Jail term for Iranian Woman who dares Go out Without Hijab

Islam, Middle East, personality

An Iranian woman who peacefully protested the obligatory hijab rule by removing her head scarf in public in Tehran in December says she has been sentenced to two years in prison in addition to an 18-year suspended prison term.

Shaparak Shajarizadeh removed her headscarf in protest against the compulsory hijab rule in Iran and was forced to flee the country.

Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, women have been forced to cover their hair according to Islamic law on modesty. In recent years, there have been dem

Shaparak Shajarizadeh also says she has left Iran to escape “injustices.”

In a live broadcast shared widely on social media this week, Shajarizadeh said that she was sentenced to prison for opposing the compulsory hijab.

“This means that I will have to be silent for 20 years and not get involved in any activities,” Shajarizadeh said on Instagram.

Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who represented Shajarizadeh and other women arrested for opposing the compulsory hijab was arrested last month.

Shajarizadeh, 42, was released on bail in late April.

In a video posted online on July 9, she said she has left Iran.

“Due to the injustices in Iran’s judicial system, I had to leave the country,” she said.

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ORGANISING NGOS AND FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Islam, law enforcement, SEcurity, Terrorism, War

Counterterrorism has to be woven into the everyday workings of every department. It should be included on the agenda of every meeting, and this new role must be imparted to officers on the street so that terrorism prevention becomes part of their everyday thinking.” Kelling, G L. & William K. B, (2006) Policing Terrorism, Civic Bulletin 43, New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, September 2006.

Terrorism has become a political tool in the 20th century and its spread has become so dynamic that it has now become on of the “new wars” that nations today fights. Emergency response and preventive measures have to become more flexible and adapt to the dynamism of attacks. Terrorist related incidence must be documented, researched and evaluated in line with local needs. The current randomness of terror attacks in Nigeria put all at risks and we must have a structure plans in place to restrict and mitigate these strikes.

Basic understanding of terrorism, its goals and operational method would have sufficed in allowing for designing proper response. It is a waste of resources fighting a reactive battle against terrorists. The Nigerian response to terrorism has been flawed by the lack of institutional understanding of what terrorism is all about. Proactive resources can only be deployed when we are all able to deduce the fact that terrorism is not fought using heavy machinery and standing armies but through employment of psychological warfare that is designed based on proper analysis of the terror groups operational methods, recruitment operations and goals.

Terrorism is a form of rebellion against the state. Modern terrorists have better equipment and global media as its mouthpiece. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, (START) Department of Homeland Security Think-Thank based in the University of Maryland, United State is one of the center set up by the US government to analyse and design engagement protocol for counter-terrorism in US. One of the conclusion of this center that changed the US counter-terrorism engagement was the fact that in over 1000 years of review of terrorism engagement by states globally, the use of military force eliminated the threat in only 4% of such engagements, while the use of proper local security, policing and development programmes was able to achieve end of these groups in more than 40%.

Development NGOs are committed to working towards economic, social or political development in developing countries. The Norwegian bilateral aid agency, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) defines development-oriented NGOs as organisations that “attempt to improve social, economic and productive conditions and are found both as small community-based organisations at village and district levels, and as large professional development agencies at state or national level”

Northern Nigeria economic environment has been described as backward and has continued to regress in the period after the 1970s. The average Disposable Income, access to education and basic infrastructure has equally fallen in the past decades. Lack of access to proper education has created a huge mass of unemployable youth in an environment experiencing a burgeoning youth population. Available data point at a growing youth population in an environment without corresponding growth in infrastructure and industry has led to high pressure on resources leading to perennial class conflict in the region.

Failure of government institutions to deliver on appropriate economic and infrastructural reforms has led to conflicts between state officials and citizens. Increased distrust of officials has led to several clashes and self-help actions. Uncoordinated rebellions in the past decades had eventually matured into current terror operations by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The war on terror have been severely stunted by the growing supply of radical youths from the stock of unemployable youth that littered the streets of northern Nigeria in need of sense of spiritual emancipation from years of poverty and lack. Many literatures had maintained the fact that poverty is not an impetus for rebellion acts yet it has been proven through direct observation that rebellion thrives where the state failure and poverty is evident. As a matter of fact, the basis for international humanitarian efforts in Africa has been based on prevention of high criminality that may result from unchecked growth in poverty and hunger in several failing states in the continent.

One major challenge to the provision of public infrastructure development has been in the slow bureaucratic processes and the attendant high corruption of government officials in most African countries. NGOs and Community Based Organisations has been a bridge between the people and the government in actualizing people oriented development projects.

As development actors, NGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulfill its traditional role. In the education sector, many NGOs have moved beyond ‘gap- filling’ initiatives into capacity building activities. This paper seeks to address the role of NGOs in development through the lens of capacity building. Through academic articles and NGO working papers, we can determine the effect of NGOs on capacity development and their role in building capacity on all levels, using a framework based on positive hypotheses:

NGOs are increasingly involved in capacity development. As the development discourse leans towards developing skills and tools for strengthening society, NGOs have reacted accordingly. They wish first and foremost to remain important stakeholders in development and to impart their extensive knowledge in the education sector. This involvement changes the ways in which NGOs operate. Capacity-building activities complement traditional service provision, though this does not mean that all NGOs have good relations with government.

In any case, NGO activities are increasingly diverse. They have an impact on the interpretation of capacity development. NGOs are influenced by the ideology of capacity development as defined by the hegemonic development discourse, but they also influence its meaning from the outside. This modified interpretation of capacity development can weaken central government but strengthen it in the long term. NGOs have the capacity to innovate and adapt more quickly than national governments; therefore, their actions can undermine government initiatives. But if they scale up their activities and impart their knowledge and techniques at the government level, the country as a whole can benefit.

NGOs have a significant impact on the whole process but are also plagued by severe obstacles. NGOs continue to suffer from a lack of resources and from their general estrangement from the state. Unless they become partners with government, and not competitors, capacity-building initiatives will continue to be stunted.

The environment in Northeastern Nigeria remains inundated by high-level insecurity that makes development programme seem essentially impossible. While most stakeholders abstained from the area due to high risk factor and the ongoing sate of emergency has further negated the infrastructural capacity of these three states under the military onslaught on the insurgents. The apparent lack of trust for state institutions in these areas will make the use of conventional government MDA approach to development clearly unwelcome. Locally based NGOs, CBOs and FBOs can easily breach this gap and stand in as the only way to reach out and provide succor to non-combatants and civilians in these areas. Government should provide funds for locally established and managed Community Based and Faith Based Organisations to drive development agendas in the tri-violent states of Yobe, Bauchi and Borno to kick start development in these areas.

The advantage of using locally based organisations in handling the development programmes in these areas are two pronged:

1. Train employable locally Based service delivery experts: One of the problems with the region remains in the increasing number of unemployable youth, given low economic activities in the areas. Inflow of fresh funds may increase economic activities and create expansion of local industry to support the increase in demand for resources in the area. The use of locally based personnel should avail the growth of necessary local experts needed for the entrenchment and maintenance of programme. The failure of most INGOs has been traced to the lack of proper local supports for their programme.
2. Increase trust in the process: Most locals may become part of the process since it is being handled through local personnel known to them. Trust in the process may enhance collaboration and could boost the programme at all level.

Recommendations:

Civil societies or NGOs in Nigeria has had a cheered history, from a vibrant, uncompromising and result focus pre-independence era, through a government hampered and corrupt operation before mid-1990s to a strong indivisible front during the democratic struggles of the late eighties and this era of political activism, corrupt leadership and weaken structure.

