Iranians in Lebanon, including “lawyers”, “professors” throw rocks at Jews

March 11, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Iranian tourists in Lebanon, including "lawyers", "professors" and children, stop by the border with Israel to throw rocks at Jews.
2. List of Israeli Fatalities Caused by Arab Rock-Throwing.
3. Israel "planned to strike Pakistani nukes."
4. U.S. to Keep Report on Afghan Raid [that killed children] Secret.
5. Islam "will be dominant UK religion".
6. Bahrain bans Israelis from next month's Formula 1 Motor racing grand prix.

 



SUMMARIES

[Note by Tom Gross]

For reasons of space, today's dispatch is divided into two emails. I attach various articles from the last few days connected to Islam and the Arab world, with summaries first for those who don't have time to read them in full.

1. "Iranian tourists stone Israeli positions" (Daily Star (Lebanon) March 5, 2004). "Iranian tourists pelted Israeli positions with stones at the Fatima Gate border point during a visit to the Southern region Friday, having arrived in Lebanon on a trip from Syria. On the opposite side of the border, scores of Israelis and foreign tourists were sighted moving around in a park at Metullah settlement [TG: Metullah is an internationally-recognized town, not a settlement], while soldiers manned their fortified positions. The Iranians numbered about 90, among them lawyers and university professors, and included men, women and children..."

2. Israeli Fatalities Caused by Arab Rock-Throwing.

[Tom Gross adds: I attach this list for those who continue to think that rocks are not lethal weapons.]

January 29, 1983: Esther Ohana, 20, is killed when she is struck in the head by rocks thrown at the car in which she is riding, near Hebron. (Source: Jerusalem Post, February 13, 1983)

February 24, 1989: Benny Meisner, a young soldier, is struck in the head and killed by a chunk of concrete thrown by an Arab in Nablus. (Source: Jerusalem Post, February 27, 1989)

September 3, 1989: Reserve soldier Haim Sharabani, 38, dies from wounds suffered when he was struck in the head in an Arab rock-throwing attack in Khan Yunis, Gaza, two weeks earlier. (Source: Jerusalem Post, September 4, 1989)

November 15, 1990: A 4 year-old Arab boy, from the village of Kafr Talouza (north of Nablus), is killed when he is struck in the head by a rock thrown by Arab rock-throwers who mistook the car in which he was riding for an Israeli vehicle. (Source: Yediot Ahronot, November 16, 1990)

February 24, 1993: An Israeli car traveling in the Gush Etzion region is attacked by Arab rock-throwers, causing the car to crash. An 11 year-old passenger, Chava Wechsberg, is killed. (Source: Jerusalem Post, February 28, 1993)

March 2, 1993: Yehoshua Weisbrod is stoned to death by an Arab mob in Rafah (in the Gaza Strip). (Source: New York Times, March 5, 1993)

September 26, 1993: Rocks thrown at a car near Jerusalem's A-Ram junction cause the car to crash, killing 17 year-old Amitai Kapah. (Source: Jerusalem Post, September 28, 1993)

October 21, 1996: Fathi Shouri, 43, an Arab mistaken for a Jew, is killed when rocks thrown at his car hit him in the head near Ramallah. (Source: Jerusalem Post, October 22, 1996)

[Tom Gross adds: Since this list was compiled there have been other fatalities from rock throwing, including a Jewish baby killed after rocks in a car she was traveling in went through the window. Note, also, previous dispatches on this list concerning the late Prof. Edward Said of Columbia University, dubbed by many "the professor of terror" for his views on terrorism against Jewish civilians. Prof. Said publicized the rock throwing campaign through his own stone-throwing actions across the Israeli-Lebanon border three years ago.]

3. "Israel planned to strike Pak nukes" (The Times of India, March 8, 2004). "Israel, which successfully destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, also considered a pre-emptive strike to destroy Pakistan's nuclear facilities, according to State Department papers released by the National Security Archive, a private research agency. Newly declassified papers obtained by the Archive shows that at a Friday morning session on September 14, 1979 of the US General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Charles Van Doren discussed "apparent Israeli consideration of military action against Pakistan."...

