The United Nations has expressed deep concern over attacks on different journalists and other intellectuals in Bangladesh in recent times.
“…it’s a matter of tremendous concern that different journalists and other intellectuals have been attacked,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, at a regular briefing at the UN headquarters on Monday.
He said the UN has been calling for the respect of basic rights in Bangladesh, including the rights of people to freedom of expression.
Farhan Haq, however, said he does not have any high-level travel to Bangladesh to announce at this stage. “…but you’re aware of our concerns.”
Blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Tejgaon Industrial area of Dhaka on Monday morning.
Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi American online activist, writer, blogger known for pioneering Bengali freethinkers’ weblog-forum, Mukto Mona, was killed and his wife, blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonya, severely injured when unidentified miscreants hacked them at TSC of Dhaka University.
Archive for the ‘Islamism’ Category
Beloved Washiqur Rahman.
DHAKA: A blogger was hacked to death in the Bangladesh capital on Monday, in the latest brutal attack on the country’s independent writers, a senior officer said. Police have arrested two men over the murder which comes just weeks after an American aethist blogger was also hacked to death in Dhaka, a crime that triggered international outrage, the officer said.
Bangladesh arrests chief suspect in US blogger murder “He was brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 500 yards (460 metres) from his home at Dhaka’s Begunbari area,” local police chief Wahidul Islam told AFP.
Islam said the men were arrested immediately after the attack trying to flee the scene.
Police said they were unsure whether the victim, Washiqur Rahman, 27, was also an atheist blogger but another social media writer said that he was known to write “against religious fundamentalism”.
“It appeared Rahman used to write using a penname Kutshit Hasher Chhana (Ugly Duckling),” Imran Sarker, head of Blogger and Online Activists Network in Bangladesh, told AFP.
“He was a progressive free thinker and was against religious fundamentalism,” he said.
Police have also arrested a suspect over the killing in February of American atheist writer and blogger Avijit Roy.
Roy was the second atheist blogger to have been murdered in the Muslim-majority country in the last two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.
His killing sparked an uproar at home and abroad with hundreds of secular activists holding protests for days to demand justice.They also slammed the country’s secular government for not doing enough to protect humanist writers.
The Dhaka Tribune states,
“Two madrasa students have been detained for their alleged involvement with the killing
Blogger Washiqur Rahman. Photo: Collected
DMCH police outpost Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Md Sentu said the body was kept at the hospital morgue. He said none has come to claim Washiqur’s body as of 1:30pm. “His face has been distorted as the miscreants hacked him mainly on the face,” said OC Salauddin.
Washiqur’s profile on Logical Forum
Meanwhile, police detained two madrasa students for their alleged involvement with the killing. Washiqur, known as Washiqur Babu on Facebook, was active on different blogging sites. He was also a member of Local Forum, an online discussion forum. On his Facebook account, Washiqur wrote several notes opposing irrational religious belief. He was a admirer of another secular blogger Avijit Roy, who was killed by extremists in Dhaka one month ago. After Avijit’s killing, Washiqur paid tribute to him making his Facebook profile and cover photos with the text: #iamavijit and words cannot be killed. He was member of eight Facebook group pages including Atheist Bangladesh. The OC said he has been murdered in the same way like blogger Rajeeb Haider. Rajeeb, known as Thaba Baba in the blogging community, was hacked to death on February 15, 2013 near his Pallabi home. A US-based Bangladeshi, Avijit Roy was hacked to death near the TSC roundabout on DU campus on the evening of February 26. In the same attack, Avijit’s wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, also an active blogger, got critically injured.” Latest Update from Bangladesh (Dhaka Tribune):
Two madrasa students have hacked blogger Oyasiqur Rahman to death for his writing against Islam. The killers are Zikrullah, 22, a student of Hathajari Madrasa in Chittagong and Ariful Islam, 22, student of Darul Ulum Madrasa, Mirpur 1 in Dhaka, said Biplop Kumar Sarker, deputy commissioner of Tejgaon Divison. Another killer Abu Taher managed to flee from the scene. No detail was found regarding him, the police official added. Zikrullah, son of Mainuddin, hailed from Raipura of Narsingdi and Ariful Islam, son of Tazul Islam, came from Barkawlia of Comilla. “They killed Oyasiqur for his writings against Islam,” the detained killers confessed to the police during primary interrogation.
