War on Qatif: Demolishing Al-Thawra Neighborhood, The Cradle of Peaceful Protests…

By Latifa al-Husseini

The Saudi authorities are escalating their arbitrary measures against the people of al-Qatif eastern province and its towns. Random detentions, executions and raids in the eastern province contradict all humanitarian, ethical, rights and internationally-recognized legal standards.

The Saudi security apparatuses are implementing the royal orders they are receiving, imposing the rulings militarily and violently against safe civilians at their homes, those civilians who don’t enjoy the freedom of objecting to those tyrannical rulings.

The regime’s scheme goes beyond oppressing the opposition members or those trying to voice objection to the Al Saud’s family. The issue is way more dangerous as the information obtained from inside Saudi Arabia suggest a sectarian proposal the Saudi regime tends to apply in al-Qatif against its people’s will.

An insider source told al-Ahed News that the “security sources are on the brink of razing hundreds of houses inside Qatif, namely those located in al-Thawra Street to displace thousands of residents like the issue of razing the al-Mosawara neighborhood back in 2017.”

Apparently, the Saudi authorities claim implementing a developmental plan that includes charitable projects, in an attempt to gain some popular support, but what is hidden is worse. The source stresses to al-Ahed that in this context, “the Saudi regime seeks to change the Shia demographic formation in the region to weaken the biggest portion of the people; the original landowners, by nationalizing foreigners and intruders.”

The source further links the anticipated plan with the popular movement of 2012. What is meant here is to eliminate the symbolism it used to represent, especially that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman seeks to muzzle people and silence any voice of opposition by detaining or killing them afar from the judicial system.”

“The goal behind destroying houses and displacing their people is way beyond the Saudi media claims of chasing terrorist groups, according to them. The issue, as simple as it is, is that the Saudi regime is waging a sectarian war under the strategy of dominating people by dividing them, in which it is distracting the people with “reformative” religious instructions, although it is manipulating the governance as well as the people’s resources and wealth,” the source tells al-Ahed.

According to the source, the direct responsible for the scheme of razing the houses is the King and his heir. “The scheme is managed, under their order, by their affiliated spies and tradesmen in al-Qatif. They want to harm all walks of the people living inside those houses, including the youths who long for obtaining the simplest aspects of a dignified life Al Saud has stolen from them by force someday; the families of the activists who took to the al-Thawra street in 2011.”

While people were informed about the scheme, the source explains that “there were reports on those malicious intents, but the people refused to leave their houses for many reasons, including that the compensations supposed to be paid for them are not convenient with the inflation as well as hiking house prices. Hence, the family that leaves its home cannot buy another one with the amount of money it will receive in exchange of the razing; they can only rent a house.”

The source affirms that the “Saudi regime doesn’t care for those issues, it only continue its oppression by destroying and razing houses against their owners’ wills.”

The provided information signal a scheme similar to previous ones in other neighborhoods and streets. The historic al-Mosawara neighborhood is a good evidence to remember.

 

To read the Arabic version click here

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Story of a Martyr: Abbas Al-Hassan, the Man of Tolerance Saudi Arabia Couldn’t Tolerate

Zeinab Daher

One of the recently beheaded martyrs inside the Saudi Kingdom is Abbas Haji Ahmed al-Hassan. A Banker who had four children, was arrested from his family home, remained behind bars for over 6 years, and lost his life despite being well known for his tolerance. Instead, the regime accused him, like all other detainees, of ‘terrorism’-related charges.

The open-minded man was very tolerant to others of different viewpoints. He was raised on the Islamic value that finds the most honorable among people are those who are most pious.

His family narrated chapters of his life. They said he was open to relations with people from all sects. He used to participate in the gatherings of Sufis as well liberals. He was ready to discuss and argue with any other person. He was also having his religious studies in the Hawza. But because of his acceptance of others, he was always under the government’s supervision.

Martyr Abbas Al-Hassan was the Regional Manager of the Automated Support Unit at the Arab Bank, in addition to founding the Makarem Import and Export Establishment, and working with a touristic company whose activities include visiting the holy sites for religious, cultural and spiritual tourism when visiting the shrines of the Prophet’s household [PBUT]. The government didn’t like this, as it didn’t like all other martyrs’ activities.

