White House Aide: Ban on Muslims Restricted to Countries that Sponsor Terrorism

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U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn looks at U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as he talks with the media at Mar-a-Lago estate where Trump attends meetings, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 21, 2016

Washington- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump seemed to suggest on Wednesday that the truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin vindicated his proposal during the presidential campaign to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

“You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. One hundred percent correct,” Trump said to reporters. Trump described the terrorist attack as an offence against humanity and not Christians.

Later on, Jason Miller, a top spokesperson on Trump’s presidential campaign, said that Trump plans might annoy some but he was clear that immigration applications will be suspended from countries that prove to have high levels of terrorism and strict procedures will be applied on those willing to enter the U.S. to protect the souls of Americans.

Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and newly named White House aide, said Thursday that the new administration would not pursue a ban on Muslims solely based on their religion.

“You’re going back to over a year ago in what he said about the Muslim ban versus what he said later about it, when he made it much more specific and talked about countries where we know that they’ve got a higher propensity of training and exporting terrorists,” Conway told CNN.

Conway also denied that Trump has changed his position.

“Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory,” Trump said in a statement. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message.”

Earlier, Trump named strident China critic Peter Navarro to lead a new White House office overseeing American trade and industrial policy.

Trump’s team praised Navarro in a statement as a “visionary” economist who would “develop trade policies that shrink our trade deficit, expand our growth, and help stop the exodus of jobs from our shores.”

(Source / 23.12.2016)

Palestinian injured after Israeli forces shoot live ammunition during clashes in Gaza

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GAZA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces Friday injured a Palestinian youth when clashes erupted in the east of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Medical sources told Ma’an that the Palestinian youth was injured with live fire after Israeli forces opened live ammunition at protesters near the Nahel Oz crossing in Gaza city.
A Ma’an reporter witnessed Israeli forces stationed inside the crossing open fire on a Palestinian protester who had approached the security barrier between the besieged enclave and Israel.
Medical sources added that the Palestinian youth’s injury was “medium.” The identity of the youth was has not yet been released.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on the clashes.
The so-called “buffer zone,” where the weekly protests have taken place, was unilaterally declared a “no-go-zone” by Israel in 2005.
Thirty Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since a wave of unrest spread across the Palestinian territory and Israel last October, the majority shot dead during clashes near the buffer zone.
More than 172 Palestinians in Gaza have been injured by Israeli forces since the start of 2016, the vast majority during clashes that broke out with the Israeli military during protests since October, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Both Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) released reports last month, following the death of a Palestinian teen during clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, detailing the culture of impunity reserved for Israeli forces who kill Palestinians, noting the unlikelihood of Israeli soldiers who wrongfully injure and kill Palestinians to be held accountable.
“Accountability for shootings by Israeli forces is extremely rare, and Israel routinely defends or denies using lethal force against children,” said DCIP, while B’Tselem affirmed that “if an investigation does take place, experience shows the chances of it leading to any substantive results are extremely low.”
(Source / 23.12.2016)

Who killed a Hamas engineer in Tunisia?

Tunisians gather in front of the Municipal Theatre during a protest against the assassination of Tunisian national Mohammed Alzoari, who Hamas identified as one of its drone engineers, in Tunis, Tunisia, Dec. 20, 2016

A group of unidentified assailants shot Tunisian Mohammed Alzoari as he was driving near his home in Sfax, Tunisia, Dec. 15. Alzoari was struck by a hail of bullets and died on the spot. The assailants disappeared, leaving behind cell phones, silencers and a rental car. There were no other clues that might have helped the Tunisian authorities identify them.

Alzoari was an aeronautical engineer who specialized in the manufacture of drones. For the last few years, he was employed by Hamas and Hezbollah. According to sources in Tunis, he also designed an unmanned naval vessel, apparently submersible and capable of attacking targets at sea. In an interview with a Tunisian radio station, Hamas spokesman Mosheib al-Masri said that only Israel stands to benefit from the assassination of Alzoari. Hamas placed direct responsibility on Israel for the assassination. Local newspapers reported that the Mossad had been following Alzoari for the past few weeks and was responsible for the “sterile” assassination after meticulous preparations.

