The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is quite simple: RELIGION! To be more specific, the religion is ISLAM! There is no greater poison in the world than Islam. I realize that religious apologists will always defend religions at large, even Islam, but the reality is that Islam is a religion of war, not peace. Anyone who still denies this fact is either mentally retarded or just plain stupid. TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Yahoo News
Each owned speeches and books about religious war and martyrdom, including works by U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki
Both of Lee Rigby’s killers were driven by a warped extremist ideology that in their eyes justified picking a man they assumed was a British soldier at random and hacking him to death in the street.
Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo each owned speeches and books about religious war and martyrdom, including works by U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who reportedly had contact with three of the 9/11 bombers and was designated a “global terrorist” by American authorities in 2010.
Al-Awlaki was also suspected of having contact with Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 soldiers at a Texas army base in 2009, and directing a failed plot to bring down a plane in Detroit in the same year.
Adebolajo was also said to have had contact with British extremist preacher Anjem Choudary, one architect of the now-proscribed group al-Muhajiroun.
Co-founder Omar Bakri Mohammed also claimed that he had spoken to Adebolajo at meetings.
The group was banned in the UK in 2010, and a study suggested that in the preceding 12 years 18 per cent of Islamic extremists convicted of terror offences in the UK had current or former links with it.
Al-Muhajiroun was recently branded “the single biggest gateway to terrorism in recent British history” in a report by campaign group Hope Not Hate.
Raised by devout Christian parents, Adebolajo said he converted to Islam in around 2002 or 2003, and his beliefs crystallised when he was in his first year studying building surveying at the University of Greenwich.
He began attending rallies, including one in 2007 when he was pictured next to Choudary, but told jurors during his trial that he later realised demonstrations made no difference.
The university has set up a panel to investigate whether Adebolajo or Adebowale were associated with it, the student union or any student societies, and if any of those bodies contributed to their extremism.
Adebowale spent time in Feltham young offenders institution, where it is claimed previous inmates were radicalised. Shoebomber Richard Reid, and Jermaine Grant, accused of plotting terror attacks in Kenya, were both held there.
He was also said to be on the periphery of the Woolwich Boys gang, and probation sources have expressed concern that teenage gang members might fall into the clutches of extremists.
Questions were also raised about the psychological effect of a murderous attack at a flat in Erith, South-East London, in which Adebowale was stabbed and his friend was killed.
Former bare-knuckle fighter Lee James was found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Faridon Alizada in 2008, and wounding Adebowale and another 16-year-old friend.
Psychiatrists suggested that Adebowale might have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the attack, and failed to respond to counselling.
Damascus (AFP) – The Syrian air force was on Monday accused of killing 76 people by unleashing barrels packed with explosives on Aleppo, a focal point for fighting between regime and rebel forces.
The bombardment, which activists described as “unprecedented”, came as the United Nations said the number of Syrian war refugees in the Middle East was likely to double to 4.1 million by the end of 2014.
The number of people slain in Sunday’s bombing of Aleppo “with explosive-packed barrels… rose to 76,” including “28 children and four women,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, updating its previous toll of 36 dead.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said it was “one of the heaviest tolls from air raids since the beginning of the war” that flared after a brutal regime crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired democracy protests that erupted in March 2011.
Explosive-laden barrels were dropped on six rebel-controlled districts in the east, including Sakhur, Ard al-Hamra and Haydariyeh, Abdel Rahman said.
The Observatory and activists said government forces frequently drop the barrels filled with TNT on rebel-held areas of the war-torn country from helicopters and warplanes.
“The barrels of explosives are not like bombs. Their impact is not accurate as they are dropped without any guidance system, and that is why they cause a large number of victims,” said Abdel Rahman.
The devices are made up of metal barrels that have a layer of concrete inside them “so that they cause as much destruction and death as possible,” according to Abdel Rahman.
There are two types of barrel bombs, one of which is home-made, and the other of which is made in factories.
A Syrian security official said the army prefers the TNT-packed barrels because they are cheaper than regular bombs, which need to be imported from Russia.
