Religious leaders encourage retaliation against journalists at Grozny mosque meeting

Novaya Gazeta

14 april 2017

The newspaper Novaya Gazeta has urged the Russian government to respond to calls for retaliation against journalists voiced, the editors claim, by Islamic theologians in Chechnya on April 3.

The meeting in the central mosque of Grozny was convened in connection with the publication of Novaya Gazeta’s article on the persecution of homosexuals in the Chechen Republic. According to the publication Grozny-Inform, 15,000 people attended the meeting.

Meeting participants adopted a resolution in which they declared that the Novaya Gazeta journalists had “insulted the centuries-old foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of Chechen men,” as well as their faith. “We promise that the true instigators will be subjected to retribution, wherever and whoever they are, without statute of limitations,” the resolution read.

“It is obvious to us that this resolution is pushing religious fanatics to massacre journalists,” said Novaya Gazeta’s editorial board.

Journalists demanded that Russian authorities evaluate the resolution “from [a legal] point of view” and urged them “to do everything possible to stop any actions aimed at inciting hatred and enmity towards journalists fulfilling their professional duties.”

Novaya Gazeta’s appeal was published on the evening of April 13. Soon, its website stopped working temporarily. “Technical support has informed us about a possible DDoS attack,” wrote Novaya Gazeta journalists on Facebook. The website resumed operation as of 11:30 pm Moscow time on April 13.

“Silence and inaction in this situation make all who are able to do something, accomplices. This is why Novaya Gazeta continues to work in Chechnya. But we are very aware of a high price we can pay. The unresolved murders of our colleagues Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova serve as obvious proof,” read the newspaper’s statement.

In early April, Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 people were detained on suspicion of being homosexuals in Chechnya in recent months. According to the publication, detainees were kept in secret prisons, tortured, and forced to denounce other homosexuals; three people were killed. Chechen authorities called these statements a lie.

On April 11, Novaya Gazeta and human rights organization Agora appealed to a court in light of the inaction of Russia’s Investigative Committee, which did not respond to reports of the crime within 10 days, as required by law.

Journalists Punched, Kicked, And Rammed With Car In Sweden’s ‘Little Mogadishu’ No-Go Zone


20 Mar 2016

An Australian TV station has released a shocking report showing its crew being attacked by masked men in a Stockholm suburb know as ‘Little Mogadishu’ due to it’s primarily Somali population.

Since the report was filmed last month, Swedish police have dropped all charges, despite the migrants throwing missile and punches, fly kicking the journalist, and even running one over with a car.

The Channel Nine crew and high-profile Australian news correspondent, Liz Hayes, had traveled to the Swedish capital to investigate how the migrant “overload” has affected Swedish society.

Upon entering a migrant area, Rinkeby, they were quick to discover some of those effects, and why it is that they have become known as “no-go zones”.

“They were confronted by a group who objected to them filming. There was a series of scuffles and the police were called.

“The 60 Minutes cameraman and producer were slightly injured but filming continued with police at the scene. The crew have now returned to their hotel and are all fine,” a spokesman for the channel told the Local.

A spokesman for Stockholm’s police force, Lars Byström, confirmed that the crew had filed a report, but only about a specific incident.

“We were told there was a film team and there were some youngsters who were in the car and there was some kind of argument between the team and then the driver drove over the cameraman’s foot.”

However, he later said that police had decided to close the case as “very experienced police officers” had made the decision to focus their resources elsewhere.

Several newspapers, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, have attempted to discredit the Channel Nine report by pointing out that the crew was shown around by a man who writes for a website with links to the Sweden Democrats.

However, the anti-mass migration right-leaning party is a mainstream political force in Sweden, which has been commanding record levels of support among the electorate.

They were guided to the no-go zone by one Jan Sjunnesson who writes for Avpixlat, a news outlet that has accused other Nordic media of suppressing the debate on immigration.

“We categorically deny any suggestion we were in cahoots with this organization [Avpixlat], we merely interviewed them in an effort to get all sides of the story,” a spokesman for Channel Nine news told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Attacks on media reported at Islamist "no violence" rally

Egyptian Independent

Hundreds of Islamists flocked to Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City on Friday to join rallies supporting President Mohamed Morsy and condemning political violence.

However, the huge demonstration has developed against the backdrop of claims from media organisations that they have faced physical assaults.

The rally, dubbed "No violence...Yes to peaceful protests," was arranged by several Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

Islamist youth groups monitored traffic flow in the streets surrounding the mosque ahead of Friday prayers. Street vendors sold their wares not far from the main platform for the protests.

The Muslim Brotherhood is reportedly expecting over 30 Islamist groups and parties to join the event.

The FJP's youth secretary, Ayman Abdel Ghany, said Thursday that all protesters would congregates outside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque at 3 pm on Friday after prayers.

"The mass demonstrations call for the peaceful expression of opinion, renouncing violence and aim to uncover those who want to drag the country into a vortex of violence and chaos," Abdel Ghany posted on his Facebook page.