His Makarem Establishment was founded in service of the Shia community and in support of holding the Imam Hussein memorial ceremonies. For that, he was firstly warned to write a pledge, but martyr Abbas didn’t accept that. So, he was detained on May 5th, among a group of the community’s elite who were all detained for unrelated crimes.

‘The martyr, who had never killed a mosquito, would never have harmed a person in his life,’ his wife stressed.

Storming the house

Abbas was brutally arrested as he tiredly returned home from work. He was planning to go with his family to perform Umrah. The moment he stepped out of his car walking towards the house, the investigations and raids groups arrested him, then told him to walk home.

He told them that they are arresting him without showing a warrant and without giving him a reason for that. “I don’t accept terrifying my children. You may only enter the house over my dead body.”

Abbas kept in mind that his wife might open the door without having the Abaya over her head. He rang the door, his son Mohammad opened the door, then told his mother that his dad is over there and some women are also with him.

The wife narrated that as she asked: “Who is there?” The martyr said Um Muhammad open the door, you are safe.

“I opened the door, the female inspector entered. She asked me: where is your children’s room? I asked her why? She said we are the police, we have some questions to ask your husband then we will leave. I didn’t believe what she said, but the moment we entered the children’s room, she brought the Abayas of my daughters Maria and Zahraa, and we saw more than 25 persons messing up everything at home. Then they asked him to sit in the hall.”

She further added:

“I told her: had you been the police, why there are all those people here and why they are dressed as civilian? You are from the investigations. Kindly don’t tell me lies again. I wanted to go to Abbas. Then a policeman put his gun and told me to sit. I sat down, then Abbas nodded his head to keep calm. I sat down until they finished messing up with the house. Then they took Abbas, and Maria caught her father’s clothes, Nasser held his leg… it was very painful. I remember it as if it was today. He told the children, my dearests let me leave…”

The martyr was accused of ‘spying for Iran, funding Imam Hussein memorial ceremonies, recruiting other people, and conducting researches for an ‘enemy’ channel, al-Alam News Channel,’ which was untrue and was hence sentenced to death, his wife stressed.

“We couldn’t visit him before two months and 16 days after his arrest. He was only able to call us for a few minutes. Over the period of investigation, he was not allowed to contact his lawyers or communicate with anyone. When we visited him for the first time, it was very clear that he had been tortured. We were only allowed to visit him twice a month. The first visit was for close family members that include his brothers and sisters, children, wife and parents only; and the second visit is specified for the wife only. As for phone calls, he was allowed to only make one call per week, with a maximum duration of 10 minutes, which is also limited with the close relatives.”

It is a matter of fact that over the five years that preceded arresting Abbas, the Shia community, particularly in Jeddah, was heavily targeted and weakened.

The man was trying to recover his economic situation to contribute to helping the needy and poor families. It is also a fact that the Shia community doesn’t receive any governmental support. The Makarem project he established was intended to improve his income and hence can stop depending on his job to support the Shia community. This was one of the issues the Saudi regime didn’t accept.

He had a joint job with Martyr Sheikh Mohammed al-Attiyah to spread awareness and culture among the Shia community, not to mention that the memorial ceremonies they held for the sake of Imam Hussein [AS] were open to and attended by all sects. Those participants had never had any problem in this, they rather welcomed being part of it.

Family members

The martyr left behind a bereaved wife and four children to take care of. The eldest among them, Mohammad, was only 14 when his father was arrested. Then came Maria (12), Nasser (9) and the youngest was Zahraa, who was less than 6 years at the time.

The last visit

His wife said that she last visited him the Sunday before the execution. “We agreed to schedule another visit for after two weeks. He was asking me about the children. They didn’t inform us. We didn’t even have a chance to bid them farewell.”

Learning the bad news

The wife said the family has learned the news from social media: “At around 14:45, the news started circulating on Twitter, and this is how we were informed about it. We didn’t believe it! It took us several hours to comprehend it. But “There is no power or strength save in Allah.”

All families of martyrs were threatened by the government not to speak up for their sufferings.

