SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - A coordinated attack involving a suicide bombing on a open-air election campaign meeting north of Baghdad killed at least 22 people, officials said, two weeks before provincial polls.
A man on Saturday had thrown a grenade on the meeting in the restive city of Baquba, 60 km from the Iraqi capital, before a suicide bomber blew himself up, a police colonel and a medic at the city hospital said.
At least 60 people were wounded in the attack.
The meeting, held in a tent around lunchtime, was for campaign workers who supported Muthanna Ahmed Abdulwahid, a Sunni Arab candidate for the Azimun Ala al-Bina (Determined to Build) list, a small local party.
Abdulwahid was not harmed in the attack, officials said.
Iraq has been plagued by violence against election candidates ahead of provincial council polls due April 20, with 12 hopefuls already killed in the run-up to the vote, according to an AFP tally.
The polls will be the first in Iraq since 2010, and come after the withdrawal of US forces at the end of 2011.
Diyala province, of which Baquba is the capital, is among Iraq's most violent.
At least 560 people were killed there last year, according to Britain-based NGO Iraq Body Count, which said it suffered the highest per capita rate of civilian deaths in the country.
Diplomats have also raised concerns over a government decision to postpone elections in two provinces which, combined with the fact that four were never slated to vote, means that just 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces will cast ballots.
Also on Saturday, a civilian was killed and two anti-Qaeda militiamen were wounded in a bomb blast northwest of Baghdad, and security forces found the body of a policeman who had been kidnapped near the capital a day earlier.
Violence has spiked markedly ahead of the provincial elections, with 271 people killed in March, the highest such figure since August.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -Suppose someone pretends that he's going to commit suicide just to threaten somebody but actually ends up dying unintentionally, is his death a matter related to decree and destiny or is it his own fault? How is he going to be dealt with in the other world?
A good answer to this question requires a brief explanation of the literal meaning of the following words:qadha (decree), qadar (destiny), taqdir (predestination/determination), and taqdire-elahi (divinedetermination).
“Qadar” literally means size, “taqdir” means measurement and the definition of “qadha’” is execution and completion. But in technical terms, taqdire-elahi (divine determination) is used for Allah’s determination regarding the limits and boundaries of different phenomena and all of the traits and characteristics of His creatures that all have their own specific cause in this world. The concept of Qazaye-elahi (Gods decree)refers to the completion and creation of creatures at the final stage. In other words, when all material conditions for the taking place of a phenomenon are met, He is the one who “verifies” it and allows it to take place, and to put it simply, “finishes the job”. Of course, it should be noted that when it comes to our actions, [which are part of the different phenomena this world consists of], Allah’s (swt) divine decree covers them with all of their causes and characteristics, one of those causes being our choice and free will. So what Allah (swt) allows to take place when it comes to our actions, is what we have chosen to do. Therefore, considering the fact that the attribute of free will is a part of what He determines as a whole, there is no contradiction whatsoever between attempting suicide and decree and destiny.
However such a person’s position in the hereafter depends on the conditions of how he committed suicide. For example if his type of attempt was a type of attempt that would usually and most likely end in his death, it would be considered suicide and according to the traditions would have a severe punishment. On the other hand, if what he did was something that usually doesn’t lead to death, yet he died of it, he won't have such a punishment and if he is to be punished, it will be much less.
In order to answer this question, a few points need to be mentioned:
1- The concept of “qadha” and “qadar”:
The word "qadar" means size, and "taqdir" means measurement and making something with a specific size. The word "qadha" means to finish off or to give a final of verdict on an issue or execute something. These two words are sometimes used interchangeably for the meaning of destiny and fate.
What “taqdir elahi” means is that God has predetermined a particular quantitative, qualitative, temporal and spatial character for each and every creature which all occur under the influence of gradual causes. Qadha elahi means that after all the factors, causes and necessary conditions of one creature have been brought together and met, God projects it to the last and final stage which is simply for it to take place. So when different things take place in this world, it is Allah (swt) who is making that happen, but as was said, all other conditions [except for the taking place part] have to have been met beforehand.
