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AUSTRALIA – Disturbing picture of Sydney siege gunman Man Monis emerges at coronial inquest
A disturbing portrait has emerged of Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis at a coronial inquest, revealing a man craving recognition and success yet troubled by serious mental health issues.
The hearing is painstakingly and forensically examining Monis’ life to better understand the chain of events which culminated in 18 hostages being held at the Lindt Café in Martin Place on December 15, 2014.
“His constant goal in life seems to have been achieving significance,” Junior Assisting Counsel Sophie Callan said.
However, in the months and years leading up to the deadly siege, Monis appeared to have no money, property or religious following to his name.
The court heard Monis was rejected by the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang when he attempted to join, and new details about the shotgun used in the incident were revealed by the officer in charge of the investigation.
[…]Born Mohammed Manteghi in the Iranian city of Borujerd, Monis was one of five children and raised in a Shiite Muslim family.
He graduated from university with a Masters in Islamic Culture and Political Science and appeared to have been a bright student.
The hearing was told Monis was indeed an Islamic religious scholar, though his claims to being equivalent to a bishop in Christianity seem to have been inflated.
Monis appeared to have been closer to a priest in ordained rank.
on this page :
Jihad 101 – Taliban basic training in Pakistan ( 12 min 07 )
2015 ICNA-MAS Convention Promo – #ICNA2015 in Baltimore from May 23-25
Muslim Delegates Lobby Congress During First Muslim Capitol Day
Egyptian Sheik Khaled Kholif: We Must Commence Our War with the Shiites
Gaza Know-how Serves Syrian Rebels Digging Attack Tunnels
A video posted on the Internet shows Syrian rebels digging a tunnel, rigged with “350 tons” of explosives, in Mount Arbaeen in Syria. A Syrian rebel says in the video, posted on May 12, 2015, that he had received a video with instructions on tunnel construction from Gaza.
MAY 24 2015 – Syria –
TUNISIA – Soldier Launches Deadly Attack On Comrades
Tunisian authorities say the soldier seized another man’s weapon to carry out the attack after he was banned from carrying guns.
A Tunisian soldier has been shot dead after opening fire on comrades, killing an officer and six others.
Another 10 soldiers were injured in the attack near the parliament building and a museum attacked by Islamic State militants earlier this year.
The shooting prompted the evacuation of a nearby school and police searched a mosque and cars travelling on the main road as two military helicopters circled overheard in the aftermath.
It was not immediately clear what caused the shooting at the Bouchoucha barracks in Tunis, but the interior ministry said it did not appear to be a terrorist attack.
Defence ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati confirmed the casualties and said the attack was an “isolated act, not a terrorist act”.
DAILY MAIL – INDIA – Police ready 28,000 page chargesheet against ‘IS supporter’
With the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) approving Karnataka’s request to prosecute Mehdi Masroor Biswas, an alleged sympathiser of the dreaded terror network Islamic State (IS), the Bengaluru Police are ready with 28,000-page chargesheet which will be filed before the designated court next week.
Mehdi Masroor Biswas (24) is facing multiple charges, primary among them being identifying himself with the IS and motivating youths, especially British nationals, to join network in its jihad, using his Twitter handles.
He was nabbed from his home on December 13, 2014, after a British news channel blew his cover by exposing his identity.
The Bengaluru Police had registered strong cases against him.
However, the MHA’s approval was necessary to file the chargesheet against Biswas.
“We have finally received the MHA’s approval. Now, we will file the chargesheet against him next week. We have built a solid case. We had to prove how he conspired and helped the IS. Consequently, the chargesheet is one of the longest in recent times,” a source in the Bengaluru Police said.
The chargesheet is supposed to be in excess of 28,000 pages.
“It was a laborious process, as we had to record every detail of his activities on two different Twitter handles. We also had to include the incriminating evidence that we obtained from his laptop and smartphone. We have a strong case against him,” the source added.
Biswas had used his Twitter handle @ShamiWitness to praise the IS work in the West Asian region and also to allegedly indoctrinate youths into the militant organisation’s ideology.
The police analysed his 124,000 tweets.
Of these, 15,000 tweets were directly in connection with the IS — defending their actions; praising their work (including the shocking beheadings); inspiring youth to spread the IS ideology and join the IS war in the West Asian region as jihadists voluntarily.
Prior to this, he had tweeted on behalf of the IS under a different handle @ElSaltador.
In addition to these tweets, the police thoroughly analysed his laptop and his smartphone, as he operated his Twitter handle from his laptop as well as his smartphone.
