Tag Archives: libya

Queens on edge after Middle East uprisings


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The recent turmoil in the Middle East have many Queens residents from the region asking why the violence reached such a high level, and when will it end.

Astoria has become home to many of Middle Eastern descent. And news of the four Americans killed in Libya, including the U.S. ambassador, hit hard.

“Those people who killed the ambassador, they need to be held responsible,” said Mustafa Elqaadiri.

Elqaadiri believes that those who took the four American lives did not act in accordance with his own, and presumably the killers’, Muslim faith.

“Our religion doesn’t say we should kill people. The people who made the movie [“Innocence of Muslims”] did something bad, talking about prophet Muhammad. We love Muhammad, but we don’t like the killings,” he said.

Since the incident in Libya, protests have erupted all over the Middle East in countries such as Yemen, Tunisia and Egypt.

In Cairo, protesters scaled the U.S. Embassy walls and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.

Yara Kassen came to Queens seven years ago from Egypt. She resides in Ridgewood, and works at an Islam clothing boutique in Astoria.

The raging protests have left Kassen scared.

“I don’t agree with what happened over there. These people, they’re not thinking,” she said.

The violence has not only affected locals sharing the same roots, it has reached the classrooms as well.

St. John’s University’s professor Dr. Emily Burnham is using the incident to spark discussion among students in her Introduction to Islam course.

“There’s so much happening,” she said.

Regarding the protests, Burnham attempts to see the acts from the mind of the protesters.

“There are definitely people that are there for more political reasons, and to demonstrate the voice of the people. Religious sensibilities have been offended,” said Burnham.

“The role of religion and topics of religion are governed by a different set of values [than in America], and freedom of speech takes a back seat to issues of respect and of protection — defense of a very valued tradition,” she added.

Although she was surprised and saw no sense in the killings, going onward she trusts American embassies will receive the protection they need.

However, despite a general disapproval of the violence, nobody can condone the message of the infamous anti-Muslim film, which allegedly claims Muhammad is a fraud and a womanizer, among other things.

Burnham recently watched the 13-minute movie on YouTube, attempting to prepare for her class’ discussion.

“I was really surprised at what I saw, really surprised at how obvious and powerful the intent to offend was,” said Burnham of “Innocence of Muslims.”

“I can’t agree with the movie, but I also can’t agree with what’s happening,” echoed Kassen.

 

OpEd: ‘Disgraceful Killings of American Diplomats’


| editorial@queenscourier.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has condemned the “disgraceful” killings of American diplomats in Libya and said that extremists must not be allowed to control the political and religious discourse worldwide.

Below is the statement of CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad:

We condemn the disgraceful killings of the American diplomats in Libya in the strongest terms possible. We also condemn the attack on our nation’s diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt. The actions of the attackers are totally inexcusable and un-Islamic.

We agree with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said that “violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith.” The extremists who carried out these attacks deserve punishment, and the extremists who produced and promoted an intentionally inflammatory film deserve condemnation.

Islamic traditions include a number of instances in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had the opportunity to retaliate against those who abused him, but refrained from doing so.

One tradition, or hadith, states: “You [Muhammad] do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Muslims are also taught the tradition of the woman who would regularly throw trash on the prophet as he walked down a particular path. The prophet never responded in kind to the woman’s abuse. Instead, when she one day failed to attack him, he went to her home to inquire about her condition.

In another tradition, the prophet was offered the opportunity to have God punish the people of a town near Mecca who refused the message of Islam and attacked him with stones. Again, the prophet did not choose to respond in kind to the abuse.

We must not let extremists control the political or religious discourse. That means that people of all beliefs should repudiate those who would commit acts of violence in response to intentional provocations and repudiate those whose only goal is offending religious sentiments.

CAIR called on Muslims in the Middle East to ignore the distribution of the “trashy” anti-Islam film, clips of which are circulating online, that resulted in the attacks in Libya and Egypt.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 82. South wind 6 to 11 mph. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Event of the Day: A Tribute to Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Winner, Natalie Douglas in a tribute to singing legends Lena Horne and Nina Simone at York College Performing Arts Center. To reserve free tickets please call (212) 575 7660 or email CPAS@hainyc.org. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Primary Election Coverage

Sanders defeats indicted incumbent Huntley in State Senate primary

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

Messer refuses to give up fight

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District

Drifter nabbed in rape of 73-year-old woman in Central Park has disturbing criminal history

A deviant drifter with a terrifying rap sheet that includes two sex attacks on elderly women was charged Thursday with the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park. Three rookie cops caught Appalachian ex-con David Albert Mitchell, 42, strolling down an upper West Side street, and the victim later picked him out of a lineup. Read more: Daily News

Investigators look into whether mole helped Libyan terrorists

Investigators are probing whether a mole helped Libyan terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate — where no Marines were on guard. The raiders met with such little resistance that, after seizing control of the one-story villa in a mere 15 minutes, they unleashed a second assault on a nearby safe house, officials in the U.S. and Libya said Thursday. Read more: Daily News

Man who ran on field during Santana’s no-hitter fined $5K, gets 100 hours of community service

A die-hard New York Mets fan who ran onto Citi Field during Johan Santana’s no hitter celebration pleaded guilty to day and will have to pay up for his overzealous behavior.Rafael Diaz, 32, was ordered by a Queens judge to hand over $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets, $1,000 to the city, perform 100 hours of community service and must not visit Citi Field for one year. Read more: NY Post

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.  Thursday night: Patchy fog after 4am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 64. South wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm after midnight.

