Over One Third Of Nice Attack Victims Were Muslim

Muslims suffer the worst consequences of terrorism, undermining the usual racist narrative portraying Islam as a violent religion targeting Western values and populations.

A young woman lights a candle outside the French Embassy in Berlin.

A young woman lights a candle outside the French Embassy in Berlin

Out of the 84 victims who died in the Nice attacks on France’s Bastille Day, at least 30 were Muslims, figures based on the types of funerals required by relatives released by local Nice authorities revealed Tuesday.

The Muslim victims came from or had roots in many different countries including Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, according to Otmane Aissaoui, head of a Nice mosque and president of the Union of Muslims of Alpes-Maritimes.

In response to the attack in Nice, Aissaoui called for calm and social unity. “I fear the rise of anger, with politicians conflating all issues together,” he warned in comments made to local media.

“Everyone in our country has some share of responsibility: political and media elites, associations, imams, everyone needs to question themselves.”

One of the victims, Fatima Charrihi, 62, was a mother of seven and was born in Morocco. Aissaoui said she was a regular visitor of mosques. “What I can say is that she wore the Muslim veil, she practiced a balanced and fair Islam, a genuine Islam—not the Islam of the terrorists.”

“The authors of the attacks could not be Muslims because the very first victim was Muslim,” one of Charrihi’s daughters told public TV channel France 3.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the French-Tunisian driver responsible for the truck attack, was not known to French intelligence as a radical despite the Islamic State group’s claims that he was “one of (their) soldiers.”

Bouhlel had previously been convicted of road rage. His father said the attack was possibly due to a nervous breakdown and had nothing to do with religion. “He didn’t pray, he didn’t fast, he drank alcohol,” the father told AFP.

Many reports have documented that Muslims are more likely to be the victims of terror attacks than non-Muslims.

A 2011 report by the National Counterterrorism Center, a U.S. government organization, found that Muslims have been victims in 82-97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-led war on terror launched after 9/11 has killed between 1.3-2 million civilians in Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a 97-page report in 2015 by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors’ group Physicians for Social Responsibility.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Large-scale arrest campaign in West Bank

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested 22 Palestinians in the West Bank including ex-detainees on Tuesday evening. In a statement on Wednesday, Palestinian Prisoner Society revealed that the IOF soldiers arrested six Palestinians from Ramallah and al-Bireh, three others from Tulkarem, as well as another three from Taqoa village near Bethlehem and three Jerusalemites from al-Issawiya town.   Three other Palestinians were arrested from al-Khalil governorate in addition to two others from Jenin as well as two Palestinians from Qalqilya and Nablus.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Former hunger striker Ghassan Zawahreh, brother of slain activist, among 18 Palestinians arrested by occupation forces


In a series of late-night and pre-dawn raids, Israeli occupation forces seized at least 18 Palestinians between 18 and 19 July. They include Ghassan Zawahreh, former prisoner, hunger striker against administrative detention, and the brother of Moataz Zawahreh, shot dead by occupation forces as he participated in a protest in Dheisheh refugee camp on 15 October 2015.

In an invasion of Dheisheh camp by occupation forces, Zawahreh was seized in a pre-dawn raid with a massive military presence. Zawahreh has spent nearly ten years in Israeli prisons over various arrests, including many under administrative detention without charge or trial. He has permanent injuries to his right hand and left leg due to beatings by Israeli occupation forces during earlier arrests, including his first arrest in 2002; he was denied treatment for his knee injury for three years. Zawahreh was released on 30 November 2015, after being held in administrative detention since 4 August 2014. He was one of the initiators of the “Battle of Breaking the Chains,” the 40-day hunger strike by five Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Moataz, his brother, returned from a study program in France in order to support Ghassan’s strike; he was shot dead by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the refugee camp. When Ghassan was released, he immediately headed directly to his brother’s gravesite to pay his respects and two days later, spoke at a memorial for his brother, video here:

The invasion of Dheisheh camp followed a large protest action in the camp in support of hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayed, hospitalized after 35 days of hunger strike for freedom from administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Four former prisoners – all students at An-Najah University in Nablus – were detained by occupation forces: Mahmoud Asida, Malek Bilal Shtayyeh, Mumin Munir Sabah, and Karam Kheir Bani Fadel.

