Source c47 NewsÂ
CHINIOT: Members of the civil society, journalists, photographers, cameramen besides a large number of people belonging to different walks of life staged demonstrations and took out rallies.
The rallies were addressed by leaders of different sections of society condemning the MQM chiefâ€™s anti-Pakistan remarks and party activistsâ€™ violence against media.
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Religious Freedom Violations Affect 74% of Worldâ€™s Population
Seventy-four percent of the worldâ€™s population lives in â€œcountries with serious restrictions on religious freedom, whether caused by government policies or the hostile acts of individuals, organizations, or societal groups.â€
That is the conclusion of the State Department in its latest International Religious Freedom (IRF) Report. According to the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, the world is currently â€œwitness[ing] violent upheavals, some of historic proportions, in which entire communities are in danger of being driven out of their homelands based solely on their religious or ethnic identities.â€
While these serious restrictions and this violent upheaval are occurring in only 24%of the worldâ€™s countries, those nations cover 74% of the worldâ€™s population. Â It is difficult to fully comprehend the devastation, pain, trauma, and fear that Christians and other religious minorities face on a daily basis. But these restrictions and violent acts are very real, and threaten to annihilate Christianity in the countries in which they occur.
The State Departmentâ€™s newest International Religious Freedom Report, upon which Ambassador Sapersteinâ€™s statements were based, addresses religious freedom violations in countries such as Pakistan and Sudan, as well as the violent and deadly acts of the Islamic State (ISIS), Boko Haram, and other radical Islamic organizations that target Christians and other religious minorities.
The Executive Summary of the report highlights Pakistanâ€™s blasphemy laws and Sudanâ€™s apostasy law. Also highlighted are the â€œbarbarousâ€ acts of ISIS, which is responsible for â€œkillings, torture, enslavement and trafficking, rape and other sexual abuse against religious and ethnic minorities and Sunnis in areas under its control.â€
Here at the ACLJ, we are engaged in many of the religious freedom issues addressed in the report, and are working to protect the victims of these abuses. Our work extends to places like Pakistan and Sudan in a global effort to defend persecuted Christians.
Recently, our international affiliate the European Center for Law and Justiceâ€™s (ECLJ) office in Pakistan, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), assisted in the case of a Christian woman, Sonia Gill, who was falsely accused of blasphemy. When the matter was further investigated, it was determined that no blasphemy had occurred. Currently, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian mother of five, is imprisoned and on death row also because she was falsely accused of blasphemy. She has now spent nearly 6 years in prison for a crime she didnâ€™t commit. The ACLJ continues to advocate for her release. Moreover, the ACLJ has repeatedly spoken against Pakistanâ€™s blasphemy laws, as case after case reveals that these laws are used to target and persecute Christians, not to protect the Islamic religion. As stated in the IRF Report on Pakistan, â€œreligious minorities continue to be disproportionately accused of blasphemy relative to their small percentage of the population.â€
The IRF report for Sudan highlighted the cases of Mariam Ibraheem and Christian Pastors Michael and Peter. Youâ€™re familiar with these cases because we reported on them extensively. Miriam Ibraheem is the Christian mother of two, who gave birth to her second child while in prison and facing a death sentence for apostasy. Pastors Michael and Peter also faced possible death sentences while imprisoned in Sudan because of their faith. Thankfully, through the prayers of many, the voices of hundreds of thousands, and our relentless legal advocacy across the globe these Christians were freed. It is important to continue using international law mechanisms to hold countries like Sudan responsible for violating the religious freedoms of their citizens.
Not only does the IRF report highlight individual cases of religious freedom abuses, such as the ones above, but it addresses larger scale violations of religious freedom by both state actors and Islamic jihadist groups.
In Afghanistan, Christians face hostility, discrimination, and persecution. According to the IRF report, there are â€œno public Christian churches,â€ and Christians continuously try to â€œavoid situations where the government might perceive them as seeking to spread their religion to the larger community out of fear of government reprisal.â€ Similarly, in Iran, â€œ[t]he government continued to . . . regulate Christian religious practices closely to enforce the prohibition on proselytizing.â€ â€œMuslim converts to Christianity reportedly continued to face harassment, arrest, and detention.â€ Â In fact, as of the report, at least 26 Christian converts were imprisoned in Iran. In all likelihood, the real number is much, much higher.
