Muslim radio station shut down after broadcasting 25 hours of lectures by al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki

A community radio station has had its licence revoked after broadcasting 25 hours of lectures by an al-Qaeda recruiter.

Sheffield-based Iman FM claimed its staff were “not aware of the background” of American hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

The station broadcast a series of his lectures entitled “The Life of Mohammed” throughout the holy month of Ramadan in June, sparking complaints to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

The watchdog said the content, including calls for “virtuous jihad” and anti-Semitic statements, was in “serious breach” of the broadcasting code amounting to hate speech, justifying terrorism, inciting violence and encouraging crime.

Ofcom suspended Iman FM’s licence on 4 July and took representations from the owners of the station, which has been broadcasting since October 2014.

“Ofcom has decided that it is necessary in the public interest to revoke the licensee’s Broadcasting Act licence, and that the licensee is unfit to hold a broadcast licence,” a spokesperson said.

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Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a US drone strike because of his alleged connections to al-Qaeda in Yemen (AP)

“The service has been off-air since 4 July and will not be reinstated.”

Its investigation found al-Awlaki’s lectures included “a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people” and “statements clearly condoning and encouraging acts of crime, terrorism or violent behaviour”.

Ofcom cited passages including one alluding to supposed “Jewish prejudice and arrogance towards the Arabs” and “elites”, as well as the preacher calling for “fighting of disbelievers” or financing jihadis and their families.

​Iman FM also broadcast parts of al-Awlaki’s tirades that took aim at the mainstream media and Western society, which Ofcom said “aimed to undermine social cohesion”.

“While we acknowledge that as a community radio station, Iman FM has a relatively small footprint, broadcasting to the Muslim community in Sheffield, this does not lessen the seriousness of this breach or the potential harm or offence contained within these lectures,” the watchdog found.

Iman FM made a formal submission claiming that its management and volunteers were “not aware of the background of the preacher and had no knowledge of him being proscribed by the United Nations” and that if known, they would not have broadcast the recordings.

But Ofcom said the “show more” tab on the YouTube page they were taken from detailed al-Awlaki’s identity, arrest and subsequent death.

Iman FM submitted that the lectures were broadcast due to “recklessness, but not deliberate intent”, adding that they were taken off air and sparked a review of its content policy, an on-air apology and review show condemning al-Awlaki.

The radio station’s website remains online, including a mission statement describing its purpose “to equip the generation towards a cohesive society”.

Haras Rafiq, CEO of the Quilliam counter-extremism group, has accused Ofcom of failing to properly regulate Islamic radio stations and television channels.

Speaking to The Independent before the ruling on Iman FM, he said the outlets are used by charities to raise millions of pounds during Ramadan.

A recent investigation by the Home Office found people in the UK were giving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year to Islamist extremists – sometimes unwittingly – in donations.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said: “Some Islamic organisations of extremist concern portray themselves as charities to increase their credibility and to take advantage of Islam’s emphasis on charity.

“Some are purposefully vague about their activities and their charitable status.”

The full “classified” report was withheld, with no individuals, organisations or foreign countries identified in a short summary revealed by the Home Office.

The decision, citing personal information and national security reasons, sparked outrage from critics who said the public had a “right to know” who was funding extremism and how to avoid funding them.

Source: Independent

Refugee students prepare for college at Camp Discover

Even in the middle of the night, Eritrean soldiers shot at Simret Gebrezgi and her family as they crossed the border into Ethiopia. She was 12.

They had escaped a border war but spent four and a half years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before being accepted into the United States and settling in Idaho. Unable to find a church they liked, they moved to Texas to be closer to Simret’s older, married sister.

San Antonio didn’t feel as safe as the smaller town in Idaho.

“Here is scary,” said Simret, now 18. “Mom didn’t like us to go out.”

But Simret is thinking about college and independence. She met twice a week for three weeks with 10 other refugee children for Camp Discover, where volunteers at the Center for Refugee Services educated them on applications, financial aid, scholarships and resources.

A senior at Lee High School, she wants to become a nurse, plans to attend San Antonio College and transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio, and is working to get her driver’s license so she can get to school no matter where she goes.