Regrettably, there cannot be a sustainable reform without the supports and inputs of the civil societies. Civil societies are needed to act as middlemen between the policy makers and their communities. Hence the role of these groups in reforms may includes:

• Raising public awareness on issues and reasons for reforms: There is a need for proper information, direct and people oriented to educate the public. These should not be media driven but generated and managed by the people. The CS could be empowered through seminars and workshops to educate the public on the needs for direct engagement in programmes and their roles in reforms in Nigeria.
• Promoting debates and talks on issues, practices, challenges and reforms required:
Policies can only succeed when the public opinion form its bedrock. The NGO programme should be directed to organize formal public debates and hearings on important policy and inform the state of their reports.
• Spreading Reform Information:
Organizing and maintaining civil societies in areas where there is no awareness and education level is low. Thereby reaching out to lower cadres of the society with proper information on reforms.
• Monitoring and Evaluating the Reform Processes: Exposing and reporting to appropriate authorities’ misconducts, demanding transparency and accountability from all security organization through a nationwide monitoring system. Reporting and writing articles on reform issues to educate the public and the police officers alike.
Creating framework and opportunities for future reforms through the setting-up of bodies to monitor and collate data on PSC operatives and organizations and the police operations in all areas of the country.
• Partnering:
Organizing local and international workshops, talks and town hall meetings to share, discuss, teach and compare feedbacks on policing issues from different unit of the society and publishing their memorandum in national press.
• Act as links between the public and police:
Encouraging and involving community groups in policing, creating neighborhoods watch and vigilante groups -under proper legislations- to guard and secure their environment.

Don Michael Adeniji, MA, pnm
Director, Security Policy Analysis.
African Initiative for Peace and Human Development

BREAKING: 41 Palestinians killed, thousands wounded as U.S. opens new embassy in Jerusalem premiumtimesng.com

international News, Islam, Terrorism
Gaza on map used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Wikipedia]

At least 41 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded when violence erupts near the Israel border with Gaza on Monday.

The death toll has continued to climb as Palestinians attempt to cross the border from Gaza to Israel, according to Israeli daily, Haaretz.

About 2,000 Palestinians were also injured, AlJazeera reports.

Protests on the border have escalated in recent weeks but suddenly descended into deadly chaos shortly before the formal launching of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. President Donald Trump recently recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

An official opening ceremony for the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is currently underway, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several top officials from the U.S. on the ground. Jared Kushner, an in-law of Mr Trump, and his wife, Ivanka, who is Mr Trump’s daughter, are currently attending the event which is televised across the world.

Israeli troops intervened to prevent the Palestinian protesters from entering into Israel used tear gas and live ammunition, media reports said.

The soldiers keep Palestinians from scaling a fence across the border. Video feed circulating online shows protestors seeking to cross the border.

Some media reports said many children were among those killed and wounded. Israeli authorities said some in the crowds were throwing explosives or flying flaming kites into Israel.

Mr Trump addressed the audience via a recorded video and praised the decision to move the capital to Jerusalem.

Ivanka Trump unveiled the formal dedication and said she was delighted to pronounce “Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The move is a fulfillment of a major campaign promise of Mr Trump, but it had been condemned by leaders across the world. Critics also feared that the development could further complicate ongoing peace talks in the Middle East.

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Nigeria: Boko Haram Has Massacred over 2,000 Teachers, Destroyed 1,000 Schools

Africa, Boko Haram, Crime, Islam, law enforcement, News

booUtomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

by Edwin Mora3 May 20189
The Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram, a name that translates to “Western education is a sin,” has killed 100,000 people since it began waging its insurgency in 2009, including 2,295 teachers and hundreds of students in the northeastern part of the country alone, officials from the African nation revealed this week.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari believes Boko Haram is fading in northeastern Nigeria and the quality of life in the region is “improving.”

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Education Adamu Adamu released the grim data on the teacher fatalities on Wednesday.
On Monday, Buhari spoke to Voice of America (VOA), indicating that “life in the country’s northeast is improving, as the threat of Boko Haram militants recedes and people return to their homes and farms.”
In addition to the 2,295 teachers killed in attacks linked to Boko Haram in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa State, the terrorist group has displaced another 19,000 teachers since 2009, Adamu declared, the African nation’s Premium Times newspaper reports.
Adamu, “who expressed concern over the systematic destruction targeted at education, said 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in the last nine years.”
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Premium Times notes that Adamu indicated that “without access to quality learning, the Nigerian child is not only being deprived of education but also robbed of future opportunities which will affect the entire society.”
Nigerian President Buhari has accused young people in his country of being “lazy.”
Minister Adamu also noted that the jihadists had destroyed about 1,500 schools resulting in more the 1,280 casualties “among teachers and students” since 2014 alone.
Borno state is considered Boko Haram’s birthplace.
Northeastern Nigeria’s vast Sambisa Forest – which covers parts of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Kano states – is identified as Boko Haram’s last stronghold in the country.
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The Nigerian figures echo data from the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data released in April, which also revealed Boko Haram has indeed killed at least 2,295 teachers, adding that it has destroyed over 1,400 schools.
“Boko Haram has abducted more than 1,000 children in northeast Nigeria since 2013, the United Nations’ children’s agency announced Friday [April 13],” ABC News reported.
Citing UNICEF, ABC News added, “Most of these schools haven’t been able to reopen due to extensive damage or ongoing insecurity in the area.”
As of early April, Boko Haram jihadists had killed at least 120 civilians this year and injured 210 others, Breitbart News learned from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has falsely claimed on several occasions to have defeated Boko Haram, but the terrorist group is known to continue wreaking havoc.
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On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump hosted his counterpart Buhari at the White House.
Trump vowed to work with Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram threat and to deal with attacks on Christians who are targeted by the jihadist groups and Muslim Fulani herdsmen with whom the Nigerian leader shares his ethnicity.
Critics have accused Buhari of being lenient towards the Fulani militants.

Beyond Boko Haram – James H. Barnett

Africa, Boko Haram, Crime, Islam, law enforcement, News, PMB

Buhari-and-Trump-650x330.png

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty
Muhammadu Buhari and Donald Trump (above) held a joint press conference at the White House on April 2018.

America’s biggest partner in Africa faces a host of internal crises—and its approach to security only makes matters worse.
I once asked a Nigerian taxi driver in a moment of cheap, Tom Friedman-esque curiosity what he wished Americans knew about his country. He responded, “Great culture. Horrible politics.”
It’s hard to imagine a pithier formulation of Nigerian society. Contemporary Nigerian literature is diverse and internationally acclaimed. The Nigerian brothers known as P-Square were Africa’s biggest rap act until they broke up last year, “Nollywood” cinema has spread across the continent thanks to ever-higher production values, and the Nigerian diaspora is one of the best educated in the world.

At the same time, if there are four words most Americans would associate with the country, they are not those of my sagacious cabbie but rather the ones on the signs held by Michelle Obama, Julia Roberts, and other luminaries in 2014: Bring Back Our Girls. The kidnapping of nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls by the jihadist group Boko Haram was an international cause célèbre featuring a cast of familiar characters: a depraved millenarian warlord, a helpless group of children, and an outraged international community.
But if much of the public’s image of the country is that of an archetypal African tragedy, American investors and politicians are finding Nigeria increasingly difficult to ignore. It is one of the 30 largest economies in the world and among the 10 biggest exporters of oil. It is home to more Muslims than Egypt and more Christians than Italy. It is one of the barometers by which outsiders measure Africa’s progress or lack thereof. Nigeria is at the heart of the “Africa rising” narrative championed by optimists who contend that a young, entrepreneurial population is unleashing Africa’s economic potential. It is also exhibit A for skeptics on the right and the left who worry about the expansion of Islamist militancy across Africa, about the economic and political effects of climate change, or about the dangers posed by exploitative multinationals in the third world.
The country is inarguably America’s most important strategic partner in Africa, and on April 30, Donald Trump welcomed Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, to the White House. The 75-year-old former military leader, who recently announced that he will seek reelection in 2019 despite concerns about his health, is the first African leader the president has hosted since taking office. Discussions of counterterrorism and economic growth dominated the meeting. The issue of terrorism has driven U.S.-Nigerian relations in recent years as Boko Haram and then its splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa, have made a name for themselves within the global jihadist network.
Trump, like his predecessor, is understandably reluctant to commit U.S. troops to fight Boko Haram, preferring to leave counterinsurgency efforts to the Nigerian security forces and their partners from Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin, which together constitute the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). A small contingent of U.S. special operations forces provides training and assistance. The presence of these advisers undoubtedly deters some of the task force’s more egregious behavior, but the incompetence and abusive practices of the Nigerian security forces nonetheless pose a massive impediment to an effective counterinsurgency. In late 2016, the Obama administration withheld the sale of a dozen A29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria over human-rights concerns. The Nigerian Air Force’s accidental bombing of a refugee camp in January 2017 only validated the concerns further. In December, the Trump administration approved the deal on the grounds that the aircraft would give a much-needed boost to our partner’s fitful efforts against an Islamic State-affiliate.

