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2 African-Americans Arrested At Starbucks Get An Apology From Police, CEO |RN

By ERRIN HAINES WHACK
Video by Wochit News 

PHILADELPHIA — Rashon Nelson initially brushed it off when the Starbucks manager told him he couldn’t use the restroom because he wasn’t a paying customer.

He thought nothing of it when he and his childhood friend and business partner, Donte Robinson, were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they hardly noticed when the police came into the coffee shop — until officers started walking in their direction.

“That’s when we knew she called the police on us,” Nelson told The Associated Press in the first interview by the two black men since video of their trespassing arrests April 12 touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling, or what has been dubbed “retail racism” or “shopping while black.”

Nelson and Robinson were led away in handcuffs from the shop in the city’s well-to-do Rittenhouse Square neighbourhood in an incident recorded on a white customer’s cell phone.Protestors demonstrate inside a Center City Starbucks, where two black men were arrested, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 16, 2018.           Arrest of two black men in Starbucks sparks protests

In the week since, the men have met with Starbucks’ apologetic CEO and have started pushing for lasting change at the coffee-shop chain, including new policies on discrimination and ejecting customers.

“We do want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody again,” Robinson said. “What if it wasn’t us sitting there? What if it was the kid that didn’t know somebody that knew somebody? Do they make it to jail? Do they die? What happens?”

On Thursday, they also got an apology from Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, a black man who at first staunchly defended his officers’ handling of the incident.

“I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law, and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said. “Words are very important.”

At a news conference, a sombre Ross said he “failed miserably” in addressing the arrests. He said that the issue of race is not lost on him and that he shouldn’t be the person making things worse. “Shame on me if, in any way, I’ve done that,” he said.

He also said the police department did not have a policy for dealing with such situations but does now, and it will be released soon.

In this Wednesday, April 18, 2018 photo, Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson, right, listen to a reporter's question during an interview with The Associated Press in Philadelphia. Their arrests at a local Starbucks quickly became a viral video and galvanized people around the country who saw the incident as modern-day racism. In the week since, Nelson and Robinson have met with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and are pushing for lasting changes to ensure that what happened to them doesn't happen to future patrons. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)© The Associated Press In this Wednesday, April 18, 2018 photo, Rashon Nelson, left, and Donte Robinson, right, listen to a reporter’s question during an interview with The Associated Press in Philadelphia. Their…

Nelson and Robinson said they went to the Starbucks to meet Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, over a potential real estate opportunity. Three officers showed up not long after. Nelson said they weren’t questioned but were told to leave immediately.

Yaffe showed up as the men were being handcuffed and could be seen in the video demanding an explanation for the officers’ actions. Nelson and Robinson did not resist arrest.

“When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?” Nelson said. “You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.”

It was not their first encounter with police. But neither had been arrested before, setting them apart from many of those they grew up with in their gritty southwest Philadelphia neighbourhood.

Nelson and Robinson spent hours in a jail cell and were released after midnight when the district attorney declined to prosecute them.

Nelson said he wondered if he’d make it home alive.

“Any time I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind,” Nelson said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Starbucks has said the coffee shop where the arrests occurred has a policy that restrooms are for paying customers only, but the company has no overall policy. The men’s attorney, Stewart Cohen, said they were illegally profiled.

The arrests prompted protests at the Starbucks and a national boycott. Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Seattle-based company, came to Philadelphia to meet with the men, called the arrests “reprehensible” and ordered more than 8,000 Starbucks stores closed on the afternoon of May 29 so that nearly 175,000 employees can receive training on unconscious bias.

Robinson said that he appreciates the public support but that anger and boycotting Starbucks are not the solution.

The men said they are looking for more lasting results and are in mediation with Starbucks to make changes, including the posting in stores of a customer bill of rights; the adoption of new policies on customer ejections and racial discrimination; and independent investigations of complaints.

“You go from being someone who’s just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens,” Nelson said. “How do you handle it? Do you stand up? Do you fight? Do you sit down and just watch everyone else fight for you? Do you let it slide like we let everything else slide with injustice?”   (AP)

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Nigerian Youths Expect Everything For Free – Buhari |The Republican News

buhari-in-Commonwealth

President Muhammadu Buhari

By Adekunle

Nigerian youths just want to sit down and do nothing, banking on the notion that Nigerian is an oil-rich nation President Muhammadu Buhari said.

Buhari speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster on Wednesday, also said a lot of Nigerian youths have not been to school and they want everything free.