In Iraq, not only are Christians faced with genocidal persecution from ISIS, but they also face governmental restrictions on their religious freedom. For instance, according to the report, â€œevangelical Christians also reported they were unable to meet the minimum requirements for registration, resulting in their nonrecognition by the Council of Iraqi Christian Church Leaders. . . . [T]he inability to register also constrained the ability of evangelical Christians to proselytize and subjected them to unfair scrutiny by the government.â€
Christians in India not only faced destruction of their churches and property, but â€œ[p]olice disrupted church services and arrested Christians on charges of forced conversions and disturbing the peace.â€ According to the report on India, in 2015 â€œthere were 177 incidents of violence, harassment, or discrimination across the country targeting Christians. Incidents included assaults on missionaries, forced conversions, and attacks on churches, schools, and private property.â€
The report addresses the barbaric jihadist activities of Boko Haram â€“ a radical Islamic army â€œwhich pledged allegiance to [ISIS] in an audiotaped message in March 2015.â€ Boko Haram has â€œcontinued to launch indiscriminate, violent attacks targeting both Christians Â . . . [and] claimed responsibility for scores of attacks on churches and mosques, often killing worshippers during religious services or immediately afterward.â€
ISIS itself has continued to terrorize Christians and other religious minorities by perpetrating genocide on those who live within its control. The ACLJ is vigorously involved in advocating for an end to this genocide. Not long ago, we provided a timeline of events that details some of the atrocities that members of ISIS have committed. These acts are horrific and sickening. Rape, torture, murder â€“ all of these are common place in ISIS-controlled areas. In addition to informing you on ISIS atrocities, we are vigorously working to bring an end to this genocide. It is crucial that we continue to advocate for the United States and international governments to take action that will end this genocide and protect the victims.
We at the ACLJ do not take religious freedom for granted, which is why we remain committed to vigilantly protecting it here and abroad. Join with us in our work. As the minority of people who enjoy true religious freedom, it is important that we continue to pray and advocate for the majority of people around the world who do not enjoy the same religious freedom that we have in the United States.
iRabwah | News Watch |
Source/Credit:Â American Center for Law and Justice
Terrorism: Child Suicide-Bombings Increasingly Used In Militant Attacks
A study in February for Combating Terrorism Center at West Point military academy that examined Islamic State propaganda on child and youth â€˜martyrsâ€™ between January 2015 and 2016, found three times as many suicide operations involving children over the year.
â€œThey represent an effective form of psychological warfareâ€”to project strength, pierce defenses, and strike fear into enemy soldiersâ€™ hearts,â€ the study said. â€œIslamic State is mobilizing children and youth at an alarming rate.â€
Those tactics are mirrored in West Africa where U.N. officials have tracked a rise in attacks like the one carried out by a girl as young as ten who last year exploded a bomb in a busy market-place in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing 16 people.
Security sources at the time said the explosive device was wrapped around her body.
In an April report, UNICEF said attacks involving child suicide bombers between 2014 and this year rose four-fold in northeastern Nigeria, where militant group Boko Haram is based, and neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
A 12-year-old Nigerian girl captured with explosives in Cameroon in March told police she had been abducted by Boko Haram after the group overran her village a year earlier.
According to the UNICEF report, nearly two thirds of all the child attackers they tracked were girls. In the first six months of this year alone, UNICEF says it has also noted 38 child suicide bombers in West Africa.
â€œThis is one of the defining features of this conflict,â€ said Thierry Delvigne-Jean of the agencyâ€™s west and central Africa office.
Hisham al-Hashimi, an analyst and author who advises the Iraqi government on Islamic State, says militants this year had reactivated their Heavenâ€™s Youth Brigade, in reaction to the groupâ€™s battlefield losses in Iraq and Syria.
â€œTeenagers are easier to recruit for suicide missions, especially in moments of suffering or despair having lost loved ones,â€ he said. â€œThey also attract less attention and less suspicion than male adults.â€
Child recruits who have escaped from Islamic State ranks in its base in Syriaâ€™s Raqaa have described how they were taught to handle weapons, and also how to detonate suicide belts.
iRabwah| News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post
Khalid Jabara was shot and killed on Aug. 12 outside his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hundreds of mourners gathered at a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Thursday to memorialize Khalid Jabara, a 37-year-old who was shot and killed on Aug. 12 in an apparent hate crime.
During the ceremony, Rev. George Eber, parish priest of St. Antony Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, urged mourners â€œto never forget God â€” no matter what. Even in this horrible time.â€
Eber recalled Jabaraâ€™s character saying, â€œHe was funny, a person people liked, friendly, gregarious, someone who brought a joy when there was darkness.â€
The Jabara family are Orthodox Christian, and Khalidâ€™s parents immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1980s from Lebanon. They settled in Tulsa to raise their three children where they started a family catering business, but there was trouble in the community.
According to a statement released on Facebook by Jabaraâ€™s sister, Victoria Jabara Williams, the family had experienced years of verbal and physical assaults by their neighbor, Stanley Vernon Majors.
Williams said Majors frequently harassed them, calling them â€œdirty Arabs,â€ â€œfilthy Lebanese,â€ â€œAye-rabs,â€ and â€œMooslems.â€ She also said Majors had run over her mother with his car last year, leaving her with a broken shoulder, collapsed lung, broken ankle, broken nose, head trauma and fractured ribs.
Police arrested Majors for the attack and charged him with felony assault. But despite warning signs of Majorsâ€™ antagonism toward the family, policereleased him from custody several months ago so he could await trial in March 2017.
On Aug. 12, Jabara called the police, â€œstating this man had a gun and that he was scared for what might happen,â€ Williams said in her statement. Police showed up but left the neighborhood without questioning Majors. Less than ten minutes later Jabara was shot and killed outside his home.