Abdel Ghany added that Islamists would not take part in violence, thereby giving their detractors an opportunity to cause bloodshed and destroy the country.

This tactic would also give the security services the chance to handle thugs infilitrating peaceful protests, the FJP official claimed.

However, BBC Arabic reported that its team covering the "no violence" protest had been assaulted Friday afternoon.

BBC Arabic reported that pro-Morsy protesters insulted members of its team and targeted its staff with empty water bottles. The protesters reportedly accused “corrupt media” of trying to undermine the “Islamic project.”

Dozens topped the broadcasting van and tried to assault the team, BBC Arabic said, adding that the team withdrew from the area, unable to continue its work safely.

Privately-owned Egyptian broadcaster OnTV also reported coming under attack from marchers armed with "sticks and rods." Assailants also smashed the TV crew's cameras.

Earlier OnTV Live broadcast images of Islamist marchers apparently practising martial arts away from the crowds.

The latest Islamist call for non-violence runs counter to statements made by some radical preachers over the past week, in which clerics promoted the use of violence against opposition demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsy planned for 30 June.

Radical Islamist preacher Wagdy Ghoneim said Friday that protests demanding the downfall of President Morsy represented a war between Islam and its “enemies."

Speaking in a YouTube video on his own channel, Ghoneim claimed that anyone rallying for the president's ouster is "an infidel and should be killed."

"Islam urged us to obey our rulers," he added. "Our president is an elected and legitimate one."

Angry crowd turns on journalists reporting embassy attack in Egypt

From Ivan Watson, CNN

September 10, 2011 8:54 p.m. EDT

Cairo (CNN) -- An angry crowd lingering near the Israeli embassy in Cairo after an attack on the building a day earlier turned on journalists reporting the incident Saturday, accusing at least one of being an Israeli spy.

As a CNN crew filmed the embassy from across the street, another crew from American public television -- led by Egyptian television producer Dina Amer -- approached the building.

The crew's Russian cameraman was preparing to film the embassy when a woman in the crowd began hurling insults at the TV team, Amer said.

"There was this older lady who decided to follow me and rally people against me," Amer recalled.

"She said 'you're a spy working with the Americans.' Then they swarmed me and I was a target."

A growing crowd surrounded Amer and her colleagues, as they tried to leave the scene.

Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, a producer working for CNN, rushed to help escort Amer through the angry crowd. But suddenly the two reporters were pinned against the railing of an overpass by young men who were accusing Amer of being an Israeli spy.

Yelling "I'm Egyptian," Fahmy managed to pull Amer another 10 meters down the road, until the pressure from the mob overwhelmed the pair.

Amer screamed as she and Fahmy were knocked to the ground and the crowd started to trample them.

Other CNN journalists tried to reach in to help, but were pushed back by a wall of angry men.

Fahmy lay on top of Amer, shielding her with his body.

"I was thinking, how powerless I was because there was no police to save us," Fahmy said. "I was worried that they were going to rape her."

At that moment, a student bystander named Mohammed el Banna called out to the journalists and pointed out a nearby car.

Somehow, Fahmy managed to carry Amer to the open door of the public television crew's car, where two of her female colleagues were waiting just a few feet away.

The mob pounded on the windows and tried to reach into the vehicle as the panicked reporters fumbled and struggled to get behind the steering wheel.

When Margaret Warner, a correspondent with the PBS program "Newshour" managed to get the vehicle moving away from the crowd, men threw stones at the departing vehicle.

Amer had few words to describe the terrifying ordeal.

"They were animals," she said.

Other Egyptian journalists told CNN they were also attacked Saturday while trying to report near the Israeli embassy.

Ahmed Aleiba, a correspondent with Egyptian state television, said he was pursued by civilians and soldiers.

"I had to run because obviously they were targeting journalists," Aleiba said in a phone call with CNN. "They attacked two other TV crews."

"I was in the car getting ready to film. A soldier knocked on the window with his stick and said 'if you don't leave by midnight your car will be destroyed,"" said Farah Saafan, a video journalist with the English-language newspaper Daily News Egypt.

Journalists have been targeted before in Cairo.

On February 2, dozens of journalists of different nationalities were beaten and pursued around the city while trying to report on pro-Mubarak demonstrations. The day descended into one of brutal street violence, as pro-regime supporters backed by men on horses and camels attacked opposition demonstrators on what became known as the "Battle of the Camel."

And CBS News correspondent Lara Logan suffered a brutal sexual assault in Tahrir Square while covering the celebrations that followed former President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on February 11.

On Saturday, as some journalists ran for their lives from the Israeli Embassy, the interim government was holding crisis talks with Egypt's ruling military council and top intelligence chief.

The emergency session concluded with a pledge to honor Egypt's international treaties and defend foreign embassies. The government also announced plans to re-activate the country's 30-year-old emergency law.

