“Asian” violently attacked Gay Village barman and subjected him to shocking homophobic rant

Thomas Morris, 19, tells how an argument over a taxi fare turned into a nightmare when a thug became involved, beat him up and tried to steal his mobile.

Thomas Morris was assaulted and dealt homophobic abuse as he headed home from work in Manchester’s Gay Village

A Gay Village barman has relived the moment he was subjected to a violent attack and homophobic abuse after he took a taxi home.

Thomas Morris, 19, was heading home in the early hours of Saturday after a night working at a bar in Canal Street.

He says the driver stopped the taxi in Daisy Bank Road, Victoria Park, and began arguing with him about the fare.

Another man who was in the street then began punching Mr Morris and shouting homophobic abuse.

The thug tried to steal his mobile phone and kicked him several times in the head and body while he lay slumped in the road.

Police have now launched an investigation into the attack, which happened at about 3am, and are urging witnesses to contact them.

Thomas’ injuries include grazing and swelling around his temple and a black eye

Mr Morris was left badly bruised and shaken by the attack.

He was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary by ambulance for a brain scan and spent more than six hours in A&E.

He said: “What happened to me was completely disgusting. He was punching and kicking me on the ground and shouting homophobic abuse.

“He kicked me in the ribs, the legs, the arm and the head.

“I had a black eye and bruises. It shook me up. I was lucky not to have been more seriously injured, but it shouldn’t be like that.”

Mr Morris was left lying injured in the road as his attacker rode away on a bicycle.

Eventually, he managed to make his way home, where a friend dialled 999 and called an ambulance.

He believes the taxi driver witnessed the attack before driving off.

Map of Daisy Bank Rd, Manchester M14 5QP

Map of Daisy Bank Rd, Manchester M14 5QP, where Thomas Morris was attacked

daisy bank road Capture

Mr Morris has issued an picture of his injuries in the hope it might encourage witnesses to come forward.

Police said the attacker was Asian, in his late teens, slim and 5ft 11in.

He had short, black hair and was wearing a grey tracksuit and riding a bicycle.

Mr Morris was a passenger in a private-hire taxi from Manchester Cars, which is based in Bloom Street in the Gay Village.

A spokeswoman for the said it was launching an investigation into the incident and was unable to make any further comment.

Anyone with information can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 FREE.

Child rapist jailed after sexually attacking teenage girl in Moss Side GRINNED in police custody

Arman Nejad has been jailed for five years

A child rapist grinned in police custody after he sexually attacked a 14-year-old girl.

Arman Nejad dragged his victim from the street and into a house in Moss Side, where he raped her.

The crime dates back more than five years, to October 2009, but GMP failed to initially investigate and bring Nejad, now 23, to justice.

Supt Simon Retford, from GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “There were unacceptable delays in bringing the case to court after the initial complaint was made.

“The victim received a service that I believe fell below the level which we strive to offer to victims of rape and other sexual abuse.”

Nejad, of Caythorpe Street, Moss Side, was found guilty of rape after a trial at Manchester Crown Court and on Friday, April 17, he was jailed for five years.

In October 2009, the victim was walking along Caythorpe Street, Moss Side, with her friends.

Nejad called her over to his house on false pretences, separating her from her mates. He then dragged her into a house and raped her.

The matter was reported to police in February 2010, and the girl was video interviewed by officers from the south Manchester division.

In June 2013, officers from GMP’s ‘Protect’ team – a multi-agency initiative set up to tackle child sexual exploitation – visited the girl on an unrelated matter and became aware of an apparent lack of progress following her initial complaint.

The matter was then fully investigated by officers from the Protect team and Nejad was arrested, charged and subsequently convicted.

As soon as GMP’s Professional Standards Branch became aware of the apparent delay in this case, it was referred to the IPCC who returned it back to the force to investigate locally and this investigation is ongoing and a formal complaint has been made by the girl.

Det Insp Debbie Oakes, from GMP’s Phoenix Protect Team, said: “Greater Manchester Police’s Protect Team was first made aware of Arman Nejad’s appalling crimes in 2013.

“As a result, a full and thorough investigation was completed that resulted in this matter being brought to court and which aided in bringing Arman Nejad to justice.

“While the Force absolutely accepts the failures in this case, we should also stress that the work of Protect and the Phoenix partnership over the last few years that has made huge strides towards protecting vulnerable people who are at risk of child sexual exploitation.

“Working with our partner agencies, we can make use of legislation at our disposal to disrupt premises where we suspect CSE may be taking place, shut those premises down and also arrest and investigate suspects so we can put them before the courts, as we have done with Arman Nejad.

“With the launch of the ‘It’s not Okay’ campaign we are increasing public awareness of how to protect children at risk by increasing people’s understanding of child sexual exploitation and how to spot the warning signs of CSE.

“Together, we will continue to tackle CSE and continue to pursue people like Arman Nejad and expose them for the criminals they really are.”

Supt Retford added: “An investigation is underway to establish the reasons and circumstances around our initial response and apparent lack of action in progressing this case.”

Source: www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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UK: Missing father was ‘member of banned extremist group’

 

Family Travel to Syria

A family of six, missing from Slough, Berks., since April 7, is feared to be heading for Syria. The Malik family has been traced travelling by train south through Europe

 

A British Muslim father who police fear is travelling to Islamic State with his four young children was a member of a banned extremist group, it has emerged.

Police are hunting Asif Malik, his partner Sara Kiran and their family who have gone missing and are feared to be travelling to Syria.
The parents and daughter Zoha, seven; son Essa, four; son Zakariya, two; and one-year-old son Yhaya – have not been seen for nearly two weeks.

Anjem Choudary, the radical Muslim cleric, confirmed Malik had been a member of the banned group al-Mujahiroun and described him as a “champion for shariah” who regularly attended the group’s events and demonstrations.

As fears were growing for the safety of Malik’s four young children, Choudary said Malik remained “very influential in the community” after al-Mujahiroun was banned five years ago.

CCTV images of Asif Malik and his family boarding a ferry at Dover (Thames Valley Police)

“Back in the day he was a member until the group was banned. He was still part of our demonstrations and lectures but I hadn’t seen him for a few months,” Choudary said.

“Asif is a very good friend of mine, I haven’t seen him for a while but from what I gather in the reports he and his family have left the country.

“I last saw him a couple of months ago, he used to attend my lectures in Slough and west London.

“He attended many lectures over the years and is a very good friend.”

He went on: “He is a very studious man, a very good Muslim character. He was always a champion for shariah and is very influential in the community.”

Choudary criticised the Government for attempting to restrict British Muslims from travelling to Syria.

Anjem Choudary Jihadi bride

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary

 

“I think they want to live under sharia and escape the oppressive life they have in this country and under this government,” he said.

Police said the family’s disappearance was not reported to the authorities for nine days.

Officers fear the family, from Slough, Berkshire, might be travelling to a region of Syria controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The family were living in this block of flats in Slough (Eddie Mulholland/The Telegraph)

Neighbours claimed the family had been investigated by police four years ago for unknown matters – but it was unclear whether those inquiries had been extremism-related.

