Mourners lining streets for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral share thoughts about her and future of the monarchy

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II travels up to Windsor Castle on Sept. 19, 2022, making its final journey after the State Funeral Service. (AFP)
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II travels up to Windsor Castle on Sept. 19, 2022, making its final journey after the State Funeral Service. (AFP)
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Updated 21 September 2022

Mourners lining streets for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral share thoughts about her and future of the monarchy

Mourners lining streets for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral share thoughts about her and future of the monarchy
  • ‘There will never be another monarch like her because she’d been around for everybody’s lives … I think everyone will miss her,’ said Craig Bell, a retired British Army officer
  • ‘She’s been like a mother figure and keeping the whole country stable … I just wanted to be here to feel the atmosphere, which was electrifying,’ said Val Floyd from Cornwall

LONDON: Hundreds of thousands of mourners lined the streets of London on Monday to honor and say farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, whose seven-decade reign meant she had been a constant throughout the lives of most people in the UK.

Her funeral service took place at Westminster Abbey, where members of the British royal family were joined by heads of state, politicians and other VIPs. Later, she was laid to rest at Windsor Castle.

Some of the people who gathered in the streets to watch her funeral procession pass by, and pay their last respects as the Queen made her final journey, shared with Arab News their own personal tributes to her, along with their thoughts on her successor, King Charles III, and the future of the monarchy.




King Charles III walks during a committal service for Queen Elizabeth II at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Sept. 19, 2022. (AP)

“In my personal opinion, there will never be another monarch like the Queen because she’d been around for, I think, everybody’s lives because she served for so long. I think everyone will miss her,” said Craig Bell, a retired British Army officer who served with the Scots Guards.

He had come with colleagues to pay their respects and was amazed to see how many people had turned out for the historic event, which he said showed how important the Queen was to the British people.

Bell, who was drum major in his regiment and now works as a prison officer, said he met the Queen four times while serving in the army and that speaking to her “was like speaking to your grandma.”




The UK Armed Forces have played a part in the procession for the queen’s funeral and committal service in London and Windsor, marking the end to 10 days of proceedings. (Reuters)

She had a good understanding of people, he added, and was “really, really down to earth. She loved soldiers — her whole life she had loads and loads of time for people. I’ll miss her a lot.”

Looking to the future, he said: “Britain and the monarchy has become more diverse so I think, going forward, it will probably be a whole lot different in the future.”

Val Floyd, whose journey with a friend to London from Cornwall in southwestern England took almost six hours, was just two years old when the Queen took the throne. She said wanted to be part of the pomp and circumstance of the funeral and experience the atmosphere.




Flowers and tributes left in Green Park are pictured in London on Sept. 20, 2022, a day after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. (AFP)

“She’s been like a mother figure and keeping the whole country stable,” she said. “That’s how I feel about her and I just wanted to be here to feel the atmosphere, which was electrifying; it was fantastic.

“I’m hoping the new king will be almost as good as the old queen. She was fantastic (and) I just think he’s done such a good job so far, because losing your mother and just dealing with everything he’s had to deal with, it’s been amazing, so I’m hoping that he’s going to make a good king.”

Farzana Khan, who was born and raised in London but whose family is of Pakistani origin, said she took part in many commemorative events that took place during the 10-day official mourning period that followed the death of the Queen on Sept. 8.

 

 

“She’s such a constant in our lives,” she said. “She’s a fantastic role model and we’ve had a feminine reign in our country for so long, so I felt compelled (to come) and I brought my children and friends down to give her the big farewell and let the family know, as well, that we’re here to support them for the future.”

Khan described the queen as a quiet and humble person but said King Charles has “got a little bit of a personality, some serious issues he cares about, like the environment.” She is optimistic and has “positive vibes” about his reign, despite the fact that he takes the throne at the relatively old age of 73, she added.

Rose Afshar, who is originally from Malaysia but has lived in the UK for many years, said she queued for nine hours to pay her respects when the Queen was lying in state at Westminster Hall, and waited a further five hours to see the coffin as it passed through the streets of the capital.




Flowers and tributes left in Green Park are pictured in London on Sept. 20, 2022, a day after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. (AFP)

“It was magnificent, the place, the atmosphere, and I’m really thankful that we managed to get inside and we did our prayers for her,” she said. “I’m also thankful to her for making this country a very stable and prosperous country, from when she (became) queen until now.

“Also the policies of her governments have made it possible for those of us who are not born British, not born English, to be able to study here, settle here and make a good income in this country.”

Afshar said that when she was 10 years old, her grandmother, who was a royalist, showed her a picture of the Queen and she was mesmerized by her beauty and huge, shimmering crown, covered in diamonds, she wore. She said she asked whether she might go to England one day and her grandmother replied that the only way it would happen was if she studied very hard.




