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East Germany gripped by surging xenophobia, Islamophobia

BERLIN (AA): Germany marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, but growing xenophobia and Islamophobia in especially formerly communist East Germany is seriously threatening the country’s national security.

Three decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, German authorities are grappling with the rise of far-right ideology in the eastern part of the country.

The most damning evidence is the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which crept into the Bundestag in 2017; in parts of eastern Germany it is the most popular party.

The AfD is in fact riding a shocking rise of German Islamophobia and xenophobia. In its annual report on the state of German unity, the German government has warned that Eastern Germany’s xenophobia represents a danger to social harmony.

Repeated attacks against refugee centers and Islamic centers in Eastern Germany are proof of the fact that these xenophobic violent acts are a serious danger to Germany’s national security.

A case in point was the East Germany-based neo-Nazi terror cell the National Socialist Underground (NSU) which was involved in anti-foreigner killings from 2000-2007.

It took German authorities almost a decade to connect 10 murders against mostly Turkish business owners and trace them to the NSU, sparking an investigative committee in the German Parliament and a national outcry about authorities’ blind spots to right-wing terrorism.
The NSU’s racially motivated attacks still resonate to this day. Over the past week, high-level politicians from parties representing the whole German political spectrum have received death threats.

This past summer, one of those threats became reality when regional politician Walter Lubcke was gunned down in his home in central Germany. And in October, a right-wing extremist gunman killed two in the eastern city of Halle, after failing to gain entry into a synagogue to carry out a massacre on a Jewish holiday.

– Deep-rooted Islamophobia

Around half of the German population has concerns about Islam, according to a recent study on democracy and religious tolerance. But what is the reason behind the negative feeling toward Islam felt by many?

While Germans are generally viewed as tolerant, their attitude toward Muslims is different. This is indicated by a study published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s ‘Religion Monitor’.

According to the research, the majority of German citizens (87%) are open to other world views.

But 52% perceive the religion of Islam as a threat. For Germans living in eastern states, the number of people who feel this way (57%) is higher than those in the west of the country where 50% view the religion as a threat.

“Obviously many people currently see Islam less as a religion than as a political ideology and therefore exclude it from religious tolerance,” said the foundation’s religion expert Yasemin El-Menouar.
In her view, social debates and media reports in recent years, which often put Islam in a negative light, have contributed to these attitudes.
El-Menouar said there was cause for concern because these fears over Islam can be exploited by far-right populist groups.

According to the “Weltanschauliche Vielfalt und Demokratie” (World View Diversity and Democracy) study, 30% of respondents in the east of Germany do not want Muslims as neighbors, compared to 16% in the west.

A country of over 81 million people, Germany is home to the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, at least three million are of Turkish origin.

Why do East Germans feel this way?

According to Dresden-based political scientist Werner Patzelt, the reason for the concerns against Muslims can be traced back to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to keep the borders open during the height of the refugee crisis in 2016.

“As a whole, it’s because of the immigration politics of Chancellor Merkel back in 2015,” he said.

“Germany has had a significant Muslim minority for many years which was a Turkish minority, without significant problems. This was something that passed as normal and nothing to worry about.”

However, Patzelt said when Merkel made the controversial decision to allow refugees and migrants to enter the country, German attitudes changed.

He said crimes reportedly committed by asylum seekers and refugees, such as the cases of sexual assault in Cologne in New Year 2015 “gave reason for widespread worries” which added fuel to the fire.

When it comes to eastern Germany, Patzelt said the region has never experienced significant immigration from Muslim countries before, and many people did not want it.

Protests, such as the anti-Islam Pegida demonstrations, which started in the eastern German city of Dresden in 2014, explicitly called for no Muslim immigration into Germany.

Patzelt said these protests “gave voice to many east Germans who have the same anti-Muslim sentiment”.

However, because politicians dismissed these demonstrations, anger grew, said Patzelt.

This partly explains why far-right parties such as AfD have grown in support, particularly in eastern German regions.

Along with the anti-Islam sentiment, many people also feel strongly against Merkel and the German political elite, which three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall has led to a mounting societal polarization.

Source : MuslimNews.co.uk
Image : Christof Stache/Afp Via Getty Images

SA Post Office warns public about VAT scam

The South African Post Office (Sapo) on Wednesday warned the public to be aware of a parcel delivery scam designed to defraud customers.

