SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh is stirring up memories of the country's painful split from Pakistan in 1971, during which anywhere up to three million people are thought to have been raped, tortured and murdered.
It is a dark chapter in the history of the two countries, which has never been fully addressed. And now the lingering anger is playing out on the streets of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, with days of rioting, soldiers on the streets, calls for a national strike - and a rising death toll.
Members of the Islamic opposition Jamaat-e-Islami are on trial, and potentially facing the death sentence. The party had campaigned against independence from Pakistan, but deny committing any atrocities during the war.
The nine-month long war was the climax of tensions between Bangladeshi nationalists and the Pakistani army. Eventually the Indian army intervened on the side of the Bangladeshi nationalists.
Bangladesh says three million people were killed during the conflict; Pakistan says the number was much lower.
In the four decades since the war, the country's turbulent politics and repeated military coups have stood in the way of the delivery of justice. But when the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Hasina, won the 2008 national elections, setting up a war crimes tribunal was a large part of its campaign.
Established in 2010, the tribunal is trying 12 men for crimes against humanity. That they are mostly from Jamaat-e-Islami, which is strongly opposed to Hasina’s government, has drawn accusations that the trials are a politically convenient way of getting rid of opposition leaders.
The tribunal has been plagued by accusations of foul play and government influence, but the country's opinion is divided. When Abdul Qader Molla, one of the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to life in prison rather than death, hundreds of thousands of people protested to demand that he be hanged.
But last week's announcement that another Jamaat-e-Islami leader will be executed, led to further protests - this time by supporters of those on trial.
As more sentences are announced, the violence is likely to continue.
So, why are these trials taking place now? Can the country right these historical wrongs - and at what cost to its unity?
Inside Story, with presenter Jane Dutton, speaks to: Salman al-Azami, the son of former Jamaat-e-Islam leader Ghulum Azam, who is one of those standing trial; and Tridib Deb, the co-chairman of the Bangabandhu Lawyers Council, a group named after the former head of the Awami League and first president of Bangladesh, and father of the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The Battle of az-Zallaqah in Islamic Spain
On October 23, 1086 AD, at the Battle of az-Zallaqah in Islamic Spain, a Muslim army led by the Almoravid general, Yusuf ibn Tashfin, defeated the Christian forces of Castile's King Alfonso VI, when the latter refused both the offers to avoid bloodshed that is, convert to Islam, or to pay tribute. The reason for the battle was Alfonso's occupying of the Muslim city of Toledo a year earlier followed by his invasion of the emirate of Zaragoza. The Spanish Muslims appealed to Yusuf ibn Tashfin of Morocco for help, and he responded, forcing Alfonso to lift the siege of Zaragoza. The Almoravid ruler returned to North Africa after his decisive victory, which created fear among the Christians for several generations.
Victory of the Spanish Muslims
On November 23, 1221 AD, King Alfonso X of Castile was born in the occupied Islamic city of Toledo in Spain, and succeeded his father, Ferdinand III to the throne in 1252. During his 32-year rule, although he was successful against Portugal, and occupied the Muslim regions of Murcia and Cadiz, he suffered shattering defeats at the hands of Spanish Muslims when he tried to invade the Nasirid emirate of Granada. Twice his armies were defeated, especially in the Battle of Ecija in 1275, and he lost his sons in combat. The important work undertaken by him was the study and translation of Arabic scientific books into the Castilian and Latin languages, in order to acquire knowledge from Muslims and break out from the dark ages into which the Christian Church had plunged Europe.
Alp Arslan, the third Sultan of the Iran-based Turkic Seljuq dynasty
On December 15, 1072 AD, Alp Arslan, the third Sultan of the Iran-based Turkic Seljuq dynasty, died at the age of 43. His realm also included Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Syria. His name in Turkish means Brave Lion. The most decisive battle he fought was Manzikert in what is now Turkey, where the Byzantine Army was completely defeated and Emperor Romanov IV taken prisoner – and later released.
