The FBI released a new statement Sunday night, attempting to walk back their previous comments that the hostage taking at a Texas synagogue, on the Jewish Sabbath, during services „…was not specifically related to the Jewish community.“
In the new statement, the FBI said, „This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.“
The suspected hostage taker died at the scene. The hostages were released without injury.
The FBI was ripped on social media for the statement that the hostage taker had no direct demands related to the Jewish community, including calling for the FBI to be „defunded and eliminated.“
Two law enforcement officials told CNN earlier Saturday that investigators believe the hostage taker may have been motivated by a desire to release Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year sentence at a facility in Texas. She was convicted in 2010 on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on US officers in Afghanistan.
„We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community, but we’ll continue to work to find motive,“ DeSarno said.
Last month, New Zealand appointed the first Indigenous woman to serve as governor general. Dame Cindy Kiro, a well-known children’s advocate, is the third Māori to hold the post. The first, Sir Paul Reeves, was appointed in 1985.
The federal government is under enormous pressure right now to show some progress on Crown-Indigenous reconciliation — in the wake of this week’s reports on undocumented deaths at the Kamloops Indian Residential School and fresh calls for Ottawa to move faster on implementing the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
„The Police Department for Internal Investigations will begin reviewing the events to see if there is any criminal culpability on the part of members of the police in the disaster,“ a spokesperson for Mandelblit said, adding that the police were instructed not to interview any of their members.
Calls are growing for a public inquiry in Israel, after the country’s largest gathering since the start of the pandemic ended in tragedy.
At least 44 people were killed in a stampede at a religious festival at Mount Meron, where tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered on Thursday night.
The police opened a preliminary investigation into the deadly event as they face criticism for their decision to block one of the passages on the site.
„The event is under investigation, but it’s worth noting that this year, there are fewer people on the mountain than in previous years.“
„It happened in a split second; people just fell, trampling each other. It was a disaster,“ another witnesses said. Two different witnesses told Haaretz that a police barricade prevented people from exiting and caused overcrowding.
Police evacuated the tens of thousands of people from Mount Meron via the parking lots and several stations after closing the main entrance to the site to restrict movement.
An April 3 statement on the parish’s website said: “On Good Friday, April 2, during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, at the moment of the Adoration of the Cross, at about 6 p.m., the police came to the door of our church. We were not allowed to finish the celebration.”
“The police officers, stating that our liturgical assembly was unlawful, ordered everyone to leave our church immediately under the threat of a fine for each of the parishioners present of £200 [around $277] or even arrest. The faithful obeyed this order without objection.”
It looks like something out of a tinpot tyranny. The church service was being livestreamed online. Halfway through, two cops appear and arrogantly walk to the sanctuary itself, the area around the altar. They then take over the lectern from the priest and issue a dire warning to the people who had gathered to commemorate the darkest day in the Christian faith – the trial and execution of Christ. ‘You need to go home’, an officer says. ‘Failure to comply with this direction to leave… could lead you to be fined £200 or, if you fail to give your details, to you being arrested.’
Pope Francis, 84, the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 90, the spiritual leader of most of the world’s Shia Muslims, talked for almost an hour during the first ever papal visit to Iraq, the pontiff’s first trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Catholic organisations have challenged the limit, arguing that churches and cathedrals are much more spacious than retail outlets, where the limit is one person per eight square metres.
Ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis said in an order Friday that even though the rules harm religious groups, it is not in the public interest to block them if they are helping prevent a wave of new infections.
The maps were drafted in consultation with health experts including former city health commissioner and Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Tom Frieden, Dr. Noam Ross of EcoHealth Alliance, and Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota.
The violence, which took place in the ultra-Orthodox cities of Betar Ilit, Modi’in Ilit, and even in the “city of Torah and Hasidism” Bnei Brak, was severe, say the people who witnessed it. The general feeling is of a loss of control, not just on the part of the police. Thousands thronged the streets, objects flew in the air, garbage cans were lit on fire and harsh words were spoken (“Nazis,” they called policemen). These weren’t extremists, not the usual rebellious “Jerusalem faction” of zealots. These were people from the Haredi mainstream.
The sect is known for its civil disobedience and frequent clashes with security forces over conscription as well as state and religious affairs.
Officers also raided two mass gatherings in the area, celebrating the Sukkot holiday, one organized by a confirmed virus carrier and another, a Tish (a gathering of Hasidim around their Rebbe), organized by the Zotshka Hasidic Dynasty.
Indeed, the governor also announced that the state would take over supervision of enforcement of mask and social-distancing rules in the hot spot clusters, presumably putting the State Police in charge of New York City Police Department officers.
That deadline is a day earlier than Mayor Bill de Blasio had set — and equally irrelevant for the hundreds of Jewish schools in the areas, most of which are closed right now because of the Sukkot holiday.
Cuomo also announced that he would take over efforts to enforce social distancing and mask mandates in New York City areas with rising cases, many of which are home to significant Orthodox populations.
