Islamism Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Bible School, Church Buildings Attacked in Sudan

Islamist mob inflicts massive damages on Christian compound in Khartoum

Christians faced increased hostilities in Sudan over the past few weeks, culminating in an attack on a Christian compound in Khartoum by a throng of Muslim extremists armed with clubs, iron rods, a bulldozer and fire.

Breaking down the compound wall with a bulldozer, the assailants on Saturday (April 21) set fire to the Gerief West Bible School and the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) building; they also damaged three other places of worship and other buildings in the same compound, sources told Compass by telephone. Also damaged were a clinic, a home for the elderly, classrooms and living quarters.

“What happened could not be imagined – it was terrible,” said the Rev. Yousif Matar, general secretary of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church synod. “They burned all furniture of the school and the church as well.”

Following a fiery call by hard-line Muslim sheikh Muhammad Abdel Kareem on Friday (April 20) to a crowd of more than 500 to destroy “the infidels’ church,” he led the attack the next day, sources said.

“Tomorrow at 8 a.m., Muslims in this area must gather in front of the infidels’ church and destroy them,” Kareem told the crowd, according to Compass sources.

The next morning, according to Christian support organization Open Doors, authorities held the mob back about a kilometer from the compound, but the assailants dispersed and found their way back early in the afternoon.

“Police at the compound stood back and did nothing to prevent the mob from vandalizing the compound,” Open Doors stated in a press release. “There was no cordon around the Bible school or church, as some have stated in other media reports.”

Besides the SPEC church building, the worship venues damaged in the attack were halls used by Ethiopian, Indian and ethnic southern Sudan congregations, according to Open Doors. The organization reported that area residents told the Sudan Tribune that the assailants were the same ones that had threatened to attack the church, apparently calling for the deportation of southerners in Sudan and terming them “foreigners.”

Ethnic southern Sudanese were ordered to register for citizenship this month or be deported following South Sudan’s secession last July 9.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar [God is greater]” and “No more Christianity from today on – no more church from today on,” the attackers stormed the Bible school bookstore and burned Bibles and other literature, sources said. They threatened to kill anyone who resisted them, they said.

All the Bible school’s office equipment, library books and students’ personal belongings were destroyed by fire, according to Open Doors.

Some students, staff and members of some churches were beaten, according to Philip Akway, a pastor and former general secretary of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church; SPEC clergyman John Tau’s right hand was wounded, while deacon John Bouth sustained a chest injury.

The assailants also burned trees on the property. On April 9, the mob had arrived with a bulldozer and threatened to demolish the Bible school, saying it was located on land that should be returned to “the land of Islam” because southern Sudanese were no longer legal citizens (see www.compassdirect.org, “South Sudanese Christians Trapped in Hostile North,” April 19). Police arrived and forced the assailants to withdraw from the school compound, but the Islamists threatened to take the land by force.

At press time Bible school students remained scattered, with some of them taking refuge in Christian homes far from the area, while others fled to churches in northern Khartoum, sources said.

Church leaders told Compass they were concerned that such incidents could lead to Muslims in Sudan taking church lands.

Arrests
Other incidents last week indicated that Christianity is not welcome in Sudan, according to Open Doors. Catholic Church personnel working for SudanAid, the church’s humanitarian organization, have been arrested in Nyala, in Darfur, and their office has been closed, the organization stated, citing a report from Sudan Catholic Radio Network.

“Church leaders in the area fear that this may escalate,” according to the Open Doors statement. “They feel very isolated and vulnerable.”

Last week, the organization added, three churches in Khartoum were warned that their buildings would be demolished if they continued services. The three churches were the Episcopal Church of Sudan Baraka Parish Church, the Sudan Interior Church in Dar Es-Salaam outside Khartoum, and a third church in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum.

Worship Stopped
Previously hostilities against Christians had flared on April 6, when police rushed into a Sudanese Church of Christ compound in Omdurman and forced the congregation to stop worshipping, Christian sources said.

The congregation was preparing for a Good Friday Easter service.

“We told the police officers who were in charge of the force that it was unfair to stop the Christians from worship while Muslims enjoy the same privilege freely without any objection from the police,” a Christian source said.

Police said that it was Friday and therefore only Muslims could pray, and that the mosque service must not be interrupted by the “songs and praises of the infidels,” a source said.

Usually churches are only barred from using loudspeakers during Islamic Friday prayers in Khartoum. Also, shops are ordered to close during Friday prayers, with those doing business fined, jailed or losing their commercial license.

“You must stop the worship because Friday’s Muslim prayers are now starting” police told the worshiping congregation, according to the Rev. Kowa Shamal.

With Christians already complaining about increased discrimination since predominantly non-Muslim South Sudan seceded, church members were greatly discouraged by the shut-down, sources said.

