort to rescue her. Sharriff Julabbi, a leader of the MILF in the hinterlands of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan province said, "our camps will be the graveyards of Christian soldiers if they continue to intrude into our territories."

31/8/99 Bomb Blast Near Red Square
Forty one people were injured, 3 seriously, when an explosion ripped through a popular shopping mall in Moscow. No-one has claimed responsibility but disrespect for life, especially of infidels, is an Islamic trait going back to the days of the Prophet.
31/8/99 A number of villages in the Karamachi region of Dagestan, southern Russia have been occupied by fundamentalists from Chechnya. Strict Islamic law has been imposed even to the point of barring children from having toy animals or dolls. (The Prophet was probably referring to statues which could be used as idols by pagans.)The villagers have been forbidden to listen to music (see Music ) or view pictures of living things (see Chapter 882 Hadith ) Cameras are forbidden. Women must wear Islamic dress, covering their faces, arms and legs. Thousands of villagers have fled from the region
Shamil Basayev, a Chechen warlord, says he is planning new attacks on Russian territory. "I will continue this holy war even if the world goes up in blue smoke."
27/8/99 Six or seven people, including 4 Japanese geologists have been taken hostage by Uzbek Islamic guerillas holed up in southern Kyrgyzstan. A thousand gunmen, thought to be supporters of Dzhuma Namangani want to establish an Islamic government in Uzbekistan. Krrgyzstan, an impoverished Central Asian state of about 5 million with a small and poorly equipped army has appealed to Moscow for military equipment that would help soldiers operate at night in remote mountainous regions.

10 August '99 Twelve Dead in Sectarian Violence in Ambon
About equal numbers of Muslims and Christians were killed in bloody street battles in the Mardika and Batu Merah areas of Ambon, Indonesia. Deaths were caused by gunshot wounds, stabbings or beatings. More than 300 people have died in religious and inter-communal clashes in Maluka province this year.
HRAIC calls on all believers to make their religion a personal matter, not to fight about it and to try to make it a force for good if possible.

29/8/99 Nine Die in Three Bombings in Yemen
Abu-Hamza al-Masry, head of the London-based "Supporters of Shariah" claims that the Aden_Abyan Islamic Army contacted him and claimed responsibility for bombing a supermarket in San'a, the capital of Yemen and buildings in Aden and Zinjibar. Earlier this month, an appeals court in Zinjibar upheld death sentences for an Islamic militant and one of his followers convicted of abducting 16 Western tourists - four of whom died during a botched rescue. Zein Al-Abidine al-Mihdar, head of the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, has said that if he were executed his followers would exact revenge. They would continue to attack foreign targets as well as Yemeni officials and to work toward the establishment of an Islamic state in Yemen.

14/8/99 Five Killed Over Rival Shariah Courts in Somalia
Rival groups wanting to set up Shariah (Islamic Law) courts in Hodon, Mogadishu fought each other and police with shotguns leaving five dead. Virtually no secular judiciary remains since the ousting in 1991 of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Somewhere in our archives is a story of the amputation of a hand for theft in Mogadishu. Such barbaric punishments are typical of Shariah, introduced by Prophet Muhammad in the Seventh Century.

25/8/99 GIA Oppose Peace Referendum
The GIA (Armed Islamic Group) in Algeria opposes the peace referendum to be held on 16 September. On Wednesday they detonated a bomb near a bus on the road between Blida and Medea killing three civilians and wounding nine.
Last Friday. GIA rebels killed 17 people, many of them children, attending a circumcision party in Medea. The day before they slaughtered six people, including three women and a child at a fake roadblock.

30/8/99 Hamas Member Found Guilty of Bombings
Ammar al-Zibben, 24, a former Palestinian Authority policeman, told the court he was proud to have had a hand in the attacks in Jerusalem in July and September 1997. Twenty-six people, including five Hamas suicide bombers, died in the explosions in the city's main market. Zibben told the court, "Resistance is a legitimate right, guaranteed by the United Nations and by International law".
HRAIC agrees but with two provisions: 1)The struggle must be against armed combatants, not innocent civilians
2) The aim must be for a democratic, secular state. This is not the case with Hamas which seeks a theocratic, Islamic state where the Palestinian people would be subjected to the barbarities of Shariah religious law.


 July 1999 Pro-Democracy Rallies in Iran
17/7/99 Thousands of students have rallied in Tehran and eight other cities supporting democracy and moderate President Mohammad Khatami. They are protesting against the closure of a liberal newspaper, Salam. Iran's Special Court of Clergy ordered Salam to suspend publication for "disturbing public opinion, endangering national security and violating Islamic principles."
Hardliners attacked a student hostel in Tehran using tear gas, chains and cudgels. A woman student was killed and 20 seriously injured. Fourteen hundred students have been arrested in recent days. One man arrested, Manouchehr Mohammadi has confessed to "receiving money from Zionist elements".
20/7/99 After a warning from Iran's top military élite, President Khatami has dissociated himself from the student protests. The statement from the Revolutionary Guards, a force ideologically committed to the Islamic clergy, said in part: "Mr. President, if you don't take a revolutionary decision today, and fail to abide by your Islamic and nationalistic duty, tomorrow will be too late and the damage done will be irreparable and beyond imagination" Exiled opposition groups in the West have been saying for a long time that Khatami is insufficiently opposed to the fascist theocracy in Iran.
HRAIC maintains that society should be completely secular, that religion is a personal thing and should not be connected to the state apparatus.

Farmworkers Killed, Churches Attacked in Kosovo
16/7/99 Fourteen Serb farmers were killed while working in a field near Gracko and ethnic Albanians are sill trying to "persuade" Serb inhabitants to leave Kosovo, as 100,000 have already done. KFOR says they will "hunt down those responsible for this awful crime".
31/7/99 More than 40 Christian churches have been attacked since the return of the Muslim Kosovars in the last few weeks. 6 July '99 The village of Bela Crkva buried 65 people including 7 children, one of them 4 years old and 3 women, one of them 60. The ceremony was performed near their shattered mosque.
21/7/99 Sixty-eight ethnic Albanians aged one to 106 were reburied in the village of Celine. Serb para-militaries had buried them in shallow graves. UN chief war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour had visited the site last week and said those responsible for the crimes must be brought to justice.
11/7/99 Today is the fourth anniversary of the massacre of over 2,700 Muslim civilians by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica, Bosnia. Over 5,000 former inhabitants of Srebrenica are still missing.
7/7/99 NATO soldiers arrested former Bosnian Serb cabinet minister Radislav Brdjanin on Tuesday in the town of Banja Luka. He has been charged with planning ethnic purges of Muslims and Croats in NW Bosnia and faces life imprisonment if convicted by theUN War Crimes Tribunal.
26/7/99 Bosnian Croat General Tohomir Blaskic is being tried by the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the deaths of hundreds of Muslim civilians in the Lasva Valley in April 1993. The court heard that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman was ultimately to blame.
HRAIC's hope is that ultimately religion and ethnicity will diminish in importance and no longer be the cause of dissension between Earth's people.

Is Syria's President Assad Mellowing?
20/7/99 Eight militant groups, including Hezbollah (Party of God), have been told by Syrian authorities that when Syria signs a peace treaty with Israel they will have to surrender their weapons and end their armed attacks against Israel.
14/7/99 More than 150,000 prisoners, mainly for economic crimes, will be freed under an amnesty announced by President Assad. Some communists will be released as may be some members of the Muslim Brotherhood not charged with carrying out armed attacks. The Brotherhood wishes to replace the secular Syrian government with a fundamentalist Islamic state.

26/7/99 Egypt Censors University Library
Last year the book "Muhammad" by French scholar Maxime Rodinson was withdrawn on orders of the Ministry of Higher Education from the library of the American University in Cairo. Apparently it hinted that the Qur'an is not the word of God, but rather the literary effort of prophet Muhammad. (This is suggested because Allah allowed his prophet to marry the former wife of his foster-son, have more than four wives as a special dispensation, inconsistencies about the use of alcohol and the attitude towards the Jews. These are more in line with the changing views of a mortal rather than an omniscient deity.)
Since that act of censorship, 94 more books have been banned including "History of World Religions" by Ninian Smart, "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran and "Children of the Alley" by Egyptian Nobel literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz.
The Egyptian Writers' Union was angered: "banning or withdrawing any book from the market or public libraries is an attack on the law and first of all an attack on Egypt's intelligence". Gamal al-Ghitani, a leading Egyptian novelist, said: "I am against any confiscation (of books), and if it continues it will lead to more backwardness - cultural backwardness and intellectual backwardness".
10 July '99 Eleven members of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), go on trial on Monday for killing a number of policemen and Coptic Christians. They face the death penalty if convicted and will become shaheed (martyrs) in the eyes of those wanting an Islamic state.

16/7/99 Libya Pays Damages for French Airliner Bombing
Libya has paid $US 31 million to the families of 170 people killed in the bombing of French UTA Flight 772 over Niger on September 19, 1989 en route to Paris. Colonel Muammur Ghadaffi has promised to punish the six men found guilty in absentia by a French court, including his brother-in-law, Abdallah Senoussi. The magistrates heard that, unknown to him, a young Libyan secret agent was put on the flight with a bomb in his baggage.

