Showing posts from October 22, 2023

How ‘war on terror’ was fought and won in Southeast Asia

  Medan, Indonesia   – In the early 2000s, the potential for terror attacks in Southeast Asia appeared dramatically different from today. Indonesia was rocked by the Christmas Eve church bombings on December 24, 2000, that killed 18 people. Just six days later, Metro Manila in the Philippines experienced similar bombings that killed 22 people. In 2002, a series of bombings ripped through a popular nightlife spot in Bali, Indonesia, killing more than 200 people and leaving at least another 200 wounded. In the following years, the JW Marriott Hotel, the Philippine Stock Exchange and the consulate, all in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, were attacked, as were other locations across Southeast Asia. The group responsible for the attacks, and others, was  Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) , whose members aspired to establish a hardline Islamic state in Indonesia and across wider Southeast Asia. Often referred to by its initials, JI was alleged to have  operatives in Singapore , Malaysia, Cambodia and the P

Police arrest 27 suspected militants in nationwide crackdown as Indonesia gears up for 2024 election

  JAKARTA, Indonesia --  Indonesian police said Saturday they arrested at least 27 suspected militants believed to have links to banned extremist groups, in a nationwide crackdown as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country gears up for  election s in 2024. The police's elite counterterrorism squad, known as Densus 88, made the arrests on Friday in the capital, Jakarta, and in West Java and Central Sulawesi provinces, said National Police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan. “We are still investigating and interrogating all those arrested in search for other possible suspects,” said Aswin Siregar, the spokesperson of Densus 88 told The Associated Press. Most of the arrested are suspected of being members of a homegrown militant outfit affiliated with the Islamic State group known as Jemmaah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD, he said. The arrests were made after the interrogation of 18 suspected militants arrested since Oct. 2, Ramadhan said. Some local media reports said those arrested were

Report: Quran-burning protester is ordered to leave Sweden but deportation on hold for now

  STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden reportedly withdrew the residence permit of an Iraqi man who staged a series of   public desecrations   of the Quran this year but put his deportation on hold, saying his life would be in danger if he were returned to Iraq. Sweden’s Migration Agency made the decision this week after determining that  Salwan Momika  had provided false information in his application for asylum, Swedish broadcaster TV4 reported Thursday. An order of deportation was issued but placed on hold for security reasons, a Migration Agency official told the television station Thursday. Swedish media say Momika was granted a residence permit in 2021. “The decision was made yesterday and means that this person's status and residence permit will be revoked and that he will be deported,” agency spokesman Jesper Tengroth was quoted as saying. However, Tengroth added that “this person risks being subjected to torture and inhuman treatment if he returns to his home country. We have therefore

‘Pervasive and relentless’ racism on the rise in Europe, survey finds

  Racism is “pervasive and relentless” and on the rise in   Europe , with nearly half of black people in member states surveyed by the EU reporting discrimination, from the verbal abuse of their children to being blocked by landlords from renting homes. In every walk of life, from schools to the job market, housing and health, a survey by the EU’s rights agency of people of African descent found high levels of discrimination, with some of the worst results recorded in Austria and  Germany , where far-right parties have been on the rise. The survey of 6,752 people of African descent in 13 countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,  Luxembourg , Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden – found 45% had experienced racial discrimination, an increase of six percentage points from 39% in 2016 In  Austria  and Germany, three in four of those questioned (72% and 76%) said they had felt discriminated against in the last five years, up from a half (51% and 52%) wh

Report reveals disturbing acts of racism on Quebec teen hockey team

 Justine Mercier, a reporter for French publication  Le Droit,   recently unearthed deeply disturbing racist acts  by teenage hockey players in Gatineau, Que. In one case during the 2021-22 season, a player knelt on a Black teammate’s neck, only releasing him after the victim evoked George Floyd’s death by saying “I can’t breathe.” In May 2020, Floyd died in Minnesota after white police officer Derek Chauvin  knelt on his back and neck for more than nine minutes . Floyd’s death inspired widespread racial justice protests in the U.S. and around the world. Mercier obtained a Hockey Quebec report that indicated there were at least 14 racist incidents targeting two Black members of Gatineau Intrepid (Intrépide de l'Outaouais), an under-15 team. Incidents ranged from uttering slurs such as the N-word to making references to slavery. Mercier reports  that, after several months of incidents, the two Black hockey players left the team. Meanwhile, the players who committed the racist action

Hate Crimes in London Almost Double Amid Middle East Conflict

  Antisemitic and Islamaphobic incidents have almost doubled in just over a week in London, police data showed on Friday, in the wake of the attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel nearly three weeks ago and subsequent bombardment by Israel of Gaza. There have been growing tensions in Britain and elsewhere since Hamas gunmen rampaged through Israeli towns and Israel besieged Gaza in response, with pro-Palestinian demonstrations and vigils held by Jewish groups in solidarity with hostages, some of whom are British, who were taken by the militants. Commander Kyle Gordon said there had been 408 antisemitic incidents recorded in the British capital so far this month compared to 28 in the same period last year, while there had been 174 Islamophobic offences compared to 65. In both cases the numbers were almost twice as high as those given a week ago. “My colleagues continue to ruthlessly deal with any acts of hate crime that they encounter,” Kyle told reporters. “Since the start of the

Drone Blasts Hit Two Egyptian Red Sea Towns, Israel Points to Houthi

  Drones caused explosions that rocked two Egyptian towns on the Red Sea on Friday, the Egyptian army said, while Israel said Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement sent them to strike Israel. The explosions injured six people and illustrated the risk of regional spillover from the Israel-Gaza conflict. There was no claim of responsibility. Israel’s foreign ministry said the Iran-backed Houthi launched drones and missiles “with the intention of harming Israel.” Egypt’s military spokesman Colonel Gharib Abdel-Hafez said two drones were fired from the southern Red Sea aiming north. Yemen is at the south end of the sea and Israel at the north. One drone crashed into a building adjacent to a hospital in the Egyptian town of Taba on the border with Israel, injuring six, in the early hours of Friday, Egypt’s military said. The second drone was downed outside Egyptian airspace on Friday morning, and the debris fell in a desert area of Nuweiba town, about 70 km (43 miles) from the Israeli border,

Iranian teen Armita Geravand, dies after being attacked by police for not wearing hijab, dies

 The death of Armita Geravand comes after her being in a coma for weeks in Tehran and after the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini. An Iranian teenage girl  injured weeks ago  in a mysterious incident on Tehran's Metro while not wearing a head scarf has died, Iranian state media reported Saturday. In this image from surveillance video aired by Iranian state television, women pull 16-year-old Armita Geravand from a train car on the Tehran Metro on October 1.(AP) The death of Armita Geravand comes after her being in a coma for weeks in Tehran and after the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini and the nationwide protests it sparked. We're now on WhatsApp.  Click to join. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported her death. What happened in the few seconds after Armita Geravand entered the train on Oct. 1 remains in question. While a friend told Iranian state television that she hit her head on the station’s platform, the soundless footage aired by th