A disabled woman went on a healing pilgrimage to Lourdes – and returned with broken legs.
The family of cerebral palsy sufferer Patricia Mitchell have launched legal action against the organisers of the trip after she fell 4ft from a hoist.
Mrs Mitchell, who was wheelchair-bound, broke her left leg in three places and her right leg once.
Her family say she never fully recovered from the fall and she died earlier this year aged 63.
Her sisters Pauline Scarr and Terry Featherstone are now suing for tens of thousands of pounds.
Mrs Featherstone, 60, said: ‘You go to Lourdes to get cured and she came back with two broken legs. It’s unbelievable.’
Mrs Scarr, 62, said: ‘We want justice now for Patricia. I want answers.’
Mrs Mitchell, from Bowburn, County Durham, was born with cerebral palsy and had never been able to work. As well as her lifelong condition, she had also survived breast cancer and the death of her husband Ian in 1995.
A devout Roman Catholic, she had travelled to Lourdes several times hoping for a miracle healing, and on one occasion had met Pope John Paul II.
She returned to Lourdes in August 2005 for a the £450 week-long stay with HCPT: The Pilgrimage Trust and Disabled Together.
Two volunteer carers had just helped bathe Mr Mitchell when she fell about 4ft to the ground from a hoist.
She was assessed by a nurse but was told she had not sustained serious injuries, her sisters say.
It was only when Mrs Mitchell returned to the North East that it emerged she had broken her left leg in three places and her right leg once.
For a time, doctors feared they may have to amputate.
After a few weeks Mrs Mitchell left hospital, but, her sisters claim, was never the same and she died on February 4 this year.
Mrs Scarr said: ‘It’s so sad. She was disabled, but she led a good life and I think if it wasn’t for the fall, she would still be here today.’
A spokesman for HCPT said she was unable to comment as the matter was with the organisation insurers.
Disabled Together did not respond to a request for interview.
Female circumcision will be inflicted on up to 2,000 British schoolgirls during the summer holidays – leaving brutal physical and emotional scars. Yet there have been no prosecutions against the practice
Like any 12-year-old, Jamelia was excited at the prospect of a plane journey and a long summer holiday in the sun. An avid reader, she had filled her suitcases with books and was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when her mother came for her. “She said, ‘You know it’s going to be today?’ I didn’t know exactly what it would entail but I knew something was going to be cut. I was made to believe it was genuinely part of our religion.”
She went on: “I came to the living room and there were loads of women. I later found out it was to hold me down, they bring lots of women to hold the girl down. I thought I was going to be brave so I didn’t really need that. I just lay down and I remember looking at the ceiling and staring at the fan.
“I don’t remember screaming, I remember the ridiculous amount of pain, I remember the blood everywhere, one of the maids, I actually saw her pick up the bit of flesh that they cut away ’cause she was mopping up the blood. There was blood everywhere.”
Some 500 to 2,000 British schoolgirls will be genitally mutilated over the summer holidays. Some will be taken abroad, others will be “cut” or circumcised and sewn closed here in the UK by women already living here or who are flown in and brought to “cutting parties” for a few girls at a time in a cost-saving exercise.
Then the girls will return to their schools and try to get on with their lives, scarred mentally and physically by female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice that serves as a social and cultural bonding exercise and, among those who are stitched up, to ensure that chastity can be proved to a future husband.
Even girls who suffer less extreme forms of FGM are unlikely to be promiscuous. One study among Egyptian women found 50% of women who had undergone FGM “endured” rather than enjoyed sex.
Cleanliness, neatness of appearance and the increased sexual pleasure for the man are all motivations for the practice. But the desire to conform to tradition is the most powerful motive. The rite of passage, condemned by many Islamic scholars, predates both the Koran and the Bible and possibly even Judaism, appearing in the 2nd century BC.
Although unable to give consent, many girls are compliant when they have the prodecure carried out, believing they will be outcasts if they are not cut. The mothers believe they are doing the best for their daughters. Few have any idea of the lifetime of hurt it can involve or the medical implications.
Jamelia, now 20, who says her whole personality changed afterwards.”I felt a lot older. It was odd because nobody says this is a secret, keep your mouth shut but that’s the message you get loud and clear.” She stopped the sports and swimming she used to love and became “strangely disconnected with her own body”. Other girls have died, of shock or blood loss; some have picked up infections from dirty tools. Jamelia’s mother paid extra for the woman to use a clean razor. It is thought that in the UK there are one or two doctors who can be bribed by the very rich to to carry out FGM using anaesthetic and sterilised instruments.
