8 October 2014

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Malaysia-Chronicle

The Income Tax Act does not bar the government from revealing the total amount of income taxes collectively paid by the richest people in Malaysia, Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen said.

This is in contradiction of what Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan said, when replying to a question by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“There is no provision in section 138 that says that a collective number cannot be disclosed.

“(The Inland Revenue Board) is happy to say that it will collect RM140 billion this year from 2.3 million tax payers and 100,000 companies. That’s a collective number.

“So why can’t they announce a collective number of how much the combined 20 richest persons pay?” he asked in a Facebook post last night.

Further, the MP said, section 138(2)(c) actually gives the minister discretionary powers to disclose information when he sees fit.

However, Wong did not note that the section 138(2)(c) only pertains to disclosure of information in court proceedings.

It states that “no classified material shall be produced or used in court or otherwise, except with the written authority of the minister, or of the person or partnership to whose affairs it relates.”

Yesterday Ahmad told the Dewan Rakyat he could not disclose the tax paid by the top 20 richest people in Malaysia as it goes against Section 138 of the Income Tax Act.

He was responding to Anwar, who named the son of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Mokhzani, and business tycoons T Ananda Krishnan and Vincent Tan as among the top 20 richest people in Malaysia.

When asked by Sim Tze Tsin (PKR-Bayan Baru) to give a lump sum figure instead, Ahmad said he needed to check if this is allowed.

8 October 2014

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The New York Times

By OCT. 6, 2014

The Malaysian government has increasingly employed the Sedition Act, a British colonial era law, to intimidate and silence political opponents. The law criminalizes speech uttered “to excite disaffection” against the government and defines sedition so broadly that it is an invitation to authoritarian abuse.

Prime Minister Najib Razak had promised to repeal the act, but, since the general elections in May last year, his government has made full use of the law to hound his critics. While Mr. Najib’s ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, won 60 percent of the parliamentary seats in the election, for the first time since independence in 1957, the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, won a 51 percent majority of the popular vote.

The elections seem to have shaken the government enough for it to arrest and prosecute an array of politicians, journalists, academics, students, religious leaders and civil society activists who did not advocate the overthrow of the government. For example, a senior opposition politician was charged with sedition for criticizing a decision by the appeals court in a statement to the news media. A local state assemblyman was charged for allegedly saying “damn, damn” about the government’s United Malays National Organization to several assemblymen. Since 2013, at least 14 people have been charged. Those found guilty can face up to three years in prison.

Mr. Najib’s crackdown is a deplorable attack on free speech and a serious threat to democracy. He appeared to understand this danger when he promised to repeal the Sedition Act. He should do so immediately.

6 October 2014

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Dimaklumkan bahawa satu program sesi perkongsian ilmu Datobersama-sama tokoh Gerakan Islam akan diadakan pada ketetapan seperti berikut:

Tarikh:          13 Oktober 2014 (Isnin)
Masa:           7:00 mlm – 9:30 mlm
Tempat:        Kediaman Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
No.11, Jalan 3/61,
Bukit Segambut Dalam,
51200 Kuala Lumpur

Jemputan khas bagi program ini ialah Maulana Ihsan Hendrick serta Dr. Sheikh Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan.

Maulana Ihsaan Hendrick yang merupakan Presiden Muslim Judicial Council adalah tokoh gerakan Islam tersohor Afrika Selatan. Beliau turut menyandang jawatan Pengarah Yayasan Al-Quds Afrika Selatan merangkap Ketua Pasukan Konvoi Kemanusiaan Afrika Selatan ke Gaza, Palestin.

Manakala Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al Suwaidan merupakan tokoh terkemuka Kuwait yang juga memimpin Ikhwanul Muslimin Kuwait. Turut menjawat jawatan CEO Gulf Innovation Groups dan Pengerusi AWARE (Advocates for Western-Arab Relations & Exchange Majlis), beliau merupakan jurubicara terkenal di Kuwait dan peringkat antarabangsa khususnya dalam bidang pengurusan dan perancangan strategik. Dr Tareq juga adalah penulis terkenal yang telah menulis lebih daripada 30 buah buku.

