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Shock over arrest of Riyadh-based Indian muezzin in Hyderabad
By Shahid Ali Khan
RIYADH – News of the arrest of a Riyadh-based Indian muezzin on his arrival in the Indian city of Hyderabad, Saturday, has raised many eyebrows here.
Many regular worshippers at a mosque in Al-Wazarat district here where muezzin Shaukatullah Ghouri used to call the faithful to prayer five times a day, and sometimes lead obligatory prayers, were shocked by Indian news reports of Ghouri’s arrest.
Ghouri was arrested at Rajiv Gandhi International (RGI) airport at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad upon his arrival from Jeddah. He is said to have left for Hyderabad for his wife’s medical treatment.
Personnel of the Organization for Counter-Terrorist Operations (OCTOPUS) reportedly arrested Ghouri, his wife and their four children soon after they landed at RGI airport.
The muezzin is accused of involvement in a terror attack in Gujarat on Sept. 24, 2002 which left 30 dead and over a 100 injured.
“Shaukatullah and his brother, Farhatullah, are both involved in the Akshardham temple attack,” DNA newspaper quoted a senior Intelligence officer as saying. “Both the brothers were initially trained by Jaish-e-Mohammad after which they worked in Ahmedabad. When their names figured in the list of suspects in the Akshardham attack case in 2002, both fled to Saudi Arabia.” Farhatullah Ghouri is still absconding, the paper said.
However, few among the worshippers at Hai Al-Wazarat Mosque in Riyadh believe the allegations against Ghouri, a Hafizul Qur’an (memorizer of Qur’an), who has been serving at the mosque for the past two decades.
Hussain Al-Wadani, the Saudi imam of Masjid Al-Salwa, where Ghouri worked, felt that Ghouri would be absolved of the charges.
“God willing, Ghouri will come clean because he is an innocent man,” the imam told a group of Indian Muslims at the mosque, trying to ally their concerns over news of the arrest.
Ghouri is a professional muezzin and well known for his good character, voice and skills of recitation of the Qur’an and for the azan (prayer call), one of the Indians in the group told Saudi Gazette, asking not to be identified.
“It seems Ghouri is being framed,” he said. “We have been reading media reports and watching news channels on how the police have been victimizing innocent people, and strangely enough some were even killed in fake encounters.”
The Imam said he would do his best to support Ghouri in whatever paperwork he might require from Riyadh.
Others who frequent the mosque said they would sign a petition for submission to Indian Ambassador M.O.H. Farooq seeking his intervention for the safe release of Ghouri.
Rashid Abdul Qayoom, a regular worshipper at the mosque, said he has know Ghouri since he arrived in Saudi Arabia. “Ghouri is a legal resident of Saudi Arabia. He arrived in Riyadh on a “free visa” sometime in 1989, and since 1991 he has been working as a muezzin at Masjid Al-Salwa, Qayoom said.
Many students of the Qur’an memorization madrasa that Ghouri ran at his house were also shocked by news of the arrest. All of Ghouri’s children are Hafiz (who have memorized the Holy Qur’an).
Ghouri’s neighbor told Saudi Gazette that Ghouri was drawing a monthly salary package of around SR2,100 which was hardly enough for his six-member family’s monthly expenses. “The muezzin sahib very often spoke about financial hardship, particularly when it came to payment of annual housing rent,” the neighbor said. Ghouri managed by running the Qur’an memorization school which has an enrolment of around 20 students, he said.
To travel to India, Ghouri chose to fly Oman Air for its comparatively cheaper fares, the neighbor added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to Indian news reports, Ghouri was taken to an undisclosed location where he was interrogated by officials of OCTOPUS and the local police. His wife and children were taken to a farmhouse where their baggage was searched and their passports and some educational certificates were seized. His wife and children were later released.
Ghouri was handed over to the Gujarat police on Sunday morning as a non-bailable arrest warrant is pending against him in the Akshardham case, reports said. – SG
The most important concern of the people is the safety of our children once they leave the house every morning and when they get off the bus each evening.
During the fall semesters of school it is dark when the children congregate at the bus stop and there have been reports of registered sex offenders at the bus stop on countless occassions. There have also been reports of parents physically attacking other people's children. There are countless fights and numerous of other acts of malice and thereafter.
