Boston Suspect: ‘There is No God But Allah.’

From Yahoo News:

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted links to Islamic websites and others calling for Chechen independence on what appears to be his page on a Russian-language social-networking site.


Police launched a massive manhunt for Tsarnaev, 19, after killing his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a shootout overnight. On the site, the younger Tsarnaev identifies himself as a 2011 graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It says he went to primary school in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, a province in Russia that borders Chechnya, and lists his languages as English, Russian and Chechen.

His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.

He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salam world, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.

Who Said It?

Who is on the record with these three statements?

• “I’m very religious.”
• ‘There are no values anymore.”
• “People can’t control themselves.”

Click and drag in this space here –>   Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Tamerlan, Tamerlane: What’s in a Name? An Islamic Warrior’s ‘Systematic Use of Terror’

We learned today that the older of the two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston marathon was called Tamerlan Tsarnaev.


That means he was named after the 14th-century Turkic ruler Tamerlane (also spelled Tamburlaine, but more commonly Temur or Timur) who called himself “the Sword of Islam.” Tamerlane/Timur, says Wikipedia, was known for his butchery and his “systematic use of terror.” His empire stretched thousands of miles, encompassing parts of (among other countries) Turkey, India, Iran, Afghanistan, and also Kyrgyzstan, where the Boston suspects were born.

Timur was a devout Muslim who referred to himself as the Sword of Islam, converting nearly all the Borjigin leaders to Islam during his lifetime. His armies were inclusively multi-ethnic. During his lifetime Timur would emerge as the most powerful ruler in the Muslim world after defeating the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria, the emerging Ottoman Empire and the declining Sultanate of Delhi. Timur had also decisively defeated the Christian Knights Hospitaller at Smyrna. …

Timur’s armies were feared throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe, sizable parts of which were laid to ruin by his campaigns. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about five percent of the world population.

Taking advantage of his Turco-Mongolia heritage, Timur frequently used either the Islamic religion or the law and traditions of the Mongol Empire to achieve his military goals or domestic political aims.


He not only consolidated his rule at home by the subjugation of his foes, but sought extension of territory by encroachments upon the lands of foreign potentates. His conquests to the west and northwest led him to the lands near the Caspian Sea and to the banks of the Ural and the Volga. Conquests in the south and south-West encompassed almost every province in Persia, including Baghdad, Karbala and Northern Iraq.

His incursion into Persia was notable in part for what Tamerlane ordered his troops to do after the brief siege of the city of Isfahan.

When Isfahan surrendered to Timur in 1387, he treated it with relative mercy as he normally did with cities that surrendered. However, after the city revolted against Timur’s taxes by killing the tax collectors and some of Timur’s soldiers, Timur ordered the massacre of the city’s citizens with the death toll reckoned at between 100,000 and 200,000. An eye-witness counted more than 28 towers constructed of about 1,500 heads each. This has been described as a “systematic use of terror against towns…an integral element of Tamerlane’s strategic element” which he viewed as preventing bloodshed by discouraging resistance. …

He justified his campaign towards Delhi as a religious war against the Hindu religion practiced in the city and also as a chance for to gain more riches in a city that was lacking control. By all accounts, Timur’s campaigns in India were marked by systematic slaughter and other atrocities on a truly massive scale inflicted mainly on the subcontinent’s Hindu population.

He massacred 100,000 captives at Delhi, and at least 20,000 more at Baghdad. The Baghdad death toll came after

Timur ordered that every soldier should return with at least two severed human heads to show him. (Many warriors were so scared they killed prisoners captured earlier in the campaign just to ensure they had heads to present to Timur.)

Then he turned his attention to Ankara and Anatolia (present-day Turkey).

Timur’s army ravaged Western Anatolia, with Muslim writers complaining that the Timurid army acted more like a horde of savages than that of a civilized conqueror. But Timur did take the city of Smyrna, a stronghold of the Christian Knights Hospitalers, thus he referred to himself as ghazi or “Warrior of Islam”.


In all,

The conquests of Timur are claimed to have caused the deaths of up to 17 million people; an assertion impossible to verify. Timur’s campaigns sometimes caused large and permanent demographic changes. Northern Iraq remained predominantly Assyrian Christian until attacked, looted, plundered and destroyed by Timur, leaving its population decimated by systematic mass slaughter.