One mastermind Masum is behind the killing, they also confessed, the police official said. On Sunday night, mastermind Masum, two madrasa students Zikrullah and Ariful Islam, and Abu Taher made plan, in a meeting at Hatirjheel in Dhaka, to kill Oyasiqur, said Biplop. Masum gave Zikrullah three machetes on Sunday night to complete the mission. Zikrullah became acquainted with Masum during traveling by train on way to Chittagong from Dhaka in last Ramadan while Ariful acquainted with Zikrullah in a mosque in Farmgate in the capital two months ago.
“Tunisia anti-terror march kicks off World Social Forum. Activists from around the globe honour victims of museum attack last week that left 21 people, mostly tourists, dead.”
Sunday: A demonstration against terrorism is being organised after the bloody attack at the Bardo Museum. Tens of thousands of people and foreign dignitaries, including French President Francois Hollande, are expected to participate.
Adapted from Libération.
People and organisations will gather from about 11:00 local time (1000 GMT) in Bab Saadoun. They will march to the front of the museum. This building, which houses an outstanding collection of mosaics, was the target of the March 18 attack that killed 22 people – 21 tourists and a policeman.
Prominent personalities, political figures and overseas guests will assemble at around 12:00 (11:00 GMT) with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi over a hundred metres along the outside of the museum prior to inaugurating a monument to the memory of the victims.
“We must now show our patriotism” said Minister of Tourism Salma Elloumi Rekik on national television. The attack was “a heavy blow (…) but this time did not kill us, he made us stronger,” she assured.
President Caid Essebsi called Wednesday on his countrymen to massively participate in the march “to express the strength of Tunisia” and “send a message abroad that Tunisia continues its fight against terrorism.”
Tunisia, the pioneer of the “Arab Spring”, despite its internal turmoil has completed its transition to democracy with elections in late 2014. But its stability could be threatened by the rise of Jihadist threat as well as the persistence of the economic and social problems that were the root of the 2011 revolution.
French President François Hollande will be present on the day that France holds the second round of the departmental (regional) elections. Polish and Palestinian presidents Bronislaw Komorowski and Mahmoud Abbas will take part in the march, as will Italian and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Matteo Renzi and the Spanish and Dutch Ministers of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Garcia-Margallo and Bert Koenders.
“From now on, everyone reacts after each terrorist attack as if the attack was carried out in their own country. This is new and it’s important, “said President Caid Essebsi to the French daily Ouest-France.
This march is reminiscent of the one organised in January by President Hollande after the attacks in Paris against the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman and a kosher supermarket.
The Islamist Ennahda party, the second political force in the country in the present coalition government, has called on supporters to participate in the march “to express the unity of Tunisians face this danger and their determination to defend their homeland (… ) preserve their freedom. “
The powerful trade union federation, the UGTT has also invited its members to attend “en masse”.
But the Popular Front ( Front populaire) the left coalition and main opposition party, announced that he would not participate. It accused ‘certain participants’ in the march of “hypocrisy” – a clear reference to Ennahda.
The spokesman of the Front, Hamma Hammami, said that the demonstration was “a way to cover up the issue of the responsibility (…) for the spread of terrorism.”
Many leftist policies accuse the Islamist party of having shown excessive tolerance towards the growing Jihadist groups when in power (late 2011-early 2014). They charge it with responsibility for, or complicity, in the murders in 2013 of two members of the Popular Front, Chokri Belaid Mohamed Brahmi.