2- The relationship between decree, destiny and man's free will:
There are two types of divine decree (fate):
a) The type that is out of man’s control; like floods, earthquakes, hurricane and the like in which in such cases a true believer should be in total surrender and submission to Allah’s (swt) will and be happy with what He has determined for him. Of course, there is no contradiction between being in total surrender to divine will and trying to prevent these phenomena or lessen the casualties and damage done by them or undo their damage afterwards. The reason for that being that surrender and submission have to do with the phenomenon itself, which had nothing to do with our free will, while what we are responsible for and have to strive for, are to prevent the phenomenon from taking place, to lessen its destructiveness, and undo the damage it has done afterwards; all of these being actions that have to do with our free will. These two [what has nothing to do with our free will and what we have been ordered to strive for] are two different concepts, because there are always still chances of the failure of what we have strived for and the phenomenon still taking place with full force and destructiveness. For instance, a person can try his best to build a building that can stand up to the strength of a certain earthquake, but if an earthquake stronger than what he had predicted takes place, ruining the building, he will be happy and submitted to Allah (swt) regarding what has happened if he is a true believer.
b) The second type of fate is the one which covers actions that we decide to do willingly. Here, there is no contradiction between divine decree and our choice and free will and that is why we are responsible for the outcomes of our actions, because what is meant by divine decree here is that each and every phenomenon to take place, along with all of its characteristics is subject to Allah’s (swt) knowledge. What Allah (swt) “finishes off” is what we have decided to do along with all of the causes and characteristics needed for it in this material world. Some of these causes have to do with time and place, others have to do with us; one of them being that it has to have been out of choice and free will. Therefore, what is meant when it is said that Allah (swt) “verifies” and “signs” our actions beforehand, is that we do things in certain places at certain times along with free will.
3- The ruling on committing suicide
Suicide is one of the great sins Allah (swt) has prohibited. Imam Sadiq (as) has been narrated saying: “Whosoever commits suicide will remain in the Hellfire forever.” Also, Imam Baqir (as) has said: “All catastrophes and any form of death is possible for the true believer [showing that the true believer is like everyone else in being subject to any of these], but he never commits suicide.”
So, if anyone ever commits suicide for any reason, he has committed a great sin and will be punished severely on the Day of Judgment.
4- The ruling on the person who threatens to commit suicide, without the true intention of doing so:
First of all, even pretending to commit suicide (even if it doesn’t lead to death) is also forbidden in Islam, because it is a form of resembling those who sin and is considered disregard for Allah’s (swt) boundaries.
Secondly, if it does actually lead to death, it depends on what the person had done to show he was committing suicide. If what he was doing is something that is fatal and usually leads to death, such as diving from the fourth floor of a building, it doesn’t make a difference if the suicide was intentional or not.
But if what he/she had done is something that isn't so, and the individual had no true intention of committing suicide, it isn't considered suicide anymore, although the person has sinned in pretending to commit suicide as was said earlier, yet he/she will not punished as a person who has actually committed suicide.
As for your question about the person’s death being a fate determined by Allah (swt) or not, it can be easily answered by the explanations we had above; there is no contradiction between our free will and Allah’s (swt) decree and determination. It doesn’t make a difference whether the dead person had actually intended to commit suicide or not; Allah’s (swt) decree can be found in both cases [of course with the meaning that we explained for Allah’s (swt) decree]. Nevertheless, the outcomes of different actions and events in this life and the next differ. Otherworldly outcomes depend on how much the action or event has to do with us and our free will and decision; when there was no intention of committing suicide, and the method used wasn’t a fatal one, naturally the otherworldly outcomes will also be much less.
 Mohammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, Amuzeshe Aqa’ed, pg. 151.
 Ma’arefe Eslami, pp. 106 and 107, with some alteration.
 Man La Yahdhuruhul-Faqih, vol. 4, pg. 95; Al-Kafi¸vol. 7, pg. 45.
 Al-Kafi, vol. 3, pg. 112.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- If what you mean is why one isn't permitted to deprive himself of the blessing of life, the answer is:
1- The mind and nature of every person understands that destroying any blessing of this world is inappropriate; this matter is so clear to the extent that all people, regardless of their ages and religion all understand it. It is because of this that different organizations are established in the world today; organizations responsible for protecting animals and the environment and the like. Also, there are organizations responsible for controlling and protecting all forms of life in this world who pass different laws in order to do so. Now that the intellect and the nature of man can't accept the smallest god-given blessings being wasted and destroyed, how can one accept the greatest blessing of Allah (swt), which is life, to be wasted?
This little introduction shows that if one ever wishes to do so, he has strayed from the natural path of the mind and his own nature and can even be considered to be a sick person who needs treatment. There are different centers today who can cure this sickness using psychological methods.
2- The clear religion of Islam, whose guidelines are in accordance with man’s nature and the mind and truth, has prohibited suicide and sees it as a haram act.