Majlis akan dimulai dengan sesi solat maghrib berjemaah dan kemudiannya disusuli oleh ucapan alu-aluan oleh Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, disusuli dengan sesi perkongsian ilmu oleh Maulana Ihsaan Hendrick dan Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan.

Sehubungan dengan itu, saudara/i yang berkelapangan adalah dialu-alukan untuk hadir memeriahkan majlis. Semoga sekalian yang hadir memperoleh manfaat dari program ini.

Sekian, salam takzim dan hormat.

PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

5 October 2014

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5 October 2014

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IMG_20141003_215857

4 October 2014

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The Guardian

anwar ibrahim 

Independent senator says Australia should speak up on behalf of Malaysia’s opposition leader

Australia is being challenged to speak up on behalf of Malaysia’s opposition leader as he faces “a travesty of justice” and the prospect of prison this month.

Anwar Ibrahim is appealing against a highly controversial sodomy conviction, and one of his lawyers has been charged with sedition for saying the scandal is politically motivated.

Anwar, too, is under further investigation, accused of making seditious comments in a political speech.

His 28 October appeal against the sodomy conviction may spark political tensions in Malaysia.

On Friday he met the independent senator Nick Xenophon in Jakarta. Xenophon was detained and deported when he tried to visit Anwar in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Xenophon said if Australia was any kind of friend to Malaysia, it would speak up.

“This is a travesty of justice,” he told reporters in Jakarta.

“It feels like Anwar has more charges against him than Muhammad Ali has had punches. It is a very serious issue.”

Anwar agreed Malaysian authorities, “on direction from the government”, were determined to put him behind bars.”

In his 2011 speech, he says, he said the words “fight the evil government”. That was now being considered sedition.

“I convey my appreciation to senator Nick Xenophon and my friends here who conveyed their concern for me,” he said.

Xenophon said he also remained concerned about the voter irregularities he had wanted to examine last year when he was detained.

“I think unofficially it’s expected that the real vote was much greater for the Malaysian opposition,” he said.

“So, this is the man who should be the prime minister of Malaysia today.”

4 October 2014

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Saya dan keluarga dikejutkan dengan berita pemergian sahabat lama Ustaz Ramli Ibrahim ke rahmatuLlah pagi tadi.

Allahyarham sahabat seperjuangan saya sekian lamanya. Merupakan mantan Presiden PKPIM, kemudiannya aktif dalam ABIM tatkala saya ditahan di bawah akta zalim ISA era 70-an. Allahyarham dulunya berkhidmat dengan Institut Teknologi MARA, pada era reformasi 1998 beliau membantu KEADILAN selaku Bendahari Agung yang pertama dan berjaya membawa suara rakyat melalui KEADILAN ke Dewan Rakyat melalui pasukan 5 ahli parlimen pertama KEADILAN apabila memenangi kerusi Parlimen Kota Bharu.

Saya dan Azizah berusaha bergegas ke Sungai Buloh untuk memberikan penghormatan akhir pada Allahyarham tetapi sayang sekali jenazah telah berlepas ke Kelantan untuk disemadikan.

KEADILAN seluruhnya merakamkan ucapan takziah buat keluarga Allahyarham atas kembalinya Allahyarham ke pangkuan Ilahi. Moga Allah SWT merahmati segala usaha bakti Allahyarham dalam perjuangan serta dakwah Allahyarham selama menumpahkan khidmat bakti bersama PKPIM, ABIM dan KEADILAN. Moga roh Allahyarham dicucuri rahmat Sang Pencipta.

Al-Fatihah.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

4 October 2014

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“Dan bagi tiap-tiap umat, Kami syariatkan ibadat menyembelih korban (atau lain-lainnya) supaya mereka menyebut nama Allah sebagai bersyukur akan pengurniaanNya kepada mereka; binatang-binatang ternak yang disembelih itu. Kerana Tuhan kamu semua ialah Tuhan Yang Maha Esa, maka hendaklah kamu tunduk taat kepadaNya; dan sampaikanlah berita gembira (wahai Muhammad) kepada orang-orang yang tunduk taat” – Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 34

Alhamdulillah, setinggi kesyukuran dirafak ke hadrat Ilahi kerana dengan limpah inayahNya maka diizinkan olehNya jua untuk kita kembali meraikan hari besar dalam Islam yakni sambutan Eiduladha bagi tahun 1435 Hijrah.

