Nigerian Shiite Muslims’ Muharram ceremonies under army crackdown

Shiite Muslims in Nigeria's northern Kaduna State have demanded that authorities stop ongoing crackdown on worshippers participating in mourning ceremonies during the Month of Muharram.

In a statement, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) spokesman Ibrahim Musa has warned Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to stop suppressing the religious rights of its members and called on the international community to restrain him. 

According to the IMN the latest episode of denial of their right to worship by El-Rufai occurred on Friday, a day marking the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. 

During the period, said the statement, Shiite Muslims worldwide remember the brutal killing of Imam Hussein AS, grandson of Prophet Muhammad PBUH by Yazid forces on the plains of Karbala. INM spokesman added that mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussein AS is a religious duty. 

On Saturday also, governor El-Rufai ordered armed security agents to disperse Shiite Muslims participating at Muharram mourning ceremonies. According to Musa, the situation was tense adding that, "it was through Allah's grace that loss of lives was averted in Kaduna and Zaria."

A similar thing happened last year in the same Kaduna when the governor used a combination of these security forces and hired thugs to brutally attack mourners resulting in the death of scores of Shiite Muslims. Security forces also torched a religious center and school as well as the unjustified detention of many others to date. 

"This mindless killing spree should not be allowed to repeat itself this year," IMN warned. 

Tensions between the Nigerian government and Shiite Muslims broke out in December 2015 in the city of Zaria in Kaduna state when the army killed over 1,000 innocent Muslims. During the incident The Islamic Movement in Nigeria leader Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were shot and badly wounded and thereafter detained by Nigerian security agencies. They are still being held incommunicado by security forces with their health rapidly deteriorating. 

The massacre and continued persecution of INM members continues amid a deafening silence by the UN which has ignored the crimes committed by the Nigerian regime against Muslims in the West African state.

 

 

Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sistani urges defending country's territorial integrity

 Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has voiced opposition to the secession of the northern Kurdistan region from the mainland, warning of the negative repercussions of such “unilateral steps.”

Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s representative Ahmed al-Safi said in a Friday sermon on his behalf in the holy city of Karbala that the senior cleric wants the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) “to return to the constitutional path” pursuing self-determination for the Kurds.

The senior leader also warned against the unfavorable repercussions of separation and division in the Iraqi nation, stressing that this would pave the way for foreign interference in the affairs of the country.

The Kurdish vote “is an attempt to divide Iraq and take its northern part by setting up an independent state,” said his message, adding that all parties should respect the Iraqi constitution.

The “unilateral steps” toward dividing Iraq will lead to internal and external reactions that will have consequences on our “dear Kurdish citizens and could have more dangerous repercussions,” said Grand Ayatollah Sistani.

The cleric also called on the Iraqi government and parliament to preserve the rights of Kurds.

In defiance of Baghdad’s stiff opposition, the KRG held a non-binding referendum on secession from the mainland. Kurdish officials said over 90 percent of the voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.

With the exception of Israel, all major regional and international parties have voiced serious concerns over the secessionist move, saying it would compound the problems of the country, which is already busy with counter-terrorism operations against ISIS.

Iraqi Kurdish officials have been harshly criticized for turning a deaf ear to Baghdad’s objections and going ahead with the unconstitutional plebiscite before any negotiations and consultations with the central Iraqi government.

Tensions have been running high between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdish leadership over the vote, which has prompted Baghdad and regional states to take a number of punitive measures against the semi-autonomous region.

From 6:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Friday, international flights to and from Iraq’s Kurdistan region were set to stop after Baghdad imposed a ban in retaliation for the region’s unconstitutional plebiscite.

Almost all foreign airlines halted flights to the airports of Erbil, the local capital of the Kurdistan region, and Sulaimaniya, in compliance with a notice the Baghdad government.

 

 

General  Soleimani: We’ll celebrate fall of Daesh in 2 months

A senior general with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the Takfiri Daesh terror group will be uprooted in two months.

The countries fighting Daesh will in two months celebrate its collapse, said Major General Qassem Soleimani, who commands the IRGC’s Quds Force, the IRIB reported on Thursday.

“Iran, Russia, Syria, and Iraq should hold this celebration,” said the general at a ceremony held in memory of an Iranian military adviser martyred in Syria.

