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Turkey Calls for Campaign against ‘Violence against Women’ While Honor Killings remain rampant

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 Feb 2015

The college in Udine has banned Muslim students from wearing headscarves. Muslim headscarf photo: Shutterstock


 Italian college bans Muslim headscarves

 Muslim Students Participate In Annual Hijab Day Challenge

 Children in Douma re-enact shocking ISIS execution in anti-Assad protest

 ISIS Women's Manifesto Praises Teenage Brides and Pious Housewives

 France debates ban on Muslim veils in universities

 Turkey’s president slams violence against women

 Afghan officials' tributes to Afghan female politician

 Syrian refugees swell ranks of Lebanon street children

 ‘Wife’ of German ISIS rapper spied on him for the FBI

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Turkey Calls For Campaign against ‘Violence against Women’ While Honor Killings Remain Rampant

17 Feb 2015

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced an “extensive campaign against violence against women across the country, in the aftermath of the brutal murder of a university student in an attempted rape on a public minibus.”

Three men, now in custody, have been accused of stabbing twenty-year-old Ozgecan Aslan to death, cutting off her hands while she was still alive (to make sure there was no DNA evidence on her fingernails—suggesting she fought back). Then, for good measure, they burned her body. Women are wearing black to mourn her murder. There are discussions underway about the death penalty for woman-murder.

However, violence against women in Turkey is not confined to stranger rape, stranger harassment, or stranger murder. On the contrary, intimate partner and family violence in terms of honor killings are rampant.

According to the Turkish Cultural Foundation, honor killing is similar to “domestic violence,” “knows no geographical boundaries…is not the preserve of any particular race,” but “emanates from cultural and not religious roots.” The report, based on a lecture delivered by Zulfi Livanelli, a member of the Turkish Parliament, notes that “domestic violence” is escalating in Europe—with no acknowledgement that honor killings in Europe– which may, wrongfully, be counted as incidents of domestic violence– are mainly committed by Muslims (from Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), and not by Jews, Hindus, or Christians.

An honor killing is not at all like “domestic violence;” it is a family conspiracy against a female member, usually a teenage daughter, for a range of alleged crimes: refusing to veil, veiling improperly, standing too close to a non-relative male, talking to a boy or a man on a cellphone, refusing an arranged marriage, choosing infidel friends or husbands, etc.

In 2009, when Turkey was attempting to join the European Union (EU), Turkish girls were forced to commit suicide rather than have their deaths appear as honor killing statistics. At that time, under Turkish law, honor killers “could get a reduced sentence claiming provocation.” Changing this law to ostensibly comply with European standards merely led to the forced suicide option and to a “spike” in honor killings, not only in rural Turkey, but in Istanbul.

In 2011, government figures suggested that honor killings increased “14-fold in seven years, hitting nearly 1,000 in the first seven months of 2009.” Turkish women’s rights activists insist that the “laws are not applied,” that the “police are unwilling or unable to help vulnerable women,” and that there “are not enough safe houses for women.” Some experts suggest that a too-rapid modernization coupled with rural immigration to modern cities account for the spike in Turkish honor killings.

Turkish Muslims in Europe have perpetrated a series of high-profile honor killings.

For example, Turkish-Kurd Fadime Sahindal chose a Swedish way of life. She wanted a “higher education” and chose a white Swedish boyfriend. Her parents considered her “a whore,” her brothers endlessly harassed her in public. Fadime took them to court, but was eventually forced to live in hiding. In 2002, her father finally found and shot Fadime to death. The Kurdish community in Sweden did not condemn him. “If a girl goes out with a boy without being married then she’s a whore” said Kamaran Shwan, chairman of the Kurdish Association in Malmo.

In 1996, Hatin Surucu, a fifteen-year-old Turkish German citizen, was forcibly married to her cousin in Turkey. In 1999, she returned to Berlin, where she had been born, together with her son. Hatin broke with her family, refused to wear the Muslim head scarf, and lived with her child in a hostel. She became an electrical engineer. She said she “simply wanted to live her life.” Hatin lodged frequent complaints with the Berlin police about her brothers’ threats to kill her.

