UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’
The death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police has ignited more than two weeks of nationwide protests. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 October 2022

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’

UK charity boss calls Iran protesters ‘soldiers of Satan’
  • Islamic Centre of England boss condemned women for removing their hijabs

LONDON: The head of a British charity with links to Iran has slammed women resisting the regime’s rule as “soldiers of Satan,” condemning women who remove their hijabs as spreading “poison.”

Seyed Moosavi, the director of the Islamic Centre of England, said in a social media speech on Tuesday: “We do not expect any good from the soldiers of Satan, but we are the lovers of Allah. We try to protect our religion, to protect the truth.”

The center, which is funded by government authorities in Tehran, hosted the broadcast by Moosavi amid demonstrations against the Iranian regime following the death of Mahsa Amini, who died under suspicious circumstances after being arrested for “inappropriately” wearing the hijab.

The center, which is based in the prosperous Maida Vale district in northwest London, was the scene of protests from anti-regime Iranians as the fight against the ayatollahs spread from Iran to the diaspora around the world.

Moosavi, who is a personal representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said the bolstered laws on compulsory headdress were good and that the protestors were going “against the teaching of Islam.”

The Times of London reported that Kasra Aarabi, an Iran analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change who has contributed to Arab News features, uncovered the controversial sections of the speech in a tweet: “The UK govt must take action against the Islamic Centre of England. It’s clear the views propagated at the centre are a direct threat to British values & citizens. The centre should be shut-down & Khamenei’s representatives should be expelled.”

The mosque is part of a network of groups that analysts believe have close links to the regime. Britain’s charity regulator investigated the center in January 2020 after it described the slain Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani as a “martyr” during a vigil following his killing by a US drone strike.

The Times contacted the Islamic Centre of England for comment.

The Charity Commission told the British newspaper that Moosavi’s social media speech would be included in its review of the organization’s output. 

A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of a speech given by a trustee of the Islamic Centre of England. We have an ongoing regulatory compliance case into this charity to monitor whether it has addressed an official warning previously issued. We will be assessing this speech as part of this case.”


Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country
Updated 26 November 2022

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

LONDON: Kuwait detected cholera in a citizen arriving from a neighboring country where there is an outbreak, the health ministry said in a statement on Friday.
According to the World Health Organization, Lebanon is in the latest phase of a outbreak that began in Afghanistan in June before spreading to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
“The Ministry of Health announced Friday a national who had returned recently from a neighboring country which suffers from cholera outbreak and showed symptoms of cholera infection,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the “infected citizen had been isolated and received the treatment at a ministry hospital until his recovery.”
It also said that the ministry dealt with those who came into contact with the infected citizen according to the relevant protocols.
The ministry ruled out the possibility of a cholera outbreak in the country, but advised nationals and residents to be cautious and avoid unsafe water and food sources when visiting countries which have reported cholera outbreaks.
It encouraged those who show suspected symptoms, such as fever and diarrhea, within seven days of their arrival from one of the countries where the disease is prevalent to go to the nearest health center to receive the necessary advice and treatment.


No injuries in rocket attack against forces in Syria — US military

No injuries in rocket attack against forces in Syria — US military
Updated 26 November 2022

No injuries in rocket attack against forces in Syria — US military

No injuries in rocket attack against forces in Syria — US military

Two rockets targeted a US patrol base in northeastern Syria but did not result in any injuries or damage to the base, the US military said on Friday.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces visited the origin site of the rockets and found a third unfired rocket, the US military said in a statement.
The base was located in Al-Shaddadi, Syria.


Turkish threats leave Syria Kurds in fear for symbolic city

Turkish threats leave Syria Kurds in fear  for symbolic city
Updated 26 November 2022

Turkish threats leave Syria Kurds in fear for symbolic city

Turkish threats leave Syria Kurds in fear  for symbolic city
  • Turkiye blamed the Istanbul bombing on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party — designated a terrorist group by the EU and the US — and said it was ordered from Kobane

