Latest Analysis and Commentary

"It Is the Quran That Must Be Read"
Extremist Persecution of Christians, May 2018

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  October 21, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • "Churches and individual Christians have faced increased restrictions in recent months, raising concerns that these pressures signal a coordinated campaign of intensified action against churches by the governing authorities." — Middle East Concern, Algeria.

  • A Muslim man walked into a cathedral and threatened to blow it up for preaching the Gospel and not the Koran. — France.

  • "The Indonesian government should revisit the country's blasphemy law.... To honor religious freedom as enshrined in Indonesia's constitution, the government must respect all religions and stop criminalizing Christians when they are merely exercising their right to free speech." — International Christian Concern, Indonesia.

On May 19, four gunmen stormed the Church of Michael the Archangel in Grozny, the capital of Russia's Muslim-majority Republic of Chechnya, and killed three people -- a churchgoer and two police officers. The attackers were also killed in the gunfire exchange with security forces. (Image source: Alexxx1979/Wikimedia Commons)

The Extremists' Slaughter of Christians Inside Churches

Indonesia: Six suicide bombers from one Muslim family attacked three churches on May 13, during Sunday Mass services; at least 11 worshippers were killed. The suicide bombers consisted of a father, mother, and four children, two boys and two girls, aged 9,12, 16, and 18. According to the report:

"More than 40 people were injured in the blasts. The first attack that killed four people, including one or more bombers, occurred at the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church... The father of the family accused of carrying out the suicide bombing had detonated a car bomb during his attack. The incident was followed by a second explosion at the Christian Church of Diponegoro that killed two people. In a third attack, at Pantekosta Church, two more died, police said."

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UK: Anjem Choudary Released from Prison

by Soeren Kern  •  October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • "I believe we are underestimating the potency and danger of the radicalizers who don't carry knives, guns and overtly plot terrorist attacks but who pollute the minds of young Muslim men." — Richard Walton, former head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command.

  • "I asked the guy who spoke to him if the de-radicalization program had worked and he said, 'No, he's got worse. He's hardened. He speaks in the mind-set of the victim. He sees himself as a martyr the state tried to silence.'" — Fiyaz Mughal, head of the anti-extremist group Faith Matters.

  • Choudary is now considering mounting a legal challenge to the strict conditions of his release, according to the Telegraph. It reported that he has applied for legal aid funding, at taxpayer expense, to bring his action against government ministers, and arguing the parole conditions breach his human rights.

The Islamist firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary, described as Britain's "most dangerous extremist," has been released from prison after serving only half of the five-and-a-half-year sentence he received in 2016 for pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The Islamist firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary, described as Britain's "most dangerous extremist," has been released from prison after serving only half of the five-and-a-half-year sentence he received in 2016 for pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

Prison authorities could not prevent his release: under British sentencing guidelines, prisoners — even those who are still a risk to the public — automatically become eligible for release under license (parole) after serving half their terms.

Prime Minister Theresa May has downplayed concerns over Choudary's release; British counter-terrorism authorities, however, say they are worried that he will re-exert influence on hundreds of followers upon his release. The cost to British taxpayers of keeping Choudary under surveillance is expected to exceed £2 million (€2.25 million; $2.6 million) a year, compared to the £50,000 (€57,000; $65,000) to keep him in prison.

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Britain's Grooming Gangs: Part 1

by Denis MacEoin  •  October 20, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • As far back as 2013, Britain's Attorney General stated in the House of Lords that 27 police forces were then investigating no fewer than 54 alleged gangs involved in child sexual grooming.

  • Last year, Shahid Javed Burki, a former Pakistani finance minister and vice-president of the World Bank, spoke out about the treatment of women in his country, arguing that the low status given to women has had serious social, demographic, educational, and financial effects.

  • This problem is, in some measure, reflected in the UK, where Muslim women (mainly of Pakistani origin) face limitations on their participation in the workplace, in higher education, and even knowledge of the English language -- matters examined by Dame Louise Casey in her 2016 government review into opportunity and integration.

  • Bringing Pakistani attitudes into the UK, often within segregated communities, only serves to perpetuate the belief that women are intrinsically the inferiors of men in all respects.