In 2005, Hatin was shot and died choking on her own blood. A bus driver discovered the body and called the police. Hatin’s three brothers, aged eighteen to twenty-five, were arrested and formally charged with the murder.

In 2004, an eighteen-year-old Turkish woman, “Jasmin,” who was also a German citizen, narrowly escaped an arranged marriage to a wealthy Pakistani man who wanted to gain German residency and citizenship. Her parents stalked her at work. They threatened to kill her if she did not leave her job and agree to the marriage. A supervisor hid her for a week. Her parents cased the building. Co-workers did not call the police. (Since Jasmin was a minor, the police might have turned her over to her parents.) Friends helped her sneak out through the garage and escape to a shelter in Berlin. Jasmin said: “I’m not going to get married to somebody that I don’t know just because of my parents. I never even saw a picture.”

Jasmin escaped the arranged marriage, but she has lost her entire family and her freedom as well. Were she to surface and return to her family, she risks being murdered for her refusal.

The German government should prosecute honor killing perpetrators, accomplices, and collaborators to the full extent of the law. After a sentence has been served, these murderers should be deported. Western countries should not have the blood of Western-oriented girls and women on their hands.

As Turkey becomes more and more radically Islamic and as women are increasingly seen as unequal, different, subordinate, how does PM Davutoğlu plan to transform the honor-shame consciousness that traditionally follows this? How much of a budget will he allow for “safe houses,” and for the prosecution of honor killers?

Turkey needs a pro-Western, European Enlightenment-style revolution but, despite a large, secular and sophisticated population in Istanbul, that possibility seems more and more remote.



Italian college bans Muslim headscarves

17 Feb 2015

The headmaster of a college in Italy's Friuli-Venezia Giulia region has banned female Muslim students from wearing headscarves.

The move is intended to prevent further racial violence after several attacks against Muslim students at Malignini di Cervignano, a technical college in the province of Udine, Messaggero Veneto reported.

In one recent incident, an Egyptian student was hospitalized for seven days because of injuries sustained in an attack by an Italian friend following a row in class.                                     

In a circular issued last week, headmaster Aldo Duri said the college, which has a sizeable number of students of Arab origin, must promote values of "intolerance, respect and equality" and that "outward signs of religion can be seen as provocation".

"For example, the handkerchief or scarf that covers the hair and sometimes part of the face of Muslim girls. They are free to use it outside school, but not in class," he wrote, adding that the school is secular and any outward sign of any religion would not be tolerated.

The ban will take effect in all of the college's six sites across the area.

He also said he was concerned that further violence could be inspired by recent attacks by Islamic extremists in Europe.

"Friction and insults that were fairly innocent between the Islamic community and the natives are now loaded with new meaning," he was quoted by Trieste Prima as saying.



Muslim Students Participate In Annual Hijab Day Challenge

17 Feb 2015

The Muslim Student Association at UCSD hosted an event titled “Hijab: The Elephant in the Room” as part of Hijab Day on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Hijab Day was part of the organization’s Islam Awareness Week.

The event began in the morning on Library Walk. Members of the MSA invited students of all backgrounds to take the Hijab Challenge and wear a hijab for a day. Those who participated were invited to share their experiences at the event on Wednesday night.

The night began with a prayer for the three Muslim students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who were murdered on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The talk then transitioned into a discussion about the hijab and the difficulties Muslim women who wear the hijab face, which included speeches from Mamoon Syed and Marwa Abdullah. Abdullah spoke about her experience as a Muslim woman in the U.S. and recited a poem about why she wears the hijab.

After the speeches, girls who had participated in the Hijab Challenge shared their experiences of wearing the hijab for a day. Each of the participants described having a positive experience and reported experiencing a difference in the way others perceived them.

Revelle College junior Kacia Cameron, who participated in the challenge, told the UCSD Guardian that people treated her differently while she was wearing the hijab.

