Showing posts from April 5, 2020

The perils of political and religious extremism, writes Brahma Chellaney

China’s authoritarianism gave the world the pandemic. Religious zealots accelerated the spread of the disease The current global crisis has no parallel. The Chinese Communist Party, by initially covering up the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, helped unleash the world’s worst pandemic in more than a century. The “world is paying a big price,” as United States President Donald Trump said, for what the world’s largest, strongest and longest-surviving autocracy did. The inestimable human and economic toll has shown how one country’s authoritarianism can ravage the world. Accentuating the pandemic is another extremism — one grounded in religion. The role of two proselytising fundamentalist organisations in spreading the deadly coronavirus has exemplified how religious extremism threatens public health and national security.  South Korea’s secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus sparked a major crisis by importing the virus from Wuhan, where it organised a congregation. More than half

Indian Army destroys terror launch pads in PoK; watch video shot by drone

ANI also posted a video shot from a drone showing the Indian Army destroying Pakistani terror launch pads in PoK. Srinagar:  The Indian Army on Friday (April 10, 2020) carried out precision attacks on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) responding to ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army. Army sources told news agency ANI that the terror launchpads which were targeted by the troops on the Line of Control (LoC) are located in the Dudhniyal area of Kel sector which was used by the Pakistan Army to launch five terrorists who had infiltrated in the Keran sector around April 1. "The five terrorists were killed by the Army Special Forces in fierce combat on April 5 but in the process, we had also lost our five Special Forces operatives," sources told. ANI also posted a video shot from a drone showing the Indian Army destroying Pakistani terror launch pads in PoK. ANI ✔ @ANI  ·  Apr 10, 2020 India carries out precision targeting of gun areas, terrorist launc

Afghanistan Turns Down Pakistan's Demand to Handover Mastermind of Kabul Gurdwara Attack

The ministry said that Afghanistan and Pakistan have no extradition treaty and Kabul was under no obligation to hand over the IS-Khorasan chief. Afghanistan on Saturday turned down Pakistan's demand to handover the chief of the Islamic State's Khorasan unit, Aslam Farooqi, the mastermind behind a deadly terror attack on a prominent gurudwara in Kabul last month, according to a media report. Pakistan's Foreign Office said on Thursday that the demand was conveyed to the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad. A heavily armed Islamic State-Khorasan suicide bomber stormed the gurdwara in the heart of Afghanistan's capital on March 25, killing 25 Sikhs and injuring eight others. Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security earlier this month said Farooqi, also known as Abdullah Orakzai, was arrested along with 19 other commanders in a "complex operation". The Afghan Foreign Ministry turned down Pakistan's demand, saying Farooqi was involved in the killing of hund

Crime Drops Around World as COVID-19 Keeps People Inside, Agencies Worry about Rise in Domestic Abuse

Even among regions that have the highest levels of violence outside a war zone, fewer people are being killed and fewer robberies are taking place. News18 The coronavirus pandemic that has crippled big-box retailers and mom and pop shops worldwide may be making a dent in illicit business, too. In Chicago, one of America's most violent cities, drug arrests have plummeted 42 per cent in the weeks since the city shut down, compared with the same period last year. Part of that decrease, some criminal lawyers say, is that drug dealers have no choice but to wait out the economic slump. "The feedback I'm getting is that they aren't able to move, to sell anything anywhere," said Joseph Lopez, a criminal lawyer in Chicago who represents reputed drug dealers. Overall, Chicago's crime declined 10 per cent after the pandemic struck, a trend playing out globally as cities report stunning crime drops in the weeks since measures were put into place to slow the spread of the

Government refuses to release grooming gangs review because it is 'not in public interest'

The government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs , claiming it is not in the “public interest”. Survivors accused ministers of making “empty promises”, while a man who prosecuted abusers in Rochdale called for the Home Office to “show some courage and publish” its findings. “I will not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it,” he said at the time. Show all 50 “We know that in these recent high profile cases, where people convicted have been disproportionately from a Pakistani background. “I’ve instructed my officials to explore the particular contexts and characteristics of these types of gangs.” But the government has made no further announcements on the review following Mr Javid’s move to the Treasury last year. It has, however, said it will soon publish a national strategy that will set out a “whole system response to all forms of child sexual abuse”. I

Lessons from Chernobyl, Terrorism on Dealing with Mental Health Challenges of COVID-19

With COVID-19 we are dealing with an invisible stressor and the potentially traumatic threat of death to ourselves and our loved ones. Both of these are creating widespread feelings of anxiety and depression, and may in the long run, if we get the hundreds of thousands of deaths as potentially predicted, cause a new kind of post-traumatic stress in some, and complicated grieving in others. I’ve been involved in two similar-type traumatic stressors: one, the Chernobyl power plant explosion,  a technological disaster  spewing radioactive particles over a vast area of land, and the other involving nonstate terrorist actors killing some, while threatening to kill all, that may have lessons to teach us about how to psychologically cope better on an individual and national level with COVID-19. What can we learn from other similar stressors to brace and get through this one? Terrorists – We Can Kill You Anywhere, at Any Time.  The global COVID-19 threat is completely different, yet not totall

Malaysia in the post-IS era

Author: Ahmad El-Muhammady, International Islamic University Malaysia Since its independence on 31 August 1957, Malaysia has confronted security threats of different forms and intensity, including from terrorist groups Jama’ah Islamiyyah (JI) until 2012 and the so-called Islamic State (IS) until 2019. The disintegration of IS has left its fighters and their families in chaos. Some former fighters are requesting repatriation while others choose to stay in Syria, hoping that IS will return to power. How will the post-IS era impact Malaysia?  What are the challenges for Malaysia’s counter-terrorism department, E8, and its newly appointed chief Normah Ishak? Six key factors may pose threats to Malaysia. First, IS is transforming from an organisation into a movement with a global following. The fall of IS in late 2017 arguably marked its end as an organisation, but its legacy remains. One former IS follower said in late 2019 that the true success of IS has been to make it a global household

Xinjiang’s new rules against domestic violence expand China’s ‘extremism’ front to the home

Regional lawmakers have endorsed regulations aimed at countering ‘extremist acts’ within the family Rules could be a way for authorities to enlist women’s federation officials to work on ethnic unity, analyst says China’s  far western region of Xinjiang  has added domestic violence to its legal code to combat “extremism” as authorities further tighten controls over the region. Under the new rules, domestic violence also covers the “exercise of extremist acts – both physical and psychological – that prevent other family members from engaging in normal production and way of life”. Even if the violation is considered minor, the rules empower police officers to reprimand violators, and provide shelter and protection to the victims. The rules were passed last week by the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang People’s Congress, the region’s top lawmaking body, as part of its regulations to implement the national legislation against domestic violence. The legislation was adopted by the National