SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Grand Ayatollah Shobairi Zanjani’s view regarding paying the Khoms on the assets/capital is explained as follows. No need to pay Khoms on the capital/assets that is needed by a person to generate income for a decent life. This means, a person can add his/her income to the assets/capital, as well as save other capital for future expenses. But if paying Khoms of the capital will bring no problems to a person’s livelihood, must pay the Khoms.
Source: Ayatollah Shobairi Zanjani’s Tozihul Masael, question number 1793
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Armed men dressed in Somali police uniforms have stormed the court complex in the capital Mogadishu killing a number of people, before a gun battle erupted with security forces besieging the compound.
Hours after the attack at the court on Sunday, a large blast hit an area on the road to the Mogadishu airport, residents said.
Somali officials told Al Jazeera that nine fighters dressed in police uniforms attacked the court complex killed ten national security officers outside the court complex before entering.
Once inside the court, the fighters killed at least three people, including two lawyers and a spokesperson of the court.
An al-Shabab spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attacks, telling Al Jazeera that as a state institution the court complex was a "legitimate target".
Hours later, a car bomb exploded at a building housing Somali intelligence along the road to the airport as Turkish and African Union (AU) vehicles were passing, police and witnesses said.
Government forces then opened fire and blocked the road.
"The car bomb exploded near the gate of a building housing the Somali security. AU and Turkish cars were also passing there. We are still investigating the target and casualties," Qadar Ali, a police officer told the Reuters news agency.
A Turkish official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters that one of its Red Crescent vehicles was passing at the time of the explosion. A Somali driver was killed and three Turkish passengers were wounded, the official said.
In total, Somali officials said more than 30 people were killed on Sunday, including the nine fighters who stormed the court.
'Sign of desperation'
In control of much of the capital Mogadishu between 2009 and 2011, al-Shabab has been forced out of most major cities in central and southern Somalia by African Union peacekeepers.
But the al-Qaeda-linked fighters have claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings in Mogadishu this year.
Last month at least 10 people were killed by a car bomb claimed by al-Shabab in Mogadishu, police said.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called Sunday's attacks a “sign of desperation by the terrorists, who’ve lost all their stronghold and are in complete decline right across Somalia.”
"Somalia is moving and will keep moving forward and will not be prevented to achieve the ultimate noble goal, a peaceful and stable Somalia, by a few desperate terrorists," Mohamud said in a statement.
Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste reporting from neighbouring Kenya said it’s clear that the Somali capital isn’t “as safe as the government would like to believe.”
“But there is a certain degree of stability and security that we haven’t seen there for two years, and I know that the government is very keen to try and make sure that it stays that way.” -www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – France has sent soldiers to Central African Republic to secure the airport of the capital Bangui, a diplomatic source said, after rebel forces entered the north of the city.
"A company of troops has been sent to secure the airport. The airport is now secure," said the source on Saturday. "We have asked our citizens to remain at home. For the time being, there is nothing to be worried about. There is no direct threat to our citizens at the moment."
A second diplomatic source said that Paris had requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss a
solution to the crisis in the landlocked former French colony at the heart of Africa.
Nelson Ndjadder, a spokesman for the Seleka rebel coalition, said earlier on Saturday that his fighters entered the capital and were heading to the presidential palace in the centre of town.
He also said they had shot down a government military helicopter which had been attacking their forces since Friday.
The Seleka rebels resumed hostilities this week in the mineral-rich former French colony, vowing to topple
President Francois Bozize whom it accuses of breaking a January peace agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bangui, Central African Republic's Deputy Prime Minister Parfait Mbaye, said the rebel advance "should be condemned by the African union".
"The coup d’etat attempt by Seleka rebels is still ongoing. Fighting is now taking place on the outskirts of Bangui. We can only condemn this attempt to take power by force... We are very sorry to see what is happening in our country."
The rebels are said to have driven back government forces and taken control of the neighbourhood around Bozize's private residence. Officials said Bozize was in the presidential palace in the town centre.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bangui, Sylvain Groulx of Doctors without Borders, said the fighting has not yet reached to centre of the capital.
"We are about two-to-three kilometres from the centre of Bangui and we cannot hear any shooting but we have heard the same information that a group of rebels has entered the capital," Groulx said.
"There has been some fighting in different places in and around Bangui throughout the day," Groulx added.
"It seems that the rebels have taken control of a town called bouali where there is a hydro-electric dam, the main power source for Bangui. All the power in the capital was cut. The hospitals we are supporting have been provided with fuel for generators.
