Sweden: ‘Allah’ & ‘Ali’ patterns in burial costumes of Vikings discovered in Sweden

By Atila Altuntas


STOCKHOLM (AA): Swedish researchers this week unveiled burial costumes in graves from the Viking Age with the words ‘Allah’ and ‘Ali’ written on them.

Muslims use the word Allah for god, while Ali is the name of Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law.

The Vikings could be influenced by Islam and “the idea of an eternal life in paradise after death,” Annika Larsson, a researcher in textile archaeology at Uppsala University, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.

The words which appeared as ancient Arabic scripts Kufic characters were found in silk costumes in boat-graves as well as in chamber graves in Sweden’s Birka, the historic Viking city.

“In the Quran, it is written that the inhabitants of paradise will wear garments of silk, which along with the text band’s inscriptions may explain the widespread occurrence of silk in Viking Age graves,” the researcher said in an earlier statement.

Similar Kufic characters were also found in mosaics on burial monuments and mausoleums, primarily in Central Asia, the university said in a statement.

In 2015, Swedish researchers at Stockholm University also discovered a ninth century ring in a Viking grave with an inscription that says ‘for Allah’ or ‘to Allah’.

An engraved ring excavated from a ninth-century grave in the Viking trading centre of Birka, Sweden, suggests that friendlier ties existed between modern Sweden’s forefathers and the Islamic civilizations.

Made of silver alloy, the ring is adorned with coloured glass, an exotic material at the time, engraved with an ancient Arabic script spelling the words €œfor Allah” or “to Allah”,

The ring was found in a grave near Birka on Björkö Island in the Stockholm archipelago in the late 1800s. Other objects found in the grave indicated a woman had been buried there at around 850 AD, although the skeleton was completely decomposed.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map of Viking towns of Scandinavia by Sven Rosborn/Creative commons]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/religion/sweden-allah-ali-patterns-burial-costumes-vikings-iscovered-sweden/

Pakistan: 19 killed, 30 injured in Sufi shrine blast in Balochistan

By Aamir Latif


KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): Nineteen people were killed and 30 others injured in a suicide blast at a shrine in southwestern Balochistan province on Thursday, according to officials and local media reports.

A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the Sufi shrine in remote Jhal Magsi district of the province, minutes before sunset when hundreds of devotees were attending a religious congregation, local broadcaster Geo TV reported quoting police officials.

Dr. Rukhsana Magsi, an in charge of a district hospital in Jhal Magsi, confirmed the casualty toll in remarks to the media.

Deputy Commissioner of Jhal Magsi, Asadullah Kakar, told reporters, adding that the administration had declared an emergency in the district and nearby hospitals, and additional doctors and paramedical staff had also been called in.

Provincial government spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar told reporters the police had tried to confront the suicide bomber, which resulted in the death of a policeman.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

Health officials fear a sharp rise in the death toll since dozens of injured were said to be in critical condition.

Footage aired on local TV channels showed local people rushing to the scene and shifting victims into private vehicles before taking them to nearby hospitals.

According to city police chief Mohammad Iqbal, the critically injured were being shifted to relatively better equipped hospitals in nearby districts.

In February, a suicide blast on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar — a famous Sufi saint — in southern Sindh province’s Sehwan town had killed over 90 people and injured around 400. Daesh had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the terrorist attack.

In a statement, Abbasi said: “Terrorists have no religion. We will not allow them to disturb our peace and values; they will be dealt with the full might of the state.”

[Map of Pakistan. From CIA factbook/Public Domain]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-asia/pakistan-19-killed-30-injured-sufi-shrine-blast-balochistan/

Myanmar: No respite for Rohingya Muslims as attacks continue

By Meryem Goktas


(AA): Attacks on Rohingya Muslims are continuing despite Myanmar declaring an end to Myanmar’s military operation in Rakhine state, according to the Arakan Rohingya Union Wednesday.

The union made the observation in its “Narrative Report on Situation on the Ground in Northern Arakan/Rakhine State, Myanmar”, noting that Myanmar government officials reportedly met leaders of the Rohingya community and told them that the military had completed its operation and rooted out “insurgents”.

The U.S.-based Arakan Rohingya Union — a global Rohingya umbrella organization representing 61 Rohingya organizations worldwide – said reports on the ground, however, paint a different picture.

In contrast, attacks on civilians and torching of homes by Buddhist Rakhine vigilantes under the cover of the police have dramatically increased since then,” the report said.

œThe pattern of attacks are evidently conducted systematically. The vigilante groups torch Rohingya homes, the Rohingya families flee and police forces open fire at them.”

The report said information about “continuous killing of Rohingya families by the vigilantes under the cover of police and increased sexual violence against Rohingya women” were still being received from refugees arriving in Bangladesh.