“About the economy, we have a very young population, our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. This is a very conservative one,” Buhari said.

“More than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education for free.”

Recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in London held bilateral talks with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, where he demanded more influx of British companies and investments into Nigeria.

Buhari commended British companies; Unilever, Cadbury, and many others.

The President noted that the affected companies had stood with Nigeria through thick and thin, adding that the companies remained in Nigeria even when the country fought a civil war, they never left.

“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria.

“We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.’’

Buhari also briefed the Prime Minister on the strides in agriculture, which he said had put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.

“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture. We have cut rice importation by about 90 percent, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generating employment.

“People had rushed to the cities to get oil money at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land.

“We are making steady progress on the road to food security,’’ he said.

The President recalled that the All Progressives Congress-led government had campaigned on three major issues, to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.

According to him, as the 2019 general election approaches, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, while he is bothered more about security and the economy.

“We have elections next year, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy,’’ he stressed.

While recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, Buhari said “people ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward.

“It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now.’’

“It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now.’’

On education, Buhari said more investment was being made, because “people can look after themselves if well educated.

“In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.’’

On Climate change and environmental issues which came up for discussion at the meeting, Adesina said President Buhari brought up the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.

“The Lake Chad is now about 10 percent of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe.

“But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit.

“I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently.

“Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe,’’ the president stated.

Prime Minister May, in her remarks, said Britain would continue to work with Nigeria in the areas of training and equipping the military.

She was particular about the abduction of young schoolgirls by Boko Haram, noting that Britain would continue to give Nigeria needed assistance.

The Prime Minister said the Buhari administration had “been making good progress on the economy,’’ and urged it to maintain the focus, despite approaching elections and increase in political activities.

On education and climate change, she said “good grounding in education is good. It is important to equip young people for today’s world.

“It is also a good bastion and defence against modern slavery. The issue of the environment and climate change is very important, because of its impact on many countries in the Commonwealth.

“Stability at home is important to curb illegal migration.’’

The Prime Minister, who commended Buhari for the much he had been doing on improving trade and business for Nigeria, noted that it was also time to boost intra-Commonwealth trade.

(Source: Vanguard)

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“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’, Now Ready To Appear In Court |RN

Kyle Swenson
     © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post
On Nov. 14, 2004, as 6-year-old Alex Malarkey drove home with his father Kevin in rural Ohio, a left turn nearly took his life. As Kevin turned the car it collided with another vehicle, and the boy’s skull became completely detached from his spinal cord.But Alex did not die — and that’s the central fact behind a long-running controversy that has now led to a lawsuit.Two months after the crash, Alex emerged from a coma as a quadriplegic. The injured boy also began telling family and friends about travelling to heaven and meeting Jesus and Satan.

In July 2010, Kevin and Alex Malarkey penned an account of the boy’s religious experience, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.” The book was published by Tyndale House, a publisher of Christian books. It went on to reportedly move more than 1 million copies and spent months on the New York Times bestseller’s list. The book was part of a bumper crop of similarly geared narratives — tales of near-death experiences and brushes with the Almighty published by religious imprints.

Alex has also not received any of the revenue related to his story, the lawsuit alleges. © Social Media Alex has also not received any of the revenue related to his story, the lawsuit alleges.

Then it all fell apart. In January 2015, Alex, now paralyzed from the neck down, admitted he had fabricated the story.

“I did not die,” he wrote in a blog post. “I did not go to Heaven. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get my attention.”

The admission created a firestorm within the worlds of evangelical faith and Christian publishing. The controversy was revived this week when Alex — now 20 years old and living off Social Security — filed a lawsuit against Tyndale House in Illinois’s DuPage County, where the publisher is located. The complaint alleges Kevin Malarkey was the main actor behind the fabrication.

“Kevin Malarkey … concocted a story that, during the time Alex was in a coma, he had gone to Heaven, communicated with God the Father, Jesus, angels, and the devil, and then returned,” the complaint says. “Kevin Malarkey sold the concocted story, allegedly about Alex’s life and what Alex allegedly experienced, to one of the largest Christian publishers in the country.”

Alex has also not received any of the revenue related to his story, the lawsuit alleges.

This is Beth and Alex Malarkey                  © Social Media This is Beth and Alex Malarkey

When reached for comment, a Tyndale House representative told The Washington Post the publisher had just learned of the lawsuit on Tuesday and planned to release a response on Wednesday.