The police recovered from his laptop 1.5 GB data, including IS propaganda material, such as pictures, videos, and other downloads.
Biswas has been charged under the IPC section 125 (waging war against the government of any Asiatic power in alliance with the Government of India) and sections 18 and 39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
An additional chargesheet is also being filed after the police found out that Biswas had appreciated the militant activities of the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.
He had defended the Kashmiri militants as freedom fighters and glorified them as martyrs.
He had described Kashmir as Indian Occupied Kashmir and India as the aggressor in his tweets and direct messages to his followers.
“A special committee of retired judges of different High Courts formed by the MHA reviewed all these charges against Biswas before giving us the go-ahead. The National Investigation Agency is assisting us in this case,” a senior officer of the Bengaluru Police said.
Iraq prime minister rebuts Pentagon chief: ‘He was fed with the wrong information’
Iraq on Monday rejected accusations by the US defence chief that its security forces dodged battle in Ramadi and lack the will to fight the Islamic State group.
Pentagon chief Ashton Carter argued that the May 17 fall of Ramadi, the worst defeat Baghdad has suffered in almost a year, could have been avoided.
“We have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves,” he told CNN on Sunday, using one of the acronyms of the jihadist group.
Washington has been one of Baghdad’s key partners in the war to reclaim the ground lost to IS last year and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed disbelief at Carter’s stinging comments.
“I’m surprised why he said that. I mean, he was very supportive of Iraq. I am sure he was fed with the wrong information,” Abadi told the BBC.
A senior Iranian general involved in the fight against IS hit out at Washington, saying it had failed to help Iraqi forces in Ramadi despite its military presence at the Al-Asad air base in the same province.
“How can you be in that country under the pretext of protecting the Iraqis and do nothing? This is no more than being an accomplice in a plot,” said Qassem Suleimani, the Revolutionary Guards’ commander of foreign operations.
Shiite Iran has military advisers in Iraq and Syria and provides financial and military support to the governments of both countries in their battle against Sunni extremists.
The loss of Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s largest province Anbar, raised questions over the strategy adopted not only by Baghdad but also by Washington to tackle IS.[…]
CNN – video shows battle before ISIS captured Ramadi
Bob Bear Asks: Is A Two State Solution The Answer To Iraq’s Problems?
BBC News -Iraqi PM: Ramadi recapture ‘in days’
RT – ‘ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, really’ – Iraqi Interior Minister ( 25 min 34 )
SAUDI ARABIA – Mass funeral for the 21 killed in Qatif
TURKEY – Erdogan blasts New York Times: ‘Who are you? Know your place’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed a recent New York Times editorial as “shameless,” calling on the U.S. daily to “know its place.”
“Who are you? Can you write such a thing [writing a critical editorial] against the U.S. administration? If you do, [the administration] would immediately do what is necessary,” Erdo?an said during a panel organized by a think-tank in Istanbul on May 25.
“A certain media group in Turkey tries to sustain its tutelage by taking support from certain places. The new constitution and switching to a presidential system will eternally seal the path of these coup-makers,” he added, describing the editorial as “meddling in Turkey’s affairs.”
In its editorial on May 22, the New York Times noted that Erdogan had a long history of intimidating and co-opting the Turkish media, but new alarms were set off this week when criminal complaints were filed against the editors of daily Hürriyet over a headline on its website.
“Mr. Erdogan appears increasingly hostile to truth-telling. The United States and Turkey’s other NATO allies should be urging him to turn away from this destructive path,” the editorial read.
Hürriyet addressed Erdogan to defend its independent line in an editorial on May 19. “If you mean that we are afraid of defending our right to freedom of the press, free speech and freedom to criticize, which are all guaranteed by the constitution, then you should know that we will defend these freedoms with no fear,” the daily said.
On May 22, members of the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI)’s Executive Board called on Erdogan and his supporters in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “immediately halt a disingenuous campaign of vilification against the Do?an Media Group and its daily newspaper Hürriyet.”
This is not the first time that Erdogan has targeted the New York Times. He had also slammed the U.S. daily for a September 2014 story claiming that Turkey is one of the biggest sources of recruits for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
TURKEY – ISTANBUL – Hundreds call for Hagia Sophia to be converted into mosque in Istanbul rally
Hundreds of people demanded that the historic Istanbul Hagia Sophia museum be converted into a mosque during a rally in Istanbul on May 24.
