Malaysia deports six Egyptians despite concerns over torture, rights abuses

Malaysia has arrested hundreds of people in the past few years for suspected links to militant groups. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Malaysia deports six Egyptians despite concerns over torture, rights abuses

  • The suspects include five people who confessed to being part of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood
  • The Tunisian and one of the Egyptians deported were members of Ansar Al-Sharia Al-Tunisia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has deported six Egyptians and a Tunisian suspected of being linked to extremist militant groups abroad.
The suspects include five people who confessed to being part of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement on Sunday.
The Tunisian and one of the Egyptians deported were members of Ansar Al-Sharia Al-Tunisia, which is listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, Mohamad Fuzi said.
The two, both in their early 20s, had previously been detained for attempting to enter another country illegally in 2016. They allegedly used fake passports to enter Malaysia with the intention of traveling to and launching an attack in a third country, police said.
“Members of this terror group are suspected of being involved in plans to carry out large-scale attacks in other countries,” Mohamad Fuzi said.
The other five Egyptians confessed to being members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and are accused of providing shelter, transport and employment for the two linked to Ansar Al-Sharia.
“As the presence of these foreigners constitute a security risk, all suspects have been deported to their native country and... recommendations have been made to blacklist them from entering Malaysia for life,” Mohamad Fuzi said, adding that two Malaysians were detained in the counter-terror operation.
However, Amnesty International Malaysia said the Egyptians deported were now at risk of enforced disappearance, torture, prolonged detention and unfair trials.
“We urge the Malaysian government to respect the principle of non-refoulement and ensure that those at risk of persecution or risk of irreparable harm in another country, including torture, are not deported,” said the group’s executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.
Malaysia has arrested hundreds of people in the past few years for suspected links to militant groups, after gunmen allied with Daesh carried out a series of attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia, in January 2016.
A grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in June 2016 wounded eight people. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack, the first such strike on Malaysian soil.


Singapore celebrates Ramadan with bazaars and biryani

Updated 23 May 2019
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Singapore celebrates Ramadan with bazaars and biryani

  • The vibrant Kampong Glam neighborhood comes alive during the holy month
  • Sultan Mosque was designated a national monument in 1975

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore’s Sultan Mosque is a focal point for Muslims in the cosmopolitan city-state and the vibrant Kampong Glam neighborhood comes alive during the holy month of Ramadan when people from all walks of life flock to its bustling bazaars.

Kampong Glam is Singapore’s “Muslim Quarter” with a mix of Malay, South Asian and Middle Eastern elements. Around 14 percent of Singapore’s 5.6 million population is Muslim, according to the latest official data.

Arab Street — an area that includes Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street — is a hub for hipsters, vivid murals, Persian rug stores, shisha bars, perfumeries and textile shops, as well as being home to the distinctive golden domes of the Sultan Mosque. There is even an ornate archway welcoming people to explore the neighborhood and its distinctive shophouses, buildings that were used for working and living in. 

“We are more like brothers and sisters, rather than businesses. I know most of the customers and they know me too,” a 36-year-old biryani hawker who gave his name as Nareza told Arab News as he served a line of hungry clients.

Nareza said his stall’s signature dish was mutton biryani, made from a family recipe handed down through generations from his late grandmother. 

FASTFACT

Around 14 percent of Singapore’s 5.6 million population is Muslim

“Dum biryani is a process of mixing meat and rice together in one pot, so the rice has a bit of the masala taste while the meat has a bit of the basmati rice fragrance,” he said, adding that he sold more than 300 portions of biryani a day. “I learned to make biryani from my father, who used to do charity work in the mosque. We make our own spices, we do not buy them from outside vendors. That is why the taste is different.”

The bazaar is packed with places selling food, drinks, decorations and homeware. The fare reflects Singapore’s international status, with eateries and stores selling kebabs, sushi and local Malay goodies.

But Singapore has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world and having a fast-paced lifestyle, leading some to focus on preserving culture and heritage for future generations.

“We want to create awareness about the significance of Sultan Mosque to the Muslim community,” juice stall owner Riduan told Arab News, saying all sale proceeds were donated to the Sultan Mosque. “Arab Street is unique because you see a lot of different races coming here and it is also a tourist attraction. This is where we demonstrate we are Singapore society. Singapore is not just limited to skyscrapers such as Marina Bay Sands.”