South African troops
The violence is the latest in a series of rebel incursions, clashes and coups that have plagued the landlocked nation in the heart of Africa since its independence from France in 1960.
Pretoria has sent some 400 soldiers to train Bozize's army, joining hundreds of peacekeepers from the Central African regional bloc.
Regional peacekeeping sources said the South Africans had fought alongside the Central African Republic's army.
"I don't understand why we are making such a big deal about the presence of South African troops," Mbaye told Al Jazeera.
"We have an agreement with South Africa, a member of the African union and they are currently helping Central African forces. We salute South African forces and the South African people."
State radio announced late on Friday that South Africa would boost its troop presence after Bozize met his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in Pretoria.
Captain Zamo Sithole, senior operations communications officer at South Africa's National Defence Force said: "We are there in the CAR to protect our properties there, and our troops there."
A South African Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The UN Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have expressed strong concern at reports that rebels are advancing toward the capital of Central African Republic and demanded an immediate halt to the offensive.
In a press statement after a briefing Friday evening, the council warned against attacks on civilians and urged respect for human rights, saying violators must be held accountable and could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
In separate statements, the council and the UN chief condemned the Seleka rebel movement for undermining stability and abandoning a January peace agreement and urged implementation of the accord.
Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from UN headquarters in New York, said: "The UN and the UN secretary general had said all sides must respect humanitariarn law and that all sides should respect previous commitments."
Our correspondent, said late on Friday that local people had been reporting an "atmosphere of fear" in the area around the capital Bangui.
"At first light, rebels could enter the capital," said Bays.
Earlier on Friday, the rebels reached the outskirts of Bangui after seizing the nearby town of Damara, rebels and military officials said. The assault came a day after the fighters has rejected a peace offer from the president.
A rebel spokesman said on Friday they had moved past Damara, about 75km from Bangui, and had advanced to within 22km of the riverside capital, sending a sense of fear among the residents.
"Our objective is to take Bangui today," Nelson Ndjadder, spokesman for the CPSK faction of the Seleka rebels, told Reuters by telephone from Paris.
"We have 2,000 men on the ground and some have slipped into the capital."
By seizing Damara the rebels had crossed the boundary line drawn by regional forces in January, when the same rebel group threatened to take the capital if their demands were not met.
The rebels seized more than 10 towns across the sparsely populated north of the deeply impoverished country in its January offensive since they took up arms in December last year.
They had stopped their advance on the capital after a peace deal was signed with President Francois Bozize in Libreville, the capital of Gabon.
A spokesman for France's foreign ministry confirmed that the rebels have advanced to within "a few kilometres" of the capital.
Military officials said the rebels had also captured Bozize's hometown of Bossangoa, about 300km from Bangui, one of the largest towns in the country's north and a barracks for the republican guard.
"It is serious. Bossangoa has fallen," said one senior Central African Republic defence official.
National radio announced on Friday afternoon that President Bozize had returned from a meeting in South Africa.
The country's prime minister, meanwhile, had sought refuge at a military base for regional forces known as FOMAC, according to soldier Jean-Pierre Sadou.
A government minister, who asked not to be identified, said Bozize had instructed his cabinet to seek safety.
Seleka resumed hostilities this week, accusing President Bozize, who seized power in a 2003 coup backed by Chad, of breaking the January peace deal.
The rebels have accused the government of not honouring another deal signed in 2007, which allowed them to join the regular army.
In Bangui, panicked residents ran through the streets, shops closed and schools sent home pupils after national radio announced the rebel advance.
A regional peacekeeping force from neighbouring central African states had established Damara as a 'red line' for the Seleka not to cross when they bore down on the capital last year.
However, residents in Damara said the peacekeepers had simply stood aside to allow the rebels to take the town.
A senior official with the regional peacekeeping force said their mandate did not allow them to intervene unless attacked.
The United Nations Security Council scheduled emergency closed consultations on Friday to discuss the latest developments in the country.
The landlocked nation of 4.4 million people has suffered decades of army revolts, coups and rebellions since gaining independence in 1960 and remains one of the poorest countries in the world.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the recent Israeli airstrike on a military complex near the Syrian capital of Damascus.
“Those who have been treating Israel like a spoilt child should expect anything from them, at any time,” Erdogan said at a press conference in Istanbul on Sunday.
“As I say time and again, Israel has a mentality of waging terrorism. Right now, there is no telling what it might do and where it might do it.”
“We cannot regard a violation of air space as acceptable. What Israel does is completely against international law… it is beyond condemnation,” Erdogan said. “I am worried that in a situation like this, any scenario can play out in the future.”
