From Canada with hate: Terror sympathizer Tariq Abdelhaleem

From Canada with hate: Terror sympathizer Tariq Abdelhaleem
Hate preacher Tariq Abdelhaleem. (Supplied photo)
Updated 06 August 2019

From Canada with hate: Terror sympathizer Tariq Abdelhaleem

From Canada with hate: Terror sympathizer Tariq Abdelhaleem
  • Ontario-based advocate of Islamic radicalism instigates unrest in Egypt, rails against “crusaders and secularists”
  • Abdelhaleem has peddled anti-Western conspiracy theories and lauded Osama bin Laden as a "martyr"

DUBAI: It may seem strange that a prominent Sunni Salafi jihadist and preacher of hate has lived unmolested in the West since the 1980s. Yet Dr. Tariq Abdelhaleem probably sees nothing odd at all about promoting Islamic radicalism while enjoying the hospitality of Canada.

He is an unabashed proponent of the ideas of two major Salafi revivalists of the last century: Syed Abul ‘Ala Maududi, the Pakistani author and activist, and Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian theorist of violent jihad.

Abdelhaleem’s regressive views on women offer a window into his mind. “The secular West has dangerously affected our society and Islamic concepts through its cultural legacy, despite the widespread veiling of Arab women,” he has said. “To see the deep impact of Western culture on Arab societies, it is enough to look at the phenomena of unveiling and debauchery.”

Drawing lines between “pious and impious women,” he claims both “have lived in the same environments, subjected to the same cultural impacts (but that the former) have rejected everything that is banned and contrary to Islam. There are some things that are inculcated in the environment, fueled by cultural sources such as the media, education and emerging customs, which resonates in women’s spirits, hidden in a dark corner of the human psyche.”

Dr. Hani Nasira, an expert on ideological movements, said Abdulhaleem has been taking advantage of the freedoms granted by his adopted country to disseminate his message.

Following the upheavals of 2011 in Egypt, which saw the Muslim Brotherhood gain political power, Canada-based Abdelhaleem founded what he called the “Sunni Movement to Save Egypt” and became its secretary-general, in partnership with Sheikh Dr. Hani Sibai. He also wrote ferociously, including on “Introducing the Sunni Movement to Save Egypt” and “Our Faith and Our Movement.”


BIO

Name: Tariq Abdelhaleem

Nationality: Egyptian

Place of Residence" Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Occupation Cleric:  head of the Dar Al-Arqam Institute

Medium: YouTube, Twitter, and his website Tariq-abdelhaleem.net


But when Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the Egyptian military in July 2013, Abdelhaleem vented his displeasure at the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb, considered by many to be the highest authority in Sunni Islamic thought.

“A coup has been carried out by the military, supported by crusaders, secularists, the atheist media, artists and the Egyptian judiciary,” he said in an interview. “This whole group, and those who follow them, are like the dog of Al-Azhar, who ... is not worthy of praise, but is loathsome, malicious and abominable.”

Abdelhaleem also accused El-Tayeb of sitting at “the council of politicians with (deposed Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak in the presence of … infidels loyal to infidels.”

According to Nasira, “Abdelhaleem’s bet is on a global armed Islamic revolution. He also calls for individual jihadist attacks and offers religious justification for suicide bombings and other terrorist operations.”

Born in Egypt in 1948, his maternal grandfather was Abdul Aziz Al-Bishri, an academic and moderate writer, while his paternal grandfather was a scholar at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University.

By all accounts, Abdelhaleem warmed to the idea of violent jihad from a relatively young age. After settling in Canada in the late 1980s, he founded the Dar Al-Arqam Institution and began teaching a course in Islamic sharia law in cooperation with the American Open University in 1998. He also edited Ummat Al-Islam, a periodical that appears in both Arabic and English, for several years in Toronto.


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Most of Abdelhaleem’s writing revolves around monotheism, governance, Western principles and policies, and the actions of specific groups and ongoing developments, especially those concerning Syria and jihadist factions active in the Levant. He distributes his takes on international issues via Twitter.

“Abdelhaleem is particularly dangerous because of his numerous publications and media platforms,” Nasira told Arab News. “As soon as one is shut, he sets up another. He also has a YouTube channel and a website through which he propagates his views and analysis.”