Comfort Momoh works at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, in one of the 16 clinics up and down the country who deal with FGM and its health repercusssions. Women who have had much of their external genitalia sliced off and their vaginas stitched closed, but for a tiny hole, also come to be cut open in order to give birth.
There are four types of female circumcision identified by the World Health Organisation, ranging from partial to total removal of the external female genitalia. Some 140 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM and an estimated further two million are at risk every year. Most live in 28 African countries while others are in Yemen, Kurdistan, the US, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada.
The UK Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 makes it an offence to carry out FGM or to aid, abet or procure the service of another person. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, makes it against the law for FGM to be performed anywhere in the world on UK permanent residents of any age and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. To date, no prosecutions have been made under UK legislation.
“Obviously in summer we get really anxious. All activists and professionals working around FGM get anxious because this is the time that families take their children back home. This is the time when all the professionals need to be really alert,” said Momoh.
“There is no hard evidence in figures about what is happening in the UK because it’s a hush-hush thing. It’s only now that a few people are beginning to talk about it, which is good because change will only come from within and the numbers coming forward are rising. But there is a lot of family pressure. When I first started in 1997 we had two clinics in the country, now we have 16.”
One woman told the Observer how a midwife examining her had raced retching and crying from the room. She had no idea she was “abnormal” before that happened. There is a clear need for women who have suffered FGM to be able to visit health professionals who understand what has happened to them. Momoh said that for those who wanted it, some surgical reversal work could sometimes be done on women with the most severe FGM procedure, Type III. For those with other types, counselling and support is all that can offered.
“Periods are agony – you get a lot of women who are determined to have reversals while they are having their period but then when the pain has stopped they lose their nerve again,” said Leyla Hussein, 29, who has had to have years of counselling to cope with her own anger and distress at what was done to her as a child. It has helped her forgive her own mother’s complicity in the mutilation she endured, though the older woman could not understand why Hussein would not have her own child, now aged seven, cut. But Hussein has vowed that she will be the last generation of women in her family to suffer.
“It was my husband who said on our honeymoon, ‘We are not going to do this thing to any child of ours.’ I was quite shocked, I hadn’t questioned it. But I now realise a lot of men are not in favour of FGM, not when you tell them the woman is not going to enjoy herself.”
Hussein is among a slowly but steadily growing band of women who have reacted against what happened to them with courage and a determination to stamp out FGM. Hussein has run support and discussion groups for affected women and for men, and formerly worked at the African Well Women’s Centre in Leyton, east London.
“I can really relate to some of the women who are very angry, but how do you blame your mother, who loves you yet planned this for you? There is a lot of anger and resentment. Many women blame themselves and of course there are flashbacks to deal with. I had blackouts – anytime I had to have a smear test, I would pass out because lying in that position brought it back to me, but the nurse is used to me now and allows a little more time with the appointment.”
“The new generation, born and raised here in Britain, they are used to expressing their views and it will be a lot harder to shut them up. Last month was the first ever march against FGM [in Bristol where 15 to 16 mothers protested] and that is a sign of something new.”
Asha-Kin Duale is a community partnership adviser in Camden, London. She talks to schools and to families about safeguarding children. “Culture has positive and negative issues for every immigrant community. We value some traditions, and most are largely good.
“FGM is not confined to African countries. It has no basis in Christianity, it has no basis in Islam; none of Muhammad’s daughters had it done. For some parents it is enough to let them know that and they will drop it completely. Everyone needs to understand that every child, no matter what the background or creed, is protected by this law in this land.”
She said there needed to be an understanding of why FGM took place, although that was not the same as accepting that the practice had a cultural justification.
“FGM has a social function and until this is understood by social services and other bodies they will never stop it. It is a power negotiation mechanism, that women use to ensure respect from men. It prevents rape of daughters and is a social tool to allow women to regain some power in patriarchal societies. With girls living in the UK there is no need to gain the power – it has to be understood that girls can be good girls without FGM.”
