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Posted on 06/16/2006 2:08:19 PM PDT by DAVEY CROCKETT
The Islamist Challenge to the U.S. Constitution by David Kennedy Houck
First in Europe and now in the United States, Muslim groups have petitioned to establish enclaves in which they can uphold and enforce greater compliance to Islamic law. While the U.S. Constitution enshrines the right to religious freedom and the prohibition against a state religion, when it comes to the rights of religious enclaves to impose communal rules, the dividing line is more nebulous. Can U.S. enclaves, homeowner associations, and other groups enforce Islamic law?
Such questions are no longer theoretical. While Muslim organizations first established enclaves in Europe, the trend is now crossing the Atlantic. Some Islamist community leaders in the United States are challenging the principles of assimilation and equality once central to the civil rights movement, seeking instead to live according to a separate but equal philosophy. The Gwynnoaks Muslim Residential Development group, for example, has established an informal enclave in Baltimore because, according to John Yahya Cason, director of the Islamic Education and Community Development Initiative, a Baltimore-based Muslim advocacy group, "there was no community in the U.S. that showed the totality of the essential components of Muslim social, economic, and political structure."
Baltimore is not alone. In August 2004, a local planning commission in Little Rock, Arkansas, granted The Islamic Center for Human Excellence authorization to build an internal Islamic enclave to include a mosque, a school, and twenty-two homes. While the imam, Aquil Hamidullah, says his goal is to create "a clean community, free of alcohol, drugs, and free of gangs," the implications for U.S. jurisprudence of this and other internal enclaves are greater: while the Little Rock enclave might prevent the sale of alcohol, can it punish possession and in what manner? Can it force all women, be they residents or visitors, to don Islamic hijab (headscarf)? Such enclaves raise the fundamental questions of when, how, and to what extent religious practice may supersede the U.S. Constitution.
The Internal Muslim Enclave The internal Muslim enclave proposed by the Islamic Center for Human Excellence in Arkansas represents a new direction for Islam in the United States. The group seeks to transform a loosely organized Muslim population into a tangible community presence. The group has foreign financial support: it falls under the umbrella of a much larger Islamic group, "Islam 4 the World," an organization sponsored by Sharjah, one of the constituent emirates of the United Arab Emirates. While the Islamic Center for Human Excellence has yet to articulate detailed plans for its Little Rock enclave, the group's reliance on foreign funding is troublesome. Past investments by the United Arab Emirates' rulers and institutions have promoted radical interpretations of Islam. 
The Islamic Center for Human Excellence may seek to segregate schools and offices by gender. The enclave might also exercise broad control upon commerce within its boundariesprovided the economic restrictions did not discriminate against out-of-state interests or create an undue burden upon interstate commerce. But most critically, the enclave could promulgate every internal lawfrom enforcing strict religious dress codes to banning alcohol possession and music; it could even enforce limits upon religious and political tolerance. Although such concepts are antithetical to a free society, U.S. democracy allows the internal enclave to function beyond the established boundaries of our constitutional framework. At the very least, the permissible parameters of an Islamist enclave are ill defined.
The greater American Muslim community's unapologetic and public manifestation of belief in a separate but equal ideology does not bode well. In September 2004, the New Jersey branch of the Islamic Circle of North America rented Six Flags Adventure Park in New Jersey for "The Great Muslim Adventure Day." The advertisement announcing the event stated: "The entire park for Muslims only." While legaland perhaps analogous to corporate or other non-religious groups renting facilities, the advertisement expressly implied a mindset that a proof of faith was required for admission to the park. In his weblog, commentator Daniel Pipes raises a relevant and troubling question about the event: because it is designated for Muslims only, "Need one recite the shahada to enter the fairgrounds?"
While U.S. law might give such Muslims-only events the benefit of the doubt, flexibility may not go both ways. There is precedent of Islamists taking advantage of liberal flexibility to more extreme ends. Canada provides a useful example into how Islamist groups can exploit liberal legal tolerance. In 1991, Ontario, Canada, passed a seemingly innocuous law called the "Arbitration Act." This act permitted commercial, religious, or such other designated arbitrators to settle civil disputes outside the Canadian justice system so long as the result did not contradict Canadian law. Like U.S. authorities are beginning to do now, Canadian legislators decided to give religious groups the benefit of the doubt, assuming that they would still hold national law to be paramount.
In October 2003, under the auspices of the Ontario legislation, the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice created Muslim arbitration boards and stated its intent to arbitrate on the basis of Islamic law. A national furor erupted, particularly among Canadian Muslim women's groups that opposed the application of traditional Islamic (Sharia) laws that would supersede their far more liberal and egalitarian democratic rights. After nearly two years of legal wrangling, the premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, held that religious-based arbitrations "threaten our common ground," and announced, "There will be no Sharia law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians." On November 15, 2005, McGuinty's provincial government submitted legislation to amend the arbitration act to abrogate, in effect, all religious arbitration. Requests for Muslim enclaves within larger U.S. communities may signal that U.S. jurisprudence will soon be faced with a similar conundrum. Islamist exceptionalism can abuse the tolerance liberal societies have traditionally extended to interface between religious and secular law.