Boko Haram is far from defeated despite the Nigerian government’s frequent claims to the contrary. While the group’s territorial control has diminished significantly, it still moves freely throughout much of the countryside and can stage large-scale assaults and suicide bombings in northeastern Nigeria, as well as in neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. The kidnapping of 110 more schoolgirls this February in Dapchi, a northern Nigerian town previously untouched by the violence, should belie any claims that the insurgents are on the back foot. Further, the task of reconstruction in those areas that have been cleared is immense: Millions of Nigerians have been displaced during the nine-year insurgency.
Most Nigerians, though, have never viewed Boko Haram as the greatest threat to the country. More pressing is the growing violence between Fulani pastoralists and non-Fulani farmers in the Middle Belt, the region of states in central Nigeria that are the crossroads between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south. Religious questions have shaped the Middle Belt since the early 19th century, when the charismatic Islamic scholar Usman dan Fodio led the Fulani in a jihad against the Hausa kingdoms and established the Sokoto Caliphate. With British soldiers and traders in the late 19th century came Christian missionaries. Until 1914, the British governed Nigeria as two separate colonies: a southern Nigeria where they proselytized, invested, and built up infrastructure, and a northern one, ruled indirectly and neglected economically. The British promoted a distinct northern identity based on Islam and on Hausa and Fula culture, in opposition to a Christian south dominated by ethnic Igbo and Yoruba (though home to dozens of other ethnicities). Nigeria has never fully overcome the cultural divide resulting from the unification of these two colonies over a century ago.
If the Middle Belt has long seen cultural and religious disputes, the scale of the recent violence is nonetheless notable. A sectarian narrative that has begun to emerge around the various localized conflicts paints Muslim Fulani herders—pushed ever further south in search of pasture as a result of desertification—as an invading force linked to international jihadists. Ethnic militias have formed as the lines between reprisal and preemptive attack blur. Local politicians have rallied their constituencies around these militias as forms of collective defense in the absence of any effective security presence by the state.
The balance of power between north and south is the perennial question in Nigerian politics. Buhari is an ethnic Fula with close ties to a trade group of herders. Impartial as he considers himself, Buhari is attacked incessantly in the Nigerian media, especially by non-Fulanis, for the government’s poor response to the Middle Belt crisis. His recent comments blaming the violence on an influx of weapons through the Sahel following the fall of Qaddafi prompted a deluge of mockery on social media. President Trump may have been alluding to the Middle Belt during his joint press conference with Buhari when he expressed concern about the killing of Christians in Nigeria, saying that “we’re gonna be working on that problem . . . very, very hard.” If his administration is concerned about the plight of Christians in the Middle Belt and hopes to play a constructive role, it first needs to recognize that the sources of the conflict are complex, that the violence is not one-sided, and that sectarian narratives are liable to exacer­bate tensions.

Buhari’s government is also increasingly at odds with Nigeria’s Igbo population. For the past six years, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an Igbo separatist movement, has combined a mythical pseudo-zionism that posits the Igbo as descendants of ancient Hebrews with very legitimate historical grievances to agitate for independence. The group takes its name from the Republic of Biafra, the self-proclaimed Igbo nation whose attempted secession led to the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70. In its own words, IPOB seeks to free its peoples from the “shackles of caliphate domination and creeping Islamization” and to remedy the injustices of the civil war, during which more than a million people died in a famine that many scholars consider an act of genocide. IPOB supporters protested outside the White House on April 30, holding signs accusing Fulani of being Sudanese invaders. One explained to me that for Biafrans to accept Buhari’s government would be akin to America accepting rule by the Taliban.
Buhari’s government has officially labeled IPOB a terrorist organization. The Igbo number some 32 million within Nigeria’s population of 190 million, and while IPOB does not necessarily enjoy sympathy among a majority of them, a heavy crackdown on the movement could fuel widespread resentment against the government. The group’s founder, Nnamdi Kanu, disappeared last September after security forces raided his house. The Nigerian government claims to be ignorant of his whereabouts, but IPOB supporters believe he was murdered. Boko Haram’s founder, Muhammad Yusuf, was executed in 2009 while in the custody of security forces, who claimed he died in a failed escape attempt. Leaked footage of his killing turned him into a martyr and helped the insurgency gain traction among wider segments of the population in the northeast. If Kanu has been similarly killed, his death could push many Igbo into the arms of IPOB or even more radical movements.
If IPOB wishes to resurrect the cause of a decades-old conflict, the oil-rich Niger Delta is a region where conflict risks emerging as the result of much fresher wounds. Fighting in the delta began in the 1990s thanks to disputes between foreign oil companies and local minority communities such as the Ijaw and Ogoni. The pervasive corruption of the Nigerian state ensures that most of the profits from the oil industry go to political and business elites in Lagos and Abuja while the delta communities grapple with the environmental damage. The conflict accelerated after the execution of several peaceful Ogoni activists by state security forces in the mid-2000s. Militants frequently blew up or sabotaged pipelines and kidnapped foreign workers for ransom. In 2009, President Umaru Yar’Adua announced an amnesty that included monthly stipends for any militant who would disarm, as well as lucrative contracts to guard oil installations. This bribery tempered the insurgency, but it did not prevent the militants from continuing their other criminal activities (which include drugs and arms trading).
When Buhari took office, he diverted $1 billion from Nigeria’s excess crude account to ramp up the fight against Boko Haram. This cut into the slush fund for the delta militants and, inevitably, prompted a backlash. The fact that Buhari is Fulani led many in the delta to see his move as an attempt to reward a northern community at the expense of the delta populations. That the fight against Boko Haram has been accompanied by staggering corruption has only contributed to this image. In March 2016, a new group called the Niger Delta Avengers began attacking pipelines, causing Nigeria to temporarily fall behind Angola as Africa’s largest oil producer.

The Avengers’ attacks have not yet reached the scale of the conflict prior to the amnesty, but they have exposed a crippling weakness in Nigeria’s approach to security. The smash-and-forget model of brutally suppressing dissent to the point that it morphs into insurgency and then buying off the militants leaves the state in perpetual fear of old foes taking up arms again. In the Niger Delta, any time erstwhile militants are dissatisfied with the state patronage, they can put a stranglehold on the country’s economic lifeblood by attacking the oil infrastructure. What does this foretell for the conflicts in the Middle Belt or for Nigeria’s small Shia population, hundreds of whom were killed by security forces during 2015 protests?
Nigeria’s shortcomings in governance and conflict resolution are intertwined with the generational challenges arising from an ever-more populous and diverse society. If Boko Haram is defeated, the Nigerian government will still face a northeastern population that largely supports political Islam in one form or another. And regardless of if and how the Middle Belt conflicts are resolved, Fulani herdsmen must grapple with an ecological reality that means many will have to seek other forms of livelihood than the pastoralism which has defined their communities for centuries. The Nigerian government can presumably prevent a Biafran state from ever taking form, but Igbo nationalism will not die quietly. The list goes on.
These challenges are as old as the country’s independence from Britain in 1960, and proposals for greater decentralization have gained influential backers in recent years. “Efforts at wishing away the problem associated with the Nigerian federation have only resulted in several tribal, ethnic, and religious movements that have even metamorphosed into terrorist syndicates,” Yakubu Dogara, a stalwart in Buhari’s All Progressives Congress party and the speaker of Nigeria’s house of representatives, said in March. “One can, therefore, no longer fold his arms but engage some of the issues that have confronted us as a nation and threatened the federation.”
Any plan faces strong opposition from many in the country’s political elite, but the rise of such discussions reflects a recognition of the need for new thinking. U.S. policy towards Nigeria, on the other hand, continues to be driven by the same short-term security concerns. The U.S. approach clearly recognizes the gravity of the threat posed by jihadist groups in West Africa. But if the United States ignores Nigeria’s counterproductive approach towards managing both violent insurgency and peaceful dissent, the partnership will be marred by perpetual concern that Nigeria’s conflicts never die, but simply lie dormant.

James H. Barnett is a Public Interest fellow in Washington, D.C.

