Tag Archives: Islam

Egypt undertakes counter-terrorist raid

Egypt authorities accuse Hasm group ( Arabicحسم‎), which emerged in 2016, deriving from the of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The oldest Islamist movement of Egypt denies the allegations and insists it seeks change through peaceful means only.

The Interior ministry said in a statement announced by state TV channels that its national security forces had information that leaders of the armed Hasm group were planning “to carry out a series of attacks during the coming period to trigger chaos in the country“.

The statement did not indicate whether the suspected fighters were connected to Sunday’s #Giza attack, but informed the Egyptian forces killed them during raids. There were no further details on the operation, but a clarification on weapons and explosives found at the site.

An explosion targeting a bus with tourists, sightseeing in Giza has injured at least 14 people near the Grand Egyptian Museum, next to the pyramids.

Al-Shabaab expands into Kenya

Somali radical Islam insurgents are making their own explosives, according to a confidential U.N. report explaining their frequent and deadly attacks.

The Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabab extends attacks beyond borders, by recruiting new members outside Somali clans, luring them with promises of money and gifts.

In the beginning of this year an assault on an office and hotel complex in Nairobi (Kenya), was the first to be led by non-ethnic Somalis since al-Shabab began major cross-border operations in 2010.

Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed Farouk (26) leading Nairobi attacks was a Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose mainly Christian ethnic group Meru has no ties to Somalia.

Farouk is by no means exception among a growing number of Kenyans with no ethnic links to Somalia recruited by the militants in recent years, according to relatives, security officials and analysts.

Widespread poverty and unemployment create a nourishing ground for al-Shabaab recruiters offering cash or even just promises of work, researchers who interviewed defectors from the group report. The relatives of the young men said, even small gifts would work for engaging them.

“In the past, the security forces concentrated their efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,” said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group think-tank, he added that, “now it’s much harder because al-Shabab has shown its adaptability by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”

As well al-Shabab has expanded its operations from Somalia into East Africa, where it has hit high-profile targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.

French soldiers slain in Burkina Faso hostage operation

Four hostages have been rescued by the military in Burkina Faso, the Ministry of foreign affairs of France informed in a communique.

Two French, one American woman and one South Korean woman.

It is with profound sadness that the government informed about the death of two French soldiers were slain during the operation. Four kidnappers were also neutralized.

The French hostages had been kidnapped in neighboring Benin on 1 May.

The two soldiers who were killed during the rescue were named as Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, described by officials as belonging to a special operations unit.

The French military posted photos of the soldiers on social media.

Burkina Faso has suffered more than 230 attacks in just over three years. In April more than 60 people died in ethnic clashes fueled by Islamic radicals attempting to gain control over Sahel.

Egypt Coptic Christian attack as “reminder” of security challenges

Today’s attack on a bus of Coptic Christian pilgrims in Minya, Egypt has again exacted a toll of civilian deaths and injuries. It is a stark reminder of the security challenges that Egypt is facing” – the European External Action Service spokesperson said.

Our thoughts  are with the victims and their families. The European Union expresses its condolences to the bereaved, and stands side by side with Egypt in its efforts to defeat terrorism in the country” – she added.

Islamic radicals ambushed a bus carrying Christian pilgrims on their way to a remote desert monastery south of Cairo, killing at least seven and wounding 12, the Egypt Interior Ministry said.

Coptic Orthodox Church spokesman Bouls Halim said the death toll is likely to rise. Local church officials in Minya province where the attack took place informed about dead and seriously wounded, some injuries were not compatible with life.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, however it bore the hallmarks of Islamic State (ISIS) militants who have been fighting security forces in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt‘s porous desert border with Libya.

Minya province attack is the second to target pilgrims heading to the St. Samuel the Confessor monastery after  previous raid in May 2017 left nearly 30 people dead.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said the attackers used secondary dirt roads to reach the bus carrying the pilgrims, who were near the monastery at the time of the attack. The attack last year was the latest in a deadly series that targeted churches in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and Tanta in the Nile Delta. Those attacks, all claimed by the Islamic State (Caliphate) militants, left at least a hundred dead and led to tighter security around Christian places of worship.

Egypt’s Christians, who account for some 10% of the country’s 100 million people, complain of discrimination in the Muslim majority country. The Coptic Church allied itself with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi when he, as defense minister, led the 2013 military overthrow of an Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.

 

Boko Haram attacks at Lake Chad

Attack attributed to Boko Haram jihadists in the Lake Chad region left behind 18 people dead, a Chadian military source said on Sunday.

