Trump’s Immigration Ban


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(The omission was too glaring and that simply add to the unfairness of the whole affair. Image source: http://www.slate.com)

Well, it finally happened – that “The Apprentice” guy, Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States of America on 20th January 2017.

So it was not a big surprise when he decided to “shake” things down once he had officially taken office – he have been talking about throughout his election campaign. And that includes his promise to build the wall against Mexico (funding aside) and stopping people from certain countries entering the country.

President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”

The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

(Source)

The funny part of the whole affair is that the Iranian Government seems to be very upset that they have been listed under the list of countries to be banned from entering the US. It is funny because the Iranian Government had always perceived US as the Great Satan. So if the Great Satan is stopping your people from entering it’s Hell, why you get upset? Anyway it is just something for your thoughts.

Noticeably there were some countries missing from the immigration ban.

US-based researcher Arif Jamal argues that President Donald Trump cannot defeat radical Islam by excluding Saudi Arabia and Pakistan from his contentious move barring US entry to people from some Muslim nations.

On the contrary, all major terrorist groups that have attacked the United States and other Western countries over the past couple of decades – from al Qaeda to the Taliban to the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) – can trace their roots back to Sunni-led countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar. But conspicuously these countries didn’t make the list.

(Source)

Well, I can see where Trump is coming from and how the recent terrorist attacks in Europe may have shaped this policy. After all, before he signed off the order, he did called the German Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘insane’ for her immigration decisions. But are the ban valid?

Mail Online has analysed all the terrorist attacks in Europe, including Turkey, since 9/11.

No individuals from five of the countries on the list – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – had been linked to any terrorist attacks in Europe in the last 15 years, although some could be linked to Islamist bases and training camps in Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Raffaello Pantucci, a counter-terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told Mail Online: ‘Most terrorist attacks in America are carried out by Americans.

(Source)

terrorist-list-malaysia

(In this 2011 Department of Homeland Security report, Malaysia is listed as a “Specially Designated Country”. SDC are countries that have shown a tendency to promote, produce or protect terrorist organisations or their members. Image source: OutSyed The Box)

We can breathe in relief that Malaysia is not in the immediate Trump’s list of banned countries. However it may change if we do not keep extremism in check.

Police neutralised 14 attempted terrorist attacks in 2016

Malaysians were given a reality check when the first ever Islamic State-orchestrated attack hit Malaysian soil on June 28 when a hand grenade was hurled at an entertainment outlet in Puchong, resulting in eight people injured.

However, Malaysians know little about the behind-the-scene pre-emptive actions taken by the police that foiled at least 14 planned terror attacks in Malaysia by IS militants, said a senior anti-terrorism official.

Security officials were reluctant to share details of the attempted attacks due to the sensitive nature of the information.

(Source)

Kudos to the police for their hard work and diligence in crushing terrorist attacks in this country. However the headlines “Police neutralised 14 attempted terrorist attacks in 2016” is very worrying. Who knows the number of terrorist attacks that did not take place because of a lost opportunity or the terrorists changed their mind at the last minute or they have a different objective & location to terrorise.

It is not a secret (and the world knows this too) that there are plenty of Malaysians in Syria fighting for the ISIS and they have threatened to unleash the same acts of terrorism in this country. News of ISIS sympathizers or agents being caught by the police have become a norm these days.

Then we have people like Zakir Naik who is on the run from his home country, coming into this country freely and doing public sermons.

Fugitive televangelist Dr Zakir Naik will be delivering a Friday sermon in Perlis on February 10, according to a poster shared by the state’s mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin yesterday

Last month, Dr Zakir visited a private Islamic-centric university in Shah Alam, Selangor, which is also under investigation for radical teachings after two students were arrested on suspicion of being Islamic State recruits planning a terror attack locally.

Although a fugitive in India, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the controversial Islamic preacher is free to travel in Malaysia because he is not on the terror list here.

He has been reported by several Indian newspapers to be on the run to avoid prosecution in India.

The Salafist preacher has also been banned from several countries like Bangladesh, Canada and the UK.

(Source)

Frankly speaking, there is nothing wrong in bringing foreign speakers for sermons and religion functions. And I say that it does not only happens for Muslims but also other religions. In fact, we have Hindu gurus and priests, Buddhist monks and Christian preachers (some of them super rich) coming to this country on a regular basis and devotees signs up for such sermons / religion talks months upfront. Religion is a very big and profitable business nowadays. So I don’t really see a fuss and the logic of my fellow Malaysians questioning foreigners coming to the country for sermons. Sometimes it is good to get out from our comfort zone and get a different perspective of religion from outside experts aka holy men.

But when you have someone who is not only banned and wanted for links with terrorism in other countries (including Bangladesh – a Muslim majority country), one need to exercise great caution.

