Law firm De Beer Attorneys have called on South Africans who have suffered financial losses as a result of load shedding to get in touch as the firm prepare to take legal action against Eskom.
Managing partner at the firm Elaine Bergenthuin said they were gearing for a class action against the power utility for losses suffered by businesses and individuals.
They expected Eskom to argue that load shedding was neither wrongful nor negligent, as it was a responsible response to the electricity crisis.
The power utility recently came under the spotlight after implementing rotational load shedding, citing shortage of capacity.
But Bergenthuin said it could be argued that the electricity crisis was as a result of Eskom’s negligence in maintaining the electricity infrastructure and it should therefore be held accountable for the losses suffered.
“We have received a lot of interest and are calling people to come forward to strengthen the case,” Bergenthuin said.
Losses could include anything from damaged appliances to loss of profit, Bergenthuin said.
“A cookie company, for example, which makes 10 000 cookies a day, could prove that, as a result of load shedding, they were able to make 5 000 cookies. They could show a loss in profit,” Bergenthuin said.
Eskom stated: “The General Public Liability policy has the current exclusion below. Based on this exclusion, load shedding events will not be covered.
“No indemnity is granted by this policy against liability for: failure to supply arising out of any interruption of, variation or fluctuation in the supply of electricity, which is not consequent upon damage to generation and/or transmission plant or equipment.”
Anyone wishing to contact De Beer Attorneys can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Motorists should brace themselves for yet another massive fuel price increase on Wednesday.
Economists have predicted that more fuel hikes are to follow and that consumers will be badly affected.
The Automobile Association (AA) said strong oil prices and an ever-weakening rand would lead to another massive fuel price hike, as confirmed by the unaudited month-end fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.
“These increases will be compounded by rises in fuel taxes, which come into effect this month. There will be a 15c increase for the fuel levy and 5c for the Road Accident Fund levy,” the AA said.
The Energy Department announced that the price of 95 octane petrol will increase by R1.31 a litre in inland provinces, while motorists on the coast will have to fork out R1.26 more.
Ninety-three octane unleaded increases by R1.34 a litre for inland regions and is up R1.29 at the coast.
Diesel will increase by at least 82c a litre.
The AA said it was concerned about the rand’s current trajectory,
“The currency’s slide might reflect an accelerating loss of appetite for foreign direct investment,” it said.
Economists have also raised concerns about the impact of the fuel price increases on the economy’s growth.
“This will most likely result in inflation rising and will also put a massive strain on our economy because interest rates won’t be going down,” economist Mike Schüssler said.
He said the rise in fuel prices came at a difficult time, when the economy was struggling with load shedding.
Electricity prices are also expected to go up this month. Last month the National Energy Regulator allowed Eskom to implement a 9.4% increase.
Economist Dawie Roodt warned that this was likely to create fertile conditions for investor uncertainty, which could add more pressure on the country’s ailing economy.
Durban economist Professor Bonke Dumisa predicted that more fuel increases were on the cards for May and June, when the carbon tax was introduced.
In February, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced that carbon tax on fuel of 9c a litre on petrol and 10c on diesel would become effective from June 5.
Dumisa said it was important for people to understood exactly why the country was in this situation.
“When the rand weakens against the US dollar, everything increases, petrol, food and so on
“I had predicted this April increase months ago and as a result the implications of this will be dire.”
People reacted with concern on Dumisa’s Facebook page.
Nomfundo Mhlambi asked why fuel always increased on a Wednesday.
Dumisa explained it was because the new fuel price always came into effect on the first Wednesday of every month.
A concerned government employee expressed fears about taking early retirement under such economic situations.
Nomhle Dweba Zondi wrote: “Then the government must forget that I will take early pension whether there are no penalties. How can one survive?
“The little money I will cash will be squashed by all the cost of living.”
Ndoda Biyela said: “Eish, that’s almost an additional R100 to fill up.”
Deon Roux said: “Everything more expensive, how must the old people manage on R1 700 a month?
“It’s a disgrace.”
Visvin Reddy, the national convener of People Against Petrol and Paraffin Increases, said motorists were not going to cope with another steep fuel increase.
