Friday, April 14, 2017

Minneapolis Muslims protest 'sharia' vigilante in Cedar-Riverside area

A man Trying to impose what he calls “the civil part of the sharia law” in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis has sparked anger among local residents and Muslim leaders.

Abdullah Rashid, 22, a Georgia native who moved to Cedar-Riverside last year, has been making the rounds in the Somali-dominated neighborhood, telling people not to drink, use drugs or interact with the opposite sex. If he sees Muslim women he believes are dressed inappropriately, he approaches them and suggests they should wear a jilbab, a long, flowing garment. And he says he’s recruiting others to join the effort.

But local Muslim leaders are sounding the alarm. They are working to stop Rashid’s group, General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah, and have notified Minneapolis police, who say he’s being banned from a Cedar-Riverside property. Some say the group is preying on vulnerable young Muslims in a community that has dealt with national scrutiny around radicalization and terrorism.

“What he’s doing is wrong and doesn’t reflect the community at all,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Minneapolis police received reports in February from concerned residents who saw Rashid in a dark green uniform that said “Muslim Defense Force” and “Religious Police” and had two flags associated with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

“We’ve had conversations with community members that live over there,” said Officer Corey Schmidt, a police spokesman. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to deal with it, but it’s something we’ve been monitoring.”

Jeff Van Nest, an FBI spokesman for Minneapolis, declined to comment.

In a recent interview, Rashid said he aims to turn Cedar-Riverside into a “sharia-controlled zone” where Muslims are learning about the proper practices of Islam and that “non-Muslims are asked to respect” it.

“People who don’t know me would say I’m a terrorist,” he said. “I’m someone who’s dedicated to Islam and trying to help the community all ways I can.”

But the Islamic Institute of Minnesota issued a statement Wednesday saying Rashid “does not in any way speak for the Islamic Institute of Minnesota or the Muslims in Minnesota.”

“We consider this matter as a dangerous precedent and a threat in our country and our way of life,” the statement said. “We ask our law enforcement agencies to consider this grave matter to protect Minnesotans.”

Permit to carry denied

Sharia law is a guide to daily life for practicing Muslims, derived from the Qur’an and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. It tells Muslims, for example, what to eat and not to eat. Its interpretation and practice vary around the world.

Rashid, who was previously known as Devon James Miller, converted to Islam in 2009. He said he first started the religious police group in Georgia in 2013, and wants to grow it internationally.

He married a Somali-American woman, who had recently moved from Wyoming to Minneapolis, in 2015. They moved to Cedar-Riverside in 2016.

In late 2016, he applied for a permit to carry a handgun, which was denied by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, saying there was evidence that he is a danger to himself and others if allowed a permit to carry a gun.

Rashid sued, and court documents show he has had run-ins with law enforcement in the past. He was arrested as a juvenile in Walton County, Ga., for impersonating a police officer, and a school district reported he had harassed a 16-year-old classmate on Facebook, according to the documents. The school district report mentioned he had mental health issues, and his mother said he had been suicidal.

Rashid’s lawsuit was dismissed in March. He said he does not have a mental illness, and his wife, Kadro Abdullahi, said that Rashid is not mentally ill and that she supports his work. “He’s a man with a good personality and he loves Islam,” Abdullahi said.

But residents of the Cedar-Riverside Plaza complex have raised concerns about him, and management with Sherman Associates said they are aware of the group and working closely with law enforcement.

On Wednesday, Minneapolis police said the Cedar-Riverside Towers’ management is in the process of evicting Rashid, and security at Cedar-Riverside Plaza is advising him he’s not allowed to patrol the neighborhood or they will cite him for trespassing.

‘Against his ideas’

Rashid, who initially said he was working with Minneapolis police, said he is continuing his effort to provide security and protect Muslims’ civil rights. He said he has enlisted a group of 10 men, ages 18 and 25, to help him patrol the area.

Meanwhile some in the community are confused about what Rashid is doing.

Salma Mohamed, a mother of four, met with him recently at Brian Coyle Community Center, seeking advice on a custody case. A friend had referred her to Mohamed, unaware of his controversial activities. She was startled by his uniform, she said, and his talk about terrorism and the young Muslim men who were convicted of trying to join ISIS.

“I was expecting the guy was a lawyer,” Mohamed said. “He just brought up things that weren’t even on the discussion table.”

