Otis Johnson went to jail at the age of 25. When he got out at 69, he rejoined a world that was starkly different from the one he remembered. This is his story.
Many say it is the “age-old” sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims, but a look at the facts shows something different.
Swedes expressing solidarity with Muslims have organized events of support and love after a series of recent attacks on mosques.
In the city of Uppsala, where anti-Muslim rhetoric was scrawled onto a mosque wall on Thursday, hundreds of people pasted red paper hearts and messages of support onto the building’s entrance ahead of Friday prayers.
A day before the so-called love bombing, police said a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the mosque without causing a fire.
At least 35 people killed and dozens injured in a stampede during New Year’s celebrations in Shanghai
At least 35 people have been killed and dozens injured after a stampede broke out during New Year’s celebrations in the Chinese city of Shanghai, state-run media has said.
Citing Sina News, CCTV America said the the cause of the stampede on the Bund, the financial hub of Shanghai’s popular waterfront area, was still unclear.
At least 42 people were also injured, the report said.
Pictures posted on social media showed huge crowds surrounding people lying on the ground in the middle of the street, but they could not be immediately verified.
Authorities had earlier cancelled a New Year’s countdown with a 3D laser display at the Bund due to crowd concerns, the Shanghai Daily reported last week.
The event had been growing in popularity for three years, but last year’s turnout of some 300,000 people far exceeded authorities’ expectations, the report said.
When news of the hostage taking in Sydney broke on December 15, 2014, reporters trying to cover the story were scrambling for scarce and valuable commodities: the facts.
Their coverage echoed what had happened in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, just a few weeks before. Both stories were about one armed man, acting alone – as opposed to as part of a wider conspiracy – and both stories were accompanied by news coverage that seemed disproportionate, both in editorial tone and in terms of volume. It was template journalism and the media were peddling the Islamic terror narrative.
At least 31 people washed away and dozens missing as storm hits southern part of the north African country.
Flash flooding in southern Morocco has reportedly killed at least 31 people, with many others still missing.
Heavy storms have swept across several regions including tourist hub Marrakesh, where torrential rain destroyed many mud homes on Sunday.
Roads and highways were blocked off, making it hard for emergency crew to reach people.
By: Umar Farooq
Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uighur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region’s Islamic identity.
Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are meant to ensure the state does not support any particular faith.
Yet in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, China’s westernmost city, close to the border with Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, Uighur Muslims say the restrictions have backfired. Not only have locals become more observant of Islamic practices, but many have found ways to flaunt Chinese laws restricting everything from who may attend the mosque, to which copies of the Quran are read.
“That is Mao ZeDong,” said Omar, a taxi driver, pointing to a 24m-tall statue of the founder of the People’s Republic of China, as he navigates his taxi through traffic across People’s Square. “He brought all the Chinese here,” he added, out of earshot of the soldiers lining up across the street.
A few minutes later, the soldiers pile into trucks and move to the city’s commercial centre down the road, where police frisk shoppers at the entrance to a shopping mall. Across Kashgar, security forces have been deployed to thwart potential attacks by Uighur militants seeking to wrestle control of Xinjiang province from Beijing.
Home to some of China’s largest deposits of oil, natural gas, and coal, Xinjiang has a majority Muslim Uighur population – a Turkic ethnic group with a language and culture closer to Central Asia. Before the region was absorbed into the People’s Republic of China in 1949, almost everyone here was Uighur, but the numbers have have since declined, dropping to below half by the year 2000, as tens of millions of Han Chinese – the majority population of mainland China – were encouraged to settle here by the government.
That demographic shift, which accelerated in the 1990s as Beijing began to develop Xinjiang, combined with Chinese laws restricting Islamic practices by Uighurs and the 1997 execution of 30 Uighur separatists by Chinese authorities, triggered a wave of violence by militants that has left hundreds of people dead, mostly civilians.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed 39 people in the provincial capitol of Urumqi, and police claimed to have killed 13 men who attempted to ram an explosives-laden vehicle into their office near Kashgar.
The deadly violence – including an attack by knife-wielding men at a train station in Kuming that killed 29 in March – has sparked a massive crackdown by Beijing, with authorities announcing the convictions of more than 400 people across Xinjiang. Last Wednesday, Kashgar authorities announced 113 people had been sentenced for crimes, including supporting terrorism and inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination.
“The government says every Uighur, if they have a beard or wear a hijab, they are a terrorist,” said Abdul Majid, who owns a mobile phone shop near People’s Square. He says the last time tensions were this high was in 2009, after 184 people died in clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi.
‘All these problems started after September 11′
A world away from Kashgar’s commercial centre lies the city’s heart: a nearly 2,000-year-old Uighur quarter that is currently being rebuilt, literally brick by brick, by mostly Han Chinese migrant workers. Kashgar’s ancient mosques are being restored and the homes in the old city re-imagined with hints of Central Asian architecture and with help from the Chinese government. It’s part of a programme that authorities say is aimed at making the area earthquake-resistant.
But not everyone is happy about the renovations.
“If Allah wants to kill us, he will send an earthquake, and he will kill us,” said Hajji Abdul Razzak, a silk merchant who has chosen not to have his home in the old city rebuilt. “A lot of people have left, and just put their houses out to rent.”
Around the corner from Kashgar’s 572-year-old Id Kah Mosque, a large notice board implores Uighurs to adopt modern attire. One half of the board is covered in pictures depicting traditional Uighurs, women in colourful dresses and flowing hair and clean-shaven men. The other half shows rows of men with beards and women in headscarves or face-covering veils, all with a red X over them.
“All these problems started after September 11th,” said Abdul Razzak. “The Pakistan border [with China] was completely sealed, and when it opened a few years later, these Uighurs from Pakistan and Afghanistan came. They are doing all these [bombings], but we are being oppressed.”