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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• Preachers of Hate: Tariq Abdelhaleem


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.”

 


UN urges warring parties to halt fighting for vaccinations

UN urges warring parties to halt fighting for vaccinations
Updated 27 February 2021

UN urges warring parties to halt fighting for vaccinations

UN urges warring parties to halt fighting for vaccinations

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday demanding that all warring parties immediately institute a “sustained humanitarian pause” to enable the unhindered delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination of millions of people in conflict areas.
The British-drafted resolution, cosponsored by 112 countries, reiterated the council’s demand last July 1 for “a general and immediate cessation of hostilities” in major conflicts on the Security Council agenda, from Syria and Yemen to Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan and Somalia.
It expressed concern that an appeal for cease-fires in all conflicts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which was first made by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 23, 2020, “was not fully heeded.”
Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward, the current council president, announced the result of the email vote because the council has been meeting virtually, saying the resolution “will help bring vaccines to 160 million people in conflict areas or displaced by conflict.”
“This is a first step,” she stressed, and it will require further international efforts.
But Woodward said the large number of cosponsors and unanimous council approval are “a strong testament to the international commitment to seeing this happen.”
“Obviously each of these situations will require further negotiations at country and even at field and local level,” she said. “and we’ve asked the secretary-general to report back where they encounter barriers in this.”
The resolution adopted Friday recognizes “that armed conflicts can exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic, and that inversely the pandemic can exacerbate the adverse humanitarian impact of armed conflicts, as well as exacerbating inequalities.”
It also recognizes “the role of extensive immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing, and stopping transmission, of COVID-19 and its variant strains, in order to bring the pandemic to an end.”
The Security Council stressed that “equitable access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines” authorized by the World Health Organization or regulatory authorities “is essential to end the pandemic.”
It also stressed “the need for solidarity, equity, and efficacy” in vaccinations.
And it called for donations of vaccines from richer developed nations to low- and middle-income countries and other countries in need, including through the COVAX Facility, the ambitious WHO program to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people.


Myanmar’s UN envoy dramatically opposes coup in his country

Myanmar’s UN envoy dramatically opposes coup in his country
Updated 27 February 2021

Myanmar’s UN envoy dramatically opposes coup in his country

Myanmar’s UN envoy dramatically opposes coup in his country
  • Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun urged all countries to pressure the Myanmar military regime to restore democracy
  • His surprise statement not only drew applause but commendations from speaker after speaker at the assembly meeting