“Members of the public receive SMS messages informing them that a parcel could not be delivered because VAT needs to be paid on the parcel. A link on the SMS leads them to a web page where they are requested to deposit money into a bank account,” Sapo said in a statement.

The postal service said it did not require customers to make any bank deposits before parcels were released. 

If VAT or any other fees were payable on a parcel, it was paid at the time of delivery or collection, and the customer would receive a valid receipt. 

“Where the post office has the cellphone number of the recipient, the customer will receive an SMS requesting him or her to collect the parcel at a branch. The SMS will not request that funds be deposited into an account.”

“Members of the public that have information regarding this scam are requested to call the police or the post office’s crime buster hotline on 0800 020 070,” said the organisation. 

Source : African News Agency (ANA)

900 US troops to be left in Syria after ‘withdrawal’

Some 900 US troops will continue to be stationed in Syria despite President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the country, the New York Times reported.

According to the paper, at least 500 out of the original 1,000 US military servicemen deployed to Syria have already left, with the troops continuing to withdraw until around 250 remain, positioned mainly in the eastern Deir Ez-Zor province. More forces are expected to join, bringing the total number of troops guarding oil fields in Syria to around 500.

Combined with the number of American servicemen stationed in the US-controlled zone near its military base of Al-Tanf in south-eastern Syria, 900 soldiers would remain in the country, with a potential rise in the case of a re-emergence of Daesh.

Over the past few months, the US has repeatedly announced that it is withdrawing its military forces from Syria, only to be countered by later revelations that a large number of troops remain stationed in the country and more are expected to be deployed. Over the past week, some 500 US forces – along with convoys of military equipment and vehicles – reportedly entered bases in northern Syria after withdrawing only a few weeks ago.

Source : MEMO

80 graves desecrated at Mowbray Muslim Cemetery

The Mowbray Muslim Cemetery has been desecrated with 80 tombstones removed from graves and placed in cult symbols, according to a report by Voice of the Cape Radio.

The cemetery caretakers made this shocking discovery on Wednesday morning, said local radio station Voice of the Cape (VOC).

“Burial workers arrived at the upper part of the cemetery and found roughly eighty tombstones had been arranged in what appears to be cult symbols,” VOC reported on its Facebook page.

“Supervisor of the maqbara (burial ground) Ismail Abrahams says when they arrived at 8am wanting to continue their excavations to prepare holes for the deceased, they discovered the eerie symbols.”

Abrahams could not be reached on his phone to confirm the report.

According to VOC, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) was on scene early this afternoon to inspect the scene, and expressed horror at the desecration of graves.

“It is with total sadness that we stand at the Mowbray maqbara today where we see the desecration of the maqbara… I’m very emotional,” said Shaykh Riad Fataar.

“We consider this extremely serious and we’ve advised the board of the Mowbray cemetery to lay a case at the police station. This is completely unacceptable.”

The VOC Facebook post was shared well over 1000 in the space of just 3 hours. The pictures attached to the post have been blurred out to conceal details and disturbing imagery.

The Imamat Council of Mitchells Plain called on community members to spread the message, so that people can come identify loved ones graves to replace the vandalised tombstones.

“Can you please pass the message to anyone you know whose family has passed on recently and buried at the top of the hill at Mowbray cemetery,” the Council wrote on Facebook. “The curators have asked people to come and identify their loved ones graves so they can put the tombstones back or get a new one made.”

Community members who saw the post on VOC’s Facebook expressed shock, horror and concern as many have loved ones who are buried there and whose graves may be affected.

“I’m terrified to think what’s going on, I have grandparents and my baby son buried there,” wrote Yusuf Effendi.

“My mother is buried there … I am livid,” said Roldah Hayes.

Kashiefa Mathews wrote: “My brother in law (was) recently buried there, and my grandfather and aunt, this is absolutely ruthless and so upsetting.”
“Sick beyond words… We all have loved ones buried there,” wrote Nurahn Samaai.

This is a developing story. We will update the story with comment from the MJC and South Africa Police Service as soon as we receive it.

Source : Weekend Argus, IOL
Feature Image : V.O.C.

Blacklist: Many Muslims listed by World-Check without evidence

Numerous Muslim individuals and institutions have been placed on an influential database as potential risks without evidence of wrongdoing, Al Jazeera’s analysis of the list has revealed. 

World-Check is a database used by banks globally to help identify and manage financial, regulatory and reputational risk to large companies.