For Jason Morgan, a detective constable in the Met’s FGM unit, Project Azure, the solution lies with those girls themselves: “Empowering youth, giving them the information, is the way forward. They are coming from predominantly caring and loving families, who genuinely believe this is the right thing to do. Many are under a great deal of pressure from the extended families.
“Sometimes it might be as simple as delivering the message of what the legal position is; sometimes we even give them an official letter, a document that they can show to the extended family that states quite firmly what will happen if the procedure goes ahead. The focus has to be on prevention.”
Project Azure made 38 interventions in 2008, 59 in 2009 and 25 so far this year. For Morgan those statistics are just as important as getting a conviction. “We know it happens here although we have no official statistics, but we have seen very successful partnerships and we don’t want to alienate communities through heavy-handed tactics.
“While a prosecution would send out a very clear message to practising communities, really it is very difficult and you would be relying on medical evidence, and in turn that would all hinge or whether the child consents to an examination.”
But Naana Otoo-Oyortey is not so content with the softly-softly approach: “We have anecdotal evidence that it is being done here. So someone is not doing their job: it’s an indication that the government has been failing to protect children. The commitment is hollow.”
Head of the leading anti-FGM charity Forward UK, Otoo-Oyortey said people value the FGM tradition as something which holds a community together and gives it structure. “It’s seen as a party, a cutting party because it’s a celebration – people expect it as a way of welcoming a girl. A lot of women will mention to us that there have been no prosecutions here so why do we worry about the law? At the end of the day who will know?
“And we cannot just blame the women as the men are silently supporting it by paying for it. The new government’s lack of a position on FGM is very worrying. We don’t know what they will do, but we do know that the summer holidays are here again and we will be left to pick up the pieces in a few weeks’ time.”
And for those who will be “cut” this summer, the effects will be lifelong. Miriam was six when she had her cutting party at her home in Somalia, two years before war arrived to force her family out.
When she was 12, doctors were horrified to find that what they thought was a cyst in her body was actually several years of period blood that had been blocked from leaving her body. Unable to have children, she now lives and works in England and worries about other girls. “I’d seen so many people circumcised, all my neighbours, so I knew one day it was going to happen to me. We knew what was happening,” Miriam said.
“The little girls who were born in Europe have no clue. They will be traumatised a lot more. The only thing they know is that they are going away – that’s what they say, ‘We’re going on a holiday’.
“Then her life and her head are going to be messed up. It’s amazing how many people are in mental health care because of their culture. Don’t get me wrong, I have religion and culture and I love where I’m from and I love what I stand for. But culture should not be about torture.
“Why would anyone want to go and cut up a seven- or eight-year-old child? People need to wake up — you are hurting your child, you are hurting your daughter, you’re not going to have a grandchild, so wake up.”
Religion of peace, my fucking ass.
Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki – the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers – singled out artist Molly Norris as a “prime target,” saying her “proper abode is hellfire.”
FBI officials have notified Norris and warned her they consider it a “very serious threat.”
In an English-language Al Qaeda magazine that calls itself “Inspire,” Awlaki damns Norris and eight others for “blasphemous caricatures” of the Prophet Muhammed. The other cartoonists, authors and journalists in Awlaki’s cross hairs are Swedish, Dutch and British citizens.
The 67-page terror rag is seen by terrorism experts as a bald new attempt to reach and recruit Muslim youth in the West.
“The medicine prescribed by the Messenger of Allah is the execution of those involved,” writes Awlaki, 39, a Las Cruces, N.M.-born American citizen.
“A soul that is so debased, as to enjoy the ridicule of the Messenger of Allah, the mercy to mankind; a soul that is so ungrateful towards its lord that it defames the Prophet of the religion Allah has chosen for his creation does not deserve life, does not deserve to breathe the air.”
Awlaki’s rant first appeared late last month in “Inspire,” which was posted to the Internet by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Yemeni branch linked to a Christmas Day bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound jet.
Initially, only three Web pages were accessible, leading to speculation it might be fake. But yesterday, the full edition was posted on jihadist Web forums, according to SITE Intelligence Group.
David Gomez, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle, said Norris and others were warned of the “very serious threat.”
“We understand the absolute seriousness of a threat from an Al Qaeda-inspired magazine and are attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target,” Gomez said.
Norris initially grabbed headlines in April when she published a satirical cartoon on her Web site that declared May 20 “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” as a way to mock Viacom and Comedy Central’s decision to censor an episode of “South Park” that showed the Prophet Muhammed dressed in a bear suit.
