than a month into their terms, symbolic US House resolution targets Ilhan Omar
and Rashida Tlaib over their criticism of Israel
of Islamic Ideology, Pakistan, To Recommend Steps for Madina State Formation
Youth Jailed In Saudi Arabia Following His Tweets Criticising Prophet Mohammed
Shah, Aamir Khan Don’t Deserve Respect, Are Traitors,’ Says RSS Leader Indresh
Union Minister Attacks Congress Neta for Marrying a Muslim Woman
Islam And The Muslim Brotherhood: Could An Alliance Be On The Cards?
First ‘Sharia Compliant’ Browser Set To Deliver ‘Muslim-Friendly Web
Warning as Muslim Pupils Asked To Draw God in Scottish Schools
Reject US Resolution Accusing Muslim Congresswomen of Anti-Semitism
Urges Myanmar to Enact Annan's Counsel on Rohingya
at a Function in Pakistan Urge Revival of Sir Syed’s Education Ideology
Will Be Developed As a True Islamic Welfare State: Usman Buzdar
national embraces Islam after being impressed by PTI minister
with United States difficult, says Dawood
schools functioning in Sindh under PPP scheme, PA told
Khan orders arrangements for Torkham border to remain open 'round the clock'
deal will also push TTP towards reconciliation
Talks Put India In Tight Spot
finds the idea of India in Ghalib
Gaya blast in retaliation of alleged atrocities against Rohingyas in Myanmar:
ready to resume talks with India after elections, says Pakistan minister
Embodies Islamic Teachings: Grand Mufti
Builds Bridges of Tolerance With Pope’s Visit: Muslim Clerics
law comes into effect in Saudi Arabia
The Talk In Promoting Tolerance: UAE-Based Hindu Priest
Forces Killed in Clashes with Kurdish Fighters in Aleppo
raps Bahrain for upholding life sentence for Sheikh Salman
Tahrir al-Sham terrorists torturing opponents in northwestern Syria: HRW
Indonesia and Malaysia Ready to Stand up for China’s Muslims?
Muslims Seek Political Room And Weight In Elections
Bombing of Cathedral in Philippines Shows Group’s Reach into Asia
townhall session to address critics, minister says Islamic governance embraces
EU Document Leaked On How to Circumvent US Sanctions on Iran
Merkel Calls for "Zero Tolerance" Of Anti-Semitism and Hate
the Muslim 'Enemy Within': The British Government Must Come Clean
says EU soon to launch Iran funding scheme
says no Iran role in Iraq 'fanciful' but chides reliance
Envoy Khalilzad Confirms 'Draft Framework' With Taliban: NYT
warns Europeans not to try to evade Iran sanctions
lenience in Khashoggi case payback for Saudi favors: Analyst
Kabul, US Reports ‘Agreements in Principle’ With Taliban
president says long-term presence of foreign forces not welcome
airstrikes target Taliban training camp in Kandahar province
Ghani urges Taliban to start direct talks with Afghan government
militants blown up by IED in Kunar province
suffer heavy casualties in Ghazni province
official: US not seeking permanent military presence in Afghanistan
Who Exposed Israeli Spy Firm's Link to Khashoggi Killing Targeted: AP
of Houthis Killed in Raids in Yemen’s Al-Jawf and Saada
truce, prisoner swap timelines pushed back: UN
Coalition steps up air strikes targeting Houthi gatherings in Yemen
honored to spearhead anti-terror fight: First VP
rival parties must pull forces out of Hudaydah: UN envoy
to set up safe zones in Syria: President Erdogan
earns $1.5bn annually from drug trade, says Turkish interior minister
with Eritrea Are Vital In the Fight Against Al Shabaab
Bashir Vows to Bring Peace as Protests Called in Conflict Zones
Libya govt delegation visits key southern city of Sabha
suspected al Shabaab recruits arrested in Samburu
Drama Help Children Who Survived Boko Haram Attacks
won’t control al-Tanf base after US withdraws from Syria: FM
Ways Al Shabaab Uses to Make Millions
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The country’s apex advisory body on Islam has prepared recommendations for the
PTI government which had promised to make naya Pakistan a replica of “Madina
state” that existed during early days of Islam.
recommendation will be deliberated upon and finalised during the Council of
Islamic Ideology’s (CII) 214th meeting to be held today. The council is a
constitutional body which recommends changes to Pakistani laws to make them
to The News, CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz said the recommendation had been prepared
by a 20-member committee constituted in response to a government request in
members of Federal Cabinet (Ali Muhammad Khan and Noor-ul-Haq Qadri) had
approached the CII with request for recommendation to make the country a model
state on the pattern of state of Madina,” Ayaz told The News.
the recommendations are implemented, the country would have to do away with
interest-based economy and bring about wide-ranging reforms in the country’s
legal, administrative and education systems, Ayaz added.
said the committee recommended measures to make the country a welfare state.
However, the CII Chairman said it was”raw draft” at the current stage and
micro-level recommendations would be prepared by a task force, to be formed
Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly claimed before and after the elections that
his vision of Naya Pakistan is to establish a welfare state on the pattern of
two-day meeting the Council will also take up the issue of restriction on
Islamic sadaqa donations under the Punjab Charity Act 2018.
said the council would discuss whether or not the Act promulgated last year by
Punjab government was in line with the Islamic teachings.
prominent religious scholars would also discuss whether the government should
subsidise extra-expenses for Haj Package 2018 to fulfill its religious
obligation? The meeting will discuss Islamic point of view on subjecting the
electoral candidates to an oath under which they are bound to uphold religious
and national requirements.
two-day gathering will also talk about the legal theory of the council.
will also look into amendments in laws regarding right of inheritance for women
and make suggestions in this regard.
of penalising men for giving triple divorce in one sitting would also be
further discussed in today’s meeting.
council will also consider a public letter in which its attention was drawn
towards change of women name in national identity cards after their marriage
and problems they face afterwards.
youth jailed in Saudi Arabia following his tweets criticising Prophet Mohammed
An Alappuzha youth has landed in 10-year jail term in Saudi Arabia following
his series of tweets criticising prophet Mohammed.
to Radhakrishnan Nair, his son Vishnu Dev Radhakrishnan, 28, has been
undergoing imprisonment in a jail since June 2018.
per the letter sent to the family of Vishnu from the Consular, Passport and
visa division of the ministry of external affairs, he was arrested for “cybercrime
pertaining to blasphemy and spreading messages against the Kingdom through
son, who completed mechanical engineering, had been working as planning
engineer there for the past six years. He has made friendship with a Muslim
woman in United Kingdom on Twitter and they shared messages. When she spoke
against Hindu Gods in one of her conversations on Twitter. Vishnu tweeted
something against prophet Mohammed. Following it, he was arrested on June 7,
2018. On September 13, he was given a five-year jail term and a penalty of 1.5
lakh Saudi Riyal. His sentence was increased to 10 years on January 24 as per
the direction of higher court," said Radhakrishnan Nair.
have sought the help of union government and union minister of external affairs
Sushma Swaraj to release my son from jail.
I have not received any positive reply from them,’’ said Nair, who has retired
from Indian Air Force after 21 years of service.
Shah, Aamir Khan don’t deserve respect, are traitors,’ says RSS leader Indresh
leader Indresh Kumar likened Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, and actors Aamir
Khan and Naseeruddin Shah to Rajpur king Jaichand and Najafi Nawab of Bengal
Mir Jafar while referring to the trio as ‘traitors.’
to media after anevent on Monday, Kumar opined that India doesn’t need Muslim
youth like Ajmal Kasab (lone terrorist caught alive after 26/11 attack),but
rather like former president APJ Abdul Kalam.
doesn’t need Muslim Youth like Kasab, Yakub, and Ishrat Jahan but rather those
who walk on the path shown by Kalam. Those who walk on the path of Kasab will
be considered only as traitors,” said Indresh Kumar.
may be good actors (Navjot Singh Sidhu, Naseeruddin Shah, and Aamir Khan) but
they don’t deserve respect as they are traitors. They are like Mir Jafar and
Jaichand,” he added.
also said that Congress, Left parties, communal religious forces, and few
judges are responsible for the delay in Ayodhya case hearing.
first reason for the delay in construction of Ram Temple is Congress, second is
the left parties, third is the communal religious forces, and the fourth are
few judges who are delaying justice.I appeal to the saints and sadhus to sit at
dharna outside the Congress office, office of left parties and outside the
house of Judges who are delaying the matter,” he added.
Supreme Court cancelled the hearing in the Ayodhya title suit case, slated for
January 29, due to the unavailability of one of the judges, Justice SA Bobde.
A day after Union minister Anantkumar Hegde sparked an uproar by urging fellow
Hindus to “chop off” the hands of those who touch a Hindu girl, he courted
further controversy on Monday by launching a personal attack on Karnataka PCC
president Dinesh Gundu Rao, berating him for marrying a Muslim.
attacked Rao on Twitter on Sunday evening, questioning his achievements as Union
minister and MP. Tagging the minister, Rao said, “What are your contributions
for Karnataka’s development? All I can say for sure, it’s deplorable that such
people have become ministers & have managed to get elected as MPs.”
minister countered saying the KPCC president did not have any “moral standing”
to question him. “I shall definitely answer @dineshgrao’s queries, before which
could he please reveal himself as to who he is along with his achievements? I
only know him as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady,” Hegde tweeted on Monday,
referring to Rao’s wife Tabassum.
responded to the personal attack, saying: “Sad to see @AnantkumarH stoop to
such low levels.”
also responded by questioning Hegde for “polarising elections” by referring to
her. “They should mind their language. I want to state that I am not a
political person, I am a housewife. Why do you want to use me to polarise
elections?,” she said in a post.
Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood: Could an alliance be on the cards?
of the most interesting unintended consequences of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has
been a clash over the leadership of the Muslim world.
seems to be one of the motivations behind Turkey’s political use of the affair,
through its drip-by-drip leaks that are embarrassing Saudi Arabia’s current
rulers. The al-Saud family’s claim to leadership of the Muslim world, built
upon the state’s custodianship of the two Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina, are
now in question more than ever before.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aspirations towards a leading role in the
Muslim world are not new. The support he has extended to the Muslim
Brotherhood, alongside Qatar, has fuelled tensions with Saudi Arabia, the UAE
and Egypt, which view the Brotherhood as an existential threat. The two camps
have supported opposite factions in Libya for years, and Ankara openly sided
with Doha in the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
contest for the leadership of the Muslim world, to which Western chancelleries
and media have so far paid little attention, might evolve into something even
more traumatic, further shaking the regional power balance: an alliance on the
ground between the Muslim Brotherhood and Shia political Islam.
in the last seven years these two movements have been on opposite sides of the
Syrian battleground, the zero-sum mentality characterising the confrontation
between the US, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on one hand, and Iran,
Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah on the other, could turn them into allies. The
repression that the Brotherhood is enduring in Egypt and other Gulf states,
together with renewed sanctions against Iran and its allies, could result in
the classic “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” approach.
Brotherhood-Shia political Islam connection has existed, almost unnoticed, for
decades. Among the main translators of Sayyid Qutb’s works to Farsi is Iranian
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Since the early 1950s, Qutb was the
Brotherhood’s chief theoretician, as well as the main challenger to Egyptian
president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
in 1966, Qutb rejected a pardon, saying: “My words will be stronger if they
kill me.” His works had a huge influence throughout the Muslim world and
political Islam, including in Shia political Islam circles.
of the most venerated Shia religious leader, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr,
founded the Islamic Dawa Party, which included Sunni members. He was executed
in 1980 for his opposition to Saddam Hussein's rule. Qutb’s works also played
an important role in the period leading up to the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
the Brotherhood and Shia political Islam appear moved by a common sociological
view of Islam’s role in society; namely, the struggle for equity and against
oppression and injustice. Apart from in Syria, it is undeniable that Iran and
its allies are increasingly facing the same foes as the Brotherhood.
both despise the idea of Western hegemony in the region and its apparent
"local agents and stooges", whether Israel or Arab autocracies; they
both see Palestine and Yemen as the most obvious examples of oppression and
injustice; and they both believe that the lifestyle and corruption of certain
Arab kingdoms insults the equity preached by Islam.
the last four decades, the Middle East has gone through two geopolitical
tectonic shifts: the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the US invasion of Iraq in
2003. Their consequences, intended and unintended, are still with us and will
be for a long time. Had it not been brutally crushed, the 2011 Arab Spring
could have been another one.
would be as much of a game-changer, however, as the possible alignment of the
Brotherhood and the Shia “resistance” movements; their bond would be sustained
by a political drive based on a religious and socially-oriented understanding
that could be unprecedented in the region’s recent history.
Iran and the Brotherhood are increasingly portrayed as existential threats for
Arab secular and monarchical autocracies, it is difficult to imagine the threat
level that could be aroused by a potential marriage of their interests,
translated into concerted political and military action on the ground.
Targeting two different enemies at the same time is usually a bad strategic
US and its regional allies, however, have ignored this basic lesson. They
conceived a bold policy, based on US-Israel-Saudi common ambition, to corner
Iran into regime change, curb Turkey’s interests and aspirations, while selling
to the Arab street an indigestible "Bantustan solution" to the
Palestinian question. Yet, after the recklessness of the Khashoggi affair,
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to have demolished his
forthcoming elections and the judicial inquiries into the shady deals of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are restricting his capabilities, and Trump’s
Syrian policy has generated a lot of confusion among regional allies on the US
endgame, no matter how much shuttle diplomacy Mike Pompeo can perform.
as Israel and some Arab countries are no longer hiding their growing contacts
and converging interests, Turkey and Iran could find the Brotherhood-Shia
political Islam synergy convenient. The two countries could move to redesign
the geopolitical map of the Middle East as a sort of condominium, with Russia
as the vigilant administrator.
trio’s pragmatism, alongside their shared interest in dislodging the US from
the region, could allow them to manage the contradictions inherent in their
relationship, represented by Bashar al-Assad’s survival in Syria.
that scenario were realised, there is very little the US-Israeli-Saudi axis
could do to prevent it, short of launching another major war that would drag on
for decades, with an uncertain outcome.
first ‘sharia compliant’ browser set to deliver ‘Muslim-friendly web
startup SalamWeb seeks to create a Halal web-experience for Muslims including
messaging, browsing and news, filtered through user ratings, to be in
accordance with Islamic law.
anyone who has spent enough time on Facebook or Twitter can tell, modern social
media can hardly be described as a bastion of morality. This may be doubly-true
for those attempting to browse in accordance with the tenets of Islam, which
prohibits web-favorites like gambling, pornography and celebrations of
excessive drinking. And here’s where the new company wants to capitalize,
setting an ambitious goal of capturing the market on at least 10% of the
world’s 1.8bn Muslims.
want to make the internet a better place,” the project’s managing director
Hasni Zarina Mohamed Khan explained, according to Bloomberg. “We know the
internet has the good and the bad, so SalamWeb offers you a tool to create this
window that lets you go to the internet to see the good.”
program has several features which aim explicitly “to optimize the Islamic way
of life” including prayer-timers, a compass which points to Mecca and filters
which avoid alcohol and pork-related businesses. It is the first browser to be
endorsed by the International Shariah Supervisory Board as being compliant with
the project is not exclusively vetted for Muslims. The Reddit-like
community-based system of tagging and voting aims at “promoting universal
values,” warning users when they approach content which has been flagged as
abusive or fraudulent.
Facebook and Google come under increasing scrutiny over privacy and security
concerns, third-party safety filters are likely to become increasingly
SalamWeb seemingly offers a voluntary experience to help users browse in
accordance with their beliefs, the fusion of Religion and technology is not always
so benign. Last November, Indonesia unveiled an app which helps users inform
the government of people practicing “heretical beliefs” not recognized by the
have been raised after a teacher asked Muslim children to draw a picture of
god, in breach of Islamic law. The incident was revealed by an academic who has
warned of widespread racism and cultural ignorance in Scottish schools.
Mohammed, a lecturer and leading figure in Scotland’s equal rights movement,
said that minority children faced covert and explicit racism in class, and
teachers were denied promotion because of their ethnicity.
has urged minority teachers not to “assimilate” into white culture, and to use
their backgrounds to educate children about other societies. This might include
using racial ignorance as a springboard for discussion rather than a cause for
complaint, she said.
her research, Mrs Mohammed spoke to a probationer who heard a…
reject US resolution accusing Muslim congresswomen of anti-Semitism
- Leading Palestinian- and Muslim-American rights campaigners have decried a
proposed US House of Representatives resolution accusing Muslim congresswomen
of anti-Semitism due to their criticism of Israeli policies, saying the measure
amounts to anti-Muslim bigotry.
McCaw, director of the government affairs department at the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), denounced the "Islamophobic"
resolution for specifically targeting two Muslim members of Congress for their
views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
the daughter of Palestinian immigrants from Michigan, and Omar, a former
Somali-American state legislator in Minnesota who came to the United States as
a refugee, were sworn in as the first Muslim women in Congress earlier this
are part of a wave of progressive women of colour who won Democratic seats in
November's mid-term elections.
women have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
movement for Palestinian rights, breaking with a longstanding trend in modern
US history of lawmakers from both major parties favouring Israel and limiting
the discourse in Washington around Israeli violations against Palestinians.
week, three Republicans introduced a symbolic resolution to condemn the
"anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate infiltrating American politics and the
halls of Congress", calling out Omar and Tlaib by name.
CAIR's McCaw said the congresswomen's diverse backgrounds allows them to bring
fresh viewpoints to enrich the debate on foreign policy in Congress.
going to bring a new perspective in which we can now have legitimate
conversations about human rights abuses in Israeli-controlled Palestinian
territories and the stifling of democracies by autocratic regimes, like the
kingdom of Saudi Arabia," McCaw said of Tlaib and Omar.