Investigators from Al Jazeera Arabic’s Ma Khafia Aazam (Tip of the Iceberg) programme were able to obtain the database, which contains more than three million names, as well as the sources it uses for its designations, most importantly of financial crimes and “terrorism”.

The investigative report revealed that the database, which contains hundreds of thousands of Muslim and Arab names, relied on “terrorism lists” issued by countries such as Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, without verification.

The database used to be part of Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk before a majority stake in the business was sold to the Blackstone Group in October 2018. The business was renamed Refinitiv.

The creation of the database was aimed at reducing financial risk to companies.

World-Check’s promotional material states that 49 of the world’s largest 50 banks use its database, which suggests that it dominates the international market.

Al Jazeera’s Ma Khafia Aazam noted that the company adds about 25,000 names to its blacklist every month, most notably to the “terrorism” list, which contains hundreds of thousands of Muslim names.

In their analysis of the database, the programme’s team revealed that World-Check relied on international banks and intelligence agencies from different countries, including lists issued by Arab governments, without taking into account the level of freedom or democracy in these countries.

The database also used information from the “yellow press” in some nations, most prominently Israel.

When the programme’s team accessed the company’s database, through one of its clients, they discovered that the sources the company relied on for its designations consisted primarily of publicly available websites.

The list of people includes former Egyptian football player Mohamed Aboutrika, whose designation as a “terrorist” was based on news published on websites run by the Egyptian government.

Lack of verification

Over the years, several lawsuits have been filed against World-Check.

In 2014, the managers of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London were surprised when its bank accounts were frozen on the grounds of “supporting terrorism”.

They sued World-Check, which subsequently issued an apology and withdrew the mosque’s name from the list.

The London-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) was also placed on the list but, following a lawsuit by the centre, a settlement was reached with Thomson Reuters, which had acquired World-Check in 2005.

Farooq Bajwa, whose law firm has represented people named in the World-Check database, said that the company sometimes only relies on internet search engines and lists issued by governments as a source for their lists.

Kenneth Rijock, a former World-Check adviser, explained that any commercial database of highly dangerous persons must rely on open sources such as newspaper articles and lawsuits.

The programme’s reporters reached out to the company’s management to inquire about their main objective and the sources they use.

The management responded that their main role is to combat financial crimes, denying that the lists were confidential and explaining that individuals have the right to request a copy of their file and inquire about their status on the list.

Source : Al Jazeera

India: BJP leader asks Hindus to buy sword ahead of Ayodhya mosque verdict

A ruling party leader in north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has asked members of his Hindu community to “buy swords made of iron instead of gold jewelery and silver vessels,” on Dhanteras.

Dhanteras is a Hindu festival celebrated before the festival of Diwali and according to tradition, Hindus buy utensils and other items made of metal. The festival will be celebrated on October 25.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) city president from Deoband, Gajraj Rana has asked his community members to be ready for the verdict on the Ayodhya issue.

According to Indian website news18.com, Gajraj Rana said, “The Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue is expected soon and we are confident that it will be in favour of the Ram temple.”

“This could vitiate the atmosphere, so it is advisable to stock iron swords instead of gold jewelery and silver vessels. These swords will be useful for our own protection when such a time comes,” he further told media on Saturday night.

However, he clarified that he did not “utter a word” against any community or religion.

“Even in our rituals, we worship weapons and our Gods and Goddesses have used weapons depending on circumstances. My statement was in reference to the current changing environment and a suggestion to the members of my community. Nothing more should be read into it,” said news18.com quoting the leader.

Meanwhile, the party has distanced itself from his statement.

“The BJP does not endorse this kind of language if it has been used by him. Whatever he has said is in his personal capacity. There is a very clear guideline for the party leaders. Any action or statement must be done or said within the ambit of law and no one is above the law,” said Chadramohan, party spokesman in a statement.

India’s Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict on the Ram Temple-Babri Mosque dispute next month.

The dispute centers around a site at Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where the 16th-century Babri Mosque was demolished in 1992 by Hindus, who see it as the birthplace of Ram.

Source : muslimnews.co.uk
Feature Image : deccanherald.com

Captors of SA photographer Shiraaz Mohamed demand R10m for his freedom

The family of South African photographer Shiraaz Mohamed, who is being held hostage in Syria, has made an impassioned plea to the country to help raise the $700,000 his captors are demanding for his release.

Mohamed was captured in Syria on January 10 2017 in Darkoush, after travelling there to narrate the tragedy of the Syrian people to the world through pictures. He had arrived in Syria on January 4 that year.

