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Sanders attacked by Israel envoy for wanting to direct US aid to Palestinians

US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders appears to have struck a nerve with Israeli officials after proposing to put the annual $4 billion handout the Zionist state gets from the US to better use.

The veteran politician who spent several months during his early 20s living on an Israeli kibbutz, appeared to suggest that giving Tel Aviv aid unconditionally made the US complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Referring to the ten-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US and Israel negotiated by former President Barack Obama, he said: “My solution is to say to Israel: you get $3.8 billion every year; if you want military aid you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza, in fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that should go right now into humanitarian aid.”

The remarks stirred strong feelings in Israel. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein attacked Sanders, saying that the Vermont senator should “stop talking nonsense”. Israel views the aid it receives from the US, totalling hundreds of billions over the decades, as untouchable. Attempts by US presidents, such as former President George H W Bush, to make aid conditional on change in Israeli behaviour by discontinuing its sprawling settlement construction, has been fatal to his re-election.

In ugly rhetoric that appears to mirror the ongoing assault on British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who, like his ideological counterpart in the sates is a strong critic of Israel, Sanders is being gunned down by Israeli officials at every opportunity.

Speaking at a gala event held by the Zionist Organisation of America in New York City yesterday evening, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon mocked Sanders. “Mr. Sanders, a few months on a kibbutz in 1963 can only teach you so much,” taunted Danon.

Repeating the common Israeli propaganda line that the Palestinians have turned Gaza into a haven for terrorism following Israel’s withdrawal in 2005, Danon said: “Perhaps Mr. Sanders didn’t hear about Israel leaving Gaza in 2005,” the ambassador said. “Maybe he hasn’t had the chance to visit the Kerem Shalom crossing, where hundreds of trucks pass daily to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Maybe he doesn’t know about the terror tunnels.”

Although Sanders did not say that US aid should go to Hamas, Danon went on to distort the senator’s comments. “He [Sanders] is suggesting to give less military assistance to the United States’ most important ally in the Middle East in order to give it to Hamas, a terrorist organisation that celebrated the tragedy of 9/11. Let me assure you my friends, we will never let that happen,” Danon told the audience. “We will fight against these radical voices.”

It’s been suggested that the Democrats are becoming split on the issue of Israel with a number of candidates seeking to take a harder line. Sanders’ running mate Elizabeth Warren has also said that she would halt aid to Israel if it did not stop building settlements. A number of commentators have suggested that this reflects a growing trend amongst America’s new generation, including young Jewish voters, who see a yawning chasm between their progressive liberal values and policies of a country that has denied 12 million people their universally recognised right to self-determination by illegally entrenching its occupation.

Source : MEMO

ICC authorises probe into alleged Myanmar Rohingya abuse

The International Criminal Court on Thursday approved a long-awaited full investigation into Myanmar’s alleged abuse of Rohingya Muslims, including crimes against humanity and persecution.

The Hague-based war crimes court said in a statement it “authorised the prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction” relating to Myanmar.

The probe will look at allegations of “systematic acts of violence”, deportation as a crime against humanity, and persecution on the grounds of ethnicity or religion against the Rohingyas, it said.

The development ups pressure on Myanmar after it faced a separate genocide lawsuit earlier this week at the International Court of Justice – the UN’s top court – over its treatment of the Rohingya.

Myanmar launched a military crackdown in 2017 that forced 740,000 Rohingya to flee over the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh, in violence that United Nations investigators say amounts to “genocide”.

Myanmar is not signed up to the ICC but the court ruled last year that it has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya minority because Bangladesh, where they are now refugees, is a member.

Chief ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was allowed to open a preliminary investigation on Myanmar in September 2018, and formally applied to begin a full-scale formal probe in July this year.

The court said a panel of judges on Thursday “authorised the commencement of the investigation in relation to any crime, including any future crime” committed against the Rohingyas.

Source : AFP
Feature Image : AP/PTI file

UN condemns rockets fired from Gaza; ignores deadly Israel air strikes

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said today that “the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately.”

