Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Mumbai attacks blamed on outsiders

November 27, 2008

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggested the group behind the terrorist attacks, which killed 125 people, was based outside the country.

CNN reporters said regular gun fire and blasts could be heard at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels and a Jewish center in the city.

Police had some success with 10 hostages reportedly freed from the Oberoi despite a major fire.

CNN

Shortly after authorities said the siege had ended at the Taj Mahal hotel, two explosions were heard, similar to the six blasts heard earlier.

It was not immediately clear what caused any of the explosions. Witnesses said continuous gunfire could be heard at the hotel.

A fire from earlier billowed smoke through one of the hotel’s windows, as firefighters poured water over the plumes.

A few blocks away, at the Hotel Oberoi, a major fire raged Thursday night through one floor there, CNN’s sister network in India, CNN-IBN said.

The network reported 30 people were trapped, and said gunshots could be heard. Later, an explosion was heard from the hotel’s rear side.

At least three or four terrorists are still holding hostages in both the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, British officials told CNN on Thursday.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/27/
india.attacks/index.html

It’s here: The age of suicide fighters, global jihad

November 27, 2008

The clean-shaven, lithe young men ravaging Mumbai are suicide fighters — planned, armed and committed for long, hard-fought battles — not the shadowy hit-and-run suicide bombers with which India is so familiar.

The detonation of two taxis on Thursday night seemed only a diversion: The real teeth of the attack lay in small teams of highly trained commando-like fighters capturing large buildings, taking hostages and preparing for a long siege.

By Amit Baruah and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

The Mumbai terror strikes fit neatly into the paradigm of jihad international. For the first time, the targets are no longer just random markets or innocent Indians, but Westerners: Americans, Britons, Israelis and Australians.

Mumbai 26/11, said a senior Indian intelligence official, was executed by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiyyabba, a part of the larger global jihadi machine. Luxury hotels where westerners stay have become a popular target – assuring deeper fear and global publicity.

Hotels are now a choice jihadi target, said terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna. That’s how terrorists struck at the Marriot in Islamabad in September, the heavily guarded Serena Hotel in Kabul in January.

Islamic Jihad militants carry a Qassam rocket in Khan Yunis. ...
Islamic Jihad militants carry a Qassam rocket in Khan Yunis. Israel has reacted to militant rocket fire by again sealing off the Gaza Strip, where officials said the territory’s sole power plant was forced to shut down because of the crippling blockade.(AFP/Said Khatib)

The switch from anonymous bombing or suicide bombing may be a product of three separate developments within the Islamicist terrorist system:

· Polls have shown a growing discontent about suicide bombings among mainstream Muslims, with Islamic clerics pointing to strong Quranic injunctions.

· Two, roadblocks, regular inspections and the difficulties in getting a car have made suicide bombs difficult. A direct frontal attack on a hotel entrace is much easier.

· “Bomb fatigue” undermines the publicity need that terrorist organizations live off. Long, bloody sieges, however, are perfect for sustained public attention and headline-grabbing.

A number of terrorist groups already have this ingrained in their modus operandi. The Abu Sayyaf group of the Philippines, for example, eschews suicide bombing but has a long record of assaulting tourist resorts, cruise ships and shopping malls.

The expertise that puts suicide fighters into action is not available to India’s home-grown terrorists. All indications point to a foray from Pakistan, a vital cruicible for the global jihadimachine. We are just their latest target.

Tourists watch as smoke billows out of the historic Taj Mahal ... 
Tourists watch as smoke billows out of the historic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. World leaders have expressed anger and horror after Islamist militant attacks in Mumbai left more than 100 people dead, as fears grew over foreign hostages.(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)

The year 2025: Oil, dollar out; Russia, Islam in

November 21, 2008

Global warming could be a boon to Russia, a European country could be overrun by organized crime and the U.S. and its dollar could further decline in importance during the next two decades, says a U.S. intelligence report with predictions for the world in 2025.

The report, Global Trends 2025, is published every four years by the National Intelligence Council to give U.S. leaders insight into looming problems and opportunities.

