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February 16, 2015

Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya

Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya

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Monday, February 16, 2015

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  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
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A video purporting to show the execution of 21 Coptic Christians by supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been released yesterday. The video shows them being beheaded in a location apparently near Tripoli in Libya.

The captives, all shown being executed in orange jumpsuits in the video, were picked up in Sirte, a coastal town in Libya, during December and January. The video asserts the Christians were targeted by ISIL because of their religion.

The Coptic Orthodox Church stated they were “confident” justice would be done on those who executed their followers. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated: “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals”.

Al-Azhar University, a Cairo-based centre for Islamic learning, described the killing of Christians “barbaric” and stated the actions have “nothing to do with any religion or human values”.



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May 28, 2007

Islamic cleric tries to bypass gender segregation

Islamic cleric tries to bypass gender segregation

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Monday, May 28, 2007

An Islamic cleric named Ezzat Atiya issued a fatwa to get around gender segregation and hijab in Islam. He stated that symbolic breastfeeding could be used to make it permissible for male and female colleagues to work together alone.

Dr. Atiyah had stated that the breastfeeding does not have to be by the woman herself. “[This can also be achieved] by means of the man’s mother or sister suckling the woman, or by means of the woman’s mother or sister suckling the man” he wrote.

Atiya works at the Al-Azhar University, an Islamic seminary in Egypt. The seminary was established by a Shia caliphate and is named after Fatima Al-Zahra. Zahra was the wife of Ali. Al-Azhar University has a fatwa that officially sanctioned martyrdom operation with one condition only: martyrdom operations are only allowed in Israel. The university has had this ruling for a long time and has stood by it.

Atiyah had said,

A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed.

According to Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, “If someone tells you he has a new interpretation of Islam, sock him in the mouth.”

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February 27, 2007

Egypt sentences blogger to four years for insulting Islam

Egypt sentences blogger to four years for insulting Islam

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Egyptian Flag

An Egyptian blogger, Abdul Kareem Suleiman Amer, known online as Kareem Amer, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for insulting Islam on his weblog.

Blogs had been considered a relatively safe means of expression for citizens of countries with restrictive Islamic laws. Mideast governments have harassed and arrested bloggers before, but Kareem is the first to receive jail time.

Kareem had written about becoming a human rights lawyer and working for the betterment of Muslim and Arabic women; however, the Al-Azhar University expelled him in 2006 for criticizing the school’s religious leaders.

He had criticized various Muslim beliefs and suggested that there was no God. The court took special interest in his posting to Coptic blogs, i.e. those run by Egyptian Christians.

His arrest last November inspired rallies in Washington, Rome, Paris, London, and Stockholm.

Gamal Eid, the Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said that the most repressive regime for blogging had been Tunisia, followed by Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya, which have blocked sites and limited internet access. Expressing surprise at the severity of the sentence given Egypt’s recent history, he said it was a “gloomy day for all the advocates of freedom of expression”, not only in Egypt but also around the world.

Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based advocacy group for press freedom condemned the sentence. Pointing out that President Mubarak had promised in 2004 to end prison terms for press offenses, it called the sentence a “message of intimidation” to Egyptian bloggers who, it said, were emerging as an “effective bulwark” against what it called the regime’s authoritarian excesses.

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December 9, 2006

Egyptian Muslim theologians change course on female circumcision

Egyptian Muslim theologians change course on female circumcision

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Saturday, December 9, 2006

Egyptian Muslim theologians seek to change the Islamic position on female circumcision at a conference at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. The theologians decided that female circumcision is forbidden by Sura 95, Verse 4 of the Koran: “We have created man in the most perfect image.”

It represents a major shift in the position of the Muslim religious community because many of the attending theologians are extremely powerful and respected, including Mahmoud Hamdi Saksuk, the Egyptian minister for religious charities, and Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University.

A minority of liberal Muslim scolars had denounced the practice as early as 1998; however, hardliners continuned to endorse the practice.

In 1994, the Egyptian Mufti Sheikh Jad Al-Hâqq ‘Ali Jad Al-Hâqq issued a fatwa stating “Circumcision is mandatory for men and for women. If the people of any village decide to abandon it, the [village] imam must fight against them as if they had abandoned the call to prayer.”

Al-Azhar University itself issued fatwas endorsing female genital mutilation in 1949, 1951 and 1981, which were only reversed by Dean Ahmend Talib in 2005.

The conference was organized and funded by the Target group of German adventurer Rüdiger Nehberg, who had travelled through Africa and collected video material on the practice. The Egyptian religious scholar and journalist Yusuf al-Qaradawi criticized the foreign influence and stated that the conference was “biased and presumptuous”; however, he ultimately accepted its conclusions.

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Female circumcision
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August 18, 2006

Muhammad cartoon row continues

Muhammad cartoon row continues – Wikinews, the free news source

Muhammad cartoon row continues

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Friday, August 18, 2006

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Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy

Nearing the one year anniversary of the publication of twelve controversial editorial cartoons depicting Muhammad in a Danish newspaper, a leading authority of Sunni Islam has demanded that the newspaper be shut down.

In an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, Grand Iman of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo and formerly Grand Mufti of the Republic, demanded the closure of Jyllands Posten, the paper responsible for publishing the cartoons. He went on to call for chief editor Carsten Juste to be jailed for three years, and for the editor of the paper’s cartoon section, Flemming Rose, be depicted as a pig.

“It is thought provoking,” Rose said, “that he (Tantawi) believes it would be a punishment for me to be depicted as a pig. It confirms that the imam has a shocking lack of knowledge about our civilisation, and it confirms the need for dialogue.” Rose added that it shows how blasphemy law in the Arab world is used to suppress those with views different from those in power.

Tantawi called the drawings “one of the most serious crimes ever committed.”

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