Years in prison

The martyr spent almost seven years behind bars. The overall duration was very hard to spend. He was tortured, his rights were violated and he was interrogated even after the regular duration of interrogation was done. Two years of his imprisonment were spent in Riyadh. As the interrogation started, all kinds of violations and humiliation were practiced against him. Their imprisonment in Riyadh was a tragedy for him and for us. Even the visits didn’t take place easily. There was intended humiliation for the Shia community.

When they divided the group of detained elite, a part of them was taken to the notorious al-Dammam General Investigations Prison, another part remained in Riyadh, and a group was take to the Thahban Prison in Jeddah. They abused them. Even the trials were unjust and unfair. Even their lawyers couldn’t attend their trials. Visits were marred by restrictions, sometimes harassment by some officers, long wait, and extreme nervousness. But now he has been raised as a martyr, Thanks God.

US Commission: Saudi Arabia Is Top Violator of Religious Freedom

By Staff, MEE

The US State Department designated Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s “worst violators” of religious freedoms, even as Riyadh remains one of Washington’s top allies in the region.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom [USCIRF] released its 2019 report on Monday listing Saudi Arabia in the tier one category of countries that implement severe violations of religious freedom.

The annual report, released by the bipartisan organization created two decades ago, highlights the discrimination that Shia Muslims and Christians face in the country.

“Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia continue to face discrimination in education, employment, and the judiciary, and lack access to senior positions in the government and military,” the 234-page report said.

“As a matter of law, the Saudi government bans the public practice of non-Muslim faiths by citizens and expatriates alike. While the Saudi government has stated repeatedly that non-Muslims who are not converts from Islam may practice their religion in private, this policy has not been codified,” the reported added.

Last week, Saudi Arabia executed 37 people on ‘terrorism’ charges.

Thirty-two of those executed were from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority and a number of them were juveniles when they were arrested, including a teenager who had planned to study in the US.

The US placed Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s top “countries of particular concern” or CPCs in November 2018.

However, Johnnie Moore, USCIRF’s commissioner who wrote the profile on Saudi Arabia, said promoting “punitive measures” against the kingdom would be counterproductive.

“Such punitive measures could likely have the effect of forcing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to engage directly and more seriously with countries where religious freedom is not a consideration at all in their foreign policy priorities,” he said.

The State Department recommends granting Saudi Arabia a special waiver because the country is an “important interest to the United States”, the report said.

Saudi Arabia and the US share a deep alliance. The US purchases Saudi oil while the kingdom has ordered billions of dollars of arms from the United States.

Saudi Arabia was the first overseas country visited by US President Donald Trump after he became president in 2017, and his visit to Riyadh came just weeks before Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies initiated a blockade of Qatar.

Trump has continued to stress the importance of the US alliance with Saudi Arabia even after the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which prompted near global condemnation.

This Happens In Saudi Arabia, but What Is Still Hidden Can Be Even Worse

Zeinab Daher

In an interview with religious cleric Sheikh Hassan Saleh, a resident of Awamia who has been outside his homeland since 2015, and currently lives in the Iranian city of Qom, home of the world’s largest center for Shia scholarship, al-Ahed News learned some information about how the families of detainees and martyrs are living, but we are quite sure that many brutal measures are still unlearned.

Following last week’s massacre during which the Saudi regime beheaded, executed and crucified a total of 37 men, falsely claiming that they practiced ‘acts of terror’ inside the kingdom, Sheikh Saleh told al-Ahed News some still unknown fact, hoping that they reach the world amid the total silence intended to take place inside the kingdom of terror.

Asked about the families of martyrs following the tragedy, Sheikh Saleh said they signed papers not to demand the bodies of their relatives.

“Any contact between them and any media outlet or on social media about their current situation, they will be punished by the authorities, their sons will be detained. They also have other sons on death row. For example, the Al Rabie family sacrificed two martyrs and still has another son behind bars who is also on death row. Such families fear for the other beloved ones as they were threatened. They were also banned from holding memorial ceremonies. Some people were detained because they participated in memorial ceremonies of previous martyrs.”

He further explained that it is very hard to learn the real situation via the Saudi media.

