On Sunday, US police shot two outraged gunmen outside a provocative conference on cartoons depicting the imagery of Prophet Muhammad in the Dallas suburb of Garland.
Police killed the two gunmen and managed to evacuate the place without having any casualties. However, a security guard was injured.
Police also searched the gunmen’s car for any bomb.
The event was organized by a Islamic group and contests were arranged to draw the cartoons of the Prophet, that hoisted the rage of certain non-social elements.
The event was also attended by Dutch anti-Islamic politician, Geert Wilders, who later tweeted that the shots had been fired and he had safely left the building.
According to Garland Police Department spokesman Joe Harn, the reason for intrusion and shooting was not clear. He further added that there had not been any credible threats in advance of the event.
A news agency in a word with one eyewitness reported that around 20 shots were fired from a car driving past the conference centre, which was followed by two individual shots.
“As today’s Muhammad Art Exhibit event at the Curtis Culwell Center was coming to an end, two males drove up to the front of the building in a car,” the City of Garland government said.
“Both males were armed and began shooting at a Garland ISD (Independent School District) security officer. Garland Police officers engaged the gunmen, who were both shot and killed.”
Police suspected that gunmen’s vehicle could contain some provocative substance like a bomb. Therefore, the bomb squad was called at the scene.
The conference was attended by more than 200 people who were moved to the back of the building before being evacuated using school buses, stated police.
The event was controversial and provocative that jolted the very foundation of different terrorists organizations, said BBC’s Alastair Leithead.
Event was organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which has campaigned against the building of an Islamic centre near the World Trade Center site in New York.
AFDI is operated by controversial blogger and activist Pamela Geller. It is also considered as an anti-Muslim group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group.
Commenting upon the incident, Geller told a news agency that the reason for conducting the contest was to have a free speech. The event also included a $10,000 (£6,600) prize for a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
Earlier this year, a fund raising event was organized by the same conference centre in Garland to build a local Islamic centre, which was besieged by the opponents. Depicting Prophet Muhammad through a cartoon is considered as an offence by many Muslims.
A similar incident happened in January this year when 12 people were murdered by two Islamist gunmen at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo that published similar cartoons.
Author Maria Wirth belongs to Germany and has been living in India from past 38 years. She is the author of the book ‘Thank You India: A German Woman’s Journey to the Wisdom of Yoga’. Newsgram gets in a conversation with her over a telephonic interview. Here’s an excerpt:
Muskan Bhantagar: 38 years back when you came to visit india, what was the thing about indian culture or precisely hinduism that made you fall in love with it and stay back in India?
Maria Wirth: Actually, it was not too much India that attracted me. When I was in Germany still i had many questions like i was very much intrested in what is life and what is the meaning of life and I was reading on Buddhism at a time and I was not connecting Buddhism to India strangely, and i knew very little about India. So a friend convinced me to stop over in India and only when i bought a book by Swami Vivekananda, i discovered what great treasure is in India. I had no idea, anything about what Hinduism is about. it’s just what you hear usually in the west, is about caste systems,etc. So I didn’t associate India with anything positive actually and then by chance, I discovered there’s such a great treasure here and it is such a pity that we don’t know about it.
Muskan Bhantagar: As we read in your articles that Islam and christianity have been promoting and propogating their religion for years now, but the hindus don’t do so. What do you think can be the reason behind this?
Maria Wirth: Well I think, I was just writing an article I mean when you think how much Hindus have suffered over the last thousand years. So many were beheaded and tortured under the Muslims and then again under the British also. British were also very very brutual, especially after 1857 and etc. And hindus had no way to stand up for their religion. And I think this has gone very deep into the system of Hindus.
And then ofcourse after Independence, this secular education and even Hinduism is now put down even more than earlier. Earlier, education was not so under the Muslims, they had to lie low but they could still have gurukuls and their schools but not now.
So I think one reason is that you have been intimidated so much and also expect so much and like Arun Shourie, in his book he writes that 6th standard students learn in school, etc in Bengal that Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treat the human beings with dignity and equality. I mean such sentences. When you’re a child, it goes into you and then you just look down on it. And I think slowly slowly, even parents of these children say they have been brought up already like this.
Muskan Bhantagar: A large number of Indians are unaware about their own culture and heritage. What do you think can be a solution to this problem?
Maria Wirth: I mean it should get also in the schools. I was so shocked when I came to know that nothing is taught in Indian schools. Neither Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishad. Upanishad is philosophy, there is nothing to do with religion. It was very insidious that the British kind of bend or this stuff from being taught, because it doesn’t help them because it would make people strong. They wanted to destroy Indian sanskriti, Indian culture because it has lot of strength. Now like the young generation in India, they were brain-washed into believing that Hinduism is not worth anything. It’s so wrong, so wrong.
Author Maria Wirth spoke to us over various topics. We’re thankful to her for taking out time to talk to us and share her wise opinions. We hope to get more of her soon and help viewers know her better.
Coronavirus cases are spiking from India to South Africa and Mexico in a clear indication the pandemic is far from over, while Russia and Brazil now sit behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, according to COVID-19 Information & Resources.
The surges come as much of Asia, Europe and scores of U.S. states have been easing lockdowns to restart their economies as new infections wane. U.S. autoworkers, French teachers and Thai mall workers are among hundreds of thousands of employees back at work with new safety precautions.
Russia reported a steady rise in new infections Tuesday, and new hot spots have emerged across the nation of about 147 million. Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Authorities say over 2,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Russia, a figure some say is surely higher.
