Bosnia – Mostar

Walk about in Mostar
09 April 2019


Masjid


Yunus Emre Enstitüsü
Cultural Institution


Madrassa


Not the famous bridge


Not the famous bridge


Small bridge – Masjid

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Bosnia – Mostar

Across the Bridge
09 April 2019


The Neretva river


Two mosques on the other side


Beautiful old building, but too much tourism


The river


Our imam Ilber on the bridge


Mostar people must get enough exercise !

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindustan Times – Sri Lanka imposes emergency, says international network involved in attacks

Police said 87 bomb detonators were found at the city’s main bus station, while an explosive went off near a church where scores were killed on Sunday when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 22 April 2019. Sri Lanka said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of devastating bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on militants with foreign links, in which 290 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded.

The emergency law, which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, will go into effect at midnight on Monday, the president’s office said.

Colombo, the seaside capital of the Indian Ocean island, was jittery on Monday. Police said 87 bomb detonators were found at the city’s main bus station, while an explosive went off near a church where scores were killed on Sunday when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.

A night curfew will go into effect at 8 pm, the government announced.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion was focusing on Islamist militants in the Buddhist-majority country.

Investigators said seven suicide bombers took part in the attacks while a government spokesman said an international network was involved.

Police had received a tip-off of a possible attack on churches by a little-known domestic Islamist group some 10 days ago, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The intelligence report, dated April 11 and seen by Reuters, said a foreign intelligence agency had warned authorities of possible attacks on churches by the leader of the group, the National Thawheed Jama’ut. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken on the tip-off.

Police said 24 people had been arrested, all of whom were Sri Lankan, but they gave no more details.

International anti-terrorism experts said even if a local group had carried out the attacks, it was likely that al Qaeda or Islamic State were involved, given the level of sophistication.

Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront, said Ariyananda Welianga, a senior official at the government’s forensic division. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels.

A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital Colombo were also hit, but it was not immediately clear how those attacks were carried out.

“Still the investigations are going on,” Welianga said.

Most of the attacks came during Easter services and when hotel guests were sitting down for breakfast buffets.

“Guests who had come for breakfast were lying on the floor, blood all over,” an employee at Kingsbury Hotel told Reuters.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said an international network was involved, but did not elaborate.

“We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country,” Senaratne said. “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

The president, Maithripala Sirisena, said in a statement the government would seek foreign assistance to track the overseas links.

Sri Lanka was at war for decades with ethnic minority Tamil separatists, most of them Hindu, but violence had largely ended since the government victory in the civil war, 10 years ago.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

Foreign victims

Most of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans although government officials said 32 foreigners were killed, including British, USA, Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.

Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the attacks, a spokesman for his fashion firm said.

A British mother and son at breakfast at the Shangri-La, British media reported, while five Indian political workers were killed at the same hotel, relatives told Indian media.

The hotel said several guests and three employees were killed.

The USA State Department said in a travel advisory “terrorist groups” were plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka and targets could include tourist spots, transport hubs, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship and airports.

There were fears the attacks could spark communal violence, with police reporting late on Sunday there had been a petrol bomb attack on a mosque in the northwest and arson attacks on two shops owned by Muslims in the west.

Bomb found near airport [bold

Traffic was uncharacteristically thin in normally bustling Colombo after an island-wide curfew was lifted earlier Monday.

Soldiers with automatic weapons stood guard outside major hotels and the World Trade Centre in the business district, a Reuters witness said.

An Australian survivor, identified only as Sam, told Australia’s 3AW radio the hotel was a scene of “absolute carnage”.

He said he and a travel partner were having breakfast at the Shangri-La when two blasts went off. He said he had seen two men wearing backpacks seconds before the blasts.

“There were people screaming and dead bodies all around,” he said. “Kids crying, kids on the ground, I don’t know if they were dead or not, just crazy.”

There were similar scenes of carnage at two churches in or near Colombo, and a third church in the northeast town of Batticaloa, where worshippers had gathered. Pictures showed bodies on the ground and blood-spattered pews and statues.

Dozens were killed in a blast at the Gothic-style St Sebastian church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Police said they suspected it was a suicide attack.

Questions over why the intelligence report warning was not acted upon could feed into a feud between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the president.

Sirisena fired the premier last year and installed opposition strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his stead. Weeks later, he was forced to re-instate Wickremesinghe because of pressure from the Supreme Court but their relationship is still fraught as a presidential election nears.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/sri-lanka-blames-local-militant-group-national-thowheed-jamath-for-blasts-that-killed-290/story-IKnse8fiNnfE4ngsbJ0uUM.html

Bosnia: Blagaj – Mostar

Tekija Blagaj
Tekke Derwish House
09 April 2019


The Sufi Tekke built against an imposing wall of rocks


Ji Aya Nun


The river Buna joined by the river that emerges from the rocks


An impressive stream


The other side of the river where are coach was parked

Mostar The Bridge across the river Neretva
Separating the Croatian from the Bosnian part of town
09 April 2019


Destroyed in 1993 rebuilt in 2004

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Bosnia: Blagaj and Mostar

Tekija Blagaj
Tekke Derwish House
09 April 2019


Sufi Dervish House


The footbath to the Tekija


Top text in Bosnian, top right Turkish, bottom right Serbian


The river emanating from the mountain,
which joines the Buna a bit further down


Our Belgian yatris


The Dervish House

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Dawn – Death toll from Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka rises to 207; 450 injured

The death toll from a devastating series of eight bomb blasts that ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday has risen to 207, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. At least 450 people were injured in the attacks.