Prior to the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice demands to impose Sharia, the Arbitration Act worked well. Unfortunately for Canadian Jews, the repeal ended state-enforcement of agreements reached by the use of a millennia-old rabbinical court system called beit din (house of law) that had for decades quietly settled marriage, custody, and business disputes. Joel Richler, Ontario region chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress, expressed his lament: "If there have been any problems flowing from any rabbinical court decisions, I'm not aware of them." Canadian Catholics likewise were stopped from being able to annul marriages according to Canon Law and avoid undue entanglement in civil courts. Abuse of the spirit of the law, though, ended up curtailing local liberty. Rather than soften the edge between religion and state, the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice threatened to eliminate it with the imposition of Sharia. The Canadian experience demonstrates how flexibility can backfire when all parties do not seek to uphold basic precepts of tolerance. The Little Rock application raises the specter of a parallel situation. While The Islamic Center for Human Excellence may state it wants to create a clean-living community, might the community's extreme interpretation of Sharia force a reconsideration of just how much leeway the U.S. government gives religious communities?
As the Muslim community in the United States grows, an increasingly active Islamist lobby has submitted numerous white papers and amicus briefs to legislators and courts arguing for the religious right of Muslims to apply Sharia law, particularly in relation to family law disputes. This looming jurisprudential conflict is significant for it raises issues about the rights of community members to marry outside the community, forced marriages, and the minimum age of brides, and whether wives and daughters may enjoy equal inheritance. In cases of non-family law, it raises the question about whether the testimony of women will be considered on par with that of men.
No previous enclave in U.S. history has ever been so vigorously protected by agents of group identity politics or so adamantly defended by legal watchdogs; nor has any previous religious enclave possessed the potency of more than one billion believers around the world. Islamic-only communities may also benefit from the largess provided by billions of petrol dollars to finance growth. The track record of Saudi and other wealthy Persian Gulf donations and charitable efforts are worrisome. There is a direct correlation between Saudi money received and the spread of intolerant practices. In 2004, for example, the U.S. Treasury Department froze the assets of Al-Haramein Foundation, one of Saudi Arabia's largest nongovernmental organizations, because of its financial links to Al-Qaeda. Additionally, American graduates of Saudi academies advance Wahhabist interpretations of Islam inside the U.S. prison system, and Saudi-subsidized publications promote intolerance inside U.S. mosques.
A Muslim enclave is uniquely perilous because there are few if any internal enclaves that adhere to a polity dedicated to the active abrogation of secular law and the imposition of a supreme religious law. The concept of Sharia is so fundamental to Islam, that even today, prominent Muslim jurists argue over whether a Muslim can fully discharge Sharia obligations while residing in a non-Muslim territory. Yet, in spite of this apparent conundrum, Muslims have resided peacefully in non-Muslim lands since the seventh century. In the greater context, there may be a breach in the dike for Islamist groups residing in the United States because the Baltimore and Little Rock enclaves must acknowledge the U.S. Constitution as the paramount basis of civil law.
A dissident Islamic sub-community is filled with dichotomous propositions: from the presumed supremacy of Sharia-based law over secular law; the melding of religion and polity versus the constitutionally mandated separation of same; to the politics of group and factionalism, versus assimilation and pluralism. To deny the settlement of a Muslim-only community based solely upon prejudices formed after September 11 would be illiberal. But the alternative, opening the door to Islamic enclaves without scrutiny, is as dubious.
The Enclave under U.S. Law Existing U.S. legal precedent, though, may provide some grounds for handling expansive demands for Islamic enclaves. U.S. legal views of internal enclaves derive from the famous 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled the concept of separate but equal to be unconstitutional. While the case revolved around the right of black children to attend white schools, it promulgated a concept that is anathema in today's world of multiculturalism: neither the state nor any constituent group could claim equality through separation.
Enclaves can exist, though. As courts have ruled on issues relating to equality under the law and upon the autonomy of religious practice, two distinctive features of internal U.S. enclaves have taken shape: first, the boundaries of the enclave should be recognized by local inhabitants. Second, the enclave cannot supersede the constitutionally protected rights of the citizens of a state.
Because most rights secured by the constitution are protected only against infringement by government action, the Supreme Court has avoided establishing a bright-line test as to the limits of religious liberty. Any religious group or individual seeking to establish an internal enclave has the right to limit residency, promulgate local rules, and perhaps even collect fees or taxes to support nominal community services.
Such enclaves do not hold final sway over the rights of non-residents, however. In Jackson v. Metropolitan Edison Company and Flagg Brothers v. Brooks, the court outlined constitutional protections for private citizens in which any entity, religious or otherwise, exercising governmental authority over private citizens remains subject to the provisions of the First and Fourteenth amendments. In both cases, the court affirmed that citizens of a state retain their right to "due process of law" under the Fourteenth Amendment, even when inside an enclave. These holdings, however, do not prevent enclaves from restricting the individual freedoms of their inhabitants.
The Supreme Court has ruled upon the limits of religious liberty. In Cantwell v. Connecticut, the court outlined the circumstances in which the government could act to restrict religious independence. The court held that the free exercise clause "embraces two conceptsfreedom to believe and freedom to act. The first is absolute, but in the nature of things, the second cannot be. Conduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society."
Christopher L. Eisgruber, professor of law at New York University, explained. He argued that, "the Constitution permits government to nurture ideological sub-communities founded upon premises inconsistent with the constitution's own commitments." He maintained that such dissident sub-communities can provide important "sources of dissent" and asserted that even if an enclave embraced ideals contrary to constitutional ideals, it should still be granted the right to pursue its own vision of good. For example, he wrote:
[Though] it is regrettable that young women in Kiryas Joel [a Satmar Hasidic enclave] will grow up in a starkly sexist culture, and it is regrettable that the Amish children of Yoder will find it very hard to become astronomers or lawyers it would also be regrettable if the United States were not home to any sub-communities which, like the Satmars or the Amish, rejected principles of justice fundamental to the American regime.
