TWO men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China were beaten to death by passengers and crew.
The Global Times newspaper reported that two of the suspects died in hospital from injuries they suffered during the ensuing fight with passengers and crew on board.
The men were part of a six-strong gang involved in the foiled hijack of a Tianjin Airlines flight bound for the regional capital of Urumqi last Friday.
Just minutes after the flight took off from Hetian, southwest Xinjiang, the men, all aged between 20 and 36, stood up and announced their plans to terrified passengers.
The gang reportedly broke a pair of aluminium crutches and used them to attack passengers while attempting to break into the cockpit, Hou Hanmin, a regional government spokeswoman said.
They were tackled by police and passengers who tied them up with belts before the plane, carrying 101 people, returned to the airport safely just 22 minutes later.
Hanmin added that police were still testing materials they had been carrying, thought to be explosives.
The men were reported to be Uighurs, the local Muslim ethnic minority. There have been clashes between authorities and Uighurs resentful of government controls over their religion and culture.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress which campaigns for Uighurs’ rights, said that it wasn’t a hijacking attempt, rather an in-flight brawl over a seat dispute.
“We warn China not to use this incident as another excuse for crackdown,” he said in an emailed statement.
Two more suspects are reportedly being treated in hospital after mutilating themselves.
Archive for the islam Category
TWO men who allegedly tried to hijack a plane in China were beaten to death by passengers and crew.
Ban on burqas first introduced by Belgium’s government last year
Move follows riot sparked by arrest of a woman for wearing the full face covering
Belgian right-wingers have offered to pay a bounty to anyone who reports a veiled woman to police.
The Vlaams Belang political party made the 250 euros (£200) offer today in the wake of face veil riots in Brussels.
Filip Dewinter, a senior figure within the right-wing party, told Reuters the riots had made police apprehensive about enforcing the burqa ban.
He claimed that the payment should put pressure on authorities to further enforce it.
Mr Dewinter said: ‘It’s a textile prison for the women who have to live under it.’
The anti-immigration nationalist party’s stunt follows protesters hurling bins and metal barriers at a Brussels police station last week.
The riot broke out after a Muslim woman was arrested for refusing to remove her face veil, or niqab.
A Brussels police spokesman said he was unaware of the money being offered.
But added that any officer who sees a woman wearing a niqab would issue a penalty.
He said: ‘When someone is breaking the law we always have to intervene, demonstrations or no, the niqab is prohibited.’
Women in Belgium risk a maximum fine of 150 euros (£120) if they wear a full face veil in public.
Mr Dewinter said he was not aware how many people had already responded to the offer of a bounty.
A spokeswoman for Belgium’s federal police said the legality of the bounty was a question for the judiciary, but if someone felt insulted by it they could file a complaint with the police.
Police in Belgium are investigating last week’s riots and arrested 13 members of the Islamist group Sharia4Belgium on Sunday, the police spokesman said.
Sharia4Belgium was not immediately available for comment.
Belgium and France both banned the wearing of full veils in public last year.
Nicolas Sarkozy, who was French president when the ban was brought in, had commented that the outfits oppress women were ‘not welcome’ in France.
Canada announced in December that new citizens had to remove any face coverings, including the niqab and burqa, when they take the oath of citizenship.
Over two decades after Satanic Verses sparked a never-ending controversy and provoked a fatwa for his head, author Salman Rushdie has only one thing to say to his detractors: ‘I did not write it for the mullahs.’
The India-born controversial writer, who has lived for years under the shadow of his 1988 book, now liberally jokes about the issue.
Speaking at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Art in London, the 64-year-old Rushdie said books are intended for people who like them. Joking about the fatwa during an interaction, he said he did not write it for the mullahs.
‘I didn’t think they were my target audience. The only thing worse than a bad review from the Ayatollah Khomeini would be a good review from the Ayatollah Khomeini,’ he remarked.
The author, who is best known for his Booker-winning marvel Midnight’s Children, said a book’s popularity did not depend on people’s dislike for it or the controversy it creates.
‘The reason why books endure is because there are enough people who like them. It’s the only reason why books last. It’s the people who love books that make them last, not the people who attack them,’ he said.
Satanic Verses sparked widespread outrage among Muslims when it came out in 1988 and even led to Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issuing a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
Later in the well-attended interaction, he said: ‘I don’t read my books. Once I’ve finished the many years it usually takes me to write them, I can’t bear to read them, because I’ve spent too long with them already. I’m not advertising them very well, am I?’
