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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sultan: Agihan kekayaan tak seimbang undang rasuah

Former Islamic State Fighter: Recruits Assigned to Suicide Squads ‘Because They Were Useless’


Islamic State foreign recruits were placed in suicide units because they served no other use for the terrorist group, a former ISIS member told Your Middle East in a recent interview.

“I saw many foreign recruits who were put in the suicide squads not because they were ‘great and God wanted it’ as IS commanders praised them in front of us, but basically because they were useless for IS, they spoke no Arabic, they weren’t good fighters and had no professional skills,” said “Sherko Omer,” whose real identity was not revealed for security reasons.

“Omer” said recruits were promised women both in heaven and on earth based on ISIS jihadist teachings. They were also told it was permissible to rape their female captives. He said foreign recruits assigned to the suicide squads “were brainwashed into the ‘women in heaven’ and those they could rape on earth before they eventually killed themselves.”

“Omer” called himself a “technical professional” and told Your Middle East that because of his qualifications he was assigned technical work such as intercepting enemy calls and radio lines, as well as salvaging digital gadgets and archives during attacks. He said, ”I am alive partly thanks to my qualifications.”

“You have to remember that ISIS has been portrayed as an organization of gangs only… but the political leadership pay unbelievable attention to education and educated recruits,” he explained. “But at the end of the day good moral values are based on the way education and intelligence are being used.”

Georgian man stabs sister for not wearing hijab

TBILISI, DFWatch–A man from Pankisi Gorge stabbed his sister in the breast with a knife for refusing to wear a hijab.

The brother, 35, inflicted 7 wounds on his 33 year old sister, a former police officer.

Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge is located in the northeast of the country. The majority here are Kists, a subgroup of Chechens adhering to the Sunni branch of Islam.

The wounded woman underwent emergency surgery at the local hospital. His brother was arrested and is under investigation for attempted murder.

Seyphullah al-Shishani as he was hit by a shell. (Warning: disturbing images.)

The stabbed woman worked for several years as a police officer at Duisi police station, but left in February to start working at the local school administration. According to some locals, the woman left the police under pressure from her brother.

Neither family members nor relatives are eager to comment on the issue openly in this small but extremely closed community. According to some account the perepetrator has mental problems.

Pankisi Gorge, the home of approximately 7,000 Kists, in the last two decades witnessed the spread of radical Islam – Wahhabism, or Salafism especially among the youth, which is gradually replacing traditional Islam.

This leads to conflict between old and new generations, since the former follow adat; a traditional, moderate Islam and code of conduct widespread among many ethnic groups of Caucasus.

This conflict has come to the surface in Duisi, the administrative center of the Pankisi valley, where moderate and radical Muslims attend different mosques.

During a visit to the valley in December, 2013, DFWatch was told by the elderly people that 80-90 percent of the youth are following Wahhabism, which was their biggest worry.

In Duisi, there was also a prevalence of bearded young men, dressed in specific orthodox style. Although many people there have a more moderate lifestyle, the rise of the radicalisms is quite visible and the prominence of Pankisi men among top ranks of Middle Eastern terrorists is a proof of this.

Pankisi Gorge was the cradle of some of the most infamous Islamist leaders among groups active in the Middle East. One of them, Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka Abu Umar al-Shishani, is head of the military wing of the Islamic State in Syria, though also actively participating in hostilities in Iraq; another one is Murad (Muslim) Margoshvili, aka Muslim al-Shishani, commander of the Junud al-Sham group, affiliated with al-Nursa front, an official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, and designated as terrorists by the United States.

There are no exact figures about how many Kists from Pankisi are fighting in the Middle East. Accounts range from as little as ‘several dozens’ to ‘hundreds’.

According to Kakheti Information Center (, six men from Pankisi have died in Syria so far. One of them is another prominent field commander, Ruslan Machalikashvili, a.k.a. Seyphullah al-Shishani who was hit by a shell last February.

Don’t blame others if you fail to meet targets, Dr M tells Malays – Bernama

Dr Mahathir believes the concept of sharing political power and the economy can sustain racial harmony. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 1, 2014.The Malays cannot blame the government and other races if the target of 30% Bumiputera equity ownership in the economy by 2020 is not achieved.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said they only have themselves to blame for not doubling efforts to improve themselves.

"We cannot blame others and hope that they slow down for our sake. We must correct ourselves and work hader than the other races to be successful," he said at a dialogue session organised by the Federation of Malacca Retiree Associations today.

Mahathir said the Malays were accorded many benefits by the government especially in the economic sector, but they did not use them well.

"For example, the government gave the project to build computer classes in schools to Malay contractors but they sold the project to others."

On another note, he said the concept of sharing political power and the economy founded by past leaders can sustain the prosperity and racial harmony of this country.

On the other hand, the move to dominate all fields by a particular race can threaten the peace and stability as it can lead to rioting by the oppressed. – Bernama, October 1, 2014.

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Perak ruler says Strepsils will not cure graft

Expressing concern over the New Economic Model (NEM) data report, the Sultan of Perak said the nation can no longer remain in a denial mindset.

Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah is worried that the disproportionate distribution of wealth and the widening income gap would fertilise the culture of corruption.

Speaking at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) anniversary today, Sultan Nazrin said the nation is facing a major challenge.

"This is not a temporary sore throat which can be cured with Strepsils.

"It is a serious social illness that requires intensive treatment from social doctors and surgeons.

"It requires a medical formula from the social pharmacy, which is capable of drawing up a comprehensive and holistic social policy," he said.

Sultan Nazrin questioned what options civil servants or private sector employees have when their salaries do not commensurate with the daily cost of living.

"The majority in this category actually do not wish to take bribes.

"The number of those in this category will increase if an effective formula is not introduced, with focus on housing, food, transport and healthcare," he added.

Greed plunges man into sin

The NEM report revealed that 80 percent of the households earned less than RM5,000 a month, 40 percent less than RM2,000 whereas 78.6 percent of Employee Provident Fund (EPF) contributors earn less than RM3,000 a month.

The sultan also referred to the request by civil servants union (Cuepacs) for banks to include more RM10 notes in their ATM machines.

This, he said, showed that at certain times, a number of ATM card holders had less than the minimum RM50 in their accounts.

The Perak ruler also underlined two prerequisites in combating corruption which involved stern and non-selective punitive measures as well as preventive action to strengthen integrity.

He cited the example of the first magistrate appointed in Penang more than 200 years ago during the colonial era who was terminated for bribery.

"Taking stern action which is not selective is not an option but a must," he added.

As for preventive measures, Sultan Nazrin said this required initiatives to ensure that people possess the will power to refrain from such practices.

Greed, he added, is often the factor that plunges man into sin.

Flash floods strike KL after evening downpour

Flash floods have struck central Kuala Lumpur this evening, just as office workers were about to leave the city for home.

Reports and photos of the flood began appearing on social media sites after 5pm during an hour-long downpour, as road user complained of the resulting traffic mayhem.

According to Star Radio Traffic's twitter account @mytraffic, the roads flooded include Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Jelatek LRT station, the Cheras roundabout tunnel.

Meanwhile, the Malay-language tabloid Kosmo tweeted that over 100 vehicles were damaged by the flood at Jalan Pinang.

Other major roads widely reported as being flooded include Jalan Ampang, and the area around the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Several netizens also lamented the fact that the flood also coincided an impending fuel hike at midnight tonight.

"Fuel prices go up, flood waters go up, people's tempers go up, (but) football rankings don't go up.

"All these are (PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim's fault," tweeted the netizen @DeeyaHazard, apparently making reference to Anwar’s frequent jibes at his opponents for blaming him for various, disparate problems.

Another Twitter user, @beautifulnara, wrote, "It's bad enough that it is flooding, not I have to queue up to refuel. What a trial."


In a later report, newswire Bernama said that the heavy downpour also caused a landslide in front of Sri Putra Mas condominium at Jalan Data Mas at about 5.50pm.

"The landslide also caused traffic congestion in the areas as the slip closed half the road. However, no victim was trapped," Kuala Lumpur fire and rescue operation centre head Samsol Maarif said.

The operation to clean up the area was mounted with the cooperation from several agencies, including Tenaga Nasional Berhad and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and was completed at 7.30pm.

He said the landslide was believed to have occurred due to the soil movement at the construction site of a new condominium in the area.

Meanwhile, he said areas in Jalan Raja Chulan and Dang Wangi were inundated by flash floods, while four vehicles parked near Sentul police stations were damaged by fallen trees.

No casualties were reported.