Application of the law had lapsed since the overthrow of Mubarak, according to a senior official in the National Security Directorate, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.

One of the five measures announced after Saturday's crisis talks calls on authorities to make "media and political powers accountable for inciting security lapses."

"It's obvious that there is some sort of plan leading to military rule in this country," warned Egyptian state TV's Aleiba. "The next step will be martial law."

Cairo mob brutally assaulted CBS reporter Lara Logan

By Michael Winter, USA TODAY

Feb 15, 2011

A mob in Tahrir Square brutally beat and sexually assaulted CBS News' chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, who was covering Friday's celebration of the departure of former president Hosni Mubarak, the network says. She is in a U.S. hospital recovering.

CBS says Logan, who was reporting for 60 Minutes, was surrounded by more than 200 people "whipped into frenzy." She then became separated from her TV crew and security and then suffered a "brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating." She was saved by a group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers, and reconnected with her colleagues CBS says. Saturday she flew back to the United States and is now in a hospital. The network said it would have no further comment.

The Washington Post notes that 39-year-old Logan, who joined CBS in 2002, is the mother of two young children. She met her husband, Joe Burkett, a defense contractor, in Baghdad while covering the war.

The attack highlights the risks female journalists face, The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta writes.

Most mainstream American news outlets have a policy of not naming the survivors of sexual assault and it is hard to imagine that CBS would have issued this statement, which landed like a thunderbolt in the close-knit media world, without Logan's permission. That makes her one very brave woman, as news of the attack ricocheted across Twitter and newspapers with lightning speed. 


Bakery leader embraced guns long before editor's killing

By Thomas Peele, Bob Butler and Mary Fricker
The Chauncey Bailey Project

The Mercury News


OAKLAND — Yusuf Bey IV was heavily involved in guns and gun violence well before the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey last year — a killing he is suspected of ordering — despite his claims to police that he didn't allow weapons at Your Black Muslim Bakery and disavowed their use.

Recorded jailhouse telephone calls and three statements given to police before and after Bailey's Aug. 2, 2007, killing implicate Bey IV in a 2006 shooting of a car belonging to the former boyfriend of a woman with whom he was involved and a June 2007 shootout at a San Francisco nightclub. He was not charged in either incident.

The statements, though, given by two former bakery workers and the person whose car was shot dozens of times, portray Bey IV as an out-of-control gang leader obsessed with violence and power, yet one who ordered followers to commit crimes rather than dirty his own hands.

Oakland police Assistant Chief Howard Jordan declined a request for an interview. Bey IV's lawyer, Anne Beles, did not return messages.

The Chauncey Bailey Project is not identifying the workers for their safety.

One worker told police, in a recording, that men at the organization had to prove their "loyalty to him. But it's like, he's the boss, you do what he say."

In a recorded jail telephone call, the same worker called Bey IV's followers "little errand boys. That's how all of them are, that's how come all of them are in jail.

If you're so big and bad, you'd go do that (expletive) yourself."

"He's a punk. He's a little wimp. He wouldn't do that (expletive) on his own at all," a man with whom the worker was speaking replied.

Another bakery worker said of Bey IV to detectives: "He's living in this box, and he couldn't see out of it. It's like he didn't know the real world compared to Your Black Muslim Bakery."

Authorities now say Bey IV ordered Bailey killed because the journalist was working on a story about the bakery's bankruptcy filing and internal strife. The only person charged in the shotgun slaying, bakery dishwasher Devaughndre Broussard, confessed to the killing, then recanted and pleaded not guilty. He is to stand trial next year.

Bey IV has said he had no involvement in the journalist's killing. He and three followers are jailed without bail in an unrelated kidnapping and torture case for which he faces a life sentence if convicted. Another follower pleaded guilty to lesser charges in exchange for testimony.

The handling of the case, led by homicide detective Sgt. Derwin Longmire, is being investigated by the Oakland police internal affairs and the state attorney general. Longmire will transfer to the patrol division in February — a reassignment police described as routine, not related to his work on the Bailey case.

Longmire's lawyer, Michael Rains, said his client did nothing wrong.

"He was not protecting Yusuf Bey IV, nor has he protected any member of the bakery. He was urging the police department to involve itself in an aggressive investigation of the bakery," Rains said.

The Chauncey Bailey Project reported in October that Longmire failed to document in his case notes evidence linking Bey IV to a conspiracy to kill the journalist, including data from a tracking device that showed Bey IV was outside Bailey's apartment seven hours before the killing.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is investigating Bailey's killing independently of Oakland police.

The Bailey Project reported in October that one of the workers also told police that the night before the Bailey killing that Bey IV, Broussard, and another man, Antoine Mackey, prayed for strength. Bey IV also complained that he had to awaken at 5 a.m. the next day, Aug. 2, the worker said.

A man who worked at the bakery has also told police that Bey IV came to him about dawn and borrowed his white van, which had no license plates. Witnesses told police they saw a masked gunman kill Bailey and run to a waiting white van without license plates.

