Archive for the ‘War against Catholics & Christians’ Category

Intolerance

September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

U.S. Envoy to Libya Is Killed in Attack

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, ALAN COWELL and STEVEN LEE MYERS

CAIRO — The United States ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.

In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killing — the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades — and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world.

The attack at the compound in Benghazi was far more deadly than administration officials first announced on Tuesday night, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said one American had been killed and one injured.

Mr. Obama’s statement did not disclose details of the attack. The ambassador, Christopher Stephens, arrived in Libya earlier this year after serving as an envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew Libya’s leader, Mohamar el-Qaddafi last year. The other three killed were not immediately identified.

‘“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” Mr. Obama said, calling Mr. Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who had “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi” and, as ambassador, “supported Libya’s transition to democracy.”

“The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward,” the statement said.

The killingsthreatened to upset Washington’s relations with the new Libyan government that took over after the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and sour American public opinion about the prospects of the democratic opening of the Arab Spring.

Mr. Stevens, a veteran of American diplomatic missions in Libya, served in Benghazi during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi, and he was widely admired by the Libyan rebels for his support of their struggle.

The news of his death emerged on Wednesday after violence spilled over the American consulate in Benghazi and demonstrators stormed the fortified walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.

Few details of the events in Benghazi were immediately available, but the killing of the ranking American official in Libya raised questions about the vulnerability of American officials at a time when the profound changes sweeping the Arab world have hardly dispelled the rage against the United States that still smolders in pockets around the region.

Tuesday’s violence came on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and were inspired by Egyptian media reports about a 14-minute trailer for the video, called “Innocence of Muslims,” that was released on the Web.

Earlier, an unidentified Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters that the American ambassador in Libya and three other staff members were killed in Benghazi “when gunmen fired rockets at them.” It was not clear where in the city the attack took place. The Libyan official said the ambassador was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire, Reuters said.

In a message on Twitter, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur of Libya said on Wednesday that he condemned “the cowardly act of attacking the U.S. consulate and the killing of Mr. Stevens and the other diplomats.”

Agence France-Presse quoted the Libyan Interior Ministry as saying Ambassador Stevens and three staff members were killed when a mob attacked the consulate in Benghazi. Al Jazeera’s English-language Web site said Mr. Stevens died of smoke inhalation after a mob set fire to the building.

In Italy, the Corriere della Sera newspaper Web site showed images of what it said was the American Consulate in Benghazi ablaze with men carrying automatic rifles and waving V-for-victory signs, silhouetted against the burning buildings. One photograph showed a man closely resembling Mr. Stevens apparently unconscious, his face seeming to be smudged with smoke and his eyes closed.

Mr. Stevens arrived in Tripoli in May 2012, as United States Ambassador to Libya, according to the State Department Web site, after serving two previous terms in Libya since 2007 as an American envoy before and after the 2011 revolution that overthrew Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Mr. Stevens, conversant in Arabic and French in addition to English, worked at the State Department since 1991 after a spell as an international trade lawyer in Washington. He taught English as a Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco from 1983 to 1985, the State Department Web site said. The immediate cause of the anti-American outburst was the trailer of an amateurish, American-made video, which opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.

The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by Sam Bacile, whom The Wall Street Journal Web site identified as a 52-year old Israeli-American real estate developer in California. He told the Web site he had raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. “Islam is a cancer,” Mr. Bacile was quoted as saying.

The video gained international attention when a Florida pastor began promoting it along with his own proclamation of Sept. 11 as “International Judge Muhammad Day.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the pastor, Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., called the film “an American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam” and said it “further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”

He said the embassy and consulate attacks illustrated that Muslims “have no tolerance for anything outside of Muhammad” and called Islam “a total deception.”

Mr. Jones inspired deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011 by first threatening to burn copies of the Koran and then burning one in his church. He also once reportedly hanged President Obama in effigy.

In Benghazi on Tuesday, protesters with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the United States Consulate and set it on fire, Libyan officials said. Some news reports said American guards inside the consulate had fired their weapons, and a brigade of Libyan security forces arriving on the scene had battled the attackers in the streets as well.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed late Tuesday that a State Department officer had been killed in the Benghazi attack, and she condemned the violence. “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” she said. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

The death in Benghazi appears to be the first such fatality in a string of attacks and vandalism against foreign and especially Western diplomatic missions in Libya in recent months. Since the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, Libya’s transitional government has struggled to rebuild an effective police force, control the weapons that have flooded the streets and restore public security.

Local Islamist militant groups capitalizing on the security vacuum have claimed responsibility for some attacks, and some reports on Tuesday suggested that one such group, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility for that day’s assault.

In Cairo, thousands of unarmed protesters gathered outside the embassy during the day. By nightfall, some had climbed over the wall around the embassy compound and destroyed a flag hanging inside. The vandals replaced it with a black flag with an Islamic profession of faith — “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet” — favored by ultraconservatives and militants.