“I see it’s a good thing and it’s what I want to be, and to learn,” Simret said.

High school counselors Seth and Angela Sampson, aware of the struggles refugee students face, organized the project and donated their time, taking the kids to area colleges and universities and arranging a talk with a representative from Texas Tech University. The Center for Refugee Services gave the Sampsons a list of more than 100 school-aged refugees from the families who have come through the center.

“They want to do well,” Angela Sampson said. “We see the kids come in and there’s a little bit of an imbalance in the attention paid to them. Our goal was to create a tailored event for them to help them with college and career readiness. Language isolates kids who don’t know how to ask or what to ask. We are making it a comfortable environment.”

Seth Sampson said the refugee students face difficulties with the language, the culture and knowing how to prepare for American higher education.

“They have to jump through so many hoops to get credit for anything,” he said. “They are really grateful to come to the U.S. but once they get here, they are thrown in the water.”

All the participants attend high schools in the Northside and North East independent school districts. The sessions covered test scores, grades, writing skills, extra-curricular involvement, jobs and volunteer work.

When tour guides at college campuses asked about their extra-curricular activities, the students were silent. Soccer, one boy offered. Later, other boys also said they played soccer, but most participants said they didn’t have time or had tried clubs and found them boring.

Leticia Verra Kombou Kepka, 16, a sophomore at Brandeis High School, came from Cameroon last year with her father and her two siblings. They reunited with her mother, who had run afoul of the Cameroon government and had arrived here three years earlier, seeking asylum.

“It was so hard that first year, especially in the beginning,” Leticia said. “I didn’t know any English or anybody. I have some friends who know English more than me. I have some apps on my phone and (I learn) at school.”

Most Camp Discover participants had to learn English as a second language. Leticia wanted to go back to Cameroon at first, unable to understand anything, said her mom, Flora, who declined to give her last name because of her tangle with her home country’s rulers. But after a year, Leticia was speaking English fluently with campus tour guides, the chaperones and the other camp participants.

She wants to be a doctor, and though glad to be back with her mom, she has her sights set on a school that would put a little distance between them, Texas State University in San Marcos.

“It’s pretty, and big, and far away from San Antonio,” Leticia said. “It’s far away from my home. I can live by myself and I can do whatever I want. I’m here with (my family). When I want to do something, they say ‘You’re not 18 yet.’”

She enjoyed the camp.

“I wanted her to do it and she wanted to do it,” Leticia’s mom said. “I don’t know nothing about American college. I want her to have a good education.”

Fredy Muhumure, 17, took an interest in the robotics demonstration put on by two students during their tour of San Antonio College. The Holmes High School senior wants to be a computer engineer and, like Simret, plans to start at San Antonio College and transfer to UTSA.

“When the stuff is broken at my house, I can fix it,” Fredy said. “I think I’m good at it. (My family), they encourage me to go to college. They say, ‘Don’t work or anything, just go to college.’ You go to a good school then you have a good life in the future.”

He had helped his older sister apply for college so he wasn’t fazed by the walk-through of ApplyTexas’ website, the statewide college application program. Cost will be an issue for him, Fredy said. That’s one reason Camp Discover included a stop at CafeCollege, a non-profit center created to increase the number of college graduates in San Antonio by helping applicants with essay writing, financial aid information and scholarship searches.

Some students face problems outside of grades and involvement, things they didn’t leave behind when they came to the United States.

Narjis Dalfi, 16, and four of her six siblings have a genetic disease that limits the number of teeth that come in. Narjis has only two visible front teeth and is getting teeth implants soon, a process that will last at least six months and will cost about $8,000. People tell her that she is difficult to understand in both English and her native Arabic. Her sister Nawres, 14, said other kids at Lee laugh at Narjis for it.

“I hear it all the time and sometimes, I just go home, and I just – oh, I just cry,” Narjis said.

She said people also make fun of her hijab, or head scarf, and she has wavered on whether to continue wearing it, not wanting to provoke either Muslims or non-Muslims. Her sister Nawres no longer wears the hijab but her mother still does.