3- According to Islamic ideology and Quranic teachings, Allah (swt) is the absolute owner of the entire universe and Allah (swt) has bestowed these blessings upon us so we utilize them for the purpose of our own perfection. Therefore, misusing and wasting these blessings isn't to their true owner’s consent and the mind tells us that we have to use things we have been entrusted with in a way that their owners are content about, not in any other way.
4- Another more important point is that one of the other reasons why suicide is haram is that not only does Islam want to protect the lives of the individual, but it also wants to protect the life of society as well.
What is meant is that when Allah (swt) forbids one to kill himself (whom he thinks belongs to himself), he certainly won't have the permission to kill others; the prohibition of suicide prevents murder from spreading in society.
Usually people suffering from psychological problems commit suicide and naturally; one can't expect those who have reached such a level of psychological illness that drives them to not having mercy on and killing themselves to have mercy on others and not do the same to them. If Islam was to allow suicide, there are chances that those who had reached a level in which they would consider it as an option for themselves, would first attempt to take the lives of others and Islam would have worked against mankind in this case (by issuing the permissibility of suicide).
This is why Islam has counted suicide as one of the greatest sins and has said that those who commit such a sin will be severely punished.
 “و لله ملک السموات و الارض” Ale-Imran:189.
 Imam Sadiq (as) says: “Whosoever purposely commits suicide, will remain in the hellfire forever.”Man-La Yahduruhul-Faqih, vol. 4, pg. 95.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A suicide bomber attempted to force his way past the defenses of the city of Timbuktu on Saturday, detonating himself on its outskirts, while a landmine exploded in another part of northern Mali, killing a total of three, officials said.
The twin attacks come as French President Francois Hollande told French television that French forces had attained their objectives in Mali, a country which until January had lost its northern half to an al-Qaida cell and their allies. After the extremists began a southward push, Hollande unilaterally authorized a military intervention, quickly liberating the main cities in the north. Outside the heavily fortified cities like Timbuktu, however, the jihadists are still present, leading an increasingly brutal insurgency.
"The jihadist was driving a car loaded with explosives," said a military official based in Timbuktu, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. "He arrived on the road from Goundam at the Timbuktu checkpoint, and our elements opened fire. He blew himself up," killing himself and injuring at least one soldier, said the official.
Timbuktu resident Age Djitteye said he heard a loud explosion and heavy gunfire, starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday. By midnight on Sunday the shooting had receded, he said by telephone.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defense also confirmed that an army vehicle drove over a landmine during a patrol around 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the northern Malian town of Ansongo, killing two people on board.
For 10 months until this January, Timbuktu as well as much of the rest of northern Mali was ruled by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, as well as two other jihadist groups allied with the terror network.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: ABC News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In a statement issued by the Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi to condemn the murders inside the central Damascus Mosque, he warns the Muslims to wake up and take notice. The Grand Ayatollah asked all the unaware Muslims who are mistaken by the lies from the various media about the situation in Syria to wake up. According to Shafaqna, following the dreadful murders in the central Mosque in Damascus, the Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi issued a statement.
The statement said, the Leader of the Friday prayers of the central Mosque in Damascus who was a well-known Mufti of Sunni Muslims in that country together with about 50 other Muslims were martyred by explosives detonated by the terrorists. Also more than100 innocent Muslims were injured and their blood spilt inside the house of Allah whilst praying. Last Friday a dreadful crime happened inside the house of Allah, the central Mosque in Damascus which was rare in its kind. This crime showed that there is no difference between Shia or Sunni, scholar or non-scholar, the house of Allah or anywhere else for terrorists because they do not know anything about Islam and humanity.
Certainly the regimes in Turkey, Saudi and Qatar as well as those in Arab League who are allies with the US and Israel, sharing these bloodsheds and if they believe in judgement day, must answer all these. If any document needed to prove the supporters of terrorists are lying about the Syrian situation, this crime alone is enough. Will the international organisations still stay quiet? We strongly condemn this rare crime and ask the international organisations break their silence about the Syrian situation and involve themselves actively. We also ask all the unaware Muslims who are making mistakes by lies from the various media regarding the situation in Syria to wake up and do not be content with more murders by allies of unbelief (KOFR) who are killing Muslims in the name of Islam.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Syrian President condemned the terrorist attack on a Mosque in Damascus which killed more than 40 people including Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Al-Buti and promised to wipe out the exterimists from his country. According to French News Agency reporting from Damascus, in a statement published shortly after the terrorist attack, President Assad offered his condolences for the martyrdom of Sheikh Al-Buti who he said, was a distinguished scholar in Syria and the Islamic world.