UNITED NATIONS: Myanmar’s UN ambassador strongly opposed the military coup in his country and appealed for the “strongest possible action from the international community” to immediately restore democracy, in a dramatic speech to the UN General Assembly Friday that drew loud applause from many diplomats in the 193-nation global body.
Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun began his statement saying he represented Aung San Suu Kyi’s “civilian government elected by the people” in November, and supported their fight for the end of military rule.
He urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the Feb. 1 coup, and to refuse to recognize the military regime and ask its leaders to respect the free and fair elections in November won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. He also urged stronger international measures to stop violence by security forces against peaceful demonstrators.
“It is time for the military to immediately relinquish power and release those detained,” Tun said, agreeing with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that military coup “is not acceptable in this modern world and the coup must cease.”
“We will continue to fight for a government which is of the people, by the people, for the people,” he vowed.
Tun’s surprise statement not only drew applause but commendations from speaker after speaker at the assembly meeting including ambassadors representing the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the new US ambassador, Linda Thomas Greenfield. She joined others in describing the speech as “courageous,” “powerful” and “brave.”
In her first appearance at the assembly since presenting her credentials to Guterres in Thursday, Thomas-Greenfield said the United States “stands in solidarity” with the people of Myanmar who are in the streets protesting the coup. And she reiterated President Joe Biden’s warning that “we will show the military that their actions have consequences” and demand to the military “to immediately relinquish power.”
In a tweet later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken referred to Myanmar by its former name Burma and said “the United States commends the courageous and clear statement” of Ambassador Tun, “and by those in Burma who are making their voices heard. We must all heed their call to restore democracy in Burma.”
The assembly meeting was called to hear a briefing from the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, who said it is time to “sound the alarm” about the coup and the military pushing democratic processes aside, violating the constitution, reversing reforms instituted by Suu Kyi, and arresting peaceful protesters, civil society representatives and members of the media.
She pointed to restrictions on the Internet and communication services and the detention of about 700 people according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Myanmar, and she called “the use of lethal force and rising deaths unacceptable.”
The huge protests in the country are not about a fight between Suu Kyi’s party and the military, she said, “it is a fight without arms.”
Addressing diplomats in the General Assembly chamber by video link, Schraner Burgener urged “all of you to collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar.”
The military takeover in Myanmar shocked the international community and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy. Suu Kyi’s party would have been installed for a second five-year term that day, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her, President Win Myint and other top members of her government.
Myanmar’s military says it took power because November’s election was marked by widespread voting irregularities, an assertion that was refuted by the election commission, whose members have since been replaced by the ruling junta. The junta has said it will rule for a year under a state of emergency and then hold new polls.
Schraner Burgener told the General Assembly that democratically elected representatives were able to be sworn in according to the constitution on Feb. 4 and have formed the Committee Representing Pyidaungu Hluttaw (National Assembly), known as CRPH, and are seeking “to uphold their obligations to serve the people who voted for them.”
Tun began his remarks by reading a statement from CRPH stressing the legitimacy of the election results and declaring that the military overthrew the democratically elected government. He cited the massive opposition by the people, saying “now is not the time for the international community to tolerate the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar military.”
The CRPH, saying it represented some 80 parliamentarians, asked the UN, the Security Council and the international community “that aspires to build a peaceful and civilized global society to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military and to provide safety and security for the people of Myanmar.”
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, whose neighboring country has invested billions of dollars in Myanmar and is its biggest trading partner, called on all parties to handle differences through dialogue “under the constitutional and legal framework,” avoid violence, “and continue to promote the domestic democratic transformation process in an orderly manner.”
Never mentioning the military or a coup and describing what happened in Myanmar as “in essence Myanmar’s internal affairs,” he said the international community should help the parties “bridge their differences and solve problems.”
Zhang backed efforts by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which Myanmar belongs to, “in playing an active role in easing the current state of affairs.”
ASEAN countries are discussing holding an informal foreign ministers meeting and “we look forward to its early convening on the basis of consensus, thus providing a useful platform and opportunity for promoting problem solving,” he said.


UK government plans night-time Ramadan vaccine drive

UK government plans night-time Ramadan vaccine drive
Updated 26 February 2021

UK government plans night-time Ramadan vaccine drive

UK government plans night-time Ramadan vaccine drive
  • Campaigner tells Arab News he welcomes “proactive” approach to reaching Muslim communities
  • Report: British Asians have highest mortality rate during second wave of COVID-19

LONDON: A night-time vaccine drive is reportedly being planned by the UK government during Ramadan, following reports that the country’s Asian community had the highest mortality rate during the second wave of COVID-19.
The government hopes to mitigate a potential vaccine uptake drop-off by Muslims during the holy month, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Ramadan 2021 will begin on April 12, a critical time in the UK’s vaccine rollout and just three days before the government’s planned date to have offered all over 50s the jab.
Concerns over the impact of Ramadan on vaccine uptake are compounded by a government report that British Asians, many of whom are Muslim, are the demographic with the highest COVID-19 mortality rate per 100,000 people in the UK’s second wave.
“A large part of this continued disparity for South Asian populations can be explained from geographic, socioeconomic and health factors,” the report read.
Kawsar Zaman, founder of the Take the COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign, told Arab News that he welcomes the government’s “proactive” approach in reaching out to and inoculating the UK’s Muslim community.
“I think the plan is excellent. Anything that we can do to promote uptake, particularly within communities where we’ve found it difficult to encourage people to take the vaccine, is positive,” he said.
“Particularly during Ramadan, where nine times out of 10 people are awake late into the night and early morning, anything that makes receiving the jab more accessible is great news.”
Zaman also hailed the government’s outreach to, and consultation with, Britain’s Muslim communities throughout the country’s world-leading vaccine rollout.
“What’s quite unique about this vaccine drive is that they’re being proactive about it, as well as consulting with a very wide range of people in many communities, including the Muslim community — which isn’t always the case,” he said.
Zaman singled out for praise Nadhim Zahawi, who is in charge of the UK’s vaccine rollout, saying he has done “a lot of really good work” and has been “very open in meeting with communities.” Zaman added: “What’s great here is that they’re listening first, then acting.”