People gathered outside Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, in the historical Sultanahmet district, with some carrying signs that read: “Hagia Sophia needs to be reopened as a mosque,” and “Let our lives be sacrificed for Islam.”
The protest was led by many Turkish nongovernmental organizations, including the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).
Designed as a Christian basilica in the sixth century by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus, Hagia Sophia is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hagia Sophia remained a center of Orthodox Christianity until 1453, when the city was conquered by Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, known as the Conqueror of Istanbul. After 916 years of service as a church, he ordered Hagia Sophia to become a “victory mosque,” symbolizing the Muslim conquest. The mosaics of the church were covered with plaster and were successfully restored in the 20th century.
Hagia Sophia was used as a mosque for 482 years. Following the Ottoman Empire’s collapse, it was converted into a museum by republican officials in 1935.
TURKEY – Masturbating men ‘will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife,’ says Muslim televangelist
After claiming that a man would meet his masturbating hand “pregnant in the afterlife” and “asking for its rights,” a Muslim televangelist has set Turkish social media aflame.
Self-styled televangelist Mücahid Cihad Han dived into some delicate matters on May 24 when he answered his viewers’ questions on private television station 2000 TV, Turkish media has reported. Han initially looked puzzled when a viewer said he “kept masturbating, although he was married, and even during the Umrah,” a pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims which can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Hajj.
After repeating the question a few times, Han claimed that Islam strictly prohibits masturbation as a “haram” (forbidden) act. “Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights,” he said, referring to what he claimed to be a saying of Prophet Muhammad.
“If our viewer was single, I could recommend he marry, but what can I say now?” the televangelist added, advising the viewer to “resist Satan’s temptations.”
Is masturbation forbidden in Islam?
“Istimna,” the Arabic term for masturbation that Han also referred to, is a controversial issue in Islam, as there have been varying opinions on its permissibility throughout history. The Quran has no clear reference to masturbation and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable.
Despite Han’s assertive religious stance, only a limited number of Islamic interpretations categorize masturbation as “haram,” while most of others call it a “makruh” (disliked) act. Many of the mainstream Islamic interpretations even allow it in certain conditions, like if the act could be used to avoid the temptation of an extramarital affair.
Han, who has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter, was mocked on Turkish social media on May 25, after newspapers published his latest television “fatwa.”
“Are there any hand-gynaecologists in the afterlife? Is abortion allowed there?” one Twitter user asked, while mentioning Han’s Twitter user name.
“So you think that being pregnant is a God-given punishment?” another user asked.
Israeli Arabs rally against Morsi death sentence
AFGHANISTAN – Afghan official: 19 police, 7 soldiers dead in ongoing siege
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban gunmen have surrounded a police compound in a the volatile southern province of Helmand after killing 19 policemen and seven soldiers in an ongoing siege, the senior police officer said on Monday.
Napas Khan, the police chief in the Naw Zad district, told The Associated Press by telephone from inside the compound that the insurgents had advanced to within 20 meters (65 feet) of the compound. They had seized police vehicles and weapons and blocked all roads out of Naw Zad.
“We need an immediate response from the government,” Khan said.
Helmand has long been a heartland for the Taliban, who profit heavily from opium produced in its fertile river valley.
Government forces launched an operation against the insurgents in March, in the hope of reducing the impact of the Taliban’s annual warm weather offensive. Since that offensive was launched, however, in late April, attacks across the country have intensified, spreading government forces thin.
As well as the time-worn guerrilla-style tactics of fight-and-run, the insurgents have also stepped up suicide attacks and, in some areas, targeted assassinations and kidnappings.
Also on Monday, a suicide truck bomb attack and a separate roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan killed 11 people and wounded dozens more, as the Taliban clashed with supporters of the Islamic State group in the west, officials said.
Gov. Asif Nang said the Taliban have been clashing with rival insurgents claiming allegiance to the IS group for three days in the western Farah province, leaving at least 10 Taliban fighters and 15 IS supporters dead. He provided no further details.
The clashes provide the latest indication of a small but growing Islamic State presence in the country. Afghan and foreign officials differ over the extent to which the extremist group — which rules large parts of Syria and Iraq — is able to operate in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been waging war against the Western-backed government for more than a decade.
The truck bomb struck the gate of the provincial council’s compound in the capital of Zabul province, killing at least five people and wounding 62, council director Atta Jan Haqbayan said.
Three of the wounded were council members, Haqbayan said. Mirwais Noorzai, Zabul’s police chief, said the attacker used a small truck.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Insurgents have stepped up attacks in recent months in Zabul, which borders Pakistan, and a number of Hazara Shiite men have been abducted in the province.
