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Month: August 2017

10 of the deadliest Hajj tragedies

There have been numerous stampedes and other deadly incidents during Hajj since 1975, killing thousands of pilgrims. We take a look at 10 of the deadliest incidents.

1.  December 1975 Fire

A huge fire started by a gas canister exploding in a pilgrim camp close to Mecca kills 200 people.

2. December 1979 – Insurgency

Hundreds of gunmen opposed to the Saudi government barricade themselves inside the Grand Mosque, taking dozens of pilgrims hostage. The official toll of the assault and subsequent fighting is 153 people dead and 560 wounded.

3. July 1987 – Protests

Saudi security forces suppress an unauthorised protest held by Iranian pilgrims. More than 400 people, including 275 Iranians are killed, according to an official toll.

4. July 1990 – Stampede

A huge stampede occurs in a tunnel at Mina after a failure in its ventilation system kills 1,426 pilgrims, mainly from Asia.

5. May 1994 – Stampede

270 pilgrims are killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual at Mina, an incident authorities attribute to record numbers of pilgrims at the site.

6. April 1997 – Fire

343 pilgrims are killed in a fire at the tent city of Mina as the blaze is aided by high winds. More than 1,500 are injured.

7. April 1998 – Stampede

More than 118 people are killed and 180 injured in a stampede at Mina.

8. February 2004 – Stampede

A crush of pilgrims at Mina kills about 250 pilgrims and injures hundreds on the final day of the hajj ceremonies.

9. January 2006 – Stampede

More than 360 pilgrims are killed in a stampede in Mina,, where pilgrims carry out a symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing pebbles against three stone walls. The day before the hajj begins, an eight-storey building being used as a hostel near the Grand Mosque in Mecca collapsed, killing at least 73 people. Also 76 people died when a hotel collapses in the city centre.

10. September 2015 – Crane Collapse and Stampede

At least 310 are killed and hundreds injured in a stampede in Mina, on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca.

In the lead-up to hajj, at least 107 people are killed and nearly 400 wounded when a crane collapses in bad weather, crashing on to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.

Reference – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/timeline-of-tragedies-in-mecca-during-hajj

 

The Geopolitical Significance of Yemen

The Yemen Civil war led by Saudi on behalf of America is part of a broader geopolitical conflict.

Alongside Djibouti, Yemen forms part of an important maritime chokepoint, called the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is a chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

The strait is located between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea, and connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

Almost all of the trade between the European Union and China, Japan, India and the rest of Asia passes through the Bab el-Mandeb everyday.

It is no exaggerations to call the Mandeb Strait one of the world’s arteries.

It is impossible to traverse from the Mediterranean Sea into the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal without going through the Bab el-Mandeb.

Bab-el-Mandeb overlooks one of the most strategic and important global corridors for the transportation of energy and international commerce.

Preventing US and Saudi rivals from gaining a strategic foothold over the Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden is a major objective of the war on Yemen.

Closure of the Bab el-Mandeb could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal or SUMED Pipeline, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa, adding to transit time and cost.

In addition, European and North African southbound oil flows could no longer take the most direct route to Asian markets via the Suez Canal and Bab el-Mandeb.

The US and the House of Saud see control over the Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden as strategically important in the scenario of a conflict with Iran where Tehran closes the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipments and international shipping.

The 1979 Siege of Makkah

In the early morning of 20 November 1979, the imam of the Grand Mosque was preparing to lead the prayers for the fifty thousand worshipers who had gathered for prayer

Around 5:00 am, he was interrupted by insurgents who procured weapons from under their robes, chained the gates shut and killed two policemen.

The insurgents released most of the hostages and locked the remainder in the sanctuary. They took defensive positions in the upper levels of the mosque, and sniper positions in the minarets, from which they commanded the grounds.

The dissidents declared that the Mahdi had arrived in the form of one of their leaders, Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, and called on Muslims to obey him.

The seizure was led by Juhayman al-Otaybi who declared his brother-in-law Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani to be the Mahdi.