21/7/99 Polygamy in Russia?
Russia's Muslim southern region of Ingushetia has passed a decree allowing men to marry up to four wives. Leader Raslan Aushev is asking the Russian parliament to allow the changes under federal law. Ultra-nationalist maverick, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has called for Russia to change its laws to allow polygamy.
HRAIC points out that the situation is different in present times: in the seventh century CE there was an imbalance of women to men as many men were killed fighting and plundering. (Thus there may have been some grounds for polygyny in the USSR after the Great Patriotic War.)
We are not in the Seventh Century and if polygyny (more than one wife) is legalized then women should be allowed polyandry (more than one husband.) In practice, however, we prefer monogamy - polygamists cannot help but favour one partner over another, for example, the newest or youngest wife. Alternatively a new wife is often used as a servant by a more dominant co-wife. As meiosis causes baby boys to be born, on average, in very nearly the same numbers as girls then polygyny would mean that some men must miss out on marrying.

12 July '99 Muslim Theologians Sentence Russian Governor to Death
Theologians from Chechnya and Dagestan ordered Muslims to carry out the death sentence against Gov. Aman Tuleyev "at the first possible opportunity". He has been accused of being baptized as an Orthodox Christian on June 25. The death penalty for apostasy ("deserting Islam") is not Qur'anic but it is Shariah (Islamic Law) as Prophet Muhammad executed a number of apostates. Tuleyev denies the report that he had been baptized and says he is not religious. Thus he is still technically an apostate as, being of Kazakh origin, he is "a member of a predominantly Muslim ethnic group" as the theologians say.

30/7/99 Military Massacre in Aceh, Indonesia
Villagers in Beutong found 31 bodies in mass graves and another 20 in a ravine. Witnesses say the men were ordinary villagers who were gathered together and marched into the jungle. Aceh is the center of a separatist group who want an Islamic state and more benefits from the oil produced there. Three hundred people have been killed in Aceh so far this year.
25/7/99 East Timorese leaders say former President Suharto, Generals Prabowo and Wiranto will be charged with genocide before a war crimes tribunal. In the 32 years since the Indonesian invasion about 200,000 men, women and children have lost their lives. Doubts remain whether the Indonesian army is supporting the pro-integration militias who are trying to intimidate the people from voting for independence on August 30. If you have not done so already please consider printing off this petition (removed) and send it to General Wiranto calling on the army to disarm the militias.
27/7/99 Hospital workers say 51 people have died in street fighting between rival Christian and Muslim gangs in Ambon in the last week. More than 100 houses and shops were burned in the town of Poka alone. More deaths are reported from neighboring islands.
HRAIC calls on the various groups to show restraint, not seek retaliation and to try to prove that their religion can be a force for good and not dissension.

21/7/99 Spain Aids Bangladeshi Acid-Attack Women
Corporacion Dermoestica has helped twenty Bangladeshi women with plastic surgery after their men had disfigured them with concentrated acid. UNICEF reports at least 200 cases of acid violence in the country last year. Many cases go unreported for fear of reprisal. Only ten men were arrested for the crime.
HRAIC calls on the restricting of sales of nitric and sulfuric acids, which sell very cheaply, and more strict enforcement of existing laws.

8 July '99 Turkey Found Guilty of Human Rights Abuses
The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of curtailing freedom of speech rights in eleven cases. Eleven journalists, lawyers, labor leaders, writers and teachers had been jailed and fined for "separatist propaganda" in showing sympathy for the Kurdish cause. Ankara was ordered to pay their legal costs and 30,000 to 40,000 francs to each individual.
31/7/99 Dozens of journalists and intellectuals have been jailed for such crimes as calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict. The Turkish army has burned thousands of villages and more than half a million Kurds forced from their homes. This, of course, helps build support for the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK.
20/7/99 Turkish Cypriots celebrated the 25th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus today. Greek Cypriots held a memorial service for the 5,000 who were killed. Two hundred thousand refugees fled or were expelled from the north.
29/7/99 Turkey ordered the expulsion of 15 Americans and one South African found guilty of distributing leaflets and free copies of the New Testament.

20/7/99 Fifteen Villagers Killed by Kashmiri Militants
Six Islamic separatists attacked the mainly Hindu village of Thattri in Jammu-Kashmir killing 8 defence committee members, two other men and five women. Six people were injured, four seriously.
25/7/99 About 30,000 supporters of Jamaat-i-Islami demonstrated on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan calling for PM Nawaz Sharif to step down for betraying the nation and Islam. After a meeting with President Bill Clinton, Sharif agreed to peace talks with India and ordered the militants attacking Indian Kashmir to withdraw.

10 July '99 Iraqi Troops Demolish Village
The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said that a unit of the Republican Guards destroyed al-Masha village near Rumaitha, 240 km S of Baghdad. Most of the villagers were detained and a curfew imposed on Rumaitha. On July 4 insurgents attacked a squad of Iraqi troops and members of the ruling Baath Party in the vicinity of Rumaitha killing 40 of their number.
20/7/99 The Iraqi Communist Party's Human Rights Centre reported that "the dictatorial regime executed 58 political detainees on 14 April 1999 in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison". They listed the 58 names, 16 of whom were from Baghdad and the rest mainly from the south.
20/7/99 On Sunday, international experts unconnected with the former UNSCOM inspectors destroyed a kilogram of mustard gas and a tiny amount (0.1 mg) of VX nerve gas which had been left behind by UNSCOM.

18/7/99 Palestinians Demonstrate Against Water Quota
Several hundred Palestinians burned tyres and blocked the road leading to the Deheishe refugee camp in the West Bank protesting against the Israeli water allocation. Israel provides each Palestinian with 2.6 gallons (12.5 litres) of water per day, one-fifth of the established international minimum. Some Palestinians have no running water and are forced to buy it on the black market.
22/7/99 Israeli police arrested 3 Jewish fundamentalists of the outlawed Kach group who distributed leaflets calling on Jews to "expel the strangers from the Temple Mount". The area known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif is on the site of the second Jewish Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
9 July'99 Israeli police have finally made an arrest in the 1997 firebomb attack on the apartment of 3 Arab women students in Jerusalem. The ultra-orthodox Jew, Yair Sabag, 41, successfully made the women move out of the area close to the walled Old City.
18/7/99 Israeli human rights groups helped obtain the release of a 35 year old Palestinian after nearly six years in prison without charge or trial. Osama Barham was alleged to have been a member of Islamic Jihad but has pledged not to engage in violent activities of any kind. Justice Minister Yossi Beilin has come out against "administrative detention" and said Israel should be able to protect its security interests without violating the basic human rights of prisoners.
June 1999
30/6/99 Editorial: Put Yourself in Another's Shoes
We must ask the Turks who have been celebrating the capture and sentencing of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan what they would think and feel if they were subjected to a foreign power and unable to be educated or watch television in the Turkish language. The Kurds make up the largest ethnic group in the world, 25 million of them, who have no homeland. Kurdistan is artificially divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iraq and Syria and deserves independence or at least autonomy.
Ocalan has been sentenced to death for treason (!) and causing 30,000 deaths in the SE of Turkey. Yet by far the majority of those deaths have been wrought by the Turkish armed forces who even pursued the Kurdish freedom fighters and their families into northern Iraq. Theoretically Turks and Kurds belong to the one ummah, world-wide Muslim community. Yet, in the real world nationalism is rampant and we believe that the national aspirations of all people should be met and the autonomy of minorities be recognized in multi-ethnic countries.
The same is true elsewhere and, in the case of Yugoslavia, the Kosovars would have been quite content to retain the autonomy they enjoyed under Josep Broz Tito, before Slobodan Milosevic took it away from them in 1989.

30/6/99 Editorial: For a Secular Indonesia
The Democraic Party - Struggle (PDI-P) of Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri is leading the vote in Indonesia with 36.4 per cent in a field of 48 parties. Second is the Golkar Party of President B.J. Habibie (and of former President Suharto. But they say it is a new, reformed party) with 18.1 per cent. Megawati may have to form a coalition with several Muslim parties but she must not compromise her stand for a secular Indonesia, one which is not tied to any particular religion, one which does not favor Islam over Christians or Hindus.
Indeed HRAIC rejects the Pancasila provision that everyone must have a religion and asserts the rights of the non-religious, the free-thinkers, rationalists, humanists, atheists and agnostics. The United Development Party (PPP, fourth with 9.8 per cent) is demanding that the PDI-P not form a government because some of its menbers are non-Muslim and because a hadith (saying) from Prophet Muhammad said that a woman should not lead a state. HRAIC rebuts this discrimination against women.
13/6/99 Trigger Happy Police Kill Five in Aceh Yes, a number of police and soldiers have been killed by Aceh separatists wanting an independent, Islamic state but on Sunday a tyre on a police truck burst noisily causing the police to fire blindly upon bystanders in Alue Nere. Five villagers were killed.
30/6/99 Attacks on UN Officials in East Timor Seven UN officials were injured by rocks in Maliana, East Timor and their lives were threatened at Viqueque by pro-integration forces opposed to independence. We wonder at the wisdom of trying to secure a fair and free vote on independence on August 21 without the use of armed peace-keepers.

