SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Anti-regime protesters have again taken to the streets in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to demand the release of senior Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
The protesters defied a protest ban imposed by the Al Saud regime and demonstrated in the eastern city of Qatif on Thursday to voice their solidarity with the jailed cleric and demand his release.
On March 28, a Saudi prosecutor reportedly demanded the death penalty for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, accusing him of “aiding terrorists” and “instigating unrest” in the kingdom.
Sheikh Nimr was attacked, injured and arrested by Saudi security forces en route to his house in Qatif on July 8, 2012.
The cleric had called for the release of all those detained in protests against the Saudi regime, and all the prisoners of conscience. His arrest sparked protests in Eastern Province.
According to Saudi activists, most of the detained political activists are being held by the regime without trial or charges.
Since February 2011, demonstrators have held anti-regime protest rallies on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.
Anti-government protests have intensified since November 2011, when security forces opened fire on protesters in Qatif, killing five people and leaving scores more injured.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Nearly two dozen people have been killed and many others injured in a terrorist explosion inside a mosque in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
According to Syrian sources, a bomber blew himself up inside al-Eman Mosque in the Mazraa neighborhood of the capital on Thursday.
Top Sunni cleric Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, in his 80s, is reported to be among the dead.
The victims are believed to be supporters of President Bashar al-Assad. According to Syria's official news agency SANA, 14 people were killed and 40 others were injured. Some other sources, however, put the death toll at 20.
Foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government also fired mortar shells at a sports stadium in the western city of Idlib. The attack caused only material damage.
Two Syrian civilians were also killed and more than 20 others injured in a terrorist car bombing in the western city of Homs, SANA reported.
Syria has been experiencing unrest for two years and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militant groups of committing war crimes.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council.
Derogatory terms such as "prostitutes" and "the filth of society" were used to describe the highly-achieved female academics and technocrats who were only sworn into the Council a few days after a highly-acclaimed Royal Decree was issued by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
The tweets quickly became widely-spread through the social media network and rapidly developed their own hash-tags; however, many Saudi tweeps condemned the attack on the female Shura members, especially since they came from figures who are supposed to preach tolerance, compassion and respect.
Among the clerics who resorted to insults was member of the Islamic Ministry for Da’wah, Guidance and Endowments, Ahmed Al-abedulqader expressed his discontent of women partaking a role in the Shura Council over his Tweeter account, “They thought they can mock the mufti by giving these 'prostitutes' legitimacy to be in power. I am not an imposter, and imposters do not fool me. For how long will the forts of virtues be torn down?”
Following angry reactions by Twitter users, Qader said: “We have heard and read many insults against (God) as well as mockery against the prophet, prayer be upon him, and none of those defending (these female) members was angered.”
For his part, Dr. Saleh al-Sugair, a former teaching assistant at King Saud University slammed the assignment of female members at the council and tweeted: “The insolent (women) wearing make-up at the Shura Council represent the society? God, no. They are the filth of society.”
His tweet reads: “The fools of the Shura council, these immodest women represent the society? I swear by God’s name they do not. They are society’s scum, garbage.”
This wasn't the first controversial statement al-Sugair، who is not a cleric but a medical doctor known for extreme religious views.
Last year, he called for a complete separation in medical colleges between male students and female students.
He spoke on what appeared to be a religious program saying “ why do you need to employ females when we have unemployed males who are providing for their families” and he added “what is the point of having a male doctor with a female secretary?”
He insisted that there is no need to have female receptionists in hospitals and especially in male sections.
Sugair has over 40 thousand followers on twitter and is known for advocating against women employment, women driving, and women treating male patients.
However, the backlash to the recent statements regarding the Shura Council appointees was severe.
Author Maha al-Shahri tweeted: “(These statements) are a moral crime. The government has to set laws to (teach) them and their likes (morals).”
Doctor Abdelrahman al-Sobeyhi tweeted: “Every disease has a medicine to heal it except stupidity.”
Another user, Ali Abdelrahman, wrote: “This is ignorance that does not belong to Islam.”
“The problem is that they think they have immunity from God!” another twitter user said.
A royal decree last month amended two articles in the council’s statute introducing a 20 percent quota for women in the country’s Shura Council, and the king appointed 30 women to join the consultative assembly.
The council was sworn in last week.
The assembly, whose members are appointed by the king - and until recently were exclusively male - works as the formal advisory body of Saudi Arabia. It can propose draft laws which would be presented to the king, who, in turn, would either pass or reject them.
Previously, the European Union has welcomed Saudi King Abdullah’s recent decree allowing women to be members of in the kingdom’s Shura Council for the first time as a major development in the direction of women empowerment.
“We welcome the announcement made by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Friday Jan. 11 to appoint 30 women to the country's previously all-male Shura Council,” according to statement by Nabila Massrali, a spokesperson for the European Commission.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A controversial Egyptian preacher and Islamist writer urged Wednesday President Mohammed Mursi to kill “thugs” and “criminals” who are burning the country otherwise people will do it by themselves.