Aziz Bari ‘absolutely unafraid’ of jail

The sedition suspect keeps silent during police questioning.

SABAK BERNAM: Police today interrogated University of Selangor law professor Abdul Aziz Bari over allegedly seditious comments reported in two articles published by The Malaysian Insider.

The constitutional law expert is the second academic to be picked up under the much criticised sedition dragnet. He follows University of Malaya lecturer Azmi Sharom, who was charged under the Sedition Act early last month.

The first of the two offending articles quoted him as saying that the 1992 Declaration of Constitutional Principles obligated the Sultan of Selangor to appoint PKR President Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the Selangor Menteri Besar (MB).

According to the second article, Aziz, speaking at a public forum, said the Sultan was wrong in demanding that Pakatan Rakyat nominate more candidates for the MB’s post, adding that “only God, not the Sultan, was infallible and has absolute power.”

More than 100 police reports were reportedly lodged against the professor, who announced today that he was “absolutely unafraid” to be jailed under the Sedition Act, saying his role was merely to answer questions at the forum according to his knowledge of the constitution.

He was accompanied to the Sabah Bernam police headquarters by his lawyer, Afiq Noor of Lawyers for Liberty. He was questioned for one and a half hours.

His lawyer disclosed that among the questions the police asked was, “Do you agree that the Sultan cannot be compared with God?”

According to The Malaysian Insider, Aziz opted not to answer any question during the interrogation so as not to incriminate himself.

The investigation is ongoing.

Depending on the outcome of Azmi’s constitutional challenge against the Sedition Act, Aziz’s situation could change.

Azmi earlier today won the right to take his challenge to the High Court. He is contending that the colonial era law is not constitutional because it was not passed by Parliament.

Why are our varsities so pathetic?

Kit Siang demands an explanation for Malaysia's poor performance in the Times ranking.

PETALING JAYA: DAP National Adviser Lim Kit Siang today demanded that Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin explain the failure of Malaysian universities to make it to the top 200 in the Times Higher Education (THE) global ranking.

In a press statement mocking Muhyiddin for once saying that Malaysia had “one of the world’s best education systems,” Lim said he should state why, during his entire tenure as Education Minister, he had failed in “all efforts” to restore the high international standing in “unversity repute and excellence” that Malaysia enjoyed in the 1950s and 1960s.

He suggested that Muhyiddin make a ministerial statement at the resumption of Parliament next Tuesday.

Lim noted that Singapore’s National University, which shared the same beginnings with Universiti Malaya, had “leapt” into the top 25 in the THE list.

He recalled that during Universiti Malaya’s centennial celebrations in 2005, the then Education Minister, Najib Razak, challenged the university to rise from its 89th position in THE’s 2004 list to Number 50 by the year 2020.

“Let Muhyiddin explain in his ministerial statement next week how he proposes in the next five years to meet Najib’s challenge,” he said.

“Malaysia is not only facing a serious and deteriorating higher education crisis, but a grave crisis in the entire education system, as witnessed by recent international assessments which place Malaysian students in the bottom third of international educational benchmarks and attainments.”

Captured by the Islamic State, these two teenagers went through hell. Then they ran

Editor's note: The names of the Yazidi girls and women in this story have been changed to protect their identities.

DUHOK, Iraq — 15-year-old Sara had considered suicide many times during her month-long ordeal. The old man she had been given to as a “gift” beat her frequently. He taunted her with videos of Islamic State militants beheading her neighbors. On two occasions she said he drew blood from her arm with a large syringe, making her feel weak and sickly.

“They didn’t feed us much. I used to pass out a lot, but I would make trouble for him as much as possible and fight when I could,” Sara said, sitting under a tent in a makeshift camp for the displaced outside Duhok. “Many times I thought of suicide but I kept thinking of my family and my brother. I lived only for them.”

Sara is Yazidi, a member of a minority religious group from northern Iraq persecuted for centuries for its ancient beliefs. She still bears horrific scars across the left side of her body from a double truck bombing that struck her neighborhood in 2007 — when she was just 8 years old — killing almost 800 people and injuring more than 1,500.

To the Islamic State (IS) the Yazidis are infidels. When the terror group seized control of dozens of Yazidi villages in the region of Sinjar last month, they executed men and kidnapped thousands of women and children. Those assaults on Yazidis and other minority groups — and in particular, the IS threat against tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped in the Sinjar Mountains — were a major reason US President Barack Obama cited for authorizing airstrikes against IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in Iraq. The US has since expanded those strikes to Syria.

The Yazidi Fraternal Organization, formally based in Sinjar but now working from the Kurdish capital Erbil, has registered the names of more than 12,000 missing Yazidis — 5,000 women and 7,000 men — believed to have been killed or captured during a three-day period beginning Aug. 3.

At least 47 of the women have since escaped.

They tell tales of rape, forced marriage and enslavement. Many, like Sara, say they were given to IS fighters as wives or sold as slaves for prices ranging from $100 to $1,000. Late last month, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 300 cases of Yazidi women transported to Syria by IS, some of whom were then sold in Aleppo in a human trade market.

The escaped women's stories offer details about the Islamic State’s systematic violence against minority communities in Iraq, and insight into the group's methods for imposing an extreme ideology and recruiting fighters to its cause.

The day IS took Sinjar

Sara’s ordeal began on Aug. 3 in the Sinjar village of Tal Azir, when IS launched its attack. Without a vehicle, she and her mother, her brother and his pregnant wife simply ran toward the nearby mountains. After two hours on foot, they reached a farmhouse where many of their neighbors and relatives had taken shelter on the edge of the mountain range.

Soon, IS had them surrounded.

“There were about 20 cars. They all had heavy weapons,” said Sara. “They separated the men from the women. Some of the men tried to run. They shot them. They locked my mother in a room with some of the older women.”

Sara said the younger Yazidi women were then loaded onto the backs of seven pickup trucks, some of the vehicles taken from villagers and others belonging to IS. She stuck close to her pregnant sister-in-law.

“I don’t know how many of us there were but they were pushing us into the trucks, as many as they could hold in each one,” she said. “The children they didn’t care about. Some women took their children. Others got left behind.”

As the trucks full of young women and children sped away, Sara could hear gunfire.

“We thought maybe our men were fighting them to save us,” she said.

Back at the farmhouse Sara’s mother Narin was also listening to the sound of gunfire, locked in a room with several other women. As bullets sprayed in a neighboring room, she blocked her ears and crouched down. Then everything went quiet.

“There were six of us ladies left,” Narin said. After waiting for a short time and hearing nothing, the women tried the door. It opened.

There were dozens of dead men, Narin said.

“When we left the room we saw the bodies. All of them. They killed my son!”

The fighters had abandoned the farmhouse. The other women urged Narin to run with them to the mountains before IS returned.

“I could barely even hear them. I was so overcome with grief,” she said. “I just sat by my son’s body, rocking and crying and hitting myself.”

Unable to pull Narin away, the other women left.

Eventually she made her way to the mountains alone. She was reunited there with her husband, who had been away from their village on business when IS attacked.

As her mother related the story from inside a hot, dusty tent in the desert IDP camp, Sara broke down in tears. Thoughts of a reunion with her only sibling had kept her strong throughout her ordeal. He was a 19-year-old newlywed; he and his elated wife were anticipating the arrival of their first child. Sara had only recently learned of his death.

Khalif Kouli, a Yazidi militia fighter based in the Sinjar Mountains, said in an interview in Duhok that his group had made it to the farmhouse three days after the massacre and found the bodies of seven executed men. Narin insisted she had seen dozens of dead right after the killings on Aug. 3.

Parwen Aziz of the Kurdistan National Congress has heard dozens of similar stories of capture and mass execution from members of the Yazidi community, which has sought refuge in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. Aid workers assisting the Yazidis have heard them, too. Aziz has been lobbying the Kurdish government and aid groups to provide more support for escaped IS prisoners like Sara, who started turning up here about six weeks ago.

Aziz said there were early fears that Yazidi women who returned from captivity may be rejected or even killed by their own families, due to local concepts of honor. However, she hasn’t heard of any women with surviving family members who weren’t welcomed back.

Her concern has now turned to the risk of suicide among survivors due to trauma, shame or hopelessness.

“Psychological support programs are not accepted here so we are trying to start income programs that will help [women] psychologically at the same time,” she said. “Some of these women do not want to talk at all. They need time. Some of them speak of frequent rape, up to six times a day. Others were not tortured or raped at all. Their situations vary often according to age or the area where they were held.”

