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February 12, 2016 / 3 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The ordeal of Rimsha Masih, a Pakistani Christian arrested on charges of blasphemy, is far from over. In Pakistan, an allegation of blasphemy can be enough to result in the accused being killed even in the absence of a trial or evidence.

Masih, age fourteen, was charged under Pakistan’s notoriously draconian blasphemy laws, with burning a copy of the Quran, and held for three weeks in Rawalpindi prison.

There are serious flaws in the case against Masih. Not only is she a minor, but there are also reports that she has learning difficulties and is not of full mental capacity. To complicate the matter further, a local imam has also been arrested on claims that over he framed the girl after an ongoing dispute with her family.

Despite this, blasphemy allegations continue to elicit such passions in Pakistan that authorities could not risk sending Masih home; and a number of her neighbours, fearing reprisals after mosques disclosed her address, have fled their village.

Blasphemy is such a contentious issue that despite being released on bail, Masih had to be taken by an armoured vehicle to a military helicopter and then transported to an undisclosed location where she is currently in hiding. Police fear that if Masih is allowed to return to her village, a vigilante mob would attack her.

These fears are not unfounded. A lawyer for the prosecution warned that if Masih were not convicted, such a scenario was likely. Last year the governor of the Punjab, Salman Taseer, was shot dead for merely suggesting the blasphemy laws should be changed. Weeks after Taseer’s assassination Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic who was Pakistan’s only Christian member of the Cabinet, and who opposed the blasphemy laws, was also killed.

Far from causing revulsion, these assassinations were largely welcomed by militant groups and their supporters. Taseer’s assassin was lauded not just by radicals, but by those who would be expected to oppose mob “justice”: lawyers. Instead of being outraged, the young lawyers association of the Punjab offered to defend Taseer’s killer pro bono.

Minorities, being subject to almost half of all prosecutions under the law despite comprising about only 3% of the overall population, have particularly suffered under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which is drafted in broad terms and states:

Article 295

B – Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.

C – Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Politicians who want to challenge the law are routinely killed or intimidated, making the government keen to pursue – rather than curtail – blasphemy laws.

In 2009, in an effort an that is still current, Pakistan sponsored UN Res. 1618, to persuade the United Nation to adopt a law that initially would internationally criminalize questioning or discussing Islam, but was then changed to state “religions.” The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, broke years of silence on the topic to sponsor an official three-day, closed-door meeting on the Resolution in Washington D.C. just last December.

Pakistan, has also started monitoring internet and text communications in Pakistan, to ensure that people are not sending, searching, or looking up material that could be considered insulting to Islam.

This is the impasse: No one in Pakistan is willing to challenge the blasphemy laws. Those who do are assassinated. Mob justice is rampant in such cases, with the issues becoming highly charged and little attention being paid to the facts. The implications for those accused of such crimes are devastating.

Masih has no future in Pakistan. To ensure she can live her life, the British Pakistani Christian Association is currently lobbying the British government to grant her asylum so she can escape the strictures of religious fanaticism in the country.

In Pakistan, the mere allegation of blasphemy imposes the life sentence of a death sentence.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Efraim Zuroff on Capturing Nazis and Bringing Them to Justice

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem and one of the last Nazi hunters, those dedicated to bringing Holocaust perpetrators to justice. Yishai and Zuroff talk about Zuroff’s background and how he found himself becoming involved in bringing aging Nazi war criminals to justice. They also talk about Zuroff’s book “Operation Last Chance” and also the ongoing investigation that uses the same name, specifically talking about Nazi war criminals that have been captured and tried in recent years.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Four Americans Killed in Raid on Benghazi Consulate by Protesters of ‘Blasphemous’ Film

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

According to al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Benghazi, Suleiman Idrissi, “At about 11.30 pm a group of people calling themselves Islamic law (Sharia) supporters heard there would be an American movie insulting the prophet Muhammad. Once they heard this news they came out out of their military garrison, and went into the streets calling on people to go ahead and attack the American consulate in Benghazi.”