Just watch this talk by Zakir Naik who questions the propagation of faith (in forms of allowing places of religion to be built) by non Muslims. This kind of talk does not fit a multi racial, religion model country like Malaysia. In fact, it works against it and makes one Malaysian to look at fellow Malaysians as a threat due to different faith & beliefs. It sows the seeds of disunity and intolerance. We need more avenues to unite us and not foreigners who will disunite us even more.

In this video, using a very bad example of a maths teacher, he claims that only in his own religion, the computation is correct i.e. 2 + 2 = 4 whilst all other religion will compute wrongly. But does it really happens that way? All religion teaches one to be tolerant and exercising good behaviors. To shoot down other’s religion does not necessarily elevates your own religion – I have always said this.

Every religion have their share of extremism as well but it does not mean it is wrong (or evil). At the end of the day, it all depends on how you use religion in your daily life and religion is something that should be personal and ends there. So it is not right to say that “I am right, you are wrong” when it comes to something personal. In fact, the more you talk bad about others, it will back fire and will cause others to look at religion as something intolerant, rigid and enforces compulsion when it should be the other around. And if you claim that others have failed religion, why then they have a very prosperous and matured society? It is the same case where Iranians for ages have labelled the US as the Great Satan but get upset when the same Great Satan closes its doors.

We already have “funny but disbelief” incidents such as the protest that forced a church to take down a sign of cross back in 2015 (the excuse for the protest – the cross will confuse Muslims). Are you saying that Muslims in this country had never seen a cross before and all the sudden, one fine morning, they wake up and seeing it for the first time and it will confuse them? It sounds dumb, right? But interestingly, that is very premise that smooth talking preachers like Zakir Naik is doing in his talks and whilst the implications may not be so obvious but the outcome can be very grave indeed.

And then we also have a spew of misinformation and made up facts (yes, it called fiction) that is used rather sparingly to justify his talk on religion. Watch this video where Naik attacks Darwin and the notion of evolution and he simply wrongly quotes or uses wrong facts to show that he is correct (which is not the case):-

For someone who is not familiar with Darwinism or even have a good command of the English language, Zakir may sound like a God send angel with good information at his finger tips. Perhaps this is why at one point of time, Darwin’s book on the evolution was actually got banned? I don’t know. It is not a secret that science and religion is like water and oil – it does not mix that well but at the point when wrong information is used to justify someone interpretation of religion, it is dangerous and irresponsible.

Now looking back at President Trump’s decision to ban entry to a selected immigrants, it may sound harsh and cruel and unfair but think again, that itself should make others to wake up and look at the cause of the ban in the first place. And if it is unfair, then what are the other countries around the world is going to do about it? No Middle East country have come out in the open and made the commitment to take in the refugees and other immigrants in the droves – perhaps they should look into it now (they are nearer too). And talking about terrorism, banning entry is just one of the short term solution although it is a bad solution if implemented blindly and in general. They should have a proper solution in place and allow people are genuinely in need of help whilst identifying and stopping red flags and potential sleeper agents at their tracks.

One cannot run away from this – not at this age of human civilization.

All in the name of Religion


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(Personally I am not a true blue atheist but then again, religion for me is something personal between me and the Supreme Being and not to be imposed forcibly to anyone else. Quote source: http://www.thequotepedia.com)

Read these first:-

In the month of Ramadan this year, we are seeing and listening to things that hardly can be called as good and blessed religious activities.

First we had a couple of men throwing grenades into a crowd of people in a pub and although there were denials first, the IGP now have confirmed that it was indeed a terrorist attack.

Police have confirmed that the Movida night club bombing last week was the first ever successful IS attack on Malaysian soil.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the attack, which left eight people injured, was carried out by locals who were directly instructed by IS member Muhamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi from Syria.

“Since the attack on June 28 to July 1, we have arrested 15 people including the two men who threw the hand grenade,” he said.

It was confirmed that two of the 15 were also policemen

(Source)

And elsewhere around the world, there was more bloody news of acts committed in the name of religion.

A wave of suicide bombings hit three Saudi Arabian cities over a 24-hour period.

The attacks came on the heels of massive jihadi assaults in the Muslim world last week that have been been tied to ISIS; analysts believe that this string of assaults in Saudi Arabia could be the work of the terror group.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Two of the attacks failed but four people were killed in the third, all of which appear to be coordinated — targeting both Saudi security forces and Western interests.

(Source)

And before that, a good number of foreigners were gunned down in Dhaka and where suspects were once studying in Malaysia and the Government is considering bringing in more workers from Bangladesh – a recipe for disaster?

Bangladeshi police are continuing to investigate Friday’s deadly attack on a Dhaka cafe, amid shock at the elite background of most of the suspects.

They include the son of a government politician, along with university and elite public school students.

Twenty hostages, two policemen and six suspects were killed in the raid. One suspect was arrested.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attack but the government has denied this.

Nine Italians, seven Japanese, one US citizen and an Indian were killed in the 12-hour siege at the Holey Artisan cafe in the Gulshan neighbourhood. One Italian is unaccounted for.

