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02-23-2006, 05:20 PM
FROM THE BBC
The killing of Atwar Bahjat, who rose to fame reporting from Iraq for both main Arabic satellite news networks, has shocked Arab journalistic circles.
Gunmen kidnapped and killed her and two members of her crew near Samarra where they had gone to cover reaction to Wednesday's shrine bombing.
A member of the al-Arabiya TV team who escaped described how two gunmen showed up as they stood in a crowd of Iraqis.
They dragged Bahjat and her colleagues away and shot them.
Their bodies were found on the outskirts of Samarra, an area racked by sectarian violence since Wednesday's explosion that destroyed the revered Shia Muslim al-Askari shrine.
02-24-2006, 11:49 AM
Five days of violence by Nigerian Christians and Muslims kill 150
By Christian Allen Purefoy in Lagos
Published: 24 February 2006
Clashes between Nigeria's Muslim and Christian communities have left nearly 150 people dead and thousands displaced after five days of violence sparked originally by the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed.
In the southern city of Onitsha, where the worst of the killing took place, Christians yesterday burnt the corpses of their victims and defaced mosques in revenge for attacks on Christians in the north of the country earlier this week.
As several bodies burnt on pyres of flaming tyres and the stench of charred flesh filled the air, police began to clear away the dead lying at the sides of Onitsha's dirt roads.
"Security forces were collecting dead bodies of those killed in the two days of mayhem," said Emeka Umeh, head of the Civil Liberties Organisation in the city.
02-25-2006, 11:28 AM
ISLAM vs ISLAM
FROM THE BBC
Curfew fails to halt Iraq killing
At least 36 people have been killed across Iraq as the authorities struggle to contain sectarian violence in which at least 165 have died this week.
The bodies of 14 Iraqi commandos were recovered in south Baghdad following a gun battle with Shia militiamen.
A car bomb in the shrine city of Karbala killed eight, as others died in attacks on a Shia family and a funeral.
A curfew has been extended in Baghdad to try to quell the violence, sparked by Wednesday's Samarra shrine bombing.
Iraq has been struggling to contain a wave of sectarian attacks since Wednesday.
02-26-2006, 12:29 PM
Baghdad mortar barrage kills 16
FROM THE BBC
A barrage of mortar attacks in southern Baghdad has killed at least 16 Iraqis and injured more than 40.
A police source told the BBC that a total of eight mortars had been fired into the mainly Shia area of Doura.
The attacks come after days of sectarian tensions that have left at least 165 dead since Wednesday.
Political and militia leaders say they have made progress in talks to curb the violence that was sparked by the bombing of a major Shia shrine.
However, an explosion hit a Shia shrine in the southern city of Basra on Sunday.
But the bomb, placed in the building's toilets, caused little damage and there were no serious injuries.
02-26-2006, 02:10 PM
Death squad victims piled by the hundreds
By Andrew Buncombe
Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, says the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq.
John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, said up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes.
Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shiite groups under the ministry's control.
Much of the statistical information provided to Pace and his team comes from the Baghdad Medico-Legal Institute, next to the city's mortuary.
He said that in last July alone the morgue received 1100 bodies, about 900 of which bore evidence of torture or summary execution.
The pattern prevailed throughout the year until December, when the number dropped to 780 bodies, about 400 of which had gunshot or torture wounds.
"It's being done by anyone who wishes to wipe out anybody else for various reasons," said Pace, who worked for the United Nations for more than 40 years in countries such as Liberia and Chile. "But the bulk are attributed to the agents of the Ministry of the Interior."
03-01-2006, 06:24 PM
From the BBC
Writers issue cartoon row warning
Salman Rushdie is among a dozen writers to have put their names to a statement in a French weekly paper warning against Islamic "totalitarianism".
The writers say the violence sparked by the publication of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad shows the need to fight for secular values and freedom.
The statement is published in Charlie Hebdo, one of several European papers to reprint the caricatures.
The images, first published in Denmark, have angered Muslims across the world.
One showed the Prophet Muhammad, whose depiction is banned in Islam, as a terrorist bomber.
Many newspapers defended their decision to reprint the cartoons on the grounds of freedom of expression.
Almost all of those who have signed the statement have experienced difficulties with Islamic militancy first-hand, says the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris.
They include Dutch MP and filmmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali and exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.
"After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global threat: Islamism," the manifesto says.
"We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all."
The clashes over the cartoons "revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values," the statement continues.
"It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats."
The writers said they refused to accept that Muslim men and women "should be deprived of their rights to equality, liberty or secularity in the name of respect for culture or tradition".
They also said they would not give up their critical spirit out of fear of being accused of Islamophobia.
"Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present," the writers added, saying it is nurtured by fears and frustrations.
Salman Rushdie - Indian-born British writer with fatwa issued ordering his execution for The Satanic Verses
Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Somali-born Dutch MP
Taslima Nasreen - exiled Bangladeshi writer, with fatwa issued ordering her execution
Bernard-Henri Levy - French philosopher
Chahla Chafiq - Iranian writer exiled in France
Caroline Fourest - French writer
Irshad Manji - Ugandan refugee and writer living in Canada
Mehdi Mozaffari - Iranian academic exiled in Denmark
Maryam Namazie - Iranian writer living in Britain
Antoine Sfeir - director of French review examining Middle East
Ibn Warraq - US academic of Indian/Pakistani origin
Philippe Val - director of Charlie Hebdo
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