On 24th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah in 511 AH, Ghiyas od-Din Mohammad, the son of Sultan Malik Shah the last great Seljuq ruler of the Iran-based empire that included Iraq, most of Anatolia, parts of Syria, the Caucasus, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia, died after a reign of 13 years.
On November 21, 1386 AD, the Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, captured Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and took King Bagrat V as captive to Samarqand, because of the latter’s alliance with the Khan of the Golden Horde, Tokhtamysh, with whom Timur was engaged in a fearsome war in what is now southern Russia. Bagrat was later released and restored as king of Georgia.
The famous Greek Muslim admiral, Damian of Tarsus
On October 23, 891 AD, the famous Greek Muslim admiral, Damian of Tarsus, known by his Islamic name of Ghulam Yazman al-Khadim, died during the siege of the Byzantine fortress of Salandu in what is now southwestern Turkey, as a result of a catapult wound. His troops carried him to his seat of power Tarsus, and buried him there.
According to the historian al-Mas'udi, his fame was such that he was among the ten illustrious Muslims whose portraits were hung in Byzantine churches in recognition of their valour. For a decade he was a thorn in the Greek side, and won several land and sea battles against the Christians, sometimes in alliance with another valourous Greek convert to Islam, Cleo or Raseq al-Wardami, who is famous for besieging the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and briefly taking over Thessalonica, the second largest city.
Moscow besieged by the Muslim ruler, Emir Edigu
On December 5, 1408 AD, the Muslim ruler, Emir Edigu of the Golden Horde reached Moscow and besieged it, after capturing several Russian cities. Part of Moscow was burned and the siege was lifted on resumption of the annual tribute to the Tatars by the Russians, who had withheld it for several decades. Edigu, the son of a nobleman, gained fame as a highly successful general of Khan Tokhtamysh before turning the arms against him. By 1396, he was a sovereign ruler of a large area stretching between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, which would later be called the Nogai Horde. In 1397 he allied himself with Timur-Qutlugh and was appointed general and commander-in-chief of the Golden Horde armies. In 1399 he inflicted a crushing defeat on Tokhtamysh and the Christian king, Vytautas of Lithuania at the Vorskla River.
In 1406 he located his old enemy Tokhtamysh in Siberia and had him killed through his agents. The following year he raided Volga Bulgaria. In 1408, he staged a triumphant Tatar invasion of Russia. Two years later Edigu was dethroned in the Golden Horde and had to seek refuge in Khwarezm. Shah Rukh, the son and successor of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, expelled him back to Sarai, where he was assassinated by one of Tokhtamysh's sons in 1419. Edigu's dynasty in the Nogai Horde continued for about two centuries.
The Battle of Marj as-Sabalan
On December 9,730 AD, in the Battle of Marj as-Sabalan on the outskirts of Ardabil in Azarbaijan, northwestern Iran, the army of Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik, the 10th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, was annihilated by Khazar Turkic nomads led by Barjik, the son of the Khaqan.
The Omayyad commander, Jarrah Ibn Abdullah al-Hakami, was among the 20,000 Arab forces killed along with their Iranian allies including the Zoroastrian Dehqan of Azarbaijan, Mardan Shah. The Khazars then mercilessly plundered Ardabil and other towns and cities, carrying off immense loot as well as over 40,000 men, women and children as captives.
The next year Barjik penetrated as far as Mosul in northern Iraq, where he was defeated and forced to retreat to the northern Caucasus. Earlier, Jarrah Ibn Abdullah, known as "Farres ahl ash-Sham" or Chief Cavalier of the Syrians, who had served at various times as governor of Basra, Sistan, Khorasan, Armenia, Azarbaijan and Arran, had penetrated the northern Caucasus to attack the Khazar capital. The Omayyad setback in the Caucasus and northwestern Iran was accompanied by defeats in the subsequent years on all fronts, including France, Central Asia, India, and finally Khorasan, from where the Abbasids launched their revolution under their Iranian general, Abu Muslim Khorasani, to seize the caliphate.