Muslim lawmakers' outspoken stance against the Israeli occupation and violence
against Palestinians appears to have prompted the resolution against them -
less than a month into their first term in Congress.
measure references Omar and Tlaib's support for BDS, a non-violent movement
that seeks to pressure Israel politically and economically to stop its abuses
then references a photo that Tlaib took with a Palestinian-American activist
whom the resolution also accuses of anti-Semitism.
measure also quotes a Twitter post by Tlaib in which she said US senators trying
to impose penalties on companies that boycott Israel "forgot what country
congresswoman later clarified that her statement intended to criticise American
lawmakers for ignoring US laws that protect free speech, including boycotts.
measure also cites a 2012 tweet by Omar during an Israeli military operation in
Gaza, in which she said she hoped the world opens its eyes to the "evil
doings of Israel".
about the proposed resolution, Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said accusing Omar and Tlaib of
anti-Semitism amounts to anti-Muslim bigotry.
resolution is an Islamophobic and attack against two outspoken women of colour
who are shaking things up by boldly standing for crucial issues," Munayyer
told MEE in an email.
said advocacy for Palestinian right is part of "progressive politics of
justice for all", dismissing the effort to conflate criticism of Israeli
policies with anti-Semitism.
is no coincidence that both of these targeted lawmakers are Muslim women of
colour," Munayyer said. "It is the people who exist at the
intersections of multiple vulnerable identities in our society that are usually
seen as easy targets by adversaries looking to piggy-back on the prevalence of
bigotry in society to achieve their political ends."
likened the attacks against the congresswomen to Israeli politicians' efforts
to suppress the voices of Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament, the
includes Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who has faced
suspension, investigations and attempts to disqualify her from running for
re-election because of her criticism of the Israeli government.
to Pittsburgh, Charlottesville
an attempt to highlight the rise of anti-Semitism in the US, the proposed
resolution also cites violent incidents and deadly hate crimes - alongside the
section on Omar and Tlaib.
references the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting carried out by a white
supremacist, which killed 11 Jewish congregates late last year and the 2017
neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in the killing of an
anti-racist, counter-protester. US President Donald Trump, a Republican, drew
criticism after the Charlottesville incident for saying there were "very
fine people on both sides" and suggesting that both the neo-Nazi
demonstrators and the people protesting against their hateful rally shared the
blame for the violence.
Lee Zeldin, the lead sponsor of the resolution targeting Tlaib and Omar,
defended Trump at the time.
is not right to suggest that President Trump is wrong for acknowledging the
fact that criminals on both sides showed up for the purpose of being
violent," Zeldin said in a statement in August 2017. "That particular
observation is completely true."
and Tlaib have both repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism and other forms of
the rise of Anti-Semitic and Neo-Nazi ideology, it's more important than ever
we learn from the atrocities of the past & commit to fighting
intolerance," Omar wrote on Twitter on Monday, in observance of Holocaust
urges Myanmar to enact Annan's counsel on Rohingya
United Nations (UN) has urged Myanmar to implement the recommendations of a
panel on the Rohingya crisis that was led by a former UN head, the late Kofi
Annan, including ensuring freedom of movement and access to education for
children from the persecuted Muslim minority.
at a forum in the Myanmarese capital, Naypyidaw, on Monday, the head of the
UN’s Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, gave a bleak assessment of the
outlook for Rohingya children in Myanmar and the larger number of them who have
fled with their families to neighboring Bangladesh.
said the refugees, who have fled state-sponsored violence in Myanmar, faced
risks and those still in Myanmar lacked access to proper education.
said the Rohingya children were living “a precarious and an almost hopeless
existence” in camps in neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar, she said, was yet to
create the right conditions for the return of the refugees from Bangladesh.
urge that the necessary steps are taken to enable their safe, voluntary, and
dignified return back to their homes, where their rights are respected and they
can once again live peaceably with their neighbors,” said Fore, adding, “Taking
these steps will also go a long way towards creating the right conditions for
the return of refugees from Bangladesh.”
August last year, UNICEF said thousands of Rohingya Muslim children lacked
proper education both in Myanmar and in the border camps in Bangladesh, warning
that the Myanmarese kids could become “a lost generation.”
Annan commission was created in 2016 to find long-term solutions to the
deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State,
where most of the minority Rohingya Muslims were concentrated before
state-sponsored violence began against them in November 2016. Annan died in
August last year.
commission’s recommendations included points urging the government to
“immediately expand primary education to the communities in... Rakhine..., and
intensify efforts to ensure that teachers assigned to Muslim villages resume
their work, including by providing adequate security when necessary.” It also
called on authorities to “ensure that all children in the state have access to
education in Myanmar language” and that the tertiary education access is
the implementation of the recommendations has been impeded, not just because
most of the minority Muslim children are out of the country but also because
their home villages — and schools — have been razed by the Myanmarese
government to make room for Buddhists who have been shuttled by the government
to repopulate the area and change its demography.
violence against the Rohingya — carried out by military soldiers and Buddhist
mobs — intensified in August 2017. Thousands of Muslims were killed, and more
than 700,000 others survived only by fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.
October 2018, Bangladeshi and Myanmarese government officials announced that
they had struck a “very concrete” repatriation deal for the return of the
Rohingya Muslims. The refugees, and rights activists, however, fear that
violence awaits them back home.
UN has appointed a special envoy for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, who said on Friday
that for the repatriation to happen, “the perpetrators [of the crimes against
the Rohingya] must be held to account.”
cantt - Participants of the third board of governors of Sir Syed education
foundation of Pakistan on Monday call upon the revival of ideology of education
of greatest Muslim reformer and statesman of the 19th century, Sir Syed Ahmed
Khan in true spirit to get the nation out from clutches of illiteracy,
ignorance and intolerance.
participants including from different fields of life including education,
social, cultural, religious, economical, welfare and philanthropist sector have
urged the need to equip the youth of the country to meet the challenges at
educational, ideological, social and cultural fronts.
board of governors session which was held at local hotel was presided over by Dr
Sarfarz Khan, Patron area study centre University of Peshawar. The event was
also attended by Professor Tahir Durrani President Sir Syed education
foundation, members including Qazi
Zahoor Ul Haq former Chief education
officer district Rawalpindi, General
Election commission of Pakistan former director Raja Ghias Ud Din
Balbun, , Information Technology University Lahore Director Of Communications
Tahir Parwaz, human rights activist Dr Khalid Aftab Sulehri- and social
scientist Dr Shafi Aftab, Urdu department Cadet College Hassanabdal Professor
Zia Ul Mustafa, President Founder education foundation Prof Attaur Rehman
Chaudhry, Journalist and Writer Zahid Hussain Chaughti, English department
University of Wah Prof Nadia Saeed and educationist Captain (retd) Umer Farooq.
speakers said that it is hard to neglect the importance of Sir Syed’s
educational efforts as he was the intellectual pioneer of the theory of
nationalism of Pakistan is direct outcome of nationalism which took its roots
in 19th century and now ideological doctrine of field of education in the
country as he established an institute that imparted modern education to the
Muslims focusing on character building. The speakers were of the view that it
is open secret that when Muslims ignored education, they were left behind in
the world and it is high time to follow the Sir Syed’s ideology and take
guidance from his philosophy.
speakers further said that it is the need of the hour that we made intellectual
efforts in the face of stern opposition from fundamentalists and his detractors
sowed the seeds of enlightenment and progress among the Muslims like Sir Syed
made at his time. Speaking on this
occasion, Professor Tahir Durrani President Sir Syed education foundation said
it is our passion to take this institution to the height that Sir Syed Ahmed
Khan had dreamed for Muslims of sub continent.
will be developed as a true Islamic welfare state: Usman Buzdar
Pakistan Ulema Council Mualana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi called on Punjab Chief
Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office here on Monday.
on the occasion, Chief Minister necessitated the need of promoting societal
norms of tolerance, brotherhood and patience adding that religious scholars
have always promoted tolerance and unity in the society. The role played by the
religious scholars in obstructing fanaticism is praiseworthy. We should move
forward the golden principles of Islam including tolerance, peace, harmony and
brotherhood. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan will
be transformed as an Islamic welfare state in its real sense by changing the
course of history, he added.
Buzdar said that steps will be taken for promoting religious harmony in
consultation with the religious scholars and the process of this consultation
will be continued. The Ulema of different schools of thought will be included
in peace committees. The nation has attached high expectations with the
government and we will have to fulfill it. He said that fanaticism and
sectarianism can be chucked out of the country by following the way of life of
the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Meanwhile, the religious
scholars should promote the teachings of socio-economic justice from their
respective platforms. He said the incident that occurred in Sahiwal is very
tragic. Punjab government is with the bereaved family and every effort will be
made to provide justice to it. He said that responsible persons will be put on
trial in an anti-terrorism court and justice will be visible to everybody.
Ashrafi, on the occasion, said that Ulema are with the government for promoting
brotherhood, peace and harmony. The Punjab government has taken immediate steps
to provide justice to the bereaved family and they were timely succored.
hosting of International Livestock Show/International Buffalo Congress-Chief
Minister presided over a high-level meeting at his office here on Monday to
review the arrangements. Talking on the occasion, Chief Minister said that
tremendous potential of livestock sector exists in the province of Punjab and
national economy can be strengthened by developing this sector on permanent
basis. However, there is strong need to give attention to the aspect of
research and development in the livestock sector, he added. He said that
Punjab’s livestock sector will get new identity through this international
event and government will re-strengthen it by benefiting from the international
experiences and technology. This event will be greatly beneficial for livestock
sector in the Punjab, he added.
Chief Minister directed to constitute a committee for making arrangements of
international event. Secretary Livestock briefed about holding of International
Livestock Show/International Buffalo Congress in Lahore in the middle of next
month in which international livestock experts will be invited to attend.
Centre in Quetta-A cardiac center will be established by the Punjab government
in Quetta for the people of Baluchistan, added CM. This modern cardiac facility
will be a gift to the people of Baluchistan. He said that resources will be
provided for the construction of this center on priority basis which will be a
message of Punjab’s love for its brethren in Baluchistan. He has directed that
necessary steps should be completed early for the construction of cardiac
center in Quetta. The people of Baluchistan and Punjab are conjoined in the chain
of mutual love and affection. We will move together in the journey of
development, he said. Meanwhile, the officials of Punjab Health Department
visited Quetta in recent days and inspected various places for the construction
of cardiac center there.
delegation of Pakistan Ethanol Manufacturing Association (PEMA) called on
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office here on Monday and
apprised him about their problems. Talking on the occasion, Chief Minister said
that difficulties faced by every industrial sector will be solved on priority
basis to promote trade and industry in the province. It is imperative to
encourage the investors for increasing exports and I will play my role for
solving the genuine problems of the PEMA. The delegation thanked the Chief
Minister for taking interest in the solution of their problems.
Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Minister Amjad Ali on Monday welcomed a Chinese citizen to the
path of Islam and named him Abdullah.
to a video released by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) social media cell, the
Chinese national recited kalima and embraced Islam on the advice of the KP
minister for mines and minerals.
video shows Ali, MPA from PK-82 Swat-III, first reciting the kalima and the
Chinese national following the suit.
you are a Muslim. Your name is Abdullah,” the provincial minister then tells
the Chinese national.
has stated that he was visiting Guangzhou in China when he met Abdullah at the
tomb of Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad
captured a few pictures with us and later we started talking,” Ali said and
added that the pair began talking and he explained the religion and its
philosophy to him.
[Chinese national] was impressed and immediately asked us to convert him to
Islam,” the minister said.
said Abdullah then travelled to Pakistan where he was taught the teachings of
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industry Abdul Razak
Dawood said on Monday that though Pakistan is helping America in restoring
peace in Afghanistan, a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US is very
is doing a great job in this regard. But when we talk about the FTA with the
United States it is very difficult as it will take five to seven years,” Dawood
said when asked by the media to comment over the reported statement by US
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham that Pakistan may be offered an FTA if it
renders full support and cooperation over restoring peace and bringing Taliban
together for a dialogue.
would be very happy if they (the US) offer us the FTA but it will take a long
time,” he said.
Dawood was responding to various questions raised by reporters during a media
talk after he inaugurated the 5th Pakistan Mega Leather Show-2019 at the Lahore
questioned whether or not the PTI-led government expected improvement in free
trade relations with India via the Wagah border, the adviser said: “It depends
on the improvement in political relations between Pakistan and India. An FTA
with India is not easy at the moment.”
said the results of devaluing rupee have not been seen immediately and will
take some time. “It is not a company, it is the economy that takes time to
improve,” he said.
adviser said that some announcements made in the mini-budget would be
implemented with immediate effect and some with effect from July 1, 2019.
about the issue of security clearance and giving visa on arrival facility to 60
countries, Mr Dawood said the government first wants to see what will happen
once we open Pakistan to more and more countries. “Through this decision, we
will come to know the visits of foreigners from these countries and their
interests in investing in Pakistan. It will also be helpful in promoting our
tourism sector,” he said.
speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the advisor said the British Airways would
soon be operating flights from Pakistan to UK. “I will hold a meeting with a
delegation of British Airways on Tuesday (Today) to finalise this arrangement.
Initially there would be three flights from Islamabad to UK in week,” he added.
said though the current accounts deficit still existed, it had slightly
dropped. Due to this, our exports and imports have slightly increased and
decreased respectively, he said.
Dawood said the results of the government efforts to revive economy would
emerge in July this year. “I honestly feel that we are getting better since we
are moving in the right direction.”
said the government had decided that no policy decision related to commerce,
trade, etc. would be taken without taking the business community into
The Sindh Assembly was told on Monday that 2,401 schools were functioning
across the province under the public-private partnership programme through the
Sindh Education Foundation.
replies to the lawmakers’ queries during Question Hour in the provincial
assembly, Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah said that 23 schools — 15 in
Khairpur and eight in Sukkur — had so far been outsourced to educational
organisations through the public-private partnership programme.
a question, he said 989 low-cost schools were being operated by the Promoting
Private Schools in Rural Sindh Programme, 1,130 by the SEF Assisted Schools
Programme, 151 by SEF Middle and High School Programme, 50 by the Existing
School Support Programme and 81 by Adolescent and Adult Learning and Training
reply to another question, the minister said that 1,305 private secondary
schools and 218 private primary schools had been registered in the past five
years. He said that the private schools registered in the past five years included
88 Cambridge-system schools.
to another question, he said that the privately managed institutions in the
province were registered under the Sindh Private Educational Institutions
(Regulation & Control) Ordinance 2001, Amended Act, 2003 and Rules 2005.
Shah further stated that the directorate of curriculum, assessment and research
had planned and completed review of the curriculum.
said that after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, powers to review the
curriculum had been delegated to the province. “Textbooks for Grade IX-X are in
development process; hopefully [they] will be completed by the end of this
academic year. The curriculum of grade XI-XII is under revision and will be
handed over to the Sindh Textbook Board by March 2019, then the process of
development of new textbooks will be carried out and most probably will be
completed during academic year 2019-20,” he added.
reply to another question, he said there was no shortage of furniture in any
college in Karachi. “The government is making efforts to provide furniture to
the newly constructed colleges as per requirement after observing the
formalities of SPPRA,” he said and added that arrangements had been made to
provide furniture to run academic activities. He said that there were around
52,572 students in 32 public colleges in Karachi.
another question, he said that Bibi Asifa Government Girls Degree College had
been functioning since academic year 2017-18.
reply to a question, the minister said that there was no violation of rules in
the posting of taluka education officer as no teacher was posted as a TEO.
Minister Imran Khan on Monday said he has tasked officials to make arrangements
so that the Torkham border crossing to Afghanistan can remain open 24 hours a
day. He said he wants to see a plan finalised and implemented within the next
a tweet, the premier said the functioning of the border crossing "round
the clock" would be "instrumental in boosting bilateral trade [and]
enhancing people to people contacts between the two brotherly countries".
post followed an announcement by KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra,
who revealed earlier in the day that the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
governments had decided to expedite the reopening of the Torkham border
day after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif
Ghafoor said that work on a 900-kilometre-long portion of fence along the
Pak-Afghan border has been completed, the KP minister announced "two key
decisions" regarding the Torkham border.
a joint meeting with the federal government, two key decisions [were
taken]," Jhagra tweeted. "First, to open Torkham border 7 days a week
asap, and second, to create a task force to open the border 24-7 within 6-12
development, the minister said, is "very positive news for the Pakhtunkhwa
and Khyber district economies".
day earlier, the DG ISPR had given an update to journalists and anchorpersons
regarding the fencing work along the Pak-Afghan border.
Gen Ghafoor said that the fence had helped check the movement of terrorists
from across the border and the situation would further improve after the
completion of the project next year.
2018, bilateral trade with Afghanistan via the Torkham border crossing had
gained momentum, albeit at a slow pace, as the government decided to ease
certain restrictions it had imposed on export and import to and from
Afghanistan since 2016.
Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor Sunday said
a peace deal in Afghanistan will also push the Pakistani Taliban having backing
of inimical forces in the neighbouring country to opt for a reconciliatory
path. “Following the settlement, the terror elements having backing of inimical
forces in Afghanistan, like the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan), will have to
opt for some reconciliatory path as they will be left with no other choice,”
Maj Gen Ghafoor said while briefing a team of reporters at Ghulam Khan, a
bordering village in North Waziristan Agency. To a question regarding the
impact of reconciliation process in Afghanistan on Pakistan, he said Pakistan
had been playing a role in the efforts and if the parties concerned strike some
mutual settlement, it will ultimately be in Islamabad’s interest.
