The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has stepped up its attack efforts in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, reportedly killing 150 people over the weekend. A senator from Borno state said this week that the violence has become so unmanageable that soldiers flee with villagers when the militants arrive, as they are outnumbered and lack proper weapons to fight the militants.
The intense violence took place over the weekend, when Boko Haram militants swarmed three cities in the Borno state, killing a reported total of 150 from Friday to Sunday. Although Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has allowed the military extra power to curb the extremist group, recent reports indicate that Boko Haram's numbers have been too large for local military to sustain.
Ahmad Zannah, a senator from Borno state, told BBC earlier this week that when Boko Haram militants arrived in Borno over the weekend, military personnel fled along with the villagers because there was not enough manpower to fight the militants. "When the attack took place, all of them ran away, along with the villagers. There was no resistance." more >>
A top Islamic institute in Egypt has called for a ban on Darren Aronofsky's upcoming "Noah" movie, arguing that the Hollywood film provokes people and violates Islamic law.
Al-Azhar, a main Sunni Muslim institute, said in statement on Thursday that movies like "Noah" are "contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia [law]," and announced that it is prohibiting the screening of films that personify biblical figures, Al Arabiya News reported.
"Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah's prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad]," the institute said, adding that such productions "provoke people's feelings." more >>
Brunei's teachers and principals are reportedly threatened with prison time and punishment if they teach or speak to Muslim children about religions others than Islam, due to the country's upcoming implementation of Sharia law, which will also apply to Muslim children who attend Christian schools.
Fides News Agency noted on Thursday that starting April, it will be a crime to "persuade, influence, incite, encourage a child with non-Islamic teaching," as well as to "expose the child to any ceremony or act of worship which is not Islamic or allow the child to participate in activities for the benefit of other religions," with offending teachers facing five years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
The local Catholic Church said the restrictions will also be applied to Christians schools attended by Muslim students. more >>
Pop singer Katy Perry has been accused by some in the Muslim community that her latest video, "Dark Horse," is blasphemous due to its representation of a pendant with the words "Allah" written in Arabic.
The music video, released on Feb. 20, shows Perry dressed as an Egyptian princess, choosing from a series of suitors who present her with gifts such as jewelry and fine foods. The first of these suitors is a young man wearing a gold cape and various jewels, who presents the pop singer with a large diamond. At the 1:15 mark in the video, the camera shows the man wearing a necklace with a pendant that reads "Allah" in the Arabic language. Once Perry receives the diamond, she shows her displeasure with the gift by turning the suitor into dust using lightning, and with him goes the religious-themed necklace.
Some in the Muslim community who have viewed the music video argue that the dissolving of the "Allah" pendant necklace is blasphemous. Shazad Iqbal, a Muslim man from Bradford, England, started an online petition urging YouTube to remove Perry's new video. The "Dark Horse" video has attracted over 30 million views on YouTube since it was uploaded on Feb. 20, and Iqbal's online petition has received over 40,000 signatures. more >>
A detailed report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the events in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens at the U.S. consulate in Libya, confirmed that President Barack Obama's administration failed to do anything to stop the terrorist attack.
"The failures of Benghazi can be summed up this way: the Americans serving in Libya were vulnerable; the State Department knew they were vulnerable; and no one in the Administration really did anything about it," the 85-page report released on Wednesday stated in its conclusion.
The report, which stated that "the attacks were preventable," added that the role of the White House in the events must be explored, as the Senate remains "without a full understanding" of the talks held between President Obama, the secretary of defense and the secretary of state on the night of the attacks. more >>
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that nuclear negotiation talks with the U.S. reveal the western country's enmity toward Iran and Islam. He also described the U.S. as "Satan."
While speaking in the religious city of Qom, Khamenei said that the talks between Iran and the U.S. do reveal America's enmity, but this enmity will not stop the Middle Eastern country from pursuing negotiations for their nuclear weapons program and an easing of their international sanctions.
"We had announced previously that on certain issues, if we feel it is expedient, we would negotiate with the Satan (the United States) to deter its evil," Khamenei said, as reported by the official IRNA news agency. more >>