Aleppo raids ‘unprecedented’
The Aleppo Media Centre, a network of activists on the ground, called Sunday’s raids on the northern city “unprecedented”.
“Everyone is looking up at the skies and watching the planes. But there’s nothing to be done,” AMC activist Mohammed al-Khatieb said.
Aleppo, Syria’s second city and pre-war commercial hub, is now divided between areas occupied by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebel fighters.
Fighting that erupted with a rebel offensive in July last year has caused massive damage to the historic city.
Activists posted video footage online of the aftermath of Sunday’s barrel bomb attacks, showing bulldozers clearing rubble from the streets as men searched for survivors in wrecked buildings.
The barrel bombings came as Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom prepared to brief the United Nations Security Council on the use of internationally-banned chemical weapons in the unrelenting war.
Sellstrom led an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
His team published a report on Thursday, saying there was “credible evidence” that the controversial arms had been used five times since the conflict broke out 33 months ago.
The United States was on the brink of launching air strikes against Assad in August after a deadly chemical weapons attack in the Eastern Ghouta area on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
It and other world powers blamed regime forces for the attack, but a deal for Assad to surrender his chemical arsenal narrowly averted the strikes.
Under UN Security Council Resolution 2118 passed in September, all of Syria’s chemical weapons are to be destroyed by June 30.
More than 126,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, and millions more have fled their homes.
According to a fresh UN estimate, some 4.1 million Syrians will be living as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt by the end of 2014, up from an estimated 2.4 million today.
TIKRIT (Reuters) – Suicide attacks and bombings across Iraq killed at least 21 people on Monday, medical and police sources said, the latest in a series of attacks that has brought violence in Iraq to its highest level in five years.
The deadliest attack took place in Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, where four bombers wearing explosive belts took over a police station after detonating a parked car bomb outside the building, police sources said.
Two blew themselves up inside the station, killing five policemen. The other two took control of the station for about an hour before detonating themselves as Iraqi special forces raided the station, the sources said.
“We believe that the attack was aimed at freeing the detainees who are being held in the building next door,” said Major Salih al-Qaisi, a police officer who was at the scene.
“All militants were killed before they reached the police department building where the detainees are held,” he added.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, but suicide bombings are the trademark of al Qaeda’s Iraqi wing, which merged this year with its Syrian counterpart to form the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
In Baghdad, a string of car bombs and roadside bombs killed at least 14 people and wounded 34, police and medical sources said.
This year has been Iraq’s most violent since 2006-7, when tens of thousands died in strife between Sunnis and Shi’ites.
The government blames groups mainly linked to al Qaeda for the spike in violence, which it says has been stirred by the civil war in neighboring Syria where mostly Sunni rebels are battling a government allied to Shi’ite Iran.
Hundreds of Iraqis were killed last month, figures from the United Nations and the Iraqi government showed.
(Reporting by Kareem Raheem in Baghdad, Ghazwan Hassan in Tikrit, writing by Suadad al-Salhy, editing by Alexander Dziadosz and Patrick Graham)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of the 6-year-olds was so sweet his teacher said he should have come to school wrapped in a bow.
Another loved princess tea parties, Justin Bieber and trips to New York. Still another, who rode horses, was hoping for a cowgirl hat and boots for Christmas.
One year later, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, still evokes raw emotion and sadness. On Saturday, a day after another school shooting, this time at a Colorado high school where one student was wounded, the United States paused to remember the tragedy and revisit the contentious issue of guns in America.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the school he had once attended and murdered 20 first-graders, all aged 6 and 7, and six adults. Before heading to the school, Lanza killed his mother, who had legally purchased the guns he used that day.
Newtown officials said the town wanted to be left alone on the anniversary. Some of the victims’ families have encouraged those moved by the shooting to mark the day by performing an act of kindness in their own communities.
At the White House, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence after lighting 26 candles to honor those lost at the school.
In Newtown, at the Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital and elsewhere around the country, bells tolled in remembrance of those who died.
