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Swede held in Pakistan 'refuses to be released': official

TT/Charlotte Webb · 29 Sep 2009, 10:37

Published: 29 Sep 2009 10:37 GMT+02:00

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Rumours circulated last week that Safia Benaouda and her two-year-old son had been released from prison, a speculation that could not be confirmed by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet).

But according to a high ranking Pakistani official, Benaouda still remains in custody - by her own choosing.

“She won't leave without her husband,” Pakistani Home Secretary Rehman Malik told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“She and her son are doing well. We are very considerate of her special circumstances.”

Speaking to Sveriges Television (SVT), Malik also confirmed that there is no concrete evidence against the Swedes. The trio are only guilty of violating visa regulations.

Benaouda was arrested in northern Pakistan on August 28th, along with her husband, their 2-year-old son and Mehdi Gezhali, a Swedish national once imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

Story continues below…

The group was arrested on the border of the North-western province, Waziristan, in a forbidden zone containing nuclear facilities.

TT/Charlotte Webb (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:27 September 29, 2009 by here for the summer
all from wikipedi ... on mehdi Gezhali recent arrest ...

2009 arrest in Pakistan

On 10 September 2009, the Swedish television programme Rapport reported that Ghezali was among a group of twelve foreign citizens who had been arrested one week earlier in the Dera Ghazi Khan District in Punjab, Pakistan, on suspicions of having ties to al-Qaeda.[1][2][23][24][25][26][27] Pakistani security officials reported the 12 men were captured on August 28 2009. Among the twelve arrested men, three (including Ghezali) were Swedish, seven were Turkish, one was Russian and another one was an Iranian citizen.[24] According to the Pakistani police chief Mohammad Rizwan, the individuals were arrested when they were trying to sneak into the Punjab province through a checkpoint.[24] According to Rizwan, the police had found CD disks, exchange money and litterature which all indicated links to terrorist activity.[24] Following their arrest, Ghezali and the two other Swedish citizens were moved to Islamabad.[23] Rizwan described Ghezali as "a very dangerous man".

Ghezali's attorney, Anton Strand response to the news that Ghezali was reported to have been captured was: "Yes, I'm surprised by it. One should remember that Ghezali has traveled in that region previously and he has an interest in the region. He is religious and has friends and contacts."[27]

Swedish newspaper, The Local quoted Gösta Hultén, the author of a book on Ghezali, who said that Ghezali's father believed he was on a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.[27] He reported that Ghezali had called from Saudi Arabia "a few days ago" -- which would be about a week after Pakistani authorities reported the ten men were captured. According to Hultén: "The father is very upset about the allegations that Mehdi has ties to Al-Qaeda. He has already been cleared from those suspicions once."

On September 13 2009 Swedish officials confirmed that Pakistan had apprehended three Swedish citizens.[28][29] But they declined to comment further on their identity.

On September 14 2009 EuropeNews repeated Swedish language reports that Ghezali and his companion were captured with a laptop, foreign currency, and a new claim -- suicide belts.[30]

On September 16 2009 two of Ghezali's traveling companions were identified.[31] He was reported to have been captured with "28-year-old Munir Awad and 19-year-old Safia Benaouda, and their two and a half-year-old boy." The most recent allegations state the four Swedes were traveling to Miranshah in Waziristan, to meet Zahir Noor, alleged to be a Taliban leader. Ghezali is reported to have explained that the group were traveling to Lahore to participate in what Swedish newspaper The Local described as "a harmless meeting with a Muslim revivalist movement, Tablighi Jamaat."

See also: Allegations that Tablighi Jamaat has ties to terrorism
12:01 September 29, 2009 by jimmyjames
Attention ALL SWEDES you are playing with fire. Your society and your values are 360 degrees opposite Islamic teachings, which by their definition makes you all disgusting infidels. You will have a 9/11 style attack on Swedish soil. Witness the recent robbery of the cash depot utilizing aircraft and how easy it was for the criminals ( it should be noted that all of them were refugees from Bosnia/Serbia). All of these people look at you Swedes as " easy ". Unfortunatly your politicians and police re-enforce these opinions everyday. Bad things are fast heading your way.
12:12 September 29, 2009 by nevon

"Your society and your values are 360 degrees opposite Islamic teachings"

You should have taken a class in geometry rather than drama, obviously.
12:25 September 29, 2009 by Kaethar
LOL. I noticed that too. Ahahaha.

And I disagree with many Islamic teachings but we can't restrict people from becoming muslims. Safia's mother is, after all, a Swedish convert to Islam.
12:33 September 29, 2009 by this_aint_sparta
@ jimmyjames,

LOL, thats exactly what happens when the amount of hatred exceeds the amount of logic. As you wanted to differ them so much you actually made them allign :-))))
13:14 September 29, 2009 by sherkovic

You disagree with many ISlamic Teachings.