On Dec. 20, five days after the assassination, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded to a question about the incident, saying, “If someone was killed in Tunisia, he’s not likely to be a peace activist or a Nobel Prize candidate.”

Apart from this brief statement, Israel has been silent, as usual. Ever since the ruckus surrounding Israel’s alleged assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010 and the ensuing international scandal, Israel’s intelligence establishment has been on the defensive. Its most senior officials, including top retired officers, refuse to comment on the latest assassination in any way whatsoever. Western intelligence experts are convinced that the reports from Tunisia are correct and that the Mossad was involved. The big difference is that this time, whoever was behind the killing has adjusted to the contemporary reality, in which everything everywhere is captured on video.

Al-Mabhouh, who was in charge of weapons purchases for Hamas, was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai, apparently from a heart attack. Some two weeks after his death, the Dubai police released close-up photos and security footage that they claimed show the 33 people involved in an assassination plot. They were taken in the hotel, airports and at various events that took place in al-Mabhouh’s immediate vicinity during the final days of his life. It was discovered (so claimed the Dubai authorities) that the subjects of the photos and footage were Israeli and other foreign citizens, using aliases and forged passports.

This revelation caused a diplomatic crisis between Israel and the UK and Canada, the passports of which were forged. Mossad chief Meir Dagan was reprimanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Israel did not take public responsibility for the assassination of al-Mabhouh, the intelligence community was shaken up by speculation about the Israeli “fiasco.” Many agents from the Mossad’s legendary assassination unit were exposed by closed circuit cameras and other sophisticated security systems installed in Dubai’s airports and hotels. It was later discovered that these systems had employed Israeli technology to identify covert Israeli activities.

The Western espionage community wanted to know whether its agencies could adapt to an era in which anonymity is just about impossible, when every hotel corridor is covered by security cameras.

Based on what happened in Tunisia last week, the answer is yes. As of this writing, no security camera footage has been released. No hidden camera seems to have captured the faces of the mysterious assassins. According to several sources, the only cameras that might have captured the Tunisian assassination were sabotaged or old photos and footage were planted in them. One local journalist reported that one day before the assassination, Alzoari set up a meeting with a Hungarian journalist who arrived in Tunisia to interview him. That journalist and her team of two other people have since disappeared.

The Tunisian authorities have already concluded that foreign agents carried out the assassination, which they later dubbed a terrorist attack, but they have not named the state or group responsible for it. Based on all of these details, it is safe to assume that the group behind the Alzoari assassination learned everything it could from what happened in Dubai. Espionage agencies seem to be successfully adapting to the contemporary era, at least for now.

Meanwhile, things are heating up in Gaza. Hamas has invested considerable efforts over the last few years in an attempt to build a fleet of drones that could gather intelligence over Israel and eventually launch “suicide attacks.” Hamas has also created its own naval commando unit, which attempted a naval assault on Israel’s Zikim Beach during Operation Protective Edge, but was taken out by the Israel Defense Forces. The current assessment is that Alzoari helped Hamas develop these intelligence weapons, an especially worrisome idea considering his work with unmanned naval vessels.

Israel’s natural gas fields in the Mediterranean are particularly sensitive strategic assets and subject to special security measures. Israel invests enormous efforts in defending the gas drilling platforms from attack by rockets or other naval weaponry. An unmanned submarine could make the platforms vulnerable. Is that the reason that Alzoari was killed? Only his assassins know that.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

UN condemns violence in Lebanon refugee camp, suspends services

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for providing services to some five million Palestinian refugees, condemned recent armed violence in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in Lebanon that has left two dead and at least five injured since Wednesday.