“There is oppression against Shia. When speaking of Shia, I don’t mean that they are being oppressed by the Sunnis. No! The tyranny is practiced by the Wahhabi ideology there. Some people thing that the Shia are oppressed by the Wahhabis, Sunnis are also oppressed there. The Wahhabi ideology had involved itself among the Sunnis.”

“The Wahhabi oppression against us was not practiced against any people in the world.”

Organ theft

“We’ve witnessed –at the time when the government was still handing people the bodies of their martyrs- many signs of autopsy on many bodies of the previous martyrs. Many of our martyrs, who fell on the ground, were hit with non-fatal shots. At the time, when the bodies were returned, we used to witness the signs of autopsy. Many physicians also indicated that the organs of those bodies had been removed.”

For those who were recently executed, bodies were not handed to their families. Any Shiite the government kills, it doesn’t hand his body. This is a proof on the body organs theft of those martyrs, the cleric said.

Relatively, many of the martyrs became disabled as a result of the torture; Said Skafi, Mujtaba Sweikat, Munir Adam… also Martyr Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, had disability before they beheaded him. The regime doesn’t need their ‘forced consent’ to remove their organs.

Torture until death

Martyr Said Skafi suffered from severe trembling as a result of torture on the first days of his arrest. He continued suffering from face hemiplegia for over a year. After starting to recover, Said then started suffering from hemorrhoids for which he repeatedly demanded treatment but was always denied. Consequently, Said’s both physical and psychological health deteriorated, he was later anesthetized for some three days inside the hospital of the General Investigations Prison in al-Dammam. He received the last visit on April 11, and had his last phone call with his family on April 16, a week ahead of his beheading, without learning anything that this would be his fate.

Burying the bodies

“The Saudi regime does bury the bodies in a special place designated for those it executes. Yet martyrs are not buried as per the rituals of the religion they belong to. They also don’t set any gravestone that indicates to whom this tomb belongs. They pretend that the body of any executed individual has not sanctity, what if it belongs to the Shia,” Sheikh Saleh said.

“As per the Wahhabi ideology, we are infidels! We don’t have sanctity when we are alive, then what about after we die. The matter is not only about those martyrs, we have around 100 martyrs whose bodies haven’t been handed yet. Some families have bodies of two of their sons not handed…the al-Faraj family for example sacrificed more than 4 martyrs.”

The farewell call

As every week, the martyrs called their families on the same day they were executed. They saluted their families without having any earlier notice that it is the last day of their lives. The families even didn’t believe as they learned the news from social media and news outlets. They thought they were rumors. They didn’t believe it at first.

Personal testimony

The Sheikh told us of his own story of suffering with the Saudi authorities

My brother was arrested only because he contacted me. As an opposition member, I am not allowed to talk to my brother.

Back to my brother, he was arrested because he contacted me in an issue the government wanted him to talk to me about. My house was among the many houses destroyed in the al-Mosawara neighborhood, and my father died when I was outside the country; so, as per law, I have to sign whether I allow them to destroy the house or not. I didn’t sign the papers to destroy mu house, I neither signed the papers to receive money in exchange of the house. My brother contacted me in this regard. He said he wanted an authorization from me so he can receive the money, but I didn’t accept. Later on, they detained him.

They also wanted to trap me. I have a disabled son who is studying at a specialized rehabilitation center in Jordan. My detained brother used to take care of my son as I couldn’t go there. So, after they detained my brother, they banned my family members from visiting my son there. Now, it’s been almost two years since I last contacted them. After that, my son’s school called me saying if I didn’t go there they will expel him after a week. I told them how comes you expel him and he is disabled? They said it is not of their business because the Saudi embassy doesn’t accept that anymore. I myself was delaying the issue until the Jamal Khashoggi case emerged to the surface and everyone was busy with it, then my son’s issue was neglected. Otherwise, they wanted me to go there for him so they can take me to Saudi Arabia or perhaps do the same as they did with Khashoggi.

My brother’s only crime was contacting me, they further threatened him that they will bring me and kill me in front of his sight. They also summoned my mother and threatened to detain her but said they won’t because she is old. My mother is 80-years old, she was summoned for interrogation just because I contacted her on the Eid al-Fitr of two years ago to greet her. After that, my family sent me through a friend a message not to contact them anymore.

