Millions of Shi’ites Muslims gathered at shrines and mosques in Kerbala and other parts of Iraq on Thursday to mark the climax of the annual ritual of Ashura with expressions of suffering.
More than two million Muslim pilgrims hurled pebbles at a giant wall in a symbolic stoning of the devil on Tuesday, the start of the riskiest part of the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia where hundreds died in a crush three years ago.
A three-year-old boy found buried at a New Mexico desert compound died in a ritual to “cast out demonic spirits,” but his extended family believed he would “return as Jesus” to identify “corrupt” targets for them to attack, prosecutors said in court on Monday. Prosecutors’ account of an exorcism-like ritual, allegations of weapons training for children and references to martyrdom and conspiracy were aimed at persuading a judge to deny bond for the five adults charged with child abuse in the case. However, state District Judge Sarah Backus said at the end of the four-hour detention hearing she remained unconvinced that the defendants posed a danger to the community and set bail at $20,000 for each of them. “The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot,” Backus said in rendering her decision. “But the state hasn’t shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was.” Defence attorneys said prosecutors sought to criminalise their clients for being African-Americans of Muslim faith. “If these people were white and Christian, nobody would bat an eye over the idea of faith healing, or praying over a body or touching a body and quoting scripture,” defence lawyer Thomas Clark told reporters after the hearing. “But when black Muslims do it, there seems to be something nefarious, something evil.” Defendants, from left, Hujrah Wahhaj, Lucas Morton, Siraj Wahhaj and Subbannah Wahhaj enter district court in Taos, New Mexico, on Monday Credit: Albuquerque Journal Under terms of the judge’s order, four defendants were expected to be placed under house arrest with electronic ankle bracelets to ensure they remain within Taos County for the duration of the case. The five suspects, who had established a communal living arrangement with their children in the high-desert compound, have been in custody since authorities raided their ramshackle homestead north of Taos 10 days ago. The two men and three women are all related as siblings or by marriage. Three are the adult children of a prominent New York City Muslim cleric who is himself the biological grandfather of nine of the children involved. The principal suspect, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, has also been charged with abducting his severely ill three-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, from the Atlanta home of the boy’s mother in December. Clark said Ibn Wahhaj would remain in custody due to a fugitive warrant against him in Georgia stemming from the cross-country manhunt that led investigators to the New Mexico compound. The body of a young boy believed to be his son was found in a tunnel at the site three days after the raid. No charges have been filed in connection with the death. An aerial view of a makeshift compound is seen in the desert area of Amalia Credit: Brian Skoloff/AP For now, the thrust of the government’s case remains 11 counts of felony child abuse filed against each of the defendants – Ibn Wahhaj and his wife, Jany Leveille, along with his brother-in-law and sister – Lucas Morton and Subhannah Wahhaj – and a second sister, Hujrah Wahhaj. The 11 children, ranging from one to 15 years old and described by authorities as starving and ragged when they were found, were placed in protective custody after the August 3 raid. According to prosecutors’ presentation on Monday, some of the children were given weapons training to defend the compound against a possible raid by law enforcement. However, the government said there was more to it than that. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Travis Taylor testified that the 15-year-old son of Ibn Wahhaj recounted one of the adults telling him the spirit of the dead three-year-old would return “as Jesus” to direct the group in carrying out violent attacks. Taylor said prospective targets would include “the financial system, law enforcement, the education system.” Prosecutor John Lovelace said the three-year-old boy died during “a religious ritual” intended to “cast out demonic spirits.” Abdul-Ghani stopped breathing, lost consciousness and died during a ceremony in which his father put his hand on the boy’s head and recited verses from the Koran, Taylor testified, citing interviews with Ibn Wahhaj’s 15-year-old and 13-year-old sons. Prosecutors said in court documents last week that all five defendants were giving firearms instruction to the children “in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit school shootings.” Authorities acknowledged in court on Monday that police had previously encountered Ibn Wahhaj, Leveille and seven of the children in December when they were involved in a traffic accident in Alabama. Lovelace said police at the time found weapons and ammunition in the vehicle. Authorities let the group go after Ibn Wahhaj explained he was licensed to carry the guns as a private security agent and that he and the others were en route to New Mexicofor a camping trip.
Source: Yahoo! News
The boy’s remains were found in a New Mexico site where 11 starving children were rescued.
Source: BBC News
Authorities found the remains at a ramshackle compound north of Taos where 11 other children were found alive but malnourished in a raid on the site 10 days ago. The prosecutor said during a court hearing for five adults arrested on charges of abusing the 11 children that they had been trained to use weapons and defend the compound in the event of an FBI raid. The adults, including three women who police said were the mothers of the 11 children, were charged with 11 counts of felony child abuse.
Source: Yahoo! News
Two police officers were among the victims in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick. The assailant was seriously injured.
Source: New York Times
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, the shrine said on Saturday, prompting criticism from Seoul as it is seen in the two Koreas and China as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.