Some of the bells were rung by advocates of stricter gun control who see Newtown as a rallying call for action and refuse to let up despite setbacks. The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns says there have been 28 school shootings since Newtown.
A fierce snow storm blew through Newtown, where a flag was flown at half-mast on Main Street. There was also a heavy police presence, including near the site of the recently demolished school.
Wreaths of fresh flowers were placed near the spot where a large sign once stood announcing the Sandy Hook school. The area has been a popular location for people to leave flowers, stuffed animals and other tokens of remembrance.
On a frozen pond near the town center, a group of young skaters, some wearing “We are Newtown” sweatshirts, played a game of hockey. After a goal, one player threw down his hockey stick and shouted: “O.K. guys, that’s for Sandy Hook.” Then the game continued.
‘NO GUIDEBOOK’ FOR RECOVERY
On that deadly Friday last year, teachers were in the midst of their morning meetings or starting the day’s first lesson when gunfire was heard in the hallways and over the intercom system.
Eleven minutes after blasting his way in, Lanza ended his rampage with suicide. The aftershocks live on.
“There’s no guidebook for this, not at all,” said Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, a first-grade teacher who survived the attack by hiding with her students in a tiny bathroom adjacent to a room where other children and adults lost their lives.
For months after the shooting, Roig-DeBellis said she struggled to understand why it had happened and why she was still alive.
“For me, I have moved forward. But I will never move on,” she said. Roig-DeBellis, and many of the families who lost loved ones on that day, plan to be out of town for the anniversary.
In Newtown, about 70 miles northeast of New York City, officials vowed to enforce a sense of normalcy as this Connecticut town of about 28,000 began a day of quiet, if still anguished, reflection.
“The community needs time to be alone and to reflect on our past year in personal ways, without a camera or a microphone,” First Selectman Pat Llodra told a news conference this week.
The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has announced 50 events, including a “communal bell-ringing,” as a symbol of their resolve not to let up in advocating for change they believe will prevent gun violence in America.
About 120 protesters calling for new gun control legislation braved freezing rain to attended a rally outside the Virginia headquarters of the National Rifle Association.
“We’re not going away,” said Joanna Simon, a founding member of the Reston-Herndon Alliance to End Gun Violence, organizers of the protest.”We’re coming back every month until we pass some meaningful legislation and get it funded.”
A representative from the NRA, which opposes new gun control measures as unfair and onerous for responsible gun owners, did not respond to a request for comment. The NRA has called for better school security and the presence of armed guards.
After the Newtown tragedy, Connecticut passed several new gun control and mental health measures, but a similar effort pushed by President Barack Obama failed in the U.S. Senate.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Additional reporting by Richard Weizel in Newtown, Victoria Cavaliere in New York, Lacey Johnson in Virginia and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Trotta, Doina Chiacu and Gunna Dickson)
QUNU, South Africa (Reuters) – South Africa buried Nelson Mandela on Sunday, leaving the multi-racial democracy he founded without its living inspiration and still striving for the “Rainbow Nation” ideal of shared prosperity he had dreamed of.
The Nobel peace laureate, who was held in apartheid prisons for 27 years before emerging to preach forgiveness and reconciliation, was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Qunu after a send-off combining military pomp with the traditional rites of his Xhosa abaThembu clan.
As the coffin was lowered into the wreath-ringed grave, three army helicopters flew over bearing the South African flag on weighted cables, a poignant echo of the anti-apartheid leader’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president nearly two decades ago.
A battery fired a 21-gun salute, the booms reverberating around the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape, before five fighter jets flying low in formation roared over the valley.
“Yours was truly a long walk to freedom, and now you have achieved the ultimate freedom in the bosom of your maker,” armed forces Chaplain General Monwabisi Jamangile said at the grave site, where three of Mandela’s children already lie.
Mandela died aged 95 in Johannesburg on December 5, plunging his 52 million countrymen and women and millions more around the world into grief, and triggering more than a week of official memorials to one of the towering figures of the 20th century.
Over 100,000 people paid their respects in person at Mandela’s lying in state at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, where he was sworn in as president in 1994, an event that brought the curtain down on more than three centuries of white domination.