Pastinya sambutan Eiduladha saban tahun kita lalui dengan penuh rasa keinsafan: dengan sirah Ibrahim dan Ismail A.S yang memperihal kesiapsiagaan seorang bapa dan anak yang dengan penuh tawadhuk dan ikhlas melaksanakan perintah Allah SWT, meski nyawa dan darah galang gantinya.

Inilah falsafah ulung di sebalik ibadah korban: keikhlasan dan kesyukuran ke atas nikmat Ilahi yang kemudiannya dikembalikan dengan rasa tawadhuk demi mencapai redhaNya. Ini selaras dengan sabda Rasulullah SAW yang antara lain mafhumnya:

“Wahai manusia, sembelihlah korban dengan mengharapkan pahala daripada Allah dengan darahnya, bahawa sesungguhnya darah korban itu jika ia tumpah ke bumi maka ia akan mengambil tempat yang mulia di sisi Allah Azza Wajalla.”

Falsafah yang sama juga tersirat di sebalik ibadah haji, yang menjadi pelengkap kepada Rukun Islam sebagai agama yang suci. Penyucian diri melalui proses dan fasa-fasa ibadah haji nyata sekali merupakan satu bentuk pemurnian akal dan jiwa melalui pemupukan elemen kebersamaan dan persaudaraan sesama Muslim. Realitinya, semua insan adalah sama di sisi Tuhan, tinggal lagi baik buruk akhlaknya dan juga tinggi rendah imannya yang menjadi sandaran.

Sambutan Eiduladha ini pastinya mendorong kita memaknai prinsip agung yang digagas oleh Islam: keadilan insani. Prinsip keadilan ini diulang sebanyak 56 kali di dalam Al-Quran, justeru kewajaran kita untuk menjamin keadilan, merai kepelbagaian dan menghormati perbezaan adalah sesuatu yang tidak boleh dikesampingkan. Ini telah Allah SWT tegaskan lewat Surah Al-Maidah Ayat 8:

“Wahai orang beriman! Hendaklah kamu semua sentiasa menjadi orang yang menegakkan keadilan kerana Allah, lagi menerangkan kebenaran dan jangan sekali-kali kebencian kamu terhadap sesuatu kaum itu mendorong kamu kepada tidak melakukan keadilan. Hendaklah kamu berlaku adil (kepada sesiapa juga) kerana sikap adil itu lebih hampir kepada takwa. Dan bertakwa kepada Allah, sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui dengan mendalam akan apa yang kamu lakukan.”

Inilah keindahan Islam yang diwariskan Rasulullah SAW kepada umat baginda. Kendatipun begitu dalam pada kita meraikan hari besar ini, kita terus menerus dihambat dengan agenda yang sedang menghenyak imej Islam di mata dunia, mengambil contoh isu ISIS yang hangat diperkatakan mutakhir ini. Matlamat sedemikian jelas bercanggah dengan prinsip keadilan Islam malah mencemar imej Islam yang berselindung di sebalik agenda perjuangan Islam.

Rentetan kegagalan memahami Islam secara holistik, maka wujudlah persepsi yang salah sedemikian rupa, lantas mengesani kesyumulan Islam di mata khalayak. Inilah yang ditekankan oleh Almarhum Hasan al-Hudaybi, “Tegakkanlah Islam di dalam dirimu, nescaya ia tertegak di watanmu”.

Tuntasnya, kembalilah kita kepada fitrah dengan memaknai Islam dan gagasan manusiawi yang terkandung dalam ajarannya. Moga Eiduladha yang akan diraikan mampu mencetus keinsafan kepada kita dalam menjaga ukhuwah sesama insan disamping kita memperkemas habluminallah.

Mewakili kepimpinan dan akar umbi KEADILAN seluruhnya, saya merakamkan ucapan Salam Eiduladha buat seluruh umat Islam di Malaysia. Moga ibadah korban yang kita sempurnakan mendapat tempat di sisi Ilahi, demikian juga buat jemaah haji Malaysia didoa agar selamat menunaikan ibadah haji dan selamat kembali ke tanah air dengan haji yang mabrur moganya, inshaaAllah.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

2 October 2014

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The Australian

ALL GERMAN universities will be free of charge when term starts next week after fees were abandoned in Lower Saxony, the last of seven states to charge.

“Tuition fees are socially unjust,” said Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, which scrapped charges in 2012.

“They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

The experiment with tuition fees, which began in 2006, was overturned by democratic pressure against the conservative-led state governments, all in the west of Germany, which decided to charge euros 1,000 ($A1436) a year.

They were able to do so after a constitutional court ruling that moderate fees combined with loans did not contradict the country’s commitment to universal higher education.

Within eight years, all the states have changed their minds, with Lower Saxony the last to give way after the defeat of its Christian Democrat rulers last year. It means that this autumn’s student intake will enjoy free university courses.

“We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents,” said Gabriele Heinen-Kljajic of the Green party, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony.

Under Germany’s federal system, state governments run education policy.

1 October 2014

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Global Post

Sara and Leila both survived the mass capture of Yazidi women and children in Iraq last month. These are their stories.

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.

A Yazidi mother and child sit in the farm storehouse in Sulimaniyah that has become their home since IS overran their village in Sinjar. (Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost)

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.

Yazidi women wash clothing at a temple in Lalish, Iraq after being displaced by Islamic State forces that overran their village in Sinjar. Around 2,000 people took shelter at the temple. (Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost)

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.”

Sara and her parents now live at the Khanke IDP camp near Duhok, Iraq. (Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost)

‘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.

Sara and her pregnant sister-in-law were also taken to Mosul.

“There was a big hall with three floors and each floor had 5 or 6 rooms,” Sara said. “They told us if we didn’t convert to Islam they would kill all the men in our families, so we said to ourselves, ‘It’s just words. In our hearts we are still Yazidi.’ So I did it to save my brother.”

The IS captors passed out Korans to the women. Since many were illiterate, the men would read to them from the books.

“They were always trying to tell us about religion,” Sara said. “In those few days they didn’t treat us so badly, but they were scary. They had dirty, hairy faces and they smelled bad.”

Later they gave the women niqabs to wear (most Yazidi women wear conservative Western-style clothing, and sometimes hijabs) before moving them to a new hall.

“A sheikh came and took away about 20 or 30 of the most beautiful girls,” Sara said, shielding her face from a gust of sand that blew through her family’s flimsy tent. “Then a man said the married women would be sent to their husbands [if the husband had converted to Islam] to make a new Muslim family. They read out names and when a woman heard the name of her husband they came forward and were taken away. I stood with my sister-in-law waiting for my brother’s name. But they never read it. We were so sad that night. We thought maybe he didn’t convert yet or he was in another city.”

Sara was then split from her sister-in-law and sent to another room with single women and girls her age. Men would come daily and choose two or three women. She said some paid the captors money. Others said the women were their “gifts.” The women didn’t return.

“We would try to make ourselves look ugly. Some women would cry or scream or fight, but it made no difference. They were always taken anyway,” Sara said. “One girl hung herself. Another tried, but the IS guards stopped her and beat her very badly. No one else tried after that.”

Sara made friends with 14-year-old Banaz. They vowed to stay together, no matter what. The day her friend was chosen, Sara refused to let her go, telling the man, “You take us both or you leave her here.”

He took them both.

They were driven to Fallujah, where they were passed to two local men she described as “an old man and a fat man” who lived together in a mansion she says they took from a local family.

Sara described beatings, degrading treatment and having so little food the two girls were always frail and sick. The men also made them watch videos of Yazidi men being beheaded.

“In some [videos] they put the heads into cooking pots,” she recalled, cringing at the memory. “Sometimes they would stand on them. There were so many heads. And they would ask us, ‘Do you know this one?’ and laugh.” Sara described the men holding her as members of IS from Fallujah — possibly former Sunni extremists who had only recently joined the terror group.

A man breaks down in tears during a protest in Erbil calling for help securing the release of Yazidis captured by IS. (Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost)

Breaking free

Meanwhile in Mosul, Leila had been moved to a small house. Men had been coming daily to select women, until she — still with baby Murad — was the only one left.