In the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, gripped by fear of a Turkish offensive, Saleh Abdo Khalil passes an open-air “museum” of buildings reduced to rubble.
“Daesh destroyed these buildings,” the local baker said.
That danger has passed, but now, he says: “Turkiye wants to destroy the rest of the city.”
Since Sunday, Turkiye has carried out airstrikes against the semi-autonomous Kurdish zones in north and northeastern Syria, and across the border in Iraq.
Those raids, which started in Kobane, have killed 58 Kurdish fighters and Syrian soldiers as well as a Kurdish journalist, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Ankara has threatened a ground offensive and made clear that Kobane, also known as Ayn Al-Arab, would be a primary objective.
US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces, now the Kurds’ de facto army in the area, led the battle that dislodged Daesh fighters from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.
Years before, in 2015, Kurdish forces drove Daesh from Kobane, on the border with Turkiye, and the city became a symbol of their victory against Daesh.
To keep the memories of the combat alive, Kurdish authorities erected a cordon around a group of destroyed buildings, burnt-out vehicles and missile remnants, dubbing the area the Kobane “museum.”
While the football World Cup in Qatar has captured some residents’ attention, tension can be read on their faces.
Most fled the combat with Daesh before slowly returning and rebuilding.
“We fought Daesh for the whole world, and today the world closes its eyes and acts like an ostrich while Turkiye bombs,” said the baker Khalil, 42.
One week after a bombing in Istanbul on November 13 that killed six people and wounded 81, Ankara said it launched air strikes from “70 planes and drones” against Kurdish bases in Iraq and Syria, starting with Kobane.
Turkiye blamed the Istanbul bombing on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party — designated a terrorist group by the EU and the US — and said it was ordered from Kobane.
The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, and Turkiye alleges that Syrian Kurdish fighters are the group’s allies.
Kurdish groups denied any involvement in the Ankara blast.
Turkiye then hit other areas including the SDF bastion of Hasakeh province, in the northeast, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Tuesday that Turkiye would “soon” begin a ground operation.
“The situation in Kobane is bad. People don’t sleep at night” out of fear that the city could be “bombed at any moment,” said Nabo Jumaa Ramadan, who opened a minimart in Kobane after he returned from Lebanon in 2019.
“Kobane is a symbol for the Kurds and she defeated Daesh,” Ramadan said with pride. Erdogan wants to “break the will of Kurds in the city,” according to Ramadan.
“If Kobane falls, all Rojava will fall,” he predicted, using the name Kurds in Syria give to the area they administer.
The Kurds faced an earlier Turkish incursion in 2019 when Ankara’s forces and its Syrian proxies grabbed a swathe of land along the frontier.
Under a deal between Moscow and Ankara, Kurdish forces which controlled nearly a third of Syria had to pull back to a line 30 km from the border.
The withdrawal included Kobane.
On Thursday, despite fears of a new ground incursion, there was no visible Kurdish military mobilization in the streets of Kobane, AFP correspondents said.
A civilian vehicle traversed the city-center, calling residents through a loudspeaker to join a demonstration against Turkiye’s strikes.
Even when bombs are not falling, Turkiye’s proximity is hard to avoid, and its flags can be seen along the border from several districts of Kobane.
Flags of Syria and Russia — a major ally of Damascus — are also visible, on a nearby hill with a post for government troops.
“We’re afraid of bombs. We are poor, without possessions or land,” said Amina Youssef, 65, in front of her home.
“We only have this house. What does Turkiye want? We don’t know what to do.”
The trauma spans generations.
“We came back years ago and began to rebuild our homes,” Sherwan Hami, 39, said, sheltering from rain inside a shop.
“The city and the markets prospered and people went back to work,” he said.
“But there’s a new war. We’re living under the bombs again.”

 


Dozens of casualties as Iranian security forces fire on protesters

Demonstrators stage a protest at the soccer match between Wales and Iran. (AP)
Demonstrators stage a protest at the soccer match between Wales and Iran. (AP)
Updated 26 November 2022

Dozens of casualties as Iranian security forces fire on protesters

Demonstrators stage a protest at the soccer match between Wales and Iran. (AP)
  • Human rights group: Revolutionary Guard Corps use military equipment, including heavy machine
  • The people’s protest has shown that the policies of the last 43 years have reached a dead end

TEHRAN: Iranian security forces opened fire on protests after Friday prayers in the restive southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, leaving dozens of people dead or wounded, activists said.

