Taking Action to Boost Moderate Islam
Under ISIS, Sick Iraqi Children Left Undocumented, Untreated
Muslim Manch Opposes SIMI Ban, Raises Questions about Investigations Into Pune
Efforts to Act Against Terror Groups, Money Laundering Questioned At APG Meet
Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War with Iran
How a New Generation of British Muslims Are Becoming More Green
Arrests 100 Palestinians in First Ten Days of Ramadan: Rights Group
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Details and More News from All Regions, Please click, ‘Read More'
Prayer Sites Shut Down In Myanmar City
in Sri Lanka Pray At Vandalized Mosques Amid Tight Security
Lankan army probes possible additional extremist groups
attack leaves 10 soldiers dead in southern Afghanistan
Lanka bombings: Muslim leaders express solidarity with victims, call for united
identity in country
Catholic writer gets bail in clergy defamation case
Taliban militants killed, 4 detained in Special Forces raids in Kunduz and
strike kills notorious ISIS leader and his fighters in East of Afghanistan
Bomb blast in western Afghanistan kills 2
Suspects Linked To ISIS 'Wolf Pack' Cell Arrested In Malaysia
willing to meet parties unhappy over Zakir Naik’s presence
arrests dozens of terror suspects ahead of poll results
Annual Iftar Connects Science Hub with the Rest of Saudi Arabia
fleeing bombs, Syrian families shelter in olive groves
to handle foreign IS fighters' trials
5 soldiers killed, dozens of militants die in Sinai
Over 12,000 Civilians Flee US-Controlled Refugee Camp
for thought as shift workers forego Ramadan iftars with family
president pardons 560, including prominent columnist
Anniversary Celebrations: India, Indonesia Celebrate Common Islamic Heritage
terrorists killed in gunfight in J&K's Pulwama
seeks clarity from US on Pakistan's relationship with Taliban
Army clerk honey-trapped by Pakistan ISI on MI radar since December 2018
killed in Shopian encounter: Police say one was ‘active associate of
terrorists’, family says he was not militant
Islamic State Militants Killed In Southwest Pakistan Raid
Visa Policy to Promote Religious Tourism in Pakistan: Envoy
High Court sets aside conviction of ‘militant’
in PA as opposition denied debate on rise in HIV cases
‘militants’ killed in Kalat
guns down Hazara community attacker in Mustang
father shoots daughter who refused to fast for Ramadan
wants Tennessee DA to resign over anti-Islam post
criticizes US media for ‘fraudulent, highly inaccurate’ Iran coverage
‘sitting by the phone’ but heard nothing from Iran
senator demands more security after arson at mosque
in Morocco face terror trial in Nordic hikers' slayings
anti-Muslim sentiments in Europe manifest itself in recent bans on headscarf
dialogue key to overcoming hateful trends’
renews sanctions against Assad regime
Houthi attack proves they are indivisible part of IRGC
project clears 1,024 Houthi mines, explosive devices in Yemen
says its air defences intercept several Israeli projectiles
star Ronaldo donates $1.5mn to Palestinians for Ramadan
condemns Saudi bombing of Sana'a residential areas
organizers cancel protests along Israel border
the Net: Somali Islamists Now Target Kenyan Recruits
powers urge immediate resumption of Sudan talks: US
groups slam deal between Sudan’s MTC, opposition
ambush: Militants kill 28 soldiers near Mali
Chad Basin no longer safe haven for Boko Haram: Nigerian president
Faso Seeks Broad Sahel Anti-Terror Coalition
tells Turkey to support its fight against Uighur militants
(Reuters) - China has called on Turkey to support its fight against militants
operating in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, following
criticism from Turkey about rights in a part of China heavily populated by a
Turkic, mostly Muslim people.
has faced growing international opprobrium for setting up what it calls
vocation training centers to combat extremism in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur
people, which many Western countries view as internment camps.
is the only Muslim nation which has regularly expressed concern about the
situation in Xinjiang, including in February at the U.N. Human Rights Council,
to China’s anger.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal in Beijing, the Chinese government’s
top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said that China sets great store on its
ties with Turkey, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on
“has always respected Turkey’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and
supports the efforts of the Turkish side to safeguard national security and
stability”, the ministry paraphrased Wang as saying.
is hoped that the Turkish side can also earnestly respect China’s core
interests in safeguarding national sovereignty and security, and support
China’s efforts to combat the ‘East Turkistan’ terrorist forces and safeguard
the overall situation of the strategic cooperation between the two countries.”
blames a group called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement for many of the
attacks in recent years in Xinjiang. But many diplomats and foreign experts
have cast doubt on whether the group exists in any coherent form.
Foreign Ministry cited Onal as saying that Turkey supports China’s efforts to
safeguard national unity and combat “terrorist forces” and is willing to deepen
pragmatic cooperation with China.
have died in unrest in recent years in Xinjiang.
says its de-radicalisation efforts in Xinjiang have brought unprecedented
stability, pointing to a lack of violence in the past two years or so.
taking action to boost moderate Islam
new university campus in Indonesia is being built by the Joko Widodo government
to be a showcase for moderate Islam, in a country riven by the rise of
conservative Muslims and their active participation in recent elections.
on Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) began in June last year.
Classes on its campus in Depok township on the outskirts of Jakarta will start
late next year.
documents? No doctor. Without state-issued IDs, Iraqi mothers struggle to have
children born under the now-defeated ISIS group treated for conditions ranging
from asthma to epilepsy.
unjust," said Salima, a 36-year-old mother of four living in the Laylan 2
displacement camp in northern Iraq.
of her children were born under ISIS rule and cannot go to school or leave the
camp because they lack state-issued identity papers -- including Abdulkarim,
who was struggling to nap in her lap on a muggy afternoon.
toddler's breathing was strained, his tiny chest heaving. The asthma, Salima
said, was getting worse.
a clinic in the camp but it's no good. They refer us to hospitals but the camp
security won't let us go," she said, stroking his head.
leave Laylan 2 even briefly, displaced families need to present IDs to the
federal police at the entrance and sometimes even get a sponsor to vouch for
said she tried numerous times to take Abdulkarim to a specialist in nearby
Kirkuk, but was not allowed to leave.
trying to have IDs issued for her three stateless children has proved almost
impossible, as both parents' papers need to be submitted.
husband was an ISIS member killed in fighting, which means Salima's own papers
have been confiscated by camp security.
been trying to get our papers issued for seven months and haven't been able to,
because we're 'Daesh' families," she told AFP, using the Arabic acronym
affects my children in every way -- from a security perspective, economically,
declared victory over ISIS in late 2017, but the militants' three-year reign
over swathes of the country planted a destructive and long-lasting legacy.
of Iraq remains in ruins, with 1.6 million people still displaced.
them are 45,000 children living in camps who were born under ISIS and are
therefore lacking state-issued legal documents, the Norwegian Refugee Council
(NRC) recently found.
children cannot register for school or access steady health care, and may not
be able to marry or own property, the NRC said.
effects on health care are not uniform nationwide and appeared to vary
depending on the checkpoint or facility.
2 seemed to have the toughest restrictions, according to camp representative
Hussein Habd, 53.
of the families in the camp don't have IDs and cannot exit. Even if they're
sick, if they have cancer or skin diseases, they're barred from leaving,"
he told AFP.
a checkpoint a few kilometers (miles) away, a member of the security forces
said orders allowed them to let medical cases through, even without paperwork.
Hawija, 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the west, the NRC found infants without
papers were denied vaccinations, reportedly causing the emergence of scabies,
measles and other diseases.
further north in Mosul, ISIS' onetime Iraqi capital, women without paperwork
were not allowed to give birth in hospitals, according to the NRC, which in
turn impacted newborns' access to state-issued birth certificates.
NRC warned that could condemn children to "life on the margins".
this issue is not addressed immediately, it could spiral. This issue did not
end with the conflict against ISIS," said NRC spokeswoman Alexandra Saieh.
lack of documentation has also impeded families' ability to register for state
restriction has been devastating for five-year-old Methaq.
son has epilepsy, autism, and no ID," his mother Alaa Hamza told AFP in a
shabby home they rent in Hawija.
less than a week after ISIS overran their hometown in 2014, Methaq was never
issued a birth certificate.
now suffers from seizures and mood swings. But sustained care seems a long way
splayed out the contents of a plastic bag on the torn carpet in their living
room -- medical prescriptions, brain scans, and other tests dating back to
went to four different doctors, every time they take money: $250 in Kirkuk for
an EEG, then another $150 for more tests," she said, which she paid for
financial situation is dire, and we need to get him an ID so he can benefit
from state healthcare," she said.
she can't even afford that.
I want to get him one, it will cost me between 25,000 and 30,000 IQD (around
$25). We don't have it," she said.
currently takes a nightly pill to ease his seizures, donated by Doctors Without
Borders. His mother said he needs more intensive help.
five and doesn't speak yet. I'm worried for his future," she said.
Muslim Manch Opposes SIMI Ban, Raises Questions about Investigations into Pune
Muslim Manch (MMM), a Pune-based outfit, has opposed the ban on the Students
Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and claimed that the investigations that
pointed to the involvement of SIMI operatives in terror cases were
Inamdar, president of MMM, on Friday approached the tribunal constituted by the
central government to ascertain whether there was sufficient cause to extend
the ban on SIMI.
tribunal, presided by Delhi High Court Judge Mukta Gupta and comprising
Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand, senior lawyer Sachin Datta and
others, has already held hearings in Pune on May 3 and 4, and began its
hearings in Aurangabad on Friday.
who reached the tribunal on Friday afternoon a few minutes after Justice Gupta
had adjourned the hearing for the day, told The Indian Express, “I came with my
say on a letterhead of my organisation. Justice Gupta told me that I have
reached a few minutes late, but she was interested in hearing my side. Justice
Gupta told me that I should submit my say on Saturday in the form of an
affidavit and not on the letterhead of my organisation. I will do that”.
oppose the ban on SIMI. I have been an activist for many years and have closely
seen many of the suspects arrested in different terror cases and branded as
SIMI operatives. I found that the investigation done in these cases by
different agencies was suspicious. Injustice was done to persons falsely
arrested in terror cases. I want to bring before the tribunal the other side of
the story, which I believe to be true,” he said.
said his affidavit will comprise details pertaining to the 2010 German Bakery
Blast in Pune and the 2014 Faraskhana bomb blast in Pune. He alleged that the
investigations in the two terror cases were “suspicious”, and the details he
wanted to present before the tribunal were based on information in the
recently-published book Brahminists Bombed, Muslims Hanged, authored by former
inspector general of Maharashtra Police, S M Mushrif.
have been asked to submit four copies of the book along with my affidavit,”
is also the author of the controversial book, Who Killed Karkare, on the death
of former state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed
in the line of duty during the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
now, about 50 affidavits have been filed before the tribunal and these include
only one from the public, submitted by a former secretary of SIMI from Uttar
the hearing on Friday, Assistant Commissioner of Police (crime) Bhanupratap
Barge, now attached to Pune City Police, deposed before the tribunal. Barge,
who was earlier with the Maharashtra ATS, submitted details of the July 2014
Faraskhana bomb blast case, in which he was the investigating officer.
police officer submitted images of alleged SIMI operatives captured by CCTV
cameras and told the tribunal that after the bomb blast at a site near the
Dagadusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple in Pune; the suspects went to Swargate bus
depot and from there fled to Kolhapur by bus.
investigation, the statement of a co-passenger who had travelled in same bus
was recorded. This passenger had identified the suspects from the CCTV
images….From the investigation done by various agencies and earlier records of
the accused in the Faraskhana bomb blast case, it was known they are members of
the banned SIMI,” he said.
the five accused in the Faraskhana blast case, three had died in a police
encounter in Madhya Pradesh and two died in an encounter in Telangana. Two
officials from Telangana Police — Assistant Commissioner of Police Usha Vishwanath
T and Police Inspector J Ravinder — also deposed before the tribunal on Friday.
Usha submitted details of the alleged role of SIMI operatives in a dacoity at
the State Bank of India in Karimnagar in February 2014. Inspector Ravinder
submitted details of the alleged role of SIMI operatives in robbing a
motorcycle at gun point in April 2015. These two “SIMI operatives”, who were
killed in an encounter with Telangana Police in 2015, were allegedly involved
in the 2014 Faraskhana bomb blast in Pune. Two more officials from Telangana
Police will be deposing before the tribunal on Saturday.
was first banned in 2001 and the ban was subsequently extended after frequent
intervals. The five-year ban imposed on SIMI in 2014 came to end on January 31
this year, after which the central government issued a notification extending
the ban on SIMI for a period of five more years. It also constituted the
tribunal in February to adjudicate whether there was sufficient cause for
declaring SIMI an unlawful association.
efforts to act against terror groups, money laundering questioned at APG meet in
Pakistan's seriousness to act against proscribed terror outfits and its efforts
to curb money laundering and terror
were questioned by members of a regional affiliate of the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) at a meeting held in
according to a media report.
10-member delegation, led by finance secretary Mohammad Younas Dagha, attended
the two-day meeting of the Asia-Pacific
(APG) of the Paris-based FATF in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou where
it defended Pakistan's efforts against
laundering and terror financing.
to a Dawn report, some participants, particularly those from India, raised very
tough questions about Pakistan's
to act against proscribed organisations and effectiveness of internal controls.
May 3, finance minister Arun Jaitley said India will ask the FATF to put
Pakistan on a blacklist of countries that fail to meet
standards in stopping financial crime.
APG will submit to the FATF its analysis of the compliance report submitted by
Pakistan at the meeting, which concluded
and the progress made since the group's on-site inspection in Islamabad and
Karachi in March, the report said.