He said this was the “final nail in the coffin for the poorest of the poor” in South Africa.
“It is going to be even harder to put food on the table and even more expensive to travel to work,” said Reddy.
The children of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have received million-dollar houses in the kingdom and monthly five-figure payments as compensation for the killing of their father, according to current and former Saudi officials as well as people close to the family.
Khashoggi’s two sons and two daughters may also receive much larger payouts – possibly tens of millions of dollars apiece – as part of “blood money” negotiations that are expected to ensue when the trials of Khashoggi’s accused killers are completed in the coming months, according to the officials and others who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks.
The previously undisclosed payments are part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to reach a long-term arrangement with Khashoggi family members, aimed in part at ensuring that they continue to show restraint in their public statements about the killing of their father by Saudi operatives in Istanbul six months ago, the officials said.
The Khashoggi siblings have refrained from any harsh criticism of the kingdom, even as their father’s death provoked global outrage and widespread condemnation of the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The delivery of homes and monthly payments of $10 000 (about R140 000) or more to each sibling were approved late last year by King Salman as part of what one former official described as an acknowledgement that “a big injustice has been done” and an attempt “to make a wrong right.”
But the royal family is also relying on its wealth to help contain the ongoing fallout from the killing and dismemberment of the prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributing columnist who was targeted for articles that were often critical of the government.
A Saudi official described the payments as being consistent with the country’s long-standing practice of providing financial support to victims of violent crime or even natural disasters and rejected the suggestion that the Khashoggi family would be obligated to remain silent. “Such support is part of our custom and culture,” the official said. “It is not attached to anything else.”
As part of their preliminary settlement, the Khashoggi children were each given houses in Jiddah worth as much as $4 million apiece. The properties are part of a shared compound in which Salah Khashoggi, the eldest son, occupies the main structure.
A banker in Jiddah, Salah is the only Khashoggi sibling who intends to continue living in Saudi Arabia, according to people close to the family. The others reside in the United States and are expected to sell their new Saudi properties.
Salah, who has been responsible for financial discussions with Saudi authorities, declined to comment on the matter when reached by phone Monday. His desire to remain in Jiddah with his family has contributed to the siblings’ deference to the authorities and caution in their public statements over the past six months.
In October, the Saudi government released photos of Salah shaking hands with Mohammed, an image that was meant to show the crown prince offering condolences but was widely seen as an indication of the coercive power the royal family was exerting on Jamal Khashoggi’s children.
The writer’s two daughters, Noha Khashoggi and Razan Jamal Khashoggi, published an essay in The Washington Post last year in which they described their father’s hopes for changes in Saudi Arabia but emphasised that he was “no dissident” and did not accuse the crown prince or other Saudi officials of being culpable in his death.
Noha did not respond to a request for comment, and Razan could not be reached.
The monthly schedule of payments and prospect of eventual multimillion-dollar settlements would appear to give the Khashoggis a long-term financial incentive to remain quiet even as human rights organisations and critics of Saudi Arabia continue to demand accountability from the kingdom.
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan issued a statement Monday, six months after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, saying the Saudis “have adopted a strategy of evasion” that has “scapegoated expendable officials, seeking to quell international furore by staging a sham trial.”
Khashoggi’s second son, Abdullah, declined to comment when reached Monday. William Taylor, a Washington lawyer who has represented the family, also refused to discuss any compensation the family has received.
The negotiations with the family have been led by the outgoing Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, brother of the crown prince.
The CIA concluded with “medium to high confidence” that Mohammed had ordered Khashoggi’s killing, but President Donald Trump has refused to accept that verdict about a close ally, saying, “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.”
Saudi officials have strenuously denied that Mohammed was involved, describing the slaying as a rogue operation carried out by a team that intended to subdue Khashoggi and bring him back to Riyadh but killed him after a struggle at the consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi came to the diplomatic facility to collect paperwork needed to remarry.
U.S. intelligence agencies, relying in part on eavesdropping equipment placed in the Saudi Consulate by the Turkish government, have concluded that Khashoggi was strangled or smothered.
