The terror group ISIS has made a chilling threat against the Vatican just weeks before tens of thousands of faithful gather there to celebrate Christmas.
A pro-ISIS propaganda channel made the threat in a poster depicting a car attack.
The poster - reading "Christmas blood" - depicts a masked jihadi driving a BMW towards St Peter's Basilica, where Pope Francis holds mass.
An assault rifle and a rucksack are visible on the seat next to the driver, who is using a sat nav and driving at high speed.
The poster was published by the pro-ISIS Wafa Media Foundation, according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors terrorist activity.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Europe this year - including those in Manchester and London.
It has made frequent threats against Pope Francis and the Vatican, especially in the lead-up to big events including Christmas.
In December last year, 12 people were killed when an ISIS terrorist killed a lorry driver and ploughed his truck into the Christmas market in Berlin.
The new threat emerged on Tuesday with surviving militants on the run after they were driven out of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said the military will continue to fight ISIS "as long as they want to fight".
Separate forces backed by the US and Russia are battling to retake the last remaining pockets of ISIS-held territory in Syria.
Mr Mattis said the long-term goal is to prevent the return of an "ISIS 2.0".
He told reporters on Monday: "The enemy hasn't declared that they're done with the area yet, so we'll keep fighting as long as they want to fight."
US-backed forces recently declared victory in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the terror group's largest stronghold in the war-torn country.
Human rights activists are warning that a new Iraqi law could legalise marriage for children as young as nine and set women's rights back 50 years.
They are calling on Iraqi ministers to withdraw a draft of the Jafaari Personal Status Law which would allow Muslim clerics to have control over marriage contracts.
The legislation is based on the Shia principles of the Jaafari school of jurisprudence, which was founded by the sixth Shia Imam, Jaafar al-Sadiq.
The 2014 version of the bill, which was approved by Iraq's Council of Ministers, includes provisions that would legalise marital rape, ban Muslims from marrying non-Muslims and allow nine-year-old children to marry.
On 1 November, Iraq's Council of Representatives voted in principle to approve the amendment and the bill was signed by 40 parliamentarians. Iraq's elections will be held in May next year.
The law, which would cover the 36 million Shia citizens living in Iraq, would have a "catastrophic" impact on women's rights, according to Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East consultant for the advocacy group Equality Now.
"We are outraged," she told The Guardian. "We will be supporting women in Iraq by issuing alerts about the bill. We are also writing letters to the speaker of [parliament] and the president."
Activists from civil society organisations gathered in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah on Sunday (12 November) to present a petition against the bill.
"This new bill to amend the Personal Status Law will authorize religious men to enforce illegal marriages and force girls under 18 to live with their in-laws. This is a setback to the achievements Iraqi women made and struggled for half a century ago," the petition read.
If the law is approved by the Iraqi parliament, it "would be a disastrous and discriminatory step backward for Iraq's women and girls," according to Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
"This personal status law would only entrench Iraq's divisions while the government claims to support equal rights for all," he said. "It flies in the faces of the Iraqi government's legal commitments to protect women's and girls' rights."
The United Nations in Iraq has also condemned the bill. "I call upon the Council of Representatives to seize this opportunity...to conduct a wider consultation on the draft amendments in a participatory manner to recommit to and ensure the full respect, protection and fulfillment of women and girls' rights in Iraq in relation to matrimonial and other matters," said Jan Kubis, the special representative to Iraq of the UN Secretary-General.
A 34-year-old Indian man has gone on trial in the Court of First Instance on the charge of disrespecting Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on Facebook.
He denied the charge of religion contempt via internet. He claimed that he was unaware of the post's content and meaning.
The case dates back to September 30. It was reported to the Bur Dubai police station by an Indian man who happened to see the defendant's account.
"I heard from work colleagues that the defendant had posted a caricature on Facebook. My friend then took a screenshot of it and showed it to me," the man who reported the incident to police, said. "He also posted a disrespectful line next to the photo."
A policeman said he went with the complainant to the workplace of the accused in the Business Bay area where the accused was arrested and his mobile phone seized. He then handed it over to the lieutenant in charge on that day.
The defendant admitted during investigation that he posted the photo. But he claimed he received it from a friend and shared it on his account without being aware of its insulting content.
A photo copy of the said caricature was enclosed by the public prosecution to the case file.
The court adjourned the trial to November 27.
A suicide bomber killed 14 people at a political gathering in the Afghan capital on Thursday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said another 18 people were wounded, and that the casualties included security forces and civilians. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attacker struck at the entrance to the wedding hall where the event was being held.
Taliban denies role
The IS claimed the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency. The Taliban denied involvement.
Parliament member Hafiz Mansoor, who attended the meeting but was not harmed, said around 700 supporters of the governor of the northern Balkh province were attending a conference to highlight his work.
Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the Taliban and other insurgents since the U.S. and NATO shifted to a counterterrorism and support role at the end of 2014. The Taliban have seized a number of districts across the country, and both groups have carried out major attacks.
Both the Taliban and the IS affiliate, which is largely made up of disgruntled former Taliban fighters, are at war with the government. Both groups want to impose a harsh version of Islamic law on Afghanistan, but they are fiercely divided over leadership, tactics and ideology, and have clashed on a number of occasions.
