Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quote of the Week - Justin Ashforth

"One of the things I have always loved about the Anglican Communion is the tolerance that has been embraced, however as a communicant on the conservative end of the spectrum I find my views are no longer tolerated, and I am labeled, a bigot, a homophobe, or a self-righteous hypocrite, these epithets being slung at me from my supposed brothers and sisters in Christ. Now the church that has been part of my heritage for hundreds of years excludes me on the basis of inclusion. Who is the real hypocrite?"-- Justin Ashforth

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Boko Haram Slaughters 43 Christian School Children

Source: Daily Mail

Suspected Islamic militants killed 43 students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Nigerian college, survivors said.

The terrorists, thought to be from Boko Haram, set a locked hostel on fire, before shooting and slitting the throats of those who tried to climb out the windows. Some were burned alive.

Adamu Garba said he and other teachers who ran away through the bush estimate 40 students died in the assault that began around 2 a.m. Tuesday at the Federal Government College at Buni Yadi.

Boko Haram have been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in the north of Nigera as they increasingly target civilians.

It is a co-ed school about 45 miles south of Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, and difficult to communicate with because extremists last year destroyed the cell phone tower there.

Garba, who teaches at a secondary school attached to the college, said the attackers first set ablaze the college administrative block, then moved to the hostels, where they locked students in and started firebombing the buildings.

At one hostel, he said: 'Students were trying to climb out of the windows and they were slaughtered like sheep by the terrorists who slit their throats. Others who ran were gunned down.'

He said students who could not escape were burned alive.

The attackers also reportedly hurled explosives into student residential buildings, sprayed gunfire into rooms and hacked a number students to death.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

USA's Role in Japanese Vivisection Atrocities

US scientists were “accomplices after the fact” in Japanese doctors’ war crimes
by Michael Cook

All of contemporary bioethics springs from the Nuremberg Doctors Trial in 1947. Seven Nazi doctors and officials were hanged and nine received severe prison sentences for performing experiments on an estimated 25,000 prisoners in concentration camps without their consent. Only about 1,200 died but many were maimed and psychologically scarred.

So did the US do to the hundreds of Japanese medical personnel who experimented on Chinese civilians and prisoners of war of many nationalities, including Chinese, Koreans, Russians, Australians, and Americans? They killed an estimated 3,000 people in the infamous Unit 731 in Harbin, in northeastern China before and during World War II – plus tens of thousands of civilians when they field-tested germ warfare. Many of the doctors were academics from Japan's leading medical schools.


Well, almost nothing. Twelve doctors were tried and found guilty by the Soviets in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949, but they were all repatriated in 1956. American authorities dismissed the trials as Soviet propaganda. Many of the doctors in Unit 731 went on to successful careers in Japan after the War. The commander of the unit, ShirĊ Ishii, lived in relative obscurity but his successor late in the war, Kitano Masaji, became head of one of Japan’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

How did the Japanese doctors escape justice?

A fascinating answer appears in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. The broad outline of the story has been well documented, even if it is not widely known. To cut a long story short, the Americans struck a deal with the doctors. They traded immunity from prosecution for access to scientific information from the ghastly Japanese experiments – many of which are too grim to detail here. (If you have the stomach for it, a remorseful doctor describes, at the age of 90, some of his vivisection experiments in an article in the Japan Times.)

Read it all here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sweden's Hypocrisy Denies Grimmark Work

Ellinor Grimmark
Ellinor Grimark   Photo: Fredrik Persson / TT

In 2011, the European Council adopted a resolution that protects healthcare workers' right to freedom of conscience regarding abortion and euthanasia. Sweden has signed this agreement. But reality paints a different picture. Out of the 47 member states in the European Council, Finland and Sweden are the only two which do not uphold freedom of conscience in practice.

Ellinor Grimmark, 37, is the first midwife in Sweden to report a hospital to the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) concerning abortion. She claims to have been discriminated against on the basis of her religious beliefs and moral convictions. Newly-graduated, she was fired from her position last summer because she refused to assist abortions. Even though there is a shortage of midwives at the moment, and even though she is willing to take on double shifts, she has been denied a job ever since. One employer had first agreed to hire her in spite of the “complication”, but withdrew the offer when her story began to spread in media.