Timur’s devotion to Islam, especially in his waning years, was never in question, but in his earlier adulthood he seems to have been more of a religious opportunist who just loved to subjugate and plunder. Notes one reviewer of Justin Marozzi’s biography Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World:

Temur rationalised his conquests by appeal to Islam, but he rates as one of the greatest butchers of Muslims of all time. His forces were hired and kept loyal with generous shares of the spoils of conquest, and the cynical deal was, “No jewels, no jihad.” If a city were rich enough to merit plundering, it would qualify as a city of bad Muslims to be blessed with Temur’s corrections and a pretext found. If it happened to be filled with Crusaders or Hindus, all the better. The Ottomans themselves, fresh from annihilating the flower of Christian knighthood at Nicopolis, were swept aside almost without effort. Clearly, Temur’s blessings to his religion were equivocal. Campaigns against Delhi and Christian enclaves in Asia Minor allowed a slightly more convincing pretext of religious war, and in his later years he directed his energies more consistently against non-Muslims as he felt immortality approach, but his campaigning character seems to have been defined by the lust for conquest.

Of course, that one of the apparent Boston bombers was named after the Sword of Islam may mean nothing. The Tsarnaev boys’ aunt claims they were unfailingly good and kind:

My nephews cannot be part of this terrible, horrible act that was committed in the streets of Boston. I know these two nephews, smart boys, good boys, they have no motive for that, they have no ideas to be going to this kind of act. It’s just not the case, it cannot be true.

We‘ll see.

[top photo via Business Insider; middle photo via National Geographic; bottom image via Aapna Punjab]

Ash Wednesday, Ash Every Day

From the Toledo Blade:

Pam Kest was leaving Way Public Library in Perrysburg [Ohio] Tuesday when she saw a flash of lightning and heard a loud boom, drove around a corner, and saw the cross atop the St. Rose Catholic Church steeple go up in flames. “Then five minutes later, I saw the cross fall,” Ms. Kest, 48, of Maumee, said.


Authorities said lightning struck a rod on the cross about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, setting the cross ablaze.

That news story got me wondering about other churches that the all-powerful Creator decided to set on fire.

There are no reliable numbers that I’m aware of, but here’s a tantalizing fact:

• Google “church fire lightning” and you get 13.7 million hits.
• “Accidental church fire,” which would include references to mostly non-arson, non-weather-related church fires, yields 5.6 million hits.
• “Church fire arson” (which, in addition to arson stories, also brings up links to church-fire reports where arson was suspected but later ruled out) delivers almost 5 million hits.

God above, with his bolt-hurling prowess, seems to be firmly in the lead here. In 2010, he even smote a 62-foot-tall statue of his Son (below, center), again in Ohio, making the toppling of the Toledo cross at the top of this post an act of divine recidivism that should probably concern believers in the Buckeye State.

Why the Lord Almighty would destroy, incessantly and with such dedication, the very structures erected to honor him, is a question for theologians to answer.

I’m just fascinated to gaze at the results of all that celestial pyromania. Here’s a small sampling I put together.

churchfires_lowres[top photo by Dan Moses via The Blade]


What’s the Difference Between Pray and Prey? Pastor Crime Ring Involved In Petro Stock Fraud.

Opening statements are expected today in the trial of five people, including alleged ringleader Isreal Owen Hawkins, accused of selling unregistered worthless shares to more than 9,000 investors.

Petro America Corp, a Kansas-based oil company, had no oil, no evident plans for buying, transporting or storing large amounts of oil, no assets to speak of, and no employees beyond president and CEO Hawkins (photo).

Isreal: is fake

Isreal: is fake

Petro America did have revenue, however. Lots of it. Not from oil-market transactions, but from the thousands of people who were persuaded by their pastors to sink their savings into the shadowy company.

According to the U.S. Justice Department,

Investors lost from $100 to $100,000 each. Initially, many of the investors were drawn into the scheme with the promise that $100 would buy 100,000 shares of Petro America stock, the affidavit says, which Hawkins claimed was “book valued” at $2 per share. As the scheme progressed, conspirators raised the price to invest and claimed an ever-higher “book value” for the shares. The affidavit alleges that this allowed conspirators to unload shares to new investors at an increasing profit.

Which makes it a classic Ponzi scheme.

Hawkins allegedly promised “meteoric returns” on investments. At the height of the scheme, the affidavit says, up to $700,000 flooded into the company each month.

In the end, more than 9,000 gullible victims invested more than $7.2 million.

Where’d the money go? Hawkins and his co-conspirators went to pimp town and spent wads of cash on luxuries such as fancy cars, expensive jewelry, a $5,700 fur coat, a $37,000 boat, and a $5,200 piece of Louis Vuitton luggage.

The scheme probably wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if it hadn’t been for two holy men: the Rev. Edward D. Halliburton of Kansas City, Kan., and his colleague Joseph Harrell, of Waco, Texas.

