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First Somali immigrant to lead Minneapolis public housing board

The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority has selected Sharmarke Issa to lead…

Black Women Rally in Defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar +VIDEO

Black Women Rally in Defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar

Dusit attack: Court to rule on whether to release financer

A magistrate court will today rule on whether a man accused of sending money…
dk gw

Australia's worst cabbie? Taxi driver, 69, is banned from the roads after asking a blind passenger for directions

A grandmother has lost her taxi accreditation after she racked up close to…

Accused Somali war criminal found driving for Uber and Lyft in American Suburbs

An alleged Somali war criminal has been working as a driver for Uber and…
k990

Shabaab official justifies attacks on civilians while preaching the sanctity of Muslim blood

Abu ‘Abdurahman Mahad Warsame, a senior Shabaab official, addresses the…
ddddg

Londoner to become first contestant to wear headscarf at Miss Universe Great Britain

A Londoner is set to become the first Miss Universe Great Britain contestant…
kkllll

Ethiopian Airlines CEO wants rigorous review of Boeing 737-MAX planes following fatal crash

Two months after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157…

Muslim women accuse Amazon of ‘harassing and hostile’ work conditions

Amazon is being accused of religious discrimination and retaliation by three…
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Ex-Somali colonel faces civil trial in US alleging torture

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man who served decades ago as a…
English News

English News (10)

sharmarkeissaThe Minneapolis Public Housing Authority has selected Sharmarke Issa to lead its governing board, the first time a Somali immigrant has held in the role.


Issa said after his appointment on Friday that he is “truly humbled” by the opportunity and is looking forward to working with the agency’s board of commissioners and connecting more public housing residents with the organization. He said he believes that everyone has a right to safe and affordable housing.

He will serve as chairman of the nine-member board that oversees decisions about the agency’s annual budget and policymaking.

Issa received both his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in urban planning from Minnesota State University in Mankato. Issa grew up in public housing after coming to the United States as a refugee at age 11.

“Growing up I lived in subsidized housing, I understand the viewpoints of those who are recipients of affordable housing,” Issa said.

City officials say he is the first Somali immigrant in the country to lead a public housing agency’s governing board. Approximately one-third of Minneapolis Public Housing residents are members of the East African community.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that Issa’s background and appointment to the board “highlights public housing as vital asset in Minneapolis.”

“At a time when the federal government continues to shortchange housing funding, he will be a skilled steward of our public housing infrastructure who understands and centers the needs of residents,” Frey said in a news release.

Startribune

Black Women Rally in Defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar

A magistrate court will today rule on whether a man accused of sending money several times to Dusit D2 hotel complex attackers will continue to be held in custody.

Senior Resident Magistrate Muthoni Nzibe said she will issue the ruling after Mohammed Abdi Ali was charged with seven counts of providing property for the commission of a terrorist attack.

BOND


The accused, who was arrested on April 19, has since been in police custody.

Despite pleas from his lawyer and family that he be released on bond, the prosecution wants him further detained.

Court heard that on several occasions, the accused used various mobile phone numbers registered under the name of Mohammed Ali or Issack Abdi Ali to send monies to one Ali Salim Gichunge alias Erik Kinyanjui Muny, the main suspect in the attack.

Court was told that the monies were being sent via Mpesa mobile money transfer to the said person who has been described as a member of terror group Al Shabaab.

The accused sent a total of Sh500,000 from Soko Mbuzi area in Mandera County.

“The accused person facilitated the commission of a terrorist act by knowingly sending the monies,” prosecution told court.

RIVERSIDE

Mr Gichunge was killed during the 14 Riverside January raid while his wife Violet Omwoyo Kemunto is at large.

By March, 184 persons had been arrested but 95 of them have since been released.

One of the main suspects of the attack who was arrested, detained and charged include Hassan Abdi Nur, who used his Mpesa agent business to transfer the monies from South Africa to Somalia for alleged terror activities.

He allegedly withdrew huge amounts of cash at Diamond Trust bank, Eastleigh branch using 47 Mpesa registered accounts. He allegedly withdrew a total of Sh37,555,000 between August 2018 and January.

HUGE WITHDRAWALS

Out of this amount, Sh 35,145,000 was withdrawn between December 2018 and early January.

A breakdown of the cumulative huge withdrawals on a monthly basis shows that Sh20, 505,000, the largest amount, was withdrawn in December 2018. This was followed by another withdrawal of Sh14,640, 000 in January.

