FRIDAY WRAP 13/2/2015

Assalamualaikum and Privet (:
It had been a week filled with full of breaking news for us the muslim community. Many tragic tragedies occurred and heart breaking responses make us aware that we need to be more conscious, care and wise up! In this episode of Friday Wrap, we hope many of us start to be proactive and passionate on issues around us, that in the end of the day, we will be among those who are beneficial and auspicious dunya wal akhirah. InsyaAllah.

Two bombs in Baghdad kill 15 civilians

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed in two bombings in and around Baghdad on Monday, police and medical sources said, the latest in a string of deadly attacks to hit the Iraqi capital in the last two weeks.

A suicide bombing at a security checkpoint in the Shi'ite neighbourhood of Kadhimiya killed 13 civilians and wounded more than 30 others, the sources said.

The neighbourhood is home to one of the holiest shrines in Shi'ite Islam and is the regular target of such attacks.

Two people were later killed when a bomb went off on a main street in a northern suburb, police and medical sources said.

No person or group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that seized large parts of northern and western Iraq last year, regularly targets Shi'ite neighbourhoods in the capital.

At least 37 people were killed in a wave of bombings on Saturday.
Despite the violence, the government lifted a longstanding night-time curfew on Saturday night aimed at normalising life in the war-torn city.

North Carolina man charged with killing of three Muslim students

WASHINGTON: A North Carolina man espousing anti-religious views has been charged with the murders of three Muslim students, including a husband and wife, who were shot to death in the university town of Chapel Hill, police said Wednesday.

The shooter, identified as Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was being held in Durham County Jail on three counts of first-degree murder, Chapel Hill police said.

The victims were identified as Chapel Hill residents Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh.

Hicks turned himself in after the shooting Tuesday in Chapel Hill, just outside the campus of the University of North Carolina.

“Mr Hicks has been charged with three counts of 1st degree murder,” the police said in a statement.

A Facebook page believed to belong to Hicks showed dozens of anti-religious posts, including one calling himself an “anti-theist” saying he has a “conscientious objection to religion” and others memes denouncing Christianity, Mormonism and Islam. His page also showed a photo of a loaded revolver, alongside a video of a puppy and a promotional clip for Air New Zealand.

One post read: “I’m not an atheist because I’m ignorant of the reality of religious scripture. I’m an atheist because religious scripture is ignorant of reality.”

“Given the enormous harm that your religion has done in this world, I’d say that I have not only a right, but a duty, to insult it,” he posted under the religious beliefs tab.

Photos of the three victims circulated on social media, including recent wedding pictures of Barakat and Abu-Salha.

Reports said Barakat was a second-year student in dentistry there while his wife was planning to begin her dental studies in the fall.

Razan Abu-Salha was a student at North Carolina State University, according to the UNC university newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel.

A Facebook community – Our Three Winners – has been set up for posts about the three students.

“Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha have returned to their Lord,” the site’s creators state. “They have set an example in life and in death.”

The site features a photo of the three smiling at what appears to be graduation ceremony. The women wear Muslim headscarves, one of them also in a blue graduation cap.

Barakat’s brother Farris mourned the deaths, writing, “it doesn’t make sense” on his own Facebook page.

“Please pray for them, their friends, and the family. I haven’t even begun to fully comprehend what has happened. But I know for sure those three together have done so much we are all proud of,” Farris Barakat wrote.

Police in Chapel Hill have not disclosed a possible motive for the attack. They were not immediately available for comment.The police website released a statement confirming the three deaths and saying the department is “questioning a person of interest in the crime and has reason to believe that there is no ongoing threat to the public.” – AFP

Farewell Tok Guru Nik Aziz

It is a sombre day in Kelantan as thousands flock to Pulau Melaka to pay their last respects to PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who had led the state as menteri besar for 23 years.

People have been makinng a beeline outside his house since last night, resulting in a sudden surge of vehicles in the sleepy hollow of Pulau Melaka.

Tens of thousands gathered today to mourn Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, a key Muslim opponent of Malaysia's authoritarian regime, but whose advocacy of harsh Islamic criminal punishments worried many in the multi-faith nation.

Nik Aziz died from prostate cancer in his home in northern Malaysia late yesterday at the age of 84.

For more than three decades, he was a top leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), a member of the three-party opposition alliance that, since its 2008 formation, has placed mounting pressure on the long-serving government.

His passing is the second blow for the alliance this week. Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was jailed for five years Tuesday on sodomy charges widely viewed as politically motivated.

State-controlled television showed a sea of mourners in white skullcaps carrying Nik Aziz's coffin and then placing his body, covered by a white cloth, into a grave in his hometown in northern Kelantan state today.

An Islamic scholar who studied in India and Egypt, the diminutive Nik Aziz had since the early 1990s been the party's spiritual leader and ― until his 2013 retirement ― chief minister of PAS-held Kelantan.

He was widely respected for maintaining the party's appeal to the Muslim ethnic Malays who make up more than 60 per cent of Malaysia's people, despite fierce competition from the long-ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

Despite his calls for hudud ― criminal punishments including severing of limbs for theft ― to be applied to Muslims, he was viewed as a moderating presence who voiced tolerance toward Malaysia's large Chinese, Indian and other minorities.

But a growing push by PAS conservatives to implement huddud, along with Anwar's jailing, have helped to tip the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact) coalition into crisis.
Hudud is seen as contravening the federal constitution so it is highly unlikely to be implemented.

But the issue has deeply divided the opposition alliance, raising the spectre of its collapse if PAS conservatives win an ongoing tussle for party control that has worsened since Nik Aziz was sidelined because his poor health.

“With Nik Aziz's passing, the moderates in PAS have lost their strongest pillar of strength,” said Ibrahim Suffian, head of Merdeka Centre, Malaysia's leading polling organisation.

Still, he added his death could also bring PAS together and see it reaffirm its commitment to the opposition coalition. ― AFP

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