 

 

Sweden arrests 3 suspected of preparing “an act of terror” — INKLING LEAGUE

Islam, Terrorism

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Swedish officials say three people have been arrested on suspicion of preparing “an act of terror.”
Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency SAPO says the three were arrested Monday for terror-related activities in several locations in greater Stockholm. SAPO said they had been on the agency’s radar for a while.
The agency says several other people have been brought in for questioning.
It added that the terror threat in Sweden remains “unchanged” at a rating of three on a five-degree scale, which is “an increased threat.”
In April 2017, an Uzbek man rammed a stolen truck into a shopping crowd in Stockholm, killing five people and injuring 14 others. He said he did it to punish Sweden for joining a coalition against the Islamic State group in the Mideast.

via Sweden arrests 3 suspected of preparing “an act of terror” — INKLING LEAGUE

Israeli forces fire bullets, tear gas at border protesters, wound 200

international News, Islam, Middle East, Military, News, Politics

GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers fired bullets and tear gas at thousands of Palestinian protesters at the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, wounding nearly 200 people, hours after the United Nations human rights chief criticised Israel for using “excessive force”.

Israeli troops have killed 38 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others since Gaza residents began staging protests along the border fence on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

On Friday, Israeli ground troops, holed up behind fortifications on their side of the 40km (25-mile) border fence, fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters at five locations on the Gazan side.

The Gaza health ministry said 60 were wounded by gun fire, including a Palestinian journalist who was hit with a bullet in his foot.

Dozens more, including four medics, were treated for gas inhalation, as Israeli forces showered the area with tear gas canisters from behind their fortifications.

Protesters hurled stones and rolled burning tyres towards the fence, and some attached cans of burning petrol to kites and flew them into Israeli territory.

 gaza

Others cleared away barbed wire coils which Israeli troops had placed in Gazan territory overnight in a bid to create a buffer zone between protesters and the fence.

The protests come at a time of growing frustration for Palestinians as prospects for an independent Palestinian state look poor. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories have expanded.

In a statement released earlier on Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called the loss of life was “deplorable” and that a “staggering number of injuries” had been caused by live ammunition.

Israel’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment but the government has consistently said that it is protecting its borders and that its troops are following rules of engagement.

 gaza1

Named the ‘Great March of Return’, the protest action revives a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages which their families fled from, or were driven out of, when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

More than 2 million Palestinians are packed into the narrow coastal enclave. Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders. Egypt also restricts movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

Writing by Ori Lewis, Editing by Stephen Farrell and Raissa Kasolowsky

Detained Nigeria Shiite Leader, El-Zakzaky Charged With Murder

Africa, Islam, Legal, News

While devotees of the detained leader of Nigeria’s Shiite group, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, engaged the Police in several days of protests and riots in several cities in Nigeiria, the Kaduna state  government has decided to charge the Muslim leaders  with murder after years of reported detention. El-Zakzaky and his wife have been reportedly held in custody by the Nigerian government since December 2015 despite court rulings authorising his release.

The government initially claims he was being held in a “protective custody”, but his supporters have in the last two weeks intensified protests demanding his freedom.

In what appears to be a response to the spate of protests, the Kaduna state government slammed a fresh eight-count charge -including homicide punishable by death- on the Shiite leader, his lawyer, Femi Falana, said Thursday.

Court papers available for the media indicate that the charges were filed on April 18.

According to the charge, the alleged offences took place during the December 2015 clash between the Shiites  and a convoy of Nigeria’s army chief, Tukur Buratai.

 

 

Trinidad & Tabago Peace Conference: ‘Violent jihadists not true Muslims’ — The Muslim Times

Islam, News, Terrorism

Kevon Felmine Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 Attendees at the Peace Conference yesterday at National Centre in Preysal. Inset: Maulana Ibrahim Bin Yaqub. PICTURES RISHI RAGOONATH Terror groups who commit violence in the name of Islam are not true Muslims, Amir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Maulana Ibrahim Bin Yaqub, said yesterday as he explained […]

 

Terror groups who commit violence in the name of Islam are not true Muslims, Amir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Maulana Ibrahim Bin Yaqub, said yesterday as he explained the name Islam means peace.

Speaking at their annual Peace Conference in Preysal, Couva, Bin Yaqub said a true Muslim is a person people can feel safe around. He said while the Islamic faith locally has been under scrutiny since several followers left to join the Islamic State, this was a small amount compared to the population of Muslims living in T&T.

“A true Muslim is that person from whose tongue and whose hands people are safe in and secure. So if you would not allow people to become safe and secure, then you are not a true Muslim because you are not practising the teachings of Islam,” Bin Yaqub said.

“The majority of Muslims in the world are very peaceful. Why is it that we go after those individuals who are creating problems and then try to tell the world that it is Islam? That is not Islam.

“The true Islam are those people who are very peaceful. How many Muslims are there in Trinidad and Tobago? More than 100,000 persons and you are talking about how many people went to join ISIS. How many of them?”

Asked if there was a wrong perception of Islam by non-disciples, Bin Yaqub said in every religion you would have people with various views and who would create upheavals, just like what has happened in Islam.

“Therefore, if there is a Muslim who is misbehaving, we believe that that person or persons are far away from the true teachings of Islam.”

Bin Yaqub said local Muslims are free to travel the world and that even after 9/11 he went to the United States.

“We have a solid relationship with the US government.”

The conference is an annual event that is also held in other countries by Muslims.

Its purpose is to educate people so they can understand peace has become an expensive commodity. Bin Yaqub said with so many upheavals in the world, the Ahmadiyya Muslims believe that unless they try to know themselves entirely, they will not be able to arrive at peace.

“It is also our firm belief that various religions in the world can bring peace, because if you study the scriptures of all major religions of the world, they all speak with one tongue and that is about peace. Unless the world comes to realise its maker, that is the Creator, we will never be able to see peace.”

SOURCE:

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2018-04-22/%E2%80%98violent-jihadists-not-true-muslims%E2%80%99

 

via Trinidad & Tabago Peace Conference: ‘Violent jihadists not true Muslims’ — The Muslim Times

Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 1 of 3): The Empire of Ghana

Africa, Islam, News

 

Description: How Islam spread into sub-Saharan region of West Africa, and the great civilizations it established there, taking its inhabitants out of paganism to the worship of One God.  Part 1: Islam reaches West Africa, and a history of the Islamic Empire of Ghana By Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi

Muslim geographers and historians have provided excellent records of Muslim rulers and peoples in Africa.  Among them are Al-Khwarzimi, Ibn Munabbah, Al-Masudi, Al-Bakri, Abul Fida, Yaqut, Ibn Batutah, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Fadlallah al-’Umari, Mahmud al-Kati, Ibn al Mukhtar and Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di.  Islam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins.  Islam was accepted as early as 850 C.E.  by the Dya’ogo dynasty of the Kingdom of Tekur.  They were the first Negro people who accepted Islam.  Trade and commerce paved the way for the introduction of new elements of material culture, and made possible the intellectual development which naturally followed the introduction and spread of literacy.

Eminent Arab historians and African scholars have written on the empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhay, and Kanem Bornu.  They document famous trade routes in Africa – from Sijilmasa to Taghaza, Awdaghast, which led to the empire of Ghana, and from Sijilmasa to Tuat, Gao and Timbikutu.  Al-Bakri describes Ghana as highly advanced and economically a prosperous country as early as the eleventh century.  He also discusses the influence of Islam in Mali in the 13th century and describes the rule of Mansa Musa, whose fame spread to Sudan, North Africa and up to Europe.

Spread of Islam in West Africa

Islam reached the Savannah region in the 8th Century C.E., the date the written history of West Africa begins The Muslim-Arab historians began to write about West Africa in the early 8th century.  The famous scholar Ibn Munabbah wrote as early as 738 C.E., followed by Al-Masudi in 947 C.E.  As Islam spread in the Savannah region, it was quite natural that commercial links should also come to be established with North Africa.  Trade and commerce also paved way for the introduction of new elements of material culture, and made possible the intellectual development which naturally followed the introduction and spread of literacy, and for which parts of the Sudan were to become famous in the centuries to come.  In the Kingdom of Tekur, situated on both banks of the Senegal, Islam was accepted as early as 850 C.E., by the Dya’ogo dynasty.  This dynasty was the first Negro people who accepted Islam.

