At least 13 people detained after allegations that a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped in the northern state of Kelantan.
by, Al Jazeera | h/t Trop
Malaysian police have detained 13 men and are looking for other suspects following allegations that a 15-year-old girl was raped by 38 men in the country’s northern region.
Astro Awani television and The Star newspaper reported that the assault took place in the northern state of Kelantan on May 20, when the girl was lured to an empty hut reported to be a local drug haunt.
The men took turns to rape her for hours. Police are also investigating whether her 17-year-old friend was also raped.
Media accounts, quoting information from district police chief Azham Otham, said 38 men were involved.
Several of those detained had tested positive for amphetamine, the reports said. The New Straits Timessaid a man and his two teenage sons were among those detained.
Police said action could have been taken had villagers reported the addicts’ presence, Reuters news agency said.
“It is very disturbing to me that no one in the village was even suspicious when the closest neighbour was a mere 20 metres away,” Otham told The Star newspaper.
The alleged attack, one of several brutal cases this week underscoring the violence to which women are being subjected across Asia, sparked outrage among women’s groups.
Politicians from a Muslim party running the region said their proposal to introduce Islamic hudud law, with harsh penalties, would deter offenders.
Suri Kempe, an official with women’s rights group Sisters in Islam, told Reuters that the frequent number of rape cases being reported was “extremely worrying”.
“Boys are being raised in a culture where being masculine means being aggressive, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to use violence to get what you want,” she said in a statement.
Almost 3,000 rapes were reported to the police in Malaysia in 2012, of which 52 percent involved girls aged 16 and below, according to police statistics.
Convicted rapists face up to 30 years in prison and whipping, but many have called for stricter punishment.
A Christian street sweeper was targeted by a mob, charged with having burned pages with Koranic writing on them. In reality, the pages were ripped up by two students. The mob was ready to lynch the Christian man when a 26-year old Muslim man belonging to a human rights network intervened.
by, Shafique Khokhar | Asia News | h/t Trop
Faisalabad – Punjab, Pakistan: A “success” story with a happy ending, thanks to the intervention of a Muslim activist, who saved the life of an innocent young Christian who is not even able to read. This is what Suneel Malik, Director of The Peace and Human Development Foundation ( Phd ) tells AsiaNews, commenting on the latest case of false blasphemy charges that occurred in recent days in Faisalabad in Punjab. He hopes it will help increase the level of tolerance towards religious minorities, for the construction of a true peace in Pakistan and put an end “to false accusations that besmirch the name of the country” and affect social harmony.
The episode dates back to 22 May 2014: Mansha Masih, a Christian, who has worked for 15 years as a scavenger in the town of Hajweri, Faisalabad. He was picking up litter and leaves from abandoned houses in the area, when a young Muslim named Billu, from the roof of his home, accused him of desecrating pages of the Muslim holy book, the Koran. After having railed against the Christian, he began to brutally beat him.
However, the intervention of the 26-year old Muslim activist Farhan Sadiq, a journalist and member of the Human Rights Defenders Network, was decisive in saving the Christian. He ripped Masih from the hands of his tormentor and took him home. He then launched an independent investigation to verify the facts, after which it was found that the pages containing sacred verses were “desecrated” by two underage students in the area, who did not want to go to the local mosque, so they burned the books.
However, rumors of a possible case of blasphemy, perpetrated by a Christian had already circulated in the town and a crowd was ready to punish the man, though innocent, with death. Even after the confession of two young men, the crowd did not want to believe the innocence of Mansha Masih, who has repeatedly stated he is “illiterate” and ” had done nothing wrong,” not knowing the content of the verses printed on sheets. The Muslim activist’s decision in dealing with crowd and proving the charges to be false, in the end, saved the Christian’s life, thus he fulfilled his task “with a great sense of responsibility.”
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst 20 per cent are Shia. 1.85 per cent are Hindu, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main targets, with things getting worse. Dozens of episodes , including targeted attacks against entire communities – such as in Gojra in 2009 or Joseph Colony Lahore last year – or places of worship (Peshawar in September last year) or abuses against individuals (Sawan Masih and Asia Bibi, Rimsha Masih or the young Robert Fanish Masih, who also died in his cell), are often perpetrated under the pretext of the blasphemy laws.
by, Khaled Abu Toameh | Gatestone Institute
The Palestinian Authority’s move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.