“I did notice a difference,” Cameron said. “[People] were either avoiding eye contact with me or they were staring.”

A Q&A session with Ismahan Warfa, an MSA alumna, and Syed followed the Hijab Challenge participants’ testimonials.

 At the end of the event, Ramsha Shakil, another member of the MSA, told the Guardian that the goal of the event was to raise awareness about what being a Muslim really means.

“I know a lot of people have misconceptions based on what the media says,” Shakil said.

MSA president Sammay Azhand told the Guardian what outcome he hoped for from Hijab Day.

“Just like in the name: to raise awareness because there are a lot of people on campus who really don’t know anything about Islam at all other than what they may have heard in the media,” Azhand said.

Azhand mentioned that Muslims have the tendency to think that others think badly of them. “But during this week, I’ve seen personally that there’s plenty of people who are super nice and honestly just don’t know,” Azhand said. “If you inform them a little bit, they get happy and they learn something.”

The MSA also hosted “Meet a Muslim” on Thursday, Feb. 12, and a sermon titled, “Umma Means Community” on Friday.



Children in Douma re-enact shocking ISIS execution in anti-Assad protest

17 Feb 2015

Syrian children - some apparently as young as three - have been pictured in orange jumpsuits, shut in a cage while a man holds a flaming torch, in scenes reminiscent of the recent ISIS execution of Jordanian pilot Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

But this was not another killing by ISIS militants - instead it was a demonstration by Syrian activists calling for President Bashar al-Assad's alleged atrocities to be likened to that of the militants – British newspaper The Daily Mail reported.

The shocking images show children in a cage, in among the rubble of bombed streets of the Syrian town of Douma, near Damascus, some holding banners that read: “Stop the killing of children.”

The protesters are raising awareness of Syrians living under siege - dying in airstrikes carried out by forces loyal to Assad. And they also have condemned the lack of action taken by the international community, compared to the fight against ISIS.

In the first 10 days of February, 55 women and children were killed (180 people over all) by regime airstrikes – according to the British-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Assad recently denied claims made by human rights groups against him of using barrel bombs against his own people.

Rebel groups have threatened to retaliate – stepping up rocket attacks against regime-held areas.

Scores of rebels have been killed as Assad-loyal forces launched a large-scale offensive in the last week. But the Syrian army have also suffered heavy losses – including 12 officers, the Daily Mail reported, citing Rami Abdulrahman of the SOHR, who uses sources on the ground to gather information.

And Abdulrahman warned: “Now the weather is better there will be Syrian air strikes. With the air strikes they will move forward.”

He explained that a 5,000-strong force of pro-government troops were involved in an offensive aimed at taking rebel-held land from rural areas southwest of Damascus to Deraa city to Quneitra.



ISIS Women's Manifesto Praises Teenage Brides and Pious Housewives

17 Feb 2015

"It is a propaganda piece that is part justification, part myth busting and recruitment tool, and part clarification of a woman’s role in the Islamic State."

ISIS is looking to recruit Muslim women to their cause, serving the group through marriage to their fighters. According to a manifesto attributed to the media wing of the Khanssaa Brigade, a female branch of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, girls can marry starting at the age of nine; girls considered "pure" will be married by 16 or 17.

The manifesto,“Women of the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study,” offers new insight into the life of women in the Islamic State. The document intends to“clarify the role of Muslim women and the life which is desired for them.”

Women, it unambiguously states, are homemakers and mothers, and should pursue a sedentary lifestyle.

“It is always preferable for a woman to remain hidden and veiled, to maintain society from behind this veil,” the manifesto says. It adds that girls should be educated from seven to 15 years old, with a focus on religion.

At more than 10,000 words long, the manifesto was circulated in Arabic this January and was recently translated into English by the the Quilliam Foundation, a U.K. based counterterrorism think tank.

Quilliam researcher Charlie Winter translated the original document and spoke to Syria Deeply about it, from its target audience to the vision of women in its self-styled Islamic caliphate.

