Muslim, Christian Graves Desecrated in Israeli City

Jerusalem (CNN) — Less than a week after the arson of a mosque in northern Israel, dozens of Christian and Muslim graves were vandalized in an Arab section of the Israeli city of Jaffa.

More thahan 100 graves were vandalized in the Muslim cemetery of al-Kazakhana and at a nearby Christian cemetery in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, according to residents and a CNN producer who visited the locations.

Some of the graves were spray painted with graffiti while others were smashed.

Residents say the vandalism took place Friday evening as the Yom Kippur holiday was beginning in Israel, but police suggested it might have taken place a day or two prior.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN INTERNATIONAL

Church Protests in Cairo Turn Deadly

CAIRO — A demonstration by Christians angry about a recent attack on a church touched off a night of violent protests here against the military council now ruling Egypt, leaving 24 people dead and more than 200 wounded in the worst spasm of violence since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

The sectarian protest appeared to catch fire because it was aimed squarely at the military council that has ruled Egypt since the revolution, at a moment when the military’s latest delay in turning over power has led to a spike in public distrust of its authority.

When the clashes broke out, some Muslims ran into the streets to help defend the Christians against the police, while others said they had come out to help the army quell the protests in the name of stability, turning what started as a march about a church into a chaotic battle over military rule and Egypt’s future.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Iran’s Death Penalty for Christian Pastor Violates the Qur’an

In Iran, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for the “crime” of leaving Islam as a teenager and converting to Christianity. A translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 states that 32-year-old Nadarkhani “is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19.” While there is widespread public outcry of support for his specific case, some are speaking broadly about the punishment for apostasy. Many — Muslim and non-Muslim — mistakenly believe that Islam supports this barbaric practice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy. If one were to assume that Islam prescribes some sort of punishment for a person who chooses to leave Islam, that would invariably mean that Islam forces one to be a Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST 

This Brutality is not Islam

In 1948, most of the world’s Muslim-majority nations signed up to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, including article 18, “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” which includes, crucially, the “freedom to change his religion or belief”. The then Pakistani foreign minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, wrote: “Belief is a matter of conscience, and conscience cannot be compelled.”

Fast-forward to 2011: 14 Muslim-majority nations make conversion away from Islam illegal; several – including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan – impose the death penalty on those who disbelieve. The self-styled Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced to death by hanging a Christian pastor, born to Muslim parents, for apostasy. At the time of writing, Youcef Nadarkhani, head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, is on death row for refusing to recant and convert back to Islam.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN (UK)

Muslims Endure Double Standard on Issue of Violence

Question: Is someone who acts violently in the name of a religion that asserts peace a true follower of that religion?

Answer: This question has been with humanity, religious and not, since the beginning of religions that assert peace. Most recently, the question was raised after the bombing in downtown Oslo, Norway, was closely followed by the shocking mass shooting at a Norwegian youth camp on the island of Utoya.

Major news outlets pinned the blame for the attacks on Muslim extremists. The New York Times briefly reported that a terrorist organization called “Helpers of Global Jihad” had claimed responsibility, while the British newspaper The Sun declared that the events were “Norway’s 9/11.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR