DAMASCUS--A female blogger has been abducted by armed men in the Syrian capital, Damascus, relatives and activists say.
Amina Abdallah Araf was seized on Monday evening, as she was walking in the area of the Abbasid bus station, according to her cousin, Rania O. Ismail.
"Amina was seized by three men in their early 20's. According to the witness [a friend accompanying Abdallah], the men were armed", Ismail wrote on Abdallah's blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus.
"One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad," she continued, referring to President Bashar al-Assad's brother who died in a car accident in 1994.
Abdallah, openly lesbian, holds dual Syrian and American citizenship.
According to Al Jazeera, Ismail wrote that her cousin's whereabouts were unknown, and that the family was trying to track her down.
"We do not know who took her, so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her," she wrote.
"From other family members who have been imprisoned there, we believe that she is likely to be released fairly soon. If they wanted to kill her, they would have done so. That is what we are all praying for."
Since mass protests erupted in Syria in March, Abdallah has been increasingly critical of the the government, writing on Sunday: "They must go, they must go soon. That is all there is to say."
On April 26, she wrote about how her father faced down two security agents who came to arrest her, threatening to rape her and accusing her of being a involved in a Salafist plot.
Mixing regime criticism with humour and poems, Abdallah has been outspoken about the situation for homosexuals and other subjects which are taboo in Arab culture.
Several Facebook pages calling for her release were set up on Monday and activists also launched a campaign on Twitter.
Syrian authorities had been cracking down on journalists and bloggers even before protests began.
A number of bloggers were arrested in February, and 20-year-old Tal al-Mallouhi, a 20-year-old girl, was jailed on charges on spying for a foreign country. (Source)
***UPDATE*** Some are speculating that Amina Abdallah Araf doesn't actually exist. If so, her blog, Wikipedia entry, and background story would be an amazingly detailed hoax, fooling Fox News, CBS News, the Huffington Post, and many other news agencies.
Here's Amina's cousin's entire report, if anyone wants to see it:
And here's the latest at the same blog (pretty much just saying that they don't know where she is):
(P.S. Shouldn't you wait until you know the reason why Amina was taken? It most likely has to do with her criticism of the government. I've tried thinking of how you could have possibly found a connection with Islam, and I can't think of any good reasons for you to post this.)
Darn! I forgot to add the "GreekAsianPanda Comes to Defend Islam" countdown!
GAP said: "Shouldn't you wait until you know the reason why Amina was taken?"
I don't recall giving a reason. So it seems I WAS waiting.
GAP said: "It most likely has to do with her criticism of the government."
I never said otherwise.
GAP said: "I've tried thinking of how you could have possibly found a connection with Islam, and I can't think of any good reasons for you to post this."
I've tried thinking of why you constantly accuse me of falsely accusing Islam whenever I mention news from the Muslim world. I post news from the Muslim world so people can see how things work in the Muslim world. Do you think that Syria (90% Muslim population) is a nation of atheists?
"Abdallah, openly lesbian, holds dual Syrian and American citizenship."
Yeah she's not that bright
I recieved today a mail from a friend who happens to know JELENA (the girl on the picture) and she (JELENA) claims that the photo is from her personal facebook account.
IS there anyone that knows the face of Amina that could clear this "misunderstanding"?
Again i am not accusing anyone of anything but since this came to my attention i would be interested to know if the girl in the picture is actually Amina or Jelena.
Thank you! Shared!!
To state a fact is not to accuse anyone.
I am praying for Amina's immediate release and here well-being.
She was "taken" because she was serving the public through her blog.
She is no traitor-- not to herself, not to Syria.
I have checked and several times in the internet it appears that in Syria homosexuality is a CRIME.
That means they can legally put her in prison.The Muslim Brotherhood is very strong in Syria and they would fight to the death to have the law abolished and they base their belief on the Koran.
"In Islam, homosexuals (called qaum Lut, the "people of Lot") are condemned in the story of Lot's people in the Qur'an (15:73; 26:165) and in the last address of the Prophet Muhammad. However, attraction of men to beautiful male youths has been a part of the culture of some Islamic societies and the attraction is not generally condemned in itself.
With regard to lesbian homosexuality, some have argued that since penetration is not involved, female homosexual acts should be less severely punished. Shari'a (Islamic law) is most concerned with public behavior and outwards, so there is no strong condemnation of homosexuality if it is not displayed in public."
You "post news from the Muslim world so people can see how things work in the Muslim world"? Not everything that happens in the Islamic world has to do with religion. I would find it odd if someone with a blog called "Answering Christians" posted an article about an event happening in a Christian-majority country if the events were irrelevant to Christianity and religion in general.