King Charles III faces the task of preserving a 1,000-year-old monarchy that his mother nurtured for seven decades but that faces an uncertain future. (File/AP)

“I think, in the back of my mind, that made me study really hard and eventually, at the age of 16 or 17, I got a scholarship, came to England, did my A levels, went to university and then settled here — so, in a way, she (the Queen) was an inspiration to many of us girls,” Afshar said.

Burcu Salman, who moved from Istanbul to London two months ago, was keen to be part of such a special and historic moment.

“Many people came from all over the world (and) we are lucky to witness these moments,” Salman said. “I will never forget this day. Rest in peace Queen Elizabeth.”




The Royal Family follow behind as Grenadier Guards escort the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, aboard the State Hearse, inside Windsor Castle on Sept. 19, 2022, ahead of her Committal Service. (AFP)

 


Wife of Daesh leader jailed for 8 years in Somalia over terror fund transfers

Wife of Daesh leader jailed for 8 years in Somalia over terror fund transfers
Updated 9 sec ago

Wife of Daesh leader jailed for 8 years in Somalia over terror fund transfers

Wife of Daesh leader jailed for 8 years in Somalia over terror fund transfers
  • Fartun Abdirashid, wife of Abdiqadir Mumin, head of the Daesh group, was sentenced on Monday at a military court

MOGADISHU: A military tribunal in Somalia has sentenced the wife of the head of a terrorist organization linked to Daesh to eight years in prison for passing on information and organizing financial transactions for the group, a military official said on Monday.

Fartun Abdirashid, wife of Abdiqadir Mumin, head of the Daesh group, was sentenced on Monday at a military court.

She has been under custody since her arrest in March last year in the capital, Mogadishu.

Abdirashid was accused of frequently transferring $100 to $200 to the group’s members, the public prosecutor’s office said.

She had a working relationship with Bilal Al-Sudaani, a senior Daesh official who was killed on Wednesday in a US raid in Somalia’s northern Bari region.

Mumin, a former Al-Shabab cleric, pledged his allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in 2015.

Daesh holds a smaller footprint in Somalia compared to the Al-Shabab terrorist group that has carried out numerous attacks in the country.

Somalia’s forces are carrying out an offensive against Al-Shabab that has been described at the most significant in more than a decade.

The first US Cabinet member to visit Somalia since 2015 urged the world’s distracted donors to give immediate help to a country facing deadly famine, which she calls “the ultimate failure of the international community.”


Young Palestinians and Israelis invited to Japan by Foreign Ministry

File photo of the Foreign Ministry building in Tokyo. (ANJ)
File photo of the Foreign Ministry building in Tokyo. (ANJ)
Updated 30 January 2023

Young Palestinians and Israelis invited to Japan by Foreign Ministry

File photo of the Foreign Ministry building in Tokyo. (ANJ)
  • Four Israelis and four Palestinians were invited to Japan as part of Japan’s efforts to realize a “two-state solution”

TOKYO: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting a group of Palestinians and Israelis as part of the 2022 Israeli-Palestinian Joint Youth Invitation Program.

Four Israelis and four Palestinians were invited to Japan as part of Japan’s efforts to realize a “two-state solution” by establishing a future “Palestinian state” alongside Israel.

The program with the youths “aims to provide a forum for building mutual trust and deepen understanding of Japan’s efforts toward peace in the Middle East, foreign policy, economy and culture.”

The invitation program is now in its 23rd year and more than 220 people have been invited from Israel and Palestine.

During their stay, the delegation will visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, exchange opinions with the students, and tour Tokyo and local cities, including Kyoto and Hiroshima.

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan. Click here to read it.


Three injured in knife attack near EU Brussels headquarters

Emergency personnel arrive outside of a metro station near EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP)
Emergency personnel arrive outside of a metro station near EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP)
Updated 28 min 47 sec ago

Three injured in knife attack near EU Brussels headquarters

Emergency personnel arrive outside of a metro station near EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (AP)
  • The suspected attacker was known to police for “psychiatric problems,” a source close to the investigation said

BRUSSELS: Three people were injured, one seriously, in a knife attack Monday in a metro station near the European Union headquarters in Brussels, officials said, adding that the attacker had been arrested.
Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said the man was speedily detained due to coordinated police action at the Schuman metro station.
Police said one of the injured was in “critical condition.”
The suspected attacker was known to police for “psychiatric problems,” a source close to the investigation said.
The attack took place at rush hour around 6:00 pm.
European Union chief Charles Michel, a former Belgian prime minister, thanked the police in a tweet and said his thoughts were with the victims.
An AFP journalist at the site said a woman told people not to enter the station, saying there was a man inside armed with a knife as police rushed in.
Traffic was interrupted on the line.
 


Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans

Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans
Updated 30 January 2023

Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans

Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans
  • UN, aid organization officials have visited country this month
  • Needs of Afghanistan a ‘priority,’ top UN aid chief said last week 

KABUL: Afghans are calling for more international support following increasingly restrictive edicts issued by the Taliban administration, as the US special representative for Afghanistan began a trip on Monday aimed at refining an international response to support the country.