Exposure to Canada’s democratic values does not appear to have affected him. Take, for instance, his views Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

“I do not blame this godless El-Sisi. I do not blame him,” Abdelhaleem said after Mohamed Morsi was ousted in Egypt. “This is how he was raised. He was raised in depravity and was taught to steal and loot. This is, in fact, one of Morsi’s failings. It is one of his failings and he did not realize this. He indulged in democracy and kept repeating words like ‘democracy, freedom, we are this, we are that,’ etc. This has brought us to the current situation.

“The establishment of Daesh … has revived in the hearts of many Muslims a dream that was hard to achieve, but now seems closer,” he said. “This news has quenched the thirst of many Muslims in the desert of defeat ... but events can be unpredictable, and calamities come from where they are not expected.

“But this is not the time for blame. We have done enough blaming, and protested and criticized a lot, but no one listened. But today is the day of Islam’s victory … I say that the situation today is very critical for Muslims.”

To say Abdelhaleem encouraged unrest in Egypt in the wake of the events of 2013 would be an understatement. “El-Sisi is a godless, filthy dog,” he said of the president. “This is the chastisement God has decided for the likes of these: Let them be killed and crushed, do not stop. It is wonderful that you are demonstrating, but there must be a real, well-planned and organized attack.”

Nasira describes Abdelhaleem’s remarks about Egypt as “nothing short of an invitation to kill military officers and assassinate government officials.”

Ideologically, Canada-based Abdelhaleem endorses the tactics of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It appears he broadly supports Salafi jihadist ideologues while disagreeing with them selectively. Choosing between Al-Qaeda and Daesh, when the latter first appeared on the scene in the Middle East, was not easy for him.

Opinion

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“We had described the people of Daesh as pure and serious in their jihad, as the martyr Sheikh Osama bin Laden said when it was first formed, and he was joined by Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri. However, time has shown us in the leadership of Al-Qaeda things that erased doubts and replaced pain with hope after the creed of this state began to gradually emerge, revealing its truth and forming a complete picture.”

At the same time, from his perch in Canada, Abdelhaleem has peddled familiar anti-Western conspiracy theories. “Daesh is both a local and a US creation. The US has been turning a blind eye, removing obstacles from its way, guiding its leader while he was in a US prison, and providing Baathists with information to infiltrate its leadership,” he said on Twitter. “The purpose here is to create an internal conflict between Muslims after US troops withdraw from Iraq.

“We have never seen an internal conflict so fierce between Muslim factions before. The US had to withdraw from Iraq while ensuring the continuation of the internal conflict. Therefore, it offered Daesh the opportunity to divide and fragment any potential future effort under the illusion of monotheism, and this is a well-known US tactic.”

According to Nasira, "In Abdelhaleem’s view, democracy and human rights are apostasy while the rules-based international order is merely the law of the Christian-Zionist West, with which the current conflict is a religious one persisting for centuries since the advent of Islam.

“Here is a man, who sounds overly confident of his ideas and positions and hates not just Islamic governments and the West but everyone who does not support Al-Qaeda’s ideology and ideas.”

 


Security should have confronted Manchester bomber: inquiry

Security should have confronted Manchester bomber: inquiry
Updated 17 June 2021

Security should have confronted Manchester bomber: inquiry

Security should have confronted Manchester bomber: inquiry
  • The attack, as concert-goers were leaving the show, was perpetrated by 22-year-old Salman Abedi
  • Inquiry heard that an officer from British Transport Police was supposed to be present in the foyer of the arena at the show’s end

