Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism | Stuff.co.nz

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has entered shock guilty pleas, bringing relief to survivors and victims’ families.

Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.

He’d previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 2.

GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Fifty-one people died as a result of the March 15, 2019 attack.

Tarrant, who wore a grey prisoner sweater, was largely silent and emotionless throughout the hearing. He sat alone in a white room with a grey door at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo, where he’s held in maximum security.

The terrorist’s lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared via video-link from another court room.

Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism via AVL in the Christchurch High Court.

The names of all 51 people killed were read to Tarrant, before he was asked how he pleaded to the murder charges.

He replied: “Yes, guilty.”

The same process was followed for the attempted murder charges.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF
Terrorist Brenton Tarrant pictured at his first court appearance, the day after the mosque shootings.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody, but has not yet set a date for sentencing, when the summary of facts would be made public.

Few people knew of the special hearing, which was only scheduled late Wednesday, on the eve of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Six New Zealand journalists attended. Also in court were the imams from both targeted mosques. An-nur (Al Noor) imam Gamal Fouda was visibly upset as the guilty pleas were entered.

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Mustafa Boztas still has a fragment of a bullet inside him.

The hearing concluded at 10.30am, but the judge suppressed the outcome for an hour to allow victims, who were unaware of the hearing, to be notified.

The decision to hold the hearing amid the national state of emergency was not made lightly.

Earlier in the week Tarrant indicated to counsel that he might change his pleas. A formal request was made on Wednesday that the matter be brought before the court.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF
Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur.

Mander said both the Crown and defence asked to have the hearing expedited, despite the severe health restrictions.

The courts were considered an essential public service that was able to deal with “priority proceedings without compromising people’s health”.

The judge said he felt the court had the capacity to safely hear the matter by limiting the number of people in court. In total, 17 people were present.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the last year following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

It was regrettable the Covid-19 restrictions prevented victims from attending, he said, but the imams had been asked to be present to bear witness to the proceedings.

“It was my assessment that taking the defendant’s pleas at this time was the appropriate course in the circumstances,” Mander said.

“The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding, and I considered the need to take the opportunity to progress the matter was particularly acute coming as it has at a time when the risk of further delay as a result of Covid-19 was looming as realistic possibility.”

Mander said the defendant would not be sentenced before the court returned to normal operations.

The defendant had been remanded to a nominal date of May 1. It was hoped a sentencing date would be confirmed in the interim.

“It is fully anticipated that all who wish to attend court for the sentencing hearing will be able to do so in person.”  

On March 15 last year, Tarrant drove from his Dunedin home to Christchurch with an arsenal of guns and ammunition he’d amassed since moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2017.

The white supremacist entered Masjid An-nur (also known as the Al Noor Mosque) on Deans Ave as Friday prayers were beginning, about 1.40pm, and opened fire – killing and wounding dozens of people.

He then drove across town to the Linwood Mosque where he continued his shooting spree.

Tarrant was arrested a short time later after his car, a gold Subaru Outback, was rammed off the road by two police officers on Brougham St as he tried to make his way to a third target, though to be a mosque in Ashburton, where he planned to carry out another attack.

When police searched the vehicle they found several guns and petrol bombs.

NZ’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

In total, 51 people were killed in the terrorist attack, the worst mass shooting by an individual in New Zealand history.

Tarrant was the first person to be charged under NZ’s Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur, said he could not understand what caused Tarrant to change his plea.

“I’m both shocked and relieved. Shocked at the sudden change in plea, relieved that my family and I, along with other victims won’t have to relive it all through the courts.”

Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesman Tony Green said his immediate reaction was one of enormous relief and great gratitude.

“I think the victims will feel a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Our position has always been to let justice take its course, but a trial would have put a lot of pressure on our families. If you look at the anguish caused by the trial of Grace Millane’s killer you can see how bad it would be for 51 families.”

Mustafa Boztas, who lay on the ground inside the Masjid An-nur with a bullet in his leg, pretending to be dead, said from Turkey he always knew Tarrant would be found guilty. 

“I feel he basically played with our minds and emotionally upset us more for no reason.”

Boztas said he would have stayed in the country instead of going overseas if he’d known Tarrant was going to plead guilty. 