On his website, Rashid posted a video titled “Never Trust Non-Muslims” by Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of an Al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. And he had initially listed the Masjid Shaafici Cultural Center in Cedar-Riverside address as his organization’s headquarters.

But the imam of that mosque, Abdighani Ali, said it has nothing to do with  Rashid’s group. Ali said he plans to file a complaint with police.

“We’re against his ideas,” Ali said. “We always encourage our community to be a part of the society.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 22 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television, in the second deadly attack to hit the Egyptian capital in two days. (Dec. 11) AP

(Photo: Khaled Desouki, AFP/Getty Images)

At least 25 people were killed and 49 injured in a blast near Cairo's main Coptic Christian Cathedral, according to reports from the Egyptian state-sponsored Middle East News Agency.

MENA reported that around 10 a.m. local time someone threw a bomb into a small chapel attached to St. Mark's Cathedral in the Abbassia district, Egypt's main Coptic church. The attack occurred just days after another bombing in Cairo that killed six police officers.

Photos and video showed shattered windows and deteriorated roofing in the aftermath. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the Associated Press.

Security officials said the blast was caused by bomb that was thrown or planted in the church. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called the blast a “terrorist attack” and announced a three-day mourning period starting Sunday, according to Daily News Egypt, which cited a presidential statement. No one claimed responsibility.

The blast took place as a Sunday Mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, according to reports.

An AP reporter who saw the scene after the blast reported blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel's floor.

"I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene," cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous told the news agency.

St. Mark’s Cathedral is the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church. Its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II, is based there, the Associated Press reported.

The last bomb attack, which occurred on a main road leading to the pyramids at Giza, was claimed by a militant group believed to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt's Coptic Christians, who make up about 10% of the country's population, have complained about discrimination, the BBC reported.

In 2013, four Coptic Christians were killed in religious violence. Mourners went to St. Mark's cathedral, where many chanted slogans against Egypt's Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi. Violence erupted after the service between mourners and local residents, resulting in two deaths.

Contributing: Oren Dorell in McLean, Va.

Local media: Blast near Cairo cathedral kills at least 25

(CNN)Breaking news update, 10:23 a.m. ET:

A 12-kilogram TNT bomb caused the explosion at a Coptic church in Cairo on Sunday morning, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported, citing security sources. The blast killed at least 25 people and left 31 injured.

An explosion near a key Coptic cathedral in the Egyptian capital has left at least 25 people dead and 31 others injured, local media reported.

The blast occurred in Cairo's Abbassyia district early Sunday morning, according to the government-sponsored Al-Ahram news outlet, citing the health ministry. 

"Security forces are searching and screening the area," Al-Ahram's website reported.
The explosion took place in the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul attached to the St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, said the Coptic Church's official spokesperson, Rev. Paul Halim, according to Al-Ahram.

The attack targeted one of the most symbolic religious sites for Copts, an ethno-religious group centered in Egypt. The Coptic Orthodox Church released a statement on its Facebook page, saying in part:  "As we are bereaved by this violence and terrorism that attacks worshipers, we pray for these martyrs and for the wounded. The Egyptian church stresses on persevering national unity that keeps all Egyptians on Egypt's blessed land."

Swift condemnationsPresident Abdel Fattah El Sisi condemned the attack and declared a three-day period of national mourning. The Grand Mufti, the highest official of religious law in Egypt, condemned the "deplorable terrorist attack" on the cathedral. 

"Attacking churches whether by demolition, bombing, killing those inside, or terrifying ... secure people are prohibited in Islamic Sharia," Sheikh Shawky Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam said.

He called for unity against "black terrorism that tries to instigate sectarianism and sedition among the two wings of Egypt -- Muslims and Christians -- in a bid to weaken the nation."
The Grand Mufti also extended his condolences to Pope Tawadros ll of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Demonstrators gathered outside the cathedral Sunday to voice their anger at police and some pro-government television anchors, according to Al-Ahram. They called for the resignation of the interior minister, Magdy Abdel Gaffer.

Protesters chanted: "This time won't pass, even if we all die. ... This is not sectarian strife, let's get the world to hear." 

Sunday's explosion came just two days after two bombs killed six police officers and a civilian in Giza's Haram district, on the street leading to the city's famed pyramids.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Islaamka iyo Dumarka Maxaa Kala Haysta?

