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Egyptian protesters to press for President el-Sisi’s ouster

Egyptian demonstrators are expected to stage protests on Friday with Twitter hashtags and social media acounts urging people to take to the streets and peacfully demand the resignation of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

More than 2,000 people have been arrested since rare protests broke out in several cities last week calling on el-Sisi to step down. Thousands marched against the president’s rule after corruption allegations emerged surrounding his and his family’s lavish spending.

Security forces on Wednesday detained several prominent Egyptian intellectuals and public figures including Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University and a well-known columnist. 

“I have no doubt that the continuation of el-Sisi’s absolute rule will lead to disaster,” Nafaa said in a tweet on Tuesday before being taken away. “Egypt’s interest requires his departure today before tomorrow.”

Nafaa’s arrest followed the detention of Hazem Hosny, a spokesman for former army chief Sami Anan who was jailed last year for attempting to run against el-Sisi in a presidential election. Khaled Dawoud, the head of Al-Doustor Party who has been a vocal critic of the president’s policies, was also detained.

Analysts and politicians say the crackdown on critical voices reflects the government’s insecurity and vulnerability at a critical time as Egypt’s economic woes intensify for the poor and middle class.

“The arrests show the regime’s disregard for Egyptians and how terrified it is,” said Istanbul-based Ayman Nour, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate.

“But there’s more to it. Sisi is trying to send a clear message to prominent generals and politicians who might provide an alternative to him because he has run country’s economy to the ground and because of his widespread political repression.”

Nour said he expects more people will take to the streets now that “the fear barrier” has been broken down, with the government’s heavy-handed approach only fuelling people’s anger at worsening socio-economic conditions.

Corruption allegations

Though small in scale, the rare public displays of anger followed calls for action from a contractor who previously worked with the Egyptian military, Mohamed Ali. The part-time actor was able to forge close ties with members of the political establishment and top brass of the armed forces, eventually becoming an insider.

In a series of videos posted online, he admitted to benefiting from government corruption, describing how his company, Amlak, was awarded lucrative state contracts without going through the proper bidding process.

Ali said he regretted being part of the rampant corruption among the army corps and el-Sisi’s relatives, including his wife Intissar.

His description of opulent palaces and luxury hotels that he claimed to have built for el-Sisi – and for which he has yet to be paid – stood in sharp contrast to the deep poverty Egyptians currently live in.

On Twitter, hashtags such as “come out you are not alone” , “you are done Sisi”, “Sisi must go”, and “Next Friday” generated tens of thousands of tweets and retweets calling on people to take to the streets peacefully to demand that el-Sisi step aside.

Egyptian Hollywood actor Amr Waked posted in Arabic to his almost seven million followers on Thursday: “Sisi is done … it is over for him and anyone who supports him now will be making a huge mistake.”

Addressing el-Sisi directly in the tweet, Waked added, “Get smart stupid. Leave and let the people take what belongs to them.”

The decision to slash food and fuel subsidies as part of a 2016 loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in addition to the floating of the Egyptian currency, have led to a sharp increase in the price of basic commodities, hitting poor people the hardest.

By the government’s own admission, the poverty rate rose to 32.5 percent in 2018, up from 27.8 percent in 2015.

Amy Hawthorn, deputy director for research at the Project on Middle East Democracy, said this is what pushed people to protest.

“[Demonstrators] are driven by economic difficulties and alleged corruption by President el-Sisi and his inner circle,” she said.

Crushing dissent

Security forces have stepped up their presence in anticipation of more protests with policemen stopping anyone suspected of political activism. 

Even government supporters have been caught in the crackdown. In one video, an el-Sisi sympathiser is seen broadcasting a live feed from Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 2011 protests that forced former president Hosni Mubarak to resign. The man was interrupted by police as he dismissed reports of demonstrators taking place there.

In another video posted on Twitter a police officer fires a pistol in the direction of a balcony where a woman filmed security forces chasing a group of young Egyptians. 

Since the military’s overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, el-Sisi has overseen a broad crackdown against any dissent.

While members of the Muslim Brotherhood – of which Morsi belonged – were the main target of a heavy-handed approach to political dissent, arrests extended well beyond the group. Civil rights activists, journalists, and actors have also been targeted.

The president’s supporters have justified the measures as necessary to restore order and combat armed groups operating in the Sinai peninsula.

