China’s Xinjiang cracks down on Muslim practices

In this July 17, 2009, file photo, Uighur ethnic minority worshipers take part in Friday noon prayers in Urumqi, China. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2017

China’s Xinjiang cracks down on Muslim practices

BEIJING: China has announced bans on beards and burkas in its remote violence-wracked Xinjiang region as part of tighter “anti-extremism” regulations that also prohibit refusing to watch government propaganda.
Xinjiang is the homeland of the Uighurs — a traditionally Muslim group, many of whom complain of cultural and religious repression and discrimination.
The area has been hit by a wave of deadly unrest, while authorities have stepped up already strict controls and organized mass rallies of thousands of military police to indicate Chinese resolve in crushing security threats.
The new regulations, which will come into force on Saturday, outline prohibitions on growing “abnormal” facial hair or wearing robes that cover the whole body and face.
They also ban spreading “extremist ideas,” refusing to watch or listen to government propaganda on radio or TV, and preventing children from receiving “national education,” according to the text of regulations published on a government website.
China has for years blamed exiled Uighur “separatists” for a series of violent attacks in Xinjiang.


FBI: Saudi shooter believed to have acted alone in US Navy base attack

Updated 09 December 2019

FBI: Saudi shooter believed to have acted alone in US Navy base attack

  • Special agent Rachel Rojas thanked Saudi Arabia for its cooperation in the investigation
  • Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani was shot dead after he opened fire and killed three people at the base in Florida

PENSACOLA: Investigators believe a Saudi Air Force lieutenant acted alone on Friday when he killed three people and wounded eight at a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida before being fatally shot by police, the FBI said on Sunday.
Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville office, said the shooter used a Glock model 45 9mm handgun that he had purchased legally in Florida.
“We currently assess there was one gunman who perpetrated this attack and no arrests have been made in this case,” Rojas, the lead investigator on the case, said at a news conference.
“We are looking very hard at uncovering his motive and I would ask for patience so we can get this right,” she said.
Authorities confirmed the suspect was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was on the base as part of a US Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.
The FBI identified him as Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, 21.
A sheriff’s deputy fatally shot the gunman, authorities said, ending the second deadly attack at a US military base within a week. Within hours, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had called US President Donald Trump to extend his condolences and pledge the Kingdom’s support in the investigation.
Rojas said there were several Saudi students who were close to the shooter and are cooperating with investigators.
“Their Saudi commanding officer has restricted them to base, and the Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation,” she said. “I thank the kingdom for their pledge of full and complete cooperation.”

Meanwhile, a second victim was identified as Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Haitham's mother, Evelyn Brady, herself a Navy veteran, said the commander of her son's school called her and told her Haitham had tried to stop the shooter.