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Asian American Federation arranges neighbourhood tour of Indo-Caribbean locality Richmond Hill

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Richmond Hill is known for housing multicultural communities. A large Indo-Caribbean community has developed in this area since the 1960s. However, despite existing in large numbers, the Indo-Caribbean community has always been in low-profile, with their needs often being sidelined.

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, the Asian American Federation will be hosting a neighborhood tour of Richmond Hill, Queens in partnership with the Indo-Caribbean Alliance (ICA) to highlight the contributions and needs of the largest Indo-Caribbean community in New York City.

The tour will take place from 2:00-4:00 PM, beginning at the Queens library at Lefferts, located at 103-34 Lefferts Boulevard.

The ICA, one of the few social service agencies serving the Indo-Caribbean community, will guide the tour through the commercial and residential districts of “Little Guyana,” as Richmond Hill is locally known, to discuss the community’s culture, small businesses, and housing issues.

The tour includes stoppage at one of the oldest Hindu temples in NYC, as well as seeing the only collection of Indo-Caribbean literature in the City.

Following the tour, there will be a meeting at the ICA office to discuss the best ways in which the Indo-Caribbean community, which is one of the fastest-growing yet one of the most underserved immigrant communities in the City, can be supported.

Through this event, the Federation aims to bring increased visibility to the Indo-Caribbean community and its pressing needs that must be addressed in order for Richmond Hill to become a thriving neighborhood. Participants will be given a copy of the first-ever neighborhood profile of Richmond Hill to take back to their organizations.

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IS Sudden Claim for New York City Truck Attack Raises Questions on the Collapse of the Group

With IS claiming the New York City truck attack, questions arise on the collapse of the group's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria

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New York City Attack
The Home Depot Truck being removed after the NYC Attack.VOA.

New York, November 4: Key differences between Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the New York City truck attack and claims for previous terror attacks have caught the eye of counterterror officials, who are trying to determine what it might mean for the state of terror group.

Most notably, they said, the way in which IS issued the claim failed to follow the group’s usual patterns, raising questions about whether the collapse of the group’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria was starting to take a toll.

“One of the soldiers of the Islamic State attacked a number of crusaders on a street in New York City,” the group’s weekly al-Naba newsletter said late Thursday, claiming attacker Sayfullo Saipov, 29, as one of its own.

“This is one of the most prominent attacks to target crusaders in America,” al-Naba continued, adding, “[By] the grace of Allah, the operation instilled fear in crusader America.”

But officials and analysts said that it’s rare for IS to make such a claim first in al-Naba.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it is something we’re not used to,” said Raphael Gluck, an independent researcher.

While considered an official IS channel, al-Naba has traditionally been used to follow up on the group’s initial claims, which often come from its Amaq or Nashir news agencies, in multiple languages, via social media.

Relying on those news agencies this time, however, may not have been possible.

“The Amaq news agency has sputtered in recent weeks, and struggled without a website,” Gluck said.

New York City Truck Attack
Police stand near the New York City Truck Attack. VOA.

Statement wording

There are also questions about how the statement in al-Naba was worded, which also differs from wordings in many previous claims.

“The al-Naba story on the New York attack relies exclusively on outside media reporting of the attacks,” according to an analysis done by Ryan Pereira for the Counter Extremism Project.

“Traditionally, Amaq and al-Naba claims for responsibility include language suggesting that a source close to Amaq or a source close to the Islamic State relayed attack details to the group’s media officials,” Pereira wrote.

Nor did the account in al-Naba offer any evidence to substantiate the group’s claim.

Additionally, it has been rare, though not unprecedented, for IS to claim an attacker as a “soldier of the caliphate” if he is still alive.

Another part of the al-Naba statement that caught the attention of counterterror officials was the way it referred to the deadly October 1 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more.

Al-Naba described the Las Vegas shooting as “the attack carried out by the mujahid brother Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki — may Allah accept him — against a large gathering of crusaders.”

It was not the first time IS had claimed the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, as one of its own, referring to him with an Arabic nom de guerre. But so far, investigators have yet to come forward with any evidence that connects him to IS.

Instead, U.S. counterterror officials have cautioned for months that IS is increasingly opportunistic, even desperate, with one official noting the group has been “stepping up its claims of inspired attacks even in cases that do not appear to be connected to the group.”

And, although they admit IS has been been able to adapt to losses and hardships, some see the claim late Thursday for this week’s attack as possibly falling along those lines. (VOA)

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“Buddhism Through its Scriptures”: Due to rising demand, now Harvard University has Online course on Buddhism!

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Harvard University, Wikimedia

Delhi, Dec 15, 2016: Buddhism has spread to parts of South Asia and South East Asia to countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam, and so on. Buddhist Monks have been conducting meditation sessions on New York City streets and other busy areas of the city.

Rise in demand to learn about Buddhism has led to the educational institutions wiring out a way for all the seekers of Buddhism centred education. Colleges and universities have thus, started offering courses in Buddhism.

Harvard University has therefore, ordered free online courses on Buddhism. A series of courses have been started by Harvard University like, World religions through their scriptures, Buddhism through its scriptures.

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This course has been designed in such a way that it consists of almost 40 hours of work spread over a time frame of four weeks. This is a very convenient option for those who are unable to find the time or means to spend a lot of time studying the religion.

Professor Charles Hallisey, who belongs to the faculty at Harvard Divinity School will be guiding this course. Professor Hallisey is an authority on Buddhist scriptures and literature and is the Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist works. He also authored a book that featured poems by Buddhist women.

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It was called Therigatha: Poems of the first Buddhist Women. Professor Hallisey says, “the course is not about learning a Buddhist scripture because Buddhism doesn’t actually have a main book like the Abrahamic religions do.

The course will be an examination of various scriptures that the Buddhist considers sacred so that the course-taker will develop the right mindset to understand the Buddhist way of life better.” The course is going to be self-paced, which will give takers the opportunity to complete it, according to how time permits them.

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

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New York Bombings Update:Chelsea Bombings suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami arrested

The suspect, Ahmad Khan , a 28-year-old U.S. citizen of Afghan descent weighing in at 5-foot-6 and 200 pounds was arrested

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Representational Image of FBI Source: Pixabay
  • Latest Update:Ahmad Khan arrested in relation to the recent Chelsea bombings
  • New York governor says ‘possible foreign connection’ in Chelsea Bombings
  • Five suspected bombs found in wake of weekend Manhattan bombing

The FBI said that Rahami, 28, was born in Afghanistan and is believed to be living in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

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In a press release from the FBI, Rahami, who is a U.S. citizen, should “be considered armed and dangerous.”

A federal source confirms to the public that Rahami is considered separate from the five people who were detained by the FBI on Sunday night. Those individuals were taken in for questioning during a traffic stop at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the bridge that connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The federal official also confirms that the same model flip-style cell phone was used as a detonator for the two bombs in Chelsea (a second device was discovered on Saturday night and disarmed by authorities) and the bomb that went off ahead of a charity run in Seaside Park, New Jersey, which is about 85 miles south of Manhattan.

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Both bombings occurred within hours of each other on Saturday.

No one was injured in the Seaside Park bombing. Although twenty-nine people were injured in the Chelsea bombing but none of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening. (VOA)