After the killing, the worker told police that Bey IV boasted, "that will teach them to (expletive) with me," according to a police recording.

Longmire also failed to challenge Bey IV in recorded interviews. Experts, including a retired judge, who listened to recordings, said he was deferential to the then 21-year-old bakery leader, who he had befriended. "He sounded like a defense attorney leading a witness," said one Oakland officer who listened to the recordings and spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

In the recordings, Bey denies firearm use, although witness accounts contradict him.

According to Bey: "We never had to resort to gun violence, since I've been on the bakery. It's always, you know, face-to-face, it's just unarmed."

But in early December, Bey IV ordered followers to shoot up a car belonging to a man, Cameren Cook, who had argued with one of his half brothers, Yusuf Bey V, a bakery worker told police.

"They were ordered to do it," the worker said of the shooters to police. Among them, the worker said, was Broussard. "It's basically what (Bey IV) says goes."

The worker told police that Bey IV had to be talked out of having Cook killed, choosing to destroy the car instead.

In June 2007, Bey IV arrived at a San Francisco nightclub toting a loaded AK-47 assault rifle, another bakery worker told police. Several of his followers were working as security guards there when gunfire erupted.

One person was wounded and San Francisco police made five arrests on gun charges. Bey IV hid the rifle in the back of a Corvette belonging to another of his half-brothers, Yusuf Bey III, and slipped away, the worker told Oakland police.

San Francisco police found the gun in the Corvette the day after the nightclub shooting. An officer said ballistics tests were performed, but it remained unclear if the weapon was linked to any other incidents.

Bombs going off

A few minutes before 2 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2006, a barrage of gunfire erupted at Aileen and Gaskill streets in North Oakland. Cameren Cook, who had worked at the bakery as a teenager, found his Mitsubishi riddled by more than 30 shotgun and rifle rounds.

"It sounded like bombs going off," Cook told police months later in a recorded statement. He immediately suspected members of the bakery because of a dispute he had with Yusuf Bey V, the leader's half brother.

Cook, who could not be reached for comment, told police that Bey IV was enamored with guns and that he had seen the bakery leader wearing a holstered large caliber pistol on his hip.

No arrests have been made in the incident.

A bakery worker familiar with the shooting told police in August 2007 that Bey IV ordered the shooting, leading about half a dozen armed men to Cook's residence but then left before the gunfire. The worker told police that Bey IV had to be talked out of having Cook killed.

The worker told police that Bey IV told the gunmen —‰'wait until I'm around the corner, wait 'til I drive off and get around the corner' and then. So it's not like he was there, he was but he wasn't."

"They were ordered to do it," the worker said of the shooters.

After the shooting, the gunmen followed Bey IV's orders to split up and take divergent routes back to the bakery. The leader gathered "up all the guns that they used and he came back in and went to bed like it was nothing," said the worker.

The weapons included AK-47 assault rifles and a black sawed-off shotgun used eight months later to kill Bailey.

Nightclub shooting

Seven months after the car shooting, in June 2007, several of Bey IV's followers were apparently working as security guards at the Fanatics nightclub on Caesar Chavez Street in San Francisco.

The crowd turned unruly, according to police reports. Bey IV arrived at the scene in a red Corvette owned by another of his half brothers, Yusuf Bey III. He soon sped back across the Bay to Oakland, where he grabbed an AK-47 assault rifle and returned to San Francisco, another bakery worker familiar with his actions told police in a recorded statement.

Back at the nightclub, more than 300 people were milling about. Bey IV took the assault rifle from the car's trunk and began to approach the crowd when gunfire broke out, the bakery worker said.

Bey IV threw the weapon back into the car as police moved in, the worker told police. A man running away was shot in the foot. Police arrested six people on gun charges.

Bey IV abandoned his half-brothers Corvette and slipped away. The next day, police responded to the car's alarm going off and found the fully-loaded AK-47 and confiscated the vehicle.

San Francisco police Lt. Mikail Ali said Oakland police contacted his department about the statement obtained concerning the nightclub shootout. San Francisco officers then told Oakland police a gun had been found that may have been used in the Cook car shooting.

Neither department brought charges. Ali said it is uncertain if anyone investigated whether the gun from the Corvette was used in shooting seven months before.

"That's not clear. You'd have to do ballistics tests," he said. Another officer said the tests were done by the state Department of Justice and likely sent to Oakland. Oakland police refused to comment on the case.


Journalists' lives at risk in Bangladesh


By Shaikh Azizur Rahman

October 22, 2005


DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A chill ran down the spine of journalist Mizanur Rahman when a neatly folded white cloth symbolizing an Islamic burial shroud tumbled out of a package he received by mail last month.

An accompanying letter addressed to Mr. Rahman, a reporter for the Dhaka daily Janakantha (People's Voice), said that because of his "anti-Islamic" reporting, his days were numbered and he would soon be in a white burial shroud.