Syria Deeply: Ten percent of the Islamic State’s foreign recruits are women. Why are women abandoning their lifestyles and joining its ranks?

Winter: It depends on where they’re coming from – different factors push different people. The overwhelming factor that drives people to find an ideology like the Islamic State appealing is a sense of disempowerment, and a perception that joining this group and becoming a founder member of a new state is the ultimate feeling of empowerment.

Syria Deeply: The text was widely distributed among its Arabic-speaking supporters. However, it was not picked up by Western jihadists, or the international media. Who was the target audience of the manifesto, and what was the objective of the manifesto?

Winter: The document is very clearly aimed at women in the Arabian Peninsula, not Western women. It gives a very different message from English-language recruitment propaganda. The document is tailored to the location, culture and grievances of a given area, particularly the Gulf region.

It didn’t get nearly the same amount of views as a recruitment video, because it takes a long time to read. It is a propaganda piece that is part justification, part myth busting and recruitment tool, and part clarification of a woman’s role in the Islamic State.

It’s another layer added to the many factors that are aimed at reinforcing the perception that the Islamic State is a legitimate caliphate, and that sharia law that it's upholding in Iraq and Syria is the right law and is divinely appointed.

We can’t mistake it for something that is similar to propaganda released by al-Hayat media, the official media arm of the Islamic State. The document was produced by a woman’s organization within the Islamic State, not an official arm. It’s not an official constitution that has been sanctified by Islamic State leadership, but it is an idealized version from within the Islamic State of what a woman’s role should be.

However, the references to Saudi Arabia suggest that the target audience can be narrowed down to women in Saudi Arabia more than anyone else. It’s a very strong condemnation of Saudi Arabia and its monarchy. It lays into the structure of the state there, and basically implies on multiple occasions that it’s morally bankrupt and hypocritical. These are sentiments that resonate with people in the region. It talks about specific incidents of people facing daily injustices, being taken to jail etc.

Syria Deeply: The document provides a lengthy rebuttal of the perils of Western civilization and Westernization. Throughout the document, the author attempts to convince the audience that it is a fundamental necessity for women to have a sedentary lifestyle. What is the role of women in the Islamic State?

Winter: It gives a lengthy rebuttal of “Western civilization” and universal human rights such as gender equality. Essentially the main problem, which the authors perceived was taking place in the West, was the fact that men, because they weren’t operating as God had appointed them to operate, weren’t being leaders and taking charge. Men weren’t presenting the right picture for Western women, which meant that gender roles got mixed up and the foundations of society collapsed.

The document encourages women to stay indoors and support society from behind. It talks about female teachers and doctors, but there are very narrowly defined provisions and circumstances where it is sometimes permissible for a woman to leave the house. The circumstances in which this is permitted are: a) if she is going to study theology; b) if she is a women’s doctor or teacher; c) if it has been ruled by fatwa that she must fight or engage in jihad because the situation of the ummah has become desperate, “as the women of Iraq and Chechnya did, with great sadness.”

However, the overwhelming important value a woman has is to bring up the next generation of jihadists. They are put on earth to bring up the next generations and to study religion. But again, when you ask what kind of religion they are asked to study, it's bits of theology, kalam and fiqh, which predominantly deal with women’s issues, so they are actually limiting the religion that women study to things that are focused mainly on women’s issues as well. It’s a limiting clarification of what women are supposed to do in society. But the prevailing sense throughout the document is that it’s not a bad thing that women are to have this sedentary lifestyle.

There is a strong undercurrent throughout the text itself of the fact that women are just as important as men. There is no disparity; they are equal in the eyes of God. It’s just that they are extremely limited in any role they play within the Islamic State and the daily workings of life.

The document makes it very clear that the role for women is to be limited from a very young age and that indoctrination begins very early for both male and female children. In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the most important age for education is right at the beginning, when you can instill ideological values within a child and set them on a path that they will have a great amount of difficulty deviating from in the future.

