Worshippers at the infamous Red Mosque in the Pakistani capital Islamabad still gather in their hundreds for Friday prayers, but the fiery sermons calling for Sharia law led by hardline cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz are now a thing of the past. The preacher, who once led a week-long armed conflict …Read More »
Journalists and press freedom campaigners have criticized the police after the laptop of a BBC journalist was seized under Britain’s counter-terrorism laws. Secunder Kermani, a reporter for the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, had his laptop taken away over his communications with a source within the militant group Islamic …Read More »
A court in Bangladesh has imposed a six-month ban on a film about a garment worker who was rescued from the rubble 17 days after a the Rana Plaza disaster which killed more than 1000 people.
A two-member panel of judges in the High Court ordered the ban on the film ‘Rana Plaza’ after a petition was submitted.
It said that the movie included scenes of horror, cruelty and violence that could affect workers in the country’s garment industry.
The director, Nazrul Islam Khan, had argued that the real-life story of Reshma Begum depicted courage amid the tragedy.
The disaster on 24 April 2013 left 1,135 people dead.
Thousands more were rescued from the ruins of the illegally built complex which housed five factories supplying garments to international companies.
When the collapse started, Begum said she raced down a stairwell into the basement, where she became trapped in a pocket of space that allowed her to survive.
She found some dried food and bottles of water to sustain her until she was rescued. She now works in a hotel.
The collapse triggered an outcry at home and abroad. There have been efforts to reform Bangladesh’s garment industry to improve safety and working conditions.
Investigators say several factors contributed to the building’s collapse: it was overloaded with machines and generators, constructed on swampy land, and the owner added floors in violation of the original building plan.
On Monday, the high court also asked the country’s film censor board to explain in four weeks why the clearance certificate to show the movie should not be cancelled.
Sirajul Islam Rony, the writ petitioner and a trade union leader, said he went to court because the film’s producer had not removed some scenes of horror as instructed by the court in March.
Bangladesh earns about $25bn (£16 billion) annually from garment exports, mainly to the US and Europe, although the country has one of the lowest minimum wages in the world – about $72 (£45) a month.
The industry employs about 4 million workers, mostly women who come from rural areas.
This BBC film from 2013 featured Reshma Begum recounting her ordeal.Read More »
The radical British-Pakistani cleric Anjem Choudary has been charged with a terrorism offence for encouraging support for Islamic State. The Metropolitan Police on Wednesday said the 48-year-old faces a charge of inviting support for a banned organization through a lecture published online. Choudary will appear at Westminster magistrates court later …Read More »
#FoxNewsFacts: US terror ‘expert’ sorry after claiming that Birmingham is a NO GO AREA for non-Muslims
An American “Terrorism Expert” has apologized after claiming that Birmingham is a “Muslim enclave” where “non Muslims” are not allowed.
Steve Emerson, a journalist and author who claims to be an authority on terrorism and Islamic terrorism, made the comments during a discussion about the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on US channel Fox News.
“In Britain, it's not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don't go in,” he said.
“Parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn't dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.”
Emerson added that there were Sharia Courts operating openly in Birmingham where “Muslim density” was “intense”.
He also claimed that Birmingham was a “country within a country” where police dare not go and that the British government did not “exercise any sovereignty” there.
Host Jeanine Pirro, maintaining a remarkably straight face, then responds: “You know what it sounds like to me, Steve? It sounds like a caliphate within a particular country.”
Fox News is frequently lampooned for its often outrageous tone and right-wing bias and Mr Emerson’s comments saw the Twitter hashtag “FoxNewsFacts” trending worldwide.
Scores of British politicians, journalists and artists took to Social Media sites to mock the channel.
Labour MP Tom Watson retweeted a message which said: “Birmingham is home of Black Sabbath and other terrifying Muslim musicians. #FoxNewsFacts.”
Best-selling author Irvine Welsh said: “I warn you, @FoxNews, I have an Ocean Colour Scene download and I'm not afraid to use it! (Well, maybe a wee bit...).”
BBC Asian Network presenter Nihal Arthanayake tweeted: “After watching Fox News I will not be visiting Birmingham. I have received threats from the Talibrum. #Foxnewsfacts.
A Twitter user going by the name of GoNawaz said: “In the UK, the Queen must wear a Hijab by Sharia Law when she visits Birmingham. #foxnewsfacts”
Goodness Gracious Me star Sanjeev Bhaskar tweeted: “The Archers, M6, M5 and UB40 are all weapons made in and around #Birmingham #foxnewsfacts.
The best of the lot thus far though was from a Muslim journalist Rabeb Othmani who said: “If you are a non-muslim and would like to visit Birmingham #illridewithyou #FoxNewsFacts.
The best image, goes to this:
Mr Emerson later apologised but did not elaborate on where he got his “facts”.
“I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error. And I am issuing an apology and correction on my website immediately for having made this comment about the beautiful city of Birmingham.
“I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful. There was no excuse for making this mistake and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham.
“I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error. And I am obligated to openly acknowledge that mistake.”