November comes third with withdrawals of Sh1,470,000, followed by August at Sh490,000 and September which had the least figure of Sh450,000.

A further breakdown of large withdrawals between December 5, 2018 and January 4 show that more than Sh1.2 million was withdrawn. Transactions started from December 5, 2018.

SH100 MILLION

Prior to that date, the largest transaction appears to have been Sh500,000 with no more than two large transactions being processed.

Abdinoor Maalim Osmail, a Kenya School of Law student, was taken into custody for allegedly withdrawing Sh100 million. Ali, Nur and Osmail have been accused of being in communication with the deceased as well as sending him monies

Daily Nation

dk gwA grandmother has lost her taxi accreditation after she racked up close to 30 traffic offences and asked a blind passenger for directions.
Melbourne taxi driver Hawa Add, 69, has been banned from driving after repeatedly being caught speeding, running red lights and failing to restrain a child.

She has faced court eight times, has collected a total of 27 traffic offences and has had disciplinary action taken against her on three occasions.

On top of her run-ins with the law, she has also drawn several complaints from passengers, at one point asking a blind person to give her directions, failed to use a GPS and refused to accept cash payments.

According to the Herald Sun, Ms Add has been caught speeding 19 times, ran through red traffic lights five times, fails to give way and failed to use headlights.

On one occasion she was even caught failing to restrain a child in the back seat.


Since she began driving taxis in 2004, passengers have filed 21 formal complaints against the Somali-born woman.
Passengers said Ms Add has insufficient knowledge of Melbourne roads, refused to help a vulnerable passenger with their luggage and asked a blind passenger to look out for street numbers.

She also failed to use a GPS, was caught taking a longer route than necessary for short trips, refused to at times accept cash and on other occasions accept credit cards.

Passengers also reported that the 69-year-old drove in such a way they feared for their safety and was abusive to customers, and other people on the road.

Due to her long list of complaints, VicRoads conducted an inquiry into whether Ms Add should hold a licence, let alone be a taxi driver.

In the inquiry, a psychiatrist recommended Ms Add undertake counselling or mentoring to improve her customer service and driving.

Her cab driver accreditation was first suspended in 2013, and she was forced to do a taxi driving course as well as a customer service course.

Despite the training, passengers continued to complain and in 2015, Ms Add was warned serious action would follow if her behaviour continued.

Ms Add had her accreditation completely cancelled in 2017 following further complaints.

Victoria's Commercial passenger Vehicle Commission declined to reinstate her accreditation, forcing Ms Add to turn to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

She claims to be 'courteous and helpful to customers', assisting them when reasonable, and said she was unfairly treated by both the commission and her customers.

Ms Add, who is a mother of seven and grandmother of 12, has since lost her income, which she used to help support her children.

Secretary of the Australian Muslim Social Services Agency Adam Mohamed wrote a character reference saying Ms Add was good mannered, honest and responsible.

Despite the glowing reference, VCAT senior member Anna Dea refused to reinstate Ms Add's accreditation.

'Even if I assume some aspects of the complaints might reflect misunderstandings or exaggerations, the volume and seriousness of the complaints indicate to me that Ms Add's communication style is not satisfactory for many passengers, and that at least some passengers feel unsafe in her vehicle,' Ms Dea said.

'The similar nature and content of the complaints about Ms Add are of concern because they indicate Ms Add has unsettled passengers many times to the point they feel they need to contact the relevant regulator.'

An alleged Somali war criminal has been working as a driver for Uber and Lyft in the US. Yusuf Abdi Ali has been accused of atrocities committed when he was a military commander in Somalia's civil war in the 1980s.

Now living in Virginia, Alexandria, he has been driving taxis for the two firms for several months and had a rating of 4.89 out of five stars on the Uber app until the company suspended him.


His work for the two firms was revealed by CNN, which also found him working as a security guard at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC, in 2016, a job he lost shortly after the broadcaster alerted the airport to the allegations.

Uber and Lyft drivers are not employees but undergo a background check which is designed to reveal criminal convictions and driving incidents, as well as searching databases containing information such as terrorist links.

Uber strengthened its background checks last year to make them more frequent. It disqualifies drivers who have been either convicted or charged with serious offences.

Uber suspended him as it reviewed the matter and Lyft has permanently banned him from the platform.

A Lyft spokeswoman said: "The safety of our community is our top priority and we are horrified by the allegations described. Before giving a ride on the Lyft platform, all driver-applicants are screened for criminal offenses and driving incidents in the United States.

"We have permanently banned this driver from our community and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation."