In a statement he ignored the continuous Israeli strikes in Gaza, which have resulted in the death of 24 and injured 69 over the past two days, in addition to demolition and damaging residential buildings in the besieged enclave.

“I am very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel, following the targeted killing of one of the group’s leaders inside Gaza yesterday,” Mladenov said.

He added: “The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately.”

Mladenov continued: “There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians.”

“The continuing escalation is very dangerous. It is yet another attempt to undermine the efforts to improve the dire socio-economic conditions in Gaza and prevent another devastating conflict.”

He stated that the “UN is working to urgently de-escalate the situation.”

In the early hours of yesterday, Israel targeted the home of Islamic Jihad Commander Bahaa Abu Al-Ata killing him and his wife as they were slept. His children and neighbour were injured in the attack.

Palestinian factions have since united to stop Israel’s aggression against the Strip.

Source : MEMO

Saudi threatens to detain Ouda’s son next to his father

The aggressive manner with which Saudi Arabia pursues its critics came to light with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year in Istanbul. It was hoped that the global backlash against the grisly killing of the 60-year-old would force the kingdom to temper its hostility towards activists calling for political reform within the country. There is little to suggest that this is the case.

The latest instance of the threat and intimidation directed at critics of the Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, concerns the son of jailed Imaam Salman Al-Ouda. The prominent preacher is facing execution for charges connected to terrorism. An international campaign led by Amnesty is calling for his release while raising concerns over Riyadh’s ever-expanding and ambiguous anti-terror laws that target human rights activists.

Following his arrest in 2017, Al-Ouda’s family have been subjected to an ongoing campaign, which suggests that the crown prince, known colloquially as MBS, has not relented in his pursuit of critics. Speaking to American news channel PBS. Abdullah Al-Ouda said that the Saudi government has been sending him daily threats and warnings that he would be out in prison next to his father.

US based Al-Ouda, who has been campaigning for his father’s release and exposing arbitrary arrests and torture within the kingdom, also revealed that the threatening messages he received included warning that his human rights activism would influence the way Saudi officials behaved with his detained father. “I continue to receive daily threats of imprisonment next to my father, by accounts (Twitter) linked to the Saudi government,” he went on say.

The Al-Ouda family appear to be closely monitored by Riyadh. In October Saudi officials arrested  Abdel-Aziz Al-Ouda because of a tweet in support of Palestine.

It also looks like that the Saudis have a large and sophisticated army of Twitter users targeting critics. Last week two former Twitter employees were charged by US courts of spying for Saudi Arabia. One of the critics targeted by the alleged Saudi spies was a close friend of Khashoggi.

Since his appointment as the crown prince, MBS has launched a wave of arrests. Officials, princes, preachers, political opponents and even liberal activists critical of his authoritarian rule, have not been spared from arrest and detention.

Source : MEMO
Feature Image : Sky news

Shooting at Kleksdorp’s Speedy Car Sales Claims One Life

A 37-year-old man is in custody after a shooting at Speedy Car Sales in Klerksdorp earlier this afternoon.

According to Capt Aafje Botma, police spokesperson, a 30-year-old man was killed and two others wounded. “The shooter went to the police station where he handed himself over to the police. He used his own licensed firearm ,’’ she said.

“Witness reports state that the shooter entered the building where he started arguing with the deceased. He took out his firearm and started shooting. Two people were wounded in the attack,’’ Botma said.

The police’s forensic unit is still at the scene in Anderson Street.

The police did not want to disclose the identity of the deceased as the next-of-kin still needs to be notified, however the news already circulated on social media that the victim was Mohammed Dangor, the son of Farouk Dangor.

Klerksdorp Record was told that Farouk Dangor, owner of Speedy Car Sales, was in Durban at the time of the incident. He chartered a private jet back to Klerksdorp to deal with the tragic incident.

The police are investigating murder, and two charges of attempted murder.