Expedition by a joint force of Arab and Iranian sailors in Guangzhou in southeastern China
On October 30, 758 AD, Guangzhou in southeastern China saw an expedition mounted by a joint force of Arab and Iranian sailors who took control of this port city, following massacre of thousands of Muslim merchants and their families by the Chinese rebel leader, Huang Chao, during the days of Emperor Suzong of the Tang Dynasty.
Order was restored on the intervention of the authorities and the Muslims were allowed to carry on trade and build mosques in Guangzhou, where a couple of years ago in 2010 China held the 16th Asian Games. According to the ancient Iranian historian, Abu Zaid Hassan of Siraf, Iranians used to call Guangzhou "Khanfu" and Arabs "Sin Kalaan". Many Iranian and Arab Muslims were settled over a thousand years ago in this city which was later called Canton by the Europeans. Today also Guangzhou has a noticeable population of Chinese Muslims.
The Federation of Buwaiyhid Amirs
On 19th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 1068 AH, the Buwaiyhid ruler of northern and central Iran, Hassan Ibn Buya Daylami, titled Rukn od-Dowlah, passed away. The federation of Buwaiyhid Amirs, who were Iranian Muslims and followers of the school of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, ruled most of Iran and Iraq for over a hundred years. They rebuilt the holy shrines of the Infallible Imams in Iraq and patronized a great many scholars, in addition to building schools, hospitals, bridges and other public works. Rukn od-Dowlah was the father of the famous ruler of Baghdad and Iran, Fana Khosrow Adhud od-Dowlah.
First Public Holiday on Ashura Day
On 10th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 352 AH, the Founder of the Iranian Buwaihid dynasty of Iran-Iraq, Moiz od-Dowla Daylami, ordered public holiday in his capital Baghdad on the anniversary of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala. The market and all work came to a halt, as for the first time in history a procession of mourners of Imam Husain (AS) took to the streets to commemorate in public the martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
Three weeks earlier on 18th Zilhijja, Moiz od-Dowla had officially initiated celebrations on the anniversary of the historical event of Ghadir-Khom, on which in the year 10 AH, the Prophet, as per divine revelation (holy Qur’an 5:67) had proclaimed Imam Ali (AS) as his vicegerent.
Marwan al-Hemar (literally “the Donkey”)
On 14th of the Islamic month of Safar in 127 AH, Marwan al-Hemar (literally “the Donkey”) started his rule as the 14th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime by displacing Ibrahim, who days earlier had been installed as the new caliph on the death of Yazid III, who in turn had ruled for only six months on assuming power after the less than a year rule of the depraved Walid II. This meant that in one year four of the so-called caliphs had come and gone after the long reign of the tyrant, Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik.
Marwan presided over the end of the hated Omayyad regime that was thrown into the dustbin of history in 132 AH when he was caught and killed in Egypt, while fleeing the advance of the Abbasids from Khorasan to Iraq and Syria. The dynasty had been founded by the Godless Mu'awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, on his seizure of the caliphate from the Prophet's grandson, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) in 41 AH by deceiving the Muslim masses and imposing a treaty, whose clauses he violated.
The Abbasids – descendants of Abbas, an uncle of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – now usurped political power by exploiting the sentiments of the people of Iran, Iraq and Hijaz, for the Ahl al-Bayt, but turned out to be as cruel as the Omayyads, as is evident by their persecution of the Prophet’s progeny and martyring of 6 of the Infallible Imams through poisoning.
Yazid ibn Muhallab ibn Abu Suffra Zalim ibn Suraaq al-Azdi, the powerful former governor of Khorasan,
On 12th of the Islamic month of Safar in 102 AH, Yazid ibn Muhallab ibn Abu Suffra Zalim ibn Suraaq al-Azdi, the powerful former governor of Khorasan, was killed in battle in Iraq with the forces of Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, the 9th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime. The Omayyads chased, captured and killed all grown-up male members of the Muhallab clan.