At least 18 persons were killed and 29 others injured on Wednesday evening as two suicide bombers attacked a crowded suburb of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, police said.
Deafening blasts were heard echoing over the Maiduguri metropolis late in the evening of Wednesday as the suspected Boko Haram attackers let go their explosives.
The spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force in Borno, Victor Isukwu, who later provided details via a text statement, said the attacks were carried out by four suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers.
He said the suicide bombers – two male and two female – targeted some crowded locations of Muna Gari, a suburb of Maiduguri that falls under Konduga Local Government Area.
“Today 15/11/2017, at about 1813hrs, four suicide bombers, two males and two females, infiltrated Muna Gari community in Konduga LGA, and detonated IED strapped to their bodies at different location,” Mr. Isukwu, a deputy superintendent of police, said.
“The first explosion occurred at a prayer ground, while the other explosions occurred thereafter, all within the community.
“A total of eighteen persons including the four suicide bombers, died in the multiple explosions. While twenty nine others sustained various degrees of injuries and were rushed to university of Maiduguri teaching hospital/State Specialist Hospital for medical attention.”
He added that police patrol and explosive teams were promptly mobilised to the scene of the attacks to ensure the place was sanitised and rendered safe.
“Normalcy has been restored to the community”, he said.
Wednesday’s attacks occurred about the same time suspected Boko Haram members stormed two communities in Madagali Local Government Area of neighbouring Adamawa State.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Adamawa State governor, however, said the attackers were eventually repelled by soldiers and local vigilante. The casualty from that attack is yet to be confirmed.
The Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has caused about 100,000 deaths since 2009.
A 20-year-old man was severely beaten by a group of seven young men in Berlin’s troubled Alexanderplatz area after he tried to defend a 14-year-old girl from harassment.
On Wednesday evening, the 20-year-old noticed an 18-year-old attempting to get the number of a 14-year-old girl in the vicinity of the Alexanderplatz metro. When the man saw the young girl wanted nothing to do with the 18-year-old he intervened, but was set upon by the teen and six of his friends who beat him, Die Welt reports.
The gang fled the scene but two of them, both under 18, were arrested at the nearby metro station. The 20-year-old was taken to hospital but was discharged with only minor injuries.
The violent incident is just the latest at Alexanderplatz, which some have said is turninginto a no-go zone due to the frequent violence and high level of crime from primarily migrant youth gangs.
Over the weekend, there were a number of other violent incidents in the area including a brawl between two groups of young men. Police who arrived on the scene were attacked by several of the “youths” including being sprayed with pepper spray.
Authorities arrested several teens and one boy aged only 11 who also participated in the violence.
Last month, there were two knife attacks in the area, one of which involved several older teens attack a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed in the arm, following an argument, and had to be taken to hospital. Three teens were arrested by police in connection with the assault.
While no-go zones in places like the suburbs of Paris and the suburbs of Swedish cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg have existed for years, no-go zones in Germany are relatively new phenomena.
Only this year have members so the German press used the term in their publications. Last month, Die Welt referred to a troubled area in Cologne as a “no-go zone“, though authorities in the country have warned for months of the emergence of areas where German laws are hardly enforced.
Locals of the Soylashah Bazar said most men were still on the run, fearing arrest
Victims of the attack on Hindu homes in Thakurpara village and their Muslim neighbours could not identify most of the people who carried out the attack, although they placed the attackers as residents of Mominpur and Hariar Kuthi, two notoriously rough neighbourhoods.
They also pointed fingers at six locals and the cleric of a local mosque for their dubious role in organising the protests.
Many people living in villages next to Thakurpara admitted they took part in the human chain organised at Soylashah Bazar to protest the controversial Facebook post on November 10. However, they denied having anything to do with the mayhem.
The human chain was meant to be a 15-minute protest after the Jummah prayers, but things went out of control when “hoards of outsiders” started showing up at the place, according to some of the participants of the protest.
The six local, who are aged between 30 and 40, are Julfikar Ahmed, Raju Ahmed, Jahangir Alam, Alamgir Hossain, Robiul Islam and Moslem Uddin.
Julfikar and Raju are brothers, both rice traders, and are said to be supporters of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. Alamgir and his brother Jahangir run a grocery shop. Rabiul is an autorickshaw driver in Rangpur city while Moslem is a seasonal crop trader. Imam of Soylashah Bazar Mosque, Sirajul Islam, joined them on request of Alamgir.
A youth from Lalchandpur village, preferring anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that Alamgir Hossain, a grocer, was the one who first showed the controversial Facebook post to others in the locality.
Alamgir also filed a case with Gongachora police station in connection with the post.
Alamgir and Imam Sirajul went to Paglapir Central Mosque in the evening of November 4 and campaigned against the Facebook post. They also showed a printed copy of the content to the people in the area.
The two men subsequently met Imams in adjacent areas, including Mominpur, Hariar Kuthi and Taraganj villages, and convinced them to exhort against the Hindu community.
Alamgir and Julfikar also reportedly used the loudspeakers of the mosques to spread hateful messages.
Nahid Hossain of Soylashah Bazaar told the Dhaka Tribune that even on the day of the attack, Alamgir had sent a boy to bring a loudspeaker from a mosque. But the boy did not show up later.
A young man who was present at the human chain said that although the event was organised by the six men, they got scared at seeing the police and disappeared from the front of the gathering.