(Source)

And there were more terror attack much nearer to Europe

Thirteen suspects, including 10 Turks, have been formally charged over the Istanbul airport suicide bombings, the deadliest of several attacks to strike Turkey’s biggest city this year, the Dogan news agency reported.

Turkish officials have pointed blame at the Islamic State jihadist group (IS) for Tuesday’s gun and bomb spree at Ataturk airport which left 45 people dead including 19 foreigners.

The suspects, who are in police custody, were charged with belonging to a terror group, homicide and endangering the unity of the state, Dogan reported, without providing the foreign suspects’ nationalities.

(Source)

It is time to be more alert and put priority on moderation, good understanding and tolerance between the many religions and races in this country. Hope the authorities are on high alert and dumb politicians (and little Napoleons who have too much free time on their hands) have come to their senses to ensure they don’t cause any problems with their foolish acts and words. After all, you just need an idiot and small spark for an uncontrollable forest fire.

Selamat Hari Raya and Happy Holidays all

9 / 11 – 10 Years On


(It may not be the same but the new World Trade Center will bring a closure and sense of new hopes for New Yorkers and with a memorial in between, keeping the thoughts of those who perished in the tragedy forever in our hearts. Image source: Wikipedia)

It has been 10 years and even now as we watched the 911 documentaries such as the award winning “102 Minutes that Changed America” last Sunday, seeing the planes hitting the Twin Towers, innocent office workers jumping down to the death to avoid the burning inferno in the inside and many more perish (some without any trace) when the towers collapsed.

The tragedy caused 2,996 deaths – innocent people from more than 90 countries (including Malaysia) and which included 343 brave firefighters from the New York City Fire Department who despite the dangers of fire, building collapsing and continued terrorists attack, continued to walk up the staircase to rescue the trapped ones and fight the blazing fire. The total deaths also included 292 people were killed at street level by burning debris and falling bodies of those who had jumped from the World Trade Center’s windows.

What a tragedy!

I still remember the day when I first heard about the tragedy 10 years ago – I was at the motorcycle parking bay, just parking my bike when a colleague of mine asked me whether I heard of the tragedy and then passed me the newspaper that showed the plane crashing into the building. As many Americans who were stood dumb-struck after the first plane struck the North Tower, I too stood dumb-struck seeing the photo on the front page. I could not believe it.

Conspiracy theories aside and no matter what the reasons that the hijackers may have had in crashing 4 planes down, it does not justify the killing of almost 3,000 innocent people. And now in place of the old World Trade Center, the new World Trade Center is being built. It is built to last another disaster and to ensure fatality kept to the minimum:-

  • New safety features will include 3 feet (91 cm) thick reinforced concrete walls for all stairwells, elevator shafts, risers, and sprinkler systems; extremely wide “emergency stairs”; a dedicated set of stairwells exclusively for the use of firefighters; and biological and chemical filters throughout its ventilation system.
  • At its closest point, West Street will be 65 feet (20 m) away. The windows on the side of the building facing in this direction will be equipped with specially tempered blast-resistant plastic, which will look nearly the same as the glass used in the other sides of the building
  • In addition to the protection offered by the reinforced, window-less base, a number of other design and security features are planned for the building. For example, all vehicles will be screened before they enter the site via the underground roadway, including for radioactive materials.
  • Visitors to the September 11 memorial will undergo an airport-style screening. 400 closed-circuit surveillance cameras will be placed in and around the trade center site.
  • Live feeds will be monitored around the clock by the NYPD, and a computer system will use “video analytic” computer software designed to detect potential threats like unattended bags and retrieve images based on descriptions of terror or other criminal suspects. New York City and Port Authority police will patrol the site
  • These skyscrapers have steel connections capable of redirecting the path of the upper floors’ load downward through other structural members if one should fail. And sprinkler supply lines have been located within an impact-resistant core–a major difference from the Twin Towers
  • In addition to designing wider staircases and building separate stairs for firefighters (a strategy borrowed from the British, who have long practiced this), architects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is pioneering an elevator-assisted exit system that would help people on the highest floors get out faster

(Facts sources: Wikipedia & Fast Company)

The 911 tragedy will remain one of the greatest human made tragedies in recent times and one that propelled the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Islamic extremist regime in Afghanistan and probably propelled events leading to the people’s uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

America as Government may have its fault – who doesn’t? Which country has perfect, good natured, forward thinking politicians in recent times? And its close relationship with Israel and its commitment and policies in the Middle East may be questionable by those working and living in the region but terrorist attacks in the name of religion remains evil and uncalled for – whether it is on an office tower in New York, USA or a fun bustling night club in Bali, Indonesia.

11 September 2001 will always be remembered…

Read Also

Names – 911 Memorial

What 9/11 Taught Us about Designing Skyscrapers