The report says the warming earth will extend Russia and Canada‘s growing season and ease their access to northern oil fields, strengthening their economies. But Russia’s potential emergence as a world power may be clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector, persistent crime and government corruption, the report says.

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

Analysts also warn that the same kind of organized crime plaguing Russia could eventually take over the government of an Eastern or Central European country. The report is silent on which one.

It also says countries in Africa and South Asia may find themselves unstable and ungoverned, as state regimes collapse or wither away under security problems and water and food shortages brought about by climate change and a population increase of 1.4 billion.

The potential for conflict will be greater in 2025 than it is now, as the world’s population competes for declining and shifting food, water and energy resources.

Despite a more precarious world situation, the report also says al-Qaida’s terrorist franchise could decay “sooner than people think.” It cites its growing unpopularity in the Muslim world, where it kills most of its victims.

“The prospect that al-Qaida will be among the small number of…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081121/
ap_on_go_ot/intel_trends_4

Commentary: Letter to Obama on the Muslim world

November 14, 2008

First of all, as one of more than 66 million Americans of all races, religions and ethnicities who voted for you, your electoral victory was one of the proudest moments of our collective lives.

As our American political history witnessed the magnitude of our nation’s first African-American president, our society was also able to collectively (and finally) exhale, knowing that the mailbox at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. would now read “Obama” instead of “Bush.”

Arsalan Iftikhar says the Muslim world is looking to Barack Obama for leadership on many key issues. 
Above:  Arsalan Iftikhar says the Muslim world is looking to Barack Obama for leadership on many key issues.

With hardly a moment’s rest, as you transition toward Inauguration Day, our nation (and the rest of the world) will not wait for long before seeking your leadership on many pressing global issues.

From an economic recessionary mess to a perpetually broken health care system with 46 million American neighbors as uninsured casualties, your soon-to-be administration will face some monumental domestic and foreign policy issues that will affect us for generations.

From an ill-conceived war in Iraq to an oft-forgotten war in Afghanistan, from global flashpoints from Tel Aviv to Islamabad, your diplomatic and political interaction with the Muslim world may decide the success (or failure) of your foreign policy legacy.

Your unenviable task will be to undo the catastrophic policies of George W. Bush and his fellow neoconservative ideologues, facing the specter of al Qaeda’s sinister terrorism while undertaking public diplomacy efforts addressing anti-Americanism around the world.

Similarly, since the tragedy of September 11, the global Muslim community has continued its own daunting task of undoing catastrophic damage caused by Osama bin Laden and his creepy terrorist cronies.

From global debates on religious extremism broadcast on BBC World Television to global interfaith outreach with the Vatican, we Muslims are in the midst of our own internal dialogue condemning terrorism and reclaiming the mantle of Islam from the rusted claws of dinosaur extremists.

Again, let it be known to the world that Barack Obama is not (and has never been) a Muslim. Sadly, your presidential position vis-à-vis the Muslim world is still unenviable because some Republican adversaries sinisterly tried to paint you as a “crypto-Muslim” during the presidential election, although Sen. John McCain did not join in these absurd accusations.

Read the rest from CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/12/iftikhar.obama/index.html

Religion Now Appears to be Dominating Life in Pakistan

November 9, 2008

Returning to Karachi after many years abroad, Mohammed Hanif reflects on how religion now appears to be dominating life in the country.

BBC

Twelve years ago, just before I left Pakistan to work for the BBC in London, an old friend from school tried to recruit me into a militant anti-Shia organisation.

After dropping out from high school, Zulfikar Ahmad had started a motorcycle garage in my native city in central Punjab, and joined one of the sectarian organisations that were flourishing in the area.

Above: Badshai Mosque, Lahore.  By: Geert Vanden Wijngaert 

We had a heated discussion over his politics and I reminded him of a number of common friends who were Shias and were as good or bad Muslims as any of our other classmates.

Visibly unconvinced, Zulfikar gave up on me and wished me luck for my life in London.

His attempt at converting me was one of the many signs of religious intolerance creeping into our lives.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_
correspondent/7715343.stm

US diplomat warns no blank cheque for Pakistan

October 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The top US diplomat for South Asia met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and warned that international donors would only give carefully targeted aid to the troubled country.