'We drove past so many bodies'

For 19-year-old Leila, the horror began as she tried to flee on foot from her village in Sinjar with her husband and his family. When IS vehicles caught up to them, militants forced the men to lie face down on the ground. Then they shot them, including boys as young as 14. Leila watched as her husband was executed.

The women were bundled into the backs of pickup trucks.

Leila clung to one-year-old Murad, her only child, as the women were driven to the town of Sebai. In separate interviews, Sara and Leila, who do not know each other, gave similar accounts of what they saw on the drive through this part of Sinjar.

“We drove past so many bodies. Even the bodies of children,” Leila said. She sits now in the home of a relative in Duhok, holding baby Murad tightly in her arms.

Leila was eventually taken to Mosul, she said, and held in a hall with more than a thousand other women. They compared stories: Most often their men had been lined up and shot. Others had been taken away in trucks.

“[IS] told us we must convert to Islam,” she said. “We refused and they left us alone for 10 days.” Food continued to arrive, but the men stopped bringing milk for her baby.

Then things changed.

“They started to take the women away. Sometimes they let them bring their babies along, but other times they refused.”

Leila said some women would disappear for several days, then return to the hall. Others never came back. Some of the men coming to choose women, mostly local Iraqis, looked as old as 70, Leila said.

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Karpal’s nephew questioned over Facebook postings

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Dalbinder Singh Gill, a law student and nephew of the late Karpal Singh, was questioned by police for allegedly making seditious statements pertaining to bumiputra rights and the monarchy on his Facebook page, an online news portal reported.

According to the report, Dalbinder surrendered himself at the Northeast Police District Headquarters in Jalan Patani, Penang at 10.45pm, Tuesday for questioning.

He told the news portal that he was bailed at around 1.30am, Wednesday.

“I was told that it was the police who lodged a report against me, prompting them to detain me,” he is reported to have said.

Dalbinder said that authorities seized his iPhone and iPad to help with the investigations.

He added that he has to report back to the station in a month.

Congestion At Petrol Stations, Motorists Flock To Fill Their Tanks Before Fuel Price Goes Up

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- Long queues and congestion were the order of the day as motorists lined up at petrol stations throughout the Klang Valley to fill up their tanks following news that the price of RON95 petrol and diesel prices will go up by 20 sen effective midnight (Thursday).

A survey carried out by BERNAMA at Petronas, Shell, Petron, Caltex and BHP stations saw motorists queuing up at the pumps of petrol stations since 8.30pm Wednesday night when news broke out about the price hike.

Civil servant Hasbullah Ahmad, 25, said he quickly rushed to the petrol station after news of the price hike.

"I had to wait for about 20 minutes to fill up but I feel I was lucky because I went straight to the station after hearing about the price hike," he told BERNAMA.

The Domestic Trade, Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives Ministry, Wednesday announced that the subsidy for petrol RON95 and diesel would be reduced by 20 sen a litre starting 12.01am, (Oct 2).

Following the announcement, Petrol RON95 will be sold at RM2.30 a litre and diesel at RM2.20 a litre.

The unsubsidized market price for RON95 is RM2.58 per litre while the price of diesel is RM2.52 per litre.

Noraisha Abdul Razak, a lecturer at a private college said she was shocked by the price hike because there was no indication of such a price hike.

"I only realised about the hike when I saw motorists lining up at the petrol station," she said.

Amirul Haslam, 22, a technician expressed concern with the hike because it would see a chain reaction as prices of other essential goods would also increase, thus increase the peoples' cost of living.

"Normally when the price of fuel goes up, there will be an increase in other goods and this will certainly affect the lower income group," he said.

Kuih seller K. Selvi, 50, also echoed a similar, fearing the prices of everything else related to the increase of petrol and diesel, would go up.

"I hope the government will provide some form of incentive to cushion the price hike," she said.

A bank officer, David Lim, 30, hoped there would not be another price hike in the near future.

"We cannot avoid a price hike but the government can take the initiative to improve the economy to ensure subsidies are provided for the people," he said.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ibrahim mahu cerita perasaan dilabel 'katak' dalam buku

Bangladesh minister sacked after criticism of Haj

• Telecom minister Abdul Latif Siddique declared an apostate

DHAKA: Bangladesh has sacked a top minister after his criticism of the Muslim pilgrimage of Haj triggered protests by Islamists who declared him an apostate and set a 24-hour deadline to replace him.

Abdul Latif Siddique, the country’s telecommunications minister, who is in New York accompanying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, made the comments which were aired by local television stations.

Siddique said: “I am dead against Haj and Tablig Jamaat. Two million people have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj. Haj is a waste of manpower. Those who perform Haj do not have any productivity. They deduct from the economy, spend a lot of money abroad.”

The comments drew immediate protests from the group Hefajat-e-Islam whose leaders called him “an apostate” and set a 24-hour deadline to the government to sack him from the Cabinet.

A senior official told AFP Siddique would be removed but he did not comment whether it was linked to demand by the Islamists.

“The decision has been taken to remove him from the Cabinet,” the official from the Prime Minister’s Office said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He added the decision would be effective after Hasina returns home.

At a New York rally where Siddique was the lone speaker on Sunday, he was also heard making critical comments about Hasina’s influential son and technology adviser, Sajeeb Wazed Joy. “Who is Joy? Joy is not part of the government.”

He also slammed the non-political Islamic group, Tablig Jamaat, millions of whose followers congregate outside the Bangladeshi capital each year in what authorities called the second largest Muslim gathering after the Haj.

He said the around two million people who gathered “don’t do any work except halting traffic movement throughout the country,” Siddiqui said.

There was no comment from the Tablig Jamaat.

ISIS Istanbul Consulate Allegedly In The Works

ISIS is allegedly planning to open a consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. If the news reports are accurate, the facility would be a first for the Islamic State and would be used as a global recruiting center. In a statement about the Islamic caliphate consulate, Ab-Omar Al-Tunisi, an ISIS “foreign relations” representative, said that Turkey was chosen for the facility because it is a “friendly and Muslim country.”

The ISIS spokesman also reportedly stated that the Islamic State hopes that the Istanbul consulate marks the beginning of “bilateral relations” with recently-elected president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ISIS also maintains that the Istanbul consulate will also pay for the medical bills of all wounded Islamic militants who travel to Turkey to get treatment. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey issued a release condemning the decision by the Turkish government to permit the Islamic State to create a diplomatic office in Istanbul. The ISIS consulate will reportedly be opened in Cankaya — “an elegant” and central metropolitan district in the city.

CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu had this to say about a massive outdoor prayer event in Turkey, where attendees were allegedly called to participate in jihad.

“What were the Istanbul police and provincial gendarmerie command doing during the hours this IS [ISIS] extension group was calling for jihad in Istanbul? Is it true that while the IS extension group was calling for jihad in Istanbul the provincial police and gendarmerie command were instructed not to intervene? Who gave this instruction?”

During the Eid al-Fitr holiday prayer event, a man in white robes allegedly said this during the sermon.

“Those who believe, those who participate in jihad on the path of Allah with their lives and all their beings will be rewarded generously. They are the ones who will survive. We beg him to compassionately help the mujahideen, those in jihad, to hit their targets accurately.”

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutglu confirmed that government diplomats kidnapped by ISIS when Mosul fell in June were released during a prisoner exchange with the Islamic State. A total of 50 ISIS detainees, including the family of a “prominent warlord,” were freed in the swap. The Turkish nationals were captured when Islamic State fighters seized the consulate in Mosul and kidnapped 49 individuals – including the consul general.

A Turkish government official who gave details about the prisoner swap also said that he was not authorized to either confirm or deny reports about the opening of an ISIS consulate in Istanbul.

What do you think about an< a href="" target="_blank">ISIS Istanbul consulate?

[Image via: US News]


This Tiny Country Produces Five Times as Many Islamic State Fighters Per Capita as Turkey

As 46 members of the radical Islamic group “Sharia4Belgium” went on trial Monday, accused of recruiting Belgian fighters for the Islamic State’s war in Syria and Iraq, a simple question was on the world’s mind: Since when was Belgium such a hotbed of bellicose Islam?

The nation of 11 million people has a reputation for being small and peaceful, more likely to be invaded than to do serious fighting (as Dave Barry once put it, Belgium is the “screen door of Europe” that Germany and France always slam on the way to fight one another).

Yet as the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, Belgium is the sixth-largest total European contributor of fighters for the Islamic State, with an estimated 300 Belgians having fought in Syria or Iraq.