Mr Ali is currently facing a civil case in a Virginia federal court brought by a man who claims to have been a victim of torture on his orders in 1988.

The lawsuit accuses him of orchestrating a "brutal counterinsurgency campaign that refused to distinguish between civilians and combatants" during the late 1980s. Mr Ali has denied all allegations against him.

dd

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man who served decades ago as a colonel in the Somali Army is facing accusations in a federal courtroom that he tortured and killed those perceived as enemies of the government.

A civil jury in Alexandria heard opening statements and testimony Monday in the suit against Yusuf Abdi Ali of Alexandria, who was known as "Tokeh" when he served under dictator Siad Barre.

The lawsuit was brought by a Somali man who says he was shot and left for dead by Ali during a 1988 interrogation. He says he survived only by bribing the men who were supposed to bury him.

The lawsuit has been delayed for nearly 15 years, mostly by legal debate over whether a Somali national could bring suit in the U.S. over alleged torture overseas

k990Abu ‘Abdurahman Mahad Warsame, a senior Shabaab official, addresses the issue of jihadist violence directed at Muslims in a newly released audio message. Shabaab’s propaganda arm, Al Kata’ib Media, produced the recording, which is accompanied by English subtitles. Warsame alternates between Arabic and Somali throughout his lecture, which is peppered with references to Islamic texts.

Al Qaeda and its regional branches, including Shabaab, have long sought to draw a fine line between what they see as legitimate violence and operations that violate Islamic doctrine prohibiting the shedding of Muslim blood. It is a thorny issue that al Qaeda has addressed multiple times. And Warsame returns to the matter in his audio address, which is titled, “The Sanctity of Muslim Blood.”

Warsame begins by setting forth what he sees as the religious justifications for Shabaab’s jihad in Somalia and East Africa. He says the “commandments of Allah” deem it necessary to “fight the disbelievers who are hostile towards our religion, our land and our people and who are misguiding our youth, massacring our weak, plundering our resources and propagating disbelief and debauchery in the Muslim society.” Thus, the “call of Jihad that we constantly reiterate is a holy struggle aimed at achieving the pleasure of Allah and His reward.” 

The jihadists’ goal is to build a “righteous Muslim society that adheres to the laws of the Quran and Sunnah, upholds the teachings of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’ [meaning loyalty and disavowal] and disassociates itself from all forms of disbelief.”

Warsame claims that “victory” is within reach despite the fact that the “mujahideen” face “an enemy greater in number and more technologically advanced.”

He then discusses two Shabaab operations. The first is a raid on a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya that was carried out in January. Shabaab said at the time that this operation was conducted as part of “Operation Jerusalem will never be Judaized,” a campaign authorized by al Qaeda’s global leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.  

Shabaab’s decision to attack a civilian hotel ran the risk of causing indiscriminate Muslim casualties – a fact that the group and Warsame have to recognize. However, Warsame defends the terrorist operation, arguing that this “blessed attack” killed “a number of crusaders and Jews.” The “blessed attack” was orchestrated “in defense of the Islamic sanctities (Al-Quds),” which is “considered one of the great modern-day battles of Islam” and “will be recorded in the pages of history.” The assault in Nairobi was also “part of a series of operations aimed at defending our religion, [the] honor of our beloved Prophet Muhammad and protecting the sanctities of Islam,” Warsame argues.

The second attack referenced by Warsame occurred last November, when Shabaab’s men killed Sheikh Abdiweli Ali Elmi Yare and more than one dozen other civilians in the city of Galkayo. Shabaab’s jihadis indisputably killed Muslim civilians, but Warsame attempts to justify the massacre anyway.

Warsame describes Abdiweli, a Sufi leader whose method of worship contradicted Shabaab’s puritanical creed, as the “great liar of Somalia.” Shabaab even accused Abdiweli of being a “false prophet” — a charge repeated by Warsame.

The Shabaab ideologue argues this “blessed operation” was necessary to defend “the honor of our beloved Prophet,” because Abdiweli has supposedly violated Islam’s teachings. Warsame claims, somewhat implausibly, that “Muslims all over the world rejoiced and celebrated upon hearing the news of this blessed operation.” There is no real evidence to support this claim, as Abdiweli’s death was a minor news story at the time.

Warsame ties Abdiweli’s supposed apostasy to the Somali government and the US, claiming that the “apostate Somali regime…served as the guardian and protector of this false prophet” and it was “their American-backed apostate militia who immediately rushed to his defense.” In addition, Warsame says, other Somali “apostate leaders…condemned the attack and criticized those who were defending the honor of our beloved Prophet.”

