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Algerian Muslims, Christians unite in prayer for peace in Middle East

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In what has been described as a powerful and outstanding display of interfaith solidarity, hundreds of Algerian Muslims joined their Christian counterparts Saturday at the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa in Algiers to pray for peace in the Middle East, with special focus on the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Led by Archbishop Jean-Paul Vesco of Algiers, over 200 people, including foreign diplomats and representatives of various associations, had responded to the call by the Catholic Church in Algeria to come together and pray for peace in Gaza.

Among those who attended the religious gathering were the French Ambassador to Algeria, Stephane Romatet, Palestinian Ambassador, Fayez Mohamed Mahoum Abu Aita, Archbishop Jean-Paul Vesco, and the president of the Algerian association, “Passerelles de la paix,” Youcef Mecheria.

While addressing the worshippers, Archbishop Vesco said the call became necessary as an expression of collective unity. He said the intention behind the gathering was to pray for peace in a land “where residents are enduring what the an insupportable tributary to conflict.”

“Today, we wanted to organize a day of fasting and prayer for peace and for an end to the fighting, but with justice in Gaza. It’s a day of prayer in solidarity with all the people of Gaza,” Vesco said.

Also speaking, Ambassador Romatet said the significance of the diverse community present, encompassing Muslims and Christians, particularly in a time when global peace was under threat, especially in the Middle East, showed the importance of peace in the world.

“We responded to this call to pray for the end of the conflict in the Middle East, in Palestine, and in Gaza,” he added.

Culture

Ghanaian chef fails to break cook-a-thon world record

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An attempt by celebrity Ghanaian chef, Failatu Abdul-Razak, to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual, has come to an end as the GWR says she violated the “rest break rules”.

Abdul-Razak had, in January, embarked on the task of breaking the world record of 119 hours and 57 minutes held by Irish chef, Alan Fisher.

She began the cook-a-thon at midnight on January 1, initially aiming to reach the finish line on the morning of January 5, but however ended the marathon on January 10, recording an overwhelming 227 hours, which appeared to have broken the world record.

However, in a statement on Sunday, the co-ordinator of Abdul-Razak’s challenge, Kafui Dey, said that her attempt at breaking the record “unfortunately fell short of meeting the stringent guidelines set forth by Guinness World Records.

“A statement from the Records Management Team cited a violation of the rest break rules, resulting in an unsuccessful attempt,” Dey said.

Also in a statement, GWR acknowledged Abdul-Razak’s efforts and encouraged future record proposals.

“We commend you for your tremendous efforts with this record attempt. We hope you can still be very proud of what you have achieved,” the statement stated.

Abdul-Razak who responded to the development in her own statement, expressed profound gratitude to her supporters and Ghanaians in general.

“While the outcome may not be what we anticipated, I am deeply thankful for the unwavering support from our sponsors and partners, as well as the encouragement from our fans. Your backing has been instrumental throughout this journey.

“Although this attempt did not result in a world record, it has been an invaluable experience. I am proud of the dedication and hard work put forth, and I am committed to continuing to push boundaries in the culinary world,” she added.

Abdul-Razak’s attempt to break the world record had caused widespread excitement across the West African country with top celebrities and politicians, including Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, lending her their support.

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Culture

Nigerian Afrobeats singer Asake in big trouble for controversial new video

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Nigerian Afrobeats sensation, Ahmed Ololade, popularly known as Asake, has come in for strong criticism as Christians in the country have lambasted him for allegedly making a mockery of Christianity in his latest video, “Only Me”.

In the viral video directed by top music director, TG Omori, Asake who is a Muslim, is seen dressed in priestly attire depicting a Catholic priest, while sitting behind a table altar.

Asake also dons a Christian regalia with a halo around his head while throwing at his dancers, also dressed up on Christian regalia.

The dancers are are also chanting the track’s refrain, repeating “we get money” over and over again, which critics say is a satire about charismatic preachers.

The video which was premiered on Thursday, has, however, generated wide criticised on social media with many calling for it to be banned as they see it as an insult to the Christian religion.

Those against the video have taken to social media to register their anger and condemnation.

An angry user on X fired the first shot when he wrote:

“Asake keeps disrespecting the Christian faith in his music videos.”

“Asake is mocking Christians with his blasphemous music video,” another user wrote on X.

“Shame on you man. I’m a big fan of your music but the depictions in this your latest video are absolutely insane” another said.

“Please bring down this video. This is an insult to our Christian faith. Do your music but respect people’s religions,” yet another angry fan wrote on Instagram.

This is, however, not the first time the Grammy-nominated singer will get himself into trouble for his use of Christian imagery in his music videos.

Last year, Asake came under a barrage of attacks for the video for “Bandana” which depicted black goats sitting in a church with people in the pews, each with a flame above their heads.

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