But Belgium’s total population is tiny compared to the other big countries on that list, and when the numbers are adjusted for total population size, the difference between Belgium and the rest becomes stark: While roughly five out of every 1 million people in Germany, Turkey and Russia go to fight for jihad abroad — and nearly 10 out of every 1 million for France and the U.K. — a whopping 27 out of every 1 million Belgian citizens is estimated to have fought in Iraq or Syria.

So why is Belgium such a fertile breeding ground of jihad-ready discontent?

For one, it seems that Muslim immigrants in many cases simply are not integrated with the rest of Belgian society.

Some of the blame could lie with native Belgians shunning newcomers — a poll conducted last year by Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen revealed that 60 percent of young Muslims believe Flemish (northern Belgian) society will never accept them

But as the Gatestone Institute, a think tank chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, noted in a recent report about the rise of Islam in Belgium and the Netherlands, the leaders of Muslim immigrant communities in Europe often work to remain separate from the surrounding population, with Muslim politicians in Belgium even “creating isolated communities and parallel societies” in the country.

In a situation of failed integration, whatever the cause, it’s easy to see how jihadist groups like “Sharia4Belgium” could attract hundreds of young men to fight under the banner of Islam.

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Isma blames non-Malays for provocation ahead of leader’s sedition trial

Isma chief Abdullah Zaik has a court date to answer charges of sedition for calling non-Malays 'trespassers'. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 30, 2014.As Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman's sedition trial draws near, the Islamic NGO has released a video today defending their Malay-rights ideals and blaming the non-Malays for provoking the community.

Set to the tune of traditional Malay music, the YouTube video titled Pewaris Bangsa (Heirs of the Race) features several top Isma leaders declaring the supremacy of their race and religion, and lamenting the "interference" of the non-Malays.

Isma vice-president 2 Abdul Rahman Mt Dali said in the video that the non-Malays had "forgotten their promise" and were intervening in the affairs of Malays and Muslims as well as challenging their positions in the country.

"We have no problem with them, they stay here, we have never disturbed them, but now and lately we see that they are interfering, they have forgotten their old promise," he said in an interview in the video.

Isma vice-president 1 Muhammad Fauzi claimed there were attempts to denigrate the Malays as "pendatang (immigrants), just like the other races".

He said Isma members were simply rising up to defend the "true facts that happened in history".

"We want to affirm that this is a Malay Muslim region where Malays and Islam are the two pillars of the country and this cannot be disputed," said Fauzi in the video.

The group's deputy president, Aminuddin Yahaya, denied that their beliefs were racist and insisted they were merely defending their religion and race.

He added they would support their president even if he were imprisoned for sedition.

"God willing, the strength in our president will continue to ignite all Isma members and we shall not stray even one step away from our battle until the end of our lives," he said.

The video, which is almost five minutes long, ends with shots of Abdullah Zaik praying and a message urging the public to appear at the Kajang Sessions Court on October 13 to support Isma and its president as he attends the hearing.

On June 19, Abdullah Zaik was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 for claiming that the Chinese migrants who had come to Malaya during the British colonial era were "trespassers".

"Who gave them citizenship and wealth to the point that the results of their trespassing has been protected to this day," Abdullah Zaik had said in a statement published on Isma's website on May 6.

He faces a maximum RM5,000 fine or jail up to three years or both for any of the charges laid down in the Act. – September 30, 2014.

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Constitutional expert under probe for sedition

Constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari has become the second academician to face a sedition probe over comments made during the height of the Selangor menteri besar crisis.

Aziz's statement is to be recorded at the Sabak Bernam police station at 11am tomorrow morning for comments he made in The Malaysian Insider, the news portal reported today.

He will be represented by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) lawyer Afiq M Noor.

Before this, Universiti Malaya law don Azmi Sharom was investigated and later charged with sedition for comments he made to another  portal, Malay Mail Online.

Azmi's comments were deemed by prosecutors to be insulting to the Perak sultan following comparisons he made with the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, while Aziz is being investigated for sedition for comments made regarding the Selangor sultan.

According to The Malaysian Insider, the police are investigating Aziz over two articles published by the portal on Sept 1 and Sept.

More than 100 police reports have been lodged against him for the comments.

One was a Malay article titled "Sultan Selangor terikat deklarasi 1992, perlu lantik Wan Azizah, kata Aziz Bari" (Sultan bound by 1992 declaration, must appoint Wan Azizah), and another article titled "Only God, not Sultan, has absolute powers, says legal expert".

Aziz was investigated under the Sedition Act in 2011 as well, after he said the sultan's decree on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) raid was "uncommon and inconsistent".

Meanwhile, The Malaysian Insider quoted Aziz as stating that he is unfazed by the latest investigation.

"I was asked whether the sultan had absolute powers during the height of the MB crisis, to which I replied 'no'.

"I do not think I was committing a crime. I have not suggested reducing or abolishing the powers of Malay rulers," he added.

Two reporters from The Malaysian Insider had their statements taken over the said articles as well.

No cow slaughtering during school hours

I would like to urge the education department and all other politicians to respect the sanctity of schools and not to turn any school into a slaughter house.

Saravanan (PETA Asia Pasific Network activist)

Muslims are about to celebrate their holy festival on 3rd or 4th October 2014. The festival comes from the story of Nabi Ibrahim and his son Ismael. Instead of sacrificing Ibrahim’s son, Allah instructed him to sacrifice a sheep according to the story. This particular festival will be celebrated as Eid Al-Adha.

Last year, my conversation with SK Puchong school’s headmaster heated up Malaysia with the cow slaughtering issue in the school. I would like to urge the education department and all other politicians to respect the sanctity of schools and not to turn any school into a slaughter house. The incident of Nabi Ibrahim happened on a particular day in an open area and did not take place in any school.

Many UMNO politicians and Netizens commented that this is a Muslim country that they will do what they like. Some said if you don’t like it, go back to India. Papagomo commented he should kill me and many other negative comments.

I would like to remind everyone that in our education syllabus, there is no special instruction to slaughter cows or any other animal in schools. It is not a religious issue but all parties should respect the school where we gain education. The law is equal to all citizens according to the Federal Constitution. Hindus cannot celebrate Thaipusam in National schools and Chinese cannot celebrate their ghost festivals in the school. So the Education department and school headmasters should not not create double standards.

I did some research after last year’s issue. Malaysian Muslims didn’t slaughter cows during school hours 15 years back since British colonization. I have collected information from Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, and Qatar, they never slaughter animals in the school during school hours. This shows Malaysia is practicing a different Islam than other Arabic countries.

Qurban festival was celebrated in mosques, suraus, residential halls and other places where it is convenient. We do not oppose that. But as a human rights and animal rights activist I will watch closely what will be your real intention to celebrate this festival by slaughtering cows during school hours.

The cow slaughtering act doesn’t align with the education syllabus or school co-curriculum in any part of the world.

Celebrating cow slaughtering in the school will make kids psychologically traumatized. Even if the teachers and students were asked not to “see” the slaughter, fine, but one can always “hear” the slaughter being carried out.

Any country’s parliament would never approve such an inhumane act of slaughtering animals in the schools. It is a great disgrace for the country. All schools should follow world educational guidelines which is approved by the UN. Definitely animal slaughter will not be part of the system. Malaysian parliament should come to a decision to respect non violence.

Cow slaughtering in schools can cause POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal witnessing a harmful event that happened to animals or humans. War soldiers and victims have faced this syndrome or even people working in slaughter houses.

For Ambiga, BTN camps are brainwashing hubs

Ambiga said today that the Kem Biro Tatanegara, or National Civics Bureau camps, are nothing more than brainwashing sessions. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 30, 2014.The Kem Biro Tatanegara (BTN) or National Civics Bureau camps are nothing more than brainwashing sessions to turn Malays into racists and bigots, Datuk S. Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.

The Negara-Ku patron said parents, whose children had attended the camps, were baffled by the objectives contained within the modules and things that were being taught.

"I have met several Malays who have attended these camps and they come out feeling disgusted and angry."

She was speaking during the “4th National Conference on Non-Discrimination: Unity and Social Cohesion in Malaysia – Making It Possible” in Kuala Lumpur.

"What does that tell you? Malays are being brainwashed into becoming racists and bigots while attending these national camps," Ambiga said.

The National Civics Bureau is under the purview of the Prime Minister's Office and camps are held regularly, especially for civil servants.

"I am disgusted with our leaders, they are not interested in tackling these issues. They are only interested in the politics of the issue.

"I have heard people say that this particular minister issues racist statements simply because he HAS to do it.

"What kind of an explanation is that? The blame lies entirely with our leaders, there are no excuses," Ambiga said.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appears to specialise in making fancy speeches when addressing the international community in the United Nations.