It was for this reason that Muslim-Arab historians referred to Bilad al-Tekur as ‘The Land of the Black Muslims.’  War-jabi, son of Rabis, was the first ruler of Tekur in whose reign Islam was firmly established in Tekur and the Islamic Shari’ah system was enforced.  This gave a uniform Muslim law to the people.  By the time the Al- Murabitun of Almoravids began their attack on Tekur in 1042 C.E., Islam had made a deep impact on the people of that area.  Al-Idrisi in 1511 described the Tekur Country as ‘secure, peaceful and tranquil.’  The capital town of Tekur was also called Tekur which had become center of commerce.  Merchants used to bring wool to sell there from Greater Morocco and in return, took with them gold and beads.

We have enough documents about the history of this region since it was known to the Arab historians as the Bilad al-Sudan, the land of the Blacks.  In the medieval period, the most well-known empires that grew there are known until our day: The empires of Ghana, Mali, Songhay, and Kanem Bornu.  Eminent Arab historians have written about the glories of these lands, notable among whom are Al-Bakri, Al-Masudi, Ibn Batutah and Ibn Khaldun.  Besides these scholars, there were local scholars whose works have come down to us.  As for example Tarikh al-Sudanthe History of the Sudan, by Al-Sadi and Tarikh al-Fattash by Muhammad al-Kati.

There were famous trade routes, like the one from Sijilmasa to Taghaza, Awdaghast, which led to the empire of Ghana, and another from Sijilmasa to Tuat, Gao and Timbikutu.  There were others which connected the present Nigeria with Tripoli via Fez to Bornu and Tunisia with Nigeria via Ghadames, Ghat, and Agades to Hausa land.  These routes had made all the above mentioned places famous trade centers.  These centers of trade invariably became centers of Islamic learning and civilization.  New ideas came through visiting traders in the field of administrative practices.  We shall study briefly the expansion of Islam in each of the ancient empires of Western Sudan.

Islam in the Ancient Empire of Ghana

Al-Bakri, the Muslim geographer, gives us an early account of the ancient Soninke empire of Ghana.  His Kitab fi Masalik wal Mamalik (The Book of Roads and Kingdoms) describes Ghana of 1068 as highly advanced.  Economically, it was a prosperous country.  The King had employed Muslim interpreters and most of his ministers and treasurers were also Muslims.  The Muslim ministers were learned enough to record events in Arabic and corresponded, on behalf of the king, with other rulers.  “Also, as Muslims, they belonged to the larger body politic of the Islamic world and this would make it possible to establish international relations.”

Al-Bakri gives the following picture of Islam in Ghana in the 11th century:

The city of Ghana consists of two towns lying on a plain, one of which is inhabited by Muslims and is large, possessing 12 mosques one of which is congregational mosque for Friday prayers: each has its Imam, Muezzin and paid reciters of the Quran.  The town possesses a large number of jurists, consults and learned men.

Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 2 of 3): The Empires of Mali and Songhay

Description: How Islam spread into sub-Saharan region of West Africa, and the great civilizations it established there, taking its inhabitants out of paganism to the worship of One God.  Part 2: A history of the empires of Mali and Songhay.

  • By Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi
  • Published on 10 Apr 2006

Islam in the Empire of Mali

The influence of Islam in Mali dates back to the 15th century when Al-Bakri mentions the conversion of its ruler to Islam.  There was a miserable period of drought which came to an end by offering Muslim prayers and ablutions.  The Empire of Mali arose from the ruins of Ghana Empire.  There are two important names in the history of Islam in Mali: Sundiata (1230-1255) and Mansa Musa (1312-1337).  Sundiata is the founder of the Mali Empire but was a weak Muslim, since he practiced Islam with syncretic practices and was highly disliked by the scholars.  Mansa Musa was, on the other hand, a devout Muslim and is considered to be the real architect of the Mali Empire.  By the time Sundiata died in 1255, a large number of former dependencies of Ghana also came under his power.  After him came Mansa Uli (1255-1270) who had made a pilgrimage to Makkah.

Mansa (Emperor) Musa came to power in 1312 and his fame reached beyond the Sudan, North Africa and spread up to Europe.  Mansa Musa ruled from 1312 to 1337 and in 1324-25 he made his famous pilgrimage to Makkah [Hajj].  When he returned from his pilgrimage, he brought with him a large number of Muslim scholars and architects who built five mosques for the first time with baked bricks.  Thus Islam received its greatest boost during Mansa Musa’s reign.  Many scholars agree that because of his attachment to Islam, Mansa Musa could introduce new ideas to his administration.  The famous traveller and scholar Ibn Batutah came to Mali during Mansa Sulaiman’s reign (1341-1360), and gives an excellent account of Mali’s government and its economic prosperity – in fact, a legacy of Mansa Musa’s policy.  Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage projected Mali’s enormous wealth and potentialities which attracted more and more Muslim traders and scholars.  These Muslim scholars and traders contributed to the cultural and economic development of Mali.  It was during his reign that diplomatic relations were established with Tunis and Egypt, and thus Mali began to appear on the map of the world.

Islam in the Empire of Songhay

Islam began to spread in the Empire of Songhay some time in the 11th century when the ruling Za or Dia dynasty first accepted it.  It was a prosperous region because of its booming trade with Gao.  By the 13th century it had come under the dominion of the Mali Empire but had freed itself by the end of the 14th century when the dynasty was renamed Sunni.  The frontier of Songhay now expanded and in the 15th century, under the leadership of Sunni ‘Ali, who ruled between 1464-1492, the most important towns of the Western Sudan came under the Songhay Empire.  The great cities of Islamic learning like Timbuktu and Jenne came under his power between 1471-1476.

Sunni ‘Ali’s was a nominal Muslim who used Islam to his ends.  He even persecuted Muslim scholars and practiced local cults and magic.  When the famous scholar Al-Maghilli called him a pagan, he punished him too.  The belief in cults and magic was, however, not something new in Songhay.  It existed in other parts of West Africa until the time the revivalist movements gained momentum in the 18th century.  It is said of Sunni ‘Ali that he tried to compromise between paganism and Islam although he prayed and fasted.  The scholars called it merely a mockery.

Sunni ‘Ali’s syncretism was soon challenged by the Muslim elites and scholars in Timbuktu, which was then a center of Islamic learning and civilization.  The famous family of Agit, of the Berber scholars, had the post of the Chief Justice and were known for their fearless opposition to the rulers.  In his lifetime, Sunni ‘Ali took measures against the scholars of Timbuktu (in 1469 and in 1486).  But on his death, the situation completely changed: Islam and Muslim scholars triumphed.  Muhammad Toure (Towri), a military commander asked Sunni ‘Ali’s successor, Sunni Barou, to appear before the public and make an open confession of his faith in Islam.  When Barou refused to do so, Muhammad Toure ousted him and established a new dynasty in his own name, called the Askiya dynasty.  Sunni ‘Ali may be compared with Sundiata of Mali, and Askiya Muhammad Toure with Mansa Musa, a champion of the cause of Islam.

On his coming to power, he established Islamic law and arranged a large number of Muslims to be trained as judges.  He gave his munificent patronage to the scholars and gave them large pieces of land as gifts.  He became a great friend of the famous scholar Muhammad Al-Maghilli.  It was because of his patronage that eminent Muslim scholars were attracted to Timbuktu, which became a great seat of learning in the 16th century.  Timbuktu has the credit of establishing the first Muslim University, called Sankore University, in West Africa; its name is commemorated until today in Ibadan University where a staff residential area has been named as Sankore Avenue.

Like Mansa Musa of Mali, Askia Muhammad Toure went on a pilgrimage and thus came into close contact with Muslim scholars and rulers in the Arab countries.  In Makkah, the King accorded him great respect; he was turbanned.  The King gave him a sword and the title of the Caliph of the Western Sudan.  On his return from Makkah in the year 1497, he proudly used the title of Al-Hajj.

