Two L.A. gang members are apparently fighting for Syria’s Assad

March 3, 2014

 

Two Los Angeles gang members appear to have joined the flow of foreigners flocking to fight in Syria – in this instance, on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. In a video posted online, the two men boast that they are on the front lines and fire their guns in the direction of what they call “the enemigos.”

One of the men identifies himself as Creeper from the Sur-13 or Surenos, a loose affiliation of southern California gangs linked to the Mexican mafia. He rolls up his sleeves to show his gang tattoos and greets fellow gang members Capone-E and Crazy Loco.  The other says he is called Wino, and belongs to a gang called Westside Armenian Power. Members of the Armenian Christian minority in Syria are known to be staunch supporters of Assad.

The two men don’t reveal much about what they are doing or why they are fighting for Assad. “It’s Syria, homie, we’re in Syria, homie. … Frontline, homie, frontline, homie,” says Wino. “In Middle East, homie, in Syria, still gangbanging,” says Creeper, in comments typical of the 2 1/2-minute video.

Warning: the video, posted here, contains strong language. This version is provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, and contains subtitles.

It was also unclear whether they are U.S. citizens. So far, there have been no reported instances in which Americans have volunteered to fight in Syria on behalf of Assad, though at least 50 U.S. citizens are believed to have traveled there to join the rebels, according to congressional testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last month. Thousands of Arabs, Europeans and Sunni Muslims of other nationalities who have flooded into Syria, most of them joining radical Islamist groups.

Thousands of Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite Muslims are meanwhile reported to be fighting on the side of Assad’s government, as well as Iranians, some Russians and smaller numbers of Afghans, Pakistanis and other Arabs, making this a truly international war.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/03/03/two-l-a-gang-members-are-apparently-fighting-for-syrias-assad/

Shia-Sunni cemetery to open in the Greater Toronto Area in the fall

Toronto Star – January 31, 2011

A Shia-Sunni Muslim cemetery — the first of its kind in the GTA — is in the works in Richmond Hill, Ontario and could be operational by fall. The Shia and Sunni communities in the GTA bought the 14-hectare site at the southwest corner of Bethesda Sideroad and Leslie St., from Beth Olam Cemetery Corp., for $6.8 million, says Abdulhuq Ingar, who represents the Sunnis’ Islamic Society of Toronto.

The cemetery will cost about another $2 million in development and overhead costs, says Sabi Ahsan, a Shia Muslim who helped coordinate the deal, which he described as a “positive accomplishment” for the Shia and Sunni communities. The land had “become surplus” for the Beth Olam group, he says, which has other cemeteries. The Shia and Sunni Muslims will operate independently as part of the Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corp. and will share resources to minimize costs and maintain the property.

Most Muslims have been buried in sections of non-denominational cemeteries in the GTA, according to certain key requirements such as being buried within 24 hours of their death and having their body washed and buried in a shroud with their face turned toward Mecca. But because of traditional cemeteries’ operating hours, meeting some of those requirements has been problematic.

New Book Chronicles Heterogeneity of Canadian Muslims Through Photographs

Canada, a Photo Journey Among Muslims (Pandora Press, 2009) chronicles the three-quarters of a million Muslims in Canada and they come from across the world and all the varieties of Islam. Most are Sunni Muslims, but there are Shia, Sufi, Ismaili, and secular Muslims.