It was a huge gathering and chaos erupted when Alamgir and Julfikar, who were well-known faces, could not be found all of a sudden.
After the key organisers left the scene, a local Imam started speaking and told the people to form a human chain. According to police sources, the Imam the participants were referring to was Olama Dal leader Mawlana Enamul Haque Majedi.
Some time later, Jatiya Party leader Fazlar Rahman and Hariar Kuthi Union Parishad Chairman Harun-or-Rashid, who is also the organising secretary of the local Awami League unit, were seen leading the human chain. BNP leader Masud Rana was also present in the bazaar area.
Police sources said they were looking for Fazlar. This correspondent tried to reach Harun-or-Rashid and his wife over phone, but found the phones turned off.
Rangpur Superintendent of Police Mizanur Rahman on Sunday told the reporters that they were arresting people on the basis of photos captured during the protest.
Villagers who were not present during the attack would not be arrested, he assured.
However, locals of the Soylashah Bazar said most men were still on the run, fearing arrest.
“The youth and men you will find in the village are mostly Hindus. Police are holding patrols everyday and the men of our village are staying outside their homes over fear of arrest,” said a woman of Soylashah Bazar. She did not want to disclose her name, saying she feared it would lead to the arrest of her husband.
Meanwhile, Additonal SP Jakir Hossain confirmed that police have arrested 24 more accused in two cases filed in connection with the attack on houses of Hindus at Thakurpara village.
The total number of arrestees now stands at 124.
The main accused of the cases, BNP leader Masud Rana, Olama Dal leader Mawlana Enamul Haque Majedi are still at large.
In a bizarre case, a 14-year-old boy has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a hen in Pakistan's Punjab province of Pakistan, a media report said today.
Mansab Ali, a resident of Jalapur Bhatian police station Hafizabad, some 200km from Lahore, told police that his neighbour Ansar Hussain "abducted" his hen on November 11 and "raped" it.
"The hen died while being sexually assaulted by Hussain. Two persons — Nasrullah and Tufail - witnessed this act," an FIR quoted the complainant as saying.
Station House Officer Sarfraz Anjum told The Express Tribune that the suspect had been arrested after a medical examination of the hen confirming the sexual assault.
"Hussain has also confessed to his crime. The boy said he did it out of sexual frustration," he said.
The reports of swabs collected from the hen were still awaited.
The suspect has been booked, the police said.
A Malayalam audio clip, claiming to be from the Islamic State, has surfaced calling for war against India and conducting lone-wolf terror attacks on crowds thronging Indian festival events like Kumbh Mela and Thirssur Pooram.
“You use your intellect. Poison them in food. Use trucks. Drive over them at Thirssur pooram or at Maha Kumbh Mela. IS Mujahideen are doing it in several parts of the world. In Las Vegas, one of our supporters killed many people at a music concert. At least you should try to derail a train. Or use a knife,” the clip said.
In Las Vegas, A “lone wolf” gunman carried out America’s deadliest mass shooting in a meticulously planned attack at a festival crowd of 22,000.
Police sources said the audio clip has been transmitted over Telegram Messenger from Afghanistan and its voice belongs to Rashid Abdullah, the leader of the Kasaragod IS module who left to join Islamic State in Afghanistan.
He has been chargesheeted by NIA under IPC sections 120B r/w 125 and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) Sections 38,39 and 40. There has also been an Interpol red notice issued against him. The case against him came to light after his father filed a police complaint last year saying Rashid Abdullah, his wife and son were missing from Mumbai.
The clip has surfaced at a time Kerala police have said that about 100 people from the state are suspected to have joined the Islamic State. Quoting sources, PTI had reported that the Kerala Police had collected evidence in this regard, including over 300 voice clips and messages from WhatsApp, Telegram messaging applications and other social media platforms.
The clip in question says that Muslims should go for hijrah (migrate) from Darul Kufr (house of non-believers) to Darul Islam (house of believers). “If you are not able to do that despite your prayers and efforts, then you should financially support Daulatul Islam and Islamic State,” it says.
According to sources, Rashid Abdulla's previous audio clips had only urged people to perform hijrah. However, in his 50th clip, he has changed his tone and has made an open call for attacks in India, which he has described as a country where "Hindus rule."
“Many are trying to finish IS and khilafat. We have been reduced to nothing in many parts. But, Daultaul Islam is still active and we will fight until the last man,” the clip adds.
Responding to the audio clip, former special director of cabinet secretariat, V Balachandran said, "This is very serious. They are going to take the battle to India from Europe and Middle East."
Dozens of other people, including civilians, were wounded in the attack, which occurred outside a camp used by a local security force organized by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Islamist militants have exploited a civil war that began in 92015 to try to expand their influence and gain a foothold in the impoverished country located in the southern Arabian Peninsula, near the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.
Witnesses described a huge explosion that shook the al-Mansoura district in northern Aden, destroying at least one building and shattering windows in others. A plume of smoke rose over the area.
Ambulances raced to the scene to evacuate the wounded. Pictures circulating on social media showed several young men in military uniform being carried away.
Residents said two suicide bombers carried out the attack. But Islamic state, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said only one bomber was involved and identified him as Abu Hajar al-Adani.
The group said Adani targeted the operations room of the “apostate Security Belt”, destroying it and killing and wounding all those inside it.