Read it all here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quote of the Week - G.K. Chesterton

"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person. Nothing is more keenly required than a defence of bores. When Byron divided humanity into the bores and bored, he omitted to notice that the higher qualities exist entirely in the bores, the lower qualities in the bored, among whom he counted himself."--G.K. Chesterton (Heretics, p. 38)

Monday, February 17, 2014

C.A.R. tense after local militias disarmed

Anne Look
February 16, 2014

The C.A.R. capital Bangui remains tense Sunday, one day after French and African troops embarked on a major operation to disarm local militias known as the anti-balaka. Those groups are accused of carrying out revenge attacks against Muslims. The attacks have caused tens of thousands to flee the capital in recent weeks.

It is here in the Boye Rabe neighborhood, the fiefdom of the anti-balaka, that French and African troops went door to door Saturday confiscating weapons and munitions and rounding up anti-balaka leaders.

The troops say they were acting at the request of state judicial authorities.

C.A.R.'s interim government has declared war on the anti-balaka. French and African Union troops say they are public enemy number one.

Here in Boye Rabe, anti-balaka members say if it is war they want, it is war they will get. They say they are getting ready. They say if the authorities want to provoke them, they will respond.

Read it all here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Embryo Selection: Some ethical concerns

By Amy Julia Becker

It sounds pretty basic. A lovely young couple wants children, and they want those children to prosper and grow. They want to do as much as they reasonably can to ensure that those children have good, full lives. Happy lives. Lives that are as free from suffering and pain as possible. The problem is that they run the risk of bearing children with a gene that will probably cause a slow and painful death, albeit a death many decades in the future.

What should they do? Never have children? Adopt? Take the risk and conceive, come what may? Take the risk, conceive, and then terminate the pregnancy if the gene is present? Or try preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which involves creating embryos and testing them for the problematic gene and only implanting embryos free of the gene?

In the case of the Kolinsky family, as Gina Kolata reports for the New York Times, they chose preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in order to be certain that none of their children inherited their mother’s rare, painful, fatal neurological disease. As Kolata reports, the use of genetic testing and PGD is on the rise, and so the ethical questions associated with these tests are all the more relevant to all of us. As she writes:
Ethicists are divided about use of the method.
Janet Malek, a bioethicist at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, said that people who carry a gene like GSS have a moral duty to use preimplantation diagnosis — if they can afford it — to spare the next generation.
“If there is a paradigm example in which a parent can have an obligation to use this technology, this is it,” she said.
But David Wasserman, an ethicist at Yeshiva University and consultant to the department of bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, says there is no obligation to use it for diseases that do not start until adulthood. Eliminating embryos with such genes is essentially saying someone like Ms. Kalinsky should never have been born, he said.
I should say here and now that technologies such as PGD concern me for a host of ethical reasons, including the fact that we as a culture tend to let ethics follow technology rather than the other way around. PGD provides yet another example of a technology that people are using in the midst of an ongoing debate about the potential personal and social repercussions.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quote of the Week - S.M. Hutchens

"A Christ who is Human in the egalitarian sense cannot be Man in the orthodox sense, but is merely the apotheosis of the egalitarian ideal. He cannot be the head of the man as the man is the head of the woman as God is his own head; the ordinal relations of which the Apostle spoke, and in which the Church believes, are utterly broken on the egalitarian wheel. That is why egalitarianism is a heresy and no orthodox Christian can be an egalitarian." --S.M. Hutchens

Read the full text here.

First Hand Account of the Plight of Pakistani Christians

The plight of Christians in Pakistan
By Bishop Dr. Ijaz Inayat Masih

With the growth of extremism in Pakistan, the minorities of Pakistan and particularly the Christians have become constant target at the hands of misconceived and uneducated extremist masses, who take it their religious duty to inflict the weaker religious communities of Pakistan.

Over the past years, persons of smaller religious minorities have been targeted by killing them through improvised bombs, setting their localities/villages on fire, target killing, framing in blasphemy cases, intimidation, forced marriages, forced conversions etc. the list can go on expanding. Even the lawyers, persons and NGO's who proceed on behalf of the victims are targeted, manhandled and persecuted. A judge of the Lahore High Court Mr. Justice Iqbal Bhatti who quitted the framed accused in the famous "Salamat Masih's Blasphemy Case" was killed outside the Lahore High Court in 1996. [More on the issue can be assessed if one Goggles "Persecution of Christians/minorities in Pakistan".

Victims of mob justice.