4. "U.S. to Keep Report on Afghan Raid Secret" (The Associated Press, March 10, 2004). "The U.S. military today said it would not release the findings of an investigation into an airstrike that killed nine Afghan children last year. Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said the report was classified as 'top secret' because of "the intelligence involved and the targeting involved." The children were killed Dec. 6 by an A-10 ground-attack aircraft in a field near a mountain village in Ghazni province. A man also was killed, but the military admitted the suspected Taliban militant targeted in the raid had gotten away. The deaths - and those of six more children in a ground and air assault on a house in neighboring Paktia province the day before - drew strong protests from the Afghan government and the United Nations..."

[Tom Gross adds: I attach this item to show the contrast between the relatively open investigations by the government and army of Israel into accidental civilian deaths, and the less open attitudes of almost every other government in the world. Note too that the Associated Press headline downplays the nature of this "raid," and does not mention the 15 child fatalities, in contrast to their often inflammatory headlines on Israel.]

5. "Islam 'will be dominant UK religion'" (Gulf Daily News, March 10, 2004). "Islam will be the most widely practised religion in the UK by 2020, according to British Muslim magazine editor Sarah Joseph. She says mosque attendance is expected to outstrip church attendance over the next 16 years. Estimates suggest that anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 people a year convert to Islam in the UK, which is currently home to approximately 1.8 million Muslims... Mrs Joseph is editor of British magazine Emel, which was launched in September and specifically targets Muslim readers.

"...Mrs Joseph is in Bahrain at the invitation of Discover Islam and has delivered a series of lectures on issues such as Islam in the Western media, challenges to Muslim women and how the war on terror affects European Muslims. The mother-of three says people in the UK turn to Islam for different reasons. However, despite the increasing Muslim community in Britain, Mrs Joseph warned that Europe is in danger of falling victim to what she called "secular fundamentalism."... "People with faith have to stand up and fight secular fundamentalism," she said."

6. "Motor racing-Islamists eye Bahrain F1 race after Big Brother win" (Reuters, Manama, March 5 2004). "After forcing the cancellation of the "immoral" reality TV show Big Brother, Bahraini Islamists want to ensure there will be no champagne-spraying and scantily-dressed women at next month's [April 4] Formula One grand prix.

[Tom Gross adds: At the very end of this article, in the 15th and 16th paragraphs, Reuters adds the following two paragraphs which all those who don't closely follow FI racing will probably not know about:

"...He warned Formula One organisers to make sure no Israelis attend the event. "If this happens we will confront it. We will pick up our pens and start writing until we stop it," he said.

"Bahrain, which like many Arab countries has no ties with Israel because of its occupation of Arab land, does not allow anyone with an Israeli passport to enter the country."

 



FULL ARTICLES

IRANIAN TOURISTS STONE ISRAELI POSITIONS

Iranian tourists stone Israeli positions
Daily Star (Lebanon)
March 5, 2004

Iranian tourists pelted Israeli positions with stones at the Fatima Gate border point during a visit to the Southern region Friday, having arrived in Lebanon on a trip from Syria by way of Western Bekaa.

On the opposite side of the border, scores of Israelis and foreign tourists were sighted moving around in a park at Metullah settlement, while soldiers manned their fortified positions.

The Iranians numbered about 90, among them lawyers and university professors, and included men, women and children. Their first stop over was in the former Khiam detention camp, once run by Israeli occupation forces or their allied militiamen.

Those looking after the notorious camp, which has since become an important landmark, explained to the visitors methods of torture once used against detainees, especially resistance fighters.

The tourists then moved to a spot facing Metullah and took some snapshots after having disembarked from two buses.

A university professor from Teheran, Hamdi Nazeri, said the group had come to Syria and from there to Lebanon on a tourist trip "to have a look at the border and see what happened to the Jews after their defeat in May 2000."

