“Will forcibly close meat shops”, Muslim traders seek protection from Police
threaten judges as Pakistan awaits blasphemy ruling
forcibly close meat shops”, Muslim traders seek protection from Police
revises controversial anti-terror regulations
Deploys Café Clerics To Fight Radical Islam
incidents claim 67 lives in Sept, says PIPS
appoints new head of powerful intelligence agency, ISI
refuses to seek help on flow of divergent views from court
Afghanistan urged to sign treaty on Kabul River water
put heads together to find causes of growing suicide trend
announces to boycott in camera meetings to discuss blasphemy law
US agree to engage Saudi Arabia for Afghan peace process
Khan launches ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Program’
From Placing Kali Idol in Temple, 50 Dalit Families in Meerut Threaten to
Convert to Islam
man pressurized by neighbour to become Hindu
are safe in Muslim dominated areas in Gujarat: Milli council
Shaukat Ali Road: Famous for eateries and hardware stores, it was once
epicentre of Khilafat Movement
teacher suspended for placing Hindu, Muslim boys in different classes
Three Kashmiri students held in Punjab, police say terror links
and rescue operations called off following Indonesian quake-tsunami
region gives legal basis for Muslim internment camps
grave of 1,500 Daesh victims discovered in northern Syria
senators trigger human rights probe over missing Saudi journalist
Al-Sham Wants Retreat Deadline Delayed
Attack Syrian Army in Aleppo after Claiming Withdrawal from Demilitarized Zone
Militias Fortify Positions in Northeastern Syria to Counter Turkish Threats
Army Sends More Troops, Equipment to Sweida Deserts to End ISIL's Presence
Commander's Senior Saudi Aide Killed in Northwestern Syria
accused of ‘undermining Palestinian Authority’ through fuel move
writes to UN to condemn Israel jail sentence of Syrian man in Golan
security forces arrest Daesh-linked minor
than 8,000 Afghan civilians killed, wounded so far in 2018, UN reports
Taliban militants including their 5 commanders join peace process in Nangarhar
terrorism threat to progressive Bangla thinkers’
Zia's son gets life in jail for plot to kill Sheikh Hasina
world decries Myanmar’s Rohingya abuses. Myanmar’s reply: Denial, defiance and
honor killings likely linked to scandalous videos of Mullah Landay
commander leading a group of 50 militants killed in Faryab airstrike
opposition leader gets life over 2004 attack
London: 423 new mosques, 100 Shariah courts
legal links between Europe and the Islamic world
Britons could return home without facing charges
open to selling arms to Saudis despite Yemen war: report
media and Muslims: Selective coverage, selective outrage
FM Hunt bashes Saudis over fate of missing Saudi journalist
Helmets, Nusra Front’s chlorine canisters end up in Daesh’s hands: Russia
chief attacks Tommy Robinson soldier photo
says Turkey-US deal on Syria’s Manbij delayed but ‘not dead’
forces demolish 2 more Palestinian homes in al-Khalil
zone around Syria’s Idlib set up, Turkey says
charges Iranian diplomat with planning bomb attack
dead, 25 missing as migrant boat sinks off western Turkey
holds Yemen talks in Riyadh, heads to Muscat to resume peace efforts
ballistic missile hits military base in Saudi Arabia’s Asir: Report
Haram terrorists kill 8 Chadian soldiers
‘shoots at’ Italy fishing boats, detains crew
of bodies found in mass grave in western Libya
executes 5 'spies' in Somalia and kills 2 teachers in Kenya
envoy addresses UN on Boko Haram
‘FBI’ star advocates for better TV representation
says no Syria reconstruction aid if Iran stays
group 'disappointed' that Lee campaign reportedly wanted Dean photographed at
Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia says Canada made a mistake
Bolton, Pompeo talk to Saudi prince over journalist’s possible assassination
Muslims Became the Enemy
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Oct 10 (AFP) Religious hardliners in Pakistan Wednesday threatened judges and
announced protests as the country awaits a Supreme Court ruling on the fate of
a Christian woman who faces becoming the first person to be executed for
Bibi, who has been on death row since 2010, is at the centre of the
high-profile case which has divided Pakistan and drawn prayers from the
appeals against her conviction have failed.
