Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler

Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler
Image used for illustrative purposes (AFP)
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Updated 24 June 2024
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Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler

Texas woman charged for trying to drown Palestinian girl toddler
  • Elizabeth Wolf, 42, reportedly racially abused mother
  • Woman allegedly also attacked girl’s brother, aged 6

LONDON: A woman in Texas has been charged with attempted murder and injury to a child after allegedly trying to drown a 3-year-old Palestinian-Muslim child in a pool and attacking her older brother, CNN reported on Sunday.

The Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged law enforcement to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

On May 19, police officers responded to an alert of a disturbance at an apartment complex pool involving 42-year-old Elizabeth Wolf and the victim’s mother.

The police stated that according to witnesses “a woman who was very intoxicated had tried to drown a child and argued with the child’s mother.”

The victim’s mother told the police Wolf had asked where she was from and if the two children playing in the pool were hers.

The mother was clearly Muslim, wearing a hijab, or Islamic headscarf, and modest swimwear, according to the council.

Wolf also stated that the mother was not an American and made other racist remarks, according to the police.

“When the mother answered her, she stated that Wolf tried to grab her 6-year-old son but he pulled away from her grasp, which caused a scratch on his finger. The mother began helping her son when Wolf grabbed her 3-year-old daughter and forced her underwater,” the news release said.

The mother was able to get her daughter out of the water, but she “had been yelling for help and coughing up water.”

Both children received medical clearance from a local health facility.

“We are American citizens, originally from Palestine, and I don’t know where to go to feel safe with my kids,” the council quoted the mother as saying.

“My country is facing a war, and we are facing that hate here. My daughter is traumatized; whenever I open the apartment door, she runs away and hides, telling me she is afraid the lady will come and immerse her head in the water again.”

The Euless Police Department confirmed that Wolf was released on bail.

“The bond for the Attempted Capital Murder charge was $25,000. The bond for the Injury to a Child charge was $15,000,” captain Brenda Alvarado told CNN.

“We ask for a hate-crime probe, a higher bail bond, and an open conversation with officials to address this alarming increase in Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian sentiment,” Shaimaa Zayan, the council’s Austin operations manager, said.

Texas Rep. Salman Bhojani said he was “shocked and appalled by this alleged racist, Islamophobic occurrence that took place in my town.”

He added: “Hate has no place in Euless, District 92, or anywhere in our great state. I want to thank Euless PD for quickly apprehending the alleged provocateur, and I extend my service to the affected family.”


Pro-Palestinian activists held after protest at UK war memorial

Pro-Palestinian activists held after protest at UK war memorial
Updated 8 sec ago
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Pro-Palestinian activists held after protest at UK war memorial

Pro-Palestinian activists held after protest at UK war memorial
LONDON: UK police on Monday arrested two pro-Palestinian demonstrators after a protest at Britain’s Cenotaph war memorial in central London.
A Palestinian flag was laid in front of the Cenotaph and “180,000 killed” spray-painted on the ground in front of the monument, photos and video footage showed.
The Cenotaph is the focus every year of of national events to commemorate Britain’s war dead.
“Two women were quickly arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are in custody,” the Metropolitan Police said on X, adding that damage was caused to the road and not to the monument itself.
In a statement, the Youth Demand group said its supporters had taken action to “commemorate the thousands killed in Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza.”
It said Youth Demand was calling for a two-way arms embargo on Israel and for the new UK government to halt all new oil and gas licenses granted since 2021.
Supporters planned to disrupt the State Opening of Parliament by head of state King Charles III on Wednesday, it added.
Youth Demand last month staged a protest at the constituency home of former prime minister Rishi Sunak.
The war in Gaza was sparked by Hamas’s surprise October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza including 42 the Israeli military says are dead.
Israel responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,584 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to data provided by the Gaza health ministry.

Families of Pakistanis held ‘hostage’ in Myanmar in recruitment fraud urge authorities to secure release

Families of Pakistanis held ‘hostage’ in Myanmar in recruitment fraud urge authorities to secure release
Updated 14 min 10 sec ago
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Families of Pakistanis held ‘hostage’ in Myanmar in recruitment fraud urge authorities to secure release

Families of Pakistanis held ‘hostage’ in Myanmar in recruitment fraud urge authorities to secure release
  • Families say Pakistanis were lured with lucrative job offers by alleged Chinese scammers operating near Thailand-Myanmar border 
  • Spokesperson at Chinese consulate in Karachi says no evidence so far of involvement of Chinese nationals in ‘unsubstantiated’ accusations