Pictures posted on social media showed young men in military uniforms being carried away in bandages.
The Security Belt was set up by the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis since they advanced on Aden in 2015, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.
The civil war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the internationally recognized Hadi government has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than two million. The war drags on with no sign that it will end soon.
Tuesday’s attack was the second of its kind in Aden this month. On Nov. 5, a car bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint, killing 15 people and wounding at least 20. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that assault but provided no evidence it was involved
Eight first information reports (FIR) were registered on Saturday against members of religious groups Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah and Sunni Tehreek Pakistan for allegedly kidnapping and torturing four police officers during their protests in the capital city.
The policemen were kidnapped on Friday and released on Saturday morning. FIRs under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and multiple sections of the Pakistan Penal Code have been registered against the culprits.
Police officers acted as the complainants in the latest FIR against the protestors. They have claimed that the protestors kidnapped the police officers after snatching a wireless set and camera from them. The FIR also states that the protestors opened fire on police but they escaped unhurt.
Reports also reveal that the leaders of the religious parties had also threatened to attack the families of federal ministers if their demands were not met.
The protest rally began earlier this week when a few hundred members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah gathered at Faizabad and later grew to over 3,000 protestors. Capital Development Authority and law enforcement agencies were forced to erect barricades on the capital’s main roads to prevent the protestor’s entry into sensitive areas. The city’s traffic and residents have faced disruptions in their normal lives because of the protestors.
Previously, the protestors had already been booked on different charges including the death of a child, violence against a TV channel’s crew, rioting, unlawful assembly and assaulting an official.
Five Christian families in Pakistan are compelled to leave their homes and village as a 18-year-old youth among them has been charged of committing blasphemy. As indicated by media reports, these families are inhabitants of Sukheki village, somewhere in the range of 200 kilometers from Lahore.
These Christian families needed to escape their homes after the photo of a Christian youth was shared on Facebook and individuals of the range were induced to kill him and consume the congregation. There are reports that a Muslim mob had likewise been composed to rebuff the Christian young man.
Police authorities told that circumstance was brought under control a case had been enlisted against the individuals who had made this phony Facebook page. Cop Tahir Hussain told that there was no proof of the Christian boy named Arshad had submitted any blasphemy whatsoever. It was a phony campaign. The issue has been sent to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with the goal that the offenders behind the page could be found.
Then again, Christian counselor Naseer Ghulam told the media that he had no clue where were the Christian families who had fled the area to save their lives and what conditions they are in. He additionally had no idea of why Arshad Masih was being encircled for this case.
Schools are being issued with guidance about RE trips after it emerged some parents are refusing to allow children to visit mosques.
Families have the right to withdraw pupils from visits to places of worship. Some cite costs, while others are concerned about safety or a ‘political agenda’.
Now Staffordshire’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) has produced a document to help schools tackle the sensitive topic. It includes a template letter to parents, outlining the value of helping pupils understand different cultures and faiths.
SACRE said requests to withdraw children from these activities was ‘a serious matter’.
The document states: “While objections are raised about visits to a number of places of worship, they are most frequently about visits to mosques, which raises the bigger issue of Islamaphobia and how this can be addressed.”
It adds: "Visits to sacred spaces bring the agreed syllabus to life and underpin the role of RE in helping to prepare and equip pupils for life and citizenship in today's diverse and plural Britain."
The advice includes tips on how to prepare schoolchildren for an RE trip so they 'will be comfortable with any differences they see'. Suggestions range from having a representative of that particular faith visit the school in advance through to offering a virtual tour of a place of worship and having discussions in class.
The father of Islamic jihadi fighters who died in Syria has appeared in court charged with assaulting a man in a mosque.
Abubaker Deghayes, 49, pleaded not guilty to the charge at Brighton Magistrates Court on Thursday morning.
Deghayes, of Arundel Drive, Saltdean, spoke to confirm his name age and address after which details of his forthcoming trail were arranged.
Prosecutor Mr Andrew Walker told the court in Edward Street that his case was a “straightforward assault” which involved the defendant allegedly “beating the victim in the face in a mosque.”
The Deghayes family has been well-known in Brighton since Abubaker’s sons Abdullah, then 18, and Jaffar, then 17, travelled to Syria in 2014 to fight dictator Bashar al-Assad alongside the al-Quaedi-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusr brigades.
They were killed within months of each other that year.
A third son, Amer, has fought with jihadis in Middle East battlegrounds including Aleppo.
Abubaker’s brother Omar, uncle to the jihadi brothers, was detained in Guantanamo Bay for five years and released in 2007 after which time he returned to Brighton.
A serious case review into the radicalisation of the teens, released earlier this year, concluded authorities missed several opportunities to stop the brothers’ journey to jihadism.
Graham Bartlett, the then chairman of the Safeguarding Children Board, said at the time: “The system as a whole let these young boys down and it’s a wake up call to these agencies to work better together.”
These included an incident in 2012 when Jaffar, after being arrested for making threats to kill a shopkeeper, told police that “judgment day” was coming for all who “did not follow Allah”.
In 2013, a school raised concerns that some youths were being paid to convert to Islam and were expressing strong anti-Semitic views. A youth worker also raised the alarm about the way one of the Deghayes brothers criticised Americans.