Faced with these divisions, the daily La Presse spoke of “an absurd battle”, saying that “the world (…) expects that proves us to show that we deserve their backing, and the wave of solidarity that this event will demonstrate throughout today. “
The attack of March 18 was claimed by the Islamic State Group (EI). But the Tunisian Interior Ministry said the attack was led by a leader of the Falange Okba Ibn Nafaa, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda chased out by the army more than two years ago from in the mountains bordering Algeria.
The Bardo Museum, is preparing to resume normal activity. On Friday, it opened its doors to school pupils, students and members of delegations. It intends to open its doors to the public on Monday.
More on the Front Populaire’s position:
The Popular Front leader Mohamed Jmour said his party refuses to participate in the walk on Sunday, if the parties involved in terrorism are involved.
He added in a statement Friday that components of the old troika (previous government) refuse to this day to take responsibility for what has happened in Tunisia.
Mohamed Jmour also expressed also his refusal to participate in an event side by side with French leaders who are still not apologised, according to his statements, to the Tunisians for all the harm done to them during the period of the protectorate.
I publish this because I originally come from Wood Green.
My first political activity was giving out anti-apartheid leaflets on Spouter’s Corner, though I suppose my mum taking me and my sister as toddlers with her to a CND stall there counts as well.
Tendance Coatesy is always interested in what’s happening in the old Heimat.
In scenes reminiscent of the battle for Kobani, Kurds clashed with Islamists, including well known preacher Anjem Choudary, on the streets of Wood Green, London yesterday at about 5pm.
According to the Haringey Independent, the clashes occurred as a group of Kurds walked through Wood Green on their way to the Kurdish Community Centre where they were planning to celebrate Newroz, the traditional Iranian new year celebrations.
Also present on the High Street was an Islamic Roadshow Stall, part hosted by Anjem Choudary, where Islamists were promoting Sharia Law and urging Muslims not to vote.
Video footage shot by a group of young boys who appear to be on top of The Mall shopping centre at the time the riots broke out shows dozens of men swinging bats and throwing bricks at each other while police in high vis. jackets try to separate them.
Women are also present in the rioting crowds, at least one of whom was waving one of a number of purple flags, thought to belong to the Kurdish group. Most of the crowd can be heard chanting, although it is unclear what they are saying. Shoppers, including one young mum pushing a buggy, quickly disperse as shop windows are smashed.
Eventually a number of police back up vehicles arrive on the scene to drive the clashing hordes apart. But one of the young lads filming observes “No-one’s scared of the police”. Another notes “At least no Muslims died.”
Another video posted to YouTube shows the Islamic Roadshow before the rioting broke out. Muslim women in full veil hand out A4 sheets of paper with the answers to questions such as “What is Islam?” and “Who is Mohammed?” The stall was demolished by the fighting.
The Haringey Independent gives a more direct report than the conservative inflected Breitbart:
Police and demonstrators clashed after a “mini riot” broke out in a busy high street.
Members of the Kurdish community clashed with demonstrators at an Islamic Roadshow stall in High Road, Wood Green, yesterday at around 5pm.
Police were called to the town centre as arguments broke out between the two groups when the Kurdish people walked through Wood Green to the Kurdish Community Centre as part of Newroz – the traditional Iranian new year celebration.
Muslim activist Anjem Choudary, known for being an advocate of Sharia Law, was among groups hosting the Islamic Roadshow stall, who were heard promoting Sharia law and urging Muslims not to vote while handing out leaflets from their tent outside Boots.
Video footage, filmed by a boy who appears to have been above The Mall shopping centre at the time, shows police separating demonstrators, while racial slurs can be heard being shouted by people in the crowd.
Shoppers looked on as several police cars and a riot van arrived on scene, pushing the Kurdish community back down the high street away from The Mall, while men and women fled from the roadshow stand.Police have confirmed that no arrests were made during the incident and the Kurdish procession arrived at the community centre at 6.11pm.
Many shoppers took to social media to react to the “madness”.
@Debsoul67 said: “A crazy day in North London… I used to love going Shopping in Wood Green..So glad I don’t live in London anymore.”