After initially leading the nation in positive coronavirus tests, New York City was able to get the virus under control earlier this year through strong messaging on the importance of social distancing and the widespread closures of businesses. But in recent weeks, city officials and residents had been watching the numbers tick back up, particularly in Orthodox Jewish areas.
Over the past two weeks, the number of new cases of the virus has been rising in pockets of the city, predominantly in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that are home to the city’s large Orthodox Jewish population.
MacArthur called the restrictions on places of worship put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus “not Constitutional” and “burdensome,” and argued they make “no sense in light of the actual numbers of death” members of his church are seeing.
President Donald Trump on Friday labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential“ and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.
The president threatened to “override” governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so.
In this time of great crisis, we Pastors of the Catholic Church, by virtue of our mandate, consider it our sacred duty to make an Appeal to our Brothers in the Episcopate, to the Clergy, to Religious, to the holy People of God and to all men and women of good will. This Appeal has also been undersigned by intellectuals, doctors, lawyers, journalists and professionals who agree with its content, and may be undersigned by those who wish to make it their own.
The facts have shown that, under the pretext of the Covid-19 epidemic, the inalienable rights of citizens have in many cases been violated and their fundamental freedoms, including the exercise of freedom of worship, expression and movement, have been disproportionately and unjustifiably restricted. Public health must not, and cannot, become an alibi for infringing on the rights of millions of people around the world, let alone for depriving the civil authority of its duty to act wisely for the common good. This is particularly true as growing doubts emerge from several quarters about the actual contagiousness, danger and resistance of the virus. Many authoritative voices in the world of science and medicine confirm that the media’s alarmism about Covid-19 appears to be absolutely unjustified.
We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.
We also believe that in some situations the containment measures that were adopted, including the closure of shops and businesses, have precipitated a crisis that has brought down entire sectors of the economy. This encourages interference by foreign powers and has serious social and political repercussions. Those with governmental responsibility must stop these forms of social engineering, by taking measures to protect their citizens whom they represent, and in whose interests they have a serious obligation to act. Likewise, let them help the family, the cell of society, by not unreasonably penalizing the weak and elderly, forcing them into a painful separation from their loved ones. The criminalization of personal and social relationships must likewise be judged as an unacceptable part of the plan of those who advocate isolating individuals in order to better manipulate and control them.
We ask the scientific community to be vigilant, so that cures for Covid-19 are offered in honesty for the common good. Every effort must be made to ensure that shady business interests do not influence the choices made by government leaders and international bodies. It is unreasonable to penalize those remedies that have proved to be effective, and are often inexpensive, just because one wishes to give priority to treatments or vaccines that are not as good, but which guarantee pharmaceutical companies far greater profits, and exacerbate public health expenditures. Let us also remember, as Pastors, that for Catholics it is morally unacceptable to develop or use vaccines derived from material from aborted fetuses.
We also ask government leaders to ensure that forms of control over people, whether through tracking systems or any other form of location-finding, are rigorously avoided. The fight against Covid-19, however serious, must not be the pretext for supporting the hidden intentions of supranational bodies that have very strong commercial and political interests in this plan. In particular, citizens must be given the opportunity to refuse these restrictions on personal freedom, without any penalty whatsoever being imposed on those who do not wish to use vaccines, contact tracking or any other similar tool. Let us also consider the blatant contradiction of those who pursue policies of drastic population control and at the same time present themselves as the savior of humanity, without any political or social legitimacy. Finally, the political responsibility of those who represent the people can in no way be left to “experts” who can indeed claim a kind of immunity from prosecution, which is disturbing to say the least.
We strongly urge those in the media to commit themselves to providing accurate information and not penalizing dissent by resorting to forms of censorship, as is happening widely on social media, in the press and on television. Providing accurate information requires that room be given to voices that are not aligned with a single way of thinking. This allows citizens to consciously assess the facts, without being heavily influenced by partisan interventions. A democratic and honest debate is the best antidote to the risk of imposing subtle forms of dictatorship, presumably worse than those our society has seen rise and fall in the recent past.
Finally, as Pastors responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach. This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments. The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church. Ecclesiastical authorities have never refused to collaborate with the State, but such collaboration does not authorize civil authorities to impose any sort of ban or restriction on public worship or the exercise of priestly ministry. The rights of God and of the faithful are the supreme law of the Church, which she neither intends to, nor can, abdicate. We ask that restrictions on the celebration of public ceremonies be removed.
We should like to invite all people of good will not to shirk their duty to cooperate for the common good, each according to his or her own state and possibilities and in a spirit of fraternal charity. The Church desires such cooperation, but this cannot disregard either a respect for natural law or a guarantee of individual freedoms. The civil duties to which citizens are bound imply the State’s recognition of their rights.