QUETTA, Pakistan — The body of a British Red Cross worker abducted in Pakistan four months ago was found beheaded Sunday, with a note saying he was killed after his captors’ demands were not met, police said.
The mutilated body of Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was dumped in a bag in an orchard on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of the insurgency-hit southwestern province of Baluchistan.
A note claiming to be from militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was found with the body, senior local police official Tariq Manzoor told AFP.
The group said in the note that “our demands were not met (and) we have stuffed his (Dale’s) body in a bag after slaughtering him. We will soon release a video of his beheading,” according to Manzoor.
Dale, a British Muslim who had been managing a health programme in Quetta for almost a year, was abducted in the city on January 5 by eight masked gunmen, who forced him from his car at gunpoint as he returned home from work.
A source close to the case said the captors had demanded a ransom of $30 million.
The International Committee of the Red Cross “condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act”, said its Director-General Yves Daccord.
“All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends.”
“We are devastated,” Daccord said, adding that the aid worker — who had worked in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq — was a “trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member”.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said London had tried tirelessly to secure Dale’s release.
“This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Mr Dale,” he said in a statement.
Pakistan’s government also condemned “the barbaric act” and vowed “to bring perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice”.
Riffat Hussain, a police surgeon at Bolan Medical College in Quetta, where the aid worker’s body was taken, told AFP that Dale had been decapitated, but doctors had stitched his head back on to his body.
He is believed to have been killed some 12-14 hours before his body was discovered, the surgeon said.
“There were no signs of any torture on his body but different body joints were dislocated” when he was stuffed into the bag, the surgeon added.
Police official Manzoor told AFP: “His body was found in a bag in an apple orchard on the outskirts of Quetta on Sunday morning.”
He said police had difficulty identifying Dale as he had grown a beard, but staff from the ICRC had confirmed the remains were his.
Baluchistan is plagued by a separatist insurgency, sectarian violence and Taliban militants.
Local rebels rose up in 2004 demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s natural oil, gas and mineral resources.
Kidnappings are rife in parts of the province, where criminals looking for ransoms snatch foreigners and locals, sometimes passing their hostages on to Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
In February 2009, John Solecki, the local head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), was snatched at gunpoint in Quetta, with his driver killed during the abduction. Solecki was released after nearly nine weeks.
In Baluchistan, the ICRC mainly focuses on health programmes and supports several medical centres, including a hospital.
The ICRC had announced a reduction of its activities in Pakistan just days before Dale’s abduction with the closure of three of its centres in the restive northwest.
But after the kidnapping the organisation vowed to continue its work in the troubled country.
The following ingredients should go a long way to produce a political thriller. Mr. M, a jihadist in an Asian state, has emerged as the mastermind of a terrorist attack in a neighboring country, which killed six Americans. After sifting through a vast cache of intelligence and obtaining a legal clearance, the State Department announces a $10 million bounty for information leading to his arrest and conviction. Mr. M promptly appears at a press conference and says, “I am here. America should give that reward money to me.”
A State Department spokesperson explains lamely that the reward is meant for incriminating evidence against Mr. M that would stand up in court. The prime minister of M’s home state condemns foreign interference in his country’s internal affairs. In the midst of this imbroglio, the United States decides to release $1.18 billion in aid to the cash-strapped government of the defiant prime minister to persuade him to reopen supply lines for US and NATO forces bogged down in the hapless neighboring Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Alarmingly, this is anything but fiction or a plot for an upcoming international sitcom. It is a brief summary of the latest development in the fraught relations between the United States and Pakistan, two countries locked into an uneasy embrace since September 12, 2001.
Mr. M. is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, a 62-year-old former academic with a tapering, hennaed beard, and the founder of the Lashkar-e Taiba (the Army of the Pure, or LeT), widely linked to several outrageously audacious terrorist attacks in India. The LeT was formed in 1987 as the military wing of the Jammat-ud Dawa religious organization (Society of the Islamic Call, or JuD) at the instigation of the Pakistani army’s formidable intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The JuD owes its existence to the efforts of Saeed, who founded it in 1985 following his return to his native Lahore after two years of advanced Islamic studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the guidance of that country’s Grand Mufti, Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz.