In the spotlight

There are still many detainees who are suffering from disabilities and diseases as a result of the torture and being denied medical treatment. In addition, they are on death row making their life in grave danger so that they might be executed at any moment, not to mention that all of them were forced to sign on committing the crimes they are accused of. Some of them attempted to commit suicide due to the torture. Some of them see death better than being humiliated and tortured on a daily basis. Some of the martyrs had signed on committing crimes that happened while they were already behind bars! The regime claims that they have taken part in killing servicemen, however, there is no evidence that they had carried weapons over the course of their lives.

Martyr Ahmad al-Rabie was executed because he ‘covered up’ the place where his brother Hussein was. Many were arrested because of ‘covering up’ the whereabouts of their relatives.

For example, martyrs Abdullah al-Sreih, Hussein al-Rabie and Muntadher Subeiti were human rights activists. They had peaceful demands and organized peaceful protests. But the regime wants to deliver a message to the Shia before Sunnis that any movement is considered against the kingdom’s guardian and hence considered an ‘act of terror’.

When the family of Sheikh Mohammad al-Atiyah held a memorial ceremony for his martyrdom, the Saudi regime forces’ came up with armored vehicles, they stormed the area and banned them from continuing the event.

The Saudi regime’s hostages

In the same context of terrifying people, the Saudi regime took from every family of a martyr, detainee or a wanted a hostage member so that –fearing the fate of the other ones- the families won’t demand for the bodies of martyrs, and the detainees be forced to sign the papers that find them guilty despite not committing those crimes, and the wanted ones would surrender. Besides, the regime also bans the families of the detainees and the wanted from the essential living services.

This is a story of what we have learned, bringing it to the world to share it until everybody knows that there is a people in a forgotten land, who are suffering to survive with dignity.

And as late martyr Ayatollah Sheikh Nirm Baqir al-Nimr had once said, “Either we live on this land as free people, or be buried inside it as dignified,” the people of Qatif will still sacrifice.

This is our story to you, if you have learned any other one, humanely do not hesitate to share!

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

Even though the Yellow Vest anti-government movement is historic in scope, duration and intensity, and even though Muslims compose 5-10% of France’s population, there has been almost zero media coverage of the interplay between these two forces.

Check Google in French or English and you truly find almost nothing. I have been waiting and waiting to do a story on this angle for Iran’s PressTV – I am their Paris correspondent – but there is simply no “news peg” from which we can start any report.

The reasons for this silence are due to a four key reasons but, mostly, it’s because the plight of Muslims and Yellow Vests are so obviously similar: just as French media ignores the Muslim community to promote violent misrepresentations instead, so they ignore the true substance of the Yellow Vests in favor of tabloid coverage.

For years I have talked with Nagib Azergui, who is the founder of the Democratic Union of French Muslims (English-language website here). This party is the most realistic political hope for France’s Muslims, and they seem certain to win seats in next month’s EU elections. They are not Islamists nor pushers of divisive identity politics – they are completely concerned with improving the lives of all French people. Secondarily, they have taken on a tough job – decontaminating Muslims in domestic French politics.

Azergui and I discussed why there is no media coverage of the Muslim Yellow Vests, and the level of support for the Yellow Vests in the French Muslim community.

French Muslims are indeed joining the Yellow Vests

I have covered the Yellow Vest demonstrations for months and I can assure you: there are plenty of Muslim Yellow Vests.

So why is there an impression that Muslims are not part of the movement? About the only thing we ever hear on the subject is: What a pity more Muslims didn’t show up.

“We heard the same complaints for the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ march for Charlie Hebdo,” said Azergui, referring to the attack on the satirical paper’s headquarters in 2015. “I was at the march with my children, and I saw many Muslims there.”

Azergui hits the nail on the head as to why Muslim Yellow Vests are hiding in plain sight from French media, which is hardly known for positive portrayals of Islam or Muslims.

“I think such statements reveal the subconscious image these commentators have of French Muslims – they expect us to show up wearing burkas, beards, African clothing, chanting slogans in Arabic and carrying signs in Arabic. But these types of Muslims are simply not representative of the average Muslim in France.”

