Perspective: Education is key to stopping hate crimes | Qasim Choudhary

There have been many campaigns launched by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for the mere purpose of educating the masses about Islam’s true and immaculate teachings.

“Education is the only solution for these ignorant hate crimes.”

Re: “Islamic centre in Red Deer targeted with hateful message,” Feb. 22.

With Islamophobia on the rise, there is a heavy responsibility upon the shoulders of the Muslim community to provide the counter narrative.

There have been many campaigns launched by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for the mere purpose of educating the masses about Islam’s true and immaculate teachings. Education is the only solution for these ignorant hate crimes.

Qasim Choudhary, Calgary

Bangladesh: Ahmadis Muslims Living in fear as 11 Ahmadiyya Families in Kushtia Ostracised

Children of the Ahmadiyya families cannot go to schools for fear of attacks. Many men have stopped going to fields for farming.

Eleven Ahmadiyya Muslim families at Moheshkhola village in the district’s Mirpur upazila have been living in insecurity after some local religious fundamentalists ostracised them.

Around 56 members of the families feared attacks from the fanatics who want them to be declared non-Muslims.

Fundamentalists asked villagers not to mix with the Ahmadiyyas. Local shopkeepers have been asked not to sell products to them, alleged Ahmadiyyas.

Zealots were trying to evict the Ahmadiyyas from their own land.

Sabuj Hossain Khaled, a leader of the Ahmadiyya community, said the fundamentalists declared them ostracised in a religious meeting (Islami Jalsha) on February 20.

He alleged that bigots took four Ahmadiyyas to the meeting and forced them to announce that they did not belong to the community any more.

Children of the Ahmadiyya families cannot go to schools for fear of attacks. Many men have stopped going to fields for farming.

“We are living in a miserable condition,” said Mouhyia Khatun, an Ahmadiyya woman.

According to Ahmadiyyas and locals, a few people converted to Ahmadiyya at the village in 1992.

Trouble flared recently when the Ahmadiyyas wanted to build a mosque on their own land. The fundamentalists obstructed the construction work.

The Ahmadiyyas reported the incident to the local police station and sought help.

A police team, led by Officer-in-Charge Rafiqul Islam of Mirpur Police Station, visited the village on February 18 and sat in a tripartite meeting.

“We agreed that both the groups would live peacefully there,” added the OC.

Mirpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mahbubur Rahman said the local administration was aware of the issue.

“We ordered the local police and others concerned to take necessary actions to make sure that peace prevails there,” the UNO said.

Pakistan: Many Hindu girls forced into Muslim marriages

Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country with 80% of the population following Islam. Reports show many Hindu Pakistani girls are forced into Muslim marriages

Around 1,000 girls from minority religious groups in Pakistan are forced to convert to Islam every year, local Pakistani human rights group South Asia Partnership-Pakistan reports.

USA Today reports: “Legislation banning such conversions for those under age 18 was passed unanimously late last year by the legislature of the southern province of Sindh … but it never went into effect.”

The measure, which called for up to five years in jail for those who forced a conversion, was objected by Islamic groups. “They threatened protests, arguing the law was anti-Islamic and part of a conspiracy to make Pakistan a secular country,” USA Today writes.

The report also quotes Hafiz Saeed, a leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a self-described charity that the United States has labeled a terrorist group): “We will not remain silent on this controversial law.”

This legislative measure was later vetoed in January by Sindh Governer Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui. According to activists, this defeat was a major hindrance for human rights in Pakistan.

The report also recounts two instances where girls were abducted and police refused to help their families. In one narrative, fourteen-year-old Ameri Kashi Kohli was abducted by her landlord and forced to marry him to become his second wife.

USA: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Condemns Headstone Vandalism at Jewish Cemetery

Following waves of bomb threats at Jewish Centers around the country in January, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community released a similar statement, expressing their concerns.

PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds of gravestones were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Northeast, Philadelphia on Sunday.

On Sunday, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA condemned the headstone vandalism at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast, Philadelphia.

“We are deeply troubled by these rising and ongoing attacks on our Jewish sisters and brothers and members from our Philadelphia chapter are in route to assist in clean up,” said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA in a press statement. “We call upon all Americans to stand united against this hatred and extremism.”

