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Infamous Pakistani cleric keeps martyr Bin Laden library, vows worldwide Sharia

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Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz is considered one of the most dangerous, yet influential, men in Pakistan.

And while his movements in the country are restricted by the government, the 57-year-old former head cleric of Islamabad’s oldest mosque – Lal Masjid, better known as the Red Mosque – is still allowed to inspire new generations with his radical rhetoric.

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Students at Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz’s seminary

 (Fox News/Mohsin Saleem Ullah)

“We don’t see Pakistan anymore our destination, we will come out as a force to establish Islamic rule over the entire world,” Aziz told Fox News last week in a telephone interiew, from his Islamabad compound known as Jamia Hafsa, a seminary school that boasts around 1500 girls and 2000 boys. “You will see the change within 10 years – if you stay alive.”

In the government’s endeavor to root out terrorism, Aziz is banned from the mosque – which technically belongs to the state. But he and his wife continue to oversee teachings just a few miles away.

“We want Sharia within our country and I, along with my pupils, will go to any extent to implement Sharia – even at the cost of waging a war against the country coerced government,” he declared.

Aziz has long been known for his inflammatory sermons, anti-American ideology, for sparking global jihadist movements and supporting designated terrorist groups. In 2014, he even named his school’s library the “Martyr Usama Bin Laden Library” in honor of the former Al Qaeda leader and 911 financier.

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Outside Maulana Aziz’s compound in Islamabad, Pakistan

 (Fox News/Mohsin Saleem Ullah)

“Usama had good relations with my late father, thus we don’t support the American narrative, declaring him a terrorist,” Aziz said. “He did jihad, to implement Sharia around the world. So, for us he is an Islamist warrior. We title our library after his name with audacity.”

That chilling discourse may have hit close to the U.S. homeland more than once.

Soon after the 2015 San Bernardino massacre, in which female assailant and ISIS supporter Tashfeen Malik and her American husband, Syed Rizwan Farouk, slaughtered 14 of his co-workers, reports emerged that the Pakistani-born, Saudi Arabia-raised woman had been a Red Mosque student under Aziz.

“I never met with her,” Aziz claimed, before eventually acknowledging that they may have had an encounter as he has “many female followers.” But if so, she would have been fully veiled, he said. “The United States is failing attempts to establish my link with that shooting.”

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Inside Aziz’s seminary

 (Fox News/Mohsin Saleem Ullah)

But his links with violent movements are well documented.

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Controversial cleric Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz

 (Fox News/Mohsin Saleem Ullah)

Under Aziz’s guidance at the Red Mosque in July 2007, scores of his baton-brandishing male and female students took to the streets outside. Video stores considered immoral were shuttered. Chinese women were abducted from a massage parlor they deemed to be a “brothel,” threats were made to throw acid in the face of female university students nearby, and a government ministry building was torched.

Tensions escalated between the militant mosque devotees and Pakistani Army into a bloody 10-day standoff that left over 100 people dead, including Aziz’s brother, mother and son. Aziz attempted to evade arrest by fleeing the chaotic scene disguised in a burka.

”I taught my students to stand against the corrupt system immobilizing the country.

Pakistan has inherited the British system, solely non-believers,” Aziz said of the incident. “I attempted to escape in a long veil with the consent of my martyred brother Abdul during the operation, and secondly, Islam supports this act to conceal oneself in a state of emergency.”

After several months in custody following the siege, Aziz was released, but deposed as cleric and barred from the Red Mosque, which his nephew, Amir Siddique, now leads instead. But the firebrand cleric promptly set about building a new facility, Jamia Hafsa, close by.

TRAPPED IN SYRIA’S BESIEGED GHOUTA: “LIFE HAS CEASED, THE CHILDREN ARE WAITING TO DIE”

Islamic religious students protest in Multan against an assault by Pakistani forces on the Lal Masjid or Red Mosque in Islamabad July 10, 2007. Pakistani forces stormed a mosque compound on Tuesday, killing about 50 militants, as they fought their way through an Islamic school where they believed a rebel cleric was hiding with women and children hostages. REUTERS/Asim Tanveer   (PAKISTAN) - GM1DVRCUOFAA

The Red Mosque in Islamabad was thre sitr of a bloody ten-day siege

 (REUTERS)

SHIFTING ALLIANCES AS PAKISTAN MANAGES RELATIONSHIP WITH US

The Pakistani government has – particularly in the wake of the 2014 Peshawar school slaughter – purported to squash terror-inspiring voices like Aziz. And many Pakistanis have expressed their staunch opposition to the extremist preacher.

Radical Muslim female students surrender themselves to soldiers near Lal Masjid or Red Mosque in Islamabad July 4, 2007. The head of a radical Pakistani mosque at the centre of a stand-off with security forces was arrested on Wednesday while trying to escape clad in a woman's burqa, officials said.  REUTERS/Mian Khursheed  (PAKISTAN) - GM1DVQAGXTAA

Baton-wielding female students took to the streets outside the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July, 2007

 (REUTERS)

Those actions against him come at a cost.

