Thursday, 26 February 2015
Germany’s top Jewish leader suggested on Thursday that Jews shouldn’t wear a Yarmulka in areas with large Muslim populations but also said that hiding isn’t the right approach to concerns about anti-Semitism.
Security worries among European Jews have been stoked by recent attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. Jews in Germany generally feel safe, though security measures need to be evaluated frequently, Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews, told rbb Inforadio.
One of Schuster’s predecessors last year suggested that Jews in Germany should make sure they’re not recognizable as Jews.
“I think hiding is not the right way” of dealing with worries about anti-Semitism, Schuster said. However, he added that it’s right to ask whether, in areas with high Muslim populations in Berlin and elsewhere, “it really makes sense to identify oneself as a Jew by wearing a kippa, for example, or whether it’s better to wear different headgear there.
“That is a development that I didn’t expect five years ago and is a little alarming,” Schuster said, adding that Muslim groups should do more to counter anti-Semitism among young people.
On Tuesday, Germany’s interior minister met with Jewish leaders and reassured them that their safety is a top priority.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
The Islamic State terrorist group executed three women and arrested 13 other females in the group's Iraqi stronghold of Mosul on Sunday, after the women refused to get married to ISIS militants.
A Kurdistan Democratic Party official from Mosul, Saed Mamuzini, informed the Kurdish news site BasNews.com on Monday that ISIS continues to kidnap and kill women within its strongholds who refuse to marry fighters.
"On sunday, IS (another name for ISIS) militants arrested 13 women in Mosul and later held them in unknown locations," Mamuzini explained. "The woman were kidnapped because they refused nikah (Muslim marriage) with the jihadists."
Mamuzini also disclosed that three other women were executed at the ISIS base of Ghazlan, in the southwest region of the city, because of their refusal of marriage.
The news of sunday's arrests and executions comes after seven women were executed at the Ghazlan base on Jan. 24 for also refusing to marry militants.
Mamuzini told BasNews in January that ISIS is demanding that women accept marriage to the fighters, or else they will suffer the consequences.
"Many women refuse to have sex with ISIS militants, in which cases they are arrested. The militants often kill them," Mamuzini said. "Today, seven women from Mosul were killed at the IS base of Ghazlan."
The report adds that to encourage women to marry militants, ISIS tells females that having marital sex with ISIS fighters is considered "jihad for women," or sexual jihad. A recent manifesto released by ISIS' all female police brigade states that girls as young as 9 years old are eligible to marry ISIS fighters.
As the killing of women who refuse marriage is becoming a systemic occurrence under ISIS' rule, Foundation for Defense of Democracies human rights analyst Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi told The Christian Post that the militant group "pretends" that its actions are justified under Islamic laws.
"Even the most barbaric acts they have been engaged in, they always seek some sort of Islamic jurists endorsement to their behavior. Before they burned alive the Jordanian pilot, they went out to find some Islamic scholar that told them it was OK to do so," Ottolenghi explained.
"I am pretty sure that if that is what they are doing systematically, there must be somebody who has told them that its OK," Ottolenghi continued. "They are brutal enough to where it is in character with all the other actions they have taken. They will always try to pretend that whatever violence they engage in, they find an explanation in Islamic law."
The Islamic State's execution of women due to their refusal to marry jihadis is not limited to just the Mosul region.
In December, the Iraq's Human Rights Ministry announced the Islamic State executed over 150 women and girls in the Anbar province because they declined to marry jihadis or become sex slaves.
"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah… after they refused to accept jihad marriage," a statement from the Human Rights Ministry reads. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province's northern town of Al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."
The Iraqi Human Rights Ministry statement added that the execution of the 150 women was carried out by one ISIS fighter who goes by the name Abu Anas al-Libi. Libi is not to be confused with the alleged Al Qaeda operative who died in January at a hospital in the United States after being charged with involvement in bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.
Three Al-Jazeera TV journalists were arrested in Paris Wednesday after flying a drone from a park on the edge of the city, a judicial source said. "The first was piloting the drone, the second was filming and the third was watching," the source said. This may be the first break in the police investigation of a series of mysterious drones that have been sighted over central Paris landmarks in the last two nights.
Now, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have revealed the genetic trickery this deadly parasite deploys to escape attack by the human immune system.
The parasite is known to replicate within the circulating blood of infected individuals and modify the surface of infected red blood cells. Its virulence comes from its impressive ability to hide from the immune system by selectively changing which surface proteins it displays.
This sophisticated game of hide-and-seek, which involves continually alternating the foreign molecules, called antigens, that can trigger an immune response, is called antigenic variation.
Previous research has shown that the antigens the parasite selectively displays are encoded by members of a gene family named var. The parasite tightly regulates the expression of these var genes so that only one is expressed at any given time, while the rest of the family is maintained silent.
Understanding this complex mechanism is essential to understanding how the deadly Plasmodium falciparum parasite evades the immune system. It is also more broadly important to science because the process by which cells can express a single gene while keeping alternative genes silent is one of the unsolved mysteries in the field of eukaryotic gene expression.
In research at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Ron Dzikowski and his PhD student Inbar Amit-Avraham found that at the precise moment in the cell cycle when a specific var gene is active, corresponding RNA molecules (of a type called long noncoding RNA) are present.
Furthermore, these long noncoding RNA (lncRNAs) molecules incorporate themselves into DNA structures, and determine how the parasite selects a single gene for expression while the rest of the family is kept silent.
In a series of genetic experiments in transgenic parasite lines, the researchers were able to activate silent var genes by expressing their specific lncRNAs molecules, thus demonstrating their functional role in var gene activation.
The research was conducted at the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine; and at the Sanford F. Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School.
In a further development, the researchers collaborated with Dr. Eylon Yavin, at the Institute for Drug Research in the Hebrew University’s School of Pharmacy, to develop a novel way to interfere with these lncRNAs. They further showed that through this interference they could suppress the active var gene, erase the memory that regulates var expression, and induce switching towards expression of other var genes.
The research provides evidence that these lncRNAs molecules play a key role in regulating the genetic mechanisms enabling the deadly parasite to evade human immunity.
According to Prof. Dzikowski, “We believe this breakthrough has exposed the tip of the iceberg in understanding how the deadliest malaria parasite regulates the selective expression of its genes, enabling it to evade the immune system. Understanding the mechanisms by which the parasite evades immunity takes us closer to finding ways to either block this ability, or force the parasite to expose its entire antigenic repertoire and thus allow the human immune system to overcome the disease. Such findings can help pave the way for development of new therapies and vaccines for malaria.”
The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS Early Edition) as Amit-Avraham et al., “Antisense long noncoding RNAs regulate var gene activation in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.”
The research was supported by Israel Academy of Science and Humanities and European Research Council. Inbar Amit-Avraham was supported by the Abisch–Frenkel Foundation.
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