Anti-Muslim abuse alleged in death of US Marines recruit

In this file photo, US Marines work with an instructor on the firing range in Chesapeake, Virginia. On Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, the parents of a US Marines recruit who died during training have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming their son was physically abused and targeted because of his Muslim faith. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 October 2017
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Anti-Muslim abuse alleged in death of US Marines recruit

CHICAGO: The parents of a US Marines recruit who died during training have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming their son was physically abused and targeted because of his Muslim faith.
The military has said Raheel Siddiqui committed suicide last year by jumping over a third-story railing, after enduring days of hazing. A drill instructor and battalion commander face military trials in the case.
In a $100 million lawsuit filed Friday in Siddiqui’s home state of Michigan, his Pakistani immigrant parents rejected the suicide claim, saying the 20-year-old’s Muslim faith would have made him incapable of killing himself.
“Raheel Siddiqui was excited about serving,” the lawsuit said, and “told friends and family he will ‘come back as a Marine and will not quit no matter how hard it is’.”
“No witness has come forward with any credible and/or verifiable information corroborating the allegation of suicide.”
The lawsuit charges that the military should have prevented the abuse, because the trainer supervising Siddiqui had been accused of targeting another Muslim recruit in an earlier incident.
The family claimed the young man was repeatedly struck and had a significant throat injury which was not given proper medical treatment.
Since Siddiqui’s death, approximately 20 Marines at the Parris Island training facility in South Carolina have been accused of abusing recruits, according to US media.
A Marines Corps spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.


‘Huge’ challenges ahead as Cyril Ramaphosa takes presidential oath in South Africa

Updated 25 May 2019
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‘Huge’ challenges ahead as Cyril Ramaphosa takes presidential oath in South Africa

  • Promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans
  • South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country

PRETORIA: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him.
“The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance.
He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country.
Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell.
Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the ruling party’s reputation. Without him the ANC likely would have received just 40% of the vote, one party leader, Fikile Mbalula, has said.

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ROYAL CONGRATULATIONS

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent Ramaphosa a cable of congratulations on his swearing in. 
The crown prince expressed his sincere congratulations, best wishes for success and further progress for the people of South Africa

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There was no sign at Saturday’s ceremony of Zuma, who has insisted he did nothing wrong and that allegations are politically motivated. His allies within the ANC leadership pose a challenge to Ramaphosa as he pursues reforms.
Ahead of the election Ramaphosa apologized to South Africans for the political turmoil. He also vowed to continue the fight against graft that has hurt the country’s economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.
The president’s resolve to impose clean governance will be tested with the appointment of his new Cabinet in the coming days. He faces pressure from opposition parties and civil society to reduce the number of ministers — there are now 34 — and appoint ones who are scandal-free.
In a sign his efforts are working, former deputy president David Mabuza was not sworn in as a member of Parliament due to an incriminating report on him by the ANC’s integrity commission. For now, Ramaphosa is without a deputy.
In his speech on Saturday the president also addressed public frustration with joblessness, patchy delivery of basic services and the legacy of inequality. Unemployment is above 25% and much of the country’s wealth and private levers of power are held by the small white minority.
“Many South Africans still go to bed hungry,” Ramaphosa said. “Many live lives of intolerable deprivation. Too many of our people do not work, especially the youth.”
One challenge for the president in the years ahead is engaging potential voters in South Africa’s “Born Free” generation , who never experienced apartheid and unlike their parents see the ANC not as a party of liberation but one expected to deliver for the future.