29/6/99 US Missionary Free in Chechnya
Herbert Gregg, 51, who taught English for the Evangelical Alliance Mission has been freed from Chechnya with the help of the Russian Interior Ministry. He had been abducted last November and systematically beaten and tortured by his captors and his right index finger cut off. Russian officials deny paying ransom. They estimate that 70 professional gangs abduct hundreds of people each year. At least 24 foreigners are believed to be among the 560 people listed as kidnapped. Many are feared to have been murdered.
Last December, the severed heads of four engineers who worked for a British telecommunications firm were found along a highway. A four year-old Russian girl was re-united with her mother last week after eight months of starvation and beatings at the hands of her kidnappers.
20/6/99 Sergei Khval and Gennady Ganiyev, officers of the Emergency Situations Ministry were fired on from a car and killed in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, 10 km from the border with Chechnya.
28/6/99 Ten people were injured in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz, near the Chechen border by a bomb planted near a food stall. More than 50 people were killed in a similar incident in March. We agree that these acts were not religiously motivated as in most of our other stories but they do cast doubt on the much vaunted "civilising role" of Islam.

20/6/99 Muslim Rulers Head List of Wealthy
This year's Forbes list of "The Nonworking Rich: Kings, Queens and Dictators" gives eight of the top ten billionaires as Muslims. They are, in order, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Dubai, Iraq, Holland, Qatar, Syria and Britain. Saddam Hussein, who has $US 6 billion derived from oil and smuggling, could do more to help the Iraqi children said to be starving and dying from a lack of medicines due to economic sanctions.

26/6/99 Netanyahu Still At It
Defeated in the recent Israeli elections, Benjamin Netanyahu, caretaker Prime Minister until Ehud Barak forms a new government has bombed Beirut, Lebanon. Eight people were killed and 60 injured plus the destruction of power stations, bridges and roads. We agree that the Lebanese government must stop Hezbollah (Party of God) from shelling northern Israel (in their latest attack two Israeli civilians were killed) but the collective punishment of the Lebanese people is not appropriate. Prime Minister elect Barak has promised to withdraw Israeli troops from southern Lebanon within a year.
28/6/99 Jews Arrested in Iran News has just been released that 13 Jews were arrested several months ago in Shiraz and Isfahan, Iran. They are accused of spying for Israel but their identities or the evidence against them has not been revealed. US, German and Israeli officials have called for their release saying that they are rabbis and religious teachers. If convicted they could be executed.

9 June '99 Iran Blamed for Bombings in Iraq
The Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq has blamed the "religious, terrorist dictatorship ruling Iran" for bombings in Baghdad aimed at them. In the latest attack seven senior members of the group were killed and 37 injured when their bus was targeted. On Saturday two bombs damaged their HQ in Baghdad. The Mujahedeen Khalq is aided by Iraq and has 30,000 members equipped with tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships and makes sorties into Iran from its 17 camps near the border. Likewise Iran hosts Iraqi opposition groups which have been blamed for assassination attempts on several Iraqi leaders including President Saddam Hussein's son, Odai.

17/6/99 Twenty Islamists Jailed in Egypt
Twenty members of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya received jail terms ranging from 5 years to life for planning an attack on the palace of President Mubarak in 1996. In 1995 Islamists fired on his car while he was visiting Ethiopia. Since 1992 when the campaign began over 1200 people have been killed. The Islamic group aims to overthrow the secular Egyptian government and replace it with a strict Islamic state.

16/6/99 Repression Rife in Middle East
Conflict, repression, violent punishment and human rights abuses were rife in the Middle East last year says Amnesty International. In Egypt, prisoners were subjected to electric shocks, beatings, suspension by the wrists and burning with cigarettes. Psychological torture included death threats and threats of sexual abuse. The death in Palestinian custody of three detainees and Israel's use of physical pressure on Palestinians were other examples. Iran continues to use flogging and stoning and tortured detainees to obtain confessions. Bahrain also used torture, while Oman and the United Arab Emirates carried out floggings and amputations. On the positive side, hundreds of political prisoners were released in Syria, including prisoners of conscience, following presidential amnesties. Morocco freed 28 political prisoners and Kuwait released several people detained as collaborators after the 1991 Gulf War. Jordan's King Abdullah signed an amnesty three months ago for more than 500 people, including 25 political prisoners.
22/6/99 Egyptian journalist Hussein al-Mat'ani was sentenced to three and a half years' jail for setting up the "Syndicate of Independent Journalists" in June 1998. His reason was that the official "Journalists' Syndicate" did not enroll freelance journalists or reporters working for off-shore publications.

29/6/99 Grenade Thrown into Philippines Prayer Rally
Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim fundamentalist group in southern Philippines, is blamed for hurling a grenade into a prayer meeting killing one person and wounding nine. About 800 followers of the Jesus Miracle movement were praying at a school campus in Maluso town on Basilan island, 40 km south of Zamboanga. The attack may have been in retaliation for the killing of two Abu Sayyaf guerrillas last week by government forces pursuing the kidnappers of two Belgian nationals, agrarian expert Lieven de la Marche and journalist Eric Bracke.

30/6/99 "Forced Confession" in Malaysia Trial
Sukma Dermawan, adopted brother of Anwar Ibrahim testified Wednesday that police had coerced him into a confession of illegal sex with Anwar. Police had interrogated him round-the-clock, taken nude photos of him, groped at his genitals while women officers present laughed at him. He had been confined to a cold, dark room although he had bronchitis and asthma. They had yelled into his ears and continuously hurled curses at him until he was compliant. The maximum punishment for sodomy is 20 years plus a whipping.
Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammed continues to blame the western media for criticizing the police state in Malaysia to the point of paranoia. Does he mean to say that we fabricate films of the police hitting protesters with truncheons and kicking them in the head while they are on the ground , as we have seen on TV?

8 June '99 Islamists Fight Each Other in Algeria
On Sunday the AIS (Islamic Salvation Army) declared an end to its guerrilla attacks on the Algerian people in return for an amnesty deal. It vowed to turn its guns against the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) to support the government's fight against terrorism. The GIA denounced the AIS truce with the government as a sell-out. The AIS had become increasingly unhappy about GIA attacks on civilians. Then on Monday AIS attacked a GIA base in Jijel arresting its commander and several other members. The amnesty deal, the National Harmony Law, by newly elected Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is opposed by a wide cross-section of parliament which says AIS is an enemy of democracy and the secular state.
16/6/99 Three Islamists were jailed from five years to life for the killing of 7 Italian sailors in 1994. The sailors had anchored at Djendjen to unload semolina. More than 100 foreigners have been killed in Algeria since 1993, when Muslim rebels began targeting foreigners to embarrass the government and worsen an economic crisis by frightening off investors.
27/6/99 President Bouteflika said on Sunday that 100,000 people have died in Algeria's seven year conflict with Muslim guerrillas.
5 June '99 Nineteen civilians were killed and 4 wounded by GIA rebels at Sidi Ahmed Drouni village, 300 km W of. Algiers

30/6/99 "Pay Back Time" in Kosovo
Many of the 800,000 ethnic Albanians returning from Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania to find their homes looted and burned and their friends and loved ones buried (if that) in their back yards, are taking the law into their own hands. In their turn 70,000 of the Serbian minority have fled to Serbia. Not so lucky are the Roma, Kosovo gypsies accused of collaborating with the Serbs, who have not been allowed to cross the border into Serbia.
17/6/99 The Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery in Srbica, 40 km W of Pristina, was vandalized, a priest terrorized for 3 days and a nun undressed and assaulted. This was apparently in retaliation for the destruction of the ancient mosque in Djakovica.
22/6/99 President Bill Clinton addressing remaining refugees at Stenkovic, Macedonia said: "No one ever, ever should be punished and discriminated against or killed or uprooted because of their religion or ethnic heritage." 28/6/99 The defeat of Orthodox Serbians by Ottoman Turks 610 years ago today was celebrated at Gracanica Monastery (built in 1310 CE), Kosovo. By 1600 CE, Kosovo had a Muslim majority but Serbia reclaimed the territory in 1912.
While we understand the background for Serb nationalism, this history cannot be undone any more than, say, Greece can reclaim Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) or the Jews their Biblical areas now in Arab East Jerusalem or the West Bank.
17/6/99 Almost hourly new mass graves are being found as peace-keepers advance into Kosovo. So far, it is estimated that 10,000 Kosovar civilians have been buried in 100 graves. It is hard to believe but dozens of children as young as a year old and old people in their 80's were shot at close range by Serb para-militaries.

5 June 1999 Muslim Brotherhood Wants Churches Closed in Kuwait
Some 100,000 Christians in Kuwait, mainly foreigners, have set up churches which are not licensed with authorities. Abdullah al-Mutawa, head of Kuwait's Muslim Brotherhood wants them closed. "I am prepared to supply the state with a list of locations of unlicensed churches which are working to hit Kuwait", he said. The Kuwait Constitution guarantees religious freedom unlike many of its Muslim neighbors. For example, churches are banned in Saudi Arabia and Christian services are not allowed even in private homes.

20/6/99 Indian Credit to Bangladesh
India will lend Bangladesh nearly dlrs 40 million to buy transportation equipment and upgrade infrastructure over the next three years. The two neighbors signed a credit agreement Sunday during Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Dhaka. India also agreed to buy more products from Bangladesh.

30/6/99 Islamists Kill Construction Workers in Kashmir
Islamic guerrillas surrounded sleeping construction workers in Jammu-Kashmir and shot and killed 13 of them. The attack at a brick factory was carried out late last Tuesday in the mountainous Bulbul Nowgam village near the town of Anantnag.