US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher visited Pakistan as its leaders face a growing Islamic militant insurgency and major economic difficulties.

Top US diplomat for South Asia Richard Boucher (left) met Pakistan ...
Top US diplomat for South Asia Richard Boucher (left) met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and warned that international donors would only give carefully targeted aid to the troubled country(AFP/Farooq Naeem)

But Boucher warned that no hand-outs would be available from the “Friends of Pakistan” — a group of nations, including China, the US, Britain and the UAE, which have pledged to help the country to stabilise.

“There is no money on the table,” Boucher told reporters in Islamabad. “The goal is to put the money where it belongs. It is not a cash advance.”

Pakistan has denied being at risk of defaulting on its foreign loans or suffering a balance of payments crisis.

Shaukat Tareen, the new finance adviser to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, repeated at the weekend there was “no danger” of a loan default.

However, he admitted “plan C” was a loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Boucher’s visit came after a series of US missile strikes into the country’s tribal regions that have strained bilateral relations.

He and Zardari had discussed the “war on terror” and Pakistan’s worsening economic problems, a Pakistani government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The United States says insurgents striking international troops in Afghanistan are based in Pakistan’s border tribal belt, and has stepped up its missile attacks since a new government came to power in Islamabad in March.

Ties between the allies were further tested last month by US special forces in Afghanistan launching a raid into Pakistan that killed several Pakistanis.

Zardari has vowed zero tolerance against violations of his country’s sovereignty amid the attacks, which have stoked anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

In the latest of Pakistan’s own military operations against Islamic militants, at least 12 Taliban were killed when jets and artillery pounded hideouts in a tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said.

The clashes took place in Bajaur, where Pakistani troops and militants linked to Al-Qaeda and Taliban have been engaged in fierce fighting since August.

 

China tightens grip on Muslims in Xinjiang

October 19, 2008

The grand mosque that draws thousands of Muslims each week in this oasis town has all the usual trappings of piety: dusty wool carpets on which to kneel in prayer, a row of turbans and skullcaps for men without head wear, a wall niche facing the holy city of Mecca in the Arabian desert.

But large signs posted by the front door list edicts that are more Communist Party decrees than Koranic doctrines.

The imam’s sermon at Friday prayers must run no longer than a half-hour, the rules say. Prayer in public areas outside the mosque is forbidden. Residents of Khotan are not allowed to worship at mosques outside of town.

One rule on the wall says that government workers and nonreligious people may not be “forced” to attend services at the mosque – a generous wording of a law that prohibits government workers and Communist Party members from going at all.

“Of course this makes people angry,” said a teacher in the mosque courtyard, who would give only a partial name, Muhammad, for fear of government retribution. “Excitable people think the government is wrong in what it does. They say that government officials who are Muslims should also be allowed to pray.”
To be a practicing Muslim in the vast autonomous region of northwestern China called Xinjiang is to live under an intricate series of laws and regulations intended to control the spread and practice of Islam, the predominant religion among the Uighurs, a Turkic people uneasy with Chinese rule.

The edicts touch on every facet of a Muslim’s way of life. Official versions of the Koran are the only legal ones. Imams may not teach the Koran in private, and studying Arabic is allowed only at special government schools.

Two of Islam’s five pillars – the sacred fasting month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca called the hajj – are also carefully controlled. Students and government workers are compelled to eat during Ramadan, and the passports of Uighurs have been confiscated across Xinjiang to force them to join government-run hajj tours rather than travel illegally to Mecca on their own.

Government workers are not permitted to practice Islam, which means the slightest sign of devotion, a head scarf on a woman, for example, could lead to a firing.

The Chinese government, which is officially atheist, recognizes five religions – Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism and Buddhism – and tightly regulates their administration and practice.

Its oversight in Xinjiang, though, is especially vigilant because it worries about separatist activity in the region.

Some officials contend that insurgent groups in Xinjiang pose one of the biggest security threats to China, and the government says the “three forces” of separatism, terrorism and religious extremism threaten to destabilize the region. But outside scholars of Xinjiang and terrorism experts argue that heavy-handed tactics like the restrictions on Islam will only radicalize more Uighurs.

