UK school slammed after Muslim students seen praying in the cold

In the video, eight male students can be seen praying on the street outside. Social media users described the footage as “disgusting.” (Screensot/5Pillars)
In the video, eight male students can be seen praying on the street outside. Social media users described the footage as “disgusting.” (Screensot/5Pillars)
Short Url
Updated 05 December 2021

UK school slammed after Muslim students seen praying in the cold

In the video, eight male students can be seen praying on the street outside. Social media users described the footage as “disgusting.” (Screensot/5Pillars)
  • ‘Angry teacher made us go outside,’ says pupil, as investigation launched

LONDON: A UK school has faced criticism after a video emerged showing a group of Muslim students being forced to pray outside in the winter cold.

Oldham Academy North, near Manchester, was slammed by the local community following the release of the footage, MailOnline reported.

It has been claimed that a teacher demanded the students leave the school building in order to conduct their Friday prayers.

In the video, eight male students can be seen praying on the street outside. Social media users described the footage as “disgusting.”

One student reportedly involved said: “We were praying inside and a teacher came in and told us we aren’t allowed to pray in that room. She slammed the door and seemed angry.

“We have had a prayer room for a long time and teachers would allow us to go there for our prayers.”

The school claimed that the students were unable to pray inside because of flooding and damage to several classrooms, but has launched an investigation into the incident.

A spokesperson said in a statement: “Earlier this week, photos on social media began to circulate of students at The Oldham Academy North praying outside.

“We would like to offer a sincere apology. We are proud of our diversity and have never, and would never, stop students from praying or ask them to pray outside.

“At Oldham Academy North, we consider our diversity our greatest strength. We will always do everything in our power to ensure our students, staff and our communities are given the very best opportunities in life.”

Arooj Shah, the local council leader, said: “When we were made aware of the issues raised at the Oldham Academy North, we acted quickly to speak with the school to understand what had happened.

“Having spoken with the school leaders I am glad they have apologized to those who were affected and will be writing to parents to explain,” he said.

“Oldham is a proud and diverse borough and I know that the Oldham Academy North sees this as a strength for the school,” he added.

“We will continue conversations with the school around this matter to investigate the situation properly.”


Myanmar sentences lawmaker from Suu Kyi's party to death

Myanmar sentences lawmaker from Suu Kyi's party to death
Updated 55 min 1 sec ago

Myanmar sentences lawmaker from Suu Kyi's party to death

Myanmar sentences lawmaker from Suu Kyi's party to death
  • The two are among the most prominent activists to be given death sentences since the military in February last year seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi

BANGKOK: Two prominent political activists in military-ruled Myanmar have been sentenced to death for alleged involvement in terrorist activities, an army television station reported Friday.
Myawaddy TV said on its evening news broadcast that Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, and Phyo Zeyar Thaw, also known as Maung Kyaw, were convicted under the country’s Counterterrorism Law. They were found guilty of offenses involving explosives, bombings and financing terrorism.
Both have been detained since their arrests, unable to comment on the allegations, and no lawyer ever emerged to comment on their behalfs. Min Yu’s wife, Nilar Thein, in October denied the allegations lodged against her husband.
Details of their trials were unavailable because the proceedings were carried out in a closed military court. It was unclear if their two cases were linked.
Modern-day Myanmar has a record of rarely carrying out death sentences.
The two are among the most prominent activists to be given death sentences since the military in February last year seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Its takeover sparked wide-scale popular protests, which have since turned into a low-level insurgency after nonviolent demonstrations were met with deadly force by the security forces. Almost 1,500 civilians are estimated to have been killed, and more than 11,000 arrest carried out for political offenses.
Some resistance factions have engaged in assassinations, drive-by shootings and bombings in urban areas, The mainstream opposition organizations generally disavow such activities, while supporting armed resistance in rural areas, which are more often subject to brutal military attacks.
Kyaw Min Yu is one of the leaders of the 88 Generation Students Group, veterans of the popular uprising that failed to unseat a previous military government.
He has been active politically ever since then, and has spent more than a dozen years behind bars. His Oct. 23 arrest in Yangon was originally reported by his wife, an activist who also has been jailed in the past. Both went into hiding after the February takeover and she is believed to still be in hiding.
Two weeks after his arrest, a statement from the military-installed government accused Kyaw Min Yu, of “conducting terrorism acts including mine attacks to undermine the state stability” and alleged he headed a group called “Moon Light Operation” to carry out urban guerrilla attacks.
He had already been on the wanted list for social media postings that allegedly incited unrest.
Phyo Zeyar Thaw is a former lawmaker with Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. He was a hip-hop musician before becoming as a member of Generation Wave, a political movement formed in 2007.
He was arrested on Nov. 18 in possession of weapons and ammunition, according to a statement at the time from the ruling military.
That statement also said he was arrested on the basis of information from people arrested a day earlier for carrying out the shootings of security personnel.
Other statements from the military accused him of being a key figure in a network of dozens of people who allegedly carried out what the military described as “terrorist” attacks in Yangon.