But in his latest video, Ali, the contractor, said the counter-terrorism narrative was a way for el-Sisi to sell himself to the world.

“To stabilise the region and impose peace, I have to combat terrorism. And to combat terrorism I need terrorists,” Ali said on Wednesday, paraphrasing the el-Sisi government’s argument to world leaders.

Source: Al Jazeera

‘Wherever America goes, terror expands’: Rouhani says US is ‘supporter of terrorism’ over sanctions & bombing Syria

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the United States has fueled terrorism in the Middle East, slamming US policies for spreading chaos and radicalism across the region.

Joining Fox’s Chris Wallace for an interview that ran on Tuesday night, Rouhani rejected any notion that Iran was on a “fanatical” quest for nuclear weapons – as his American counterpart claimed in a speech earlier in the day – and countered that Washington was instead the major troublemaker in the Middle East.

“Today, America, unfortunately, is the supporter of terrorism in our region – and wherever America has gone, terrorism has expanded in the wake,” Rouhani said, pointing to US intervention in Syria as a case-in-point.

Rouhani added that American sanctions on Iran also qualified as a form of terrorism, pointing out their ill effects on the country’s healthcare system and medicine costs. He said sanctions relief remained a hard precondition before Tehran would even consider coming to the table for talks.

“If there is a cessation to [the sanctions], then the atmosphere will change,” the president said.

Despite US President Donald Trump signaling a desire to end the American military presence in Syria, Washington continues to conduct operations there expressly against the wishes of its government. For years under the Barack Obama administration, the US also poured hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons and other aid into Syria’s rebel opposition, flooding the country with arms and prolonging the bloody conflict.

US meddling elsewhere – from North Africa to Central Asia – has also helped to blast open the floodgates of violence and extremism. After nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, militant groups hold more territory there than ever before, launching regular attacks on US and Afghan forces. Meanwhile in Libya, fallout from the US-led NATO operation that overthrew leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 continues to tear the country apart, with multiple statelets warring for control and legitimacy.

Tensions have soared between Washington and Tehran since last year, when President Trump withdrew the United States from its end of a nuclear accord signed between Iran and world powers, and re-imposed a raft of crippling sanctions on the country’s economy. A number of incidents around the Persian Gulf – including “sabotage” on tanker vessels, the shootdown of a US spy drone, and attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure – have been pinned on Iran, holding hostilities at their current high point.

Source: RT News
Feature Image : Rosalyn Shaoul

‘Time for the world to act’: Pakistan’s Khan warns Kashmir row could spill over into new war with India

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the ongoing dispute over Kashmir could kick off another conflict with India, and slammed the country for what he called “oppressive” policies in the contested region.

Speaking at a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Khan spoke in grave terms about the situation in Kashmir and warned of the chances for a new war with India, Pakistan’s longtime regional rival.

“I came out to New York only because I felt that unless we highlight what is going on in Kashmir, the world is not going to know,” the PM said, adding that the dispute over the region creates “a potential that two nuclear-armed countries could come face-to-face.”

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, one in 1947 soon after the partition of India, and another in 1965. Pakistan currently controls a strip of the territory on its western extremity.

In August, the Indian government moved to revoke Kashmir’s special autonomous status, dispatching thousands of soldiers to the region in preparation for unrest which was expected following the decision. While many observers have sounded the alarm over potential abuses of Kashmir’s Muslim majority, New Delhi argues the move was necessary in order to fully integrate the region into India and to bring about economic development.

Islamabad and New Delhi have traded increasingly harsh barbs since the move to rescind the region’s special status, with India accusing its rival of backing terrorist groups in the area, while Pakistan has slammed India for a “crackdown” on Kashmir’s Muslims, and for infringing on its portion of the territory.

Source: RT News

No water from Katse dam for two months – Gauteng warned to save

The department of water and sanitation on Friday called on water consumers in Gauteng to significantly cut back on their water usage due to a planned shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project tunnel system.

The system is being shut down for inspection and maintenance.

The shutdown will last for two months – the whole of October and November.

“No water transfers to the Vaal River System will be possible over this period as the tunnel will be drained for these inspections and maintenance work to be done,” the department said.ADVERTISING

The Lesotho system augments the water resources in the Vaal river system that provides water to Rand Water, Sasol, Eskom and many smaller users.

