Religion of peace. Source: Canadian killed by terrorist group in Philippines, another held hostage – The Globe and Mail
A terrorist group in the Philippines has killed John Ridsdel, the 68-year-old Canadian kidnapped last September – an execution Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “cold-blooded murder” and the man’s family said was “senseless.”
A second Canadian, 50-year-old Robert Hall, remains captive, a Canadian government official confirmed.
Mr. Ridsdel was a world traveller who had made the Philippines his home. He was a passionate sailor, experienced in living and travelling in conflict areas, and a father of two adult daughters.
He was held for a ransom by the terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf and beheaded after the deadline passed.
On Monday evening, during a power outage in the Philippine municipality of Jolo, two men on motorcycles threw a plastic bag into a square near the town’s municipal offices and police station.
Children playing nearby initially ran from the bag, believing it to be a bomb, said Dr. Raden Ikbala, a local physician. But when “they opened it, they saw the head of a man,” he said, and reported it to police.
Such tactics have been used before by local militants.
“Sometimes they throw the heads in public places so that it will be discovered,” said Dick Gordon, a Philippine senator who had been asked several months ago to negotiate the release of the hostages. He said it appears “he was executed because of the failure to pay the ransom” – although none of the circumstances are clear.
The men on the motorcycle, Mr. Gordon said, left a chilling message as they departed.
“They threw it, and they said, ‘We will be back.’ We don’t know why they said that.”
Abu Sayyaf, the jihadi group that allegedly killed Mr. Ridsdel…has pledged allegiance to Islamic State…
The Bangladeshi branch of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility Tuesday for the killing of a gay rights activist and his friend, undermining the prime minister’s insistence just hours earlier that her political opponents were to blame for the attack and for a rising tide of violence against secular activists and writers.
The claim by Ansar-al-islam — which said it targeted the two men on Monday night because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality” — raised doubts about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s repeated assurances that authorities have the security situation under control.
The victims of the attack were identified as Xulhaz Mannan, an activist who also worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder. Mannan, a cousin of former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni of the governing party, was also an editor of Bangladesh’s first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan. Majumder sometimes helped with the publishing, local media said.
Mannan had written openly about the frustration of living “in the closet” as a gay man in Bangladesh, where homosexual relations are considered a crime. In a May 2014 blog, he said gays and lesbians in Bangladesh experience “A country where the predominant religions say you are a sinner, the law of the land says you are a criminal, the social norms say you are a pervert, the culture considers you as imported.”
He launched the magazine in 2014, giving the country’s small and secretive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community its first open platform. Earlier this month, he tried to organize a Rainbow Rally in the capital, but was foiled when police briefly detained him and three others.
Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of Al Qaeda on the Indian subcontinent, or AQIS, claimed responsibility in a Twitter message on Tuesday for what it called a “blessed attack” on Mannan and Majumder.
It said the two were killed because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” and were “working day and night to promote homosexuality … with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and its Indian allies.”
But the U.S. media is focused on transgender bathrooms.
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