Rocket-propelled grenades were fired from a farm next door to the consulate. Video clips on al-Jazeera show men walking through the consulate gardens in front of the burning buildings.

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was on a short visit to Benghazi, is reported to have died from smoke inhalation, along with an American computer expert at the consulate, Sean Smith, and two security guards.

The Internet has been swarming with rumors and debates on Wednesday, over the true identity of Sam Bacile, proud director of a truly stupid movie titled “Innocence of Islam,” 13 minutes of which he shared with the world. He introduced himself to several news reporters, over the phone from his “hideout,” as a Jew and an Israeli, adding that the funding for his film came from 100 Jewish donors.

As Facebook is becoming filled with pages titled “We hate Sam Bacile,” “America deport Sam Bacile,” and “Who wants to kill Sam Bacile,” to name only a few, Jews everywhere are praying that Sam Bacile is not Jewish. We really don’t need the extra tzuris. Which explains the Facebook page “Israelis, Jews & Americans Against Sam Bacile’s ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film.”

Sarah Posner of religiondispatches.org listed many contradictions in the Sam Bacile news narrative: in one account he is 52 and in another he is 56. To the AP he is “a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew” and to the Times of Israel he is “Jewish and familiar with the region.” And what about that bit at the end of the statement to the Times of Israel–that “even Jesus” should be “in front of the judge”? That sounds like someone who is trying to provoke more than just Muslims. A lot of things don’t add up here about the claimed identity of the filmmaker.

I’ve no idea if any of Posner’s points are truly problematic, she is touching a notion most of us, news junkies, have had all day regarding this guy: something about him doesn’t smell right.

Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

Don’t Worry! Be Happy!

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Amongst the many eye-opening revelations on t’shuva in Rabbi Kook’s writings, one concept is especially staggering in its profundity. Usually, we think that a process is completed when it reaches its end. We experience a feeling of satisfaction when we finish a project. An underlying tension often accompanies our work until it is accomplished. This is because the final goal is considered more important than the means.

Most people feel the same way about t’shuva. Until the process of t’shuva is complete, they feel unhappy, anxious, overwhelmed with the wrongdoings which they have been unable to redress. Rabbi Kook tells us that this perspective is wrong. When it comes to t’shuva, the goal is not the most important thing. It is the means which counts. What matters the most is the striving for perfection, for the striving for perfection is perfection itself. He writes:

If not for the contemplation of t’shuva, and the comfort and security which come with it, a person would be unable to find rest, and spiritual life could not develop in the world. Man’s moral sense demands justice, goodness, and perfection. Yet how very distant is moral perfection from man’s actualization, and how feeble he is in directing his behavior toward the pure ideal of absolute justice. How can he aspire to that which is beyond his reach? For this, t’shuva comes as a part of man’s nature. It is t’shuva which perfects him. If a man is constantly prone to transgress, and to have difficulties in maintaining just and moral ideals, this does not blemish his perfection, since the principle foundation of his perfection is the constant longing and desire for perfection. This yearning is the foundation of t’shuva, which constantly orchestrates man’s path in life and truly perfects him” (Orot Ha’Tshuva, 5:6. The Art of T’shuva, Ch.5).

Dear reader, please note: if you are not yet a tzaddik, you need not be depressed. Success in t’shuva is not measured by the final score at the end of the game. It is measured by the playing. The striving for good is goodness itself. The striving for atonement is atonement. The striving for perfection is what perfects, in and of itself.

King Solomon teaches that no man is free of sin: “For there is not a just man on earth that does good and never sins” (Kohelet, 7:20). Transgression is part of the fabric of life. Since we are a part of this world, we too are subject to “system failure” or sin.  Even the righteous occasionally succumb to temptation. Thus, until the days of Mashiach, an ideal, sinless existence is out of man’s reach.