Of Omani origin, Yazid ibn Muhallab’s father, Muhallab, despite being the son of Abu Suffra, one of the staunch followers of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) First Infallible Successor, Imam Ali (AS), had sided with the Omayyad usurper Mu’awiyya ibn Abu Sufyan, who sent him to Khorasan, where he ravaged the lands between Kabul and Multan. After Mu’awiyya, Muhallab stayed away from the movement of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS), left the Omayyads to side with Abdullah ibn Zubayr against Mukhtar Thaqafi (the Avenger of the blood of the Martyrs of Karbala) and then rejoined the Omayyads when Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan’s tyrannical governor, Hajjaj Thaqafi, eliminated Ibn Zubayr. Muhallab was awarded with the governorship of Khorasan, and was succeeded by his son, Yazid Ibn Muhallab, who was later dismissed, imprisoned and tortured by Hajjaj.
He escaped from prison, fled to Palestine, and after Hajjaj’s death was made governor of Iraq and subsequently of Khorasan, before being dismissed by the new caliph, Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik, and meeting death in combat when he revolted in Basra. Such was the fate of those who had deserted the Prophet’s al-Bayt in quest of worldly riches.
Jam Nizam od-Din II, the most powerful ruler of the Samma Dynasty in Thatta, Sindh
On December 28, 1461 AD, Jam Nizam od-Din II, the most powerful ruler of the Samma Dynasty, succeeded his father Sanjar Sad rod-Din and ruled for 47 years over Sindh, parts of Punjab, Baluchestan and Gujarat. Towards the end of his reign he defeated a Mughal army sent against him by Shah Beg Arghun from Qandahar.
The Samma civilization founded by Rajputs who had embraced the truth of Islam, contributed significantly to the evolution of the "Sindhi-Islamic" architectural style, which is a blending of Persian art as well. Thatta, which is in modern Pakistan, was the capital of this kingdom that lasted almost two centuries from 1335 to 1527. The city is still famous for its necropolis, which covers 10 square km on the Makli Hill. Every year thousands perform pilgrimage to this site to commemorate the saints buried here. The graves testify to a long period when Thatta was a thriving center of trade, religion and scholarly pursuits.
Abu Ibrahim Isma'il I, the most prominent Amir (ruler) of the Iranian Samanid Dynasty
On 14th of the Islamic month of Safar in 295 AH, Abu Ibrahim Isma'il I, the most prominent Amir (ruler) of the Iranian Samanid Dynasty of Central Asia and Khorasan, died after a reign of 15 years and was succeeded by his son Ahmad. Isma'il added Kirman, Sistan and Kabul to his empire. A nominal vassal of the self-styled Abbasid caliph, he made his capital Bukhara into one of the most glorious cities of the Islamic world, rivaling Baghdad and attracting scholars, artists, and doctors of law into the region.
The first translation of the holy Qu'ran into Persian was completed during Samanid rule, which saw the revival of Persian language and literature, along with the patronizing of Arabic. Ismail took the city of Talas, the capital of the Qarluq Turks in what is now Kazakhstan, and propagated Islam amongst the inhabitants, with the result that as many as 30,000 tents of Turks became Muslim. His campaigns kept the heart of his state safe from the raids of the hitherto pagan Turks, and allowed Muslim missionaries to expand their activities in the region.
The Samanids were descendants of the famous Sassanid general, Bahram Chobin, and had accepted Islam during Abbasid rule. They also propagated the jurisprudence of what came to be known as the Sunni school, and it was during their rule that most of the Hadith compilers, like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Nasa’i, Hakem Nishapuri, and others flourished. They repressed Ismailis, because of the fear of the expanding influence of the Fatemid Dynasty of Egypt-North Africa-Syria-Hijaz, but were rather tolerant of Ithna-Ash'ari or Twelver Shi'ite Muslims.