Otaybi was a preacher, a former corporal in the Saudi National Guard, and a former student of Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Baaz, who went onto become the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia.

al-Otaybi had turned against bin Baz and began advocating a return to the original ways of Islam, a repudiation of the West, an end to education of women, the abolition of television and the expulsion of non-Muslims.

He proclaimed that the ruling Al Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of Westernization.

The seizure shocked the Islamic world as hundreds of pilgrims present for the annual hajj were taken hostage, and hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire were killed in the ensuing battles for control of the site.

An elite Pakistani unit called “Rahbar” was rushed to Mecca, under command of General Pervez Musharraf (then a Major) from Pakistan on Saudi Government’s request.

In the middle of the day, Saudi troops abseiled from helicopters directly into the central courtyard of the mosque but were picked off by insurgents.

After failure of this exercise, Pakistani commandos split/showered water all over the Grand Masjid floors even in minarets.

Pakistani Army Commandos then released electric current in the water. The insurgents suspended their activities and start changing their positions to save themselves from the electric shocks

Saudi also brought in the help of French special forces who pumped posion gas in the basement, flushing remaining rebels.

During this time Pakistani Army Commandos were dropped by helicopters into the Grand Masjid in different locations and they easily captured many of the insurgents alive.

The siege ended two weeks after the takeover began with militants and the mosque cleared.

The battle had lasted for more than two weeks, and had officially left “255 pilgrims, troops and fanatics” killed and “another 560 injured … although diplomats suggested the toll was higher.” Military casualties were 127 dead and 451 injured.

The rebels’ leader, Juhayman, was captured, and he and 67 of his fellow rebels – “all the surviving males” – were tried secretly, convicted and publicly beheaded in the squares of four Saudi cities.

The executions were decreed by King Khalid after the edict issued by ulema.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_seizure
  2. https://www.dawn.com/news/503835
  3. https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/how-1979-siege-mecca-haunts-house-saud
  4. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112051155
  5. http://5pillarsuk.com/2013/11/29/a-look-back-at-history-the-siege-of-mecca/

Tariq Ibn Ziyad and the Liberation of Spain

Tariq Ibn Ziyad and the Liberation of Spain

In the early 700s, Iberia (modern day Spain and Portugal) was controlled by a tyrannical Visigoth king, Roderic.He brutally imposed his Roman Trinitarian beliefs on the Christian Unitarian populace.Muslim historians, such as Ibn Khaldun, tell the legend of an Iberian nobleman based in North Africa, Julian, who pleaded with the Muslim armies to overthrow Roderic. For Roderic had also kidnapped and raped Julian’s daughter.Thus, in 711, under the orders of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, a great Muslim military commander called Tariq bin Ziyad led an army of a few thousand to the southern shore of the Iberian Peninsula. Watch to learn more or visit kjvids.co.uk/tariq-ibn-ziyad-and-the-liberation-of-spain

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Otto Von Bismarck And The Rise Of The German Empire

Otto Von Bismarck And The Rise Of The German Empire

When Otto von Bismarck became its Prime Minister in 1862, Prussia was a second-rate power overshadowed by Russia, Austria, France, and Britain. It was also unstable; its ancient monarchy and traditional Junker landowning class was threatened by rising forces of pan-German nationalism and liberal democratic revolution.

Bismarck turned the situation upside down with extraordinary statesmanship and in two distinct phases. Watch the video to learn more or visit kjvids.co.uk/otto-von-bismarck-and-the-rise-of-the-german-empire

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The History of Islam in Nigeria

The Nigerian region has had a long rich history. Evidence of human inhabitation has been found as far back as 9000 BCE.

The spread of Islam in Nigeria dates to the eleventh century when it first appeared in Borno in the northeast of the country.

Later Islam emerged in Hausaland in the northwest and its influence was evident in Kano and Katsina

Islam was for quite some time the religion of the court and commerce, and was spread peacefully by Muslim clerics and traders

Increasingly, trans-Saharan trade came to be conducted by Muslims.

