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Thread: A Reigion Of "Peace"

  1. #1
    Atypical is offline

    A Religion Of "Peace"

    (Reuters) - Afghan protesters angered by the burning of a Koran by an obscure U.S. pastor killed up to 20 U.N. staff, beheading two foreigners, when they over-ran a compound in a normally peaceful northern city on Friday in the worst ever attack on the U.N. in Afghanistan.

    At least eight foreigners were among the dead after attackers took out security guards, burned parts of the compound and climbed up blast walls to topple a guard tower, said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for the northern region.

    Five protesters were also killed and around 20 wounded.

    The governor of Balkh province said insurgents had used the march as cover to attack the compound, in a battle that raged for several hours and raises serious questions about plans to make the city a pilot for security transfer to national forces.

    "The insurgents have taken advantage of the situation to attack the U.N. compound," said Governor Ata Mohammad Noor.

    He told a news conference that many in the crowd of protesters had been carrying guns. Some 27 people have already been detained over the attack, he added.

    Afghan police and army, who the United Nations rely on for their first line of defense, were apparently unable to control the crowd. German troops are also stationed in Balkh, and the NATO-led coalition said they had received a request for help.

    "Eight foreigners were killed, and two were beheaded," said Ahmadzai.

    A United Nations spokesman confirmed employees had been killed but declined to comment on numbers of dead or their nationalities. He said the attack would not push the United Nations out of Afghanistan.

    "We need to secure our colleagues in Mazar-i-Sharif. It's not a question of us pulling out. The U.N. is here to stay," said spokesman Kieran Dwyer.

    Staffan De Mistura, the top U.N. diplomat in Afghanistan, has flown to Mazar-i-Sharif to handle the situation personally.

    The Russian chief of the mission in the city, Pavel Yershov, was injured in the attack but is now in hospital, Russian state television said, quoting an embassy spokesman.

    Russia called on the Afghan government and international forces to "take all necessary measures" to protect U.N. workers in a statement issued by the foreign ministry after the attack.

    Romania's foreign ministry said preliminary information suggested a Romanian citizen was among the dead, and condemned the attack. US. President Barack Obama and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also condemned the attack.

    If the death toll is correct, it would make it the deadliest attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan, and one of the worst on the organization for years.

    The worst previous attack was an insurgent assault on a guesthouse where U.N. staff were staying in October 2009. Five employees were killed and nine others wounded.

    The two largest attacks on U.N. compounds in other countries are a 2007 bomb in Algiers that killed 17 U.N. staff, and a 2003 attack on the Baghdad hotel that was the U.N. headquarters there, which killed at least 22 people.

    Mazar-i-Sharif has remained relatively peaceful as the insurgency gathers force in other parts of the north, and was recently chosen as one of the first areas for a transition of security from NATO troops to Afghan forces.

    Long-standing anger over civilian casualties has been heightened by the Koran burning and the recent publication of gruesome photographs of the body of an unarmed Afghan teenager killed by U.S. soldiers.

    The Christian preacher Terry Jones, who after international condemnation last year canceled a plan to burn copies of the Koran, supervised the burning of the book in front of a crowd of about 50 people at an obscure church in Florida on Sunday, according to his website.

    The Koran burning was denounced by Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

    Thousands of demonstrators marched through western Herat city and around 200 in Kabul to protest against the same incident, but there was no violence at either demonstration.

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    Intolerant religion is not the opiate of the people - it is a cancer!
    Last edited by Atypical; 04-01-2011 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Thanks for pissing me off on a Friday night Atypical.

  3. #3
    Atypical is offline

    Afghan Riots Over Quran-burning: 2 days, 20 dead

    KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghans rioted for a second day Saturday to protest the burning of a Quran in Florida, killing nine people in Kandahar and injuring more than 80 in a wave of violence that underscored rising anti-foreign sentiment after nearly a decade of war.

    The desecration at a small U.S. church has outraged Muslims worldwide, and in Afghanistan it further strained ties with the West. On Friday, 11 people were killed, including seven foreign U.N. employees, in a protest in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

    The protests come at a critical juncture as the U.S.-led coalition gears up for an insurgent spring offensive and a summer withdrawal of some troops, and with Afghanistan's mercurial president increasingly questioning international motives and NATO's military strategy.

    Two suicide attackers disguised as women blew themselves up and a third was gunned down Saturday when they used force to try to enter a NATO base on the outskirts of Kabul, NATO and Afghan police said. Earlier in the week, six U.S. soldiers died during an operation against insurgents in eastern Afghanistan near Pakistan, where the Taliban retain safe havens.

    President Hamid Karzai expressed regret for the 20 protest deaths, but he also further stoked possible anti-foreign sentiment by again demanding that the United States and United Nations bring to justice the pastor of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, where the Quran was burned March 20. Many Afghans did not know about the Quran-burning until Karzai condemned it four days after it happened.