Axad, Oktoobar 02, 2016 (HOL) Hay'ada culumada Soomaaliyeed ayaa maanta walaac ka muujisay qoondada 30% ah ee Haweenka ay ku leeyihiin hay’adaha dastuuriga ee Dowladda Federaalka Somalia, gaara haan Saamiga kuraasta Baarlamaanka la dhisi doono dhawaan.

Shir jaraa'id oo ay haya'dda culummadu ku qabteen Muqdisho, ayay ku sheegeen inay tahay in si siman Rag iyo Dumarba loogu Tartamo Kuraasta Aqallada Sare iyo Hoose ee Baarlamaanka Soomaaliya, intii cid gaar ah meel loogu xiri lahaa kuraas gaar ah.

“Inagu ummad Islaam ah baanu nahay, wax walba oo la sameynayo waxaan doonaynaa inaan u fiirino arrintan maxay diinta Islaamku ka qabtaan. Diinta Islaamku Haweenku qorshe ayay ugu talo-gashay… Waa warshad soo saarta bani’aadamka, waxay tarbiyeeyaan madaxda, Hawl gaar ah ayayna leeyihiin, in siyaaadda meelaha sare ay ka galaanna looguma talo-gelin,” sidaa waxaa yiri Afhayeenka hay’adda Culummada Soomaaliyeed, Sheekh Nuur Baaruud Gurxan.

Sidoo kale, Afhayeenka ayaa xusay in Qorshaha Haweenka loogu sameeyay qoondada gaarka ah kuwo ay wataan kooxo dano gaar ahaaneed leh oo raba inay innaga na dumiyaan.

Mar la weydiiyay afhayeenka, inay xaq u leeyihiin haweenka inay kuraas ka helaan baarlamaanka si ay u helaan cid ku metesha ayuu ku jawaabay. “Iyaga uma kala soocna; Baarlamaan, Madaxweyne iyo Wasiir. Haweenka waan aragnay waxay sheegeen in ay rabaan illaa madaxweyne waxaadna mooddaa inaysan sharciga eegayn.”

Sheekh Nuur Baaruud ayaa intaas ku daray. “Marka la eego Arrinta la xiriirta Baarlamaanka… Mid Annagu waan ka gaabsan lahayn Haddii ay Sameeyaan. Haddii ay Baarlamaanka u soo galaan sida ay Raggu ugu Tartamayaan oo ay u soo galaan, weliba iyagoo aqoon u leh, da’dooduna horay u badatay, ayna baarlamanaka gudihiisa anshaxa ku ilaaliyaan. Balse waxay leeyihiin innagu ragga ayaan la mid nahay.”

Afhayeenka, ayaa waxaa kaloo la weydiiyay su’aal ahayd; Dhaqanka Soomaalida inuusan u saamaxeyn inay Baarlamanka Federaalka u soo Tartamaan ayaa laga yaabaa, marka maxaad ku diidaysaan in 30% kuraasta baarlamananka loo banneeyo haweenka, wuxuuna ku jawaabay.

“Bulshada in la khasbo bulshada oo haddii dhaqankii diiday la yiraahdo waa la idinku qasbayaa, halkee ku qoran tahay, Dastuurkee ayayse ku qoran tahay. wadamada gaalada iyagu dadkooda ma qasbnaan oo qoondooyin gaar ah ma u sameeyeen haweenkooda. Marka waxaan Waddamadooda ka jirin in innagoo ah muslim ay nagu qasbaan waxay diideen, taasna waxaan u ragnaa xaq-darro iyo dulmi.”

Ugu dambeyn, Hay’adda Culummada Soomaaliyeed ayaa waxay Dhanka kale ka digeen in la Musuq-maasuqo doorashooyinka la filayo inay dhawaan dalka ka dhacaan, iyagoo ku baaqay in mas’uuliyiin lasoo dooranayo lagu soo doorto aqoon iyo karti.