In a statement released by his family on Friday, Mohamed’s mother, Shireen, said her son’s captors were demanding $700,000 (just over R10.3m) in exchange for his freedom.

“They have told us that this is not a ransom amount but it is their cost for my son’s maintenance and upkeep during his time of captivity,” said Shireen.

She said the family had tried all avenues to raise the money.

“No one is willing to help us. We cannot raise this amount by ourselves. It is an impossible task. We have tried countless organisations, individuals and even our government, but no one is helping us,” Shireen said.

“Our message to Shiraaz is that we – his mother, brother, sisters, brother-in-law and Shaaziya – are trying our very best to get you home safely. We have not deserted nor forgotten about you. You are in our thoughts and prayers every moment of every day. We love you more than anything and will never forsake you.

“From me, as a mother, this is a desperate call to my fellow South Africans and the world, any organisation, any individual, any government, any country, anyone who can help, I plead with you all, if you have any means to help me in any way possible, please do so. My son needs you, my family and I need you.

“Please make contact with us and you can be assured that any assistance will be treated in the strictest of confidence, if so desired. Time is running out. Please help me save my son’s life,” Shireen said.

Mohamed’s family’s plea comes after 32 months of him being held in Syria. He had gone with Gift of the Givers.

TimesLIVE reported that a search for Mohamed was carried out four days after he disappeared.

Gift of the Givers’ founder Imtiaz Sooliman confirmed in 2017 that Mohamed had been working with the group and was abducted on his way to the Turkish border.

Sooliman said initially the men who kidnapped Mohamed said they needed to question him and promised to bring him back in two days, TimesLIVE reported.

He went to Syria on a week-long assignment, commissioned by Gift of the Givers.

His intention was to capture the experiences and suffering of the Syrian people, hoping to garner South African and worldwide support.

Source : Timeslive

Police : No waiting period to report missing person

Police are urging the communities and the public to assist them find people that have been reported missing in the country. 

Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya emphasized the need for improved police-community relations.

“With Community Policing being a fundamental pillar towards effective policing, as the SAPS we cannot overemphasize community involvement in assisting the work of our police,”Mgwenya said. 

She called on call on all citizens, other government departments and law enforcement agencies, civil society and community members to rise against these abhorrent acts by supporting the work of the police in detecting, preventing and reporting incidents of Gender Based Violence timeously. 

This will ensure that together we realise the National Development Plan’s Vision of 2030 where women can walk freely in the streets and children can play safely outside”. 

The public is further reminded that there is no waiting period to report a missing person.

Communities can assist the SAPS when reporting a missing person by following these steps:

 • Produce a recent photograph of the missing person, if possible.

• Give a complete description of the missing person’s last whereabouts, clothes that they were wearing, as well as any information that can assist the investigating officer.

• Complete and sign a SAPS 55(A) form. This form safeguards the SAPS from hoax reports and indemnifies the SAPS to distribute the photograph and information of the missing person.

 • Obtain the investigating officers contact details, and send any additional information that might become available.

 • If a missing person is found or returns voluntarily, inform the investigating officer immediately. A SAPS 92 form must be completed to inform the Bureau of Missing Persons that the missing persons report can be removed from the circulation system.

Source : IOL, Daily News
Photo by Ehimetal or Unuabona

Four-day-old baby found buried alive in India

An investigation has been launched to find the parents of a four-day-old girl, who was buried alive in northern India.

According to a CNN report, the infant was rescued after she was found in an earthen pot in a cemetery.

She was pulled to safety in Uttar Pradesh on October 10 by a couple who were burying their child who had died in hospital. 

The couple, Hitesh Sirohi and Vaishali Kumar, alerted the police and ambulance services and the baby was taken to a hospital where she is receiving treatment for a lung infection, The Sun reported.

Sirohi told The Times of India that he found the baby wrapped in a cloth, crying.

“At one point I thought that my daughter had come alive. But then realised the voice was  coming from a pot,” he told the publication.

The infant’s burial, according to The Guardian, is suspected to be a case of female infanticide as some parents in India prefer sons to daughters.

The country, according to an annual report compiled by the United Nations Development Programme, was ranked 130 out of 151 countries in last year’s gender inequality index.

Source : Timeslive
Feature Image : Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

Gordon’s Bay mosque approved after five-year wait

After a five-year wait and over a hundred objections from residents, the Gordon’s Bay Islamic Society has been given the green light to begin construction on what will be the seaside town’s first mosque.