Saudi officials have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi’s body. His killers are believed to have dismembered and disposed of it. Officials who have heard audio of the operation said that one of the Saudi operatives – who has a background in forensic crime-scene work – can be heard warning other operatives to play loud music to mask the sound of an electric device.
Saudi authorities have announced investigations of 21 people in connection with Khashoggi’s killing, including Saud al-Qahtani, an enforcer for the crown prince suspected by some of orchestrating the operation against Khashoggi.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five operatives who travelled from Riyadh to Istanbul and were in the consulate when Khashoggi was killed. They include Maher Mutreb, a former colonel in the Saudi intelligence service who knew Khashoggi when both worked in London at the Saudi Embassy.
If the men are convicted and sentenced to death, the Saudi system of justice could allow the Khashoggi family members to grant their father’s killers clemency as part of a “blood money” arrangement in which they might then be entitled to tens of millions of dollars.
It is unclear whether Khashoggi’s children would be required to forgive or absolve the killers to collect the payments.
Former Saudi officials and experts said the royal court and government have incentives to seek such an agreement and avoid a situation in which only low-level operatives are executed for their role in a plot that was developed and orchestrated from high levels of government.
The issue of how far to go in protecting their father’s legacy has been a source of tension among the Khashoggi siblings, according to people close to the family. The daughters have at times pushed to be more outspoken about their father’s life and the kingdom’s ruthlessness, while the brothers have focused on maximising the amount of money the family will collect.
At one point in the weeks after their father’s death, Abdullah Khashoggi told advisers working with the family that he wanted to punish the royal court by going after one of the crown prince’s prized possessions. “I want the Da Vinci,” he said, referring to a painting by the Renaissance master that the crown prince paid $450 million for in 2017.
Source : The Washington Post
Feature Image : (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
After years of fighting the City of Cape Town authorities, Bo-Kaap residents have finally managed to secure municipal heritage protection.
Lengthy public participation saw 2,300 votes in favour and only 27 against the move.
Now, new developments and alterations to old buildings will have to follow strict guidelines on height, style and construction materials used.
It’s sustained, peaceful protests that have helped Bo-Kaap finally get the protection residents have been fighting for.
Yusuf Larney, one of the residents, said, “the young people did a wonderful job pushing for this heritage thing through, we have been fighting for many years.
“Although it’s elation, jubilation, it comes with a lot of sadness, it should have been done long ago.”
The heritage overlay protection, granted, includes everything from building heights to where a satellite dish may be installed.
It also protects the Bo-Kaap’s rich culture and 600 houses in the area.
The heritage overlay protection will only kick in once published in the provincial gazette.
Part of the Bo-Kaap is the The Auwal Mosque, alternatively spelled Awwal, Owal or Owwal, is a mosque in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, South Africa, recognised as the first mosque established in the country. It was constructed in 1794 during the first British occupation of the Cape on land belonging to Coridon van Ceylon, a Vryezwarten (freed Black Muslim slave). Coridon’s daughter, Saartjie van de Kaap, inherited the property that was being used as a warehouse, and donated it for the use as South Africa’s first mosque. The mosque was constructed in 1794 with renovations done in 1907 and extensive renovations done in 1936. It is the first mosque to observe public prayers and is where Cape Muslim traditions and the Arabic-Afrikaans language were first taught. It remains a symbol for Muslims of the recognition of Islam and the freedom of slaves to worship.
Israel’s occupation army has introduced a new crowd dispersal weapon to be used against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.
According to Wallah news agency, the weapon uses radio waves to make loud bomb-like sounds.
Apparently non-lethal, the weapon was developed in Israel. Soldiers using it on the first anniversary of the Great March of Return protests said that “it was very effective”.
During the latest Israeli crackdown on Palestinian protesters who are demanding their legitimate right of return to their land usurped by Israel since 1948, the occupation troops killed four people, three of whom were just 17 years old, and wounded 316 others. Those wounded included 86 children, 29 women, three paramedics and seven journalists.
Since the start of the Great March of Return protests on 30 March last year, Israel has killed around 280 protesters and wounded more than 30,000 others.
If you want to know who will pay the price of a re-energised Trump, the answer is the Palestinians
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has ended in the worst possible way for a large coalition of forces that hoped to see the back, or at least the beginning of the end, of US President Donald Trump.