Askia took such a keen interest in the Islamic legal system that he asked a number of questions on Islamic theology from his friend Muhammad al-Maghilli.  Al-Maghilli answered his questions in detail which Askia circulated in the Songhay empire.  Some of the questions were about the fundamental structure of the faith, such as ‘who is a true Muslim?’  and “who is a pagan?”  When we read Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodio’s works, we can see some of his arguments quoted on the authority of Al-Maghilli.  In other words, Al-Maghilli’s detailed discussions of the issues raised by Askiya Muhammad played a great role in influencing Shehu.

Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 3 of 3): The Empires of Kanem-Bornu and Hausa-Fulani Land

Description: How Islam spread into sub-Saharan region of West Africa, and the great civilizations it established there, taking its inhabitants out of paganism to the worship of One God.  Part 3: A brief history of the Islamic Empires of Kanem-Bornu and Hausa-Fulani Land.

Islam in Kanem-Bornu Empire

Kanem-Bornu in the 13th century included the region around Lake Chad, stretching as far north as Fezzan.  Kanem today forms the northern part of the Republic of Chad.  Islam was accepted for the first time by the Kanem ruler, Umme-Jilmi, who ruled between 1085-1097 C.E., through a scholar named Muhammad B. Mani, credited for bringing Islam to Kanem-Bornu.  Umme-Jilmi became a devout Muslim.  He left on a pilgrimage but died in Egypt before reaching Makkah.  Al-Bakri also mentions that Umayyad refugees, who had fled from Baghdad following plans to liquidate their dynasty at the hands of the Abbasids, were residing in Kanem [21, 22].

With the introduction of Islam in Kanem, it became the principal focus of Muslim influence in the central Sudan and relations were established with the Arab world in the Middle East and the Maghrib.  Umme’s son Dunama I (1092-1150) also went on a pilgrimage and was crowned in Egypt, while embarking at Suez for Makkah, during the third pilgrimage journey.  During the reign of Dunama II (1221-1259), a Kanem embassy was established in Tunisia around 1257, as mentioned by the famous Andalusian historian Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406 C.E.).  It was almost at the same time that a college and a hostel were established in Cairo, named Madrasah Ibn Rashiq.  Toward the end of the 13th century, Kanem became a center of Islamic knowledge and famous teachers came from Mali to teach in Kanem.  By the middle of the 13th century, Kanem established diplomatic relations with Tuat (in the Algerian Sahara) and with the Hafsid state of Tunis at embassy level.  The Kanem scholars and poets could write classical Arabic of a very high standard.  We have evidence of this in a letter written by the Chief scribe of the Kanem court dating from 1391 to 1392.

The historian Ibn Khaldun calls Dunama II as the ‘King of Kanem and Lord of Bornu,’ because his empire had expanded as far as Kano in the west and Wadai in the east.  It is said that Dunama II opened a Talisman (Munni or Mune), considered sacred by his people, and thus brought a period of hardship to his people.  It was because of his enthusiasm for the religion of Islam that he committed this ‘abomination’ (perhaps the talisman was a traditional symbol of divine (kingship) and alienated many of his subjects).

In the late 14th century, a new capital of the Kanem empire was established in Bornu at Nigazaragamu by ‘Ali b. Dunama, also called ‘Ali Ghazi, who ruled during the period 1476 to 1503.  This thriving capital continued until 1811. ‘Ali revived Islam.  He was keen on learning its principles.  He used to visit the chief Imam ‘Umar Masramba to learn more about the Islamic legal system.  He, by his own example, persuaded the nobility and Chiefs to limit the number of their wives to only four.

The Islamization of Bornu dates from the time of Mai Idris Alooma (1570-1602).  We come to know about him through his chronicler, Ahmad ibn Fartuwa.  In the 9th year of his reign, he went on a pilgrimage to Makkah and built a hostel there for pilgrims from Bornu.  He revived the Islamic practices and made all and sundry follow them.  He also set up Qadhis courts to introduce Islamic laws in place of the traditional system of customary law.  He built a large number of brick mosques to replace the existing ones, built with reeds.

In 1810 during the period of Mai Ahmad the glories of the Empire of Bornu came to an end, but its importance, as a center of Islamic learning, continued.

Islam in Hausa-Fulani land

There is a well-known Hausa legend concerning the origin of the Hausa state, attributed to Bayajida (Bayazid) who came from Begh to settle down in Kanem-Bornu.  The ruling Mai of Bornu of that time (we do not have any information about the time) welcomed Bayajida and gave his daughter in marriage to him but at the same time robbed him of his numerous followers.  He fled from the Mai with his wife and came to Gaya Mai Kano and asked the goldsmith of Kano to make a sword for him.  The story tells us that Bayajida helped the people of Kano by killing a supernatural snake which had prevented them from drawing water from a well.  It is said that the queen, named Daura, married him in appreciation of his service to the people.  Bayajida got a son named Bawo from Daura.  Bawo, himself, had seven sons: Biran, Dcura, Katsina, Zaria, Kano, Rano and Gebir, who became the founders of the Hausa states.  Whatever may be the merit of this story, it tries to explain how Hausa language and culture spread throughout the northern states of Nigeria.

Islam came to Hausaland in early 14th century.  About 40 Wangarawa graders are said to have brought Islam with them during the reign of ‘Ali Yaji who ruled Kano during the years 1349-1385.  A mosque was built and a muedthin (one who calls to prayer) was appointed to give adthan (call to prayer) and a judge was named to give religious decisions.  During the reign of a ruler named, Yaqub (1452-1463), one Fulani migrated to Kano and introduced books on Islamic Jurisprudence.  By the time Muhammad Rumfa came into power (1453-1499), Islam was firmly rooted in Kano.  In his reign Muslim scholars came to Kano; some scholars also came from Timbuktu to teach and preach Islam.

Muhammad Rumfa consulted Muslim scholars on the affairs of government.  It was he who had asked the famous Muslim theologian Al-Maghilli to write a book on Islamic government during the latter’s visit to Kano in the 15th century.  The book is a celebrated masterpiece and is called The Obligation of the Princes.  Al-Maghilli later went to Katsina, which had become a seat of learning in the 15th century.  Most of the pilgrims from Makkah would go to Katsina.  Scholars from the Sankore University of Timbuktu also visited the city and brought with them books on divinity and etymology.  In the 13th century, Katsina produced native scholars like Muhammadu Dan Marina and Muhammadu Dan Masina (d. 1667) whose works are available even today.

The literature of Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, his brother, Abdullahi, and his son Muhammad Bello speaks of the syncretic practices of the Hausa Fulanis at the end of the 18th century.  The movement of ‘Uthman Dan Fodio in 1904 was introduced as a revivalist movement in Islam to remove syncretic practices, and what Shehu called Bid’at al-Shaytaniyya or Devilish Innovations.

The spread of Islam in Africa is owing to many factors, historical, geographical and psychological, as well as its resulting distribution of Muslim communities, some of which we have tried to outline.  Ever since its first appearance in Africa, Islam has continued to grow.  The scholars there have been Africans right from the time of its spread.  Islam has become an African religion and has influenced her people in diverse ways.

SOURCE:   https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/304/viewall/spread-of-islam-in-west-africa/

Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 2 of 3): The Empires of Mali and Songhay

Africa, Islam, News

 

Description: How Islam spread into sub-Saharan region of West Africa, and the great civilizations it established there, taking its inhabitants out of paganism to the worship of One God.  Part 2: A history of the empires of Mali and Songhay By Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi

Islam in the Empire of Mali

The influence of Islam in Mali dates back to the 15th century when Al-Bakri mentions the conversion of its ruler to Islam.  There was a miserable period of drought which came to an end by offering Muslim prayers and ablutions.  The Empire of Mali arose from the ruins of Ghana Empire.  There are two important names in the history of Islam in Mali: Sundiata (1230-1255) and Mansa Musa (1312-1337).  Sundiata is the founder of the Mali Empire but was a weak Muslim, since he practiced Islam with syncretic practices and was highly disliked by the scholars.  Mansa Musa was, on the other hand, a devout Muslim and is considered to be the real architect of the Mali Empire.  By the time Sundiata died in 1255, a large number of former dependencies of Ghana also came under his power.  After him came Mansa Uli (1255-1270) who had made a pilgrimage to Makkah.