Soon after, the topic erupted on the Web with the start of a Facebook support group for Norris. In response, Pakistan blocked access to the social networking site as a fiery pro-and-con debate raged worldwide.
Norris eventually backed away from her cartoon and cause.
“I regret that I made my cartoon the way I made it,” she told the Seattle-based KING 5 TV.
Norris’ neighbor said yesterday he’s noticed an increased police presence on the street lined with modest Craftsman-style homes. No one answered the door at her home, where a blue baby swing hung from a tree outside.
Most of the “Inspire” entries are regurgitations of widely available jihadi propaganda, including translated speeches from Osama Bin Laden and tutorials on how to “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.” Still, experts say the goal is clear: to reach a young, impressionable audience.
“It’s like Al Qaeda’s Tiger Beat,” said one senior U.S. counterterrorism official.
After being raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer more than twice her age, a 15-year-old Concord girl was forced by Trinity Baptist Church leaders to stand before the congregation to apologize before they helped whisk her out of state, according to the police.
While her pastor, Chuck Phelps, reported the alleged rape in 1997 to state youth officials, Concord police detectives were never able to find the victim. The victim said she was sent to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. It wasn’t until this past February that the victim, who is now 28, decided to come forward after reading about other similar cases, realizing for the first time it wasn’t her fault that she had been raped, she told the police.
The police arrested Ernest Willis, 51, of Gilford, last week in connection with the case, accusing him of raping the girl twice – once in the back seat of a car he was teaching her to drive in and again after showing up at her Concord home while her parents were away. He was charged with four felonies – two counts of rape and two counts of having sex with a minor, court records show.
In a statement to the police, the victim said Willis came to her home in the summer of 1997 without warning.
“He said he wanted to talk to me about something so I let him in the house,” she wrote. “He locked the door behind him and pushed me over to the couch. I had a dress on and he pulled it off. I pushed my hands against his shoulders and said ‘No,’ but he didn’t stop.”
At the time of the alleged rape, Phelps was in touch with the police, who told him to contact the Division for Children, Youth and Families.
But moving the girl out of state prevented the police from collecting evidence or a statement, the police said yesterday.
“Without a victim, it makes it very difficult to have a case,” said Lt. Keith Mitchell. “That basically made the investigation very difficult.”
At the time, Willis also refused to give a statement, police records show.
So for 13 years, a file on the case sat closed and marked “unresolved” at the Concord police station.
Police records do not show whether detectives asked church leaders to help them get in contact with the victim or if information was withheld.
“If somebody tried to cover this up or not cover this up, that’s a separate issue,” Mitchell said.
Phelps did not return a message seeking comment yesterday. He no longer works at the church.
“The leadership of Trinity Baptist Church reported this alleged crime within 24 hours of hearing the accusations on Oct. 8, 1997,” said spokesman Peter Flint from a prepared statement. “We continue in our commitment to cooperate with authorities so that justice is served.”
‘Completely in shock’
The victim said she came forward after getting in touch with Jocelyn Zichterman, who runs an online group for victims of church abuse.
In a seven-page statement to the police, the victim recounted the moments leading up to her departure from New Hampshire.
At 14, she began babysitting for Willis, a well-known member of the church. She told the police she would often stay the night if he got home late.
Just over a year later, he offered to give her driving lessons. While in the parking lot of a Concord business, Willis asked her to pull over to switch seats, she told the police.
But instead he pulled her into the backseat and raped her, according to a statement to the police.
In the summer of 1997, Willis raped her again, this time while at her home while her mother was out, according to police records.
“I was completely in shock, but too scared to go and tell anyone because I thought I would get blamed for what happened,” she said.
Over the next few months, the girl became suspicious she was pregnant. She called Willis, who brought over a pregnancy test that came up positive, she told the police.
“He asked me if I wanted him to take me to a neighboring state where underage abortions were legal . . . and he would pay for an abortion,” she told the police. “He then asked me if I wanted him to punch me in the stomach as hard as he could because that might cause a miscarriage.”
She declined both.
The victim told her mother about the pregnancy. Soon after, Phelps was also alerted.
The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins.
She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.
“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”
Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session.
At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.
“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said.
Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.
“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.