The judge and historian, Baha od-Din Yusuf ibn Rafi ibn Shaddad
On 14th of the Islamic month of Safar in 632 AH, the judge and historian, Baha od-Din Yusuf ibn Rafi ibn Shaddad, passed away at the age of 93. Born in Mosul in Iraq, he memorized the holy Qur’an in childhood and later honed his skills in exegesis, hadith and other sciences. He taught at Baghdad’s famous Nezamiyyah Academy, founded by the Iranian statesman, Nezam ol-Molk Tusi, and later after visiting several Islamic lands, he went to Syria to serve as advisor to Salaheddin Ayyoubi, the Kurdish sultan who liberated Palestine and Bayt al-Moqaddas from the Crusader occupation.
He was an eyewitness to several battles with the Christian invaders from Europe, including the Siege of Acre, and wrote the historical work titled "an-Nawader as-Sultaniyyah”, which is an account of the military campaigns. His other well-known book is the 4-volume "Dala'el al-Ahkaam" on jurisprudential issues.
The prominent reciter of Holy Qur’an, Sheikh Abdur-Rahim Tabrizi
On 17th of the Islamic month of Safar in 1255 AH, the prominent reciter of Holy Qur’an, Sheikh Abdur-Rahim Tabrizi, who earned fame as “Sultan ol-Qurra” (King of Qur’an Reciters), was born in the city of Tabriz, in northwestern Iran. He learned the recitation of Holy Qur’an from his father, and became a master in this field as his title suggests. He became familiar with the prominent Islamic freedom fighter of the Caucasus against Russian colonial rule, Shaikh Shamil Daghestani. When Sheikh Shamil was gathering an army to launch an uprising against the Russians who had occupied what was then the Iranian province of Daghestan, Sultan ol-Qurra Tabrizi joined the campaign. He later returned to Tabriz and organized classes for proper recitation of the Holy Qur’an. He passed away in 1336 AH at the age of 81, and has left behind a large number of valuable books.
The Arabic poet, Abu'l-Qassem Ali ibn Ishaq al-Baghdadi
On 20th of the Islamic month of Safar in 352 AH, the Arabic poet, Abu'l-Qassem Ali ibn Ishaq al-Baghdadi, passed away at the age of 42. Incidentally, he was born on this same day of 20th of Safar. Most of his poetry is on the unrivalled merits of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams. He lived for some time at the court of Amir Saif ad-Dowlah Hamdani in Aleppo and has praised this gallant ruler for his love of the Ahl al-Bayt, as well as his exploits against the Byzantines.
The Sufi scholar of Punjab, Shaikh Baha od-Din Zakariyya al-Quraishi
On Islamic month of Safar in 655 AH, the Sufi scholar of Punjab, Shaikh Baha od-Din Zakariyya al-Quraishi, passed away in Multan at the age of 100 years. He was a student of the famous Iranian Sufi, Shahab od-Din Suhrawardi, who initiated him in the mystical order at his hospice in Baghdad.
The mausoleum of Baha od-Din Zakariyya in Multan, Pakistan, mounted by a hemispherical dome, is visited throughout the year by devotees. Almost all Sufi orders trace their spiritual lineage to the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the First Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
Ahmed III, the 23rd Ottoman Sultan and the 14th self-styled Turkish caliph
On December 30, 1673 AD, Ahmed III, the 23rd Ottoman Sultan and the 14th self-styled Turkish caliph was born. He ruled from 1703 to 1730 – a period called “Asr-e Laleh” (Tulip Era) in Ottoman history, because of the victories over the Russians and the flowering of arts including establishment of the first press in the Muslim world for printing books in Turkish and Arabic.