Despite defending the terrorist assault in Nairobi and Abdiweli’s assassination, Warsame is keenly aware that Shabaab’s violence can easily transgress even the group’s own bounds. Therefore, he tries to set some limits.

Warsame claims the “apostate regime and the invading crusaders have barricaded themselves in hotels and set up their headquarters and ministries in populated neighborhoods in the midst of the civilian population in an attempt to protect themselves from the attacks of the Mujahideen.”

Although “fighting the hostile disbelievers who have invaded our lands is an individual obligation,” Warsame offers some brief, non-specific “guidelines” for jihad. Considering that “the Jihad we are waging today against the enemies is concentrated in or around residential areas where Muslims live,” the “mujahideen…must take extreme caution and beware of unjustly shedding the blood of Muslims.” Citing Islamic texts, he warns that “it is forbidden to take the issue of Muslim blood lightly” and the jihadists “must understand the severe consequences of killing a Muslim unlawfully.”

The jihadists should continue to attack their enemies’ “bases and ambush them wherever they are,” but “extremely cautious with regards to the blood and sanctity of your Muslim brothers, for illegally killing a Muslim will lead you to Hellfire.” Warsame adds that “it is obligatory upon us to safeguard our Jihad from all traits of Ghulu’ [extremism] and Irja’ [negligence].”

Even so, the jihadists should “[s]trive hard in carrying out martyrdom operations and constantly remind one another of its virtues, for there is nothing more detrimental and harmful to the disbelievers than martyrdom operations and landmines.”

Toward the end of his discussion, Warsame warns Somalis to stay away from enemy targets. The people should “know that the target of our operations are the Christian invaders and the apostate regime, foremost among them being the apostate leaders, soldiers, army officials, members of parliament, ministers, members of the judicial system, apostate spies and all those who work in the different sectors of the apostate regime.”

Of course, the targets Warsame identifies as being in the “Mujahideen’s theater of operations” encompass much of Somali society — and some of them serve in a civilian, non-combat capacity. But that is no accident.

Warsame says that President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (also known as “Farmajo”) and “his cohorts are enemies of Allah and disbelieving apostates.” They have supposedly “sold the land’s resources to Ethiopia and Eritrea and handed over the seaports to them.”

“In no regard are they considered your leaders, nor are they competent enough to assume such positions,” Warsame says. “Therefore, it is obligatory upon you to wage Jihad against the apostate government and topple their regime.”

This regime-toppling effort requires Shabaab to kill Muslim civilians — and Warsame will undoubtedly continue to justify such acts.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal

ddddgA Londoner is set to become the first Miss Universe Great Britain contestant to wear a headscarf in the competition.

Business account manager Farhia Ali will take part in the final in July, where she will be one of 40 contestants with the chance to represent the nation at Miss Universe.

Ms Ali, who moved to the UK from Somalia as a child, spends much of her spare time doing voluntary and community work both at home and in Kenya.

She said the competition is offering her an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the UK.

“I feel that now more than ever it is important for women to feel valued in this world," she said.

“Being a woman of colour, I have used this desire to push me to achieve excellence in everything that I do. Moving to Great Britain as a young child provided me with endless opportunities.

“I often travel back to Kenya where most of my family live and seeing the devastation in the rural areas showed me that living in the UK our education, wellbeing and future are prioritised.

“The importance of education has motivated me to want a better education for young women, young mothers and victims of FGM and forced marriages.”

Ms Ali will fundraise for A-Sisterhood, a not-for-profit organisation supporting female-related causes in the UK and overseas

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kkllll

Two months after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board, the CEO of the airline said his crews and passengers have lost confidence in the Boeing 737-MAX and he wants the company to conduct a more thorough review of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday, Tewolde Gebremariam said that the airline doesn't yet know if it will fly the Boeing 737-MAX planes again. But he said, "At this stage I cannot, I cannot fully say that the airplane will fly back on Ethiopian Airlines. It may, if we are fully convinced and if we are able to convince our pilots, if we are ever to convince our traveling public."

However, he also said that if the planes were back in service, Ethiopian Airlines would be "the last airline to fly them again." "We have not got a time to discuss on the return to service and we have made it very clear on several occasions we would not be the first one to return their airplane back to air."

Gebremariam said it's not enough for Boeing to only review the "MCAS" anti-stall system believed responsible for the fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. He wants a much more rigorous review of the plane.