Mansa (Emperor) Musa came to power in 1312 and his fame reached beyond the Sudan, North Africa and spread up to Europe.  Mansa Musa ruled from 1312 to 1337 and in 1324-25 he made his famous pilgrimage to Makkah [Hajj].  When he returned from his pilgrimage, he brought with him a large number of Muslim scholars and architects who built five mosques for the first time with baked bricks.  Thus Islam received its greatest boost during Mansa Musa’s reign.  Many scholars agree that because of his attachment to Islam, Mansa Musa could introduce new ideas to his administration.  The famous traveller and scholar Ibn Batutah came to Mali during Mansa Sulaiman’s reign (1341-1360), and gives an excellent account of Mali’s government and its economic prosperity – in fact, a legacy of Mansa Musa’s policy.  Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage projected Mali’s enormous wealth and potentialities which attracted more and more Muslim traders and scholars.  These Muslim scholars and traders contributed to the cultural and economic development of Mali.  It was during his reign that diplomatic relations were established with Tunis and Egypt, and thus Mali began to appear on the map of the world.

Islam in the Empire of Songhay

Islam began to spread in the Empire of Songhay some time in the 11th century when the ruling Za or Dia dynasty first accepted it.  It was a prosperous region because of its booming trade with Gao.  By the 13th century it had come under the dominion of the Mali Empire but had freed itself by the end of the 14th century when the dynasty was renamed Sunni.  The frontier of Songhay now expanded and in the 15th century, under the leadership of Sunni ‘Ali, who ruled between 1464-1492, the most important towns of the Western Sudan came under the Songhay Empire.  The great cities of Islamic learning like Timbuktu and Jenne came under his power between 1471-1476.

Sunni ‘Ali’s was a nominal Muslim who used Islam to his ends.  He even persecuted Muslim scholars and practiced local cults and magic.  When the famous scholar Al-Maghilli called him a pagan, he punished him too.  The belief in cults and magic was, however, not something new in Songhay.  It existed in other parts of West Africa until the time the revivalist movements gained momentum in the 18th century.  It is said of Sunni ‘Ali that he tried to compromise between paganism and Islam although he prayed and fasted.  The scholars called it merely a mockery.

Sunni ‘Ali’s syncretism was soon challenged by the Muslim elites and scholars in Timbuktu, which was then a center of Islamic learning and civilization.  The famous family of Agit, of the Berber scholars, had the post of the Chief Justice and were known for their fearless opposition to the rulers.  In his lifetime, Sunni ‘Ali took measures against the scholars of Timbuktu (in 1469 and in 1486).  But on his death, the situation completely changed: Islam and Muslim scholars triumphed.  Muhammad Toure (Towri), a military commander asked Sunni ‘Ali’s successor, Sunni Barou, to appear before the public and make an open confession of his faith in Islam.  When Barou refused to do so, Muhammad Toure ousted him and established a new dynasty in his own name, called the Askiya dynasty.  Sunni ‘Ali may be compared with Sundiata of Mali, and Askiya Muhammad Toure with Mansa Musa, a champion of the cause of Islam.

On his coming to power, he established Islamic law and arranged a large number of Muslims to be trained as judges.  He gave his munificent patronage to the scholars and gave them large pieces of land as gifts.  He became a great friend of the famous scholar Muhammad Al-Maghilli.  It was because of his patronage that eminent Muslim scholars were attracted to Timbuktu, which became a great seat of learning in the 16th century.  Timbuktu has the credit of establishing the first Muslim University, called Sankore University, in West Africa; its name is commemorated until today in Ibadan University where a staff residential area has been named as Sankore Avenue.

Like Mansa Musa of Mali, Askia Muhammad Toure went on a pilgrimage and thus came into close contact with Muslim scholars and rulers in the Arab countries.  In Makkah, the King accorded him great respect; he was turbanned.  The King gave him a sword and the title of the Caliph of the Western Sudan.  On his return from Makkah in the year 1497, he proudly used the title of Al-Hajj.

Askia took such a keen interest in the Islamic legal system that he asked a number of questions on Islamic theology from his friend Muhammad al-Maghilli.  Al-Maghilli answered his questions in detail which Askia circulated in the Songhay empire.  Some of the questions were about the fundamental structure of the faith, such as ‘who is a true Muslim?’  and “who is a pagan?”  When we read Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodio’s works, we can see some of his arguments quoted on the authority of Al-Maghilli.  In other words, Al-Maghilli’s detailed discussions of the issues raised by Askiya Muhammad played a great role in influencing Shehu.

source:

https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/303/spread-of-islam-in-west-africa-part-2/

Spread of Islam in West Africa (part 3 of 3): The Empires of Kanem-Bornu and Hausa-Fulani Land

Africa, Islam, News

 

Description: How Islam spread into sub-Saharan region of West Africa, and the great civilizations it established there, taking its inhabitants out of paganism to the worship of One God.  Part 3: A brief history of the Islamic Empires of Kanem-Bornu and Hausa-Fulani Land.By Prof. A. Rahman I. Doi

 Islam in Kanem-Bornu Empire

Kanem-Bornu in the 13th century included the region around Lake Chad, stretching as far north as Fezzan.  Kanem today forms the northern part of the Republic of Chad.  Islam was accepted for the first time by the Kanem ruler, Umme-Jilmi, who ruled between 1085-1097 C.E., through a scholar named Muhammad B. Mani, credited for bringing Islam to Kanem-Bornu.  Umme-Jilmi became a devout Muslim.  He left on a pilgrimage but died in Egypt before reaching Makkah.  Al-Bakri also mentions that Umayyad refugees, who had fled from Baghdad following plans to liquidate their dynasty at the hands of the Abbasids, were residing in Kanem [21, 22].

With the introduction of Islam in Kanem, it became the principal focus of Muslim influence in the central Sudan and relations were established with the Arab world in the Middle East and the Maghrib.  Umme’s son Dunama I (1092-1150) also went on a pilgrimage and was crowned in Egypt, while embarking at Suez for Makkah, during the third pilgrimage journey.  During the reign of Dunama II (1221-1259), a Kanem embassy was established in Tunisia around 1257, as mentioned by the famous Andalusian historian Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406 C.E.).  It was almost at the same time that a college and a hostel were established in Cairo, named Madrasah Ibn Rashiq.  Toward the end of the 13th century, Kanem became a center of Islamic knowledge and famous teachers came from Mali to teach in Kanem.  By the middle of the 13th century, Kanem established diplomatic relations with Tuat (in the Algerian Sahara) and with the Hafsid state of Tunis at embassy level.  The Kanem scholars and poets could write classical Arabic of a very high standard.  We have evidence of this in a letter written by the Chief scribe of the Kanem court dating from 1391 to 1392.

The historian Ibn Khaldun calls Dunama II as the ‘King of Kanem and Lord of Bornu,’ because his empire had expanded as far as Kano in the west and Wadai in the east.  It is said that Dunama II opened a Talisman (Munni or Mune), considered sacred by his people, and thus brought a period of hardship to his people.  It was because of his enthusiasm for the religion of Islam that he committed this ‘abomination’ (perhaps the talisman was a traditional symbol of divine (kingship) and alienated many of his subjects).

In the late 14th century, a new capital of the Kanem empire was established in Bornu at Nigazaragamu by ‘Ali b. Dunama, also called ‘Ali Ghazi, who ruled during the period 1476 to 1503.  This thriving capital continued until 1811. ‘Ali revived Islam.  He was keen on learning its principles.  He used to visit the chief Imam ‘Umar Masramba to learn more about the Islamic legal system.  He, by his own example, persuaded the nobility and Chiefs to limit the number of their wives to only four.

The Islamization of Bornu dates from the time of Mai Idris Alooma (1570-1602).  We come to know about him through his chronicler, Ahmad ibn Fartuwa.  In the 9th year of his reign, he went on a pilgrimage to Makkah and built a hostel there for pilgrims from Bornu.  He revived the Islamic practices and made all and sundry follow them.  He also set up Qadhis courts to introduce Islamic laws in place of the traditional system of customary law.  He built a large number of brick mosques to replace the existing ones, built with reeds.

In 1810 during the period of Mai Ahmad the glories of the Empire of Bornu came to an end, but its importance, as a center of Islamic learning, continued.