A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah explained that BDS and its followers make the Palestinians appear as if they are all radicals who are only interested in boycotting and delegitimizing Israel.
“No, we do not support the boycott of Israel.” — Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority.
At university campuses in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, they are hailed as heroes campaigning for Palestinian rights. But in Ramallah, ironically, activists belonging to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement are seen by the Palestinian Authority [PA] as trouble-makers and law-breakers.
For some PA officials, BDS is a movement that acts against the true interests of the Palestinians. They say that the actions of those promoting BDS make the Palestinians appear as if they are not interested in peace and coexistence with Israel. BDS activists in Ramallah have succeeded in preventing several planned meetings between Israelis and Palestinians in Ramallah and east Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority is also worried that BDS is harming the Palestinians’ relations with other countries. The most recent example of BDS efforts to damage Palestinians’ relations with friendly countries occurred a few weeks ago, when the “anti-normalization” activists tried to disrupt a performance by an Indian dance troupe in Ramallah.
A PA official in Ramallah explained that BDS and its followers make the Palestinians appear as if they are all radicals who are only interested in boycotting and delegitimizing Israel. “This goes against the PLO’s official policy, which is to seek a peace agreement with Israel based on the two-state solution,” he said.
In the first case of its kind, four prominent BDS activists this week went on trial before a Palestinian Authority court for “provoking riots and breach of public tranquility.”
The four men, Zeid Shuaibi, Abdel Jawad Hamayel, Fadi Quran and Fajr Harb, were detained by PA security forces after protesting against the performance of an Indian dance troupe.
The four Palestinian BDS activists stand during their court appearance in Ramallah. (Image source: Wattan TV video screenshot)
During the show, which was attended by senior PA officials, the BDS activists protested against the presence of the dance troupe in Ramallah because its members had also performed in Tel Aviv.
The protesters accused the Indian dancers of violating their campaign for boycotting Israel, claiming that their appearance in Tel Aviv was a form of “normalization” with Israel.
The incident seriously embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership and resulted in a decision to prosecute the four BDS activists.
The four appeared in court on May 28 to face the charges against them. However, the trial was postponed until July 14 because state witnesses failed to appear in court.
The decision to prosecute the BDS activists has drawn strong condemnations from the anti-Israel movement and other Palestinians.
Omar Barghouti, one of the leaders of the BDS movement, said that the PA should be put on trial for bringing the four men to court. “If the four men are brought before a court, then we should prosecute the Palestinian Authority for serving the Israeli occupation’s project,” he said. “The decision to prosecute the four men was taken in collusion with the fierce Israeli campaign against the BDS.”
Amnesty International also criticized the Palestinian Authority and called for dropping the charges against the four activists. “We urge the PA to drop the criminal charges against them and to ensure an independent and impartial investigation into their allegations of ill-treatment,” Amnesty said in a statement:
Amnesty International emphasizes that peaceful expression and protest must never be punished as criminal offences and that imprisonment is always a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression. Furthermore, the reported treatment of the four men once in custody has undermined their right to a fair trial and raises concerns that they are being punished for their political protest.
The Palestinian Authority’s move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.
Abbas himself has come out in public against the BDS movement. During the funeral of former South African President Nelson Mandela last year, when asked about BDS, Abbas told reporters: “No, we do not support the boycott of Israel.”
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have good reason to oppose the BDS movement. BDS leaders and supporters are opposed to the PA leadership’s contacts with Israelis and have often denounced Abbas for conducting peace talks and security coordination with Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has come to the conclusion that the BDS activists are in fact anti-peace extremists whose goal is to prevent any peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The decision to prosecute the four Ramallah activists is also aimed at sending a message to BDS supporters worldwide that the movement is acting against the true interests of the Palestinians and promoting hatred and bigotry.
It now remains to be seen whether BDS supporters around the world will absorb the message and realize that apart from being anti-Israel, BDS is also an anti-Palestinian and anti-peace movement.
by, Syed Ali Shah | Dawn
QUETTA: Armed men kidnapped five children belonging to minority Hindu community from Balochistan’s volatile Jaffarabad district on Wednesday, senior officials said.