The report described both instances as “missed opportunities to learn more about the activities of the young people and to understand the links between young people in Brighton”. It added: “At that time there was little local or national knowledge or understanding of the risks to children from being exploited into radicalisation to and go and fight in wars.”
A man allegedly set a 19-year-old girl on fire for refusing his marriage proposal in Mandi Bahauddin district on Friday, sources said.
The girl was taken to the burns ward of the Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital, Gujrat, where doctors said she was out of danger, according to the sources.
Police said they had arrested the suspect.
Riaz Ahmed, the girl’s father, told officers at the Bhagat police station in Phalia tehsil that his daughter used to learn sewing at the house of a woman in Kalu Sahi village where Tasawwar Hussain, the woman’s brother, proposed to her. But the teenage girl declined the proposal.
He said that when his daughter did not return home late into the night on Thursday, he and other members of his family reached Hussain’s house where they found him pouring petrol on her. The man had set the girl on fire, before her family members could do anything to save her.
Ahmed said he put a shawl on his daughter in an effort to extinguish the fire, which did go out soon afterwards but not before a considerable portion of her body had been burnt.
Sub-Inspector Muhammad Aslam of the Bhagat police station told Dawn by phone that the victim had stated that she was being forced by the suspect to marry him.
However, he said the suspect had levelled similar allegations against the girl and claimed that she had burnt herself only to put pressure on him to marry her. Aslam said that with the suspect already in custody and a case registered under Sections 336B, 324 and 337L of the Pakistan Penal Code, police were set to reach the bottom of the matter.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC), by 25-year-old Akshara Bose, alleging that she was subjected to forced conversion, sexual exploitation and fraudulent marriage. It also claimed that the woman's husband tried to sell her to Islamic State (ISIS).
This plea comes during the alleged case of love jihad, in which the apex court of India is yet to decide that Hadiya is truly a victim of love jihad or not.
The petitioner, Akshara Bose, who was born to a Hindu Ezhava family in Kerala, has reportedly moved the SC requesting an NIA probe. She claimed that she was forcefully converted to Islam, after one Sajjad Raham lured her into a sexual act, which he recorded on his phone in 2014.
The two came to know each other in 2014 as in a college where they studied and fell in love.
Raham allegedly used the video recording and blackmailed the 25-year-old into marry him. Later, in August 2017, he took her to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and restricted her from getting in touch with her parents back in India.
The mother of Raham is also allegedly involved in the forced conversion of Akshara. According to the petition, the family of Raham received load of cash and gold from unidentifiable sources, after they converted a non-Muslim to Islam.
The 25-year-old petitioner alleged that she was confined as a sex slave in Jeddah where she was forced to watch Islamic videos featuring Zakir Naik, the controversial Islamic preacher with alleged terror links.
Referring to her escape from Jeddah, the petitioner also mentions in her plea to the apex court of India, that Raham had planned to sell her to the Islamic States (ISIS), and was all set to travel to Syria along with her.
A Christian man was arrested on the day of his son’s funeral in Pakistan last weekend, and charged with insulting Islam – blasphemy – despite being recognised as mentally ill. He is now in prison.
Iqbal Masih, 65, a retired father of nine, is from the Fazlia Colony of Lahore, a Christian neighbourhood with around 1,000 residents, and has long experienced mental health issues, for which he is on medication.
Muhammad Waqas, the complainant, told World Watch Monitor that whenever Masih failed to take his medicine, he would go out into the street and shout abuse at passers-by.
A close family member of the Masihs, who wished to remain anonymous, told World Watch Monitor that his son, Bobby, had died following a short illness and that his father had stopped taking his medication.
“Bobby’s body was at home and people from the neighbourhood were visiting to pay their condolences when Iqbal started shouting abuse, after which the women left his home,” Waqas said.
“Iqbal then recited the kalima [the Islamic proclamation of faith] and shouted abuse. Realising that he was not behaving normally, the police were called to take him away so that tension between Christians and Muslims of the area might not arise.”
But Dilraj John, a local resident, said several Muslim clerics and others had also gathered, angered by Masih’s comments.
“Some of them wanted to set him on fire, but other sensible people suggested that Masih be handed over to the police as he was experiencing a mental health crisis,” he said. “Since then the situation is under control and the situation between Muslims and Christians is no longer tense.”
“Masih was mentally suffering. He could start calling names in the middle of the night. The complainant lives next door to him, but there was no previous enmity between them and the sole reason for the complaint was Iqbal’s name-calling,” he added.
Waqas said Masih had previously been sent to an asylum but that his family couldn’t afford for him to stay there.
“I asked the police to send him to the mental asylum again as everyone is fed up with him,” he said. “That is why Christians of the area also consented that he was handed over to the police.”
Amnesty International’s report ‘As Good As Dead: The Impact Of The Blasphemy Laws In Pakistan’, notes: “The Pakistan Penal Code exempts from criminal prosecution those who ‘by reason of unsoundness of mind, [are] incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that [they are] doing what is either wrong or contrary to law’.
“However, the burden to prove ‘unsoundness of mind’ is on the accused, the difficulty of which is compounded within a context of general stigma and lack of awareness about people with mental illnesses in Pakistan.”
The aggressors claimed they were infuriated by a defamatory status published from the Facebook account of one Titu Roy, who hails from Thakurbari.