Medical issues among the children caused the Dalfi family to moved from Baghdad, Iraq to Istanbul, Turkey, spending a day and a half on a bus, with whatever could be carried on their backs. From Turkey, they came to Pennsylvania, and then San Antonio.

The girls invested attention in each college visit but are staying flexible and not committing to any school. Their mom, Muntaha, wants to move back to Pennsylvania, where they know more people and have a community. Narjis asked about how college works, vocabulary, school-work-life balance and financial aid. Both girls want to be doctors, which would have been more difficult in Baghdad.

As the years pass, the children’s memories of the countries where they were born have grown hazier. Nawres said college in Baghdad is “not for the girls, it’s for boys,” but her mother corrected her.

“Boys and girls are in the class,” Munatha said through an interpreter. “It’s the same. The (difference in) education between Iraqi, Syrian and American — American is higher education.”

Source: Express News

‘Say no to the Burqa’: Flyers distributed around western Sydney calling for a ban on Muslim women wearing Islamic dress

Islamophobic flyers have been posted around the city of Penrith claiming to be from the local council.

Document is titled ‘Say no to the Burqa’ and in the footnotes claims to be from the Penrith City Council, providing an address and contact number.

‘For reasons of security no person with any form of facial covering should be allowed to enter or be served in Penrith,’ the flyer reads.

‘Save our values, save our laws.’

The council told Daily Mail Australia they were aware of the flyers and strongly denied any links.

Islamophobic flyers have been spread around the city of Penrith claiming to be from the local council

Islamophobic flyers have been spread around the city of Penrith claiming to be from the local council

Document is titled 'Say no to the Burqa' and in the footnotes claims to be from the Penrith City Council, providing an address and contact number

Document is titled ‘Say no to the Burqa’ and in the footnotes claims to be from the Penrith City Council, providing an address and contact number

‘It has come to Council’s attention that information titled ‘say no to the burqua in Penrith’ is being distributed in parts of the Penrith Local Government area giving Penrith City Council as the official contact for further information. Penrith Council did not produce or distribute this document,’ the council said in a statement.

‘Any person who makes a document on the authority of Council when in fact Council did not authorise the making of it may be guilty of a criminal offence. Any person identified for doing so will be brought to the attention of the Police.’

The post on a Penrith community page has been reacted to over 200 times with nearly 100 comments.

The council told Daily Mail Australia they were aware of the flyers and strongly denied any links

The council told Daily Mail Australia they were aware of the flyers and strongly denied any links

Reactions have been mixed, with many saying a ban would only increase racial tension.

‘Banning Burqas in any other country has never stopped anyone from committing a crime,’ a Facebook user said.

‘What rule are they breaking?’ another said.

Some believed banning Islamic clothing was too extreme, rather saying they should remove head coverings when required.

‘I don’t see a problem with the Burqa in any shape or form but I do believe they need to show their faces for law enforcement or identification,’ one person commented.

Source: Dailymail

Iranian TV host who promotes Islamic dress code sparks backlash for drinking beer without hijab

An Iranian state television presenter has sparked outrage after footage emerged of her drinking beer without wearing a hijab while on holiday in Switzerland.

The consumption of alcohol in Islam is prohibited and alcohol has been banned in Iran since the establishment of Islamic Republic government in 1979.

Islamic dress codes are strictly enforced by ‘morality police’ in the country and women’s hair and body must be covered in public. Wearing the hijab, a head covering worn in public by Muslim women, is compulsory.

Azadeh Namdari, who is also a presenter and actress, has actively endorsed wearing the hijab. Hard-line conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz published a photo of her in a full hijab in 2014 under the headline: “Thank God, I wear the veil”.

The TV presenter has also been a keen proponent of the black chador which is a large piece of cloth that covers women from head to toe and leaves only the face exposed. It has been extolled by conservatives for offering women the best protection.

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‘Fatwa’ issued against Muslim minister in Bihar for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’

A Muslim cleric on Sunday issued a “fatwa” against newly appointed Bihar minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Khurshid alias Firoz Ahmad for chanting Jai Shri Ram, saying his marriage would be terminated for his “mistake”.