After the publication of “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” behind the scenes of the tremendous success, Alex’s distaste for the project was building. According to a 2015 report by the Guardian, Alex’s mother Beth had begun posting on a personal blog (now taken down) about inaccuracies in the book since at least 2011. The paper also cited emails showing the family had also told the publisher.

“Alex’s name and identity are being used against his wishes. … How can this be going on???” Beth wrote in April 2014 blog, The Washington Post reported at the time.  “Great question. … How did it get this far? … another great question.”

Following Alex’s blog post recanting his story, Tyndale House decided to “take the book and related ancillary products out of print,” a company spokesman told the Post.

“For the past couple of years we have known that Beth Malarkey, Kevin’s wife and Alex’s mother, was unhappy with the book and believed it contained inaccuracies,” another Tyndale representative told The Post. “On more than one occasion we asked for a meeting with Kevin, Beth, Alex and their agent to discuss and correct any inaccuracies, but Beth would not agree to such a meeting.”

Alex Malarkey, the little boy 'who came back from Heaven,' has admitted that he made it all up © Social Media Alex Malarkey, the little boy ‘who came back from Heaven,’ has admitted that he made it all up

According to his new lawsuit against the company, the legal action is a way of finally settling the matter.

“Now that he is an adult, Alex desires to have his name completely disassociated from the book and seeks a permanent injunction against Tyndale House requiring it to do everything within reason to disassociate his name from the book,” the complaint states. “Alex is not affiliated with the book. Alex is not connected to the book. Alex wants and has no association with the book.”

The lawsuit reaffirms that Alex’s holy sojourn was fantasy. “The portrayal of Alex’s near-death experience contained in the book is entirely false because Alex remembers absolutely nothing from the time he was in a coma. The core of the story is entirely false.”

But the complaint also alleges Tyndale House has not cooperated with Alex as he tries to solve the complicated legacy behind the book. Only Kevin Malarkey signed a publishing agreement for the book. This January, Alex’s attorneys wrote to Tyndale House asking for an “accounting of all revenue earned from, all expenses associated with, and all disbursements made in association with the publication of and sale of the book.”

‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ now wants his day in court © Social Media ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’ now wants his day in court

The publisher, however, only agreed to do so if Alex agreed the publishing agreement was “in effect and binding,” the lawsuit says.

“Alex has never been permitted to read the contract, nor to review any accountings provided under the contract, he refuses to acknowledge that the contract ‘is in effect and binding,’ now that he has reached the age of maturity,” the suit states.

Alex is suing the publisher on the grounds of defamation, financial exploitation, and publicity placing a person in a false light, among others.

“Despite the fact that Tyndale House has made millions of dollars off Alex’s identity and an alleged autobiographical story of his life, Tyndale House paid Alex, a paralyzed young man, nothing,” the lawsuit states.   (The Washington Post)

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IMF Forecasts Trouble Ahead As Solid Global Economic Growth Poised To Slow |RN

Andrew Mayeda
                 © Shutterstock 

The International Monetary Fund predicted the world economy’s strongest upswing since 2011 will continue for the next two years, but warned the seeds of its demise may have already been planted.

The fund on Tuesday left its forecasts for global growth this year and next at the 3.9 percent it estimated in January and raised its outlook for the U.S. as Republican tax cuts take effect.

Beyond that horizon, it was more pessimistic, projecting global growth will fade as central banks tighten monetary policy, the U.S. fiscal stimulus subsidies, and China’s gradual slowdown continues.

“Global growth is projected to soften beyond the next couple of years,” the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report. “Once their output gaps close, most advanced economies are poised to return to potential growth rates well below pre-crisis averages, held back by ageing populations and lacklustre productivity.”

The IMF warned the expansion could be derailed if countries resort to tit-for-tat trade sanctions.

“The first shots in a potential trade war have now been fired,” IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld said in a foreword to the fund’s outlook, reiterating the IMF’s warning earlier this month that the global trading order is in danger of being “torn apart.”

“Conflict could intensify if fiscal policies in the United States drive its trade deficit higher without action in Europe and Asia to reduce surpluses,” he said.

Maurice Obstfeld, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF, holds a press briefing on the World Economic Outlook at IMF Headquarters in Washington, DC© SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Image Maurice Obstfeld, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF, holds a press briefing on the World Economic Outlook at IMF Headquarters in…

In a press conference later Tuesday, Obstfeld called the current trade frictions “more of a phoney war,” referring to the period of limited conflict at the start of the Second World War. “There’s still room for countries to engage in a more multilateral set of discussions to take advantage of the set of dispute resolution mechanisms that are in place to avoid an intensification,” he said, adding that all countries would lose in a trade war.