ISPR chief said work on about 900-kilometer-long fence along
Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been completed. He said the work on erection of
fence along about 1200-km chunk, the most sensitive portion out of the total
2600-km-long border with the neighbouring country, had commenced last year. He
said the project would cost about Rs 70 billion, which also includes the cost
of gadgets and surveillance equipment to keep strict vigil on the illicit
movement from across the border. He said the fence had amply helped check the
movement of terrorists from across the border and it would further assist after
completion of the project which was expected next year.
Gen Ghafoor said the military is fencing the border between Pakistan and
Afghanistan to ensure peace on both sides and that he hoped that Kabul will not
allow Afghan soil to be used as a staging ground for attacks against Pakistan.
ISPR chief said 95 percent of the tribal people in North Waziristan displaced
by military operations against militants had returned to their homes in the
region, which once served as Taliban headquarters. He said the Pakistani
Taliban now operate in neighboring Afghanistan after the military evicted or
killed them in North Waziristan. He said thousands of security forces and
civilians were killed in the fighting. “Normalcy is back, smiles are back on
the faces people but it was not without a cost,” he said.
Commander 11 Corps Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar and his team separately arranged a
briefing at the Corps Headquarters Peshawar. During the question-answer
session, the corps commander said after the end of war in the area the troops
were now in the process of consolidation while steps were in hand to resettle
about 4,000 families, which had earlier gone to Afghanistan.
the Pashtun Tahhafuz Movement (PTM), he said their most of the demands have
already been met while the rest, if any, could be sorted out through a dialogue
process. The DG ISPR on the issue added that the PTM leadership instead of
making a hue and cry abroad should sit with the local leadership and seek
settlement of their genuine grievances. “Pakistani Taliban used religion to
spread violence and now Manzoor Pashteen was misguiding and inciting youths
against the army,” he added.
corps commander said following the operation against militants, there was no
‘no-go area’ in the erstwhile FATA. He said the local commanders have been
empowered to hold dialogue and meetings with the people of their respective
areas and help mitigate their grievances.
delegation was also taken to Miranshah, the district headquarters of North
Waziristan, where they directly interacted with the local populace. Students,
traders and common citizens, while interacting with the media persons, welcomed
the role of Pakistan Army in restoring complete peace in the area.
Gen Ghafoor was hugged by youths and tribal elders in a sign of respect as he
visited the town’s main bazaar with reporters. As Ghafoor spoke, some youths
nearby shouted, “Long live Pakistan, and Long Live the Pakistan army.”
some others showed anguish for not being given financial compensation by the
civil administration for the losses incurred during over a decade-long drive
interacting with the local populace, Major Gen Ghafoor said steps were in hand
to sort out their genuine demands besides promptly undertaking work on the
said they are happy about the return of peace. “Taliban are gone and we pray
that they don’t come back,” said Tahseen Ullah, a local resident who sells
cooked rice in the Miranshah bazaar.
talks put India in tight spot
DELHI: With the US and Taliban making “significant” progress in their talks in
Doha, India’s own position on the Taliban is coming under scrutiny.
to reports that are mainly attributed to Taliban sources, the USTaliban talks
have moved forward after Taliban appointed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as the
lead negotiator from their side. There has been talk of a ceasefire, as US
negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad said, some have talked of a US withdrawal in 18
months, others have said the Taliban has committed to not prove sanctuary to Al
Qaeda and Daesh among other international terror groups. Khalilzad himself
ruled out any talk of an “interim” government, emphasizing he was trying to
facilitate an intraAfghan dialogue. But, as he has himself tweeted, nothing is
done until it is done.
will be deeply affected by the outcome of these talks, yet it is not at the
table, nor is it being heard.
Army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat’s bold suggestion that India steps on to the
“bandwagon” by talking to the Taliban in Afghanistan because everyone else is
doing it, has made the MEA establishment deeply uncomfortable.
has been on the defensive regarding Afghanistan in the recent past — first, to
counter Donald Trump ridicule on India building “libraries” in Afghanistan,
then Rawat’s unsolicited comment. Pakistan’s official spokesperson trotted out
the old line that India has “no role” in Afghanistan, echoed by a NATO official
Alejandro Alvargonzález that India was just one among “hundreds” in
Afghanistan, while Pakistan held all the cards. The MEA spokesperson defended
the Indian official position with the same mantra on “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned”
peace process. “Our position on Afghanistan has been very clear and very consistent.
We have said in the past and we continue to do so that India supports the peace
and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan ... that is inclusive," Raveesh
has changed has been the US-Taliban talks led by special envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad. In addition, the “leak” that the US may be drawing down in
Afghanistan by about 7000 forces has galvanized all the regional players to
start different tacks to put a foot into the door, by making themselves part of
the peace process. Iran has jumped in, negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban.
Russia is marketing its “Moscow Format” as the forum to be in. Pakistan
believes it is back in the saddle as the only country to have supported the
Taliban all these years and can call the shots to get the Islamist group to the
table, in the process carving out its own strategic depth in Afghanistan
his conversations with Indian leaders, Khalilzad stressed that the US would
maintain its existing red lines for peace in Afghanistan. He added that there
would be more pressure on Pakistan to “deliver”. The US would want the Taliban
to distance itself from the Haqqani Network, which is directly under Pakistan’s
control, a deadly terror group that has repeatedly attacked US and Indian
interests in Afghanistan. Pakistan cleverly inserted Sirajuddin Haqqani as the
vice chief of Taliban after Mullah Omar’s death, in a bid to whitewash him —
the US has never labeled Taliban as a terror group but its guns are trained on
the Haqqani network. Extricating one from the other is impossible. How will the
US “reconcile” with the Taliban when its chief is a Haqqani?
in these years, has built enormous goodwill in Afghanistan, despite not having
“boots on the ground”. It has remained on the side of the Afghan government,
built infrastructure and rebuilt relations with the Pashtuns in southern
just the fact that there appear to be two distinct schools of thought within
the national security establishment in India is significant.
the clamor that India needs to “engage” the Taliban, the MEA plans to hold a
steady line. Whether India maintains a covert line to the Taliban, for the
moment New Delhi will stand by Kabul and will open communications with Taliban
after Kabul does so. This group believes that India’s brand equity, built over
the past 17 years, will be enough to secure Indian interests in Afghanistan.
army chief was reflecting the views of another group that believes that India
should maintain some contact with the Taliban. “If Pakistan is successful in
putting its own people in government in Kabul, India can expect to witness the
destruction of all the assets it has built there, like the Bamiyan Buddhas,”
said high-level sources.
powers don’t have a clear path forward either. Iran flirted with the Taliban
against the US, but after the US leaves, the divisions between them will
naturally sharpen. Russia will be in a similar position because no matter what
Moscow says, the Taliban and Daesh have been known to share resources in some
parts of Afghanistan — this means Moscow, by helping the Taliban, may,
unwittingly be giving space to their real enemy, Daesh. China wants action
against ETIM (Uighur group) but Beijing has had to swallow the fact that a lot
of ETIM’straining camps are helped by Taliban elements in Pakistan. Daesh is growing
as a terror group in Afghanistan, but they are seen mainly as disaffected
members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). That brings a whole new level
of action and reaction in the region.
will continue to support Pakistan regardless. Pakistan is already in the suds
on terrorism and despite the general feeling of triumph in Islamabad this is
likely to continue. ImranKhan secured promises of support from Saudi Arabia and
UAE for his faltering economy, but sources said, this has come with a number of
conditions. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s ability to play the old double game is
getting constrained every day. Any Afghan government in Kabul, whether Ashraf
Ghani-Saleh or Hanif AtmarQanooni is likely to take an anti-Islamabad position.
stakes in Afghanistan at its most basic is two — helping Afghanistan stand on
its feet and thwarting Pakistan’s designs of strategic depth and an installing
an anti-India establishment there. The first does not envisage seeing the
Taliban in power in Kabul. The second is aimed at reducing Pakistan’s ability
to run terror groups against India. The government at present believes that
even without talking directly to the Taliban, it can continue to play an
effective game. Nobody is quite sure whether this is confidence or bravado.
There couldn’t have been better ambassadors for legendary Urdu poet Mirza
Ghalib (1797 – 1869) than eminent poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar and scriptwriter
Javed Siddiqui. After unveiling India’s first mural of Ghalib (42X10ft) at
Nagpada junction, Akhtar and Siddiqui, along with BMC officials, politicians,
including corporator Rais Shaikh who initiated the project, moved to the
massive Jijamata Udyan (Zoo in Byculla) to remember Ghalib’s singular
contributions to India’s culture.
it was technically a conversation between Akhtar and Siddiqui, it is Akhtar who
did most of the speaking and Sidiqqui admitted it jokingly: “Once Javed sahib
begins speaking, it is difficult to stop him.” Akhtar deconstructed Ghalib, the
man and the poet. “It is true that Ghalib is the greatest poet of Urdu but it
is also true that Ghalib could have been possible only in India,” said Akhtar.
“All syncretic religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) survive on the idea
of a creator and creations. It is only in India where the creator is also considered
his own creation (ekamvaad). Ghalib was the product of that beautiful synthesis
built on centuries of shared living and confluence of cultures.”
Bodh Gaya blast in 2018 was carried out in retaliation of alleged atrocities
against the Rohingyas in Myanmar and to overawe the Indian government by the
terrorist act, according to a supplementary charge sheet filed on Monday in a
Patna court by the NIA.
said Bangladesh-based terrorists group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was responsible for
hatching the conspiracy to attack Bodh Gaya temple and other symbols of
the charge sheet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) named six people
behind carrying out the attack.
of them is Bangladesh resident Md Jahidul Islam, and the other five are Md Adil
Sheikh, Dilwar Hossain, Abdul Karim, Mustafizur Rahman and Arif Hussain from
West Bengal, according to a statement issued Monday.
NIA said investigation has revealed that Md Jahidul Islam alias Kausar along
with the other accused formed a terrorist gang and hatched a conspiracy to
plant IEDs in the Bodh Gaya temple complex and other symbols of Buddhist faith.
motive was to attack symbols of Buddhism in retaliation to the alleged
atrocities committed on the Rohingyas in Myanmar and to overawe the government
of India by the terrorist act," it said.
also revealed that the accused Ahmed Ali, Nur Alam, Paigambar Sheikh, Adil
Sheikh, Dilwar Hossain, Abdul Karim, Kausar and Mustafizur Rehman travelled to
different places in south India, including Hyderabad and Chennai, where the
conspiracy to target Bodh Gaya and other Buddhist places of worship was
hatched, the NIA said.
furtherance of the conspiracy, the accused persons contacted and assembled at
various places, took hideouts at Jehanabad and Masaurhi, recceed Bodh Gaya
temple complex, procured the explosives and other materials for fabrication of
the IEDs," it said. According to the statement, Jahidul Islam fabricated
three improvised explosive device (IED) and two hand grenades.
footage of the Bodh Gaya temple complex along with evidences collected during
the probe established that Adil Sheikh, Dilwar Hossain and Arif Hussain planted
the IEDs in and around the premises of the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh
Gaya on January 19, 2018, to cause loss of life and property during the
auspicious presence of Dalai Lama and also during the visit of the Governor of
Bihar and thus committed a terrorist act, it said.
Hossain also put one of the IEDs (hand grenades) in the cistern of a public
toilet near Kalchakra maidan which was later recovered, the NIA said.
also established that the accused used fake and assumed names for travel and
for renting hideouts, and used protected text for communication to conceal
their real identities. The designs of the conspiracy to wage war against the
government, it said.
probe agency said that investigation also brought out that Jahidul Islam is a
Bangladeshi fugitive who was staying in India without any legal documents and
used different fake IDs.
has been revealed that after committing the act of terror, the accused escaped
and were hiding in various locations in and around Bengaluru and other places.
accused persons also committed a number of dacoities in and around Bengaluru in
order to raise funds for their criminal activities. Accused Arif Hussain is
still absconding and investigation against him continues," the NIA said.
is willing to resume peace talks with New Delhi but only after elections in
India, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry has said.
the present circumstances unfit for talks, Chaudhry told Gulf News in an
interview, “We have delayed our efforts to hold talks with India because we do
not expect any big decision from the present Indian leadership.”
is useless to talk to them now unless there is some stability. We will move
forward once the new government is formed after the elections.”
said opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan last November
would not only help the Sikh community but also improve bilateral ties.
which Indian leader Pakistan would prefer for peace talks, the minister said,
“We will respect any Indian leader and the party elected by the Indian people.
And, we would like to move forward to hold dialogue with whosoever comes into
power in India.”
said Pakistan was playing its role at a fairly advanced level for the Afghan
peace dialogue. “We expect a positive outcome from the negotiations between the
US and the Afghan Taliban.”
President Donald Trump also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan last
year, seeking Islamabad’s help in facilitating a negotiated settlement of the
lingering conflict in Afghanistan.
Part 3 of the five-part series, we sit down for a candid chat with Dr Mohammed
Ayada Ayoub Alkobaisi, Grand Mufti of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities
UAE has been formed on principles of Islam and it has implemented them in a
"beautiful way", bringing itself to the forefront of the global drive
to promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence, said Dr Mohammed Ayada Ayoub
Alkobaisi, Grand Mufti of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai
founding fathers established the UAE on the principles of tolerance, noble
ethics and humanitarian values, and the UAE has become the living example of
tolerance and peaceful coexistence in the world today. It has shown the world
how people of all faiths and backgrounds can live and prosper together in peace
and harmony, with mutual respect, while upholding Islamic values and friendly
local culture and customs," he said.
Alkobaisi spoke on how Islam establishes a concept of a peaceful society based
on the principles of justice; goodness; freedom of religion and thought;
protection of life, dignity and property; kindness; and cooperation for the
benefit and welfare of society and humanity.
he said, works on multiple dimensions, from the religious institutes and
educational systems to the official departments, legal system, the media and
of them work together to create this beautiful reality and harmony that we
experience here in the UAE."
a few verses from the Holy Quran and Hadith, he said: "Islam established
the unity of human beings and considered all people to be one big family. Allah
Almighty ordered Muslims to be fair and just all the time with all people, and
this was further emphasised by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who said that one
should feel mercy inside their heart for people, love and compassion for them,
as they are one of two types: either your brother in Islam, or your brother in
are not mere words, but real principles in Islam that are respected and
practised by Muslims, from the early days and throughout Islamic history, he
examples from history when the Caliphs of Islam signed peace treaties with
Christians and Jews, the Grand Mufti said: "Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
defined real Muslim as the one from whom other Muslims are safe from harm by
his actions or speech, and as one to whom people entrust their lives and their
properties. That is why many Jews and Christians have lived peacefully within
the Muslim World - in the Arab Peninsula, Ash-Sham Levant, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco
and Yemen, among many other countries, and many of them continue to live there
until this day."
him, the UAE is a "unique role model" from where many countries can
UAE is the modern icon of Islamic civilisation, and its wise approach and
serious implementation led to constructive cooperation among more than 180
nationalities, who are living and progressing together in the country."
said the UAE's declaration of 2019 as Year of Tolerance highlights its position
and role in instilling the values of respect and harmony locally and worldwide.
out the significance of the upcoming Papal visit, Mufti said: "The
historical visit of the global icon Pope Francis of the Vatican to the UAE is
an important continuation of the message of tolerance and constructive
plays a major role in establishing and strengthening moral values and
humanitarian activities, and it is the duty of religious heads to spread these
values and promote them across the world. Through such visits, we hope to
strengthen mutual respect and constructive dialogue, and spread the message of
peace and brotherhood among all people."
this day and age where all kinds of information are readily available,
religious leaders have a "duty to expose fallacies and spread correct
information", he said.
Alkobaisi said true Islamic teachings affirm peaceful coexistence, seek to
promote dialogue among peoples, and reject all causes of extremism and
builds bridges of tolerance with Pope’s visit: Muslim clerics
DHABI: The UAE has joined forces with Al Azhar and the Vatican to build
harmony,spread prosperity and tolerance and show a united front against all
forms of intolerance, leading Muslim scholars have said.
Francis’ historic visit to the UAE, the first to the Gulf region, comes at a
time when constructive dialogue between people of all faiths is of paramount
importance, the scholars said.
Ahmad Al Haddad, Grand Mufti of Dubai, said the joint visit by the Pope and the
Grand Imam of Al Azhar and the launching of the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human
Fraternity reflect the leading global role that the UAE plays in supporting
values of being tolerant and moderate while rejecting violence, extremism and
Muslim predecessors lived with people of different religions at the height of
the Islamic civilisation in a spirit of tolerance and on the principle of
citizenship with equal rights and duties.
Dr Ahmad Al Haddad, Grand Mufti of Dubai
UAE seeks to revive tolerance and the human side of the Islamic civilisation as
the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human Fraternity will be signed during Pope
Francis’ visit from February 3 to 5 and in the presence of the Grand Imam of Al
Azhar Dr Ahmad Al Tayeb. The declaration calls for peace and rejection of
exploitation of religion in conflicts and wars, strengthening of social
contracts, positive citizenship and respect for all religious sanctities and
ties with religions that preceded it are not political or social; rather, they
are ties of brotherhood, for Islam is a sister to the religions of Noah,
Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Dr Ahmad Al Tayeb,| Grand Imam of Al Azhar
Al Haddad said, “The UAE seeks to revive tolerance. Our Muslim predecessors
lived with people of different religions at the height of the Islamic
civilisation in a spirit of tolerance and on the principle of citizenship with
equal rights and duties.”
conference highlights that all leaders, public figures and those who head
religious congregations, communities and churches have a key role to spread the
light of peace and the message of tolerance.
UAE’s opposition to extremist groups that exemplify intolerance spans more than
two decades, The nation’s belief in a future defined by human advancement
characterises its approach to development assistance around the world, but is
best expressed in the society it has created within the UAE which is home to
people of diverse nationalities and ethnicities.
