ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint near the famed Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai late Tuesday, which authorities said killed one policeman and wounded four.
The militants opened fire from an elevated hilltop overlooking the police checkpoint just outside the monastery, which is located in a remote desert and mountainous area in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.
After an exchange of gunfire, the attackers fled the scene, the ministry said, adding that some of the gunmen were wounded in the shootout.
No further details were immediately available.
According to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of militants, the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency announced that the group's militants carried out the attack near Saint Catherine. This is the first time the ISIS has attacked a monastery.
The attack comes shortly before a planned visit by Pope Francis to Egypt next week.
The attack on the 6th century monastery, which is a popular site for tourists visiting Red Sea resorts along Sinai's southern coast, comes just over a week after suicide bombers attacked two churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and the coastal city of Alexandria, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Egypt's Sinai-based ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for those attacks.
The Palm Sunday attack prompted President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to declare a three-month state of emergency and deploy armed forces to help police in guarding vital installations, including churches across the country.
A state of emergency already in place in northern Sinai has failed to halt near-daily attacks against police and security forces by ISIS in the volatile area.
The extremist group has lately stepped up its attacks, moving its activities from Sinai to other parts of Egypt and is increasingly using sophisticated tactics that are likely to fuel sectarian tensions and embarrass el-Sisi.
Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian community, have also long complained of suffering discrimination, as well as outright attacks, at the hands of the country's majority Muslim population.
Over the past decades, they have been the immediate targets of Islamic extremists as Egypt's Orthodox Coptic Christians strongly supported longtime autocratic President Hosni Mubarak until his ouster in 2011.
The attack and the church bombings threaten to deal a blow to Egypt's struggling tourism industry, which has suffered from political instability and a fragile security situation since the 2011 uprising.
The US issued a travel warning on Wednesday, advising its nationals in Egypt to stay away from places of worship for the next two weeks and to avoid crowds as long as they remain in the country.
Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014 calls for prison sentences of up to 14 years for any Nigerian who enters into a same-sex marriage and up to 10 years to anyone who attends or assists in a same-sex wedding.
It’s all in keeping with Sharia.
In addition, sharia law, which applies in northern Nigeria, provides for the death penalty for homosexual activity by men.
Although the article below states that the death penalty has not been reported in northern Nigeria, it’s likely because its difficult to catch a homosexual in the act, which actually happened recently in Indonesia’s Aceh province, where vigilante “religious police” spied on a gay couple and handed them over to authorities.
Newsweek also reported the arrest of the 53 as a “same-sex marriage conspiracy” and reported:
Bisi Alimi, a Nigerian LGBT rights activist based in the U.K., tells Newsweek that the men are being “blackmailed” by police.
“This incident is a reflection of the absurdity of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. We know that people can be blackmailed for it….
Homosexuals are targeted wantonly under Sharia, and not exclusively in countries such as Nigeria, Indonesia, and Iran. This targeting happens even in Western nations. Recall the preaching of an imam near the location of the Pulse Nightclub massacre who called for the “compassionate” killing of gays. The same thing happened in Toronto some years ago:
As the Pride parade wound its way down Yonge St. on Sunday afternoon, a religious scholar at Toronto Metro Convention Centre briefly reiterated his view that homosexuals caught in the act should be executed in countries governed by Islamic law. Ditto for a group of Imams at the Australian National Imams Council.
53 arrests in Nigeria for alleged same-sex wedding,” by Colin Stewart, 76 Crimes (thanks to The Religion of Peace), April 20, 2017:
Prosecutors in Muslim northern Nigeria have charged 53 people with attending a supposed gay wedding. The arrestees pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying that they were at a birthday party, not a gay wedding.
Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014 calls for prison sentences of up to 14 years for any Nigerian who enters into a same-sex marriage and up to 10 years to anyone who attends or assists in a same-sex wedding. In addition, sharia law, which applies in northern Nigeria, provides for the death penalty for homosexual activity by men, but no such punishment has actually been reported there.
The April 15 arrests mirrored a 2015 incident, when sharia police in northern Nigeria arrested 12 “feminine” young men in the middle of a birthday party that police alleged was actually a gathering to celebrate a gay wedding.
The BBC reported on April 20:
Nigeria ‘gay wedding’ bust leads to charges
Prosecutors in the northern Nigeria state of Kaduna have charged a group of 53 people with conspiring to celebrate a gay wedding.