“While it can’t undo the damage it has brought upon our community and country, it gives me hope that this help bring not only justice but some closure to those touched by this event.

“To the families, I hope this brings you peace, and a sense that love can conquer hate. While this closes the criminal proceedings for the shootings, please know there is still a long way to go in recovery for some of us, so thank you for your continued support.”

Yasir Amin, whose father 67-year-old Muhammad Amin Nasir was shot in the back by the gunman shooting from his car, said the guilty pleas were good news.

“It’s good to avoid a trial because we would be reminded of everything, every day of the six week trial. We’ve avoided that mental torture and we’re not in a situation where the outcome is not 100 per cent sure.”

Nasir was to undergo another operation on Monday but the operation was postponed due to Covid-19 measures. He had spent two months in hospital after the shootings and had another 20-day stay in December.

“He is now doing well. He goes for walks and eats well.”

Just about every organ in his father’s body except his heart had been damaged by the shotgun pellets, Amin said.

Nasir was shot about 200 metres from the mosque on Deans Ave. The gunman drove past Amin and his father, who were walking to the mosque along the footpath, when he aimed a shotgun at them from his car. Both ran for their lives but Nasir was shot. Their plight was captured by a motel CCTV camera. 

‘HE’S GOT TO PAY THE TIME’

Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, had no idea about the plea until called by Stuff.

“I feel sorry he did the crime, but he’s got to pay the time now.”

She declined to comment further.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said support was ongoing for hundreds of victims who still need help coping with the trauma of the event and rebuilding their lives.

“We’re pleased victims no longer have to face the trauma of the trial.”

The victims had shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a heart-breaking, shocking and senseless tragedy, Tso said.

“They have our utmost respect and promise that we will be here for them for as long as they need us.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the pleas were a “significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days”.

“I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were “shattered” on March 15.

“These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and other witnesses, the ordeal of a trial,” she said.

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Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies

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Naira Marley
Naira Marley

…Why he’s dominating Nigeria’s music scene

By BENJAMIN NJOKU

The Nigerian music scene in recent times has been saturated with lots of talented music stars, who are redefining the space and creating their own buzz. One of such wave-making stars is Azeez Adeshina Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley.

Marley burst onto the country’s music space like ‘a colossus’ and suddenly stole the hearts and minds of many lovers of music in this part of the world. It still seems like the pop sensation dropped out of nowhere unto our collective music ears.

Before last year, not much was heard of the Agege-born rapper. Even after the release of his 2017 hit “Issa Goal”, which featured Olamide and Lil Kesh, Naira Marley was still not a name to be reckoned with in the Nigerian music scene. But it was after releasing his hit song, “Am I a Yahoo Boy” featuring popular musician Zlatan Ibile, where he alleged to have declared public support for internet fraud. Naira Marley became the name on everyone’s lips.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC had arrested him alongside Zlatan and three other persons. They slammed an 11- count charge bordering on credit card fraud, car theft and Cybercrime against Naira Marley. Thus started a legal battle that culminated in his detention for 35 days. Many believe the EFCC arrested him because of his alleged support for internet fraud and his claim that cybercrime is a form of reparation of the wealth stolen from Africa. That was the beginning of his journey to stardom.

While the trial lasted, the controversial singer was busy creating buzz on social media. His fans were not deterred from protesting against his arrest outside the EFCC headquarters in Lagos.

READ ALSO: Davido is the king of African music – Miraboi

Marley was quoted to have said in an interview that their rage was understandable. “Because they know the system. They knew what [the EFCC was] trying to do and they followed what happened. They knew I shouldn’t be getting arrested for what I’m saying. Freedom of speech! I should be allowed to be saying what I’m saying. But the EFCC said I was supporting fraud, because I said I have no problem with these people.”

Today, Marley remains one of the hottest artistes that have dominated the mainstream music chart in Nigeria and diaspora. His fan base has continued to increase on daily basis, just as he’s not free from troubles. Recall that in November, Marley set social media agog when he tweeted that a lady with a big butt was better than one with a Master’s degree. Few days later, the lewd singer alongside his siblings and cousins landed into another trouble after they were accused of stealing a car. But unfortunately, the court early this year dismissed the theft case and the singer walked away a free man.

