Jordan: Muslims must lead the fight against terrorism

Updated 17 November 2015

Jordan: Muslims must lead the fight against terrorism

AMMAN/PARIS: Jordan’s King Abdallah II on Sunday said terrorism is the “greatest threat to our region” and that Muslims must lead the fight against it.
In a speech, he said confronting extremism is “both a regional and international responsibility, but it is mainly our battle, us Muslims, against those who seek to hijack our societies and generations with intolerance takfiri ideology.”
“Takfiri” refers to the radical Islamic practice of declaring one’s enemies to be infidels worthy of death.
The speech did not specifically refer to the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, but Abdallah has previously condemned them as a “cowardly terrorist act.”
Jordan is taking part in the US-led airstrikes against the Daesh (Islamic State) group, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that participants at talks in Vienna on Syria have agreed that Jordan will coordinate efforts to compile a common list of terrorist groups in Syria.
“The work will be coordinated on supplementing the terrorist (groups) list, Jordan will be in charge of coordination,” Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of a G20 summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya.
In Jeddah, the secretary general of the world’s largest body of Muslim nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris and has expressed the organization’s “unwavering solidary and support to France.”
OIC chief Iyad Madani said the organization firmly rejects any terrorist acts that violate the right to life and that seek to undermine the “values of freedom and equality that France has consistently promoted.”
On Sunday, Sunni scholars with the Muslim World League based in Islam’s holiest city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia also condemned the attack in Paris and one that took place in Lebanon a day earlier.
At the request of France, the European Union will hold a special meeting of its interior and justice ministers next Friday to assess the impact of the Paris attacks.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve asked Sunday for the meeting, saying “our battle against terrorism must be, more than ever, steadfast,” and must be reinforced at the European level.
The EU presidency, held by Luxembourg, immediately obliged.
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to crush Daesh extremists.


Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

Updated 49 sec ago

Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

  • A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state
  • In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands

BEIRUT: Lebanese celebrities joined thousands of protesters on the streets of Beirut on Saturday to voice their anger at the country’s ruling elite.
Singers, actors and playwrights were among a host of high-profile artists who backed demands for action over government corruption and to counter Lebanon’s spiralling economic crisis.
Beirut has been shrouded in smoke for three days following widespread protests and rioting over government tax plans.
A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state.
The actress, wearing jeans and her face blackened, told protesters: “I am Nadine Al-Rassi. I was hungry for seven days. I have debts. Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s central bank) seized my house and I am unable to rent a home. Corrupt people should be held responsible.”


In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands, saying: “This is the first time I wish I were in Lebanon. My heart is with you.”
In another tweet, the high-profile singer, one of the Middle East’s best-selling performers, said: “I proudly follow the news of Beirut and its citizens ... who are demanding a decent life. It is time for people to get back their dignity.”
Meanwhile, singer and composer Ragheb Alama expressed his dismay at a Council of Ministers plan to impose a daily fee on WhatsApp calls.
“The people’s misfortunes are not funny. Why don’t you tax the polluted air people breathe? It is a great idea that brings money to your fathers’ treasury, too,” he wrote.
Alama accused the Parliament of responsibility for the country’s dire economy: “Why do deputies receive money, privileges and overheads, and what have they done? They covered up for looting and stealing for decades. They are responsible for destroying the economy and the country.”
Nancy Ajram, one of the Arab world’s most popular singers, wrote on Twitter: “My heart goes out to my country every moment and with every heartbeat. We are a people who deserves to live and it is our right to live with dignity. May God protect Lebanon.”
Singer and actress Haifa Wehbe tweeted: “There is nothing better than the Lebanese people when they stand in unity and under one slogan, without any political affiliation. We are all for our country.”
Comedian and prime-time TV host Hisham Haddad was among celebrities who joined protesters at Riad El-Solh Square, near the Prime Minister’s office, site of the biggest centralized demonstrations.
Actress Maguy Bou Ghosn, singer Moeen Shreif, actors Abdo Chahine, Badih Abou Chakra and Junaid Zeineldine, playwright Ziad Itani and musician Ziyad Sahhab also joined the protests.
Actor Wissam Hanna called on Twitter for protesters to close the Beirut Airport road to stop corrupt officials fleeing the country.
“I am all for closing down the airport road to stop thieves from fleeing. I am all for recovering stolen funds. Lebanon rises, revolts and it is time to hold them accountable,” he wrote.
Actress Gretta Aoun said: “We have to take to the streets. They must know the extent of our pain.”