While low-hanging fruit has fallen, Trump and his family have wriggled out of some of the most searching questions asked of a sitting president.
Questions about obstruction of justice are not over, but the Mueller firecracker has fizzled, Trump has rebounded and his pursuers are once again back on the defensive.
The prospect of a second Trump term now seems more likely.
Washington will almost certainly not be the only place to feel the seismic shifts in power that have taken place this week. If you want to know who will pay the price of a re-energised Trump, the answer is already before you: the Palestinians.
While the final act of the Mueller drama has played out, another one has unfolded almost below the radar.
If you allow Israel to keep this piece of occupied territory, there is nothing stopping Israel from now annexing part or all of the West Bank
This is as consequential to the Middle East as this president – who can fire an FBI director investigating him, or dangle pardons before potential witnesses – is at home.
Trump gifted Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier, the Golan Heights – a prize all other US presidents, Republican and Democrat, have rightly backed away from, and one which the EU has emphatically today rejected.
The Golan Heights on the Syrian border was captured at the same time as the West Bank was. If you allow Israel to keep this piece of occupied territory, there is nothing stopping Israel from now annexing part or all of the West Bank.
Which is exactly the point a senior official on Netanyahu’s plane back from Washington made to a Haaretz reporter. He said: “Everyone says you can’t hold an occupied territory, but this proves you can. If it’s occupied in a defensive war, then it’s ours.”
The Golan Heights: Why it matters
Trump’s logic in handing the Golan to Israel was simple, and one which he clearly explained on Fox News.
It was very much like his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. “I was inundated with calls from all over the world, the leaders, mostly the leaders saying ‘please don’t do it, don’t do it’. I did it and it’s been done and it’s fine.”
In other words, “I got away with Jerusalem, so I can get away with the Golan.”
In God’s name
Piece by piece, dunam by dunam, Trump and Netanyahu have dismantled a Palestinian state and any negotiated means to obtain one. Trump has ended all US contributions to UNWRA, the UN agency which has become chief employer, educator and sustainer of the Palestinian refugee camps.
He will deny visas to lawyers for the International Criminal Court investigating Israeli war crimes. He has declared anti-Zionism anti-Semitic. He has taken Jerusalem and Golan Heights off the table and now declared occupiers can keep the land they conquered. And he has done all this in God’s name.
Could it be, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked, that President Trump is destined to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?
Trump has taken Jerusalem and Golan Heights off the table and now declared occupiers can keep the land they conquered
“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Pompeo, who was visiting Israel, replied.
“It was remarkable – so we were down in the tunnels where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago – if I have the history just right – to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains,” he said.
“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” Pompeo concluded.
A new mandate
This is what Trump, fettered by an ongoing Mueller inquiry, has already achieved. What will Trump, unchained from these constraints, now do in the Middle East? What would a new mandate for Trump and a re-elected Netanyahu look like for the Palestinians?
The first target in this salami slice war will be the annexation of Area C which contains most of the settlers and constitutes 61 per cent of the territory of the West Bank. The second will be the imposition of a pliant successor to a moribund Mahmoud Abbas. The third would be a military offensive in Gaza to finish Hamas off once and for all.
Trump is right. To their undying shame, the Western-backed leaders of the Arab states are all cheering him on.
The next generation of Arab leaders, Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, have clearly placed their own trading and security relationship with Israel over their fathers’ historic pledges to protect and fight for the Palestinians.
They have stopped even pretending to maintain the boycott of the state they have yet to recognise, pending an agreed Palestinian settlement.
All are silent about the destruction of the Palestinian claim in this conflict.
Drunk with power
The Palestinians are well and truly alone. Trump and Netanyahu, two of the most destructive leaders for the Middle East, are drunk with power.
A drunk is about the last person to sense the dangers that rational and sober people see.
From 1948 to 1965, the Palestinians stayed dormant against Israel with no leaders to represent them, but they emerged to form a resistance movement in Fatah and other groups, whose cause united the Arab world and dominated it for three decades.
Inaction does not equal acquiescence. The absence today of a Palestinian leadership that can win rights and land for an occupied people does not amount to surrender. It’s not game over.