John Campbell, Thames Valley Police acting deputy chief constable, refused to discuss earlier contact with the family but said Malik had spoken of wanting to live in a Muslim country.

He said: “I don’t want to be discussing any previous contact or any suggestions of any particular contact we’ve had with the family previously.”

20 British teenage girls have gone to Syria to join Isil
What is luring Western women to Syria to join Isil?

The force disclosed the family were last seen on Tuesday April 7.

They were reported missing to police last Thursday, April 16.

Malik, 31, and Miss Kiran, 29, whom neighbours said usually wore the full Islamic veil, left home without mentioning any holiday or travel plans to family members, which a force spokesman said was “entirely out of character for this family”.

Police said the family boarded a ferry from Dover to Calais at 00.30am on Wednesday, April 8.

CCTV images of Asif Malik and his family in Dover (Thames Valley Police)

Further enquiries suggest that the family have then travelled south through Europe, possibly by train.

Police also believe the family may have travelled through Budapest, Hungary, on or around Sunday, April 12.

The couple had not informed either their landlord or their children’s primary school that they would be leaving the country.

“We are concerned about anyone who has or is intending to travel to the part of Syria that is controlled by the terrorist group calling themselves Islamic State,” said Mr Campbell.

“It is an extremely dangerous place and not a place where young children should be taken.”

The senior officer went on: “We know that having gone into Europe their general direction of travel is towards Turkey, thereby we make the assumption towards Syria.

malik family Capture

“At the same time we know that the family have voiced some concerns about the family’s intentions.

“There’s been a suggestion that Mr Malik in the past has said that he would like to live in a Muslim state.”

Neighbours said the alarm was raised after the four children failed to attend school.

Their grandmother was also seen looking for them and knocking on other doors in the modern block of flats where they lived, asking if anyone had seen the family.

Neither Malik nor his partner have attempted to contact any family members or friends since, despite taking their mobile phones with them on the trip, police said.

This lack of contact had led detectives to believe their reason for leaving Britain may not be legitimate, Mr Campbell said.

“Whichever way you look at this, it is highly unusual behaviour.

“If a family is keen and willing and wants to leave to another part of the world to live, it is entirely legitimate to do so.

“We’re guided by family interpretations in many ways,” he said.

 

Zoha Malik and Essa Malik

KIDS: Zoha Malik, seven (left) and right, her brother Essa Malik, four, left the country on a ferry with their parents.

All six of the family travelled on British passports.

Police broke into the family’s flat with a battering ram after the alarm was raised and the premises were searched.

“I’m not going to go into specifics of what was seized or not, but we will look at whatever evidence will help to locate the family,” said Mr Campbell.

Detectives do not know whether or not they have reached Syria, but Mr Campbell admitted that was a “real concern” given the time period that had lapsed.

Parents ‘must be responsible for stopping children going to Syria’
Police: UK volunteers going to Syria war will face arrest

“The choice of returning home from Syria is often taken away from those under the control of Islamic State, leaving families in the UK devastated and with very few options to secure their loved ones safe return,” he said.

“Asif and Sara need to know their family are very concerned and want them to return to the UK.”

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

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Slough family of six suspected to be travelling to Syria

Family from Slough that may have gone to Syria

Thames Valley Police fear that the Malik family may have travelled to an Isis-controlled area of Syria Photo: Thames Valley Police

Police are seeking a family of six – including four young children – who have gone missing and are suspected to be travelling to Syria.

Asif Malik, his partner Sara Kiran and their four children – daughter Zoha, seven; son Essa, four; son Zakariya, two; and one-year-old son Yhaya – have not been seen for nearly two weeks.

However, their disappearance – which was described as “entirely out of character” – was not reported to police for nine days, and officers did not issue a public appeal for a further three days.

Officers fear the family, from Slough, Berkshire, might be travelling to a region of Syria controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The family were living in this block of flats in Slough (Google Streetview)

Neighbours said the alarm was raised after the four children failed to attend school.

Their grandmother was also seen looking for them and knocking on other doors in the modern block of flats where they lived, asking if anyone had seen the family.

John Campbell, Thames Valley Police acting deputy chief constable, said: “We are extremely concerned for the safety of this family, especially the four young children.

“We are reaching out to Asif and Sara, in the hope that they hear our messages and we encourage them to make contact with us so we can return them safely to their families who are extremely worried about them.”

The force disclosed the family were last seen on Tuesday April 7.

They were reported missing to police last Thursday, April 16.

Mr Malik, 31, and Miss Kiran, 29, who neighbours said usually wore a full Islamic veil, left home without mentioning any holiday or travel plans to family members, which a force spokesman said was “entirely out of character for this family”.

20 British teenage girls have gone to Syria to join Isil
What is luring Western women to Syria to join Isil?

Police said the family boarded a ferry from Dover to Calais at 00.30am on Wednesday, April 8.

Further enquiries suggest that the family have then travelled south through Europe, possibly by train.

Police also believe the family may have travelled through Budapest, Hungary, on or around Sunday, April 12.

A spokesman said: “Given the online rhetoric from the Islamic State encouraging people to travel to Syria, the direction of travel and concerns voiced by Asif’s family, Thames Valley Police is concerned the family may be seeking to travel to Syria.”

Mr Campbell went on: “We would urge anyone with information about the family’s whereabouts to come forward and speak to police so the family can safely return to the UK.

“We would ask anyone who saw the family as they travelled to Dover, waiting at the port, on the ferry or when they arrived at Calais to contact the police.

“Any piece of information, no matter how small, could help the UK or European authorities to locate the family so that they can be safely returned home to their loved ones.”

malik family Capture

He added: “Police have been working with the family of Asif and our colleagues and partners since they were reported missing in an attempt to locate the family and return them to their loved ones.

“We are concerned about anyone who has or is intending to travel to the part of Syria that is controlled by the terrorist group calling themselves Islamic State.

“It is an extremely dangerous place and not a place where young children should be taken.

Parents ‘must be responsible for stopping children going to Syria’
Police: UK volunteers going to Syria war will face arrest

“The choice of returning home from Syria is often taken away from those under the control of Islamic State, leaving families in the UK devastated and with very few options to secure their loved ones safe return.

“Asif and Sara need to know their family are very concerned and want them to return to the UK.”

source: Telegraph

News – New ISIS video purportedly shows mass executions of Christians

A new video published Sunday by the Islamic State terror group claims to show two mass executions in Libya. In the video, reportedly shot in Libya, a group of Coptic Ethiopians is executed by a firing squad and another group by a knife to the throat.

The video shows ISIS operatives marching their victims, who don the group’s now infamous orange jump suits, along a coastline, presumably in Libya; the second group is dressed in black jump suits and was marched and executed in the desert.

According to ISIS, the first group being executed was “adherent of the Ethiopian church” – a possible reference to Coptic Christians – and the execution purportedly took place in Libya’s Fezzan region.