7 June '99 "Illegal Assembly" in Sudan
Eighty four people wishing to form a new political party, the Democratic Forces Front, were detained in Omdurman on Sunday. Eleven were charged with illegal assembly including human rights lawyer Ghazi Suleiman, Imam, Toby Madut and Mohamed Ismail al-Azhari, whose father was Sudan's first prime minister after independence. Suleiman said, "We need a diversified civil society in which the Sudanese people, irrespective of religion or ethnic grouping, choose their own government in a free, honest election." Sudan, Africa's biggest country and one of its poorest, has been ravaged by a war between the Muslim, Arabised north and the Christian and animist south.
5 June '99 Mohammed Abdel-Sid journalist, 53. was detained April 14 on unspecified national security charges and says he was tortured for a month. He had to spend a week in hospital before he could be released. He was known to be close to exiled former leader Sadiq el-Mahdi who was ousted by President Omar el-Bashir in a 1989 Islamic coup.

28/6/99 Death Sentences for Six Islamists in Uzbekistan
Six men , Kasym Zakirov, 43, Bakhrom, 29, Mukhammed Abdurakhimov, 31, Zikir Khasanov, 31, Zakhid Dekhanov, 26, and Taladbek Nuraliyev,24, were sentenced to death and 16 others jailed in Tashkent on Monday. The charges related to a series of bomb blasts in February in Tashkent which killed 16 people and injured 120 others.
President Islam Karimov is a Muslim but says that religious fanatics, "Wahabbists" a fundamentalist sect from Saudi Arabia wish to set up a strict Islamic state by force. Human rights groups in Uzbekistan say that his fears are not unfounded but the threat of fundamentalism is being used to crush not only religious groups but other opposition discontented with falling living standards in the country.


 May 1999

27/5/99 Milosevic Indicted on War Crimes President
Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia is wanted by the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, Netherlands for atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Investigations go back for a year, long before NATO bombings began. Much evidence has been collected from Kosovar refugees, including videos, of systematic rapes, beatings, detentions and mass killings by Serb forces.
Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic indicted for war crimes in Bosnia, remain at large. 12/5/99 Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for former Muslim warlord Fikret Abdic for alleged war crimes against Bosnian Serbs. Croatian authorities have rejected a Bosnian extradition request.
25/5/99 Amor Masovic, who heads the Muslim-Croat commission for Missing Persons said his commission has exhumed 250 bodies from mass graves since April. Most were killed in 1992 and 90 per cent were civilians. An estimated 200,000 people were killed from 1992 to 1995 and more than 24,000 are still missing.

22/5/99 Peace Prospects Brighten in Palestine
The election of Labor Party Ehud Barak as Israeli PM is great news for those who want to see peace in Palestine. Former hard-line PM Benjamin Netanyahu was beholden to the ultra-orthodox, fundamentalist Jews whose vision of Israel has the boundaries of two thousand years ago. (Defeat by Rome and the resulting diaspora changed all that.) Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called on Barak to halt the expansion of settlements, confiscation of land and demolition of Palestinian houses. Barak must also complete the implementation of the Oslo and Wye River agreements by withdrawing from more territory in the West Bank, by allowing the opening of a Palestinian seaport in Gaza and promising "safe passage" for Palestinians across Israeli territory between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
HAMAS spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin who opposes peace with Israel said their attacks would continue regardless of who won the election.
22/5/99 A record number of women were elected to the Knesset - 14 out of a total of 120! One was Hussnia Jabara, the first Arab woman to be elected to Israel's parliament. She was on the ticket of the left-wing, mainly Jewish, Meretz Party

May '99
Killings Continue in Algeria
24/5/99 Ten people, including three children were killed and three injured in a GIA (Armed Islamic Group) attack on a village near Medea, 100 km S of Algiers. Pro-government vigilantes were the target.
12/5/99 Two new mass graves containing 55 bodies were found at Falloug 30 km SW of Algiers and Tlemcen 400 km W of the capital. The latter were the remains of 5 people kidnapped by the GIA.
3 May '99 Nine shepherds had their throats cut by GIA in Kasni hamlet 220 km SW of Algiers. 20/5/99 Another mass grave containing 18 civilians including women and children was found near Djelfa, 600 km SE of Algiers. Villagers say the GIA had abducted them from a wedding party. Two shepherds were killed by Islamist rebels at Moulay Slissen. Six children and one adult from Bekkar, 70 km S of Algiers, had their throats cut by Islamists.
10 May A large number of rebels have split with the GIA because of its attacks on civilians. The Da'wah wal Jihad group (Appeal and Struggle) led by Hassan Hattab are instead concentrating on ambushing government troops. Three soldiers were killed when their truck hit a mine. Twenty rebels were killed in the Tizi-Ouzu area, 90 km E of Algiers.
PARIS: Dozens of Islamic militants have been convicted in France for supplying arms to rebels in Algeria. Jail sentences of up to eight years were imposed and when completed they will be deported. Key evidence was a car loaded with assault rifles and ammunition.
31/5/99 Two dozen Islamists went on trial for a series of bombings in France between July and October 1995. Ten people were killed and over 170 injured. Many said their nationality was "Muslim" when asked.

23/5/97 Kidnapping and Assassination Attempts in Chechnya
Gunmen fired on the car of the Chechen Islamic Republic, Aslan Maskhadov as he was driving to work on Sunday. The president was unhurt but Adam Tamkayez was killed and his brother, Danilbek Tamkayev, top presidential aide, critically wounded. In March, a remote-controlled mine exploded near Maskhadov's motorcade.
17/5/99 Armed gangs and lawlessness continue to plague Chechnya. Kidnappings for ransom are common. The Red Cross has suspended operations in the Northern Caucasus after the kidnapping of its worker, New Zealander Geraldo Riberio.
Ransom is an Islamic custom: Prophet Muhammad ransomed many Meccan prisoners of war and thousands of Jewish women and children after he had beheaded the menfolk. Assassination is also Sunnah: the Prophet, for example had 3 poets, Asma bint Marwan, Abu Rafak and Ka'b al-Ashraf assassinated.  

27/5/99 Egypt Targets Human Rights Groups
The Egyptian parliament has passed "The Law of Civil Associations" which bans groups such as ours trying to affect government policy. Hafez Abu Saada, secretary-general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, said the main aim of the law is to close down human rights offices and prohibit them monitoring government policy. The bill sets prison terms of one or two years for "threatening law, public morality, order and national unity".
Even criticizing, for example, discrimination against the Coptic Christians can be judged prejudicial to "national unity". Perhaps the next article about police brutality in Egypt would get HRAIC in trouble if it operated legally. We work underground in Muslim countries, not one of which can be called democratic, or where Islamic fundamentalists are a danger.
11 May '99 Five police officers are indicted with the torture and killing of Waheed el-Sayed Ahmed, 25. He had been arrested in April 1998 for theft, held for 2 days and subjected to electric shocks and blows to his body. Major Ihab Shebanah, head of Belqeis police station, 200 km N of Cairo, and 4 officers are said to be responsible. 25

May '99 "Drift from Democracy" in Pakistan.
We are concerned for the safety of Najam Sethi, editor of the Pakistani newspaper "Friday Times", who is in the hands of ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) He is said to be in solitary confinement in a room without light. Sethi was arrested in his home by a considerable number of police on 8 May at 2:30 a.m.and beaten with clubs and steel handcuffs. Government officials say that his arrest is due to a speech he gave to the India-Pakistan Friendship Society on 30 April in New Delhi on problems facing Pakistan. It is more likely to be linked to his journalistic contact with a BBC team investigating top-level corruption in Pakistan. Two other journalists, Hussain Haqqani and Mehmood Ahmed Khan, involved in the BBC investigation were also detained.
2 May The HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) accuses Pakistan's authorities of drifting from a democratic course in setting up anti-terrorist courts to be used against political dissent. "The state must stay within constitutional limits, respect the provinces' rights to autonomy, address the chronic poverty and the drift towards a medieval theocracy."
25 May The Punjab government has banned the newsletter of HRCP, dealing with human rights violations, e.g. bonded labor, women's rights and rights of prisoners. The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance lays down a jail term of up to seven years for simple offences such as pasting handbills or writing graffiti on walls.
22/5/99 Amnesty International has asked Pakistan to commute death sentences on 50 children on death row, some as young as 13, and to raise to 18 the minimum age for the death penalty. (AI is in principle opposed to the death penalty.)
6 May '99 A Lahore court has dismissed charges against a Pakistan teenager, Saleema on charges of converting her friend Raheela Khanam to Christianity. Raheela's brother, Altaf Khanam killed his sister for refusing to return to Islam and marry a Muslim chosen for her by her family.

10 May Argentine Court Blames Bombings on Islamic Jihad
The 1992 car bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires which killed 29 people "was organized and carried out by Islamic Jihad, the armed wing of Hizbollah (Party of God)" the Argentine Supreme Court found..
A recently found audio tape of a radio conversation in which police officers ordered a patrol car to leave the area of the embassy minutes before the bombing raises suspicions that an extreme right-wing group within the police might have been working with Islamic Jihad. A judge also found that the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994 which killed 86 people was also the work of Hizbollah.

21/5/99 Whippings, Amputations in Taliban Afghanistan
The Kabul Sports Stadium is the venue for public torture under Shariah (Islamic law) each Friday. A young man was given 100 lashes for adultery while his partner was jailed. Four young men, Mohammed Tahir, Mohammed Gul, Mohammed Naseem and Bari Elah had their right hands cut off for theft. HRAIC condemns such barbaric practices.
23/5/99 Afghan forces opposing the Taliban say that 28 Hazara Shiites were hanged on Thursday and Friday in Herat, 370 km west of Kabul. The Taliban are fundamentalist Sunni Muslims.