JFK workers busted in mini liquor theft ring

Eighteen former and current JFK workers were arrested in connection with the theft of more than 100,000 mini liquor bottles at the airport over the last five months, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. They airport employees also stole duty-free items, such as cigarette cartons, perfume and larger bottles of booze. Read more: Queens Courier

U.S. warships headed to Libyan coast as Obama says ‘justice will be done’

The ruthless attack that killed four American diplomats in Libya appears to be a carefully-planned terror strike rather than an uprising of a mob angry over a film that lampooned the Prophet Muhammed. President Obama vowed on Wednesday to bring those responsible to justice – and moved swiftly to hunt down the killers. Read more: Daily News

Police: Elderly woman sexually attacked in Central Park

It was a vicious and shocking attack in the middle of the day, in Central Park. Police say a woman in her 70s, out bird watching, was sexually assaulted, beaten and robbed. Police say they want to speak with a suspect, whom they have a surveillance photo of, about the attack. Read more: NY1

Another protest turns violent outside U.S. Embassy in Cairo

Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protesters away from the building’s perimeter, witnesses said. Six police officers suffered minor injuries during the clashes, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry. Read more: CNN

PCBs leak in second NYC school

NY1 has learned there has been a second incident of the toxic compound leaking out of a light, this time in Queens. NY1 has learned that on Monday, liquid containing toxic compounds known as PCBs dripped out of a light ballast at IS 204 in Queens during the school day. Read more: NY1

Cops pack Queens courtroom to watch alleged cop shooter John Thomas’ arraignment

Police officers packed a Queens courtroom this morning to watch the arraignment of an accused trigger-happy cop shooter. John F. Thomas was remanded by a Queens judge for shooting Sgt. Craig Bier four times in the legs and in a separate incident where he shot Troy Cox 17 times in the buttocks and legs. Read more: NY Post

Flushing Town Hall exhibit explores 150 years of history

One hundred and fifty years ago, a time capsule filled with newspapers of the day, business cards from local merchants and a history of the once-agricultural community was buried in a cornerstone of Flushing Town Hall. Now, the contents of the capsule are on display in the exhibit “Celebrating Historic Flushing Town Hall 150th Anniversary. Read more: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 79. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 66. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Showcase Wednesday 

Come to Resorts World Casino New York City to watch Crossing Midnight. The first time they were on the Resorts World Casino Bar 360 Stage, they rocked the house. This time around, this soulful group will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

FAA’s stealth pilot program involving LaGuardia and JFK Airports was just plain wrong, locals say

A federal pilot program came in for a rough landing after local leaders were told it began and ended without them knowing. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops pack Queens courtroom to watch alleged cop shooter John Thomas’ arraignment

Police officers packed a Queens courtroom this morning to watch the arraignment of an accused trigger-happy cop shooter. Read more: New York Post

Rockaways residents glad to see sand moved from ‘fornication hill’ to Beach 90th Street

You could say one person’s nuisance is another person’s newly refined beach — at least in the Rockaways. Huge dump trucks started have moved 7,000 cubic yards of sand from Beach 121st Street to Beach 90th Street. Read more: CBS New York

 A Hooters in Queens is sued for racial discrimination

Hooters, the restaurant chain widely known for the skimpy outfits of its waitresses, has built its reputation in part on its fun-loving and mildly provocative spirit. But a Korean-American customer has accused a Hooters restaurant in Queens of taking that carefree ethos too far and has sued the company for racial discrimination. Read more: New York Times

Former Rudy Giuliani aide Juan Reyes sends mailing blasting primary opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich, for having dinner with gay friends

Two GOP primaries for the state Senate — including a hotly contested race in Queens — have sunk into the gutter with gay-baiting tactics.Read more: New York Daily News

U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi attack

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Read more: Reuters 

Former Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy dead


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The former Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy was killed Thursday, according to the country’s prime minister.

Reports early this morning indicated that Khadafy was either captured or dead. Later Al-Jazeera showed footage of a man resembling the former leader bleeding from gun shot wound to the head.

Khadafy, who was ousted by rebels this spring, was reportedly killed by a 20 year old named Ahmed Al Shebani who found him hiding in a hole in the city of Sirte.

“New Yorkers know better than almost anyone else how evil a man Moammar Khadafy was. Hopefully his death will bring some degree of closure to the many families who lost loved ones on Pam Am Flight 103. The world is a better and safer place without him,” Senator Charles E. Schumer said in a statement.