Later on Monday, a roadside bomb exploded in the neighboring Kandahar province, killing six people, according to the governor’s spokesman, Samim Khopalwaq.
Three policemen were killed elsewhere in Kandahar when a firefight erupted between two groups of officers, said provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani. Four officers fled the scene, he said, adding that the incident was under investigation.
Meanwhile, in northern Sari Pul province, police said the body of a local official in charge of religious affairs, Abdul Wodod, was found Monday, three days after he was kidnapped. Gen. Habib Gulbhary, the provincial police chief, said the man was abducted by unknown assailants.
video – Zabul – Afghanistan :
Islamic State – Sinai – ( 29 min 58 ) graphic
Cardinal Tauran: Catholics and Muslims do not know each other
Half a century after the great inter-religious document, ignorance rules, says Vatican leader on inter-religious dialogue
Catholics and Muslims do not know each other well enough, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, has said.
This is “despite 50 years of Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s document on inter-religious relations,
Speaking earlier this week about Catholic-Muslim relations, Cardinal Tauran added, “Most of the problems we face are problems of ignorance.”
Cardinal Tauran made his remarks in a keynote address at the conference Nostra Aetate: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Catholic Church’s Dialogue With Jews and Muslims, held at The Catholic University of America, Washington, and co-sponsored by the university’s School of Theology and Religious Studies and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
The conference was being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the document’s promulgation, which took place on October 28, 1965.
For Christians entering into dialogue with Muslims, Cardinal Tauran said, they need to understand that Islam is at the same time a religion, a political system and a civilisation. “It’s a very complex reality,” he added.
Nostra Aetate came about because St John XXIII wanted some sort of document along those lines for Vatican II but he died in 1963, before the council could consider it,. Some delegates to the council did not want to have such a document come up for discussion, Cardinal Tauran explained, and when discussion finally took place, “some bishops from the Middle East were concerned about this problem” that the draft of the document spoke only about the relationship between Catholics and Jews, and that this would not sit well with Muslim civic and religious leaders in the region.
“It soon became clear that ‘Nostra Aetate’ had nothing to do with (the state of) Israel,” Cardinal Tauran said, and the document was modified to include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other faith systems.
Card. Tauran reflects on Paris terrorism attacks
PEGIDA – DRESDEN – GERMANY – May 25 2015
Malaysian police find 139 suspected migrant graves (BBC, May 25, 2015)
“Malaysian police say 139 suspected migrant grave sites have been found in 28 people-trafficking camps along the Thai border.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said some of the graves, found since 11 May, may contain more than one body.
They are close to an area of Thailand where trafficking camps and dozens of shallow graves were found this month.
Thailand subsequently cracked down on the routes used by traffickers to move migrants through its territory.
The operation forced traffickers to move the migrants by sea instead. But thousands were left stranded after the traffickers abandoned them and no country would take them in.
The traffickers have been using the jungles of southern Thailand and northern Malaysia for years to smuggle people into Malaysia. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, rights groups say, but others are Bangladeshis seeking employment in Malaysia….”
Nigeria fuel shortage cripples businesses, banks and flights (BBC, May 25, 2015)
“Nigeria is being crippled by the fuel shortage that the country has been experiencing for more than a month.
Nigerian banks have shortened opening times, flights have been cancelled and phone companies may restrict services.
The party of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has accused the outgoing government of “sabotage” for failing to deal with the crisis.
The wholesale fuel sellers have been withholding petrol as they say they are owed $1bn (£625m) by the government.
The Guarantee Trust Bank says its branches will close at 12:00 GMT as it struggles to get fuel for its generators.
The shortening of its opening times is the latest sign of the impact of the fuel shortage.
Most Nigerian businesses and homes rely on diesel-powered generators because of the poor electricity infrastructure….”
Yemen clashes rage in south as peace talks postponed (BBC, May 25, 2015)
“There have been fierce clashes in southern Yemen, reportedly leaving dozens of people dead and wounded.
In the city of Dhalea, militiamen allied to the exiled government have retaken positions from Houthi rebels.
But in Taiz, to the west, the rebels are reported to have pushed back their opponents in heavy street fighting.
Earlier, Yemeni officials said UN-sponsored peace talks that were due to start in Geneva later this week had been postponed indefinitely.
No reason was given, but the government had demanded that the rebels recognise its authority and withdraw from cities they held, before being allowed to participate….”