A day after the session, Earle called the pastor’s wife, who said the victim had decided not to press charges for statutory rape.
“You’ve got to understand, we trusted our pastor and his wife to be telling us the truth,” Earle said. “They told us it had been reported. He reported it as a consensual act between a man and a woman. Well, I didn’t know a 15-year-old was a woman.”
Earle, who left the church in 2001 after 19 years, said it was regular to see young girls who were pregnant called to the front of the congregation to be humiliated.
Rob Sims, another former member, said the discipline sessions were formulaic – Phelps would read Bible verses, give a limited overview of what happened and then each person would read a statement.
“(The) statement agreed that they had done wrong and why they ‘now believed’ that they had sinned,” he said. “Then Pastor Phelps would give a few closing remarks and then a vote would be taken to remove the guilty party from membership or to keep them in membership but under discipline, or something to that effect.”
The police said the victim’s family asked for her to be moved to Colorado.
“I think that she clearly did not want to go to Colorado, and I’m quite sure she expressed that to the church, her mother and the pastor,” said Concord police Detective Chris DeAngelis. “However, she was a juvenile. Her mom requests assistance and that was what they came up with.”
Mitchell said the police are looking at pressing other charges.
Willis was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bail. He faces an arraignment June 16 in Concord District Court.
A Polish-born priest accused of sexually abusing minors in his parochial residence in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has turned himself in, state officials said Saturday.State security officials said Marcin Michal Strachanowski, 44, surrendered to authorities Friday night in the village of Realengo.
State Civil Police had issued a “preventative arrest” warrant against Strachanowski on Thursday. The priest is accused of handcuffing a minor in 2006 and forcing him to perform sexual acts at his home in the Divino Espirito Santo church in Rio de Janeiro’s west zone, the officials said.
According to Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, the priest could not be found Friday morning.
The newspaper reported that a 16-year old alleged victim told investigators that after being frequently raped by the priest, he was forced to remain silent and was threatened regularly.
Citing court statements, the newspaper reported that criminal Judge Alexandre Abrahao Dias Teixeira said police investigations revealed the profile of a man with a “compulsive attraction to having sex with adolescents” and that he had allegedly turned his parish residence into an “erotic dungeon” where he forced boys to have sex with him.
Yup, fuck Islam. Religion of peace? My ass.
Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an “honour” killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.
The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.
Police made the discovery in December after a tip-off from an informant, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on its website.
The girl had previously been reported missing.
The informant told the police she had been killed following a family “council” meeting.
Her father and grandfather are said to have been arrested and held in custody pending trial. It is unclear whether they have been charged. The girl’s mother was arrested but was later released.
Media reports said the father had told relatives he was unhappy that his daughter – one of nine children – had male friends. The grandfather is said to have beaten her for having relations with the opposite sex.
A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.
The discovery will reopen the emotive debate in Turkey about “honour” killings, which are particularly prevalent in the impoverished south-east.
Official figures have indicated that more than 200 such killings take place each year, accounting for around half of all murders in Turkey.
A woman has been tortured by her neighbours for two days and forced to eat human waste before she finally gave in and confessed to practising witchcraft.
Those who beat, punched and kicked Kalli Biswokarma, 47, accused her of casting evil spells on a schoolteacher who had fallen ill in the village of Pyutar, 40 kilometres south of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
“I was victimised because I am a poor woman,” said Ms Biswokarma, who belongs to the Dalit community – the untouchables on the lowest rung of Nepal’s rigid Hindu caste hierarchy.
“Around 35 people came to my home and took me away. They trapped me in a cow shed and forced me to eat faeces and drink urine.
“The next day they cut my skin with blades. I could not bear the torture and I confessed to being a witch just to save my life.”
Hundreds of Dalit women are thought to suffer a similar ordeal every year in Nepal, where superstition and caste-based discrimination remain rife and where most communities still operate on strict patriarchal lines.
Human rights campaigners say the perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice, with police viewing the persecution of Dalit women as a matter for the community itself to sort out.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has pronounced 2010 the year to end violence against women, but authorities in the impoverished nation admit they face an uphill struggle.
“Superstitions are deeply rooted in our society, and the belief in witchcraft is one of the worst forms of this,” said Sarwa Dev Prasad Ojha, minister for women and social welfare.
“Such traditional practices cannot be wiped away overnight.”