Investors with $543 billion of assets are the least optimistic about global growth momentum since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Just 5 percent of money managers project the international economy to be stronger in the next 12 months, the lowest level since June 2016, according to the bank’s April survey. Underscoring diminished growth momentum, earnings expectations have peaked.

Good Times

a screenshot of a cell phone: Solid Growth            © Bloomberg Solid Growth

Governments should take advantage of the good times to make structural reforms and put in place tax policies that raise the potential output of their economies, Obstfeld said.

The IMF outlook is a reality check for finance ministers and central bankers from its 189 member countries as they gather this week in Washington for the fund’s annual spring meetings. President Donald Trump’s war of words with China over trade will be front and centre. The U.S. has threatened to slap tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods, while Beijing has vowed to retaliate in kind.

But the guardians of the global economy face challenges beyond trade, including the end of years of easy central-bank money and a world debt pile that has climbed to a record $164 trillion. Financial markets have been choppy this year, with U.S. stocks down slightly after a strong performance in 2017.

Broad Recovery

Globally, growth is being driven by a surge in business spending and a recovery in trade volumes, according to the IMF. Last year, the expansion covered two-thirds of countries, accounting for three-quarters of global output, making it the broadest upswing since 2010 when the world was coming out of the financial crisis.

But there are signs the synchronized recovery may be becoming a little more uneven, at least in the short term, with the U.S. charging ahead, fueled by tax cuts and government spending.

International Monetary Fund logo             © Reuters International Monetary Fund logo

 

The U.S. economy will grow 2.9 percent this year, the IMF said, up 0.2 percentage point from the fund’s forecast in January. The U.S. will expand at a 2.7 percent pace next year, also up 0.2 points from three months ago.

The IMF’s revised U.S. forecasts include the benefits of the tax cuts passed in December, as well as a $1.3 trillion spending bill. However, the fund said growth will be lower than expected after 2022, due to the higher budget deficit and the expiry of fiscal stimulus.

Faster Growth

The IMF also raised its forecast for the euro area, predicting the currency zone will grow 2.4 percent in 2018, up 0.2 points from January. The fund left its forecast for euro-zone growth next year unchanged, at 2 percent.

China will grow 6.6 percent this year and 6.4 percent in 2019, the fund said. Both forecasts were unchanged from three months ago.

The world’s second-biggest economy will continue re-balancing away from investment and manufacturing toward consumption and services, the IMF said, warning that rising debt clouds the nation’s medium-term outlook.

The IMF also left its outlook for Japan flat, predicting the nation will expand at a 1.2 percent pace this year and 0.9 percent in 2019.

India will grow 7.4 percent this year and 7.8 percent in 2019, both unchanged from January.

The fund cut its forecast for Canada to 2.1 percent this year, down 0.2 points from three months ago. The IMF also lowered its outlook for the Middle East and North Africa this year by 0.2 points, to 3.2 percent.

(Bloomberg)

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British New Royal Navy Ships Will Be Built Overseas And That Raises Fears |RN

By Alan Tovey,
             © Provided by The Telegraph

Concerns are growing that a new generation of ships to back up the Royal Navy’s giant aircraft carriers will be built in foreign shipyards.

A Freedom of Information request has confirmed that more foreign shipyards than British ones attended a Ministry of Defence industry day for those interested in the £1bn contract to construct three new “solid support ships” for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Defence officials confirmed that seven foreign companies from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea and Spain were at the event, compared to just five UK-based shipbuilders. The event gave companies the chance to learn about requirements for the contract which will go out for tender within weeks.

a large ship in a body of water          © Provided by The Telegraph

The new 35,000-tonne ships will provide the Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers with vital supplies such as ammunition and food while at sea.

However, unions fear contracts to build the ships may go abroad as the MoD looks for savings in its under-pressure budget, with the UK economy losing out as a consequence.

A similar deal to build four Tide-class fuel tankers in 2012 was awarded to South Korean shipyard Daewoo, but the project has suffered delays, pushing back the final fitting out work which is done in the UK. Originally expected to enter the fleet in 2016, the first ship,  RFA Tidespring only enter service in November.

UK companies present at the event were BAE Systems, Babcock, Cammell Laird, Ferguson Marine and Harland and Wolff. Foreign companies in attendance were Damen from the Netherlands, Daewoo, and Hyundai from South Korea, German Naval Yards, Remontowa from Poland. Also present were Fincantieri from Italy and Navantia from Spain, both of which are either partially or wholly state-owned.

a large ship in the water                © Provided by The Telegraph

According to GMB union, 6,700 UK jobs would be safeguarded if contracts for the new support ships are awarded to a British company.