So the first reason behind this false idea that there are no Muslim Yellow Vests is that many commentators are looking for caricatures – not French Muslims.

Muslims in France look very much like regular French people because they are regular French people.

A Black or Arab Yellow Vester does not stick out, mainly because all Yellow Vests look the same – they are wearing shiny Yellow Vests!

Let’s not forget that Muslims are a minority – there is about the same percentage of Muslims as there are people with red hair in often-Celtic France. Frankly, I have seen a million Yellow Vest faces and I can’t recall a single redhead – should I ask, “Why aren’t Celtic French supporting the Yellow Vests?” Of course, redheads are surely present… and often with plenty of Celtic-pride paraphernalia.

So the only way Muslims could get attention at Yellow Vest demonstrations is by being “excessively Muslim”… but such a thing is rather absurd, will not happen, and would certainly be dangerous – Muslim-pride paraphernalia would only attract negative attention, and Muslims already get enough of that.

Zero doubt among Muslims: when the truncheons fly, Muslims will get hit first

And the truncheons do fly every Saturday.

French police simply love to abuse Muslims: an estimated 70% of their prisoners are from Muslim backgrounds. French police simply love to abuse Yellow Vests. Police violence is guaranteed at which ever city is the week’s “focus”.

So the sight of a Muslim Yellow Vester makes many cops salivate. It also makes judges salivate at sentencing time.

Muslims would be the first victims of police brutality,” confirmed Azergui. “They are always the sacrificial lambs in France, so why would it be any different at the Yellow Vest protests?

On April 20th the police abuse was constant in Paris. Medics were working overtime as people were dropping like flies, but I only saw one unconscious person carried out on a stretcher – he was Black and thus quite possibly a Muslim, of course.

This guarantee of a double helping of both police brutality and judicial impunity is the second reason, but likely the most important reason, why Muslims might not be so eye-catching at Yellow Vest demonstrations.

This violence adds to the media silence – talking about Muslims and Yellow Vests would have to break the taboo against honest discussion of the institutionalised state violence towards the Muslim community.

Sad but true: one of the “great” things about the Yellow Vests is that it’s not only Muslims who are being brutalised anymore.

“France is starting to wake up to reality,” said Azergui. “When 4,000 Muslim families had their homes raided without a warrant during the State of Emergency, France didn’t care about police violence. There are so many images and videos which show how French cops abuse old people, women and innocent people – this is something Muslims live with daily. How could Muslims not have solidarity with such a movement?

Azergui’s thoughts reminded me of the case of Ali Ziri, a 69-year old Algerian native who was infamously beaten to death by French cops in 2009. Police violence is a real taboo in France, and by taking so many beatings the Yellow Vests are helping out their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Yellow Vests haven’t done enough to reach out to Muslims

The Yellow Vests are absolutely not an Islamophobic movement because none of their demands are steeped in religion or ethnicity. Their demands are economic, political and social – this is a class-based struggle.

The idea that because the Yellow Vests are a rural-based movement that they must be latently Islamophobic is absolutely false – in the 21st century there are at least a few Muslims in seemingly every tiny French village. Such accusations only reveals prejudice against rural people, and certainly in France and the West it is very au courant for urbanites to look down on small-town people as a “basket of deplorables”.

The Yellow Vests only trust other Yellow Vests – the only color they see is Yellow. As a worker for Iranian government media I am routinely persona non grata at many fake-leftist demonstrations, and even truly leftist ones, due to Iranophobia and Islamophobia. The only demonstrations I am welcomed at in France are for pro-Palestinians… and now the Yellow Vests, too. So I have no doubt – Muslims are welcome at Yellow Vest gatherings.

However, Yellow Vests have made some mistakes, and also failed to take some proper measures. At the very start of the movement Yellow Vests infamously turned in asylum-seekers to authorities, give the initial impression that extreme-right contaminated the Yellow Vests.

“The Yellow Vests are not a structured movement, but they have not done a good job repudiating some Islamophobic acts and disassociating themselves from Islamophobia completely. They just said, ‘Well, there are always some imbeciles in every crowd.’ That has left some lingering suspicions in the Muslim community.”