Five Palestinians in Qalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem were arrested: Muath Alayan, Mohammed Samih Muteir, Mahmoud Samih Muteir, Haitham Udwan, and Muhannad Kanaan. In the town of Taqua, east of Bethlehem, two Palestinians were seized by occupation forces, Mohammed Salim Abu Mafarah and Musa Mohammed Amour. Hussein Issa, of al-Khader village west of Bethlehem, was also arrested by occupation forces.

Also yesterday, Israeli occupation forces arrested two more An-Najah university students yesterday, Mohammed Shehadeh at Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus, and Said al-Tawil in Far’ata village. Samaher Abdul Qader Musalma, of Beit Awwa near al-Khalil, was arrested while visiting her husband in the Negev desert prison, and her husband, Nabil Musalma, was transferred to an unknown prison.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Kashmir: Why are young people protesting?

Al Jazeera visits Srinagar to find out why Indian-administered Kashmir is witnessing its worst violence in years.

At least 30 people have been killed in recent violence and hundreds more were injured [EPA]

At least 30 people have been killed in recent violence and hundreds more were injured

Indian-administered Kashmir is witnessing some of its most violent protests.

More than 30 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in clashes with security forces in the past week following the killing of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani, 22.

After Wani’s death, young people, who constitute the largest chunk of Kashmir’s population, have taken to throwing stones in protest on the streets and using social media to tell their stories.

Demonstrations continue despite heavy a security presence and a shutdown of mobile Internet and phone services.

Al Jazeera went to the streets of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, to meet some of those involved.

Sameer Ahmad Bhat, 23, cricket player
We are forced to hurl stones at them. They incite us. I will continue to throw stones at them until they stop inflicting such atrocities on us.
Sameer Ahmad Bhat

The youth is really frustrated. Today, if I am with someone, I don’t even know if that person will be alive or be martyred tomorrow at the hands of the security forces. Why do they fire at us? Elsewhere in the country, protesters are dispersed with water cannons. Why are bullets and pellets used in Kashmir?

In the past few days, lots of boys have lost their eyes because the security forces are using pellets on them. Hundreds are in the hospital with serious injuries.

That is why I say we are forced to hurl stones at security forces.

Farzana Sayed, 26, journalist
I am doing a story on people injured in clashes with the security forces. But it’s been hard to go the hospitals with the prevailing situation. I have had to do a lot of my interviews over the phone, and I am filing my stories on text message. There is no other way to do things right now.
Farzana Sayed

People’s core issues are not being resolved.

We’re always waiting for an opportunity to participate in a debate about Kashmir, but we don’t get to debate in more peaceful times, which is the basic reason this is happening. Because you [Indian officials] don’t address the core issues at the time you are supposed to.

Successive governments have failed in their attempts to engage the youth. Maybe they don’t give a damn about what happens to the common person. They debate the problems of the stone throwers, only when there is agitation.

Aaqib Hussain, 25, doctor
I commute 30 kilometres every day to get to government hospitals … Sometimes my car and ambulance get  smashed on the way. But as a doctor, I try and reach patients.

Aaqib Hussain

What we are seeing in Kashmir now isn’t anger … It would be wrong to call it anger. We are fighting a political war. This is people’s aspiration to a right of self-determination. And it gets manifested from time to time.

When the armed struggle for self-determination was dipping, Burhan Wani came as a new hope. In him, our generation had a new armed guerilla icon. Our movement has entered a new phase. Support for an armed struggle has grown. The youth is getting attracted to guns again.

Essar Batool, 28, activist
It is that gaze that just follows you around. Passing lewd remarks, catcalling … It has happened to almost every one of us.
Essar Batool

People say: “What is the difference? Haven’t you ever been molested or assaulted by a civilian?” Yes, but the thing is, you know – a soldier has a gun.

Burhan challenged the whole narrative of a Pakistan-sponsored insurgency, because he was a Kashmiri, he never crossed the border, he picked up arms here and he never went for training to Pakistan.

Everyone thought of him as a son. When he was killed, that really angered everyone, young and old.

Salman Sagar, 36, politician
This is not just about Burhan Wani’s killing. That is one of the major issues, but at the same time there are a number of other issues. For instance, the mandate of the people was betrayed by the present regime.
Salman Sagar

The government has failed miserably. This is the first time in decades we have seen such a high number of deaths and injuries.