Monday the Supreme Court heard her last appeal and said it had reached a
judgement, but refused to announce it immediately “for reasons to be recorded
Wednesday Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious political party
— which had a strong showing in nationwide elections earlier this year — said
in a press conference aired via YouTube that if she was freed the justices
responsible would meet a “horrible” end.
group’s leaders also called for mass protests on Friday.
founded in 2015, blockaded the capital Islamabad for several weeks last year
calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
protest forced the resignation of the federal law minister and paved the way
for the group to poll more than 2.23 million votes in the July 25 general
election, in what analysts called a “surprisingly” rapid rise.
on Wednesday, a former spokesman for Islamabad’s notorious Red Mosque moved to
prevent Bibi from leaving the country by petitioning the capital’s High Court
to put her on the no-fly list.
case will be heard on Friday.
forces are trying to get Asia Bibi out of the country but she should be
hanged,” the petitioner, Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmed, told AFP.
the court upholds Bibi’s conviction, the only recourse she will have will be a
mercy petition to the president.
in Pakistan, however, means a life under threat by extremists.
mere accusation of blasphemy is so explosive in the conservative Muslim country
that anyone even accused of insulting Islam risks a violent and bloody death at
the hands of vigilantes. (AFP) ZH ZH
Yet, again, Muslim meat traders are being boldly threatened across Gurugram by
right-wing Hindutva groups with the Navaratri period that has begun today, is
triggering safety concerns among Muslims butchers in the region.
to reports, Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti (SHSS) Gurugram, which represents 22
Hindu groups such as the Shiv Sena, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and the Hindu
Sena, reportedly sent a letter to deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh
stating they would not allow meat shops to run in this Navaratri, Tatkalnews
any shop opens during Navratri we would close it ourselves. If any case happens
due to it, we will take care of it,” said Gautam Saini, Shiv Sena district head.
also said that his team of 500 people has also been informed to take care of
the matters across the city in this Navratri.
traders in the region say they have earlier put up curtains on the direction of
some of the Hindu groups, but, though that being done, they have now come to
threaten us with dire consequences say the meat traders.
one place, people also hung a poster in Hindi saying, “Best wishes for Navratri
from the Muslim community”.
have put up curtains after they asked us to but despite this, now they have
threatened us to shut shops during Navratri,” says Tahir Qureshi, the leader of
along with other traders sought Police protection but that is yet to be
Sumit Kuhar, DCP (crime), said the police will not allow anyone to forcibly
shut any shop or bring harm to the Muslim community.
- Anti-terror efforts in controversial “reeducation centres” in China’s
Xinjiang region will be governed by new standardised rules, as international
criticism mounts over the detention of as many one million in the restive far west.
revised rules, passed Tuesday, call on local governments to tackle terrorism by
establishing “vocational education centres” that will carry out the
“educational transformation of people who have been influenced by extremism.”
centres should teach Mandarin Chinese, legal concepts and vocational training,
and carry out “thought education,” according to a copy of the rules posted on
the regional government’s web site. As many as a million people are believed to
have been detained in extra-judicial detention centres in Xinjiang as
authorities there seek to battle what they describe as religious extremism,
separatism and terrorism.
previous version of the rules issued in March 2017 included a long list of
prohibitions on religious behaviour including wearing long beards and veils.
also encouraged local governments to engage in “educational transformation”, a
term critics have described as a euphemism for brainwashing.
detentions have mostly focused on the region’s Muslim minorities, especially
the Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group that make up around half of Xinjiang’s
population of 22 million.
new regulations seem aimed at standardising the centres’ management, which was
initially carried out piecemeal.
has denied reports of the mass detention of its citizens in camps but evidence
is mounting in the form of government documents and testimonies from former
authorities have, however, said that they give vocational and language training
to people guilty of minor crimes.
from people who have escaped the centres provides a much darker picture,
July, a former teacher at one of the centres told a court in Kazakhstan that
“in China they call it a political camp but really it was a prison in the
announcement comes as Communist Party leaders in Urumqi, the regional capital,
on Monday led cadres in swearing an oath to fight the “pan-halal trend”.
- Arabic for “permissible” - refers to a set of rules guiding Muslims on what
is allowed according to the religion. It is frequently applied to food and
drinks but also includes other personal hygiene products like toothpaste and
in Xinjiang have long seen the expansion of the term to include non-food items
as a sign of religious extremism.
graduate Ramy Mohamed’s eyes turn watery from smoke as he takes a deep puff
from a hookah at Cairo’s Kawkab al-Sharq café. His eyes are fixed on a big TV
screen; he’s watching a soccer game. But earlier in the day, the 32-year-old
had an unlikely contender for his attention. A cleric in a brown robe had
entered the café to preach moderate Islam to patrons. What was a novel
experience for most in the café may now become routine.
by increasing terror attacks — including on the country’s Coptic Christian
community — Egypt’s government and security agencies are turning to cafés to
win young hearts and minds. The Waqfs (religious endowments) Ministry is
banding with Cairo’s famed school of Islamic learning, the Al-Azhar University,
to send clerics to the country’s most popular cafés. The goal? To proactively
reach out with moderate lectures and cut off the supply of youth to extremist
initiative was launched in April 2017, following terrorist attacks on St.
Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria and St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of
Tanta on Palm Sunday, which left 44 Copts dead. But it has gained momentum only
this year. Starting with cafés in Alexandria, the government and Al-Azhar have
now identified about 20 cafés in each of the country’s governorates, or states,
that they will target. The visits won’t be one-offs — clerics are visiting
these cafés repeatedly on Fridays. According to Mohieldin Afifi,
Secretary-General of Al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy, clerics have already
held more than 2,000 meetings at cafés nationwide. Now, the café sermons are
starting in Cairo too.
everyone is taken by the initiative. “I don’t care what he says about the
hereafter. I want a job,” says Mohamed bluntly about his experience with the
café cleric. But to others, it’s a smart move.
rather like a sales strategy, as companies send cohorts of salesmen to places
where consumers can be easily reached out,” says 58-year-old lawyer Mohamed
Abdel Halim, who has heard one of these sermons at Al-Boustan café, also in
Cairo. “A café is an ideal target.”
the past, coffee and politics haven’t always gone well together for Egypt’s
rulers. Egypt’s cafés were vital political platforms ahead of the 1952
revolution that toppled the monarchy — their role captured by Nobel laureate
Naguib Mahfouz in his novels. In 2011, when longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was
removed from power during the Arab Spring, the airing of political dissent was
common in the country’s cafés. But under Mohamed Morsi, who came to power after
Mubarak’s ouster [but himself lost power in a 2013 public uprising], the public
space for political debates shrank amid fears of less tolerance. Today, soccer
matches on television and social gatherings dominate Egypt’s cafés. Injecting
politico-religious teachings into that ambience could bring politics back to
Egypt’s government may have few options but to reach out to dissatisfied youth.
Like Mohamed, around 800,000 new job seekers join the labor market annually,
data from the state-run Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics
(CAPMAS) shows. Unemployment — though less than the 11.9 percent in the second
quarter of 2017 — was still high at 9.9 percent the same quarter this year,
according to CAPMAS.
the most successful industries in Egypt are the more than 1.5 million cafés in
the country of 96 million people. Licensed cafés make around EGP 2 billion
($112.3 million) in net profits annually, CAPMAS data shows. That makes cafés
ideal targets for sermons on moderate Islam. Sometimes up to three clerics
visit one café together, says Mahmoud Ibrahim, one of the preachers who has
joined the initiative.
many experts have doubts about whether the initiative will succeed. Egypt has
too many often-conflicting Islamic religious authorities, including Al-Azhar,
the Waqfs Ministry and the Dar al-Ifta (the religious authority for fatwas, or
edicts based on Islamic law), says Islamic researcher Maher Farghali, who calls
the café clerics effort “a media show.”
isn’t an overall policy,” says Farghali, nor “a long-term strategy.”
points to past efforts of innovative solutions for preaching moderate Islam
that he says failed because of inconsistency and chaotic planning. He cites the
example of the “Fatwa Kiosks” initiative, also launched by the Waqfs Ministry.
Started two years ago, the project involved installing a kiosk at each subway
metro station in Cairo, where clerics would dish out fast edicts and religious
opinions based on Sharia, or Islamic law. Today, the initiative is widely
viewed as having failed. “The whole project was a big fiasco,” says Farghali.
key, if the café clerics initiative is to succeed, will be for the Waqfs
Ministry to learn from those mistakes, says Ashraf Saad Mahmoud, a preacher.
“People go to kiosks to buy newspaper(s) … but never to get a fatwa from a
cleric in an underground metro station,” says Mahmoud. He thinks the goal of
the cafés project is great but argues that it “should have been well-studied by
a special task force capable of strategic planning and management” instead of
just by religious scholars and bureaucrats.
of that sentiment is evident with Mohamed at Kawkab al-Sharq café too. “The
sheikh preached about the need to understand the true meaning of Islam,” he
recalls. “If I need a sermon I would go to a mosque.” Mohamed also highlights
the inherently secular nature of cafés, as he points to a fellow patron. “That
guy over there is Hany Girgis. He is a Copt and jobless too. Should the church
think of something similar? This is a café for all Egyptians. We need no clerics.”
