Archive | June 2015

David Cameron Urges the EU to do more to send Mediterranean migrants back to their own countries as French President also opposes the EU quotas plan

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The British Prime Minister David Cameron, insisted that schemes to settle economic migrants in Europe would not “solve the problem”, the Prime Minister was speaking at a security conference, Globasec conference in Bratislava, Slovakia on Friday. Prime Minister Cameron said, EU leaders should work closely with governments in Africa to try to stop economic migrants attempting to cross the sea to Europe in the first place and those found to have crossed to Europe should be “returned safely” to their respective countries.

In his Speech, the Prime Minister said “We won’t resolve this crisis unless we do more to stop these people leaving their countries in the first place; until we break the link between boarding a boat and settling in Europe,”. The UK government believes that making it easy for people to settle in Europe is a recipe for more people to undertake such dangerous journey, so schemes of relocation don’t solve this problem.

Furthermore, David Cameron said Europe should adopt the Spanish model as that is what works. He said when the migrants arrived in their thousands in the Canary Island, the Spanish authorities works with countries people were coming from and travelling through. He said the Spanish government made sure they had the right police, coastguard, aid and governance resources to stop people taking the decision to leave. And they made sure that the economic migrants who did end up leaving were returned safely. We need to do the same on a larger scale”, Mr Cameron opined.

Meanwhile, the French President Francois Hollande also said, rather than the European commission imposing national quotas on member states, he thought commitments by individual EU member states offered a better way of resettling African and Middle Eastern migrants. “I do not think quotas make any sense for migration. I do not think it is the right method.” he said. President Hollande told a news conference held with the central European leaders in the Slovak capital Bratislava “we need to address the reasons that have led to and that have caused the migration,”

The European Commission wants the 40,000 asylum-seekers, mostly from Syria and Eritrea who reached Italy and Greece through the Mediterrean to be resettle in EU member States over the next two years, but the plan is divisive among member states as some countries  such as Germany, Sweden, Austria are in favour but others such as the UK, France, Irelan are against it.

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Nine (9) Great Goals to Set For This Year’s Ramadan

1. Eat, drink and be moderate

Almost all of us do it especially the Mbayens, the Tourays and Camaras, once Iftar time hits, they just keep plowing food and drink into their mouths till it’s hard for them to move afterwards. And those who do it, knows this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we’re supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let’s try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.

2. Give a Pound/Dollar/Euro/Dalasi a day in charity…or five or ten

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let’s open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a Pound/dollar/Dalasi a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it’s the intention that counts.

3. Memorize 4 new Surahs

Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you’ve started, you’ll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.

4. Go to Tarawih (Nafilla) prayers

Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan’s blessings. Don’t miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least once a week. Try to attend the completion of the Quran recitation for not only to hear part of the Quran’s recitation in prayer, but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.

5. Stop swearing and/or backbiting – with a special box

It’s hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone’s upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn’t the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we’ve got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.

Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.

At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you’ve backbitten the most against.

6. Call/email your relatives

You’d think that given the easy access to email, easy access to Viber, Whatsapp, Facebook etc. these days, we’d keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life’s “busyness.”

Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going. This does to apply to only those in the diaspora, but also to those in The Gambia or elsewhere.

7. Go on a technology diet

Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih (Nafilla). The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.

8. Read at least 5 minutes of Quran a day…just five, not less

Even if you feel you’ve got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.

9. Forgive everyone who has hurt you

Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid or adult? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it’s also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah’s forgiveness, shouldn’t we lesser beings forgive too?  If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.

Happy Ramadan !!!

Courtesy of IslamiCity.com

President Jammeh Please Judiciously Use Your Conscience and Ramadan to Release Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, Ebou Jobe, Yusupha Lowe and Amadou Sanneh Now

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Today is the eve of Ramadan, the Muslim month long of fasting, intensive prayer, spiritual cleansing and above all, time for mending differences between people and their neighbours and communities. We at Gambia Voices would like to seize this opportunity to call on you, President Yahya Jammeh to release all political prisoners and abductees that are in your custody at present. Yusupha Lowe is an innocent boy who deserved to be in a classroom than in detention. Suppose the allegations against Yusupha’s father, Bai Lowe are true, the most appropriate thing to do is seek for his arrest and extradition to face trial in The Gambia, however, arresting an innocent child for alleged crimes of his father is the worst of crimes that anyone can commit.