Ahmad Al Kubaisi, a leading Muslim scholar, said since its foundation, the UAE,
its Rulers, its government and its people have always acted in the best
interests of all on the international stage.
[the UAE] is a young nation, but one that has matured. It is based on tolerance
and cherished peaceful co-existence and has helped others nurture these
Dr Ahmad Al Kubaisi, Leading Muslim scholar
UAE serves as a role model for co-existence among different cultures that are
represented by the millions who live in the country. It is a young nation, but
one that has matured. It is based on tolerance and cherished peaceful
co-existence and has helped others nurture these fundamental values,” Al
Kubaisi said the harvest of progress is brought to fruition through
co-operation and co-existence, tolerance and support — all pursued in harmony
with partners on the international arena.
Abdullah Bin Bayyah, chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council and president of the
Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, said the upcoming visit of Pope
Francis reflects a significant aspect of the spirit of tolerance embodied by
the UAE and its endeavours to establish itself as a leading nation in spreading
the values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence and a driver of dialogue
moves are a new testimony to the culture of tolerance and forgiveness embraced
by the UAE, the seeds of which were sown by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council
Bayyah extended appreciation to the UAE’s wise leadership against the backdrop
of declaring 2019 as the Year of Tolerance by President His Highness Shaikh
Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the upcoming Abu Dhabi Declaration on Human
moves are yet a new testimony to the culture of tolerance and forgiveness
embraced by the UAE, the seeds of which were sown by Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al
Nahyan,” added Bin Bayyah.
Mohammad Mattar Al Kaabi, chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs
and Endowments, said the founding father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
sought to establish tolerance and noble values as a guiding principle for the
UAE President’s declaration of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance provides a
valuable opportunity to promote the true essence of the approach pursued by the
Dr Mohammad Al Kaabi, General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments
nation has established great foundations, including religious and social
tolerance that was the lifestyle of its founder,” Dr Al Ka’abi said.
UAE President’s declaration of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance provides a
valuable opportunity to promote the true essence of the approach pursued by the
country to inculcate the genuine values of brotherhood, mutual respect and
cooperation,” he added. Top priority
Nuseir, professor of Islamic Philosophy at Al Azhar University and a member of
the Egyptian Parliament, said, “Enhancing ties between Islam and Christianity
is a top priority for Pope Francis. Since he became Pope in 2013, he has been
interested in improving ties with the Islamic world. This message is emphasised
by the trips he has made to several Islamic countries including Egypt,Turkey
and now the UAE. In a world afflicted by militancy and bloody violence in the
name of religion, the sincere efforts made by the Vatican and Al Azhar to
promote inter-faith dialogue are crucial for global peace. The international
community should lend unlimited backing to these efforts.”
Tayae, the head of the religion sector at Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf, said,
“Tolerance and peaceful coexistence are the focus of Pope Francis’ landmark
visit to the Emirates, which itself is an inspiring symbol of these values. The
visit and its implications are a strong message against forces of evil and
fanaticism that seek to spread hate among Muslims and Christians. All divine
religions repudiate extremism and violence, and call for affinity and cooperation
among all humans for their common good and prosperity of the universe.”
Salah Al Jowdar, Imam at Al Khair Mosque and member of the board of King Hamad
Global Centre for Peaceful Co-existence, said “The visit by Pope Francis to the
UAE is a historic event that reinforces relations and dialogue between
civilisations. It confirms the significance of human interaction among
religions across the world.
Legislation to combat terrorism and its funding has come into effect in the
Kingdom, and has been published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Al-Sharif, a legal consultant and member of the International Association of
Lawyers, said the 26-article piece of legislation will help to protect the
Kingdom from terror attacks.
legislation “has succeeded in covering most of the aspects that fuel terrorism,
from spreading ideas to…the funding of terrorist organizations,” she said.
also tackles the use by terrorists of charities and non-profit institutions as
facades to fund their activities, she said.
legislation “gives prosecutors the right to request records or documents from a
suspicious institution,” and “obligates institutions to implement the
counterterrorism law in a full and accurate manner,” she added.
report published last year by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an
intergovernmental organization, commended the Kingdom for making drastic
changes to the way it combats money laundering, terrorism funding and arms
Arabia had proven its understanding of the risks it faces by its measures to
address them, the report said. It added that the Kingdom has a strong legal
framework to implement targeted financial sanctions imposed by the UN on
2017, Saudi Arabia introduced the Anti-Money Laundering Law, under which the
penalty for money laundering is between three and 15 years’ imprisonment, or a
fine of up to SR7 million ($1.87 million).
money-laundering crime, according to the law, includes any transaction
involving property or proceeds with the knowledge that they are the result of
criminal activity or originate from an illegitimate source in order to
disguise, protect or help that source or any other person involved in the crime
through which the property or proceeds were obtained.
in a recent annual report, the US State Department praised Saudi Arabia for its
efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member
of the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
report highlighted the strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the US in
a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the
financing of terrorism.
said Saudi Arabia has put in place systems to implement UN Security Council
sanctions on groups and individuals linked to terrorist organizations such as
Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
report added that the Kingdom has expanded existing counterterrorism programs
and projects to rehabilitate those who have left extremist groups, and has
adopted laws to combat the financing of terrorist groups.
report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, and noted
the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security.
Arabia has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened
sanctions on the financing of terrorism,” it said.
the talk in promoting tolerance: UAE-based Hindu priest
UAE is walking the talk when it comes to spreading the culture of tolerance by
implementing policies on the ground and celebrating the virtue in all spheres
of action, a senior Hindu priest has said.
to Khaleej Times on the UAE's decision to celebrate 2019 as the Year of
Tolerance, Swami Brahmavihari, senior priest of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha,
said: "It is truly inspiring, not just locally, but globally.
almost every country professes it, the UAE has wisely gone out of the grid and
created ministries and policies (for tolerance). To 'mean what they say, and do
what they believe' speaks volumes for the sincerity of the UAE leadership.
tolerance is no longer a beautiful word or a great value, it is seen
implemented through actions, emotions and celebrations.
many around the world speak of universal values and harmony, the UAE's
leadership has given tangible form to these values with decisive action,
steadfast commitment and a global vision for a better future. And now giving
the 'Value of Tolerance' national importance all year round, is a path breaking
inspiration for countries and leaders to follow," Swami added.
someone who has personally overseen his faith's activities in the Middle East
and currently leading the development of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi,
Swami says he has seen and experienced first hand "love, warmth and acceptance"
in the UAE "right from the Presidential Palace and Royal Majlises to the
government offices and common streets.
priest said with the generous gift of land from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin
Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the
UAE Armed Forces, to build the first traditional stone temple and cultural
complex in Abu Dhabi, the world welcomed the UAE's commitment to increasing
tolerance, interfaith dialogue, collective coexistence and global harmony.
believe that the worth of a nation cannot be measured by the size of the
country, but the quality and character of its people. The open-hearted
friendliness in the UAE has its roots in the vision of its founding father,
late Sheikh Zayed. His vision of tolerance is still very much alive today -
indeed it has become the very bedrock of a diverse, tolerant and vibrant
society, of over 200 nationalities.
Zayed is known for teaching 'to treat every person, no matter what his creed or
race, as a special soul is a mark of Islam'. Our spiritual guru His Holiness
Pramukh Swami Maharaj also revealed: 'Religion is that which spreads love for
one another'. We see these joint values in action everyday as we work to
contribute to the UAE's happiness and progress."
to the Hindu values of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (The whole world is a family),
Swami said: "It is our hope that we, the Hindu community, can join
together to contribute to the UAE's mission of tolerance by making a unique
spiritual complex in Abu Dhabi which will become a hub of cultural exchange and
mutual understanding - a landmark which will forever reflect this nation's
dedication to the human ideals of tolerance and harmony.
believe it is an intrinsic part of spirituality to strive not just to attain
heaven beyond earth but to create a bit of heaven on earth, to bring heavenly
happiness and joy to Earth as well. That is why we are greatly encouraged to
see countries around the world work towards inculcating the values of harmony
and tolerance," he added.
Hindu community has witnessed the UAE's strides towards greater harmony since
its earliest days. And over the years, we have been able to practice and share
our faith and customs."
on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis and the coinciding Interfaith Conference,
Swami Brahmavihari said it is a great beginning to a year of both introspection
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that the Kurdish militias targeted the
Turkish Army and its allied militants in al-Mahmoudieh district in Center of
Afrin City, killing three Turkish soldiers and injuring another one.
an attack by Kurdish snipers in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo, a Turkish Army
soldier was killed in the village of Baseleh in Shirawa region, it added.
heavy military vehicle of al-Shamiya Front (Jbahat al-Shamiya) was also
destroyed by Kurdish fighters in Tois village near the town of Ma'areh in the
outskirts of Arabeen.
Ankara-backed militants were killed and wounded in the Kurdish forces' military
a center of Ankara-backed militants was destroyed in an assault by the Kurdish
militias in Ableh village in Izzaz region in Northern Aleppo. A military
vehicle of Ankara-backed militants was destroyed and three militants were
killed and several others were also wounded in the attack.
a relevant development earlier on Sunday, the Turkish Army and its allied
militants engaged in heavy clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the
surrounding areas of the city of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo.
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that heavy clashes followed after the
Turkish Army and its allied militants known as 'Euphrates Shield' targeted and
attacked the military positions of Manbij
Military Council along Sojour control line in the outskirts of Manbij
city in Northeastern Aleppo.
noted that the villages of Sokria Kabira, Halounji and Mohsena to the North and
Northwestern parts of Manbij city came under attack by the Turkish Army and its
battlefield sources reported heavy clashes between Turkish Army troops and
militants of Manbij military council near the village of Halvanji in Northern
Ankara-backed militants were also killed and wounded in fierce clashes with the
Kurdish fighters in al-Malekia front and Mara'anaz as well as Ma'areh in Northern
a relevant development earlier this month, the Turkish army dispatched a new
convoy of forces and equipment to borders with Syria's Hasaka to counter the
Turkish army forwarded a long convoy of military vehicles to borders with Syria
near the Syrian town of Ra'as al-Ain that is under the Kurdish fighters'
control in Northwestern Hasaka.
Turkish convoy, including a number of vehicles, Tanks, armored vehicles and a
large volume of military hardware, entered the Kilis region.
Turkish military is preparing to kick off military operations against the
Syrian Democratic Forces in Eastern Euphrates.
the Arabic-language Al-Manar news website reported that the Turkish Army has
fired artillery and rockets at SDF's military positions in Silvaha region in
Ra'as al-Ain in Northwestern Hasaka.
sources said that the Turkish Army attacks on the SDF have taken place after
SDF fired at Jilanbiner region in Turkey just opposite to Ra'as al-Ain.
sources, meantime, reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
arrested a number of people in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces after accusing them
of cooperating with the Ankara forces.
news had reported earlier this month that the Turkey-backed militants continued
shelling the strongholds of the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij region in
Northeastern Aleppo regardless of the US support for the Kurds.
added that gunmen of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Force targeted the
positions of the Manbij Military Council from the village of Tokhar in
International has blasted Bahrain for upholding a life sentence against
prominent Shia cleric and opposition figure Sheikh Ali Salman, describing the
verdict as another blow to the freedom of expression in the country.
Court of Cassation in Bahrain on Monday confirmed life imprisonment sentences
against the 53-year-old Sheikh Salman, who is the secretary general of the
now-dissolved al-Wefaq movement, and two of his assistants over charges of
colluding with Qatar to commit subversion.
verdict is yet another nail in the coffin for the right to freedom of
expression in Bahrain and exposes the country’s justice system as a complete
farce. The decision to uphold Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and life prison
sentence following an unfair trial highlights the authorities’ determination to
silence critical voices,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East
director of campaigns.
Bahraini authorities must quash Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and release him
immediately and unconditionally. They should also rescind the decision to
dissolve the two opposition political groups, al-Wefaq and Wa’ad, and guarantee
the right of everyone to freedom of association,” she added, referring to
another political movement dissolved by the Bahraini regime.
Salman, along with two senior al-Wefaq leaders, namely Sheikh Hassan Sultan and
Ali Alaswad, had been charged in November last year with “communicating with
Qatar to commit hostile acts aimed at destabilizing the state.”
then, al-Wefaq said that the Bahraini judiciary was a tool in the hands of the
ruling Manama regime, and the ruling reflected the magnitude of the turmoil in
Salman reacted to the Monday verdict by saying, “I will endure all hardship for
the sake of Allah and the people.”
Salman has been in jail since late 2014. The regime has brought a litany of
charges against him, including “insulting” government officials, “inciting”
unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during a 2011 uprising,
attempting to overthrow the regime, and collaborating with foreign powers.
senior Bahraini cleric denies all the charges, saying that he has merely been
seeking reform in the country through peaceful means.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Rights Watch has accused the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)
terrorist group of using “torture” against those opposing its rule in Syria’s
militant-held northwestern province of Idlib.
New York-based rights group said on Monday that it had documented 11 cases in
which HTS, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits,
largely composed of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, “detained Idlib residents, apparently
because of their peaceful work documenting abuses or protesting the group's
of those detained were apparently tortured,” including a 16-year-old boy, it
said in a statement.
man described being hung from a pole upside down for hours during
interrogation,” it added.
detainee said he was locked up in something similar to a coffin for three
hours, while a third said he was pushed through a tire and beaten incessantly.
maximum you can do is to move your shoulders a bit. And scream for help. But on
several occasions, they stuffed things in my mouth so I can't scream. I used to
lose my consciousness a lot,” the captive told HRW.
of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they were media activists or
journalists, who had taken part in or covered protest rallies against HTS, or
were working with foreign media outlets.
were forced to sign a document, pledging they would no longer film or report on
then demanded the immediate release of all unlawfully held prisoners, including
four still being held or missing among the 11 cases documented.
is no legitimate excuse for rounding up opponents and arbitrarily detaining and
torturing them,” Lama Fakih, the deputy Middle East director at HRW, said.
now, the scale of the crisis is clear. There are up to 3 million Turkic Muslims
– primarily Uyghurs but also ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz – in a vast network of
concentration camps in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. The result is
the 21st century’s greatest human rights crisis: Empty Uyghur neighborhoods.
Students, musicians, athletes, and peaceful academics jailed. “Graduates” of
these camps are being put into forced labor factories, churning out goods that
are even reaching the United States.
clear that what began as a movement to clamp down on terrorism has become an
attempt to eradicate an entire ethnic group and their religion – Islam, which
is being seen as a mental illness and incompatible with Chinese-style
socialism. Yet, so far, the world’s reaction has been muted – including in the
Islamic world, in the same countries where, in the past years, there have been
widespread protests and public statements in support of the human rights of
Palestinian and Rohingya Muslims.
don’t know what they are waiting for,” said Omer Kanat, director of the Uyghur
Human Rights Project in Washington, DC. “All the evidence shows that a crime
against humanity is being committed by the Chinese government in East
Turkestan,” he added, using the Uyghur’s preferred name for Xinjiang.
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many are looking toward the Middle East, Turkey, or China’s neighboring
Muslim-majority nations of Pakistan and Kazakhstan as possible leaders, the
best hope for pressure from the Islamic world may come from an unlikely place:
Southeast Asia, namely, Malaysia and Indonesia.
key factor is that, even though Southeast Asia’s two Muslim-majority countries
have limited historical, cultural, or linguistic ties to the Uyghurs, they are
both democracies that are responsive to public pressure, unlike most other
Muslim majority nations. They also have a freer press that has allowed for more
coverage of what’s happening in China – and that coverage is, slowly,
mainstream Indonesian press since mid-December or so, when it became a topic of
debate in Parliament, there has been more coverage,” said Aaron Connelly,
research fellow for Southeast Asian politics and foreign policy at the
International Institute for Strategic Studies. “And Malaysians have been
reading about what has been going on Xinjiang even more frequently than
fact, in both countries, there are early signs that the Uyghur issue is gaining
traction. Malaysia has been standing up to China more and more, canceling
several joint projects since the Pakatan Harapan coalition took power earlier
this year. This might soon translate to human rights issues. A telling moment
came earlier this year, when likely future Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim spoke
publicly in support of Uyghurs, making him one of the first Muslim political
leaders anywhere in the world to do so. The government even followed up
rhetoric with action, letting a groups of Uyghur asylum seekers go to Turkey
rather than be deported to China, despite the latter’s protests, and reversing
the policy of the previous government.
took a strong stand on human rights, and it says a lot about our new
government,” said Ahmad Farouk Musa, the director of the Malaysian
nongovernmental organization Islamic Renaissance Front. “There was no valid
reason for us to deport the asylum seekers back to China, because if we sent
them to China, we are sending them the gallows.”