“There are mounting allegations of Myanmar armed forces [army, police, and BGP] and the vigilantes demanding money and women from Rohingya families in certain locations in return for peace and security, the report said, adding that it then leads to new waves of refugees.

The report also emphasized that Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state face serious food shortages.

While extremist Buddhists obstruct traders from selling food to Rohingya Muslims, some store owners sell their food to Rohingya at high prices, the report added.

€“ Appeal for global pressure

A calmer situation in most of Maungdaw Township areas can be seen while the situation in Buthidaung Township “remains deeply troubling”, the report said, adding that in Rathedaung, six villages have been completely destroyed, leaving no Rohingya behind.

The planned internally-displaced camps by the Myanmar government will leave the returning Rohingya Muslims stuck at those camps for a long period, the report said.

“If they [Rohingya Muslims] will be relocated from camps to permanent locations, it is possible that they will not be allowed to return to their original properties in their villages,†it said.

The camps are planned to be built near Taungbro village and other locations on the border at the Myanmar side for Rohinya Muslims wishing to return.

The report urged the international community to €œform a strong coalition at United Nations to pressure the Security Council for urgent and ambitious actions, including a resolution to address the crisis facing the Rohingya, and designate a safezone for all people in Northern Arakan state protected by multinational security forces”.

It also urged on the importance of a resolution that contains “strong language that reflects the indiscriminate shelling of Rohingya villages, gruesome killings, sexual violence, and various forms of atrocities, including mutilation and dismemberment of the victims”.

The access to affected areas by international non-governmental organizations and media should be also demanded by the Myanmar government, the report added.

Since Aug. 25 when the military launched a crackdown against Rohingya militants,绻,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.


[Photo:  Rohingya Muslims fleeing ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, walk in the water as they make their way after crossing border, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on September 29, 2017. Photographer: Safvan Allahverdi/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-east-asia/myanmar-no-respite-rohingya-muslims-attacks-continue/

Palestine: Palestinian PM leaves Gaza after landmark 3-day visit

By Mohamed Majed and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA): Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday afternoon returned to the West Bank city of Ramallah following a landmark three-day visit to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Before departing the blockaded coastal enclave, Hamdallah visited Gaza City’s Dar al-Shifa Hospital, the territory’s largest medical facility, to witness first-hand the difficult circumstances faced by Gaza’s local health sector.

He also inspected a water desalination plant in the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

“The [Palestinian unity] government is ready to get down to work, but we’re still awaiting the outcome of [next week’s] meeting in Cairo between Palestinian factions,” Hamdallah told reporters before his departure.

“There are still some issues that must be agreed upon before they can be implemented,” he said. “Other decisions, however, can be implemented immediately.”

“We want all [Palestinian] factions to agree on everything before the [unity] government assumes its responsibilities [in Gaza],” he added.

He went on to reassure the people of Gaza, that, given sufficient political will, “all outstanding issues can be resolved”.
In a major step toward Palestinian reconciliation on Tuesday, Hamdallah held his first cabinet meeting in Gaza since the unity government was drawn up in 2014.

Cairo is currently leading efforts to heal a decade-long political split between Gaza-based resistance group Hamas and the West Bank-based Fatah movement.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have remained politically and administratively divided since 20ǧ, when Hamas wrested control of the strip from Fatah following several days of street fighting.

Hamas€™s capture of Gaza in 2007 ended an earlier — if short-lived — unity government that was established after Hamas swept 2006 Palestinian legislative polls.

[Photo:  Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah speaks during his meeting with Palestinian groups in Gaza City, Gaza on October 4, 2017. Photographer: Mustafa Hassona/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/palestine/palestine-palestinian-pm-leaves-gaza-landmark-3-day-visit/

Niger: 5 Nigerien/3 US troops killed in ambush

By Alpha Kamara


Southwest, Niger (AA): Five Nigerien and three U.S. Army Special Forces were killed and others wounded in an ambush on a joint patrol in southwest Niger Wednesday night.

A spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command confirmed the attack to Radio France International (RFI) by telephone.

“We can confirm reports that a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol came under hostile fire in southwest Niger,” the spokesman said.

Namatta Abubacar, an official for the region of Tillaberi in Niger, told Niger TV five Nigerian soldiers were among the dead.

A statement issued by the US Africa command center also stated about the attack. The statement says “the US Africa, a joint US and Nigerien troops on patrol came under hostile fire near Tongo Tongo village in Southwest Niger.

All five American soldiers were Green Berets, said two United States military officials. The attack took place 120 miles north of Niamey, the capital of Niger, near the border with Mali, where militants with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an affiliate of Al Qaeda,

A Special Forces soldier died in a vehicle accident in Niger in February.

US forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien armed forces including support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region. One aspect of that is training, assisting and advising Nigeriens to increase their ability to bring security and stability to their people” the statement ended.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the area is largely controlled by insurgents, including members of the al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Islamic State.

African security forces backed by Western troops are stepping up efforts to counter jihadist groups forming part of a growing regional insurgency in the troubled Sahel region where several groups are roaming.

Presidents of the Sahel countries of the region including Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkinafaso and Chad are working on final modalities to set up a G5 Sahel force to help fight the numerous groups who are active in the region.

Additional report of The Muslim News

[Map of Niger. Creative Commons]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/niger-5-nigerien3-us-troops-killed-ambush/

UN: Rohingya abuses in Myanmar may be crimes against humanity

By Fatih Erel


GENEVA (AA): The UN human rights experts on Wednesday called on Myanmar authorities to stop violence against Rohingya Muslims which, they said, may constitute “crimes against humanity”.

œWe are particularly worried about the fate of Rohingya women and children subject to serious violations of their human rights, including killings, rape and forced displacement,” the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said in a joint statement.

Such violations may amount to crimes against humanity and we are deeply concerned at the State’s failure to put an end to these shocking human rights violations being committed at the behest of the military and other security forces, and of which women and children continue to bear the brunt,” the statement added.

Also on Wednesday, the UN urgently requested $434 million from donor countries to assist Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh.

“Today an update to the UN response plan was released, seeking $434 million which is urgently needed to scale up the relief operation in support of the refugees and the host communities where they are seeking refuge,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock and UN children’s fund, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, this appalling situation is not over. People are still crossing from Myanmar into Bangladesh, fleeing for their lives and requiring immediate support. We call again on the Myanmar authorities to allow the full resumption of humanitarian action across all of Rakhine state,” they added.

The committees called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence against Rohingya Muslims and investigate the crimes “promptly and effectively”.

They also urged Myanmar authorities to ensure “prompt and durable” return of displaced Rohingya who wish to live in Myanmar, and grant access to humanitarian aid agencies.

Since Aug. 25 when the military launched a crackdown against Rohingya militants, 507,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

[Photo:  Rohingya Muslim refugee child with baby is seen at a makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on September 23, 2017. Photographer: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/south-east-asia/un-rohingya-abuses-myanmar-may-crimes-humanity/

UK: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi stripped of Oxford honor due to atrocities against Rohingya Muslims

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


LONDON (AA): A British honor granted to Myanmar’s leader has been withdrawn amid atrocities targeting the Muslim minority in her country, causing more than half a million Rohingya to take refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price supported the motion to strip State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi of the honor.

People are “absolutely appalled by the situation in Myanmar, Price said.

He called it “extraordinary” that Suu Kyi had not spoken out about the atrocities in Myanmar.

The Freedom of Oxford honor is a title awarded to persons of distinction and those who have, in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the city.

St. Hugh’s College in Oxford removed a portrait of Suu Kyi from display last week.

Since Aug. 25, some 501,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, the UN said on Sept. 28.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes, and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, aroundŃ,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

[Photo: Aung San Suu Kyi. Photogrpaher: Kyaw Kyaw/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-myanmars-suu-kyi-stripped-oxford-honor-due-atrocities-rohingya-muslims/

Greece: Lack of Muslim cemetery in Athens compounds grieving

By Furkan Naci Top


ATHENS, Greece (AA): Migrant families fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East to find shelter in Greece are suffering new wounds due to a problem in Athens: the lack of a cemetery for Muslims.

“I never had a chance to go to my baby€™s funeral. It was buried miles away,” Muhammed Leggar, a 33-year-old Palestinian refugee who fled Aleppo, Syria, told Anadolu Agency this week after his unborn child died in Athens.

The body of Leggar’s unborn child was laid to rest in the northeastern city of Komotini — about 750 kilometers (460 miles) away from Athens — after his wife, Semah, miscarried last week in her eighth month. Komotini is home to large number of Muslims of Turkish, Pomak and Romani origins,

Greek authorities have been rejecting Muslims’ request to build a cemetery for their own in the city, where nearly 300,000 Muslims live.

The migrants thus end up having to send their loved ones’ remains to cities in Greece’s northeast, which have a higher Muslim population as well as Muslim cemeteries, with the help of local communities or NGOs.

The expenses of the transferring and interring Leggar and Semah’s child — around €1,500 ($1,760) — were covered by a local NGO in Athens, which declined to be named.

âMy wife and I are very sad. Many dreams we had when we came here were destroyed,” Leggar said disappointedly, adding that they do not know where their child was buried in Komotini.

Athens is also the only European capital that has no mosque, though it is expected that the first official mosque will be completed by the end of this year.