The Women’s Rehabilitation Centre says it has documented at least 82 cases in two years in which women who were tortured by neighbours on charges of witchcraft.
Experts say superstitions about witchcraft are often merely a pretext for victimising women.
For Ms Biswokarma and her family, now back in their home village after a stay in a women’s refuge in Kathmandu, the stigma of being accused of witchcraft persists.
“I am still afraid because some of the people who tortured me are still in the village,” she said.
“I have lost my dignity, but I have not given up hope. I will fight for justice.”
As previously reported, Pat Robertson is a piece of shit, turns out, nothing has changed.
Comments from the controversial Rev. Pat Robertson that Haiti suffered from a devastating earthquake because of its “pact with the devil” continue to stir curiosity and outrage.
The storyline continues to sit near the top of Google trends within the United States — and it’s even drawing interest across borders.
“It took about five nanoseconds for evangelical Pat Robertson’s video verdict on the causes of the Haiti earthquake to start making the rounds in France,” Robert Marquand reports from Paris for the Christian Science Monitor.
While the French enjoy “chuckles of disbelief” over the folklore surrounding their former colony, a detailed explanation of the origins of Robertson’s comments is offered at political blog FiveThirtyEight.com. As the Hotsheet noted yesterday, Robertson’s remarks have their roots in Haitian religious mythology.
“His comments come straight out of a blend of theology and history that, at the grassroots, pervades Haiti’s political discourse,” Robert Taber, a doctoral candidate in Carribbean History at the University of Florida, wrote at FiveThirtyEight.
He adds a positive spin to Robertson’s remarks, writing, “The most generous reading of Rev. Robertson’s statement is one of searching for positive direction and building anew. Port-au-Prince last rose out of the rubble in 1770, twenty-one years before the people of Haiti began the West’s only successful slave revolt. We need to begin the discussion of how this rebuilding can match the glory of that remarkable achievement.”
Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the U.S., added more historical context to the discussion last night, pointing out that Haiti’s independence movement facilitated the Louisiana Purchase in the United States and lead to the liberation of Latin American states.
He blasted Robertson’s comments, concluding, “So, what pact the Haitians ‘made with the devil’ has helped the U.S. become what it is.”
Many other commentators continued to criticize Robertson. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington remarked yesterday that, “For anybody of faith, even if you’re not God, Pat Robertson is giving religion a terribly bad name, again and again.”
Jim Wallis, a prominent progressive Christian leader, gave a similar assessment: “As a Christian leader, I have had to spend too much of my time trying to overcome an image of Christianity that was created by the likes of Pat Robertson,” he wrote. “When evil strikes, it’s easy to ask, where is God. The answer: God is suffering in the midst of the evil with those who are suffering.”
The police should have aimed for his head when they shot him. This piece of shit wanted to kill a man for drawing some cartoons – Fucking disgusting.
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish police said on Saturday they shot and wounded a Somali man with al Qaeda links when he tried to break into the home of a cartoonist whose 2005 caricatures of Prophet Mohammad outraged many Muslims.
The 28-year-old man, armed with a knife and axe, failed to get into Kurt Westergaard’s home in the town of Aarhus late on Friday and was shot in the leg and hand after he threw the axe at a policeman, a police spokesman said.
The man, who was now under arrest, had “close ties to the Somali terror organization al-Shabaab as well as to al-Qaeda leaders in East Africa,” the Danish Security and Intelligence Service PET said in a statement.
It said the man, who had a legal residence permit for Denmark, was also “suspected of being involved in terror-related activities in East Africa.”
The security service said the man, who would be charged with attempting to kill Westergaard and the police officer, had been involved in a “terror-related network” that had long been under investigation in connection with threats to Westergaard.
“PET looks very seriously upon this case which once again confirms the terror threat directed against Denmark and the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in particular,” PET chief Jakob Scharf said in the statement.
Westergaard was not hurt in the incident, a police spokesman said.
He said police were still investigating whether the Somali man acted alone.
Last year, U.S. authorities arrested two men in Chicago who were suspected of planning attacks on Westergaard and his newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.
Most Muslims consider any depiction of the founder of Islam as offensive.
In 2006, three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Several young Muslims have since been convicted in Denmark of planning bomb attacks, partly in protest at the cartoons.
Denmark’s Muslim community makes up about 3 percent of the 5.5 million population.