New Zealand attacks ‘will not stop Bangladesh cricket tours’

A Muslim man stands with a Maori man on Friday as people gather for prayers and to observe a two-minute silence for victims of the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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New Zealand attacks ‘will not stop Bangladesh cricket tours’

  • The team is scheduled to travel to Ireland in May to compete in a tri-nation, one-day series with the hosts and the West Indies

DHAKA: Bangladeshi cricketers will continue to tour New Zealand in the future, an official from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) told Arab News on Friday.
His comments follow the attack on two mosques in Christchurch last Friday, during which a number of Bangladeshi cricketers narrowly escaped becoming involved in the atrocity.
The gun attack by a white supremacist resulted in the deaths of 50 people, with hundreds more injured. Five Bangladeshis were among the dead.
“We have a very good relationship with New Zealand, but from now on, security issues will be taken care of more carefully for our cricketers during any tour,” Habibul Bashar, a member of the BCB team selection committee, said.
“For every team now, security will be a big concern, and we can’t compromise with this issue anymore. If we are not satisfied with the security preparations when visiting a country, the BCB will have its own security team to travel with the cricketers.”
The team is scheduled to travel to Ireland in May to compete in a tri-nation, one-day series with the hosts and the West Indies. Bangladesh will then join the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Cup competition, scheduled to begin May 30 in England and Wales.
The players had been scheduled to be at the mosque when the attack happened, but were delayed en route after a press conference overran.
Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladeshi opening batsman, tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”
“It’s a haunting and unprecedented experience for our players which has shaken our team. We were saved only by a stroke of luck,” Raqibul Hasan, Bangladesh’s former captain, told Arab news.
“I have talked with most of our players and they are now coming out of this haunting experience slowly. I think this incident will not hamper their performance in the upcoming Ireland tri-nation series.”
Thanking New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Hasan added: “There is nothing above the cause of humanity.”
On Friday Ardern led a vigil of around 5,000 people in Hagely Park, in front of Al-Noor Mosque in Christchurch, where most of the victims died.
To express solidarity with the Muslim community in New Zealand, meanwhile, state TV and radio stations also broadcast the call to prayer throughout the week.


Kosovo returns families of militants from Syria

Updated 10 min 18 sec ago
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Kosovo returns families of militants from Syria

  • More than 300 Kosovo citizens, men, women and children, have traveled to Syria since 2012
  • Police said some 150 women and children, including around 60 children that were born in war zones, were captured

PRISTINA: Dozens of women and children, relatives of Kosovo militants fighting in Syria, were flown back home by plane on Saturday under heavy security.
“The planned operation for the return of some of our citizens from Syria has ended successfully,” Justice Minister Abelrad Tahiri said at the airport early on Saturday.
Details would be released later in the day, he said.
After hours at the airport, two buses with women and children were transported under police escort to army barracks just outside Pristina.
More than 300 Kosovo citizens, men, women and children, have traveled to Syria since 2012. Some 70 men who fought alongside extremist militant groups were killed.
Police said some 150 women and children, including around 60 children that were born in war zones, were captured as Daesh lost ground.
It remained unclear if all of them were returned on Friday. Neither the minister nor police gave any details if any fighters were also returned.
International and local security agencies have previously warned of the risk posed by returning fighters. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law making fighting in foreign conflicts punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Kosovo’s population is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but largely secular in outlook.
There have been no Islamist attacks on its soil, although more than 100 men have been jailed or indicted on charges of fighting in Syria and Iraq. Some of them were found guilty of planning attacks in Kosovo.
The government said a form of radical Islam had been imported to Kosovo by non-governmental organizations from the Middle East after the end of its 1998-99 war of secession from Serbia.