Resources updated between Monday, February 22, 2016 and Sunday, February 28, 2016
February 27, 2016
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism in hundreds of Twitter posts.
Al-Watan online daily said Saturday that religious police in charge of monitoring social networks found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, ridiculing Quranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teachings fueled hostilities.
It says the 28-year-old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent, saying that what he wrote reflected his own beliefs and that he had the right to express them. The report did not name the man.
The court also fined him 20,000 riyals, about $5,300.
February 26, 2016
Two teenage girls accused of committing adultery have been stoned to death by Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria. Hasna, 17, and Madiha, 16, died following the assault in Deir ez-Zor city, eastern Syria.
The two men they were with identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed, escaped with 50 lashes in a public flogging.
The IS-led Sharia Court released a statement claiming the girls were seized in a house "with two strangers" - an act strictly forbidden under Islamic State's twisted interpretation of Islam. "The victims were accused of committing adultery with two older men, identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed," the source reported.
Local media activist Ahmed Ramadan told ARA News: "The execution took place in the Hamidiya district of Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday afternoon, where hundreds of people gathered to witness the stoning of the two young girls. The decision of the Sharia Court raised the anger of Deir ez-Zor's residents, who considered it unfair to kill the two girls by stoning and merely flog the men and set them free."
A fortnight ago, four women were raped by Isis (IS) fighters and then stoned to death for 'committing adultery'. The victims were arrested even though Isis militants are said to have caught them being abused during a raid in the city of Mosul. They were brought before a sharia court which ordered them to be publicly executed without giving any details about their alleged abusers.
Somali terrorists on Friday attacked a popular hotel and a nearby public garden in Mogadishu, the capital, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 25, witnesses and officials said.
The Shabab, an Islamist extremist group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Four Shabab militants were killed in the clash, security officials said.
Somali security officials said that the attack began when explosives loaded into at least two vehicles were detonated close to a security checkpoint near the garden, killing two guards.
Gunmen using another car bomb then attacked the SYL Hotel and tried to storm the building, but they were stopped by members of the security forces, according to the National Intelligence and Security Agency. A total of four militants were killed at the two sites, security officials said.
There were conflicting reports about the number of civilian casualties. With a large number of people suffering wounds from the explosions, the death toll could rise, officials said.
The garden, known as the Peace Garden, is a popular attraction in the capital, especially on Fridays, when families tend to visit. The hotel, which is not far from the presidential palace in Mogadishu, often draws government officials and business people for meetings.
On Thursday, the Shabab militants claimed responsibility for a mortar attack that was believed to have been aimed at the presidential palace but fell short, killing at least three civilians and wounding at least eight.
Mogadishu has been plagued by violence for decades, after Somalia's government collapsed in 1991. In recent years the city has struggled to enjoy something of a renaissance, attracting millions of dollars of new investment, which has helped build many hotels, restaurants and shops.
But the Shabab has not gone away. Assassinations and car bombings carried out by the group have become the city's steady background noise. Many of the biggest and most popular hotels have been bombed, and in recent months the Shabab have stepped up their attacks across Somalia. They have shot beachcombers at a seaside restaurant in Mogadishu and killed dozens of Kenyan soldiers at a rural army base.
Many analysts warn of a Shabab comeback and say that unless Somalia's leaders generate genuine popular support, the militants will be difficult to defeat. But Somalis widely suspect that their leaders are corrupt, which hinders the government's efforts to mobilize support.
February 24, 2016
ISIS Beheads 12 in Libya Document
February 23, 2016