The commander further slammed the US for its inaction in the face of Daesh terror activities and said Washington “has made no move to eradicate” the terror outfit

In recent months, the Iraqi and Syrian armies have been dealing heavy blows to Daesh, ridding the terror group of its main strongholds in the neighboring Arab countries.

At Baghdad and Damascus’ respective requests, Iran has been providing military advisory support to the countries’ militaries in their counter-terrorism operations.

Russia has also been providing the Damascus government with military assistance in the face of terrorists.

Soleimani further said there are three reasons why Iran is standing by Syria in the fight against terrorism.

First, he said, the Takfiri outfit – which brands those not subscribing to their radicalism as “apostates” -- “consider killing us to be an imperative.”

Secondly, the general said, the terrorists seek to use Iraq and Syria as a bridge leading to Iran, noting, “We could not sit around to see Iraq and Syria fall, and then they reach us.”

And thirdly, the Islamic Republic has to defend itself against the enemy’s goal of obliterating its independence and existence, he added.

On June 7, Daesh gunmen mounted almost simultaneous assaults on Iran’s Parliament and the Mausoleum of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini. The twin attacks killed 17 people and injured over 15 more,

In response, the IRGC fired six ballistic missiles into Daesh bases in the eastern Syrian province of Dayr al-Zawr later in June, leaving at least 65 terrorists dead.

In August, General Qassem Soleimani said Iranian forces would not rest until they have taken out every last terrorist from the face of the Muslim world after Daesh reportedly beheaded an Iranian military adviser in Syria.

 

 

US-made bomb kills and maims Yemeni children in deadly strike

A bomb that destroyed a residential building in Yemen’s capital last month, killing 16 civilians and injuring 17 more – including a five-year-old girl called Buthaina whose photograph went viral after the strike – was made in the US, Amnesty International has said.

The assessment was based on an examination of the remnants of the weapon used in the 25 August airstrike. 

The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition admitted carrying out the attack, blaming civilian casualties on a “technical error”. 

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said: “We can now conclusively say that the bomb that killed Buthaina’s parents and siblings, and other civilians, was made in the USA. 

Yemen has been since March 2015 under a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition. Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured or martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians. 

The coalition has been also imposing a blockade on the impoverished country’s ports and airports as a part of his aggression which is aimed at restoring power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

 

 

Analysis: End of war in Syria not in Washington's interest

 

It is not a secret that the American government has been supporting terrorist groups during the entire Syrian conflict. One of these days, another fact proving this statement was recorded.

On September 20, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militants with their allies launched an offensive on the Syrian Arab Army positions, north-east of Hama city, The National reported.

Most likely, the attack of the militants was orchestrated by the U.S. intelligence agencies, which had provided them with the information on the locations and the military strength in the region.

It is also reported that the militants' main object was the units of the Russian military police, which had been deployed to control ceasefire regime in the fourth de-escalation zone. It should be reminded that the parameters and borders of this zone were established on September 15, during the sixth round of Syrian talks in Astana.

It's worth noting that the attack was unsuccessful, as the Syrian army units backed by Mauli tribes managed to react in due time and began a counter offensive. As a result, the terrorists suffered heavy losses and had to retreat.

Apparently, the United States does not want the Syrian army to completely liberate Deir Ezzor, and makes every effort to prevent it from achieving its goal. There are two possible reasons for that.

First, after the liberation of Deir Ezzor, which is located not far from the Iraqi border, the Syrian troops will be able to unite with the Iraqi forces and establish control on the border. At the same time, Washington cannot permit full-fledged cooperation between the armies of Syria and Iraq, otherwise the remaining ISIS units in this region will be destroyed much faster than the U.S. plans.

Second, Deir Ezzor is a strategic region rich in gas and oil, and Washington has its own interests in it.

For the past several days, the United States has been involved in the attacks on the Syrian army positions. According to Fars News, the Syrian troops were twice shelled by mortars and artillery units from the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. There the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the U.S. Special Forces are deployed.

There are reports that the international coalition and SDF have temporarily suspended the liberation of Raqqa and regrouped its troops to the northern part of Deir Ezzor province.

So, the world community has once again ensured that the White House doesn't want peace and stability in Syria. In addition, Washington tries to change the tide of the game, which often is not in their favor.

 

[Written by Firas Samuri]

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