The Syrian army said in a statement on January 30 that two people were killed and five others injured in an Israeli airstrike on a research center in Jamraya, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Damascus.
On January 31, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah also condemned the Israeli attack and said it was “barbaric aggression.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Rebels in Central African Republic have said they have halted their advance on the capital, Bangui, and would participate in dialogue, as head of regional African forces warned them against making further moves.
The announcement on Wednesday gave only a limited reprieve for President Francois Bozize as the rebels told Reuters news agency they might insist on his removal in the negotiations in Gabon's capital Libreville.
"I have asked our forces not to move their positions starting today because we want to enter talks in Libreville for a political solution," Eric Massi, rebel spokesman, told Reuters by telephone from Paris.
"I am in discussion with our partners to come up with proposals to end the crisis, but one solution could be a political transition that excludes Bozize," he said.
On Wednesday, the commander of the regional African force, FOMAC, warned rebels against any attempt to take Damara, the last strategic town between them and the country's capital Bangui.
"Let it be clear, we will not give up Damara," General Jean-Felix Akaga said.
"If the rebels attack Damara that would amount to a declaration of war and would mean that they have decided to engage the 10 central African states," he told reporters in Bangui.
The UN has called for dialogue between the government and the rebels.
The special UN representative for the country, Margaret Vogt, "is staying in close dialogue with the key parties in CAR and in the region and has offered the United Nations support for any political negotiations", UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
More than 30 truckloads of troops from Chad now line the two-lane highway just outside of Damara, to support government forces.
The rebels, who began their campaign a month ago and have taken several key towns and cities, appear to be holding their positions up until Sibut, which is 112km further north from Damara.
Defence minister dismissed
On Wednesday, President Bozize announced through a decree read on state radio that he was dismissing his son, Francis, as defence minister. Chief of Staff Guillaume Lapo also was being replaced.
The president already has promised to form a coalition government with rebels and to negotiate without conditions.
It's a sign of how serious a threat is now being posed by the rebel groups who call themselves Seleka, which means alliance in the local Sango language.
They have accused Bozize of failing to honour a 2007 peace deal.
"There is a little bit of hope as rebels have stopped their advance on the capital," Lydie Boka, Africa analyst, Director of Strategic Co, told Al Jazeera.
"And really they didn't have much of choice given that Chad, which is a big player and a master of the game in the region, has warned that they should not go beyond Damara."
There is also speculation about religious links between rebels and some of the neigbouring countries like Sudan and Chad, she said.
The landlocked nation of 4.4 million people is rich in diamonds, gold and uranium and yet remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
Central African Republic has suffered many army revolts, coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960.
"Central Africans are tired of somebody who came by force in 2003 and didn't really share power. Basically, his (Bozize) party, KNK, took over everything in the country. The last legislative elections were virtually fraudulent," Boka said.- www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The makeshift facilities are illegal but this huge community faces no other option. Athens, a metropolis on the edge of the Muslim world, is one of the few EU capitals without a mosque.
Since Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, no government has allowed a mosque to be built in the city. It was seen by many as "un-Greek" - out of place in a country in which much more than 90% of the population are Orthodox Christians.
But as Greece has become the main entry point for migrants to the EU, its Muslim population has swelled.
Some estimates place the number of Muslims in Athens alone at around 300,000, in a city with a population of around five million, and the clamour for an official place of prayer is growing.
"It is a very big tragedy for us Muslims that there is no mosque here," says Syed Mohammad Jamil from the Pakistan-Hellenic Society.
"Greece produced democracy and civilisation and the respect of religion - but they don't respect our Muslims to provide us with a regular, legal mosque."
One of the Friday worshippers, Ashifaq Ahmad, says: "I feel somehow cut off from society.
"When we have a celebration, there is nowhere proper for us to get together. Society is not accepting us."
Pressure on the government to provide a secure, protected mosque has grown as the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party continues to rise.
Its members stand accused of beating immigrants and vandalising some of the underground prayer rooms.
The party's deputy, Ilias Panagiotaros, told me earlier in the year that landmines should be placed on Greece's border with Turkey, saying: "If immigrants die trying to jump into our country, that's their problem."
Now perhaps the call for a place of worship may be answered.
A disused army barracks near the city centre has been chosen as a site for the capital's first mosque.
Behind heavy gates lie old buildings, broken glass and rubble strewn across the floors. The crumbling shells currently there would be torn down, making space for a mosque that could accommodate 500 people.
If it is built, Muslims entering would catch sight of a small church next door, the two religions finally operating officially shoulder to shoulder.