APG report will become the basis for the FATF to decide whether to exclude
Pakistan from its grey list or not.
delegation briefed the meeting about Pakistan's updated actions against
currency smuggling, proscribed organisations
tightening of financial and corporate sector systems and operational
effectiveness, the report said.
examples of the measures taken by it, Pakistan cited arrests of key operatives
of some proscribed outfits, putting more
groups and their affiliates in the list of banned outfits, blocking their
accounts and financial flows and taking control of
March, bowing down to international pressure, Pakistan launched a major
crackdown on Jaish-e-Muhammed, Jamat-udDawa, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation and
other banned outfits and took over the control of their assets throughout the
Pakistan delegation said the country was very close to accomplish the
milestones set under the FATF action plan well
the September deadline.
also said the government recently revised its national risk assessment of the
corporate sector, strengthened customs
on borders and inland movement of funds and assets.
internal control of the banking and non-banking financial institutions,
insurance companies and stock exchanges has
strengthened to curb the possibility of money laundering and terror financing.
delegation cited the creation of a specialised directorate of Cross-Border
Currency Movement (CBCM) in Islamabad to
a database of currency seizures.
APG had earlier flashed contradictory situations and poor coordination among
stakeholders, including law enforcement
in fighting money laundering and terror financing in Pakistan.
month, it expressed serious reservations over insufficient physical actions on
ground against proscribed organisations to
flow of funds and activities.
Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War With Iran
Mark Landler, Maggie Haberman and Eric Schmitt
— President Trump has sought to put the brakes on a brewing confrontation with
Iran in recent days, telling the acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan,
that he does not want to go to war with Iran, administration officials said,
while his senior diplomats began searching for ways to defuse the tensions.
Trump’s statement, during a Wednesday morning meeting in the Situation Room,
sent a message to his hawkish aides that he does not want the intensifying
American pressure campaign against the Iranians to explode into open conflict.
now, an administration that had appeared to be girding for conflict seems more
determined to find a diplomatic off-ramp.
of State Mike Pompeo called the leader of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, on
Wednesday to confer about the threat posed by Iran, according to a statement.
Long an intermediary between the West and Iran, Oman was a site of a secret
channel in 2013 when the Obama administration was negotiating a nuclear
agreement with Iran.
Pompeo also asked European officials for help in persuading Iran to
“de-escalate” tensions, which rose after American intelligence indicated that
Iran had placed missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf. The intelligence,
which was based on photographs that have not been released but were described
to The New York Times, prompted fears that Tehran may strike at United States
troops and assets or those of its allies.
on Thursday whether the United States was going to war with Iran, Mr. Trump
replied, “I hope not.”
developments cast into sharp relief a president who is instinctively wary of
military adventures and a cadre of advisers — led by the national security
adviser, John R. Bolton — who have taken an uncompromising line toward Iran.
The internal tensions have prompted fears that the Trump administration is
spoiling for a fight, even if the commander in chief may not be.
divisions are playing out against a fierce internal debate among administration
officials about the gravity of the Iranian threat. While officials and British
allies say the intelligence about the threat is valid, lawmakers and some
inside the administration accuse Mr. Trump’s aides of exaggerating the danger
and exploiting the intelligence to justify a military clash with Tehran.
administration’s internal debate over Iran was described by five senior
officials who demanded anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations.
dismissed any suggestion of a dialogue with Mr. Trump. “The escalation by the
United States is unacceptable,” the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad
Zarif, said Thursday.
there was a new potential flash point in Iran’s standoff with the United
States, stemming from its vow last week to step away from some of the
limitations imposed by the nuclear deal, a year after Mr. Trump pulled the
United States out of the agreement that was negotiated between Tehran and world
powers in 2015.
Department officials, speaking to reporters, set a red line that they warned
Iran would cross at its peril: It could not ramp up its nuclear fuel production
to the point where it could produce a nuclear weapon in less than one year.
officials did not specify what kind of reaction — military or otherwise — would
come if Iran built up enough of a stockpile of uranium and took other steps to
cross that threshold. But they acknowledged that the steps announced by Iran’s
president, Hassan Rouhani, could eventually give Tehran that ability.
new information was presented to Mr. Trump at the Situation Room meeting that
argued for further engagement with Iran, according to a person who attended.
Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, presented the president with a range of military options and checked off
the troop levels, costs and risks of each, one of the officials said.
Mr. Trump was firm in saying he did not want a military clash with the
Iranians, several officials said.
president has sought to tamp down reports of divisions among Mr. Bolton, Mr.
Pompeo and the Pentagon. Military officials have warned against escalating the
confrontation, even as Mr. Bolton ordered the Pentagon to present options to
send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East to respond to Iranian
is no infighting whatsoever,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday on Twitter. “Different
opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision - it is a very
simple process. All sides, views, and policies are covered.”
Trump added that he was confident that Iran “will want to talk soon,” though
one senior official said the White House was highly unlikely to pursue a secret
diplomatic channel for talking to Iran, as the Obama administration had done.
Pompeo has outlined 12 steps that Iran must take to satisfy the United States —
including halting all ballistic missiles tests and cutting off support for
militant groups in Syria and Yemen — which critics in the Pentagon view as
unrealistic and could back Iranian leaders into a corner. He recently described
American policy as being calculated to produce domestic political unrest in
for all of his harsh words toward Tehran, several officials said Mr. Pompeo was
rankled by being lumped in with Mr. Bolton as bent on war. A former Republican
lawmaker, Mr. Pompeo is an astute reader of Mr. Trump’s preferences and will
plunge into diplomacy, if necessary, as he has with North Korea.
Bolton, as a private citizen, long called for regime change in Tehran. He has
resisted compromises that would open the door to negotiations, has stocked the
National Security Council with Iran hard-liners and has masterminded recent
policy changes to tighten the economic and political vise on the clerical
government in Tehran.
officials said Mr. Trump is less frustrated with Mr. Bolton over his handling
of Iran — he favors the tougher measures as a warning to Tehran — than over the
evolving narrative that his national security adviser is leading the
administration’s policy in the Middle East.
president, they said, is well versed and comfortable with the administration’s
recent steps, which have included imposing increasingly onerous sanctions on Iran
and designating an arm of the Iranian military, the Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps, a foreign terrorist organization.
officials have argued that Iran’s actions did not warrant a significant
American response, like potentially deploying thousands of troops to the Middle
East, or the partial evacuation of the United States Embassy in Baghdad.
a situation where this president has surrounded himself with people, Pompeo and
Bolton in particular, who believe that getting tough on a military basis with
Iran is in our best interest,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the
No. 2 Democrat, as he emerged from an intelligence briefing on Thursday. “I do
Bolton, several of the officials said, has quietly voiced frustration with the
president, viewing him as unwilling to push for changes in a region that he has
long seen as a quagmire. He has kept an unusually tight grip on the
policymaking process for a national security adviser.
Bolton’s independence has rankled the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and
has even prompted rumors that his job might be in jeopardy — something the
White House denies.
Mr. Trump has poked fun at Mr. Bolton’s reputation for hawkishness, joking in
meetings with him. “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now,” one of the
senior officials recalled Mr. Trump as saying.
Trump is also impatient with another of Mr. Bolton’s campaigns: the effort to
oust President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. After the opposition’s failed
attempt to peel away key Maduro allies and turn the Venezuelan military against
him, Mr. Maduro appears harder to dislodge than ever.
recent days, officials said, Mr. Trump has begun consulting outsiders,
including Jack Keane, the former Army vice chief of staff and architect of the
Iraq war troop surge who now appears regularly on Fox News.
Keane declined to discuss any conversations he had with Mr. Trump, but said,
“I’m confident that we’re not heading to a war with Iran, and whatever measures
we will use, if in fact Iran does something provocative, will be measured and
deliberate in not tolerating provocation.”
former government officials, however, criticized the Trump administration’s
policy as hobbled by internal disarray.
Chollet, an assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs
under President Barack Obama, said the Trump administration was “riddled by a
fundamental contradiction — a president who wants to withdraw from the Middle
East and an administration with a maximalist policy of regime change.”
who were involved in negotiations with Iran during the Obama administration
said intermediaries like Oman could theoretically ease the tensions. But they
said the White House’s unyielding position — epitomized by Mr. Pompeo’s 12 demands
— would make fruitful negotiations impossible.
diplomacy into the strategy is not just about signaling that you want to talk
and finding a channel, but about actually being ready to talk realistically,”
said William J. Burns, a former deputy secretary of state who led the secret
talks with Iran and recently published “The Back Channel,” an account of the
was contributed by David E. Sanger, Helene Cooper, Edward Wong and Annie Karni.
how a new generation of British Muslims are becoming more green
worldwide are about to enter the second half of Ramadan, a month widely known
to the public as one for fasting. However, growing concerns around the
environmental crisis and social struggles across the globe have lead Muslims to
consider its deeper meaning.
an increasing number of Muslims, Ramadan is interpreted as a time when they
distance themselves from material needs, reconnect with nature and
spirituality, acknowledge the suffering on the planet and challenge destructive
behaviours. It is a time for resistance to consumerism and oppression.
the UK, an increasing number of Muslims are becoming aware that consumer
culture is hijacking Ramadan. In 2018, brands unashamedly turned the sacred
time of suhoor – the meal before dawn – into a party, and called for Ramadan to
become the equivalent of the Christmas season in terms of its commercialism.
my research shows that a powerful counter-narrative and a new generation of
Muslim change makers are on the rise across Europe. Young, skilled and highly
motivated, volunteers from grassroots groups have been working to bring local
solutions to their neighbourhoods: people who are feeding the homeless, setting
up artists collectives and campaigning for the protection of the environment.
2018, Muslims in London organised a “Green Iftaar” – the evening meal after
sunset that breaks the daily fast during Ramadan – without plastic, food waste
or meat. Muslims alongside groups of all faiths and none recently attended the
Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London, and in April, Britain’s first
eco-Mosque opened in Cambridge, aiming for no carbon emissions from the site
and rainwater harvesting.
Muslim Action for Development and the Environment, or the MADE initiative,
advocates for mosques to become eco-friendly, while the Herbal Blessing Clinic,
organises well-being workshops in the English countryside to sensitise Muslims
to the protection of the environment through the use of foraged local plants.
take their inspiration from the Quranic concept of khilafa: that the role of
the human being is to be a steward, a source of mercy for the environment and
the society. For these volunteers, my research has shown that Islam is much
more than a religion. For them, being a “radical” Muslim is to practice
environmental and social justice. Taking care of others and the planet are acts
example is Rumi’s Cave, a community hub in north London, which in 2019 is also
hosting a Green Iftaar. Small, flexible, innovative, small organisations such
as Rumi’s are extremely attractive to young people looking for ways to get
regular soup kitchens, workshops and open-mics, Rumi’s Cave has been a pivotal
cradle for the British Muslim activism and arts scene. At times when Muslims
are increasingly targeted and excluded, Rumi’s is a space for healing, hope and
self-love. It is one of the rare places where people have critical discussions
about people’s responsibility towards making a better world.
at the same time, Ramadan has become a race for money, when multi-million-pound
mega-charities promise to exchange donations for tickets to Paradise.
Similarly, playing on the recommendation for people to wear their best clothes
for Eid, the festival marking the end of Ramadan, Muslim social media
“influencers” use this opportunity to showcase sponsored cosmetics, some of
which have scored poorly in ethical consumer rankings.
these examples of Muslims being drawn into consumerism are only symptoms of a
global neoliberal culture, built around a cult of performance, numbers,
individualism and competition.
month for decolonising
interviews with young Muslims show that some understand consumerism to be only
the tip of a greater iceberg of oppression. Society pushes minorities to adapt
their culture, faith, ethics, looks and identity to conform to the dominant
society. But these young activists argue that the branding around Ramadan
reinforces the narrative that Muslims can only be accepted as a minority if
they are consumers.
growing number of scholars and organisations emphasise that Islam, at its
inception, has been a driving force for ending slavery, racial supremacy,
oppression against women and class privilege. They argue that beyond the
detoxification of the body, Ramadan should be a month for decolonising the
like Rumi’s are decolonial spaces par excellence. In a society ruled by
individualism, instant gratification, conformity and materialism, they are
spaces for the celebration of spirituality, conviviality, creativity and
heritage. In a society that wins by making the weaker pessimistic, they are
spaces for growth and self-determination. They are radical acts of optimism.
arrests 100 Palestinians in first ten days of Ramadan: Rights group
Palestinian human rights organization says it has documented the arrest of 100
Palestinians, including four women, by Israeli forces during the first ten days
of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said in a statement that the Israeli
military stormed Palestinian areas across the occupied West Bank and East
Jerusalem al-Quds, raiding Palestinian homes and arresting dozens of civilians.
center explained that the detainees included 18 minors, the youngest of whom
was nine-year-old Mousa Ramadan. He was arrested at a military checkpoint in
the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), located 30 kilometers (19
miles) south of Jerusalem al-Quds.
detainees also included twin brothers Mohammed and Ahmed Abu Adi, 13, who were
arrested after Israeli forces stormed their home in the town of Kafr Ni'ma,
located northwest of Ramallah.
center also documented the detention of seven journalists and human rights activists.
They were arrested while covering the deportation of Palestinian farmers from
their land in the Jordan Valley.
five Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip were held during Ramadan,
including three fishermen who were arrested as they were doing their job off
the coast of the Gaza Strip.
than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the
inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative
detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli
detention facilities without trial or charge.
Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to
inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative
detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails.
to reports, at least 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently imprisoned in
Israeli detention facilities. Nine of them are being held without trial under
prayer sites shut down in Myanmar city
Buddhist monks and groups of nationalists closed down Ramadan prayer sites on
the outskirts of Yangon in Myanmar.
100 monks led their nationalist supporters into three Muslim quarters in south
Dagon township during the nights of May 14 and 15 and demanded that three
temporary prayer sites be shut down.
pressure, Muslim leaders closed down the prayer sites but have said the sites
were allowed by the Yangon Division government.
May 16, the police chief of Yangon Division said the Muslims could still
continue their prayers while saying police would provide security. However, no
prayers were held at any of the sites that night, according to Muslim sources.
are an estimated 10,000 Muslims in the township but there are no mosques.