White shrouds and death threats also reached eight other journalists the same day in Satkhira, a district in southwestern Bangladesh.

The letters were signed by leaders of the outlawed militant group Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (Awakened Muslim Citizens of Bangladesh, often referred to by its initials, JMJB), the orthodox Islamist movement Ahl-e-Hadith (followers of the Sayings of the Prophet) and Jamat-e-Islami Bangladesh, an Islamist political party in the ruling coalition in Bangladesh. The letters threatened that the journalists would be "slaughtered" because their writings attacked clerics who want to transform the country into a pure Islamic state.

"We are determined to bring total Islamic rule in Bangladesh through an armed revolution," the letters said. "You are some of the obstacles on our way to achieve these goals. You are the country's enemies, so you face removal from this Earth."

Of the nine reporters who received these death threats, five are Hindus, and the letters warned them that as non-Muslims, they had no right to report on Islamic matters.

Kalyan Banerjee, a Hindu reporter for the popular Dhaka daily Pratham Alo (First Light), said: "In the letter accompanying the kafan (burial shroud) they said to me, Hindu religious functions would not be allowed in Pak Bangla (Holy Bangladesh) and no Hindu will be allowed to vote in the next parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. They will be slaughtered if they try to vote."

Mr. Banerjee, who reported on growing Islamist extremist activities in the area in a recent series of reports, said that he is also getting threatening calls from unknown people on his cell phone.

JMJB and Ahl-e-Hadith, among other Islamist groups, were accused of masterminding the Aug. 17 violence in which more than 400 bombs exploded simultaneously across Bangladesh, killing two persons and injuring more than 200.

This month, the authorities announced a reward of $15,200 for information leading to the arrest of underground JMJB chief Siddiqur Islam, alias Bangla Bhai.

Also this month, JMJB claimed responsibility for a series of Oct. 3 courtroom bombings in three towns that killed two persons and injured more than 50. The radical group has been campaigning to establish strict Islamic rule in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country governed by secular laws.

Statistics suggest that journalism is a dangerous profession in Bangladesh. In the past10 years, at least 19 journalists have been murdered and more than 800 have been injured in attacks by Islamist fundamentalists, political parties, criminals and various government agencies including the police.

Dipankar Chakrabarty, editor of a regional daily Durjoy Bangla (Invincible Bangla) was hacked to death with a machete in the central town of Sherpur last October.

Before his death, he told Reporters Without Borders that anonymous callers were threatening him by phone with death if he did not stop reporting on the ties between some powerful politicians and a criminal organization in the area.

In January 2004, a bomb in the southwestern district of Khulna killed Manik Saha, a reporter for the Dhaka daily New Age and stringer for the British Broadcasting Corp.

Some of his colleagues think Mr. Saha was killed because of his book investigating shrimp mafias who were converting paddy fields into shrimp farms, damaging the environment. The veteran journalist received many death threats by phone before he was slain.

A banned extremist Maoist group called Purba Bangla Communist Party (PBCP) claimed responsibility for the Saha murder. A week after the killing, PBCP threatened nine other reporters with death if they did not stop writing about the dead reporter.

In another bomb attack at Khulna in February, the PBCP injured three journalists and killed Belal Ahmed, a reporter with the national daily Dainik Sangram (Daily Struggle). The Maoist group -- which claimed to have killed four journalists, all "enemies of the poor" -- says it has 30 other journalists on its hit list.

Golam Mortoza, executive editor of Weekly 2000, an investigative weekly, recently received a death threat from unknown groups. He said in Dhaka that many politically frustrated ex-Maoist cadres had formed criminal gangs who are targeting journalists reporting on extortion and racketeering.

Sumi Khan, a Weekly 2000 crime reporter who was stabbed by unidentified assailants last year, agrees. "I was targeted because I reported how religious extremists, criminal mafias and illegal gunrunners were thriving in my area," she said.

"Such attacks on the media throughout the country try to block the free flow of information."

Mrs. Khan, who narrowly escaped death, was awarded the Guardian newspaper's Hugo Young Award for courageous journalism in London this year.

Although most of the journalists threatened in Bangladesh exposed corruption, crime and growing religious extremism, some have been targeted for revealing the covert activities of politicians.

"At election time, the major political parties accept help from shady political elements to win votes," said Naim Islam Khan, president of the Bangladesh Center for Development, Journalism and Communication.

"Some take donations from criminal gangs, providing protection in exchange," so reporters exposing such politician-criminal connections face threats to their lives.

Although police have registered more than a thousand cases of violence against journalists in the past10 years, nearly all cases remain unsolved.

Journalists in Bangladesh have even been targeted by the government.

Nurul Kabir, executive editor of the Dhaka daily New Age, thinks reporters in Bangladesh are targeted by parts of the government because they expose activities or plans that many citizens oppose.