When his body arrived on Saturday in Qunu, 700 km (450 miles) south of Johannesburg, it was greeted by ululating locals overjoyed that Madiba, the clan name by which he was affectionately known, had “come home”.
“After his long life and illness he can now rest,” said grandmother Victoria Ntsingo. “His work is done.”
Before the burial, 4,500 family, friends and dignitaries attended the state funeral service in a huge domed tent, its interior draped in black, in a field near Mandela’s homestead.
The flag-covered casket was carried in by military chiefs, with Mandela’s grandson and heir, Mandla, and South African President Jacob Zuma following in their footsteps.
It was then placed on black and white Nguni cattle skins in front of a crescent of 95 candles, one for each year of Mandela’s life, as a choir sang Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the national anthem adopted after the end of apartheid in 1994.
“The person who is lying here is South Africa’s greatest son,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), who presided over the three-hour ceremony broadcast live across the nation and around the world.
From the Limpopo River in the north to Cape Town in the south, millions watched on television or listened to the radio. In some locations, big screens transmitted the event live.
“Qunu is too far to go, so I gathered with some people here so we can mourn together. I can say he is a hero, a man of the people,” said 29-year-old Message Sibanda, among about 100 others watching in Johannesburg’s Sandton financial district.
“FAREWELL, MY BROTHER”
At the service, touching tributes were paid to the father of the “Rainbow Nation” he helped forge from apartheid’s ashes.
“Farewell my dear brother, my mentor, my leader,” said lifelong friend and fellow Robben Island inmate Ahmed Kathrada, his voice cracking with emotion, drawing tears from mourners.
In his eulogy, Zuma paid tribute to a life that went from freedom-fighter to political prisoner to president. He also briefly turned attention to the future, pledging to continue Mandela’s quest for a free and equal society, free from racial discrimination.
“Whilst the long walk to freedom has ended in the physical sense, our own journey continues. We have to continue building the type of society you worked tirelessly to construct. We have to take the legacy forward,” Zuma said.
The intense spotlight on the departed Mandela has highlighted the gulf in stature between him and the scandal-plagued Zuma. The current president is increasingly criticized for not doing enough to reduce poverty and chronic unemployment and end gaping income disparities that make South Africa one of the most unequal societies in the world.
“DON’T CALL ME”
Mandela served just one term as leader of Africa’s biggest and most sophisticated economy, and formally withdrew from public life in 2004, famously telling reporters at the end of a farewell news conference: “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
His last appearance in public was at the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, waving to fans from the back of a golf cart.
Yet such was his influence as the architect of the historic reconciliation between blacks and whites that his passing has left a gaping hole at the heart of South Africa’s psyche.
With an eye on elections in five months, the ANC, the 101-year-old former liberation movement Mandela once led, has seized on his death as a chance to shore up popularity that is ebbing even in its black support base.
This calculation backfired badly at a Mandela memorial in Johannesburg on Tuesday when Zuma, under fire for a $21 million security upgrade to his private home, was booed and jeered in front of world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama.
But barring an upset next year, Zuma looks set for another five years in office, during which he will have to address an economy struggling to shake off a 2009 recession and the fragmentation of a vital ANC alliance forged with the unions in the common struggle against apartheid.
With unemployment at 25 percent and racial inequality still painfully evident – the average white household earns six times more than the average black one – pressure for radical economic transformation is only likely to increase.
Against that backdrop, the party is desperate for strong leaders to guide South Africa through the complexities of the 21st century global economy and allow it to claim what it believes is its rightful place at the world’s top table.
There are questions whether Zuma, a polygamous Zulu traditionalist with no formal education, can deliver this.
“We need to raise the level of leadership,” former president Thabo Mbeki, who was unceremoniously ousted by Zuma six years ago, said in eulogies to Mandela last week.
“The transformation of South Africa is a very difficult task, I think in many respects more difficult than the struggle to end the system of apartheid.”
(Additional reporting by David Dolan, Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Pascal Fletcher in Johanensburg; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Janet Lawrence)