Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

Saudi security forces keep watch along the border with Yemen in the Al-Khubah area in the southern Jazan province. (AFP/File)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

  • Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014
  • Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year, says Yemeni minister

A senior Yemeni official has put Iran and Iranian-backed Houthi militias on notice, revealing for the first time that Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014. 

Mohammed Askar, the Yemeni human rights minister, said: “Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year.” The killings are being documented by the ministry in the form of a report to be released soon, he said.

Askar, while appreciating the support of Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition, said: “The Kingdom and the UAE together have provided half of the humanitarian aid and assistance as per the target set by the UN for 2018. 

“Saudi Arabia has also provided a $2 billion bank deposit to curb the collapse of Yemen’s national currency and to stimulate the economy,” said Askar, referring to the continuous humanitarian support extended by Riyadh.

In a toughly worded warning, Askar also lambasted the destabilizing behavior of Iran, noting the observation of a UN panel, which said that the Houthis are using “winning weapons including missiles and anti-tank guns smuggled from Iran. 

“Iran has succeeded in turning the Houthis into a military tool that threatens international peace and security, especially in the navigational corridors of Yemen like Bab Al-Mandab and adjoining waters.”

Askar said: “Iran finds in the collapse of countries (like Yemen) an ideal opportunity to export its ideology of Khomeini revolution, and expand its regional influence.” 

The Iran-Houthi nexus has led to the killings of more than 814 innocent Yemeni women since 2014 as well as 89 detainees, who died in the Houthi-run illegal prisons due to torture and even executions,” he added.

“Iran has poured funds and arms in a fervent bid to expand their hegemony in the region. The Iranian intransigence has kept the war raging, which has shattered the lives of Yemenis,” he said. 

He pointed out that a large number of civilians, including women and children, have been arrested and kept in illegal detention centers by Houthis.

“This year alone until today, 12 detainees have been killed by Houthis in their prisons,” said the minister.

Asked about the systematic genocide committed by Houthi militants, Askar said: “The Houthis have transformed a large number of schools and hospitals into military barracks and prison houses. 

“The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights has documented 13,389 dead, including 1,372 children, since the Houthis declared war and stormed the capital Saana on Dec. 12, 2014, until February this year.”

He said the total number of arrests since the beginning of the coup exceeds 21,706. “The number of detainees, who are still in the prisons of the militias, exceeds 2,652; while a large number of men, women and children are either missing or languishing in secret prisons of the Houthi militants,” said the minister, putting a question mark on the fate of more than 17 journalists abducted and imprisoned by the Houthi militias.

The Houthis, he said, have also abducted 941 people since January. “While these numbers are documented by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, undocumented cases will be much higher,” he noted. 

On the question of UN intervention to secure the release of detainees, who are mostly Yemeni activists, academics, politicians, and journalists; Askar said that the UN Resolution 2216, which has mentioned the detainees, has called for their release. But the Houthis have not released them so far, he said, expressing his grave concerns.


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 19 July 2019
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.