Marley is a phenomenal singer who has a lot going for him. His journey from prince of Peckham to cult figure in Lagos, represents his evolution into a bonafide intercontinental rock star: selling out shows across Africa, and trailed intently both online and off by his mass of obsessive followers, called the ‘Marlians’.

Named after the Nigerian currency and known for his anti-establishment spirit and viral dance crazes, Marley’s wave connects the West African diaspora to their roots as he delivers his lines in a syrupy mixture of Yoruba and English.

Like Eedris Abdulkareem, Terry G and Bobrisky before him, Marley has been able to traverse between public hatred and adoration. On social media, he’s the most talked about Nigerian singer at the moment. While he’s yet to break into the international scene, Marley is currently enjoying the buzz he’s creating with his music back home. He’s in a lane of his own that politely ignores the commercialism of Afro-pop. To many, Marley is using his music to promote immorality and a generation of valueless youths, while to others, his music is awesome.

RnB singer, Asa described Marley’s music as “awesome.” Just as some twitter users once called out the ‘Puta’ hit maker after he declared that his songs can cure depression. They complained that his songs are noisy and senseless and “the only thing his songs can do is that it can cause depression rather than cure it.”

Since he burst onto the UK music scene in 2014, with Marry Juana, a song he wrote with his friend Ma Twigz, the Agege-born, Marley has been banging out hit after hit. In November 2019, the controversial singer sold out the almost 5000 capacity 02 Arena for Marlian Fest in three minutes. Tickets for the Marlian Fest which held on 30 December 2019 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotels, Lagos also sold out. There was chaos at the venue as fans tried to gain entrance into the concert.

But believe it or not, Marley is a singer you will hate to love. At present, the rapper is not just the rave of the moment, he is arguably the most popular artiste in Nigeria today. But the negative influence of Marley’s songs on the youths is unimaginable. This Marlian fever, like the era of Makossa has taken over the streets of Lagos and everywhere you go, men, women, the young and the old, the affluent and the poor are quick to claim they are Marlians with glee; and the buzz word “I am a Marlian” hits you like an unforgettable dream.

The lewd singer currently has a huge fan base. They call themselves Marlians. His songs and dance steps are inspiring a new generation of morally debased youths, who follow him around. It seems the youth would be his followers for a long time, except something serious is done. They revel in being “outsiders’, and as a trademark, they are disrespectful of rules and agents of law enforcement.

From the dance step, ‘Soapy,’ that has popularised the habit of masturbation to his off and on life inside prison to his recent dance step called ‘Tesumole,’ Naira Marley has continuously been a source of controversy and confusion in the Nigerian music scene.

It’s not for nothing that a clergyman, Chris Omashola, early this year took to his Twitter page, where he shared a series of prophecies concerning Nigeria. He warned that Marley is a demon and his music is inspired by demons, to destroy the youths in Nigeria.

“In 2020, God told me, Naira Marley is A Demon, He is Satanic and should repent before it’s too late. His songs are demonically inspired to destroy the Destiny of The Youths of this generation, Nigerian youths should desist from calling themselves Marlians. #ACOProphecies2020,” he tweeted.

Marley’s fans have since dismissed the clergyman’s warning, as they sent him threat messages; while he himself reacted by sharing screenshots of the pastor’s leaked sex tapes with an interesting caption. “To all Naira Marley’s fans aka Marlian. Please what’s your final judgment on this #NairaMarley and Apostle Chris Omashola case.” . Then on another occasion he tweeted: “Jesus never went to church.”

That’s not all, a certain mother reportedly cried out on social media after her teenage daughter was suspended from school for being part of a Marlian cult. According to the woman, the school caught over 25 girls who were members of the cult, including her daughter.

The teacher had found underwear in one of the girls’ bags and when she was questioned, she revealed that she was part of a cult whose members do not wear underwear to school on certain days.

It was, however, ascertained that the girls don’t wear pants, while the Marlian boys don’t wear belts.

However, it’s said that being a marlian has its ups and downs, from the rumoured beltless trousers for boys and underwear free girls who all believe in the marlian philosophy. You suddenly behold a boy next door who identifies himself as a Marlian, and ready to dance his Marley’s latest dance steps , ‘ Shaku shaku and Soapy (a demonstration of someone pleasuring him or herself through dance) and you are taken aback.