Throughout the Islamic State's education system, children are forced to, among other things, learn ISIS' version of the Koran, and their knowledge of the outside world is extremely limited. Lessons in religion will invariably be more in the lessons of the ideology of jihadism than in mainstream Islam.

Syria Deeply: One of the sections of the manifesto provides eyewitness accounts of women living in Raqqa and Mosul. How does it provide an idealized version of life there? Does it make any references to crimes committed by the Islamic State?

Winter: The case studies – eyewitness reports from Raqqa – gave the sense that there is a great muddling of cultures, people, ethnicities and languages from all around the world in Raqqa. It speaks about the mixing of cultures inside Raqqa, but I think culture will be immediately subjugated and replaced with jihadist values. It gives the sense that Raqqa is a haven for people to come to from around the world, to flee from injustice, and when they come there they will be immediately raised into a status in life where they enjoy nice living, brotherhood and sisterhood, and their neighbors will be people from around the world.

It’s an idealized and utopian view. It’s fairly reminiscent of the idea of a Muslim vanguard that is coming to change the world, and that the Muslims that commit to it are the most pious and pure. We have to remember it is a propaganda tool, so the picture given of Raqqa is an idealized one. We don’t hear anything about the people who aren’t willingly part of the Islamic State and its ideology, and are punished for crimes they don’t commit.



France debates ban on Muslim veils in universities

17 Feb 2015

The debate over wearing veils at public universities has resurfaced after reports of professors singling out women for wearing hijabs. Both politicians and the public are struggling to find a balance between French secularism and religious tolerance.

The issue of whether to let women wear scarves at university came into the spotlight earlier this month when a professor at the Paris XIII university said that he did not support “religious symbols in public places”, referring to a young woman wearing a hijab in his class. The professor was demoted for his comments.

In September, a professor at the Sorbonne asked a student if she would continue wearing “that thing” in class, indicating the young woman’s headscarf. The president of the Sorbonne later apologised for the professor’s comments.

The issues of religion and immigration has become even more pertinent in France after a series of attacks last month carried out by Muslim immigrants to France. In the aftermath of the attacks, which left 20 dead including the attackers, the question of what it means to be a French Muslim or both French and Jewish is on many people’s minds. In a recent speech at the Sorbonne, French President François Hollande called for a “secular teaching of religion” and said that France’s official secularism – or laïcité – “does not mean forgetting religion, or indeed being in conflict with religion”.

Last week, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), came out in support of even more restrictive measures on religious symbols in French public spaces, including an outright ban on veils in universities. This would be in addition to the ban already in place at public primary and secondary schools.

Some experts say that this is just a way for Sarkozy to appear more appealing to an electorate that may be increasingly wary of minority communities.

“This is political pandering to the electorate that might vote for the (far-right) National Front,” said John Bowen, a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, who specializes in the study of Islam.

New questions over integration

With the French presidential elections approaching and France still reeling after a series of attacks last month, new questions have arisen over how France integrates and assimilates its immigrant communities.

Party leader Marine le Pen’s National Front, which uses the slogan “The French Come First”, is becoming increasingly popular, and Sarkozy and the UMP are looking for ways to lure away some of her supporters.

Lydia Guirous, who is responsible for secular affairs at the UMP and author of the book “God is great and so is the Republic” (“Allah est Grand et la République aussi”), said in a press release that, “Secularism doesn’t have to stop at the university doors.”

“Like public schools, public universities need to be sanctified and need to be neutral,” said Guirous.

Home to about five million Muslims, the largest community in continental Europe, France has a contentious history with the hijab, the head covering worn by some Muslim women. In 2004, the country passed a law banning the hijab in state schools and in 2005 it passed a law banning the full Muslim veil.

Many saw it as an attack against freedom of expression and religious tolerance, while others saw it as a move aimed at promoting gender equality.

Sarkozy has made clear in the past his support for more restrictive measures concerning hijabs. In 2009, he stated that the full Muslim face covering, or niqab, is “not welcome” in the country. More recently, he declared that the UMP would have a meeting to discuss Islam.