2 May '99 Election Violence in Indonesia
There have been frequent clashes between rival Muslim parties, Nation Awakening Party (PKB) and the United Development Party (PPP). On Monday, 4 people were killed in clashes in Jepara, 440 km east of Jakarta between the two and 14 supporters of PKB are missing.
20/5/99 Aceh (Northern Sumatra) separatists are demanding a referendum on the independence of their area. Earlier this month Indonesian security forces fired into a crowd killing 34 people. Unfortunately HRAIC cannot support this movement as one of its aims is an Islamic state - adoption of Shariah, Islamic law would be a backward step.
28/5/99 The United Nations accused anti-independence militiamen of carrying out a brutal attack in the village of Atara, 100 km south of Dili killing at least five people. In Dili on Sunday night militiamen burned 10 homes and ransacked 10 others. UN officials say Indonesian security forces must take action against the militia groups. 10/5/99 Overseas journalists trying to cover rampages by pro-Indonesian militiamen in Dili have been attacked and threatened with their lives.
28/5/99 Independence leader Xanana Gusmao said the Indonesian military was supporting militiamen in East Timor with weapons. Human rights investigator Rui da Costa says "These people are being used as puppets to kill people. It is the Indonesian military which is the perpetrator." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan states that a secure environment free of violence and intimidation is a prerequisite for the August 8 ballot.

6 May Baha'is Jailed in Iran
The Islamic Revolutionary Court in Isfahan sentenced four faculty members of the Baha'I Institution to jail terms of three to ten years for teaching religion to other Baha'is. They are Sina Hakiman (10 years), Farzad Khajah Sharifabadi (7 years), Habibullah Najafabadi (7 years) and Ziaullah Mirzapanah (3 years) and their punishment is for "crimes against national security".
IHRWG (Iranian Human Rights Working Group) condemns attacks on students and calls for the release of all political and religious prisoners. Masnouchehr Mohammadi and Ali Sadeghi were taken away from a gathering on 25 May demanding freedom for political prisoners.
4 May '99 Hardliners suffered a big setback on Saturday when their attempt to impeach moderate Culture Minister, Ayatollah Mohajerani ended in a vote of confidence for him.
25/5/99 Iranian police seized 5.3 tons of drugs from a camel caravan near the border with Pakistan. Iran is a key route for drugs from Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are an estimated 2 million addicts in the country of 60 million people.

21/5/99 Discrimination Against Christians in Sudan.
Thousands of refugees from fighting in the south live in mudbrick dwellings on the outskirts of the capital, Khartoum. In the past four days Christian churches and schools (one a primary school with 1,200 pupils) have been demolished while a mosque and Koranic school have been spared. Four Catholic schools, a Presbyterian church and school, and a church and school belonging to the Episcopal Church of Sudan were among those destroyed. 5

May '99 Islamists Sentenced to Death in Yemen
Three men, Yemeni Zein al-Abideen al-Mehdar, 28, leader of the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, Mohammed Saleh Abu Huraira and Abdullah Saleh al-Juraida have been sentenced to death for the abduction and murder of four Western tourists in December.
7 May Abu Hamza al-Masri, leader of the London-based Supporters of Shariah said they would target anyone who helped carry out the sentences.

3 May '99 Press Freedom in Malaysia
Journalists in Malaysia have started to stand up against "self-censorship" - 531 from 11 newspapers presented a petition today, World Press Freedom Day, to the government. In particular they are protesting against the "Printing Presses and Publications Act" which allows the government to shut down "subversive" publications and requires publishers to renew printing licenses every year. Their statement said: "There is a growing feeling among the public that the local media cannot be trusted, that it is controlled by the government". "We call on you to repeal the act in order for mainstream media to regain their independence and credibility in the eyes of the public."
Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad was named one of ten international "Enemies of the Press" by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The group accused Mahatir of controlling the news media, rewarding journalists who self-censor negative news, and harassing members of the foreign news media.


 April 1999
 30 April 1999 "Re-education" Camps in East Timor
Reports say that 18,000 East Timorese have been herded into camps, the main one near Liquisa, where they are harangued into supporting Indonesian retention of their country. Throughout East Timor it has become necessary to fly the Indonesian flag in front of your home or face the consequences. The pro-integrationist militias have the support of ABRI, the Indonesian army, and many have been armed by them. The militias have been responsible for the deaths of over 100 pro-independence supporters while ABRI stands by and watches. Yet when the popular forces retaliate - it is reported they killed 11 militiamen - they are arrested by the military. Indonesia must disarm the militias, and United Nations peacekeepers must be armed so that the voters are not intimidated.  

30 April '99 Operation Horse Shoe in Kosovo
Apparently Slobodan Milosevic had planned as long ago as last November to rid Kosovo of its 90 per cent ethnic Albanians. Methodically the Serbs have gone through village after village burning and shelling homes, and in Pristina block by block giving the Kosovars 3 minutes to leave. Taking away their men and raping the women gives added incentive to escape. Refugees reaching safety emphasize they are fleeing Serb forces and not NATO bombs.  

April '99 Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
Last year 788 Palestinians had their right to reside in East Jerusalem revoked. ID confiscation contravenes Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country." Israeli human rights organizations are helping the Palestinians against the intransigent Likkud government, which aims to alter the demography of Jerusalem by widening its boundaries to include a Jewish area. They are also helping prevent demolition of Arab houses which have been built without municipal approval. Jewish settlers are confiscating houses and land where the owner is deceased or abroad. Land is being acquired, olive trees uprooted and homes demolished to link Jewish settlements: on the other hand roads linking Arab villages have been forcibly closed. (Much more detail is available from LAW, the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment on its website )  

5 April '99 Arrests in Uzbekistan
Thirty people involved in the bomb attacks in the capital, Tashkent in January have been arrested but the central figures remain at large. The attacks left 15 people dead and scores injured. The Muslim Wahhabi movement wants a stricter, more puritanical state in Uzbekistan. The President, Islam Karimov, is a Muslim but wishes to retain a moderate, secular state. He claims that extremist groups are misusing religion in pursuit of their political aims.   7

April '99 Sudan Bombs Christian Church
The Islamic Republic of Sudan killed a woman and injured six other people when it targeted a Roman Catholic church in southern-held Yei In another attack a man and two children were killed in southern Sudan when the government bombed Narus on March 30.  

15/4/99 Hundred Dead in Somali Fighting
At least 100 people have been killed in clashes between militias loyal to Hussein Ali Ahmed and Muse Sudi Yalakow in Mogadishu. Somalia has had no effective government since President Mohamed Said Barre was ousted in 1991.  

15/4/99 Twelve Villagers Killed in Grenade Attack in Philippines.
About 150 villagers were celebrating a Catholic saint's day when an unknown attacker threw in a fragmentation grenade in the Rapu Rapu islands, 360 km SE of Manila. The southern Philippines has a number of militant groups which want an Islamic state.  

5 April '99 Sectarian Clashes in Nazareth
Nazareth's Christian mayor wants to build a site for millenium pilgrims near the Church of the Annunciation where Roman Catholic tradition says the Angel Gabriel first appeared before Mary and told her she was pregnant. Muslims, however, wish to build a large mosque on the site.
Part of the problem is that Prophet Muhammad claimed that Isa (Jesus) was a Muslim prophet and not a Jew. {It is rather ironic that Biblical figures such as Musa (Moses), Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isa are said to have been Muslims while Muhammad was adamant that Meccans of Jahiliyya (Ignorance) before his revelations, were damned to hell-fire as non-Muslims.)
7 Apr. Firebombs damaged one shop owned by a Muslim and one owned by a Christian. More than 12 people were injured and 30 cars damaged in clashes on Easter Sunday.  

5 April '99 Riaz Basra Killed in Pakistan
Basra who had a reward of 5 million rupees on his head was shot dead by security forces in the Punjab. He was wanted for the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in January and the killing of an Iranian official in 1990. He was the leader of the Lashkar-I-Jhangi Sunni group of militants.  

7 April '99 "Sedition" in Nigeria
More than 40 followers of radical Shiite preacher Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky are held in jails in Nigeria for advocating an Islamic state. While we are opposed the formation of Islamic states throughout the world (imposition of Shariah, Islamic law and all the misery that entails) we also advocate the right to peacefully advocate it. Nigeria is roughly 50 per cent Christian and 50% Sunni Muslim with the Shiites a small minority.  

5 April '99 Anwar Medical Report
Besides the punch which gave Anwar Ibrahim a black eye, he had been hit at least 4 times with a blunt object. The attack could have killed him.
4/4/99 Anwar's wife, Dr. Azizah Ismail has formed the National Justice Party and urges other members of Malaysia's opposition to unite to help oust PM Mahatir Mohammed. "My aim is to return Malaysia's morality and good name, which has been damaged by the authoritarian iron fist of PM Mahatir", she said.
22/4/99 Abdul Rahim Noor, former police chief, has been charged with assaulting Anwar. At the time PM Mahatir Mohammed even suggested that Anwar may have hurt himself to gain public sympathy. Anwar's injuries remained unknown to the outside world for nine days until he showed up in court with a black eye and bruises to his neck and body. He had been arrested on corruption and sodomy charges on September 20 by armed police who smashed his front door and led him away blindfolded and handcuffed. He had not been allowed bail. While the army has too much power in Indonesia, in Malaysia it is the police.  