LONDON: Security teams at Britain’s Manchester Arena “should have prevented or minimized” the impact of the 2017 terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people, a public inquiry found Thursday.
The attack, as concert-goers were leaving the show, was perpetrated by 22-year-old Salman Abedi, a Mancunian of Libyan descent.
In a report examining security measures at the venue in northwest England, inquiry chairman John Saunders said Arena operator SMG, security provider Showsec and British Transport Police all missed opportunities to either prevent or mitigate the attack, which took place on May 22, 2017.
“The security arrangements for the Manchester Arena should have prevented or minimized the devastating impact of the attack,” he wrote.
“Salman Abedi should have been identified on 22nd May 2017 as a threat by those responsible for the security of Arena and a disruptive intervention undertaken.
“Had that occurred, I consider it likely that Salman Abedi would still have detonated his device, but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less,” he added.
The inquiry had heard that an officer from British Transport Police was supposed to be present in the foyer of the arena at the end of the show, where the bomb was detonated, but nobody was there.
A Showsec security guard also told the inquiry that he had a “bad feeling” when he saw Abedi around five minutes before the attack, but did not approach him for fear of being called a racist.
“I felt unsure about what to do,” said Kyle Lawler, who was aged 18 at the time of the attack.
“I did not want people to think I am stereotyping him because of his race.”
Lawler said he had tried to radio the control room, but that he gave up as he could not get through due to radio traffic.
A member of the public had reported Abedi, who was dressed in black and carrying a large rucksack, to security 15 minutes before he detonated the bomb, packed with 3,000 nuts and bolts.
Abedi’s brother was last year jailed for life for playing an “integral part” in the attack, that also injured hundreds.
The Daesh group-inspired suicide bombing targeted crowds of mostly young people.
The youngest victim was aged just eight. Others included parents who had come to pick up their children.


Sweden govt set to lose confidence vote: parties

Sweden govt set to lose confidence vote: parties
Updated 17 June 2021

Sweden govt set to lose confidence vote: parties

Sweden govt set to lose confidence vote: parties
  • Sweden’s minority government, took power in 2019 after months of political struggles
  • To secure power it inked a deal with two center-left parties

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s minority government could be toppled next week after a group of four parties in parliament announced Thursday they would back a no confidence vote, potentially triggering a snap election.

The far-right Sweden Democrats party announced it was calling for a motion of no confidence for Monday after the Left Party earlier warned it would seek a similar move over a dispute on rent controls for newly constructed apartments.

“There is now a majority in parliament that wants to dismiss the prime minister,” Henrik Vinge, parliament group leader for the Sweden Democrats, told a press conference.

Vinge said they hoped the government would fall a year ahead of the next general election.

Both the conservative Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats followed suit, securing a parliamentary majority for the no confidence motion against the government of Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

“We were against the Lofven government when they took power. We were against the Lofven government then, we are against the Lofven government now,” Ebba Busch, party leader of the Christian Democrats, told a press conference.

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson echoed this sentiment in a post to social media.

“Our opinion is very clear, this government should never have taken office,” Kristersson wrote in a post to Facebook.

Speaker of the house, Andreas Norlen, confirmed in a statement the vote would be held on Monday.

Sweden’s minority government, took power in 2019 after months of political struggles to secure support for a government following the 2018 election.

To secure power it inked a deal with two center-left parties, and was propped up by the Left Party.

The deal included liberal market reforms, including a government inquiry into allowing landlords to freely set rents for new apartments.

Several of these reforms have irked the Left Party, and after multiple calls on the government to abandon the “market rents,” party leader Nooshi Dadgostar said earlier on Thursday that they were looking for support among other parties for a vote of no confidence.

“Someone has to stand up for Sweden’s tenants,” Dadgostar told a press conference adding that it wasn’t an “easy announcement.”

Speaking in parliament, Lofven responded by saying it was “not responsible” to call for the vote.

Lofven has announced a press conference of his own at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).


UK refugee charity fears for future

UK refugee charity fears for future
Updated 17 June 2021

UK refugee charity fears for future

UK refugee charity fears for future
  • Lack of funding for Refugee Kindness could prevent it helping thousands
  • Founder set up charity after witnessing plight of Syrian family

LONDON: A charity that provides household items, clothing and other support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK has said it fears for its future.

Refugee Kindness — based in Wrexham, Wales — is a young charity that grew from a spur-of-the-moment decision by a Welsh barrister to donate her spare furniture to a local Syrian family.

Rachel Watkin said after making that donation, she realized just how many basic necessities refugees and asylum seekers are in need of.

She set up a Facebook group to encourage other locals to do the same, and founded her charity later after witnessing the plight of one Syrian family.