The accused, arrested last Saturday, have denied the allegations, with their lawyers saying they were illegally detained.
The court released the group on bail and the case was remanded to 8 May.
Homosexual acts are banned in socially conservative Nigeria and are punishable by up to 14 years in jail.
During a court appearance in Chediya-Zaria, the group pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society.
Defence lawyer Yunusa Umar said most of the accused were students and had been illegally detained for more than 24 hours, the local Premium Times newspaper reported.
Gay rights campaigners who have been in touch with people involved in the case told the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty in Lagos the accused were arrested at a birthday party, not a wedding.
Nigeria has an influential Christian evangelical movement in the south and strong support for Islamic law in the north, both of which oppose homosexuality.
In January 2014, the Hisbah, or Islamic police, in Bauchi state raided several locations and arrested about a dozen men accused of sodomy acts.
Some of the men later appeared before a Sharia court for a bail hearing and an angry crowd gathered outside, demanding swift and severe punishment.
Stones were thrown at the court and the hearing was halted.
Police had to shoot in the air to disperse the mob and get the suspects back to prison safely, though there they are also vulnerable.
The ban on homosexuality, brought into effect in 2014, is used by some police officers and members of the public to legitimise abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“Extortion, mob violence, arbitrary arrest, torture in detention, and physical and sexual violence” are common against people suspected of homosexual activities…..
A man was attacked by a mob in a mosque in Chitral after he allegedly uttered blasphemous statements following Friday prayers.
The man, who is yet to be identified, pushed the imam of the mosque to allow him to speak after jummah prayers, a local present at the site told a private news channel.
Despite not being granted explicit permission to do so, the man stood and began uttering blasphemous statements, the eyewitness alleged.
Attendees began beating the man up, inflicting injuries on him, until the imam handed him over to the police in an attempt to save his life.
The police, who were trying to ascertain the man’s mental wellness and personal details, held him at a local police station for his own protection.
However, a mob attacked and broke into the police station amid aerial firing and heavy tear gas shelling from the police. The firing resulted in power outages nearby as transmission lines were damaged by bullets.
The situation is still volatile, police said, as they attempted to cool down the mob and restore peace in the area.
The incident comes days after a vigilante mob lynched 23-year-old Mardan university student Mashal Khan over allegations of blasphemy.
There is “no room” for the gay community in Indonesia, the president’s spokesman has said, as a new report criticised officials for an unprecedented series of LGBT attacks.
“Rights of citizens like going to school and getting an ID card are protected, but there is no room in Indonesia for the proliferation of the LGBT movement,” presidential spokesman Johan Budi said.
Indonesia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens have long been targeted by vigilante Islamist groups.
But the community experienced an “immediate deterioration” in their rights following a sustained assault by ministers, religious hardliners and influential Islamic organisations in the space of two months this year, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Thursday.
The wave of angry rhetoric – including a call to ban them from university campuses – was the first time senior officials had publicly attacked the south-east Asian nation’s gay community, the group said.
In response, the government said protecting LGBT rights was not a priority.
Some of the most high-profile figures making anti-gay statements during the backlash – which activists believe may have been triggered by media coverage of the US decision to legalise same-sex marriage – were government ministers.
The higher education minister called for a ban on LGBT organisations on university campuses, while the defence minister likened gay rights groups to a “type of modern warfare”.
Islamic activists have also filed a judicial review with the constitutional court aimed at making gay sex a crime. The court is currently holding hearings into the case.
In their report, HRW said that “what began as public condemnation quickly grew into calls for criminalisation and ‘cures’, laying bare the depth and breadth of officials’ individual prejudices”.
The spike in anti-LGBT vitriol, predominantly during January and February this year, has intensified violence against sexual minorities throughout Indonesia, the report said.
Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, in February described gay lifestyles as perverted and a desecration of human dignity. In Aceh, the only Indonesian province that applies Islamic law, the local government urged business owners to refuse to hire gay citizens.
In interviews with activist groups, HRW reported gay rights organisations shut their offices and even hid staff as threats mounted against them.
In Yogyakarta an Islamist group forced the closure of a transgender Islamic boarding school, while a peaceful rally in the same Central Javan city in support of Indonesia’s LGBT community was shut down.