"But when it comes to walking the talk, Putrajaya fails miserably," she said to a loud round of applause from the audience.

"We are interested in national harmony, the rakyat are trying to achieve national harmony, but I am not sure that our leaders are."

She also criticised the police reports lodged against constitutional expert Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, saying Malaysia was the land of police reports.

"Malaysia must be in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of useless police reports being lodged," Ambiga said.

"For giving his legal opinion, more than 100 reports are lodged against Aziz. Are you mad? Is this where you want to take the country?"

Ambiga said even the English would be embarrassed at the direction their colonial-era law was being taken to.

She expressed her incredulity when she read about reports that a group of influential Malays approached the Malay rulers to urge them not to repeal the Sedition Act.

"Words could not begin to express my feelings when I read about this meeting," Ambiga said, wondering what was the point of retaining the Act.

"Is it because we cannot detain people without trial any more? If the police force cannot function without these type of legislations, what does that tell you about the police?" – September 30, 2014

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More money for vernacular schools

MCA is asking for a bigger allocation for vernacular schools in the 2015 budget.

KUALA LUMPUR: Vernacular schools are now getting more money, according to an MCA minister.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Wee Ka Siong said that when he was the Education Minister, vernacular schools received about RM800 million and it was certainly much more now.

Wee, who is also the MCA deputy president, said each vernacular school had different needs and funds were given accordingly.

“MCA will fight for more allocation for vernacular schools. Even missionary schools in East Malaysia are in need of funds,” Wee said at the ground-breaking ceremony at SRJK(C) Kuen Cheng for a new building here today.

“We are now discussing to have a bigger allocation for vernacular schools in the 2015 budget,” he added.

Wee also said the use of forecast exam results for tertiary institutions should not be discontinued as this practice had been going on for about 30 years.

He said students should not be wasting their time and doing nothing while waiting for the official SPM results.

He added that the practice of using forecast results would not affect the quality of education because there were methods to kick out students who failed in the SPM examination.

“The use of forecast results has been going on for about 30 years and I don’t understand why this has been brought up.

“This practice should not be discontinued unless there is a better system or valid reason to do so,” said Wee.

Islam hijacked, says Dr M

He criticises religious leaders and scholars for not condemning violent acts by extremist groups.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has denounced what he calls the “hijacking” of Islam by forces who have misunderstood the meaning of jihad.

In his latest posting on his blog, he said these parties had replaced the teachings of Islam with doctrines that are anathema to the religion, posing anxiety and danger to all Muslims and Islam itself.

According to Mahathir, the call to jihad and its promise of martyrdom has a compelling attraction to Muslims who are not well versed in Islamic teachings.

“In truth, Muslims who wage war with other Muslims are committing acts that contradict Islam, which calls for brotherhood among Muslims,” he said.

“Doesn’t God command in the Quran that if two groups of Muslims are in conflict, another party should make peace between them?”

Referring to recent reports of Malaysians joining the war in Syria, he said: “Are they actually waging jihad or doing the work of America and the Jews?

“Malaysians are volunteering to kill other Muslims, justifying their act by claiming that their enemies are the Shias. They think the Shias are not Muslims.”

He lamented that the Shias are being killed mercilessly just for professing a different expression of Islam.

“The same goes for the Shias who kill the Sunnis,” he said.

He criticised religious leaders and scholars in Malaysia for not condemning the violent acts by extremist groups.

“There are some (who are) believed to have blessed these Malaysian militants,” he said.

“Please save the sacred religion of Islam from those who are trying to change its character by replacing its noble teachings with despicable ones.”

AG and IGP told to stand up to Umno

Latheefa Koya says the selective manner of the current sedition blitz is Umno’s doing.

PETALING JAYA: PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya has hinted that the Attorney-General and Inspector General of Police was bowing to pressure by Umno to charge MPs, lawyers, professionals and activists with sedition.

Latheefa said, “The investigations and arrests made against these MPs and many others in the last several weeks were in response to police reports made by Umno members and complaints by Umno leaders.”

Adding that the AG “must act professionally and not succumb to pressure from any quarter,” Latheefa said the worrying part was that the criticisms were “valid” and in relation to “legal opinion”.

“There was no element of violence or public disorder in any of the alleged ‘seditious’ remarks by any of those who have been charged,” she remarked.

Latheefa also alluded to the re-opening of investigations on “old complaints” which she said was due once again to “pressure from Umno leaders”.

Touching on the “selective nature of the sedition blitz”, Latheefa said, “no action was taken against pro-Umno government people who had made far more serious remarks.”

Expressing her dismay that people were being hauled up and investigated for sedition to this day, she added, “All such actions by both the AG and IGP shows complete contradiction to what was repeatedly promised by the Prime Minister i.e. to repeal the Sedition Act.”

Accusing the AG of making “empty promises”, Latheefa said he had done nothing despite saying he would review some of the previous sedition charges.

“We therefore urge the AG to do the right thing and review and drop the sedition charges,” Latheefa stated.

‘Secession’ not the issue in Sabah, Sarawak

From the legal perspective, sedition charges are inapplicable in Borneo as the rights movement involves the Malaysia Agreement 1963, an equal partnership between nations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Secession is a misnomer in Sabah and Sarawak, and issuing threats against those who speak up on Borneo rights can be counter-productive since the crux of the matter is the Federal Government’s non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Threatening investigations and bringing sedition charges will not dampen discussions in the streets on the Borneo nations exiting from the Federation with the peninsula,” said Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan after attending a public forum, Revisit Malaysia Agreement 1963, in Kuala Lumpur on Mon.

“In fact, strong-arm tactics will have the opposite effect and generate momentum.”

Jeffrey pointed out that the situation in the Borneo nations today was not like that 20 years ago when people lived in fear. Today, they are no longer intimidated by the Sedition Act, he added, nor would they be cowed if the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) was brought back.

“The young people especially are not afraid of being arrested for standing up for their legitimate rights and their place in the sun.”

Its convictions and beliefs that drive them, he stressed, and they are fearless because the truth is with them (berani kerana benar).

He cited, as an example, the on-going signature campaign for the People’s Petition on self-determination to be sent to the United Nations after the target 500,000 endorsements are obtained. Young people everywhere are signing the petition online and getting their elders to do the same, Jeffrey disclosed. “Already, 20,000 signatures have been collected and the process is gathering momentum.”

From the legal perspective, continued Jeffrey, secession is not the issue in Borneo as this involves MA63, an equal partnership between nations. “If we are free to enter a partnership, we are equally free to leave it or even dissolve it,” said Jeffrey. “So, secession is not the right word to use in the case of the Sabah, Sarawak activists and they shouldn’t be threatened with sedition or treason charges.”

He urged Putrajaya to set up a mechanism to address grievances in the Borneo nations and cautioned that history is not on the side of the Federal Government on the matter. Instead, the authorities seem bent on creating a climate of fear to stamp out dissent, he lamented.

“We are not happy over so many socio-economic issues as well but the primary emphasis in this struggle has been on the theme that man does not live by bread alone,” said Jeffrey. “Oil, revenue-sharing, security and land are burning issues.”

We are the weeds with fire

COMMENT I’ve wondered what it was like to be grown-up during Operasi Lalang. I was seven that year - truly a child of former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power in 1981, and ordered the government crackdown on political dissidents and activists in 1987. Over a hundred people were arrested under the Internal Security Act, and many of them got sent to jail.

People who lived through that time are calling this recent spate of arrests and convictions under the Sedition Act ‘Ops Lalang 2'. DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang blogged about a “...climate of fear in the country, as if we are in the midst of a ‘white terror’...” Former Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan declared to rousing applause at a forum: “...We are no ‘lalang’ (weed). We’re going to stand up today.”

Perhaps the confusion and fear in 1987 was the same as ours is now. Maybe parents chided in lowered voices about being careful what you write or say, at least until “this blows over. You never know”.

The same but not the same.

In 1987, we didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have these amazing magic machines which let you write, take photos, make music, shoot video and then connect it instantly to the whole wide world. The same machines with which you could start a fire, or a spark of hope, and watch it spread, or flickering, die, only to revive again, like those magic birthday candles that refuse to go out.

My favorite journalist in the West, Quinn Norton, has called the Net the “Promethean substance of this age. It can consume, it can destroy, and it can empower. Like fire, we have to learn to use it and live with it”.

If you’re an artist, or a writer, if you keep a blog, or have a Facebook profile or Twitter account, whether you scribble the workings of your heart, or work all night drawing scary hands (because dammit it is fun), you wield a tiny part of this power. Now is the time to use it.