Nyein, secretary of the Ulama Islamic Organization, said the nationalists were
not from the township and that it was a planned act.
is obvious that some groups who are behind those nationalists are attempting to
make a religious conflict,” Kyaw Nyein said.
the night of May 16, prominent monk Ashin Seindita, from the Asia Light
Foundation in Pyin-Oo-Lwin, along with other interfaith activists met with the
township’s Muslim community.
Min Latt, a Yangon-based Muslim resident, said Seindita thanked the local
community for showing fortitude for what occurred.
monk called for patience and to show love,” said Zaw Min Latt.
Haj Aye Lwin, the chief convener of a Yangon-based Islamic school, said hate
speech against Muslims remains a problem despite the government trying to rein
in nationalist groups.
Muslims have been targeted for political gain … the main intention of such
political opportunists is to hurt the civilian-led government,” Aye Lwin told
Buddhist monks from the Committee for the Protection of Race and Religion,
known as Ma Ba Tha, encouraged anti-Muslim violence in 2012 which left more
than 200 people dead and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes in
Rakhine State. An estimated 120,000 people in the state still live in temporary
camps for displaced people.
for its anti-Islamic rhetoric, the nationalist monk organization has renamed
itself the Buddha Dhamma Philanthropy Foundation.
account for 4.3 percent of the population in the Buddhist-majority country,
according to the 2014 census. They arrived in the ninth century and most are of
Indian, Chinese or Pathi descent.
has seen several bouts of religious violence since 2012, much of it targeting
Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
in Sri Lanka pray at vandalized mosques amid tight security
Lanka’s minority Muslims attended Friday prayers as heavily armed troops and
police guarded all mosques, including those badly vandalized in riots in the
wake of the Easter terror attacks.
said security would remain tight over the weekend for a major Buddhist festival
as well as the 10th anniversary of the ending of the country’s decades-long
Tamil separatist war.
said some of the damaged mosques cleared out glass shards and other debris and
conducted services with attendance at a high level.
had about 450 to 500 people,” M. I. M. Siddeeque, the trustee of the riot-hit
Kinyama mosque in the worst affected North-Western Province told AFP by
were six soldiers outside the mosques and many more police at the top of the
said his mosque was cleared of the debris, but windows, furniture, and the
public address system were yet to be replaced.
the town of Minuwangoda, the faithful packed the first floor of the two-story
Hujjaj mosque to pray even though repairs were yet to begin.
residents said Buddhists and Catholic priests were also present as a sign of
solidarity with Muslims community.
said there were no major incidents although sporadic clashes were reported from
a handful of places.
are firmly in control and the situation is fast returning to normality,” a
senior police official told AFP.
nationwide night curfew was lifted Thursday.
riots came three weeks after suicide bomb attacks on three churches and three
luxury hotels in Colombo, killing 258 people. The April 21 attacks were blamed
on a local extremist group.
weekend Sri Lanka celebrates Vesak which marks the birth, enlightenment and the
passing of the Buddha over 2,500 years ago on Saturday and Sunday.
most important Buddhist celebration coincides this year with the country
marking a decade since ending a 37-year-separatist by annihilating the entire
leadership of Tamil Tiger guerrillas.
head of the Tamil Tigers, Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed 10 years ago
Saturday while the government declared an end to the war a day later.
Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are due to attend
several ceremonies in and around Colombo on Sunday to pay tribute to over
28,000 security personnel who died during the nearly four-decade-long war.
minority Tamil community too is expected on Saturday to pay tribute to their
war dead, including Tiger rebels at low-key ceremonies in the northeastern
district of Mullaittivu where the final battles were fought.
chief Mahesh Senanayake said security forces will not obstruct any war
remembrance by the Tamils. Under the previous regime, any war remembrance by
Tamils was outlawed.
Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s army chief said Thursday that other groups of Islamic
extremists could be operating in the country independent of the one that
carried out Easter Sunday bomb attacks.
could be other groups, definitely,” Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake said.
what extent are they offensive, what is the equipment they carry, what is the
time frame, who are their handlers, these are all matters under discussion,” he
than 250 people were killed in coordinated suicide bomb attacks at three
churches and three tourist hotels on Easter Sunday that were claimed by the
Islamic State group and carried out by a local radicalized Muslim group.
suicide bombers blew themselves up at their targets and another killed himself
and two guests at a motel after his device failed to explode at a fourth
tourist hotel. A ninth suicide bomber killed herself and her children as police
surrounded her home.
said the military is developing a two-year plan to eliminate the new terrorist
attacks took place a month before the 10th anniversary of the end of Sri
Lanka’s 26-year civil war between government forces and separatist ethnic Tamil
said the army has organized a series of events to mark the anniversary. People
have been asked to light an oil lamp in their homes and offices in honor the
said the military will not interfere with Tamil civilians remembering their
dead relatives in areas where the final battle took place in 2009.
Lanka’s military has been accused of deliberately targeting civilians and using
disproportionate force that killed thousands of civilians in the final months
Taliban attack on two military checkpoints has left 10 Afghan army members dead
in southern Zabul province, officials said.
attack in the Shamulzayi district of the province also wounded at least four
soldiers, provincial council member Dur Mohammad Qiam said on Thursday.
councillor, Asadullah Kakar, while confirming the details, added that Afghan
security forces have technically retreated from the checkpoints in the
to officials, the Taliban control a vast part of the province, with the
government trying to retake lost areas. The group controls or influences more
territory than ever since its removal by US-led troops following the September
11, 2001 attacks.
the ongoing talks between the United States and the Taliban for a political
solution, the armed group has also been launching deadly attacks on US and
Afghan security personnel.
this month, US envoy for peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Twitter that he told
the Taliban: "It is time to put down arms, stop the violence and embrace
Taliban responded by saying Khalilzad "should drive the idea home [to the
US] about ending the use of force and incurring further human and financial
US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led mission, known
as Resolute Support, that trains and assists Afghan security forces in their
battle against the Taliban and other groups.
solidarity with the victims of Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, the Muslim leaders
of the country have called for one united identity of the island nation.
as a community, have done a lot of soul searching following the attacks. We
could not imagine that they came from us. We concede that we saw elements but
didn't think it would turn to this," Public Development Minister Kabir
Hashim as quoted as saying on Thursday.
need of the hour was to "forge a Lankan identity", Hashim said, while
addressing a media conference in which former Ministers Imthiyaz Bakeer Marker
and Ferial Ashroff were present.
added that there was "soul searching from within the community unbeknownst
Muslim leader said that admonishing a whole community of two million for what
the terrorists did was unjustifiable.
immediately took steps to take on the issue of the Madrasas and want them
regulated under the Ministry of Higher Education. We want to know what is
taught at these Madrasas and who is teaching them, they all must be regulated.
The overview of mosques and sermons, the steps to ban the Niqab were all done
by the Muslims themselves before intervention of the government."
are doing everything possible to quell any form of extremism," he added.
Minister Ashroff pleaded against marginalizing of an entire community due to
actions of the terrorists.
are still in shock as to what happened on Easter Sunday. We are still grieving.
We couldn't imagine that these terrorists could come from our community... But
I plead of you to not look at an entire community with hate and suspicion"
had torched Muslim-owned shops and homes earlier this week.
had also vandalised mosques in several towns as the anti-Muslim unrest spread
in the aftermath of the April 21 attacks, in which over 250 people were killed.
State terrorist group had claimed the responsibility of the attack.
prominent Catholic writer secured bail a day after being jailed for defaming
clergy in southern Bangladesh.
court in Barishal city accepted a bail petition and ordered the release of
Henry Sawpon Howlader on May 16.
54, was arrested on May 15 under the country's Digital Security Act for writing
Facebook posts and newspaper articles that allegedly defamed clergy including
Bishop Lawrence Subrata Howlader of Barishal.
Lawrence Lecavallier Gomes filed the case on behalf of Barishal Diocese.
arrest sparked online and street protests in Barishal and capital Dhaka.
Writers, journalists and rights activists condemned the arrest and called for
his immediate release.
Islam, a police official in Barishal city, said the local mayor, Serniabat
Sadiq Abdullah, intervened to reach “a consensus” between the church
authorities and Henry.
mayor intervened as he found that although the incident was solely involving
the Christian community it could spill over and become a complex issue. Church
officials agreed not to oppose his bail, but the case will continue,” Islam
Gomes, the complainant, said the Church decided to withdraw opposition to
Henry’s bail petition after he promised to apologize for what he did.
mayor sent his representative to us and informed Henry agreed to apologize, and
he promised not to attack the Church anymore, which we found acceptable,”
Father Gomes told ucanews.com.
priest also said a meeting between the mayor, Henry and the church authorities
is scheduled for May 18, where they hope to reach a “solution” over the issue.
and two others were subjected to the Church’s legal action for allegedly
spreading “misinformation” and “baseless propaganda” against the local church
via Facebook for years.
was particularly charged for calling “the bishop and his priests, brothers and
sisters stupid” in a news article published in newspapers in Barishal city on
April 23. Several local Bengali dailies published an article with Henry’s
byline that had as its headline: “When Rome burns, Bishop Subrata fiddles.”
article was a scathing attack on Bishop Subrata and the church administration
of Barishal Diocese for arranging a Bengali New Year and Easter Reunion
cultural program on April 22, a day after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri
Lanka that left more than 250 dead.
May 13, Henry told Barishal media that unknown people had threatened to kill
him on several occasions since the article was published.
over the muzzling of free speech
a statement on May 17, New York-based Human Rights Watch expressed concerns
over attempts to muzzle free speech in Bangladesh.
noted that Henry and two others — Imtiaz Mahmood, a lawyer, and Abdul Kaium, a
rights activist — were arrested under the country’s repressive Information and
Communication Technology Act for exercising their freedom of expression.
was arrested in Dhaka on May 15 on charges filed by police in July 2017 under
the ICT Act over a Facebook post about violence in Bangladesh’s restive
Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
post was critical about serious allegations of human rights violations in the
CHT in southeastern Bangladesh, where the military is deployed and sectarian
violence between local indigenous peoples and Bengali Muslim settlers is rife.
case accused Mahmood of spreading rumors with an “ill motive to tarnish the
country’s image,” hurting “religious sentiment,” and “deteriorating the law and
an activist with Odhikar (Rights) and editor of an online news portal, was
arrested on May 12 and denied bail on May 13.
influential local madrasa teacher filed a case against Kaium accusing him of
extortion under the Penal Code and spreading “false of fear inducing
information” and defaming him under the Digital Security Act.
activists, poets, and lawyers for exercising their right to free speech is
straight out of the authoritarian playbook,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at
HRW, said in the statement.
Bangladesh government should stop locking up its critics and review the law to
ensure it upholds international standards on the right to peaceful expression,”
least six Taliban militants were killed and four others were detained in
separate raids of the Special Forces in northern Kunduz and eastern Nangarhar
Special Forces conducted an operation in Chahar Darah district of Kunduz
killing 1 Taliban fighter and destroying a weapon and IED cache containing
ammunition, RPG rounds, 30 pressure-plate IEDs, 200 kg of homemade explosives
and 78 pounds of IED charges,” the informed military sources said Wednesday.
sources further added that a similar operation was conducted in Sherzad
district of Nangarhar province in which 5 Taliban fighters were killed and 4
others were detained.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operations so far.
notorious leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group
was killed with his seven fighters in a U.S. drone strike in eastern Nangarhar
province of Afghanistan.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said the ISIS leader
Abu Zar was killed in Khogyani district on Thursday.
statement further added that Abu Zar was one of the most notorious leaders of
the terror group who was involved in vicious activities against the local
residents besides conducting other terrorist related activities including
anti-government armed militants including ISIS sympathizers have not commented
regarding the airstrike so far.
is among the relatively calm provinces in East of Afghanistan but the security
situation in some of its districts has deteriorated during the recent years.
and ISIS militants are active in some of the remote districts of the province
where they often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities against the
government and security institutions.
An Afghan official says that a bomb blast in the western province of Herat has
killed at least two people, including a child.
Farhad, a spokesman for the province’s governor, says that 14 people were
wounded in Saturday morning’s attack in the Obe area, including the district
said that a remotely controlled bomb went off when the district chief’s vehicle
was passing by the area’s main market.
one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
insurgents are active in the province and regularly target Afghan officials and
suspects linked to ISIS 'wolf pack' cell arrested in Malaysia
suspected militants who were part of a recently busted "wolf pack"
cell have been arrested, days after their "brothers in arms" were
detained in a series of anti-terror swoops in the country.
police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said the suspects - two Malaysians and one
Indonesian linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) - were arrested
in Kedah and Selangor on Tuesday.
PULAU: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof
Rawa has offered to with meet parties who continue to be unhappy with the
presence of controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik in Malaysia.
the fact that the Islamic preacher faces a warrant of arrest in India over
claims of incitement of hatred and money-laundering, Mujahid said his primary
concern is dealing with certain quarters in Malaysia, who continued to be
aghast over the presence of Zakir.
cannot say about the government to government dealings (Malaysia and India)
over the issue but for the sake of national unity, I am willing to meet
individuals or quarters who continue to be unhappy with this issue.”
said that he plans to address the issue through a Malaysian approach of mutual
respect and high tolerance.
him, the issue revolves around two points, one is the government to government,
which concerns foreign diplomacy and legislation, while another, is the
localised unhappiness over Zakir’s history.
can only look and address from the standpoint of those unhappy with Zakir in
Malaysia,“ Mujahid said after attending a breaking of fast ceremony at Masjid
Maqbul in Teluk Kumbar last night.
is also willing to meet Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, who has
been among those who have criticised the authorities for their continued
acceptance of Zakir to remain in the country.
the minister in charge of religious affairs, is willing to meet with the former
academician to address any persistent misgivings over the issue.
said that he is also initiating a national inter-faith picnic outing after Hari
Raya Aidilfitri next month to create a closer rapport among the diverse
religious figures and officials in the country.
picnic would be held in Putrajaya and we hope to promote our honorable
Malaysians identity of mutual respect and strong inter-faith harmony.”
initiatives are part of Mujahid’s key policy of promoting a compassionate form
of Islam in Malaysia where the pillars of moderation and mutual respect
represents the cornerstone of his outreach efforts.
was responding to concerns among certain quarters that he has abandoned his
efforts to foster stronger inter-faith understanding which he had conceived a decade
Indonesian police said Friday that they have arrested dozens of Daesh-linked
terror suspects, including some who planned to detonate bombs at political
demonstrations when election results are announced next week.
