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Iraq: Mass Kidnapping Targets Academics

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Posted on Nov 14, 2006

Iraqi Interior Ministry commandos detain and search a man.

Earlier today some 80 armed gunmen dressed as interior ministry commandos stormed a research institute in Baghdad, kidnapping between 100 and 150 at least 50 people, some of whom were apparently released. The incident follows a series of attacks on academics and prompted Iraq’s higher education minister to close all universities until security is improved. (That order was later rescinded.)


Gunmen today kidnapped up to 150 scientists and staff members from a Baghdad research institute.

The gunmen - wearing interior ministry commando uniforms - arrived at the institute, beneath the ministry of higher education in the religiously-mixed Karrada area, in a fleet of 20 vehicles at around 9.30am local time (0630 GMT), authorities said.

Iraq’s higher education minister, Abed Theyab, instantly ordered all universities to be closed until security was improved, saying he was “not ready to see more professors get killed”.

“I have only one choice, which is to suspend classes at universities,” he told the Iraqi parliament.

He said the mass kidnapping had been “a quick operation”, taking between 10 and 15 minutes, with the gunmen moving throughout the four-storey institute building.


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By PM Beattie, November 14, 2006 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
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...just like the only future devout Evangelical Christians can imagine is one in which all infidels have been converted to Christianity or killed.

That is a perfectly true statement.  And if someone living in a country without any Christians were to read it, it might inspire fear in them.  How evil and violent, these Christians are.

Thankfully, not all people who call themselves Christians are ‘devout Evangelical Christians’ who believe that very soon Jesus will come back to earth and start slaughtering all non-Christians.  Neither are all Muslims the ‘devout Muslims’ you speak of.  For the majority, Islam is taken about as seriously as Christianity is here. 

Christians here do not (often) stone adulterers and homosexuals, engage in genocides at the behest of their god (anymore), nor do they act as if ‘it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,’ and, most of all, they don’t give all of their possessions to the poor.  Likewise, most muslims live their faith as it pleases them - which is to say, they don’t thirst for the blood of infidels, and “We” are not “at war” with Islam.

The “we” I would say that I am a part of is the “we” that is at intellectual war with all forms of ignorant superstition, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, neoclassical economics, etc.

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By pete sardony, November 14, 2006 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it will get worse with America showing weakness and division….

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By Bryan Burkholder, November 14, 2006 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great quote from Sam Harris’s book, “The End of Faith” that is quite pertinent.

“We are at war with Islam. It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so.  It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.  We are at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran.  The only future devout Muslims can envisage is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, subjugated, or killed.”

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