9 April Israeli Support for Kosovar Refugees
Tens of thousands packed a square in central Tel Aviv for a rock concert to raise money for the Kosovar refugees. Titled "We of all People Cannot Remain Silent" the reference was to ethnic cleansing of Jews in Europe in the 1930's and 40's. A radio telethon raised more than $600,000. The Jewish Agency has airlifted more than 40 tons of supplies and the Israeli Army has set up a field hospital among refugees in Macedonia.
About 2,000 Jews fled from Yugoslavia to Albania during World War II joining the tiny Jewish community there said Avner Shalev, the chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. "Everyone was saved. No one was turned in by informers or collaborators".  

10 April '99 Blood Money Cartoon Closes Newspaper in Iran
The daily Zan was closed for publishing a cartoon regarded as anti-revolutionary. A husband advises a gunman to shoot his wife and not him as he would have to pay less blood money. Under Islamic laws that went into effect after the 1979 revolution, relatives of a murdered woman receives only half the amount as is paid for a male victim. The paper had also run a small article from Farah Diba, widow of Shah Reza Pahlavi.
8 Apr.'99 German businessman Helmut Hofer has been freed on bail after many months in an Iranian jail after being sentenced to death for a sexual affair with a 27 year-old unmarried medical student. Under Islamic law a non-Muslim man can be executed for having sex with a Muslim woman. Hofer claims that he had converted to Islam.
3 April '99 An Iranian religious court has sentenced moderate theologian Mohsen Kadivar to 18 months jail. He had been accused of defaming the country's Islamic system and confusing public opinion through critical speeches and press interviews. He had argued that political power should rest with people rather than ayatollahs. (Shiite religious leaders)  

30/4/99 Harassment of Lawyers in Turkey
Amnesty International protests against the beating by uniformed policemen inside court of Abdullah Ocalan's lawyers, Nivazi Bulgan and Irfan Dundar. They were seriously injured and had to receive medical treatment. The United Nations Basic Principle on the Role of Lawyers states: "lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions".  

13/4/99 Opposition Says Iraq Executed 236 Citizens in Basra
General Ali Hassan al-Majid, cousin of Saddam Hussein, is reported to have cracked down on opposition in southern Iraq and ordered 236 citizens killed and 52 houses destroyed.  

1 April '99 Journalist Tortured in Syria
The World Association of Newspapers has appealed to the Syrian government to release journalist Nizar Nayyouf from prison where he has been severely tortured, denied medical treatment and is in danger of dying. Mr. Nayyouf is confined to a tiny cell and cannot walk as his vertebrae have been fractured by torture. His sight is failing due to a fracture to the back of his head; his stomach is haemorrhaging and not helped by having to eat food contaminated by the urine of his jailers. He has dermatitis from cigarettes stubbed out on his skin. He has been refused chemotherapy for an apparently curable form of leukemia unless he promises to desist from political comment.
The ulama (Muslim scholars) continually try to assure us that torture is un-Islamic (what about amputation, whipping, stoning?) Perhaps they should tell that to the Syrian authorities!


 March 1999  
30 March 1999 Refugees Flee Slaughter in Kosovo
Half a million Kosovars are fleeing ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. NATO says "it's a race against time to save as many lives as we can." "We are on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster." "What has happened to the males aged between 16 and 60?" One family crossing the border at Morini said the Serbs had taken seven men from their group of 30. A 45 year-old woman said; 'I saved my 15 year-old son by putting a dress on him and a shawl. The Serbs thought he was a woman.' As you can see the women are not even wearing scarves, let alone hijab. The KLA is fighting for independence, not jihad (holy war) for Islam. They are not Muslim fundamentalists.  

March 1999 Islamists Continue Killing in Algeria
to protect the village against Islamists. They also abducted a young woman.
19/3/99 Ten villagers had their throats 9/3/99 Three Algerians, including a child were killed and 31 wounded when a GIA (Armed Islamic Group) bomb exploded in Khemis Meliana, 130 km from Algiers. Seventeen soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in an ambush in Bouira province, 90 km east of the capital. Such occurrences show the lie to the misinformation that the army is involved in the killings. It was the fourth such attack on troops this year.
11/3/99 Six pro-government militiamen were killed by anti-personnel mines at Tlemcen, 400 km west of Algiers. Two Islamists were killed in central Algiers when they refused to stop their stolen car.
15/3/99 GIA slashed the throat of one woman and burned to death 5 other villagers in two house fires at Sidi el Kebir hamlet, 50 km S of algiers.They were families of "patriots" - militiamen armed by the government slashed at Bordj Emir Khaled, 100 km SW of algiers.
21/10/99 Four civilians were killed at a road-block near Frenda, 220 km SW of the capital.
22/3/99 Three men had their throats cut at a roadblock near Hassi Bahbah, 230 km S of algiers. 20/3/99 Three women kidnapped by GIA at a roadblock in Ain Defla, 130 km SW of Algiers, were later found dead with their throats cut.
21/3/99 Five civilians were injured by a GIA bomb at Tebessa, 440 km E of Algiers. Security forces killed nine GIA in Jijel province (250 km E of Algiers) and in Blida (50 km S of the capital) 22/3/99
With presidential elections due on April 15, Amnesty International calls on candidates to make a firm commitment to human rights. President Liamine Zeroual, a retired general, is stepping down and Algeria may get its first civilian leader since 1965.
23/3/99 Thousands of troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery launched a sweep across forested areas of Bouira, Lakhdaria and Bordj Menaiel killing 46 Islamists in the last three days.  

17/3/99 Killings in Yemen
Five members of the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army are on trial for the kidnapping of 16 Western tourists in December.Three Britons and one Australian were killed. Islamist Zein al-Abidou al-Mehder said: "I would carry my arms again against the enemies of God." Mehder said he had been in contact with London-based Abu Hamza al-Masri of the "Supporters of Shariah" group who has since been arrested under the British "Prevention of Terrorism" Act.  

9/3/99 Bombings in Uzbekistan
Uzbek President Islam Karimov says that Islamic extremists were responsible for 13 deaths and 100 injured by car bombs in February. Karimov is a Muslim who believes in a secular Uzbekistan and refuses to impose Islamic law - this has made him a target of fundamentalist islamic groups.  

22/3/99 Jihad Against South in Sudan
John Garang, leader of the SPLM (Sudan People's Liberation Movement)says that Khartoum declared jihad (Holy war) against the non-Islamic population in 1992. It "seeks to establish a theocratic, Islamic state throughout the country …Unless they change this position, it will be impossible to come to any agreement with them." "They can have their Islamic state in the north, and we would have a state in the south where all religions would have the same treatment and people would live in freedom." "The war that is waged by the Sudanese government against its own people has resulted in 1.9 million dead and the displacement of 5 million people." "That is more genocide than Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda combined."  

7 March '99 Qatar Gives Women the Vote
A "minor democratic breakthrough" will be that women are voting and running as candidates in council elections in Qatar for the first time. The advice of the council may or may not be accepted by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state which has an elected legislature, but women are banned from voting. Bahrain experimented with democracy in the 1970's but its emir dissolved the parliament in 1975.  

20/3/99 Legal Crisis in Egypt
The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) says the Egyptian government is violating Articles 23 and 24 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. It had prevented an assembly of the General Bar Association by sending a large number of security forces to surround the High Judicial Complex.  

10/3/99 Violence against Women in Pakistan
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that violence against women was extreme in 1998 with 888 women murdered in Punjjab province alone. Two thirds of the killings were committed by a close male relative, usually the husband or brother. (We saw on TV here in Australia the use of acid and mental homes on unwanted wives.)
In February the annual human rights report on countries around the world by the US State Department criticized Pakistan, saying there was widespread violence against women, extra-judicial killings and mistreatment of religious minorities in the country. Information Minister Mushahid Hussain said the problems were outside its control. (HRAIC denies this.
Even if convicted, murderous husbands are given the wrong message- jail from two months to three years.) "It is a long-standing problem in a feudal society that unfortunately happens to be male dominated and in certain parts male chauvinist." (On the the same documentary we saw dozens of women on death row for killing their husbands in desperation,)
9 March '99 The International Labor Organization will fight child labor in Pakistan. - there are an estimated 3.2 million child workers. The US government will contribute $2 million to set up 300 schools in eastern Punjab and get 10,000 children to school in the next three years, (The "working conditions are very unhygienic and difficult because of the dust, bad lighting and oppressive heat in the factories.") Even then there will still be 10.000 to 20.000 child weavers in Pakistan.  

10 March '99 Convictions in French Passenger Jet Bombing
Six Libyans were found guilty of the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772 over Niger in which 170 people were killed. The six were Abdallah Senoussi (brother-in-law of Moammar Gadaffi), Abdessalam Hammouda, Abdallah Elazragh (a Libyan diplomat), Ibrahim Naeli and Musbah Arbas (two members of the Libyan secret service) and Abdessalam Shibani, the buyer of detonators in Germany. The defendants were tried in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Gadaffi has refused to hand them over to French authorities. He did allow French investigators to question Libyan officials and search the offices of Libyan secret service.  