29 suspects were rounded up this month alone, with 60 in all detained since the
start of the year in raids across the Southeast Asian nation, they said.
other suspects had been killed in confrontations with authorities, police said,
including the wife of a militant who blew up herself and a child following a
dramatic standoff at their home in March.
arrested suspects were skilled bomb makers and had fought alongside the
militant group in Syria, as well as members of local extremist network Jemaah
Anshurat Daulah (JAD), police said.
has pledged allegiance to Daesh and was blamed for a wave of suicide bombings
at churches in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya last year.
world’s biggest Muslim majority nation has seen a string of attacks by Islamist
militants since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people,
including scores of tourists.
police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal on Friday described the latest arrests as a
“preventative strike” before the official announcement of Indonesian elections,
which were held on April 17.
are concerns about street demonstrations after presidential challenger Prabowo
Subianto, a retired military general, warned that protests could erupt over his
claims of massive electoral fraud.
has vowed not to recognize next week’s results if they hand a re-election
victory to president Joko Widodo, who has a lead of about 12 percentage points,
according to unofficial polls.
said militants wanted to take advantage of any political unrest to spark chaos
by using use WiFi to remotely detonate bomb-filled backpacks at crowded
we’re urging the public not to go out on the streets on May 22 because it could
be dangerous as they (the suspects) wanted to attack crowds and police
officers,” he told reporters in the capital Jakarta.
32,000 security personnel are expected to fan out across the capital next week,
including in front of the General Elections Commission.
has attacked the Commission over allegations it was complicit in widespread
annual iftar connects science hub with the rest of Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) held its annual
iftar on Thursday.
iftar presented an opportunity to connect the science and technology hub with
the rest of the Kingdom and the international community.
director of global marketing communications at KAUST, Mark Mulqueen, said that
the story of KAUST was a special one.
job is to bring KAUST’s story to audiences in Saudi Arabia and globally —
that’s how I see it. We have a great story to tell, we just need to tell it
with much more energy, creativity and in a more compelling way than maybe to
date. We’re constantly asked what’s happening in KAUST,” he told Arab News
a huge amount of work happening in KAUST but in today’s media age, you really
have to be proactive when telling your story, you’ve got to do your work and
show people that you’re doing your work.
are two jobs to be done. The scientists, entrepreneurs, myself and my team have
to make sure that the people of Saudi Arabia, the wider region, and globally
engages in what we are doing here because it’s a transformative story.”
said he had been at KAUST seven months and described it as an “intense place”
that was very multicultural. “We have 104 or 107 different nationalities It’s
not something you’d find at home in terms of that, that richness and variety.”
new president, Dr. Tony Chan, was keen on creating new energy at the
institution’s scientific and academic core while engaging with the Kingdom, he
our new president Dr. Tony Chan, there’s a real urgency in the sense of new
energy about the institution in terms of both doing the core scientific and
academic work, but also the engagement with Saudi Arabia because it’s
transforming and it’s gone into high speed and we have to keep our pace up at
that level. One of my main focuses is to tell our story in a much more digital
manner. It’s a global tech university. KUAST should be cutting edge in how we
tell our story because the story itself is cutting edge.
is about to have a whole new strategic plan for the university, its existing
pillars today will feature there. Its four pillars from its first decade and as
it enters its second decade this September, this new strategic plan helps the
university realign with the new Saudi Arabia that is so focused on 2030. That
is what our president is doing. Our mission and our original mission and the
vision from King Abdullah was to be a global beacon for discovery, science, for
transforming global problems and global challenges. He’s doing that.”
Syria (Reuters) - Families who fled Syrian government and Russian strikes in
northwestern Syria are sleeping in an olive grove near the Turkish border
without enough food and no place else to go.
are some of the 180,000 people who have escaped an upsurge in violence in the
last major Syrian rebel stronghold in the last few weeks. It marks the most
intense escalation between President Bashar al-Assad and his rebel enemies
since last summer, with dozens killed in the shelling of insurgent territory.
house fell in over my children and grandchildren at night ... but God saved
them, they emerged from the rubble,” said a 70-year-old woman who gave her name
as Aziza as she spoke under the shade of an olive tree.
family is one of scores who fled targeted parts of southern Idlib and northern
Hama province and are now living in the olive groves at the Turkish border.
is no room for them at the nearby camp for the displaced in the town of Atmeh.
fled her town of Kfar Nabuda with 17 relatives nearly two weeks ago, taking
nothing with her, as the warplanes flew overhead. The exodus has left many
towns and villages empty.
have made makeshift tents by stringing sheets between the olive trees. Infants
sleep under mosquito nets suspended from the branches. One of the shelters was
equipped with a kitchen stove.
jihadist Tahrir al-Sham is the dominant insurgent faction in the northwest.
Rebels launched a counterattack this week to counter ground advances by Syrian
strikes have struck 18 health facilities and violence has destroyed at least 16
schools, U.N. humanitarian adviser Najat Rochdi told reporters in Geneva.
bombardment, including the reported use of barrel bombs causing severe damage
to civilian infrastructures and civilian casualties is a war practice which
goes against every single humanitarian principle,” she said.
charity UOSSM said the Tarmala Maternity and Children’s Hospital was destroyed
by an air strike on Wednesday, but there were no casualties as it had been
Syrian government says it is responding to attacks by al Qaeda-linked
of the bombardment has hit a buffer zone agreed in September under a
Russian-Turkish deal that spared the region and its 3 million residents from a
which backs some rebels, has deployed forces into the region in agreement with
Russia. They are stationed at a dozen positions, one of which was hit by
shelling from Syrian government territory.
has called on the Syrian government to stop the attacks. Still, Abu Abdo
al-Khani said Ankara’s deal with Moscow had failed to help his family.
were supposed to be within the secure zone, where is it?” Khani, 30, said.
“Where are (Turkish President) Erdogan and his guarantees to protect us?”
family fled the town of Khan Sheikhoun on foot through the countryside. He said
they had received some blankets and water in the olive field.
haven’t showered in 15 days ... We’re living under the trees at the border, who
would accept such a life?”
that the Islamic State (IS) is considered largely contained, the next challenge
is what to do with the thousands of jihadis captured and awaiting trial, many
of them in Iraq.
addition to thousands of its own people imprisoned for fighting for IS, Iraq is
under pressure to receive and try some 1,000 foreigners in the hand of Syrian
Kurds. It would seem expedient to try the detainees there, rather than shipping
them back to the roughly 50 other countries involved. Paris doesn't want these
fighters back and French President Emmanuel Macron, for one, thinks the trials
should be conducted in Iraq — except for the strong possibility Iraq will
sentence many of them to death.
Iraqi judiciary often issues death sentences against IS members. France
outlawed the death penalty in 1977. In January 2018, French officials
threatened to intervene should death sentences be issued against two extremist
French nationals. Yet Macron now says French IS fighters who were captured in
Iraq and Syria must be tried in the countries where they face charges.
judicial source told Al-Monitor that Baghdad is preparing to try French
nationals "who fought alongside IS in Iraq and Syria and who were arrested
by the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria a few weeks ago.” So far there are
about a dozen, but more are expected.
al-Hashemi, president of the Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor
that Iraqi President Barham Salih also thinks the trials should take place in
Iraq. However, Iraq is concerned with the financial burden of handling 1,000
prisoners and is seeking about $2 billion from the other countries to cover the
officials also worry about Iraqi prisons becoming recruiting ground for IS or
other terrorist groups.
Iraqi parliament member Rezan Sheikh said she fears IS will restructure itself
inside Iraqi prisons.
prisons have many problems and are not correctional facilities. And they can
easily lead to the creation of a new terrorist organization, which is why Iraq
should not accept this deal,” she told Al-Monitor.
received information that in Iraq, overcrowding in prisons and detention
centers exceeds 120%. Iraq doesn't have new prisons and detention centers that
match the international standards France and other countries will want Iraq to
al-Hashemi, a researcher at al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, also
warned that Iraqi prisons could become like Bucca Camp, where terrorist
organizations were born.
not in Iraq's interest to try [foreign IS] members inside Iraq. Issuing death
penalties against such members will lead international human rights
organizations to side against Iraq, and keeping them in prison will give them
an opportunity to shuffle their cards,” he told Al-Monitor.
Salihy, an Amnesty International campaign leader, concurred, telling
Al-Monitor, “We met many families who said that their male relatives had joined
IS after being held in prisons such as the Bucca Camp.”
French government is facing pressure from several media outlets and human
rights organizations that question the fairness of the Iraqi judiciary and
reject the death penalty. So, even though France wants Iraq to keep French
nationals, the public wants Macron to pressure Iraq to not sentence them to
on what we have seen in recent years, the death penalty is very likely,"
Salihy added. "Iraq remains among the countries that resort to the death
penalty the most. Authorities [there] often respond to terrorism-related
attacks by announcing executions."
concerns of human rights organizations seem justified, given Salih’s statements
during a Feb. 25 visit to Paris that the convicted in Iraq may face execution.
The prisoners "will be tried according to Iraqi law," he said.
Egypt – Egypt says five soldiers and dozens of militants were killed in recent
clashes in the country's restive northern Sinai Peninsula.
spokesman Tamer al-Rifai issued a statement on Thursday saying the five slain
troops included an officer. He says four were wounded and as many as 47
militants were killed.
statement didn't specify when the clashes took place. The last update on Sinai
released by al-Rifai was on March 11.
statement says scores of militant hideouts and much ammunition and bombs were
uncovered. It says the bombs were safely detonated by the Egyptian forces.
has been battling Islamic militants in Sinai for years. The area remains off
limits for journalists, diplomats and other observers so information from there
cannot be independently verified.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that hundreds of new Syrian
families have managed to escape al-Rukban in al-Tanf Region in Eastern Homs
near the border with Iraq via Jaliqam crossing.
newspaper also quoted special sources as saying that 25 percent of al-Rukban
residents, amounting to 12,500 residents, most of them women and children, have
managed to flee the camp.
sources, meantime, pointed to a call by a large number of civilians to exit the
camp, and said that more civilians plan escape from al-Rukban in the coming
a relevant development late last Month, al-Watan reported that "there are
around 40,000 to 60,000 people residing in al-Rukban Camp and about 2,500 of
them have managed to leave the camp".
sources said the exit of the civilians came after terrorists sought to block
their departure from the camp.
families who have escaped al-Rukban have confirmed lack of food and hygiene in
the camp, adding that the US-backed terrorists keep people hungry and prevent
their evacuation, al-Watan said.
on media reports, the US troops that occupy a 55-km zone in Southern Syria
block Russian and Syrian diplomatic and military officials from entering
al-Rukban Camp to provide people with humanitarian aid.
US command in Al-Tanf had previously delayed the delivery of aid to al-Rukban
from Damascus, after refusing to guarantee its safety. It has also prevented
buses sent by Damascus and guarded by the Russian military police from taking
Syrians from the camp to other parts of Syria.
opening in 2014, Rukban is home to more than 40,000 Syrians, the majority of
which have expressed a desire to return home. A survey released by the UN in
February found that nine out of 10 living at the camp wanted to return.
However, many expressed worry over gaining access to their property, possible
retribution, as well as general safety and security concerns.
While millions of Muslims gather at home to share Ramadan iftars, for thousands
of shift workers breaking their fast is not so simple.
Hassan, head chef at one of Egypt’s famous Seekh Mashwi restaurants, working
during the month of fasting is “a different kind of pleasure.”
the fatigue and exhaustion during fasting hours, God gave me the energy and
patience to work in high temperatures. During Ramadan and fasting, food is in
front of me, but I do not want it at all,” he said.
can adjust the saltiness of the meal without tasting it, just by smelling it. I
have a meal with the restaurant workers after evening prayers during most of
the month of Ramadan. We can only adjust our shift to eat our iftar at home
once a week, but the rest of the days we are at work,” the chef added.
Shams, a baker in downtown Cairo, told Arab News: “Ramadan to us is a season.
The temperature in the streets is 30 degrees, but in the bakery, it can go up
to more than 60. But I must work until the fasting person has iftar, and then I
can have my meal.
work increases massively in Ramadan, and we can never say no,” Shams added. “I
go home to rest, and then I wake up to eat the suhoor meal in my house. It is
the only meal I have with my family in Ramadan. After dawn prayers, I go back
down to work the oven.”
Najdi, a traffic police officer from the Gamaliya district of Cairo, also finds
family get-togethers during Ramadan disrupted.
food comes to me from the Interior Ministry every day, chicken, meat,
vegetables and rice, but I definitely miss the feeling of iftar with the
family,” said Najdi.
traffic in Ramadan is very difficult during the day, and the height of the
hustle is one hour before iftar. But iftar time is simple, because most of the
citizens have already arrived home and the roads are empty.”
has iftar with the family for two days during the week. “I feel happy and
thankful for those two days, but when I have my iftar in the street, I feel
that I am doing my duty to the people, and this is the will of God.”
Ali, head of Cairo’s public transport authority, said the authority would be
providing 75,000 meals a month for employees who could not get home.
added that the distribution of 2,500 daily meals allowed bus services to be
suspended during the time of iftar.
bus driver Hassan Beshir told Arab News that he breaks his fast at the bus stop
three days a week because he shares his job with another driver.
work during the dusk call to prayers and feel happy when I return to the bus
stop without a single passenger,” he said.
feel happy when all the passengers are in their homes with their families.”