When charges of "Blasphemy" are leveled against anybody, the street mob of neighborhood gets involved and performs its religious duty to punish the accused either by burning the person alive or dragging/hitting the person to death. The Police and the Government have never brought anybody to books, though many of such killing have taken place during Police and Judicial custody. [All these are on record and can be Goggled.]

Lethargic attitude of the Police, Prosecution and the Judiciary.

I was personally taken into custody in February 1997 from Christ Church, Youhanabad, Lahore for baptizing a Muslim. The police however distorted the facts and law to keep me in Judicial custody for almost a Month. During the proceedings quit a number of Muslim clergy with Quran on their heads would come to the court on each hearing to intimidate the Judge, saying that if I was granted a bail, it would tantamount to opposing Quran. This is a typical example of the way the things go in Pakistan.

After the killing of Mr. Justice Iqbal Bhatti, a judge of the Lahore High Court in 1996, the Police at times identifies with the Muslim concept of supporting Islam along with the majority of Judges and the prosecution. They either side with the extremists for the glory of Islam or are fearful due to their pressure, thus failing the "Justice System." This is happening all over Pakistan, the result of which can clearly be seen from those accused who are in jails without getting any relief from the process of law, whereas the extremists get bail within a week. The lawyers who proceed in such cases for the accused are also given threats of dire consequences and some of them have been forced to take asylum abroad. In some cases they have been fired upon.

A new way of framing Christians.

Over the months a new strategy by the extremists has come into light. They target particular persons, seek extortion money and intimidate Christians in the name of Islam. At times they even get "Fatwas/Religious decree" [True or false] which does not matter, because they use the overall psyche of the "Mob", who will not investigate into the allegations made against anybody and will resort to all possible acts of extremism against the accused on the street, even going as far to burn the house of the accused.

In a very recent incident in Karachi a Christian and his family have been put to test by these elements. Keis Imran, a resident of Karachi is working in Dubai and was in Pakistan for Christmas holidays. He was asked to pay two million rupees as life money within a few days notice, which he could not and went back to Dubai, thinking that he is able to flee the extortionists and is in a safe zone. However the blackmailers were more clever. They got a "Fatwa" on a plain paper and sent it viral by distributing it in the locality where Keis lived and through e-mail to his bosses in Dubai and other in Pakistan. The intimidating part is to involve and charge the public on the street against him.

In another incident of Karachi another family living in New Mianwali colony of Mangopir are has been targeted. Arshad Puran and his brothers were targeted when they were fixing their sound system prior to Christmas [their only source of income] at home. While checking the kids of the house were shouting "Hallelujah"innocently.

This area is notorious for being a stronghold of the extremist Islamists. [This can also be Goggled] Within minutes a number of extremists were at their door and wanted the boys out so that they would teach them a lesson. The neighbors saved Arshad and his brothers from the hands of the negotiators at the moment. But the the charged Muslims returned again claiming that the boys be handed over to them. Even in this case fatwa was issued and the family got in trouble in spite of reporting the matter to police for protection.

In both of the above mentioned cases the issues were reported to local police, which miserably failed to provide protection to the victims. The police even fails to identify the intruders because of fear or siding with them.

Tailor made "Shariah" of the Taliban.

Taliban are the ruminants of the Mujhadeen from Afghan-Russian War. A few years after the Western forces left this region, the Taliban took over the control of Afghanistan with the help of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and UAE who continued to support them and even UAE and Pakistan recognized their Government. After Nine Eleven, they and their Government were haunted by US and the world community. They reunited with the support of those countries who had vested interests in the region and turned into a big force well equipped to challenge the NATO forces and the neighboring countries including Pakistan. Some of the Government and Army segments kept providing space to them enabling them to take over practical portions of Pakistan. They spread like a virus and began to attack Army installations within Pakistan along with blowing different targets inside Pakistan including Army, Police and civil instalations, so much so that they even attacked the former President of Pakistan on more than one count, killing many Generals during the conflict which continues to this day. Now they collect money through through ransom by abducting various persons, collecting extortion money on life threats, looting banks and from other means. The latest demand by them is over 50 million from "Attock Refinary which is close to Islamabad saying that otherwise they will blow it off. I understand that they wanted to harass the masses, Government and the public at large, so that nobody challenges them for fear of life.