“It was late at night. Murad was screaming. He needed water, so I banged on the door and screamed to the guards but no one came,” Leila said. “I broke the door open. Still no one came. I found water in the kitchen and then snuck through the house and found [the militants] sleeping. So I ran.”

At that point, Leila said, she wasn’t afraid of being caught. Either she and Murad would get away, or they would be killed — both better fates than being sold, she said.

Once outside, she didn’t know where to turn.

“People were staring at me in the street. There were no other women anywhere. Then an old Arab man came and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was Yazidi and he said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll help you.’”

The man took her to his family’s home and gave her his daughter’s ID card. Then he drove her and Murad to the IS checkpoint and told the militants that his grandson needed urgent medical care in Erbil. They got through.

In less than an hour, they made it to the peshmerga checkpoint. Leila was met by relatives from Duhok she had called using the old man’s cellphone. She now lives with them there in a home overcrowded with displaced relatives and friends.

A Yazidi woman displaced by the Islamic State sits at a construction site that has become her home in Zahko, Iraq. (Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost)

In Fallujah, Sara was planning her own escape. She needed to find her brother, she told herself, so he could save his pregnant wife. When the men holding her left the house for Friday prayers, Sara saw her chance. She and Banaz broke down the door to their room and escaped into the Arab city, now an IS stronghold.

“We decided our best chance was to find a house with children. We walked for about 2 hours. People were staring at us. Two girls walking alone is not allowed. Finally we found a house with children playing outside. We just walked in the front door and said, ‘Help us.’ There were men and women sitting inside. They were scared. They said IS would kill them all if they knew we were there, but they let us stay with them anyway.”

The next day, the family gave Sara and Banaz two of their ID cards and sent them by taxi to Baghdad, where they were dropped at a hotel owned by a Yazidi man.

The first thing Sara did was borrow a phone to call her brother, anxious to hear his voice. The line was dead. Next she called her mother, who answered.

The hotel owner secured a flight to Erbil for the girls, who were reunited with what remained of their families.

Along with Leila, Sara and Banaz have now joined more than 2.8 million internally displaced Iraqis. Their homes are gone, their families decimated. The only things left for them in Iraq, they say, are nightmares and a meager existence on international aid supplies.

Sara starts to talk about suicide again.

“The thought of seeing my brother and my parents again was the only thing that kept me alive,” she said. “I do not want to live, not like this, but I have to become both a son and a daughter to my parents now. I live only for them, but I don’t know how long I can last if we remain in Iraq.”

1 October 2014

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Al Jazeera

Residents of the Wadi Fukin village received eviction notices as Israel plans on further seizing 400 hectares of land.

Wadi Fukin, ocuppied West Bank - Israel recently announced its decision to seize nearly 400 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank, a move anti-settlement activists termed the largest land grab in 30 years.

At the time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to cancel the appropriation. ”This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” presidential spokesman Abu Rdainah said.

In a statement published on its website, Peace Now also condemned the land confiscation and said that it would further damage the chance of achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on a two-state solution.

The Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin sits just west of Bethlehem along the Green Line, and is surrounded on three sides by Israeli settlements that are constantly growing.

Residents of Wadi Fukin were recently handed down eviction notices and had some of their farmlands destroyed, all with the purpose of forcing them to abandon their village. The villagers have refused to leave and now face a lengthy struggle to stay on their land.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Official letter to the villagers announce that their land is now ‘state land’. The letter was written in Hebrew and Arabic and pinned on every cardboard sign planted in the land. The farmers have 45 days to appeal the decision.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

On every soon-to-be-seized land, the Israeli army has planted an official ‘state land’ yellow sign. All of the inhabitants removed and most of them destroyed the signs.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Ahmad Sokar, mayor of the village (centre), and his assistant visit Ibrahim (right), whose land is going to be seized.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Mohamed, 7, kisses his father’s land where they had planted olive trees six months ago. The Israeli army came and extracted them all. Mohamed’s father, Mustafa, received in addition a bill of 168 shekels ($46) to pay for the trees’ removal.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Mohamed and his father Mustafa sit on their land. Israel cut down all of their olive trees, but they still find reason to love and laugh.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Mohamed plays near his school – Israel refused authorisation to renovate the school. This part of the village is also often targeted with tear gas.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Ezzat el-Hroub found out through a media statement that nearly 10 acres of his land would be taken from him. In 1980, Israel took 5 acres and blew up his house because of ‘terrorist activities’. They later recognised it was ‘an error’. Hroub shows the article written by the American journalist Douglas Watson about the case.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