Meanwhile, Yahya, detaining Alhagie Mamut Ceesay And Ebou Jobe incommunicado for this long without charge or trial will only serve to alienate you and your regime further but will not help you in any shape or form. These people are from a family just like everyone else and they have a family just like you, so by detaining them without their families knowing their whereabouts, is everyday torture to not only the detainees but to their families, friends and love ones alike. You might have a better way to suppress your conscience than many of us, but you do have a conscience, why can’t you use your conscience to guide your behaviours and actions. Many times you defended most of your actions based on Islamic principles or teachings such as your execution of 9 prisoners nearly two years ago, your asylum to the ethnic Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar etc, why not take advantage of the same Islamic teachings or principles and free Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, Ebou Jobe and Yusupha Lowe.

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Furthermore, Amadou Sanneh the former accountant general of the Gambia and UDP treasurer has been sentenced to 5 years in prison with hard labour for only communicating with an external news outlet. Mr Yahya Jammeh again we challenge you to judiciously use this forthcoming blessed month of Ramadan and your conscience to free Amadou Sanneh. Just like Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, Ebou Jobe and Yusupha Lowe, Amadou Sanneh has a family that need him most and by locking him in prison just because you have temporal powers to do so is contrary to the Islam you always used to base your actions on. Meanwhile, we would also call on your wife Zinab Suma Jammeh, to seize this moment and speak to you to release these people now. It has been said a wise woman knows the importance of speaking life into her man, if you love him, believe in him, encourage him to release Alhagie Mamut Ceesay, Ebou Jobe, Yusupha Lowe and Amadou Sanneh now so that everyone including you can be at PEACE. Ramadan Mubarak from Gambia Voices to every Muslim in the world.

EU Discussing The Migrant Tragedy in Luxembourg, While African Leaders Continued to be Silenced On Their Own Failures

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The UK Home Office Secretary Theresa May has joined her EU counterparts in Luxembourg in discussing how to respond to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, with Italy threatening a strong response if no deal is reached. A plan to distribute asylum seekers within the 28 EU member states is the major discussing point at the talks in Luxembourg. The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has given an ultimatum to the EU and said without agreement Italy would adopt a “Plan B” that would “hurt” Europe.

The French government has accused the Italian government of disrespecting the Dublin agreement which says, the EU country where migrants first arrive should deal with their asylum claims, but the Italian government argued that the migrant used Italy as a transit point. The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said “we have to build solidarity for our Italian friends, and they have to build responsibility”. Responsibility, he explained, must include “organising the return of irregular migrants”.

The migrant, mostly from Sub Saharan Africa, Syrian, Sudan and Eritrea have been prevented from entering France, UK and Denmark.  Dozens of migrants have been removed from their camps near the French border by the Italian police as the police in riot gear forcibly shoved some of them onto buses and took them away from Ventimiglia, not far from French Riviera resorts.

This year alone 1800 people have been estimated to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while seeking to reach Europe, a 20-fold increase compared to the same period last year. Some EU member states such as Italy, Greece, Germany and Austria favour a deal to share more than 60,000 asylum seekers across 28 EU nations, however, countries such as the UK, Ireland and Denmark are against that plan and they argue that asylum seekers should not be forced to resettle in a country against their will.

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Meanwhile, the African leaders who met at the just concluded 25th African Union summit in South Africa have failed to discuss the migrant crisis as most of them are fearful of offending their fellow AU members. Also, due to the fact most African countries are guilty of human rights violations and economic crimes in their countries they have no appetite to discuss the worst human tragedy since the colonial era. However, The Gambian dictator has accused the EU for deliberately killing some of the African migrants and has threatened to sue the EU to International Criminal Court at the Hague. Most analysts said, because Jammeh is an attention seeker that threat is one of those tactics he used to divert attention from his own human rights violations in The Gambia.