The Government of Pakistan wants to negotiate with them for peace. In exchange they want imposition of Sharia Law in Pakistan. Nothing against it, but if one goggles the net about their activities, one will find the picture of interpretation of a particular faction of Islam which believes in bombing of girl schools, killings by torture, harassment in all affairs of life and so on. They are within Pakistan called "Tahreek-e-Talaban Pakistan [TTP], a particular interpretation of Islam of the 5th and 6th centuries. All they want is power at their hands. Their philosophy is that if they can take over the resources of a country, they would be able to control the whole of the world. Hence the virus has spread to countries including Africa.

I wish the civilized world had invested in the enhancement of education on this region before leaving after the Afghan-Russian and would now not be spending the amount which they are spending on "War against terrorism and their countries defenses against terrorists.

Even the Supreme Court of Pakistan is wondering as to how the Government of Pakistan will provide protection to the religious minorities of Pakistan. The next hearing of the case is fixed for the Government to answer on the questions raised therein.

Here under is an article for reference and mention of events, written by Mr. Shamim Masih dated 13th March 2013 published in "The Lahore times, along with its link which shows a more detailed description of the "History of events faced by the Christians in Pakistan". These are only the main events along with the state of mind prevailing in Pakistan at the Moment. The situation has deteriorated since the publication of the article.

" OM ISLAMABAD: It is a general perception among Pakistani Muslims that UN, USAID, British High Commission, American Embassy, Christian diplomats and other foreigners are helping Pakistani Christians, but the reality is different. Let me give you the actual situation.

On February 6, 1997, a religiously charged mob attacked village Shantinagar, district Khanewal in which about 800 houses including Churches, hostels were torched. In November 2005, in Sangla Hill, about 100 Christian houses, schools, hostels, and Christian Clinic were burnt. On 1st August 2009, Christians were attacked in Gojra and 8 persons of a family were burnt alive and about 130 houses were turned to ashes. On 30th June, 2000, Christians were attacked in village Bahnamiwala, District Kasur in which about 102 houses were destroyed. On 21st September, 2012, Church, school and pastors residences were turned to ash. And more recent incident happened on March 9, 2013, over 200 homes of the Christians community of Joseph Colony in Lahore were burnt.

Ironically none was punished under the law for such gory episode; these barbaric attacks have sent a grave message to the already marginalized Christians. The sense of insecurity has alarmingly grown beyond proportions. The blasphemy law has been repeatedly used for settling personal scores, religious persecution, professional rivalry and for land grabbling.

This is not the end; large numbers of Christians accused of Blasphemy cases getting their lives rusted in the jails for years and years and there is no future to their children or other family members.

I am freelance journalist, Christian by faith and a social activist working for a democratic, tolerant and progressive social order and for socio economic and political rights of religious minorities especially for the Christians of Pakistan. I have devotedly served in the field of human rights during the last decade and have been raising their issues, persecutions, and rights through my writings, without any support.

I feel very helpless and ashamed when I received phone calls and emails from Christians all around the country for help in employment, protection on threats from fundamentalists, help for their children educations etc but I can’t support them. I remain silent for hours on reading email/news of the blasphemy victims who are behind bars or acquitted from higher courts but living in hiding to save their lives. The news items of rape and enforced conversion of Christian women make me sad and silent. I went to Gojra and had travelled to Mardan, when the church burnt there and went to Karachi, when Ryan accused of blasphemy case and have reported on Badami Bagh incident as well. I write for the people whom I have seen working on ground realities, for example, CLAAS has been working for years for the Christians persecution, WVIP is seen during Ryan case and others as well, I have seen Sardar Mushtaq (chief of LEAD), working for persecution without any funds, Basharat Khokhar was seen during Rimsha case, and I appreciate his efforts in protecting her during the case proceedings and I have seen him struggling him for Christian rights, but there are so many other settling scores. I have seen the struggle of Albert David for unity among Pakistani Christians. I have seen Saleem Khokhar, sitting in provincial parliamentarian; he bears ground to earth personality. I am helpless when hear the reports of Muslim culprits of gang rape of Christian girls walking free from courts. (Even those were set free who killed Shahbaz Bhatti ex-minister).