He added that he planned to make a donation to “a Birmingham charity called the Birmingham Children’s Hospital”.Read More »
Last week, Pakistani Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai broke down at the sight of the blood splattered uniform she was wearing the day she was attacked by the Taliban displayed at a peace exhibition in Oslo, Norway. A similar horror returned to her motherland as more than 100 children were …Read More »
At least 126 people, most of them children, were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen stormed a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, taking hundreds of students hostage in the bloodiest insurgent attack in the country in years. Troops surrounded the building and an operation was underway to rescue …Read More »
A British Pakistani man and his three grown-up sons have all been stripped of their British citizenship after being accused of being Islamist extremists. Home Secretary Theresa May is believed to have taken away British citizenship from the unidentified 51-year-old and his sons in 2012. News about the case was …Read More »
Pakistan ranks third out of 162 countries on the Global Terrorism Index with a score of 9.37 out of 10, the Australia and US-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said in its report.
The country ranks after Iraq which scores 10 out of 10 on the GTI and Afghanistan which ranks number two with a 9.39 GTI.
According to the report, terrorism in Pakistan is strongly influenced by its proximity to Afghanistan with most attacks occurring near the border involving the Taliban.
It noted that similar to Afghanistan, terrorism increased significantly in Pakistan in 2013, with a 37% increase in deaths and 28% increase in injuries since 2012.
Nearly half of all attacks in Pakistan during this time had no groups that have claimed responsibility.
In 2013, the group responsible for almost a quarter of all deaths and 49% of all claimed attacks in the country was Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The report observed that in 2013 there were 23 different terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, down from 29 groups in 2012.
Over 60% were of fatalities from bombings and explosions and around 26% from firearms. A quarter of targets and deaths were against private citizens, with police accounting for 20% of targets and deaths.
It further said that the deadliest attacks in the country were against religious figures and institutions which, on average, killed over five people and injured over 11 per attack. This includes the killing of 87 during a twin suicide bombing at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.
It noted that the deadliest attack in the country last year was when a string of bombings left at least 93 people dead and over 150 wounded in one of the bloodiest days of violence in Quetta.
Girls schools have also often been targeted, an issue which gained worldwide recognition in October 2012 when Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot by gunmen from the TTP.
However, despite the international attention, violence continues and in 2013 there were over 100 attacks on educational institutions, with a total of 150 casualties.
In 2013 there were 71 suicide attacks responsible for around 2,740 casualties in the country.
The report further said that of all attacks 16% occurred in Karachi with a majority of attacks in the north closer to the border with Afghanistan, including Peshawar, Quetta and Jamrud, which combined, had more attacks than Karachi.
The city of Parachinar in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the closest point in Pakistan to Kabul in Afghanistan, has among the highest rates of deaths per incident in the country with 87 people killed from seven incidents.
The report further shows that the number of militant attacks around the world has increased dramatically with over 80% of all terrorism occurring in only five countries – Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria.
The number of people killed in militant attacks worldwide jumped more than 60% last year to a record high of nearly 18,000 and the figure could rise further in 2014 due to an escalation of conflict in the Middle East and Nigeria, the report showed.
Four militant groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria were responsible for two thirds of the 2013 attacks and the vast majority of the deaths occurred in those countries, the IEP said in its Global Terrorism Index.
The four most active militant groupings are Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (now renamed Islamic State), Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and transnational al Qaeda-affiliated networks.
“There is no doubt it is a growing problem. The causes are complex but the four groups responsible for most of the deaths all have their roots in fundamentalist Islam,” said IEP founder Steve Killelea.
“They are particularly angry about the spread of Western education. That makes any attempt at the kind of social mobilising you need to stop them particularly difficult – it can just antagonise them more,” he said. The number of attacks themselves rose 44% in 2013 from the previous year to almost 10,000.
Deaths in such attacks are now five times higher than in 2000, the report showed, citing analysis of data in the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database. Most but not all militant attacks were religiously motivated.
Attacks in India – the sixth most affected country – rose 70% in 2013 largely due to attacks by communist insurgents.
The majority remained non-lethal. Increased targeting of police by the militant groups makes managing the problem even harder, Killelea said, sometimes fuelling rights abuses that compound existing grievances.
The report showed 60% of attacks involved explosives, 20% firearms and 10% other actions such as arson, knives or attacks with motor vehicles. Only 5% of all incidents since 2000 have involved suicide bombings.
The report showed some 80% of the militant groups which had ceased their activity since 2000 did so following negotiations.
Only 10% achieved their goals, while seven per cent were eliminated by military action.
The five countries with the biggest increases in deaths from 2012 to 2013 are also the countries most impacted by terrorism, the report noted.
The number of deaths in these five countries has increased by 52% over this period with Iraq observing the biggest increase in deaths.Read More »
Radical British-Pakistani Islamist Anjem Choudary is among nine people arrested in London for allegedly encouraging terrorism. Choudary, the former spokesperson for the extremist group al-Muhajiroun, and was detained by Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit in the early hours of Thursday morning. Whilst details of the men’s arrest have not been revealed, …Read More »