As a result of the violence, UNRWA suspended its operations in the camp “until further notice” — the fourth time in the past month that UNRWA closed its services due to “security incidents.”
“Violent incidents in Ain al-Hilweh continue to shock and frighten camp residents,” UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness wrote in a statement on Thursday. “They prevent children going to school and patients going to clinics; and they threaten the safety and security of civilians and their ability to access a range of services.”
According to Gunness, the violence has forced two health centers to close temporarily and impacted more than 6,000 children who attend nine UNRWA administered schools in the camp.
“We again call on all those involved to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and to ensure the protection of Palestine refugees, particularly of children,” Gunness said.
On Friday morning, The Daily Star Lebanon reported that “a cautious calm” returned to the camp following the two days of fighting, however later Friday afternoon, Lebanon’s national news agency reported that a blast was heard inside the camp, without providing further details.
The agency said a man was injured in the leg by a sniper bullet on Thursday, while three Palestinian refugees were shot dead and four were injured during a shooting incident in the camp on Wednesday.
The Daily Star described the armed violence as a conflict between supporters of the Fatah movement and radical Islamist groups.
The camp has also been the site of recent confrontations between its Palestinian residents and the Lebanese army.
The largest and most crowded refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 54,116 registered refugees who fled their villages during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, according to the UN.
However, the population significantly increased since 2011 as a result of the Syrian war, as Palestinians have been displaced a second time from refugee camps across Syria, with development nonprofit organization Anera estimating the camp’s population to be closer to 120,000.
According to UNRWA, Ain al-Hilweh suffers from high rates of poverty and poor housing conditions, which have been further stressed as a result of overcrowding in recent years.
Palestinians in Lebanon have the highest percentage of their population living in abject poverty from among the other countries the organization serves, according to UNRWA.
Facing discriminatory employment policies, Palestinians in Lebanon are restricted from working in over 20 professions or claiming the same rights as other non-citizens in Lebanon, while all the refugee camps suffer from overcrowding, poor housing conditions, and a lack of infrastructure.
(Source / 23.12.2016)

Is this the beginning of a revolution by Saudi women?

Saudi women hold national flags as they walk on a street during Saudi National Day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 23, 2016

A police spokesman in Riyadh announced Dec. 12 the arrest of a young Saudi woman, Malak al-Shehri, for violating Saudi regulations by taking off her abaya — a loose-fitting full-length robe — in a public place, and openly revealing her relations with young men. The girl was held at the women’s prison as a preliminary measure before being transferred to the public prosecution office and the Investigation Commission affiliated with the Ministry of Interior.

On Nov. 28, Shehri, 21, had posted on her Twitter account — which she deleted after being fiercely attacked by conservatives — that she would go out the next morning wearing a skirt with a “stylish jacket,” and start her day with breakfast at McDonald’s and then coffee and cigarettes with a male friend.

The next day, Shehri headed to al-Tahliya Street in Riyadh, without wearing her abaya, and posted a photo of herself on Twitter.

This provoked the wrath of the Riyadh Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which submitted a request to police to arrest Shehri on charges of public disobedience.

After the news of Shehri’s detention became public, social media activists launched a Twitter campaign called “#FreeMalakAlshehri.”

Manal Massoud al-Sharif, a Saudi writer and information security consultant, expressed solidarity with Shehri and posted on Dec. 13 her own photo without the abaya at Najma Beach resort, in Ras Tanura in eastern Saudi Arabia, a gated Saudi Aramco employee compound that is not subject to the country’s conservative rules.

Sharif wrote on her Twitter account Dec. 16, “The [female] German defense minister visited Saudi Arabia and was not wearing the abaya. She was not arrested,” arguing that this shows double standards by Saudi religious institutions, including the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in applying the Sharia provisions on citizens only, while exempting princesses, expatriates and foreign visitors.

Sharif’s tweet aimed at pointing out that Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had hosted the German female minister on Dec. 8 and shook hands with her, although she refused to cover her hair and wear the abaya.