The government insists the project will go ahead, but similar plans have been promised in the past - only to fall foul of political infighting.
And the financial crisis could still blow the idea off course. A government struggling to afford schoolbooks or healthcare may find it hard to announce 1m euros (£814,000; $1.3m) for a state-funded mosque.
"In the past, there was a fear in some segments of Greek society about constructing a mosque but we must overcome that fear," says Stratos Simopoulos, the secretary general of the ministry for development.
"The financial crisis is a problem. The government has other priorities for now, but this mosque must be constructed and we may be in a position to start the process in a few months."
I ask whether he is committed to the plan.
"Of course", he replies, "because it's not my commitment - it's a commitment of the Greek state."
And yet there is still resistance within the country.
The Greek Church has warmed to the mosque idea but some senior ecclesiastical figures remain opposed.
In a packed service in St Nicolas's Church in Piraeus, just outside Athens, the strength of religious devotion is clear.
Members of the congregation kiss the icons and repeatedly cross themselves. Orthodox Christianity goes to the heart of what it means to be Greek and the Bishop here, Seraphim, says his nation must preserve its identity.
"Greece suffered five centuries of Islamic tyranny under Turkish rule and building a mosque would offend the martyrs who freed us," he says.
Greece, he adds, "does not hate anyone" but he believes that "most Muslims have come here illegally" to, as he puts it, "Islamise Europe".
I put it to him that his position appears Islamophobic, out of touch with a multicultural European Union, and his response may betray other prejudices too.
"We are not a multicultural country," the Greek bishop says. "We are one Greek nation and everything else is an invention of the 'new order' and of Zionism. They are trying to corrupt our character."
On the streets of Athens, opinions are mixed.
"Muslims should have their temple," says Kali Patounia, a banker.
"Greek immigrants in other countries build their own churches and perform their own religion, so it's hypocritical."
Marios, a student, disagrees. "We must not have a mosque here," he tells me.
"This is a Christian country and if they want a mosque, they can go back to their own countries and have one."
Religion is intrinsic to national identity here and Church and state are closely linked. The mosque issue has become a symbol of what sort of state today's Greece is willing to become.
The financial crisis has made this nation more inward-looking, more fearful.
However for Greece the decision is whether to extend its hand fully to Islam - and whether its capital will no longer stand alone in Europe.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- A massive fire has swept through a market in the Afghan capital, Kabul, destroying hundreds of shops and forcing the city's nearby money exchange to evacuate.
Authorities confirmed Sunday's blaze had engulfed most of the downtown cloth market's 500 shops, but caused no casualties.
Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the site, said: "Inside hundreds and hundreds of shops have been burnt. The shopkeepers tell us that they have tens of thousands of dollars in the shops."
"Much of the merchandise has also been destroyed. It’s going to be very difficult to estimate the damages here, but it’s probably worth millions of dollars," she added
Kabul fire department officials told the AFP news agency that an electrical short circuit was the most likely cause of the fire, which was so severe that NATO and Afghan army fire squads were called in to help.
"We are all working together to get this under control," the official said.
Kabul, which is home to around five million people, has a poor fire safety reputation, though the fire department was upgraded with international help after the fall of the Taliban regime in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - A Saudi diplomat and his bodyguard have been killed when their car came under fire in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, officials said.
The Saudi military official was travelling to the embassy on Wednesday morning when he was shot by unidentified assailants in another car in the 50th Street.
The officials said the fighters were wearing army uniforms.
The attack took place in Sanaa's southern district of Hada, where embassies and diplomats' residences are located.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sanaa has seen several attacks on members of the security forces in recent months, most of which have been claimed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Fighters are still holding Saudi's deputy consul in the southern port city of Aden, Abdullah al-Khalidi, who was abducted on March 28 by men seeking to secure the release of female prisoners and to collect a ransom.
Al-Qaeda has exploited the weakening central government in Sanaa to strengthen its presence in areas across the restive south and southeast.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A large blast that was most likely a suicide bomb attack ripped through the heavily barricaded diplomatic area of the Afghan capital Kabul, a police official said, and there were an unknown number of casualties.
"Around 8 o'clock today there appeared to be a suicide bomb attack ... We cannot say what the target was at this point in
time," Hashmatullah Stanikzai, a spokesperson for Kabul Police, said on Wednesday.
Stanikzai said it was not immediately clear how many people had been killed or wounded, but there were casualties.
Embassy sirens sounded and ambulances could be heard after the blast, which happened in the area where the US and British embassies and the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are located.
A spokesperson for ISAF said the coalition was aware of an explosion.– www.shafaqna.com/English