Following waves of bomb threats at Jewish Centers around the country in January, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community released a similar statement, expressing their concerns.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community says they are ready to serve and protect their Jewish brothers and sisters against acts of intolerance and hate.

USA: Ahmadi Muslim youth group among first to assist at Jewish cemetery after vandalism

“Members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have showed up to help us right the headstones. They are calling their youth to come join us.

Between 75 and 100 tombstones were overturned and damaged Saturday night at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, police said Sunday.

While social media users responded with outrage, a group from Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association physically showed up to assist in in cemetary.

A local rabbi, Yosef Goldman went on Facebook to say community support was immediate, writing: “Members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have showed up to help us right the headstones. They are calling their youth to come join us. #sacredresistance”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted: “The vandalism of Jewish headstones at a Phila. cemetery is a cowardly, disturbing act. We must find those responsible and hold accountable.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement urging solidarity. “Hate is not permissible in Philadelphia,” he said. “I encourage Philadelphians to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and to show them that we are the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

The Anne Frank Center for the United States urged President Trump to take action, tweeting: “Jewish graves in Philadelphia now vandalized. Stop this incubator of #Antisemitism and other hate. WE BEG YOU @POTUS @realDonaldTrump”

Indonesian hard-liners again turn up heat on Ahmadis

“We reject the presence of Ahmadis in Depok. They have been declared heretical yet they still practice their beliefs here. Don’t blame us if we take tough action.”

The constantly under fire followers of the Ahmadiyah religious sect are facing yet another round of persecution.

This time the administration of Depok, West Java, has shut down their last remaining mosque following intense pressure from a mob demanding the disbandment of the congregation.

A sign has been erected in front of the Al-Hidayah Mosque, declaring illegal all the sect’s activities in the precinct. Seven Ahmadis were forced to perform their obligatory Friday prayers in the mosque’s yard.

The mosque has been shuttered six times since 2011, when an influential Islamic group in Depok, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), declared the sect heretical.

Ahmadi beliefs are regarded as deviant by most Indonesian Muslims, who are mainly Sunnis, because Ahmadis do not regard Muhammad as the last prophet.

Hundreds of Islamic hard-liners, including members of the notorious Islam Defenders Front (FPI), staged a rally on Friday in front of the mosque and threatened to take harsh measures should the authorities fail to expel the Ahmadis from the city as well as to demolish the sealed mosque.

“We reject the presence of Ahmadis in Depok. They have been declared heretical yet they still practice their beliefs here. Don’t blame us if we take tough action,” cleric Ahmad Daman Huri said in his speech.

The rally participants claimed they were ready to die to defend what they described as “an attempt to protect Islamic values.”

As many as 400 personnel from the police, the Army and the local Public Order Agency stood guard in front of the mosque, aiming to prevent the crowd from either entering or damaging the house of worship, which was built in 1999.

The mosque, which obtained a permit as a house of worship in 2007, is a sacred place for nearly 400 Ahmadis who had practised their faith uninterrupted until 2011 when persecution of the Ahmadis commenced nationwide.

Farid Mahmud Ahmad, an Ahmadiyah cleric, questioned the closure, saying the move lacked transparency and legal backing.

“We never received any notification before the closure. They say that our activities are illegal, but what activities? The term is not clear and is open to multiple interpretations,” he said.

He added that members of the sect had been there since the late 1980s and lived in harmony with the rest of the community. However, things turned sour when the sect was declared heretical.

“We used to socialize well and were accepted by society. We even organized an annual sporting event,” said Farid.

“We started to face some trouble early in 2011, when a seminar was held by the MUI in Depok declaring us heretical,” he said, adding that the growing negative perception had forced the sect to refrain from public activity in 2014.

The administration did not seek a court decision before deciding to shutter the Al-Hidayah Mosque.

The step was taken on the basis of a 2008 joint ministerial decree and a 2011 Depok city bylaw concerning the Ahmadiyah.

The regulations prohibited Ahmadiyah followers from spreading their faith, said Depok Public Order Agency head Dudi Mi’raz.

National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) chairman Imdadun Rahmat slammed the closure, saying the city administration should instead protect its citizens in carrying out their activities regardless of their beliefs.