Some experts argue Russian authorities have been listing chronic illnesses as the cause of death for many who tested positive for the virus. Officials angrily deny manipulating statistics, saying Russia’s low death toll reflects early preventive measures and broad screening. Nearly 7.4 million tests have been conducted.
In Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, a virus hot spot, all burials now must be with closed coffins as a precaution, irrespective of the cause of death. Previously the measure applied only to COVID-19 deaths.
Russia’s caseload is second only to that of the U.S., which has seen 1.5 million infections and over 90,000 deaths. The country’s prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, resumed work Tuesday after a bout of coronavirus.
Cases are still rising across Africa, where all 54 nations have seen confirmed infections for a total of over 88,000 cases and 2,800 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa has the highest number of cases at over 16,400 and nearly 290 deaths. Infections have increased dramatically in Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, which now accounts for 61% of South Africa’s total.
Latin America has seen more than 480,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 31,000 dead. The highest number of cases is in Brazil, which became the world’s third worst-hit county Monday with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing. Hospital officials reported that more than 85% of intensive care beds are occupied in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Some countries have seen encouraging signs reverse: Iran reported a steady drop in new infections through April, only to see them rise again in May.
But there is new hope after an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus yielded encouraging results, though in a small and extremely early test. Stocks rallied Monday on the news.
In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease and his own administration has warned it should be administered only in a hospital or research setting because of potentially fatal side effects.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has declared that a partial economic shutdown imposed in late March helped slow the outbreak and prevented the nation’s health care system from being overwhelmed. A week ago, he ended the nationwide lockdown.
He has given Russia’s 85 regions a free hand to determine how they will ease their own lockdowns, but some have been struggling. The mostly Muslim southern province of Dagestan has reported a spike in infections that left its hospitals overflowing.
In India, coronavirus cases surged past 100,000, and infections are rising in the home states of migrant workers who fled cities and towns during a nationwide lockdown when they lost their jobs.
India is now seeing more than 4,000 new cases daily. States including West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Gujarat, the major contributors of India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. More than 3,100 with COVID-19 have died, according to India’s Health Ministry.
And in densely populated Bangladesh, where authorities reported a record number of new positive tests at over 1,600, thousands of cars were on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, despite a lockdown. Authorities have relaxed some rules and allowed shops to open ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
In Latin America, intensive care units in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been beyond 90% capacity for days, and officials warned that intensive care staff members are reaching their limits.
“They can’t keep going forever, no matter how many beds or ventilators there are,” said Claudio Castillo, a professor of public policy and health at the University of Santiago.
Infections are also increasing in poor areas of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where authorities relaxed strict lockdown measures last week, allowing some businesses to open and children to walk outside on weekends.
Colombia struggled with an outbreak in Leticia, a city on the border with Brazil, where hospitals were overwhelmed and patients were being sent to commandeered hotels. Colombia has recorded about 16,300 confirmed cases and close to 600 dead.
In Europe and in the United States, which has seen 36 million Americans file for unemployment, economic concerns dominated the political landscape.
Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69% in April, the government reported Tuesday. European car sales collapsed by an unprecedented 76% last month.
An experimental vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. triggered hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. They were found to have antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Much bigger studies on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness are planned. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are in or near the first stages of testing.
More than 4.8 million people worldwide have been infected and over 318,000 deaths have been recorded, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts believe is too low for several reasons. (VOA)
Recently on 21st April 2020, six people were flogged in Indonesia’s Aceh Province for violating Islamic Law in an indoor ceremony which was scaled down due to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.
Aceh is the only region in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country of Indonesia, that imposes Islamic law. About 98% of Aceh’s five million residents are Muslims and therefore subject to the law, known locally as Qanun.
The practice of flogging is taken into practice for some actions which are Considered as offences in the region at the tip of Sumatra island, which includes drinking alcohol, gambling, adultery and having gay or pre-marital sex.
Previously, public caning has been livestreamed and uploaded on the Internet, drawing international criticism.
The public canings in Aceh Province attract a large number of spectators witnessing this pitiable event and taking pictures on their phones, but this time the event had a handful of people there.
Out of the total 6 people who were flogged, one unmarried couple was ferociously punished after they were caught together in a hotel room, while the other four were flogged 40 times each for drinking alcohol.
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You can watch the video here:
A man & woman flogged in Indonesia's Aceh province for breaking Islamic law.
The point of the matter is that, even at this crucial time when the world is suffering a global Pandemic, the Aceh Province of Indonesia considers religious law above any other code of conduct! The social distancing guidelines that has been issued globally has become a matter of no concern here.
You can see in the video that through many of those watching this brutal act were wearing masks, while the cane-wielding enforcer wears a covering hoodie in any case – but pitifully, not all of the victims had their face covered.
The Rights groups in Indonesia and elsewhere have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for it to end, but the practice has wide support among Aceh’s population.
There are many cases associated with this practice of flogging. This video which was released two years back explains the plight of this heinous act where the people get subjected to canning publically.
Watch This Video From 2018:
There are two questions that come up in the way, well, can we draw a conclusion forth that the Acehan Islamists consider the religion above humanity and human life? Is there no concern left for others’ safety during the time of such a deadly Pandemic?
At this point of time, any religion shouldn’t be considered above humanity and the dignity and safety of humankind. This practice of flogging is indeed an atrocious act which shouldn’t be given mere importance. The need of the hour is to ensure others’ safety and not being subjective of what needs to be done for vested interests.