The second mass execution reportedly took place in the Barqa region. The group failed to name their victims, whose throats they proceeded to cut.

Watch the 29-minute, uncensored video here.

Throughout the long and graphic video, ISIS terrorists are seen taking down crosses and replacing them with Islamic State group flags. It is possible the second group consisted of Egyptian Copts, similar to a previous video in which the group murdered 21 of the faith’s adherents in Libya.

“Despite the cross, we have returned,” the ISIS narrator said with guns pointed at the first group.

According to the video, the execution is a message to Christians in the region according to which, if they fail to convert to Islam they will have to pay with their lives or face execution at the hands of ISIS. A similar fate befell the Christian community of Raqqa, Syria.

The video was marked with the official logo of the Islamic State media arm Al-Furqan, and bears a resemblance to the one broadcast by the group’s Libyan branch some two months ago, which documented the execution of a group of 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians.

ISIS has gained a significant foothold in Libya, posing a clear and imminent threat to both Egypt and Italy.

Watch video here : www.ynetnews.com

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ISIS Militants Hold SEX-SLAVE Lottery says Escaped Captive

Human Rights Watch (HRW) conducted interviews of 11 women and 9 girls who have been sexually enslaved by ISIS. They include Yazdid and other minority members. The women have given horrifying details of their accounts of slavery, sexual and physical abuse and being beaten up and tortured.

It has been widely reported that women and girls are abducted and sold in sex slave markets in Northern Iraq. This includes children as young as 8. ISIS holds captives in farm lands, hotels, prisons, military bases, and schools etc. In an interview with HRW girls said that there were we were taken to marriage halls and there were about 60 other girls waiting to be married to militants.

“From 9:30 in the morning, men would come to buy girls to rape them. I saw in front of my eyes, ISIS soldiers pulling hair, beating girls, and slamming the heads of anyone who resisted. They were like animals,” a 20-year-old escaped ISIS captive said. “Once they took the girls out, they would rape them and bring them back to exchange for new girls. The girls’ ages ranged from 8 to 30 year. Only 20 girls remained in the end.”

Rashida another escaped captive narrated her story of being in a sex slave lottery where militants drew the names of the girls he wanted to take home. She remembers trying to kill herself and drank something she assumed to be a poison. She didn’t die, but was taken by a man who won her in a lottery.

Girls as young as 8 are raped for days at a stretch, after the militants examine their bodies and tie their hands and legs. The gruesome stories of these women and children continue to come in as ISIS keeps on rampaging across the world.

Source: www.christiansinpakistan.com

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Police Beat and Torture Detained Christians in Lahore Youhanabad

Merciless beating and abuse is a tool used by the police to extract confessions. All those who are imprisoned continue to be subject to torture.

The ones who have been set free claim that, “A lot of times we were beaten to a pulp and left on the door step in a bloody mess. The purpose of this was to extract confessions out of us.”

International persecution watchdogs like the International Christian concern are holding conferences to curb persecution of Christians in Pakistan. The ICC has stated in one of the press conferences that most of the people are innocent. The Christian community condemns the lynching of the two Muslim men in retaliation for the Taliban’s bombings of the two Christian churches, the broad sweep and detention of innocent Christians is uncalled for. This shows the presence of a banana republic in Pakistan. Indeed justice should be served for the public lynchings but an incompetent police force beating confessions out of detainees is not the way it should be done.

In the press conference the extent to which the Christian community is marginalized in Pakistan was also discussed with major cases like Nouman Masih, Aasia bibi, Shahzad and Shama. But these are still the tip of the iceberg. The list of grievances inflicted upon the Christian minority is limitless.

Source: www.christiansinpakistan.com

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Italy accused of bringing in Islamist ‘terrorists’ after Christians thrown into sea

A dozen Christian asylum seekers drowned in the Mediterranean after they were thrown overboard by Muslim migrants in a furious row fueled by “religious hatred” on a smuggler boat sailing from Libya to Italy.
Italian police last night were investigating the deaths, which emerged from testimony provided by the 100 other asylum seekers on board the vessel. The boat was rescued by Italian ships and brought to Palermo in Sicily.

Francesco Malavolta/ Associated Press

Fifteen Muslim migrants, believed to be from Senegal, Ivory Coast,and Mali, were arrested, accused of having thrown the Christians from Ghana and Nigeria into the sea after the fight broke out.

They are suspected of being responsible for “multiple aggravated murders, motivated by religious hatred”, police said.
“The threats then materialised and 12 people, all Nigerian and Ghanaian, are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean,” they said.
The attackers were identified by other refugees, some of whom were in tears as they recounted the story to Italian authorities.

It appears to be the first case of deaths being caused by a clash between Muslim and Christian asylum seekers on board the boats that have so far this year brought 15,000 migrants to Italian shores from North Africa.

Conservative politicians accused the centre-Left government of Matteo Renzi of allowing “fundamentalists” into Italy and called for a blockade of the refugee boats.

Giovanni Isolino/Getty Images

“Intervention is now urgent because what has happened is extremely worrying,” said Maurizio Gasparri, a senator with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party. “The Renzi government is bringing in Islamist fundamentalists and using Italian ships as taxis for potential jihadists.”

Ignazio La Russa, another centre-Right politician, said: “The government is not only bringing to its knees the social fabric of our cities [through immigration] but is allowing onto Italian soil fundamentalist terrorists.”

A further 41 migrants were reported yesterday to have died in a separate incident in which a small boat sank in the Mediterranean.

Four survivors told Italian police and humanitarian organisations that their inflatable dinghy sank not long after leaving the coast of Libya with 45 people on board.

The capsizing, which is being investigated, came just days after 400 people were reported to have drowned in another shipwreck north of the Libyan coast.

Paolo Gentiloni, the Italian foreign minister, said the influx of migrants could only be tackled if the unrest in Libya was addressed by the international community.

The breakdown of law and order following the toppling of Muammar Gadaffi in 2011 has enabled people smuggling gangs to act with impunity, making millions of pounds from sending migrants across the Mediterranean.

In an interview on Thursday with Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily, the minister said it might be necessary to take military action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which is worsening the security situation in parts of Libya, particularly the east.

Mr Gentiloni raised the prospect of “targeted anti-terrorist strikes” against Isil, as well as action against people smuggling gangs.

Libya desperately needed a unified government and “collaboration with neighbouring countries for the acceptance of refugees,” he said.

Time was running out, he warned, amid warnings from humanitarian agencies that up to half a million migrants may try to cross the Mediterranean this year – a figure that would dwarf the 170,000 who reached Italy last year.

“We don’t have months and months. The double risk of an advance of the Islamic State group in Libya and the waves of migrants means we are in a race against the clock.”

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UK: Banbury ‘social media party’ sex abuse gang jailed

(Clockwise from top left) Ahmed Hassan-Sule, Kagiso Manase, Takudzwa Hova, Mohamed Saleh, Said Saleh, and Zsolt Szaltoni were found guilty of a string of sex offences

A gang of five men and a teenager who subjected underage girls to sexual abuse in Oxfordshire after grooming them have been jailed.
The defendants attacked seven victims, aged 13 to 15, in cars, woods or at the defendants’ homes in Banbury.
Oxford Crown Court heard they lured victims to parties organised on social media and were found guilty in March.