One person was killed when police opened fire to ward off an angry mob that turned violent and launched an arson attack on Hindu houses at Thakurbari village in Rangpur Sadar upazila on Friday.
At least five more people were severely injured as police fired rounds of rubber bullets and tear gas shells at the angry crowd.
Before the police intervened, the aggressors had set fire to at least 30 Hindu houses of the village. They also looted and vandalised a good number of houses in that village, according to local sources.
A rumour shaped and vented the anger of the Muslims in the neighbouring villages against the Hindu community.
The rumour was that one Titu Roy, originally from Thakurbari village but currently living in Narayanganj, put up a Facebook post defaming Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a few days ago.
The attack was carried out by a section among the 20,000-strong crowd, that was reportedly mustered out from six to seven neighbouring villages, including Paglapeer, Mominpur and Horialkuthi, after the Jumma prayers.
There was a melee of chases and counter chases between the law enforcers and the crowd. At one point, police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets to control the situation.
Six people with bullet injuries were admitted to Rangpur Medical College Hospital. Amogn them, a youth named Hamidul Islam succumbed to his injuries later.
The angry mob later blocked the Rangpur-Dinajpur highway to protest against the police attack, halting the vehicular moment for about four hours in the afternoon.
Kotwali police station Officer-in-Charge (Operation) Moktarul Islam said they had deployed a huge number of police personnel in that area and a tense situation is still prevailing there.
The district administration has formed a three-member probe body, headed by Additional District Magistrate Abu Rafa Mohammad Rafiq, to investigate the incident. The committee has been asked
to submit its report in seven days, said Rangpur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Wahiduzzaman.
The DC also mentioned that they had arranged for relief materials for the affected families in the Hindu vilalge.
Militants from an ISIS affiliate ambushed a convoy of cement trucks late Thursday from an army factory in the central Sinai Peninsula, killing eight civilian employees and two soldiers, security officials said.
Lt. Col. Ibrahim Hussein Mohammed was killed in the nighttime attack near the town of Nakhl, the officials added. The militants, from the group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, stole the men's weapons and burnt seven trucks.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. ISIS did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack.
Egypt is also facing a growing number of attacks by militants in its Western Desert, the latest of which killed 16 policemen according to an official tally issued by the Interior Ministry. Security officials, however, have told journalists that dozens more, including high-ranking counterterrorism officers, perished in the Oct. 20 attack some 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of the capital, Cairo.
A suspected suicide bomber on Thursday killed an Additional Inspector General and three other police officers in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, officials said, in the latest targeted attack on security forces in the restive region.
The blast targeted the vehicle of Additional Inspector General (AIG) Telecommunications Hamid Shakeel who was passing through a residential area in the provincial capital Quetta.
Shakeel was killed along with two police officials while six others, including three officers, were injured, police said.
One of the wounded officers later succumbed to his injures in the hospital, taking the toll to four.
Hours after the attack, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, media reports said.
The TV footage showed that the vehicle was badly damaged in the attack.
Shakeel has served as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) operations, acting DIG investigations and AIG operations, as well as holding a number of other key posts.
The injured have been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and Civil Hospital in Quetta, police said, adding that the initial probe showed that it was a suicide bombing.
The area has been cordoned off and a search operation has been launched in the surrounding areas.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai and Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri have strongly condemned the attack.
The culprits behind the attack would be brought to justice. The government will not bow down before terrorists, Zehri was quoted as saying by the local media.
Balochistan has been rocked by a series of attacks which raised concerns about a growing militant presence, including those affiliated with Islamic State, which has claimed several bombings in the restive province.
The unrest has raised security concerns for projects in the USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link from western China to Pakistan’s southern Gwadar port.
At least six police commandos and a civilian were killed last month when an explosives-laden vehicle rammed into a security force’s convoy on the Quetta-Sibi Highway.
In August this year, a massive suicide explosion, targeting Pakistan Army personnel in Quetta, left 15 people dead – including seven civilians – and injured at least 20 people.
In June this year, 14 people, including seven policemen, were killed and 21 others were injured in a suicide car bombing on Gulistan Road in Balochistan.
The new face of Al-Qaeda and the son of the mastermind of the deadliest attack on U.S. soil, Hamza bin Laden, released a new audio message Tuesday, calling on Muslims around the world to avenge his father Osama’s death in 2011.
The 25-minute video is titled “Osama the Fighter Against Invaders & Inciter of Rebellion Against Tyrants” and was released by Al-Qaeda’s media wing, As-Sahab, complete with English subtitles. In it, bin Laden embarks on a long call to action for young Muslims, using his father and his death as the main motivator for his message.
“I invite Muslims generally to take revenge from the Americans, the murderers of the Shaykh [Osama bin Laden], specifically from those who participated in this heinous crime,” he says. He was referring to the 2011 U.S. Navy Seals raid on the Al-Qaeda leader’s Pakistan hideout, which resulted in his death.
“Rise in rebellion against oppression and tyranny, revolt against the agents of the Americans, initiate armed uprisings to overthrow them and establish the Shariah,” he continues, referring to the ultraconservative version of Islamic law adopted by jihadi groups.
The jihadi son, now in his late 20s, says his father dragged America into the “swamps of Iraq and Afghanistan,” before what he says was a U.S. withdrawal from the former and a defeat in the latter.