"Journalists who are critical about corruption and malfeasance in ruling circles are being targeted -- especially outside the capital -- by activists supporting the ruling coalition. They are also attacked by supporters of the main opposition Awami League when they reveal its indifference toward people's suffering," Mr. Kabir said.

In 2002, Saleem Samad, a stringer for Time magazine, was detained by the army for helping a British Channel 4 team film a documentary on Islamist extremism and persecution of minority Hindus in Bangladesh.

Mr. Samad was released after 55 days of detention, following protests from human- and media-rights groups outside the country.

"[The army] told me to sign a statement admitting that I engaged in activities detrimental to the national interest. When I refused to sign the false statement, they started torturing me in a dark, tiny cell. They did not give me enough food and water. I was released only after the High Court ruled that my detention was illegal," said Mr. Samad.

Last year, when Mr. Samad was in Canada to attend an international seminar, the army, apparently at the behest of the government, raided his home in Dhaka looking for him. Friends and relatives advised him not to return to Bangladesh, and the 52-year-old journalist has applied for political asylum in Canada.

"Although I don't like to live in a foreign land, I cannot return to my country. I know this time they would kill me. They are angry because of my last Time write-up which described Bangladesh as a country in utter 'dysfunction,' " said Mr. Samad, who is now living in Ottawa as a refugee as the Canadian government considers his application for asylum.

"Death threats are becoming a pervasive and insidious part of daily life for journalists in Bangladesh," said Christopher Warren, president of the International Federation of Journalists. "The intimidation [of journalists] is a direct violation of civil rights and liberties, which are the basic tools for a successful democracy."

The bitter rivalry between Begum Khaleda Zia, the prime minister of Bangladesh, and opposition leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed has polarized the whole country. Even journalists are now politicized to a point where individual editors, reporters and newspapers are better known for their political leanings than for the contents of their work.

A senior editor at a popular daily in Dhaka said: "Until a few years ago, you would find most of us with independent views, but now we are either Khaleda Zia supporters or belong to Sheikh Hasina's camp. Unless the two groups are reunited, journalists will continue to be attacked in Bangladesh. But this will never happen unless the two top political leaders come to good terms."


Newspapers gagged over cartoon slur

February 04, 2006

The council of Muslim theologians has obtained a court interdict barring newspapers under the Johncom and Independent groups from publishing the controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The order means that the Sunday Times, Sunday Tribune, and the The Independent will not publish the cartoons.

Mondli Makhanya, the Sunday Times editor, says the paper had opposed the council's application on the principle that it should not be dictated to by any outside influences.

Ferial Hafajee, the Mail and Guardian editor, says she regrets any harm caused by the weekly's publishing of one of the controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. The paper yesterday published the cartoon.

The picture is one of 12 originally published in a Danish newspaper in September last year. They have subsequently appeared on several European newspapers, sparking outrage in the Muslim world. Hafajee says the intention was to show readers what the outcry is about.


Editor to be tried over Mohammed cartoon

From correspondents in Jakarta

July 21, 2006

AN Indonesian editor detained for posting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on his newspaper website earlier this year has been released from prison but will face trial for offending Islam.

Teguh Santosa, 35, was freed from a Jakarta prison last night after being held there for 24 hours by the prosecutor's office, police detective Aries Syarif Hidayat said.

Mr Santosa, who is the chief editor of the Rakyat Merdeka Online newspaper, will still have to face trial for publishing the cartoons in February, Hidayat said.

He faces a maximum five years' imprisonment if convicted.

Prosecutors have charged Mr Santosa with two counts of "inciting animosity and hatred" towards Islam.

The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten first printed 12 caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed last September and a slew of other, mostly European, newspapers have followed suit, sparking outrage in the Muslim world.

Islam considers images of the prophet to be blasphemous.

Mr Santosa, quoted by the Koran Tempo newspaper today, said he was only trying to give readers a complete story on the controversial cartoons.

"It was in accordance with my job as a journalist," he reportedly said.

Denmark in February temporarily closed its mission in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, and warned its nationals to leave the country after weeks of protests. 


Ayatollah issues fatwa calling for two journalists in Azerbaijan to be killed

December 3, 2006

Reporters without borders

Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about a fatwa (religious decree) issued by an Iranian ayatollah calling for two journalists in neighbouring Azerbaijan to be killed for an allegedly blasphemous article. The fatwa’s targets are Rafiq Nazar Oughlo Taghizadh of the Azerbaijani fortnightly Sanat (“Industry”) and his editor Samir Sadaght Oughlo.

“We urge the Iranian authorities to calm people down as there has been a great deal of tension since the publication of Mohammed cartoons in a Danish newspaper last February,” the press freedom organisation said. “We also ask the Azerbaijani authorities to do everything necessary to protect these two journalists.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is deeply shocking and completely unacceptable that religious fundamentalists should call for the murder of two people who just expressed their opinions.”