An MLA from Sikta in West Champaran, Ahmad shouted the slogan, normally associated with BJP supporters, outside the Bihar assembly on Friday after chief minister Nitish Kumar won the trust vote he faced after breaking ties with the RJD-Congress alliance and joining hands with the BJP.

The fatwa, or a decree, against the only Muslim minister in Kumar’s new cabinet was issued by Mufti Sohail Quasmi of Imarat Shariah, which describes itself as a socio-religious organisation active in Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

“Islam teaches respect for all religions. If by saying Jai Shri Ram I can do some good for the Muslims, why is there such a hue and cry,” Ahmad, who has been given charge of minority welfare and sugarcane industries, told mediapersons.

He would not be cowed down by such threats, he said.

The minister later apologised for his statement, while talking to a TV channel.

“The CM told me if anybody felt hurt by my statement, I should apologise. My intention was not to hurt anyone. I have come to serve the people. My statement was distorted,” he told the channel after coming out of a review meeting of the minority welfare department with chief minister Nitish Kumar.

However, his phone was switched off when HT tried to contact him.

Source:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/fatwa-issued-against-muslim-minister-in-bihar-for-chanting-jai-shri-ram/story-1OQuYhtPhLMtTlZE411VJI.html

More than 30,000 Muslims pledge support for Britain after spate of terror attacks

MORE than 30,000 members of a Muslim sect will pledge allegiance to Britain today in a bid to reverse the negative image of Islam after terror attacks in London and Manchester.

Up to 10 million Ahmadiyya Muslims will declare their loyalty to their respective countries around the world at 1pm GMT.

In the UK, members will do so at a three-day annual international convention, called the Jalsa Salana, being held at a tented village near Alton in Hampshire.

This year they are taking a stand against extremism after the terror attacks, and challenging perceptions by showing what Islam really stands for.

Farooq Aftab, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said: “There will be more than 30,000 people in a field pledging their allegiance to the Caliph and their respective countries. It will be huge, it is a massive event. It is the Muslim version of Glastonbury. We’ve even packed our wellies.

“We want to show the true Islam, which means peace, loyalty to your country, being integrated and looking after each other. This is very important in fighting extremism. It is vital to break down barriers.”

The Ahmadiyya Community is known for promoting peace and inter-faith relations.

However, they are banned in Pakistan from referring to themselves as Muslims.

Last year Ahmadi shopkeeper Asad Shah was killed in Glasgow by Tanveer Ahmed, 32, for “disrespecting Islam” when he wished his customers “Happy Easter”.

The Muslim Council of Britain condemned the attack but claimed Ahmadis are not Muslim.

“This was not helpful,” said Mr Aftab. “If we want to create an inclusive society we need to work together. Only God can decide who is Muslim and who is not.”

The sect has no recorded instances of radicalisation and Mr Aftab believes this makes them well placed to help stop it.

He added: “We have not had one instance of extremism so clearly something is working. As Muslims it is our duty to distance ourselves from extremist terrorists.”

Their leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has previously called for mosques to be more open and transparent to tackle extremism.

Ahead of the festival he said: “The only thing the terrorists are achieving is to completely violate the teachings of the Holy Quran and of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

“They are not practising Islam, rather it seems as though they have invented their own hate-filled and poisonous religion.”

Source:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/834661/Jalsa-Salana-uk-2017-alton-muslim-terror-attacks

‘Hero’ Muslim man helps catch gang attacking people ‘because they were white Christians’ in Liverpool

A takeaway owner has told how he feared for his life when he chased down a gang of men rampaging through Liverpool and attacking anyone who said they were Christian.

Edris Nosrati was on his way home from a night out with friends when he saw the trio attacking a white man walking with his girlfriend.

“I wanted to defend him so I went up and asked ‘why are you doing this?’” the 35-year-old told The Independent.

“Then they asked if I was a Muslim. I said it doesn’t matter but the man said ‘just give me an answer’.

“When I said I was a Muslim, he told me to say a ‘Muslim word’.”

Mr Nosrati replied with the Shahada, an Arabic phrase affirming belief in the oneness of God and the Prophet Mohammed as his messenger.

Terrorists have previously demanded the declaration from hostages before mass executions and attacks, and the demand made Mr Nosrati fear he was dealing with Isis supporters.