21/3/99 Nowruz Celebrated in Iran and Kurdistan
Islamic hardliners in Iran have turned away thousands of people wishing to celebrate the pre-Islamic pagan "New Year". In Diyarbakir, "Turkish" Kurdistan hundreds of police and soldiers enforced a ban of observances of Nowruz.
7 March '99 Turkish police detained 241 people in Izmir wishing to celebrate tomorrow's International Women's Day. They allege that many of them were members of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy party (HADEP).  

11 March '99 Kashmiri Civilians Killed
Islamic separatists killed a man and his two daughters at Kralpora village 54 km N of Srinigar. Another civilian was killed in the Kalacote area.  

10 March '99 Arab Girl Wins Miss Israel Contest
Rana Raslan, a 21 year-old Israeli Arab living in Haifa, won the 1999 Miss Israel Contest. Rana said: "It does not matter if I am Jewish or Arab, I will represent Israel as best I can. We must live here in coexistence."  

18/3/99 Iraq Had Germ Weapons
In 1996, UNSCOM supervisors destroyed 28 pieces of equipment used in the "large-scale production of the biological warfare agent botulinum toxin" at Daura, Iraq. Production of foot and mouth disease vaccine had been briefly undertaken to conceal the purpose of the facility. The foot and mouth items were not destroyed. 17/3/99 Four men, including three Shiite clerics, confessed on Iraqi television to killing Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sader and his two sons. One suspect, Ahmed Mustafa Ardabili had sneaked back from Iran with orders to kill the Grand Ayatollah because of his growing following among Iraqi Shiites. The alleged mastermind was Sheikh Hassan Abbas al-Koufi.  

10 March '99 Communist Concert Bombed in Bangladesh
Two bombs exploded during a music concert attended by 5000 people killing 11 and injuring 150. The concert had been organized by the Udichi Shilpi Goshti a cultural group aligned with the Communist Party of Bangladesh. Police have arrested a number of students from the Islamic Chhatra Shibir which is a wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party.  

12 March '99 Lover Publicly Whipped in Afghanistan
A young man found guilty of zina (fornication) was given 100 lashes in Kabul. His partner, Farzana, will not be whipped until after the baby is born, Had they been adulterers (married to someone else) they would have been stoned to death.  

25/3/99 Germany Arrests Islamic Leader
Muhammad Metin Kaplan, leader of a fundamentalist group within Hilafet Devleti ("Islamic State") has been charged with forming a terrorist organization, to wipe out critics and defectors and ordering the murder of his rival- Halil Ibrahim Sofu was shot to death in Berlin in May 1997. Kaplan's group seeks to overthrow the Turkish government and install fundamentalist rule.  

24/3/99 Crackdown on Abu Sayyaf in Philippines
After firing on the army and wounding 4 soldiers, Abu Sayyaf is being pursued in the southern Philippines. 1800 people in the Sumisip area have had to be moved out of the way of the offensive. It is estimated that only 200 rebels remain with the Abu Sayyaf who have been battling for an independent Islamic state. However the Moro Islamic Liberation Front claims responsibility for the attack saying that it was in retaliation for a government attack on MILF forces in Basilan.  

26/3/99 EU Supports Palestinian Statehood
May 4 is the five year deadline for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the status of the west Bank and Gaza. Intransigence by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held up the peace process. The European Union does not want Palestine to unilaterally declare statehood yet but gave Israel a one-year deadline for fulfilling the "unqualified Palestinian right" to independence. The creation of a democratic, secular, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestine state through negotiations would best insure Israeli security.  

25/3/99 Malaysia and Human Rights
The US State Department in its annual report said Malaysia's human rights record had deteriorated. Police on occasion beat and tortured suspects, detainees (for example Anwar Ibrahim) and ordinary citizens. Police had used excessive force against illegal Indonesian immigrants resulting in a number of deaths and injuries.  

25/3/99 Threatened Crackdown on Liberals in Iran
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, Iran's top judge, referred to last month's arrest of moderate Mohsen Kadivar on charges of undermining Islam and the 1979 revolution in his writing and speeches. "There is no freedom for you to write and say anything you like. Our people do not want such freedom and it is against the tenets of Islam."  

26/3/99 Hillary Clinton Addresses Female Activists in Tunisia.
Mrs Clinton had a fruitful discussion in Tunis with a group of women but they refused to allow reporters in, saying they feared having their views broadcast. Tunisia keeps a tight rein on political opposition and "has no practical rights of freedom of speech or political expression." However Tunisia has a progressive policy towards women's health, education and employment. Forty five per cent of college students are women, family planning services are available, abortion is legal and it is the only Arab state to outlaw polygamy.  

18/3/99 Human Rights Violations Remain in Indonesia
Amnesty International says that arrest of individuals engaging in legitimate peaceful activities, torture, disappearances and unlawful killings continued in Indonesia. More than 30 Indonesian prisoners of conscience remain in jail. The anti-subversion law still remains draconian - penalties from 18 months imprisonment to the death penalty.


 February 1999
28/2/99 Editorial: Indonesian Blood-Letting in Perspective
It would be easy to postulate that there is something about the Malay personality which leads them to run amok. However it must be remembered that less than 500 years ago, Europeans were fighting religious wars, burning heretics, witches and free-thinkers. Today, in Australia at least, we are much more sophisticated and could not get a fight about religion. A look back through our archives shows that nine cases out of ten of religious intolerance were initiated by Muslims and that only last November, 13 Christian Ambonese were killed in north Jakarta.
We are still disappointed that Christians in Ambon and neighboring islands have killed over 100 Muslims since January and that Muslim students in Jakarta are calling for Jihad against Christians - this would only lead to further violence. Who knows where it would end?
The blood-letting of 1965-1966 by Muslim mobs resulted in 500,000 deaths, progressives and free-thinkers - the cream of Indonesian society, which ushered in the New Order of General Suharto.
Religion was called "Tales of the Ancients" in the Qur'an by the more sophisticated Meccans of "Jahiliyya". Imagine two religions, the "Seveners" and the "Thirteeners" who fight over whether seven or thirteen angels can dance on the point of a pin. Who can say which is correct? Only the free-thinker who denies fairies, angels, jinns, etc. is free of sectarianism and in touch with reality.  

Should Slaves' Freedom be Purchased?
In January, Christian Solidarity International paid $US 52,500 to buy the freedom of 1050 slaves, mostly children, in southern Sudan and returned them to their villages. They allege that the government of the Islamic Republic of Sudan captures and uses slaves. UNICEF, however, criticized CSI for buying the slaves saying that they (the Muslims) would use the money to buy arms to fight (the Christian and animist freedom fighters in) the south. Slavery is accepted as normal in the Qur'an: "…A slave woman who believes is better than an unbeliever … A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever…" (2:221) There are also a number of hadith (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad) which support slavery. "When the slave runs away from his master, his prayer is not accepted", he is an infidel.(Sahih Muslim 32) (Muslim 1183) The Prophet said that … one of them flogged his wife as if she was a slave-girl. (Malik 330:1113) The Prophet said "…when anyone of you buys a slave-girl, he should hold her forehead and pray for bliss …" (Malik 486:1511) A slave girl had used sorcery on Hafsah, wife of the Prophet. The slave-girl was sentenced and executed. Etc.  

3 Feb '99 President Omar el-Bashir said that his war with southern rebels costs the government half its budget every year.. Sudan's budget for this year puts spending at $US 1.09 billion. More than 1.5 million people have died in the 15 year civil war, many in famines caused by the fighting. It is time that the north cut its losses and agreed to the partitioning of the country.

14/2/99 Valentine's Day a Secular Occasion
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore has warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine's day. Unmarried couples who go out together must be chaperoned. Five people died and 30 were injured in two separate bomb blasts in Kampala, Uganda during Valentine's Day celebrations. Blame has been laid on the "Alliance of Democratic Forces" which has Muslim connections. St. Valentine may have been a Christian martyr 1600 years ago but, as practised here in Australia, has no religious significance. Indeed the romantic notions would be anathema to St Paul, writer of much of the New Testament, who was very much opposed to romantic love.

Rushdie still Targeted
Ayatollah Hassan Saneii says that Salman Rushdie will be killed when the time is right. His Khordad Foundation has offered $US 2.8 million to anyone who commits the deed. Apostates (those who desert Islam) were killed by Prophet Muhammad so the custom is Shariah (Islamic Law).

Shaky Truce in Philipines
Seven army posts have been attacked this month despite the signing of a peace agreement between Muslim rebels and the government in September 1996. They have been fighting for an independent Islamic state for over 20 years, in which time some 120,000 people have died. They have international connections: many were trained to fight in Afghanistan and think that they will go to Paradise as martyrs if killed.

Jerusalem: Capital for Jews and Arabs?
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat says that Jerusalem can be the capitals for both the Israeli and Palestinian states. Jews claim Jerusalem as its ancient holy city almost two millenia ago. On the other hand Arabs have been the majority population for many hundreds of years. The argument that Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city is also a perception of many Muslims. However Muhammad changed the Qiblah, direction in which Muslims pray quite early in the piece from Jerusalem to Mecca. Also Muslim modernists believe the Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem was a dream of Muhammad. The alternative literalist belief is that in 620 CE Muhammad was transported by a white, winged, horse-like animal called Buraq guided by Archangel Gabriel from Mecca to the "Furthest Mosque:" Here in Sulaimen's mosque (Solomon's Temple) he met and drank (milk) with Muslim prophets such as Moses, Abraham and Jesus, and climbed a ladder of light to meet Allah. However in 638 CE when Caliph Umar took Jerusalem he describes the Temple Mount as a "dung heap" -(Omar had a way with words.) It is not likely that "the Furthest Mosque" disappeared in just 18 years.