 

ISRAEL PLANNED TO STRIKE PAK NUKES

Israel planned to strike Pak nukes
The Times of India
March 8, 2004

Israel, which successfully destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor, also considered a pre-emptive strike to destroy Pakistan's nuclear facilities, according to State Department papers released by the National Security Archive, a private research agency.

Newly declassified papers obtained by the Archive shows that at a Friday morning session on September 14, 1979 of the US General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Charles Van Doren discussed "apparent Israeli consideration of military action against Pakistan."

The United States itself, he said, had not discussed (with Israel) "pre-emption plans."

The declassified paper provides no further details but it is known that AQ Khan, Father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb , and others had described Pakistan's nuclear bomb as an "Islamic bomb" and rich Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Libya reportedly provided financing while China provided technical aid , nuclear materials and a design for the bomb.

Blueprints stolen by Khan from the Netherlands enabled Pakistan to build centrifuges to refine uranium to bomb-grade.

 

US TO KEEP REPORT ON AFGHAN RAID SECRET

U.S. to Keep Report on Afghan Raid Secret
By Stephen Graham
The Associated Press
March 10, 2004

The U.S. military on Wednesday said it would not release the findings of an investigation into an airstrike that killed nine Afghan children last year.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said an officer who led the probe concluded that the military followed "appropriate" rules of engagement and rules of war in the botched attack, for which its commanders quickly apologized.

But, he said, the report was classified as 'top secret' because of "the intelligence involved and the targeting involved."

The children were killed Dec. 6 by an A-10 ground-attack aircraft in a field near a mountain village in Ghazni province. A man also was killed, but the military admitted the suspected Taliban militant targeted in the raid had gotten away.

The deaths - and those of six more children in a ground and air assault on a house in neighboring Paktia province the day before - drew strong protests from the Afghan government and the United Nations.

They were highlighted again in a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch, which accused the military of using excessive force to arrest suspects in residential areas.

The military has rejected that report, saying it failed to understand that Afghanistan was still a combat zone.

"You can follow all of the laws of land warfare and still, unfortunately, have tragic incidents," Hilferty said Wednesday.

The military has already said that it modified its rules of engagement after the December incidents, but has declined to give details.

Hilferty said that silence was to avoid helping militants, which the 13,000-strong U.S.-led force in Afghanistan has vowed to crush this year.

"If they know exactly what we're gonna do, they will have an advantage on us," he said.

 

ISLAM 'WILL BE DOMINANT UK RELIGION'

Islam 'will be dominant UK religion'
By Robert Smith
Gulf Daily News
March 10, 2004

Islam will be the most widely practised religion in the UK by 2020, according to British and Muslim magazine editor Sarah Joseph. She says mosque attendance is expected to outstrip church attendance over the next 16 years.

Estimates suggest that anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 people a year convert to Islam in the UK, which is currently home to approximately 1.8 million Muslims.

"We are the second largest faith in Britain and will be the largest practising faith in Britain by 2020 if you use church and mosque attendance as a measure," she told the GDN.

Mrs Joseph is editor of British magazine Emel, which was launched in September and specifically targets Muslim readers.

The English-speaking publication is described as a lifestyle magazine, which focuses on all aspects of Muslim life.

It is published every two months with a print-run of 20,000 copies per issue, but there has already been interest shown in going international.

"We have been asked to do an Emel America, Emel Middle East and an Emel Europe - we have lots of European subscribers," said Mrs Joseph. "We have also been asked to make an Emel TV show for Europe, but we still need to establish Emel in Britain."

Mrs Joseph is in Bahrain at the invitation of Discover Islam and has delivered a series of lectures on issues such as Islam in the Western media, challenges to Muslim women and how the war on terror affects European Muslims.

The mother-of three says people in the UK turn to Islam for different reasons.

However, despite the increasing Muslim community in Britain, Mrs Joseph warned that Europe is in danger of falling victim to what she called "secular fundamentalism."

One example of this is the French ban on Muslim girls wearing hijabs in school.

"It is the other extreme of what they are saying they are trying to fight," she said. "This secular fundamentalism is creeping through Europe - there is no room for God in political discourse.