“Ministers are not bound by normal EU rules on competitive tendering when it comes to military ships,” said Ross Murdoch, GMB shipbuilding spokesman. “There really can be no excuse for sending our shipbuilding contracts overseas.

“At a time when global tensions are rising, the Government should use this order to ‘buy for Britain’ and rebuild our defence shipbuilding manufacturing capabilities.”

The MoD said all the Navy’s warships are built in the UK and work on new Type 26 frigates and plans for a lighter version of the ship means Britain “is witnessing a renaissance in shipbuilding”.

A spokesman added that UK shipyards are “strongly encouraged to take part” in the tender, which will be awarded in 2020.   (The Telegraph)

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Must Read: Why The Sartorial Choices Of Salafi Clerics Sparked A Debate On Morality In Nigeria – Prof Ochonu

Muslims pray at the Kofar Mata Central Mosque in Kano, Northern Nigeria. Liberal and fundamentalist Islam are in a contest of legitimacy in the region. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

The innocuous photos of two Nigerian Islamic clerics shopping and relaxing in London sparked a fierce debate on social media platforms in northern Nigeria in early December 2017. The photos were quite unremarkable. One showed the two men sitting on a park bench; another showed them in a clothing store wearing cowboy hats. In both, they were dressed in suits. And they were wearing gloves and scarves to protect themselves from London’s cold, wet weather.

The pictures caused a fierce online debate about piety, hypocrisy, morality, the sartorial prescriptions of Islam, and the tyranny of religious authorities in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The violent Islamist group, Boko Haram, is active in the region, which has become a hotbed of extremism.

So, why were these ordinary images so controversial? Why did they spark heated debates among educated northern Nigerian Muslim men and women?

The answer is simple. The two men are Salafi clerics, members of a clerical order that has come to wield outsized influence over Muslims in northern Nigeria. The clerics act as enforcers of an increasingly puritan Islamic order. They are uncompromising in defining what is moral and permissible and what is haram or sacrilegious. They often equate Muslims’ engagements with modernity and Western ways of life with immorality and sinful innovation or bid’ah.

This leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy when they appear to make choices seen as contradicting their teachings. And this is what happened in London. The two clerics were wearing what in northern Nigeria is considered western dress. This touched off debates between two camps of young Muslims: those who resent the growing intrusion of the clerics into their lives and are eager to criticise their adventures in a Western city, and those who continue to look on the religious figures as revered exemplars of piety.

Wahhabism and the roots of Salafi Puritanism

The Islamic sect to which the two clerics belong heightened the controversy. Sheikh Kabiru Gombe and his mentor, Sheikh Bala Lau, are prominent clerics of the Izala sect, the most visible face of a growing community of Nigerian Salafism, a branch of Sunni Islam which holds to a strict, uncompromising doctrine.

Leaders of the sect are gaining popularity and displacing mainstream Sufi clerics in the region. They accuse traditional Sufi Muslims of hobnobbing with modernity and failing to practice Islam in its pure form. Sufis are vulnerable to these accusations because their creed focuses on individual mystical paths to God rather than on outward, political and authoritarian expressions of piety.

This difference has led to an increasingly intense contest between the two sides. The photographs of the two clerics catapulted the contest onto social media, blogs and web forums.

The personalities and profiles of the two clerics contributed to the intensity of the debates.

Sheikh Gombe is known in the region for his ultra-radical Salafi theological positions and pronouncements. He has made his voice heard in local and foreign settings, capturing the imagination of some young Muslims in northern Nigeria. He presents an argument that being a pure Muslim means eschewing association with Western modernity. He is against modern and Western institutions such as secular filmmaking, mixed gender socialisation and goods such as Western clothes. All, he argues, can pollute the piety of Muslims.

In my ongoing research on the historical roots of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, I call the rise of this branch of Islam the Salafi Islamic wave. Tracing its roots, I have found that it began with the slow but well-funded arrival of Wahhabism in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. Wahhabism is the puritan strain of Sunni Islam birthed in Saudi Arabia by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The Wahhabi-Salafis’ most dominant organisational umbrella was – and still is – the Izala sect, which was founded in 1978 in Jos, Nigeria, by followers of the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

At the time Gumi was travelling throughout the Muslim world and spending time in Saudi Arabia as a member of both the Supreme Council of the Islamic University in Medina and the Legal Committee of the Muslim World League. He returned to Nigeria in 1986 and was recognised as the spiritual leader of the Izala anti-Sufi reform movement. The movement’s following expanded dramatically under him.