How many of the islamic teachings do you actually know?

Now please dont open the plethora of OSaman and Al-Qaeda. Please refer to Quran and Sayings of Prophet Mohammad.

@Jimmy; If your parents had send you to the school and you have grown up as an educated and learned man then I am sure you would not have been talking like this.
13:36 September 29, 2009 by nevon
The Quran explicitly states that if your wife disobeys you, you are allowed to beat her, albeit "lightly".

"As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their, beds (and last) beat them (lightly)"

An-Nisa (MADINA) : Verse 34

However, the Bible and pretty much every holy book has a plethora of ridiculous content, ranging from slavery to incest and rape. The Quran is no worse, and even a tad bit better than the Old Testament if you read them comparatively.

Religions have mellowed out of such teachings over time and largely secularized themselves, and Islam is mellowing out in the same fashion as well, if only you look at the large groups of Muslims who are not bomb-toting extremists. Poverty and under education is what militant Islam thrives on; countries with rapidly developing economies and widely available higher education (which in turn allows men and more importantly women crucial economic independence) like Turkey are caging Islamic extremism into the lower levels of society, and that's the kind of example that Europe should follow in quelling the threat of militant Islam.

... or we could become drama-mongering xenophobes and yell about how Islam is secretly plotting to impregnate our tender white women and other nonsense.
13:58 September 29, 2009 by sherkovic
@navon; finally after wasting long hours you manage to take out something but that too even without reference of context.

The words 'lightly beat' are used as the last final option and not as the first and the only option. So open your eyes go back to quran again and read the verses pre and proceeding this verse to know the whole story to the puzzle connected to the reference!
14:50 September 29, 2009 by peropaco
They should remove the kid, send it to the grand mum and let her rot there with the others.
16:57 September 29, 2009 by browneyes10
@ jimmyjammes. Shame on you and on your education/knowledge.

You really make me laugh for your non-sense comments and it shows that how much racist you ARE.

well I am living in sweden and a foreigner but for swedish ( because most of the swedish people are good and respected people) I pray and hope that all these arrested swedish will be released soon.
17:26 September 29, 2009 by Moshe
nevon stated:

"The Quran explicitly states that if your wife disobeys you, you are allowed to beat her, albeit "lightly"."

I wonder how many humanistic, Swedish men beat their wives brutally?

Nevon, you pointed out ""Your society and your values are 360 degrees opposite Islamic teachings" Are you saying 360 degrees is not the opposite but the same. I guess if one goes around 360 degrees, then both societies are the same. Do you think the person meant 180 degrees?

You also stated "However, the Bible and pretty much every holy book has a plethora of ridiculous content, ranging from slavery to incest and rape"

There are numerous books with the subjects you mentioned and the Bible and Quran are but a couple of those books. If you perceive something as ridiculous, then it must be; but, isn't it amazing how many people in this humanistic world believe in ridiculous ideas such as "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."? I think the quote was from the Quran. Not sure but I think that is where I read it.

Got to go before all the "Playboy" magazines are sold out!
18:56 September 29, 2009 by izbz
Had great repect for the woman for standing by her dumb husband for being such a dumb ass after leaving Guantanamo and landed himself and worse with the wife and kid in a "no, no" zone in Pakistan. but if she want to be there, she should also think of her responsibility to her son. Best get the kid out of that hell hole.

I am not a muslim but I think... should leave religion out of the comments. By the way he was not arrested because he is a muslim but as a " terrorist suspect" Stop being holier than thou,

qouting Koran and Bible. If we need a sermon , we'll attend church this Sunday if we don't wake up with a hangover
19:10 September 29, 2009 by Moshe
izbz, you stated " If we need a sermon , we'll attend church this Sunday if we don't wake up with a hangover"

My friend, you don't need to attend church (especially on Sunday) to get a sermon. You can go to church anytime for a sermon.

Does it bother you when someone believes different than you? Izbz, life isn't as bad as you amke it out to be! Stop getting those hangovers. Bad for your liver, mate.
21:40 September 29, 2009 by nevon

"And (as for) the male theif and the female thief, cut off (from the wrist joint) their (right) hands as a recompense for that which they committed"

Sura 5 - Al-Maeda (MADINA) : Verse 38

Cutting off someones hands for theft?

Also, I don't really think that physical assault on a woman who disobeys you being the LAST RESORT makes it in any way ok. The same verse states that women have to obey men and other anachronistic nonsense. I'm sure you've read it.