The offending article was written by Taghizadh, 56, for the newspaper’s 6 November issue. Entitled “Europe and us,” its claim that European values were superior to those of Muslim countries sparked outrage in both Azerbaijan (a Muslim country) and Iran.

Fazel Lankarani (photo), one of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s leading ayatollah’s, issued the fatwa in response to appeals for advice from Azerbaijani Muslims. Posted on his website ( on 25 November, it calls for both the “apostate” journalist who wrote the article and the editor who published it to be killed.


Muslim Mau-Mauing

Rod Dreher
One Dallas journo’s experience

Two years after standing on the Brooklyn Bridge and watching the second tower fall, I joined the Dallas Morning News. My wife, a native Dallasite, praises our new city as “a September 10 kind of place.” She means that the anxieties attending our post-9/11 New York life simply don’t exist here. The downside is that people lull themselves into a false sense of security about the Muslim community. From where I sit, it looks to me as though the entire mainstream media also live in a September 10 kind of place. We—and I say “we” because I’m part of the dreaded MSM—really don’t want to know what’s happening among Muslims in Dallas, Brooklyn, or anywhere else.

Dallas is home to a large and relatively prosperous Muslim community. The Dallas Central Mosque is Texas’s largest. The area’s Muslims, though, have had a contentious relationship in recent years with the Dallas Morning News, mostly because of the paper’s groundbreaking 2001 reporting on the Holy Land Foundation, whose leadership is now under federal terrorism indictment. Since then, local Muslim leaders have engaged in a running dialogue with the News, with the declared aim of improving relations.

It was in that spirit that Sayyid Syeed, then head of the Islamic Society of North America, came in, together with a local delegation, to see the editorial board a few months after I arrived from New York in 2003. Syeed made a laborious presentation about how journalists needed to join with the organization in promoting peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. I knew something about ISNA and asked Syeed why—if his group truly supported peace and suchlike—its board included members directly linked to Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism, including the notorious Wahhabi-trained Brooklyn imam Siraj Wahhaj. The professorial Syeed dropped his polite mask, shook his fist at me, told me that I would one day “repent,” and compared my question with a Nazi inquisition.

Hysterical indignation, I soon learned, is the standard operating procedure for Islamic groups in dealing with the media in this town. Shortly after the Syeed meeting, I published a column in the News decrying the media’s evasion of legitimate questions about Islamic figures and organizations, hoping to shame journalists into posing them. That’s how I became, in the designation of one (now-defunct) Muslim website dedicated to criticizing the News, “the new face of hate.”

I then joined that Islamic site’s e-mail list—which contained several prominent Dallas Muslims—under my own name. Before the site operators discovered my presence and booted me off, I printed out e-mails in which participants discussed a plan to approach business and religious leaders in town and persuade them to lean on the News’s publisher to fire me as a danger to Muslims. “Dreher needs to be ruined,” one e-mailer wrote. “When people here [sic] the name ‘Rod Dreher’ the image of David Duke should appear in their mind’s eye. So, a campaign must be planned and carefully executed to expose this hate-monger and render him a joke.” Naturally, I publicized the plans and made sure that copies of the e-mails got into the hands of the newspaper’s lawyers. That apparently ended that.

I kept making a pest of myself, though, pointing out in columns and editorial-board blog postings inconvenient truths about Dallas’s Muslim community—that, for instance, the leading local imam, who positions himself as an avuncular ecumenicist, had praised on his website the radical Islamists Hasan al-Turabi and Yusuf Qaradawi as the kind of scholars American Muslims should consult. I also helped get into the News’s editorial pages disturbing facts: that the Dallas Central Mosque had participated in a contest that assigned the best-known work of the fanatical Islamic revolutionary Sayyid Qutb to teenage readers, for example, and that some local Muslim leaders had attended a “Tribute to the Great Islamic Visionary”—that would be the Ayatollah Khomeini—at a suburban mosque.

This December, another delegation of local Muslim leaders trooped into the News to meet with the editorial board, mostly to complain about, well, me, and to clear up misunderstandings that my supposedly biased rantings might have caused among my colleagues. It was a classic performance. The group obfuscated and bullied, seeking to skirt some tough questions—such as whether they wanted sharia imposed as the law of the land—and trying to make the journalists on hand feel guilty for even asking. What the Muslims were counting on: 1) a lack of specific knowledge about Islam and Islamic figures on the audience’s part; and 2) the audience’s ideological sympathy for them as members of a mistrusted minority.

Luckily, we had in the room a News reporter recently reassigned from our London bureau. He speaks Arabic and had covered the London subway bombings. When the Muslim group tried to claim that Sayyid Qutb was a fringe figure, my newsroom colleague said no, he’s not, and one can easily find his work in Islamic bookshops in England, where it has contributed to the radicalization of British Muslim youth. So it wasn’t just that right-wing Dreher guy from New York—traumatized by 9/11, alas for him—asking these questions. It’s amazing how undone these Muslim leaders become when informed journalists, refusing to be intimidated into embarrassed silence, confront them with the facts.