The Izala group set up schools and the best graduates were sent – on generous Saudi Arabian scholarships – to the University of Medina to study Islam under a Wahhabi curriculum with a tinge of ultra-radical Salafism. They returned in the 1990s and inaugurated a new Salafi era in northern Nigerian Islam.

In the 2000s, Medina-trained Salafi clerics, backed by Saudi money and patronage, succeeded in upstaging the old Izala clerical order through a mix of youthful charisma, theological novelty and populism. They began entrenching their strict moral code conforming, according to them, to the Islamic Sharia law.

Beyond photos and suits

Western culture and lifestyle dominate popular culture in Nigeria. For many young Muslims in northern Nigeria, Salafism’s prescriptions and prohibitions are suffocating, particularly for those who want a more pragmatic engagement with a Western lifestyle. Many believe they can pursue these lifestyle choices and still practice their religion.

But Salafi clerics and their followers see no acceptable compromise. They are increasingly making themselves custodians of public morality. They routinely condemn conduct that they associate with decadent, permissive western modernity. For example, they dictate what northern Nigerian Muslims can and can’t wear.

The debate around the two clerics was therefore not a trivial conversation about the dress and the recreational choices of two Salafi clerics. The photos were loaded with symbolism and contradictions. Participants in the online debate used the opportunity to criticise – or excuse – the perceived tyranny and hypocrisy of a powerful Salafi establishment. And to express personal anxieties and fears.

The debate about modernity, Islam, and morality has migrated to online platforms because the internet is relatively anonymous. This has given both sides greater freedom to express their views. The debate encapsulates the ongoing ideological struggle in northern Nigerian Islam between those who live and defend a modern lifestyle, and those suspicious of Western modernity and the unmediated influence of Western education and culture.   (The Conversation)

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(Video) Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize For Music |The Republican News

JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ, LEONARD GREENE

(Provided by Newsweek)

Now he’s got a Pulitzer inside his DNA.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar made history Monday when he became the first hip-hop artist to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize.

Lamar’s 2017 album “DAMN,” which won a Grammy for the best rap album in January, is the first nonclassical or jazz work to win the award, which comes with a $15,000 cash prize.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar added a Pulitzer to his awards trophy case.© Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Rapper Kendrick Lamar added a Pulitzer to his awards trophy case.

The Pulitzer board — which announced the winners Monday — called the album a work that captures the complexity of African-American life.

Lamar, 30, has been hailed for lyrics that are both pungent and poignant. His songs, including “DNA” and “Humble,” cover themes of race and survival in a musical mix that blends hip-hop, jazz, soul and spoken word.

“DAMN” is Lamar’s fourth studio album and was released in April 2017. Lamar has won 12 Grammy awards since his debut in 2011.

a man standing in front of a building: Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN" was hailed by the Pulitzer board for is capturing African-American life in all its complexity.© AP Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN” was hailed by the Pulitzer board for capturing African-American life in all its complexity.

 

The Pulitzer’s top prize for public service went to The New York Times and The New Yorker for reporting that sparked the #MeToo movement.

Staffs of The Times and The Washington Post shared a prize for national reporting for scoops about Russian interference in the U.S. elections.

The awards, which honour newspapers, magazines, online journalism, literature and music, were announced by Columbia University’s journalism school.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2018 file photo, rapper Kendrick Lamar accepts the award for best rap album for "Damn" at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York. On Monday, April 16, 2018, Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his album "Damn." (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)© AP FILE – In this Jan. 28, 2018 file photo, rapper Kendrick Lamar accepts the award for best rap album for “Damn” at the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York. On Monday, April 16, 2018, Lamar won the…

The public service prize mentioned the work of The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, and The Times’ Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey for stories that revealed sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, and put an end to the Tinseltown reign of filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

“Most journalists consider the work they do a calling,” said new Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy. “Their work is real news of the highest order.”

Canedy’s appearance at the event marked the first time in the prize’s 102-year history that the awards were announced by a black woman.

Last year, the Daily News, along with ProPublica, won in the coveted public service category for “uncovering, primarily through the work of reporter Sarah Ryley, widespread abuse of eviction rules by the police to oust hundreds of people, most of them poor minorities.”    (The New Daily News)

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