At the same court, each of the men were handed sentences of between three and nine years.
Ahmed Hassan-Sule, 21, of Glyndebourne Gardens, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment, with a further five years on licence; Mohamed Saleh, 22, of Orchard Way, was jailed for four years and nine months; Said Saleh, 20, of Orchard Way, was jailed for four years; Takudzwa Hova, 21, of Broughton Road, was sentenced to six years with a further four years on licence; and Kagiso Manase, 21, of Warwick Road, received five years.

‘Planned beforehand’

Zsolt Szaltoni, 18, of Portway, was sentenced to three years in a young offenders institution.
Speaking after the sentencing, one of the gang’s victims, who was 14 at the time, said she was attacked in a car after attending a party organised on Facebook.

“I got in the car because the others left and I was on my own and I didn’t know what to do, so I just went with them,” she told the BBC.
“I was in the back of the car but I was in the middle… I was just scared. I didn’t know what to do, but they’d planned it beforehand.
“They would talk their language… and I didn’t understand it.”
The girl said, after the party, the abuse continued.

‘I was brainwashed’
“It gradually started to become more people. He asked me if I would work for him and I said ‘No’ and I just laughed it off but, as I realise now, I did it without even knowing – [I did] sex work.
“I thought it was okay, because I was brainwashed. They made me think it was my decision but it wasn’t.”
The abuse was uncovered after a member of the Kingfisher team – a multi-agency operation tackling child exploitation in Oxfordshire – came to see the victim at school.

She said: “I know there’s more girls so it’s quite disappointing that they don’t have the courage to come forward.
“I just think I’m so lucky because there are lots of other girls who aren’t lucky.”
The girl said it was her ambition to work in the Kingfisher team and help others who have been in her situation.
She said: “It’s important for me to do that. It’s closure isn’t it?”

The verdicts were –
Ahmed Hassan-Sule was found guilty of 13 counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of assault by penetration

Kagiso Manase was convicted of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of sexual assault

Takudzwa Hova was found guilty of one count of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child and two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He was found not guilty of one count of rape

Mohamed Saleh was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child. He was found not guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of rape

Said Saleh was convicted of one count of sexual activity with a child but was found not guilty of another count

Zsolt Szaltoni was found guilty of one count of rape

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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UK: Man accused of running people smuggling ring at Shipley car wash

CAR WASH PEOPLE TRAFFICKER Capture

Main Picture: Shipley car wash – Insert: Ali Mahmood Ahmed leaves Bradford and Keighley Magistrate’s Court

A MAN has appeared in court charged with being part of a year-long operation to smuggle Iraqi illegal immigrants into the UK at a Shipley car wash.

Ali Mahmood Ahmed, 37, is accused of running the conspiracy at the Pit Stop Car Wash in Valley Road with “others unknown”, Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court heard.

Ahmed was arrested during an early morning raid on the car wash by Home Office officials and crime investigators on March 17 this year.

It took place after detailed information was gathered by undercover officers named in court only as Ian and Dan.

Ahmed has been charged with “conspiring to do an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person.”

The court heard brief details of the charge, brought by the Home Office.

Prosecutor Vince O’Malley outlined that between March 20, 2014 and March 17 this year at the Pit Stop Car Wash on Valley Road, Ahmed is alleged to have conspired with two undercover officers named Ian and Dan and other unknown people to commit an act, namely “clandestinely smuggle Iraqi migrants from Europe to the UK, which facilitated the commission of a breach of immigration law by unknown Iraqi nationals”.

Ahmed who was originally registered by the court as living at the car wash, but who has now moved to Wharncliffe Road, Shipley, wore a smart dark grey suit and a beige shirt when he appeared in court yesterday afternoon.

He was flanked by a Kurdish interpretor, who relayed the charges to Ahmed.

District Judge Susan Bouch was informed by prosecutors that no other people were being charged as co-conspirators.

She was also told Ahmed was likely to plead not guilty.

She told Ahmed the charge he faces was too serious to be dealt with by magistrates and remanded him on bail to appear at Bradford Crown Court on May 1.

The bail conditions are that he lives and sleeps at his address in Wharncliffe Avenue and that he reports to Trafalgar House police station in Bradford each Monday and Friday.

The hand car wash is formally known as the Norwood Garage, and the site was used for the sale of builders supplies before it became Pit Stop Car Wash in 2009.

source : Telegraph & Argus

Boy of 13 given life sentence for killing woman by stamping on her face

A 13-year-old boy, who killed a woman by stamping on her face, has been given a life sentence.

Petri Kurti knocked Glynis Bensley, 47, to the ground, before robbing her and stamping on her face with such force that his footprint was left on her cheek.

She died later from a severe bleed in the brain, after the attack outside the Seven Stars pub in Smethwick, West Midlands, in September.

Kurti was given a minimum tariff of 12 years, but will have to serve another 11 years and four months before he can be considered for parole due to time spent in custody awaiting trial.

Kurti was ordered to be detained at her majesty’s pleasure – the equivalent of a minimum-term life sentence for a youth, by Judge John Warner at Wolverhampton crown court.

A second defendant, Zoheb Majid, 20, was jailed for 10 years for her manslaughter. The pair were also both found guilty of robbing Bensley of her money, phone, jewellery and cigarettes before leaving her in the street.

The boy reportedly handed himself in to the police several days after the attack, and Majid was arrested shortly afterwards.

At the end of the trial, the judge lifted reporting restrictions that meant the schoolboy could be named. However, his picture can still not be published.

Bensley’s sister, Dawn, said the murder had taken place just yards from where she had been born. “She didn’t deserve it – nobody deserves it,” she said. “They went out to do whatever. It was a needless act. They’ve still got their lives.

“It doesn’t matter how long they serve, they still get to go and see their family. Their families still get to see their sons. But we won’t get our sister back. It’s our family who are serving the life sentence.”

She said: “We are a very close and supportive family, and always look out for each other – to try and explain how Glynis’s murder has affected us is very hard to put into words. Glynis was my only sister and best friend – I would describe her as my right arm and I thought we would grow old together.”

Warner said the schoolboy had initially been boastful about the murder, but had later cried, saying he had not meant to do it.

The victim’s brother, John, said: “We couldn’t get over it, it didn’t sink in until the next morning. This is the kind of thing that always happens to other people.”

At the time of the pair’s conviction, DCI Sam Ridding said: “It was clearly the joint intention of the pair to use violence on anyone they targeted: they were in it together as the CCTV showed – they arrived within seconds of each other.

“Ms Bensley was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time and was randomly picked out by the pair, believing that she was a man and that she was wearing a gold bracelet.”

A spokesman for West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service said on Friday: “These two defendants had targeted Ms Bensley because she was a vulnerable female who was walking home on her own at night.