Egypt needs a moderate version of Islam, says Halim, and if approached smartly
with independent preachers — who aren’t employees of the Waqfs Ministry — the
initiative may stand a chance. “The preachers should look like ordinary
people,” he says.
it less formal than at a mosque is very much part of the strategy, says
Ibrahim, the cleric. The meetings, he says, are “a good opportunity to talk to
the young people at the places where they feel at ease.”
the moment, Mohamed is more interested in the soccer match than the sermon at
the café. Changing that will prove the real test for Ibrahim and his
Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), in its monthly security review of
the country, stated that 17 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan in
September 2018, which claimed 34 lives. Out of the reported 17 attacks, 10
happened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 7 in Balochistan while no act of
terrorism was reported from Punjab, Sindh, AJK, and Giligit Baltistan (GB)
report further stated that those 34 killed in the terrorist attacks included 18
personnel of security and law enforcement agencies (9 army soldiers and 9
levies soldiers), 7 civilians and 9 militants, who were killed in retaliatory
fire following some attacks.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and local Taliban groups were
involved in the reported 10 terrorist attacks from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP),
which claimed 22 lives compared to 6 in the month before and injured 9 others,
the report claimed.
report added that in Balochistan, Baloch nationalist insurgents beefed up
attacks in September 2018 after a month of relative relief. As many as 12
people lost their lives and as many others were injured in 7 reported attacks
perpetrated by different Baloch insurgent groups, mainly the Baloch Liberation
Army (BLA) and Baloch Republican Army (BRA).
report continued that about 59 percent of the total reported attacks in
Pakistan during September only targeted security forces and law enforcement
personnel; most of the reported casualties also resulted from these attacks (71
percent of deaths and 81 percent of injuries in total terror attacks).
a 125 percent increase from the month before, a total of 11 cross-border
attacks happened in September 2018, including 9 from across the Indian and 2
from Afghan border. Six people were killed and another one was injured in these
attacks, the report explained.
to the report, the security agencies conducted 3 anti-militant operations and
19 militants were killed in these operations and clashes; 4 army soldiers and 2
FC men also lost their lives.
all, 35 incidents of violence took place in Pakistan during September 2018 that
claimed the lives of 67 people and injured 32 others, the report concluded.
Pakistan has appointed a new leader for its powerful InterServices Intelligence
service, which plays a key role in coordinating its foreign policy, including
with regard to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
military said Wednesday that Lt Gen. Asim Munir was chosen to replace Lt
General Naveed Mukhtar, who retired earlier this month. Munir previously headed
Military Intelligence and was a field commander. He was awarded the
Hilal-i-Imtiaz, a top medal, earlier this year.
ISI has long maintained close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamic
militant groups. The United States and Afghanistan have repeatedly called on
Pakistan to crack down on such militants. Pakistan says it has used its
contacts to assist in peace efforts and that it has limited influence over the
The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to issue a notice to the attorney
general's office when a senior counsel requested it to seek assistance for
determining whether divergent and inconsistent opinions could flow from a
are not going to issue any notice, therefore, the counsel should elaborate his
arguments and point out flaws in the earlier judgement,” observed Chief Justice
of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar while heading a three-judge bench.
court had taken up a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader
Hanif Abbasi seeking review of the Dec 15, 2017 ruling that had exonerated
Imran Khan in a case pertaining to alleged mis-declaration of assets. Last year
the court had dismissed an application moved by senior counsel Mohammad Akram
Sheikh to form a full bench of the apex court.
Sept 27, an SC bench rejected Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Jahangir Khan
Tareen’s petition that had sought a review of his disqualification through the
Dec 15 verdict.