@MissRjTiggz said: “Only now seeing the madness that happened in Wood Green yesterday.”
@xxx_kimbo_xxx said: “Shocked that this happened in Wood Green.”
From This is London.
More reaction from Anti-Fascist left.
Yesterday, Kurdish people and their supporters confronted the street presence of Daesh-supporting Islamic-fascists at their protest stall outside a Boots chemist store in High Road, Wood Green in the late afternoon. The Islamists use the stall to promote Sharia Law and the Islamic State. Police came and protected the few fascists from the angry crowd, but quickly the Islamists packed up and left the area. The Kurdish people and their supporters made a procession to their community centre to celebrate their new year of Newroz. There were no arrests.
Anjem Choudary is about as reactionary and vile an Islamist as you can get.
Salute the Glorious Dead!
Hundreds of Kurds have honoured an ex-Royal Marine killed fighting Islamic State in Syria at Manchester Airport.
Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is thought to be the first British person killed fighting IS extremists. He is said to have gone to Syria because he was “horrified by the atrocities being carried out” there. His body was flown into the airport as the Kurdistan Democratic Union party (PYD), has a large base in the city. A large crowd gathered in scenes reminiscent of those at Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, where hundreds of people regularly greeted the coffins of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They had a chance to pay their respects as a private ambulance with his coffin was driven slowly past. His coffin was handed over to his father and uncle in a ceremony involving hundreds of Syrian Kurds on Saturday. BBC
Konstandinos Erik Scurfield: Mother proud of son who fought IS.
In her speech at Parliament, Mrs Scurfield said her son Konstandinos Erik “Kosta” Scurfield had left the Royal Marines to join Kurdish fighters.
“Kosta was not a mercenary,” she said. “He wasn’t an out-of-work soldier looking for an adventure or something to do to pass the time.”
She added: “Kosta was determined to make a difference and although this is not a way that many of us would have had him choose, it was the way he considered the best for him and I am proud of him for finding the courage to do this.”
Mrs Scurfield said her son wanted to oppose IS militants to protect the “fundamental rights of every human being”.
“In other words he was a humanitarian who, in his own words, wanted to help,” she said.
20 March 2015 KQ News Desk
Hundreds of people gathered today at Manchester Airport to welcome YPG fighter Konstandinos Erik Scurfield as his body arrived back in the UK.
Konstandinos Scurfield died in battle against ISIS gangs on March 2nd 2015 and became the first British People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighter to lose his life in Rojava-Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria).
People started gathering from 9am at Manchester Airport Cargo Terminal to wait for Konstandinos’ body as it arrived from Istanbul. Carrying photos of Mr. Scurfield and waving YPG, Kurdish and Abdullah Ocalan flags people shouted, “Who is the symbol of humanity, resistance and fraternity? – Kosta!”
Before the arrival of the coffin, the message of Konstandinos’ mother Vasiliki Scurfield was read out. The message said:
We are sorry that no-one from our family can be with you today when Kosta lands in Manchester. We feel that we need to regroup and take some time together as a family to focus on the coming preparations. We are grateful and honoured by the continued support of our friends from the Kurdish community both in the UK as well as Kurdistan and we will continue to keep you informed of funeral plans as they formed.
Konstandinos’ body arrived amongst the mourners at 11:30am as they swelled to over 300 people and was greeted with a shower of hundreds of flowers, flags and pictures of the fighter. There were scenes of unprecedented outpourings of grief and lament as people surged forward to show their feelings. Many people were crying as the Kurdish national anthem was sung followed by a minutes silence and then songs of resistance and revolution.
The van carrying Mr. Scurfield’s body was followed with cries of, “Martyrs are immortal.” It is expected that following an autopsy a funeral ceremony will be held in Nottingham the following week.
Islamists Join with Right-Wing Against Gay Marriage in France.