An illustration may help make this concept clearer. On Yom Kippur, we are like angels. We don’t eat, we don’t drink. All day long we pray for atonement from all of our sins. At the end of the day, with the final blast of the shofar, we are cleansed. But in the very next moment, as we pray the evening service, we once again ask God to forgive us. Forgive us for what? The whole day we have acted like angels. Our sins were whitened as snow. In the few seconds between the end of Yom Kippur and the evening prayer, what sin did we do? Maybe at the beginning of the evening prayer, exhausted by the fast, we didn’t concentrate on our words. Maybe our prayers on Yom Kippur were half-hearted, as if repeating last year’s cassette. Maybe, we forgot to ask forgiveness for some of our sins.

The point is that the process of t’shuva never ends. Perfection in deeds is out of human reach. Thus, when a goal is unattainable, it is the striving to reach the goal that counts. Regarding t’shuva, it is the constant striving for t’shuva which purifies, enlightens, elevates, and perfects. So relax all you seekers of t’shuva. Even if you haven’t yet atoned for all of your sins, Don’t worry! Be Happy! As long as you are sincerely trying, this is what really counts.

The Ravages of Justice

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Here are the refugees from Migron in their relocation camp, in Givat Hayekev.

They are cleaning up their new homes, also known as “caravillas” (combination caravan and villa.

A caravilla is composed of several prefabricated sections that are joined on a foundation. They vary in size from about 650 to 1,000 square feet.

The biggest of these enclaves was established in Nitzan, north of Ashkelon, with 250 caravillas, which has grown to more than 500.

Let’s face it, it’s a trailer park.

The work of Peace Now and a cabal of several other anti-Zionist Jewish organizations, funded mostly by foreign states, is done here.

On to the next salami slice.

Since I was 12, when the territories across the armistice line of 1949 were captured—in 1967—I have opposed the forced transfer of civilian populations. But when I was a kid, we all thought it was the Arabs were would be protecting.

Folks on the left were saying how they would throw themselves in front of the trucks that uprooted Palestinians from their homes.

Now it turns out we were wrong. Arabs don’t get transferred. Ever. The only civilians getting thrown on the trucks (or buses) are Jews.

And no one throws themselves in front of the trucks.

Because it’s done by decree of the Supreme Court, executed by a right-wing government.

Everyone cites the slogan from Deuteronomy, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof” – Justice, justice shall you chase.

These days it’s “justice” that’s chasing us.

Fellow Jews, here’s a personal solution: when you daven shmoneh-esreh today, all three times, when you get to “birkat ha’minim” – the additional blessing added by the sages to curse out the enemies within – say it with a lot of kavanah. Say it like you mean it. Pound the shtender in front of you with rage when you say it. And if you happen to be the ba’al tfilah today – cry it out loud like a wounded man.

At least show that you’re angry, for Heaven’s sake.

(Yes, I wrote all the key words in Boro-Park style so the GSS won’t come after me… I’m just a coward sitting at his desk, but an angry coward.)

High Court Hears Petition against Mikvah for Married Women Only

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Minister of Religious Affairs Yaakov Margi and the Chief Rabbinate Council to explain why they not allow single women to immerse in state-run mikvahs, Kikar HaShabbat reports.

Justices Eliakim Rubinstein, Esther Hayut and Uri Shoham have recently been discussing a petition requesting that any Jewish woman, regardless of her marital status, should be allowed to dip in the mikvahs run by the religious councils.

The petitioners are Oriya Pliah, Amital Sachs and the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), who are seeking to change the policy.

The petition was initially brought before Justice Rubinstein, who ruled that the hearing should be moved to a panel of three judges. Now this panel has issued a conditional order requesting clarifications on a matter which could be seen as purely halachic in nature and thus outside the purview of the secular court.

According to their website, the Center for Women’s Justice is a public interest law organization dedicated to defending and protecting the right of women in Israel to equality, dignity and justice within Jewish law.