Maxamed X. Xuseen, Hiiraan Online
Muqdisho, Soomaaliya

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sheikh Bashir opposes sections of the gender law, calls it a violation to the Sharia law

Hiiraan Online
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali Religious Council opposes the recently enacted law governing the national policy on gender.
The council said they have noted many sections of the article that are not in line with Islamic Sharia.  The government had ascented the contentious sections of the article into law last month.
"When we read the gender law, we saw many articles that are not within the provision of the Islamic law. Notable among them is the law that states one has to be 18 years to be considered an adult and allowed to get married which is contrary to the Islamic Sharia." the Chairman of the Somali Religious Council, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salaad told a press conference held in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
He also took issue with the passed law that gives he believes gives excess rights to women. "It is a recipe for rebellion against their parents and husbands; a situation that is likely to weaken the Muslim society."
Sheikh Bashir also pointed out that there was need to reject a section of the law that prohibits circumcision of women and thus criminalising the act. The law states that any parent committing the act of circumcision to their daughter will be liable to a jail term.
The cleric was also opposed to the law that states that a woman can get married without her parents consent. He also took issue with the proposed law that allows Sheikhs to marry couples without their parents approval. He said such practices do not exist anywhere in the world.
Sheikh Bashir called for support towards women in their house work,  education and health but advised them to distance themselves from politics.
-Source: Hiiraan Online.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Condolences: Dr. Omar Elmi Dihod

Dr. Omar Elmi Dihod, 67, passed away on 02 April 2016 in Hargeisa Somaliland.
Dr. Omar, the only visible Christian in the Somali politics since the last 26 years died unexpectedly.

Dr. Omar who held British citizenship was a colonel in the Somali military under the military regime of General Mohamed Siyad Barreh. Dr. Omar, a medical doctor,  who was serving as an advisor to the Somaliland president before his untimely death, was an outspoken Christian leader and peace activist. He is remembered for being one of the leaders who pacified Somaliland when it declared its unilateral independence from Somalia.

Dr. Omar, a fearless disciple of Christ, used Christian principles of forgiveness, loving one’s enemies and helping the needy to unite the people of Somaliland.

Despite his enormous contributions to the Somali people all over the world, Dr. Omar was a regular recipient of death threats because of his Christian faith in a predominately Muslim population.

Key Somali Christian leaders who contacted SFJ expressed concern that Dr. Omar’s untimely death may not be natural; they are requesting from the Somaliland government to investigate Dr. Omar’s death.

Dr. Omar lost his sight 26 years ago under suspicious circumstances.

Dr. Omar, an eloquent speaker of the Somali language, was a gifted communicator who had many admirers (as well as detractors) all over the world.

Dr. Omar will be missed by his family, friends, and the Somali church as well as the Somali speaking people wherever they are.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Madaxtooyada SL oo la Baqayshay Naxarista Eebbe

Madaxweyne Siilaanyo Oo Ka Hadlay Geerida Dr Cumar Dixood Iyo Tacsi Aan Lagu Darin Alle Ha U Naxariisto Oo Xafiiska Afhayeenka Ka Soo Baxday

Madaxwaynaha Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Mudane. Axmed Maxamed Siilaanyo, wuxu tacsi u dirayaa qoyskii, qaraabadii, ehelkii, asxaabtii iyo shacbiga Somaliland, geerida ku timid Dr. Cumar Cilmi Dixood oo ku geeriyooday maanta Magaalada Hargaysa, madaxwaynuhu wuxuu si gaara uga tacsiyadaynayaa qoyska iyo qaraabada uu ka baxay Dr. Dixood, iyo dhammaan shacbiga Somalilandba.

Madaxwaynuhu wuxuu ku sifeeyay Dr.Dixood nin ku suntanaa Waddaniyadda Somaliland, kana mid ahaa aas-aasayaashii iyo halgamaagii horseeday xornimada dalka ee SNM, wakhti xaadirkana ka mid ahaa La-taliyayaasha Madaxwaynaha.

Cabdiraxmaan Sh. Cilmi Faahiye (Shamax)
Af-hayeenka Madaxtooyada JSL.

-Source: Karin News

Friday, April 01, 2016

Condolences: Abdirahman Mohamed Nur

Initial Update

A long time Somali Christian has  passed away in the US on 23 March 2016. Abdirahman  Mohamed Nur (Abdirahman Indhole), 63, who hails from Hargeisa, Somaliland, spent many years in Addis Ababa before he moved to the US with his family.

Abdirahman will be remembered for his love for the Lord and his active ministry among Somalis in the Horn of Africa and in North America.

Abdirahman, a former medical lab technician, lost his sight during  the early years of the Somali civil war. Sources confirmed to SFJ that Abdirahman’s drink was spiked to kill him because of his faith, he survived the attempted murder but lost his sight.

