The Australian defence department plans to spend almost $400,000 on English lessons, event attendances and training courses for members of the Myanmarmilitary in 2017-18, documents released under freedom of information laws show.
Myanmar’s armed forces, also known as the Tatmadaw, has faced international condemnation and accusations of ethnic cleansing in recent months for perpetrating a fresh wave of attacks against the country’s minority Rohingyapopulation. About 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled over the border to Bangladesh since August 2017. Yanghee Lee, a UN human rights investigator, has said the situation bears “the hallmarks of a genocide”. Continue reading
Authorities set curfew to combat new wave of violence directed at the country’s Muslim minority.
Sri Lanka imposed a curfew in a central town popular with tourists after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze.
Police said on Monday there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation.
"The curfew was imposed to control the situation in the area," said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.
Police officers were placed on heightened alert in Kandy to ensure the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said in a statement. Continue reading
In 1894, the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II decided to present his empire’s highest civilian order to Muhammad Shitta, a Nigerian Muslim entrepreneur from Lagos. Shitta earned the honor by sponsoring the construction of mosque in Lagos. This was a time during which European missionaries, who had followed Europe’s colonial powers in their “Scramble for Africa” in recent years, were very active in trying to spread Christianity in West Africa. Perhaps the sultan wanted to challenge this activity; maybe he also wanted to spread the influence of the struggling Ottoman Empire in faraway Muslim communities. However, the sultan wasn’t personally able to go to present the honor to Shitta; but who could go to Nigeria on the sultan’s behalf to do so?
The sultan chose W.H. Abdullah Quilliam, a British convert to Islam. After embracing Islam in the late 1880s, Quilliam had played a leading role in organizing the small Muslim community in Britain. Within a few years of embracing Islam and travelling in North Africa, Quilliam had earned the title of ‘alim (Islamic scholar) from the very prestigious University of al-Qarawiyyin. He had also earned the admiration of the Ottoman sultan, who (as the nominal caliph of the Muslims) had named Quilliam the leader of the British Muslims.
Responding to the sultan’s request, on June 6, 1894, Quilliam departed from Liverpool, England to begin his journey to Lagos. On the way he stopped at the Canary Islands, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gold Coast before finally arriving in Nigeria. He was guided along the way by West African contacts he had made through his role as a Muslim journalist and leader in Britain; the influence of the British Empire at the time had made Quilliam something of a celebrity among Muslims around the world. Continue reading