In 1710 he was urged by Sweden to declare war against Russia, and the Ottoman forces under Baltajı Mohammad Pasha won a major victory at the Battle of Pruth against Peter the Great. In the aftermath, Russia returned Azov in the Crimean Peninsula in what is now Ukraine, to the Ottomans, agreed to demolish the fortress of Taganrog and stop interfering in the affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Again the next year, Ahmed III came nearer than any Ottoman ruler to break the power of Russia when Turkish armies led by Grand Vizier Damaad Ibrahim Pasha succeeded in completely taking control of the Pruth River. The Ottomans could have advanced to Moscow, but the campaign was halted as reports reached Istanbul of the possibility that Shah Sultan Hussain Safavi of Iran would liberate Iraq and territories in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia, thereby causing panic and turning the Sultan's attention away from Russia.
Ahmed III also maintained diplomatic relations with the Mughal Empire of the Subcontinent. Embassies were exchanged with the successors of the Grand Mughal, Aurangzeb, such as Jahandar Shah in 1712, and in 1716, with Emperor Farrukhsiyar, who in his letter has provided a graphic description of the campaign of his commander, Seyyed Hassan Ali Khan Barha against the Rajput and Maratha rebellions.
The Treaty of Dardanelles
On January 5, 1809 AD, the Treaty of Dardanelles was signed between the Ottoman Empire and Britain, according to which the English forces pledged to withdraw from all Turkish territories, including Egypt. In return, the Ottoman Empire pledged to recognize the consular rights of Britain in Ottoman lands. The goal behind conclusion of this treaty by Britain was to maintain the security of the British fleet in Mediterranean region in the face of possible attacks by the Russian Navy through the Black Sea, because according to this treaty the Ottoman Empire agreed not to allow any warship to pass through the Bosporus Strait and the Dardanelles during peacetime.
Ahmed bin Kuchuk, the Khan of the Great Horde
On January 6, 1481 AD, Ahmed bin Kuchuk, the Khan of the Great Horde from 1465 was killed by the Siberian Ibak Khan and the Nogay tribe at the mouth of the Donets River. He seized power from his elder brother Mahmoud and in 1472, entered into alliance with the Polish king Casimir IV against Ivan III of Russia. In 1480, following Russia's refusal to recognize him as overlord, he launched a military campaign against Moscow that ended in stalemate.
The Treaty of Tafna
On 23rd of the Islamic month of Safar in 1253 AH, the Treaty of Tafna was forced by the French occupiers on Algerian leader, Abdul-Qader al-Jaza'eri, resulting in the occupation of a third of this country including Oran and Algiers. Two years later, the French breached the clauses of their own imposed treaty and gradually occupied the whole of Algeria. Abdul-Qader was taken prisoner and sent to Paris, where years later he was released, but not allowed to go back to Algeria. He went to Syria and stayed their till the end of his life, teaching Islamic sciences. The French occupiers were finally forced to leave Algeria in 1961 after they had killed at least a million Algerian Muslims and committed sanguine crimes.
Saif od-Dowla, the Hamdanid ruler of Aleppo
On 25th of the Islamic month of Safar in 356 AH, Saif od-Dowla, the Hamdanid ruler of Aleppo and most of Syria, passed away. Named Ali, he was the son of Abdullah bin Hamdan, and was a staunch follower of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt. He was the younger brother of Nasser od-Dowla the Emir of Mosul. He distinguished himself in battles against the Byzantines and could be called the Warden of the Marches of the Islamic frontier of those days by checking the bid by the Christians to plunder Syria. Saif od-Dowla was a man of letters and surrounded himself with prominent intellectual figures, notably the great Arabic poets, al-Mutanabbi and Abu Firas, as well as the noted Iranian Islamic philosopher Abu Nasr Farabi. Saif od-Dowla himself was a poet; his delicate short poem on the rainbow shows high artistic ability.
Peace agreement was signed between the Ottoman and Russian Empires
On January 9, 1792 AD, a peace agreement was signed between the Ottoman and Russian Empires to end the wars that started in August 1787, because of the Russo-Austrian plot to break up the power of the Turks in Europe. At the end of the war, the Russians occupied vast lands of the Ottoman Empire, including the Crimea Peninsula in what is now Ukraine.