“During the inspection and maintenance work, water consumers and especially the farming community will be affected. This therefore necessitates that water users heed the call to use water with the utmost sensitivity to the limited water supply.”

No water may be taken from the Liebenbergsvlei River for any agricultural purposes between 6am on a Saturday and 6am on the following Monday, said the department.

“Water users in Gauteng are therefore requested to work co-operatively with the department by ensuring that they use water sparingly and with the greatest care. This is important so as to guarantee that as the work continues, water users are not left in need.

“… The department would like to assure Gauteng residents that contingency measures have been put in place to ensure that water supply continues uninterrupted during this period.”

A week ago, the department confirmed that Katse Dam is at an alarmingly low level due to the ongoing drought. The dam’s level was at 16.9%, with the department commenting that it was heading for “serious times”.

Source: TimesLive
Feature Image : Skypixels

Madressa closed for the term after fire damages Masjid Ul Ansaar, Lakefield

Madressa has been closed until next term at Masjid Ul Ansaar, Lakefield in the East of Gauteng.

Residents this morning woke up to a fire at the masjid

According to the Masjid executive committee, brothers responded very swiftly and put out the fire.

The committee says the causes as well as the extent of the damage is still being investigated, adding that, there is absolutely no need for any panic.

“InshaaAllaah, Salaah at the Masjid will continue.”

“However, as a security precaution, Madrasah will be closed for the term and we will Inshaa Allaah resume next term.”


Mobs rampage through Joburg again

By Alameen Templeton

The chaos that began Sunday in Jeppestown spread to Turffontein Monday with outnumbered police standing by helplessly as mobs target foreign-owned shops.

Looting is continuing in Turffontein, Johannesburg, after overnight unrest saw police arresting 12 people during overnight chaos when rampaging mobs burned and looted several foreign-owned shops and set alight cars and buildings.

The looters are pillaging and destroying shops owned by foreign nationals.

The violence started on Sunday along Jules Street when businesses were ransacked by a mob.

A Joburg Metro Police officer was wounded in the leg by armed looters.

The police’s Mavela Masondo said many in police custody were suspected looters.

“The police are here, emergency services are here… we are still searching for other suspects that are involved or responsible for this. For us, this is criminality, nothing else. We are searching for the people responsible for all this damage.”

Mufti AK Hoosen denies “blessing political party’s campaign”

According to messages doing the rounds on social media, a politician has allegedly claimed that his party was endorsed by scholar and radio personality, Mufti Abdul Kader Hoosen.

Mufti AK, ameer at Markaz Sahaba Online Radio, says he was contacted by an individual in Cape Town who alleges that Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam has claimed that his campaign was blessed by himself.

“I never even heard of him, I don’t know the person,” says Mufti AK Hoosen.

Mufti AK called the move “factually incorrect and cheap politicking”.

“I told them, this is my stance for the past twenty five years, since we are allowed to vote since 1994… we tell people whoever wants to vote, you make istikharah and [if] you don’t vote, there is no sin upon you Islamically.”

“I don’t belong to any party, I don’t endorse any party and I’m actually critical of most politicians because we know what is happening in South Africa,” he clarified.

The revered scholar distanced himself from Mr Munzoor and whoever else is in support with him, saying “I have nothing to do with him, nothing to do with his party”.

Markaz Sahaba Online Staff Reporter.
Feature Image: telegraph.co.uk

Worldwide Ummah reeling as Christchurch Masaajid attack leave 49 martyred, 48 injured.

three arrested, including live-stream video of horrific shootings by gunman from Australia

By Alameen Templeton

The Ummah worldwide is reeling from a gunman’s live-streamed attack on three Masaajid in New Zealand capital Christchurch that left 49 Muslims martyred.

Forty eight others, including children, are under surgery for gunshot wounds in hospital and it is feared the number of fatalities may rise. Other injured worshippers were taken to nearby clinics.

Police have arrested three people, including the apparent gunman, who identified himself as Australian-born Brenton Tarrant.

The live-stream video shows the gunman entering a mosque on Deans Avenue, Christchurch carrying a semi-automatic weapon. He starts firing even before entering the Masjid and proceeds to mow down worshippers preparing for esha salaah. The gunman mercilessly fires repeated rounds into anyone he meets and returns to the salaat area to shoot even more before the video suddenly ends.

He or possible accomplices are believed to have then visited two other Masaajid and continued the attack.

