Suicide bomber kills 40 at Iraq mosque

(Reuters) – At least 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi-ite Muslim funeral in a southern Iraqi town on Sunday.

The blast brought down the ceiling of the mosque in Mussayab, 60km (40 miles) south of the capital Baghdad. Police said some bodies were still trapped beneath the debris. At least 50 people were wounded.

Those inside had been mourning the death of a man killed a day earlier by militants.

“Until now, we are trying to retrieve bodies from under the debris. Most of the bodies were torn to pieces. Legs and hands were scattered on ground,” said a policeman at the scene.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the bombing, which is the latest in a spate of attacks targeting both Sunni and Shi’ite places of worship, particularly during funerals.

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Mayhem at the mosque:

A gripping dispatch from the cauldron of Cairo… as police storm holy site to evict Morsi supporters

Flashpoint: Riot police force their way into the al-Fath mosque yesterday, where hundreds of supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi were holed up following a vicious crackdown by the new regime

Flashpoint: Riot police force their way into the al-Fath mosque yesterday, where hundreds of supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi were holed up following a vicious crackdown by the new regime

Wherever you go in Cairo, you can see the minaret of the al-Fath mosque. It is a towering reminder  of the faith of the majority of Egypt’s people.

But yesterday its transformation into the epicentre of the turmoil ravaging the country’s political landscape was complete.

Security forces and gunmen traded fire as police attempted to storm the mosque in Ramses Square to remove the hundreds of supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi inside.

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Islamic militants kill 44 at mosque in Nigeria

nigeria mosque shooting

Muslim men belonging to a community of cattle merchants pray outside the Kara mosque, in the Ogun State of Nigeria, on October 26, 2012. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, August 12, 3:48 PM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic militants wearing army fatigues gunned down 44 people praying at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, while another 12 civilians died in an apparently simultaneous attack, security agents said Monday.Sunday’s attacks were the latest in a slew of violence blamed on religious extremists in this West African oil producer, where the radical Boko Haram group, which wants to oust the government and impose Islamic law, poses the greatest security threat in years.

It was not immediately clear why the Islamic Boko Haram would have killed worshipping Muslims, but the group has in the past attacked mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. Boko Haram also has attacked Christians outside churches and teachers and schoolchildren, as well as government and military targets.

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Court: Museum must be converted to mosque

Art experts alarmed at precedent of Turkish church

HagiaSophia

SOURCE

Art history experts are expressing alarm at a court ruling in Turkey that the 13th century Church of Hagia Sophia – which has been a museum and contains irreplaceable examples of its time period – must be converted to a mosque.

The situation has been detailed by the art experts at The Art Newspaper.

There, Andrew Finkel wrote that the famous structure in Trabzon, a city along the Black Sea, will be converted to a mosque following an extended battle over its use.

Finkel is alarmed, however, because “many in Turkey believe that the Church of Hagia Sophia is a stalking horse for the possible re-conversion of its more famous namesake in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia Museum.”

“A building covenanted as a mosque cannot be used for any other purpose,” Mazhar Yildirimham, of the General Directorate of Pious Foundations, said in the report. The organization made the claim that the structure is “an inalienable part of the foundation of Sultan Mehmed II,” who reportedly originally took over the church building and turned it into a mosque in 1462.

Yildirimham said in the report regarding the walls that are covered with Christian art, “There are modern techniques for masking the walls.”

The structure for the last 50 years has been run by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It also had been used as an arsenal and a cholera hospital in the mid 1900s.

It was rescued from dereliction, the report said, by experts from the University of Edinburgh who restored the original ground plan.

The Art Newspaper said Antony Eastmond, of England’s Courtauld Institute of Art, and an authority of the building, said, “This is the most complete surviving Byzantine structure; there is no 13th century monument like it.”

It’s not the only structure undergoing a remake, the report said.

“In January, Istanbul’s oldest surviving church, the fifth-century St. John Stoudios, which became the Imrahor Mosque in the 15th century before fire and earthquake left it in ruins, was transferred from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the General Directorate, which plans to rebuild it as a mosque.”

“Recent experience suggests that the directorate reconstructs mosques without regard for the millennia of history they contain,” the art report said.

At Jihad Watch, Islam expert Robert Spencer noted, “Islamic supremacists regard the pre-Islamic past of any Muslim country as worthless trash … not to be preserved for its archaeological value, but effaced as an insult to Islam.

“This is the same impulse that led to the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan,” he wrote.

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