Despite the legal battle and the backlash against him, Marley’s fan base continues to rise., just as the singer is not relenting on his resolve to rule his world. On December 30, 2019, Marlians thronged the Eko hotel venue of the maiden edition of his headlining show, ‘Marlian Fest’ to keep a date with their music idol. While performing at the show, the singer announced his new record label, Marlian Records and resident presented the four artistes who are signed to his music imprint. He equally won his first major award at the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards, held at the Eko Convention Center, Lagos Nigeria.

The Marlian President beat Tiwa Savage (49-99), Chinko Ekun (Able God), Prince Kaybee (Banomoya), Shatta Wale (My Level), Burna Boy (On The Low), Rayvanny (Tetema), Zlatan (Zanku – Legwork) to clinch the award for Viewers’ Choice for his viral song Soapy. And it was a major boost to his music career. But one wonders how far Naira Marley can go in this journey?

The post Naira Marley soaring amidst controversies appeared first on Vanguard News.

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In the wake of Brexit, turns out racism is a very British thing

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On Brexit day, CBBC shared a video clip from its Horrible Histories programme on Twitter. Comedian Nish Kumar introduced the clip, which was intended to be a lighthearted history of “British things” aimed at children.

Unfortunately, some flag-waving Brexit fans didn’t respond too well to being told that tea, sugar, and cotton aren’t really British. Kumar received a racist backlash from people who clearly aren’t big on history:

Ooh Nish Kumar is trending. Let’s take a l-

*a tsunami of gammon washes through the screen

English supremacists are literally losing their shit at Nish for telling them where tea, sugar & cotton actually come from.

😂✊🏾❤pic.twitter.com/qqcUK93Zyf

— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) January 31, 2020

Even the likes of BBC presenter Andrew Neil joined in the pile-on. Meanwhile, blame for the video’s “anti-British” message fell squarely on Kumar, despite the fact that Kumar only introduced the clip. In fact, the clip itself has been around for a while and wasn’t even made for Brexit:

Interesting that nobody had an issue with this song when it was first shown in 2009… It’s almost as if they have a problem with Nish Kumar, not the message? 🧐 https://t.co/TZ2tieyXlX

— oh look another fool (@ElenaBjxrn) January 31, 2020

Your racism is showing

Much as many people at Brexit Day celebrations might argue that they aren’t racist, just proud of being British, their true colours keep showing. And they are, quite frankly, disgusting:

Nish Kumar was born in Wandsworth.

— rufa ratae (@rufaratae) January 31, 2020

it only ended slavery by spending a king’s ransome by buying off slave owners, learn some history before opening yer cake ‘ole https://t.co/10fp91wnRT #bloodyknowalls

— John Boocock (@JohnBoocock) January 31, 2020

Clearly, Brexit has emboldened those with racist views, which is obvious from the spike in racially-motivated hate crime in recent years. So the far-right leanings of some celebrating Brexit Day come as no surprise:

this is moment we left the EU last night from within parliament square. amongst 1000s of ppl there were sizeable pockets of far-right. lads with swastika neck tattoos, ppl singing “oh tommy tommy”+deification of nigel farage. a big moment that felt a little like a tipping point. pic.twitter.com/eX8jGyqiYm

— Ben Smoke (@bencsmoke) February 1, 2020

“Make Britain Great Again”

The nationalist lines of ‘getting our country back’ and ‘making Britain great again’ has an eerie echo of the Trump-supporting MAGA crowd in the US:

Peak Leavers’ interview. Watch and weep. 😖🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/gQsGLeZQME

🕷Mrs Miggins Esq (@MrsMigginsHere) January 31, 2020

Sadly, Kumar’s experience of racism in the wake of Brexit isn’t the only one. It’s just more visible because of its public nature. Meanwhile, everyday experiences of racism for People of Colour carry on in Brexit Britain:

A friend posted this on another social media platform, left overnight in her neighbourhood. pic.twitter.com/CuFHgr7uTn

— Dorothy Lepkowska (@DotLepkowska) January 31, 2020

Those celebrating Brexit are doing so because they got what they wanted. But if they want me or Kumar to go back to where we came from, there’s bad news. Britain may have left the EU, but people like us aren’t going anywhere.

