Jonathan Sacks writes: have been in New York these past few days to give a talk at the 9/11 Museum that has been erected on the site where once the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood. It is a place of collective grief and remembrance, where the exhibits are fragments of twisted wreckage and the debris of destruction.
Most moving are the memorial fountains that occupy the footprint of the original buildings. Around the side, engraved in bronze, are the names of the almost 3,000 victims. Unlike most other fountains, though, here the water flows downward and in the centre disappears into a black hole, an abyss. The intention was to symbolise lives lost that can never be recovered. No matter how much water flows, the emptiness is never filled.
After the tragedies of the past few days and weeks, however, the memorial seems to have another message also. The violence never ends. Innocent blood continues to flow. Every few days there are more newly bereaved families and yet more tears.
A story is beginning to emerge that becomes clearer over time. Asad Shah, the 40-year-old shopkeeper in Glasgow, was a deeply-loved man who represented all that is good in religious faith. His crime was to wish his Christian friends and customers a happy Easter. He wanted to express gratitude to a Christian nation that had given him and his family a home where he could practise his faith without fear. He was an Amaddiya, member of an Islamic sect regarded by some Muslims as heretical. He was murdered, it seems, not just to silence him but to intimidate others who might have followed him on the path to religious tolerance. One must not forget that of the hundreds of Muslims dying daily, the majority are at the hands of fellow Muslims.
The suicide bombings in Lahore are part of a pattern in which Christians have been terrorised across an ever widening swathe of countries across the world. To be sure, the attack was not on a Christian site but a park open to people of all faiths. But the bombers chose to attack at Easter, knowing that many victims would be Christians on their way to or from prayer.
Christians are being persecuted in some 50 countries, among them North Korea, Syria, Somalia and Sudan. In 2003 there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today a few thousand. In Mosul, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, Christians were forced to flee by Islamic State (Isil) in the summer of 2014. In Afghanistan the last church was burned to the ground in 2010. In Gaza in 2007, after the rise of Hamas, the last Christian bookshop was destroyed and its owner murdered. In Yemen, on Good Friday, Father Tom Uzhunnallil, an Indian Catholic priest, was crucified by Isil. The ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the Middle East is one of the crimes against humanity of our time, and I am appalled that there has been little serious international protest.
But the real target is not Christianity but freedom. Nor is this a war. Wars are fought between nations, by armies, and the intended victims are combatants. Terrorists wear no uniforms, and their intended victims are innocent civilians. I for one will never forget the episode two weeks ago on the Ivory Coast where terrorists gunned down a five-year-old child begging for his life.
There have been ages of terror before, but never on this scale, and never with the kind of technology that has given the jihadists the ability to radicalise individuals throughout the world, some acting as lone wolves, others, like the attackers in Paris and Brussels, working in small groups, often involving family members. Read the rest of this entry »
The court cited an ‘absolute lack of biological traces’ connecting the alleged killers to 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors did not even have proof that Knox and Sollecito were in the room where Kercher was fatally stabbed.
Jason Silverstein reports: The murder case against Amanda Knox had such “stunning weakness” and a lack of evidence that prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves, Italy’s top criminal court said Monday.
Knox, 28, did not comment on Monday’s final ruling, but in March, she told reporters: ‘I am so grateful for the justice I have received. I am so grateful to have my life back.’”
The Supreme Court of Cassation — which declared Knox and her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito blameless in the death of Knox’s roommate in 2007 — put an epilogue on the saga with a 52-page report that basically accused prosecutors and investigators of incompetence.
The court cited an “absolute lack of biological traces” connecting the alleged killers to 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. Prosecutors did not even have proof that Knox and Sollecito were in the room where Kercher was fatally stabbed.
‘Dalla Vedova said his client was happy, though not completely. ‘She is very satisfied and happy to read this decision,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a very sad story…because Meredith Kercher is no longer with us.’”
The pair ended up being found guilty in 2009 despite “stunning weakness,” “investigative bouts of amnesia” and “blameworthy omissions of investigative activity” in the case, the report says.
That conviction was overturned before the pair was convicted again in 2014. In March, Italy’s highest court cleared the former lovers again, forever preventing further legal action. Read the rest of this entry »
Statements from #AmandaKnox and her family
Statement from Amanda Knox:
“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”
Statement from Amanda Knox’s family:
“We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family. Countless people – from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice – have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today’s decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.”
Linda Byron reports: For many college kids, standing out in the crowd is something to strive for — to be a star athlete, a student government leader, or even the host of the craziest parties.
But after four years in a jail in Italy, Amanda Knox would be just fine if she could blend into the crowd at the University of Washington — and so far, she tells KING 5‘s Linda Byron, her fellow students and instructors are just fine with that. [Photo Gallery]
“I don’t look at people and think, ‘You’re going to be mean to me.’ In fact, most people are very nice,” Knox said of what it’s like to be back on campus. “I’m not hiding who I am. I’m not running around in a disguise.”