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Gift of the Givers shoots down ‘South Africans joining Isis’ claim

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman has cast doubts on allegations by a self-proclaimed terrorism expert that South Africans are flocking to Syria to join Isis.

by Elphas Nkosi


Jasmine Opperman director at the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium says seven unidentified South African women have travelled to Syria to become jihadi brides.

Opperman says some of the women followed their husbands who went to Syria to join Isis, while others went voluntarily after being recruited by Isis.

But there also those who went to carry out humanitarian work and got caught up in the ideological battle, she says.

Founder and Chairman of The Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, told Markaz Sahaba Online Radio he understood most South Africans had gone to Syria for different reasons.

“We have been to Syria several times; we went there to set up a hospital in the north of Syria called Darkush, which the whole world has seen and the whole world have visited. And there are 230 staff members from Syria and it is run by Syrian Doctors,” he said.

He added that. “We did hear of other South Africans who went across to different parts of Syria. What we were told is that they went there for a better life – life according to Islamic teachings – and the husbands took their wives and children.

“It is outrageous to think a two-year-old child or a four-year-old child is there to join a terrorist group.”

Opperman claims a South African doctor was killed in an airstrike in Syria.

Doctor FerozGanchi was working in a refugee camp in the besieged country. Gift of the Givers’ Imtiaz Sooliman said there are about 27 South Africans in different parts of Syria.

Sooliman said he have informed the Department of International Relations and Co-operation that some South Africans went to Turkey. Some found themselves stranded in Syria after getting lost on the porous border.

Having not intended to visit Syria, they find themselves stuck without documents.

He said this has happened several times over the years.

“Recently with the death of FerozGanchi and with the big attacks on ISIS, a lot of women and children have been moving to refugee camps … and now it seem there is a lot of desire from a lot of people who have been there to come home.

“That is the information I get from family members and all I know is that many people there are only women and children.”

The Gift of the Givers Founder said there are currently 30-31 South Africans trapped inside Syria and parts of Iraq.

Sooliman said a family disappeared on December 25 from inside Syria – a lady with six young children and a teenager. It is believed they were abducted by ISIS operatives to Damascus.

“From the information that we received, we were told that they were taken away by ISIS people to Damascus and they said from their own understanding they think they were taken to prison in Damascus, a prison called Palestine 235 or Palestine 215 they are not exactly sure of the number”.




Tshwane’s Steve Biko Academic hospital performs world’s first middle-ear transplant

A team of South African doctors have pioneered a breakthrough in world medicine, with the first-ever, successful middle-ear transplant.

By Elphas Nkosi


The good news shines like a beacon amidst the negative stories South Africans consume everyday about corruption, Crime, Maladministration and State Looting.

The pioneering surgical procedure uses 3D-printed middle ear bones made of titanium, developed by Professor Mashudu Tshifularo and his team at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Health. It may be the answer to conductive hearing loss, a middle ear problem caused by congenital birth defects, infection, trauma or metabolic disease.


The surgery can be performed on anyone, including new-borns. Professor Tshifularo’s innovation restored hearing to a 35 -year-old man whose middle ear was completely damaged in a car accident.


The procedure replaces the hammer, anvil, and stirrup – the smallest bones in the body – that constitute the middle ear.


By replacing only the tiny bones that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedures, Professor Tshifularo says.

The tiny, titanium bones are bio compatible and are put in place with an endoscope, with minimal scarring.


The South African Hearing Institute says more than half of all humans will suffer significant hearing loss by age 80.

The new procedure reduces the chance of facial nerve paralysis, a significant danger with traditional surgical methods.


Professor Tshifularo says 3D technology is allowing surgeons to do things they never thought they could. But further development will need sponsors and funding.


Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department will do everything in its power to assist and mobilize resources to ensure the professor gets all the help he needs.  Motsoaledi called on donors and development partners, especially in the local business community to support the scientific breakthrough.