According to Eisgruber, tolerance of the intolerant is fundamental to the freedoms espoused by Western liberal democracy. While Islamists might use such logic to argue for the permissibility of Sharia communities, such tolerance has limits. Enclaves do not have carte blanche to act. Both the state and national legislatures must retain control over the extent of accommodation, and there should be no subsidization of the enclave by the government. Such limits ensure that the government can constrain those sub-communities that might espouse more radical, violent, or racist views.
It is usually when the U.S. government moves to uphold the rule of law that most Americans first learn of an internal enclave. Few Americans knew of the philosophy espoused by anti-government activist Randy Weaver until 1992 when the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms raided his compound at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, killing Vicki Weaver, their infant son, Sam, and the family dog. Nor did many Americans know about David Koresh and his religious views until a raid the following year on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in which a resulting fire killed fifty adults and twenty-five children under the age of fifteen. While tragic, such events involved cults or political splinter groups. The growth of Muslim enclaves raises the specter of such conflicts occurring on a much larger scale.
While the court has interpreted the establishment clause to empower the government to constrain dissident sub-communities when necessary to protect public safety, it has been wary of addressing legal issues requiring intrusion upon the religious polity. Because the First Amendment provides for religious freedom, the court has confined itself to ruling upon three basic issues: property disputes between national religious hierarchical organizations with affiliated breakaway entities; accommodations under the free exercise clause; and the prohibition against the establishment of a state religion. New challenges, though, may lead to new interpretations.
The Antithesis to Democracy Is concern over internal Muslim enclaves justified? On their face, the fundamental principles of the internal Muslim enclave are no more invidious than any other religious enclave. But ideology matters. Many proponents of an Islamic polity promote an ideology at odds with U.S. constitutional jurisprudence and the prohibition against the establishment of a state-sponsored religion. The refusal to recognize federal law makes Islamist enclaves more akin to Ruby Ridge than to the Hasidic and Amish cases cited by Eisgruber.
Muslim theologians describe Islam not only as a religion but also as a system of state. The Qur'anviewed by Muslims as the word of Godis replete with instructions about governance. An enclave promoting Islamic mores does not necessarily restrict itself to a social atmosphere but also one of governance. Traditional Islamic law controls the most basic aspects of everyday life and may make any Islamic enclave irreconcilable with the basic presumptions of Western liberal democracy and secular law.
While many American Muslims practice Islam and embrace the fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution, others do not. There are consistent attempts by Islamist elements overseas to strengthen their own radical interpretation of Islam at the expense of moderation and tolerance. Saudi donors, for example, have propagated the ideology of Islamism, which seeks to interweave a narrow and often intolerant interpretation of religion into an all-encompassing political ideology. The number of imams and jihadists who have been outspoken in identifying the supremacy of Sharia to democracy underlines the incompatibility of Islamism and democracy. The late Saudi theologian, Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Jubair, for example, stated,
Only one ambition is worthy of Islam, to save the world from the curse of democracy: to teach men that they cannot rule themselves on the basis of man-made laws. Mankind has strayed from the path of God, we must return to that path or face certain annihilation.
Prior to Iraq's January 30, 2005 elections, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, released an audiotape in which he declared war upon democracy and denounced its tenets as "the very essence of heresy, polytheism, and error." Nor is Islamist antipathy for democracy limited to popular elections. According to a Saudi publication distributed at a San Diego mosque, "[Democracy is] responsible for all the horrible wars more than 130 wars with more than 120 million people dead [in the twentieth century alone]; not counting victims of poverty, hunger and disease." Such sentiments reflect a common theme among Islamists: democracy is the antithesis to everything pious and pure in Islam; and, in truth, democracy is the direct and substantial causal effect of Muslim suffering and injustice in the world today.
This does not mean that Islamists are unwilling to use democracy for their ends. But while they accept the trappings of democracy, they continue to reject its principles because the Sharia, to them the perfect rule of law, cannot be abrogated or altered by the shifting moods of a secular electorate. Mohamed Elhachmi Hamdi, editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab weekly Al-Mustakillah, explained,
The heart of the matter is that no Islamic state can be legitimate in the eyes of its subjects without obeying the main teachings of the Sharia. A secular government might coerce obedience, but Muslims will not abandon their belief that state affairs should be supervised by the just teachings of the holy law.
He could draw from plenty of examples. In 1992, for example, Ali Balhadj, a leader of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria, declared, "When we are in power, there will be no more elections because God will be ruling." While mayor of Istanbul, Islamist Turkish politician Recep Tayyip Erdoðan quipped, "For us, democracy is a streetcar. We would go as far as we could, and then get off." As he eviscerates the judiciary, many Turks wonder about his sincerity.
Experience abroad is relevant, as it goes to the heart of the sincerity of proponents of the Little Rock and Baltimore enclaves, an issue compounded by the willingness to accept donations from Persian Gulf financiers.
Conclusion How Muslims reconcile Islamic polity within the confines of Western liberal democracy is an unresolved issue. This process will take years to evolve and is likely to convulse in further violent episodes. Presently, many Muslims reject wholesale the notion of a dominant secular law and instead seek the imposition of a pan-Islamist state under the guidance of Sharia. These Islamists view secular modernity and the democratic practices of radical egalitarianism, individual rights, and free exercise of religion as a direct and substantial threat to their belief system, and they are intent on employing violence against the West for the foreseeable future. The remainder and majority of the Muslim world must reject nihilism and engage in widespread debate regarding Islam's role within the world community.
