How the West buys ‘conflict antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria (and funds terror)
By Sam Hardy
October 27, 2014
Limestone funerary reliefs from Syria are on the International Council of Museums Emergency Red List of cultural objects at risk of looting. REUTERS/ICOM
“Many antique collectors unwillingly support terrorists like Islamic State, ” Michel van Rijn, one of the most successful smugglers of antique artifacts in the past century, told German broadcaster Das Erste this month.
And smuggling is booming in Iraq and Syria right now. In Iraq, 4,500 archaeological sites, some of them UNESCO World Heritage sites, are reportedly controlled by Islamic State and are exposed to looting. Iraqi intelligence claim that Islamic State alone has collected as much as $36 million from the sales of artifacts, some of them thousands of years old. The accounts data have not been released for verification but, whatever the exact number is, the sale of conflict antiquities to fund military and paramilitary activity is real and systematic.
Malaysian Muslim receives death threats for dog-petting event
27 October 2014
Malaysian Muslim receives death threats for dog-petting event - © Luong Thai Linh, EPA
Kuala Lumpur (dpa) - A man who organized a dog-petting event for Muslims in Malaysia has received death threats from religious fundamentalists who consider dogs to be untouchable.
The threats have been continuous for Syed Azmi Alhabshi, a Muslim himself, who hosted the "I want to touch a dog" event in Kuala Lumpur last week that drew nearly 1,000 people, according to his lawyer Shahredzen Johan. "He has been getting severe death threats," he said. Shahredzan said he received nearly 2,000 messages on his mobile phone within one hour on Friday. Detractors have obtained his phone number and published it on the internet.
Syed Azmi, a pharmacist who runs various charitable programmes for orphans and the homeless, is being accused of being an apostate. He issued a statement apologizing for the uproar that arose from the dog event. His intention was merely to help people "overcome a fear of dogs, how to help them when they are in trouble and the limitations in the Islamic context," Syed Azmi said. "The programme is an educational process to respect Allah's creatures that are increasingly held in contempt and abused by our society."
He said the programme had received approval from the relevant Islamic authorities, and furnished copies of their correspondences to the media. The same authorities, however, claimed they were "misled." They were reportedly shocked by media photos of Muslims including women in hijab cuddling with the dogs. The National Fatwa Council issued a dictum on Thursday that touching dogs violates the Imam Shafie teachings, the main Islamic doctrine in Malaysia.
Italian public health doc shows up a month late, patient had died
24 October 2014
Lecce, Italy (ANSA) - Public health advocates in the southern Puglia region said Friday that a 75-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer died after public health authorities took a month to schedule him a home visit.
The patient's GP had prescribed an emergency home visit by a geriatric specialist after the old man's condition precipitated suddenly.
But local public health employees rejected the GP's request, telling the patient's wife to file a request for a normal visit instead. A doctor would come within a week, the employees told her. Instead he showed up 33 days later, when the patient had already died.
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