On day rainy days the children are soak and wet before they even get on the bus. The majority of the trouble the children get into begins at the overcrowded bus stop. There are three different schools of children at the bus stop at the same time. The police have been called several times for incidents that have taken place at the bus stop.
There is a high volume of traffic at the bus stop especially during drop off. There is no cross walk worker and the youngest child walking to and from the bus stop is five years of age.
We, the people, feel that a lot of these problems can be avoided by the bus simply driving into the circle instead of having the children walk out of the circle to go to school! Thank you very much!
To: Editors of the BBC
We the Tamils are disheartened and hurt by the BBC's covering of the issues pertaining to the island of Sri Lanka. The issues mentioned below are in response to reports on the www.news.bbc.co.uk website and BBC News 24.
These include but not limited to:
1.Massacre of civilians in a bus using claymore mines, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The BBC's Sri Lankan correspondent, Dumeethra Luthra reported on the massacre of innocent civilians in a claymore mine attack in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka and the ensuing aerial attacks by the Sri Lankan government on Tamil positions on BBC News 24 (the video link of the same report on the website is titled 'Why air strikes have been resumed' in the article 'S Lanka air force steps up raids').
In this report she states that the LTTE is "the Key candidate" for this atrocity. She fails to mention the Sri Lankan State forces that have been accused by the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission of extra judicial killings of innocent Tamil civilians in the NE of the island.
As of the 24th of May over 190 Tamil civilians have been killed since the first Geneva talks held on the 22-23 of February 2006. The GOSL (Government of Sri Lanka) has a history of orchestrating violence against the Tamil civilians (1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 anti-Tamil riots).
The LTTE for its part has been accused of targeting Government soldiers but has not been accused of targeting innocent civilians.
The LTTE has strongly denied the allegation of the claymore attack on the bus and has nothing to gain from this horrendous and disturbing attack targeting civilians.
Why doesn't the Sri Lankan correspondent question the motive for the LTTE to have committed this attack?
Why doesn't the Sri Lankan correspondent assess the beneficiaries of this massacre?
It is the GOSL and/or the elements opposed to peace that benefit from this massacre of innocent civilians.
The Tamils and the LTTE have been further unjustly isolated in the international arena, by the recent proscription of the LTTE as a terrorist group by Canada and the EU. This has emboldened the GOSL to continue the genocide of the Tamils in the hope of subjugating the Tamils abandoned by the international community.
2.Down-playing/Sugar-coating of Government atrocities against innocent Tamil civilians
Initial versions of the report titled "Fresh Sri Lanka clashes kill many" accuses the LTTE of the attack against the Sri Lankan navy and quoted the Sri Lankan Navy accusing the LTTE for the grenade attack on the Mannar church in yesterday's fighting.
The updated version of the same report mentions with ambiguity the Mannar church attack but fails to mention who was involved in the attack.
The reader is left with the impression that the 'non-state' actor (in this case the LTTE) that 'allegedly' initiated the naval attack is responsible for the atrocity on the civilians in the church.
With eyewitness accounts and the presence of an international aid worker, the BBC reports that the Sri Lankan forces attacked the Mannar church in the article titled "Sri Lankan forces 'hit church' ".The report goes on to say that the government denied this but said that the church was "caught in the crossfire". However, it fails to say that the GOSL had initially insisted that it was the work of the LTTE.
Here again the BBC sugar-coats the government atrocity, which was a deliberate NOT 'accidental' attack using a grenade and live gunfire on the 200 or so Tamil civilians seeking refugee in the church. One person was widely reported as killed and many injured.
These sorts of crimes targeting civilians seeking refuge in churches and temples were a common occurrence during the war. The Tamils in the NE are faced with these atrocities even during times of peace with the help of censors of the international media.
3.Tamils from the NE of the island faced with the fear of being victims of state genocide are fleeing in the thousands from the government controlled areas to LTTE controlled areas and to India. The BBC when reporting on the fleeing Tamil civilians refers to the victims as Sri Lankans giving the impression that the Sinhalese are also fleeing. This is NOT true. The people seeking refuge in India and LTTE controlled areas are all Tamil victims.
4.It is also very disheartening to note that the BBC has turned a blind eye to the mass demonstrations, by tens of thousands of Tamils around the globe, against the genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.
5.It is also very sad to note that articles such as the "Sri Lankan forces 'hit church'" that refers to the Sri Lankan forces' attack on the innocent civilians in the church are only short lived in the South Asia section of the website (It was published at 1:08 GMT on the 18th of June and archived well within 8hrs).