Islam in Hausa-Fulani land

There is a well-known Hausa legend concerning the origin of the Hausa state, attributed to Bayajida (Bayazid) who came from Begh to settle down in Kanem-Bornu.  The ruling Mai of Bornu of that time (we do not have any information about the time) welcomed Bayajida and gave his daughter in marriage to him but at the same time robbed him of his numerous followers.  He fled from the Mai with his wife and came to Gaya Mai Kano and asked the goldsmith of Kano to make a sword for him.  The story tells us that Bayajida helped the people of Kano by killing a supernatural snake which had prevented them from drawing water from a well.  It is said that the queen, named Daura, married him in appreciation of his service to the people.  Bayajida got a son named Bawo from Daura.  Bawo, himself, had seven sons: Biran, Dcura, Katsina, Zaria, Kano, Rano and Gebir, who became the founders of the Hausa states.  Whatever may be the merit of this story, it tries to explain how Hausa language and culture spread throughout the northern states of Nigeria.

Islam came to Hausaland in early 14th century.  About 40 Wangarawa graders are said to have brought Islam with them during the reign of ‘Ali Yaji who ruled Kano during the years 1349-1385.  A mosque was built and a muedthin (one who calls to prayer) was appointed to give adthan (call to prayer) and a judge was named to give religious decisions.  During the reign of a ruler named, Yaqub (1452-1463), one Fulani migrated to Kano and introduced books on Islamic Jurisprudence.  By the time Muhammad Rumfa came into power (1453-1499), Islam was firmly rooted in Kano.  In his reign Muslim scholars came to Kano; some scholars also came from Timbuktu to teach and preach Islam.

Muhammad Rumfa consulted Muslim scholars on the affairs of government.  It was he who had asked the famous Muslim theologian Al-Maghilli to write a book on Islamic government during the latter’s visit to Kano in the 15th century.  The book is a celebrated masterpiece and is called The Obligation of the Princes.  Al-Maghilli later went to Katsina, which had become a seat of learning in the 15th century.  Most of the pilgrims from Makkah would go to Katsina.  Scholars from the Sankore University of Timbuktu also visited the city and brought with them books on divinity and etymology.  In the 13th century, Katsina produced native scholars like Muhammadu Dan Marina and Muhammadu Dan Masina (d. 1667) whose works are available even today.

The literature of Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodio, his brother, Abdullahi, and his son Muhammad Bello speaks of the syncretic practices of the Hausa Fulanis at the end of the 18th century.  The movement of ‘Uthman Dan Fodio in 1904 was introduced as a revivalist movement in Islam to remove syncretic practices, and what Shehu called Bid’at al-Shaytaniyya or Devilish Innovations.

The spread of Islam in Africa is owing to many factors, historical, geographical and psychological, as well as its resulting distribution of Muslim communities, some of which we have tried to outline.  Ever since its first appearance in Africa, Islam has continued to grow.  The scholars there have been Africans right from the time of its spread.  Islam has become an African religion and has influenced her people in diverse ways.

Islam, News

OLD NEWS OF 14-YEAR OLD RAPED INSIDE MOSQUE IN MORADABAD CIRCULATES AS RECENT INCIDENT

A news report is currently being circulated widely by some sections on social media. According to this report, a 14-year old girl was raped inside a mosque by a cleric and a shopkeeper in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. The report states that the mosque falls under the Bhagwatpur police station area. This news report has been published by some websites such as http://www.newsbytesapp.com, andhttp://www.gnsnews.co.in. NewsbytesApp was the first to publish this article, although it was later deleted. A copy of the NewsbytesApp article was put out by Yahoo News and it was quoted extensively on social media. These reports were published on April 14, 2018.

This report is being shared widely on social media. On Twitter, it was shared by right-wing users, who asked why this incident is being ignored by mainstream media organisations, with an obvious reference to the outrage over the gruesome incident in Kathua, J&K.

Islamic cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin rape a 14 year old minor girl INSIDE a mosque. After calling the innocent girl inside on the pretext of cleaning the room, they overpowered her and committed the heinous crime! Why no outrage in MSM? Cc – @Nidhihttps://t.co/I0kYsuWSby

— Shubhrastha (@Shubhrastha) April 16, 2018

This news was shared by Prasanna Vishwanathan, who is the CEO of the right-wing magazine Swarajyawho tweeted that cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin who allegedly committed the crime are absconding.

Uttar Pradesh: Cleric rapes 14-year-old girl inside mosque premises. Cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin, are absconding and the police are putting in efforts to arrest them.https://t.co/WLUeFmZcNk

— Prasanna Viswanathan (@prasannavishy) April 15, 2018

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit was among those who tweeted about it, as did those who are followed on Twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Each of these tweets was retweeted hundreds of times.

14-year-old girl raped inside the mosque by cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin in #Muradabad U.P.

“I Am Hindustan
I Am Ashamed
14 yrs old raped in a mosque”

— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) April 16, 2018

A shocking incident from Moradabad, UP !

14-year-old girl raped inside the mosque by cleric Nazir and shopkeeper Mohsin.

Can we have placard?

“I Am Hindustan
I Am Ashamed
14 yrs old raped in mosque”

— Sumit Katiyar (@iSKatiyar) April 16, 2018

Alt News fact checked this report and discovered that the said incident is not recent, but had in fact occurred in 2015. had reported about this incident in August 2015.

Alt News also contacted Bhagwatpur police station, Moradabad where the complaint was reportedly lodged. Sanjay Tomar, Inspector, Bhagwatpur police station confirmed, “The case is of 2015. The case number is 237/15 and it was registered under section 376D of the IPC. It is not a recent incident”.

An old incident dating back to August 2015 was presented as a recent incident by some news websites, and this was picked up on social media by those who seek to rationalise the horrific incidents of Kathua and Unnao. Resorting to whataboutery and alleging bias in coverage by mainstream media, a false narrative is sought to be created and perpetuated by these sections through this attempt to mislead the people.

The post Old news of 14-year old raped inside mosque in Moradabad circulates as recent incident appeared first on Alt News.

Syria says false alarm set off its air defenses

international News, Islam, Middle East, Military, SYRIA, War

Syria says false alarm set off its air defenses

A picture taken from a helicopter during a press tour provided by the Russian Armed Forces on September 15, 2017 shows an aerial view of the modern city of Palmyra, in Syria's central province of Homs.© DOMINIQUE DERDA/AFP/Getty Images A picture taken from a helicopter during a press tour provided by the Russian Armed Forces on September 15, 2017 shows an aerial view of the modern city of Palmyra…AMMAN, April 17 (Reuters) – A false alarm led to Syrian air defense missiles being fired overnight and no new attack on Syria took place, Syrian state media and a military commander said on Tuesday.

Syrian state TV reported overnight that anti-aircraft defenses had shot down missiles fired at an air base in the Homs area, and a media unit run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah said missiles had also targeted an air base near Damascus.

The incident underscored fears of a further escalation in the Syrian conflict after a U.S., British and French attack on Syrian targets on Saturday and an air strike on an air base the previous week that Damascus blamed on Israel.

Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying a number of air defense missiles had been fired but no foreign attack had taken place.

Separately, a commander in the regional military alliance backing the government attributed the malfunction to “a joint electronic attack” by Israel and the United States targeting the Syrian radar system.

The issue had been dealt with by Russian experts, said the commander, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

State television had showed pictures of a missile it said was shot in the air above the air base.

A Pentagon spokesman said there was no U.S. military activity in that area at this time. Asked about reports of the missile attack, an Israeli military spokesman said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”

Saturday’s strikes by the U.S., Britain and France were in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Syrian military in eastern Ghouta. Both Damascus and its ally Russia have denied using any such weapons.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam in Damascus and Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Additional reporting by Nayera Abdullah in Cairo, Yara Bayoumy in Washington and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

People climbing pole to touch the face of dead Sheik Inyass who appeared during the Maulud celebration in Abuja

Celebrity Gists, Islam, local news, personality

inyasssDuring the Maulud celebration in Abuja yesterday April 14, a group of worshipers has claimed to see the face of the dead Muslim cleric Sheik Inyass on an electric pole. The news caused an uproar as many believed the face appeared on purpose to mark the celebration.

Many worshipers were seen struggling to climb the pole as to touch the face of Sheik Inyass as it is believed will be a blessing to them. The face they claimed to see on a pole belongs to Sheik Inyass who was a powerful Muslim cleric who died about 37 years ago.

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