Wednesday, Mr Sheikh highlighted that the July 28, 2017 judgement in the Panama
Papers case issued by a five-judge Supreme Court bench had laid down strict
liability on unintentional mis-declaration of assets by shifting the burden to
prove innocence to the respondent (Nawaz Sharif).
in the Hanif Abbasi case the burden was shifted away from the respondent (Mr
Khan), the counsel argued, adding that the Dec 15, 2017 verdict of exonerating
the PTI chairman had overlooked a series of alleged non-declarations and
admissions on the part of the latter. It even ignored that concise statements
filed on Mr Khan’s behalf amended his earlier statements.
counsel argued that the court could not have different scales for two cases,
therefore, divergent and inconsistent opinions could not be issued by the same
Chief Justice Nisar observed that the Panama Papers case was different from Mr
Khan’s case because former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified
for life for making mis-declarations in his nomination papers, was holder of a
public office during the period concerned. Also, the Hanif Abbasi case was
inquisitorial in nature.
counsel argued that the trappings of Rule 26(1) of the Supreme Court Rules of
1980, which dealt with the review petitions, was not applicable on petitions
moved under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. He recalled that the apex court
had itself expressed willingness to determine the contours of Article 184(3) in
some other cases.
contended that 57 countries had promulgated laws for regulating how to revisit
judgements if they were inconsistent. He argued that Mr Khan disclosed neither
his own assets and liabilities nor that of his former spouse Jemima Khan.
Article 17(3) of the Constitution, which guaranteed freedom of association, the
counsel argued that it did not provide for any period but the apex court
through its Dec 15 verdict provided a five-year term to look into the accounts
of political parties. This had exposed the parties to the danger of being
funded by enemy countries, even India.
the chief justice observed that the court had provided reasons for this by
stating that only the federal government had the authority to initiate such
proceedings. He asked why the previous government, which belonged to the party
being represented by the counsel, had failed to address the matter. At this,
the counsel explained that he was a professional lawyer and had no link with
Experts at a national conference here on Wednesday called for agreement between
Pakistan and Afghanistan on the apportionment of the Kabul River water and
warned that construction of reservoirs on the river would disturb its entire
Study Centre, University of Peshawar organised the daylong national conference
titled “Sustainable usage of the Kabul River: Challenges and opportunities for
Afghan Counsul General Prof Moeen Marastial, UoP Vice-chancellor Dr Mohammad
Asif, experts and academicians attended the conference and read out their
his opening remarks, Dr Asif said that Afghan government with the financial and
technical support of India had planned construction of 12 reservoirs on the
Kabul River that would generate 2400 megawatts electricity.
said that construction of dams on the river would drastically affect
agriculture sector in Pakistan, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the water
flow in three main tributaries of the river had already been declined by more
than 50 per cent.
stressed the need for having a bilateral water treaty between Islamabad and
Kabul for the reasonable and equitable use of the Kabul River water.
Moeen Marastial supported the idea of bilateral water treaty for having close
collaboration on the usage of shared water. He said that international and
regional water laws could guide the two countries in reaching to an agreement
on the issue.
said that his government was ready for negotiation with Pakistan on water
issues within the framework of international conventions including Helsinki
Moeen said that Afghanistan had an agreement with the Central Asian Republics
over the distribution of water of the Amu River. He said that his government
had also offered Iran to sign an agreement on the River Helmand.
also emphasised improvement of trade relations between the two countries as the
bilateral trade had declined recently. He said that exchange of scholars and
faculty between the Area Study Centre and various universities of Afghanistan
experts said that the Kabul River played key role in irrigating lands in
Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and adjoining areas. They said that the river was
mainly fed by the Chitral River, which was known as the Kunar River in
over use of shared water of the Kabul River could be an additional irritant in
future due to the lack of bilateral water agreement between the two
neighbours,” they said.
A gathering of members of civil society, representatives of district administration,
bar councils and non-governmental organisations concluded on Wednesday that
abject poverty, use of drugs, illiteracy, unemployment, early marriages, sale
of girls into marriage, domestic violence, depression and intolerance were some
of the main causes behind increasing trend of suicide in Thar.
gathering organised by Umerkot SSP retired Captain Ameer Saud Magsi was
informed by the SSP and Rain Network, a conglomerate of 29 NGOs working in the
district, that as per media reports 53 persons had committed suicide during
2018 so far while 10 were saved.
taluka stood at the top of the list with 53 per cent cases of suicide, followed
by Umerkot with 26pc cases, Kunri 20pc cases, and Pithoro 2pc cases. The most
alarming thing was that 90pc of suicide victims were members of minority
participants in the gathering vowed to play their role to educate people and
press the government to minimise the growing suicide trend.
Magsi said that he would convene similar gatherings at police stations and
police posts to understand the root causes of suicide and educate people. Only
poverty was not responsible for suicide, there were other factors too because
poverty existed in other parts of the world as well, he said.
said that discouraging behaviours, injudicious distribution of resources, poor
justice system, unawareness and lack of ownership and unattended psychological
issues were also to blame for the depressing trend.