The local planning commission in Little Rock, Arkansas, might proceed with the proposed Muslim enclave, but the Arkansas courts and its legislature should not abdicate its responsibilities to ensure that Western liberal rights and protections remain supreme. The government should monitor both the rhetoric and behavior of these communities. As the Supreme Court stated in Cantwell: the freedom to believe is absolute, but the freedom to act, in the nature of things, cannot be, especially as to the safety and preservation of the American democracy.
David Kennedy Houck is an attorney at Houck O'Brien LLC, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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The Crisis of Public Order
The Department of Justice now says that "stranger murders" have become four times as common as family killings, and that the chances of getting away with one exceed 80 percent. Scholars say the nation's murder rate may soon double. The author says we are inviting this "long descending night" of crime by teaching violent young people that "we will do almost anything not to have to act to defend ourselves, our country, or our character as people of decency and strength."
by Adam Walinsky
umbers are useful in politics, because they are more neutral than adjectival speech and because they express magnitudethat is, they can tell us not only that we confront a danger but also what the depth and direction of the danger are. The most important numbers in America deal with violencenot the occasional terrorist violence but the terror of everyday life as it is lived by millions of citizens today, and as it threatens to become for many more of us for the rest of this century and beyond.
During his campaign and since, President Bill Clinton has spoken of a sharp decline in the strength of the nation's police forces. In the 1960s the United States as a whole had 3.3 police officers for every violent crime reported per year. In 1993 it had 3.47 violent crimes reported for every police officer. In relation to the amount of violent crime, then, we have less than one tenth the effective police power of thirty years ago; or, in another formulation, each police officer today must deal with 11.45 times as many violent crimes as his predecessor of years gone by.
Title I of the 1994 crime bill intends to add 100,000 police officers nationally by the year 2000. (Most experts believe that far fewer new officersperhaps 25,000will actually be hired. For the purposes of this argument, though, let us assume the larger figure.) There are now some 554,000 officers serving on all state and local police forces; 100,000 more would be an increase of 18.4 percent. Rather than having 3.47 times as many violent crimes as police officers, we would have 2.94 times as many; or, each police officer would face not 11.45 times as many violent crimes as his predecessor but 9.7 times as many. All this assumes that the number of violent crimes will not increase over the next several years; if it does, the number of violent crimes relative to police officers will again increase.
If we wished to return to the ratio of police officers to violent crimes which gave many of us peace and security in the 1960s, we would have to add not 100,000 new police officers but about five million. When this number was mentioned to some Department of Justice staffers recently, they giggled; and it is understandable that the idea of such a national mobilization, such tremendous expenditures, should strike them as laughable. However, the American people are already paying out of their own pockets for an additional 1.5 million private police officers, to provide, at least in part, the protection that the public police are unable to furnish.
Private police guard office buildings, shopping malls, apartments. Businesses pay them to patrol certain downtown streets, such as those around New York's Grand Central Station and public library. And they patrol residential areas. Private patrol cars thread the streets of Los Angeles, and more than fifty applications are before the city council to close off streets so as to make those patrols more effective. Across the country much new housing is being built in gated communities, walled off and privately guarded. We are well on the way to having several million police officers, and the next decade will bring us much closer. If current trends continue, however, most of the new officers will be privately paid, available for the protection not of the citizenry as a wholeand certainly not of citizens living in the most violent ghettos and housing projectsbut of the commercial and residential enclaves that can afford them. Between these enclaves there will be plenty of room to lose a country.
One Long Descending Night
eople hire police officers because they are afraidabove all of violence. Their fear is occasionally a source of puzzlement and mild disdain in the press, which cannot understand why so many Americans say that crime is the nation's most urgent problem and their own greatest fear. Indeed, all through 1993 official agencies claimed that crime was declining. The FBI said that violent crime in the first six months was down three percent overall, and down eight percent in the Northeast.
For crime to be down even eight percent would mean that a precinct that had had a hundred murders in 1992 had ninety-two in 1993. But nobody came around on New Year's Day of 1993 to give everyone's memory a rinse, obliterating the horrors of the previous year. The effect is not disjunctive but cumulative. By the end of 1993, ninety-two additional people had been murdered.
Many people can also remember years before 1992, in large cities and in small. In 1960, for example, six murders, four rapes, and sixteen robberies were reported in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1990 that city, with a population 14 percent smaller, had thirty-one murders, 168 rapes, and 1,784 robberies: robbery increased more than 100 times, or 10,000 percent, over thirty years. In this perspective a one-year decrease of seven percent would seem less than impressive.
New Haven is not unique. In Milwaukee in 1965 there were twenty-seven murders, thirty-three rapes, and 214 robberies, and in 1990, when the city was smaller, there were 165 murders, 598 rapes, and 4,472 robberies: robbery became twenty-one times as frequent in twenty-five years. New York City in 1951 had 244 murders; every year for more than a decade it has had nearly 2,000 murders. We experience the crime wave not as separate moments in time but as one long descending night. A loved one lost echoes in the heart for decades. Every working police officer knows the murder scene: the shocked family and neighbors, too numb yet to grieve; fear and desolation spreading to the street, the workplace, the school, the home, creating an invisible but indelible network of anguish and loss. We have experienced more than 20,000 such scenes every year for more than a decade, and few of them have been truly forgotten.