The Taliban has introduced a series of restrictions on Afghan women since taking control of the country in 2021, including barring women from university and secondary schools. Authorities in December ordered all NGOs to ban women employees, though those in health were allowed to return to work earlier this month.

The moves drew widespread condemnation, with high-ranking UN officials and leaders of major international organizations visiting Afghanistan this month to try and reverse the Taliban’s crackdown on women and girls.

Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West will travel to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland on a mission to “consult with partners, Afghans and humanitarian relief organizations,” the US Department of State said in a statement, in one of the latest efforts to address the situation in the South Asian country.

“SRA West will work with counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to Afghan women and girls’ rights, and access to vital aid,” the statement added.

Afghans are hopeful that West’s trip could benefit Afghanistan, with some urging the international community to increase pressure on the Taliban.

“No doubt this mission will help in the case of Afghanistan. I believe if this mission is implemented in a way to find a solution for the misery of Afghan people it will most definitely work,” Mohibullah Sharif, an Afghan political expert based in Kabul, told Arab News.

“However, if like previously, the mission is only for securing the interests of regional and international players, this will bring no good for Afghans and will worsen the situation.”

Life in Afghanistan has grown increasingly difficult for women, said Shamsia Hassanzadah, a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and former director of Star Education Center in Kabul, who was affected by the ban on women working for NGOs.

“Women in NGOs should be allowed to work because a woman’s work is very important for their family economy,” Hassanzadah told Arab News, adding that she was the breadwinner in her family.

“We want the international community to bring further pressure on the current government of Afghanistan and we believe such steps and measures will help to decrease the Taliban’s restrictions toward Afghan women,” she added.

“It will also prevent or even stop the Taliban from issuing further decrees against women’s education and employment in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan needs more support from the UN and the global community, according to women’s rights activist Farimah Nikkhwah, who was also affected by the recent ban.

“In the current situation, Afghanistan needs the special attention of the UN and the international community to prevent the negative and illogical actions of the Taliban,” Nikkhwah told Arab News.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said last week following a Kabul visit that Taliban ministers are working on new guidelines to allow women more freedom in humanitarian work.

“The needs of Afghanistan, for us, are of the highest importance because of its people, because of its obvious, deserved priority for us in our humanitarian world. The need for Afghanistan to be properly serviced by humanitarian operations is also a global priority,” Griffiths told AFP in an interview.

When it comes to Afghan girls’ education, pleas are also coming from within the country, said Dr. Hatef Mokhtar, head of the Afghanistan International Strategic Studies Center.

“Afghans want Afghanistan to come out of isolation,” Mokhtar told Arab News.

“The opening of Afghan girls’ schools is not the voice of the world, but it is the voice of the Afghans themselves. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan should take this issue seriously and open the girls’ schools as soon as possible.”


Body of missing Saudi Arabian tourist Abdulrahman Al-Anazi found in US

Body of missing Saudi Arabian tourist Abdulrahman Al-Anazi found in US
Updated 30 January 2023

Body of missing Saudi Arabian tourist Abdulrahman Al-Anazi found in US

Body of missing Saudi Arabian tourist Abdulrahman Al-Anazi found in US
  • Body found in the waters of Lake Erie early on Monday
  • National Weather Service reported that temperatures at the location were only 2 C

CHICAGO: The body of missing Saudi Arabian tourist Abdulrahman Al-Anazi was discovered early on Monday in Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Al-Anazi was reported missing after having a meal with friends and a relative on Friday morning, Jan. 27. They said Al-Anazi had walked away and was not seen again.

Cleveland Police officials said they sent search teams to find the man, near to where he was last seen in the popular tourist district near the East 9th Street pier along the lakefront.

Al-Anazi’s family immediately contacted the authorities in Clevland and the Saudi embassy in the US to investigate his disappearance.

“He left without his jacket, without his mobile phone and wallet, on the condition that he would return after that,” his brother Badr Falah Al-Anazi told MBC News 24. “Meanwhile, his cousin was waiting for him in the car, provided that he would after 10 minutes,” he added.

His body was found in the waters of Lake Erie early on Monday, near to where he had last been seen, it was reported.

The National Weather Service reported that temperatures at the location were only 2 C.

The official cause of death will not be announced until he is examined by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

Cleveland police told Arab News they were concerned about Alanazi's whereabouts. He reportedly could not speak English, was unfamiliar with the area and that his disappearance status was listed by the police as “endangered.”

Relatives told local news media that Alanazi had been in the US to accompany his brother, who was receiving liver transplant treatment. 

Al-Anazi’s passing comes after the death of 25-year-old Saudi student Alwaleed Algheraibi who was found stabbed to death in his Hansberry Street property in Germantown Philadelphia on Jan. 23.

A Pennsylvania judge has denied bail for Nicole Marie Rodgers, 19, who is accused of the Jan. 23 murder.