KARACHI: The families of six Pakistani nationals allegedly taken “hostage” by fake job scammers in Myanmar have appealed to Pakistani authorities this week to secure their release, saying their loved ones were being subjected to the “worst forms of torture.” 
Families of the Pakistani nationals say that they were lured by a group of alleged Chinese scammers in Thailand with the offer of lucrative jobs and were now being forced to work up to 18 hours a day and being tortured, including through sleep deprivation and electric shocks, according to their family members. 
Arab News could not independently verify that the Pakistanis were scammed by Chinese nationals but a spokesperson at the Chinese consulate in Karachi said that they were looking into the case but there was no evidence so far of the involvement of Chinese nationals in the “unsubstantiated” accusations. 
While the exact nature of the work the Pakistanis are allegedly being forced to do is not known, the scammers had set a performance target of $150,000 per employee against a salary of $200 a month for the first six months and $500 a month thereafter for a year. 
A copy of a contract by a company called YONGQIAN Group seen by Arab News did not specify the type of work the Pakistanis were required to do in return for the $150,000 target but said that their employment period would be extended until the goal was achieved, while any employee resigning before 18 months would have to pay $8,000 to the company.
In one case, Qamar Zaman, a Pakistani working in Thailand for 10 years, told Arab News that he had invited his son, Muhammad Zain, to the Southeast Asian country from Pakistan’s Punjab province a month and a half ago on a family visa to start a business. 
An acquaintance of the Zaman family, Shahid Mehmood, another Pakistani from Punjab’s Sialkot married to a Thai woman with two children, also convinced Zaman to send over his son.
“He (Mehmood) told me he had a great offer and that he would secure the job only if my son accompanied him,” Zaman told Arab News, saying that Mehmood was not involved with the scammers.
“He promised my son a lucrative salary, but instead, I have brought upon myself a living hell. My life now is worse than hell itself.”
Zaman said that both his son and Mehmood were now trapped in a fake job scam and had gotten in touch with him by using the “secret phone” of three other Pakistani nationals from the Sindh province who were also being held captive on the Myanmar side of the Thailand-Myanmar border.
“‘Papa, get me out of here before I die,’ he pleaded with me on the phone,” Zaman said. “He was crying in agony.”
Zaman, who hails from the city of Gujrat, said that he lodged a complaint about his son’s “abduction” with the Thai police on June 12 and was struggling to bring him home. 
In another case, Muhammad Amir Hussain from Punjab’s Mandi Bahauddin, was also “taken hostage” along with Zain and Mehmood, according to Zain’s father.
In a third case, a resident from Sindh’s Hyderabad, Ashiq Hussain, has written a letter to the Pakistani embassy in Myanmar saying his son Kashif Hussain, 22, and two of his friends, Faraz Khan and Shehroz Khan, had gone to visit Thailand on Feb. 19, but met some alleged Chinese individuals in Bangkok who offered them “good jobs with handsome salaries” on employment visas, tempting them into traveling to Myanmar.
According to the letter, the scammers took the men’s mobile phones and other documents and compelled them to work with them. Hussain’s son and his friends managed to use a secret phone to contact their families back home, telling them that they had been handcuffed on arrival at the facility and were now being “forced to work long hours without breaks.”
Hussain said that he had reached out to the Pakistani embassy in Myanmar after his son shared his location using the secret phone. 
“It’s been a month and a half, and we still haven’t heard from the Pakistan embassy,” the father said.
When asked to comment on the cases, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a spokesperson for the Pakistani foreign office, said that she would forward the queries to Pakistan’s embassy in Myanmar and declined further comment. 
Meanwhile, families of the men said that the situation was becoming “increasingly unbearable” for them with each passing day.
“These are scammers and there was no factory as promised to Shahid,” Zaman said. “I threw my son in front of the wolves and his mother in Pakistan doesn’t even know it.”


Philippine trade officials tap small businesses in Mindanao to boost halal industry growth

Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry pose with local business owners in Zamboanga City on July 12, 2024. (DTI)
Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry pose with local business owners in Zamboanga City on July 12, 2024. (DTI)
Updated 40 min 55 sec ago
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Philippine trade officials tap small businesses in Mindanao to boost halal industry growth

Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry pose with local business owners in Zamboanga City on July 12, 2024. (DTI)
  • Country looking to access the multi-trillion dollar global market
  • Manila launched a national halal strategy in January, targeting $4bn in investment

MANILA: Philippine trade officials are helping small businesses in Mindanao boost their output in the halal market, as Manila continues its efforts to expand the domestic halal industry.

The government launched a national halal strategy in January, which includes targets to raise 230 billion Philippine pesos ($4 billion) in investment and generate about 120,000 jobs by 2028 by tapping into the global industry, which is estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion.

The Department of Trade and Industry visited western Mindanao’s Zamboanga City last week, where officials met local business owners to strategize ways “to harness the region’s vast potential and capitalize on the global halal market,” it said in a statement.