Soberly, the only other flag to be seen in the seas of pro-democracy campaigners in Algiers is the Palestinian one. Rationally, the state of Israel is as hated and feared on the Arab street as it has ever been. Arab leaders whose legitimacy is paper thin depend on Israel as never before.
Any new wave of the Arab Spring, which we might well be seeing in Algeria, would change that.
The great mass of Arab public opinion, abandoned and suppressed by its leaders, will not stay still or inert. It will start to move in other directions. Europe is out of touch and consumed with its own disunity. Russia is out of the game.
The next war
That leaves two regional powers left to keep the Palestinian torch aflame – Turkey and Iran. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now plans to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque in direct response to Trump’s recognition of Israel’s claims over East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.
Originally built as a cathedral by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul and then converted into a museum by Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
The move is a clear signal that two can play the game of moving religious furniture around in a sensitive region.
“Now, Trump tries to declare Jerusalem as [Israel’s] capital. He is giving Golan Heights to occupier Israel. Of course you will get a response from Turkey,” he said.
Trump, as George W. Bush before him, terminally misunderstands how the Middle East works. Iran expands as a regional power in the vacuum created by Western overreach, miscalculation and eventually withdrawal. All it has to do is wait for the prize to drop in its lap.
Right now, Iran’s most effective pro-consul, Qassem Soleimani, is meeting every single Sunni Arab group and politician that he can – Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian, Palestinian. All those who fought Iran and Hezbollah bitterly in Syria are now finding a new ear and a new interlocutor in this man.
Trump and Netanyahu are not conquering the Middle East, but they could well be re-aligning it for the next war to come. Israel, unleashed and unbound, is the last power on earth to see clearly the damage it is doing and the generations of conflict it is engendering.
The winner takes all. It will indeed but not in the way it imagines now.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Markaz Sahaba Online.
The other two are the Ibrahimi Masjid in Hebron, the site of the kabr of Ibrahim, and Bethlehem’s Bilal bin Rabah mosque, which Jews believe to be the theburialplace of Rachel, wife of Yakoob.
Unesco has ruled the Hebron and Bethlehem sites are an “integral part of Palestine”, infuriating Israeli authorities.
UNESCO also condemned Israel, “the occupying power,” for planting fake graves in Muslim cemeteries.
The draft decision by the UNESCO executive board on occupied Palestine was released this month.
Head of International Relations at Sawaed Association for Relief and Development Palestinian Territory Akram Al Satarri says the UNESCO resolution is not a new resolution as Muslims have always emphasized Al Aqsa is a Muslim heritage site.
“UNESCO has always recognized Islamic Heritage is an integral part of the natural Geography and demography of this Holy land, in particular Medina al Quds Jerusalem.
“Israel,in the same regard as the USA, has been withdrawing from all UNESCO bodies and committees for the very same reasons that UNESCO`s resolutions stands for the people of Palestine,” said Al Satarri.
UNESCO also said it “disapproves of the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of… Hebron, that harmfully affect the integrity of the site”.
UNESCO also slammed the Israeli attacks on Muslims on the Al Haram Al-Sharif, and its holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Akramtold Markaz Sahaba Online Radio the UNESCO resolution cannot be translated into action to stop the Israel occupiers from invading Palestinian land and attacking innocent lives.
Asked if he believed UNESCO was biased towards Israel as many have labeled it, Akram said as a Palestinian he only took facts from UNESCO as it expressed them about the lives and occupation of the Palestinians under the Israeli regime.
“UNESCO is the UN organization. It only translates facts onto paper. Something that we already know is that the land and those sacred places are purely Muslim. When we say we are Muslims, we are not denouncing or vilifying the religion of other people”.
Unesco also criticized “the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip,” which causes an “intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children,” as well as “the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education.”
There has been extensive, international discussion about the role of the online subculture of the far right in these events, the codes, memes and signals of internet-mediated white supremacy.
Characterizing the current climate in Australia towards Muslim community and towards Immigration now that the Australian Government has taken firm stunts against refugees, quite a controversial one I must say. Rodger Shanahan, research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia said back ground checks must be done before we conclude who influenced Tarrant to carry out this devastating act of inhumane.