Harrell, acting as the CFO of Petro America, told anyone who would listen that the company was worth as much as $284 billion (which would have made it bigger than Wal-Mart and the Coca-Cola Co.). When touting the “once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities” to his eager marks, the good reverend often wrapped those sales pitches in Bible talk, stressing that Petro was a blessing from God.

Oh, and while he was bilking believers out of their nest eggs and living the high life, Harrell also enjoyed the comfort of having a little revenue stream on the side: government handouts, including food stamps.

Meanwhile, Halliburton, a pastor of more than 20 years, was the president of the Ministers Alliance, a group of about 15 ministers (mostly from the Kansas City area) who aggressively sold the worthless Petro shares to their congregants and others. The faux-pious hoodlums informally called themselves the White Hat Guys, as each of the ministers received a white fedora. All participated in regular Thursday night conference calls with hundreds of investors in dozens of states. Following the calls, many of the White Hat Guys went to the Epicurean Lounge, a local night club for people looking to get it on.


Like Hawkins, the men of God spent investors’ money with abandon. The Reverend Halliburton paid off his mortgage and purchased a Mercedes S500. Through it all, educating himself about the word of God™ was never far from his mind: for the low low price of $1,794, he also bought a doctorate degree from Tabernacle Bible College, for which he did no actual course work.

In separate appearances before a magistrate judge, both Harrell and Halliburton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.

The trial that’s scheduled to start today involves Hawkins (by all accounts the chief crook) and four other accused scammers charged in connection with Petro America. All have pleaded not guilty.

According to the Kansas City Star, whose early reporting on Hawkins and Petro America tipped off investors that something was amiss, among those expected to testify are:

• A 79-year-old California man who still hasn’t told his wife about investing in Petro for fear it would worsen her already serious health problems.

• A Louisiana lawyer who grilled Hawkins in Petro’s rented Kansas City office on behalf of a Petro investor and then had to chip in $20 for gas money when Hawkins and a secretary gave him a ride back to the airport.

• A legally blind Texas investor whom Hawkins took to fancy Kansas City restaurants, often sticking him with the bill, and who was hit up for bail money when Hawkins was arrested.

[Hawkins image via COGIC Abuse Watch]

Christ Almighty: Catholic Children Throw Molotov Cocktails at Protestant Minority in Derry City

The Troubles may be coming back in Northern Ireland.

Kevin Campbell, the mayor of Derry City, told a local news team that

dissident (Catholic) republicans were manipulating mobs of up to 50 children and having them throw dozens of petrol bombs at the minority Protestant community after the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher last week.

The Protestant enclave, the Fountain Estate, consists of 400 families surrounded by a two-to-three mile security barrier in the mainly Catholic west of the city.

Mr Campbell said the attacks on the estate were “absolutely disgraceful”. He added: “There must be a sinister element involved when 25 petrol bombs are thrown — children aged nine to 15 would not know how to make petrol bombs.”


Resident William Jackson said petrol bombs have been coming within 2-3 feet of his house. “After seven nights of mayhem we have seen only one arrest,” he said. “We feel under siege 24 hours a day. … They call us Orange Huns and say things like, ‘We are going to burn you out’. I get phone calls at 2-3am saying they are going to burn me out, shoot me in the head and watch my family cry. They are not going to be happy until we are out. It is ethnic cleansing, just sectarian thuggery.”

The “Orange Huns” moniker refers to a battle the Protestants fought alongside Dutch Prince William of Orange against Catholic English king James II — in 1690.

In matters of politics and religion, grudges may hibernate, but they rarely die.

[art by Bansky via UK Street Art]

Muslims Lose Their Shi(r)t, Christians Follow Suit

Egyptian prosecutors are filing criminal charges against 13 religious brawlers who were arrested after

fighting erupted in the village of Dahshour when a Coptic Christian man who irons clothes for a living and one of his Muslim customers became entangled in a brawl after the Christian accidently burned his client’s shirt.

The fight escalated, drawing more people, and left one Muslim, Moaz Mohamed Mohamed, dead.

Over a shirt. And of course, over whose god is better.


More than 120 Coptic families living in the area left the town, fearing they would be violently expelled.

The defendants in the sectarian incident are nine Muslims and four Coptic Christians, and [they] are charged with murder, the possession of explosive materials, and assaulting security forces.

[photo by Eric V. Santos via flickr]

Church Gives Talking Congregants a Little Taste of Hell — By Intentionally Burning Their Legs

If you don’t shut up in church, what’s the worst that could happen? Getting shushed? Being asked to leave? God doing some righteous smiting?

