President Obama announced late Sunday that Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed in a firefight during an operation he ordered Sunday inside Pakistan, ending a 10-year manhunt for the world’s most wanted terrorist. American officials were in possession of his body, he said.
“On nights like this one, ‘’ the president said, “we can say that justice has been done.’’
The fate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al Qaeda number two in command, was unclear.
The death of Mr. Bin Laden is a defining moment in the American-led war on terrorism. What remains to be seen is whether the death of the leader of Al Qaeda galvanizes his followers by turning him into a martyr, or whether it serves as a turning of the page in the war in Afghanistan and gives further impetus to the Obama administration to bring American troops home.
Pastor Terry Jones and Assistant Pastor Wayne Sapp may be leaders of an obscure and failing micro-church, the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Florida, but they are world class blasphemers against Islam. Earlier this month they applied for a permit to continue their public and provocative criticism of Islam — which this time was not to burn a Koran but to “peacefully … protest sharia and jihad” in front of the largest mosque in the United States, in the most Muslim area of the country. Not only was their protest, planned for last Friday, blocked by court order, but they were convicted by Michigan’s 19th District Court of being likely to breach the peace.
In March, the two pastors stirred international controversy and, in Afghanistan, lethal violence, by staging a Koran burning. On Friday, April 22, they had planned a two-man demonstration to protest “sharia and jihad” during the weekly prayer service outside the the Shiite Islamic Center of America, in Dearborn, Michigan. News of their application for a protest permit prompted at least four serious death threats against them from “metro Detroiters,” according to the police chief. They were told by authorities they would have to cover the costs of a massive security effort for their protest, amounting to $46,000. They refused and were promptly prosecuted on the afternoon of the 22nd. They were found guilty of intending to disturb the peace, ordered by the court to stay away from the Dearborn mosque for the next three years, and briefly jailed for refusing to pay the “peace bond,” to ensure there would be no public disturbance — a bond that the prosecutor had requested to be set at $46,000 but which the court had reduced to $1. It appears that the jury, judge, prosecutor and police chief, all feared that the planned protest would set off local Muslim riots or other violent actions.
Pastor Jones and Sapp are unsympathetic figures. Their anti-Muslim antics over the past seven months, when they first threatened to burn the Islamic holy book, have seemed designed as much to grab media attention for themselves as to deliberately insult Muslims. But the First Amendment’s broad protections for free speech have been defined by court cases revolving around all manner of unpopular speech and bigotry— from Ku Klux Klan leaders, Nazis, other racists and, most recently, anti-gay activists in a case involving protests at the funerals of fallen American soldiers. Islam would be given deferential treatment if this decision is allowed to stand.
When the first line of defense is “Bush did it, too,” you can rest assured that there is no second line of defense. And on allegations that the Justice Department intervened to prevent the indictment of various Islamist figures and organizations, the Obama administration’s response appears to be: Bush did it, too.
According to reporting at Pajamas Media by Patrick Poole, who has tracked the Muslim Brotherhood for years, the DOJ intervention came in connection with the Holy Land Foundation case, in which federal prosecutors in Dallas proved that the Brotherhood bankrolled its Palestinian branch, the terrorist organization Hamas, during the deadly intifada against Israel. The linchpin of the Brotherhood scheme was the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), an ostensible Islamic charity through which tens of millions of dollars were funneled to jihadists overseas.
Implicated in this enterprise were various Islamist organizations in the United States that the Brotherhood identified as its partners. Several of these, including CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), were designated by prosecutors as “unindicted coconspirators.” When the organizations predictably protested this description, federal courts rebuffed them, finding that there was ample evidence of their complicity.
France’s new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday, as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest.
France on Monday became the first country to ban the veils anywhere in public, from outdoor marketplaces to the sidewalks and boutiques of the Champs-Elysees.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy set the wheels in motion for the ban nearly two years ago, saying the veils imprison women and contradict this secular nation’s values of dignity and equality. The ban enjoyed wide public support when it was approved by parliament last year.
Though only a very small minority of France’s at least 5 million Muslims wear the veil, many Muslims see the ban as a stigma against the country’s No. 2 religion.
In stunning testimony on Capitol Hill, the head of the FBI explained his agency has cut off ties to the most influential Muslim organization in America due to concerns over its leaders' association with terrorism.
Since the Justice Department linked the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to a 2008 terror-finance case, the FBI has refused to work directly with the group's national office or any of its 30-plus chapters across the country.
Wednesday's hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee marked the first time FBI Director Robert Mueller has narrowed down the cause of concern to CAIR's "national leadership."
"We have no formal relationship with CAIR because of concerns with regard to the national leadership," Mueller testified.