Christchurch policy says they’ve charged a 28-year-old man, believed to be Tarrant, with murder.

Neither he nor two others in custody were on any terror watchlists. A fourth person arrested on was not related to the events, police say.
Christchurch Hospital’s 12 operating theaters are working flat out as some of the injured suffered multiple surgeries.

Anxious relatives are gathered outside Christchurch Hospital, seeking news of family members. The gunman is believed to have been arrested in a car which had explosives and guns inside.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calls the murders – the worst in New Zealand history – as the country’s “darkest day”.

On Friday night rain was falling on lit candles, handwritten notes and flowers set against a lamppost at the police cordon just down the road from the Linwood Mosque which was also attacked.

President of the NZ Muslim Association, Ikhlaq Kashkari has thanked police and urged New Zealand to

come together at this time.

He urged all New Zealanders in nearby areas to donate blood and to stay calm and united.

“We cannot allow these types of people to divide our community,” he added.

Speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online radio, Kashkari said the ummah in Christchurch had been swamped with offers of support and help from the non-Muslim community.

Muslims had been settled in New Zealand for more than 150 years and traditionally enjoyed peaceful and cooperative relations with the wider community, he said.



‘Hello brother’: Muslim worshipper’s ‘last words’ to gunman

Victim of New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting greeted the attacker at entrance of mosque before being shot dead.

A Muslim worshipper, who was among the first people to be killed in New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting, appeared to say “hello brother” to the attacker just moments before he was shot dead.

According to a live stream video of the attack, the man, who is yet to be identified, could be overheard saying “hello brother” as the gunman approached the entrance of the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

At least 49 people, including children, were killed in Friday’s attacks targeting the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. According to Christchurch Hospital, at least 48 people were being treated for gunshot wounds, which ranged from severe to critical.

Video footage of the attack, which has been widely shared on social media, showed a gunman shooting indiscriminately at worshippers as they ran for safety or lay huddled on the floor.

A 28-year-old Australian man, who police have not identified, has been charged with murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday.

‘The reply was three bullets’

As the attack shocked New Zealand, a nation where violent crime is rare, several social media users hailed the Muslim man who greeted the attacker before he was murdered.

“‘Hello, Brother’ were the last words of the first New Zealand victim. As he faced a rifle, his last words were peaceful words of unconditional love. DO NOT tell me that nonviolence is weak or pacifism is cowardice,” one Twitter user said.

“‘Hello brother’ a word came out of a pure soul filled with a peaceful faith. ‘Hello brother’ was said to a killer with a rifle pointed to this greeting. ‘Hello brother’ he said thinking that he is talking to a human with soul and feelings. ‘Hello brother’ was shot dead,” another wrote.

“Hello brother and the reply was three bullets – Bi-ayyi thambin qutilat (For what crime. She was killed) [Quran: 81, v9],” said another.


nz tweet


Aziz Helou, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, wrote on Facebook that “amongst the chaos of today, the evil we both heard and saw”, that one incident stood out.

“The first Muslim man to die, his final words were ‘hello brother’. These words were uttered by a man who symbolised Islam. He had a rifle pointed at him by a man with clear intentions to kill and how did he respond? With anger? With aggression? No, with the most gentle and sincere greeting of ‘hello brother’.

“Perhaps this hero was trying to diffuse the situation? Maybe Allah used this man to show the world the kindness that is Islam. I don’t know but what I want, is to make certain, is that this detail isn’t lost amongst you. That this mans final act was an Islamic one, a sincere courageous and warm way to stop violence instead of fuelling it”.

Attack blamed on rising Islamophobia

In a social media video, a former New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams gave a tearful tribute to those killed.

Williams, a practising Muslim, struggled to hold back tears in the 64-second Twitter post, telling families of those killed that “you are all in Paradise”.

“I heard the news. I couldn’t put it into words how I’m feeling right now,” Williams said.

“Just sending my duas [prayers] to the families”.

Before the attacks took place, the gunman reportedly published an Islamophobic manifesto on Twitter. He then live-streamed his rampage, according to an analysis by AFP news agency.

Political leaders across the world condemned the killings, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan describing them as “the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also blamed the attacks on rising Islamophobia.

“I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam and 1.3bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim,” said Khan.

“This has been done deliberately to also demonise legitimate Muslim political struggles.”



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