Featured image via YouTube/CBBC

By Afroze Fatima Zaidi

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Ihedioha: Imo church leaders urge S/Court to review judgement

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* Removal an assault on democracy, rule of law– ADF

Dozens of church leaders in Imo State have called on the Supreme Court of Nigeria to review its judgement that voided the election of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of the state while declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma as the new governor.

This is just as the Working Committee of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has described the removal of Ihedioha as the Imo state governor by the Supreme Court as a mindless assault on Democracy and Rule of Law which is its foundation.

Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries (CRM) in Owerri, the state capital on Wednesday, Rt. Rev. Chidi Oparaojiaku who spoke on behalf of the church leaders under the auspices of the Concerned Church Leaders Forum, said the judgment ran “counter to the facts on ground and raises a lot of questions.”

Bishop Oparaojiaku, who doubles as the Anglican Bishop of Ohaji-Egbema, questioned the rationale upon which the Apex Court arrived at its judgment, warning that the judgment, ‘if not justified’, would set a bad precedent for the judiciary and democracy in the country.

The church leaders, therefore, urged the Supreme Court to review the judgment to ensure that justice was served in the overall interest of peace, unity, development and continued survival of democracy in the state and Nigeria in general.

Oparajiaku said, “it is not that Christian leaders hate the newly sworn-in Governor of Imo State who is undoubtedly an Imolite, but the judgment has raised a lot of unanswered questions.

“Where there is therefore any perceived act of injustice, we are morally authorized to speak out and question the modalities for the injustice.

“We are deeply worried about what will be the fate of future elections in Nigeria if the courts are allowed to use technicalities to subvert the will of the electorate.

“The general public, and especially Imolites will like to know how the Supreme Court arrived at the decision which plants injustice.

“In view of the above, we join millions of Nigerians to call on the Supreme Court of Nigeria to review that judgment; urge Imolites and all interest groups to ensure that only the way of peace, maturity and godliness is employed in handling this sensitive matter.”

In another development, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has said that it was not only rejecting the Supreme Court judgement that removed Ihedioha as governor but condemned the ruling of the judgement as a mindless assault on democracy and rule of law which is its foundation.

In a document issued by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala and Prof. Nath Aniekwu, president and secretary of ADF respectively, the group said, “It (the judgement) is, above all, an arrogant assault on the fundamental right of Imo people to decide those to whom they give their mandate to preside over their political affairs for the next four years”.

The statement said the ADF position was based on a number of factors surrounding the judgement, among which was “the technical and substantive impossibility of a candidate who came fourth in the election with just only 96,45 votes and came 4th in the Governorship Election would overtake every other candidate to defeat the number one candidate who scored 273, 404 votes.

“And this is a candidate whose Party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), did not win any seat in the State House of Assembly Election held simultaneously with the Presidential in the 2019 General Election.

“What is more, the manner in which the Justice Tanko-led Supreme Court judges did their on-the-spot calculations and came to their conclusion is so bizarre that one wonders whether this is happening in a normal human society or in Alice’s Wonderland.

“The Justice Tanko-led Supreme Court appears to be desperately keeping faith with the grand design for which Justice Tanko was brazenly fostered on the Nigerian Judiciary after Justice Onnoghen was hounded out of office.

“Our people in Imo State and the entre Igbo nation should regard the removal of the legitimately elected Governor of Imo State as a great assault on the Regional solidarity of Alaigbo, especially now that Regional cohesion is vital to the defense and security of Alaigbo from the invaders”.

The post Ihedioha: Imo church leaders urge S/Court to review judgement appeared first on TheNigerialawyer.

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Man Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church

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Martinez said he removed the flag because he didn’t believe the church should support the LGBTQ community since it is a house of worship.

Adolfo Martinez was Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church
Adolfo Martinez was Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church

A man has been sentenced to about 16 years after burning an LGBTQ flag hanging from a church in Iowa.

Adolfo Martinez, 30, was found guilty of stealing an LGBT banner that was being flown at Ames United Church of Christ. He then went to the Dangerous Curves Gentlemen’s Club and set the flag on fire outside the club.

Martinez said he removed the flag because he didn’t believe the church should support the LGBTQ community since it is a house of worship, the police report read.