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has pardoned 560 prisoners, the majority
of whom were accused of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, two
judicial sources said on Friday. The prisoners included a prominent journalist
and several women, who organized demonstrations outside metro stations last
year after fare hikes.
least 482 were imprisoned on charges related to the Brotherhood, the sources
pardons, announced in the official gazette late Thursday, coincide with the
Muslim holy month of Ramadan when authorities traditionally release detainees
as a goodwill gesture.
prominent journalist, Abdel Halim Qandil, was sentenced to three years in
absentia in December 2017 for “insulting the judiciary.” He surrendered in
October 2018 as Egypt’s highest appeals court upheld his verdict. He was
pardoned for health reasons.
was tried in a case that included 17 other defendants, among them ousted Muslim
Brotherhood President Mohammed Mursi, on the same charges.
those pardoned are eight women who had been sentenced in 2018 to several years
in prison on grounds of belonging to Muslim Brotherhood and staging an
anti-government protest in the Delta province of Damietta.
pardons were announced in the official gazette late on Thursday.
does not have the authority to interfere in Egypt’s judicial processes but can
has issued pardons several times a year, including on major national holidays,
often releasing students and young protesters.
a year ago, the Egyptian president had pardoned more than 330 people, many of
them youths jailed for demonstrating in recent years. El-Sisi told a youth
conference in Cairo broadcasted on state television, he had asked that the
Interior Ministry ensure the pardoned youth prisoners be released within the
signed off on more than 330 (pardoned), and I ask of the interior minister that
these youth spend tonight in their home,” El-Sisi said.
pardon will secure the release of 332 people, including two members of Egypt’s
Destour Party and a number of prisoners with health problems, state-run news
website Al-Ahram Gate reported.
70th Anniversary Celebrations: India, Indonesia
Celebrate Common Islamic Heritage
By Dipanjan Roy ChaudhuryMAY 17, 2019
As part of the continuing 70th Anniversary
celebrations of establishment of diplomatic ties
between India and Indonesia, Embassy of India in
Jakarta along with Nahdlatul Ulama
Indonesia (NU) jointly hosted Buka Puasa (Iftar)
celebrations at the NU Central Office in
The evening showcased a special photo exhibit on
“Shared Islamic Heritage of India and
Indonesia” along with a special musical performance
by a Sufi Qawwali Group led by
Sarfaraz Chisty from India.
The event was attended by select Ambassadors from
diplomatic corps based in Jakarta,
along with dignitaries from NU and large number of
students from several universities in
Ambassador of India Pradeep K Rawat along with the
General Chairman of NU Prof. Dr.
Said Aqil Siradj jointly inaugurated the special
photo exhibit on “Shared Islamic Heritage”
which showcased the rich and vibrant architectural
heritage of Islam in India. The photo
exhibition will be open for public viewing at the NU
Central Office until 24th May, and is
expected to be visited by hundreds of guests on
daily basis during the Holy month of Ramadhan.
Participants also witnessed a special musical
concert presented by famous Sufi Qawwali singers i.e. Chishti Brothers from
India. The 8
member group was specially flown to Indonesia by
Embassy of India and was sponsored by Indian Council for Cultural Relations
(ICCR). Nearly 300 guests including students from
various universities enjoyed the Sufi performance.
The Chshti Brothers Group will also perform at
University of Pesantren Darul Ulum (UNIPDU) at Jombang on 20 May and at
of Maarif Hasyim Latif (UMAHA) in Surabaya on 21 May
2019. The group has travelled oversees in many countries popularizing the Sufi
Singing tradition of India abroad. This was the
Group’s first tour to Indonesia.
The event concluded with prayers followed by Buka
Puasa (breaking of fast) over an Indian sumptuous meal. It may be noted that
this was for the first time that Embassy of India partnered with Nahdlatul
Ulama, which is largest independent
Islamic organization in the world with membership
over 90 million (in 2019).
Established on January 31, 1926 in Surabaya, NU has
had a rich history of promoting the concept of IslamNusantara which promotes
moderation, compassion, anti-radicalism,
inclusiveness and tolerance. As a follow up to the event, it is expected that a
high level delegation from NU led by Chairman NU Prof. Dr. Said Aqil Siradj
will visit India in the second half of 2019.
Two terrorists killed in gunfight in J&K's
May 18, 2019
SRINAGAR: Two terrorists were killed on Saturday in
a gunfight with the
security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Police said the security forces started a cordon and
during night in Panzgam village after receiving
information about the
presence of terrorists there.
The hiding terrorists were challenged after which
they opened fire at the
security forces, triggering an encounter.
"Two terrorists have been killed and their
bodies have been recovered.
Although firing exchanges have now stopped, the
operation is still on," a
police officer said.
One of the slain terrorists has been identified as
Showkat Ahmad Dar, a resident of Panzgam village. He belonged to the Hizbul
Mujahideen (HM) outfit.
The identity and group affiliation of the other
slain terrorist is being ascertained, informed sources said.
Afghanistan seeks clarity from US on Pakistan's
relationship with Taliban
May 17, 2019
NEW DELHI: Afghanistan has asked the US to reveal
the exact nature of the relationship between Pakistan and Taliban. Umer
Daudzai, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s special
envoy, told a gathering today, “We see that the relationship between Pakistan
and the Taliban remain intact. We have told the US,
they should include clarification of Taliban's relationship with Pakistan as
one of the points in the discussions.”
All Taliban leaders that travel to Qatar for talks
with the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, go through Pakistan. “Mullah
Baradar, who head the Taliban team, also went from
Pakistan.” Pakistan claims to be supporting the US-Taliban talks in Qatar,
but refuses to facilitate Afghan government-Taliban
talks. Daudzai, former interior minister and head of the High Peace Council
is in Delhi to meet foreign minister Sushma Swaraj
and national security adviser, Ajit Doval to build a regional consensus on the
Daudzai, like most Afghan government, remains
sceptical of the true intent of the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
he said, the Afghan-US discussions cleared the possibility
of US-Taliban talks but not negotiations. But then, he said, Khalilzad
got into negotiations on four issues — US
withdrawal, Taliban’s cessation of ties with terrorism and terrorists,
dialogue and ceasefire. “Khalilzad and his team come
to share the discussions with us, but we’re not sure whether they are
telling us the whole truth.” His scepticism echoed
similar sentiments by the Afghan NSA Hamdullah Mohib who said Khalilzad
was in undue haste, and engaged in the Taliban
discussions for his personal career advancement.
Daudzai is only the latest in a string of recent
discussions between top Indian officials and their international counterparts
the future of Afghanistan. The Iranian foreign
minister Javad Zarif and Sushma Swaraj discussed Afghanistan during his most
recent visit earlier this week. Zalmay Khalilzad
visited India last week to apprise India on the continuing process in Qatar.
also received the Chinese special envoy on
Afghanistan Deng Xijun last week for talks on the same issue. Indian official
Deepak Mittal travelled to Moscow to meet Zamir
Kabulov, Putin’s special envoy on Afghanistan — India and Russia do not see
eye to eye on the Afghanistan question.
Daudzai also clarified that there was no question of
an interim government in Afghanistan before a peace agreement. After a
peace deal between Afghans and the Taliban, “if it
is felt necessary, we can consider an interim setup.” Until then, there would
be no interim government. This was an idea that both
Khalilzad and Pakistan were flirting with. India has stoutly opposed it,
saying it would be folly to undermine the
constitution. Daudzai concurred, “it would require stepping out of the
Stepping out is easy getting back in would be
But he admitted that with Russia holding talks with
the Taliban as well as the US, Taliban’s political profile has gone up, at the
cost of the legitimate government in Kabul. Daudzai
criticised the Russian role, saying they had got it wrong if they believed
they could tackle ISIS by befriending the Taliban.
“ISIS fights Taliban in Nangarhar province which is close to Pakistan, but they
work together in Badakhshan province.” There are
about 4000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, he said — many of them are ETIM
(Uighurs from China) and IMU (Uzbek), some from
Pakistan as well, and some from Syria-Iraq. “The Taliban is a rural
phenomenon, but ISIS is an educated, urban
Indian Army clerk honey-trapped by Pakistan ISI on
MI radar since December 2018
BHOPAL: Honey-trapped Indian army clerk arrested in
a joint operation by
the Madhya Pradesh ATS and central intelligence
agency from Mhow has
allegedly shared some ‘significant’ information to a
officer (PIO) through Whatsapp.
The suspect was produced before a special court in
remanded him to 10-days police remand. Army officials
are now trying to
get his custody from MPATS for further details
pertaining to his association
with Pakistani agencies, information passed, favours
involvement of others
He was also on the radar of Lucknow based military
intelligence (MI) unit
(responsible for counter intelligence in the Central
since December 2018, said sources. Days before this
arrest, MI had carried out physical, electronic and financial surveillance
with the assistance of Bihar Police and had gathered
enough evidence against him since then.
The matter was also reported to MI’s command
headquarters. Based information provided by central intelligence agencies and
MI, a team of MPATS apprehended him from Mhow (near
Indore) on Thursday for his suspected involvement in espionage.
Officials say he came in touch with a Pakistan based
Facebook profile operated by a lady and got lured. He started receiving
tasks of providing information pertaining to
location, movement and exercise related to the Indian Army.
“He used to gather the information based on his
knowledge and using his contacts in the army. The exchange of information
used is through internet-based Mobile applications
like Facebook and WhatsApp. Reportedly he has been receiving money in
return of the same,” said an officer adding that his
activities came to notice of Intelligence agencies and was kept under joint
physical and electronic surveillance of agencies
including MI. Secrecy is being maintained due to the sensitivity of the case as
a serving individual is involved, he said.
Sources say that the Facebook ID that lured the
clerk at Mhow has been deactivated since they exchanged phone numbers
and shifted to Whatsapp. The suspect reportedly got
money deposited in his own salary account and that of his colleagues.
“Pakistani’s are not good paymasters. Not more than
Rs 15000 must have been deposited at a time,” said the officer.
Three killed in Shopian encounter: Police say one
was ‘active associate of terrorists’, family says he was not militant
by Adil Akhzer
Hours after police said that three militants were
killed in an encounter in Shopian on Thursday, a J&K Police release
clarified that one of them was an “active associate of terrorists”. His family,
however, maintained that he had nothing to do with militancy.
Ishtiyaq Ahmad Bhat’s body was among the three
bodies recovered from Handew area after an encounter between militants and
security forces in the village on Thursday evening. Initially, J&K Police
said that three militants were killed in the operation.
In another release, issued by the J&K Police
spokesperson at midnight, they said that the militants had been identified. The
release said that as per police records, Ishtiyaq was an “active associate of
terrorists” and criminal cases were earlier registered against him, including
one for militant activities. “His complicity in the instant incident is under
probe,” the spokesperson said.
The Army spokesperson on Thursday night had said
that only two militants were killed in the encounter. It did not mention
At Ishtiyaq’s two-storey house in Handew village,
the family appeared shocked. “How was he killed and how did he reach there?
Only god knows what happened. But I can assure you he was not a militant, he
had nothing to do with militancy. He was a civilian,” Ishtiyaq’s father
Mohammed Dawood Bhat told The Indian Express.
That afternoon, Ishtiyaq reportedly returned home
with firewood from his orchard, and then left to spend time in the
neighborhood. An hour later, his family received news that he was killed in an
encounter in a nearby orchard.
When the firing started in the village, Bhat said he
immediately called on Ishtiyaq’s mobile. “But his phone kept ringing, and was
later switched off. I started worrying,” he said.
It was only after the Army took some locals to take
the bodies out after the operation that one of them was identified as Ishtiyaq,
The family admitted that Ishtiyaq was arrested
earlier this year. “He was in jail for about a month. As he was regularly going
to the police station, he developed good relations with the police and would
often play cricket with them,” said another relative of Ishtiyaq. “Whenever he
got a call from the local police station, he would meet them.”
Ishtiyaq got married four years ago. Soon after his
death, his mother was hospitalised as her health deteriorated.
“I saw Ishtiyaq at a shop an hour before the
incident. Everyone is shocked at his death,” said a neighbour.
Local residents said this was the first encounter
the village had seen in a long time. “I remember the last encounter was in
2006. There is no local militant here,” said one villager.
Nine Islamic State Militants Killed In Southwest
May 16, 2019
Pakistani security forces have killed nine Islamic
State militants during an hours-long operation near the city of Quetta in the
southwestern Balochistan Province where repeated militant attacks occurred this
month, officials said on May 16.
Four troops were wounded in the operation in a
mountainous area called Qabu Koh-e-Mehran in the Mastung district, 47
kilometers from Quetta.
"Nine bodies (of Islamic State militants) have
been brought to hospital from Mastung," said Waseem Baig, a spokesman for
a Quetta hospital.
The operation was launched following a sudden surge
in militant attacks across Pakistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Five police officers were killed in the latest attack, on May 13 in Quetta,
which was claimed by Islamic State.
Various militant groups as well as separatists
fighting the central government are active in mineral-rich Balochistan, where
attacks on gas and transport infrastructure and security posts occur
New visa policy to promote religious tourism in
WASHINGTON: Pakistani ambassador to the United
States Asad Majeed Khan on Friday said the new visa policy is aimed at
promoting religious tourism in Pakistan.
Addressing an Iftar dinner at the Pakistani embassy
in Washington, the ambassador said Pakistan has demonstrated religious harmony
by opening Kartarpur corridor.
Khan said the purpose of arranging an Iftar dinner
at the embassy was to share the blessings of Ramazan and promote interfaith
harmony and mutual understanding.
Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump
hosted an Iftar dinner for the Muslim members of his administration and top
diplomats from various countries at the White House.
Ramadan is a time when people join forces in pursuit
of hope, tolerance, and peace, US President Donald Trump had said.
During this month of worship, Muslims fast from
sunrise to sundown and focus on prayer and spiritual life to deepen their
devotion to god.
“Ramadan is a time of charity, of giving, and
service to our fellow citizens. Ramadan is a very special time. It’s a time to
draw closer as families, neighbors, and communities,” Donald Trump had said.
Peshawar High Court sets aside conviction of
PESHAWAR: Setting aside his conviction in the
erstwhile Fata by an assistant political agent, the Peshawar High Court has
acquitted a man on the charges of waging war and taking up arms against the
A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and
Justice Musarrat Hilali accepted an appeal of convict Karim Khan of Jamrud area
in Khyber tribal district, who was arrested few years ago on the charge of
being a member of the defunct Lashkar-i-Islam.
