KSA needs 10,000 doctors
JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR
Published — Tuesday 18 November 2014
Saudi Arabia urgently requires at least 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses by the end of this year to run its public hospitals and health centers, according to a report issued by the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
Criticizing the health sector’s administrative and financial systems, the ministry said: “The centralized system often fails to take appropriate decisions at the right time.” It urged the Health Ministry to review these systems immediately.
The Ministry of Economy and Planning also stressed the need for 2,958 new health centers in various parts of the Kingdom, including 685 in the Riyadh region, 620 in the Makkah region and 43 in the Northern Border Province.
“The government’s target is to establish one health center per 7,000 people in each area,” the report said, adding that the new centers would be distributed according to the requirements of each region in the country.
Meanwhile, the Shoura Council’s health affairs committee has criticized the Health Ministry for poor health services. “There is a shortage of health services while citizens find it difficult to access these services,” it said.
A committee member, who requested anonymity, said the Shoura would call for increasing budget allocations for the health sector to meet the growing health requirements of citizens, including ICU services and medicines.
Street harassment of women on the rise
JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Women in Jeddah are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising trend of harassment and have urged the traffic police to be more vigilant in dispensing their duties considering that the reckless young men often chase taxis and cars with women passengers at high speeds posing a risk to fellow motorists and pedestrians.
Taxi drivers and women passengers regularly complain about this nuisance.
“I was taking a taxi to my workplace when suddenly a young man driving a Jeep began ramming the car from behind and ordered the taxi driver to pull over. I advised the taxi driver to change his route but it did not help and the man continued to follow and harass us,” said Farah Zaman.
She added that he finally swerved in front of the taxi blocking their path. “He began shouting at us to scare us and said that he would call the police, but before he could do so, I dialed 999 and called them myself. The police officer was very cooperative and asked me to look around to see if there was a police officer available,” said Zaman.
She explained that she was lucky to find a police officer after 10 minutes. The police officer told the young man to leave or risk arrest, she said.
Another victim, Sameera Zahrani, said that these unruly young men not only harass women on the streets, follow taxis and cars and terrify expatriate drivers but they also harass women pedestrians. Motorist Faroq Ali said: “These youth drive recklessly creating havoc on the roads which could result in terrible accidents or even death. However, as an expatriate, I am afraid to interfere.”
Tariq Abbasi, a visitor from the UK, told Arab News that he was shocked at seeing the way the youth chase women. He said: “We don’t expect this to happen in an Islamic country hosting the two holy cities. In fact, we haven’t seen such things happening on the streets of London.”
Vice president of the Social Science Forum organization and a social scientist, I. Hasan, said that the solution to the problem is to have the traffic police exercise more vigilance on Jeddah’s streets. “They should also be authorized to arrest anyone doing this obnoxious activity and there should be strict laws.”
He added that the “wasta system” should be eliminated as the guilty party takes advantage of its contacts with high officials to obtain a release without punishment.
He said that the guilty youth should stand trial and have the sentence read out to them in the presence of their parents, who should also be warned to reign in their sons or risk facing punishment themselves.
“Just as the traffic department is introducing a points system for reckless drivers, there should be one for youth who harass women where they stand to lose their driving license if they continue with the behavior,” he said. “Introducing stricter laws will certainly be a deterrent and the behavior will disappear with time,” he concluded.
Female harassment also takes place in malls which has resulted in some malls barring entry of young men at weekends.
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 23 Muharram 1436/17 November 2014
In 2011, East Africa suffered a spate of cross-border kidnappings. These took place between the Kenyan coastal region, populated by that country’s Muslim community in the main, and Somalia. Al-Shabab was fingered but the allegations were never proven. Nevertheless, due to the belief that Al-Shabab was guilty of the kidnappings, Kenyan authorities responded by unleashing its military forces to pursue the outfit for the first time, noted Ayesha Kajee.
More recently, subsequent research points to the possibility that it was the citizens of the United States of America, not Al-Shabab, that was behind those cross-border kidnappings. This discovery didn’t solicit an apology and probe from Nairobi nor did it spur Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime to address the issue with USA authorities, invade that nation, or hunt down and try the suspects. While politicians (including Kenyatta and his top brass) and the media conflate Al-Shabab with the entire community – Kenyan Muslims or people of Somali ancestry – that generalisation doesn’t apply to the West or its citizens.
Quoting revered and insightful journalist John Pilger, who recently argued that the Islamic State is a progeny of Washington and London – the Western establishment, Kajee drew links between such bodies and imperialism. “More so, I think that even groups such as Al-Shabab are also the progeny of a type of neo-imperialism, a type of neo-colonialism from those capitals.”
In an interview with Sabahul Khair, this political analyst and human rights activist, noted that Nairobi’s reaction to the kidnappings was what catalysed the response or retaliation on Kenyan soil.
“That began with small bombings, small incidents. It culminated, perhaps, in last year’s siege on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi which last for several days and left several people dead and many others wounded. That attack on Westgate has hardened attitudes – both amongst Kenyan Muslims and amongst non-Muslims in Kenya. Among, sort of, people who don’t know much about Islam,” Kajee said.