The memory of a mugging may fade but does not vanish. Nine percent of those responding to a recent poll in New York Newsday said that they had been mugged or assaulted in the past year. This suggests an annual total for the city of more than 600,000 muggings and assaults (remember also that many people, in poor neighborhoods especially, are assaulted more than once). That would be four times as many robberies and assaults as are reported to the police department. The Department of Justice says that not three quarters but only half of all violent crimes go unreported: it may be that many report as having happened "last year" an incident from more than a year ago.
Nevertheless, these are stunning numbers, especially when some other common crimes are added in. Eight percent of those polled (implying 560,000 New Yorkers) said their houses or apartments had been broken into; 22 percent (1,540,000) said their cars had been broken into. In all, 42 percent (nearly three million New Yorkers)said they had been the victims of crime in 1993. And, of course, about 2,000 were murdered. This is what it means to say that crime in 1993 was down eight percent.
In October of 1994 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that violent crime had not, after all, declined in 1993 but had risen by 5.6 percent.
Several years ago the Department of Justice estimated that 83 percent of all Americans would be victims of violent crime at least once in their lives. About a quarter would be victims of three or more violent crimes. We are progressing steadily toward the fulfillment of that prediction.
A Twenty-Year Fraud Exposed
ur greatest fear is of violence from a nameless, faceless stranger. Officials have always reassured citizens by stating that the great majority of murders, at any rate, are committed by a relative or an acquaintance of the victim's; a 1993 Department of Justice report said the figure for 1988 was eight out of ten.
Unfortunately, that report described only murders in which the killer was known to prosecutors and an arrest was made. It did not mention that more and more killers remain unknown and at liberty after a full police investigation; every year the police make arrests in a smaller proportion of murder cases. In our largest cities the police now make arrests in fewer than three out of five murder cases. In other words, two out of every five killers are completely untouched by the law.
When a killing is a family tragedy, or takes place between friends or acquaintances, the police make an arrest virtually every time. When the police make an arrest, they say that the crime has been "cleared"; the percentage of crimes for which they make arrests is referred to as the clearance rate. Because murder has historically been a matter principally among families and friends, the homicide clearance rate in the past was often greater than 95 percent, even in the largest cities. As late as 1965 the national homicide clearance rate was 91 percent. However, as crime has spread and changed its character over the past generation, clearance rates have steadily dropped. In the past two years the national homicide clearance rate averaged 65.5 percent. The rate in the sixty-two largest cities is 60.5 percent. In the very largest citiesthose with populations over a millionthe rate is 58.3 percent.
The missing killers are almost certainly not family members, friends, or neighbors. Rather, they are overwhelmingly strangers to their victims, and their acts are called "stranger murders." Here is the true arithmetic: The 40 percent of killings in which city police departments are unable to identify and arrest perpetrators must overwhelmingly be counted as stranger murders; let us assume that 90 percent of them are committed by killers unknown to the victims. That number is equivalent to 36 percent of the total of all city murders. We know that of the 60 percent of killers the police do succeed in arresting, 20 percent have murdered strangers. That is, they have committed 12 percent of all murders. As best we can count, then, at least 48 percent of city murders are now being committed by killers who are not relatives or acquaintances of the victims.
This simple arithmetic has been available to the government and its experts for years. However, the first government document to acknowledge these facts was the FBI's annual report on crime in the United States for 1993, which was released last December. The FBI now estimates that 53 percent of all homicides are being committed by strangers. For more than two decades, as homicide clearance rates have plummeted, law enforcement agencies have continued to assure the public that four fifths of all killings are the result of personal passions. Thus were we counseled to fear our loved ones above all, to regard the family hearth as the most dangerous place. Now that falsehood has been unmasked:the FBI tells us that actually 12 percent of all homicides take place within the family. Ihave heard no public official anywhere in the United States say a word about any of this.
There is another important aspect to the arithmetic: the odds facing a robber or holdup man as he decides whether to let his victim live. Again, at least 48 percent of city homicides are stranger murders, but only 12 percent of city homicides result in arrest. That is, the odds that a holdup man who kills a stranger will be arrested appear to be one in four. The Department of Justice tells us that of all those who are arrested for murder, 73 percent will be convicted of some crime; and when convicted, the killers of strangers tend to get the heaviest penalties. Nevertheless, the cumulative chances of getting clean away with the murder of a stranger are greater than 80 percent. Street thugs may be smarter than they are usually given credit for being. They do not consult government reports, but they appear to know the facts. New York bodega workers have experienced an increasing incidence of holdups ending in murder even when they have offered no resistance. Killing eliminates the possibility of witness identification.
Murder is the most frightening crime, but is the least common. Much more frequent are robbery and assault. Robbery, the forcible taking of property from the person of the victim, is the crime most likely to be committed by a stranger; 75 percent of victims are robbed by strangers. Aggravated assault, the use of a weapon or other major force with the intention of causing serious bodily harm, is the most common violent crime; 58 percent of aggravated assaults are committed by strangers.
Attacks across racial lines are a special case of crimes by strangers. Most crimes, including 80 percent of violent crimes, are committed by persons of the same race as their victims. However, the experiences of blacks and whites diverge in some respects. In cases involving a lone offender, 56 percent of white and Hispanic robbery victims report that their assailant was white or Hispanic and 40 percent that he was black. When two or more robbers commit the crime, white and Hispanic victims 38 percent of the time report them to be white or Hispanic, 46 percent of the time black, and 10 percent of the time mixed. About eight percent of black victims, in contrast, are robbed by whites or Hispanics, and more than 85 percent by blacks, whether the offenders are alone or in groups. Blacks and whites are robbed equally75 percent of the timeby strangers, but as these figures indicate, whites are far more likely to be robbed by strangers of a different race.