Abdirahman, a fervent hymnologist, will also be remembered for his unique love for the Somali hymn, “Adigaa Iftiinkayga Ciise Masiix”,“You are my light, Jesus the Messiah.”

Abdirahman struggled with liver issues, high blood pressure and diabetes since 2014.

Our prayers are with his family and the Somali church.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Somalia: Catholics banned from holding religious celebrations as government seeks to avoid “provoking” jihadists

Thursday, January 7, 2016
There are no longer any priests left to celebrate mass in the country

After 24 years of civil war, the Somali government is unable to guarantee security and stop the violence of the Islamic Courts. A Somali policeman walks past a bar in Mogadishu that was gutted by a bomb.

Christmas for us, is mass, which we watch on television, in secret, and the comfort we get from some message or other that comes from abroad…”

Yusuf (the name is fictional), is a Catholic from Mogadishu. One of about 30 locals who has stayed behind in the Somali capital which has frequently been the scene of fundamentalist terror attacks.

This year, the government has forbidden Christmas and New Year celebrations but for the meagre number of “anonymous” Christians left, this has not changed their situation one bit: for years they have been lacking priests and have been unable to attend mass and receive the sacraments. 
Officially, they do not exist, as Christians. They were “banned” from celebrating Christmas and Easter even before the government’s latest announcement. There are no priests who can visit faithful and celebrate secretly with them in their homes, without attracting attention. 
Foreign missionaries cannot do this: it would mean putting their own lives at risk, not to mention the lives of those hosting them. And so, the religious identity of the few Christian families that have stayed behind remains secret, only the neighbours know.  “This year too, I returned to Mogadishu to celebrate the Christmas masses, but the celebrations took place inside the United Nations and African Union compound, near the airport,” Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Gibuti and apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, tells Italian newspaper La Stampa. 
“There, I celebrated one mass in Italian and English for Italian-European troops and civilians and another one in French and English for the group of soldiers from Burundi and Uganda. I wasn’t able to meet the few remaining Christians in the city. I managed to meet them during the 1990’s and celebrate mass for them. But since then it has not been possible.”  THE GOVERNMENT BAN  
According to Bishop Bertin, the announcement regarding the ban on Christian celebrations has the distinct feeling of an act of propaganda aimed at calming al-Shabaab fundamentalists, “but it also occurred to me that it could be a warning for Somalis living in Europe or the US, who come back to Somalia for the holidays: they may have got into the habit of exchanging Christmas gestures”. 
Bishop Bertin does not wish to disclose too much about the thirty or so Christians still living in Mogadishu. He admits they do exist and that he met them briefly in August 2013, at a hotel in the city, just before setting off for Gibuti. He keeps in touch with them by phone and e-mail. “The local population is not fanatically anti-Christian. What is lacking is a State that guarantees protection, order and respect for the law. Everything has been destroyed by 24 years of civil war.” 
The main concern harboured by Mogadishu’s “anonymous” Christians is not about freedom of worship but about survival. “They don’t have the sacraments, they watch some ceremonies on TV and take part in spiritual communion. But their families, like many others in the country, are in need of material aid. Jobs and food are lacking. The only action the Catholic Church is involved in in the country, is linked to Caritas. And naturally, we help everyone, no matter which ethnic or religious group they belong to.”  THE ISLAMIC COURTS  
After 2000, when the Islamic Courts were born, the last of the remaining missionaries had to leave the country. The last ones left after the death of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, a Consolata missionary who was killed in September 2006, in the days when tensions were running extremely high as a result of the manipulation of the words Benedict XVI pronounced in his Regensburg speech. 
The list of Italian missionaries and alay volunteers who were killed in the country is long: Mogadishu’s last resident bishop was Salvatore Colombo, who was murdered in 1989. Graziella Fumagalli and Annalena Tonelli were killed in Somalia in 1995 and 2003 respectively.  “We need to remain hopeful that the will of the majority of the population will prevail,” Bishop Bertin concluded. “The majority are not fundamentalists and have nothing to do with this political Islam that has been radicalised by al-Shabaab.” 
About a week ago, in Kenya, just a short distance from the Kenyan-Somali border, some Muslims who were travelling on a bus, stood up to a group of al-Shabaab terrorists, refusing to be separated from their fellow passengers who were Christians. In doing so, they managed to protect them, preventing a massacre. A small yet great sign of hope.