"We strongly believe that entire flight control system needs to be reviewed," he said.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 followed a Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October. The two crashes were responsible for 346 deaths.

Investigators in both countries say the Boeing 737-MAX's new MCAS anti-stall system seems to have played a role.

"It's very abnormal for a new airplane to have two accidents, fatal accidents in a span of five months," he said. "These are brand new airplanes."

Boeing has admitted that "MCAS" misfired, putting both the Indonesian and Ethiopian planes into a fatal nose dive. The company is expected to submit its software fix for Federal Aviation Administration approval later this month.

But investigators have also noted the Ethiopian pilots were flying much faster than is typical, more than 500 miles per hour.

Still, Gebremariam insisted the pilots did everything they could to save their plane.

"They have followed the procedures correctly," he said. "This should not happen again to any airline, even a single life should not be put at risk."

Boeing said in a statement, "Boeing is working closely with pilots, airlines and global regulators to update the max and help prevent this tragic loss of life from happening again.”

Gebremariam said the airline's relationship with Boeing goes back more than 60 years, and he has confidence in Boeing, even if his crews have lost confidence in the 737-MAX.

"We still have very strong confidence in Boeing, but we want them to do the right thing without rushing to make sure this airplane is safe and clear confidence in all of us before it returns back to air."

Amazon is being accused of religious discrimination and retaliation by three Muslim workers in Minnesota who say the tech giant denied them time and space to pray and routinely assigned them less favorable work than their white counterparts, according to a federal complaint filed last week.

The workers, all black women from Somalia, say Amazon created a hostile environment for Muslim workers at its warehouse in Shakopee, Minn. They also allege that Somali and East African workers were denied promotions and training that went to white workers and were relegated to more difficult tasks, like packing heavy items.

“Amazon is one of the largest employers in Minnesota and it relies on these workers to make billions, but it is withholding these basic accommodations as required by law,” said Nabihah Maqbool, an attorney for Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit organization that is representing the women. “Our clients are being monitored in their warehouses in such a way that they fear each day that they will be fired when they go to work.”

She added that many of the facility’s workers are from East Africa, while the “vast majority” of managers are white.

Seattle-based Amazon has repeatedly come under fire for its treatment of workers, particularly at its 110 warehouse facilities, where physical demands can be grueling.

Last year, it raised starting wages to $15 an hour following criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others that too many of its workers were relying on food stamps, Medicare and other government programs to make ends meet. Amazon has more than 250,000 hourly workers at its U.S. warehouses, making it one of the country’s largest employers. (Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)

The complaint in Minnesota comes on the heels of another recent report that at least seven women have filed lawsuits against Amazon accusing the company of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. The workers allege that Amazon did not make accommodations for requests such as longer bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet, according to CNET, which reviewed the lawsuits. All seven women were also fired after informing managers about their pregnancies, CNET said.

Amazon has disputed those claims: “It is absolutely not true that Amazon would fire any employee for being pregnant,” a spokeswoman told CNET. “We are an equal opportunity employer.”

In Minnesota, workers say they worried about taking breaks to pray or go to the bathroom because they were under pressure to meet certain quotas. Failing to make those “rates,” they said in their complaint, could result in a written warning that could eventually lead to their firing. The women also said the lack of air conditioning at the warehouse made it difficult to fast during Ramadan.

Two of the three women who filed the claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continue to work at Amazon; one was “constructively discharged” at the end of December.

“The heavy items make it so difficult to make the rate,” one of the women said in an email. She spoke on the condition of anonymity because she still works at the company and fears reprisal. “I don’t have even a second to speak with the associate next to me, or take a break, or drink water. When I go to pray I worry what will happen with the rate.”

Amazon spokeswoman Ashley Robinson said prayer breaks shorter than 20 minutes are paid, as required by law, and that employees can request longer unpaid prayer breaks “for which productivity expectations would be adjusted."

The workers also accuse Amazon of illegally retaliating against them after they participated in a December event protesting discrimination at the warehouse. All three women said they “noticed a campaign of retaliatory harassment” that included more difficult assignments and increased surveillance. One worker said supervisors began recording her day-to-day conversations on video.

“Amazon’s message to Somali workers has been clear: Since they protested Amazon’s discriminatory actions, Amazon management would now create an environment so harassing and hostile that they would be forced to quit,” Muslim Advocates wrote in a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“These women are not alone,” the letter continued. “The conditions described in their charges reflect a broader pattern and practice of unlawful employment discrimination against Muslim, Somali, and East African workers at Amazon.”