GAP said: "Not everything that happens in the Islamic world has to do with religion."
A woman is abducted (whether for being a lesbian, or for rebelling against the government), and her basic human rights are not protected. What's the penalty for being a lesbian, according to Islam? Death. What's the penalty for rebelling against leaders, according to Islam? Death. Does Islam respect the human rights of Kafir women? Not at all. Would this woman have been protected in, say, the United States? Of course.
And yet GreekAsianPanda confidently proclaims that this has nothing to do with Islam. I wonder why Islam, according to GAP, ALWAYS gets the benefit of the doubt, and one cannot even begin to criticize Islam, without the most thorough evidence imaginable, and yet the writers on this blog, according to GAP, NEVER get the benefit of the doubt, and one may freely condemn our claims without the slightest bit of consideration.
It seems that GAP has already absorbed the idea that Islam has a privileged status above all other positions. We're being condemned, then, for being bad dhimmis.
GAP, Since Islam is an all-encompassing system of, not only religion, but life, law, etc. as well, there can be no separation of that which occurs in an Islamic country and the laws and rules of Islam. You are seemingly viewing Islam through naive western eyes.
Even though this posting says nothing about Muslims or Islam being involved in the abduction, due to the nature of Islam it would be reasonable for the reader to believe that Islam, somehow, played a part in the abduction. Judging from your first comment even you were caught in this trap.
David: well said.
"It seems that GAP has already absorbed the idea that Islam has a privileged status above all other positions. We're being condemned, then, for being bad dhimmis."
I find it bizaire that GAP has this posistion which sounds distinctly muslim, and yet claims to be a Christian.
I just saw the person in the picture (not Amina) on Newsnight (BBC2) - she lives in London and is very upset her photo is being splashed around every news & blogsite. It had been copied from her Facebook account.
GAP said: "I would find it odd if someone with a blog called "Answering Christians" posted an article about an event happening in a Christian-majority country if the events were irrelevant to Christianity and religion in general."
I find it odd that you continue to think that the disregard for human rights and women's rights in Muslim countries has nothing to do with Islam's disregard for human rights and women's rights. They're completely separate issues, according to you. Do you also think that the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries has nothing to do with Islam's command to subjugate Christians? Do you think that the hatred many Muslims exhibit towards Jews has nothing to do with what the Qur'an says about Jews? Do you think that mosque attendance has nothing to do with Islam?
I just saw the closing remarks by Geert Wilders at the Amsterdam trial. It is quite powerful! Pls publish it on your blog so others can view it as well:
"I find it bizaire that GAP has this posistion which sounds distinctly muslim, and yet claims to be a Christian."
Well…GAP actually professes to be a "non-Trinitarian Christian."
I heard Muslims claim to be Christian & followers of Christ but non-Trinitarian. GAP could be playing taqiyya on everyone…God only knows. I sure hope he or she isn't.
Lets pray for this blogger Amina Abdallah Araf and GAP.
A little 411 in case anyone wishes to visit her blog.
It's funny to see some Christians praying for the safety of someone who more than likely doesn't even exist. A big Kudos to Christian rationality LOL
It is more merciful and virtuous to pray for someone who might not exist than it is to simply dismiss and curse outright.
We know where Islam stands on Americans, homosexuality, freedom of speech, and particularly freedom of speech as practiced by women.
Unitarian doctrine is very, very weak in the face of Islam.
It does not have the scriptural, traditional and even historical underpinnings that Trinitarianism does.
A unitarian cannot refute the Muslim claim that the Muslim Allah of the Koran and the Christian God are the same.
And since GAP cannot refute this claim, he/she must believe it, and even defend it.
As I see it, Unitarianism is just a half-way road to Islam. There is no other way they can go.
It's not merciful or virtious but retarded and stupid. I wonder if the roles were reversed and this women was Christian how you folks would react? Not so great when the shoes on the other foot :)
I'm not giving Islam a privileged status, David; I'm just saying that you shouldn't assume everything bad that happens in the Muslim world is in the name of Islam, especially when you don't know for sure. I mean, you're going to look stupid if it turns out her abduction has nothing to do with religion.
"I find it odd that you continue to think that the disregard for human rights and women's rights in Muslim countries has nothing to do with Islam's disregard for human rights and women's rights. They're completely separate issues, according to you. Do you also think that the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries has nothing to do with Islam's command to subjugate Christians? Do you think that the hatred many Muslims exhibit towards Jews has nothing to do with what the Qur'an says about Jews? Do you think that mosque attendance has nothing to do with Islam?"