“I am saying this publically and I am inciting the killing of criminals; I say criminals; thugs, thieves, those who are burning the country and those who are killing innocent people,” an angry-looking Wagdy Ghoneim said in a YouTube video.
“If the police or the prosecution will not restore justice, we will restore justice...God willing,” he added.
He said President Mursi should “use his powers” and be tough on “outlaws” that are burning state institutions and inflicting harm upon the people.
Addressing Mursi, the radical preacher said: “Your kindness will not work with these thugs Mr. president.”
Ghoneim is reportedly banned from several Western countries, including the United States and the UK for activities deemed to foment hatred or encourage and support violence.
Some of his previously controversial statements include gloating over Hurricane Sandy disaster in October 2012 and the death of Coptic Pope Shenouda III.
Ghoneim described storm Sandy as one of “God’s soldiers” sent to punish the United States for its actions against Muslims.
In March 18, 2012 Egyptians should be happy for the death of Pope Shenouda III he described as anti-Muslim.
“Praise be to Allah. With the grace of Allah, the head of unbelief and polytheism, known as Shenouda, died yesterday, may Allah exact revenge from him. God's worshippers and the trees and the animals were all relieved by his death. Egypt is relieved by his [death], because he generated sectarian strife,” the radical cleric said in a video posted on the internet.
His latest statements against “thugs” and “criminals” came as thousands of Liberal forces demonstrated across Egypt against Islamist President Mohammed Mursi, calling for a new constitution that answers the demands of all Egyptians.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A Pakistani Muslim cleric has called off a mass protest rally in the capital Islamabad after reaching a deal with the government.
On Thursday, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri asked his supporters to end the protest on its fourth day after the government agreed to dissolve the parliament before March 16.
“We have reached an agreement… I want to congratulate you on the victory that Allah has granted you. Today is a day of victory for the people of Pakistan. It is a day of victory for all the participants of the long march...We have to end (the sit-in),” Qadri told his supporters.
Earlier this week, he called on his followers to march into the capital to demand a peaceful “revolution” and the dissolution of the parliament.
The cleric is calling for an end to corruption and sweeping reforms to tackle the country’s numerous problems.
Earlier in the day, the head of Pakistan’s anti-corruption bureau defied an order by the Supreme Court to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on corruption charges.
National Accountability Bureau Chairman Fasih Bokhari told the top court that there was not enough evidence to arrest the premier.
Bokhari, who was appointed by President Asif Ali Zardari, said that the investigating officers “were not able to bring incriminating evidence” and instead “relied on oral statements which are not warranted in the court of law.”-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Islamic scholar mentioned that Israeli attacks on Gaza during the eight-day period changed the whole equations in the region and revealed this fact that being in the monitory is not a good pretext for Muslims to obey falsity in order to meet their needs.
"What happened recently in Gaza can be regarded as a great achievement,” said the religious scholar stating that in confrontation between right and wrong, the final result is important, and the damages in this process should not be given that much attention.
In other part of his speech, the Saudi scholar underscored the necessity of unity in the Islamic world and said, "Palestine is the most important basis in the Islamic world which can gather all Muslims from different nations together.”
"Unity does not refer to melting one group in another group,” said the religious cleric adding that what the concept refers to is focusing on commonalities and similarities stand among Muslims from different denominations.
To the very end of his speech, Seyyed Hasan Al-Namr called on Muslims not to just consider the importance of Ashura and Imam Hussein’s (PBUH) Movement in the Months of Muharram and Safar and pointed out,” we should understand this fact that our needs to Imam Hussein (PBUH), at the level humane values, is like our physical need to air and water.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Spokesman for provincial administration Sarhadi Zawak said the gunmen killed Moulavi Nasir in a barrage of bullets in Mehterlam district located in the center of Laghman Province.
The cleric was killed on his way to a religious seminary on Saturday morning.
The officials say the attackers have escaped the scene of the attack and that police launched an investigation into the incident.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan officials put the blame on Taliban militants, who have carried out similar assaults in the past.
Violence in Afghanistan has been on the rise in recent months despite the presence of thousands of US-led foreign forces in the war-weary country.
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 under the pretext of “fighting terror.”
The US-led war in Afghanistan has become the longest military conflict in American history.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Muslim protesters clashed with police in Tanzania's commercial capital and on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar on Friday, raising religious tensions in the east African country.
In Dar es Salaam, protests against the arrest of a hardline Muslim cleric turned violent, while in Zanzibar, supporters of an Islamist separatist group have repeatedly fought police over the disappearance of their spiritual leader, who was then released after nearly four days in captivity.
The violence has raised concerns of an escalation in religious tensions in relatively stable and secular Tanzania, east Africa's second-largest economy.
In Zanzibar, a predominantly Muslim island, supporters of the Islamic Uamsho (Awakening) movement protested for the third day.