The halal industry is strategically important “in catalyzing economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation in Mindanao,” the DTI added.

In Zamboanga, the DTI held discussions with local authorities and business communities in an effort to unite “commitment to driving the halal industry’s growth.”

The department also recognized 13 halal-certified establishments in Zamboanga as part of the visit.

Zamboanga City’s strategic location to further expand the Philippines’ domestic halal industry also makes it a potential halal hub for the country, said Aleem Guiapal, who heads the DTI Halal Industry Development Program.

“Zamboanga is a strategic point that connects the island province and also the mainland provinces of the Bangsamoro,” Guiapal told Arab News on Monday, referring to the Philippines’ Muslim-majority region.

But trade officials will also be visiting other cities across the country to move the Philippines’ halal strategy forward.

“Any region is a potential halal hub,” Guiapal said. “We just need to provide the parameters, the availability and accessibility of halal products.”


Indian scholars, students gather for Arabic Language Month in Delhi

Indian scholars, students gather for Arabic Language Month in Delhi
Updated 38 min 17 sec ago
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Indian scholars, students gather for Arabic Language Month in Delhi

Indian scholars, students gather for Arabic Language Month in Delhi
  • King Salman academy partnered with universities in Delhi, Kerala to engage Indian learners
  • Arabic scholars from the Saudi institution will also train Indian teachers as part of the program

NEW DELHI: Indian scholars and students gathered for sessions in New Delhi on Monday to observe a specially organized Arabic Language Month, as Saudi Arabia seeks to engage learners in the world’s most populous nation.

The King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language partnered with universities in Delhi and Kerala for the initiative, which is aimed at developing and improving its teaching for non-native speakers.

The program started with preliminary rounds of an Arabic-language competition earlier this month, the finals of which were held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi on Monday.

“We believe that this is a month of great importance … We also believe that through this program we can continue discussions with experts, teachers and students (in India),” Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Washmi, KSGAAL’s secretary-general, said during his speech.

“We hope that with the grace of Allah we can continue holding this program in the future too.”

Since it was established in 2020, KSGAAL has been committed to preserving and sharing Arab culture and heritage, while its work has focused on fostering a greater understanding of Arabic.

While in India, the academy’s scholars will also hold training sessions for teachers.

Students and scholars in the South Asian nation say that Arabic is an important skill to learn because of globalization.

“The Arab world has emerged at the global scale, and this area holds very strategic importance for India and for the world, (for) energy security and other things,” Mujeebur Rahman, professor at the Center of Arabic and African Studies in JNU, told Arab News.

“India has very close economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, with the UAE, with Egypt … So from a business point of view also, Arabic is very important, because (in) these countries they speak Arabic.

“Most of their transactions, whether business or other cultural transactions, are in (the) Arabic language, so it’s very important for us to engage in Arabic. In terms of diplomacy also, we need to study Arabic.”

Naim Akhtar, a JNU student who won the competition’s first prize, said it was important to learn about “the contribution of the Arab world.”

“It’s not anymore that Arabic is only for Arab people … There are a lot of opportunities, not only in terms of education, but also in economy, even in culture,” Akhtar said.

For Mohd. Rihan, a student from the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, learning Arabic was also about discovering India’s connections with the Arab world.

“India has connections with the Arab world from ancient times … When we learn this language, then India’s relations with the Arab world will be strengthened,” Rihan said, adding that it would open up opportunities for Indians in the region and vice versa.

“It is beneficial financially and educationally.”


Grenade thrown at army recruitment center in west Ukraine

Grenade thrown at army recruitment center in west Ukraine
Updated 15 July 2024
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Grenade thrown at army recruitment center in west Ukraine

Grenade thrown at army recruitment center in west Ukraine
  • An expanded military recruitment drive has sparked anger and fear in Ukraine

KYIV: Ukrainian officials said Monday a hunt was underway for an individual suspected of throwing a grenade at a military recruitment office in the west of the country.
An expanded military recruitment drive has sparked anger and fear in Ukraine, where dozens of military-aged men have been caught illegally fleeing the country and recruitment officers say they receive abuse from the public.
Police in the western region of Lviv said they received reports that a grenade was thrown at an enlistment office in the town of Busk shortly after midnight.
“No one was injured in the incident. The facade and windows of the building were damaged,” the regional police service said.
“Law enforcement officers are taking measures to identify and detain the culprit,” it said in a statement, adding that forensic experts were working at the scene.
A local police official told state media that the blast left a small crater outside the building and two windows were smashed.
Russian authorities have detained dozens of people for attacking conscription offices and military facilities since February 2022, when their forces invaded Ukraine.
But similar attacks are rare in Ukraine, where authorities have launched an aggressive recruitment drive to replenish the army’s ranks after more than two costly years of warfare.