As you have stated in your article titled "Sri Lanka: Truth, bias and the BBC " the news of the Tamil struggle published on the international media especially the BBC (given its presence in Sri Lanka ) are paramount in the midst of FALSE propaganda being issued by the government of Sri Lanka.
June 13, 2006
For the second year in a row, parents at Point Clare Public School will NOT be receiving a midyear report on their child's progress.
The only written report being offered to the parent community is the end of year report.
The Department of Education's Policy entitled "Curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12" states that: Schools will provide parents/carers with a written report on their child's learning at least twice per year. The components of the written report will meet the Policy Standards. (section 1.3.3).
Written reports are valuable tools for parents to gauge how their child is performing, and to highlight any issues that their child is having within the classroom environment. For parents who work out of the home full time and who are unable to attend class interviews, a written report can be the first indication of any problem their child is having.
It is unacceptable to make this decision without informing the parent community and without asking for our input.
In accordance with this, we would like to ask you to sign this petition, if you would like to have a midyear written report for your child.
Louis Klein has been attending Saturday Night Live for the full 30 years of its existance. In order for him to be able to go to the show every week, he would have to do standby, which means, he'd have to stay at NBC either on the Mezzanine, or on the Street, all night Friday night until Saturday morning. Almost 15 years after continuously doing "standby," he was awarded tickets for life by the show's creator and producer, Lorne Michaels.
Louis continues to do standby every week even though he does not have to. He does it to "monitor" the standby line. Unbeknownst to Mr. Michaels, Louis does much more whilst on the standby line. He constantly harasses the people whom he considers "regulars." Not only does he harass them on the standby line, but he harasses them at home via Instant Message or email.
Also, because of his "seniority," NBC takes advice from him regarding what happens on the Standby Line throughout the night. Louis reports to the head of guest relations every Saturday the happenings of the preceeding evening. Not only that, but he reports them falsly. He claims that people "break the rules," when if fact he himself is guilty of "breaking" them. Also, he stares at the members of the line whom he is "mad at" for minutes at a time.
Guest Relations refuses to believe anyone else except Louis Klein.
In this petition, we propose not that Louis' ability to attend Saturday Night Live is revoked, but that his ability to "do standby" is revoked. By him being there every Friday, he terrifies innocent people, and risks them getting in touble for no reason. Louis Klein should be banned from the standby line.
Relocating tenants at 4710 Catalpa St. Apt A.
Tenants residing at 4710 Catalpa St. Apt."A" have been and continue to threaten, harrass, vandalize, and disturb the peace throughout the Hillside Village Community for several years.
After numerous attempts to reconcile our differences, we have been left with no other alternative than to file police reports. However, police interevention and our attempts to maintain peaceful relations with these tenants have failed. We have been left with no other choice than to petition for their relocation of residency.
It is time to unite and safeguard our community. Please sign this petition to relocate the tenants of 4710 Catalpa St. Apt."A" for a peaceful tommorrow in our communiity.
There are too many false reports made regarding child abuse that sometimes certain individuals fall through the cracks of the system. Some people report suspected child abuse to be spiteful and vengeful towards the parent, guardian and caretaker of a child. This causes a buildup of caseloads that child protection services have to investigate, which results in time wasted if the reports are not true. People should be held accountable for their actions and statements, and if they are willing to go as far as to report suspected abuse, then they should willing to back it up if necessary and not hide behind the cloak of anonymity.
If reporters were to be held accountable for their statements and actions and required to give their identity to only the child abuse agencies dealing with the reports, I believe there would be a decrease in the amount of false reports made. If there was a penalty to face for reporting false child abuse allegations then people with vendettas would be discouraged to abuse the system that was designed and set up to protect the abused.
Feb 26, 2006
This petition is now closed. Thanks to all who signed.
September 07, 2001
This land has been used as an Inert Waste Landfill for many years and we "the Citizen's of East Point, Georgia" want this operation stopped. This landfill in its present state is operating against the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Chapter 391-3-4-.06 (Solid Waste Management) rule.
The City of East Point has not provided any permit applications, Notification of Permit By Rule Operations, monitoring reports (391-3-4-.17), inspection reports or any other demonstrations of compliance of Chapter 391-3-4 (Solid Waste Management).