On its formation, the LeT joined the seven-year-old anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, an armed insurgency directed and supervised by the ISI with funds and arms supplied by the CIA and the Saudis. Once the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the Army of the Pure turned its attention to a recently launched anti-Indian jihad in Indian-administered Kashmir and beyond. The terrorist attacks attributed to it range from the devastating multiple assaults in Mumbai in November 2008, which resulted in 166 deaths, including those six Americans, to a foiled attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in December 2001, and a successful January 2010 attack on the airport in Kashmir’s capital Srinagar.
In January 2002, in the wake of Washington’s launching of the Global War on Terror, Pakistan formally banned the LeT, but in reality did little to curb its violent cross-border activities. Saeed remains its final authority. In a confession, offered as part of a plea bargain after his arrest in October 2009 in Chicago, David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American operative of LeT involved in planning the Mumbai carnage, said: “Hafiz Saeed had full knowledge of the Mumbai attacks and they were launched only after his approval.”
In December 2008, the United Nations Security Council declared the JuD a front organization for the banned LeT. The provincial Punjab government then placed Saeed under house arrest using the Maintenance of Public Order law. But six months later, the Lahore High Court declared his confinement unconstitutional. In August 2009, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice, essentially an international arrest warrant, against Saeed in response to Indian requests for his extradition. Saeed was again put under house arrest but in October the Lahore High Court quashed all charges against him due to lack of evidence.
It is common knowledge that Pakistani judges, fearing for their lives, generally refrain from convicting high-profile jihadists with political connections. When, in the face of compelling evidence, a judge has no option but to order the sentence enjoined by the law, he must either live under guard afterwards or leave the country. Such was the case with Judge Pervez Ali Shah who tried Mumtaz Qadri, the jihadist bodyguard who murdered Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer for backing an amendment to the indiscriminately applied blasphemy law. Soon after sentencing Qadri to capital punishment last October, Shah received several death threats and was forced into self-exile.
Aware of the failures of the Pakistani authorities to convict Saeed, US agencies seemed to have checked and cross-checked the authenticity of the evidence they had collected on him before the State Department announced, on April 2nd, its reward for his arrest. This was nothing less than an implied declaration of Washington’s lack of confidence in the executive and judicial organs of Pakistan.
Little wonder that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani took umbrage, describing the US bounty as blatant interference in his country’s domestic affairs. Actually, this is nothing new. It is an open secret that, in the ongoing tussle between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his bête noire, army chief of staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Obama administration has always backed the civilian head of state. That, in turn, has been a significant factor in Gilani’s stay in office since March 2008, longer than any other prime minister in Pakistan’s history.
How to Trump a Superpower
Given such strong cards, diplomatic and legal, why then did the Obama administration commit itself to releasing more than $1 billion to a government that has challenged its attempt to bring to justice an alleged mastermind of cross-border terrorism?
The answer lies in what happened at two Pakistani border posts 1.5 miles from the Afghan frontier in the early hours of November 26, 2011. NATO fighter aircraft and helicopters based in Afghanistan carried out a two-hour-long raid on these posts, killing 24 soldiers. Enraged, Pakistan’s government shut the two border crossings through which the US and NATO had until then sent a significant portion of their war supplies into Afghanistan. Its officials also forced the US to vacate Shamsi air base, which was being used by the CIA as a staging area for its drone air war in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border. The drone strikes are exceedingly unpopular – one poll found 97 percent of respondents viewed them negatively—and they are vehemently condemned by a large section of the Pakistani public and its politicians.
Furthermore, the government ordered a comprehensive review of all programs, activities, and cooperation arrangements with the US and NATO. It also instructed the country’s two-tier parliament to conduct a thorough review of Islamabad’s relations with Washington. Having taken the moral high ground, the Pakistani government pressed its demands on the Obama administration.
An appointed Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) then deliberately moved at a snail’s pace to perform the task on hand, while the Pentagon explored alternative ways of ferrying goods into Afghanistan via other countries to sustain its war there. By contrast, a vociferous campaign against the reopening of the Pakistani supply lines led by the Difa-e Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan), representing 40 religious and political groups, headed by Hafiz Saeed, took off. Its leaders have addressed huge rallies in major Pakistani cities. It was quick to condemn Washington’s bounty on Saeed, describing it as “a nefarious attempt” to undermine the Council’s drive to protect the country’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the loss of the daily traffic of 500 trucks worth of food, fuel, and weapons from the Pakistani port of Karachi through the Torkham and Chaman border crossings into Afghanistan, though little publicized in US media, has undermined the fighting capability of US and NATO forces.