Indonesia, the world most populous Muslim country, is seeing early signs that
the Uyghur issue may play a role in the coming election, due for this coming
April. One Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a member of the
opposition coalition, has already called on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to
speak out. And earlier in January, Indonesia’s powerful Ulema Council became one
of the first such entities in the Islamic world to condemn the oppression of
challenge for Indonesia is that 2019 is an election year, and there is strong
evidence that the emergence of the Uyghur issue is connected more to domestic
politics than genuine human rights concerns. Many noted the presence of
notorious right-wing Islamist organizations, including the Islamic Defenders
Front, at pro-Uyghur rallies that took place last December in several Indonesia
cities. One of the organizers, Slamet Ma’arif, became well known when, in 2016
and 2017, he helped lead mass mobilizations against Jakarta Governor Basuki
“Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who was ethnically Chinese and Christian, using racist
and religiously tinged rhetoric.
bring up another concern – that the Uyghur issue could play into domestic
racial politics and lead to the conflation of Chinese and Chinese-Indonesian.
you’re pluralist, but Javanese Muslim like Jokowi you’re going to worry that
your country is not mature enough to distinguish between Beijing and Chinese
Indonesians, and that if you push and things become tense between Indonesia and
Beijing, then things are going to become difficult for Chinese-Indonesians,”
in Indonesia’s notorious quietness on the global stage, and you have a country
that is not likely to lead unless protests rise to the level that Jokowi can no
longer ignore them without risking his political future.
no courage in Indonesian diplomacy at the moment… it likes to be seen as
constructive and nonconfrontational,” said Connelly. “It’s very unlikely that
Indonesia try to play a constructive role.”
why action from Malaysia is more promising, due several factors; to its more
favorable domestic situation – the ruling coalition is being led by caretaker
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is not concerned about future elections –
and, crucially, its position in the Muslim world. Unlike officially secular
Indonesia, Malaysia is officially an Islamic country and has a history of
leadership in organizations like the Organization for Islamic Cooperation
OIC is key venue that Uyghur activists and human rights advocates believe could
help bring the Uyghur cause to attention in the Muslim world. In the past, the
OIC has spoken out on issues of human rights in Palestine, Yemen, and even
convened a meeting on the Rohingya crisis. But it has remained mostly silent on
the Uyghurs since 2009. A statement or collective action from the body, which
counts 57 member nations, could help bring what happening to Xinjiang to the
forefront of the entire Muslim world.
was a tantalizing glimpse of what an OIC response could look like in late
January, when OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen told a meeting of
senior level officials that the organization “followed closely the reports on
the status of Uyghur Muslims and I discussed the issue with Chinese officials.”
Al-Othaimeen added that an OIC delegation “would visit to see the situation on
the ground in the coming days.” That means the issue, in some form, is likely
to be on the agenda at the next OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, scheduled for
March 1 to 2 in the UAE. And on that front, Malaysia could be soon ready to
has a different view of its relationship with the Islamic world than
Indonesia,” said Connelly. “I would be less surprised to see Malaysia go to the
OIC than Indonesia, as it’s more consistent with how Malaysia has displayed its
diplomacy and taken a harder line on Islamic world issues.”
the Malaysian government has more political cover domestically due the fact
that the ruling coalition has a strong representation of Chinese-Malaysians
through the Democratic Action Party, the largest party in Pakatan Harapan.
think that gives them a little more license to push back on China,” said
Connelly, noting that it was the ethnically Chinese finance minister who
canceled the Chinese infrastructure projects.
will be needed is more public pressure, believes Farouk.
pressure must come from civil society,” he said. His organization is working
with other human rights groups to organize a seminar and they hope to have the
prime minister or other high-level officials participate.
a Small Move Could Have a Big Impact
the bigger picture, if either Indonesia or Malaysia begins to speak up on the
Uyghur issue alongside Western countries, it could be the tipping point that
forces China to change its policies. The response from the Chinese government
and media so far is to paint news stories as a Western conspiracy, aimed at
hurting the country’s economy. It would be harder to take that position if
countries that Beijing sees as key partners and central to its massive Belt and
Road Initiative begin to ask questions.
think that Indonesian and Malaysian pressure could be the straw that breaks the
camel’s back and forces China to reduce the amount of pressure,” said Connelly.
While he is doubtful that this could lead to an ideal situation for Uyghurs, it
could result in less Uyghurs in the camps and more access to the region.
will likely drive this is not leaders like Jokowi, Mahathir, or Anwar becoming
suddenly inspired. It will be because Indonesians and Malaysians demand it. In
Indonesia, that means watching to see if the Uyghurs become a campaign issue
and whether the opposition pushes Jokowi to take more concrete action. In
Malaysia, the question will be how effective civil society and media pressure
is, and just how far Mahathir and Anwar want to take their role as leaders in
the Islamic world.
for the millions of Uyghurs toiling away in anonymity in re-education camps,
any action cannot come quickly enough.
Muslims seek political room and weight in elections
(AsiaNews) – Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest moderate Islamic organisation in
Indonesia and the world with 90 million members, is demanding more leeway in
Indonesian politics and hopes "the victory of its representative in the
next presidential election," said yesterday NU President Said Aqil Siradj
(picture 1), at an event marking the 73rd anniversary of Muslimat NU, the
movement’s women branch.
the meeting, attended by thousands of NU members at Jakarta’s Soekarno Sport
Stadium (picture 2), Siradj said that the reasons for NU’s greater involvement
in the country’ political life "are contained in the Qurʾān".
Prophet Muhammad was called to form a mass organisation that played an
important role in society,” the NU president explained. “NU leaders should take
on important positions in the country’s religious life. The minister for
Religious Affairs should be one of us. Otherwise, many mistakes will be
Indonesia’s independence, a NU representative has always headed that ministry.
elections in April will see the president Joko Widodo and NU member (picture 3)
run for re-election against Prabowo Subianto, backed by Islamist political
chose as vice presidential candidate Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Council of
the Indonesian ulema (MUI) and former NU chief advisor (he resigned after he
an hour this was announced, former Justice Minister Mohammad Mahfud Md was
expected to be his pick.
to some sources, the president's political advisers persuaded him to drop
Mahfud since he is not well liked by the NU nor the president’s party, the
National Awakening Party.
statement has been controversial. However, for Helmy Faishal Zaini, NU's
secretary general, the remarks by the NU president should be seen as
"words of encouragement" to the members of the organisation.
Bombing of Cathedral in Philippines Shows Group’s Reach Into Asia
Hannah Beech and Jason Gutierrez
— A deadly bombing of a cathedral in the Philippines has brought fresh
attention to the Islamic State’s ability to metastasize across the world, even
as the militant group has been reduced to a sliver of turf in Syria.
attack, consisting of two detonations, struck the Cathedral of Our Lady of
Mount Carmel on the island of Jolo at the southern end of the Philippines, a
region where Muslim insurgents have for decades battled the Catholic-majority
state. At least 20 people were confirmed dead in the assault, which took place
just as worshipers gathered for Mass on Sunday.
various online bulletins, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed
violence showcased the ability of the Islamic State to graft onto faraway
militant movements and fan the flames of local conflicts by striking a
high-profile target like a cathedral, the premier church in a Catholic diocese.
Fighters from Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia flocked to Iraq and Syria
in recent years, and returnees from the Islamic State’s battles have
strengthened the reach and tactical power of extremist groups back in Southeast
bombings in the Philippines occurred just after a Muslim-majority part of the
island group of Mindanao, which includes Jolo, held a referendum on a delicate
peace process. On Monday, the Philippine national security adviser, Hermogenes
Esperon, implied that the bombings on Sunday were most likely the work of
rebels affiliated with Abu Sayyaf, a separatist militia with a stronghold in
Jolo that is excluded from the current peace process.
week’s referendum on whether to create a Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao
was approved by voters everywhere except on Jolo.
kidnappings, beheadings and the occasional bombing, Abu Sayyaf has terrorized
the region for years, targeting foreigners and locals alike. A former leader of
the militant group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 and was
later recognized as the Islamic State’s regional emir, but other factions of
Abu Sayyaf have not publicly sworn their loyalty to the militant group.
Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who long served as mayor of Davao City, the
capital of Mindanao, visited Jolo on Monday and directed security forces to
“crush” the militants, according to Delfin Lorenzana, the country’s defense
Lorenzana, who traveled to Jolo with the president, said that the police
considered six people seen in video footage of the cathedral to be suspects.
Mr. Esperon, the national security adviser, said that those six people had been
identified by intelligence sources as possibly the sons or relatives of known
Abu Sayyaf operatives.
earliest high-profile extremist to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State in
the Philippines was a former leader of Abu Sayyaf, Isnilon Hapilon. After
declaring his loyalty in 2014, Mr. Hapilon united ragtag rebels from the
jungle, university-educated ideologues and even former Catholics with the
particular zeal of the converted.
2017, his coalition laid siege to the Mindanao city of Marawi. The Philippine
military operation to extract the extremists decimated much of the city and
left more than 1,200 people dead, including Mr. Hapilon and a legion of foreign
El-Muhammady, a counterterrorism analyst at the International Islamic
University Malaysia, who has conducted extensive interviews with jailed Islamic
State militants in Malaysia, said that such groups “may be locally created, but
they are regionally networked and globally inspired by ISIS.”
Mindanao, ISIS is coming along at the right time, and each side is benefiting
from the other,” he added. “ISIS can say, ‘We have global reach,’ and local
groups, like Abu Sayyaf factions, can sit on the shoulder of a giant like ISIS
and get connections and financial support.”
Philippine investigators sifted through the debris of the devastated cathedral
— shattered pews and crushed crucifixes — a statement from the Islamic State
said that suicide bombers had carried out the attacks.
Monday, however, the chief of the Philippine National Police, Oscar Albayalde,
said from Jolo that the explosions, which he described as occurring 12 to 15
seconds apart, had probably been detonated by cellphone. The casualty list
released by the Philippine authorities is not believed to include the names of
anyone suspected of being a bomber.
bombing is a rarity in the Philippines. The first case in recent history
occurred last July on the Mindanao island of Basilan, a stronghold of Abu
Sayyaf rebels who have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for that suicide attack, too, in which a
Moroccan national detonated an explosive-filled van at a checkpoint, killing
nine security officers and bystanders. Philippine authorities have denied that
that assault had any link with the Islamic State, however.
years, officials in the Philippines have been reluctant to acknowledge that the
Islamic State has taken root in the country, even as the militant group has
taken credit for a series of deadly attacks across Southeast Asia and been
implicated in other plots foiled by regional governments.
2015, a year after formally announcing its caliphate, the Islamic State issued
an anniversary video in which it revealed that 16 of the 35 “provinces” of its
state were located outside Iraq and Syria. One was in the Philippines.
Asian counterterrorism experts note that Islamic State literature often
glorifies the exploits of militants from Mindanao.
Filipino government downplays the ideological element of pro-ISIS coalitions to
its detriment,” said Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy
Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta, Indonesia, who has tracked the rise of the
Islamic State and other militant groups in Southeast Asia.
are personal rivalries and clan money that drive what’s happening in Mindanao
but to discount ISIS totally is dangerous because it ignores something that is
happening across the region,” she added. “When ISIS says it has bombed a church
in the Philippines, I think it’s part of an effort to clearly target something
big and symbolic and say, ‘We’re here.’ ”
first assaults claimed by the Islamic State in Southeast Asia occurred in
January 2016, when suicide attackers mounted deadly raids near a Starbucks in
home to the world’s largest Muslim population, had endured terror attacks
before, most notably the bombing of a nightclub in Bali that killed more than
200 people in 2002. That attack and others, including the bombings of
Western-owned hotels and of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, were
orchestrated by the homegrown radical group Jemaah Islamiyah, which aligned
itself with Al Qaeda.
just as Al Qaeda lost strength elsewhere in the world, Jemaah Islamiyah was
supplanted in Indonesia by other militant groups that pledged allegiance to the
Islamic State. In one of the most shocking episodes, an entire family — mother,
father, two teenage sons and two younger daughters — blew themselves up in
back-to-back attacks on three churches in Surabaya, the second largest city in
Indonesia, in May last year.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for those assaults, which killed 12
people, describing them as a “martyrdom operation.”
another day, two other families in Surabaya fatally set off their own bombs,
one at a police station and another in a premature misfire in their own
three families appeared to be linked to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian
militant organization that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Since then,
about 300 people believed to be connected to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah have been
rounded up by Indonesian counterterrorism forces.
is a multiethnic, multifaith city, in a country run by a secular government.
The southern tip of the Philippines, while majority Muslim, has a significant
Catholic minority. And Malaysia, from where at least 130 people, according to
Malaysian counterterrorism experts, have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the
Islamic State, balances a Malay Muslim majority with large ethnic Chinese and
militants in all three countries have over the decades called for those sharing
an ethnic Malay heritage to create a crescent-moon-shape caliphate across the
region. Other extremists have expressed more isolated concerns for local
Asian militants gained battlefield experience in Afghanistan and ideological
guidance in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. More recently, hundreds of
Filipinos, Indonesians and Malaysians traveled to Iraq and Syria to act as
foreign fighters for the Islamic State, forming their own corps with its own
recruitment tools online.
have to look at these extremist movements in the region without dividing them
by national borders,” said Badrul Hisham Ismail, program director for IMAN
Research, a security-focused think-tank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who has
studied violent extremism.
top-down, nation-by-nation approach doesn’t work,” he added.
June 2016, the Islamic State confirmed in a video that Mr. Hapilon, the former
Abu Sayyaf commander, was the leader of the group in Southeast Asia. The same
video called for those who could not travel to Syria to instead make their way
to the southern Philippines, Ms. Jones of the Institute for Policy Analysis of
Conflict said. Some did, dying the next year in the battle for Marawi.
a cameo in the same video was Abu Walid, an Indonesian who spent nine years in
detention in the Philippines before turning up in Syria and becoming close to
the leadership of Islamic State, according to the United States Treasury
Department, which placed sanctions on him. Last Wednesday, Abu Walid, the nom
de guerre of Mohammed Yusop Karim Faiz, was killed in fighting in Syria.
Syed Jaymal Zahiid
LUMPUR, Jan 29 — The Pakatan Harapan administration’s push for a more inclusive
Islam reflects the true nature of the faith, Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa told a townhall session organised to
address critics here today.
Islamic affairs minister said the progressive values promoted by the government
are integral to Islam despite claims by conservatives that plurality threatens
and multi-racialness are not in any way alien... but why do we want to have
this isolationist attitude?” he told the audience.
we are doing is nothing new, (what) we are doing now is to incorporate it into
his appointment as Islamic affairs minister, Mujahid introduced three core
principles to guide all policies regarding Islam that espouse openness and
three principles are the maqasid Syariah or the higher objective of Shariah,
rahmatan lil alamin or universal good, and the two fall under what he described
as Gagasan Besar, or the higher concept.
said eradicating religious dogmatism was crucial to reform the Islamic
agencies, which have come to represent intolerance over the years.
and hardline Muslims have accused PH of sidelining Islam to push a liberal
agenda, pointing to Mujahid’s tolerant position on issues such as allowing a
beer festival or espousing soft treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community as proof.
are signs that the campaign against Mujahid and PH has resonated to certain
degree with the religious conservatives in the country.
year, Putrajaya reversed its intention to ratify the International Convention
Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) following a mass
demonstration in protest in the capital city on December 8.
Malays and Muslims believe ICERD to pave the way for minority rule and the
subversion of Islam as the federal religion, a message touted by groups like
PAS and ISMA.
said today’s townhall session was intended to “correct” the misleading messages
about PH’s brand of Islamic governance.
we do, it will be based on the Federal Constitution and we have made it quite
clear in our manifesto.
EU document leaked on how to circumvent US sanctions on Iran
joint EU statement is imminent on the new payment mechanism to circumvent the
sanctions imposed by the US on Iran following Washington’s withdrawal from the
2015 deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
official unveiling of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is slated for the start
of this week, if all 28 member states were to agree on the draft statement.
initiative – spearheaded by France, Germany and the UK – got the greenlight
from Italy, according to a draft communique. However, Spain has so far objected
to the wording of the document.
copy of the EU communique seen by Bloomberg News welcomed the three-nation
initiative as providing “a positive impact on trade and economic relations with
Iran, but most importantly on the lives of Iranian people.”
is designed to shield European companies keen to do business with Iran from US
sanctions that could result from dollar-based transactions.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Sunday called on the EU to stay
committed to their promise of launching SPV. Mr Qassemi lamented the delay in
launching the tool and called on the Europeans to show their independence from
Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi set off for Europe on Monday morning to
negotiate with Austrian, Slovak and Bulgarian officials.
Trump administration branded the initiative an attempt to evade its “maximum
pressure” campaign against Iran and questioned whether it will work. Sigal
Mandelker, the Treasury’s top sanctions official, said in December she wasn’t
concerned “at all” that the EU initiative could side-track US efforts.
think the bigger news in Europe is that companies are withdrawing from Iran in
droves,” Mrs Mandelker told reporters.
am not concerned by the SPV actually at all. I do believe we are going to find
additional mechanisms by which we can work together.”
which has been one of the promoters of the European-backed system to facilitate
non-dollar trade with Iran, insisted last week that the approval of SPV would
be conditional to Tehran reining in its missile activity.
are ready, if the talks don’t yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and
they know it,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.
response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said that “our
missile capability is not negotiable ... we have repeatedly said that during
our political talks with France.” according to the Iranian state news agency
Monday, Mr Qasemi denied reports that it was holding secret talks with France
over its ballistic missile development.
have been no talks, whether secret or not secret, about our missile program with
France or any other country,” Mr Qasemi told state TV.
also reiterated that an EU decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran would result
in the country resuming its uranium enrichment program.
UN Security Council resolution which enshrined Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal called
upon Tehran to refrain for up to eight years from working on ballistic
which has since conducted missile tests, maintains they do not violate the
resolution as the missiles are not enabled to carry nuclear warheads.
concerns over Iran’s role in the region, the EU also reiterated its desire to
preserve the nuclear deal, which the bloc sees as the best way to keep Iran’s
nuclear work in check.