On Wednesday, Martinez was sentenced to prison on convictions of committing a hate crime, third-degree arson in violation of individual rights and reckless use of fire as a habitual offender.

Adolfo Martinez did not fight the charges, saying he committed the act “intentionally”

Pastor Eileen Gebbie of the Ames United Church of Christ posted a statement on the church Facebook page saying the church did not press charges against Martinez.

LGBTQ Flag At Ames United Church of Christ
LGBTQ Flag At Ames United Church of Christ

Martinez told police that he lit the banner on fire with lighter fluid and a lighter, according to the Des-Moines Register.

The hate crime charges were added because Martinez is suspected of criminal mischief against someone’s property because of “what it represents as far as sexual orientation,” Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said.

He is the first person in the county to be convicted of a hate crime, she added.

Martinez faced a maximum of five years in prison for the hate crime and arson charge. He also faced a maximum of 13 months for the other charges, but because he is a habitual offender, he was eligible to be sentenced to a longer term.

Adolfo Martinez was Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church
Adolfo Martinez was Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church

“Basically, he was looking at three years but as soon as he opened his mouth and said ‘This is why I did it,’ he gave them the motivation of why it occurred and he turned it into a hate crime,” said Drake University Law Professor Bob Rigg.

Police Commander Jason Tuttle said the extra patrol was called because of social media posts protesting Martinez’ sentencing.

The post Man Sentenced To 16 Years in Prison for Burning LGBT/Gay Flag In Church appeared first on Believers Portal.

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BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention – PRNigeria News

BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention

Bayero University Kano (BUK) has emerged top four among world Universities in the just concluded Fall 2019 Peer-to-Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge.

The University emerged runner up after Masaryk University — (Czech Republic) – FakeScape, Middle East Technical University — (Turkey) – Kiz Basina, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (Philippines) – I AM MINDANAO, thereby defeating Haigazian University Lebenon, Lithuania Christian College International University, ABTI American University of Nigeria (AUN) and Lagos State University Nigeria, most of whom were defending champions.

This season, the top three teams will be presenting their campaigns at the end of March 2020 in Brussels, Belgium to a panel of senior leaders, policymakers and guests.

In an email to participating teams, the Programs Project Manager, Paige M. Blair stated that, “The variety, insight, and creativity of the campaigns this term were beyond impressive and made judging quite difficult. All schools are commended for the innovative ways they positively impacted their local communities.”

BUK’s campaign was themed “HeartUmight,” and it focused on ethnic based hate speeches as a bane on our collective unity and source of other divisive tendencies with a view to inspiring at risk youths and the silent majority into countering such narratives online.

As runner up to the finalists, BUK’s HeartUmight got a honorable mention from Facebook and a $500 Facebook Ad Credit to continue scaling their work online.

Speaking, the Faculty Coordinator of the program, Dr. Nura Ibrahim, who is also the Head of the Department of Information and Media Studies said, “We are glad we made impact and got recognized for the impact we made. Our long term aims were clearly mapped out from the outset and our vision is to create an online inclusive society where culture and diversity is unified.”

Also speaking, Dr. Muhammad Danja the Staff Adviser for the campaign and also a lecturer with the Department expressed enthusiasm about future of the campaign. “As a build up on our previous effort, we were able to look inwards and design ba campaign that will make impact, stand firm and scale up in line with the overall goal of the challenge, that was why we were able to defeat Haigazian and ABTI American University who were actually defending champions this term so I am optimistic we shall emerge finalist in our next outing.”

On his part, the team lead, Muhammad Dahiru Lawal a 300Level Student of the Department of Information and Media Studies explains that, “In planning our strategy for the Campaign, we discovered that apart from religious based hate speeches, ethnic based hate speech are basically the most dominant in our online trails as indicated by our research, hence we decided to design a campaign that is unifying.”

He further said that, “we had hoped to make the finalist but at least we made a difference by winning in our own way. This is not the end of the road.”
Facebook Global Digital Challenge, is geared towards making a social impact on internet behaviour especially as it involves posts and comments considered violent, debasing and inflammatory by the receiving party.

The P2P Challenge is sponsored by Facebook and managed by EdVenture Partners (EVP).