"This for me is a particularly worrying trend. People with faith have to stand up and fight secular fundamentalism."

Mrs Joseph described the French ban on hijabs as a knee-jerk reaction - inferring it is a move designed to win support for President Jacques Chirac away from right-wing opponents such as national Front Party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Sentiment

But although Mrs Joseph described the UK as a more tolerant place for Muslims than other parts of Europe - she did report a growing anti-Muslim sentiment.

Such abuse has got worse since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but Mrs Joseph says problems have existed for over a decade.

Anti-terrorism legislation has also raised eye-brows among the Muslim community in Europe.

However, despite such difficulties - and the challenges that go with bridging Western culture with Muslim life - she says there is strong support in countries like Britain where religious freedom is possible.

She pointed to the two million people who took to the streets of London to demonstrate against the war in Iraq.

"People have to be aware that ordinary non-Muslim people did not support the war," she said.

"Just as all Muslims do not all think in the same way.

"The actions of the British government are not a reflection of the people of that nation.

"The vast majority of anti-war protesters were non-Muslim. They do care about the Israel and Palestine conflict, about issues that we care about.

"We need to build bridges with these people."

Mrs Joseph will return to the UK today after spending four days in the country. She concluded her series of talks in Bahrain with a lecture yesterday on women as the stakeholders of the future.

 

NO ISRAELIS TO ATTEND GRAND PRIX IN BAHRAIN

Reuters via AOL... note the highlighted language toward the end... sort of thing that would be ignored except for the few who follow FI racing...

Motor racing-Islamists eye Bahrain F1 race after Big Brother win
By Mehrdad Balali
Reuters
March 5, 2004

After forcing the cancellation of the "immoral" reality TV show Big Brother, Bahraini Islamists want to ensure there will be no champagne-spraying and scantily-dressed women at next month's Formula One grand prix.

Bahrain won the deal to stage the race despite competition from Dubai, Egypt and Lebanon as part of its drive to attract tourists and foreign investment.

Building work on the Sakhir circuit, venue for the April 4 race, is on schedule and organisers must now contend with cultural and religious restraints.

"We have raised these issues with organisers and they have promised there will be no naked women and no celebrations with champagne," said Adel al-Moawada, deputy chairman of Bahrain's parliament.

"This is an Islamic country and celebrations must conform to our traditions...I don't think organisers would want to ruin such a big, costly event for such a small thing," he said.

Grand prix winners traditionally spray champagne over the crowd after a race and lightly-clad models are a feature of Formula One. Champagne is expected to be replaced by non-alcoholic fizz in Bahrain.

There were no girls in bikinis at a 1999 race in Malaysia, another Muslim country which also holds grands prix.

Moawada led noisy protests which forced the Arab television channel MBC this week to stop its Arabic version of the hit reality show Big Brother, produced in Bahrain.

Big Brother had raised eyebrows in the conservative society for showing unmarried men and women living together in defiance of Muslim traditions. Bahrain's government denies any role in stopping the show.

The Big Brother issue provoked a debate between Islamists and other Bahrainis who favour a more liberal social climate to attract business to pro-Western Bahrain, the Gulf's banking hub and headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

"Who wants to invest in a country in the grip of a group of hardliners? Do we want to go in the same direction as Iran and Taliban in Afghanistan?" Bahrain's Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper said in an editorial.

Islamists have vowed to eradicate all "immoral" aspects of Western culture from Bahrain.

Bahraini youth have in the past two years protested against Western-style concerts and other events they deemed obscene.

"We don't want economic growth at the expense of our youth's moral corruption. We don't want prosperity through sinful methods," MP Jassim al-Saeed told Reuters.

He warned Formula One organisers to make sure no Israelis attend the event. "If this happens we will confront it. We will pick up our pens and start writing until we stop it," he said.

Bahrain, which like many Arab countries has no ties with Israel because of its occupation of Arab land, does not allow anyone with an Israeli passport to enter the country.

(Additional reporting by Isa Mubarak)


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.