In a related context, the Saudi Ministry of Education also announced that it had opened an investigation after video footage went viral on social media. The video was shot by the father of a female student, showing his daughter coming out of her school in Sabiya province in southern Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7 without her abaya after the school’s female principal, Mudhisha Hamlan, had confiscated the abayas of a number of students to punish them for wearing indecent, tight or colored abayas instead of the traditional black and loose-fitting robe.

Hamlan told Rotana channel Dec. 9, “The girls violated official regulations at a girls’ school.”

State-sanctioned religious scholars in Saudi Arabia, most prominently among them Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Abdullah al-Sheikh, are usually appointed by royal decree. They continue to insist on their traditional doctrinal views that women should be covered and should not mingle or shake hands with men.

Salih ibn Fawzan ibn Abdullah al-Fawzan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars and the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatwas, insists that women should wear loose-fitting dress covering their entire bodies.

The Saudi monarchy, however, is often ignoring its religious establishment’s views and fatwas on women affairs. For instance, it has appointed women to positions that traditionally were limited to men. On Aug. 1, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan was named as the head of the women’s section at the General Authority for Sports, and has appeared in the media, along with other Saudi women, without covering her face and hair on several occasions. Also, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced in January 2015 a vacancy for the posts of diplomatic secretary and attache for women, which require the female official to travel and shake hands with foreign men.

The Wahhabi establishment has monitored the lives of Saudis to make sure that they are committed to the Salafi method since the first Saudi state was established in 1744. In addition, it has managed the affairs related to the education of women since 1960, under the supervision of Mohammed bin Ibrahim al-Sheikh, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia at the time. It was only in 2002 that the education of boys and girls was integrated in a single ministry.

The Wahhabi establishment also opposed the appointment of women at the Shura Council. Sheikh Saleh al-Lahidan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars denied on Sept. 30, 2011, that senior scholars were consulted by the monarchy or approved that women be present at the Shura Council. Yet, it now seems that this establishment has become more realistic and understanding of Riyadh’s new inclinations.

Oddly, the Wahhabi establishment has become more caring about women’s rights and their participation in public life. This was evident in a Bloomberg interview with the Saudi deputy crown prince, who also is the chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, in April.

The deputy crown prince was reported as saying, “We believe women have rights in Islam that they have yet to obtain,” which reveals his determination to grant Saudi women all their rights.

Al-Monitor asked Haifa, a young Saudi woman sitting with her friend at a Starbucks coffee shop in Jeddah, in western Saudi Arabia, about the rights that Saudi women are seeking to obtain, and whether abandoning the hijab is part of their rights and freedom.

The young woman, a student at the College of Medicine, said on condition her last name not be used that a woman should be entitled to wear what she wants, as long as her outfit does not offend public morals.

Haifa added, “Women have the right to a stringent law that provides for a specific punishment against harassment. Mingling with men in public places and changing the shape and color of the hijab or abaya is no longer our primary cause. Saudi women now aspire to obtain the right to drive cars. We will keep fighting until our demands are met and until women can assume the post of a minister in the government. We also want to be able to choose who will represent us in an elected parliament. Our cause is not limited to black abayas imposed by the appointed Shura Council.”

Most Saudi officials in political and religious authorities declare their support for women’s rights, whether those provided for by Islam or by man-made laws. All of them declare their support for women’s participation in public life, but the difference in the interpretation of the concept of rights between the political and religious spheres makes the Saudi women’s mission to get their rights more difficult, which may be pushing some women to take bold steps that could embarrass the authorities in Riyadh.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

Thousands attend funeral of slain Palestinian teen pronounced dead after 2-month long coma

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Thousands of Palestinians Friday attended the funeral of 16-year-old Fares Ziad al-Bayed in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah after he died earlier in the day of wounds inflicted during clashes with Israeli soldiers in October.

