Rohingya crisis: Indonesia offers to ease Bangladesh’s burden

Thousands of Indonesian Muslims rally outside the Myanmar Embassy in central Jakarta on Wednesday to protest the violent crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. (AN photo)
Updated 08 September 2017

Rohingya crisis: Indonesia offers to ease Bangladesh’s burden

JAKARTA: Nearly 10,000 Indonesian Muslims staged a demonstration outside the Myanmar Embassy in central Jakarta on Wednesday to protest the violent crackdown against Rohingya Muslims.
The protesters also urged Indonesia to sever its bilateral ties with Myanmar.
Police had put up barbed wires around the embassy perimeter to prevent the protesters from getting closer to its building in the upscale Menteng area while traffic was rerouted as a precautionary measure.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono told Arab News at the rally that security had been stepped up around the embassy since last week.
Protesters held a moment of prayers for the victims of the ongoing military crackdown. Others were seen smacking on an effigy that donned a mask of Ashin Wirathu, the hard-line Buddhist monk. Some of the protesters demanded the police to take down the Myanmar flag from the embassy compound. They also burned Myanmar flags.
Ade Bhakti, executive director of the Jakarta-based Center for Radicalism and Deradicalization Studies, who was observing the rally, told Arab News that the Rohingya issue “is fluid and touches upon various elements in Indonesia.”
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, meanwhile, concluded her two-country diplomatic trip in Dhaka to seek solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Marsudi arrived in Dhaka earlier in the day after visiting Myanmar on Monday.
In Myanmar, she held talks with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun, Myanmar Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. U Min Aung Hlaing and two other ministers. The talks were aimed at easing tension in Rakhine state and boosting humanitarian aid to communities affected by the conflict.
Marsudi also held bilateral talks with her Bangladeshi counterpart Mahmood Ali and representatives of UN refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Dhaka.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Marsudi said she conveyed Indonesia’s appreciation of Bangladesh for coping with a massive influx of Rohingya refugees into its territory.
“In accordance with President Joko Widodo’s directives, Indonesia is offering support to the Bangladeshi government to ease its burden in handling this humanitarian crisis,” Marsudi said in a video statement from Dhaka, made available to journalists in Indonesia by the Foreign Ministry on late Tuesday.
She said Sheikh Hasina welcomed Indonesia’s gesture to support Bangladesh in tackling the refugee crisis. The Indonesian ambassador in Dhaka will hold a follow-up meeting with Bangladeshi authorities to discuss more details on Indonesia’s role, the minister added.
During her bilateral talks, Marsudi said Ali briefed her about the challenges faced by the refugee camps. She said the representatives of UNHCR and IOM confirmed those challenges during her talks with them.
It was Marsudi’s second visit to Bangladesh to address the Rohingya crisis that has caused tension on both sides of the border.
In December 2016, she met Ali to promote communications between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The two foreign ministers then visited the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
During her meeting with Suu Kyi on Monday, Marsudi proposed 4+1 formula to end to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state.
Marsudi also described her trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh as “marathon diplomacy for humanity.”
The minister said her Dutch, Iranian, and British counterparts had contacted her during the course of her trip to express their support for Indonesia’s diplomatic efforts to address the Rohingya crisis.


Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

Updated 13 December 2019

Jersey City attack being investigated as domestic terrorism

  • Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement and is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism
  • The attackers killed three people in the store, in addition to a police officer at a cemetery about a mile away, before dying in an hourslong gunbattle with police

JERSEY CITY: The couple who burst into a kosher market in Jersey City with assault weapons appear to have acted alone even though they had expressed interest in a fringe religious group that often disparages whites and Jews, New Jersey officials said.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement and is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism.
The two killers were armed with a variety of weapons, including an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun that they were wielding when they stormed into the store in an attack that left the scene littered with several hundred shell casings, broken glass and a community in mourning. A pipebomb was also found in a stolen U-Haul van.
“The outcome would have been far, far worse” if not for the Jersey City Police, Grewal said Thursday. Authorities noted that a Jewish school is next to the market, and a Catholic school is across the street.
The attackers killed three people in the store, in addition to a police officer at a cemetery about a mile away, before dying in an hourslong gunbattle with police Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
“The evidence points toward acts of hate. I can confirm that we’re investigating this matter as potential acts of domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs,” the attorney general said. He said social media posts, witness interviews and other evidence reflected the couple’s hatred of Jews and police.
Grewal noted that after killing three people in the store, the couple concentrated their fire on police and did not shoot at others who happened to be on the streets.
Grewal said the attackers, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, had expressed interest in a fringe religious group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose members often rail against Jews and whites. But he said there was no evidence so far that they were members, and added that the two were believed to have acted alone.
The pair brought their cache of weapons in a U-Haul van they drove from Bay View Cemetery, where they shot and killed Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals, according to the attorney general.
Anderson fired away with the AR-15-style rifle as he entered the store, while Graham brought a 12-gauge shotgun into the shop. They also had handguns with a homemade silencer and a device to catch shell casings. In all, they had five guns — four recovered in the store, one in the van — in what Grewal called a “tremendous amount of firepower.”
Serial numbers from two of the weapons showed that Graham purchased them in Ohio in 2018, the attorney general said.
The victims killed in the store were: Mindel Ferencz, 31, who with her husband owned the grocery; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping there; and store employee Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49. A fourth person in the store was shot and wounded but managed to escape, authorities said.
Members of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community gathered Wednesday night for funerals for Ferencz and Deutsch. Thousands of people, mostly men, followed Ferencz’s casket through the streets of Brooklyn, hugging and crying.
The bloodshed in the city of 270,000 people across the Hudson River from New York City spread fear through the Jewish community and weighed heavily on the minds of more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.
In the deadliest attack on Jews in US history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue near San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.