Source : KlerksdorpRecord.web
Additional editing by Markaz Sahaba

France: 42% of Muslims harassed at least once

PARIS (AA): A poll said on Wednesday that 42% of Muslims in France were harassed at least once in their lives.

The survey published by the French Public Opinion Institute (IFOP) said most racial harassment occurred during police controls, job applications and house rentals.

60% of Muslim women who wear headscarf said they were harassed at least once, while this figure was 44% for non-headscarf-wearing Muslim women.

24% of Muslims who participated in the survey said they were verbally attacked and this rate was 9% for non-Muslims.

Also, 37% of the headscarf-wearing Muslim women said they were insulted.

Last month, French far-right lawmaker Julien Odoul had requested from a Muslim woman to take off her veil in a meeting in eastern Besancon and attacked her verbally.

After the incident, the issue sparked discussions and statements targeting Muslims.

Last week, an 84-year-old man was arrested after he shot and wounded two people seriously while they were praying at a mosque in the southern French city of Bayonne.

Source : MuslimNews.co.uk
* Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet in Ankara
Feature image : Latrach Med Jamil

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.

‘Muslims must support Christian protest over school art work’ – Moulana Salim Kareem

Maulana Salim Kareem says Curro school’s display insulting to Jesus must be condemned

Muslims must stand by Christians in the country who are outraged at an upmarket  Curro school’s depiction of Nabi Isa alayi salaam as clown.

Respected scholar Maulana Salim Kareem made the call Wednesday morning after a parent at the school, Pastor Andrew Anderson posted an emotional video of the artwork.

Anderson says in the video he’d arrived at the school, Grantleigh in Richards Bay, for a pize giving and was shocked to see the artwork on display at the entrance.

Choking back his tears, Anderson says: “It felt like we were crucifying Jesus all over again.”

He felt doubly offended as the ostensibly Christian school whose motto is “To God be the glory” would host the art display at its entrance, just meters away from the motto.

He’s calling for a protest over the work and Maulana Kareem says Muslim must support the call as they are obliged to defend all of God’s true prophets.

Although Muslims deny Christian claims about the divinity of Christ (peace be unto him), they do recognise him as a prophet o Allah, they support his virgin birth, his ascension into heaven and that he will return in the end times to kill the Antichrist, known to Muslims as Al-Masih ad-Dajjal, the False Messiah.

Kareem says the rule in Islam is very clear that Muslims must respect other people’s beliefs and to must hold Isa (alayi salaam) in high esteem “so it is the duty of every Muslim to condemn this”.

The alim says it is also upsetting that the artwork was displayed at a school that is supposed to teach children respect and good manners. Given the high emphasis placed on learning in Islam, this amounted to a double affront, Maulana Kareem says.

“This is an educational institution and we are introducing to those innocent minds to such material at the entrance of the school. It’s demonic, it is Satanic.”

He says the school’s officials, teachers and principal need to be taken to task by government and wider society.

“A school is supposed to mould a child, but instead it  is promoting such sadistic, horrible, devilish behaviour. It  should be condemned at the highest levels.

“We all should condemn and put a stop to it so no other school will do such things,” Maulana Kareem says.

Muslims are instructed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and salutations be on him) to ask God Most High for beneficial knowledge, but the school’s art display doesn’t come anywhere near this, he says.

“How can this art educate a child? It’s not educational at all.”

The school said it would not tolerate hate speech or anything that could damage the Curro brand.

Curro, the parent company, said it was “cognisant of the allegations made on social media and the matter is currently subject to an internal investigation”.

“Curro reiterates that comments made about the school, the artwork and the learner are not an accurate reflection of our school and the situation referred to, and we reserve the right to withhold comment until the internal investigation has concluded.”

But the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) is also weighing in on the matter.

ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe pointed out the work included torn up pages from a Bible. The project was “blasphemous and deeply offensive to many Christians,” he said.

“It cannot, in our view, be justified under freedom of artistic creativity, and may well border on hate speech and religious intolerance,” Meshoe said.

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

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