Merkel calls for "zero tolerance" of anti-Semitism and hate
Chancellor Angela Merkel underscored the urgency of combating anti-Semitism,
racism and hatred more than 70 years after the Holocaust, calling for new ways
to keep alive the memory of the millions of people killed by the Nazis.
in a video address released ahead of Sunday's International Holocaust
Remembrance Day, said it was everyone's responsibility to ensure "zero
tolerance" of xenophobia and all forms of anti-Semitism.
growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past and we must
work proactively to ensure that it is never repeated," Merkel said.
of people were robbed of their rights, tortured and murdered – including an
estimated six million Jews – across Europe from 1933 to 1945, when the Nazis
German leader called for new forms of remembrance due to the dwindling number
of eyewitnesses from the Nazi era and because of persistent hatred and
expressed deep regret about anti-Semitism among Germans, as well as hatred of
Jews among Muslim migrants and a hatred of Israel that she said could not be
last year appointed a commissioner to oversee efforts to combat anti-Semitism
and will also set up a central repository to collect information about such
incidents and attacks, with an eye to bolstering prevention, Merkel said.
will be crucial in the coming time to find new ways of remembrance," she
said. "We must look more closely at the personalities of people who were
victims back then and to tell their stories."
cited the importance of supporting Holocaust memorials and private initiatives
such as the "stumbling stones" project, which installs brass bricks
inscribed with the names and key details of people near the homes from which
they were deported during the Nazi era.
think these forms of remembrance ... are very important and will become more
significant in the future," Merkel said.
Friday, the director of the memorial at the largest Nazi concentration camp on
German soil barred the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) from a
commemoration for the 56,000 people killed there during the Holocaust.
Knigge, director of the Buchenwald Memorials Foundation, told AfD politicians
in the state of Thuringia where the camp is located that he was responding to
anti-democratic, racist and anti-Semitic tendencies in the party.
the Muslim 'enemy within': The British government must come clean
British government has a Muslim problem. And it chooses to address it by
spending millions on deceiving the community, spreading propaganda and
rendering them all suspects by introducing policies – like Prevent – which
target, criminalise and further discriminate against them.
the Prevent agenda has received much attention (and rightly so) as the most
visible and repressive aspect of the state’s approach, other more insidious and
indirect means are equally worrying.
example, the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) which sits
within the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), has
been described as a machine for covert propaganda mostly targeting Muslims in
the work of RICU has come under fire following its strong reluctance to publish
information on a project that attempted to use supposedly independent British
radio dramas to disseminate so called counter-terrorism messages.
Freedom of Information request focused on a Preston FM radio drama that was
made by Manchester-based film researcher Faisal Qureshi.
2010 drama, initially titled "Divided We Fall", was broadcast through
a community Lancashire-based station and involved professional actors including
Mina Anwar as well as local students.
plot centred around the radicalisation of Ibrahim (played by Conor Alexander),
who is described as a young Muslim Asian boy, and Jonno (played by John
Catterall), a white soldier who returned from serving in Afghanistan.
drama explored how people are drawn towards violent extremism, and the
alternative options that exist. While the public were made aware of Home Office
funding in relation to this project, nothing was said of the OSCT or RICU’s
the government deem the disclosure of details relating to RICU’s involvement to
be a potential national security threat. They justify this decision as a wish
to protect the identities of those people and organisations involved in order
to maintain an effective working relationship.
other words, they want to use every legal loophole and manoeuvre to avoid
accountability, along with other groups and individuals who are playing the
role of state informants and propagandists. Not to mention the need to continue
with a project dependent on deceiving the target audience.
deception and covert messaging
public, and in particular the Muslim community, has a right to know about
projects being funded by the Home Office.
was the nature of the work? How many members of the community have been targeted
and lied to? What relationships have been built without the individuals’
a programme needs to be based on deception, silence, and covert messaging
towards the state’s own population, it is probably safe to say that it is part
of the problem when it comes to radicalisation, rather than the solution.
may seem like an exaggeration, but the Spy Cops campaign which raised awareness
of the undercover police officers who duped numerous women activists into
relationships to gather information, has taught us – once more – that the state
has no limits or moral framework.
police officers were prepared to enter false relationships and marriages,
father children, and lie to their (supposed) friends and colleagues in order to
gather intelligence about political activists, what lengths are they currently
prepared to go to in order to police and discipline the Muslim community?
will argue that the government is simply misguided in its method of approaching
a "sensitive" minority group, but that it ultimately seeks to
"do good". Well, RICU itself was a concoction inspired by a 1948
propaganda division known as the Information Research Department (IRD).
unit was created to counter the influence of communism, target trade unionists
as well as journalists who would not take what propaganda was dictated to them
by the Atlee government – from the "enemy within" back then, to the
"enemy within" today.
Home Office’s model for “effective communication” is to approach Muslims as
dangerous and guilty, guided by a collective ideology that needs to be crushed
and replaced with that of blind allegiance to the British state.
has even been suggested that the government’s resistance to sharing information
about their propaganda projects may relate to the unknown scale of their
subterfuge campaigns within the arts. How many more radio shows, plays, films,
exhibitions etc has RICU funded?
division’s links to a documentary which aired a few years ago on Muslim Olympic
athletes at the 2012 competition have already been exposed. RICU was also
linked to the establishment of a charity for Syria and various websites, which
were thought to be Muslim civil society collectives. All of these spaces were
being used for the purpose of so-called counter-terrorism strategies.
may come as no surprise today that a drama with such a clichéd storyline (at
least as far as state counter-terrorism work goes) was being used to further
the work of Prevent.
it is down to the tireless efforts made by trade unions, students, Muslims,
anti-racist campaigners, victims of counter-terrorism policies, academics,
healthcare professionals and so many more that we have reached the point of
identifying the state’s practices and being able to call them out.
is also within this context that we should acknowledge that the recent
announcement of an independent review of Prevent is not a cause for
can a government that is funding such covert operations, and has recently
expanded the reach of counter-terrorism measures to criminalise internet use,
international travel, and imbedded it into local government, expect to be taken
seriously when it claims that it will facilitate (and submit to) an independent
fact, if the government was actually listening to the demands of those most
impacted - Muslims, migrants, people of colour, students, academics, civil
servants who are mandated to comply - they would scrap the policy and move
towards de-criminalising an entire community, exhausted by living under
FOI request has now been taken as far as the courts because the information on
the scale of the RICU operations have been blocked by the government’s lawyers.
As we await the outcomes of the tribunal, we must also mobilise against the
state’s attempts to crush critical thought and dissent through their racist,
European Union is on the verge of launching an alternative channel to send
money to Iran that would sidestep US sanctions against the Islamic republic,
Germany’s foreign minister said Monday.
“special purpose vehicle,” or SPV, is part of EU efforts to keep alive an
international agreement aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The future
of the UN Security Council underwritten pact was thrown into doubt when
President Donald Trump pulled out last year slamming it as a “horrible,
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels that “as far as the
special purpose vehicle is concerned: it will be registered, it has not yet
been registered, but I would say that the implementation of our plan is
said the EU’s aim is to ensure that “business not sanctioned by the US can be
upheld, and there is a suitable instrument for international payments.” He said
that Germany has been working notably with Britain and France but also other EU
partners in recent months to set it up, without providing details.
member country envoys discussed Iran Monday, but didn’t announce the SPV’s
completion. It is likely to be discussed when EU foreign ministers meet over
two days in Romania from Thursday.
EU officials have been saying for weeks that the financing mechanism would be
up and running soon, but they have hesitated to provide details amid European
concern that Trump would target the country where it is based and any others
White House has been warning the Europeans that they could face stiff fines and
penalties should they try to circumvent the sanctions.
the EU insists that the nuclear deal is vital to regional and global security.
The bloc has already introduced measures to stop European companies from
complying with the US sanctions without authorization from Brussels.
measures block the effect of any US court action in Europe and allow European
firms to recover damages arising from the sanctions from anyone who causes
UK has acknowledged that it is unreasonable to expect Iraq to sever relations
with neighboring Iran but called on Baghdad to reduce its reliance on Tehran.
has extensive trade ties with Iran and heavily depends on Iranian natural gas
imports, but such close relations do not sit well with the West whose leaders
want the two neighbors to remain disengaged.
Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt was the latest to bring up
the subject in Baghdad Sunday, calling on Iraqi leaders to keep Iran at an
is important is that Iraq finds the opportunity to follow its own future in
terms of foreign relations and that its economy is strong, and isn’t reliant on
Iran,” he told Reuters at the UK Embassy in Baghdad.
“to expect Iran to have no influence in Iraq is fanciful,” said Burt who is the
latest on a long list of Western officials visiting Iraq over the past weeks,
with Iran being a key subject on their itinerary.
the center of their discussions is the argument that US President Donald
Trump’s surprise decision to pull out troops from Syria would lead to Iran
digging its heels in Iraq.
played down the possibility of a military standoff between Iran and the US in
Syria amid American warnings of a "confrontation which might occur should
there be a miscalculation."
extensive economic ties, Iran and Iraq have deep-rooted religious bonds which
have grown in recent years, marked by cross-border trekking of millions of
pilgrims to Karbala and Najaf.
was famously the first country to rush to Iraq's help in 2014 when Daesh
terrorists reached the gates of Baghdad as the Arab country's pleas for help
from the US and other countries went unheeded.
the Iraqi government overwhelmed by the number of volunteers after Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's fatwa for Jihad, Iranian military advisers stepped
in to train and prepare them for combat.
Iraqi leaders have acknowledged that without Iran's help, their country would have
fallen to Daesh.
visit followed similar high-profile stops in Baghdad by Trump and his secretary
of state, Mike Pompeo, to forward plans to form an international anti-Iran
of political clashes along with a devastating US invasion have destroyed most
of Iraq’s critical infrastructure, leaving it heavily reliant on power imports
Iraq imports about 1.5 billion standard cubic feet per day of gas plus
electricity and a wide range of goods from Iran.
shares a 1,450-kilometer border with Iran. Their annual trade stands at $12
billion but the two neighbors are seeking to raise it to $20 billion in the
US gave Iraq a 45-day waiver for imports of gas from Iran in November 2018 when
it re-imposed the second round of sanctions on Tehran. In December, the United
States extended the waiver for 90 days.
former prime minister and leader of the opposition al-Wataniya faction in
parliament Ayad Allawi warned back then that the new US sanctions on Iran would
have deep impact on the Iraqi economy.
Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also said that Iraq “will not be part of the
sanctions regime, as it will not be part of aggression against any
not attending anti-Iran summit in Poland
Sunday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad Ali al-Hakim said his country was not
going to partake in an anti-Iran conference that Washington will co-host with
Poland in Warsaw next month.
said Baghdad had not received an invitation from the US to attend the meeting,
"but it will certainly turn it down if it gets one.”
will not take part in such meetings, because we believe they are not in the
interests of Iraq and the region,” he said.
envoy Khalilzad confirms 'draft framework' with Taliban: NYT
United States and the Afghan Taliban have drafted the framework of a deal which
could pave the way for peace talks with Kabul, Washington's main negotiator was
quoted as saying on Monday, but major hurdles including a ceasefire and a
withdrawal of foreign forces remain.
comments by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to the New York Times are the clearest
signal yet from a US official that talks between Washington and the militants
are progressing, igniting hopes of a breakthrough in the grinding 17-year
has been leading a months-long diplomatic push to convince the Taliban to negotiate
with the Afghan government, but the militants have steadfastly refused,
dismissing authorities in Kabul as “puppets”.
flurry of activity culminated in an unprecedented six straight days of talks in
Qatar last week, with both the US and the Taliban citing progress over the
have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an
agreement,” Khalilzad, who arrived in Kabul on Sunday to update Afghan
authorities on the talks, was quoted as saying by the Times.
told Afghan media that Washington and the insurgents had “agreed to agreements
in principle on a couple of very important issues”, and said Afghans must
“seize the opportunity”, according to comments released by the US embassy in
quickly hailed the development as a milestone, noting it indicated willingness
on both sides to find a way out of the conflict.
US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan described the talks as “encouraging”.
there is still no accord on a timetable for a US withdrawal or a ceasefire —
major issues on which previous attempts at negotiations have foundered.
Saturday Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that without a withdrawal
timetable, progress on other issues is “impossible”.
confirmed the Taliban had acceded on one major issue for the US: safe havens.
Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would
prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist
groups or individuals,” he told the Times.
gave no further details, but the statement gave weight to reports last week
that the Taliban had agreed to oppose Al Qaeda and the militant Islamic State
(IS) group in Afghanistan.
US invasion of 2001 was driven by the Taliban's harbouring of Al Qaeda, but
more than 17 years later the militant group appears diminished in the region.
however, is a growing and potent presence in Afghanistan, where it is fighting
a fierce turf war with the Taliban in some areas.
Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Centre in Washington, DC said such a move had
long been a major ask of the US — but noted it was more of a “conciliatory
gesture” than a concession.
Taliban has never been a friend of ISIS, and Al Qaeda has become a shadow of
its former self,” he told AFP.
so “it signals, at least at this point, that the insurgents are willing to
negotiate in good faith and agree to a key US demand”.
authorities have warned that any deal between the US and the Taliban would
require Kabul's endorsement.
call on the Taliban to ... show their Afghan will, and accept Afghans' demand
for peace, and enter serious talks with the Afghan government,” President
Ashraf Ghani said in a televised address on Monday.
President Donald Trump's clear eagerness to end America's longest war has also
weighed heavy on the discussions, and Ghani warned against rushing into a deal,
citing violence following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.
want peace, we want it fast but we want it with a plan,” he said.
Afghan wants foreign troops to remain in their country indefinitely. No Afghan
wants to face suicide attacks in hospitals, schools, the mosques, and parks.”
continue to pay a terrible price for the Taliban insurgency, with some
estimates showing the Afghan conflict overtook Syria to become the world's
deadliest last year.
office said Khalilzad had reassured the government that the negotiations in
Qatar remain focused on bringing the insurgents to the table for talks with
palace said Khalilzad confirmed that no agreement had been made on a withdrawal
or a ceasefire.
combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014, but thousands remain in training,
support and counter-terrorism roles. Trump has said he wants to pull out half
the remaining 14,000 American troops, according to US officials.
said the process could yet collapse over a withdrawal.
to say the Taliban won't decide to seize on the resulting battlefield advantage
and take up the fight anew?” he said.
security forces are already taking staggering losses, with 45,000 killed since
late 2014, and morale is low.
will need to be clear, hard assurances that any troop withdrawals take place
only after the Taliban has begun talks with the Afghan government,” Kugelman
the parlous backdrop to the talks, the Taliban on Monday claimed to have killed
or wounded 33 US and Afghan forces in two recent incidents, according to the
SITE monitoring group. The Taliban routinely exaggerates its attacks, and Nato
denied the claims.
Taliban and US officials have agreed to continue negotiations, though no date
has been publicly announced.
Trump administration is closely eyeing efforts in Europe to set up an
alternative money payment channel to ease doing business with Iran and avoid
running afoul of sanctions the US has levied on the Islamic republic.
White House is putting the Europeans on notice, saying that if they try to do
an end-run around US sanctions on Iran, they will be subject to stiff fines and
penalties. Unfazed, the European Union is marching forward with the plan,
which, if implemented, could further strain trans-Atlantic relations.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the EU was on the verge of setting
up the alternative channel to send money to Iran that would side-step US
sanctions on Tehran. He said Germany had been working on it in recent months
with Britain, France and other EU partners.
has always been our goal and we will implement it,” Maas said.
EU has struggled to keep alive the Iran nuclear deal since President Donald
Trump pulled out of it last year. The bloc has already introduced measures to
stop European companies from complying with the US sanctions without
authorization from Brussels. Getting out ahead of a possible announcement, a
senior administration official told The Associated Press on Friday that the US
will fully enforce its sanctions and hold individuals and entities accountable
for undermining them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss
choice is whether to do business with Iran or the United States,” Sen. Tom
Cotton, R-Ark., told the AP. “I hope our European allies choose wisely.”
US joined China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain in signing a pact with
Iran in 2015 that offered to lift economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran’s
pledge to rein in its nuclear weapons program.
Donald Trump called it a “horrible, one-sided deal.” He pulled out of the pact
last year and restored punishing US sanctions on Iran. Tehran, which denies
wanting nuclear weapons, continues to abide by the agreement, and the remaining
five nations in the pact are trying to keep it intact.
the sanctions regime is part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure
campaign” on the Iranians to force them to radically alter their policies on
developing ballistic missiles, supporting regional militant groups and
violating human rights.
US has many concerns about the alternative payment system, according to an
outside Trump administration adviser. The adviser spoke on condition of
anonymity to discuss the key US worries.
the US worries that the alternative money payment system could become
successful enough to compete with the international bank transfer system known
as SWIFT. The fear is that it could eventually supplant SWIFT as the leading
global vehicle for financial institutions to send and receive information about
the US is concerned that other countries might try to route transactions
through the European system just to circumvent US sanctions, the adviser said.
Thirdly, while the Europeans have signaled that the alternative money transfer
system would be used only for humanitarian transactions, the US is suspicious
that it could be used for non-humanitarian transactions to evade US sanctions,
the adviser said.
should oppose efforts to create foreign financial channels that Iran could use
to circumvent America’s maximum pressure campaign against it, especially when
humanitarian exceptions are already in US sanctions laws,” Sen. Marco Rubio,
R-Fla., told the AP.
the administration prepares for the potential fallout from the possible
European move, it is pressing ahead with its sanctions campaign against Iran
and preparing to co-host with Poland next month a conference that will focus on
combatting Iranian threats.
Thursday, Treasury imposed sanctions on two Iran-backed militias in Syria and
on Qeshm Fars Air, an Iranian civilian airline it accuses of ferrying weapons
and personnel to Syria to support President Bashar Assad’s government. The
sanctions block any assets those targeted might have in U.S. jurisdictions and
bar Americans from doing business with them.
the same time, the State Department told Congress earlier this month that it would
waive some Iranian sanctions to allow US companies to sell spare parts to
Iranian airlines, which need them to operate aging, American-built Boeing jets.
waivers raised questions on Capitol Hill because some lawmakers are weighing
legislation to specifically target Iran’s civilian aviation sector. And Iran
hawks outside the administration have expressed concern too.
Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies,
said Iran’s aviation sector is being used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps, a branch of the Iranian military that has ties to militant networks,
which Iran uses to expand its influence in the region and abroad.