Rotherham, England was the first city to experience child sexual grooming gangs on a large scale, and the site of the UK's largest ever child sexual abuse scandal. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

On July 24, 2018, Britain's Home Secretary, conservative MP Sajid Javid, issued orders for research into the ethnic origins of the country's many sexual grooming gangs that had involved large numbers of loosely-termed "Asian men", who, over many years, had taken vulnerable young white British girls to use or pass on for sexual purposes. Most of the men have, Javid has stated been of Pakistani extraction, which makes the Home Secretary's intervention significant. Javid's father came, as did many other Pakistani immigrants, from Punjab, and with only £1 to his name. He became a bus driver, then a clothing store owner. Yet his five sons have all become fully integrated Britons, with successful careers in business, politics and the public sector. They are all models of second-generation immigrant achievement, miles away from the men in the gangs. Reporting on the Javid family, The Times wrote:

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Are Turkey's Spies Operating in America?

by Uzay Bulut  •  October 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • According to Turkish media reports, the Turkish government's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) gathered intelligence via its imams and other employees in 38 countries on the activities of Turks suspected of supporting the US-based Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.

  • Peter Pilz, then an Austrian member of parliament, last year revealed that he had received documents from a Turkish source indicating the existence of "a global network of informants" -- spanning four continents -- reporting to Turkey's Diyanet on alleged Gülenists. In most cases, these informants were religion attachés at embassies and consulates.

  • In 2016, the Diyanet Center of America (DCA) completed the construction of a $110 million mosque complex in Lanham, Maryland. According to the DCA website, "The result is a small village that will be an important cultural hub for all visitors and residents of Washington DC area." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the complex, one of many Diyanet-affiliated mosques in North America.

  • The Trump administration should be on guard. If Erdogan's mosques in Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia are being used as a conduit to spy on Turkish nationals who possibly oppose his rule, is it not safe to assume that similar activity has been going on in the United States?

If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mosques in Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia are being used as a conduit to spy on Turkish nationals who possibly oppose his rule, is it not safe to assume that similar activity has been going on in the United States, for example, at the $110 million Diyanet Center of America mosque complex (pictured at left) near Washington, D.C.? (Image sources: Diyanet Center - DBull360/Wikimedia Commons; Erdogan - Getty Images)

According to Turkish media reports, the Turkish government's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) gathered intelligence via its imams and other employees in 38 countries on the activities of Turks suspected of supporting the US-based Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey's government accuses of organizing a failed coup attempt in July 2016. Diyanet reportedly requested from its branches abroad to submit their findings in time for the 9th Eurasia Islamic Council, which took place in October 2016. These findings were then reportedly submitted to the "Coup Commission" of the Turkish parliament (TBMM).

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Why Palestinians Do Not Have a Parliament

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  October 18, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances. They cannot write to or phone their elected legislators to complain about anything. All they can do is resort to social media, especially Facebook, to air their views.

  • As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not tolerate criticism particularly well, he doubtless feels more comfortable delivering speeches at international forums such as the United Nations, the European Parliament and his own Fatah and PLO institutions than at the Palestinian parliament. The others are places where no one takes him to task for his tyranny.

  • In the past few years, scores of Palestinians have been harassed, arrested and interrogated by Abbas's security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.

The Fatah Revolutionary Council, dominated by people loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has recommended that Abbas dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). This is yet another attempt by Abbas to silence his critics and prevent an open debate among Palestinians about his policies. Pictured: The PLC building in Ramallah on January 28, 2006, three days after its last election. (Photo by Zharan Hammad/Getty Images)

Parliaments, among the strongest manifestations of a democracy, represent the electorate, enact laws and oversee the government through hearings and inquiries.

Apparently, this does not apply to the Palestinians, who, as a result of the power struggle between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, have, for the past 11 years, been without a functioning parliament.

The Palestinian Authority's unicameral legislature is the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Both the PA and PLC were established after the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993. The first Palestinian legislative election took place in January 1996. The second, and last, election took place in January 2006; it resulted in a victory for Hamas.

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UNESCO: Why the United States Needs to Watch Out

by Shoshana Bryen  •  October 18, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • The Old Testament is read by Christians with the same reverence as the New Testament. Jesus did NOT send the money changers out of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

  • UNESCO votes inform the way people think about history. One can disagree with Israeli policies and practices while agreeing that the Land of Israel is the historic space of the Jewish people. But when UNESCO erases that connection, there remains no reason to posit that there should be a State of Israel at all. Which leaves the Hamas and Fatah position that "Palestine from the River to the Sea" as the natural arrangement of things.

  • To the extent that Europeans (and some Americans) dismiss their traditional, biblically grounded understanding of the Middle East, Israel and the free world are less secure. UNESCO's members understand that such dismissal by the West advances their goal toward the elimination of Israel. The United States should, too.

UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. (Image source: Fred Romero/Flickr)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), regarding international interest in preserving historic sites in Israel, is a sham. Its work consists mainly of denying a Jewish connection to the land and its history. In a 2016 vote, UNESCO denied any connection between Israel and its historic Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- a retaining wall which is all that is left of the ancient Jewish Temples (Solomon's Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE).

In 2017, UNESCO's resolution on "Occupied Palestine" announced that:

"...all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the 'basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith..."

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Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google's Poisonous 'Dragonfly'

by Judith Bergman  •  October 17, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • If the big social media companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

  • Google has decided it will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work because Google employees were upset that the technology might be used for lethal military purposes. Yet Google is planning to launch a censored search engine in China that will empower a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state.

  • Freedom Watch filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, claiming that they suppress conservative speech online.

  • A Media Research Center report found that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube stifle conservative speech and that in some instances staffers have admitted that doing so was intentional.

  • Chinese officials prevented a journalist, Liu Hu, from taking a flight because he had a low "social credit" score. According to China's Global Times, as of the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed rail trips.

Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, code-named "Dragonfly," which will aid and abet a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state. (Image source: [Photo of woman] iStock)

The internet, especially social media, has become one of the primary places for people to exchange viewpoints and ideas. Social media is where a considerable part of the current national conversation takes place.

Arguably, big tech companies, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, therefore carry a responsibility to ensure that their platforms are equally accessible to all voices in that national conversation. As private commercial entities, the social media giants are not prima facie legally bound by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and are free to set their own standards and conditions for the use of their platforms. Ideally, those standards should be applied equally to all users, regardless of political or other persuasion. If, however, these companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

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Turkey: Enabling Mass Illegal Migration into Greece

by Uzay Bulut  •  October 17, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Turkish authorities repeatedly have threatened Europe with an influx of migrants. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threats should not be ignored.

  • Ever since the migrant crisis started to escalate in 2011 -- with the onset of civil war in Syria -- those who were critical of mass, unchecked immigration have been called "racists," "bigots" or "Islamophobes."

  • Today, however, the continued chaos in many European countries caused by immigration, and accompanying increase in crime -- including murder and rape committed by Islamist extremists -- appear to have proven the critics right.

A recent surge of illegal migrant arrivals has put the Greek city of Thessaloniki in crisis. "Dozens of migrants have turned Aristotelous square in the center of Thessaloniki to a makeshift camp," with many "sleeping in the open." Pictured: The Idomeni migrant relocation camp, near Thessaloniki. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Greece is currently facing a serious surge in undocumented migrant arrivals in the Evros region, an entry point for migrants illegally trying to enter the country from Turkey. Arrivals have roughly doubled since 2017, and Athens is holding Ankara responsible.

The influx from places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh and African countries into Turkey reportedly has been on the rise in recent months, with 1.5 million people from Muslim countries waiting on the Iranian border to enter Turkey. This has sparked fears in Athens that they could be heading for Greece.

According to a fact sheet released last month by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), "Sea arrivals [in Greece] peaked this month with 4,000 people. Land arrivals through Evros also increased to 1,400."

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What Multiculturalism Hides

by Jan Keller  •  October 16, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • The policy of multiculturalism, which emphasizes the benefits of cultural diversity for society and the state, is an example of the exploitation of others based on a fantasy of virtue. Those at whom the sweet talk of multiculturalism is aimed, can see that it has done nothing to improve their lot, and are now realizing that their future is bleak.

  • If we bring in highly qualified immigrants to our workforce, we would be taking away from poorer countries the best they have to offer, and the situation in those countries will further deteriorate. The result will be an even greater flow of unskilled migrants escaping those countries.

  • The proponents of the new multiculturalism want to share their welfare states with masses of refugees who -- through no fault of their own -- will be unable to participate in financing themselves for a long time to come.

(Image source: iStock)

Multiculturalism is not a manifestation of Europe's generosity, or some noble embodiment of love and truth. Multiculturalism is what remains after mass migration reveals itself as a threat, rather than a benefit, to the economies of European countries.

Take, for instance, the example of France. After the Second World War, when France underwent a boom of economic growth, waves of migration were viewed favorably: there were many job opportunities for unskilled and medium-skilled laborers, and the native French population aspired to work in the tertiary sector, which offered more qualified, better-paid jobs. From the end of the war until the mid-1970s, foreign workers tended to come to France temporarily, without their families, and return to their countries of origin. These workers were generally recruited from former French colonies to do menial and low-paying jobs -- not in order to enrich the culture of the host country.