As at the end of the Fall 2018 term, the P2P Challenge has been implemented over 695 times at over 400 universities in 75 countries and 40 U.S. states. P2P has generated over 200 million combined online and offline impressions since its inception in spring 2015.

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El-Zakzaky followers attend church service in Zaria | P.M. News

Professor Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru, leader of the Shiite team with Vicar of the Church Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu

Members of detained Ibrahim El-ZakZaky’s Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly called Shiites on Wednesday attended a Christmas Church service at Church of the Advent, Samaru, Zaria, bearing gifts.

After the service, the leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said they came to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

“We came to celebrate the Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.

“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.

“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to breach this gap, so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.

Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred, saying that religion was not all about hate but a means of bonding people together.

“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.

“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure a united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.

The Vicar of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu expressed appreciation for the visit and urged the visitors to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.

“In fact, I am so exited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.

“When we first got the news of their coming, I was just so overwhelmed and I said I can’t wait for that day to come. Behold the day has come, the visit had really gladdened our hearts,” he said.

According to him, the visit shows that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.

“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.

“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.

“Is just share of misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.

“Here I am in Samaru, I come from Southern Kaduna, some of our friends come from the East and some of you who are Northerners are also living in other parts of Nigeria, if there is no peace how do we live like that?,” he asked.

He observed that the occasion had opened a door for people to know that Nigerians have brighter opportunity to live peace with one another.

Sa’idu said that attending Church service by Muslims was not unusual in other countries, saying that in other countries Muslims, Christians another religious groups do their celebrations together.

“I pray this has broken the jinx that we can begin to live together, Muslims attend Christian functions, Christians attend Muslims functions like that we will be happy.

“My message to Nigerians is that let’s copy what these brothers and sisters have done and truly this visit has encouraged me that I have a friend in you, in this man and all of you.

“This implies that I can go to this person, I can go to that person and I will tell my problems and you can attend to me, if we learn to do this, I tell you in the next 10, 20 years, there will be no religious fight.

“Those who ignite crisis for their selfish aims and they leave us to kill and destroy one another but now that we are here for peace we all love one another,” he said.

The visitors presented a gift to the Church as a sign of love

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El-Zakzaky’s Shiites Group Attends Church Service, Presents Gift On Christmas Day

person

Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly called Shiites on Wednesday attended a Christmas Church service in some parts of northern Nigeria.

At different Church of the Advent, Samaru, Zaria, shortly after the service, the leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said the essence of attending the service was to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

The service was conducted at the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria, Church of the Advent, Samaru, Kaduna State.

We came to celebrate Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers, and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.

“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.

“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to breach this gap, so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.

Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred, saying that religion was not all about hate but a means of bonding people together.

You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.

“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.
The Vica of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu expressed appreciation for the visit and urged the visitors to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.

“In fact, I am so excited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.

“When we first got the news of their coming, I was just so overwhelmed and I said I can’t wait for that day to come, here am beheld the day has come, the visit had really gladdened our hearts,” he said.

According to him, the visit shows that Nigerians are looking for peace, and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.

So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.
“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.

“ Is just share of a misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.

“Here I am in Samaru, I come from Southern Kaduna, some of our friends come from the East and some of you who are Northerners are also living in other parts of Nigeria, if there is no peace how do we live like that?” he asked.

He observed that the occasion had opened a door for people to know that Nigerians have a brighter opportunity to live peacefully with one another.

Sa’idu said that attending Church service by Muslims was not unusual in other countries, saying that in other countries Muslims, Christians other religious groups do their celebrations together.

I pray this has broken the jinx that we can begin to live together, Muslims attend Christian functions, Christians attend Muslim functions like that we will be happy.

“My message to Nigerians is that let’s copy what these brothers and sisters have done and truly this visit has encouraged me that I have a friend in you, in this man and all of you.

“This implies that I can go to this person, I can go to that person and I will tell my problems and you can attend to me, if we learn to do this, I tell you in the next 10, 20 years, there will be no religious fight.

“Those who ignite crisis for their selfish aims, and they leave us to kill and destroy one another but now that we are here for peace we all love one another,” he said.

Naija News observed that the group members in other states paid similar visits as they presented gifts to the Churches as a sign of love.