President Donald Trump refrained from holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin
Salman to account over the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi
last October as a means of paying back Riyadh’s favors, an American political
very wealthy, one moves among the same circle of people and favors are done for
each other. People, such as many Saudis, would help bail him out of desperate
situations and there would be some payback,” Myles Hoenig told Press TV on
Trump’s case, the saved favor was letting” bin Salman “get off nearly
‘Scott-free,’” he added.
a royal insider-turned-bin Salman critic, was killed after entering the Saudi
Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
weeks of denials of any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Riyadh
regime acknowledged the “premeditated” murder, but has vehemently sought to
distance the heir to the throne from the case.
Saudi prosecutor has said Khashoggi's body was dismembered, removed from the
diplomatic mission, and handed to an unidentified “local cooperator."
reports have verified that some on a team that traveled to Istanbul to carry
out the murder were drawn from among the crown prince’s personal bodyguards.
Last December, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants
for two Saudi nationals close to bin Salman over the foul play.
deal with Democrats
also addressed the issue of Trump’s finally reaching a deal with congressional
Democrats on Friday to terminate the partial government shutdown that had
lasted over a month, without getting the $5.7 billion he had requested for building
the US-Mexico border barrier.
said the US president gave in, in the face of House Speaker Pelosi’s “power,”
and amid attrition among the ranks of his supporters in the country.
Trump has likely never encountered was an equal, someone who yields enormous
power, if not necessarily financially. He met his match with Nancy Pelosi, a
seasoned political fighter who knows how to wield power, and for once, able to
capitalize on it,” the analyst said.
Kabul, US reports ‘agreements in principle’ with Taliban
Negotiators for the United States and the Taliban insurgents have reached
“agreements in principle” on key issues for a peace deal that would end 17
years of war in Afghanistan, the top US envoy said Monday.
statement by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad followed six days of talks last week
with the Taliban in Qatar, where he urged the insurgents to enter into direct
negotiations with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
on Monday assured Afghans that their rights will not be compromised in the name
of peace with the Taliban, who have been staging near-daily attacks against
Afghan forces, causing scores of casualties every week. Their offensive has not
let up despite the severe Afghan winter and the insurgents now hold sway over
nearly half of the country.
said in an interview with The New York Times that an agreement in principle was
reached with the Taliban on the framework of a peace deal “which still has to
be fleshed out” that will see the insurgents commit to guaranteeing that Afghan
territory is not used as a “platform for international terrorist groups or
said the deal could lead to a full pullout of US troops in return for a
cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.
his statement released by the US Embassy, Khalilzad said, “We made progress on
vital issues in our discussions and agreed to agreements in principle on a
couple of very important issues.”
is a lot more work to be done before we can say we have succeeded in our
efforts but I believe for the first time I can say that we have made
significant progress,” he said.
Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he has been briefed on the talks and
described them as encouraging, but he also told reporters that the department
has not been directed to prepare for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan.
before a meeting at the Pentagon with Shanahan, NATO Secretary General Jens
Stoltenberg said any discussion about the withdrawal of NATO forces from
Afghanistan would be premature. He said Khalilzad had briefed NATO allies on
the talks weeks ago. “We are in Afghanistan to create the conditions for a
peaceful negotiated solution,” Stoltenberg said. “We will not stay longer than
necessary, but we will not leave before we have a situation that enables us to
leave or reduce the number of troops without jeopardizing the main goal of our
presence and that is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for
international terrorists once again.”
added that he believes it’s too soon to speculate on withdrawal because “what
we have to do now is to support the efforts to try to find a peaceful solution.
We strongly support those efforts.”
sought to assure Afghans that no deals would be made without Kabul’s awareness
and full participation.
commitment is to provide peace and to prevent any possible disaster,” Ghani
said in an address to the nation. “There are values that are not disputable,
such as national unity, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
office said he and Khalilzad met late Sunday in Kabul to discuss details from
statement emphasized the inclusion of the Afghan government in the talks.
is a false narrative that Afghans are not included. That is not true. The
Afghan voice is there,” he said. “We are working together to get to a
comprehensive cease-fire. We are working with the Afghan government, with
international partners, to find implementing mechanisms to reach these goals.”
has met with the Taliban on a number of occasions in recent months in the
latest bid to end America’s longest war. The US invaded Afghanistan after the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to topple the Taliban, who were harboring Osama bin
Laden and Al-Qaeda.
statement from Ghani’s office also claimed that the Taliban demanded from
Khalilzad the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, but that there
was also no agreement on that issue.
statement added that Khalilzad has no authority to discuss issues such as a
future Afghan administration but that his goal is to facilitate an intra-Afghan
dialogue, meaning direct talks between the Taliban and Kabul.
had tweeted Saturday about progress in the talks in Qatar, where the insurgents
have a political office, saying: “Meetings here were more productive than they
have been in the past.”
made significant progress on vital issues,” he tweeted, without offering
Hakim Mujahid, a former Taliban official and currently a member of the High
Peace Council, an independent body of clerics and respected Afghan figures,
said he believes the Qatar talks resulted in a “good understanding between both
sides” but that more discussions are needed in the coming weeks or months.
problem is not so simple that it can be solved in a day, week or month, it
needs more time and more discussions,” Mujahid told The Associated Press.
Taliban have in the past refused to negotiate directly with Kabul — a standing
that does not appear to have changed. They have maintained that they are
prepared to talk with US officials only and only about the pullout of foreign
forces from Afghanistan.
political analyst Waheed Muzhda says he believes that Khalilzad and the Taliban
have reached agreement on both the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and
a cease-fire deal, but that neither side is prepared to say so at this point.
peace talks are not possible unless both sides first agree on a cease-fire,”
Monday’s address to the nation, Ghani also stressed that US and other foreign
forces are in Afghanistan because they are needed here and that if there is to
be any downsizing or pullout, the Kabul government will have to play a role in
also reiterated his call on the Taliban to engage “in direct talks with the
President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday the presence of foreign forces was based
on an international agreement and they will not be required in the long term.
Afghans want foreign forces in their country for the long term,” Ghani said in
a televised address.
current presence of foreign forces is based on need, and this need has always
been contemplated and will be contemplated ... and according to an exact and
arranged plan we are trying to bring down that number to zero,” he said.
Ghani called on the Taliban to “enter serious talks” with the government in
Kabul Monday, following unprecedented marathon negotiations between the
insurgents and the US in Qatar last week.
call on the Taliban to... show their Afghan will, and accept Afghans’ demand
for peace, and enter serious talks with the Afghan government,” he said in a
nationally televised address from the presidential palace in Kabul.
authorities have previously complained of being excluded from the discussions
in Qatar, and warned that any deal between the US and the Taliban would require
the Taliban have long refused to speak directly to Ghani’s government, branding
spoke hours after his office released a statement saying that US special envoy
Zalmay Khalilzad had assured them that the focus of the talks in Qatar remains
finding a way to facilitate peace negotiations between the militants and Kabul.
arrived in Afghanistan late Sunday after six days of talks between Taliban
representatives and US officials in Doha.
parties have cited “progress” as hopes rise that the unprecedented length of
the negotiations could mean a deal paving the way for Afghan peace talks may be
in sight, although sticking points remain.
want peace, we want it fast but we want it with a plan,” Ghani continued
militants have been killed or wounded in a series of airstrikes which were
conducted in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.
to the informed security sources, at 17 Taliban militants were killed and 11
were injured in a series of air strikes in Spinboldak on Saturday night and Sunday
sources further added that insurgents were targeted at a known enemy training
camp in Kandahar which resulted in the destruction of the training compound and
all enemy weapons within it as well.
the meantime, provincial police chief of Kandahar Gen. Tadin Khan Achekzai has
said at least 19 Taliban militants were killed and 11 others were wounded in
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has urged the Taliban group leaders to start direct
negotiations with the Afghan government regarding peace and reconciliation
his televised speech to the nation regarding ongoing reconciliation efforts,
President Ghani said Taliban have two options, to join hands with the Afghan
nation or to remain an instrument of the outsiders and implement their
said the continuation of war prevents the formation of a strong government
which is one of the main objectives of the enemies of country.
that the Afghan nation wants peace and reconciliation with a proper plan,
President Ghani said the government insists on a peace deal with proper plans
to prevent the bitter experience of the former government led by Dr.
Najeebullah who was deceived and the deal led to a catastrophe despite the
United Nations had given him assurances.
Ghani also added that he is fully aware of the role of the region and the
international community as well as the possible threats and risks after the
conclusion of a peace agreement.
least four militants affiliated with ISIS Khurasan terrorist group have been
killed in an explosion triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military confirmed that the militants were
blown up by an Improvised Explosive Device which the militants were looking to
use in an attack.
to a statement released by 201st Silab, the incident has taken place in the
vicinity of Pech Dara district of Kunar province.
statement further added that the explosion took place while the militants were
looking to transfer and plant the IED in Kalaigal area of the district.
anti-government armed militant groups including ISIS-K loyalists have not
commented regarding the incident so far.
anti-government armed militants have been killed or wounded during the separate
operations, airstrikes, and clash in southeastern Ghazni province of
203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military said at least 4 militants were
killed and 2 others were wounded during the Thunder-3 operations in Andar
to a statement released by 203rd Thunder Corps, the coalition forces also
carried out airstrikes in Qarabagh district of Ghazni.
statement further added that the coalition airstrikes resulted into the killing
of at least 12 militants while two vehicles were also destroyed.
clash also broke out between the anti-government armed militants and security
forces in Moqor district of Ghazni leaving at least 6 militants dead and 2
others wounded, the 203rd Thunder Corps added in its statement.
senior US government official, speaking after six days of talks between a US
team and the Afghan Taliban, said on Monday that Washington was committed to
the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan after 17 years of war.
official, who declined to be identified, described “significant progress” in
talks last week with Afghan Taliban militants in Qatar on a foreign troop
pullout, but more negotiations were needed on a ceasefire and its timing.“Of
course we don't seek a permanent military presence in Afghanistan,” the
official said in the capital Kabul.
goal is to help bring peace in Afghanistan and we would like a future
partnership, newly defined with a post peace government,” the official told
Reuters. “We would like to leave a good legacy.”
could not be a withdrawal without a ceasefire, the official added.
US officials and the militant group hailed progress after the talks on
Saturday, but the US official said that no draft deal had been finalized.
well as the sticking point of the ceasefire, the Taliban did not discuss the
need for talks with the Afghan government to reach a political settlement that
the US believes is a core part of a deal.
Taliban have repeatedly refused to talk to the Western-backed Afghan
government, which they see as a puppet of the US.
US team, headed by special peace envoy Zalmay Khalizad, is in Kabul this week
meeting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
being toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban control about half of
Afghanistan and are staging daily attacks amid the diplomacy.
talks are due to start in Qatar on February 25.
well as the withdrawal of troops, the official said progress was made on
addressing US concerns that Afghanistan is not used as a base by al Qaeda or
ISIS for attacks against the US and its allies.
who exposed Israeli spy firm's link to Khashoggi killing targeted: AP
agents have targeted researchers who found out that an Israeli spyware firm had
helped Saudi Arabia spy on the communications of dissident journalist Jamal
Khashoggi before his murder last year.
to the Associated Press, men disguising themselves as socially conscious
investors have lured members of the Canadian internet watchdog Citizen Lab to
upscale hotels to ask them for hours about their work exposing Israeli
such incidents have taken place in the past two months during which the experts
who believe they were secretly recorded were also quizzed about details of
their personal lives, the report said.
Lab Director Ron Deibert slammed the actions as “a new low.”
condemn these sinister, underhanded activities in the strongest possible
terms,” he said in a statement. “Such a deceitful attack on an academic group
like the Citizen Lab is an attack on academic freedom everywhere.”
these agents are working for remains an enigma, the report said, noting that
the operatives’ tactics recall those of private investigators who assume
elaborate fake identities to gather intelligence or compromising material on
critics of powerful figures in government or business.
October, the University of Toronto-based lab confirmed that Saudi Arabia used
NSO Group’s controversial software, known as Pegasus, to monitor the online
activities of Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi opponent and a friend of Khashoggi, only
months before the grisly murder.
later filed a lawsuit against the Israeli spyware firm for helping Riyadh spy
on his communications and kill the dissident journalist.
month, a report in the Washington Post said the Israeli regime had been
directly involved in the sale of sophisticated spyware to Saudi Arabia to help
the kingdom purge and assassinate dissidents.
Post said in its report that Israel’s ministry of military affairs had
authorized the NSO Group to sell Pegasus, a patch of highly complicated
software used for hacking and espionage, to the kingdom.
targeted researchers Bahr Abdel-Razzak and John Scott-Railton said they didn’t
want to speculate about who was involved. But both said they believed they were
being steered toward making controversial comments that could be used to defame
Citizen Lab’s reputation.
could be they wanted me to say, ‘Yes, I hate Israel,’ or ‘Yes, Citizen Lab is
against NSO because it’s Israeli,’” said Abdel-Razzak, a Syrian refugee who
works at Citizen Lab.
of Houthis killed in raids in Yemen’s Al-Jawf and Saada
Dozens of Houthi militants were killed in Arab coalition airstrikes and clashes
with the Yemeni army in Al-Jawf and Saada provinces on Monday night, Saudi
state-news agency SPA reported.
coalition raids targeted members of the militia making their way to the Al-Jawf
front, while ground troops attacked the Houthis in Saada’s Baqim, according to
a military statement issued on the Yemeni Ministry of Defense’s official
website September Net.
surprise attack left 20 militants killed, including the field commander, while
the army recovered large quantities of weapons and various ammunition.
UN envoy for Yemen said Monday the expected timeline for a truce in the
flashpoint city of Hodeidah and a prisoner swap between warring parties had been
Martin Griffiths hosted hard-won peace talks between the Yemeni government and
Iran-aligned Houthi militias in Sweden last month.
two parties, who have been at war for four years, agreed at the talks to a mass
prisoner swap and an ambitious ceasefire pact in Hodeidah, the Red Sea city
home to the impoverished country’s most valuable port.
who arrived Monday in Sanaa on his third trip to Yemen this month, said there
had been “changes in timelines” for both deals.
momentum is still there, even if we have seen the timelines for implementation
extended, both in Hodeidah and with regard to the prisoner exchange agreement,”
he told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
such changes in timelines are expected, in light of the facts that the
timelines were rather ambitious and we are dealing with a complex situation on
also confirmed reports of plans to replace retired Dutch general Patrick
Cammaert, who heads the monitoring team tasked with overseeing the Hodeidah
Cammaert’s plan was to stay in Yemen for a rather short period of time to...
lay the ground for establishing the Hodeidah mission,” he said.
the speculations about other reasons for General Patrick’s departure are not
arrived Saturday in Yemen.
Houthis, who control Hodeidah, have accused Cammaert of not being up to the
task and of pursuing “other agendas”.
was for months the main front line in the Yemen war. But a precarious calm has
largely held in the city since the ceasefire agreement came into force on
Hodeidah agreement stipulates a full ceasefire, followed by the withdrawal and
redeployment of rival forces from the city -- two clauses that have yet to be
said on Monday another round of consultations was temporarily on hold pending
progress on the current agreements. Earlier this month he had said that planned
talks had been postponed until February.
Arab Coalition backing Yemen’s legitimate government launched 15 air strikes
against Houthi militia gatherings in the Hajjah governorate, northwest of the
country on Sunday, according to Al Arabiya sources.
Saturday, coalition fighter jets staged eight air strikes targeting Houthi
reinforcements near the Hajour tribal areas.
Thursday, Yemen’s Hajour tribes had appealed for support from the Arab
Coalition to confront an attack staged by the militias against the al-Abysa
tribe of Hajour in the district of Kashar using rockets and heavy artillery.
militias had indiscriminately shelled the villages of al-Abysa tribe with heavy
artillery, according to eyewitnesses.
last September, the Houthis imposed a blockade on Hajour, according to local
sources, in an attempt to subdue them.
First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri says the Islamic Republic is honored to
be spearheading the anti-terror campaign in the region while felicitating the
Syrian government and nation for their achievements in the fight against
made the remarks in a meeting between high-ranking delegations of Iran and
Syria, co-chaired by him and Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis in Damascus on
vice president expressed hope that terrorists would be completely eliminated in
the Middle East and said, "The international community and the Europeans
should know that if it were not for the sacrifices of the Syrian government and
people as well as the country's allies, Daesh terrorists … would establish a
government in the region and would turn into a big and insolvable problem for
in August 2018, Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami hailed
the steadfastness of the Syrian people and government forces in their battle
against terrorism, expressing confidence that they will achieve a final victory
in this path.
only regional people, but people around the world are indebted to the fight
carried out against terrorists in Syria," Hatami said in a meeting with
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Iranian vice president further said that regional and global security is
closely intertwined, emphasizing that the promotion of security in the region
leads to enhanced international security.
added that Iran would stand by the Syrian government and nation in the
reconstruction plans of the war-stricken country, saying, "Syria has
entered a new phase and efforts should be made toward the country's
noted that Iran is among the countries in the region and across the world that
enjoy high capabilities to build power plants and pledged to help Syria in this
a 40-member delegation, the Iranian vice president arrived in the Syrian
capital on Monday on a two-day visit to hold talks with senior officials of the
is a key ally of Syria. Tehran has been providing military advisory assistance
to Damascus in its anti-terror fight.
said in June that the Islamic Republic would stand by Syria in the
reconstruction projects of the war-stricken country.
the Iranian government and nation stood by the Syrian government and people in
the fight against terrorist groups, they will also stand by the Syrian people
now that major parts of Syria are under the control of the country's
government," Jahangiri said in a meeting with Syrian Minister of Economy
and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil in Tehran on June 19, 2018.
will continue to resist against terrorists: Khamis
for his part, hailed Iran's support for his country in recent years and said
the achievements made by Syria in the war against terrorists were the triumphs
of the two countries, the resistance front as well as all countries in the
Syrian prime minister added that the Arab country's government and people would
stand up to foreign plots and are optimistic about their future in the light of
cooperation with friendly countries.
noted that the current visit by the high-ranking Iranian delegation to Damascus
would provide an opportunity for the expansion of relations in all fields and
called on friendly countries to help Syria with its reconstruction plans.