Fares was critically injured after being shot in the head with a live bullet during clashes on Oct. 15 at al-Jalazun refugee camp in Ramallah, following a march commemorating the first anniversary of the killing of 13-year-old Ahmad Sharaka, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last year during clashes.
The funeral for the slain 16-year-old set off from the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah where he had fallen into a two-month long coma, and headed to al-Bayed’s home for a final farewell. His body was then transported to al-Jalazun’s mosque for funeral prayers, before being buried in the camp’s cemetery.
In addition to Fares, some 20 other Palestinians suffered injuries during the clashes in October, with youth throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who responded with live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas.
The march where Fares was shot was staged to commemorate the anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Ahmad, who was a resident of al-Jalazun refugee camp. He was shot in the neck with live fire during clashes in al-Bireh on Oct. 11, 2015, and succumbed to his wounds shortly after.
Ahmad was the 233rd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory in October last year, and Fares has become the 246th.
The violence has mostly been characterized by small-scale attacks with knives or similar weapons by Palestinians on Israeli targets, however, at least 67 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during clashes, police and/or army raids since Oct. 1, 2015.
Just a day prior to Fares’ death, Israeli forces shot and killed 19-year-old Ahmad Nashat Othman al-Kharroubi with live ammunition in the neck, during clashes in Kafr Aqab north of Jerusalem. He was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital.
Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year for what rights groups have referred to as “extrajudicial executions” and excessive use of force against Palestinians — especially youth and children — who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been disarmed through non-lethal means.
A report released by Palestinian NGO BADIL in August warned of an intensification of the “systematic targeting” of Palestinian youth and children in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of 2016, particularly in refugee camps in the West Bank.
(Source / 23.12.2016)

MP Khudari: 2016 worst in blockaded Gaza Strip

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MP Jamal al-Khudari on Friday said 2016 was the worst  year for blockaded Gaza due to the continuation of the tightened Israeli siege.

Speaking to the PIC, MP al-Khudari warned of the serious repercussions of the tough Israeli blockade on the lives of over two million Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

He added that Israel’s closure of the crossings and restrictions on the entrance of building materials to the enclave have hindered the reconstruction process.

According to al-Khudari, 70,000 Palestinians have been homeless and enduring abject humanitarian conditions.

He added that 9,000 homes, out of 12,000 were totally destroyed in the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza.

He further warned that 50% of the totally destroyed homes lack the funding needed for their reconstruction.

The MP called on the donor parties to assume their financial, ethical, and humanitarian duties and urge Israel to allow a free access of reconstruction materials into Gaza.

He further stated that 80% of Gazans are living below the poverty line and that unemployment rates have hit 60%.

The MP noted that the survival of one million and a half Gazans hinges on humanitarian and relief aid.

He spoke out against the repercussions of the siege on fishermen, farmers, and all economic sectors.

Al-Khudari spoke up for Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

Islam, ISIS & Buzzfeed: What You’re Not Being Told

In this episode of ‘Behind the Headline,’ Mnar Muhawesh dives into the 1,300-year history of Arbaeen, a Muslim tradition steeped in resistance and sacrifice, and explains how the continued observance of this tradition is a direct defiance of groups like ISIS.

MINNEAPOLIS — We hear it every day: “Why aren’t Muslims speaking up against terrorism?” “Where are the Muslims denouncing ISIS?”

The people asking these questions tend to ignore a major fact: Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism driven by Wahhabism, an extremist, politically motivated perversion of Islam held by groups like ISIS.

From 2007 to 2011, 97% of terrorism-related fatalities were Muslims, according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. The United Nations found that from January 2014 to October 2015, nearly 19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq — a country that is 99% Muslim — many of them victims of ISIS.

Still, the U.N. says its figures likely fall short because they don’t include casualties resulting from the “secondary effects of violence,” like how many people are dying because they don’t have access to food, water, or medicine, which are also directly caused by groups like ISIS.

No one wants to see ISIS defeated more than Muslims.

Yet so-called “experts” and those who claim terrorism is a tenant of the Islamic faith disregard the victims through orientalist generalizations. “Muslims have been killing each other for thousands of years,” they say. “Let them kill each other.