“We are elated. We are very pleased that justice had prevailed here,” said Cassim Peer, Islamic Society Chairperson in a GroundUp report.

In 2014, the 2 700m² piece of land on the corner of Roos Street and Lancaster Road was purchased by the Gordon’s Bay Islamic Society with the intention of building a mosque for about 100 Muslim families residing in the town.

In the meantime, Muslim residents have two options.

They could drive to one of the seven mosques in Strand, the neighbouring seaside suburb, but many Muslim residents live on the outskirts of town in farm residences.

Or they could use a converted warehouse behind a local supermarket on Mariner’s Way. This space was not intended for use on a regular basis.

The warehouse entrance is behind a garbage collection area in an alleyway that frequently floods when it rains.

“We used to pray there [in the warehouse], then we decided that we need a proper premises because the community was growing,” said Peer.

When the land was purchased in 2014, the Islamic Society was hopeful that this meant soon Muslim residents would have an adequate prayer space in Gordon’s Bay.

Located between rows of houses and around the corner from the Gordon’s Bay Spar and Woolworths, the land was zoned for commercial and residential use. Before proceeding, the land needed to be rezoned for a place of worship. This is when the objections were raised.

The Gordon’s Bay Islamic Society submitted the application for rezoning on June 1, 2017.

During the public participation process, which took place from June 14, until July 17, 2017, 134 objections and one letter of support were received from residents.

The Islamic Society then responded to objections on August 23, 2017, and a hearing with the Municipal Planning Tribunal was set for April 19, 2019.

“The Municipal Planning Tribunal considered all of the objections very carefully,” tribunal chairperson David Daniels told Daily Maverick in July.

“Many of the objections received related to concerns regarding noise levels. We can confirm that the applicant specifically undertook measures to ensure that the mosque will not be a noise nuisance.”

The Planning Tribunal approved the mosque with conditions agreed to by the Islamic Society. These are that the mosque will not amplify the call to prayer so it will not be heard by those living around the mosque. Also, the Islamic Society will expand the parking area to include 40 bays plus disabled parking bays.

Peer believes that the bulk of the objections raised were ” disingenuous” and “unsubstantiated”.

“They are just taking whatever they can find and throwing it into the pot, hoping something will catch. We see that. We see through it.

“Even at the Tribunal, they were quite nasty and were using words that were not appropriate,” said Peer.

Following the Tribunal, the matter was then taken on appeal to the City’s Planning Appeals Advisory Panel on September 10. A formal notification was then sent out on Thursday, October 9, advising that the appeal was dismissed.

“The Planning Appeals Advisory Panel recommended to the Appeal Authority (the Executive Mayor) that the appeal be dismissed, which was subsequently formally dismissed by the Appeal Authority,” said Marian Nieuwoudt, mayco member for spatial planning and environment.

“This means the application has been approved and that the development can continue. Those who disagree with the mayor’s decision may approach the Western Cape High Court with a review application,” said Nieuwoudt.

Peer said many of the initial objectors had sent emails after the appeal was dismissed to congratulate the Islamic Society on the outcome.

“Congratulations to the Islamic Society of Gordon’s Bay the final approval for the mosque has been granted – it has been a long road, but finally you have all the permission and we look forward to seeing the new design,” wrote the Gordon’s Bay Residents Association, one of the initial objectors, in a Facebook post on 11 October.

Although there had initially been 134 objections, the panel only received one valid appeal. This was submitted by Leonor Bosman, convenor of the objections against the land rezoning.

“I am not the only one. There are hundreds of objectors in Gordon’s Bay,” said Bosman. “I have a list of 100 objectors that have pledged money for further actions … So there are still 100 objectors feeling very strongly about the case.”

The key points highlighted by Bosman were the lack of a visual impact study, an environmental impact study, and what the objectors believe is an “inappropriate” location choice.

The objectors feel there has not been adequate assessment of how the mosque, in particular the planned minarets, will fit in with the aesthetics of the town, what it may do to surrounding property values, and its impact on tourism and businesses in the area.

However, Peer said as part of the application made to the City, various impact studies were done by independent assessors who did not find any potential problems that could arise from the presence of a mosque in the area.

“The only thing they can do now is go to court and we are quite comfortable with that,” said Peer. “I am a lawyer; I will defend the case myself.”

Bosman wanted to be clear that this was not an issue of religious intolerance and said the same concerns would be expressed whether it was a church or mosque or any other religious building.

