Sunday, April 20, 2014

Attacks Kill at Least 15 People in Iraq


Blasts, including one at a college, kill 18, while fighting in Fallujah leaves 15 dead.

Bombings across Iraq, including a suicide blast at a college in north Baghdad, have killed at least 18 people, while clashes in the country's restive city of Fallujah left 15 people dead.

Sunday’s violence came less than two weeks before a parliamentary election that will be a major test for security forces.

Police officials said that a suicide bomber with an explosives belt attacked the main gate of a Shia private college in Baghdad's eastern neighbourhood of Ur, while three armed men attacked the back gate.

Four policemen and one teacher were killed while 18 people were wounded. The three gunmen were killed, according to the officials. Medical workers confirmed the causality figures.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release information.

Iraq is hit by daily bombings and shootings that kill hundreds of people each month, but attacks targeting universities are relatively rare.

Also on Sunday, two car bombs exploded simultaneously in a commercial area in the southern city of Samawah, killing seven civilians and wounding 17, police said. The Shia city is located 370km southeast of Baghdad.

In a third attack, a car bomb in a commercial area in the town of Iskandariyah south of Baghdad killed three civilians and wounded 12 others, police said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombings, but Sunni armed groups have stepped up attacks across the country since the Shia-led government cracked down on a Sunni protest movement last year.

Fighting in Fallujah

Violence outside the capital, in particular, has increased as fighters look to undermine the government ahead of the parliamentary election on April 30.

More than 9,000 candidates will vie for 328 seats in parliament, but there will be no balloting in parts of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which is engulfed in clashes between security forces and al-Qaeda-inspired fighters.

The fighters have seized and are continuing to hold parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, and nearly all of the nearby city of Fallujah.

Clashes between the army and fighters on Sunday in Fallujah left at least 15 people killed, of whom six were killed by an artillery fire, Al Jazeera's correspondent reported.

All entries into the city had been closed, the correspondent said. 

Last year, Iraq weathered its deadliest bout of violence since it pulled back from the brink of civil war in 2008. UN figures show that violence killed 8,868 people in 2012.

Violence has killed more than 460 people in Iraq this month and upwards of 2,700 this year, according to the AFP news agency figures based on security and medical sources.

Source http://aljazeera.com/story/20144201053394672

Hate crime arrest in NY attack on Sikh professor


NEW YORK –  A man accused of pulling the beard of a Sikh professor before a group of young men who had called the professor "Osama" and a "terrorist" attacked him, has been arrested and charged with a hate crime, police said Saturday.

Christian Morales, 20, was charged with aggravated harassment in connection with September's attack on Columbia University professor Prabhjot Singh, who suffered a broken jaw.

Singh, 31, was walking home with a friend in upper Manhattan when he was approached by a group of 12 to 15 young men, he said days after his attack.

"I heard, `Get him. Osama.' I heard `terrorist.' And I felt somebody grab my beard," Singh said then.

He was then kicked and punched in an attack that ended after other people intervened, police said.

Singh didn't return a message seeking comment Saturday.

Morales was in custody and was unavailable for comment. A phone number for him was out of service, and it was unclear if he had an attorney.

Detectives from the hate crimes task force are investigating the case.

Sikhism is a peace-loving religion that originated in India and preaches equality and a commitment to justice. Its practitioners have been targeted by attackers who in some cases confuse Sikhism and Islam because Sikh men and boys are required to wear turbans and beards.

Singh co-authored a 2012 op-ed in The New York Times accusing the federal government of failing to accurately measure the extent of anti-Sikh violence in response to the August 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee that left six people and the white supremacist gunman dead.

In the op-ed, Singh and his co-author argued that it is wrong "to assume that every attack against a Sikh is really meant for a Muslim." They said Sikhs have historically been targeted.

Source http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/19/hate-crime-arrest-in-ny-attack-on-sikh-professor/

Islamist Extremism 'A Deadly Problem For Charity'


Islamist Extremism 'A Deadly Problem For Charity'

A charities' watchdog has warned that Islamist extremism is the "most deadly" problem the sector faces.

William Shawcross, chairman of theCharity Commission, said it was "ludicrous" that people convicted of terrorism offences or money laundering are not barred from setting up charities.

He told The Sunday Times the commission was taking action against any charity that was "sending cash to extremist groups in Syria" or "dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al Qaeda or other extremist groups".

He said: "The problem of Islamist extremism and charities... is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly. And it is, alas, growing.

"I'm sure that in places like Syria and Somalia it is very, very difficult for agencies always to know what the end use of their aid is, but they've got to be particularly vigilant."

In February, the Charity Commission was criticised as "feeble" after an investigation by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, which found it had failed to act robustly on clear cases of abuse.

Mr Shawcross described the criticism as "completely wrong", but said the watchdog needs better funding and legal powers to improve its function.

He added he had written to the Prime Minister asking for legislation to strength its powers.

Source http://www.citytalk.fm/news/uk-and-world/20140420-islamist-extremism-a-deadly-problem-for-charity/

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