“They were asking people ‘are you a Muslim or a Christian?’ and if they said they were a Christian they started punching them straight away,” he said.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

The gang told Mr Nosrati, who moved to the UK from Iran eight years ago, that their attacks were “none of your business” and continued their rampage.

Alarmed, he followed behind the trio and called the police as they targeted another man, punching him in the face and filming the attack on a phone.

Mr Nosrati called the police at 3.30am and narrated the unfolding rampage while following from a distance.

After watching helpless as they targeted about six people, the police arrived but one of the attackers who had been filming the assaults on his phone attempted to evade officers.

Mr Nosrati said the man, since identified as 19-year-old Faruq Patel, appeared “really relaxed playing with his mobile” but appeared to be deleting incriminating videos.

“I decided to go in and do something by myself,” Mr Nosrati said, describing how he launched himself at Faruq in an attempt to grab the phone.

“He punched me in the face but eventually I got him in a headlock and down on the floor.

“Finally I got the mobile and gave it to the police.”

The evidence and Mr Nosrati’s testimony was instrumental in prosecuting the attackers, who were jailed for religiously and racially aggravated assault and affray at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday.

Amin Mohmed, 24, of Perendale Rise in Bolton, was sentenced to 42 weeks imprisonment and Mohammed Patel, 20, of Eastbank Street in Bolton was handed the same term in a young offenders’ institution.

Faruq, of Crumpsall Street in Bolton, was sentenced to 18 weeks in a young offenders’ institution.

The judge, Recorder Louise Brandon, said the question about Mohammed “confirmed those targeted that night were targeted because they were white and non-Muslim”, the Liverpool Echo reported.

She described the rampage on 20 March 2016 as a “disgraceful and sustained campaign of violence carried out on the streets of this city”.

Merseyside Police said only two of their victims had come forward – Paul Lynch, a local councillor whose terrified girlfriend attempted to protect him, and Gary Bohanna.

Detective Inspector Mark Drew said the “horrendous and unprovoked assaults” targeted people who were simply going about their business in the busy Renshaw Street area of Liverpool.

“I am sure the local community would agree that this type of behaviour has no place in Merseyside and I believe the sentences imposed by the court reflect how serious this matter has been treated,” he added.

“Any offences targeting people because of their race, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated.”

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Edris Nosrati, a 35-year-old takeaway owner, intervened as a trio of men launched random attacks on passers-by in Liverpool (Facebook)

Mr Nosrati said he was happy with the sentences and to have “risked my life” to ensure the men were brought to justice.

“They were absolutely wrong… absolute idiots,” he added.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim, Jewish, Christian or whatever – horrible people are horrible people.”

Members of the public have been visiting and phoning the takeaway he runs, King Taco, to thank him for his intervention.

While most calls have been positive, praising Mr Nosrati as a “hero”, other well-wishers have expressed concern that he could be targeted with retaliatory attacks – but he says he has no regrets.

“I felt I was responsible as a human to look after other humans,” he said.

“The victims live in my community and if someone is going something nasty like that I’ll do what I can.

“I think I did the right thing – and the attackers learned a good lesson.”

Source:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/liverpool-muslim-islamist-gang-attacks-hero-takeaway-owner-edris-nosrati-police-court-jailed-a7866951.html

Muslim men sue employer after claiming they were forced to choose between their religion and their jobs

A group of Muslim men has launched a legal complaint against their former employer after they were allegedly told to choose between their religion and their jobs.

Sixteen former employees of US auto supplier Brose Jefferson are reportedly suing the company for religious discrimination after they say they were forced to “involuntarily resign”.

It comes after the Michigan-based company told the men their request for a change in their meal break time during Ramadan could not be accommodated, according to Michigan Radio.

The men reportedly made the request in May to take their meal break at 9pm, rather than the standard 7pm.

The men worked a 2pm to 10pm shift, and asked for the meal break to be pushed to after sundown at 9pm, when Muslims are able to break their fast.

But according to their legal representatives, their employer told them the request would not be accommodated, and they would have to choose whether their religion or their jobs were more important. The men unanimously resigned following the incident.