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Christmas: El-Zakzaky Shiites group attends Church service, presents gift

Members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly called Shiites on Wednesday attended a Christmas Church service at Church of the Advent, Samaru, Zaria.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after the service, the leader of the team, Prof. Isa Hassan-Mshelgaru said the essence of attending the service was to promote love, tolerance and understanding among Nigerians.

The service was conducted at Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Diocese of Zaria, Church of the Advent, Samaru, Kaduna State.

“We came to celebrate the Christmas with fellow Christians here because we consider them as our brothers and we don’t have anything to give them than to come and celebrate this day with them.

“As they consider this day very important, we also consider it very important, we feel that we should come and visit them so that to clear some of the unnecessary imaginary boundaries that have been created.

“There are some imaginary boundaries that could not be seen that kept us far away from each other, so, we want to breach this gap, so that we come together as brothers and sisters living in the same country and same locality,” he said.

Hassan-Mshelgaru appealed to other Nigerians, whether Muslims, Christians or traditionalists to shun all forms of hatred, saying that religion was not all about hate but a means of bonding people together.

“You can be a Muslim, a Christian or a Traditionalist, always bear in mind that religion should be a platform for bringing people together not separating them.

“So, my appeal is that Nigerians should come together under the same umbrella as we live in the same country to ensure a united and formidable country envy of other nations,” he said.

The Vica of the Church, Rev. Isuwa Sa’idu expressed appreciation for the visit and urged the visitors to sustain the tempo for the good of the nation.

“In fact, I am so exited that they can think of a thing like this to come and visit us on Christmas Day celebration like this.

“When we first got the news of their coming, I was just so overwhelmed and I said I can’t wait for that day to come, here am behold the day has come, the visit had really gladden our hearts,” he said.

According to him, the visit shows that Nigerians are looking for peace and they are actually pursuing it and not just pursuing it with words but with action.

“So, their action of rising to come to visit us has shown that truly we have found that peace.

“Because Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and if everybody will behave like our friends and brothers, the Muslim Brothers, I don’t think we will have problems in this country.

“Is just share of misunderstanding of what we are and who we are and where we represent that we lack peace today, we can never stay part from each other, we must and under must live together.

READ ALSO: Shiites kick as El-Zakzaky, wife return to DSS custody

“Here I am in Samaru, I come from Southern Kaduna, some of our friends come from the East and some of you who are Northerners are also living in other parts of Nigeria, if there is no peace how do we live like that?,” he asked.

He observed that the occasion had opened a door for people to know that Nigerians have brighter opportunity to live peace with one another.

Sa’idu said that attending Church service by Muslims was not unusual in other countries, saying that in other countries Muslims, Christians another religious groups do their celebrations together.

“I pray this has broken the jinx that we can begin to live together, Muslims attend Christian functions, Christians attend Muslims functions like that we will be happy.

“My message to Nigerians is that let’s copy what these brothers and sisters have done and truly this visit has encouraged me that I have a friend in you, in this man and all of you.

“This implies that I can go to this person, I can go to that person and I will tell my problems and you can attend to me, if we learn to do this, I tell you in the next 10, 20 years, there will be no religious fight.

“Those who ignite crisis for their selfish aims and they leave us to kill and destroy one another but now that we are here for peace we all love one another,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visitors presented a gift to the Church as a sign of love.

(NAN)

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It Is Fake News – Spokesperson Reacts To Rumoured Death Of IBB

person
Ibrahim Badamasi Babagida
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida

Kassim Afegbua, spokesman of former Nigerian head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has dismissed rumours that the former Nigerian ruler has passed away.

Social media had been agog earlier with rumour that IBB had died following a report of an online news platform.

However, in a statement on Sunday, the spokesperson said the former head of state is alive and bubbling.

“It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead,” Afegbua said.

“The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling. He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December, 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion. He is full of life and in his characteristic bubbling mood.

Read Also: Hate Speech: Nigerians Can’t Be Gagged: IBB

“May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and hilltop of life, not humans. Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone some day and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarrsomeday May Allah forgive them.

“IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead. This is about the third time this year.

“We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern. May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind and long life. Amin.”

The post It Is Fake News – Spokesperson Reacts To Rumoured Death Of IBB appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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