“Our thoughts are today with the family and friends of Ms Bensley.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

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UN members ‘cry’ for child victims of Syria chlorine attacks

UN Security Council meets on Friday to attempt to agree on a response to the continued use of chemical weapons in Syria

Civil Defense members spray water on a rebel fighter, affected by what activists said was a gas attack, in Idlib city March 31, 2015

Civil Defense members spray water on a rebel fighter, affected by what activists said was a gas attack, in Idlib city March 31, 2015

United Nations Security Council members were moved to tears on Thursday asSyrian doctors described their desperate attempts to save dying children from recent chemical attacks, prompting renewed calls for accountability.

Dr Mohamed Tennari spent several months treating victims after a series of barrel bombs filled with chlorine were dropped across towns and villages in the country’s northern province of Idlib in March.

He showed a video of a suspected chlorine attack on March 16 in his town of Sarmin, with images of three children, aged one, two and three, dying despite attempts to resuscitate them. The medical area was so cramped that one of the children was lying on top of their grandmother, who also died.

Children receive oxygen in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 200km (125 miles) north of Damascus

“Everyone smelled bleach-like odours” hanging in the air and the sound of helicopters was everywhere, Dr Tennari later told reporters. He said most of thevictims were women and children.

Dr Tennari was helped out of Syria by the US government to brief UNSC members in a closed-door session.

Zaher Sahloul, who leads the Syrian American Medical Society and who was present at the closed door meeting on Thursday, said that most members of the 15-strong council mentioned the need for accountability for the attacks, with the exceptions of Russia, China and Venezuela.

Fighters from a coalition of Islamist forces stand on a huge portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after capturing the city of Idlib.

He said every council member was affected by the video and briefing, and “some of them cried”.

Syria chemical weapons: watchdog confirms Telegraph analysis of chlorine gas attacks on civilians

“What we’ve done today is brought individuals who can testify to what happened, brought the facts to the council in as rapid and moving a way as we could do,” US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters. “And it is now, in our view, incumbent on the council to go further than we have been able to come to this point, to get past the old divisions.”

The Security Council failed last year to refer the civil war in Syria, now in its fifth year, to the International Criminal Court for possible prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Syrian ally Russia, backed by China, vetoed the move.

On Friday Dr Tennari will meet with Russia’s UN delegation.

The US and other council members have repeatedly blamed the Syrian government for the chlorine gas attacks, saying no other party in the four-year civil war has helicopters to deliver the toxic chemicals.

One proposal is to impose a limited no fly zone over Idlib, that would stop helicopters flying in the area.

A man cleans a street from debris at a site hit by what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, in al-Mutanabbi district of Idlib

“This would be with a limited time frame of four to five weeks,” said Hamish De Bretton Gordon, former colonel and chemical weapons specialist for the British military. “It could be patrolled from a ship off the coast, and US-coalition who are already in the air in the region fighting the Islamic State.”

The no-fly zone against helicopters would also stop the regime from dropping “barrel bombs” – metal cylinders filled with explosives, that are illegal in international law and have caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths in the conflict.

Hamish De-Bretton Gordan analysing samples from Syrian bomb sites in Gaziantep

The council last month approved a resolution condemning the use of toxic chemicals in Syria and threatening action against any violations, but the UN’s most powerful body seems stuck because there is no way to formally assign blame for attacks.

It found rare agreement on Syria only in the fall of 2013 to order the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, but chlorine was not declared as a chemical weapon. The chemical does not have to be declared because it is also used for regular purposes in industry.

Mr Bretton Gordon said: “This would be a no-fly zone of limited scope. The Islamic State is not present in Idlib, so Assad cannot say it would be stopping his fight with them.”

source:The Telegraph / BBC NEWS /YouTube

English ‘too nervous’ to celebrate St George’s Day

The think tank British Future believes the English are “too nervous” to celebrate St George’s Day, after a poll found they were more likely to be able to correctly name the date of the US Independence Day and St Patrick’s Day than they are their own national saint’s day.

St-George 2 imagebot

The English are more likely to be able to correctly name the date of the US Independence Day and St Patrick’s Day than they are their own national saint’s day, a new poll has found.

The survey found only 40 per cent were able to identify St George’s Day as falling on April 23, compared with 71 who could give July 4 as the American national holiday and 42 per cent who knew that March 17 was the Irish one.

British Future, a think tank specialising in identity and integration which carried out the study, says the results suggest many English people are too “nervous” to celebrate St George’s Day.

It cites concerns among many that national symbols like the St George’s Cross flag may be interpreted as racist by others, and that celebration of the national saint’s day could upset ethnic minority groups.

It also accused politicians failing to “engage” with the concept of Englishness, to help to promote more pride in it.

No 10 flags Capture

The English flag, the cross of St George, is flown over 10 Downing Street on St George’s Day. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The poll found that people in England are twice as likely to say they are more English than British than the other way round. Forty per cent said they were more English than British, while only 17 per cent feel more British than English. Just over a third (37 per cent) felt equally English and British.

The survey also found that two-thirds of those polled in England considered the Irish saint’s day as more widely-celebrated in Britain that St George’s Day. Only seven per cent believed April 23 received more attention than March 17.

St Patricks Day In London 2015

St Patrick’s Day is marked by parades in several English cities, such as London, Liverpool and Birmingham, which attract crowds in their tens of thousands. By contrast, events marking St George’s Day have traditionally been lower key.

The research did suggest, however, that there was an appetite among the English to do more to celebrate their national identity. Three quarters (76%) wanted St George’s Day celebrated more or at least as much as St Patrick’s Day. Just under two thirds (61%) felt the flag of St George should be flown more widely across England.

“St George’s Day is the patron saint day of England yet many people do not even known its date. A poll by think tank British Future in 2012 found only 40% of people knew that St George’s Day was on 23 April, compared to 71% who knew when America’s Independence Day was.”

Four in ten (41 per cent) citied the lack of a Bank Holiday when asked why St George’s Day is not celebrated more. Less than one in three (29%) thought it was because people did not care.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said: “Why shouldn’t we be able to celebrate Englishness? We’re all happy to come together as a nation when there’s football or cricket on, so why keep the flags in the drawer for the rest of the year?

“It’s a bit baffling that people in England will happily enjoy a pint of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day but then get nervous about celebrating St George’s Day too. We need to get over it and celebrate Englishness more.

“There’s clearly an appetite for bringing Englishness out of the stadium and into our everyday lives – but politicians have been very wary of engaging with it. It’s time they joined this national conversation. People think a Bank Holiday and flying more St George’s flags would help and it’s hard to see why anyone would disagree.”

The poll was conducted by ICM among more than 1,700 people from England.

Egypt: Writer calls for protest against hijab

An Egyptian journalist has issued a controversial call for Muslim women in the country to take off their headscarves.