In Zimbabwe, your fellow believers could roast your legs.

Six True Gospel Apostolic Faith church members, including the leader, have been arrested in Chitungwiza on allegations of burning the legs of two other members as punishment for talking during a church service on Sunday morning. The injured, who are aged 21 and 14, were yesterday still admitted to Chitungwiza Central Hospital, while the six are assisting police with investigations.


“The two were accused of talking while the church leader, Nguni, was addressing at the church service yesterday (Sunday) at around 9am in Chitungwiza,” Asst. Inspector Dube said.

As punishment, they were then forcibly held close to — and possibly pushed into — an open fire, such that the 21-year-old received burns on both legs, and the 14-year-old on one. The investigation continues.

Priest Uses Hot Iron Rod on ‘Possessed’ Woman

A Hindu priest in India, Krishna Kant Tiwari, pressed a hot iron rod into the flesh of a follower in order to drive out the ghost that he claimed possessed her.

BHOPAL: A priest branded a ‘possessed’ woman with a hot iron rod in a bid to “rid the 20-year-old of a ghost” at Bhadrana village in Sagar district late on Monday night. The priest was arrested on Tuesday evening after the investigations, said police. The injured woman, Rajni Rajak, is undergoing treatment at the district hospital. …


“The priest claimed that if the woman was under the control of deity, she would not feel the pain. Having said this, she was branded with the hot iron rod in the presence of villagers,” [police officer] Tiwari said.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

When Liberal Democrat Mark Smith decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania recently, the amateur guitarist might not have counted on the votes of his conservative Christian bandmates. But what his musical friends had in store for him astonished Smith. The other members of the up-and-coming group, One Floor Away, told him he’d have to quit making music with them — unless he changed his position on marriage equality.  

Smith has spoken up for marriage equality on the campaign trail and on Facebook. He refused to renounce his support, and lost the opportunity to play music he loves for a band that is recording its first album and seems to be going places in the Christian rock scene.


“It sort of blew my mind,” Smith said. “It was like a smack to the side of the head.” He said the band’s record producer and a couple of his band mates gave him the ultimatum late last month as they were meeting in Ithaca, N.Y. for a recording session. 

The other band members declined to comment on the affair, other than to say “What we do with our band, we prefer to keep quiet.” The group aims to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Smith says he was on board with that.

One Floor Away recently recorded a single featuring Smith that was released on iTunes; at Smith’s request, it is being re-dubbed with a substitute part. He explains he “can’t support them any more than they support me.”

He also built the group’s website, Smith says. It’s unclear whether One Floor Away will redesign it so as not to benefit from creative contributions by the insufficiently pious.

[image via]

Assault Charge For Baby-Dick-Sucking Mohel

[Attention — first three links in German]

A German children’s advocacy group called MOGiS and Friends is pressing assault charges against a Jewish orthodox circumciser.

Last month, at the bris (circumcision ceremony) for the son of Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the mohel practiced metzitzah p’beh, which involved him placing his mouth on the baby’s freshly-mutilated genitals to suck away the blood. The ritual is controversial, in part because hygiene is by definition poor, as the mouth-to-penis contact can transmit STDs such as herpes.


The chair of the European Rabbinic Conference, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, advises against mouth-suctioning and recommends that mohels use a medical pipette instead.

He says that some orthodox Jewish communities erroneously believe that they have de facto immunity against herpes and the like, because

they don’t practice pre- or extra-marital sex, nor homosexuality, nor do they use illicit drugs. But some of their own violate these communal rules.

In the U.S., since 2000, there have been at least 13 cases of herpes associated with metzitzah b’peh, including two infant deaths. Two other babies contracted herpes infections that led to permanent brain damage.

[image via Berliner Zeitung]

Gay Teacher Fired Over Partner’s Name in Obit

Teachers at Catholic institutions in Ohio may be fired for “immorality.” Sounds all right, until it comes to the definition of that word.

Actually, recognizing disgusting behavior isn’t a problem at all for the easily piqued religious authorities who terminated Carla Hale. Hale is a physical-education teacher who lost her job when her mom died and she included her female partner’s name in the obit.

She’s taught at the school for two decades.

Now, I agree that’s a great example of immorality. But whose? Hales’, or the Church’s?

Students and others are rallying behind a teacher who they say was fired from a Catholic school in Clintonville [Ohio] after listing her female partner’s name in her mother’s obituary.


A petition posted yesterday on seeks the reinstatement of Bishop Watterson High School physical-education teacher Carla Hale. It has gained more than 4,000 signatures.

“It’s unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control,” the petition says. “The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale.”

[image via outlook columbus]