“Before we start attributing blame and influences on who influenced this person on the cowardly attack that he carried out we really need to find out his social media background, his conversational background, his travel background to find out who has actually influenced him”. Said Shanahan.
Intolerance towards Muslims in New Zealand is all the more distressing because it is wholly unjustified. Muslims have lived peacefully in New Zealand for over 100 years and the community is incredibly diverse, consisting of people from places such as Fiji, Auckland, and Somalia.
There’s been less reflection on the fact that any 28-year-old in Australia has grown up in a period when racism, xenophobia and a hostility to Muslims in particular, were quickly ratcheting up in the country’s public culture.
Dr. Riaz Karim a senior political commentator based in London told Markaz Sahaba Online that reasons behind the increase of Islamophobia in Western Countries is because Islamophobia is a manufactured ideology and Governments have made it so prevalent.
Dr. Riaz said “The government especially in the United States has made Islamophobia so prevalent in all the countries that the main stream media is existing”.
In hisso-called manifesto, New Zealand massacre gunman Brenton Tarrant describes US President Donald Trump as a symbol of renewed white identity. When Trump asked Jacinda Ardern the New Zealand Prime Minister, what he could do to help she told him to show “sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.” So what’s driving the hatred and prejudice against Muslims in western countries?
Jacinda Adern’s response to the tragedy in New Zealand was compassionate, responsible and unifying.
In the years since, despite its obvious brutality, and despite repeated condemnations from international bodies, the mandatory offshore detention of boat-borne refugees in third countries has become Australia’s bipartisan policy. (The centre-left Labor party sacrificed principle in order to neutralise an issue that they thought was costing them elections.)
The majority of the refugees thus imprisoned have been Muslim. It has often been suggested by politicians that detaining them is a matter of safety – some of them might be terrorists.
Second, the 9/11 attacks drew Australia into the War on Terror in support of its closest ally, and geopolitical sponsor, the United States.
Australian troops spent long periods in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting and killing Muslims in their own countries. The consequences of this endless war have included the targeting of Australians in Jihadi terror attacks and plots, both at home and abroad.
The wars began with a deluge of propaganda. Later, the terror threat was leveraged to massively enhance surveillance by Australia’s national security state. Muslim Australians have frequently been defined by arms of their own government as a source of danger.
Two years after the war in Iraq commenced, the campaign of Islamophobia culminated in the country’s most serious modern race riots, on Cronulla Beach in December 2005, when young white men spent a summer afternoon beating and throwing bottles at whichever brown people they could find.
Cronulla was a milestone in the development of a more forthright, ugly public nationalism in Australia. Now young men wear flags as capes on Australia Day, a date which is seen as a calculated insult by many Indigenous people. Anzac Day, which commemorates a failed invasion of Turkey, was once a far more ambivalent occasion. In recent years it has moved closer to becoming an open celebration of militarism and imperialism.
Every step of the way, this process has not been hindered by outlets owned by News Corp, which dominates Australia’s media market in a way which citizens of other Anglophone democracies can find difficult to comprehend.
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.
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.
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.”
Abducted photojournalist Shiraaz Mohammed who disappeared while on assignment in Syria, may be coming home soon.
by Elphas Nkosi
Gift of the Givers founder and chairman Dr Imtiaz Sooliman today shed some light with Markaz Sahaba Online Radio on the disappearance of Mohammed who was kidnapped in Syria in January 2017.
“It took us two years to try to find the right people to make connection with the group [of abductors].
“But now, in the last four weeks or so, the group that took him have appointed someone to talk to us directly in South Africa. We now talk to them directly and they have been pushing for money.”
It is understood the kidnappers initially demanded three million Euros as ransom. However, they dropped their demands after the Gift of the Givers indicated they were not interested in engaging in negotiations for financial gain.
Sooliman further stated: “Last week they called. It sounded like desperation as they said ‘are you guys not prepared to reconsider bringing something?’ And we said ‘no we are not interested, we do not pay ransom’.”
Sooliman was positive that Mohamed would be released unconditionally, adding that “waiting patiently” is an important part of securing his release.
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”.