    The pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones, had threatened to destroy a copy of Islam's holy book last year but initially backed down. On Friday he said Islam and its followers were responsible for the killings.

    In the southern city of Kandahar, the cradle of the Taliban, hundreds of Afghans holding copies of the Quran over their heads marched in protest of the burning. Security forces shot in the air to disperse the crowd, but it was unclear how the protesters were slain, said Zalmai Ayubi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

    The Kandahar governor's office said nine protesters were killed and 81 others were injured in the demonstration that turned into a riot. Seventeen people, including seven armed men, have been arrested, the statement said.

    The protests began Friday in Kabul, Herat in western Afghanistan and Mazar-i-Sharif, where thousands flooded the streets.

    In Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghan demonstrators stormed a U.N. compound, shooting and killing four Nepalese guards, a Norwegian, a Romanian and a Swede. Afghan authorities suspect insurgents melded into the mob; they announced the arrest of more than 20 people, including a militant they suspect was the ringleader of the assault.

    The top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said the organization was temporarily redeploying 11 staff members from Mazar-i-Sharif to Kabul.

    "This is not an evacuation, it is a temporary redeployment because the office is not functioning. We will be ready to go back as soon as we can establish an office that is secure enough," he told reporters.

    The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, has some 1,500 staff — about 80 percent Afghans — operating in 18 regional and provincial offices across the country and in liaison offices in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

    In late 2009, the U.N. sent about 600 foreign staff out of the country or into secure compounds after three gunmen stormed a Kabul guest house used by U.N. staff and killed 11 people, including five U.N. workers.

    Karzai has in recent months increasingly criticized both the international community and U.S.-led foreign forces — the first for being ineffectual and unaccountable, the second for causing unnecessary civilian casualties in its campaign against insurgents.

    Some Western diplomats privately say Karzai stoked some of the tension in recent days by making speeches about issues that had not gained much attention in the country, including the Quran burning.

    De Mistura, however, said he drew no connection between the riots and Karzai's earlier condemnation of the Quran-burning. He said it takes "two to three weeks for information to percolate. It's not like in the West. Then it goes through the mosque and then through the Friday prayers."

    "I don't think we should be blaming any Afghan. We should be blaming the person who produced the news — the one who burned the Quran," he said.

    Although the Taliban are responsible for the vast majority of killings in Afghanistan, civilian casualties from coalition operations are a major source of strain in the country's relationship with the United States. The deaths tend to generate widespread outrage and Karzai has said they will no longer be tolerated.

    The politicking could be part of an effort to reach out to the Taliban as Karzai tries to build bridges with the insurgents as part of a peace and reconciliation process. He and his advisers no longer refer to the Taliban as insurgents. They are often referred to as armed opposition groups.

    The Taliban themselves have no such qualms and openly call for the overthrow of Karzai's government. Last week about 300 Taliban fighters overran the tiny capital of a remote mountainous district in northeast Nuristan province and raised their flag over city hall.

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    Many religions have blasphemy laws - all are restrictions on honest skepticism - skepticism on belief that has no objective evidence to support it. There is nothing that should be exempt from criticism, least religion that has accounted for more inhuman behavior over time than any other ideology.

    What these two posts reveal is the deadly consequence of blind obeisance to unfounded belief. Believe nothing without objective, scientifically based evidence. Feeling that something is right 'in your gut' means NOTHING without additional evidence.

    Do any remember Salman Rushdie and the fatwah issued against him for the crime of fiction writing?

    There are thousands of examples of bloodthirsty hatred for the crime of doubt!
    Last edited by Atypical; 04-02-2011 at 07:55 PM.

  4. #4
    Atypical is offline

    A Comment About Koran Burning

    Do We Have the Right to Burn the Koran?
    Sam Harris / Project Reason

    The New York Times reported today that at least ten UN aid workers have been murdered by an Afghan mob. This senseless savagery occurred in Mazar-i-Sharif, “one of the most peaceful places in Afghanistan,” in response to news that a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, finally made good on his threat to burn a copy of the Koran. Pastor Jones and the members of his tiny congregation in Gainesville appear to be religious crackpots of the first order, but anyone tempted to condemn them for provoking this violence has lost the plot. As I wrote previously in defense of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders (“Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks”):

    Wilders, like Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists, has been widely vilified for “seeking to inflame” the Muslim community. Even if this had been his intention, this criticism represents an almost supernatural coincidence of moral blindness and political imprudence. The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way. The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.

    There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

    Will moderate Muslims defend Pastor Jones’s right to burn the Koran?

    http://www.project-reason.org/
    Last edited by Atypical; 04-04-2011 at 05:33 PM.

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