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 21 April 2019. A manager at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, said a suicide bomber blew himself up at the hotel’s restaurant.

“He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast,” he told AFP.

Another suicide bomber killed three police officers as they raided a house in a northern suburb of the city.

Gunasekera said the police were investigating whether suicide bombers were involved in all of the blasts.

The government said eight people had been arrested and investigators would look into whether the attackers had “overseas links.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks, the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago, as “cowardly”, and said the government was working to “contain the situation”.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009 during which bomb blasts in the capital were common.

Christian groups say they have faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years. And last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims.

At a glance:

  • Four hotels ─ Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Tropical Inn ─ targeted in Colombo
  • One church each targeted in Colombo (St Anthony’s Shrine), Negombo (St Sebastian’s Church) and Batticaloa
    (Zeon Church)
  • At least 47 killed in Colombo blasts: police
  • At least 25 killed in Batticaloa blast: police
  • At least 67 killed in Negombo blast: police
  • 35 foreigners, including Dutch, US and UK citizens, dead: police
  • At least 450 injured
  • Curfew, ‘temporary’ social media ban imposed

Three churches, one each in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, and three Colombo hotels were targeted in the initial series of blasts. Another hotel and an unspecified location in Colombo were struck by two more blasts two hours later.

The death toll included worshippers and hotel guests. The injured flooded into local hospitals, where officials reported hundreds of wounded were being admitted.

Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens are among the dead, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, the country’s LUSA news agency reported. Four Pakistanis were among the injured, according to the Foreign Ministry.

After the eighth explosion, the government declared a curfew with immediate effect and said it would last “until further notice”.

A social media ban was also imposed across the country. Government officials said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked to prevent misinformation and rumours.

The nature of the blasts was not immediately clear, but an official speaking on condition of anonymity said police suspects the initial blasts at the churches in Colombo and Batticaloa were carried out by suicide bombers.

Trail of terror

The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s Church in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.

Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country. Police immediately sealed off the attack sites. Sri Lankan security officials are investigating the attacks.

A person identified as Alex Agieleson who was near St Anthony’s at the time said that nearby buildings shook with the impact of the blast, and that he saw a number of injured people being carried away in ambulances.

An AFP photographer at the scene at St Anthony’s saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes.

Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor along with pools of blood.

St Sebastian’s appealed for help on its Facebook page. The explosion ripped off the roof and knocked out doors and windows at the church, where people carried the wounded away from blood-stained pews, TV footage showed.

Local TV showed damage at the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in the capital. The Shangri-La’s second-floor restaurant was gutted in the blast, with the ceiling and windows blown out. Loose wires hung and tables were overturned in the blackened space.

A police magistrate was at the hotel to inspect the bodies recovered from the restaurant. From outside the police cordon, several bodies could be seen covered in white sheets.

Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast. The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood. Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries. The images could not immediately be verified.

Hours after the first series of blasts, a seventh blast struck at a hotel in Colombo’s Dehiwala area and killed two people, police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said.

“There was an explosion in a hotel in Dehiwala near the zoo,” a police official told Reuters adding that there were no further details available. An eyewitness on local TV said he saw some body parts including a severed head lying on the ground near the hotel. Zoo officials declared Dehiwala zoo closed after the blast.

Shortly after, an eighth blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of Colombo, police said, without providing additional details on what was targeted.

Police chief warned of threat 10 days ago

According to a document accessed by AFP, the Sri Lankan police chief had warned of possible suicide attacks targeting “prominent churches” in a nationwide alert 10 days ago.

Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat.

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo,” said the alert.

The NTJ came to notice last year when it was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.

Sri Lanka PM calls emergency meeting

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks and called an emergency security council meeting, sources told Reuters.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong,” Wickremesinghe said in a Tweet. “Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, tweeted: “Emergency meeting called in a few minutes. Rescue operations underway.”

He said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St Anthony’s Shrine, where he described “horrible scenes”.

“I saw many body parts strewn all over,” he tweeted, adding that there were “many casualties including foreigners”.

“Please stay calm and indoors,” he added.

President Maithripala Sirisena, in an address following the attacks, said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, writing on his verified Twitter account, said the attacks had killed “many innocent people” and appeared to be a “well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy.”

The Pakistani Foreign Office retweeted contact information for the Pakistani High Commission in Colombo for Pakistani nationals in Sri Lanka.

Embassies in Colombo warned their citizens to shelter in place, and Sri Lankan Airlines told customers to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of flights because of ramped-up security in the wake of the attacks.

Sri Lankan Christians targeted by discrimination, violence

Only a small fraction of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

Last year, there were 86 verified incidents of discrimination, threats and violence against Christians, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), which represents more than 200 churches and other Christian organisations.