He was later convicted by the Jamrud APA on Oct 25,
2017, and was sentenced to life imprisonment under the Pakistan Penal Code’s
sections 121 (waging war against the state), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war) and
122 (taking up arms against the state).
Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, lawyer for the appellant,
said his client was arrested by security forces several years ago and had remained
in their illegal custody before he was handed over to the then administration
of Khyber region and was tried under the now repealed Frontier Crimes
The lawyer said there were no specific allegations
of terrorism against the appellant and that a joint investigation team had
asked the administration to convict him without producing any evidence in that
He said a council of elders set up under Section 11
of FCR had also in its findings relied only on the JIT’s statement instead of
giving any independent findings.
The lawyer said there were scores of such cases as
when the arrested suspects were not found to be involved in any particular
offence, they were handed over to the administrations in different tribal
districts, who convicted them despite having no evidence of their wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, a single-member bench acquitted two
appellants in different cases.
Justice Ikramullah accepted appeals of convicts
Ziaul Haq and Chinar Gul, both residents of Jamrud, who were convicted by the
APA on the charge of having links with a proscribed organisation and were
sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each.
Lawyer Gigyani said his clients were taken into
custody by the security forces and had remained missing.
He said after remaining in illegal detention for few
years, the appellants were handed over to the tribal administration.
The lawyer said no evidence was produced against his
clients and that only a ‘generalised’ allegation of them being members of a
proscribed organisation was leveled against them.
BAIL: Justice Ikramullah Khan of a single-member
high court bench granted bail to a child charged with smuggling 15kg heroin in
a car in Khyber tribal district.
The petitioner’s counsel said the Khasadar force had
claimed to recovered the contraband from the secret cavities of a car driven by
his client on Oct 17, 2017.
He said around two years had passed but the trial of
the petitioner hadn’t concluded leaving his client behind bars.
The lawyer said the petitioner was entitled to be
freed on bail under the Juvenile Justice System Act.
He said the personnel of the Khasadar force didn’t
fulfil the basic requirement of testing the recovered contraband.
Three ‘militants’ killed in Kalat
QUETTA: Three suspected militants, including a
‘commander’ of a banned organisation, were shot dead on Friday during an
operation carried out by security forces in Kalat district.
Security officials said that intelligence agencies,
along with security forces, had launched an operation in the Dashat-i-Gorran
area, some 50km off Kalat town, after receiving information about the presence
of militants there.
The armed men opened fire on the security forces
after which a heavy exchange of fire continued for several hours, killing three
“An important commander of the banned Baloch
Liberation Army, Shams Qalandrni, is also killed in the gun battle,” security
officials said. They identified the other deceased militants as Zafar Ali and
CTD guns down Hazara community attacker in Mustang
QUETTA: One of the nine terrorists killed in the
Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) operation in Balochistan’s Mastung area was
identified as one of the attackers involved in Quetta scuicide blast on April
12 which targeted the Hazara community.
At least 20 people were killed and 48 wounded by a
powerful suicide blast at a crowded fruit market in the provincial capital.
According to CTD sources, the dead terrorist
identified as Umar Taisani alias Chotta was also involved in attacks on FC
Sources further informed that identity of the other
dead terrorists is being carried out while the search for their accomplices is
Punjab, father shoots daughter who refused to fast
Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Pakistani from
the province of Punjab killed his daughter because she did not want to fast for
Ramadan. It happened late yesterday evening in the 71 / D village of Malka
Hans, in the Pakpattan district. The victim was called Umme Samina and was 18
years old. According to investigators, the young woman had refused to observe
the sacred fast for Islam for health reasons.
The police of Malka Hans arrested Gulzar Ahmed,
Samina's father. The case came to light thanks to the complaint of Mukhtar
Ahmed, the girl's uncle. He said his brother had been furious that his daughter
had not woken him up for the Sehri, the morning meal h eaten before the sun
came up. The murderer is a man with alcohol addiction and a criminal record,
for which he served two years in prison. Faced with the 18-year-old's
opposition, he took a gun and shot her. The girl died instantly.
Ramadan, which began on May 6, is the sacred month
that Islam dedicates to fasting and prayer. It is one of the five pillars
(duties) of Islam together with the pilgrimage to Mecca, the canonical prayer,
the testimony of faith and the payment of almsgiving. For almost a month,
Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset; smoking and
sexual relations are also prohibited. The Iftar, which breaks the fast, is the
main meal within 24 hours and is consumed in the evening.
According to Islamic tradition, every person who has
passed puberty and is healthy in body and mind must follow the precept. Those
with psychological problems are exempt, children under the age of puberty, the
elderly, the sick, travelers and pregnant, nursing, or just entering the
Although non fasting is permitted in the cases
mentioned, those who do not abstain from food and drink during Ramadan are the
object of discrimination, or even persecution, in most countries where Islam is
a state religion.
Group wants Tennessee DA to resign over anti-Islam
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee district attorney is
facing calls to resign after posting several anti-Islam remarks to social
The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced
Friday that it was asking for Tennessee’s Coffee County District Attorney Craig
Northcott to resign. The advocacy group also said it was asking the Tennessee
Republican Party to “repudiate” Northcott for posting the remarks.
According to screenshots of the posts, Northcott
wrote in a Facebook comment that the Islam belief system is “evil, violent and
against God’s truth” and that being Muslim is no different than “being part of
the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.” Northcott made the comments while responding to a
Republican candidate’s post in late April.
Northcott’s office did not immediately return a
phone message seeking comment.
Trump criticizes US media for ‘fraudulent, highly
inaccurate’ Iran coverage
17 May 2019
US President Donald Trump has lambasted “fake news
media” for what he said was its “fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of
“The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its
fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly
sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS,” he tweeted.
But in Trump’s view, the coverage had one positive
“At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at
this point may very well be a good thing!” he added in the tweet.
The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its
fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran. It is scattershot, poorly
sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn’t know what to think,
which at this point may very well be a good thing! 62.6K
With all of the Fake and Made Up News out there,
Iran can have no idea what is actually going on!
On Wednesday, Trump criticized reports from the
Washington Post and the New York Times and denied that there were any
disagreements in the White House regarding Iran.
The Trump administration has ordered non-essential
diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups,
and sent an aircraft carrier and heavy B-52 bombers to the region.
US ‘sitting by the phone’ but heard nothing from
17 May 2019
The United States is “sitting by the phone” but has
heard no message yet from Iran that it is willing to accept President Donald
Trump’s overtures for direct talks, a senior Trump administration official said
“We think they should de-escalate and come to
negotiations,” the official, who declined to be identified, told a small group
Trump has urged Iran’s leadership to hold talks over
its nuclear program and regional influence amid rising tensions between the two
countries that have fanned fears of armed conflict after the United States
deployed an aircraft carrier group to the region.
Asked if there were any indications from the
Iranians that they were ready to engage, the official said: “Not yet. We’re
sitting by the phone.”
Trump has communicated to his national security team
and other aides that he wants to keep tensions with Tehran from boiling over
into a war, but he has also made clear that he will protect US interests in the
region, US officials said.
US intelligence showed heightened activity by Iran
or its proxies that US officials took as a threat against American targets in
US senator demands more security after arson at
Senator Richard Blumenthal demanded Friday the
federal government invest more resources into security at places of worship
across the country.
"Invest in resources to make places of worship
truly secure and safe," he told congregants at the Diyanet Mosque in the
city of New Haven, Connecticut.
Blumenthal spoke before Friday prayer services at
the Turkish mosque.
A fire on the first floor of the mosque Sunday
spread to the second level. A worshipper who was in the building called
firefighters and was able to safely evacuate.
The mosque is still under construction and sustained
A criminal investigation is ongoing, in what
officials believe is a case of arson.
Investigators are offering a $2,500 reward, and the
Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering
$10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
"They attacked this mosque just like they
attacked the synagogue in Philadelphia, previously in different churches around
the United States," said the co-chairman of the Turkish-American Steering
Committee Halil Mutlu.
Mutlu said the response from the Turkish and Muslim
American communities was immense, with an online campaign that raised so far
raised $150,000 for reconstruction.
24 in Morocco face terror trial in Nordic hikers'
SALE, Morocco – Twenty-four people have gone on
trial in Morocco on terrorism charges for the brutal slaying of two
Scandinavian women hikers that shocked Denmark, Norway and Morocco itself.
The court decided to include the Moroccan government
as a civil party to the case during Thursday's hearing in the coastal city of
Hafida Makssaoui, the government-appointed lawyer
representing the four chief suspects, says the trial is expected to run for
She told The Associated Press that her clients, aged
25-30, have pleaded guilty and regret their actions. However she expects they
will get a death sentence over the December attack on Louisa Vesterager
Jespersen of Denmark and Maren Ueland of Norway.
The attackers shared a video of the killing on social
networks and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Escalating anti-Muslim sentiments in Europe manifest
itself in recent bans on headscarf
There is only one week left until the European
Parliament elections. As politicians ramped up their election campaigns and
Europeans turned their attention to the upcoming polls, there was yet another
significant development behind the scenes that affected millions of people on
the continent. The past week was marked by a series of laws against Muslims in
Europe, mostly on banning the Muslim headscarf, causing millions of Muslim
women to suffer when practicing their religion in public spaces. Although the
number and intense influence of the laws was a shock at first, in reality,
seeing such moves from various European states is not very surprising since
they are basically the manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiments on the continent
that have been on the rise in recent years. "There are ongoing policies
against Muslims [in Europe]. Since 2008, we have seen the rise of populism and
populist parties. Not only right-wing but left-wing populism is also on the
rise. This movement gained new momentum in 2015 when the migration crisis
started to emerge," said Belgium parliamentarian Mahinur Özdemir, speaking
on the rise of anti-Muslim hatred in Europe. "In this political
environment, democrats cannot find a place for themselves," she added.
"The traditional parties, as they become unable
to answer the people's needs through traditional ways, instead of getting more
democratized, get more populist and grasp racist rhetoric," she
Austrian lawmakers recently approved controversial
plans to ban girls in elementary schools from wearing headscarves, a move that
would add to existing restrictions on veils. The Austria Press Agency reported
that lawmakers from the governing coalition of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's
conservative People's Party (ÖVP) and the anti-migration Freedom Party (FPÖ)
supported the measure late Wednesday.
Although the measure bans wearing
"ideologically or religiously characterized clothing" that covers the
head, and specifies that it refers to items "that cover the whole or large
parts of the hair," to avoid charges that the law discriminates against
Muslims, still, the representatives of both parts of the governing coalition
have made it clear that the law is targeted at the Islamic headscarf. The
government says the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish kippah
would not be affected.
Austria is home to around 700,000 Muslims, including
300,000 of Turkish origin. Many of them are second or third-generation Austrian
citizens from Turkish families who migrated to the country in the 1960s. Amid
widespread fears stemming from the refugee crisis and international terrorism,
Austria's right-wing parties proposed several controversial measures including
strict controls on mosques and Muslim associations and immediately closing them
in the case of suspicious activity.
However, Austria is not the only European country
that has a discriminatory stance toward Muslims. France's upper house of
parliament on Thursday adopted a bill that prohibits mothers from wearing a
headscarf while accompanying students on school trips. The bill was presented
in the country's senate by the conservative Republican Party. The bill was
passed with 186 yes and 100 no votes, while 159 senators abstained. The bill
has to be approved by the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, to
enter into force.
France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe,
estimated at 5 million or more out of a population of 67 million. The place of
religion and religious symbols worn in public can be a matter of controversy in
the staunchly secular country. For years, rights groups have argued that
France's secular laws foster anti-Muslim sentiment and discriminate against
Muslim women. It was also the first country in Europe to ban Islamic face
veils, such as the burqa and the niqab, in public places in 2010. In 2014, the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the ban but said the law could
appear excessive and encourage stereotyping. France was also embroiled in a row
over bans on the burkini, a full-body Islamic swimsuit, in resorts around the
European countries violate human rights
Although these laws were a crisis in the making,
according to Özdemir, by approving these votes, European countries are actually
violating human rights.
"The 9th article of the EU's constitution
protects individual rights and liberties. However, these kinds of laws are
directly in conflict with that article," she said, speaking of the
European values that constitute the foundation of their societies.
However, Özdemir further indicated that in her
opinion, there is no direct demand from people for politicians to be more
populist or even racist.
"The demand of the people is to live a better,
more stable life. However, when politicians come up with such [racist]
policies, people are affected by that and get scared of the things that they
are unfamiliar with [such as Muslims]," she said.
Anti-Muslim hatred has been on the rise for years.
Far-right extremism and xenophobia have fueled anti-Muslim hatred in Western
countries, where terror attacks by Daesh and al-Qaida are used as an excuse to
legitimize those views. Although enmity toward Muslims is not a new phenomenon,
it intensified after 2001 when airplanes crashed into the twin towers in New
York City. Since then, for almost two decades, Islam has been unjustly
tarnished with labels that have negative connotations and been portrayed as a
religion of hate and violence with anti-Western sentiment and women's
oppression. This trend of intolerance has triggered deadly attacks against
Muslims and immigrants since then.
Attending the Committee of Ministers of the Council
of Europe on Friday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also touched
upon the issue, calling the council to stand against anti-Muslim acts.
"[The council] must fight together against
rising xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, hate speech and populism,"
Muslims should unite against anti-Muslim acts
In Özdemir's opinion, it is not too late for
anything since there is still the option to counter-act on the part of Muslims.
"In Austria, Muslims, if they get together, may
bring the issue to a higher court and go for an appeal since the law directly
targets Muslims' headscarf. This means that this is an openly racist act since
it excludes other religious symbols or clothing such as Sikh's turban,"
"However," she underlined, "Muslims
should unite first and act together. Not only legal struggles, but also civil
struggle is crucial. The important thing is to not quit no matter what. If we
[as Muslims] continue our struggle to protect our rights, then we would get
recognized by the state as well."