“The placement of that building is wrong. A place of worship in the middle of a business hub is not rational,” said Bosman. “The appeal has been rejected and we are considering further steps. I don’t think it’s totally the end of the story.”

By Aisha Abdool Karim for GroundUp

Nigerian police rescue 67 from ‘inhuman’ conditions at Rehabilitation Center… NOT Islamic school

MAIDUGURI – Police in northern Nigeria rescued nearly 70 men and boys from a second purported Islamic school where they were shackled and subjected to “inhuman and degrading treatments.”

The raid in Katsina, the northwestern home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, came less than a month after about 300 men and boys were freed from another supposed Islamic school in neighbouring Kaduna state where they were allegedly tortured and sexually abused.

“In the course of the investigation, sixty-seven persons from the ages of 7 to 40 years were found shackled with chains,” Katsina police spokesman Sanusi Buba said in a statement. “Victims were also found to have been subjected to various inhuman and degrading treatments.”

Speaking to Markaz Sahaba Online, Human Rights Activist Professor Ishaq Akintola, says that the so called Islamic schools are no more than rehabilitation centres.

Akintola, who is also the Director at Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Professor of Islamic Eschatology in Lagos State University told the online Islamic broadcaster that this is a smear campaign against the name of Islam.

He said that the owners of these rehabilitation centres had Muslim names, prompting various media outlets to label the centre as “Muslim Schools”.

The raid occurred on 12 October in Sabon Garin in the Daura local government area of Katsina state. Police issued a statement on Monday and said they were working to reunite the victims with their families.

Lawal Ahmad, a 33-year-old who was held captive, said he witnessed sexual assault, beatings and the death of other captives during his two years there.

“They were just beating, abusing and punishing us every day with the name of teaching us,” he said through tears, adding “they are not teaching us for the sake of God.”

Police arrested one man, 78-year-old Mallam Bello Abdullahi Umar, for running what they called an “illegal detention/remand home.”

Lawai Musa, a trader who lived near the centre, told Reuters by phone that families sent unruly men and boys there believing it was an Islamic teaching facility that would straighten them out and teach them Islamic beliefs.

“The way he is treating the children is un-Islamic” he said. “We are not happy, they were treated illegally.”

Islamic schools, known as Almajiris, are common across the mostly Muslim north of Nigeria. Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a local organisation, estimates about 10 million children attend them.

In June, President Buhari, himself a Muslim, said the government planned to ban the schools, but would not do so immediately. After the incident in Kaduna, the president issued a statement calling on traditional authorities to work with the government to expose “unwanted cultural practices that amount to the abuse of children.”

Buhari’s office declined to immediately comment on the Katsina raid, saying it would issue a statement after a full briefing from the police.

“The command enjoins parents to desist from taking their children/wards to illegal, unauthorized or unapproved remand/rehabilitation centres,” the police statement said.

Source : Reuters
Additional reporting by Markaz Sahaba staff
Feature Image : STRINGER/ REUTERS (People with chained legs are pictured after being rescued by police in Sabon Garin.)

Burkina Faso: 16 killed in mosque attack

DAKAR, Senegal (AA): Death toll from a mosque attack in Burkina Faso rose to 16, local media reported on Saturday.

On Friday evening, an armed group stormed the Great Salmossi Mosque in Markoye as Muslims were praying, the northern province of Oudalan, killing 10 people.

Local news website Infowakat said citing security sources that the death toll reached 16 on Saturday. Two people were wounded in the attack.

No official statement has been made so far.

On Saturday, around 1,000 people marched in the capital Ouagadougou “to denounce terrorism and the presence of foreign military bases in Africa.”

“Terrorism has now become an ideal pretext for installing foreign military bases in our country,” Gabin Korbeogo, one of the organizers of the march, said.

He added: “The French, American, Canadian, German and other armies have set foot in our sub-region, saying they want to fight terrorism. But despite this massive presence… the terrorist groups… are growing stronger.”

Burkina Faso has been battling militants and inter-ethnic violence since 2015.

Reports indicate hundreds of people have been killed so far this year and more than 150,000 fled their homes due to attacks which spill across the Sahel region.

Last December, a state of emergency was declared in several northern regions, allowing security forces extra powers to search homes and restrict freedom of movement.

France has 200 soldiers in Burkina Faso to fight terrorism.

More than 500,000 people have been forced out of their homes because of the conflict and violence, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Around 3,000 schools have been closed.

Source : Muslim News
Feature Image : BBC

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