This “Civilization Jihad” caricature has been carefully manufactured by those on the right in both media and government. And while it might be the political bread and butter of the right, the left has folks like Bill Maher, who has made associating Islam with violence, barbarism, and female oppression a hallmark of his career.

But, somewhere in the stream of Islamophobic sentiment flowing from people on both sides, they manage to get one thing right: Muslims have long been victims of extremist violence perpetrated by those who claim to share their faith.

Muslims by the millions have converged in Karbala, Iraq, for the past 1,300 years to mourn the death of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who died at the hands of the ISIS of his time.

The 40-day religious commemoration known as “Arbaeen,” the Arabic word meaning “40,” culminates in the Largest peaceful gathering of people in the world, and for many Muslims, it’s steeped in a spirit of resistance.

With attacks on the pilgrims by ISIS and other terror groups becoming both frequent and deadly, this spirit of resistance has taken on particular significance in recent years.

When someone asks, “Where are the Muslims denouncing extremism?” they should be advised to look no further than the 20 million people who risked their lives to commemorate Arbaeen in Karbala this year.

But if you think the mainstream media would cover this as an important story, think again. In fact, outlets like BuzzFeed and Snopes went as far as to accuse anyone saying the march was against ISIS as spreading fake news.

Earlier this month, MintPress re-published an article from the American Herald Tribune headlined “Media Blackout: Millions Of Muslims March Against ISIS.”

The story explained the history of the annual pilgrimage, noting that millions of Muslims continue to make this journey despite the threat posed by terrorists like ISIS.

It quickly went viral, eventually becoming a Trending topic on Facebook.

Muslims were shown in an honest, positive light. The narrative challenged the establishment’s carefully crafted sectarian, violent, jihadi culture caricature — a falsification used to justify endless wars in the Middle East and Africa. And it’s a vicious cycle: these endless wars, supposedly meant to target terrorists, give rise to the terrorism that Muslims become victim to.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the mainstream media chimed it. Buzzfeed did what it does best: It bended a positive story showing Muslims united in a force of peaceful resistance to parrot Cold War rhetoric. Buzzfeed dismissed it as “Another False Story” that should have never gone viral.

The story’s author, Craig Silverman, argued that the headline was misleading — the march was not, in fact, organized in direct response to ISIS. And, citing reports from the Washington Post and International Business Times, he argued that there wasn’t even a media blackout. He even went on to say that it was just Russian propaganda since RT was one of the only outlets that reported it as a march against ISIS.

Ultimately, he used the story, and MintPress’ decision to reprint it, as an example of why Facebook needs to be more cautious about what appears in its Trending section. Yet much of his “proof” lies in reports by mainstream media outlets that can’t differentiate between ISIS inspired terrorism and Islam which ultimately helps push foreign wars and funnel weapons to extremist rebel forces that leads to more terrorism.

In attempting to address the “spread of misinformation” plaguing Facebook, Buzzfeed missed the point at the heart of the story: Participating in the Arbaeen march is marching against ISIS.

For those claiming this is a false story, here’s a little history lesson:

Arbaeen pays tribute to the sacrifices of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He and his followers were massacred in 680 by the tyrant or ISIS of their time, Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah.

An influential ruler from the Umayyad Dynasty, Yazid ruled over many parts of the Middle East with an iron fist. He descended from the “1%” that ruled Arabia when the Prophet Muhammad revealed his message, challenging the economic heavyweights who profited from exploiting the impoverished population through idol worship.

Generations of the “1%” carried on these attempts to silence and undermine the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his followers.

Hussein repeatedly refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, a power-hungry tyrant who a so called Islamic Caliphate that was the antithesis of Muhammad’s teaching. And this refusal eventually led to a standoff between Yazid’s 50,000-man army and Hussein and his 72 family members in Karbala. Even in the face of certain death, Hussein refused to fight and he refused to back down.