Many of the rules have been on the books for…

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/10/19/news/xinjiang.php

The Obama, Farrakhan, Islam Question

October 18, 2008

Despite the wholehearted attempts by the Obama campaign to state categorically that Barack Obama is a Christian, he does not believe all that his pastor Rev. Wright believes and says, he supports the State of Israel and has little use for Louis Farrakhan; questions continue to arise….

By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post
January 15, 2008

Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said “truly epitomized greatness.” That man is Louis Farrakhan.
Above: Mr. Farrakhan

 

Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan “epitomized greatness.” For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism. Over the years, he has compiled an awesome record of offensive statements, even denigrating the Holocaust by falsely attributing it to Jewish cooperation with Hitler — “They helped him get the Third Reich on the road.” His history is a rancid stew of lies.

Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Said “God damn America”
during church sermon. Obama was a member of
the church and contributed money for some 20 years….

It’s important to state right off that nothing in Obama’s record suggests he harbors anti-Semitic views or agrees with Wright when it comes to Farrakhan. Instead, as Obama’s top campaign aide, David Axelrod, points out, Obama often has said that he and his minister sometimes disagree. Farrakhan, Axelrod told me, is one of those instances.

Fine. But where I differ with Axelrod and, I assume, Obama is that praise for an anti-Semitic demagogue is not a minor difference or an intrachurch issue. The Obama camp takes the view that its candidate, now that he has been told about the award, is under no obligation to speak out on the Farrakhan matter. It was not Obama’s church that made the award but a magazine. This is a distinction without much of a difference. And given who the parishioner is, the obligation to speak out is all the greater. He could be the next American president. Where is his sense of outrage?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/01/14
/AR2008011402083.html

*****************************

What is Louis Farrakhan Up To?

CHICAGO (AP) ― The Nation of Islam, a secretive movement generally closed to outsiders, has planned a rare open-to-the public event at its Chicago-based headquarters in what the Minister Louis Farrakhan deemed a “new beginning” for the group.

Hundreds of religious leaders of different faiths have been invited to the event planned for Sunday, a rededication of the group’s historic Mosque Maryam on the city’s South Side. Farrakhan is scheduled to speak.

“We have restored Mosque Maryam completely, and we will dedicate it to the universal message of Islam, and the universal aspect of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” Farrakhan said in an invitation letter. “It represents for the Nation of Islam, a new beginning.”

The event comes just weeks after the death of Imam W.D. Mohammed, the son of Nation founder Elijah Muhammad who broke with the group and moved thousands of African-Americans toward mainstream Islam.

The Nation purchased the mosque, a former Greek Orthodox church, in 1972 and has since been making renovations. The stately 1948 structure, embellished with a golden dome and topped with an Islamic crescent moon, is adorned with Quranic verses in Arabic.

Experts say opening the mosque’s doors to the public is a calculated move.

“It is a very conscious effort to open the mosque up to the community and to rededicate the community to learning about Islam,” said Aminah McCloud, a professor of Islamic studies at DePaul University. “Previously, the Nation has been open to people coming to visit it, but its members don’t generally go anywhere else … now there is a concerted effort.”

While the Nation has espoused black nationalism and self-reliance since it was founded in the 1930s, in recent years members have reached out to other groups. For instance, the Nation has a Latino liaison and has become involved in immigrant rights rallies and marches. Also, the Minister Ishmael Muhammad, a top assisting minister at the mosque and widely thought to be a potential successor to Farrakhan, has talked about unity between all people, at times speaking in Spanish.

Farrakhan, 75, has haltingly tried to move the Nation toward traditional Islam, which considers the American movement heretical because of its view of Elijah Muhammad as a prophet — among other novel teachings. Orthodox Islam teaches that there has been no prophet after Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.

He’s also played down some of the group’s more controversial beliefs. The Nation of Islam has taught that whites are descended from the devil and that blacks are the chosen people of Allah.