“Non-Muslim Kenyans have suddenly become very vehemently anti-Muslim, anti-Somali – almost xenophobic in many cases. This has not been helped by the way that the Kenyan government has reacted both politically and militarily. Militarily, of course, Kenyan forces are still part of the African Union Mission in Somalia. So, they are still seen as legitimate targets by Al-Shabab. Also in terms of security, the Kenyan police – after attacks such as Westgate, after the recent spate of bombings, after this recent killing of an Imam – what their modus operandi has been is to go into that area and essentially arrest anybody who looks Muslim or Somali to them,” she explained.
The analyst observed that Kenyan police target just about anybody, in the coastal region, regardless of age, gender, or, worse, whether the person was in the area at the time of the incident. The cleric in question is Sheikh Salim Bakari Mwarangi who was gunned down by two men on a motorbike last week in Mombasa, noted Kajee. In June, Sheikh Mohammed Idris, described as a peace activist, like Mwarangi, was shot dead after receiving death threats. Two months earlier, Imam Abubakar Shariff (aka Makaburi) was also killed in that East African country.
“In the last six to eight months, we’ve seen several killings of the Imams on both sides of the divide,” Kajee said, noting that some clerics – as with other members of the Muslim community – were vehemently anti-Shabab while others supported it, openly or otherwise. Much as the teachings of pro-Shabab clerics, like those of the outfit called Islamic State or Al-Qaeda, are said to be rooted in the Holy Book, the analyst argued that this was out of context.
Turning to the police service’s modus operandi has “hardened the attitudes of Kenyan Muslims and those Kenyans of Somali ancestry,” Kajee explained to Cii listeners. “These people feel that they are under siege, that they are targeted unfairly, they feel that the weight of the world is on their shoulders because every time something happens in Kenya they get blamed for it.”
Agencies | 23 Muharram 1436/17 November 2014
A global group of Ulama led by an influential Qatar-based Aalim have expressed “astonishment” at being designated a terrorist body by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a statement the International Union of Muslim Scholars urged the UAE to remove it from a list of 85 groups the country’s cabinet named on Saturday as terrorist organisations in a drive against what the country termed “terrorist crimes”.
The inclusion of the group was “not based on any analysis or investigation, whether legal, logical or rational”, said the statement, co-signed by the union’s chairman, Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
“The Union expresses its complete and extreme astonishment of its inclusion by the UAE among the terrorists groups and rejects this description completely,” said the group, which says it seeks to promote scholarship and awareness of Islam.
Other groups designated in the list included Nusra Front and the ISIL, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, several Shi’ite Muslim militant groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, with which Qaradawi is closely associated.
The list also includes a number of humanitarian, relief and Muslim community associations in the Arab world and the West.
The union said the UAE list ignored groups engaged in what it called “non-Islamic terrorism” against Muslims, saying this raised questions about the motives behind the designations.
The UAE action mirrors a move by Saudi Arabia in March that was seen as part of a campaign by the kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain to pressure Qatar to reduce its longstanding support for “Islamist” forces around the Middle East.
The U.S.-allied monarchies mistrust the Muslim Brotherhood because its doctrines challenge the principle of dynastic rule.
But quoted by the Middle East Eye, UK based commentator Anas Al-Tikriti voiced an anger that was echoed by several Muslims who were shocked by the release of the list.
“The fact that it piles together terrorist groups like Boko Haram and ISIL with think tanks and research centers who aren’t involved in political work and who espouse democratic principles belies any kind of rationality or logic,” Anas al-Tikriti, the former president of the Muslim Association of Britain said.
“Some of these organizations represent tens of thousands of people.
“Does the UAE mean to suggest there are tens of thousands of terrorists throughout the world from America, to Europe, to Africa?”
“Many of the listed names are there purely for political reasons,” said Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati human rights activist.
“The authorities here are abusing the hype of fighting terrorism to label peaceful, political groups and human rights organizations as terrorist organizations.”
“A list like this only makes real terrorists like ISIS look more powerful,” Mansoor said.
Adding civic organizations and terrorist groups in the same list was slammed by analysts and political experts who described the list as “very odd”.
The UAE blacklist included the names of several American and European Muslims organization like the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the Islamic Relief, a UK-registered charity that is working with the British government and Muslim Association of Britain.
“You have people from across the spectrum, some completely devoted to violence and some who don’t seem to be involved in violence at all,” Jin Walsh, a Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program in Boston, told Al Jazeera.
Two US-based groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society, were also included in the list, sending a shockwave among thousands of their members.
“The Muslim American Society was shocked to read news reports claiming that the United Arab Emirates has listed the Muslim American Society, along with numerous other organizations, as a terrorist organization,” the organization said in a statement .
“We have no dealings with the United Arab Emirates, and hence are perplexed by this news.”
“We are seeking clarification from the government of the United Arab Emirates about this shocking and bizarre report. There is absolutely no factual basis for the inclusion CAIR and other American and European civil rights and advocacy groups on this list,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) added.
“Like the rest of the mainstream institutions representing the American Muslim community, CAIR’s advocacy model is the antithesis of the narrative of violent extremists.”
Established in 1994, CAIR is a non-profit grassroots organization headquartered in Washington DC, with 35 offices and chapters across the US and Canada.
It strives to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.