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Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

UK: Islamic schools ‘teaching pupils that gays should be executed’

Around 5,000 children at Islamic weekend schools are being taught homophobic and anti-semitic views, it has been claimed.

According to a BBC Panorama investigation to be screened tonight [Nov. 22, 2010], the Sharia law classes use textbooks which tell children that the penalty for gay sex is execution, that “Zionists” are plotting to take over the world for the Jews and the correct way to cut off the hands and feet of convicted thieves.

One book for six-year-olds asks children what happens to someone who does not believe in Islam. The answer, according to the programme, is “hellfire”.

There are said to be around 40 weekend schools, which are run under the banner of Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland. They teach the Saudi national curriculum and, as they are weekend schools, are not inspected by Ofsted.

According to the Daily Mail, one textbook for 15-year-olds identified by the programme says: “For thieves their hands will be cut off for a first offence, and their foot for a subsequent offence.”

Diagrams showing where cuts should be made (left) accompany the text, which says: : “The specified punishment of the thief is cutting off his right hand at the wrist. Then it is cauterised to prevent him from bleeding to death.”

Gay sex is punished by execution, the schools allegedly teach. However, children are told that clerics are said to differ in whether the guilty person should be stoned, thrown off a cliff or burnt.

Other textbooks are said to ask students to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews and claim that Jews are transformed into pigs and monkeys.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, told Panorama: “Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country. I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system. But I’m clear that we cannot have antisemitic material of any kind being used in English schools.”

The Saudi ambassador to the UK said it had nothing to do with the schools and condemned the “dangerously deceptive and misleading” use of historical texts on Jews.

The Saudi embassy told Panorama: “Any tutoring activities that may have taken place among any other group of Muslims in the United Kingdom are absolutely individual to that group and not affiliated to or endorsed by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

Source: Pink News, November 22, 2010

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