This result occurs because there are many more white people and many more white victims: 87 percent of all violent crimes are committed against whites and Hispanics. In robberies lone white offenders select white victims 96 percent of the time, and lone black offenders select white victims 62 percent of the time. White rapists select white victims 97 percent of the time; black rapists select white victims 48 percent of the time. Whites committing aggravated assault attack blacks in three percent of cases; blacks commit about half their assaults against whites.
When all violent crimes are taken together, 58 percent of white victims and 54 percent of black victims report that their assailant was a stranger. Citizens of all races who are fearful of random violence have good reason for their concern. Storekeepers, utility workers, police officers, and ordinary citizens out for a carton of milk or a family dinner are all increasingly at risk.
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Davey the new thread is perfect.
Thank you for doing all the work to start it.
WT for all kinds of world news about terror.....
Granny, thanks for the ping.
Davey, great job. Thanks for keeping it going. I don't post much, but I always read it and have it bookmarked.
WT Thread #1: [Started on January 1, 2006]
WT Thread #2: [The communist manifesto, muslim manifesto and list of elected in U.S. who belong to the Socialist party, on the first page of the thread]
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Post when you can.
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U.S. reveals face of alleged new terror chief
Thursday, June 15, 2006; Posted: 3:16 p.m. EDT (19:16 GMT)
The U.S. military says this man is Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
What Is This? BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military on Thursday revealed for the first time a photo of the man said to be the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
The military said the picture showed Egyptian-born Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a senior al Qaeda in Iraq operative believed to have taken over the terror network after the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last week.
The Defense Intelligence Agency declassified the photograph on Wednesday at the U.S. military's request, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell at a news conference in Baghdad, adding that he had no idea how the DIA got the photo. (Watch why al-Masri is considered the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq -- 2:08)
Al-Masri "has been a terrorist since about 1982, beginning with his involvement in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was led by Zawahiri," said Caldwell. Ayman al Zawahiri is al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's top deputy.
Caldwell described al-Masri as "an explosives expert, specializing in the construction of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices." He also said al-Masri spent time training with terrorists in Afghanistan starting in 1999.
After U.S. forces ousted Afghanistan's Taliban regime in late 2001, al-Masri began to work with al-Zarqawi in Falluja "and then later became, we think, basically the emir of southern Iraq" for the group, Caldwell said.
Al-Masri's "intimate knowledge" of the terrorist network will help al Qaeda in Iraq "regain some momentum if, in fact, he is the one that assumes the leadership role," Caldwell said.
The military believes al-Masri is also known as Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, who was named last week as al-Zarqawi's replacement on a Web site used by al Qaeda in Iraq, Caldwell said.
"We'll continue to do further analysis," Caldwell added, noting that a power struggle may still be under way inside al Qaeda in Iraq.
Caldwell defended the military's release of al-Masri's photograph, saying that "a lot of discussion" occurred on senior levels about whether to release it and "our intent is not to glorify him or make him more important."
A standard $250,000 reward for information leading to al-Masri's death or capture is still in effect and was in force before al-Zarqawi's death caused by a U.S. airstrike last week, said Caldwell.
Iraq reveals 'al Qaeda plans'
Recently seized documents that led to al-Zarqawi's death also revealed the hideouts and names of other al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and could destroy the terror network, Iraq's national security adviser said Thursday.
"Al Qaeda is on the run now in Iraq, and this is the beginning of the end of al Qaeda in Iraq," Mowaffak al-Rubaie told CNN.
The documents, he said, were found on a "thumb drive" memory card with 1 gigabyte of memory and represented "a trove of information ... a treasure of data." The discovery was among many made during an ongoing operation that began before the June 7 airstrike that killed al-Zarqawi.
At an earlier news conference, al-Rubaie cited the documents as saying al Qaeda in Iraq considered its situation in Iraq "bleak" and was planning to exacerbate already hostile tensions between Iran and the United States. (Read English translation)
Such plans included the delivery of threatening messages attributed to Shiite Iranians and the carrying out of attacks under the guise of Iranian collusion, the Iraqi government cited the documents as saying.
Al Qaeda in Iraq also considered planting information that Iran has ties to terror groups, has been in possession of weapons of mass destruction, and is attempting to carry out terror operations in the West, the documents said, according to the Iraqi government.
CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the documents.
Violence across Iraq left 28 people dead and 30 wounded Thursday, police said.
In separate incidents, gunmen killed 10 minibus passengers in western Baquba and a factory worker southwest of the capital, police said. Gunmen were also behind the storming of the Sunni al-Imam Muslim bin Aqil mosque northeast of Tikrit, where they killed four people and wounded 16 others, authorities said.
In southwestern Baghdad, a car bomb exploded outside a bakery around 8 p.m., killing three people and wounding 14, police said.
A pair of roadside bombs struck an Iraqi army patrol in central Tal Afar, killing three Iraqi soldiers and damaging an Iraqi army vehicle, a Mosul police official said.
In addition, seven bullet-riddled bodies were found in various Baghdad neighborhoods on Thursday, in spite of the second day of a security crackdown in the capital, police told CNN. They showed signs of torture and couldn't be immediately identified.