Cary McGehee, one of the lawyers representing the men, said: “The law is very clear that an employer has an obligation to provide its employees with reasonable accommodation related to their religious beliefs, and [Brose] failed to do so in this case.”

“From our independent investigation and from the discussions with our clients, there was no difference in production needs this year that would make it unduly burdensome for the company to provide this accommodation.”

Brose Jefferson said in a statement it “carefully considers” the needs of its employees and said it would “vigorously defend” any claims brought against the company.

“Brose Jefferson’s workforce is one of the most racially, ethnically, gender, generationally and religiously diverse workplaces in Michigan,” the company said.

“Unfortunately, this year, a small percentage of Muslim production and temporary agency workers were not satisfied with Brose’s proposed accommodations during Ramadan. They chose to walk off the job rather than discuss other accommodations that would not unduly impact Brose’s production.

“Brose does not intend to litigate this matter in the press, but does contend that the facts as stated in press release issued by the former workers’ attorneys are incorrect.”

 

Source:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/muslim-men-sue-employer-brose-jefferson-religion-jobs-choose-between-force-discrimination-workplace-a7864686.html

Young Iranian girl gives passionate defence of why she shouldn’t have to wear a hijab

A video of a young girl giving a passionate defence of why she should not have to wear a hijab in Iran has gone viral.

Posted by Stealthy Freedom, a group that campaigns against laws making the hijab compulsory for women, it shows the girl making an argument for freedom of choice.

Dress codes which require women to cover their hair and body in public, are strictly enforced by “morality police” in Iran. Wearing the hijab, a head covering worn in public by Muslim women, is compulsory.

“It would be good for everyone to live in peace,” the girl, who has not been named, says in the video. “Those who believe in the hijab and those who don’t believe in it. I’m not telling you to take off your chador, not to respect the hijab. Maybe if the hijab is free one day.

“I could decide to keep my shawl. But we have to respect other people’s ideas, I think. You can’t force others to wear a chador. I’m not saying that’s what you actually do. But have you ever been asked to remove your hijab?”

The video has been shared more than 3,000 times and has more than 300,000 views.

Many of the comments on the video praise the girl, with one saying: “You keep on going, you brave girl, stand up to those who want to restrict the freedom of others”.

A video of a young girl giving a passionate defence of why she should not have to wear a hijab in Iran has gone viral.

Posted by Stealthy Freedom, a group that campaigns against laws making the hijab compulsory for women, it shows the girl making an argument for freedom of choice.

Dress codes which require women to cover their hair and body in public, are strictly enforced by “morality police” in Iran. Wearing the hijab, a head covering worn in public by Muslim women, is compulsory.

“It would be good for everyone to live in peace,” the girl, who has not been named, says in the video. “Those who believe in the hijab and those who don’t believe in it. I’m not telling you to take off your chador, not to respect the hijab. Maybe if the hijab is free one day.

“I could decide to keep my shawl. But we have to respect other people’s ideas, I think. You can’t force others to wear a chador. I’m not saying that’s what you actually do. But have you ever been asked to remove your hijab?”

The video has been shared more than 3,000 times and has more than 300,000 views.

Many of the comments on the video praise the girl, with one saying: “You keep on going, you brave girl, stand up to those who want to restrict the freedom of others”.

The news comes as an Iranian state television presenter sparked outrage after footage emerged of her drinking beer while on holiday in Switzerland, without a hijab.

Azadeh Namdari, who is also an actress, has actively endorsed wearing the hijab in the past. Hard-line conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz published a photo of her in a full hijab in 2014 under the headline: “Thank God, I wear the veil”.

Critics on social media accused her of “hypocrisy” and “dual-behaviour”.

She said she had been sitting alongside members of her family and “maharem” – close relatives who a woman is not required to wear a hijab among – in a park.

She claimed her scarf had fallen abruptly and the clip was immediately recorded by a random person. She did not mention the bottles of beer in the video or seek to explain them.

Source: Independent

Muslim Prayers in Jerusalem End Peacefully Under Tight Security

JERUSALEM—Muslims peacefully conducted Friday prayers at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, despite fears that Palestinians and Israeli security personnel would clash after weeks of violence over access to the compound.