Iran has intensified a crackdown on protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman of Kurdish origin.
Campaigners had called for nationwide demonstrations this week in solidarity with Kurdistan, which along with Sistan-Baluchistan has borne the brunt of Iran’s deadly protest crackdown.
“Kurdistan, Kurdistan, we will support you,” protesters were heard chanting on Friday in a video from the Sistan-Baluchistan capital Zahedan, one of the few Sunni-majority cities in Iran.
“Kurds and Baluchs are brothers, thirsting for the leader’s blood,” they sang in other unverified footage posted on social media, in reference to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.
Activists said later that the security forces had opened fire on protesters in the city.
“Dozens have been killed or injured,” the London-based Baloch Activists Campaign said on its Telegram channel. AFP was unable to confirm the toll.
BAC shared a video showing a group of men carrying a man who appears to be wounded out of what it said was Zahedan’s Makki mosque.
Demonstrators also took to the streets of the Sistan-Baluchistan cities of Iranshahr, Khash and Saravan, said BAC and the 1500tasvir monitor.
Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had used military equipment, including heavy machine guns, to suppress the people.
The Revolutionary Guards have built up their presence in restive Kurdish regions.
The Kurdish-populated provinces of western and northwestern Iran have been hubs of protest since the death of Amini after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code for women. On Tuesday, IHR said the Iranian security forces had killed at least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women, since the protests broke out.
Its toll included at least 126 people killed in Sistan-Baluchistan and 48 people slain in Kurdistan province.
More than 90 were killed during a mass shooting in Zahedan on Sept. 30. Friday’s protests came a day after the UN Human Rights Council voted to create a high-level investigation into Iran’s bloody crackdown.
Iran condemned the move, saying it is “useless and represents a violation of the country’s national sovereignty.”
A prominent Baluch cleric, Molavi Abdolhamid, used his Friday prayers to call for an end to the repression of protests through arrests and killings.
“The people’s protest has shown that the policies of the last 43 years have reached a dead end,” his website quoted him as saying.
More Revolutionary Guards armored units and special forces were heading to the west and northwest border regions, home to the Kurdish minority, several state news agencies reported, after earlier reinforcements were announced on Sunday.
The Tasnim news agency showed a photograph of smiling Revolutionary Guards commanders standing on a military vehicle and saluting a long line of troops.
Iran has accused Western countries of orchestrating the unrest and accused protesters in ethnic minority regions of working on behalf of separatist groups.
Molavi Abdolhamid also used his sermon to denounce the reported abuse of detainees.
“Things are said about the mistreatment of women in the media that are heavy and I can’t bring myself to say,” he said, apparently referring to reports of alleged rapes of detained women.
The UN Human Rights Council, which on Thursday voted to start investigating Iran’s crackdown, has demanded the authorities halt the violence.

 


US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkiye strikes Syria

US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkiye strikes Syria
Updated 25 November 2022

US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkiye strikes Syria

US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkiye strikes Syria
  • Turkiye this week launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq
  • The developments are “unacceptably dangerous and we are deeply concerned,” said Granger

BEIRUT: A US official in Syria on Friday called for an “immediate de-escalation” following days of deadly airstrikes and shelling along the Syria-Turkiye border, saying the actions destabilize the region and undermine the fight against the Daesh group.
Turkiye this week launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq, in retaliation for a deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the Kurdish groups.
The groups have denied involvement in the bombing and say the Turkish strikes have killed civilians and threatened the anti-Daesh fight.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said that 67 civilians, gunmen and soldiers, have been killed in Turkish attacks in northern Syria since the airstrikes began.
Nikolas Granger, the US senior representative to northeastern Syria, said Washington “strongly opposes military action that further destabilizes the lives of communities and families in Syria and we want immediate de-escalation.”
The developments are “unacceptably dangerous and we are deeply concerned,” said Granger, who is currently in Syria, and added that the strikes also endanger US military personnel there.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened a new land invasion of northern Syria targeting Kurdish groups. On Friday, he said Turkiye would continue its “struggle against all kinds of terror inside and outside our borders.”
Turkiye and the United States both consider the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a terror group for the decadeslong insurgency and attacks the group has staged within Turkiye’s borders.
But they disagree on the status of the main Kurdish militia in Syria, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. The Syrian Kurdish group has been a key US ally in the fight against Daesh.
Turkiye has carried out three major incursions into northern Syria since 2016 and its forces still control part of the country.
Kurdish officials in Syria have been warning that any new Turkish incursion would disrupt the fight against Daesh, which still has sleeper cells and has carried out deadly attacks in recent months against the Syrian Kurdish-led opposition forces as well as Syrian government forces.
“We take these threats seriously and prepare to confront any ground attacks,” Siamand Ali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces told The Associated Press.