“Rise in rebellion against the arrogant tyrants,” he orders. “The Imam, Osama, may Allah have mercy on him, departed this world encouraging and inciting you to continue the journey of the revolutions.”
He reiterates the group’s call for attacks with weapons on Westerners, saying that “an iron is only blunted by an iron.”
Bin Laden is already designated by the United States as a “global terrorist.” While his role in Al-Qaeda’s practical operations remains unclear, he is being used as a propaganda lynchpin by the extremist group, likely because of his name’s draw after Al-Qaeda’s three years in the shadows of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
In May, As-Sahab released an English- and Arabic-language audio message from him giving “advice” to “martyrdom seekers in the West.” In that message, he used conflicts across the Middle East involving Sunni Muslims to inspire potential supporters of Al-Qaeda.
Details about bin Laden and his appearance have remained largely unknown, with images from his childhood the only evidence of his appearance for months.
But last week the CIA released new footage of the man who appears to be taking the reins from his father. It shows an adult Hamza in video footage captured during the 2011 U.S. raid on his father’s safe house in Abbottabad, northeastern Pakistan. He grew up in Sudan and Afghanistan with his father and was groomed by Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership while Osama went into hiding.
He is now leading the propaganda charge for Al-Qaeda as ISIS, its main rival, suffers a series of battlefield defeats. Those setbacks have reduced it to an online presence making individual, low-level attacks in Iraq and Syria, outside of the territory it once proclaimed to be a caliphate for the world’s Muslims.
A London mosque recently hailed as a model of moderation after being led for years by a now-convicted terrorist finds itself in a new row, as one of its current leaders has been exposed as a senior Hamas terrorist.
The Finsbury Park Mosque was notorious before and after 9/11 as a former al-Qaeda guesthouse led by hook-handed Abu Hamza. He is currently serving time in U.S. federal prison on terror charges. According to UK and U.S. media, the Finsbury Park Mosque had since shed its extremist past and embraced "moderation," even becoming a "beacon of anti-radicalization." Those media pronouncements now appear premature:
A trustee at one of London's best-known mosques is a senior member of "terrorist organisation" Hamas's political wing, it was reported this morning.
Mohammed Sawalha holds the role of trustee at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, which was formerly linked to extremism but which insists it has since undergone an "complete overhaul".
It emerged today that Mr Sawalha represented the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas at recent talks in Moscow.
Sawalha, who lives in London, was appointed a trustee of the mosque in 2010 and is legally responsible for overseeing the mosque's management, The Times reported today.
He was one of five senior figures from the Islamist organisation who were sent to Moscow in September, where they met Russia's deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov and other Kremlin officials.
Former U.S. Treasury official Matthew Levitt noted Sawalha's presence in the Hamas delegation several weeks ago:
This is a dramatic blow to the UK political and media establishment, which has repeatedly defended the mosque against charges of harboring extremism. For example, Piers Morgan recently attacked critic Tommy Robinson by claiming the mosque had abandoned its extremist past:
But just a few weeks after those comments, the Finsbury Park Mosque hosted South African imam Ebrahim Bham. He is known for his extremist views, including rabid anti-Semitism and the defense of violent jihad.
And yet, three years ago the mosque was given an award by a community organization for its supposed anti-extremism work.
After one mosque attendee died this past June when a van ran into a crowd of mosque worshipers, the UK and U.S. media rose to the Finsbury Park mosque's defense, proclaiming its supposed transformation:
In 2015, NBC News declared that the Finsbury Park Mosque had entered "a new era after expelling extremists":
Finsbury Park Mosque in north London was once the domain of hook-handed imam Abu Hamza, whose extremist sermons inspired attendees including 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, failed American Airlines "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and London subway suicide bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.
The "suicide factory" -- as one book called it -- was also visited by Djamel Beghal, the Islamist "sorcerer" and jail inmate accused of bringing together those responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre and related attacks in Paris last month.
In the wake of those Paris atrocities, the Muslim Council of Britain -- the umbrella organization for Islamic institutions in the U.K. -- called on member mosques to open their doors, hoping to "demonstrate solidarity during what has been a tense time for faith communities" and ease "tensions around terrorism."
On "Visit My Mosque Day" at Finsbury Park earlier this month, children proudly lined up to perform for guests. A boy dressed in galabiyya [Islamic dress for men] and holding a British flag was joined by girls in headscarves. Together they sang songs, and recited poetry praising their faith.
The mosque also pushes this "transformation" narrative on its own website:
Unfortunately the Finsbury Park Mosque was under the forceful control of some extremists linked to Abu Hamza Al-Misri from 1997 to 2005. This was a dark period for the mosque as these individuals, unrepresented of mainstream Islam, used the premises to promote their ideology of hate, confrontation and disunity. They were ousted by the community in February 2005 in partnership with the authorities, but some sections of the media continue to falsely link the new management of the mosque to extremists.
Since 2005, and with the support of the local Muslim community, there has been a complete overhaul of the mosque’s leadership, comprising of a new board of trustees, management team, Imams, and a new ethos. Consequently, attendance has greatly increased and the range of services has steadily expanded. Today, the mosque’s prayer halls are packed with worshippers from various ethnic backgrounds. Around one thousand worshippers attend the prayer every Friday. For the Eid prayers, we offer four prayer services to cater for nearly 2000 people. There are also a multitude of activities catering for children, women, men and the wider community which range from religious services, education, physical and recreational activities, surgeries and advice, social and cultural activities; there is also active media activity in the mosque.