This has been signaled to me (JM):
Hassan Aglagal, Moroccan member of the NPA (Nouveau parti anti-capitaliste), is outraged to see Muslim Participation and Spirituality (Participation et Spiritualité musulmane), a reactionary religious movement of Moroccan origin, regularly participate in anti-racism initiatives alongside left formations. Following our position against holding a joint meeting with the UOIF [ 1 ] , he asked us to make public his outrage at this situation.
(1) L’Union des organisations islamiques de France. A Muslim Brotherhood grouping (The Qur’an is our Constitution!) with social and political views on most issues that would classify it on the reactionary right (see Pourquoi je n’irai pas au rassemblement contre l’islamophobie aux côtés de l’UOIF). Its British counterpart is represented in Unite Against Fascism (UAF) by Mohammed Kozbar of the Muslim Association of Britain (1)
(The Tendance covered the above Meeting – noting the presence of the homophobic ‘racial and spiritual struggle’ group, Indigènes de la République. amongst other problems, earlier this month.)
Participation and Islamic Spirituality (PSM) is an association representing the movement Al Adl Wal Ihsan (Justice and Charity) in France. This is a movement of political Islam founded in 1973 in Morocco by the mystical Sufi Abdelassame Yassin (1928-2012) who it considers “an intellectual and spiritual father”. PSM essentially works in France to highlight, among a wider audience, the man he was and his “teachings”.
However, like the UOIF, PSM is not a purely religious based organisation and does not hesitate to get actively involved in the social debate, defending reactionary positions. It backed demonstrations on March 24 and May 26, 2013 along with the right and the extreme right in the (so-called) Manif pour Tous, and has undisguised sympathy for the Alliance Vita, one of the major anti-abortion lobbies in France PSM has also participated in the anti-abortion body’s summer school in 2013.
While the movement claims to renounce violence, two political murders have been attributed to Al Adl in Morocco. Yassine’s followers have been directly involved in the murder of two left wing students active in UNEM (National Union of Students of Morocco) in November 1991 in Oujda Ait Mohamed Benaissa Ljid in March 1993 in Fez.
This reactionary and obscurantist movement, like all forms of political Islam, keeps repeating the hollow slogan “Islam is the solution” as a response to all social and political questions. It advocates a return to a pure and simpler past with the application of the “Sharia” and the laws of “true Islam”, that is those of the time of the Prophet! Their policy, advanced with similar bodies since the seizure of power by the Ayatollahs in Iran, took advantage of the weakness of the left and the rise of the movements of this ideological-political affiliation, has enabled it to become the largest organised force in Morocco. Obviously, all the reactionary Islamist movements such as “Justice and Charity” reject secularism and the separation between religion and politics and oppose equal rights and freedom of expression. Members of PSM have no interest in revealing their political project, and have the ability to hide their true ideas by practicing concealment based on the ” taqiya “. (Note: the pious practice of dissimulating one’s true beliefs in the service of Islamism).
It’s amazing to see organizations like the NPA, PCF, Togetherness, The antifa Capab present with reactionary organisations of the mettle of UOIF and PSM! Both associations can in no case be partners of leftist organisations.
If it is right to lead the battle against racism and against ALL oppression, we must work with partners who have credibility, not with reactionary and obscurantist organizations such as the UOIF and PSM!
(1) See recently (5th March),
Professor Reza Moradi interrupted a talk on immigration organized by the University and College Union (UCU) held at the London Metropolitan University, to criticize the decision to invite Mohammed Kozbar, vice president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), to take part in the discussion panel.
IB Times “MAB is what is known as a ‘soft’ Islamist organization, normalizing and justifying terrorism, the Caliphate and sharia laws,” Moradi wrote on his Facebook page after the incident. “I am outraged that my union would share a panel with an organisation, despite its links with the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its defense of death by stoning for adultery and support of the death penalty for apostates such as me.
“This is not standing with immigrants and refugees – many of whom have fled the brutality of Islamofascists in our own countries, including myself – and of course many Muslims.” “I don’t want my university to give legitimacy to any kind of political movement.