This year, the NCEASL recorded 26 such incidents, including one in which Buddhist monks allegedly attempted to disrupt a Sunday worship service, with the last one reported on March 25.

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70pc are Buddhist, 12.6pc Hindu, 9.7pc Muslim, and 7.6pc Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census.

In its 2018 report on Sri Lanka’s human rights, the US State Department noted that some Christian groups and churches reported they had been pressured to end worship activities after authorities classified them as “unauthorised gatherings”.

The Catholic Church in the Holy Land voiced support for Sri Lanka’s Christians and condemned the attacks. A statement issued in Jerusalem said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter.”

“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.

“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1477527/death-toll-from-easter-sunday-blasts-in-sri-lanka-rises-to-207-450-injured

Bosnia – Sarajevo and Blagaj

Marsala Tita Market
08 April 2019


Yellow tram !


Green with advertising


A bit of Farsi for a change

Tekija Blagaj
Tekke Derwish House
09 April 2019


The river Buna flooding the terrace


The river Buna – bridge for pedestrians


The Tekija Blagaj

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Bosnia – Sarajevo

Jesus Sacred Heart Cathedral
08 April 2019


Pope Francis visited Sarajevo in 2015


Main door and side doors all closed


Main door

Ferhadija – Eurolines
08 April 2019


Eurolines Bosnia / Hercegovina

Marsala Tita Market
08 April 2019


Covered market – Tram Tracks


Covered market – Blue Tram

More Bosnian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on April 20, 2019 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Bosnia – Sarajevo

Archangels Michael and Gabriel Orthodox Church
08 April 2019


Listening to the guide and to Ilber’s translation

Gazi-Husrev-Bey-Masjid
08 April 2019


The group listening to explanations
More pictures of this beautiful masjid will be published later

Sephardic Synagogue
08 April 2019


Menorah – seven armed candelabra


From here the Torah was read
The Torah scrolls are kept in the cupboard behind


The outside of the Synagogue
It was founded by Ladino speaking Jews who fled to the Ottoman Empire from Spain after the reconquista  of 1492

Jesus Sacred Heart RC Cathedral
08 April 2019


Its door was firmly closed

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Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Hindu – Supreme Court admits for consideration plea for lifting ban on Muslim women’s entry into mosques

Krishnadas Rajagopal

New Delhi – India, 16 April 2019. Bench orally says it is accepting the plea because of the judgment on the Sabarimala temple issue

The Supreme Court on Tuesday admitted for consideration a plea by a couple to lift the ban on Muslim women’s entry into mosques across the country.

“The only reason we may hear you is because of our judgment in Sabarimala temple,” a Bench of Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer remarked orally. The court issued notice to the government and various bodies, including the National Commission for Women.

In September last, a Constitution Bench of the court lifted the age-old ban on women of menstrual age, between 10 and 50 years, entering the famed Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The decision created an uproar.

Multiple review petitions were filed, heard and reserved for judgment. The court had held that the Sabarimala ban amounted to discrimination and even the practice of untouchability. Women had equal right to worship in a “public” temple.

The court had also played a key role in facilitating the entry of women into the sanctum of the Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai. Justice Bobde asked whether a petition seeking right to equality can be filed against individuals and non-State actors like people who pray in and manage mosques.

The fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution was available only against the State, he observed. “Is a mosque a ‘State’? Is a church a ‘State’? Is a temple a ‘State’? We are not talking about the cement and mortar that make mosques but the people in them.

Can the fundamental right of equality be imposed on another human being,” he asked.

When the lawyer in the case raised objections, the Bench asked him to read out Article 14. “You must be referring to a different Article 14 that we do not know about. The Article 14 starts with the words ‘State shall not deny…’ The relief is against the State only,” Justice Bobde addressed the lawyer.

At one point, the lawyer said women were not allowed to enter mosques to pray despite several letters to imams. The petitioner had even sought police help to enter mosque, the lawyer claimed.

“You do not want someone to enter your house. Can that person then get police help to enter your house? If persons in mosques don’t want you [women] to enter, can you agitate right to equality against them? Fundamental right to equality is only available against the State and not individuals,” Justice Bobde retorted.

The Pune-based couple, Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad and Zuber Ahmad, told the court that the ban was illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of their dignity.

“There should not be any gender discrimination and Muslim women should be allowed to pray in all mosques, cutting across denominations. There is no such gender discrimination to offer worship in Mecca, the holy city. The faithful, both men and women, together circle the Kaaba,” their petition said.

Presently, women are allowed to offer prayers at mosques under the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mujahid denominations. Women are barred from mosques under the predominant Sunni faction. Even in mosques where women are allowed, there are separate entrances and enclosures for worship for men and women.

The petition argued that such a bar on Muslim women was “violative of Article 44 of the Constitution of India, which encourages the State to secure a Uniform Civil Code for all citizens, by eliminating discrepancies between various personal laws currently in force in the country”.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-admits-plea-to-lift-ban-on-muslim-women-entering-mosques/article26852353.ece