“Last time there was action against Mullah Aziz and his supporters at the Red Mosque, terrorism erupted in the northern parts of the country and eventually spread to other parts. So there remains a blowback in case of any severe action taken against him,” explained Farrukh Khan Pitafi, an Islamabad-based columnist and television journalist. “The past few years there has been a cultural shift in the country and Aziz has struggled to find space on the national media. But it remains a work in progress. It is safe to assume that he is down but not out.”

Jeff Smith, South Asia policy expert at the Heritage Foundation,  pointed out further actions likely have not been taken against Aziz over concerns of retaliation. 

“Aziz is highly critical of the Pakistani government but Islamabad knows he commands a sizable following and claim they have no legal grounds to arrest or convict him. Ultimately, they’ve decided it’s best to avoid stirring the hornet’s nest, even if means quietly allowing the swarm to proliferate,” he said.

“Ideally, Pakistan would pass legislation or criminal justice reforms outlawing the type of hate speech espoused by Aziz and his ilk, and then deal with them through the appropriate legal mechanisms.”

The Red Mosque did not respond for further comment regarding their current relationship with Aziz. But he asserted his ban comes as a result of “American and Indian influence” on Pakistan’s leadership.

“As a prayer leader in the Red Mosque, people are in support of me,” he insisted. “In the past, I have tried to enter but our frightened government called upon the Rangers to prevent me.”

Nonetheless, Aziz’s influence remains a cause for concern on an international scale. He denied being acquainted with any specific militant groups in war-ravaged Iraq and Syria, but said he “teaches a lot about jihad” to his many students who likely have gone “to join the noble in those countries.”

But in his view, Afghanistan is the most noble of all.

“At present, there is no Muslim country left in the world which has a Sharia ruler – neither Saudi Arabia nor Pakistan,” Aziz said. “I have found Afghanistan the only country in accordance with Sharia when the Taliban established its control over the land and I support those Taliban’s to-date.”

And according to Smith, Aziz still has significant influence. 

“It is helpful to separate the ‘bad guys’ into two categories. There are those like the Haqqani Network that are actively and operationally involved in conducting terrorist targeting Afghanistan and U.S. personnel and interests there; and then there are those espousing violent extremist ideologies, sowing the seeds of hatred and religious fundamentalism across Pakistani society,” Smith added.

“Aziz very much falls into the latter camp and within the spectrum of radical Pakistani preachers remains a very prominent figure. While the first group poses the most immediate threat to the U.S. and Afghanistan, it’s arguably the latter group that’s doing the most long-term damage in the all-important war of ideas.”

Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay



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Christian Eriksen may not play football professionally again, says sports cardiologist | World News

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Danish footballer Christian Eriksen is unlikely to play professionally again after suffering what was reported to be a cardiac arrest, a leading sports cardiologist has said.

The midfielder collapsed on the pitch during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland and had to be resuscitated before being taken to hospital.

Eriksen, 29, was in a stable condition on Saturday night but it has not yet been publicly confirmed what was behind his illness.

Professor Sanjay Sharma is professor of sports cardiology at St George’s University in London and worked with Eriksen during his time at Tottenham Hotspur.

He said: “Clearly something went terribly wrong.

“But they managed to get him back, the question is what happened? And why did it happen?

“This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019 so how do you explain this cardiac arrest?”

UK football bodies were likely to be “very strict” about allowing Eriksen to play again, he added.

“His cardiac arrest has rocked the entire nation today and that’s what happens. It’s not just them that it affects, it’s the psyche of so many people.

“The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career, so would he play another professional football game? That I can’t say.

“In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”

Prof Sharma chairs the FA’s expert cardiac consensus group and is a consultant for charity Cardiac Risk In The Young.

He said the causes of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest could include an unidentified health condition or a high temperature, but reports that the footballer was awake in hospital were “a very good sign”.

“The fact he’s stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good,” he told the PA news agency.

“I don’t know whether he’ll ever play football again.

“Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again?

“The answer is no.”

Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba experienced a similar collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.

He had hoped to resume his career but retired from professional football five months later on medical advice.

One of his doctors, Sam Mohiddin, told the BBC: “The cardiac arrest is a moment of extreme peril.

“If you don’t get someone out of cardiac arrest things are over. You will not survive.

“The ongoing risk to an individual to an extent depends on the precise cause of that cardiac arrest.”

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G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell G7 leaders they face biggest climate change decisions ‘in human history’ | Politics News

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Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet which he says may be on the “verge of destabilising’.

David Attenborough attends a conference about the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in London
Image:
Sir David will address G7 leaders on the final day of their summit

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

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G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell world leaders their decisions are ‘most important in human history’ | Politics News

Published

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Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet.

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

Source link

Continue Reading

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