Cherif Choubachy says women should take part in a protest against the hijab in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in May, the al-Yawm al-Sabi newspaper reports. He wants women to remove their headscarves while “guarded” by a circle of men, including himself. In a video posted on his Facebook page,

Mr Choubachy says women face social pressure and are “looked down on” if they don’t wear the hijab, adding that he thinks many wear it “out of fear”. The headscarf is still a debated issue in Egypt, with clerics saying it’s obligatory in Islam, while intellectuals argue it’s actually a tradition rather than a rule.

egyptian journalist Capture

Cherif Choubachy

 

Cherif Choubachy writes “the veil was gone for more than fifty years in Egypt,and only reappeared in the 1970’s after the defeat against Israel in 1967″, because rhetoric at the time said the loss was due to people straying away from Islam and it’s teachings”

 

His comments have been denounced by Egypt’s former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who says anyone who supports the call doesn’t understand Egyptian society or history.

Many social media users say women should be left alone to decide for themselves. “I’m a liberal and I’m still against this idea because the hijab is a question of personal freedom,” says one man on Twitter.

Another person wonders why people are getting worked up about it: “It’s the same as other people who call for women to wear the hijab. They don’t have the tools of repression needed to impose what they want.”

And one user wishes people would pay the same amount of attention to education and healthcare issues as they do to debates surrounding women’s headscarves.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Migrants killed in ‘religious clash’ on Mediterranean boat

Rescued migrants

About 1,000 people a day are being rescued at the moment trying to reach the Italian coast#

Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy.

The Christian migrants, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead.

In a separate incident, more than 40 people drowned after another migrant boat sank between Libya and Italy.

Almost 10,000 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean have been rescued in recent days. Italy has called for more help from the EU to handle the crisis.

More than 500 people from Africa and the Middle East have died making the perilous crossing since the start of the year. Earlier this week, 400 people were believed to have drowned when their boat capsized.

A migrant is helped as he disembarks from a Coast Guard boat in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo on 15 April 2015

Many of the migrants picked up by the Italian navy in recent days have been brought ashore to Sicily

In the latest sinking, the Italian navy plucked four survivors – a Ghanaian, two Nigerians, and a man from Niger – from the sea and took them to Sicily along with 600 other migrants trying to make the crossing in various vessels.

They told the police their inflatable boat sank not long after leaving the coast of Libya with 45 people on board.

‘In tears’

Meanwhile, police in Palermo say that 15 Muslim migrants, who travelled on another boat, were arrested on charges of “multiple aggravated murder motivated by religious hate”, after several surviving migrants came forward and told them of an altercation which resulted in 12 Christians being thrown overboard.

The men who have been charged come from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea.

They were among 105 migrants travelling in an inflatable boat that left Libya on Tuesday.

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In numbers: Migration from north Africa to Europe

Graph showing migration arrivals from north Africa to Europe
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The survivors, also Christians, told police that they had only been saved because they strenuously resisted any attempt to be thrown overboard, which in some cases led to them forming a human chain.

Many of them were in tears when they gave their statement, the police added.

Earlier on Thursday Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Italy had “not had an adequate response from the EU”.

But the European Union has said it has no “silver bullet” for the problem of thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe.

Last year a record 170,000 people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East made the perilous crossing to Italy.

With improving weather conditions in recent days, the number of people making the crossing of at least 500km (310 miles) has surged. But vessels provided by people smugglers are often underpowered and overcrowded.

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Analysis: Gavin Lee, Europe reporter in Brussels

Italian Guardia Costiera takes part in a rescue operation of migrants off the coast of Sicily on 13 April 2015.

€2.8m (£2m) a month goes on Operation Triton, the border control policy that operates off the Italian coast. Monitoring the Mediterranean may not be enough, says commission spokesperson Natasha Bertaud. “We have neither the money nor the political support to launch a European border guard system,” she told reporters.

Triton has proved an inadequate replacement for the Italian military search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which cost three times as much. That 2013 mission was activated after a similar tragedy, when 300 migrants drowned.

The Italian government has requested more financial help from the EU, but the question is: how much money are the 28 member states willing to invest?

Only 22 of the members are supporting the current system. Others, including the UK, opted out, describing the policy as unintentionally encouraging more migrant attempts to make the crossing.

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map showing migration routes

Migrant tragedy

Background

My two weeks on a migrant boat 4 October 2013

Documentary: ISIS: On the Frontline

Scroll down for video:  

In the past several years, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has forcefully taken a stronghold in regions throughout the Middle East, and the prominence of their singular brand of terror continues to expand on a daily basis. Few of the world’s inhabitants have been immune to frequent news reports of the mass killings, savage beheadings and other acts of blood curdling horror perpetrated by this much feared terrorist organization.

The frightening and timely new documentary ISIS: On the Frontline, produced by Ahlulbayt TV, places us at the epicenter of this ever-evolving cancer, and follows the brave Iraqi citizens who have dared to stand united in their defiance of ISIS.

Ammar al hakimCapture

“There is no doubt that when ISIS tried to take over certain parts of Iraq, their aim was to seize the whole country regardless of the religion followed,” attests Sayed Ammar Al-Hakim, the President of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, during the course of the film. According to the testimony of Al-Hakim and others, ISIS militants have shown no favoritism to any particular religion or sect, and have indiscriminately massacred anyone who stands in opposition to their rule. In response to this threat, average Iraqi citizens have been encouraged to enlist in the military to defend their position within their homeland.

The motivations behind these defensive strategies are affirmed by an inside look into just a few of the atrocities committed by ISIS on Iraqi soil. The film’s chief witness to these atrocities is Thaher Abdel Kareem, the survivor of a haunting and vicious kidnapping at the hands of the terrorist group.

For viewers who have considered the threat of ISIS only from the outsider’s perspective driven by western media outlets, ISIS: On the Frontline offers a valuable portrait of the war being waged on the inside. The challenges faced by those who chose to combat this brutalizing threat are vast, and much blood will be shed before an end is reached. But the drive to defend against the ISIS threat speaks to the very foundations of humanity itself.

“The war is not between the Shia and the Sunni,” says interview subject and Iraqi politician Redha Jawad Taki. “This is a war between savages and civilized people.”

Watch the full documentary now

This World : ‘Kill the Christians’ BBC Documentary 2015

KILL THE CHRISTIANS Capture

WATCH VIDEO NOW:

Christianity is facing the greatest threat to its existence in the very place where it was born. Jane Corbin travels across the Middle East to some of the holiest places in Christendom and finds that hundreds of thousands of Christians are fleeing Islamic extremists, conflict and persecution. From the Nineveh plains in Iraq to the ancient city of Maaloula in Syria, Kill the Christians reveals the story of how the religion that shaped Western culture and history is in danger of disappearing in large parts of its ancient heartland.

Could Christianity be driven from Middle East?

Monastery of Mar Mattai/St Matthew

Monastery of Mar Mattai/St Matthew on Mount Alfaf, northern Iraq

Can Christianity survive, in the face of persecution and conflict, in the region of its birth? The BBC’s Jane Corbin travelled across the Middle East – through Iraq and Syria – to investigate the plight of Christians, as hundreds of thousands flee Islamic militancy in the region.