United Nations’ special envoy for Yemen has called on the country’s warring
sides to pull their forces out of the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah as soon as
possible under a recent UN-brokered ceasefire.
Griffiths tweeted on Monday that the timelines set for the withdrawal of Houthi
fighters and Saudi-backed militants loyal to the ex-Yemeni government from
Hudaydah had slipped.
from the Houthi Ansarullah movement and the Riyadh-sponsored government of
ex-president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, reached the truce deal during UN-mediated
peace talks in Sweden last month.
the deal, they agreed to the withdrawal of their troops and the deployment of
UN monitors to the port city, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.
the Houthis – who control Hudaydah -- have repeatedly complained that the
Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging a deadly war on Yemen since March
2015, has been violating the ceasefire.
two sides have also exchanged the names of some 16,000 prisoners, whose
transfers were expected to begin on January 19.
have seen the timelines for implementation extended, both in Hudaydah, and the
prisoner exchange agreement. Such changes in timelines are expected,” Griffiths
said. “The initial timelines were rather ambitious. We are dealing with a
complex situation on the ground.”
on Monday, the UN envoy told London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that he was
optimistic about the resolution of the Yemen conflict.
have seen the two parties demonstrate remarkable political will, first to reach
a ceasefire agreement, and then to abide by it. What we need to see now is the
implementation of the provisions of the agreement, fully and rapidly,” he said.
official further confirmed that retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who has
been leading an advance UN mission tasked with overseeing the Hudaydah truce,
was stepping down. He, however, denied reports that disagreements had led to
the resignation. “There is no element of truth to such reports. As a matter of
fact, General Cammaert and I have been working closely to close the gap between
the two parties on the operational implementation of the Hudaydah Agreement,”
on Monday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres notified the Security Council,
in a letter seen by Reuters, that Cammaert would be replaced with Danish
Lieutenant General Michael Anker Lollesgaard, who led a UN peacekeeping mission
in Mali in 2015 and 2016.
Ansarullah leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi sat down with Griffiths in
the capital Sana’a on Monday.
the meeting, Houthi criticized the Saudi-led aggressors for maintaining the
inhumane siege on Yemen, closing the Sana’a airport and taking unjust measures
against Yemeni civilians.
for his part, vowed that he would take serious steps in the coming days
regarding the implementation of the Hudaydah ceasefire and the planned prisoner
groups raise concerns
another development on Monday, 14 international aid agencies met in London,
warning that conditions for thousands of starving Yemeni people were
is what I like to call a prison without walls for the people living in the
country at the moment. It is a difficult situation where people are struggling
to buy their daily rations to be able to feed their children,” said Yemeni
Oxfam campaign manager Awssan Kamal.
Isabelle Moussard Carlsen of Action Against Hunger underlined the need for a
political solution to the conflict.
says it will form safe zones in northern Syria so that millions of Syrian
refugees hosted by the Ankara government could return to their home country,
which is now recovering from nearly eight years of foreign-sponsored militancy.
in the Turkish port city of Istanbul on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
said nearly 300,000 Syrians had already returned and that he expected millions
more to move to the safe areas.
establishment of safe zones on the Syrian-Turkish border was recently proposed
by the United States, which has decided to withdraw its troops from Syria. But
America is concerned that its Syrian Kurdish allies in the area would be
targeted by Turkey when it withdraws. Ankara regards armed Syrian Kurds as
President Donald Trump earlier suggested the creation of a 30-kilometer safe
zone along Turkey’s border with Syria but did not specify who would create or
pay for it.
said Turkey will be establishing the zones.
are aiming in the first phase to create safe zones where four million Syrians
who now live in our country can return,” he said in his Monday remarks. “We
will soon bring security and peace to the east of the Euphrates.”
also said Turkey had held “positive talks” with the US and Russia and pledged
to “continue to be in contact with powers which have a military presence in the
has earlier rejected the US proposal.
was no immediate reaction from Moscow to Erdogan’s remarks.
considers the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) a terrorist
organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK),
which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
says it hosts about four million Syrian refugees.
December last year, the United Nations (UN)’s refugee agency said that up to 250,000 Syrian refugees could return to
Syria as most of the once-militant-held regions were now back under government
to the UN, over five million Syrian refugees still live in neighboring
countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq.
return of the refugees began after Syrian army troops liberated Syrian cities,
towns, and villages from militants and terrorists.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
militant group is annually earning more than a billion US dollars from drugs.
revenue [the] PKK earns from drugs annually is $1.5 billion ... [The] PKK is an
organization [involved in] human smuggling and drug trafficking. Even the
United States has confessed this reality in official reports,” Soylu said at an
anti-narcotics event in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya.
highlighted that drug trafficking and acts of terror went hand in hand with
opens space for drugs and provides logistical facilities to it. Drugs, on the
other hand, provide finances to terror,” Soylu said.
Turkish interior minister said the 28-member European Union seized a total
amount of 4.27 tons of heroin in 2016.
amount we seized alone in 2017 was 15 tons and 17.9 tons in 2018," Soylu
in November last year, the Turkish interior minister said the PKK controlled 80
percent of the drug trade in Europe.
militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated
southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
along with the EU and the US, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and blacklisted
it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since
shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July
2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out
operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and
with Eritrea are vital in the fight against Al Shabaab
has been said that one of the most important tactics in the war against
terrorism is stopping the flow of money, support, and arms, and preventing
terrorists from acquiring and expanding their base of operations.
Americans understood this in Afghanistan and used it to moderate success.
Similarly, many world leaders have come to understand that if you manage to
stop the money and arms, it is far easier to stop the bloodshed.
2011, the world witnessed two planes landing at an Al Shabaab-controlled
airfield in Somalia, loaded with arms destined for terrorist group.
it was known where the planes landed and what was on them, few knew from where
the planes had taken-off. Many fingers immediately pointed at Eritrea, an
accusation the government in Asmara vigorously rejected. However, not many
experts and international observers believed the denials.
think no one doubts that Eritrea has throughout the last four years been
supportive of Al Shabaab, sending in weapons, sending in trainers and also
training hundreds of Al Shabaab fighters in some of its military camps,"
said Rashid Abdi, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, at the time.
as I said, it is very difficult to confirm this news story that this support
has been resumed by Eritrea.”
United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea in December
2009, including travel restrictions and asset freeze on top Eritrean political
and military leaders because of alleged support for Al Shabaab militants.
United Nations report released in 2011 alleged Eritrea had flown weapons and
fighters into Somalia on numerous occasions.
report also said Eritrea had been funnelling about $80,000 a month to people
linked Al Shabaab through the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi.
Kenyan authorities at the time had seen and heard enough and directly accused
the Eritreans of supporting the terrorists, and had indicated it would review
its diplomatic relations with its neighbour to the north.
then, the relations between the two nations have been frosty. However,
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been working hard over the past few years to
ensure that the Eritrea-Al Shabaab links are broken.
2013, not long after the Westgate massacre, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki
arrived in Nairobi for the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the country's
independence. He held talks with Uhuru on “regional peace and stability”.
last year, Afwerki returned to Nairobi for talks of a similar nature. Not long
after, the United Nations lifted its sanctions against Eritrea, having
concluded that the Red Sea nation had stopped its assistance to Al Shabaab.
President Uhuru is traveling to Eritrea to become the first Kenyan president to
visit that nation since 1999, and the timing is not a coincidence.
President knows that in the wake of the dusitD2 attack, he must take a holistic
approach to defeating the terrorist organisation, and that means ensuring that
all channels of assistance and support are stopped.
for many years, was seen as part of the problem in our region, especially with
its assistance to terrorists, but now it can become part of the solution.
has played a significant role in turning Asmara away from being a base of
support for terrorism to becoming a pivot for peace in the Horn of Africa,
especially since it signed a landmark agreement with Ethiopia in June of last
year, committing to end a bitter two-decade dispute with Addis Ababa.
that Al Shabaab has launched another deadly attack on Kenya, the President is
using all of his reputed diplomatic acumen to enlist the support of President
Afwerki in the fight against the Somalia-based terrorist organisation.
Kenyatta will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Al Shabaab is dealt a
heavy blow for shedding the blood of Kenyans. Sometimes it takes a heavy
military hand to defeat terrorism, but without a holistic and clever diplomatic
strategy, terrorists have long demonstrated their ability to change and adapt.
key to success is to stop and disrupt the remaining channels that they might
have to regroup, restock and rearm. Eritrea is an absolutely vital player in
this strategy and President Uhuru’s historic visit there could not have been
net circling around Al Shabaab held by President Kenyatta is at the ready. Now
he just has to ensure there are no gaping holes in it.
Bashir vows to bring peace as protests called in conflict zones
Omar al-Bashir vowed Monday to bring peace in the state of South Kordofan where
Sudanese forces are fighting rebels, as protesters planned to hold
anti-government rallies in the country’s conflict zones.
protests triggered by a government decision to raise the price of bread have
rocked the east African country for weeks.
demonstrations have spiraled into nationwide rallies against the government of
Bashir, who swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.
say 30 people have died in the violence since the protests first erupted on
December 19 in the farming town of Atbara, before spreading to Khartoum and
groups say more than 40 people have been killed.
Monday, Bashir vowed to work to bring peace in South Kordofan, a region ravaged
by a deadly conflict between government forces and rebels since 2011.
top priority is to bring peace to this area,” Bashir, dressed in military
uniform, told a crowd of cheering supporters at a televised rally in Kadguli,
the capital of South Kordofan.
are ready to go to any length to bring peace to this area. We will undertake
all efforts that will bring peace to this area.”
2011, fighting erupted in the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, both
bordering South Sudan, eight years after a brutal conflict broke out in the
country’s western region of Darfur.
of thousands of people have been killed in the three conflicts and millions
displaced over the years after ethnic minority rebels took up arms against
Khartoum, accusing it of economic and political marginalization.
is wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of war
crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related to the war in Darfur. He
denies the charges.
Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) leading the protest campaign has
called for rallies in the three conflict zones of Darfur, Blue Nile and South
Kordofan on Monday.
have also been called in other states and in camps for internally displaced
people “to show our people’s rejection of the dictator”, the SPA said in a
statement on Sunday.
years, anger has been mounting across Sudan over growing economic hardships and
deteriorating living conditions.
high-level delegation from Libya’s parallel government in the east visited the
main southern city of Sabha on Monday after its forces this month seized
control of the city, an official said.
eastern government is allied to Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army
(LNA) launched a campaign this month in southwestern Libya.
had been nominally under the control of the internationally recognized
government in Tripoli but in reality was run by local groups including tribes.
of Sabha is seen as vital for securing southern Libya’s oilfields, one of the
stated goals of the LNA campaign.
interior, health and junior justice ministers of the eastern government, which
is based in Benghazi, were seen meeting local officials in the municipality of
Sabha in pictures sent to Reuters by members of the visiting delegation.
officials later visited the main hospital and a court, journalists said.
officials could not be reached for comment on the visit, which further
highlighted the internationally recognized government’s continued lack of
authority in most of Libya.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj said during a visit to Vienna on Monday that
“many things” were not going well in the south, but he did not allude to the
visit by the eastern delegation or to the LNA advance.
the south we need better support for our security forces. We need more
cooperation between all security forces,” he said.
LNA has secured Sabha airport and other strategic sites in the area in recent
days, after local groups handed them over without a fight.
LNA says its campaign is aimed at combating militant groups and securing oil
facilities in the south, which include El Sharara oilfield, Libya’s biggest.
Monday LNA forces killed a suspected al-Qaeda fighter called Adel Ahmed
al-Abdaly when they stormed his house in Sabha, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari
said. Otherwise the city has been largely quiet since the arrival of the LNA.
on Sunday arrested 17 youths at a hideout in Samburu town.
say they suspected the youth to be al Shabaab recruits who were being prepared
to be transported to Somalia.
OCPD John Kemboi said the 17 were hiding in the holding centre, a two-room
house near Samburu market.
are 2 ladies and 15 men aged between 18-27 years.
informers tipped us and we raided the house," Kemboi told the Star.
said after interrogations, the youths confessed to having been promised jobs
with huge salaries.
OCPD said two suspects arrived a few days ago while the others have lived in
the house for almost a month.
of them had completed form four and another two had completed class eight.
rest were drop-outs according to the police boss.
documents show that they come from Tana River, Kilifi, Nakuru, Baringo and
mental health services for children who have survived Nigeria's Islamist
insurgency can help prevent future violence, aid agencies said Monday, although
huge needs remain unmet.
Niger's Diffa region, about 250,000 people have fled fighting around Lake Chad
where Islamist group Boko Haram has been waging attacks since 2009, according
to the United Nations.
are children, many of whom have witnessed extreme violence and have no way to
process their anger and trauma, said medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres
have many children who tell us, 'When I grow up I'm going to revenge
myself,'" said Yacouba Harouna, MSF's supervisor of mental health
activities in Diffa.
is why we say, better to act early than late."
Haram has targeted schools and abducted more than 1,000 children since 2013,
according to the U.N. children's agency, including, most notably, the abduction
of 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014.
works primarily with Nigerian refugees between the ages of 7 and 14 in Diffa,
some of whom were kidnapped, said Harouna. Art and drama help them release
their emotions, he said.
draw pictures of people being slaughtered or in combat.
aid group expanded its work with children last year, carrying out 700
consultations between March and June. Children now make up 35 percent of its
mental health patients in Diffa, but it is the only agency providing these
services in the area and is nowhere near reaching everyone in need, Harouna
protection and children's support in conflict zones is already underfunded ...
and psychosocial support even less," said Natalie Turgut, a policy and
advocacy adviser for War Child, a U.K.-based charity for children affected by
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says his country’s military forces will neither
take over nor control a US-run military base in southern Syria after American
troops withdraw from the war-battered Arab country.
in an exclusive interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency, Safadi said that
al-Tanf base lies outside the Jordanian territory, dismissing speculations that
the facility would be handed over to Jordan.
top diplomat stressed that Amman hoped Jordan, Russia and the United States
would instead hold trilateral talks to take necessary measures to ensure
security in Syria’s border region with Jordan.
will protect its borders but will not cross into Syrian territory. What we are hoping
for is again to have a trilateral discussion that will agree on arrangements
that will ensure security on the other side of the border.
is on the other side of the Jordanian border. As I said, Jordan will not cross
its border. We will take every measure we have to protect our security. We will
eliminate any threat to our security. But arrangements on the other side of the
border after withdrawal will have to be agreed by all parties, and they have to
ensure the safety and security in the area,” Safadi pointed out.
in his remarks, the Jordanian foreign minister hoped that a second UN
humanitarian convoy would soon reach the Rukban refugee camp, located on the
discussions over allowing the second humanitarian convoy to Rukban from inside
Syria have been going on for some time. We are hopeful that an agreement will
be reached soon so that the needs of the residents of the camp are met. We
understand there has been some progress and we hope the convoy will be arranged
soon,” Safadi said.
highlighted that Amman continues negotiations with Moscow and Washington in a
bid to permanently dismantle the camp.
Jordanian foreign minister said the Rukban refugee camp poses a threat to his
country’s security, emphasizing that terrorist attacks organized inside and
carried out outside the camp have claimed the lives of several Jordanian
security personnel over the past few years.
are in discussions with the Russians and the Americans on the modalities of
achieving that as soon as possible … Similar conversations have taken place in
the past through the Amman monitoring center. So we are working to have the
meetings happen there … What we are working on now is to make sure that those
meetings continue with a view to ensuring a quick agreement on steps to have
these IDPs [internally displaced people] go back to their homes,” Safadi said.
United Nations says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped
inside the Rukban refugee camp.
is while Geneva-based international aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
has put the number of refugees living there at some 60,000.
October, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said people
in Rukban have been without access to food and humanitarian aid for several
group highlighted that the tough situation is further complicated with a closed
border by Jordan.
closed its border with Syria following an attack on its soldiers by Daesh
Takfiri terrorists back in 2016. In October last year, however, Amman re-opened
the Nasib border crossing with Syria for the first time in three years, as the
crisis in Syria is gradually winding down thanks to the Syrian army’s decisive
gains against terrorists.
area where Rukban is located is controlled by the former US-backed Shuhada
al-Qaryatayn militant group. The extremists were supposed to evacuate to
Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib in accordance with a Russian-backed
deal, but refused to do so.
group Al Shabaab has devised new efficient ways to make money and remain in
to National Counter-Terrorism Centre, sympathisers are now using mobile money
to fund the terrorists.
Al Shabaab thrives on taxation and illegal sale of charcoal.
Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting project estimates that group earns
about Ksh700 million from smuggling charcoal to the Middle East every year.
group derives its revenue from a variety of domestic sources, primarily
taxation on transiting vehicles and goods, business and agriculture and forced
funds are then at the disposal of the head of Al Shabaab department of finance
and it’s governing council to distribute to other departments,” a report by
United Nations Security Council.
it is funded by other terrorist groups, states, charities, the Somali diaspora,
kidnapping and extortion of local businesses and farmers.
one point in Bay region, it is estimated that Al Shabaab generates
approximately Ksh1 billion per years by taxing transiting vehicles and goods.”
of the taxes is enforced through violence and intimidation.
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