Four girls from the village play in the playground. The site is threatened with demolition because it is part of the last land seizure announcement.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

In 1948, Israel took half of now 82-year-old Hassan’s land. He now lives in a cave with his wife. ‘It is not enough to take our land, they also want our caves, they want everything. But it is our life,’ he said. Israel wants the cave so it can build new settlements on the mountain.

/Vinciane Jacquet/Transterra Media

This Israeli settlement sits just above the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin. The settlement discharges sewege water directly on Palestinian farmers’ land, ruining the harvest and natural springs.

29 September 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Program berganti program mengisi masa senggang saya sebermula minggu lepas. Alhamdulillah hari ini saya berkesempatan hadir ke Program Syarahan ‘Memerangi Ekstremisme’ anjuran Diwan Reformasi, Demokrasi dan Upaya Masyarakat dengan kerjasama Pejabat Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia di Unisel Shah Alam. Program ini menampilkan Prof. Dr. Abdullah Sheikh Abd Majeed Al-Zindani, Timbalan Dekan di Al-Eman University sebagai pengucap utama.

Dalam ucapan pengenalan saya menjelaskan betapa wujud prasangka dan tuduhan tersasar yang mengaitkan Islam dan Ekstremisme, pun begitu tidak menyeluruh. Aliran pemikiran di kalangan pemikir Muslim ada yang cenderung merungkai perihal kezaliman dan ekstremisme ini. Justeru dalam usaha dan upaya memerangi keganasan, maka wacana bersabit keadilan dan wassatiyyah (kesederhanaan) harus diutamakan, khususnya dalam adab al-khilaf.

Ini sejajar dengan apa yang dinasihati Sheikh Hasan Al-Hudaibi betapa ‘pendakwah bukan penghukum’. Seyogia perbincangan kitab tersohor Sheikh Taha Jabir Al-Elwani ‘Adab Al-ikhtilaf Fi al-Islam’ wajar dianjur dan dibedah sebaiknya.

Menyingkapi isu ini, seputar isu-isu keliling Pakatan Rakyat mutakhir ini, himbauan krisis di Selangor yang bermula bulan lepas menghampiri penghujung, inshaa-Allah. Diakui, persepsi rakyat ke atas Pakatan Rakyat dan KEADILAN khususnya pasti terusik, namun saya menyakini ini sebahagian daripada jalur-jalur proses pematangan politik. Meski media mengasak dengan pelbagai versi dan episod, perbezaan pandangan kalangan Pakatan Rakyat tetap diselesaikan dengan wacana santun di samping menghormati pandangan semua pihak.

Meskipun KEADILAN tegas dan percaya bahawa penyelesaian akhir harus disandar pada proviso dan peruntukan Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Selangor yang dipegang seawal krisis tercetus sehingga ke hari ini, makanya kita menyakini bahawa Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat di Selangor akan terus memulakan era baharu disamping diperkukuh dengan penghormatan kita pada Sistem Raja Berperlembagaan yang menaungi kita.

Berkenaan ratusan pelajar yang dilarang dan dihalang dari menduduki peperiksaan kerana gagal membayar yuran peperiksaan juga telah saya rujuk kepada Menteri Besar dan tindakan segera harus diambil. Kerajaan yang mengamalkan tatakelola yang baik harus prihatin terhadap masalah rakyat bawahan. Ini masalah penguasa yang bicara soal bangsa dan negeri dengan ‘reserve’ berbilion-bilion tapi gagal urus soal pelajaran untuk anak-anak miskin.

Dengan kepimpinan Saudara Azmin Ali selaku Menteri Besar Selangor yang baharu, Selangor akan terus dipacu menjadi ikon untuk Pakatan Rakyat terus menyakinkan rakyat seterusnya menjejak Putrajaya inshaaAllah.

Seeru ‘ala barakatillah.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

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