'Imbecilic proposal'

Bowen says that the republic’s ideal of maintaining secularism is often misinterpreted and that the idea of a ban on veils at the university level is “insulting”.

“This is another in a series of moves drawing symbolic boundaries, saying, ‘You may be perfect citizens, but we’ll never stop reminding you that you’re not totally integrated’,” said Bowen.

But Bowen says measures like this will only reinforce the idea that minorities should remain among their own kind, rather than assimilating into the larger French community.

“There is no Muslim community, really. They all have different lives. But they are made into a community when the government creates these laws,” he said.

“The effect of these laws is to say to Muslims who are doing what they are supposed to be doing that, ‘You’re not real citizens’.”

Michel Tubiana, a lawyer and former president of the French Human Rights League, says he is against the idea.

“It’s an imbecilic proposal,” he said, particularly because it deals with “adult students”.

“Secularism doesn’t apply to university students, rather to the [policies of] professors and the university itself,” he said.



Turkey’s president slams violence against women

17 Feb 2015

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president described violence against women as the “bleeding wound” of the country after a woman was stabbed and beaten to death after trying to fight off a man trying to rape her.

Despite a surge in violence against women in Turkey last year, the particularly brutal, and public, attack on Ozgecan Aslan, 20, has become a rallying point, prompting protests and condemnation by politicians.

Police say she was travelling home on a minibus in the southeastern seaside province of Mersin on Wednesday when a man tried to rape her, according to reports carried widely in Turkish media.

When she retaliated with pepper spray, the suspect stabbed her and beat her to death with an iron bar before enlisting his father and a friend to help dispose of her body by burning it and dumping it in a river.

A 26-year-old man has been arrested with his accomplices, Hurriyet Daily News reported. Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment, police could give no more details.

Women nationwide have worn black in condemnation of the murder, posting photos on social media. The hashtag #sendeanlat, meaning “you tell us too” was trending globally on Sunday with women sharing stories of abuse on public transport. #OzgecanAslan continued to trend worldwide on Monday.

Several hundred minibuses in Diyarbakir in the southeast were adorned with black ribbons and carried Aslan’s photograph.

President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife called Aslan’s family on Saturday, when her funeral was held, and Erdogan’s two daughters have visited the family’s house, according to the pro-government Daily Sabah.



Afghan officials' tributes to Afghan female politician

17 Feb 2015

Afghan officials have been paying tribute to a prominent female politician who died on Sunday following a bomb attack.

Angeza Shinwari, a provincial councillor in eastern Nangarhar province, was an outspoken campaigner for women's rights.

President Ashraf Ghani called her death a "great loss".

Female politicians, professionals and activists are regularly targeted in Afghanistan.

"Angeza Shinwari was not just a woman, but voice of hundreds of thousands of women who are living out there with no voice heard and no opinions stated," tweeted Javid Faisal, the spokesman for Afghanistan's chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Ms Shinwari and no-one has been arrested.

She was badly injured in Nangarhar's provincial capital of Jalalabad last Tuesday when a bomb attached to her car exploded.

Her driver was killed and four others were injured.

Ms Shinwari was transferred to hospital in Kabul for treatment, but died around midnight on Sunday.

Zabihullah Zmaray, a fellow provincial council member, told the BBC that Ms Shinwari's injuries had been severe:

"She lost both her legs in the explosion and it's because of that that she lost a lot of blood," he said.

Brave voice

Ms Shinwari, who was in her early 30s, studied literature at Nangarhar university and worked as a teacher and a radio journalist before going into politics.

She was elected for a second term on the Nangarhar council only last year.

The BBC's reporter in Jalalabad, Babrak Miakhel, says she was regarded as a brave voice in the province and was a frequent presence at public gatherings of men and women where she spoke with confidence.

Ms Shinwari campaigned for women's rights, human rights and justice.