21/2/99 Time to Prepare for Malaysian Elections
Opposition parties must set aside their differences and cooperate to unseat Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed in next year's general elections. About 2000 opposition politicians, academics and rights activists attended a "Justice for All" conference in KL. PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) in an unprecedented move to allow women candidates has said that it will cooperate with Azizah Ismail, Anwar's wife, if she stands for election. "Reformasi" must be broadly based, however, and realize that there is a wide perception that PAS is a right-wing, sectarian organization which aims for an Islamic State - certainly not a "reform".

21/2/99 Turket Rules Out Autonomy for Kurds
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit is refusing to negotiate with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He is mistaken if he thinks that the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan will make any difference to the Kurdish struggle for independence in southeastern Turkey One of their small demands is to be able to teach their own language.

Iraq's Highest Shiite Killed
The government of Iraq, which is mainly Sunni Muslim, has denied killing Mohammed Sadiq al-Sader, Grand Ayatollah. However the perception of exiles is otherwise. Also protests took place in Saddam City and Najab with several people reportedly killed by Iraqi security forces. Journalists were not allowed to visit these areas for several days and then only in the company of Information Ministry officials.

Sale of Bangladeshi Girls into Prostitution
The Bangladeshi National Women Lawyers' Association estimates that 12,000 girls, some as young as 7, have been taken to Calcutta, India in the last five years to work as prostitutes. They are generally sold by their fathers for about $10 US but the sick thing is that if the BNWLA rescues them or, if the girls escape, the father makes it plain that the girls have breached Muslim tabus and family honor cannot allow the girls to return home.

28/2/99 Moderates Leading in Iranian Poll
Early reports indicate that moderate candidates, 7200 of them women (out of a total of 330,000 candidates competing for about 200,000 council seats) are leading in the results.
13/2/99 Hadi Khameini, moderate younger brother of leading hardliner Ayatollah Ali Khameini was attacked with sticks and iron bars as he was about to address a gathering in Mohmmediyah Mosque in the holy city of Qom. His attackers were shouting "Death to Khatami" (Iran's moderate president) and he was reported to have been taken to hospital with "serious head injuries" Hadi Khameini is press adviser to President Khatami and owns the liberal-leftist newspaper "World of Islam" which described hardliners as "false supporters of Islam who have tainted the image of the revolution and Islam with their ugly and illegal actions". "No one in the country feels safe anymore."

4 Feb '99 Mitra Begheri exiled spokesman of National Council of Resistance of Iran blames Khatami for accelerating Iran's push for biological and chemical weapons Although Russia needs foreign capital it must not help Iran's program to "Export terrorism and fundamentalism.." Russia could eventually suffer itself if Iran backed Islamic groups in the former Soviet Union.
3 Feb '99 Iran released Baha'i teacher Ziaullah Mirzapanah but three others, Habibullah Fedosian, Dr.Sina Hakeman and Farad Khajeh have not been heard of since October. Two hundred Baha'I have been executed in Iran for their religious beliefs since 1979.

28/2/99 Identity Cards in Egypt
The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) points out that new laws give Egyptian citizens the right to see the ID cards of policemen and other law enforcers to counter false pretences by them. While on the question of ID cards, HRAIC wishes to challenge the practice of putting a person's religion on their card. This is a personal matter and not the concern of the state. (Australian citizens do not even have ID cards although virtually everyone would have a driver's licence or ATM card.)  

7 Feb '99 The King is Dead. Long Live the King!
King Hussein of Jordan has died. A moderate Muslim he was an important figure in the peace process in the Middle East. Despite joining the Arab attack on Israel in 1967 and thereby losing East Jerusalem and the West Bank, he later recognized the state of Israel. Palestinians were given Jordanian citizenship and make up 70 per cent of Jordan's population.
Despite the need for more democratization and more freedom of the press, Jordan has been one of the very few more or less democratic Muslim countries in the world. His eldest son, King Abdullah II will hopefully continue the policy of political reform and support the peace process with Yasser Arafat and Israel.


 January 1999

31/1/99 Independence for East Timor
President B.J. Habibie of Indonesia apparently now thinks that East Timor is more of a liability than an asset. It is certainly costing Indonesia millions of rupiah to continue to occupy it. Diplomatically, East Timor is also a liability. Australia, one of the few countries to recognize the occupation, has changed its stance and now recommends self-determination. One thing Indonesia must do is to disarm its civilian militia who have been attacking the indigenous people. It may be necessary to repatriate Javanese transmigrasi from East Timor. Xanana Gusmao, jailed East Timorese leader, is to be shifted to house arrest and will play a leading part in talks on independence.

25/1/99 Religious Clashes in Ambon: Large Death Toll, Churches, Mosques Destroyed
Sixty five Ambonese have been killed, 200 homes destroyed and seven churches and nine mosques. We reported last month on the killing of Ambonese by Muslim mobs in Jakarta and now "tit for Tat" killings are taking place in largely Christian Ambon. The only hope for humanity is for religion to become less important in people's lives - we should do good to other people regardless of whether they are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai or no religion at all.

15/1/99 Murder in Kosovo
Serb police executed 45 Kosovar peasants in the village of Racak. They included 3 women, a 12 year old boy and all the men were middle-aged or elderly. They were in their working clothes (as we all saw on TV) and not in KLA uniforms as claimed by Serbia. They were not shot in battle but at close range as witnessed by UN observers. Serbia also claims that it is an internal matter just as Saddam Hussein claimed that killing Kurds in northern Iraq and Shias in southern Iraq was not of international concern. We dispute this, in fact it is time for self-government for the Kosovars and Kurds.
The big countries do not want fragmentation of countries. However national aspirations of people must be met. Amalgamations into larger groupings can come later but on an equitable basis. Serbian Orthodox sources say they are fighting for Christianity but the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) is totally secular, much of its leadership is non-religious. The fight is for self-determination, not Jihad (holy war). The Kosovars are only nominal Muslims of the kind that HRAIC wants to live with. This is certainly a matter for the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.

15/1/99 Sudan bombs civilian Hospital
MSF (Medecins Sans Frontières) says five bombs were dropped on Thursday on its hospital in Kajo Kegi destroying the immunization block and extensively damaging the surgery and outpatients' departments. Fortunately the hospital had been evacuated prior to the raid as bombing of hospitals in the liberated areas has become systematic in the past six weeks.
Approximately 1.5 million people, mainly southerners, have died in the 15 year civil war. Southern negroes, mainly Christians and animists, are resisting the imposition of Shariah (Islamic Law) by the largely Arab, Muslim north.

15/1/99 Senegal Bans Female "Circumcision".
Prison terms of up to five years have been legislated by the Senegal government for FGM (female genital mutilation). The practice drastically limits normal body functions, destroys sexual pleasure and causes scarring, infection and long-term complications if the girl survives.. Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim.

15/1/99 More Bomb Outrages in Cape Town.
The responsibility for bomb attacks in South Africa has yet to be determined violence by Muslim vigilante groups against gangsters and drug pushers in which innocent people are injured is certainly not the answer. Three militant Muslim groups with questionable tactics are PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs), MAGO (Muslims Against Global Oppression) and MAIL (Muslims Against Illegitimate Leaders). There have even been attacks on businessmen and moderate Muslim clerics opposed to the violence.

14/1/99 Threat of Afghan Drugs
Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov estimates one tonne of heroin per day crosses into Tajikistan despite border patrols by Tajik and Russian troops. Islamic Taleban which flogs men for making home brew beer allows the growing of opium poppies as an important source of revenue and as a weapon against the West. However, Muslim countries such as Tajikistan and Iran are also suffering the consequences of addiction.  

8 January 1999 Editorial:
Ransom and Beheadings are Fundamentalist Activities We have received some mail from Muslims who have the misunderstanding that we oppose Islam as a personal religion. This is certainly not so: what we oppose is political Islam which intrudes on the lives of other people. For example, to wear a veil is the prerogative of a religious women but to insist that all women wear them, as in Taleban Afghanistan, is intrusive.
To convert to Islam is OK but to convert from Islam means death in fundamentalist Islamic countries whereas freedom of religion is a personal right and nothing to do with the state apparatus. Etc …
Nor do we report ordinary crime in Muslim countries but only those which are religiously motivated. The only country which commits human rights abuses in the name of Christianity is Serbia but it is, unfortunately, common in Muslim countries.
The murder capital of the world is Lahore, Pakistan and not New York, Moscow or Palermo and much of it is directed against fellow Muslims who belong to a different sect and thus treated as "non-Muslims". Nor do we equate fundamentalism with terrorism although there is often a connection. Fundamentalism is the observance of everything to be found in the Qur'an and Sunnah and it covers a multitude of nasty behaviours.
Prophet Muhammad ransomed a number of Meccan prisoners of war and thousands of Jewish women and children and had beheaded hundreds of male prisoners (including 600-700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe - all those that had pubic hair.) Thus it would not be misusing the term fundamentalist to include the ransoming of tourists in Yemen by the al-Jihad group and the ransoming and beheading of the telephone workers in the Islamic Republic of Chechnya. (In future we shall justify the use of the term "fundamentalist") Instead of condemning us and the newspapers which report such human rights violations, Muslims should try and find strategies to clean up the acts of Islamic groups in almost 30 countries,