Eritrean refugees in Tigray ‘desperate’: UN

Eritrean refugees in Tigray ‘desperate’: UN
Updated 21 January 2022

Eritrean refugees in Tigray ‘desperate’: UN

Eritrean refugees in Tigray ‘desperate’: UN
  • "UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply alarmed at the deteriorating conditions faced by Eritrean refugees in the camps in Tigray," spokesman Boris Cheshirkov told reporters in Geneva
  • "Our team found refugees scared and struggling to get enough to eat, lacking medicine and with little or no access to clean water," said Cheshirkov

GENEVA: Eritrean refugees living in camps in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region are in a “desperate situation,” the United Nations warned Friday as they struggle to access food and clean water.
“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply alarmed at the deteriorating conditions faced by Eritrean refugees in the camps in Tigray,” spokesman Boris Cheshirkov told reporters in Geneva.
In recent days, UNHCR staff managed to reach the Mai Aini and Adi Harush refugee camps for the first time in three weeks, following air strikes in and near the two sites.
“Our team found refugees scared and struggling to get enough to eat, lacking medicine and with little or no access to clean water,” said Cheshirkov.
The situation was leading to a growing number of preventable deaths, he warned, pointing to accounts from refugees that at least 20 people had died in the past six weeks due to the declining conditions.
He said the clinics in the camps had effectively been closed since early January when they ran out of medicine.
“The lack of fuel means that clean water can neither be pumped nor trucked to the camps, with refugees resorting to collecting water from streams that are rapidly drying up, leading to a severe risk of water-borne diseases,” he said.
The spokesman said extreme hunger was an increasing concern given the inability to move supplies into the region, while refugees reported having to sell their clothes and belongings for food.
“Basic services for Eritrean refugees in the two camps have been severely compromised for many months,” said Cheshirkov.
“The desperate situation in these camps is a stark example of the impact of the lack of access and supplies affecting millions of displaced persons and other civilians throughout the region.
“If food, medicine, fuel and other supplies cannot be immediately brought in, and if we continue to be unable to relocate refugees out of harm’s way to where we can provide them with life-saving assistance, more refugees will die.”
Northern Ethiopia has been beset by conflict since November 2020 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray after accusing the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, of attacks on federal army camps.
UNHCR called for a cease-fire and guarantee of safe passage that would help them voluntarily relocate the more than 25,000 refugees remaining in the camps to a new site in Dabat in the neighboring Amhara region.
“Refugees must not be held hostage to this conflict,” Cheshirkov said.


Widow of lynched Sri Lankan seeks justice from Pakistani prime minister

Widow of lynched Sri Lankan seeks justice from Pakistani prime minister
Updated 21 January 2022

Widow of lynched Sri Lankan seeks justice from Pakistani prime minister

Widow of lynched Sri Lankan seeks justice from Pakistani prime minister
  • Mob killed the Sri Lankan manager at a Pakistani company and burnt his body on Dec. 3 over blasphemy allegations
  • Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan and mere accusations of it can trigger violence

COLOMBO: The wife of a Sri Lankan national who was lynched by a mob in Pakistan has pleaded for justice from the Pakistani prime minister during a memorial event at Islamabad’s mission in Colombo.

Kumara, 48, a general manager at a sports apparel factory in the eastern city of Sialkot, was attacked by a mob of hundreds of people, dragged into the street and set ablaze in the eastern city of Sialkot on Dec. 3. Police said workers at the factory accused him of desecrating religious posters.

Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with the violence, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised severe punishment for those found guilty.

High-ranking Sri Lankan officials, including the speaker of parliament, ministers, lawmakers, and Buddhist and Muslim religious figures attended the memorial event organized by Pakistan’s high commissioner designate, Umar Farooq Burki, on Thursday evening.

Kumara’s widow, Nilushi Dissanayaka, arrived with their two sons.

“I request Imran Khan to bring justice to my husband and punish the culprits as soon as possible. This is not to take revenge. But this should not happen to anyone in future,” she said.

“I thank all the Pakistanis who supported me in this difficult situation and all staff of the high commission for arranging this event. Also, I would like to thank the Sri Lankan president, prime minister, other ministers and media institutions for supporting me.”

Dissanayaka told Arab News her goal in life was now to educate her children, Gavith and Lithula, to become professionals and useful members of society.

The business community in Sialkot has raised $100,000 for Kumara’s family. Rajco Industries, where Kumara worked, has pledged to take care of their financial needs by sending a monthly salary of $2,000 for the next 10 years. The Pakistani high commissioner said the funds were transferred to the widow earlier this week.

He said that around $54,000 has also been collected for the family by Pakistani expatriates in the US and Canada.

“Each and every person in Pakistan from the Prime Minister Imran Khan to a common man on the street was aggrieved and strongly condemned this inhumane act,” Burki said.

Pakistani authorities last month announced that suspects in the case will be presented before an anti-terrorism court in jail. “On strict directions of the prime minister of Pakistan, the trial of the murderers and abettors is continuing,” Burki said. “The prime minister is directly supervising the proceedings of this trial.”

Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan and carries the death penalty. Mere allegations of blasphemy can trigger mob violence.

International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.


PIA pilot refused to continue Riyadh-Islamabad flight over ‘safety of passengers’

PIA pilot refused to continue Riyadh-Islamabad flight over ‘safety of passengers’
Updated 21 January 2022

PIA pilot refused to continue Riyadh-Islamabad flight over ‘safety of passengers’

PIA pilot refused to continue Riyadh-Islamabad flight over ‘safety of passengers’
  • PIA aircraft was scheduled to arrive in the Saudi Arabian capital on Jan. 14 and return to Islamabad
  • Upon reaching Riyadh after severe delay, the pilot decided to stop the journey due to duty timing limit

KARACHI: A Pakistan International Airlines pilot who last week refused to complete a Riyadh-Islamabad flight because his duty timings had ended made the decision in compliance with aviation rules for the safety of passengers, airline officials have said.

A PIA plane was scheduled to arrive in the Saudi Arabian capital on Jan. 14 and then return to Islamabad, but technical issues delayed its departure from Pakistan, and bad weather in Riyadh forced it to make an emergency landing in Dammam, where it stayed another six hours before clearance.

Upon finally reaching Riyadh, the pilot of PK 9754 decided to end the journey and did not fly the aircraft back to Islamabad. The pilot’s announcement triggered a protest by passengers, who eventually had to be calmed by airport security personnel.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Khan told Arab News the captain’s action was in line with the airline’s policy and aviation rules.

“An impression has been created if the airline wanted the captain to operate the flight and he refused. This is completely wrong. The pilot didn’t operate the flight because his duty hours had exceeded due to diversion of the flight to Dammam,” he said on Thursday evening. “Upon reaching Riyadh the duty time of the pilot had completed.”

According to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority rules, a person whose duty time has been exceeded is not permitted to act as a crew member and must be provided a specified period of rest.

A PIA official familiar with the matter said the captain’s “prime concern was the safety of the passengers.”

“When asked to fly, the captain refused and said: ‘What I’m doing, I am doing it as per rules. The prime responsibility as captain is to protect aircraft and the passengers’,” the official told Arab News.

“All of the 200 to 250 passengers were dependent upon him,” he said. “This was prime responsibility of captain is to protect aircraft and the passengers. Then the reputation of your company — the airline — and your country is also important. The compliance with rules is important for their image as well.”

“One takes a decision keeping all these things in mind.”

Related


Nigeria extremists kidnap 20 children: residents

Nigeria extremists kidnap 20 children: residents
Updated 21 January 2022

Nigeria extremists kidnap 20 children: residents

Nigeria extremists kidnap 20 children: residents
  • Fighters from the Daesh in West Africa Province stormed Piyemi on Thursday afternoon, killing two men and seizing 13 girls and seven boys
  • A local Chibok government official confirmed the attack without giving details

KANO, Nigeria: Extremists killed two people and kidnapped 20 children in Nigeria’s Borno state, where Islamist militants are waging a more than decade-long insurgency, a community leader and residents said Friday.
Thursday’s assault on Piyemi village took place near Chibok town where eight years ago Boko Haram extremists abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in an attack that sparked international outcry.
Fighters from the Daesh in West Africa Province (DWAP) stormed Piyemi on Thursday afternoon, killing two men and seizing 13 girls and seven boys, according to the residents and the community leader.
The DWAP militants dressed in military uniforms started shooting and looting shops in the village and setting homes on fire, they said.
“They shot dead two people and took away 13 girls and seven boys aged between 12 and 15,” local resident Samson Bulus told AFP by phone.
The militants who attacked from nearby Sambisa forest herded “the 20 kidnapped children into a truck they seized from the village and drove them into the forest,” said another resident Silas John.
Military officials were not immediately available to comment on the attack.
But a local Chibok government official confirmed the attack without giving details.
A community leader also gave similar details about the extremist assault and the abducted children.
“This attack was the third in recent days and underscores the risks villages around Chibok face from extremists,” said Ayuba Alamson, the community leader from Chibok.
Thursday’s kidnapping came as Nigeria struggles with a string of abduction-for-ransom attacks on schools by criminal gangs over the last year in its northwestern states.
Around 1,500 schoolchildren were seized last year in 20 mass kidnappings in schools across the region, with 16 students losing their lives, according to the UN children welfare agency UNICEF.
Most of the hostages were released after negotiations with the criminal gangs known locally as bandits, but some are still in captivity in forest hideouts.
Following Thursday’s raid, residents said they returned to Piyemi village Friday after spending the night in the bush to escape the DWAP attackers.
The extremists razed part of the village, including a church, and burnt 10 vehicles in the three-hour long attack, said resident John.
Troops have been stationed in Chibok since the infamous 2014 schoolgirl abduction but deadly extremist raids continue in the area, with the militants launching attacks from their nearby forest enclaves.
DWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016 seized Sambisa forest from rival Boko Haram following the death of Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau in May in clashes between the two factions.
More than 40,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million people displaced by the extremist conflict in the northeast of Nigeria.