The number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq has reached 2,500, the Pentagon announced on Thursday. White House spokesman Tony Snow called the number "a sad benchmark," saying, "One of the things the president has said is that these people will not die in vain."
U.S. and Iraqi forces have detained 759 "anti-Iraqi elements" and killed more than 104 in raids carried out since al-Zarqawi's death, said Caldwell, the U.S. military spokesman. Of the 452 operations that were carried out, 143 were conducted by Iraqi forces acting alone, Caldwell said.
CNN's Jennifer Z. Deaton, Mohammed Tawfeeq, John Vause, Cal Perry and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
Islam - Convert or Die! Americas Call to Understanding.
If you respond to the growth of Islam in America by seeing a future landscape of religious tolerance where Christian churches dwell alongside Islamic mosques in brotherly peace and co-existence, you need to learn that truth about the growth and influence of Islam around the world, and its plan for America. There is a plan afloat to end your religious heritage and change your religious beliefs and loyalties at the point of a sword.
If the Islamic plan comes fully to America, Jewish worshipers will not go to Synagogue on Sabbath or openly celebrate Yom Kipper.
Christians will never again sit in church on Sunday mornings singing praises to Jesus the Savior Son of God. Never again hear the words of children singing Jesus loves me this I know. Never again see a Christmas manger scene or attend a Christmas choir concert, or enjoy an Easter morning service.
Youll praise the Muslim Allah or youll die
2020....it's not that far away folks.
U.S. Wants Somalia's Islamists to Help Find Al-Qaeda Operatives
Iraqi Govt - Beginning Of End Of Al Qaeda In Iraq
Iraqi leaders: Memo details al-Qaeda plans
Israel, Egypt Jordan on alert for al-Qaeda attack
Fears of retaliation high after al-Zarqawi killed in Iraq. Israeli security official: Main fear for Israel is border attack, but we are also on alert for attempts to infiltrate country
Thanks much RR sometimes it is all I can do just to have time to read the news:)
This story is at the first link above:
Mogadishu protesters march against foreign troops
Friday, June 16, 2006
By Andrew Cawthorne
Thousands of Somalis chanting anti-Western slogans protested in
Mogadishu on Friday against parliament voting to allow foreign peacekeepers in
the country, a move opposed by the newly powerful Islamist militias.
Punching the air, about 3,000 protesters marched through trash-lined
streets in a protest organized by the Islamic courts, shouting: "We don't
want foreign troops."
Others waved banners that read "America open your eyes" and "Democracy
go to hell" in what organizers said was the people's response to
Wednesday's parliamentary vote.
Militia loyal to Islamic courts wrested control of Mogadishu on June 5
from warlords widely viewed as backed by Washington, after a
three-month battle that killed at least 350 people.
Seeking to counter accusations from their vanquished rivals, the
Islamists said they had no plans to start their own government and vowed to
crack down on extremists in their midst.
"We want to concentrate on bringing stability and security," Islamic
Courts Union deputy Chairman Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar told foreign
journalists in the Somali capital at the courts' invitation.
"Then we are ready for dialogue and discussion in the future. We are
not here to form our own government," Omar said.
Ironically, the warlords and Islamists shared one thing -- a vehement
refusal to allow foreign troops in to secure the interim government, as
Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has been requesting since his election
in late 2004.
Yusuf's government is too weak to enter Mogadishu, and has made its
temporary home in the south-central town of Baidoa which the Islamists
appear to have flanked with a rapid march from coastal Mogadishu to
Baladwayne on the Ethiopian border.
Nuclear scientist is off-limits, Pakistan tells US
From Zahid Hussain in Islamabad and Tom Baldwin in Washington
Pakistan has refused US demands to talk to Abdul Qadeer Khan, whose black market network sold nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea
The security ring surrounding Abdul Qadeer Khans sprawling mansion at the foot of Margalla hills in Islamabad has visibly tightened in recent weeks.
Uniformed soldiers with machine guns block all access to the property and scrutinise every passing vehicle.
Mr Khan, the "Father" of Pakistans nuclear bomb, has been under house arrest since February 2004 when he confessed to operating an international bazaar for nuclear technology, and spends his days confined with his Dutch wife, Henny, inside his well-protected home.
The iron front gate is completely covered to ensure that no one sees him taking his evening stroll in his lush green garden. Even his daughter, Ayesha Khan, has been stopped from entering the house and his fleet of antique cars languishes unused.
Pakistani military intelligence officials visit him. A long list of others would like to but are forbidden. That list is headed by the Americans, for Mr Khan is perhaps the only man outside Iran who knows precisely what nuclear technology the Tehran regime has received, and what it plans to do with it.
The United States has repeatedly asked the Pakistani authorities for permission to interrogate him, but is always rebuffed. Pakistan recently announced that its investigation into the whole affair was closed.
Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the congressional sub-committee on non-proliferation, said: "The A.Q. Khan network has been described as the Wal-Mart of private-sector proliferation. Its handiwork has helped deliver to us two of the most threatening security challenges we face: North Korea and Iran."
Like other congressmen, Mr Royce expressed deep concern that Mr Khan remained "off-limits to foreign investigators" even though Pakistan receives $700 million (£379 million) in aid from the US was designated a significant ally in the War on Terror. "The US and the international community should expect more from Pakistans Government," he said.
A senior Pakistani official said that the US continued to press Islamabad for more information on Mr Khans network, "but we have told them in no uncertain terms that he is off-limits".
He insisted that Pakistan had shared all it knew with the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as putting questions to Mr Khan on behalf of US investigators. Pakistan should be trusted with the investigation and anything else would be violation of national sovereignty, he added.