The Syrian President said that the perpetrators think they have turned off the light of Islam and belief in our nation; they have killed Sheikh Al-Buti because he stood against their ignorance and reactionary ideas. He added that the terrorists aim is to spread their ideas in order to destroy the tolerance of our nation. Assad said, I will take an oath to the Syrian nation that the blood of your children and all our martyrs will not be trampled upon. We will stay loyal to demands of our nation to wipe out the entire country from extremism and ignorance. The official Syrian News Agency, SANA, put the number of casualties at about 49 killed and 85 injured as a result of a suicide bomber detonating explosives inside the Imam Mosque in the area of Al-Mazra’a in central Damascus.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Children who have autism may be at greater risk for thinking about or attempting suicide than children without the condition, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at data for about 1,000 children, including 791 kids with an autism spectrum disorder, 186 non-autistic children without a mental condition and 35 non-autistic children with depression. Parents gave numerical ratings describing whether and how frequently their children had contemplated or attempted suicide.
Children with autism were 28 times more likely to be rated as contemplating or attempting suicide "sometimes" to "very often," compared with children who didn't have autism, according to the researchers. However, children with depression were three times more likely to receive these ratings compared to children with autism.
The researchers found a higher risk for children with autism who were black or Hispanic, at least 10 years old, male or from families with lower income levels. "That was probably the most important piece of the study," Angela Gorman, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine who worked on the research, said in a statement.
In fact, 71 percent of children characterized by all four of those factors had contemplated or attempted suicide. And having more of those four characteristics increased the likelihood that a child had thought about or attempted suicide.
Gorman suggested that parents of children with autism pay close attention to their child's normal behavior and emotions, and work at helping their child develop communication and social skills early in life.
Among children with autism, suicidal contemplation was twice as common in males, although there was no difference between the sexes in suicide attempts, the researchers said.
Depression and behavior problems were highly linked with suicide contemplation and attempts, as were being teased or bullied.
"Out of those kids, almost half of them had suicidal ideation of attempts," Gorman said of the bullied or teased children. "That was pretty significant."
Depression was the strongest single predictor of suicide contemplation or attempts in children with autism. In those children with autism whose parents considered them depressed, 77 percent had contemplated or attempted suicide.
Children with autism who did not have mood or behavioral problems and did not fall into the high-risk categories were very unlikely to have contemplated or attempted suicide, according to the researchers.
Neither cognitive ability nor IQ had much effect on whether or not children with autism contemplated or attempted suicide.
The results were published in the January issue of the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The advocacy groups Autism Speaks and the Children's Miracle Network funded the study.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- On the surface, the Gul sisters seemed to have it all: they were young, beautiful, educated and well off, testing the bounds of conservative Afghan traditions with fitted jeans, makeup and cellphones.
But Nabila Gul, 17, a bright and spunky high school student, pushed it too far. She fell in love.
Her older sister, Fareba, 25, alarmed at the potential shame and consequences of Nabila’s pursuit of a young man outside of family channels, tried to intervene. Their argument that November day ended in grief: side-by-side coffins, both girls dead within hours of each other after consuming rat poison stolen from their father’s grain closet.
Interviews with family members and government and hospital officials here reveal a tragedy of miscalculation: Under pressure from her older sister to halt communication with the boy, Nabila tried to eat just enough poison to scare her family but not kill herself. But she misjudged. Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, Fareba followed by taking her own life on the doorstep of the city’s most holy shrine.
The sisters’ deaths shattered their family and have struck a chilling chord for the residents of Mazar-i-Sharif, a city increasingly marked by the despair of its young women. For many, the deaths have come to symbolize a larger crisis: an intensifying wave ofsuicide attempts.
Although the government says it does not collect data on these cases, the city’s main hospital says it has been overwhelmed, with three or four such patients coming in every day, up from about one or two a month a decade ago.
The number of attempts has grown with such speed that the head of investigations for the police, Col. Salahudin Sultan, says he can no longer follow up on them.
“We don’t have the time or resources to investigate these,” he explained. “We would hardly get anything else done.”
As for the questions of why, and why here, there seem to be as many theories as there are cases. Most explanations focus on Mazar’s status in Afghanistan as an affluent cross-cultural hub, relatively more liberal and exposed to European influences. While Afghan girls here regularly are exposed to the social norms of the West through television serials and the Web, the fact is that they live in Afghanistan’s conservative and male-dominated society. The clash is cruel, and can be heartbreaking.
“Most of the girls don’t die, but they all take poison or at least threaten to kill themselves,” said Dr. Khowaja Noor Mohammad, the head of internal medicine at Mazar-i-Sharif Regional Hospital. “This is their cry for help.”