Israeli police had initially braced for bloodshed Friday, deploying officers across the city and banning worshipers under the age of 50 from praying at the contested central site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount. But hundreds of Palestinians under the age limit calmly prayed in the streets outside the compound before dispersing.

“I don’t think the youth will engage in any sort of clashes because what we have achieved is satisfactory,” 45-year-old Abdalla Abu Ghosh, from Ramallah, said Friday outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

Thousands of older Palestinians also attended prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque atop the mount.

Additional Israeli army forces were deployed across the West Bank to head off violence, which was limited to an attempted stabbing attack on soldiers at a checkpoint in the territory, the military said. Security forces shot the assailant dead.

The additional precautions came after skirmishes flared Thursday, as Israel removed a series of security measures it had implemented at the Temple Mount after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there on July 14.

The measures had sparked widespread protests among Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Clashes last weekend left three Palestinians dead, while three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant in their home during dinner.

JERUSALEM—Muslims peacefully conducted Friday prayers at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, despite fears that Palestinians and Israeli security personnel would clash after weeks of violence over access to the compound.

Israeli police had initially braced for bloodshed Friday, deploying officers across the city and banning worshipers under the age of 50 from praying at the contested central site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount. But hundreds of Palestinians under the age limit calmly prayed in the streets outside the compound before dispersing.

“I don’t think the youth will engage in any sort of clashes because what we have achieved is satisfactory,” 45-year-old Abdalla Abu Ghosh, from Ramallah, said Friday outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

 

Thousands of older Palestinians also attended prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque atop the mount.

Additional Israeli army forces were deployed across the West Bank to head off violence, which was limited to an attempted stabbing attack on soldiers at a checkpoint in the territory, the military said. Security forces shot the assailant dead.

The additional precautions came after skirmishes flared Thursday, as Israel removed a series of security measures it had implemented at the Temple Mount after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there on July 14.

The measures had sparked widespread protests among Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Clashes last weekend left three Palestinians dead, while three Israeli settlers were stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant in their home during dinner.

During the past two weeks, Palestinians had refused to pray at the compound, in Jerusalem’s ancient Old City, until Israel removed the metal detectors, metal railings and cameras it said it had implemented for security. Israel dismantled the detectors on Tuesday and all other measures by Thursday afternoon.

Despite many Palestinians seeing the measures’ removal as a symbolic victory over the Israeli government, security personnel on Thursday had to disperse crowds of young Palestinians who became violent at the holy compound, Israeli police said. It wasn’t clear how or why the clashes began. Muslim worshipers blamed Israeli police, who in turn said the young people had become rowdy.

Only Muslims are allowed to pray at the Temple Mount. Jews can visit but aren’t allowed to pray, a policy some Jewish groups have been lobbying to change. In addition to housing the Al Aqsa mosque, the compound is also the former site of a historic Jewish temple. Its Western Wall is still visible and holy to Jews.

The prayer boycott was led by the Waqf, the Jordanian religious body that administers the Temple Mount. It said Israel was trying to change longstanding agreements surrounding access to the site, a charge Israel flatly denied.

During the past two weeks, Palestinians had refused to pray at the compound, in Jerusalem’s ancient Old City, until Israel removed the metal detectors, metal railings and cameras it said it had implemented for security. Israel dismantled the detectors on Tuesday and all other measures by Thursday afternoon.

Despite many Palestinians seeing the measures’ removal as a symbolic victory over the Israeli government, security personnel on Thursday had to disperse crowds of young Palestinians who became violent at the holy compound, Israeli police said. It wasn’t clear how or why the clashes began. Muslim worshipers blamed Israeli police, who in turn said the young people had become rowdy.

Only Muslims are allowed to pray at the Temple Mount. Jews can visit but aren’t allowed to pray, a policy some Jewish groups have been lobbying to change. In addition to housing the Al Aqsa mosque, the compound is also the former site of a historic Jewish temple. Its Western Wall is still visible and holy to Jews.

The prayer boycott was led by the Waqf, the Jordanian religious body that administers the Temple Mount. It said Israel was trying to change longstanding agreements surrounding access to the site, a charge Israel flatly denied.