“The impact of anti-LGBT rhetoric from government officials is enormous for us as individuals. For those of us who have worked so hard and risked so much to come out, it is a major step backward,” a lesbian activist in eastern Indonesia told HRW.
Dozens of soldiers were killed on Friday when Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers in military uniforms stormed an Afghan Army base in northern Afghanistan, Afghan and Western officials said.
The attack on the 209th Corps in Balkh Province began around 1 p.m., in a crowded area where soldiers, most of them unarmed, were leaving Friday Prayer or eating lunch.
A Western military official in Kabul, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said the number of deaths could reach 70 or more. Zabiullah Kaker, a member of the Balkh provincial council, said people inside the army corps had told him that at least 66 soldiers were killed in the attack and that 74 were wounded.
But Ahmad Javid Salim, a spokesman for the Afghan Army’s commando forces who was at the scene of the attack, said at least 20 Afghan Army soldiers were killed and 30 were wounded.
Six assailants dressed in military uniforms drove in two army vehicles past the first checkpoint, according to Lt. Col. Abdul Qahar Aram, a spokesman for the corps. At the second checkpoint, one of the suicide bombers blew up his explosives, allowing the militants to enter, take up positions and start firing at soldiers, who were leaving prayers or making their way to lunch.
“The dining room and the mosque are close to each other,” Colonel Aram said. “It was lunchtime; they entered both the mosque and the dining room.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack through a spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. In a message posted on Twitter, Mr. Mujahid said the assailants were led by four soldiers inside the base who had long been Taliban infiltrators.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Thursday, April 20, 2017
Melbourne man pleads guilty to marrying 14yo bride in wedding at Noble Park”, ABC News Australia, April 18, 2017
A 34-year-old Melbourne man has cried in court while pleading guilty to illegally marrying a 14-year-old bride in an Islamic wedding last year.
Mohammad Shakir pleaded guilty to going through a formal ceremony of marriage with a person not of marriageable age at Noble Park last September.
The “wedding” was conducted by former imam Ibrahim Omerdic.
As part of Shakir’s plea, two charges were withdrawn by prosecutors in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
They included allegations Shakir had sex with the girl between September 30 and October 1, following their wedding.
Shakir, who has been in custody for six months, shed tears after entering his plea during what was to be a pre-trial committal hearing.
He was helped in court by a Burmese interpreter.
The complainant, who was in court, also wiped tears from her eyes.
Imam charged over child marriage
Omerdic, 61, is charged with conduct that caused a minor to enter into a forced marriage.
The Muslim cleric, who was Imam of the Bosnian Islamic Society and Noble Park Mosque, has since been sacked.
At the time, the Board of Imams Victoria issued a statement against forced and child marriages.
“Underage marriages are illegal in Australia. As Australian Muslims we are required to observe and respect the laws of Australia,” the statement said.
The board said imams should meet both the bride and groom in person before the marriage ceremony to ensure they are of marriageable age and both consented……
Oddly enough, no one in the mosque in the village in Cankiri seems to have stood up and denounced the acting imam as an “extremist” who was teaching a twisted, hijacked version of their Religion of Peace.
“Fugitive Turkish Al-Qaeda convict arrested working as imam,” Associated Press, April 20, 2017 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
ANKARA: Turkish media reports say a fugitive who was convicted in absentia for involvement in a 2003 bomb attack against HSBC bank in Istanbul and of membership in Al-Qaeda has been arrested.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the man, identified by his initials Z.C., was arrested Wednesday in a village in the central Turkish province of Cankiri, where he was working as an acting village imam.
The private DHA agency reported that he had escaped to Afghanistan while on trial for his role in the attack. He was later convicted of membership in the Al-Qaeda network and sentenced to six years in prison….
A killer who shot dead one police officer and seriously injured two others in Paris this evening had previously been jailed for opening fire on law enforcers, and talked of his desire to kill police on social media.
The 39-year-old, named in reports as Karim C, and using the alias ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’ made dark threats on messaging app Telegram, it has been claimed.
He was convicted for a 2001 shooting which left two police officers seriously injured, according to reports, and was given a 20 year jail term.
French authorities have confirmed that the shooting close to the Champs Elysees was a ‘targeted’ attack, and prosecutors have opened a terrorism probe.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, which was carried out with a Kalashnikov weapon. A passerby was also injured.