“Boko Haram elements attacked a village south of Daboua,” not far from Chad’s border with Niger, at around 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) on July 19,  the military source said. The assailants “cut the throats of 18 people, wounded two others and kidnapped 10 women”.

Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency has devastated the region since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria, leaving more than  20,000 people dead, forced to displace more than two million others and triggered a humanitarian crisis.

Chad, Cameroon and Niger have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram. Chad has seen a recent increase in activity by the group.

Sophie Petronin abductors in Mali unclear about intentions

Sebastian Petronin (38)  discovered a video of his mother, in a headscarf and looking frail and tearful, the latest proof the 75-year-old Sophie Petronin is alive nearly two years after she was kidnapped by jihadists and held in the desert of Mali. The Islamist group releases a video showing the hostages Gloria Cecilia Narvaez and Sophie Petronin. The hostages address respectively Pope Francis and the French government asking to be rescued.

Fearing for her deteriorating health, Petronin hopes her abductors will allow him to visit her just once, even if there is scant chance he will be able to take her back. Now from Niamey, Niger he tries to obtain information to move as close as possible to his mother., reportedly kept in remote places in desert. In the video, Sophie Petronin tells that his captors are accepting a meeting with her son.

“We are really concerned”, – Petronin said. “She is a fighter but I feel like she has suffered blows to her morale that affected her, and I think she is very tired”, he added sharing his thoughts. He prefers to ensure his complete security with his contacts before eventually going on the spot, if possible.

“Nobody knows what these people want in exchange for the release of my mother, so of course, I go in order to release her but I already know that I will not leave with her”, Pétronin admits.

Sebastian Petronin

Sophie Pétronin is a humanitarian worker of a double French/Swiss nationality. She is the founder of the NGO “Aid Association in Gao”, which is focused on child welfare in northern Mali. At present she is the only abducted French national in captivity. 

On December 24, 2016, Sophie Petronin was abducted in Gao. An investigation has been opened by the prosecutors in Paris and entrusted to the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI5).

It July 2017 first pieces of information broke out, when a jihadist group in Sahel broadcasted a video with Petronin and five other people kidnapped between 2011 and 2017 in Mali and also Burkina Faso. Their detention is claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked group.

 

 

Sudan: Justice for Noura campaign goes worldwide

Human rights activists worldwide are fighting to defend life of Sudanese young woman Noura Hussein (19), who was forcefully married, and raped by the man assisted by his relatives during the act #JusticeforNoura. The self-imposed “husband” was killed in a second rape attempt in an act of self-defence, Noura’s supporters claim. The incident characterises the dramatic situation of women in Sudan, where the society deprives them of any rights, degrading to a level of commodity. In case of Noura, even a few rudimentary rights given by Sharia law prohibiting forceful marriages were not respected.    

At present jailed Noura is waiting for the second court sitting in an appeal procedure, after losing the first session. A death sentence verdict was received by the cheerful relatives of the defunct ‘husband‘. However the decision of the judge can be overtured in case the defence will be able to proof the marriage procedure was conducted in breach of Sharia law granting women a right to refuse. In case this marriage procedure without a consent is recognised as illegal, and annulated, the killed rapist would be stripped off his legal status of a ‘husband‘, creating a different perception of the cause of events.

In Sudan the engagement is usually arranged between families for their children, and bride price is a common practice,  but Islamic requirement for a legal marriage include an obligation for both parties bride, her guardian (wali), and groom to be consensual. A marriage without consent, under coercion is illegal according to the most reputable Muslim scholars.

As a teenager Noura was forced into a marriage by her father, but she refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar 250 km away. After three years in exile Noura was informed that the marriage plans were cancelled, and she decided to return to her father’s home.

At arrival to Khartoum Noura was forced  into the wedding ceremony, arranged by her family, who highly likely received a handsome payment from the groom, according to the tradition of bride price in Sudan, where 10-year girls are sold as commodities.

Noura was married in a Muslim ceremony in spite of her protests, distraught, she refused to consummate the marriage for a number of days, but Noura’s self-imposed husband find a way out of the argument by raping her, with the complicity of his relatives who in a gang pinned her down during the act.

A Sharia court  found Noura guilty of premeditated murder and  sentenced her to death by hanging, however her lawyers have 15 days to appeal.

In Sudan the Personal Status of Muslims Act of 1991 allows children – boys or girls – as young as 10 to marry, 38% of young women were married before the age of 18.

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