In contradiction to Ambiga’s words, though not, I believe, their spirit, I say: We ARE the weeds. We are the weeds with fire. We’re sending smoke signals across the net to find each other, and our hands are moving faster than theirs can catch.

SHARON CHIN is an artist living in Malaysia.

Pilgrimage: More Comfortable For Haj Pilgrims Now, Says Muhyiddin

From Hafizah Kamaruddin

MAKKAH, Sept 30 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the development of Makkah city and the Masjidilharam (Grand Mosque) as well as improved haj services provided by Tabung Haji (TH) have provided a lot of comforts to Malaysian pilgrims.

He made this comment when asked by the Malaysian media about the different experience performing his first haj 30 years ago and today, after visiting Malaysian pilgrims receiving treatment at the Aziziah Tabung Haji Treatment Centre here today.

Muhyiddin arrived here on Sunday to perform the haj with his wife, Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman, four children and two other family members.

Muhyiddin, who performed the haj for the first time with Tabung Haji in the 1980s, also said :"Much has changed."

"I feel special (this time) especially seeing the situation in Makkah and Masjidilharam today and 30 years ago... very different," he said.

"When I prayed (at the Masjidilharam), I found the Saudi Arabian government had taken the initiative of expanding space for the pilgrims, and in several levels. I could not pray downstairs, so I had to go upstairs (to pray)," he said.

He said the transport system in Makkah was more organised and less congested compared to the 1980s, and the city was cleaner than before.

"It is good to be performing the haj," he said.

Commenting on TH, he said the accommodation, transportation and other services provided were better than 30 years ago.

In fact, he said, the services provided by TH as a body which managed Malaysian haj pilgrims was acknowledged by the King of Saudi Arabia in every meeting with haj ministers.

Muhyiddin said: "Every year, many countries want to emulate TH. We give guidance and help in haj management (to other countries) so that in the future, the management of the world's pilgrims would improve or be on par (with TH) , and this would be a source of pride for Malaysia."

He added that he hoped all 22,230 Malaysian pilgrims this year could perform their haj as best as possible.

Muhyiddin also congratulated TH senior management and staff who would sacrifice their time each year to be in the Holy Land to provide the haj pilgrims with the best service, which made TH an exemplary institution.

According to the local media, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently ordered the newly expanded areas of the Grand Mosque in Makkah open for prayers in order to cater to more than two million haj pilgrims this year.

This means that pilgrims are now able to perform prayers inside the expanded mosque and courtyards on the northern, western, southern and eastern parts of the King Abdullah Haram Expansion Project, which is currently 67 percent completed.

King Abdullah had instructed officials to open the expanded mataf, or circumambulation area, around the Holy Kaabah.

The move has helped to reduce congestion inside the mosque and helped pilgrims perform their religious rituals with ease.

The project will increase the mosque's capacity to cater for two million worshipers, and the mataf from 52,000 pilgrims to 130,000 pilgrims per hour.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dr Mahathir: Umno lack guts to criticise its leaders

New Iraqi comedy show aims to counter Islamic State extremists

By Loveday Morris

BAGHDAD — Reclining on a gold-rimmed purple sofa, the leader of the Islamic State extremist group mulls his social-media strategy as an overaffectionate sword-wielding dwarf looks on.

Here’s the town drunk, who has become a zealous follower of the Islamic State, beating those who consume alcohol — though he still drinks in secret himself.

And there’s the shop owner who is informed that vegetables with names in the Arabic language that are female in gender can’t mix with those of the male gender.

That’s right, a new weapon has been unleashed in this country devastated by Islamist militant violence — comedy.

A new 30-part satirical series, “State of Myths,” which started airing on Iraqi state television Saturday, aims to expose the true nature of the Islamic State extremist organization — through slapstick and puns.

The show demonstrates the extraordinary ability of people in this war-scarred nation to challenge violence with humor. But making light of the group notorious for beheadings and massacres brings serious risks. Some of the cast members have not allowed their names to appear on the show’s credits, while the scriptwriter has insisted on remaining anonymous.

The comedy also shows something else: the jaundiced view that many Iraqis have of the countries that are coming to their government’s defense against the militants. The original trailer for the series played into widely held conspiracy theories alleging that the United States, Qatar and Israel were responsible for the rise of the Islamic State. That idea, however, was scrapped after executives decided that amid a U.S-led bombing campaign, ridiculing their allies had become too sensitive.
The power of laughter

Set in a fictional Iraqi town that is taken over by the extremists, the show now concentrates on poking fun at Islamic State rule instead.

The local drunk takes on the uncompromising passion of a convert — which doesn’t interfere with the hypocrisy of enjoying a few drinks on the side.

Raqi rapes girl to 'exorcise' jinn from her womb

A Saudi Raqi (religious healer) raped a girl who visited him for treatment of a psychological illness after misleading her into believing her womb was haunted by the jinn (spirits), a newspaper reported on Monday.

The Raqi in the capital Riyadh told the girl he has the powers to exorcise jinns in one session if she accepts his recipe at his home.

Once the girl, whose age was not specified, surrendered to the man, he raped her, causing her to lose virginity, 'Arar' Arabic language daily said.

Police arrested the Raqi after the girl realised her mistake and reported him despite his threats to expose her if she resorts to the police.

“He told her that her womb was haunted by the jinn and that he wanted to exorcise them,” the report quoted the police as stating.

The paper said social networks in Saudi Arabia went viral in reaction to the crime and that hundreds of readers slammed both the Raqi and the girl.

“It appears our society is still living in the dark ages…almost every sin and vice are practiced under the cover of religion…we would like to ask the justice and interior ministries: shouldn’t the Raqi considered a sorcerer, who must be punished,” said Souad Al Shammari, a prominent Saudi activist.

But another reader, Sarah Al Waleed, had a completely different opinion. “The woman who simply surrenders herself to a Raqi claiming to have such powers is stupid.”

A reader identified as Dalal agreed by saying:”Why blaming only the Raqi…how could such a stupid girl allow this man to do this to her.”

Isis threat real, is government taking it seriously, asks Dr M

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the Islamic State threat was much closer to home than the government was willing to admit. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 29, 2014.As the threat of the Islamic State (Isis) gets closer, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today asked whether the government was taking the matter seriously.

Malaysia's longest serving prime minister wrote in his blog today that the threat was much closer to home than the government was willing to admit as there were now reports of Malaysians joining rebel groups in Syria.

There were also reports that Muslims from the Philippines, Indonesia, and even Singapore were taking part in the rebellion, he said, adding that according to news reports, there were now more than 30,000 Isis jihadists.

"Every day, more and more Muslims, in Europe and Asia, are leaving to join Isis.

"All this is happening in the Middle East, far from our country. (But) are we safe?" he asked.

Based on the current situation, Dr Mahathir said there was a possibility that rebels from neighbouring countries would launch an attack on Malaysia on the pretext of forming an Islamic nation.

"This idea of establishing an Islamic country is interesting, especially in the minds of Muslim youths everywhere as many are disappointed that there is no such establishment around that can be deemed the saviour of the religion, the believers and the country," he said.

Dr Mahathir also reminded Malaysians of the Islamic State’s cruelty in targeting not only its enemy, the Shias, but also fellow Sunnis whom they considered less Islamic or who were against their beliefs.

“This Isis group is so violent that they have no qualms of shooting captured Iraqi soldiers who are Muslims in the back, as seen in videos,” he said.

“In their own video, one of their followers also beheaded an American journalist and these people were claimed to be Muslims from Britain.”

Closer to home, Dr Mahathir said the Sabah intrusion last year and al-Maunah siege in 2000 were grim reminders that security threats to the country were real and present.

"Remember, Sabah happened. Here in the peninsula, we have the al-Maunah," he said.

He said it would not be hard for such groups to turn violent again if there were calls to form their version of an Islamic country here.

"The government, until now, doesn't seem to be taking the past intrusions seriously. Kidnappings are still happening. Now, there are calls for Sabah to leave Malaysia.

"If for instance, this call is equated with the idea of forming an Islamic nation, more youngsters will be easily influenced," he said.

"But the government seems to be unaware of this. No action is being taken... and the Internal Security Act [is] gone.

"Remember, no one expected militants would strike Sabah, but it happened!" he said. – September 29, 2014.