We are all called to assess the current situation in a way consistent with the teaching of the Gospel. This means taking a stand: either with Christ or against Christ. Let us not be intimidated or frightened by those who would have us believe that we are a minority: Good is much more widespread and powerful than the world would have us believe. We are fighting against an invisible enemy that seeks to divide citizens, to separate children from their parents, grandchildren from their grandparents, the faithful from their pastors, students from teachers, and customers from vendors. Let us not allow centuries of Christian civilization to be erased under the pretext of a virus, and an odious technological tyranny to be established, in which nameless and faceless people can decide the fate of the world by confining us to a virtual reality. If this is the plan to which the powers of this earth intend to make us yield, know that Jesus Christ, King and Lord of History, has promised that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail” (Mt 16:18).
Let us entrust government leaders and all those who rule over the fate of nations to Almighty God, that He may enlighten and guide them in this time of great crisis. May they remember that, just as the Lord will judge us Pastors for the flock which he has entrusted to us, so will He also judge government leaders for the peoples whom they have the duty to defend and govern.
With faith, let us beseech the Lord to protect the Church and the world. May the Blessed Virgin, Help of Christians, crush the head of the ancient Serpent and defeat the plans of the children of darkness.
Donald Trump cannot be trusted to define antisemitism for Jews. He incites deadly white nationalist violence against our communities. He calls us disloyal. When speaking to American Jews, he refers to Israel as “your country” because he believes we do not really belong here. Conflating criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism is actually antisemitic because it implies that all Jews agree with, and are responsible for, Israel’s actions.
This order will not protect our communities from Trump’s white nationalism or the violent threats we face. It will be used to target and silence human rights advocates and, in particular, Palestinian and Muslim college students.
American Jews will not allow Trump to speak for or silence us.
“Trump’s executive order is not about keeping Jews safe. After a week in which he spewed classic antisemtiic tropes about Jews and money, this is just more anti-Semitism,” wrote Emily Mayer, the political director of the Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow, in a statement. “The order’s move to define Judaism as a ‘nationality’ promotes the classically bigoted idea that American Jews are not American.”
Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, pushed for the move, according to the Times.
The definition of anti-Semitism will be adopted from the State Department, whose definition was originally formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the senior administration officials said.
“They have invited young men and some women in so that they can act out their greatest perversion. It’s not about an ideology. It’s not about the caliphate,” McRaven said at a national security conference in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Friday.
“I believe that they bring people in because they realize they can kill, they can rape with impunity, they can torture, they can do these barbaric things in the name of Islam.”
Kashmiris have not yet forgotten that in August – November, 1947, RSS colluded with the Hindu Maharajah of Kashmir to perpetrate the horrific genocide and exodus of Jammu, whereby hundreds of thousands of Muslims were massacred and an estimated half a million forcibly displaced. This reduced the region’s Muslim majority to a minority. This time, RSS is working through BJP, its political wing, to complete its original mission of ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Muslims. The genocide is being substituted by settler colonialism, but the objectives remain the same.
More than four million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hard-line Hindu nationalist agenda that has challenged the country’s pluralist traditions and aims to redefine what it means to be Indian.
Kashmir sits on one of India’s foundational fault lines, that of religion. With the rise and consolidation of an aggressive Hindu majoritarianism, many rightfully worry about India’s future as a multicultural democracy.
Modi and his political party pivoted away from confronting corruption, redesignating the central threat to Indian society instead as „the Muslim threat“ – India’s own Muslim community and neighboring Pakistan. Deliberately stoked religious polarization has deepened to a worrisome extent.
Modi replaced his „development man“ imperative with a new public image: that of the Hindu savior. That shift has also won significant popular support.
The State Department announced a Monday conference call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was restricted to “faith-based media” to discuss international religious freedom ahead of his trip this week to the Mideast.
The “faith-based” restriction was first reported on Twitter by CNN senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski. Word got out when one unidentified member of the “regular” media was accidentally invited — then disinvited.
(Sept. 12, 1960) For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew– or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.
Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.
In the 19th century, anti-Catholicism became tied to anti-immigration sentiments among both the American elite and American lower classes. Catholicism became tied to European immigrants (Irish and then Italian) who competed with „native“ Americans––a term they ironically used to describe themselves––for jobs. These Catholic immigrants had different customs than their Protestant „native“ neighbors, customs that the Protestant disapproved of; among these, drinking was worst. There was also a persistent and palpable fear that Catholics couldn’t be trusted because of their allegiance to Rome. These fears carried on in America through the 1950s.
During the Cold War period, when Kennedy ran, there was still fear that, when push came to shove, Kennedy would defer to the Pope and not the Constitution or American people. He actually had to come out and say that he had his own mind, and was not at the mercy of the Pope. I couldn’t find the stand-alone video of him saying this, but it’s used in this short video:
Many reported abuses were based on discriminations against race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and nationality.
“In the last election, PAS won by invoking the race and religious card, so they will be consistent on that narrative. Umno’s (stance), however, depends on who is going to win the party elections.
Hopefully, it will be Khairy who is more inclusive and willing to open the party to other races,” Faisal said.
“That should be the way forward, although we are heading towards Malaysia Baru and hopefully, racial- and religious-based politics will be moderated. That doesn’t mean these two types of politics will be wiped out. They will still be key features in Malaysian politics.