Israeli forces set to reopen Al Aqsa Mosque Compound

Clashes broke out after Israeli police alleged a firebomb was thrown at their post inside the holy compound.
By Elphas Nkosi


Israeli police said the entrances to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound will be reopened on Wednesday morning, a day after heavy clashes with Palestine worshipers as the Israeli Authorities closed off the gates in response to what they said was a firebombing of a police station on the site.

Palestinian Activist Abeer Zayyad told Markaz Sahaba Online Radio that the fire was caused by children who were playing with fireworks.

“The thing is that the Israeli Police said there was fire inside a police station situated inside the AL Aqsa Mosques, we do not know who started the fire but of course Israeli immediately said it is the youth that started the fire and used that as an excuse to close Al Aqsa Mosque,” said Abeer.

No injuries were reported, but scuffles broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian worshipers, which resulted in the arrest of at least two Palestinians.

Abeer Zayyad added: “Dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound and assaulted several religious figures,” including Al Aqsa`s Imam Omar Kiswani and Omar Kiswani and Sheikh Wasef al-Bakri, the acting supreme judge of Jerusalem’s Islamic Courts.

“They did not allow us to pray inside Al Aqsa as they continued assaulting our people. Now, we are afraid and we do not know what is going to happen. But we will wait to hear what will happen from now,” said Abeer.

Closing off Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, is a continuation of arbitrary policies of Israel against Palestinian rights.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Markaza Sahaba Online Radio received confirmation from Akram Al Satari Head of International Relations at Sawaed Association for Relief and Development in the Gaza Strip that Al Aqsa Mosque Compound has been re opened for prayers. “Yes I can confirm that this morning already the Al Aqsa Mosque was re opened by the Israeli Authorities after Muslims made it clear that their place of worship shall not be threatened by the Apartheid Israel”.

“We stood firm on our course to continue push for the reopening of the Holy site”. He added.


Pretoria embassy besieged by expats demanding end to president’s 20-year rule

By Alameen Templeton


A crowd of determined Algerians gathered outside their embassy in Pretoria this morning in support of massive protests in their home country demanding an end to the Bouteflika regime.

A small police contingent kept a close eye on proceedings, although the protesters were well-behaved and never got out of control.

“We are here to demand the president and his gang of mafia. They have stolen from our country for more than 20 years and it is time for them to go,” Hafiz, a particularly vocal protester said.

The crowd showed a remarkable degree of commonality on how they read the situation in their home country.

Their first two demands are that President Aboubakr Bouteflika not stand for a fifth term. The wheelchair-bound octogenarian is bidding for his fifth term as head of state, despite promises to the electorate while running for his third and fourth terms that “this election will be my last”.

Bouteflika has  made similar promises going into this election, set for next month, that he will sit as president for just two years before handing over to someone else, but few  people outside his immediate circle are satisfied with his assurances.

“He is old, he can’t even stand up from his wheelchair. He can’t even sign his name to documents. Our ambassador here in Pretoria was supposed to have been replaced, but Bouteflika is incapable of signing his name to the necessary authorisations. How then can such a man stand as leader of our country?” Nema, a reserved spokesman for the protesters asked.

All protesters interviewed were adamant the mass protests in their country would never go the same way as happened to the “Arab Spring” protests in 2011. They also started out peacefully, but returned to militarism after a few initial, public victories.

“It is impossible! Impossible! Algerians are far too educated and experienced. South Africa in terms of its evolution after its revolution is around about where Algeria was in 1962 (the year Algeria gained its independence from France after bitter years of fighting that claimed about 1.5million lives). We will never let it happen,” Muhammad, a middle-aged protester said.

All were adamant the secretive oil and gas supply agreements with France would have to be cancelled.

Algeria’s government has extended a free provision of oil and gas agreement with France almost indefinitely.

This is something everyone spoken to was adamant would have to be changed.

But first, the president and his “Forty thieves” would have to go, everyone at the protest said.


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