The Battle of Gallipoli
On January 9, 1916 AD, the Battle of Gallipoli – also known as the Battle of Janakkale Savashi – took place near Gelibolu in Turkey during the First World War, with the Ottomans achieving a great victory over the Allied forces made up of British, French, Australians and New Zealanders. The battle is perceived as a defining moment in the history of the Turkish people — a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the aging Ottoman Empire was crumbling. The victory over the Allies renewed the Ottomans' visions for the empire; in Iraq a few months later they surrounded a British force at Kout al-Amara, forcing it to surrender, while in Syria, Ottoman reserves were poised for deployment into the Sinai with the aim of capturing the Suez Canal, and driving the British from Egypt. However, the defeat at the Battle of Romani and lack of materials to complete the military railway necessary for such an operation marked the end of that vision. By the time the Gallipoli War ended, 80,000 Turks, most of them civilians, were killed in the Allied bombing of Turkish hospitals and public places. The British, the French, the Australians and New Zealanders lost almost 60,000 troops, while 145,000 more British soldiers became ill during the campaign.
The Battle of Vaslui (also known as the Battle of Racova)
On January 10, 1475 AD, in the Battle of Vaslui (also known as the Battle of Racova), Stephen III of Moldavia in alliance with other Christian powers, inflicted a shattering defeat on Suleiman Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Rumelia, in what is now Romania. The defeat angered Sultan Mohammad II, the Conqueror of Constantinople, who resolved to personally lead the next campaign, while it brought Stephen the title "Athleta Christi" (Champion of Christ) from Pope Sixtus IV. The cause of the battle was the refusal of the Moldovan ruler, who was initially a vassal of the Ottomans, to hand over some of the liberated territories to the Turks, in addition to Stephen's ambition to seize the principality of Radu Beg or Radu the Handsome, the Muslim brother of the notorious Dracula. The Ottomans were also distracted by the growing power of the Aq Qoyunlu leader, Uzun Hassan, on their east, in Anatolia, Iraq and Iran, and viewed it as a more serious threat to them than any army the Christians of Europe could muster. Thus, Sultan Mohammad's ultimatum to Stephen to forfeit Chilia, to abolish his aggressive policy in Wallachia, and to come to Constantinople with his delayed homage, brought no results. In 1484, his son and successor, Bayezid II avenged the defeat by conquering Chilia and leaving Moldova isolated.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A judge should toss out a lawsuit by a national atheists group seeking to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the wreckage of the World Trade Center, lawyers for the operators of the Sept. 11 memorial at ground zero say.
The lawyers said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday that the 17-foot (5.18-meter)-tall beam will be displayed as a historical object because it tells part of the story of the rescue and recovery effort after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed the twin towers and killed thousands of people.
They said the display of the cross among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories and videos is no different from the showing of hundreds of religious paintings routinely displayed at government-supported art museums.
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The nonprofit group American Atheists sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's operators last year, saying the beam's display would be unconstitutional. A message left with a lawyer for the group was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Lawyers for the memorial operators said in their papers that the steel beam, found by rescue workers two days after the terror attacks, was an inspiration. They said workers "took solace in its symbolism as they searched for survivors and found mostly victims."
The lawyers noted that the museum is an independent non-profit corporation and decisions by its curators about what to display are not state actions subject to constitutional protection.
"But even if the independent decisions of a non-governmental body could constitute state action, there is no legal authority for the proposition that a museum is prohibited from displaying an item with historical, cultural or artistic significance merely because that item also has religious significance," the lawyers said.
They accused the atheists group of seeking "to revise history to eliminate religion from its retelling, ignoring the fact that the people most closely tied to the September 11 tragedy responded in varied ways, including, in some cases, turning to their respective faiths."
The museum, which is mostly underground, was scheduled to open this year, but delays have left its opening date uncertain.—www.shafaqna.com/english
source: CS monitor