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Saudi Arabia: Challenges for "Vision 2030"

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  October 16, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • To execute the IPO of Saudi Aramco in a successful and timely way, the Saudi government needs to deal appropriately with definite issues.

  • These include claims that Saudi Aramco has been overvalued by Saudis; "concerns about minority shareholder rights, the transparency of oil reserves," and "how the Saudi government will balance national interests and its duty to shareholders" ; meeting the New York Stock Exchange's stringent transparency standards; and the possibility that a New York listing places the IPO at risk of being seized in lawsuits claiming Saudi Arabia's involvement in 9/11 attacks.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the strategic plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to boost the kingdom's economy, is facing a major challenge. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the strategic plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to boost the kingdom's economy, is facing a major challenge. Its cornerstone -- the opening up of the state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco to outside investors -- is possibly being postponed by at least a year, to 2021.

Since early 2016, the Saudi government, Aramco's sole shareholder, has been working to place up to 5 percent of Aramco on the stock market. In October 2017, MBS told Reuters that Aramco's IPO was on track for 2018, and that it could be valued at more than $2 trillion. In an interview in Washington, DC in March 2018, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said, "We have prepared all documentation to be ready to do both domestic and international listings." He added, however, that the kingdom needed to be sure whether "this [is] an optimum time to execute."

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The Palestinian Battle against a Plan that Does Not Exist

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  October 15, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • While Palestinian hatred for President Trump and his administration does not come as a surprise, what is strange is that the two Palestinians factions -- Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- are now using the US president's awaited plan to throw mud at one another.

  • Mahmoud Abbas evidently wants the world to believe that Hamas is working for Trump and Israel. Hamas, for its part, wants Palestinians to believe that if anyone is part of the Trump administration's "conspiracy," it is Abbas and his Fatah faction.

  • Guess who gets caught in the crossfire -- again. The Palestinians. It is they who continue to pay the price for the vicious strife between their "leaders" -- in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas evidently wants the world to believe that Hamas is working for President Trump and Israel. Pictured: Abbas delivers a speech at the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

No Palestinian -- or anyone else for that matter -- has been made privy to US President Donald J. Trump's long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, which has also been referred to as the "deal of the century." This minor detail however, has not prevented the Palestinians from rejecting the rumored plan, on the pretext that it is aimed at "liquidating" the Palestinian cause and national rights.

Hardly a day passes without Palestinian leaders and officials across the political spectrum behaving as if they know every detail of the "deal of the century." The Palestinians are not even prepared to wait until the US administration actually presents a plan.

The Palestinian rejection of a yet-to-be-announced peace plan should not surprise anyone. The Palestinians will never accept any plan from a US administration they consider extremely "hostile" to the Palestinians and "biased" in favor of Israel.

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Global Zero and Its Nuclear Globaloney

by Peter Huessy  •  October 15, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • According to the Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, an agreement on "No First Use" would be in a new treaty -- one in which everyone "sincerely vows" never to use nuclear weapons first.

  • If warheads were actually removed from both submarine- and silo-based missiles, however, it would take months to put them back on the missiles, assuming the storage facilities used for the warheads were not destroyed in a preemptive Russian or Chinese attack. Talk about painting a bull's-eye on your nuclear forces.

The Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, calls for the unilateral disarmament of more than two-thirds of the US nuclear deterrent, including placing most US warheads in storage bunkers far removed from the missiles that could carry them. Pictured: An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California during an operational test on April 26, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

The Princeton University disarmament group, Global Zero, has released a new 107-page report -- "The End of Nuclear Warfighting: Moving to a Deterrence-Only Posture" -- that calls for the unilateral disarmament of more than two-thirds of the US nuclear deterrent and the adoption of a Chinese deterrent strategy including placing most US warheads in storage bunkers far removed from the missiles that could carry them.

The report's conclusions are as follows:

US Deterrent Policy

  • China and Russia have no incentive to attack the United States, so the US can cut in half its nuclear arsenal -- unilaterally -- as the US no longer has to worry about the size of the Russian nuclear arsenal in measuring its own deterrent.

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Christians Sentenced to Death Under Sharia Law

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  October 14, 2018 at 6:00 am

  • In response to the latest abuses against Christians, Amnesty International has initiated an "urgent action" appeal. It has called on the Iranian regime to "quash the convictions and sentences of Victor Bet-Tamraz, Shamiram Isavi, Amin Afshar-Naderi, and Hadi Asgari, as they have been targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedoms of religion and belief, expression, and association, through their Christian faith." However there are far more stories of Christian persecution throughout Iran, than just these four.