As I climbed the steep mountain path above the plain of Nineveh, Iraq, the sound of monks chanting and the smell of incense drifted out of the 4th Century monastery of St Matthew. Once, 7,000 monks worshipped here when Christianity was the official religion of the Roman empire.

Almost the whole population was Christian then. Their numbers have dwindled and now there are only six monks – and no pilgrims dare to visit. “We are on the frontline with Isis and people are afraid to come here,” Father Yusuf told me. “We are worried about everything: our people, our family, Christianity.”

Kurdish fighters guard the monastery and on the plain I heard artillery fire and saw plumes of smoke from Western airstrikes on the positions of IS, the so-called Islamic State. They swept across the plain of Nineveh last year, forcing tens of thousands of Christians to flee from Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and surrounding towns and villages.

Father Yusuf, a monk in Mar Mattai with refugee children

There is no school for the child refugees but Father Yusuf tries to keep them busy

A handful of families have taken refuge in the monastery, as Christians have done for centuries since Islamic armies first swept across the plain in the 7th Century with the Arab conquest.

Thirteen-year-old Nardine is all too aware of what IS fighters do to girls they regard as infidels. “They are very cruel, they are very harsh,” Nardine whispered fearfully. “Everyone knows, they took the Yazidi girls and sold them in the market.”

“Isis have no mercy for anyone. They select women to rape them,” said Nardine’s mother. “We were afraid for our daughters so we ran away.”

When IS declared their caliphate (Islamic state) last year with beheadings – even crucifixions – thousands of Christians fled in terror.

Nardine

All six members of Nardine’s family live together in a monk’s cell

IS want to impose their brutal version of Islam and have sworn to purify the region of infidels, targeting Christians and other minorities.

The Peshmerga (Muslim Kurdish fighters) took me to their front line with IS, a few miles from the monastery where they are holding back the advance of the Islamic militants who have killed many Muslims.

The Kurds do not agree with the extreme form of Islam that IS espouses and the Peshmerga general assured me they would protect the Christians. “We lived here for many years as brothers – there is no difference between Kurds, Muslims and Christians different religions in Kurdistan,” said General Hameed Afandi.

In Erbil in Kurdistan, thousands of displaced Christians are crammed into a half-built shopping mall. I met Leila and Imad Aziz preparing food for a Christian festival with their two little girls. They fled from Mosul last summer when IS occupied the city, giving Christians the choice of converting to Islam, leaving the city or paying the jizya – the heavy tax imposed on Christian subjects by Muslim rulers centuries ago.

IS want to impose their brutal version of Islam and have sworn to purify the region of infidels, targeting Christians and other minorities.

The Peshmerga (Muslim Kurdish fighters) took me to their front line with IS, a few miles from the monastery where they are holding back the advance of the Islamic militants who have killed many Muslims.

The Kurds do not agree with the extreme form of Islam that IS espouses and the Peshmerga general assured me they would protect the Christians. “We lived here for many years as brothers – there is no difference between Kurds, Muslims and Christians different religions in Kurdistan,” said General Hameed Afandi.

In Erbil in Kurdistan, thousands of displaced Christians are crammed into a half-built shopping mall. I met Leila and Imad Aziz preparing food for a Christian festival with their two little girls. They fled from Mosul last summer when IS occupied the city, giving Christians the choice of converting to Islam, leaving the city or paying the jizya – the heavy tax imposed on Christian subjects by Muslim rulers centuries ago.

“We can’t go back to Mosul for fear of being killed, kidnapped or robbed,” Imad told me. “I believe that in four to five years, very few Christians will remain. They will be pointing fingers at them saying: ‘He’s a Christian.'”

Leila crossed herself as she remembers how they were forced to pass through IS roadblocks where everything was taken from them – money, jewellery, even clothes. “We can’t ever return to Mosul as we have nothing left there,” she says.

Once the family had their own successful business and a nice home. Now all they have is a few battered photos to remember their former life.

Map of Middle East showing number of Christians in population

In St Ilyas church, Erbil, I met Father Douglas Bazi – a Catholic priest who is caring for 135 families in tents in the gardens of the church.

“We are Christian, so we are used to having our luggage always prepared,” said Father Douglas. “We always have to run away – escape from place to place.”

This wave of persecution began not with IS but when Britain and America invaded Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein. Under his rule, Christians were free to worship and played a full role in this society.

“Saddam’s era was the golden age for Christians,” said Father Douglas, although he adds that he did not personally agree with Saddam’s rule.

As the Western coalition failed to provide security for Iraq, it descended into chaos and Christians became victims of the ugly sectarian power struggle unleashed between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Father Douglas Bazi, a Catholic priest at St Ilyas Church in Erbil

Father Douglas was held hostage for nine days, beaten and tortured until the Church paid a ransom

“They looked at the West as infidels and as Christians we were seen in the same way,” Father Douglas explained. The priest’s church in Baghdad was bombed and he was taken hostage by a militia and held until the Church paid a ransom.

Father Douglas shows me the blood-stained shirt he was captured in and described how his captors broke his back with a hammer, then his teeth – one by one.

“If you look at history, we are the same group who lose every time,” he continued. “They push us to lose our faith, our people, our role, our positions, our job, now we have lost our homes – so what next?”

A million people, two-thirds of Iraq’s Christians, fled in the decade following the fall of Saddam.

The same story is being repeated across the Middle East, where the Arab Spring unleashed forces that turned against Christians and the authoritarian leaders who once protected them.

In Syria, much of the ancient town of Maaloula still lies in ruins after months of fierce fighting in 2013 between Islamic militants allied to al-Qaeda and the regime forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Three thousand Christians fled when the militants occupied this ancient place of pilgrimage, one of only three places in the world where they still speak Aramaic – the language of Jesus Christ.

Government forces initially withdrew from Maaloula leaving the Christians, some claim, to their fate. But eventually the regime retook the town and a few Christians are beginning to trickle back.

Antoinette Nasrullah in Maaloula, standing in front of wrecked buildings (including her own)

Antoinette Nasrullah was one of 3,000 Christians who fled Maaloula when it came under attack

Antoinette Nasrullah took me to what is left of her home and business, a cafe once popular with tourists. Now it is just a roofless wreck.

“It was my dream,” Antoinette says, breaking down in tears. “We never believed the Muslims would do this to us… but we have to be strong and thank God we are alive.”

Muslim families from Maaloula fled the fighting too but have not been allowed to return to their homes. The Christians accuse them of helping the militants.

The 6th Century monastery of St Sergius was occupied by rebels and Antoinette showed me smashed treasures and bullets through the faces of the icons.

“They stole icons very rich in history,” Antoinette explained. “We are very sad about the icons. It affects us very much.”

More than 200,000 people have died in Syria’s four years of civil war. They are overwhelmingly Muslim, many killed by the regime. President Assad himself visited the monastery when his troops retook the town. He needs the Christians to support him.

Maaloula was seen by many Christians in Syria as a turning point. They have had to make hard choices and many have now put their faith in the regime as the only option if their religion is to survive.