CWJ carries out legal activity and advocacy aimed at ending practices that discriminate against women in the name of the Jewish religion. CWJ files key lawsuits in civil courts across Israel, with the aim of setting legal precedents and achieving systemic solutions to religious dilemmas that compromise gender democracy and threaten the Jewish future. CWJ also carries out Social Awareness activities which educate the public about marriage, divorce and social justice in Jewish life and promote social change.

Social Insecurity

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Note to readers: A few weeks ago, Moshe Silman set himself alight at a so-called social justice protest. He was in debt to Israel’s Institute for Social Justice (the state’s social security agency), and his truck, the means of his livelihood, was confiscated by the agency as a result. Silman eventually died of his wounds, but the debate over social justice rages on in Israel.

More than any other reason, “social justice” killed Moshe Silman. Here’s why: Who confiscated his truck and for what purpose? Social security. After all, what is social security, if not the mechanism established by the state to ensure so-called social justice? It is an institution authorized to take from the “haves” and give to the “have-nots.” And from whom will the Institute for Social Justice take if not from the owner of a moving company? And to whom will it give the value of the truck? To the tycoons? Of course not. It will give the truck’s value to the have-nots, or to those who know how to hide what they have.

The story of the Institute for Social Justice and the truck of the “tycoon,” Moshe Silman, is the precise story of socialism. It is a flashing warning sign for everyone who has fallen captive to the charms of the social justice movement.

They want many more institutions for social justice and many more Moshe Silmans, from whom these institutions can confiscate the victims’ only source of livelihood. Most important of all, they want many more poor people who will justify the existence of more and more institutes for social justice. They desire for Israel to turn into one big commune – and be finished with it.

When tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak erected a tent city for the victims of Ehud Olmert’s War of Convergence, then “social” defense minister, Amir Peretz, bellowed this at him: “We will not let you take over our poverty!”

Poverty is an asset. Public outrage over it can be directed at those who open businesses, produce jobs (and income), and pay taxes. Then more and more social justice mechanisms can be established. More and more income-producing property is stolen from more and more Moshe Silmans, poverty is translated into political fortune, and the new social justice warriors are born. The productive segment of society shrinks, poverty grows, and those with the means to produce more income look to invest in markets that boast more freedom. The economic ship falls over on its side, is inundated with the poison of legalized robbery, namely socialism (or in its purer form, communism), and begins to sink.

The social justice protesters are right about the fact that most of the money in Israel is concentrated in the hands of just a few monopolies. The price of housing is sky-high, food is unjustifiably expensive, and the salary gap between rich and poor is second only to that of the U.S. But the solution for this illness is just the opposite of the centralization that the social protesters demand.

The solution is to allocate Israel’s land to the public and close Israel’s Land Authority; privatize the Water Company, Electric Company and banks – its assets not to big business but straight into the public’s bank accounts. Social security, like a car insurance company, should work like a commercial firm.

The economic strain is real. But its roots are in a completely different place. Moshe Silman was a man without a family or community. The socialists who led Israel when it was founded erased the institution called “community,” turning Israel into one big community. As a result, the individual has become very lonely, bereft of the buttressed walls of community that the largely religious public still enjoys.

Over the past 15 years, the institution called “family” has also been diminished. No longer is it politically correct to note that someone is widowed or divorced. Nowadays, they are “single-parent families.” Even a couple of the same gender is considered a family. Everything is family – so nothing is family.

The woman makes the home; the man makes the family. Feminism and homosexuality have eliminated manhood, thereby eliminating the family. The
protesters are searching for family. They are searching for a father figure. With no one to turn to, they turn to the state. Standing there together, the protesters replace the feeling of family – if only for a few fleeting moments. The children stand there in unison, shouting out for Mom and Dad – in this case, the state.

The state cannot replace family and community. But the protesters don’t know anything else. The traditional family has been taken from them, and the state has been empowered in its stead. The dominant elements of the protests do not stem from poverty-stricken areas, but from the heart of Tel Aviv – where there are no more men and no more families.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/social-insecurity/2012/08/22/

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