Role of our churches, local and INGOs: It’s time to think twice that what NGOs under Christian supervision, Churches and political leadership are doing? Where all funds are going which Christian civil society, Churches have been receiving in the name of poor Christians. How many Christian institutions are facilitating Christian’s students? Why western governments are denying visas to acquitted blasphemy victims? It made me to think; is USAID for Muslims in Pakistan? When their slogan is “From the American People” is all American people sending for Muslims? If not, then why Christian youth is not receiving scholarships for education, funds for business, employment in their offices? Why there is no program for Christian youth? Why western human rights champions keep silent on rape and enforced conversion of Christian women? Why a common Christian has no reach to embassies and if someone applies for visa, why is it refused, because, a poor Christian has no property and no strong background? Isn’t it? Why UNO is silent on killing of Christians and attacks on Christians worship places? Million Christians are crying in Pakistan against blasphemy law, extrajudicial killings, wrongful confinements and discrimination but UNO remain silent.

It’s just an example; I worked for “People to People International” PTPI and didn’t receive even a single penny on the other hand a Muslim running a chapter “Punjab chapter” in Gujranwala Pakistan, have got thousands of dollars and have done nothing on ground. He got visas dozens of times and taken many Muslims with him to many countries dozens of times. I applied visa for US in 2010 and was refused not only this but my “Islamabad Chapter” was revoked just because of this reason. In all UN organization and USAID, there are 90% Muslim employs and 99% of them are Pathans.

No one dare to ask to NGOs like ILAP governed under Christian supervision, that how many Christian employs they have? No one bother to pursue when Christian institutions in Rawalpindi pushed out Christian students for not paying their fees. Are these institutions are just for business purposes or is there any sense of security/realization for Christians students? How many Christian’s students are studying in Jesus and Marry Convent in Islamabad/Rawalpindi Pakistan? We don’t have right to ask our Christian politicians, what they have done for Pakistani Christians. As they were selected ones, they didn’t come in through their votes but through paying huge funds (collected on poor Christians name) to Muslims Parties and this practice is still going on……. They are so many Christians looking for gate way through paying funds to Muslim political parties.

Pakistani media normally do not highlight Christian’s issues, why there is no powerful electronic and print media for their rights. We don’t have a platform to print or give stories of oppressed and persecuted Pakistani Christians. I usually write for the oppressed and persecuted Pakistani Christians and I am thankful to Pakistan Christian Post, Salem-news, ANS, Global Christian Voice, John Hauk, and Wilson Chaudhry, taking pain for Pakistani Christians and they are highlighting their stories/issues.

During my writing work, I have been receiving threats from Muslims but being hit by the people sent by imported so called Christian Politician, who delivered nothing but wanted to stop me to write the facts.

It is observed during the said time period that all these institutions have their vested interests, it could be political, geographical, or whatsoever it is, but not for Pakistani Christians.

It is not criticism but appeal to all human right organizations to take notice of incidents of victimization of Christians and support them. Because when you “American” Terry Jones burn Quran, you don’t suffer but we, Pakistani Christians.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Polish Bishops Oppose Dangerous "Gender" Ideology

In a Pastoral Letter from the Polish Bishops' Conference

Bishops attack dangerous "Gender" ideology and redefinition of marriage

The gender ideology is the product of many decades of ideological and cultural changes that are deeply rooted in Marxism and neo-Marxism endorsed by some feminist movements and the sexual revolution. This ideology promotes principles that are totally contrary to reality and an integral understanding of human nature. It maintains that biological sex is not socially significant and that cultural sex which humans can freely develop and determine irrespective of biological conditions is most important. According to this ideology, humans can freely determine whether they want to be men or women and freely choose their sexual orientation. This voluntary self-determination, not necessarily life-long, is to make the society accept the right to set up new types of families, for instance, families built on homosexual relations.

The danger of gender ideology lies in its very destructive character both for men, people contacts and social life as a whole. Humans unsure of their sexual identity are not capable of discovering and fulfilling tasks that they face in their marital, family social and professional lives. Attempts to form different types of relations de facto seriously weaken marriage as a community created by a man and a woman and the family built on marriage.

Read it all here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Terrorists Strike Punjab Gas Lines

RAHIMYAR KHAN/LAHORE: Supply of natural gas to industrial units in most parts of Punjab was suspended on Sunday night after blasts in three pipelines near Yousafabad, some 30km from Rahimyar Khan.

Describing the explosions as an act of terrorism, the managing director of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd, Arif Hameed, said the gas left in the system was utterly insufficient to meet the demand of domestic consumers in the province.

He appealed to people to switch off their gas heaters and geysers to save the fuel for cooking.