As the first Belgium parliamentarian with a
headscarf, Özdemir said that the biggest issue is to not give up in the face of
various tests that being a woman Muslim politician in Europe presents to you.
"When I was first elected 10 years ago, of
course I received many reactions. I've received lots of criticism and even
death threats since I was the first woman parliamentarian in Brussels to wear a
headscarf," Özdemir said, indicating she has to do her job without giving
into the challenges she faces.
"Right now, there are lots of women politicians
all over Europe who wear headscarves. This shows that we have made some
progress. When you, as the first in something, manage to overcome the
challenges, the ones that come after you are more at ease," she said.
‘Unity, dialogue key to overcoming hateful trends’
Unity, inclusiveness, dialogue and a comprehensive
strategic vision are the only ways to overcome rising trends of xenophobia,
Islamophobia and anti-Semitism across the globe, Turkey’s foreign minister said
“Terrorist attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka as
well as the recent attack against a mosque in the U.S. and many similar ones in
Europe remind us of the severity of the threat,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu was speaking at the 129th Session of the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Helsinki, Finland.
On April 21, terrorist attacks on churches and
hotels in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo left 250 people dead on Easter.
At least 50 Muslim worshippers were massacred and as
many injured when a white supremacist terrorist attacked two mosques in
Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15.
“I share the [Council of Europe] secretary general’s
appeal to address increased inequality and to strengthen anti-discrimination
and equality policies in Europe, including the fight against rising xenophobia,
Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, hate speech and populism,” said
“Our democracies are at risk in the face of these
trends. Attacks against places of worship are becoming commonplace.
“We can only tackle these challenges with unity,
inclusiveness, dialogue and a comprehensive strategic vision,” he stressed.
Cavusoglu thanked Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary
General of the Council of Europe, for his presentation and final report, which
Cavusoglu said “will be remembered as his legacy”.
“I also thank him for his sincere engagement and
solidarity with Turkey during difficult times,” he said.
“I support the secretary general’s position on the
need to avoid creating a new dividing line in Europe. The emphasis on equal
rights and obligations of member states is the right approach to overcome the
“Division and exclusion will only undermine what we
have achieved in the last seven decades,” Cavusoglu said.
Institutional weaknesses should also be addressed,
“Effective, objective and non-politicized use of the
existing monitoring and advisory mechanisms is essential. Political approaches
undermine their credibility.
“Better coordination between the Committee of
Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly is welcome, without prejudice to each
organ’s statutory mandate,” he said.
Cavusoglu also stressed the need “to equip the
Council with ample financial resources”.
EU renews sanctions against Assad regime
Ali Murat Alhas
The European Union on Friday extended sanctions
against the regime of Bashar al-Assad until next June.
“In line with the EU strategy on Syria, the EU
decided to maintain its restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its
supporters as the repression of the civilian population continues,” said a
written statement by the EU Council.
Five deceased persons and two entities were removed
from the sanction list that now has 270 people and 70 entities targeted by the
Those on the list are accused of “being responsible
for the violent repression against the civilian population in Syria, benefiting
from or supporting the regime, and/or being associated with such persons or
EU sanctions against the regime include an oil
embargo, restrictions on certain investments, a freeze of the assets of the
Syrian central bank in the EU and on technology and equipment that might be
used for internal repression.
Syria has just begun to emerge from a devastating
conflict that began in early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators
with unexpected severity.
Al-Jubeir: Houthi attack proves they are indivisible
part of IRGC
16 May 2019
Yemen's Houthis are an indivisible part of Iran’s
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and are subject to the IRGC’s orders, Saudi
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said on Thursday.
He added that this is confirmed by the Houthi
targeting of facilities in the Kingdom.
In a series of tweets on his official account,
al-Jubeir said that the Houthis prove that they implement Iran’s agenda
"by sacrificing the need of the Yemeni people for the benefit of
1- The #Houthis confirm day after day that they
implement #Iran’s agenda by sacrificing the need of the Yemeni people for the
benefit of #Iran
2- The Houthis are an indivisible part of #Iran’s Revolutionary
Guard Corps (#IRGC) and subject to the IRGC’s orders. This is confirmed by the
#Houthis targeting facilities in the Kingdom
On Tuesday, the Houthi militias claimed
responsibility for twin drone strikes on Saudi Arabia’s main East-West oil pipeline.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the vital conduit for global oil
supplies in case of a military confrontation with the United States.
Several Arab countries have condemned the attacks on
two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia, with Egypt adding that coordination
with the Kingdom was at the highest level to counter challenges and threats.
Saudi project clears 1,024 Houthi mines, explosive
devices in Yemen
The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen
(MASAM) has announced the extraction of 781 unexploded ordnance, 210 anti-tank
mines, 27 anti-personnel mines, and six improvised explosive devices during the
second week of May.
The 1,024 mines during the second week of May means
the total number of mines extracted by the project since it started its work in
June 2018 has now totaled 70,539.
The legitimate Yemeni government has accused the
Houthi militias of planting more than one million mines across the country over
the course of three years and said more than 2,000 people, mainly civilians,
have been killed as a result.
According to a report by UK-based organization
Conflict Armament Research (CAR), the use of landmines and IEDs is a growing
threat in Yemen, especially as their investigation points to Iran’s hand at
providing the Houthis with the necessary bomb-making supplies.
“IEDs and Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive
Device (RCIED) employed by Houthi forces continue to contain components that
originate in Iran. The most recent seizures of IED electronics reveal attempts
to conceal their provenance,” CAR said in a report published last September
Syria says its air defenses intercept several
The Syrian army says its air defense units have
brought down several projectiles fired from Israeli-occupied territories.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing its
correspondent, said that the Israeli aerial aggression occurred on Friday
Other reports, quoting some residents in the Syrian
capital, said several loud explosions were heard near Damascus.
SANA, in a later update, quoted a military official
as saying that the projectiles came from “the direction of” Syria’s
southwestern province of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights,
adding that the air defense units had “countered” them.
The Israeli regime launches airstrikes on the Syrian
territory from time to time. Such aggressive moves are usually viewed as
attempts to prop up terrorist groups suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian
On April 13, the Syrian army said that its air
defenses intercepted some of the Israeli missiles fired at a Syrian military
base near the city of Hama, while the remaining missiles hitting the target
destroyed a number of buildings and wounded three Syrian troopers.
On March 27, the Israeli regime launched multiple
missile attacks on Shaykh Najjar industrial city located 10 km northeast of
Syrian TV said the majority of those missiles had
been intercepted by the Arab country’s air defense, and those that hit their
targets only caused material damage.
Israel used to be very careful with its operations
over Syria after Russia equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300
surface-to-air missiles in October 2018.
However, US President Donald Trump's recent decision
to recognize the “Israeli sovereignty” over the Syrian territories of Golan
Heights has seemingly emboldened Tel Aviv to launch new aggression on the Arab
Soccer star Ronaldo donates $1.5mn to Palestinians
May 17, 2019
Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has donated
$1.5 million to the Palestinians in a move to alleviate the suffering of people
in the besieged Gaza Strip.
He allocated the fund to the Palestinians during the
holy month of Ramadan.
The soccer player has, in several occasions,
denounced Israel's atrocities against the Palestinians.
Back in 2012, Ronaldo had auctioned off his Golden
Boot, the prestigious award given to the best European strikers of the season,
to raise funds that were later donated to the Palestinian children.
The following year, in March 2013, at the end of the
match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Ronaldo
refused to exchange his shirt with an Israeli player.
The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and
sea blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard
of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza
border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to
return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
More than 270 Palestinians have been killed in
attacks by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in
the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained
Iran condemns Saudi bombing of Sana'a residential
Iran has condemned recent Saudi airstrikes on
residential areas in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, which killed several civilians.
"We urge international bodies and human rights
organizations to act according to their responsibilities and stop such crimes
from happening again by any means possible," Iran's Foreign Ministry
spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said on Friday.
"Countries which have supported the invading
forces in Yemen by giving destructive arms and bombs are complicit in these
crimes and must be held accountable," Mousavi added.
At least seven civilians were killed in the Saudi
air raids. Four of those died were from one family. Dozens of others were also
wounded in the attacks.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs later said that five children died as a result of the
An AFP correspondent reported seeing one residential
building completely reduced to rubble, with residents using bare hands in a
desperate search for survivors.
The residents chanted "Death to America, death
to Israel" as they pulled the body of a child, the AFP reported.
The attack happened days after the United Nations
confirmed that Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement had handed over control of
three key ports in the western province of Hudaydah to the local “coastguard”.
The measure took place in line with a UN-brokered
truce accord. The UN says the Saudis have not yet implemented their commitment
under the agreement.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies,
including the United Arab Emirates, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015,
with the goal of bringing the government of ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
back to power.
According to a December 2018 report by the Armed
Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research
organization, the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on Yemen’s
infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN said in a
report in December 2018 that over 24 million Yemenis were in dire need of
humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
The war led to a major surge of Western arms exports
to Saudi Arabia, which depends greatly on foreign arms and military support in
Speaking on Wednesday, spokesman and chief
negotiator for Ansarullah Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the Yemeni resistance will
target Saudi Arabia's economic infrastructure if the Saudis continue attacks against the war-torn
"Strategic Emirati facilities will also be
targeted by drone attacks," he said.
Abdul-Salam's statements came a day after the
Ansarullah movement conducted a number of successful drone strikes on a vital
oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia in response to the kingdom's continued aggression.
The strikes forced Saudi authorities to stop pumping
crude oil on a major pipeline spanning the kingdom.
The attack prompted the state-aligned Saudi newspaper
Arab News to call for "surgical" American strikes against Iran.
The paper claimed that the attack represented a
"serious escalation" on the part of Iran and what it claimed were
"its proxies", a label vehemently denied by the Ansarullah movement.
Nonetheless, the Saudi paper referred to Trump's
2017 and 2018 strikes against Syria as a "precedent" for a similar
attack against Iran.
"The next logical step — in this newspaper’s
view — should be surgical strikes," the paper added.
The Arab News is usually regarded as reflecting the
Saudi kingdom's official position on matters.
is a company that has been chaired by sons of King
Salman until 2014.
Turki bin Salman al Saud, brother of Saudi Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, currently owns the the Saudi Research and Marketing
Group that publishes the newspaper.
Gaza organizers cancel protests along Israel border
GAZA CITY, LONDON: Organizers canceled the main
weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, for only the second
time in more than a year.
They said a large demonstration had already been
held in Gaza on Wednesday to commemorate what Palestinians call the nakba, or
catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were expelled or fled from their homes
during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.
“Today there are no activities in the ‘return camps’
in the east of the Gaza Strip, due to the high temperature and to provide a
break to citizens, who held a large protest two days ago,” the organizing
committee said in a statement.
The “march of return” demonstrations have been held
at least weekly since March 2018, with the backing of Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Friday protests were canceled just once before —
after a flare-up between Israel and Hamas in March.
Protesters have been demanding an end to Israel’s
more than decade-old blockade of Gaza and the right for Palestinian refugees to
return to ancestral lands now inside Israel.
Israel says any such return would spell its demise
as a Jewish state and accuses Hamas of orchestrating the protests as an excuse
At least 293 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza
since the protests began, the majority during the protests. Six Israelis have
been killed in Gaza-related violence.
Facebook bans Israeli firm
In another development, Facebook, facing criticism
for enabling disruption of elections worldwide, said it was taking down
hundreds of accounts linked to an Israeli political consultancy.
The social media platform said it was banning the
Israeli company, Archimedes Group, which on its website boasts of “winning
The US giant said Thursday it had removed 265
accounts on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, Facebook Pages, Groups and
events “involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The sites’ activity focused on several African
countries and on Latin America and Southeast Asia, and was intended to sway
voters by peddling misinformation.
The individuals behind the fake network tried to
hide their identities but some of the activity linked back to Archimedes Group,
which Facebook said had “repeatedly violated” its policies.
“This organisation and all its subsidiaries are now
banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter,” the US
company’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in a blog
There was no immediate comment from Archimedes,
which says it is a leader in “large-scale campaigns worldwide” through its
expertise in consulting, lobbying and social media.
About 2.8 million individual accounts followed one
or more of the banned Pages, and $812,000 was spent on related ads on Facebook
from 2012 to April this year, Gleicher said.
Nine public events were organised by the Pages, most
recently this month, but Facebook said it could not confirm whether any of the
events had actually occurred.
Facebook has been trying to address the criticism
that it has long turned a blind eye to political actors abusing its platforms
to sway elections, including the 2016 presidential vote in the US.
“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, and,
as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge,” Gleicher said.
This week, Facebook joined other tech giants in
issuing the “Christchurch Call” to stamp out violent extremist content on the
internet, following massacres at two New Zealand mosques in March.
Spreading the net: Somali Islamists now target
MAY 17, 2019
The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency is using
some unconventional accomplices to step up attacks beyond Somalia’s borders.
January’s assault on an office and hotel complex in
the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, was the first to be led by a someone who is not an
ethnic Somali since al Shabaab began major cross-border operations in 2010.
Twenty-one people were killed.
The attack’s leader, Ali Salim Gichunge, nicknamed
Farouk, was a 26-year-old Kenyan who attended a Catholic school and whose
largely Christian Meru ethnic group has no ties to Somalia. He led four other
assailants, including at least one non-Somali used as a suicide bomber, Kenyan
security officials said. All died in the attack.
They are among a growing number of Kenyans with no
family links to Somalia drafted by the militants in recent years, according to
relatives, security officials and analysts.
Widespread poverty and unemployment mean al Shabaab
can tempt recruits by offering cash or promises of work, researchers who
interviewed defectors said. Even small gifts have lured some young men, their
These new recruits have expanded the militants’
reach and complicated efforts by Kenyan security forces to thwart them.
“In the past, the security forces concentrated their
efforts in parts of the country that are Muslim majority, Muslim-dominated,”
said Murithi Mutiga, a project director for the International Crisis Group
think-tank. “Now it’s much harder because al Shabaab has shown its adaptability
by recruiting from outside the traditional areas.”