His refusal to accept oppression and tyranny echoes even today as an example of non-violent resistance against tyranny even by revolutionary leaders like Ghandi. And because groups like ISIS take their lessons from tyrannical leaders like Yazid instead of Hussein, the annual march in Karbala remains a symbol of the Muslim struggle against those who purport to use their faith in the pursuit of wealth, power, and colonialism.

While Arbaeen is a religious procession that’s considered a Shiite Muslim event, it’s pluralistic in nature. Sunni Muslims, as well as Jewish and Christian leaders, also take part in the march in a show of solidarity against injustice.

It’s honoring the legacy of a man who died hundreds of years ago when he wouldn’t kowtow to the same brand of tyranny that ISIS wants to inflict upon people today.

So Buzzfeed and Mr. Silverman: Marching in Arbaeen is taking a stand against ISIS and terrorism. It’s refusing to live in fear. It’s denouncing everything that ISIS stands for, and celebrating everything ISIS hates most.

Now that’s a real news history lesson worth reporting on.

Learn more about millions of Muslims march against ISIS, the Flint water crisis & life in prison for pot on the full episode of the Behind The Headline:

(Source / 23.12.2016)

Israeli court imposes house arrest on two Jerusalemite children

mustafa-en-abu-ghoush

An Israeli court imposed on Friday house arrest on two children from al-Issawiya village in the center of occupied Jerusalem.

Human rights sources said that the Israeli court imposed house arrest on Mohammed Mustafa, 16, and Khaled Abu Ghoush, 17, in addition to imposing a bail as a condition for their release.

House arrest is a punishment by the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian children locking them into their houses until the court’s verdict is issued. The days spent under house arrest are not counted in any sentence passed later by the court. Such punishments deny children their rights to study and play and cause them psychological and behavioral complications.

(Source / 23.12.2016)

IOF quells West Bank marches

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Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists choked on teargas after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) suppressed  marches launched on the eve of Christmas in Bethlehem where Palestinians dressed as Santa Claus were participating. The IOF quelled other demos in the villages of Nilin and Bilin in Ramallah and Kafr Kaddoum in Qalqilya on Friday against the Israeli settlement and lands confiscation in the West Bank.

The PIC reporter said that the march of Bethlehem reached its northern checkpoint which leads to Jerusalem where protesters raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli occupation’s practices. A number of protesters wore Christmas costumes and chanted slogans asking for lifting the siege on the city.

The Israeli soldiers sprayed pepper gas directly at the protesters’ faces and fired sound bombs to disperse the crowd causing minor wounds and suffocation cases among a number of activists and journalists.

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The activist in the popular resistance committees Mazen al-Izzah told the PIC reporter, “The march came to let the world know that as we are celebrating Christmas, there is an occupation that blockades the city of Jesus Christ.”

The human rights activist Farid al-Atrash said, wearing Santa Claus costume, “The Israeli occupation violates our rights to worship and move freely.”

Meanwhile, the IOF suppressed the weekly march in Bilin village also in Ramallah province.

Local sources reported that the peaceful protesters were met with rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs causing dozens of suffocation cases.

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The protesters raised the Palestinian flag and photos of the MP Othman Ghashash on the 8th anniversary of his death.

Meanwhile, three youths were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets and a 7-year-old child was detained for a while after the IOF suppressed the anti-settlement peaceful march in Kafr Kaddoum in Qalqilya, calling for opening the village’s street which has been closed for 14 years ago.

The popular resistance coordinator in Kafr Kaddoum and father of the detained child, Murad Shteiwi, said that his son, Mo’men, was assaulted, taken to a military jeep, and subjected to field investigation before being released.

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The Israeli occupation police, meanwhile, damaged a Christmas tree in Alezariye in eastern Occupied Jerusalem because activists posted photos of martyrs on it, local activist Sami Abu Ghaliya told Quds Press.

He added that activists took two weeks to make and decorate the tree, adding that youths in the village are adamant on repairing the tree and lighting it as previously scheduled in the evening.

(Source / 23.12.2016)