Embassy guards fired guns into the air, but a large contingent of Egyptian riot police officers on hand to protect the embassy evidently did not use their weapons against the crowd, and the protest continued, largely without violence, into the night.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, the mainstream Islamist group and the sponsor of Egypt’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, urged the United States government on Tuesday to prosecute the “madmen” behind the video, according to the English-language Web site of the state newspaper, Al Ahram.

The spokesman asked for a formal apology from the United States government and warned that events like the video were damaging Washington’s relations with the Muslim world. He also emphasized that any protests should remain peaceful and respect property.

There should be “civilized demonstrations of the Egyptian people’s displeasure with this film,” the Brotherhood spokesman said, according to the newspaper Web site. “Any nonpeaceful activity will be exploited by those who hate Islam to defame the image of Egypt and Muslims.”

Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

Responding to Mr. Romney’s statement, Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, said, “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

David D.Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, Alan Cowell from London and Steven Lee Myers from Washington. Suliman Ali Zway contributed reporting from Tripoli, Libya.

Pope decries evil done against Catholics of the Philippines

July 7, 2009
Pope condemns ‘heinous’ Cotabato blast
Agence France-Presse
Posted date: July 05, 2009
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI condemned Sunday the “heinous” bomb attack outside a Catholic church in the Philippines which killed five people and said resorting to violence never solved anything.”While praying to God for the victims of this heinous act, I once again condemn the recourse to violence which is never a just way to resolve existing problems,” he said during Angelus prayers at Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.

“When will people learn that life is sacred and only belongs to God? When will they understand that we are all brothers?”

Pope Benedict expressed his “strong disapproval” at the attack and lamented that “human blood continues to flow due to violence, injustice and hatred.”

Muslim rebels are suspected of being behind Sunday’s bombing at the church in Cotobato City on the southern island of Mindanao. It occurred just as the congregation was leaving early morning mass.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed security forces “to get to the bottom of the blast, arrest those responsible as soon as possible,” and ensure security in the city of about 200,000.


What do you expect from a barbaric, warlike religion?

Catholics, time to defend the faith of peace with war

July 7, 2009
Blast near church kills 5, wounds 35

Palace orders pursuit
Philippine Daily Inquirer INQUIRER.net
Posted date: July 05, 2009
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – (UPDATE 3) Five people were killed and at least 35 others were wounded after an explosion ripped through a roadside eatery near a church in Cotabato City on Sunday morning, authorities said.Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo had just finished reading the Sunday gospel and was about to start his homily at the Cotabato Immaculate Conception Cathedral when the explosion went off at around 8:40 a.m., officials said.

Malacañang ordered the police and the military to “exhaust all efforts to bring those responsible for this contemptible act to justice.”

“Those who seek to sow terror and chaos (and) destabilize the government and constitutional order will not go unpunished,” deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said.

The military said the explosion had the signature of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) since the explosive was made up of 60- and 80-millimeter mortar ammunition.

“Its plain terrorism by the special operations group of the MILF and we condemn this attack on innocent civilians,” Brawner told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) by phone Sunday.

But MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said an independent body should investigate the incident, as he blasted the military for “mind conditioning” the public to believe that the rebels were behind the attack.

Kabalu added that the military, too, had the capability to mount such an attack.

“Accusing and denying, denying and accusing repeatedly from both sides is bringing us nowhere. We have to have a neutral arbiter to decide which side is lying or telling the truth,” Kabalu said.

“The frequent blame on us through the media is a good mind conditioning for the public to believe,” he said.

The wounded included students, still in their school uniform, who served as sponsors of the mass, said Senior Superintendent Willie Dangane, Cotabato City police chief.

“The explosion was so loud as if the cathedral would collapse,” said Merly Sandoval, a churchgoer, said.

“People were running toward the altar after the blast … it was like a very loud thunderstorm and the sound reverberated inside the jam-packed cathedral,” another church-goer Isabel Joven, said.

“Everybody was screaming, we saw blood coming out of those lying on the ground near the entrance of the cathedral compound,” Sandoval said.

One of the fatalities was identified as Ruby Ramirez, a “lechon” (roast pig) vendor.

Witnesses said a man was seen carrying two backpacks and left one at the “lechon” store on Quezon Avenue when bystanders noticed him.

When accosted, he ran toward the Church main entrance still carrying the backpack and was arrested by elements of Task Force Tugis. He is now undergoing tactical interrogation.

“We are condemning this dastardly and cowardly act to the strongest term,” said Mayor Muslimin Sema, who also called on Muslim and Christian residents to instead stand united and help “identify those behind this cowardice and treachery.”

Eleven-year-old Prince Allen Diaz, son of journalist Patricio Diaz Sr., was pronounced dead at the hospital. The elder diaz was wounded in the explosion.

“What has happened to us that even the innocents are not spared?” said the elder Diaz, whose family was about to enter the cathedral when the blast happened.

A soldier, Sergant Recillo Collado of the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion, was also killed along with an elderly woman and a mentally-ill man.

Most of the wounded were rushed to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center.