At the same time, al Shabaab has expanded operations
from Somalia into East Africa, where it has shown it can hit high-profile
targets, such as the offices of Western multinational companies.
FOOTBALL, DRUGS AND MOTORBIKES
Gichunge, the son of a Kenyan military officer, was
radicalized while working at a hotel Internet cafe in Isiolo town, his sister
“It all started there. He was able to access new
materials online, go to Facebook. He started studying Arabic language and all
sorts of things,” Amina Sharif said.
His Muslim family had sent him to a mission school
in Isiolo, a dusty northern town that is a gateway to three vast, arid counties
Many in Isiolo were reluctant to discuss him,
fearing police attention. But some said al Shabaab recruiters had been
targeting young, unemployed men from outside the ethnic Somali community there
Abdi Bidu, 53, said smooth-talking recruiters
befriended his son Boru, then 20, three years ago while the young man was
watching European football matches at video parlors. They offered cigarettes,
motor-bike rides and khat, a mildly narcotic leaf, he said.
The Bidu family are ethnic Boranas, a religiously
mixed community not previously associated with Islamist violence.
Police caught Boru trying to join al Shabaab near
the Somali border in 2017, his father said. The young man went to court, but
authorities inexplicably dropped the charges.
His father keeps him at home now, forbidding him to
use the phone. Bidu refused to allow Reuters to speak to his son, fearing a
“There is a big problem in Isiolo,” Bidu said. “Many
have been persuaded to join the militants. Many others have been caught by
authorities and returned.”
He said he knew three other families whose sons were
recruited. Parents feel angry and helpless, and want the government to step up
Martin Kimani, Kenya’s chief counter-terrorism
official, said statistics on al Shabaab recruitment are classified.
But a USAID-funded study in 2018, quoted in a local
government strategy document, estimated the group had recruited about 200 young
men in the county to which Isiolo belongs since 2013.
Another 2018 survey asked 190 young Kenyans and 23
community leaders about violent extremism in Isiolo, neighboring Garissa county,
the coastal counties of Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa, and Nairobi. Seventy percent
of respondents had a family member, close peer or neighbor involved in such
activities, including recruitment, the British-funded study found.
Al Shabaab grew out of a political movement that
used Islamic courts to impose order on war-ravaged Somalia. U.S.-backed
Ethiopian soldiers defeated the Islamic Courts Union in 2006, but its youth
wing split off and launched an insurgency.
Al Shabaab pledged loyalty to al Qaeda four years
later, as the insurgency battled African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.
Kenya sent troops there in 2011 after al Shabaab
started recruiting and kidnapping on Kenyan soil. Two years later, the
insurgents massacred 67 people at Nairobi’s Westgate mall.
As al Shabaab morphed from a nationalist insurgency
into an al Qaeda franchise, it increased its messaging to other nationalities.
The first such outreach came after it killed 76
people watching the World Cup football final in twin suicide attacks in Kampala
in 2010. Al Shabaab released a video threatening further attacks from militants
who “speak your language and walk your streets”.
Since then, the group’s messaging has grown more
Kenya’s 2012 election was denounced in a press
release and radio statement as a tool for infidels. Ahead of the 2017 election,
the group released seven videos in local languages.
In one video, eight al Shabaab fighters from Kenya
spoke about grievances specific to their ethnic groups, such as land-grabbing
on Kenya’s coast, according to a 2019 report by the London-based Royal United
Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.
Other videos discussed the rising price of flour, or
used graphics and statistics to build an economic case for Kenyan troops to
“Religious ideology ... is entirely absent,” the
report said. “It seeks to relate to educated, non-Muslim audiences.”
Kenya launched counter radicalization programs in
Reuters attended one meeting organized by a
grassroots peace group two weeks after the January attack. Fifteen parents who
feared their sons had been recruited met at Isiolo’s dilapidated main police
station. Organizers asked not to be named.
Over samosas, boiled eggs and milky tea, police
explained they needed information to thwart the militants. The police had been
criticized after previous attacks for making mass arrests and hauling in
suspects’ families for questioning. This was a softer approach.
“These meetings encourage us ... We are not alone,”
said a mother whose son disappeared three years ago. She is furious at Islamist
recruiters she blames for targeting her son.
“We don’t know them. If we knew, we would lynch
them,” she said.
About two hours drive west from Isiolo, officials in
Nyeri town say al Shabaab recruiters have penetrated one of its biggest slums.
The central Kenyan town, far from traditional
militant hotspots along the Somali border and the coast, is a staging point for
Mount Kenya hikers and home to the grave of Boy Scouts founder Lord
“It is not (only) people of Somali origin; we also
have Kikuyu who have become members of the al Shabaab movement,” said Fredrick
Shisia, the county commissioner.
The recruiters were mainly local Kikuyus who had
converted to Islam, two intelligence sources in Nyeri told Reuters.
Shisia declined to provide figures on recruitment
but confirmed that promises of cash and gifts are often made, sometimes under
One female recruiter in the city of Mombasa
approached a tailor who was struggling to feed her family and offered the woman
30,000 shillings ($300) to make dresses, according to a 2018 study by Fathima
Badurdeen, a researcher at the Technical University of Mombasa.
When the woman went to deliver the dresses near the
Somali border, she was seized and taken to an al Shabaab camp in Somalia, the
report said. It did not say what happened next or how she escaped.
Others were lured to Somalia for as little as 3,000
shillings ($30), said Badurdeen.
The first female-led attack in Kenya came in
September 2016. Three women entered a Mombasa police station, stabbed an
officer and set off a petrol bomb before being shot dead.
Gichunge’s wife, Violet Kemunto, was another
The Nairobi-born woman from the mainly Christian
Kisii ethnic group described herself as an al Shabaab bride on social media.
Police believe she has fled to Somalia.
Key powers urge immediate resumption of Sudan talks:
18 May 2019
Major international powers during talks on Friday in
Washington urged Sudan’s military rulers and protesters to resume stalled
negotiations immediately, the United States said.
Representatives from the UN, African Union and
European powers “called for an immediate resumption of talks” between the two
sides, tweeted Tibor Nagy, the US assistant secretary of state for Africa.
They called on the protesters and the Transitional
Military Council to “reach an agreement ASAP on an interim government that is
truly civilian-led and reflects the will of the Sudanese people,” Nagy tweeted.
“We also expressed concern about the recent violence
directed by security forces against protesters, and agreed to call for the TMC
to allow peaceful protests and hold accountable those responsible for recent
violence,” he wrote.
The talks in Washington included representatives of
the United Nations, African Union and European Union.
Countries involved were Britain, France, Germany and
Norway as well as Ethiopia, which is the chair of an eight-nation Horn of
Africa regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which
The army last month ousted longtime autocratic
president Omar al-Bashir after months of mounting protests led by young people
that were sparked by the high cost of bread.
Protesters have remained camped out, saying that
they want a rapid transition to democracy rather than continued military rule.
The generals and protest leaders had been expected
to come to an agreement on Wednesday on the thorniest issue -- the make-up of a
new body to govern Sudan for three years.
But the head of the military council, Abdel Fattah
al-Burhan, early Thursday announced a suspension of talks for 72 hours as he
demanded that protesters dismantle roadblocks and open bridges and railway
lines connecting the capital.
Muslim groups slam deal between Sudan’s MTC,
Thousands of Muslim activists, including members of
the Popular Congress Party and Salafists groups, protested in Khartoum on
Friday against a deal by which Sudan’s ruling Military Transitional Council
(MTC) would hand over power to a civilian authority.
Demonstrators chanted slogans against the agreement,
which, if implemented, would give the Change and Freedom opposition alliance
exclusive authority to form a transitional cabinet and hold a majority of seats
in a transitional parliament.
Protesters also chanted slogans calling for the
adoption of Islamic Law and rejecting the “secular system” called for by the
Change and Freedom coalition.
Earlier this week, the MTC and the opposition
alliance agreed on the need for a transitional council of ministers to be drawn
up exclusively by the latter.
The agreement would also give the Change and Freedom
coalition a majority of seats in a proposed transitional parliament.
Early last month, the Sudanese army ousted President
Omar al-Bashir following months of popular demonstrations against his 30-year
The MTC is now overseeing a two-year “transitional
period” during which it has pledged to hold presidential elections.
Demonstrators, however, have remained on the streets
to demand that the military council relinquish power -- at the earliest
possible date -- to a civilian authority.
Niger ambush: Militants kill 28 soldiers near Mali
The bodies of 11 Nigerien soldiers missing since
Tuesday's ambush have been discovered, bringing the death toll to 28.
Militants killed four US soldiers at the same place
Niger and other countries in the Sahel have been
facing a growing militant threat from several Islamist groups.
The Islamic State group has said it was behind the
ambush but there has been no confirmation of this claim by the authorities.
Militants belonging to affiliates of al-Qaeda are
also active in the region.
They are most active in neighbouring Mali, where
French troops intervened in 2013 to prevent them from advancing on the capital,
but they often stage cross-border raids.
The soldiers were in pursuit of militants who
attacked a high security prison 50km (30 miles) on Tuesday outside the capital,
Niamey, a government spokesman told the BBC.
"One of the soldiers' vehicles drove into a
landmine and then the assailants started firing at our soldiers," Mr
Zakariyyah told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme on Tuesday.
It was initially reported that 17 soldiers had been
killed in the ambush.
Without providing any evidence, the Islamic State
group has claimed responsibility for the attack via its news agency Amaq.
According to the statement, 40 were killed and injured, although for now the
government has said that the death toll was 28.
Mr Zakariyyah did not identify the perpetrators of
the attack but said it happened near where US troops and five Niger soldiers
were killed two years ago.
A search operation, aided by French and American
troops, who have a base in Niger, continues.
Niger is part of a five nation anti-insurgency force
operating in the Sahel. It includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.
The G5 Sahel, as it is called, is backed by a
3,000-strong French force.
This was the deadliest attack recorded in western
Niger, where government troops and their international allies are fighting
affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Authorities say it was a complex attack in which the
militants planted improvised explosive devices. Despite years of heavy
deployments of French, US and UN forces, the region - including Niger - remains
The group called the Islamic State in the Greater
Sahara (ISGS), which has claimed responsibility for the attack, has recently
been subject to counter-militancy operations, mainly led by the French, making
large-scale attacks against government troops difficult.
For one expert on the region, Héni Nsaibia, a
researcher at The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data group, this attack
could be the result of French forces shifting its focus to central Mali, and to
the recent hostage-release operation in Burkina Faso which required attention
He adds it could also be that militants are heeding
the call of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in a recent
audiovisual speech explicitly called on them to intensify attacks against
France and its allies in the Sahel region.
The statement released on Thursday was issued by the
central Islamic State but is being attributed to its affiliate in the region.
It is believed to be just the second official claim - in the form of a
statement - from ISGS in the region.
Lake Chad Basin no longer safe haven for Boko Haram:
ABUJA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The Lake Chad Basin is no
longer a safe haven for terror group Boko Haram, as joint military efforts by
countries in the region have yielded good results so far, Nigerian President
Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday.
"We have led vigorous military campaigns
against the terrorists by re-organizing the multinational joint task force
which had dislodged them," Buhari, represented by Nigeria's minister of
interior Abdulrahman Dambazzau, said at the closing of the 16th Annual General
Meeting of West African Police Chiefs Committee and Meeting of the Forum of
Ministers in charge of Security in Abuja.
He said in the past four years, Nigeria, working
with regional and international allies, had taken drastic measures and spared
no effort in the fight against Boko Haram.
The Nigerian president urged the regional security
chiefs to share their experiences, re-assess and harmonize crime control and
operations in their various countries to see the end of the terror group.
He said the insecurity posed by corruption,
terrorism, communal clashes, and kidnap for ransom, organized crimes, among
others, were some vices threatening the region's peace, progress, integration,
Buhari attributed the vulnerability of the region to
criminal activities and other threats to peace and security to the vast borders
and proximity to the Sahel.
Countries in attendance at the Abuja meeting
included Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The three-day meeting was aimed at addressing
transnational crimes, especially terrorism, violent extremism, kidnapping,
illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking,
maritime security, herders and farmers' conflict, among others.
Burkina Faso Seeks Broad Sahel Anti-Terror Coalition
May 16, 2019
UNITED NATIONS —
The foreign minister of Burkina Faso called Thursday
on the international community to consider creating a counterterrorism
coalition, like the ones for Iraq and Afghanistan, to better combat terrorism
in Africa's Sahel region.
The region currently has the G5 Sahel Joint Force,
which includes troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Those troops are tasked with fighting threats from extremist and armed groups.
But in the two years since its creation, the force
has faced major delays and obstacles, including the car bombing of its
The U.N. says the force is now 75 percent
operational, but that equipment and training shortfalls are slowing its
progress toward full operational capacity.
The Sahel also has 16,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Mali
and 3,000 French troops based in Chad to help restore stability.
But despite the presence of the three forces,
Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry told the Security Council the
situation caused by terrorism and intercommunal violence was worrisome and
"This threat is gaining ground," he said
through an interpreter. "It is no longer contained within the north of
Mali, in the Burkina-based Sahel or far from the borders of Mauritania. It is
spreading and taking other forms, whose consequences are equally
Examples of threat
Barry noted the recent attacks on Christian churches
in his country, an attack on Niger's military this week that killed 28
soldiers, and the abduction and rescue operation of four foreign tourists in
northern Benin to illustrate the scope of the threat. The minister said one of the main drivers of
insecurity on the continent was the civil war in Libya, which is fueling terrorism
and the proliferation of guns.
He said the Sahel nations required greater
assistance because the security challenges were likely to be long term.
"Regarding the urgency of the actions to be
undertaken, the member states of the G5 Sahel cannot succeed alone," he
said. "It is, therefore, time for the international community to consider
creating an international coalition to better tackle the phenomenon of
terrorism in the G5 Sahel and throughout the rest of the Sahel."
Dozens of countries participated in the Afghanistan
and Iraq coalitions. They fought the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaida in
Iraq for many years and at the cost of thousands of lives and billions of
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