Read the rest:
http://cbs2chicago.com/local/nation.of.islam.2.843209.html

Related:

Obama & McCain: Who’s Playing the Race Card?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson listens to a Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, ... 
Above: Jesse Jackson quoted this week as saying the
U.S. “control” by “Zionists” would end under a President Obama.
Link: “Obama Will End Zionist Control Of U.S.” Family Member Says

Afghanistan: A Swamp Filled With Uncertainty

October 14, 2008

By Richard Halloran
The Washington Times

An Afghan boy and girl ride on a donkey carrying water, in Kabul, ...
An Afghan boy and girl ride on a donkey carrying water, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

As the United States begins extricating itself from the quagmire in Iraq, it is in jeopardy of plunging into a swamp in Afghanistan that is filled with uncertainty.

Yet neither President George Bush nor the leading candidates to succeed him, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, who debated the Afghan issue this week, have so far articulated America’s national interest in that landlocked Central Asian country. The White House, however, began a belated review this week of objectives and strategy in Afghanistan.

Gen. David McKiernan, the new commander of American forces in Afghanistan, sketched out a gloomy picture for the Pentagon press on Oct. 1, saying it would take “four to five years” of intervention before the Afghans could take responsibility for their internal security.

“What I have found after four months in Afghanistan is that the environment there is even more complex than I would have thought,” Gen. McKiernan said. “It’s a country where they have experienced 30 straight years of war that’s left a traumatized society and a traumatized tribal system.”

Other soldiers experienced in Afghanistan have been even more pessimistic. Brig. Mark Carleton-Smith, Britain’s senior commander in Afghanistan, was quoted: “We’re not going to win this war. It’s about reducing it to a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat and can be managed by the Afghan army.”

Brig. Carleton-Smith, who has just finished a second tour in Afghanistan, told the Sunday Times: “We want to change the nature of the debate from one where disputes are settled through the barrel of the gun to one where it is done through negotiations.” Evidently, negotiations would include moderate members of the revived Taliban insurgents.

A U.S. Army colonel who led a task force in Afghanistan, Christopher Kolenda, writing in the Weekly Standard asked: “How is it that we find ourselves unable to dispatch the Taliban seven years after their downfall? Winning in Afghanistan requires….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
8/oct/14/into-the-afghan-maze/

Consequences of Speedy Withdrawal From Iraq?

March 31, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 31, 2008

Every time I hear someone like Barack Obama talk about an immediate removal of American troops from Iraq, I say to myself: “you will condemn unknown millions to death and torture.”Even former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski believes a speedy U.S. troop removal will be a good thing.  And he said he supports Mr. Obama.

Writing in the Washington Post yesterday (March 30, 2008), Mr. Brzinski said, “The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for ‘staying the course’ draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush’s and Sen. John McCain’s forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of ‘falling dominoes’ that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.”

Ironically, many of the same liberals who demand an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq are the same ones who believe they are great protectors of human rights and also suffer from the dream that America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was justified and made Southeast Asia a better place.

The truth is: America’s departure from Vietnam meant death, torture and imprisonment for millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians. Both contries became communist — which is hardly a good thing. 

In my view, America’s withdrawal from Vietnam was the biggest tragedy of American foreign policy during the last century. America’s withdrawal from Vietnam is a gigantic black mark on America’s history.

Yesterday, Dith Pran died. Dith Pran is the person who called the carnage in Cambodia after America left Vietnam “The Killing Fields.”

Mr. Max Boot, writing in today’s Washington Post said, “Why am I not reassured by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s breezy assurance in Sunday’s Outlook section that ‘forecasts of regional catastrophe’ after an American pullout from Iraq are as overblown as similar predictions made prior to our pullout from South Vietnam? Perhaps because the fall of Saigon in 1975 really was a catastrophe. Another domino fell at virtually the same time — Cambodia.”

Mr. Boot continued, “Estimates vary, but a safe bet is that some two million people died in the killing fields of Cambodia. In South Vietnam, the death toll was lower, but hundreds of thousands were consigned to harsh ‘reeducation’ camps where many perished, and hundreds of thousands more risked their lives to flee as ‘boat people.’”

How do I know personally about the carnage of refugees when America departs from a far away war zone? I am married to a former prisoner of communism and a refugee who was born in Vietnam.

Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. My bride made it to America in 1998. She considers herself one of the “lucky ones.”