If you're trying to make Islam or any religion look peaceful or humanistic, the first thing you have to do is NOT defend every word of the book literally. There is pretty much no religion that can be presented as modern and acceptable without discarding a good number of embarrassing and frankly barbaric portions of their doctrine left over from a time when cutting off hands or beating women was ok. The same goes for the Old Testament, in which slavery, stoning people to death, genocide, infanticide and all sorts of horrid behavior is condoned and even encouraged. It's just not compatible with our times.

A large majority of mainstream religious people (Including Muslims and Christians) just conveniently discard the itchy scratchy horrible parts of their religions and live perfectly happy and wholesome lives with the good parts. Why do you feel that you're obliged to defend wife-beating and cruel/inhumane punishment when you could do so too?


Moral philosophy doesn't have to be etched in religion, and indeed it isn't. It doesn't have to take God to threaten you will hell and tell you that your life, and the lives of the people who you live with are going to be much better if you be honest, don't steal, don't kill and have good will. It just takes good old fashioned secular common sense.
22:26 September 29, 2009 by Nutcracker
The correct comparison is between Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the New Testament, contrasted with the Koran, Hadiths and Sira and the life of Muhammad.Christ preached love, mercy and repentance. Mo was a warlord and 'preached' forced conversion, persecution and warfare against all who refused to either convert or pay the Jizya (protection monies). That call to wage Jihad remains in perpetuity unlike, for example, parts of the Old Testament which are only history and not meant to serve as eternal mandates. No other 'religion' has a Mandate requiring the death of anyone trying to leave it (apostasize): "Muhammad said, 'Whoever changed his deen (Islamic faith), then kill him." (Hadith Bukhari 9.88.6922) Freedom of conscience (to have a faith, or none) and freedom of speech are the two freedoms on which all others rest. Faith is a matter of individual choice: Islam, by denying that, is more a political ideology than a theology.Those apostasizing from Islam nowadays still live under death threats, world-wide. As for that mandate (Koran 4:34) permitting wife-beating, it hasn't 'mellowed' in 1,400 yrs: Al-Azhar University, center of Islamic teaching in Cairo re 4:34: "If admonishing and sexual desertion fail to bring forth results and the woman is of a cold and stubborn type, the Qur'an bestows on man THE RIGHT TO STRAIGHTEN HER OUT BY WAY OF PUNISHMENT AND BEATING, PROVIDED HE DOES NOT BREAK HER BONES NOR SHED BLOOD. Many a wife belongs to this querulous type and requires this sort of punishment to bring her to her senses."
22:34 September 29, 2009 by someoneonthenet
If she wants to stay in prison let her stay but get the child out.


If you only follow the parts that you like then you don't really believe. If you follow all commands (of most major religions) literally then you are not likely to be considered even a decent person in most parts of the world.

Almost all religious people follow the religion of their parents (extremely small minority of followers are converts), which makes me almost certain that either all of them are man made or GOD is extremely incompetent as humans can't distinguish between his religion and man made religions.
23:12 September 29, 2009 by nevon
I disagree someoneonthenet. It's might be true in a philosophical sense that if you don't follow all the parts then you don't really believe, but in reality, a lot of people don't follow all the parts of their religion yet still consider themselves religious. There are lots of non-practicing Muslims for example, who don't pray regularly or fast every day of Ramadan, but still consider themselves Muslim. In fact, in countries where there isn't some fascist law that forces you to pray or fast, such Muslims are incredibly numerous, often surpassing or at worst trailing practicing Muslims (who in themselves are also not homogeneous in the frequency of their practice). The same goes for any religion. And the wonderful thing is that these are usually the children of parents who are relatively more religious and/or practicing. This is what I mean by "mellowing out"; next generations are on average more secular and less religious than their parents, for all major religions, and this is a great thing which should inspire hope in all of us.
06:32 September 30, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
Every time I am with the Norwegians and we get into trouble, they alway say; "Lets do a 360 and get the heck out of here!"

@Kaethar "And I disagree with many Islamic teachings but we can't restrict people from becoming muslims. "

True we should not restrict free speach BUT we SHOULD teach accurate information about islam. MOST mosloms do not know anything about their own religion.

They WORSHIP their profit as the perfect man. And yet when they hear the truth about how VIOLENT and DEPRAVED their profit actually was, some of them go ballistic and threaten and commit violence! Others, who hear the truth, just leave islam! Education WILL stop the spread of islam. The only thing that makes it strong now is the fact that for the last 1400 years, no one has been allowed to question islam. When they get to the West and they hear the stuff that they are NOT allowed to hear back home, they react in the way they have been taught for the last 1400 years; with violence.