Mr Khan has confessed to passing nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, claimed last month that his country was conducting research on a more advanced P-2 centrifuge. Mr Khans deputy, Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, has told interrogators that the network probably supplied three samples of the P-2 centrifuges, even though Tehran insists it has only received drawings of the machines.
Documents discovered by the IAEA suggest the Khan network might also have given Iran information about how to make the hemispheres of uranium metal needed for nuclear weapons.
But Washington believes the Khan network may still be active. The US Congress has been told how Swiss police recently foiled a plot to ship 60 tons of specialised aluminum tubes used for building parts of a centrifuge cascade to enrich uranium through Europe to Pakistan.
According to Andrew Koch, a defence expert, this involved using a middleman in Britain who was not previously known to be a Khan associate. The tubes, which he said could have ultimately been sent to Khan network customers, were eventually seized in the UAE by government authorities.
The US State Department will not comment on the case but a senior Western diplomat said that while there was no formal request for direct access to Mr Khan, the US believed the case was far from over. "We still want to know more about his network. There are many questions which have remained unanswered," he said.
The renewed international attention on Mr Khan has put President Musharrafs Government in an awkward situation because the scientist is still revered by Pakistanis as a national hero whose birthday is celebrated in mosques and whose portrait hangs in public places.
The Pakistani Senate recently backed unanimously a resolution appreciating the contribution of Mr Khan and his associates in developing the countrys nuclear programme and ruled out handing him over to the Americans.
[This is the first notice on this tape, and all they have posted]
A new audio message released by Abdullah bin Rashid al-Baghdadi, Emir of the Iraqi insurgent umbrella Shura Council Friday night
June 16, 2006, 11:14 PM (GMT+02:00)
The message is nearly 14 minutes long and entitled To the Islamic Ummah. It is read out by the Shura Council spokesman Abu Ammaar al-Dulaimi.
DEBKAfile cited al-Baghdadi as new chief of al Qaeda in Iraq after the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi on May 7.
[Wrong death date, it is June 7th.]
[ The other report on this attempted kidnapping, had a dog and handler that was involved in the rescue...Thank God.
I am finding strange kidnapping stories, in every country, is there a special date that is set aside for kidnapping?]
An Israeli officer rescues an Israeli girl minutes after an attempted abduction by armed Palestinians. She was slightly injured
June 15, 2006, 5:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
Three armed Palestinians from Jenin snatched two Israeli girls waiting for a lift at Rahelim junction east of Ariel on the West Bank. One wrestled with the kidnappers, got away and sounded the alarm. An officer at the scene gave chase, whereupon the second girl was dropped off as the Palestinian car sped towards Jerusalem. Their car was quickly intercepted by Israeli security forces outside Shiloh.
[a post to study and research]
An exploding car door detonated by an Israeli plane over Lebanon is suspected of killing the brothers Mahmoud and Nidal Mahjub in Sidon May 26
June 16, 2006, 11:04 PM (GMT+02:00)
This is one of the disclosures emerging from Lebanons break-up of two alleged Israeli sabotage-spy rings held responsible for the targeted assassination of the brothers, who were Hizballah coordinators with West Bank suicide bomb controllers, and a string of Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist activists in Lebanon. Two Israeli agents reportedly flew into Beirut international airport by commercial flight on false passports three days before the operation. They are believed to have headed for Sidon, replaced a door of the Mahjub brothers car with the booby-trapped facsimile. They are said to have flown out again after an Israeli plane over Sidon detonated the planted explosives with an electronic beam. In a complaint to be lodged with the UN Security Council, Lebanon will accuse Israel of acts of sabotage and violations of its territory. In addition to overflights, Israel will be charged with landing naval commandos on the Lebanese coast to deliver bomb-making materials, electronic and surveillance devices to ring members. Lebanese defense minister Elias Murr reported that in a raid of a house in Sidon, security forces discovered a device for flashing to Israeli planes the coordinates for locating targets rigged for explosion, as well communications, surveillance and bomb-making equipment. When he was captured, the ringleader of one network, Mahmoud Rafeh, a Druze from Hasbaiah in South Lebanon, made a full confession without waiting to be pressed. He led the investigators to the Sidon hideout where his ring had rigged the car door. Rafeh, in his fifties, claimed to have been enlisted in 1989 by Meir Dagan, today director of the Mossad, and described the unusual functions of his network as a logistics-cum-information center, which laid the groundwork for Israeli operations against targeted terrorist operatives. Lebanese agents were never informed of the targets, just ordered to leaving the means of destruction at drop points for Israeli agents to pick up - and then make off. The Palestinian Ain Hilwa refugee camp of Sidon, Palestinian military center in Lebanon, was shocked to learn that Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian, member of Ahmed Jibrils radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -General Command, was suspected of heading the second Israeli ring. His brother, Sheikh Jamal Khattab, is an Islamic cleric and an al Qaeda recruiting agent in Lebanon. Hussein escaped capture. Israel will no doubt deny any of the charges leveled by Lebanon when the issue comes up at the UN Security Council.
Copyright 2000-2006 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.
Irans atomic chief announces launch of new nuclear centre
Russias Nuclear Weapons Pose Major Threat to U.S. Security Report
Race is on for next generation of nuclear weapons
Poll: Muslim world supports Iran nukes
Iran mullahs nukes and veils
Ayatollah won't yield on nukes
Russia, Iran call for energy club of Asian states
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