Just yesterday, as my wife and I were teaching English to Vietnamese-Americans, a man named Chien told me that in 1975 his father was given three days notice by the communists to report for reeducation. He was gone for six years and ten months. When he returned, he had lost nearly half his body weight due to overwork, malnourishment and harsh conditions with no medial care.

Chien’s father considered himself one of the “lucky ones” — because he had seen so many tortured and seen so many deaths.

One of the most degrading and harmful crimes committed against refugees is rape. Pirates, criminals, police, guards, soldiers even sometimes representatives of the United Nations have been known to rape refugees.

The criminal act of rape is not so much a sexual act of gratification, according to psychologists. Instead, in the case of refugees, it is a barbaric act of power, control and forced compliance with any order or directive.

After hearing countless stories of rape and humiliation related to me by Vietnamese refugees and “boat people” who fled communist Vietnam between 1975 and the late 1990s, I thought it might be useful to share some small bits of these stories without using the real names of any of the victims.

May was about 25 years old when she left Saigon and began to run away from communism and toward freedom. She traveled with her family to the sea coast and as a group they paid a broker about $1,000 per person for the privilege of leaving Vietnam by boat.

They transited by sea toward Thailand and freedom but they had never heard about the pirates plying the seas in search of the vulnerable and weak.

May’s entire family and everyone else in her boat suffered the horrible fate of being descended upon by armed pirates. Four Vietnamese men were killed in the attack and two more were slaughtered because they did not react quickly enough to the orders of the pirates. One man was beheaded by the pirates in front of the horrified refugee women and children.

May and all the other women in the boat were raped repeatedly. But, because she was one of the youngest and most beautiful women in the boat, May was singled out for special humiliation, abuse and torture. Her arms were tied so each spread out parallel to the deck and away from her torso. The lines were knotted painfully tight so that she could not move. She looked like someone subjected to crucifixion. Then her ankles were bound and tied so that her legs were apart. More than 22 men had they way with May before she lost consciousness.

When she regained the ability to think, she felt unbearable pain and shame and embarrassment. He own mother cut her down after the pirates left and tended to her bleeding.

When this refugee boat made landfall in Thailand, every woman was “rinsed out” without her own consent or authorization. The Thais didn’t want any pregnant refugees on their hands.

“And the cost of entering Thailand and the cost of entering the refugee camp was rape,” a Vietnamese American woman told us.

“My sister was raped 13 times,” she said.

“Many of my relatives disappeared. We are sure they must have been killed.”May wound up in the infamous Thai refugee center called “Sikhiew Camp.” She estimated that in her two year stay there she was raped about 60 more times.

Another Vietnamese woman named Suan told me a heartening story about the value of human life.

Like May, Suan was raped on the boat trip from Vietnam to Thailand. When she debarked from the boat in Thailand and saw the women being rinsed out, she faked an illness and refused the procedure. For some reason the Thai police sent her on her way to the refugee camp.

A few months later Suan realized that she was pregnant. All of her relatives and friends told her to abort the baby – and an old woman said she knew how to carry out the procedure as painlessly as possible.

Suan, a Roman Catholic who believed abortion to be a sin, prayed for two weeks for guidance. Then she told her mother she would need help having “her baby.”

Suan gave birth to a baby boy while in the refugee center. Today he is an American citizen who is a policeman in New England.

Suan’s decision to have her baby — a baby forced upon her by a man she didn’t know and didn’t love — turned out to be a good one. A real lesson in the value of human life and our ability to overcome hardship.

So when I hear people talk about quickly pulling American troops out of Iraq without discussing the implications for so many in that region who will then be at risk, I think about the refugees and their hardship. I live among them every day.

I live among the “lucky ones,” because millions died and we’ll never know how many.

Related:
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

How Not to End the War
By Max Boot

‘Killing Fields’ survivor Dith Pran dies

Disaster of Hasty Withdrawal
By Henry Kissinger

Vietnam After the Fall of Saigon: 1975 Until Present

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part II)

The Fall of Saigon: 1975 (Part I)

Thailand’s Criminal Abuse of Refugees: a Shameful 30+ Year Saga