Imam Salik, of the Hull mosque and Islamic centre, presented an alternative Christmas message in the local paper a few days ago in which he alluded to the attack last November.
Imam Salik was travelling in his car with his wife and daughter when a group of people stopped his car in the middle of the road, opened the driver’s door and punched him in the face before running off. Imam Salik suffered major injuries and has undergone several operations to his right eye though his vision is still severely impaired. Despite a police appeal for witnesses, the perpetrators have not been apprehended. Imam Salik’s son expressed concerns over the ‘stalled’ police investigation earlier this year prompting Humberside police to release CCTV images in an fresh attempt to identify the attackers.
By: Imran Khan
Christians in Mosul told they face death unless they convert or pay “jizya” tax, more victims in a wider sectarian war.
The letter distributed in Mosul on Friday
The letter looks like any other official document. It’s on headed paper. There’s a stamp. There’s even a logo in the corner. So far, so bureaucratic.
The content, however, is far from bureaucratic. It’s a letter listing demands from the Islamic State group and a response to previous request asking leaders of Mosul’s Christian community for a meeting.
The demands are blunt. Christians either convert to Islam or pay a tax that allows them to continue to practice their faith. The letter goes on to say that the decision was taken after Christian leaders in the city failed to attend the requested meeting.
The letter states they should leave the city without taking any belongings with them, and that a death penalty is the “last resort”.
Other pictures sent to Al Jazeera show Christian houses marked and declared properties of the Islamic State.
From the mosques, Islamic State imams reissued the demands after Friday prayer.
Under the Ottoman Caliphate a tax, the jizya, was levied on non-Muslims. It was designed to show that non-Muslims accepted Muslim rule, and that in return they were free to practise their religion and were afforded protection from aggression, both internal or external. The Muslims also paid a tax, zakat, to the empire.
The Islamic State has levied this tax before, in territories they control in Syria, and have issued similar decrees.
Church leaders in Iraq or indeed in Mosul haven’t responded to the threats officially and sources inside Mosul believe that most of the community fled after churches and shops were smashed and they were denied food by the group.
Between June 10 and June 30, according to the UN, at least three churches in the city had been taken over by the Islamic state, previously called ISIL, and that the group planted thier flag on top of the buildings. The UN also says that houses of Christians who had fled had been looted.
But the city itself is far from a united capital of the “caliphate”. The eastern side is dominated not by the Islamic State but the one of the main Iraqi Sunni rebel groups, the Naqshbandi.
They’ve replaced Islamic State flags with their own and are in control. But to what degree is being questioned. According to our sources an agreement has been made between the Islamic State and the Naqshbandi giving the Islamic State overall control of the city, but the situation is complicated.
Even those left behind are confused as to who is in charge. “We just avoid anyone who has a gun. I stay at home and I don’t want to be noticed. This is is now my life, hiding in the city I was born in, that I’ve lived all my life,” says Faisal, not his real name, who I’ve been speaking to in Mosul since the city fell on June 10.
The Iraqi military say they carry out regular air attacks against rebel and Islamic State targets in the city but so far no major ground offensive has begun. The reason that Mosul remains in the hands of the rebels groups is that Iraq doesn’t have the troops to retake the city.
One Middle Eastern diplomatic source told me that the sectarian nature of Iraq’s army was a problem.
“The army is mainly Shia, and Iraq is also using Shia militias. Send troops who are mainly Shia to Mosul to fight agianst the Sunni rebels will turn this insurgency into an all-out civil war with the Sunnis. It’s better that the
Sunni tribes and the Kurdish Peshmerga fight, to avoid sectarian escalation.”
So far the Sunni tribes, who have said they will fight the rebels and the Islamic State, have maintained they will not take up arms until Nouri Al Maliki, quits as prime minister. Maliki shows no desire to do so and his party is insisting he is the only one who can lead Iraq out of this crisis.
The Kurdish Peshmerga, the Kurdish regional force who control the borders of Mosul, are also waiting for a political decision from Kurdish politicians before they enter the city. Both those forces will be crucial if Iraq wants to defeat the Islamic State and the Sunni Rebels.
For now Mosul remains the capital of the “Islamic State” and an Iraq city under siege. It’s a situation few can see changing in the near future.
By: Elliot Davies
Students who write notes by hand during lectures perform better on exams than those who use laptops, according to a new study – even when the computers are disconnected from the Internet to avoid distractions.
In fact not only do handwritten notes appear to help students better understand lectures right away, but they may also lead to superior revision in the future.
Students are increasingly using laptops for note-taking because of the speed and legibility they confer. But research into how note-taking affects students’ academic performance has found that laptop users are less able to remember and apply the concepts they have been taught, despite making more notes than students who write by hand.
The study was carried out by Daniel Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, and Pam Mueller, a psychology graduate student at Princeton University. They performed a series of experiments that aimed to find out whether using a laptop increased the tendency to make notes “mindlessly” by transcribing word for word.
In the first test, students were given either a laptop (disconnected from the Internet) or pen and paper. They all listened to the same lectures and were told to use their usual note-taking strategy. 30 minutes after the end of the talk, they were examined on their ability to recall facts and on how well they understood concepts.
The researchers found that laptop users took nearly twice as many notes as those who wrote by hand, which can be useful. However, the typists performed considerably worse at remembering and applying the concepts they had been taught. Both groups scored similarly when it came to memorizing facts.
The researchers’ report said: “While more notes are beneficial, at least to a point, if the notes are taken indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content, as is more likely the case on a laptop, the benefit disappears.
“Verbatim note-taking, as opposed to more selective strategies, signals less encoding of content.”
In another experiment aimed at testing long-term recall, students took notes as before but were tested a week after the lecture, with a chance to revise beforehand. This time, the students who wrote notes by hand performed significantly better at both parts of the exam – even though some of the faster typists had managed to transcribe most of the lecture verbatim.
Taken together these two studies suggest that handwritten notes are not only better for immediate learning and understanding, but that they also help embed information for future reference.
In a final test, the researchers specifically told some of the laptop users not to take verbatim notes. The students were told that “people who take class notes on laptops when they expect to be tested on the material later tend to transcribe what they’re hearing without thinking about it much”.
But despite being explicitly aware of the potential pitfalls, members of this group still got lower scores in both parts of the exam, suggesting that taking notes by hand really is a superior technique.
The findings will be published in a paper called “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking” in the Psychological Science journal.