Youth NGO wants PAS to stop causing trouble in Pakatan

Safwan, who was sentenced to jail on September 5, is currently out pending an appeal against his conviction. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 29, 2014.Fed up with PAS’s insistence on prolonging the Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) issue, a group of youths led by recently-convicted social activist Safwan Anang will hand over a letter to Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang tomorrow demanding that the party toe the line in Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Safwan, who was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for sedition on September 5, said his group, Lensa Anak Muda Malaysia (Lensa) had concluded that PAS had caused the Selangor MB crisis that saw PR on the brink of splitting up.

“Over the past few months, Lensa asked politicians, academics, what went wrong with PR and they all pointed to PAS and its flip-flop stance on the MB issue,” said Safwan, who founded Lensa in June and is the group’s executive director.

“The crisis should have ended by now, as the new MB has been sworn in already, but suddenly Selangor PAS is complaining that it never asked for its number of executive councillors to be reduced from four to three. This must stop.”

Safwan said he and about five other Lensa members would turn up at PAS’s headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut at 10am tomorrow to submit the letter to the party president titled “PAS must stop triggering tension”.

When asked why he was fighting this battle, Safwan said Lensa represented the voice of young voters in Malaysia who were banking on PR to take over Putrajaya and steer the country to a better direction.

“We are considered pro-PR because we know BN has no future, so why hope on BN any further? We want PR to provide new politics for Malaysians, otherwise there is no hope left at all for us,” said Safwan.

But he said youths were growing sick of PR, as reflected in its recent loss in Pengkalan Kubor, and that Lensa believed the sickness began with PAS.

Safwan said he had formed Lensa in June after leaving Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM), a group comprising students across Malaysia.

“Our objective is to evaluate the performance of both the government and the opposition after the general election and to create a new generation that is aware of democracy in Malaysia, and how they can play a part in it,” he said.

Safwan added that the recent sedition conviction against him had not deterred him from continuing his social activism, particularly his fight against the Sedition Act 1948.

“If I don’t fight, then it ends there. So I’ve made the decision to take up the fight and educate the youths on their rights,” he said.

The Sessions Court sentenced Safwan to 10 months’ jail on September 5 after it found him guilty of sedition.

Safwan was said to have uttered seditious statements to incite the public to remove the government by extra-legal means during a speech last year at a May 13 forum. – September 29, 2014.

Mahathir: Umno lacks guts to criticise its leaders

Umno needs to be reformed so that it can criticise its leaders more courageously, said former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.

At present, the former Umno president claimed that the party's culture is to support its leaders without question.

"Yes, because the leader must be told about other views. A leader cannot just do whatever he likes," he told reporters in Putrajaya.

Mahathir said this when asked to comment on former New Straiuts Times (NST) group editor-in-chief A Kadir Jasin's statement that Umno is too weak to oust its current president Najib Abdul Razak.

Mahathir also confirmed earlier reports that he had written a letter to Najib criticising him and saying that he is withdrawing support for Najib. However he was later asked by an intermediary to retract it.

“I just said I would withdraw. I didn’t receive any reason (for the request), since he asked me to withdraw.

“Later on, I decided that the letter has got no effect on him, so that is when I put it on my blog. I said that leaders must accept criticism,” he said.

According to an Asia Sentinel report, the intermediary was Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and purportedly contained seven demands.

However, Tengku Adnan had denied the report, saying “There is no such thing”.

IPP purchases 'public money'

When asked what he thinks about Najib’s move to ignore his advice and whether it would be detrimental to the country, Mahathir replied, “I think a leader must listen to everybody, not just somebody around me.”

To a question about Kadir’s blog post that Mahathir is "curious" about 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) acquisition of independent power producers (IPPs), Mahathir said he raised the question because the public has the right to know.

“This is public money. Although it is borrowed money, it belongs to the government, and government spending must follow certain procedures.

"You cannot just spend money as you like,” he said, before elaborating on the parliamentary procedures involved.

He clarified that he was not speculating on any ulterior motive behind the deals.

In his blog, Kadir claimed that Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) could acquire the IPPs for a token sum of money if its power purchasing agreement in not renewed.

The agreements last 21 years for gas-fired plants and 25 years for coal-fired plants, he said, and some of these that have been purchased have less than seven years left on the agreement and have long recovered their costs and substantial profits.

“Dr Mahathir was curious why 1MDB bought the ageing IPPs when the government could wait a few more years and get them for 'free'. Something is amiss,” he had written.

We will hunt you down every ‘wormhole’, IGP tells fugitive sex blogger

(Malay Mail Online) – Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has vowed to search every ‘wormhole’ for Alvin Tan Jye Yee until the wanted Malaysian sex blogger is found, saying the youth’s repeated insults against the authorities on social media is “unforgivable”.

Khalid reminded Tan, who is now reportedly seeking asylum in the United States to escape Umno, that “every country has its own rules”.

“We will hunt him (Tan) even down the ‘lubang cacing’ (wormhole),” Khalid was quoted saying in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia today.

“He (Tan) thinks he can run. However every country has its rule and we will even track him down every wormhole.

“There is no forgiveness for those who use the social media to insult and incite,” the IGP added.

Tan, the fugitive Malaysian blogger slapped with multiple charges over his now-defunct sex blog and controversial Hari Raya greeting involving pork dish “bak kut teh”, resurfaced in the cyberspace recently, saying that he is now seeking political asylum in the US.

Singapore media agency Channel News Asia (CNA) reported Tan as saying he is fleeing from Umno — the mainstay party of Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), and had applied for asylum in the US in May.

“I’m busy starting a new life here (in the US), apart from awaiting my final asylum hearing. I’m here to seek political refuge from the tyranny of Umno — simple as that,” the 26-year-old was quoted telling the Singaporean broadcaster in an interview through his personal Facebook account.

Tan said he is optimistic of his chances of being granted asylum from the US government, citing the US Department of State’s 2013 Human Rights Report on Malaysia, which he said “explicitly cites my case as a repression of internet speech rights”.

“If all else fails, I can easily publish more ‘seditious’ materials on my Facebook to taunt the authorities and get them to be hot on the pursuit of me again, therefore creating an even more well-founded fear of political persecution to bolster my asylum claim,” he was quoted saying.

Tan and his ex-girlfriend Vivian Lee May Ling, 25, were hauled to court last July 18 and slapped with three charges, but the couple known as “Alvivi” managed to get the court to struck off a charge under Section 298A of the Penal Code.

Tan and Lee still face a charge under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act for publishing a seditious photograph and the words “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” (dengan Bak Kut Teh…wangi, enak, menyelerakan!) [Happy breaking fast with bak kut teh...fragrant, delicious, appetising]” on their Facebook page last July 11 that also showed a halal logo.

They are also being tried for a second remaining charge under subsection 5(1) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for displaying pornographic images on their blog,, between July 6 and July 7 last year.

The court had previously ordered the duo to surrender their passports and allowed them to be released on bail, but allowed them to temporarily take back their travel documents on May 18 this year to travel to Singapore to shoot a documentary.

Only Lee returned the passport on June 3, while Tan failed to show up on the scheduled date and went missing, leading the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to issue an arrest warrant and forfeit his RM20,000 bail.

Sex blogger insults Malaysian leaders in another Facebook post

Tan (in red shirt) faces another sedition probe for postings on his Facebook page in which he had superimposed pig snouts on the faces of several Malaysian leaders. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 29, 2014.BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH

Sex blogger Alvin Tan has landed himself in hot water again following yet another sedition probe against him for postings on his Facebook page where he had also superimposed pig snouts on the faces of several Malaysian leaders, including the prime minister.

Astro Awani reported that police have launched an investigation against Tan, who had skipped bail and fled to the United States to seek asylum.

Tan had previously been charged along with his former partner Vivian Lee under the same Act for an offensive and controversial Ramadan greeting the couple had put up on Facebook in July last year.

“Members of the public have lodged reports against Alvin Tan. Upon this, we initiated an investigation under the Sedition Act," deputy federal CID chief Datuk Amar Singh was quoted as saying.

In a Facebook posting on September 26, Tan had slammed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, calling the latter a "coward" for the recent sedition dragnet which he called an effort to "cling on to the top post".

He had also superimposed pig snouts on the images of Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

In a show of defiance, Tan also tagged the five, telling their supporters to not bother alerting them of the "sedition" nature of the posting.

"Come jail me, please!!! Don't bother tagging your leaders here just to alert them of "sedition" happening over here. I've done it beforehand to save you the hassle," the posting read.

He had also likened Khalid, the nation's top cop to Germany's SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who was responsible for building Nazi concentration camps and had directed the killing of some millions of Jews during the Second World War.