“When they came to the house, it turned out there were a lot of items they didn’t have. They didn’t have games for their kids to play with ... they didn’t have nice things like pillows and rugs, they didn’t have as much cutlery as the rest of us would have, they didn’t have a fridge freezer,” she said.

“I just thought it was so imbalanced really, so unfair that we have this mass of stuff in our garages that we want to get rid of and they had so little. I knew there must be lots of families like them.”

The charity now has over 2,000 donors and has helped 54 families — but the work is becoming too much for Watkin to handle alone.

More than 20,000 Syrians have been granted asylum and resettled in the UK in the last five years.

Despite Britain taking a relatively low number of refugees, Watkins said demand for what her charity offers has “exploded,” and now it is struggling financially to provide for them. 

Refugee Kindness, less than a year old, has run into bureaucratic problems that could endanger its entire future.

Most charities, Watkin said, need to exist for two years before unlocking access to wider funding.

“When I first set it up it didn’t need funding, but now we have so many families and we’re doing more things, it’s become more difficult,” she added.

“People have been generous and they’ve given us money, but we only have about £1,500 ($2,091).”

A 2020 report by the British Red Cross found that asylum seekers granted refugee status often face significant financial hardships as their Home Office support ends and they are expected to quickly adapt to mainstream life in the UK.

“New refugees must complete a number of complex tasks which, research by the British Red Cross and other organisations has shown, are almost impossible to achieve in 28 days,” said the report.

“These include opening a bank account, finding a job and/or applying for mainstream benefits (and receiving the first wages or payment), and finding and moving into new accommodation.”

While Refugee Kindness cannot assist in solving all these problems, if it receives more funding its donations can ease the transition.

Syrian refugee Khawla said the donations she received, including a sofa, helped her family settle in.

“When we first came here it was difficult, but now it’s good. They helped a lot and I’m thankful,” she added.

Watkins said: “We’ve given it the deadline of September to secure funding ... Beyond that, I don’t know.”


France weighs mandatory vaccination for reticent health workers

France weighs mandatory vaccination for reticent health workers
Updated 17 June 2021

France weighs mandatory vaccination for reticent health workers

France weighs mandatory vaccination for reticent health workers
  • Vaccination rate among health workers in care homes is lagging behind that of the general adult population
  • New daily virus infections in France are projected to fall to 2,000 within a week

PARIS: COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccinations could become compulsory for health workers if they do not drop their resistance to getting the jab, France’s health minister warned Thursday.

The threat came on the first day that people in France were authorized to be outdoors without wearing face masks, as vaccinations pick up and new COVID-19 cases drop.

The vaccination rate among health workers in care homes, however, is lagging behind that of the general adult population, 60 percent of which have now received at least one COVID-19 jab, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

He made a “solemn appeal” to health workers, especially in care homes, to “take the plunge.”

“If by the end of the summer there is no improvement we will have to consider making vaccinations for those specific groups obligatory,” Veran told BFM television.

“It is necessary and ethical to get vaccinated when you are in contact with vulnerable populations,” he added.

The coronavirus affected elderly people in care homes particularly severely, especially during the first and second virus waves last year before vaccinations became widespread and social distancing the norm.

Veran would not be drawn on a possible similar move for hospital staff, saying that “we’ll wait and see.”

New daily virus infections in France, at just over 3,000 on Wednesday, are projected to fall to 2,000 within a week and to 1,000 by the end of the month, Veran said.

A daily 11:00 p.m. curfew will be lifted on Sunday, a week ahead of schedule.

Although people can now take off masks when outdoors, there are exceptions including when on busy shopping streets or at crowded events. Masks must still be worn indoors and on public transport.


Two dead in shooting in German town, shooter on the run

Two dead in shooting in German town, shooter on the run
Updated 17 June 2021

Two dead in shooting in German town, shooter on the run

Two dead in shooting in German town, shooter on the run

BERLIN: A man and a woman were killed in a shooting spree in the centre of the western German town of Espelkamp, and the shooter was on the run, police said on Thursday.
Bild newspaper quoted police as saying that the situation appeared to be a case of someone "running amok". It said special police commandos were attending the scene.
Espelkamp, a town of some 20,000 people, is in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.