She spoke out against the phenomenon of 'opium brides' - the practice by some impoverished poppy farmers of selling female relatives to settle disputes or debts.

Her activism brought her enemies locally, Babrak Miakhel reports.

Ms Shinwari was also active on social media where friends and followers have been posting tributes.

The former director of the Afghan Women's Network, Samira Hamidi tweeted, "This is alarming all working women!".



Syrian refugees swell ranks of Lebanon street children

17 Feb 2015

BEIRUT - Syrian refugees make up the majority of children living and working on the streets of Lebanon, with many of them illiterate and surviving by begging, a study released Monday said.

The survey of 18 areas in Lebanon identified more than 1,500 children living and working on the street, although its authors said the real number nationwide could be three times higher.

The study comes as Syrian refugees in Lebanon struggle to make ends meet, nearly four years into the bloody conflict in their home country.

Lebanon has also been stretched by the influx of Syrians, who are competing with its four million citizens for limited resources.

Of the 1,510 children identified by the study, 73 percent were from Syria, including Palestinians who had been living in the war-torn country, the study found.

It is the first comprehensive study of children working in the street in Lebanon, though it did not cover child labour more broadly, which has also increased with the influx of Syrian refugees, more than half of whom are children.

The research, commissioned by Save the Children, UNICEF, the International Labour Organisation and the Lebanese labour ministry, found 42 percent of street children were illiterate.

A majority had never been to school and although 40 percent expressed a desire to learn, just three percent were attending classes and working on the streets.

Nearly 45 percent of the children were involved in begging, with another 37 percent sell items such as chewing gum, flowers and tissues.

Working an average of more than eight hours daily, the children reported earning just over $11 a day.

Most of those surveyed, 54 percent, were between 10 and 14 years old, but more than 25 percent were under the age of nine.

The report was released with videos featuring the testimony of street children voiced over animated drawings of their experiences.

“A lot of people mocked me, insulted me and beat me,” recalled 11-year-old Mustafa in one of the videos, describing his life selling flowers to raise money for his family back home.

“Once a drunk man came out of a pub and stabbed me in the arm with a knife,” he said.

“My favourite day was when I would go to the money transfer office to send money to my family in Syria.



‘Wife’ of German ISIS rapper spied on him for the FBI

17 Feb 2015

German-born former rapper Denis Cuspert, who recently featured in ISIS beheading videos, was being spied on for the FBI by a woman thought to be his wife, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Cuspert, who now goes by the name Abu Talha al-Amani, converted to Islam and travelled to Syria in 2013 to fight among the ranks of ISIS. The United States added him to a terror list last week.

The 39-year-old was reportedly being spied on by an unidentified woman who communicated critical information about the rapper and his ISIS colleagues to her handler, according to the German newspaper Bild.

The paper cited German and American intelligence sources as confirming the operation.

“We were already a long time in the bedrooms of the terrorists,” Bild quoted one German intelligence official as saying.

The former rapper was reportedly a womanizer in Germany, the newspaper claimed. He allegedly fathered three children with three women.

It was not clear if he "married" the woman spy, but Bild reported that “she informed her U.S. handler via secret methods on regular basis about ISIS activities. It was unclear how she transmitted the information to her handler,” Fox News reported.

The woman spy reportedly left Syria as ISIS began a hunt for infiltrators. She then escaped to Turkey, where she was arrested and was believed to be turned to the United States, the newspaper added.

The U.S. State Department said the German rapper is a sample of what ISIS looks for in recruits.

“Cuspert is emblematic of the type of foreign recruit ISIL seeks for its ranks -– individuals who have engaged in criminal activity in their home countries who then travel to Iraq and Syria to commit far worse crimes against the people of those countries.”

Cuspert joined ISIS in 2012 and has appeared in numerous videos from the group, including one in November “in which he appears holding a severed head he claims belongs to a man executed for opposing ISIL (ISIS),” the State Department said.

He has pledged an oath of loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and is allegedly a chief recruiter of German fighters.