Syed Zafar Ali Shah, the Deputy Commissioner Jaffarabad told Dawn.com that the children were going to school when abducted by the armed men near Dera Allah Yar. He, however, added that four accused belonging to a local tribe were arrested in connection with the kidnapping.
“The ages of children are between five to 10,” Syed Ashfaq Ahmed, the District Police Officer Jaffarabad said. He said one of the local journalists was also arrested during police raid with regard to the incident.
The deputy commissioner stated that the kidnappers had shifted all five children to Rato Dero area of Sindh.
“Very soon, we will recover the children unharmed,” vowed Shah.
The children belong to an ancient Hindu community living in Dera Allah Yar area of Balochistan and they are daughters and sons of well-known Hindu trader and newspaper agent Saith Bhojraj.
The deputy commissioner stated that the children were coming back from school when abducted by the armed men.
Balochistan Police also approached Rato Dero Police for the recovery of kidnapped children.
It is, however, yet to be confirmed that whether it was a family dispute or the children were kidnapped for ransom, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping.
Jaffarabad is considered to be one of the most sensitive districts of Balochistan.
Kidnapping for ransom in the area remained rampant. Besides this, the area is also considered to be one of the hubs of militants targeting vital national installations and the security forces.
by, Joe Newby | The Examiner | Thank you to Christopher Collins
On Wednesday, Dave Gaubatz, a former Air Force investigator and author of “Muslim Mafia,” told Examiner.com that he “infiltrated” a Muslim conference held in Detroit earlier this month. While at the conference, he reportedly spoke to a representative of a group known as Muslim Advocates, who said the organization is working “closely” with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to close down accounts of users critical of Islam.
“They are asking these groups to close the accounts of anyone who is critical of Islam,” he said. “This is considered serious hate speech and should not be allowed on the Internet.”
According to Gaubatz, the representative also said that “anyone critical of Islam and sharia law are haters.” Ditto for those who oppose either the construction or expansion of a mosque in the United States.
“We are experts with deep experience in the courtroom and powerful connections in Congress and the White House,” Gaubatz recalled being told by the Muslim Advocates representative.
“This should be of no surprise to anyone,” Gaubatz said.
Gaubatz also said the conference, which was attended by representatives and leaders from several groups, should have been named the “U.S. Constitution and the 1st Amendment are for MB terrorists and not for American Patriots.” For four days, he said, he stayed at the same hotel as leaders from over a dozen groups that support the Muslim Brotherhood.
He reportedly met and spoke with executives from the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust.
“I was informed that NAIT owned several hundred million dollars of property in America, and has the funding from 400 plus Islamic Centers in America,” he added.
But Gaubatz’ report of collusion between these groups and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter present a clear danger to the fundamental right of free speech and Americans’ ability to freely express themselves online. As we have reported multiple times, Muslim activists have called for global blasphemy bans and an end to free speech in the United States, despite the clear language of the First Amendment.
Last Wednesday, we reported that one page critical of Islam — “Islam Exposed” — was yanked by Facebook after administrators received death threats. Facebook later restored the page, saying it was yanked in error.
On Wednesday, a post at the page advising visitors to avoid hateful speech was removed by Facebook for allegedly violating the site’s community standards. Facebook did not explain why the post was pulled and one administrator received a 30-day ban.
But as we have reported, Facebook routinely turns a blind eye to threats from users with Muslim-sounding names. Last August, for example, Facebook told a conservative female they could not confirm direct threats she received violated their community standards. One threat reported to Facebook was quite specific: “We will kill you.”
Ironically, Facebook has said it supports free speech and reviews all complaints equally.
We contacted both Facebook and Muslim Advocates to verify Gaubatz’ claim and received no reply as of this writing.
Update: A few hours after this article was published, Facebook falsely flagged the link as “unsafe” in what appears to be a bid to keep it from being circulated. We have reached out to Facebook, but have not received a response.
Update #2: Muslim Advocates spokesperson Fatima Khan responded with an email claiming we misquoted their representative, even though we did not. The statement relayed to us was Gaubatz’s recollection, not a direct quote from MA or any of their representatives. We specifically asked Khan about the quote, and about allegations the group is working to shut down social media accounts of those critical of Islam. Khan never responded. The article was flagged by Facebook after our contact with Khan. More on the incident can be seen here.