Later, after I blogged about the meeting, the group’s leader fired off an e-mail to me and my supervisors accusing me of single-handedly burning every bridge built between the Dallas Muslim community and the newspaper. I’d hate for that to be true. But far worse for those bridges to remain standing if built on the dangerous notion that the news media should always publish happy-clappy news about local Muslims and shun any healthy suspicion about things such as Khomeini tributes, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian hate literature showing up in mosque libraries (as happened here), and the like.

Bakery raid to elicit string of charges

Handyman has confessed to slaying editor, police say

Demian Bulwa and Matthai Chakko Kuruvila
San Francisco Chonicle
Monday, August 6, 2007

Oakland police will seek formal charges as early as today against several people associated with Your Black Muslim Bakery, including the alleged killer of a newspaper editor who had been working on a story about the controversial group that operates the bakery, the city's assistant police chief said Sunday.

Howard Jordan said Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at the bakery, had confessed to fatally shooting Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, 57, near his offices Thursday morning. Broussard was one of seven people arrested in raids the following day.

Jordan said Broussard and others, under investigation for their part in an alleged string of crimes earlier this year, are part of a splinter group within the organization founded by the late Yusuf Bey more than 30 years ago.

The splinter group, Jordan said, "promotes violence in the name of the Muslim faith and contradicts the teachings of (former Nation of Islam leader) Elijah Muhammad."

Police will also seek charges of kidnapping for ransom in connection with a May 19 incident in which two people were abducted, Jordan said. Alameda County prosecutors must review evidence in the case - including documents, recordings and witness statements - and decide on charges by Tuesday.

Jordan said police will not seek charges at this point in two North Oakland slayings that have been linked to members of the group: the July slayings of Michael John Wills Jr., 36, and Odell Roberson Jr., 31. Sources have said the men's deaths may have been linked to the bakery group's effort to "cleanse" the area near the bakery on San Pablo Avenue.

"There's still a lot left to do in terms of developing leads," Jordan said.

Referring to Broussard's arrest in Bailey's killing, he said, "We don't know if he was the only one involved."

The leader of the organization, 21-year-old Yusuf Bey IV, was also arrested last week in the raids on a $375,000 felony assault warrant issued in San Francisco. The young man took over the organization after his father, who was awaiting trial on charges of raping a minor, died in 2003.

San Francisco police said the younger Bey, already charged with vandalizing a West Oakland liquor store in an effort to curb its alcohol sales, used his BMW to run over a bouncer after being thrown out of a strip club in April 2006. Since then, Jordan said, he has missed court dates, prompting the warrant.

Efforts to reach Bey's family members were unsuccessful on Sunday. In the afternoon, two men stood in the doorway of the bakery on San Pablo Avenue; one said "No" and closed the door when approached by a reporter.

The business, which last year filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, was boarded up after the raids. The Alameda County Department of Environmental Health shut it, saying in a report that problems included a "strong odor of rotting flesh" and "fish thawing in still water." Grease piled up in open buckets, and someone disposed of grease in a toilet and in storm drains, the report said.

"I almost threw up," said Jordan, who was at the raid.

The organization - which has also operated a security firm and a school, among other businesses - has in the past been praised for its focus on reforming troubled youth and building self-reliance. But it has been increasingly criticized for some its members' propensity for violence.

Three parents whose children were arrested in the raids said Sunday they had been impressed by the bakery's ability to keep kids out of trouble.

The mother of J-Shawn Belser, who is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, said Sunday that she had seen only positive things after he started working there.

The 18-year-old had become depressed in July 2006 after the fatal shooting in Oakland of Charles Fort Jr., his 17-year-old best friend and cousin, said Kathy Belser.

"He just lost his way," she said. "One day, he said, 'I'm going to try and join the Muslims.' He started reading the Quran. He changed his life, going to school and working at the bakery."

Her son, she said, was happy and studying to get a GED after dropping out of high school. With most of his time occupied with work and school, Belser thought her son was safe.

"I was happy that he was learning to respect himself and respect others and learn how to be a man - take care of family and take care of business," Belser said. "He's just a good kid. I know for a fact that he's not involved in any of this."

Belser, though, said she wished she had heard about the bakery's troubled history.

"Had I known all these things were being said about the bakery, I wouldn't have allowed my son to be there at all," she said.

A more ominous note was sounded by a parent who said his child, who had been detained Thursday by police and later released, had already been threatened.

"These guys, the way they operate, they don't care about anyone," said the father. "They'll do whatever they want to whomever they want."


Volume 3, Book 34, Number 299:

Narrated 'Aun bin Abu Juhaifa:

My father bought a slave who practiced the profession of cupping. (My father broke the slave's instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog or blood, and also forbade the profession of tattooing, getting tattooed and receiving or giving Riba, (usury), and cursed the picture-makers."