The doctor who tried to save the Gul sisters, Dr. Khaled, produced a patient ledger for the past two months. As he pored through the list, he uttered the names of several young women who had attempted suicide: Fatima, Mariam, Zulfiya, Zar Gul, Basbibi.
“There are probably 200 cases in here of attempted suicide,” said Dr. Khaled, who goes by a single name, waving the ledger in the air. “In the last 12 hours, we had three.”
Perhaps no case is more emblematic, or more discussed, than the deaths of the Gul sisters.
The two came from an educated, progressive family. Mohammed Gul, their father, is a prosecutor. Nabila was on the cusp of graduating from high school, and planned to attend college in the city. Fareba was already attending college and hoped to follow her father’s footsteps into the legal profession. The young women were determinedly modern, and would not have seemed out of place in many Western cities.
Nabila was impetuous, with a quick temper and a strong sense of self. She often challenged what Fareba told her, rejecting the deference held for elders in Afghan society. Fareba, a softhearted woman who often wept after small arguments, confided to a close friend that she felt Nabila did not respect her.
Their last fight, the morning of Nov. 26, involved a boy Nabila said she was in love with. Fareba thought the relationship was inappropriate, and urged her sister against it. Nabila refused, and the two began shouting.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The main accused in the horrendous gang-rape of a young Indian woman hanged himself early Monday, while in Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail. The December crime sparked massive protests across India as many decried violence against women.
Ram Singh's body has since been taken to a city hospital, according to prison officials.
He was one of the six accused in the case that shook India, in which six young men are said to have assaulted a 23-year-old medical student on a bus, where she was gang-raped, severely beaten and left for dead by the side of the road. The young woman succumbed to her injuries 13 days later, dying on December 29 in hospital.
Ram Singh was the driver and of the bus where the horrific attack took place, and was the main suspect. His brother Mukesh and three other adults in the case are currently awaiting trial. The sixth accused is a minor, and will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board.
The accused were arrested only a few days after their crime.All five men are currently under ‘suicide watch’, a decision taken by the jail authorities once they saw that the suspects had stopped interacting with other inmates, as well as each other.
In January, Ram Singh’s lawyer had asked the court to move the trial to any other part of the country but Delhi, where he feared his client would not get a fair trial. The second exception was to be the woman’s home province, Uttar Pradesh, in the north.
The incident has sparked mass outcry across the country and beyond. In India, people marched on the streets, demanding the most severe punishment possible for the accused. -www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- A suicide bomb attack on the Afghan defence ministry in Kabul has killed at least nine people, as the new US Pentagon chief visited the city.
A further 20 people were wounded by the bomber, who was on a bicycle, security officials told BBC News.
Taliban insurgents said they were behind the attack.
Reports are coming in of a separate suicide bomb attack, near the city of Khost, in which eight children and a policeman are said to have been killed.
At the time of the Kabul blast, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel was in a briefing at a US-led military facility elsewhere in Kabul.
Kabul police chief Mohammad Zahir told the BBC ambulances had taken the injured to several hospitals and that the situation was under control.
Two of the wounded were Afghan army soldiers while all of the dead and other injured were civilians, an Afghan defence official told BBC News.
One woman was among those killed.
The attacker struck just before 09:00 (04:30 GMT), about 30m (yds) from the main gate of the ministry.
A man at the scene, Abdul Ghafoor, said the blast had rocked the entire area.
"I saw [dead] bodies and wounded victims lying everywhere,'' he told the Associated Press news agency.
"Then random shooting started and we escaped from the area."
In an email, the Taliban said it had carried out the attack and had targeted one of the entrances used by soldiers and officers.
"The attack happened during the trip of the US defence secretary, and the attack had a message for him," the statement added.
Earlier, Mr Hagel, who became defence secretary last week, told reporters travelling with him he wanted to see for himself "where we are in Afghanistan".
"I need to better understand what's going on," he said.
There are currently about 66,000 US military personal in the country and early next year that figure will drop to 34,000.
The question of how many international troops will remain after 2014 is still unknown.
A policeman spotted the suicide bomber, who was on foot, as he prepared to attack a joint patrol close to the US military's Camp Salerno base, a police spokesman told BBC News.
The policeman hugged the attacker to himself in an attempt to save lives, Khost deputy police chief Mohammad Yaqub Mandozay said.
However, boys aged 12 to 14 who were working in nearby fields were caught in the explosion,
The region around Khost has been a stronghold of the Haqqani militant network, which has launched deadly attacks on Afghan and international forces, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary reports.