French President Francois Hollande has said he is convinced that the attack was ‘terror related’, and will hold a security cabinet meeting in the morning.
The gunman was shot dead at the scene.
The gunman has been named in Le Parisien as Karim C.
The French-born killer lived in Chelles, a commuter town close to Paris in the Seine-et-Marne department.
In 2003 he was sentenced to 20 years inside a high security prison following the attacks in Roissy-en-Brie, also in Seine-et-Marne.
But he was let out early following an appeal ruling, giving him the freedom to carry out tonight’s attack.
Karim C was the registered keeper of the grey Audi used in tonight’s attack. A raid on his home later found guns and ammunition, said intelligence sources.
He had targeted a parked patrol car full of traffic control officers working to theParis [sic] prefecture.
The officer killed was at the wheel and was having an evening snack at the time ofhis [sic] death.
French television network BFMTV reports that he had used the Telegram internet messaging service, which extremists have previously been claimed to favour because of its encryption….
Islamic State started killing its members suffering gangrene in western Mosul, intelligence sources from the city has said.
Shafaq News quoted sources as saying that the slain militants were the wounded ones staying at houses that IS turned to hospitals, blaming this on the big number of members with gangrene and shortage of medicines as well as medical requirements.
IS, according to the sources, suffers acute shortage of funds and supply especially medical requirements and staff.
On Wednesday, Iraqi army’s Counter-Terrorism Service said only six districts in western Mosul are still held by Islamic State as Iraqi troops liberated most of the districts.
IS has been losing ground and personnel since Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S-led coalition and paramilitary troops, launched an offensive in October 2016 to recapture Mosul, the group’s largest stronghold in Iraq.
The eastern side of the city was recaptured in January. A new offensive was launched in February to retake the western side. Battles in the west are believed to be much more difficult due to the density of residential areas and the high number of civilians
Retaking Mosul could be symbolic blow to the extremist group’s self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” declared in 2014 when the group occupied several parts of the country.
In a shocking incident, a man was stabbed in Gopalpura resident after a disagreement over Sonu Nigam’s rant on azaans. A report in Hindustan Times stated that when Shivam Rai spoke in favour of Sonu Nigam he infuriated Mohammad Nagori and Faizan Khan who threatened him over the phone.
Rai was quoted saying by Hindustan Times: “Later, they asked me to meet them in Freeganj area. When I reached there with my friend, Ayush Shreewas, they attacked us with knives.”
His friend Shreewas sustained grave injuries in the attack and was admitted to the district hospital. Madhavnagar police station in-charge MS Parmar said a case of attempted murder was registered against the accused under Section 307 of the IPC.
Earlier, Cleric Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi claimed that Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam had shown disrespect to the Constitution by his comment on use of loudspeakers in shrines and that the singer should consider leaving the country.
"Sonu (Nigam) has insulted the Constitution of the country.... I think such a person must consider leaving the country," Quaderi, the vice-president of West Bengal Minority United Council, said here.
"He has also hurt religious sentiments of many Indians by speaking against 'azaan' (Islamic call to worship). He must apologise as soon as possible admitting that he has done a mistake," the cleric told a press conference.
Else, Nigam should fulfil the rest of the conditions set down by me to get the reward of Rs 10 lakh, he said.
"Sonu has shaved off his head. But he still needs to do two more things I had mentioned about wearing a garland of old shoes and touring the country. Once he fulfils these two deeds, I will hold a press conference and hand over the cheque to him," he said.
On April 18, Quaderi had announced a Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone who would tonsure the singer's hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and parade him around the country. The Bollywood singer had yesterday got his head tonsured at a press conference in Mumbai where he said that his tweets were against the use of loudspeakers in morning sermons and not aimed at any particular religion.
A written complaint was filed against singer Sonu Nigam in Marathwada's Aurangabad over his tweet criticising of the use of loudspeakers for broadcasting sermons and calls to prayers, police said.
"We have received a written complaint against the singer.
However, no offence has been registered so far in this regard," Amitesh Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Aurangabad told PTI. One Nadeem Rana, head of a local religious organisation, approached the Jinsi Police Station with a written complaint against Nigam, the official said.
"We are studying this complaint and further course of action will be decided accordingly," he said. Nigam got his head tonsured by a celebrity hairstylist at a press conference here in response to a 'fatwa' by a Muslim cleric who took strong exception to the Bollywood playback singer's tweets .