Muslims are favored in Sudanese law and policy, with the notorious Sudanese Public Order Police making sure that sharia (Islamic law) is enforced, often without any legal aid for non-Muslim suspects, they said. The country, which President Omar al-Bashir has vowed will become a more strictly Islamic state, plans to prohibit the construction of church buildings, they said.

– Bible School, Church Buildings Attacked in Sudan, Compass Direct News, Apr. 26, 2012 — © Compass Direct News. Published in Religion News Blog by permission.

Islamic extremists detained in France planned to kidnap Jewish judge

A group of Islamic radicals have been charged with planning to kidnap a French judge.

The Associated Press says

Prosecutor Francois Molins said that the Forsane Alizza group, or Knights of Pride, did physical training in parks and forests, collected weapons and preached hate and violence on their internet site, showing clips of Osama bin Laden.

The site was shut down after authorities banned the group in March.

Mr Molins said the investigation showed the network was organised around Forsane Alizza leader Mohammed Achamlane.

He stressed the group had no link to the killing spree last month in Toulouse that left seven dead. Suspected gunman Mohamed Merah was killed in a police stand-off.

According AFP, cited in The Telegraph

The head of France’s Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence (DCRI), Bernard Squarcini, said on Saturday that those arrested the previous day were French nationals involved in “warlike training, linked to violent religious indoctrination”.

Some of those arrested belonged to a suspected extremist group called Forsane Alizza, he said, and had been involved in paintball gun games.

Forsane Alizza chief Mohamed Achamlane was on Monday transferred to Paris where he was to appear before anti-terror magistrates who already extended the custody of the 15 other suspected Islamists arrested on Friday.

French anti-terrorism legislation allows for suspects to be held for four days, or until Tuesday.

Three of the 19 people arrested on Friday have already been released, and those still in custody could be charged later Tuesday. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins was to hold a press conference around midday.

The alleged militants were netted in antiterrorist swoops in different French cities a week after self-confessed al-Qaeda militant Mohamed Merah was shot dead following his killing spree in which he killed seven people. […]

France on Monday announced the expulsion of five radical Islamic preachers – an Algerian, a Malian, a Saudi, a Turk and a Tunisian – as part of a crackdown in the wake of the Merah killings.

France 24 says Forsane Alizza’s

propaganda videos, still available on YouTube, feature a bizarre vision of a modern France blended with an idealised, ancient caliphate. As a train rumbles over the Loire River, a group of bearded men – some in flowing djellaba robes and keffiyeh scarves, others in hoodies and track pants – proclaim their support for polygamy and the niqab (the full Muslim veil) while ranting against a western media bias.

Since its formation in 2010, radical Islamist group Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride) has gained notoriety for propaganda stunts and provocative demonstrations on issues ranging from “Zionist products such as McDonalds” to the French ban on praying in the street.

rench Interior Minister Claude Gueant banned the group in February 2012, after a government investigation. But their propaganda videos, some of them featuring improbable scenes of keffiyeh-encased youths engaged in paintball sessions in verdant French woodlands or underground parking lots, are still available online.

French security officials say the group’s arsenal includes a lot more than water soluble dyes and paintball guns.

In a massive, multi-city crackdown on the group on 30 March, French security forces recovered an “impressive lot” of Kalashnikov rifles, tear gas canisters and about eight handguns, according to Bernard Squarcini, head of France’s domestic intelligence agency. […]

According to Claude Moniquet, president of the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, the raids proved “French authorities have decided to fight [jihadist] propaganda, which is very important in the radicalisation process”.

A relatively small group, Moniquet estimates that Forsane Alizza has around “15 or 20 members and a few hundred sympathisers”. However, he adds, “when they post a video on YouTube for instance, you immediately get up to 20,000 people viewing it. So it very clearly has a resonance in the Muslim youth community”.

Headquartered in the western French city of Nantes, from where Achamlane was arrested in the March 30 sweeps, Forsane Alizza calls for the worldwide establishment of Islamic sharia law and for France to become an Islamic caliphate.

Achamlane uses the nomme de guerre Abu Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, which also happens to be the name of the one-eyed, hook-handed former cleric at London’s Finsbury Park mosque, who is currently serving a sentence in Britain for inciting racial hatred.

According to Jean-Yves Camus, a specialist on Islamist groups at the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Relations, it’s “the sort of group we often find in Britain, which is primarily aimed at recently radicalised youth. Forsane Alizza members proclaim their pride and allegiance to Salafism and jihadism, but they have very little knowledge of Islam. It’s a group that wants to get noticed.”

Experts say that unlike Britain, France has an aggressive system of infiltration into Islamist mosques and groups aimed at the early detention of potential suspects.

Note: It it the policy of Religion News Blog to file hate activities in the ‘hate groups’ topic. That is not a reflection on all Muslims, but a recognition of the fact that certain Muslims use their religion as an outlet for acts of hatred — which in our opinion includes the struggle to make others submit to Islam through such things as Jihad and the imposition of Sharia in civilized, democratic countries.