Indonesia finds weapons on impounded Iranian tanker

Indonesia finds weapons on impounded Iranian tanker
Updated 27 February 2021

Indonesia finds weapons on impounded Iranian tanker

Indonesia finds weapons on impounded Iranian tanker
  • Vessel was seized along with Panamanian ship in January
  • Crew members face charges including violation of the right to innocent passage

JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities said on Friday that firearms and ammunition have been found on an Iranian supertanker, one of the two vessels seized in the country’s waters over a suspected illegal oil transfer last month.
The Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Freya were impounded by the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) in waters bordering the South China Sea off Pontianak, West Kalimantan province, on Jan. 24, over suspicions of illegal fuel transfer between ships, polluting the water with oil, violation of the right of innocent passage, turning off their identification systems, illegal anchorage, and not flying their national flags.
On Friday, authorities said they had also found weapons on the Iranian tanker. “Investigators found a sniper rifle, three assault rifles, two pistols, and ammunition on the Iranian-flagged tanker MT Horse,” Bakamla spokesperson Col. Wisnu Pramandita told Arab News.
Earlier on Friday, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Mahfud MD said during a joint press conference with Bakamla that all other suspicions had also been confirmed.
“We concluded they deliberately did all those violations, and they were caught doing them in tandem,” he said, as Bakamla chief Vice Admiral Aan Kurnia told reporters that the two tankers had trespassed 25 nautical miles into Indonesia’s territorial waters when the agency caught them.
The tankers were impounded after a patrol ship detected an idle signal indicating that the automatic identification system of the vessels was turned off. When Bakamala personnel arrived at the location they caught the tankers conducting a ship-to-ship fuel transfer from MT Horse to MT Freya, with their hulls covered to conceal their identities.
The vessels have been anchored at Bakamla’s base in Batam, Riau Islands province near Singapore, since their seizure.
Investigators are still questioning 25 crew from the MT Horse and 36 Chinese crew members of the MT Freya, which is managed by a Shanghai-based company.
Deputy Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Sugeng Purnomo said the inter-departmental task force investigating the case will soon press charges against the suspects. 
In the wake of the incident, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has ordered stricter law enforcement in the country’s waters, ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati told Arab News.
“We are committed to enforcing the law on Indonesia’s territorial waters, in accordance also with the international law as enforced by the International Maritime Organization,” Irawati said.


Cases of vaccine easing long COVID reported

Britain has put millions of pounds into studying the long term effects of COVID-19. (Reuters/File Photo)
Britain has put millions of pounds into studying the long term effects of COVID-19. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 26 February 2021

Cases of vaccine easing long COVID reported

Britain has put millions of pounds into studying the long term effects of COVID-19. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Doctors call for formal studies of what is currently anecdotal evidence
  • Expert: ‘This is a very interesting and potentially important observation’

LONDON: Anecdotal reports that people with long COVID are making dramatic recoveries after being vaccinated are intriguing and should be followed up with formal studies, according to scientists.

While most people recover quickly from COVID-19, roughly one in 10 people experience symptoms that include fatigue, headaches and shortness of breath three months later — a phenomenon known as long COVID.

But some of these patients are reporting rapid improvements to their health after receiving the vaccine, doctors have said.

“This is a very interesting and potentially important observation,” said Charles Bangham, who holds the chair in immunology at Imperial College London. “At present these are just anecdotes, and systematic studies would be needed, but anecdotes can sometimes point the way to important discoveries.”

Prof. Ian Hall, who runs a long COVID clinic in Nottingham, said he has been contacted by several patients who told him their symptoms improved dramatically after a jab.

It is possible, he said, that being vaccinated gives some people a “psychological boost” that causes them to feel better.

“But I think, anecdotally, that there is enough here to suggest that there might be some interesting consequences of the vaccine, presumably altering the immunological balance, which is contributing to resolution of low-grade inflammation, which is making people feel better,” he added.

“I would not go as far as to say it proves a connection, but science is based upon following up interesting observations.”

The World Health Organization has warned that the burden of long COVID is “real” and “significant.”

King’s College London is running a project tracking 600,000 people who have received COVID-19 vaccines.

The study’s lead scientist Tim Spector said he hopes to have data on how vaccines affect long COVID within weeks.