If the Yellow Vests would only organize a march dedicated to Muslim outreach I can promise – you will get at least one reporter there to help permanently dismiss this false accusation of Islamophobia. The rest of the French media… they might not be so interested in reporting it accurately.

Yellow Vests certainly do plenty of other demonstrations dedicated to certain themes and issues. It was absolutely necessary for the Yellow Vests to march in February against the absolutely false accusation that they were anti-Semitic. That was all a ruse to pave the way for Macron’s announcement that he would criminalise anti-Zionism – but we can understand why Muslims said to each other, “And where’s the march for us?”

Indeed, where? Why not?

The third reason for the lack of publicised interchange between the Yellow Vests and Muslims is that many Muslims may have been put off by the false propaganda campaigns of the Mainstream Media, and because we have yet to see a real Muslim outreach from the Yellow Vests.

Massive support for Yellow Vests from Muslims, even if sometimes from afar

When I asked Azergui if Muslims support the Yellow Vests he answered, “Yes,” before I had even finished the question.

In an unfortunate but perhaps real sense, many Muslims feel that they are best helping the Yellow Vests by staying out of it.

“If Muslims showed up and there were fights and destruction of property, we know the media would say these are ‘violent Islamists’, and this would only hurt the image of the Yellow Vests. We have already even heard this type of discourse.”

Azergui is right – last year there were absurd conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating the Yellow Vests – but Muslims simply must participate anyway.

That brings us to our fourth reason why Muslims haven’t attended Yellow Vest demonstrations in huge numbers – Muslims have never been allowed, encouraged or motivated to participate in French politics, so why would this time be any different?

Muslims were hidden underground in France for decades, after all. Their coming out party wasn’t until 1985 with the Touche pas mon pote (Don’t touch my buddy) campaign. The arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy as Interior Minister, then the mainstreaming of Islamophobia under Francois Hollande, then Macron’s normalisation of the Muslim-targeting State of Emergency – all this has reinforced to Muslims that their participation in French politics is neither useful nor desired.

So, of course the French media doesn’t want to talk about the Muslims and the Yellow Vests, because it only reminds France of their total failure to include the Muslim community in politics. And they like dominating, controlling and suppressing Muslims – let’s not act as if neo-imperialism is not alive and well in France.

So let’s not pretend that Mainstream Media really cares about Muslims and democracy, nor mainstream politicians: Despite all the Muslims in France, Macron no longer has a single Muslim minister in his cabinet. If Marine Le Pen had won the election she’d surely at least have a token Muslim minister….

Yellow Vests and Muslims are the two largest groups in France which suffer from socioeconomic marginalization – there is no doubt that they will be open political allies, eventually. We have 5 months of proof – the far-right contamination of the Yellow Vests was drastically overstated; by reaching out to Muslims immediately, the movement can even further display their leftist, progressive, class basis.

But there are obviously a raft of obstacles keeping Muslims from openly joining the Yellow Vest movement, mainly: mainstream media, mainstream politicians, and backwards policing and judicial methods. But not individual (nor collective) Yellow Vests.

The reality is that if the Yellow Vest movement does not adopt an open policy of anti-Islamophobia it will never succeed – how can it succeed when such a huge part of the company is not fully involved? Nor can it be considered a truly leftist movement – how can it be if race, religion or ethnic culture is prioritised over class?

However, it is truly leftist and it will succeed, I feel.

It is not a question of “who has to make the first step”, because Muslims are already involved with the Yellow Vests. However, both sides need to increase their cooperation and outreach for the good of France, the Eurozone, the European Union and the entire world.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

UN Saudi Kingdom of Execution

AI: Saudi’s Mass Execution is a Chilling Demonstration of the Authorities’ Callous Disregard for Human Life

By Staff, Agencies

United Nations human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday strongly condemned the executions of 37 Saudi men beheaded in six cities across the kingdom a day before, a statement said.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said on Tuesday it executed 37 people, all Saudi nationals, state media reported.

Bachelet voiced concern about a lack of due process and fair trial guarantees amid allegations that confessions were obtained through torture.

She further appealed to Saudi authorities to review ‘counter-terrorism’ legislation and to halt pending executions, including of three men on death row.