The youth are trying to find a political solution. Even educated young people are opting for freedom slogans. Burhan Wani belonged to a very educated family.

Just to find a solution, young people are picking up guns. They probably feel that is the only solution now. The situation in Kashmir looks like it is back to the 1990s (when violence was at its peak).

Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, 28, writer and activist
The dignity of the youth has been crushed by state institutions and police brutalities. Their demands, whether political, economic, educational or cultural, have been sidelined.
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad

There is no mechanism to redress the issues of the youth by the state or its institutions.

So they have taken to guns to fight the state for their right to self-determination. As pacifists, we are trying to teach our youth that they can address these issues through peaceful means.

We are using social media to generate awareness about the Kashmir conflict because it’s one of the forgotten conflicts in the world.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Israel passes law slammed by critics as a move to silence Palestinian lawmakers


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed into law late Tuesday night a bill that would allow Knesset members to vote to oust their colleagues from office, legislation that has been slammed by critics as targeting Palestinian MKs and harmful to “the very building blocks of democracy.”The so-called “suspension bill,” which ultimately passed with 62 votes in favor and 45 against, stipulates grounds for dismissal as “incitement to violence or racism, support for armed conflict against Israel, or rejecting Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”In a statement Tuesday leading up to the vote, attorney with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Debbie Gild-Hayo said the bill was “one of the most serious legislative proposals in recent years, and it harms the very building blocks of democracy — the right to freedom of expression, the right to vote and to be elected, and the right to representation.”“Arab MKs whose actions and remarks do not find favor with the political majority will be the first people harmed by the bill,” she said, noting however the bill could affect all MKs. “It is no coincidence that there are right-wing MKs, including the Minister for Justice (Ayelet Shaked), who do not support the law.”“The bill allows political parties to act as investigators, prosecutors and judges,” continued Gild-Hayo, stressing that the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee — which is charged with undertaking the expulsion process — was motivated by political and electoral interests.“Indeed, this legislation attempts to not only shoot the message but also shoot the messenger,” MK Yousef Jabareen of the Joint List — which brings together representatives of the Palestinian community in Israel — noted in a press release on Tuesday.“Supporters of this bill seek to dispose of Arab MKs in order to silence them and the views they find intolerable. This is an affront not only to the MKs who may face removal from their positions, but also to their voters.”“Such a move invalidates tens of thousands of legitimately cast votes,” Jabareen said.The bill’s passage into law came after its final version was approved by the Justice Committee on Monday.For an MK to be dismissed, 70 of the 120 total MKs are required to launch the expulsion process, 10 of whom must be from the opposition. To ultimately remove the sitting member from the Knesset, a majority of 90 MKs would have to vote to approve the motion.The bill was first introduced after Palestinian MKs paid visits to the families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces after they carried out attacks, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in March the law would be used to suspend MKs who “stand behind terror.”

The legislation regained traction after Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi enraged lawmakers by calling Israeli soldiers who participated in the 2010 deadly raid of the Turkish aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip “murderers,” as she was forcibly removed from the plenum for her comments.In response to the incident, Coalition Chairman David Bitan of the Likud party, with the support of Netanyahu, unsuccessfully tried to shelve the suspension bill in exchange for a law designed simply to oust Zoabi.Tuesday’s vote went late into the evening, with coalition MKs delaying the proceedings. Likud Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin stood at the podium and repeated the phrase: ”Today, it has become clear that the Labor Party and Yesh Atid work for Haneen Zoabi. You should be ashamed of yourselves,” and did so until a sufficient amount of MKs from the coalition arrived to cast their votes in favor of the bill.

Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky of the Jewish Home party presented the bill and said: ”The Knesset will no longer be a shroud for terrorism and racism. Members of the Knesset whose paycheck is funded by the state cannot use it to undermine its foundations,” as MKs from the opposition protested and said the law itself was racist and targeted Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh said on Monday that bill was just the most recent stage in greater objective by Netanyahu to silence Palestinian opposition and criticism of Israel.“Netanyahu doesn’t want Arabs to vote; he doesn’t want us to be a legitimate political force. Netanyahu wants politics for Jews only. That’s why he systematically incites against the Arab public and against its elected officials,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Odeh as saying.The Knesset approved a law on Monday which significantly increased the penalty for defacing the Israeli flag, or anything the state rules as “offensive behavior” towards its flag, posing heightened risks for Palestinian protesters within the occupied territory. Earlier this month, the Knesset also criminalized efforts to discourage Palestinian Christians with Israeli citizenship from serving in the Israeli army.Last week, the Knesset passed the “NGO bill” into law, as human rights groups and opposition Knesset members condemned the legislation for seeking to “silence criticism” of Israel and delegitimize left-wing groups.Jabareen noted in his press release that in recent years, “the public and political atmosphere in Israel has veered sharply to the right and has become much more extreme. The vast majority of attacks have targeted Israel’s Arab-Palestinian minority — representing some 20 percent of Israeli citizens.”
(Source / 20.07.2016)

Settlers seize Palestinian land for park project in Tel Rumeida

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– A group of Jewish settlers on Tuesday appropriated a plot of Palestinian-owned land in al-Ein al-Jadida area, which is located at the bottom of Tel Rumeida in al-Khalil city. According to local sources, the settlers embarked on building a terrace as part of a park project they plan to carry out for themselves in Tel Rumeida. Over the past four years, Palestinian-owned lands in al-Ein al-Jadida area have been exposed to several violations by Jewish settlers.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Oxfam: World’s six richest countries host less than 9% of refugees

Syrian refugees in a refugee camp at the Turkey-Syria border.  [File photo]

Syrian refugees in a refugee camp at the Turkey-Syria border. [File photo]

The six richest countries in the wold host less than nine per cent of the world’s refugees, while the vast majority are being hosted by poorer nations, Oxfam’s latest analysis revealed yesterday.

The United States, China, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom played host to 2.1 million refugees and asylum seekers last year; 8.88 per cent of the total number of refugees worldwide, according to the analysis.

“There still remains a major gap with poorer countries providing the vast majority of safe havens for refugees,” Oxfam said.

“The six wealthiest countries make up more than half the global economy.”

However, the poorer countries and territories, including Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa as well as the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which “account for under two per cent of the world’s economy,” host more than 50 per cent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers.

According to Oxfam, “over 65 million people have fled their homes because of conflict, persecution and violence; the highest level since records began. A third of these are refugees and asylum seekers, while the majority have been internally displaced.”

The conflict in Syria “has been a major factor, but people are also fleeing violence in South Sudan, Burundi, Iraq and Yemen and elsewhere.”

Oxfam International’ Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “It is shameful so many governments are turning their backs on the suffering of millions of vulnerable people who have fled their homes and are often risking their lives to reach safety.”

“Poorer countries are shouldering the duty of protecting refugees when it should be a shared responsibility, but many richer countries are doing next to nothing.”

He added: “The international displacement we are seeing is an unprecedented and complex challenge requiring a coordinated global response. The richest countries need to be part of the solution and do their fair share by welcoming and protecting more refugees.”

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Top Qassam leader raises new questions about fate of soldiers in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– A senior leader of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, has raised new and serious questions about the fate of Israeli captive soldiers in the Gaza Strip.   Although al-Qassam Brigades has been very secretive about giving information about the presence of Israeli soldiers dead or alive in its captivity following Israel’s 2014 military aggression against Gaza, a top Qassam leader gave, in a recent interview conducted by al-Jazeera Net, insinuations that two Israeli soldiers could have been captured alive at the time, or they may be dead. Abu Attar, identified as one of al-Qassam commanders who participated in the last war on Gaza, told al-Jazeera Net that “the Israeli army, despite its use of the Hannibal procedure during the war, had lost a number of its soldiers and officers without being able to rescue them or know their fate.” Abu Attar said the Israeli army used the easiest options when announced the killing of soldiers instead of having the courage to looking further for facts about the reported capture of soldiers by the resistance in Gaza. “Let’s take for example the case of officer Hadar Goldin, in which the Hannibal procedure was used. This procedure has complicated the situation about the fate of this officer, who completely vanished, and also made it difficult for the enemy to know if he is alive or dead,” the Hamas military commander said. “So it (Israel) has found it necessary to lie to the soldier’s family and tell his relatives that he is dead,” he added. As for the fate of soldier Shaul Aaron, the commander said that al-Qassam fighters were able to make the Israeli occupation state face very difficult options following his disappearance in the war. “Days after examining the wreckage of the carrier which he was aboard along with his comrades, it became evident that there was no single physical or blood trace of the soldier among the remains.”   “However, the enemy declared the soldier was killed, choosing one of the easiest options here as well. At the time, it was forced to deal with a bigger dilemma which was the killing and injury of leading elite troops of the Golani Brigade, but neither the military nor the political leadership had the moral courage later to look into the facts,” he elaborated. “Where have Shaul Aaron gone then if there is no trace of his remains, blood or weapon? Or was the bomb, which had detonated the carrier, so destructive that it made the soldier vaporize with no trace? And if this was true, why was he the only one among his comrades who vaporized?” the commander questioned.