Majors is now in police custody, again, on suspicion of first-degree murder.
â€œWe can learn to love our enemy, but not on our own,â€ Eber said during the memorial. â€œI have been asked by the news media to label this. I look to history. We havenâ€™t stopped these wars, these atrocious murders.â€
Jabaraâ€™s killing has received national attention as yet another tragic and dangerous incident of xenophobia. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton released a statement on Thursday, responding to Williamsâ€™ Facebook post:
Victoria, my heart breaks for you and your family over the loss of your brother Khalid. An attack like this is an attack on all of us, and we must come together to ensure that no other family loses a beloved son or daughter because of prejudice and bigotry.
Muslim American activist Linda Sarsour set up a LaunchGood campaign on Monday to raise money for the Jabara family. So far, more than 300 people have made contributions, totaling nearly $20,000. The funds will go toward providing home health care for Jabaraâ€™s father, who relied on his son as caretaker.
â€œWe will not be silent. Letâ€™s stand against hate and show our support for Khalid and his family,â€ Sarsour wrote on the fundraiser page.
The shooting comes at a time when the U.S. is facing rising xenophobia, often aimed at Muslims, Arabs and those perceived to be such.
â€œMy family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years,â€ Williams said in reference to Majors.
â€œOur brother Khalid was just 37 years old and had his whole life ahead of him. He was a kind spirit, loving brother, uncle and son. Khalidâ€™s heart was big,â€ she wrote. â€œAll of that has been taken away from us by this hateful man and a system that failed to protect our community.â€
iRabwahÂ | News Watch |
Source/Credit: The Huffington Post
Canada: Calgary Ahmadiyya mosque provides support for â€˜Country Thunderâ€™ music festival
Something extraordinary happened in Calgary this last weekend,Â it wasÂ reported in Canadian media.
AccordingÂ to the report, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Baitun Nur Mosque donated space for the â€œCountry Thunderâ€ music festival on its property and hosted music festival’s certain facilities in the mosque Parking lot.
â€œItâ€™s awesome having this right by,â€ crew member Alex Stevens said, according to the Global News. â€œSuch hospitality helps us out.â€
Mosque leader Sultan Mahmood told Global News the festivalâ€™s opening day came at a busy time.
“Friday is a special day and we have the Friday prayers,â€ Mahmood said. â€œSo a lot of people are here on Fridays. Itâ€™s the busiest day at the mosque.â€
Music festival organizers had agreed to turn down the volume during prayer times, which occur five times a day.
At the mosqueâ€™s request, festivalÂ organizers said no alcohol was brought onto the mosqueâ€™s property.
Alex Stevens reportedly told Global News they respected the request and Mahmood had also acknowledged saying â€œI think we should be fine.â€
Stevens thanked Mahmood for hosting, who responded: â€œWe wish you best of luck for the program.â€
The Country Thunder festival ran Friday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 21.
WATCH BELOW: Organizers of the â€œCountry Thunderâ€ music festival are getting a bit of help from some of their neighbours in northeast Calgary. As Gil Tucker shows us, festival crew members are grateful for the support.
iRabwahÂ | News Watch |
Source/Credit:Â Global News
USA: Mifflin Co. commissioner refuses to apologize for anti-Islam Facebook post
Mifflin County Commissioner Lisa Nancollas is taking heat for an anti-Islam Facebook post.
The post, which has since been taken down, showed a picture of a mosque with a no symbol over it. The caption said, â€œNO ISLAM ALLOWED.â€
Fellow commissioner, Kevin Kodish, says he doesnâ€™t agree with Nancollasâ€™ comments and they do not reflect the views of the county.
Kodish says he believes Nancollas regrets it, but in a statement she said the opposite, writing â€œI will never apologize for protecting our freedom.â€
Nancollas says radical Islamic terrorists pose the greatest threat to the nationâ€™s national security.
She defend her words by saying, â€œWe have a right to speak up and demand that our leaders ensure that those seeking to enter our blessed country are coming here to contribute and make all of our lives better.â€
â€œNormal everyday people who practice Islam and see that are being put down by it, and it’s not fair to them that they’re marginalized,â€ resident Evan Hartsock said.
Nancollas was adamant in her statement that she will not apologize. Her fellow commissioner says they will be have â€œlengthy discussionâ€ about the post.
â€œWe’re forced to deal with the aftermath here and it’s just disappointment really,â€ Kodish said.
The Hadee Mosque in Harrisburg has extended an invitation to Nancollas so she can visit the mosque and learn more about Islam.
“What we are trying to do now, Hadee Mosque especially and the Muslim community around the world, is differentiate what the true teachings of Islam are all about and then the actions of a few that misrepresent those true teachings,” Saima Mumtaz with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said.
Hadee Mosque recently hosted a Spring Grove Area School Board member for a dinner following his anti-Ramadan rant in response to a local pastor who wished the church’s Muslim neighbors a blessed holiday.
iRabwahÂ | News Watch |
Source/Credit: CBS Local 21 News