Wednesday, September 3, 2014

American Muslims condemn ISIL beheading of second US journalist

3 September 2014 

The leaders of the Muslim American community have condemned the apparent beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff as entirely antithetical to the teachings and spirit of Islam.

“No words can describe the horror, disgust and sorrow felt by Muslims in America and worldwide at the unconscionable and un-Islamic violence perpetrated by the terror group ISIS,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement.

“The criminal actions of ISIS are antithetical to the faith of Islam. Such brutal acts must face redoubled efforts by people of all faiths and backgrounds to promote peace and justice and to reject the religious divisions these monstrous acts are designed to create. Our hearts go out to Mr. Sotloff’s loved ones and to all the loved ones of those murdered by ISIS,” according to the statement.

The Muslim leaders also accused the terrorist group of hijacking the religion, saying the actions of the Takfiri group are not Islam.

Sotloff, who was working for Time magazine, Foreign Policy and other publications, was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013.

ISIL has executed Sotloff and posted a video showing his beheading on the Internet, the SITE Intelligence Group said on Tuesday.

The video shows a bound Sotloff being held at knifepoint by an ISIL militant against a desert backdrop.

The victim addresses the camera and describes himself as “paying the price” for President Barack Obama’s decision to attack the group.

“Our thoughts and prayers foremost are with Mr. Sotloff and his family,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said after the video’s release Tuesday.

“The United States has dedicated significant time and resources in an attempt to rescue Mr. Sotloff … The video will be analyzed very carefully by the US government and intelligence officials to determine its authenticity,” he added.

About two weeks ago, the terrorists beheaded American journalist James Foley.

“The beheading of James Foley… is a clear violation of the holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed,” said Imam Mustapha Elturk, who co-chairs along with Elahi the Imams Council of the Michigan Muslim Community Council. “ISIS neither represents Islam nor Muslims.”

ISIS members are “crazy criminals who are abusing our religion,” said Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights. “You’re a bunch of gangsters… you’re not Islamic.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that the world was “outraged” at the killing.

“I strongly condemn all such despicable crimes and I refuse to accept that whole communities can be threatened by atrocity crimes because of who they are or what they believe,” Ban said.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Israel seizes PA tax revenues, official says


Ma’an News Agency | (updated) 01/09/2014 12:17

(MaanImages/file)NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israel has seized some 200 million shekels ($55 million) from monthly tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, a senior Palestinian official told Ma’an on Monday.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Israel took a cut of 90 million shekels ($25 million) to cover the unpaid debts of a Palestinian electricity company.

A further $90 million shekels ($25 million) was taken to cover other PA debts, while around $30 million shekels was seized to cover the cost of Palestinian patients referred to Israeli hospitals by the PA.

The seizure will further jeopardize the PA’s ability to pay civil servant salaries in Gaza, having faced months of crisis over unpaid employees.

The $380 million shekels ($106 million) transferred by Israel will only cover 40 percent of the monthly wages for PA civil servants in the West Bank, the official said.

The move by Israel is a deliberate attempt to create obstacles for the Palestinian unity government, the official added.

The government faced its first crisis in June when the PA’s Gaza-based staff received their wages but their Hamas counterparts went empty-handed.

On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said an agreement was reached between Hamas and PA officials to pay salaries on Wednesday, although that looks to be unlikely given Israel’s seizure of PA funds.

Each month, PA salaries cost around $200 million, $120 million of which is covered by taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the occupied Palestinian territory.