“The closure is baseless. The joint ministerial decree never touched on banning their activities,” he said, adding that the commission would send a letter to the administration, urging them and the police to ensure the safety of the Ahmadis.

“The administration should instead educate the citizens about tolerance and take firm action against intolerant groups,” he added.

Depok Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Herry Heryawan insisted the police would continue to protect any lawful activity carried out by residents in the city, including the Ahmadis.

Indonesia has seen an increase in violations against religious freedom. The Wahid Institute recorded 190 violations against religious freedom in 2015, a 23 percent increase from the 154 in 2014.

The violations were mostly in the form of sealing places of worship and the prohibition of their construction, as well as obstructing celebrations or rituals of certain faiths.

This new software will turn your Android phone into a full-fledged PC

Imagine a future where your Android device will work as a full-fledged personal computer. Well, we might be a lot closer to it then you expect.

Beijing-based start-up Jide Technologies just unveiled the latest version of its Remix OS software that would turn an Android-based smartphone into a PC.

mobile pc

The new operating software called Remix OS (ROM), featuring the new Remix Singularity option, is expected to be released in the second half of 2017 and would be available for free.

Jide technologies has been working on the Remix operation software for the last three years which so far has over 4 million downloads. The OS tries to skin Android in an attempt to make it more run like a full-fledged PC that feature floating windows, a start menu, and a task bar all controllable with a keyboard and mouse.

Remix OS has support for all major apps that include Clash of Clans to Microsoft Word and Google Docs but are tailored to function more like a Windows PC.

This, however, isn’t the first time a company has tried to offer a smartphone that doubles as a PC. The most recent being Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Continuum which allows a Windows phone featuring a Snapdragon 820 chipset to run Widows 10 complete with HD video playback, Adobe Photoshop support, and Microsoft pc system

However, under powered hardware and missing essential software in most cases have prevented the product from gaining traction with the masses.

Jide co-founder David Ko, however, thinks his company has two big advantages, namely cost and the Android ecosystem, that would allow it to attract consumers.

Speaking to The Verge, Ko said: “In the next five years, roughly 5 billion people will be coming online and when they come online, their number one choice will be the smartphone; an affordable smartphone and that will be an Android.

Choosing a ROM device, KO said will give consumers the added benefit of a desktop computer thrown in for free. “If your phone can replace [your PC], it’s a huge saving, and has a big impact to productivity.”

However, Jide’s operating software has a lot of hurdles to overcome in its way to become mainstream. One of the biggest challenges for Jide will simply be getting the software into consumers’ hands where the company is trying to partner with OEMs to sell phones that support Remix Singularity.

Personal computer sales continue to slide

Another obstacle is to attract users in the developed world where people have multiple computers and use cloud services to share files among them, which is easier than relying on an underpowered phones.

And finally a minor technical challenge which is that the OS doesn’t have Play Store preinstalled and must be side loaded to access the full Android ecosystem of apps. This might come easy to tech-savvy users but it’ll surely will put off some.

This article originally appeared on The Verge.

JazzCash Cricket Festival launched on

Cricket buzz is at an all-time high with the successful launch of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Never one to miss out on fun and adventure, and JazzCash have entered the arena and are ready to start an exciting innings of their own with the JazzCash Cricket Festival, offering the best deals and discounts available on the internet to make the cricket season more exciting.

Best deals on the internet – howzat? is a leading, one-stop shopping destination in Pakistan with the largest variety of products under one roof, and with JazzCash as a payment partner, the duo are bound to heavy-ball a great customer experience. The JazzCash Cricket Festival started on from February 23, aiming to clean-bowl customers with discounts up to 65% on smartphones, fashion, beauty, home appliances, electronics, TVs, cameras, sports and fitness equipment, gaming consoles and several other categories.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jonathan Doerr, Co-CEO Daraz said, “Daraz and JazzCash have teamed up to offer the best way to spend the cricket season. This is the first big event this year after Black Friday 2016, and once again we plan to sweep people off their feet with unbelievable prices from leading brands as well as some exciting product launches.”