He said supply to independent power plants in the province had also been suspended.

Mr Hameed told Dawn that the restoration work could take up to three days. He said no one could go near the blast sites due to heat.

He said gas supply in the 24-, 18- and 16-inch-diameter pipelines had been suspended but the fire would take time to die down. He said the blasts and subsequent fire had burnt some dwellings as well.

Rescue 1122 teams reaching the affected area along with police reported that at least one woman had died in the explosions.

They said the losses would be assessed once the fire was extinguished. Raging flames after the first explosion forced villagers in a radius of 4km to flee their homes. Some sugarcane fields also caught fire.

The first explosion took place at 9.33pm, the second at 10pm and the third a few minutes later.

The flames could be seen from afar.

The villages of Shahbaig, Bahudipur Quraishian, Shahpur, Rangpur, Nabipur and Sikandarabad were affected.

This was the first such incident in the district. The gas pipelines from Sui to parts of Punjab had been hit in the past in Rajanpur district.

Source: Pakistan Dawn

Friday, February 7, 2014

UN Tries to Impose Gender/Sexuality Agenda on Catholic Church

The UN watchdog on children’s rights which recently hauled the Vatican over the coals for its handling of sex abuse has today released its recommendations. The report is not only ignorant and misguided, peddling myths for which there is no foundation, but betrays an extraordinary misunderstanding of the nature of the Church and the Holy See, while seeking to impose an ideology of gender and sexuality in violation of the UN’s own commitment to religious freedom.

Although the Holy See has responded diplomatically to the report (see below), promising to look at the recommendations, the Secretariat of State cannot possibly accept them without doing violation to the nature of the Church. By adopting the mythical framework peddled by victims’ advocacy groups and lawyers, and ignoring the evidence put to it by the Holy See on 16 January (see CV Comment here, and Archbishop Tomasi’s speech here), the Committee has shown itself to be a kangaroo court. The Holy See can only now consider withdrawing its signature to the Convention. The Committee has very seriously undermined both its own credibility and that of the UN as a whole.

The 16-page UN report is so full of crass errors and myths that it is impossible to tackle them all. But the principal faults can be gathered under the three headings of 1) ignorance about the Church’s record on abuse 2) misunderstanding about the Church 3) attempt to impose an ideology of sexuality and gender.

Read it all here

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quote of the Week - Plato

When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence. (Plato, from the Republic)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Boko Haram Murders Christian Pastor and Muslin Cleric

KANO (Nigeria): Nigeria’s Boko Haram was suspected on Sunday of killing a Muslim cleric who had criticised the extremist group, and of shooting dead a Christian preacher, in the latest violence to hit northern Nigeria.

The deaths came after seven people were killed by a roadside bomb in a border area of the remote northeast, which has seen mounting militant activity in recent months.

The first attack happened when unidentified gunmen shot at Muslim cleric Adam Albani’s car at about 10.30pm on Saturday in Zaria, as he drove home from teaching a theology class.

Local resident Mohammed Usman said the gunmen appeared to have dragged the cleric from the car and shot him at close range. “We kept hearing gunshots very close to our homes and later we heard the sound of a car retreating and when we later came to the scene we found Sheikh Albani lying outside the car with lots of bullet holes on him,” he added.

“He was still alive but his wife and a child she was holding in the front seat were already dead while the rest of the children sitting in the back seat were unharmed.”

Albani’s brother Kaburu Adam said the cleric, who had criticised the group and given his support to the Nigerian military campaign against them, died shortly after he was admitted to hospital.

Separately, gunmen killed a pastor in an attack on a church in Sabon Garin Yambdula, in the Madagali area of Adamawa state late on Friday. Ten people tried to repel the attack with hunting rifles, said Madagali local government chairman Maina Ularamu.

The attackers made off with four cows and also killed two goats, said Ularamu, who declined to say whether Boko Haram fighters were responsible. But the attack came after 26 people, most of them worshippers, were killed in a Roman Catholic church in Waga Chakawa, also in Madagali, last Sunday.

“All we know is that the gunmen were not soldiers, although they were dressed in military uniform, because some of them wore bathroom slippers instead of boots,” he said. Others had their faces covered, he added.

Zaria, a predominantly Muslim city with a reputation as a centre for Islamic and Western scholarship, has not been known as a major hotbed of militant activity.

Source: Pakistan Dawn