Doctor Abdullah Dumama, health director for Central Mindanao, identified some of the wounded as— Gwen Garica, Ferdinand Veloria, Jun Barbon, Besonin Sigad, Elmer Roble, Sony Lian, Rodrigo Omega, Albiar Purificacion, Jocelyn Abdullah, Maricel Escanel, Jeremy Dapilat, Victor Luna, Geovani Lumigquit, Freddie Millan, Beterlyn Sigas, Prescilo Coliat, and Sayre siblings Janisa, Junrel and Jeofrey.

Dumama, who helped supervise and attend to the injured at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center here, said Ramirez died from blood loss and shock to see an arm severed due to the powerful blast.

Tommy Tee, a freelance photojournalist, said he was inside the cathedral listening to Quevedo’s homily when the loud explosion interrupted the Mass, causing churchgoers to scamper toward the nearby gymnasium and cathedral parking lot.

He claimed to have seen soldiers in bloodied uniform, too.

“It’s unfortunate that I forgot to carry with me my camera,” he said, admitting that he usually leaves the apparatus at home every time he goes to hear Sunday Mass.

“It could have been a gory pictorial,” Tee said.

Warnings of alleged stepped-up bombings by the MILF rebels in Central Mindanao cropped up as early as April this year as the military continued its pursuit for MILF commanders Ameril Ombra Kato, Abdurahman Macapaar, and Aleem Pangalian, who were allegedly responsible for raids on civilian communities in the region in August 2008.

It was the third time that the said cathedral was the target of a bombing, residents said. Police ordnance experts defused an explosive devise planted nearby in 1995. In January 1999, suspected terrorists detonated a powerful explosive at the gate of radio station dxMS which is adjacent to the cathedral. At least two persons from a group of a block time radio program hosts were wounded then.

Attacks against Catholics & Christians of the Philippines

July 7, 2009
4 blasts in south leave 6 killed, 56 hurt

INQUIRER.net Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: July 07, 2009
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 6) Four explosions rocked Mindanao within a 12-hour period starting Monday evening, leaving at least six people killed and 56 others wounded, prompting the police force in the south to go on the highest alert.The explosions came after an improvised bomb went off outside a church in Cotabato City on Sunday, leaving five people killed and at least 35 others wounded.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) placed its forces in Mindanao on full alert, the highest alert level, while the rest of the country was placed on the second-highest heightened alert, said Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, PNP spokesman.

Police will also secure public places, including churches, malls, and transport terminals, Espina said.

The deadliest of the four explosions occurred at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday near the Mount Carmel Church in Jolo town, Sulu province in the southwest, where six people were killed and 40 others were wounded, said Superintendent Jose Bayani Gucela, spokesman of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao.

Reports reaching Camp Crame in Manila identified two of the fatalities as Vicky Sia, 60, and Hamsirani Hamsi. Three policemen were among the wounded. They were identified only as identified only as Police Officers 2 Ajibon and Sabdani and SPO1 Appang.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo said “many” of the wounded were in critical condition.

“We are still investigating who carried out the bombing,” he told reporters.

Initial investigation revealed that the explosive was placed inside a motorcycle, which was parked about 100 meters away from the church.

Two other similar explosives, hidden in cartons, were recovered some 100 meters from the church.

Then at around 10:30 a.m., a bomb planted inside a vehicle parked next to an Army jeep in Iligan City went off, said Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr.

Sixteen people were wounded including three soldiers, were wounded in the explosion, said Chief Superintendent Danilo Empedrad, director of Northern Mindanao region police.

Empedrad said the injured were brought to the hospital. He identified some of them as: Richard Silawan, Emilina Humamil, Captain Edito Anchita, Agustina Engito, Zenaida Manapo, Rolando Adorna, Emmy Batigas, Emmy Paclimas, Mario Titacang, Lorena Ortega, Jerry Baja, Nemia Delima, Sarah Radala, Jovelyn Manglicmot, Nida Sadernas, and Vienvenido Ramos.

Authorities are interviewing witnesses on the scene and will release an artist sketch of the suspect within Tuesday, Empedrad said.

Lieutenant Colonel Juvymax Uy, a local military commander, said it was reported that one of the wounded died, but this has yet to be verified.

In Lanao Del Norte, two explosives strapped to a tower of the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) in the upper Paiton area of Kauswagan town went off at around 11 p.m. Monday, toppling the structure and shutting down the Abaga-Aurora line, a local official said.

Several explosive devices were planted but only two went off, said Engineer Eric Vincent Cariaga, Lanao district manager of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

He said his office used an emergency restoration system while the engineering crew has been trying to dismantle the toppled structure for a replacement.

Abu Sayyaf Muslim militants are known to operate on Jolo, where the al Qaeda-linked group has been holding hostage an Italian Red Cross worker since January.

In May, the island province’s governor Abdusakur Tan escaped a roadside bomb attack by the Abu Sayyaf that wounded five of his bodyguards.

The Abu Sayyaf has been on the run from a military offensive launched after they kidnapped Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni in January. A Filipina and a Swiss colleague abducted with Vagni were separately freed in April.

Wherever they are, there is trouble.