This is why the islamic people and countries are trying so hard to pass laws that make it illegal to say things that will show islam in a negative light! They can control the speech within their own countries but they cannot control it in the West!

@browneyes10 says of @jimmyjammes. "it shows that how much racist you ARE."

I am glad to see that, so far, only @browneyes10 has misused the word RACIST! I know that @browneyes10 has already been told that you cannot be RACIST against islam! It is NOT a race! @browneyes10 KNOWS he should have said how "PREJUDICED you are" But accusing someone of being RACIST is so much more ABUSIVE than calling them PREJUDICED!

Getting a good religious education would also help mosloms realize that the BIBLE has NO LITERAL VALUE to most christians! (Then again, most mosloms, in addition to knowing nothing about their own religion also know nothing of christianity, or any other religion for that matter) I think it is funny that the mosloms are always defending their book by making comparisons to the bible.

It sounds like this poor girl in this article has been so brainwashed that she is willing to endanger her child. So Sad!
13:38 September 30, 2009 by DreEstwd
Actually, the last time BrownEyes was on here, he was threatened to...and I quote, "cut out the tongue" of another of another forum member for insulting Islam. Yes, the religion of peace, indeed.
17:36 September 30, 2009 by Dinaricman
Dinaric greetings DreEstwd!!! At least we Croats know how to deal with Muslims. I am not so confident with the Swedes. You have had a sheltered existence.
17:42 September 30, 2009 by here for the summer

You say you hope and pray they will be released. If they actually had terrorist materials and suicide belts and plans to attack the danish embassy as reported do you tsil hope they are released?
07:21 October 1, 2009 by Uncle
Here for the summer - whatever you are describing is technically impossible. Muslims never explode, never fight against civilians, never get into conflicts with the neighbors. Every muslim that was ever arrested was simply sitting by his veranda and drinking coffee without any knowledge of anything that may harm anyone.

Hopefully the 75% of the the total population of Swedish prisons, that constitute innocent muslims, who are only 5-8% of the total population, will be released immediately, because by definition all the swedish judges are Jews/friends of Bush. Since SOMEONE committed the crimes, it were definitely the Jews and there is no need in trials - just a waste of time and money that could be invested into the social welfare of the mentioned above hardworking peaceful muslims.

For the thick ones... It is called sarcasm
14:01 October 1, 2009 by DreEstwd
@Dinaric- Not sure what you were trying to say there. I'm not Swedish and I really like the Croatian people. Never had one bad experience with them. Only good. Great looking women too. My country knows how to deal with the Muslims as well. You don't see our prisons full of them.
17:47 October 1, 2009 by Dinaricman
DreEstwd, I'm just trying to get a feel for you. I agree with many of the things that you post. I do not fault you for your Nordic interest. However, you have to understand that we are in this together. All corners of Europe need to align as one my friend. Are you German?
18:52 October 1, 2009 by DreEstwd
Yeah, Dinaric. Totally agreed. Nah, I'm not German. Southern Californian, actually. Currently living in Sweden and a concerned resident.
00:35 October 2, 2009 by Jon in KC
Wow, I really hate how people confuse religion with spirituality. Someone can be religious without being spiritual. In other words they just go through the motions. This (in my opinion) is true of many western Christians.

This is a sad case of events in that it involves a child. Now I don't know the full history of the individuals of this case, but there are 2 possible outcomes. Either they are guilty and as such will be judged accordingly by the Islamic government of Pakistan or, they suffer from a chronic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Either way it is sad that they involved their young child in this. The fact that the woman is standing by her husband is admirable, but in my mind, any truly loving mother and wife would put the needs of the child first and remove them from the situation. Now perhaps they are getting very good care in the Pakistani jail (we have no reason to believe otherwise) but I still believe it better to take the child back to the family in Sweden.

As to the ignorance of religion on this board, it is appalling. I believe that a course on world religions should be mandatory in school. I was fortunate enough to go to a school that had such a class. We also had students representing the majority of the major religions.

The problem is not the religion, all major religions have a version of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you, i.e. treat people how you want them to treat you) the problem is the interpretation of the religion by radicals. All religions have them. We had a Christian extremist not long ago that walked into a Church on Sunday and shot and killed an abortion doctor in front of his family. The man did this in a house of God but called himself a Christian. Now he does not represent the vast majority of Christians, but he does make the news.

Anyway, all this to say that every group has its bad apples and it only takes one bad apple to spoil the rest. The trick comes in educating the mainstream portions of the religions to ignore the radicals and thus limit their influence. They will always be there, but we can limit them.
19:21 October 6, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
@Jon in KC - the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you)

Wait a cotton picking minute here - I thought the Golden Rule was "Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you"!?!?! Has someone been pulling my leg and Jon is correct?
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