“The government are the only ones who can help the Christians stay in Syria,” says Antoinette. “Maaloula is in my heart, I cannot leave it because if there are no Christians in Maaloula, I think there will be no Christians in Syria.”

Church leaders in the West have called for concrete steps to be taken to protect Christians in the Middle East.

It is hard to know what those steps would be beyond the airstrikes, military training and special forces operations already in place.

There is no appetite for more Western boots on the ground.

In Erbil, Father Douglas believes it may already be too late for Christianity to survive here.

The West, instead of urging Christians to stay in Iraq, should help them leave. “Open the gates, give my people visas,” said the priest. “We have to provide them with dignity and the right life – not prepare them to be sheep, again to be killed.”

Morrisons put halal-only pick and mix on sale in Britain!

  • Supermarket giant becomes first to introduce halal-only sweet counters
  • Move being trialled in 10 stores around the UK based on local community
  • Counters will sell 36 types of gelatine-free and alcohol-free sweets
  • Muslim figures praise the move and say demand will be high 
The supermarket says it has brought in the idea in response to demand from customers in certain areas

The supermarket says it has brought in the idea in response to demand from customers in certain areas

Morrisons supermarket is bringing in halal-only pick and mix counters so that Muslim customers don’t have to check the ingredients of their sweets.

A selection of 36 sweets – including liquorice sticks, cola bottles, jelly beans and gummy bears – are on sale, all guaranteed to be free of animal products or alcohol-based ingredients.

The 10 stores trialling the scheme include Blackburn, Bolton, Preston, Bradford, West Bromwich, Birmingham, Leamington Spa and three in London.

MORRISONS HALAL SWEETS Capture

Morrisons supermarket has brought in halal-only pick and mix counters to cater for Muslim customers. Two-year-old Faizaan Ali (right) was among the first to sample the sweets in the chain’s Blackburn store.

The company, which has over 500 stores around the UK, has chosen the locations according to the make-up of their local communities.

John Brooksbank, store general manager of Morrisons in Blackburn, said: ‘Many customers have asked us about Halal sweets, so we have designed and introduced a new range.

‘We are the first big supermarket in the UK to do this. It’s a large range so we hope that it will provide a sweet treat for every taste.

‘We would consider introducing the halal sweets range at other stores, should there be a demand.

‘Yummys, the brand available, is a recognised Halal confectionery brand, which we are also selling in single bags in our world food aisle.’

The supermarket has been praised by Muslim figures after announcing the move.

Husnaa Ali, nine, tucks in to the treats at one of 10 stores around Britain chosen to trial the new scheme

Husnaa Ali, nine, tucks in to the treats at one of 10 stores around Britain chosen to trial the new scheme

Salim Mulla, chairman of the halal sub-committee at the Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: ‘I think there are quite a few manufacturers who sell halal sweets but this is the first major supermarket to sell halal confectionery. I really welcome that.WHAT IS HALAL FOOD Capture

‘It is definitely something the Council of Mosques would support. Sweets are very popular with the Muslim community. I think the pick and mix will do really well.’

Until now, Muslims have had to look at the ingredients to see if the sweets are suitable to eat as some contain animal products which are not halal.

Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, added: ‘More and more supermarkets are introducing halal products to meet the needs of the customers, but this is the first halal pick and mix I have heard of.

‘There will be financial reasons behind it. Businesses will not just sell products for social needs.

‘Chains such as KFC have started offering Halal products to attract a new, younger audience and a larger demographic.’

Tolu Oshinowo, Deputy Store Manager, at Morrisons, Blackburn enjoys some of the 36 sweets on offer

Tolu Oshinowo, Deputy Store Manager, at Morrisons, Blackburn enjoys some of the 36 sweets on offer

SOURCE : MAIL ONLINE

Former model who fled Australia to join Islamic State shot dead

Model-turned-jihadist Sharky Jama has reportedly been killed in Syria while fighting with terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS).

The Melbourne man’s father, Dada Jama, confirmed his death to SBS Radio while tributes to the young man flooded social media.

Somali broadcaster Ibrahim Mohamed said he had spoken with the family on Wednesday who told him Sharky had died after being shot.

Read more here : www.dailymail.co.uk

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At least 2,000 women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram: Amnesty

Chibok school girls who escaped from the Boko Haram Islamists gathering to receive informations from officials, on May 5, 2014

Chibok school girls who escaped from the Boko Haram Islamists gathering to receive informations from officials, on May 5, 2014

Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of last year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, a year on from the mass abduction of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls.

The kidnapping of the teenagers from Chibok, in the northeastern state of Borno, on April 14 last year brought unprecedented world attention to the brutality of the insurgency.

But the human rights group said it had documented 38 cases of abduction by the Islamists, based on testimony of dozens of eyewitnesses as well as women and girls who eventually escaped.

“It is difficult to estimate how many people have been abducted by Boko Haram,” Amnesty said in the report, “‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill': Boko Haram’s reign of terror”.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

“The number of women and girls is likely to be higher than 2,000.”

On the Chibok girls, Amnesty quoted a senior military source as saying they had been split into three or four groups and held at different Boko Haram camps.

Some were in its Sambisa Forest stronghold in Borno state, others around Lake Chad, in the Gorsi mountains in Cameroon while about 70 girls were thought to be in Chad.

Nigeria’s military has previously said it knows where the girls are but ruled out a rescue operation as too dangerous.

The 219 teenagers have not been seen since Boko Haram released a video message in May last year, showing about 100 of the girls in Muslim dress and reciting verses of the Koran.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said all of the teenagers had converted to Islam and been “married off”.

Amnesty reports provides fresh testimony to Boko Haram’s use of mass kidnapping, cataloguing the frequent abduction of young women and girls, as well as the forced conscription of men and boys.

Women and girls interviewed recounted being held in atrocious conditions, including in overcrowded prisons, being forced to cook and clean for as well as marry Islamist fighters.

One human rights activist who interviewed more than 80 abducted women and girls after their escape said in 23 cases, they had been raped either before arrival at camps or after forced marriage.

One 19-year-old woman who was abducted in September 2014 said: “I was raped several times when I was in the camp. Sometimes five of them. Sometimes three, sometimes six.

“It went on for all the time I was there. It always happened in the night… Some were even my classmates from my village. Those who knew me were even more brutal to me.”

One woman said Boko Haram fighters came to her house in the border town of Gamboru to rape her lodger, a woman in her late 20s, and that fear of HIV was widespread.

Elsewhere others spoke of being forced to train to shoot guns and make bombs, while one said she was sent on operations, including to her own village.

Amnesty, which wants Boko Haram investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity, estimates that more than 4,000 people were killed in 2014.

At least 1,500 civilians lost their lives in the first three months of this year, it added.

Screengrab taken on May 12, 2014, from a video of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram shows girls wearing the full-length hijab and praying in an un...

Screengrab taken on May 12, 2014, from a video of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram shows girls wearing the full-length hijab and praying