Aniqa Afzal, Chief Digital & Financial Services for Jazz, commented on the partnership and said, “In our drive to provide our customers with the best possible deals, our partnership with marks an important milestone in our digital journey as the Number 1 Digital Company in Pakistan. JazzCash provides a sustainable and secure e-commerce platform for its customers, and enables them to benefit from the convenience of the JazzCash network.”

Lahore DHA blast was an ‘accident’ caused by cylinder explosion: Rana Sanaullah

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Friday that the blast in Lahore’s DHA area a day earlier was not an act of terror but an “accident”, as forensic samples collected from the site had shown that the blast was a cylinder explosion.

Six samples collected from the building where the blast that killed 10 people took place did not contain traces of explosives, he told a news conference, quoting a forensics laboratory report.

“Yesterday’s explosion was an accident and not a terrorist or explosives blast,” he said.

He said the collected samples had hinted at a gas leakage and shown presence of cylinders in the building.

“We will take strict action against authorities involved in making substandard cylinders that led to this explosion,” he said.

Explaining the delay in determining the nature of the blast, he said due to the extensive damage caused by the blast, the forensics team could not collect samples from the site until the debris had been cleared, which took some time.

The assessment of samples at forensics laboratory requires around 6-8 hours, he said.

The minister regretted that some TV channels had given the DHA blast spin of a terrorism incident and later ran news of another blast that caused “fear and panic” among the citizens.

PSL final

Answering a question, Sanaullah said the decision about whether the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final will be held in Lahore or not will be shared with the public today.

He said Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was meant to chair a meeting on the PSL final on Thursday but it could not be held due to the DHA incident.

Thursday’s blast at an under-construction cafe in the Defence Housing Authority area’s Z Block killed its owner Moazam Paracha, who was also chief executive officer of telecom company Airlink. Sanaullah said the blast had killed seven people and injured 35 others.

The explosion, which was given a mysterious touch by an unending variety of explanations from police officers, partially damaged some nearby buildings. Some vehicles and motorbikes parked in the immediate surroundings were also damaged.

According to witnesses, the explosion was followed by a storm of dust and panic in the vicinity.

There were conflicting reports about the nature of the blast from the beginning. It was by turns termed a cylinder blast and a time bomb. Later in the day, some police officers returned to the original claim that it was a cylinder explosion. One officer said the material that exploded might have been stored in the building, as opposed to some individual terrorist or a network planting it there.

Canada: Local voices heard during Muslim event at Lloydminster library

“I think they are really important because they help educate other people and they can learn a lot. It removes misconceptions about Islam.”

VERMILION, Alta. – Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Lloydminster, Alta./Sask. have been welcomed with respect and solidarity, according to Imam Tariq Azeem.

Azeem has been hosting Coffee and Islam, a national campaign intended to dispel suspicions and misconceptions regarding Islam, at the Vermilion Public Library every Thursday throughout February.

“We had some guests from the local community that came and showed support, especially in light of the recent event in Quebec, where a mosque was attacked. (They) showed solidarity and respect. They feel the pain as human beings for loss of life.”

Last month, six people were killed and five others were injured, following the attack of a Quebec City, Que. mosque.

“Our mosques are always open. Even after the attack in Quebec, we do not feel this one attack reflects the entire country. The people are tolerant, and whatever has happened after the incident shows majority of the people are loving and caring, and will always be there to support their neighbours and friends, “ Azeem said.

In addition, members of the local Muslim community, from Vermilion and the surrounding area, have visited to express their appreciation.

“They were appreciative because there is no mosque or formal chapter here,” Azeem said.

“So, they appreciate us coming out here and provide a voice to their feelings about recent events. Either because they have or not have been able to communicate to the local community. Being a part of a local chapter in Lloydminster, it gives us the opportunity and manpower to conduct such activities.”

Azeem was also joined by two youth members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 16-year-old Shehroze Afridi and 14-year-old Kamran Rajput, which opens younger residents to visit and ask questions.

“I think they are really important because they help educate other people and they can learn a lot. It removes misconceptions about Islam,” Afridi said.

Rajput added that he is very comfortable answering questions about his religion to those who are interested.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has many auxiliary organizations, which include children, youth, adults, and seniors, and aim to educate them on their faith in through classes and sessions, Azeem said.

“(This way) they grow up and become beneficial members of the society.”

The last Coffee and Islam event will be on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and will include refreshments.