  • What is important to note is that in countries, run by sharia law, the constitution becomes inferior to the Islamist laws of the land. When radical Islam gains power, every article in the constitution becomes contingent on compliance with sharia. The rights that are promised in the constitution therefore become null and void.

  • It is not enough to hope that one day Christians will be able to practice their faith in Iran without fear of persecution or death; action must be taken by the global community to ensure that the Iranian regime stands by its own constitution and provides its Christian citizens with equal rights and protections.

The Greek Orthodox Church of Virgin Mary Tehran, Iran. (Image source: Orijentolog/Wikimedia Commons)

Frequently, Shiite Islamic preachers and leaders can be heard stating that Islam recognized "People of the Book," which refers to Christians and Jews. This assertion sounds as if Islam gives Christian and Jews the same level of status and respect as their Muslim counterparts.

That argument was recently confirmed when the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, claimed that "Christians have the same rights as others do." With that confirmation, it might be easy to assume that Christians are relatively safe in Iran. But are they?

In speeches, and on paper, these words probably give the impression that Christians are not only welcome in Iran, but given equal rights and protections. However, the everyday experiences of Christians in Iran, tell a very different story.

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"Genocide against Christians"
Extremist Persecution of Christians, April 2018

by Raymond Ibrahim  •  October 14, 2018 at 4:00 am

  • Two days later, Christian homes in the region were attacked again. "Some Muslim villagers had a meeting in one of the mosques. They incited people against us. After the meeting they set fire to a wood store owned by my brother, and four other houses," said another Christian resident. Police responded by arresting five Christians as they tried to put out the fire. — Egypt.

  • On April 27, the government made the death penalty "mandatory" for anyone who blasphemes against Islam... And in the case of blasphemous remarks or sacrilegious acts, according to the law, the death penalty is now mandatory." — Voice of the Martyrs, Mission Network News, Mauritania.

  • A Christian nun who was driven out of her convent in Qaraqosh, Iraq by the Islamic State was denied a visa from the nation that provided refugee status to tens of thousands of Muslim men. — United Kingdom.

A Muslim migrant from Pakistan vandalized two churches in Germany, including St. Peter's Church in Chemnitz (pictured at right), on April 23. (Image source: (Zaufatsch/Wikimedia Commons)

Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Pakistan: A Muslim man set a Christian woman on fire because she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. Asma Yaqoob, 25, with burns covering nearly 90 percent of her body, died five days later. According to her father, his son and he were waiting for Asma, a domestic servant, at the home of her employer, when she answered a knock on the door. "After some time we heard her screaming in pain," he said. They "rushed outside to see what had happened" and saw Rizwan Gujjar, 30, a onetime family friend, fleeing "while Asma was engulfed in flames." Three months earlier Gujjar had begun pressuring Asma to marry him. She, "not wanting to recant her Christian faith," politely declined and tried to avoided him, says another report. So, on April 17, when she answered the door, he doused her with gasoline and set her aflame. According to her mother:

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Rebuilding Syria: The Responsibility Principle

by Malcolm Lowe  •  October 13, 2018 at 5:00 am

  • One is amazed by the audacity wherewith those foreign interveners who have caused the most destruction in Syria call upon the rest of the world to foot the bill for rebuilding what they themselves have demolished. So the First Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that those foreign countries which intervened in Syria to pursue their own political aims – primarily Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey – should pay up to rebuild everything that they destroyed.

  • The Second Clause of the Responsibility Principle is that any other country or international factor should condition any further financial assistance upon the replacement of the current Syrian regime with a plausible alternative, be it through free elections or the installation of a temporary international regime, followed by Nuremberg-type trials of the chief criminals of the current regime and the repatriation and resettlement of all refugees without any form of discrimination. The Russian Federation has the military power to keep Assad the titular president of Syria forever, but it cannot expect the rest of the world to pay for such a Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet in Ankara, Turkey, on April 4, 2018. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

Twice during 2018, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met to discuss their various interests in Syria. On both occasions, their concluding joint statement called upon the rest of the world to assist in repairing the damage caused by the ongoing Syrian civil war, in which they had intervened on behalf of one faction or another. In their Joint Statement of April 4, the presidents:

"... Called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase its assistance to Syria by sending additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage;"

Identical wording was included in their Final Statement of July 31.

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