Hezbollah Condemns Saudi Regime’s Heinous Crime of Executing Innocent Civilians

Hezbollah Media Relations- Translated by Staff

Hezbollah strongly condemns the heinous crime committed by the Saudi regime against dozens of innocent civilians, who have committed no offense except to demand the right to freedom and freedom of expression.

Hezbollah further expresses its solidarity and sympathy with the families of the martyrs and asked God to grant them patience and tranquility.

In parallel, Hezbollah believes that this innocent blood will remain a beacon to the oppressed people, enlightening their path and paving their way towards salvation.

It further confirms that God’s pledge to the oppressed is victory and that oppressors are to demise.

The United States is a key partner of this regime in its responsibility for the heinous crimes it has committed since its establishment by the force of sword, brutality, murder and mass massacres everywhere.

It is responsible for protecting and sponsoring the regime as well as for pushing the international community to disregard its evil crimes in order to preserve its [the US] interests in money and oil.

We urge the people of the world as well as international and human rights organizations to raise their voices and pressure their governments, especially the United States, to expose this brutal and tyrant regime and unveil its relations and role in the establishment, support and sponsorship of the terrorist organizations.

Hezbollah deplores the dubious international silence on the crimes committed by the Saudi regime and its Wahhabi tools throughout the world, including the recent executions. It also considers that silence on all these crimes is what drives this regime to continue its terrorism and crimes that make no respect to borders or values.

 

 

Each Saudi Martyr Had a Tragic Story, Some Were Forced to Sign Their Organ Donation Papers

By Staff

Of the executed detainees, 12 were falsely accused of forming an alleged “espionage cell”. The 12 tortured detainees, all respected academics, religious scholars, and bankers, were executed on Tuesday. Reports said they were previously forced to consent to the donation of their organs!

Sheikh Mohamed AlAttiya [MA in Islamic Jurisprudence] worked at the Jeddah College of Technology. He was one the 12 professionals falsely accused of forming the alleged “espionage cell”, and he was executed in cold blood by Saudi authorities today.

Banker Abbas AlHassan, a father of 4, was implicated in the “espionage cell” and brutally tortured until he suffered hypertension-induced cardiac hypertrophy. Saudi executed him today after threatening to arrest his wife & children unless he signed false confessions.

Martyr Mujtaba AlSwaiket earned a scholarship to study at Western Michigan University. Even though he was a 17yo MINOR, Saudi forces arrested him at the airport. Mujtaba endured horrific torture and suffered a broken shoulder, but he was sentenced to death and executed today.

Executed martyr Munir AlAdam suffered a visual/hearing impairment. In 2012, he was arrested, kicked, his fingers smashed, & was tortured until he was practically blind/dead. Saudi accused him of organizing protests using a cellphone, when he was too poor to own one!

Martyr Abdul Kareem AlHawwaj was reportedly a 16yo MINOR when he was arbitrarily arrested by Saudi forces. He was kicked, beaten with rods, lashed with wires, and tortured with electric shocks to “confess”. He was sentenced to death, and was unjustly executed today!

Brothers Hussain and Ahmad AlRabie came from an impoverished family living in a dilapidated house made of tin & plywood. Ahmad had been detained since 2013 and every organ of his body was tortured until he became very thin and couldn’t stand and walk any more. The brothers protested for equal rights, but were arrested, tortured, and executed today. Their 13YO brother Thamer was also killed by Saudi forces in 2014.

Salman Qureish was arrested shortly after his 18th birthday, accused of crimes that took place when he was a juvenile. He was denied basic legal rights and sentenced to death in a mass trial, despite repeated interventions on his behalf by the United Nations.

Martyr Abdul Aziz AlSahwi is the eldest among his orphaned siblings. He took it upon himself to look after them despite his very young age. After filing the alleged accusations against him by the court’s judge, he confirmed that he was obliged to make confessions while under the effect of treatment and that he was beaten while in hospital.

Abdullah al-Zaher was only 15 years-old when he participated in the protests, then he lost his hearing under torture.

Related Videos

Martyrs of Dignity: Saudis Beheaded for Demanding Respectful Life

By Staff

For those who have the sense of humanity, here are the photos of most of the Saudi activists who were beheaded yesterday by the Wahhabi regime:

 

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