See also (from Confusionnisme Info) Maroc : A propos de l’islampolitique et la gauche radicale
Demonstrators outside Holloway prison condemn charges against Shilan Ozcelik: No Backing from SWP.
Right whip up Islamophobia over Isis reports the latest Socialist Worker (17th March).
by Annette Mackin
Detainee rights campaign group Cage and its director Moazzam Begg have been the target of more Islamophobic smears.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper claimed it had evidence that Moazzam visited the camp where Londoner Mohammed Emwazi allegedly trained as an Isis fighter.
It quotes unnamed “official sources” speculating over the identities of men wearing balaclavas in a photo from around 2012.
The paper had already attacked Cage and Moazzam for saying that it was Western imperialism and state terror that helped make Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, into an Isis fighter.
Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, the solicitor for the students from east London who have allegedly travelled to Syria to join Isis, has also come under attack.
Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph newspaper said that he is an “extremist” with links to “terror apologists” Cage. This was after the solicitor criticised police handling of the case.
The sisters of the students also now face “radicalisation” tests as the tide of Islamophobia grows higher around such cases.
This week three teenagers from Britain were arrested in Turkey on “suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks”. They were bailed pending further inquiries.
Is the SWP complaining that those who go to support Isis, a murderous reactionary group, are arrested?
That nobody should do anything to stop people – enthused at the idea of participating in their ethnic cleansing, and genocides – joining them?
This contrasts with the complete absence of any Socialist Worker coverage of the plight of Shilan Ozcelik (from the Kurdish news site Rudaw).
LONDON – Demonstrators converged outside London’s Holloway prison in support of Shilan Ozcelik, a British girl of Kurdish descent who is believed to be the first UK citizen to be arrested for trying to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Saturday’s demonstration followed a statement signed by various Kurdish organizations, among them the Roj Women’s Association, the Kurdish Youth Assembly and the Kurdish People’s Assembly.
”The Kurdish community and supporters of the Kurdish struggle are incensed at the arrest and imprisonment of 18 year old Shilan (Silhan) Ozcelik, who is accused of wanting to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS),” the statement said.
”The UK government has been criminalising the Kurds for at least 13 years, yet not one Kurdish individual has been charged and convicted of being a PKK member, despite many raids, arrests and intimidations,” it added.
”The case of Shilan Ozcelik is the most recent chapter of this story and the Kurdish community are now concerned that the UK government will once again criminalise the community who have been the biggest supporters of the international fight against ISIS terror and fascism,” Friday’s statement declared.
The PKK, which is in peace negotiations with the Turkish government after a three-decade guerrilla war for greater rights for the country’s large Kurdish population, remains banned in Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist group by the European Union and United States.
However, calls have been growing for months for a reappraisal of the group, since its YPG affiliate in Syria has had a frontline role in fighting ISIS and has been backed with limited arms supplies and airstrikes by the US-led coalition.
Firat News, which is close to the PKK, has called the charge against Ozcelik a “scandalous decision.”
Ozcelik has been charged with a terrorist offence under the UK’s 2006 Terrorism Act.
The teenager from London was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. Her supporters say she travelled to Brussels in an attempt to try to join the YPG or its women’s YPJ wing. She was arrested on January 16 as she returned from Brussels.
Neither the YPJ or YPG are themselves banned in the UK.
Campaigners have condemned the charge against Ozcelik and launched a petition, writing to British Prime Minster David Cameron and Home Office Minister Theresa May to call for the immediate release of Ozcelik.
Several foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish forces battling ISIS.
Last week, Ivana Hoffman, a native of South Africa with German citizenship, was killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria in the war against ISIS, according to agency reports.
Before that, a British man, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, and an Australian Ase Johnson, were reported killed while battling ISIS.
Foreign fighters also have joined the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, which remains a staunch US and Western ally in the war against ISIS.
All the SWP has to say about ISIS (Ignoring completely the heroic struggle of those fighting them, above all the Kurds), is this: Isis – the real problem is Western imperialism.
There is no need to read any more.