Jordanian barber injured in Christchurch terror attack recovering, daughter, 3, battles for life

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Wasseim Alsati in hospital bed. (Supplied)
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Wasseim Alsati with his daughters. (Supplied)
Updated 17 March 2019
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Jordanian barber injured in Christchurch terror attack recovering, daughter, 3, battles for life

  • One of those who died was engineer Ata Alyyan. His father, Dr. Mohammad Alyyan, founded Al-Noor Mosque, which was one of the mosques targeted by the gunman

AMMAN: “One of the reasons I decided to live in New Zealand is that they don’t pay attention to who you are, and they treat you as a human being. You can do what you want.” These are the words of 36-year-old Jordanian Wasseim Alsati, a barber who made Christchurch his home.
He is injured and his three-year old daughter Leen is fighting for her life after a massacre at two mosques killed 49 people and injured dozens on Friday.
Wasseim’s friends in Amman said he wanted to excel, but that Jordan was too small for him and his ambitions. Sati Abdel Razaq, Wasseim’s father, told Arab News that five years ago his son closed his shop in the capital and left for greener pastures.
“This person had Western attitudes and he was sure his future was not in Jordan. He would always tell me his rosy dreams about becoming a great hairdresser,” Usama Jeetawi told Arab News. “Every time I would come for a haircut, he would show me his latest innovations and he would say, ‘I wish I could get to a place where I could show off my talent.’ I tried to help find him a place with Amman’s leading hair stylists, but without much success.”
Razaq told Arab News his son was getting better “but three-year-old Leen is still in critical condition after receiving three bullets to the body.”
Friends of Wasseim launched an appeal on Facebook, hoping to raise $25,000 to help the family. By Saturday $13,000 had been raised.
Wasseim is one of eight Jordanians who were injured in the terrorist attack. The Associated Press reported Saturday that four Jordanians had been killed.
One of those who died was engineer Ata Alyyan. His father, Dr. Mohammad Alyyan, founded Al-Noor Mosque, which was one of the mosques targeted by the gunman.
Family member Saed Azzam told Arab News that the father left for New Zealand 25 years ago and that the son studied computer engineering.
Father and son set up a firm, A & B Educational Consultancy, in 2007 to help Arab students wishing to study in New Zealand.
Khaled Haj Mustafa was a Syrian who lived in Jordan. He fled the brutal war in Syria and was involved in equestrianism, a profession many in Jordan remembered him for, only to be killed in a Christchurch mosque while praying.
A Jordanian ministry spokesman, Sufian Qudah, earlier announced the death of three Jordanians and said a team was working round the clock to communicate with families in Jordan and New Zealand. A Foreign Ministry envoy, Ahed Sweidat, was also dispatched to liaise with local authorities on the investigation and to arrange the repatriation of the bodies.
Tareq Khoury, a Jordanian MP, said the attack was proof that “Daesh is alive and well in the minds of the leaders of the US ... as well as other Western leaders.”
Sami Awad, executive director of the Holy Land Trust, said that the person who carried out the attack was not alone in his belief system or crazy.
“He is an extreme version of millions if not billions who believe the color of their skin, their religion, or ‘way of life’ is better than other people’s and commit violence in their hearts and minds. Let us not kid ourselves. This is a global phenomenon and epidemic,” he told Arab News.

• With input from Mohammad Ersan


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 18 min 46 sec ago
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues
RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.