(Source / 20.07.2016)

Syrian Coalition Calls for Suspension of International Anti-ISIS Coalition’s Airstrikes in Wake of Manbij Massacre

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah sent an urgent letter to the foreign ministers of the international anti-ISIS coalition in the wake of the horrific massacres committed in the town of Manbij northeast of Aleppo by aircrafts of the coalition on Tuesday and which claimed the lives of over 125 civilians.

Alabdah demanded an immediate suspension of the military operations of the international anti-ISIS coalition in Syria to allow for a thorough investigation of these incidents.

“We believe that such incidents indicate a major loophole in the current operational rules followed by the international coalition in conducting strikes in populated areas. It is essential that such investigation not only result in revised rules of procedure for future operations, but also inform accountability for those responsible for such major violations,” the letter said.

Alabdah strongly condemned the massacre and held the international coalition totally responsible for the crimes that took place in Manbij.

“The Syrian people, as you are aware, have been murdered, maimed and tortured for over five years now at the hands of Assad’s murderous regime, Russia, Iran and allied militias in addition to ISIS and terrorist groups.”

Alabdah warned that the killing of the Syrian people now at the hands of the international coalition “will only push them further into a spiral of despair and, more importantly, will prove to be a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations.”

The Syrian Coalition on Tuesday emphasized the need to prioritize the protection of Syrian civilians in any operation targeting the murderous Assad regime and terrorist groups. All measures should be taken to protect civilian lives, the Coalition said.

The Coalition stressed that fighting terror cannot be achieved through the brutal targeting of civilians, nor should it justify the targeting of civilians in any way. These last incidents are not the first to occur and the international anti-ISIS coalition has not yet opened any investigation into previous attacks on civilians, the Coalition added.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 20.07.2016)

Memes of Israelis holding flags in front Dome of the Rock circulate on Facebook

Ramallah: New facebook memes in which Israelis post photoshopped images of themselves with Israeli flags in front of the Dome of the Rock are doing rounds on the social media.

The Jewish Press reported that the trend began when Haim Brosh shared a photoshopped image of himself holding the Israeli flag in front of the Dome of the Rock, with the title of the Zionist song “Carry a flag unto Zion” and a call for the Israeli government to finally raise the Israeli flag on Al Haram Al Sharif.

The Israeli police arrested Brosh for half an hour for questioning and later advised him to cease his subversive activities and released him instantly.

“How bored are the Israel police,” Brosh wrote on his facebook page after his release.

Since then, images of many Israelis holding their flag in front of the Dome of the Rock are circulating on the social media with huge public support and the Israeli police incapable to even summon those people for questioning. Facebook groups are calling on all Israelis to join them on this claiming “hey, the floodgates were thrown open with this amazing meme. Also we are patriotic, imaginative and we know photoshop”.

On the other hand, Shaikh Mohammad Hussain, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, said he will address this issue with the Jordanian Waqf Department which runs and administer Al Haram Al Sharif on behalf of the Jordanian government. “We will figure out the right response to answer to this fierce campaign,” he told Gulf News.

“Raising the Israeli flag on the Dome of the Rock is the Zionist lifetime dream that will never come true.”

He said that the speakers of Al Aqsa Mosque and the other mosques have been instructed to highlight the Muslim origin of Al Haram Al Sharif as a pure and undisputed Muslim property.

He said that after the Israeli occupation forces captured Al Haram Al Sharif in 1967 Mideast war, the Israeli government signed the status quo agreements according to which Jews are allowed to visit but banned from praying in the holy shrine.

(Source / 20.07.2016)