In the second half of the eighteenth century a rapid expansion took place in western Africa

The Fulani cattle-driving people, who had settled and adopted Islam, played a central role.

In northern Nigeria, the Fulani scholar Uthman dan Fodio launched a jihad in 1804 that lasted for six years,

aiming to revive and purify Islam, to eliminate syncretist beliefs and rituals, to remove all innovations contrary to the Koran and sharia, and to encourage less devout Muslims to return to orthodox and pure Islam.

It also united the Hausa states under sharia law.

In 1812 the Hausa dynasties became part of the Sultantae of Sokoto.

It was one of the largest empires in Africa during the 19th century.

The Sokoto Caliphate ended with partition in 1903 when the British incorporated it into the colony of Nigeria and the Sultan’s power was transferred to the High Commissioner

However, many aspects of the caliphate structure, including the Islamic legal system, were retained and brought forward into the colonial period.

Under British Rule, Christianity became established in the South.

Missionaries established schools which offered a strong western education.

One of the characteristics of British colonisation was the practise of using local sympatherisers to control the colonial population

Supporetive locals allows the British to expand their control in many states with a  relatively small British population

Such behaviour created social dvisions which made the colonies easier to managed but created conditions for potential conflict.

The Shari’ah was practised in the Northern regions but steadily reduced its influence.

By the time the British were preparing to grant Nigeria independence, the jurisdiction of Shairah law was reduced to an appeals court for personal issues between Muslims.

1973 Chilean Coup D’état

Democratically elected in 1970, Chilean President Salvador Allende was pushing forward his “Chilean way to socialism”

Land reforms and even free milk for children were being introduced

The new Government also attempted to nationalise Chile’s lucrative copper mines which were mostly owned by US firms.

The US firms were compensated much more than their book value. But this wasn’t good enough for the US

In 2014, a series of declassified US documents revealed how Richard Nixon’s admin was running a campaign to destabilise Allende’s Government

One section showed how the US copper companies in Chile had been complaining of increasing tax pressure and their worries about nationalisation.

To Chileans, the US firm Anaconda symbolised American dependency. It was considered by most to be a foreign state within a state

With a covert action budget assigned, the CIA’s operation was described as a “program to hamstring Allende and play for the breaks”

Eventually a military coup in 1973 backed by America paved the way for Augusto Pinochet to take full control within a year.

Pinochet launched a wave of brutal purges against remaining opponents

In order to burnish the new Junta’s image at home and abroad, the CIA co-produced a “White book of the change of Government in Chile”

The book effectively whitewashed the general by blackening the President he overthrew in 1973, Salvador Allende

This coup was merely another American counter-revolutionary strategy which has been demonstrated in other parts of the world.

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Indian Partition in Pictures

FILE- In this June 10, 1947 file photo, Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten, right, speaks with Muslim League leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah during conferences on India’s division in New Delhi. Jinnah appealed to Indians to carry out peacefully the British plan for dividing the country. The Muslim League formally adopted the plan on the night of June 9. As the 70th anniversary of India-Pakistan Partition comes up next week, relations between the two nations are as broken as ever. In some ways, their violent birth pangs dictated their future course through suspicion and animosity. (AP Photo/Max Desfor, File)

Muslim refugees crowd atop a train leaving New Delhi for Pakistan in September 1947.

British Maj. T.J. Monaghan, left, and Pvt. H. Farabrother of the Inniskilling Regiment of Northern Ireland, walk through wreckage after riots destroyed parts of the Punjab suburb of Amritsar, India, March 18, 1947.

  

Hajj in 1953

In this video, we present how Muslims performed Hajj in 1953.  Catch a glimpse of how it was like to perform Hajj in 1953. Though this was only just over 60 years ago, a lot has changed mainly due to the increase in the number of pilgrims going to perform Hajj. This video contains old Hajj pictures taken from the National Geographic Magazine.

Pakistan Independence – 70 Years On

Pakistan Independence – 70 Years On

It has been 70 years since the Indian partition and the creation of Pakistan, but has it achieved the objective it set out for and what does the future hold?

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