[Photo:  A Syrian refugee baby is being buried in Komotini, Greece on Septemberಝ, 2017. Syrian refugees Muhammed and Semah couple those who live in Athens had to bury their child, who died before birth, in Komotini 750km away from Athens due to the absence of Muslim graves in Athens. Photographer: Ayhan Mehmet/AA]

Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/islamophobia/greece-lack-muslim-cemetery-athens-compounds-grieving/

In India, a Ghost Town and a Mythological Bridge

Surveying the scene, Rama Moti, 64, a restaurant owner, lifted from his chair a bit at the mention of the stones. “Fakes,” he called them, explained by natural processes and part of a campaign to commercialize Rameswaram.


Continue reading the main story

“The wind, it gets in them,” he said of why the stones float. “It’s the scientific way.€

Back along the water, Omkar Ashram, a sadhu, or Hindu holy man, who guessed his age at 70, said he was shocked by the pace of change in Rameswaram, which he last visited 20 years ago.

“See, before, homes were huts,” he said. “Stepping down from the train, only horse-drawn carriages were coming. Now, there are three-story buildings and air-conditioning.”

As thousands gathered near Rameswaram this summer for Mr. Modis speech inaugurating the train line, the prime minister evoked the bridge to make a point about development.

“The Ramayana tells us the story of a little squirrel, the little squirrel from Rameswaram that helped in building Rama Setu, he said. “A squirrel can inspire us all. So, like that squirrel, if 1Ǐ billion Indians each take just one step forward, India will march 1.3 billion steps ahead.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/world/asia/india-sri-lanka-rama-bridge.html

US: Death toll climbs to 59 & 527 injured in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Canberk Yuksel and Michael Hernandez


NEW YORK (AA) – More questions remain than answers after officials said Monday a gunman killed at least 59 and injured 527 people in at a concert in Las Vegas.

Stephen Paddock, 64, is suspected of launching the assault at an outdoor venue across from the Mandalay Bay hotel at around 10.08 p.m. local time Sunday (0508GMT Monday), Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. The shooter, perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, shot at more than 22,000 people attending the concert.

The retiree-turned-gunman is a resident of nearby Mesquite, Nevada, and has no apparent connection to terrorism, according to Lombardo who characterized the shooting as a “lone wolf” attack and Paddock a “psychopath”.

The suspect’s brother struggled to make sense of the shooting while speaking to reporters in Orlando, Florida. “We’re still just completely befuddled, dumbstruck,” Eric Paddock said of his family’s reaction to the news.

He said his brother was an accountant and a multi-millionaire real estate investor who “had nothing to do with any political organization, religious organization, no white supremacists — nothing, as far as I know.”

But the Paddock family is no stranger to crime. The brothers’ father was once on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after he escaped prison while serving time for bank robbery.

Authorities said they recovered a cache of weapons in Paddock’s room at the hotel and a separate arsenal – a huge arsenal of 42 firearms, explosives and ammunition – at his home about 80 miles (130 kilometers) away.

He fired as many as罘 rounds in six or seven bursts with an automatic weapon for more than four minutes, police said, according to media reports.

Video of the shooting showed thousands of concert-goers fleeing the venue, causing stampedes as fans ran for cover.

The shooter was reportedly found dead in his room on the 32nd floor of his hotel room where he launched the attack, the sheriff said.

President Donald Trump called the attack œan act of pure evil” in a nationally televised address Monday.

The normally bombastic Trump struck a much softer tone in what was his first address to the nation following such a tragedy.

“In times such as these I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope,” he said.

But the White House backed away from calling the attack domestic terrorism, instead urging patience for the facts of the shooting to be revealed.

Flags across the U.S. were lowered to half-staff in a sign of mourning and Trump will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led a chorus of Turkish officials who took to Twitter to denounce the attack and offer solidarity with the U.S.

“I condemn in the strongest terms possible today’s terror attack in Las Vegas, NV,” Erdogan wrote. I sincerely hope that such attacks won’t happen in the future. On behalf of the Turkish people, I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and all Americans.”

American pop star Ariana Grande, whose concert in the U.K. was also attacked in an act of terrorism that killed at least 22 people in May, called for gun control after the Las Vegas shooting.

“My heart is breaking for Las Vegas,” she wrote on Twitter. “We need love, unity, peace, gun control for people to look at this call this what it is = terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis expressed his “spiritual closeness” to victims, while he called the attack a “senseless tragedy.”

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq News Agency, and said Paddock was a recent convert to Islam.

But the FBI rejected the claim and said there was no evidence to support it.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo:  Mandalay Hotel seen from where the gunman shot at concert goers in Las Vegas, NV, on October 02, 2017. PhotographerBilgin S. Şaşmaz/AA]


Article source: http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/campaign-on-terror/us-death-toll-climbs-59-527-injured-las-vegas-mass-shooting/