Kenya's Westgate mall reopens nearly 2 years after tragedy

According to Hindustan Times, Kenya's Westgate shopping mall reopened for business on Saturday in the capital, nearly two years after Somali Islamists massacred 67 shoppers and staff in four days of carnage.
 
The complex, Nairobi's most upmarket shopping centre and a magnet for the east African nation's growing middle class and expatriates, was badly damaged in the assault by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels and has undergone months of renovation.
 
Around 50 shoppers queued to be the first to pass through newly-installed metal detectors at the main entrance, after Nairobi governor Evans Kidero and Atul Shah, owner of the main regional supermarket chain Nakumatt, declared the mall back in business in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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Bomb blast hits Damaturu Eid prayer ground

According to Premium Times, A bomb has just exploded at the Eid prayer ground in Damaturu, Yobe state capital in Nigeria. 
 
The Eid ground hit by the blast is located at an area called phase-one along Maiduguri Road. 
 
A resident, Abdul Malik, told PREMIUM TIMES that "It happened at about 8am. Now we are being asked to return back home. Those that had gotten close to the Eid ground said many people were affected".
 
The two female suicide bombers included a 10-year-old girl, said Nigerian army spokesman Col Sani Usman.

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UK will help US to destroy Islamic State

 84359709 84359708According to BBC, Britain is committed to working with the US to destroy the "caliphate" set up by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, the prime minister has said.
 
David Cameron told US TV network NBC he wanted the UK to do more but said he needed to "take Parliament with him".
 
MPs voted against proposed military action in Syria two years ago.
 
Lord Richards, former chief of defence staff, called for a new strategy to defeat IS, saying he suspected ground troops would be deployed in the future.

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India and Israel Start to See Enemies Within

By Pankaj Mishra
 
According to Bloomberg View, cultural revolutions are underway in two nation-states -- India and Israel -- founded by secular nationalists in the late 1940s. Right-wing demagogues, emerging in both countries from among previously unrepresented masses, seek to forge a new national identity by stigmatizing particular religious and secular groups.
 
There are eerie similarities between the Hindu thugs who assault Muslim males marrying Hindu women and followers of the far-right Israeli group Lehava (Flame), who try to break up weddings between Muslims and Jews.
 
More importantly, religious-political chauvinism is now amplified by figures in power as well. Last week, Israel's minister of religious services claimed that Reform Jews were not Jews. A minister in Narendra Modi's government has described Indian Muslims and Christians in India as "bastards."

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Blasphemy and obscenity: ‘The censorship board is toothless’ – Adrian Buckle

By Kevin Schembri Orland - The Independent 
 
Producer at Unifaun Theatre group who attempted to stage 'Stitching' back in 2009, believes the censorship board responsible "is toothless".
 
Adrian explained that the Board in charge of censuring theatre productions is now all bark and no bite. "Before 2012 we had to present a script to the censorship board and they would either classify it or ban it.
 
Since 2012, this stopped happening. We have our own script and we decide what classification to give it. This goes on the strength of the producer's opinion.

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Shame on you

By Arslan Shabbir - AAI 
 
Aisha was my cousin. She was very fond of singing and by the grace of nature she had an amazing voice.
 
She was a natural artist. And I remember the day when she ran off from her home and was killed by her husband. She was about to drag the honor of the family into the streets and onto the stage so nobody screamed on her death not even her parents.
 
A few days later when I told her brother we can raise our voice on her murder and in return he told me that it is Allah's will. Don't you know what Allah's prophet said?
 
"Any woman who perfumes herself and leaves her home is cursed by the angels and deprived of the blessings of the Almighty Allah until she returns home."
 
Women are not allowed to go out of the home. They are our honor. And if they cannot respect our honor it is better for them to stay in the grave.
 
There are a lot of Aisha's in the Muslim world waiting for their independence days. They are waiting for their freedom. They wish that a day should come when people will realize that they are humans not slaves. They wish that a day should come when people will understand that there is no difference between a man and a woman except physical. They wish that a day should come when their brothers will know that an idea can grow up in their sister's minds. They wish that a day should come when their parents will understand that there are emotions beneath their daughter's dresses.

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Are Muslim countries really unreceptive to religious freedom?

By Daniel Philpott - WP 
 
This post is part of the "Islam and International Order" symposium.
 
The West's cultural war over Islam has entered an intense new phase since the rise of the Islamic State. The debates are familiar: Is Islam inherently violent and intolerant, or is it peaceful, diverse and often the victim of Western domination? A good criterion for answering the question is religious freedom – the civic right of persons and religious communities to practice, express, change, renounce and spread their religion. Whether the adherents of one religion can respect the beliefs and practices of another, or whether they respond to this otherness by violence or discrimination, is at the heart of these debates.
 
Whereas some scholars view religious freedom as a Western value derived from Western history, the principle has a claim to universal validity. For one thing, it is ensconced in the major international human rights conventions. It can also be derived from the value of religion itself, in which people across an enormous variety of times and places have sought fulfillment. Considering that religion is at its most authentic when it is freely chosen, the conclusion that the state ought to guarantee the right to pursue that fulfillmentunimpeded follows naturally.

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Zoroastrians Are Suing Snoop Dogg After Music Video Shows Him Smoking Under Religious Symbol

According to Patheos, The Faravahar is an important symbol of Zoroastrianism, depicting a guardian angel of sorts.
So when Snoop Dogg is sitting on a throne, smoking a joint, with the symbol right above him, you can understand why some religious types might get all offended...
 
It all happens in the music video for "King" by Iranian pop singer Amitis. 
 
And it's pissed off one community to the point where they've filed a completely unnecessary lawsuit:
 
A public interest lawsuit has been issued by the Calcutta Zoroastrian chapter in the hopes of getting the video, which also features pole dancers in golden underwear and men as cliched Ancient Egyptian servants, banned.
 
A representative said: "The wrong use of religious and sacred symbols and iconography hurts, insults and outrages the religious sentiments and beliefs of Parsi Zoroastrians."

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