"Yes, Khalid Abu Bakar, you're like the Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler, no less, and let me tell you why: because you abused your power just because someone called you names you didn't like. You're a bully, a coward."

"Zahid Hamidi, you're the closest thing to true evil, and your day will come. I promise. There will be no mercy (tip: google 'Qaddafi')," he said.

Khalid had earlier vowed to go all out to look for Alvin despite the fact that he was in the US, promising to search every "worm hole" for the 26-year-old fugitive.

Tan, the IGP said, was rude and could not be forgiven because he had shamed some Malaysian leaders with his offensive pictures and status posts on his Facebook account.

"He thinks he can run. But every country has its own regulations and we will not give up looking for him," Khalid was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia.

The former law student at the National University of Singapore, and his then partner Vivian Lee, first came under the spotlight after uploading raunchy sex postings on their blog in 2012.

But it was their bak kut teh posting during Ramadan last year that landed them in hot water, and even in jail briefly – after they were charged under the Sedition Act and the Film Censorship Act.

Tan violated his bail conditions while on a supposed working trip to Singapore and is now on Interpol's wanted list.

After lying low for a while, he recently emerged on social media to make known his plans for asylum in the US and is believed to be in Los Angeles, California.

Tan told The Malaysian Insider recently that his decision to flee his homeland was to escape the government's "tyranny" as well as the "ignorance" of ordinary Malaysians. – September 29, 2014

Woman jailed for hitting kids, returns

Shalwati Norshal’s eldest daughter says she is excited and cannot wait to see her mother again.

KOTA BAHARU: “I am excited and cannot wait to meet my mother,” said Aishah Azizul Raheem, the eldest child of Shalwati Norshal who was sentenced to jail by the Solna District Court in Stockholm, Sweden for hitting her children.

Aishah, 14, said she was grateful and happy when told her mother would be released from prison today.

“What is even better is that we will get to celebrate Aidiladha with mother,” she told reporters at Kampung Wakaf Tok Wali, Melor yesterday.

She said she and her brothers, Ammar, 13, Adam, 12, and Ariff, 8, would make a special card to welcome their mother’s return and give her a bouquet of flowers.

Shalwati’s father, Norshal Nordin, 70, said he was thankful that his daughter would be coming home soon.

“At least, my daughter will be back with the family and I hope she can have a better life after this,” he said.

Shalwati was freed after serving a prison sentence in Sweden and was expected to return to Malaysia this Wednesday.

On March 29, Azizul Raheem, a Tourism Malaysia officer and his wife, Shalwati, were sentenced to imprisonment for hitting their four children.

Azizul Raheem, was released on July 9 after a three-month jail sentence in Sweden.

Shalwati, a teacher on unpaid leave, was sentenced to 14 months’ jail.

However, the sentences were reduced and both only needed to serve one-third of their jail term. – BERNAMA

Bila sistem pendidikan Malaysia kucar kacir…

…hancur musnahlah harapan Melayu.

Pendidikan tonggak harapan Melayu

Harapan bangsa Melayu hanya satu. Bermula daripada pendidikan seterusnya mendapatkan pekerjaan dan akhirnya meningkatkan taraf ekonomi mereka.

Tiga prinsip mudah itulah yang menjadi pegangan dan kepercayaan bangsa Melayu untuk mengubah hidup mereka sejak dari zaman penjajah lagi.

Pihak kerajaan di bawah pimpinan Umno dan Barisan Nasional sedar akan perkara itu dan sejak merdeka lagi, pelbagai usaha telah dilakukan bagi meningkatkan kualiti hidup bangsa Melayu dengan penekanan diberikan kepada usaha meningkatkan tahap pendidikan.

Hanya pendidikan sahaja yang dapat membantu bangsa Melayu.

Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM), Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP), Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), dan pelbagai institusi berkaitan serta usaha telah dilakukan bagi membantu bangsa Melayu untuk memperolehi kehidupan yang lebih baik di masa akan datang.

Tidak terhenti di situ, di peringkat pendidikan tinggi, universiti seperti Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) telah dibina khusus untuk membantu bangsa Melayu supaya dapat ‘bangun’ demi mendapat pekerjaan yang akan meningkatkan tahap ekonomi mereka.

Bahkan, semua Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA) di negara ini telah menyediakan kuota khas supaya bangsa Melayu berjaya menempatkan diri ke universiti.

Ijazah tidak laku

Namun demikian, sikap kerajaan yang membantu pelajar Melayu dengan memanjakan mereka akhirnya memakan diri apabila kualiti pelajar yang dihasilkan oleh universiti saban tahun semakin buruk.

Kini, ratusan, malah ribuan graduan Melayu menggangur walaupun sudah menggenggam ijazah.

Namun, bila segulung ijazah yang digenggam tidak punya kualiti, siapa yang mahu mengambil graduan seperti ini bekerja. Dewasa ini, kebanyakkan ijazah yang diterima tidak ‘laku’ dipasaran apatah lagi bila bersaing dengan graduan bangsa lain dari institusi luar.

Soalnya, bagaimana anak muda Melayu mahu mengubah nasib jika tiada majikan yang mahu menggaji mereka walau masing-masing berbekal bergulung-gulung ijazah? Apatah lagi bila kebanyakkan graduan Melayu ini gagal melengkapkan diri mereka dengan tahap keperluan industri yang tinggi.

Kegagalan PPSMI

Pada tahun 2003, isu Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) memperlihatkan permainan ‘gila’ yang di eksperimen oleh pihak kerajaan dan akhirnya pada tahun 2012, dasar tersebut telah dimansuhkan.

Akhirnya, yang menjadi mangsa, pelajar-pelajar sendiri.

Kajian sebelum ini telah menunjukkan PPSMI memberi kesan buruk kepada pelajar di luar bandar.

Laporan Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2007 menyatakan kedudukan pelajar Malaysia dalam subjek Sains merosot ke tangga 21 daripada tangga ke-20 pada 2003, sementara mata pelajaran Matematik pula daripada tangga ke-10 pada 2003 ke tangga ke-20 pada 2007.

Bahkan, kajian sebuah universiti tempatan pula menyatakan murid senang mempelajari sesuatu subjek dalam bahasa yang mudah difahami, iaitu bahasa Melayu di sekolah kebangsaan dan bahasa ibunda di SJK Cina dan Tamil.

Bayangkan betapa silapnya dasar yang diperkenalkan sebelum ini dan PPSMI wajar dijadikan sejarah hitam sistem pendidikan negara.

Skandal UPSR

Tidak terhenti di situ, baru-baru ini negara dikejutkan dengan isu kegagalan dan ketidaktelusan kertas Ujian Peperiksaan Sekolah Rendah (UPSR). Perkara ini turut diakui oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin yang juga Menteri Pendidikan turut meminta maaf di atas insiden tersebut.

Kementerian tidak lagi akui peperiksaan percubaan SPM?

Tidak sampai sebulan, sekali lagi, pihak kerajaan sendiri secara tidak langsung telah mengaku bahawa mereka gagal membela nasib pendidikan di Malaysia apabila pihak Kementerian Pendidikan telah mengeluarkan notis pekeliling kepada Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (IPTS).

Pihak Kementerian Pendidikan telah memaklumkan bahawa kelayakan kemasukan pelajar lepasan sekolah ke program asasi atau pra universiti menggunakan keputusan peperiksaan percubaan SPM tidak lagi diterima bermula Januari.

Bagaimanakah pihak kerajaan yakin bahawa keputusan peperiksaan percubaan dan peperiksaan SPM itu memberikan perbezaan dalam penentuan tahap akademik pelajar?

Jika pelajar tersebut cemerlang di dalam peperiksaan percubaan, pastinya juga akan cemerlang di dalam peperiksaan sebenar. Namun dengan pemansuhan penggunaan peperiksaan percubaan SPM sebagai kelayakan kemasukan pelajar lepasan sekolah ke program asasi atau pra universiti, menunjukkan bahawa peperiksaan sebenar juga gagal membuktikan kecemerlangan pelajar.

Dengan sikap dan tindakan serta dasar-dasar yang diperkenalkan oleh pihak kerajaan jelas membuktikan bahawa kerajaan kini kelam kabut, kucar kacir, tidak menentu. Pastinya harapan Melayu untuk bangun berdiri sama tinggi dengan bangsa lain melalui pendidikan akan berkubur.

Pihak kerajaan harus mengimplementasikan satu sistem pendidikan yang lebih tinggi kualitinya daripada yang ada kini, supaya kualiti pendidikan terutamanya pendidikan untuk bangsa Melayu menjadi lebih tinggi untuk menjamin masa depan bangsa Melayu.