Uamsho followers, mostly youths and urban poor, clashed with police after Friday prayers, hurling rocks at police who retaliated with tear gas in sporadic exchanges around the main historic area of Stone Town.
Roads were temporarily closed, with rocks and coconuts strewn across the asphalt, and most businesses shut for the day. Riot police were stationed around mosques around Stone Town.
Fighting erupted on Wednesday, a day after the group's leader Sheikh Farid Hadi disappeared in unknown circumstances.
But late on Friday evening, the popular cleric was released, with shouts of "Allah Akbar" heard rising above Stone Town's maze of narrow alleys which separate Arab-style white coral stone houses.
"He is free. I had my picture taken with him," Thabit Juma, an eyewitness, told Reuters.
One Uamsho member who did not wish to be named confirmed Hadi has been freed, though he would not comment on who was responsible for his disappearance.
Earlier in the day another influential Uamsho cleric Sheikh Azzan Hamdan said the police were not doing enough to search for Hadi and set a deadline, 4 p.m. (1300GMT) on Saturday, for Hadi's safe return.
Violence between Uamsho and police broke out earlier this year on the archipelago, a tourist hotspot.
Analysts say the Uamsho group has been gaining popularity because of disenchantment with Zanzibar's main opposition Civic United Front party after its decision to form a government with the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.
POLICE ON ALERT
In Dar es Salaam, protesters left the Mtambani mosque after Friday prayers and marched towards the town center chanting demands for the release of Muslim cleric Sheikh Issa Ponda.
"Police came in and started firing tear gas, while Muslim protesters responded by throwing stones," witness Salum Haji told Reuters. In the city center streets were deserted in anticipation of further violence.
"All shops are closed in the city center and there are heavily armed policemen patrolling the streets. We are all locked inside (a shop). I don't know how I'm going to get home," resident Neema Swai told Reuters.
Dar es Salaam's regional police commander, Suleiman Kova, said Ponda had been arrested on Tuesday for criminal trespass on private property and inciting followers to commit violence.
Ponda is the secretary general of the Council of Islamic Organisation, a group that vies for influence against the government-backed National Muslims Council of Tanzania.
Though Ponda is not known to have any links to Uamsho, the protesters also demonstrated against Hadi's disappearance.
Mainland Tanzania, ruled by the secular government of President Jakaya Kikwete, has been rocked by religious tension for the past week.
Muslim protesters burnt five churches on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam on Friday after reports emerged a young Christian boy had urinated on a Koran, Islam's holy book. Local media said the boy had been dared by friends to urinate on the book.
Kikwete visited the torched churches and called for calm.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Saudi security forces have arrested senior Shia cleric Hussein Radi in the Eastern Province as Riyadh suppression of opposition voices continues.
Sheikh Hussein Radi was arrested at his home in the eastern town of Amran on Monday night.
It was not immediately clear why the cleric was arrested, but activists say he was likely to have been detained for taking part in a protest rally against a US film insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) last week.
Sheikh Radi is one of about 70 Saudi Shia clerics who released a statement addressed to “decision-makers in the Muslim world” demanding they take a clear stance on the anti-Islam film, AFP reported.
Meanwhile, Saudi security forces have arrested dozens of protesters in Qassim, north of the capital, who were demanding the release of prisoners, who are being held without charges and trial.
Scores of Saudis, including women and children, gathered outside Tafiya prison near Qassim on Sunday to demand the release of their relatives.
Activists say police restricted the protesters to a cordoned off area and kept them there without food or water for almost 24 hours.
One of the protesters said her husband “has been detained for more than nine years without charge,” adding that she has not seen him in “eight months.”
Another said that her brother was sentenced to three years in prison and “has served his sentence but remains in jail.”
According to activists, there are over 30,000 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia. Human rights groups have accused the House of Saud of imprisoning political dissidents.
Human rights groups have accused the Saudi regime of human rights violations.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: WR Newz
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Chief of Shia Ulema Council on Friday said that US and Zionists have made the defamatory film to hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world.
Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi said that imperialist forces are hatching conspiracies against Muslims because they are afraid of the increasing influence of Muslim Ummah.
He said that airing of a US made film to malign the personality of Muslim Prophet Mohammad has saddened Muslims thought the world.
Vice President National Solidarity Council said that US and Zionists are behind the shameful act and its objective is to weaken the Muslim Ummah.
Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi said that despite all conspiracies Muslim Ummah has awaken and countering all anti-Islam moves by the West.
He said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has taken a very bold position on the issue.
Shia Ulema Council chief was of the view that under the strong leadership of Supreme Leader Muslims would defeat all conspiracies.
He said the government of Pakistan, keeping in the view the sentiments of people should not permit any force to hurt the feelings of Muslims.
Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi said that Pakistan should review its relationship with the US after the incident that had sparked anger in Muslims throughout the globe.—www.shafaqna.com/English