It seems clear that the media hype attempting to rehabilitate the mosque was more wishful thinking than reality. In fact, Hamas terrorist leader Mohammed Sawalha has been a trustee for the mosque since 2010 -- just a few years after the beginning of its so-called "transformation."
The mosque has yet to comment on today's news, and the media outlets that declared the mosque "transformed" have so far been silent on the revelations.
And Piers Morgan has been uncharacteristically quiet.
A poverty-stricken Egyptian mother of three is reportedly putting her children “for sale” pleasing for assistance, a recent report has said.
The mother named Hagar Taalab from Desouk, a city in the governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh, was pictured holding a banner that states her willingness to sell her children.
The banner says each child is up for sale to provide for food, accommodation and medical treatment, for herself and her husband.
The family reportedly needs a place to stay after forcibly leaving their apartment because they can’t afford to pay rent, a report by Al Masry el-Youm said.
She reportedly told the newspaper that she had asked the city’s mayor to grant her family temporary accommodation.
The city granted them a state-owned shop to stay at, but the family was later forced to leave after it was sold to a new owner.
FOUR churches have been forced to shut after Christian worshippers were pelted with rocks in a shocking series of attacks.
The coordinated attacks took place in the Egyptian region of Minya, south of Cairo, where church leaders are now pleading for support.
After keeping quiet for two weeks to help officials carry out investigations, Coptic Orthodox leaders have now spoken out and accused Egypt of treating Christian prayers “as a crime”.
They said they were forced to close four churches after furious locals launched vicious attacks on worshippers, emboldened by a lack of police support.
Terrified church leaders were forced to close one church for the safety of their congregations - something which then encouraged mobs to attack three others.
And authorities are doing nothing to bring those responsible to justice, the Coptic Orthodox leader in Minya said.
Anba Macarius said: “We stayed silent for two weeks after the closure of a church hoping that the officials would do the job they were assigned to do by the state.
“However, this silence has led to something worse, as if prayer is a crime the Copts should be punished for. The Coptic Christians go to the neighbouring villages to perform their prayers.”
He said the initial closure of the Church of al-Azraa sparked three more incidents in nearby places of worship: at the church of Anba Mousa, the church of Abu Sayfen and the church of Mar Gerges.
Now Christians in the region were facing a level of oppression not seen for year, Mr Makarios said.
He said: “What happened within two weeks, hasn’t happen over years. Churches are closed, the Coptic Christians are being attacked and their property destroyed, and there is no deterrent.
“The Copts always pay the price of this coexistence, not the aggressors.
“The reactions of officials are disappointing, and when there is any dispute or an attack, the first alternative is to close the church and put pressure only on the Copts with impunity for the aggressors."
Attacks on Christians in Egypt regularly worsen as festivals approach, with this year's Easter celebrations subdued in an attempt to avoid an onslaught.
Last year Christians in the region told Express.co.uk they were afraid for their lives as the holy day approached.
One, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Christians are considered as infidels, following a corrupt faith, reading a corrupt bible.
"A second aspect to consider is that much of the population is either illiterate or very poorly educated.
"They will blindly follow teaching of those who uphold the conception that Christians are infidels.”
Nine suspects were arrested in a series of anti-terror operations carried out around France on Tuesday, with French media reporting a planned attack on the city of Nice had been thwarted.
The raids took place in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France and the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d'Azur region of the south east.
According to reports some nine individuals aged between 18 and 60-years-old were arrested in the raids carried out by France's specialist counter-terrorist police.
The arrests were reportedly made in the Val-de-Marne department to the south west of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis to the capital's north, the city of Aix-en Provence, north of Marseille and the town of Menton, on the border with Italy.
Those held included two brothers who were known to have been radicalised, sources told AFP.
An arrest was also made in Switzerland which brought the total number of suspects held to 10.
The 27-year-old man arrested in Switzerland was in contact with a 14-year-old French boy who was "about to carry out the attack," one of the sources said.
The teenager was arrested in the Paris region on June 20 and charged by an anti-terror judge, the sources said.
A photo of the boy holding a paper vowing his allegiance to the Islamic State group was found on social media, they added.
The Swiss man was "particularly active on social networks... and he had contacts with individuals living in France with whom he notably discussed
violent actions," a judicial source said.
According to BFM TV those arrested are suspected of planning and preparing a terror attack.
The suspects exchanged "disturbing remarks" on the Telegram encrypted messaging app, the sources said, adding that investigators were seeking to "determine what they were plotting".
It is not clear at this stage what their intentions were nor how far down the line their plans were, but according to Le Parisien newspaper, which first broke the news of the raids, the suspects planned to target the Riviera city of Nice, where 86 people were killed in the Bastille Day truck attack in 2016.
Quoting its own sources close to the probe Le Parisien said the intentions of the suspects had "become firm".
Authorities in France have not confirmed Nice was indeed the target.
France remains on high alert for terror attacks and last week the Minister of Interior Gerrard Collomb claimed that 32 attacks had been foiled since the State of Emergency was declared the night of the November 2015 shootings and bombing in Paris.