I do think that subjugation of women, persecution of Christians, etc. in the Muslim world does have to do with Islam or is at least often religiously motivated. As for their hostility toward Jews, I think that has more to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the Quran doesn't really help with that by including them in the "worst of creatures" camp. But just because some bad things happen in the name of Islam, it does not follow that everything bad in the Muslim world is in the name of Islam, so it does not follow that Amina's abduction must be religiously motivated. Bad things happen in Christian lands in the name of Christianity (a few bombings of abortion clinics, the "God hates fags" protesters, that one actor guy who used to be on Ugly Betty who hacked his mother to death with a knife because she didn't believe in Jesus, trying to get young-earth creationism into schools, etc.), but that doesn't follow that everything bad here is caused by Christianity. I don't think that works, logically speaking.
GAP said: "I'm not giving Islam a privileged status, David."
Yes, you are. You constantly point a finger at us, with little or no basis. Yet you will not tolerate anyone pointing a finger at Islam. You recycle the most absurd defenses of the Qur'an's most violent teachings--defenses that are only available on the worst Muslim websites. If you're going to so radically reinterpret the clearest claims of the Qur'an, you forfeit the right to criticize anyone else. But you would never radically reinterpret anyone else's claims. Indeed, I posted a news article about a kidnapping WITH ABSOLUTELY NO COMMENTARY WHATSOEVER. You're the one who came with baseless accusations. So why are you so quick to condemn me (even when I don't say a word about Islam), but so quick to defend Islam? Are you seriously saying that you don't give Islam a privileged status?
GAP said: "I'm just saying that you shouldn't assume everything bad that happens in the Muslim world is in the name of Islam, especially when you don't know for sure."
Here's your mistake. You think that in order to condemn Islam, something must be done in the name of Islam. That's absolute nonsense. A Muslim man does not need to beat his wife in the name of Islam in order for the beating to be the result of Islamic teachings. The Qur'anic view of women permeates the culture, and people end up seeing women as inferior, whether they're thinking of Islam or not. Similarly, someone doesn't have to kidnap a woman in the name of Islam in order for the kidnapping to be related to Islam. The Islamic view of keeping women in their place permeates the culture.
Besides, if you recall, I posted the article WITH ABSOLUTELY NO COMMENTARY WHATSOEVER. I didn't accuse Islam of anything until you started freaking out, concluding that Amina's abduction couldn't have the slightest connection to Islam. That's when I pointed out numerous relevant connections to Islam.
GAP said: "I mean, you're going to look stupid if it turns out her abduction has nothing to do with religion."
I suppose I should remind you again, I POSTED THE ARTICLE, WHICH REPORTS A KIDNAPPING, WITHOUT ANY COMMENTARY WHATSOEVER. You're the one who wanted to discuss the reasons, and you brought up the topic by falsely accusing me. So I'm not sure how I would look bad if Amina was abducted by aliens.
But assuming your accusation were true, it would still be irrelevant. If you can show us that the poor treatment of women in Muslim lands has nothing to do with Islam, I'll certainly have egg on my face. Let me know when you come across such evidence. Then I'll be sure to apologize for posting an article reporting a kidnapping in Syria. I'll be sure to keep kidnappings secret in the future. We'll never mention kidnappings again.
I'm just saying that you shouldn't assume everything bad that happens in the Muslim world is in the name of Islam, especially when you don't know for sure.
That doesn't hold water with me.
Muslims come from a tradition in which religion permeates every aspect of every day life.
Muslims admit this-- they admit that their religion is part of EVERYTHING that they do.
So it's impossible to argue that what they are doing with so much planning, so much hardness of heart, and so much thought, and with so much scriptural backing, is not IN THE NAME OF ISLAM.
I'll be sure to keep kidnappings secret in the future. We'll never mention kidnappings again.
And then, GAP, you can persist in your lovely dream that in Islam, they never, ever happen!
The blog owner recently announced that the entire thing was a hoax.
See here for MSN's report.
I don't really blame anyone for getting duped, since even the media was tricked. But you should probably delete this post, David.
I think deleting the post is unnecessary. The comments are just too good to miss if I do say so myself!
Now I wonder what the GLBT organizations will say to this....
As a lesbian woman this saddens and scares me. I go to work like everyone else. I open doors for the elderly. I refuse to use violence. I help my friends and even strangers. I gave money to the poor. I have a loving relationship that is going on for years now. Yet because of that last thing that thing called ''love' is reason enough why gays are killed in those kind of countries. Why are we so hated?
I think it is a hoax...
Guardian UK is saying this http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/13/syrian-lesbian-blogger-tom-macmaster
Guardian says it is a HOAX
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