Bhayo, a representative of Rain Network, blamed depression, harassment, poverty
and other factors for the trend and held the state responsible for it.
District Bar Association chairman Poonjo Bheel pointed out that various factors
were responsible for the increasing suicide cases. Growing hate and intolerance
in society and seemingly inexorable poverty were major reasons behind suicides,
Bajeer, provincial manager of Society for the Protection of Rights of the
Child, said that due to class system, the rich were becoming richer and the
poor poorer but there was no proper planning on the issue on the part of the
Deputy Commissioner Tahir Memon said that suicide was strictly prohibited in
Islam and in other religions as well. Taunts of in-laws, parents and society
also contributed to the stress of a helpless person and pushed him to suicide,
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri on
Wednesday announced that he will boycott meetings of the Senate Standing
Committee on Information Technology if in camera meetings are held to discuss a
proposed law seeking equal punishments for those convicted of blasphemy and
those who make false accusations of blasphemy.
Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2018 was moved on the
directions of Islamabad High Court after Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered
last year during a case that those who make false accusations of blasphemy
should be given the same punishment as those convicted of blasphemy.
bill was later prepared by the government and was referred by the upper house
to the committee for discussion.
by Senator Rubina Khalid, the committee decided not to discuss the bill in the
absence of Information Technology Minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who
tabled the bill in Senate but Senator Haideri still started discussing the
matter is being discussed in the religious circles and we are of the view that
such kinds of bills should not be passed. Many people register baseless cases
of theft, robberies and other crimes and people are killed in the main markets
but the aggrieved families cannot prove murder because witnesses refuse to
record their statements in the court,” Mr Haideri said.
is it that punishment has only been suggested for those who cannot prove their
allegations of blasphemy and not in other cases? I assume the law is being made
to ensure no one files a blasphemy case in fear of being punished,” he said.
Rehman Malik said that the law will stop the misuse of blasphemy law as the
record shows that most blasphemy cases are registered against Muslims.
false allegations is a big crime in Islam. I believe levelling false
allegations of blasphemy is also blasphemy. I also suggest that the bill be
discussed in camera due to the sensitivity of the matter,” he said.
also suggested that a clause should be added in the law for bringing
blasphemers from abroad to Pakistan as most such incidents take place out of
something happens in Pakistan, representatives of other countries demand we
hand over the accused to them and they cite their law. But we cannot do the
same because our law does not support it,” Mr Malik said.
Khalid said it is the duty of all Muslims to ensure no one misuses the name of
the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
has now been seen that in the case of Rimsha Masih, the allegation was made in
order to get land vacated,” she said.
2012, a Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, who was mentally challenged, was arrested
in a case of blasphemy in Islamabad but the allegations proved to be false.
Justice Mohammad Raza Khan, who was invited to the meeting for his opinion,
said there is already a comprehensive blasphemy law in Pakistan and that there
is no need for further legislation.
believe the government introduced the law due to the high court order. The
committee can reject the bill because parliament is not bound to implement the
suggestions of the high court and there is also no need for the duplication of
the law,” he said.
Khan said the government did not want to challenge the high court decision as
it did not want to get into any controversy.
Fida Mohammad also suggested the matter should be discussed in camera due to
its sensitivity and the committee chairperson endorsed the suggestion.
Haider and Tahir Khan
Pakistan and United States have agreed to engage Saudi Arabia in pushing
forward Afghanistan’s political peace and reconciliation process.
diplomatic sources told Daily Times that Saudi Arabia’s inclusion was discussed
during US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador
Zalmay Khalilzad’s day long talks with Pakistani authorities on Tuesday at the
Arabia enjoys significant influence over Afghan Taliban and remained active in
the process in the past.
Khalilzad’s appointment as Special Representative by Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo is seen as a major shift in the US policy to focus on political efforts
after the failure of President Donald Trump’s strategy announced last year in
August to defeat the Taliban militarily.
maintained that Pakistani officials made it clear that they had no objection to
Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in Afghan peace process as it played a positive role
in the past in bringing Taliban to the negotiation table.
Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad,
after completing his talks with Pakistani authorities left Islamabad for Saudi
capital Riyadh on Wednesday.
Riyadh, Ambassador Khalilzad is expected to meet top Saudi security and
intelligence officials, besides meeting the political leadership of the
sources told Daily Times that during talks in Islamabad, both sides identified
hurdles in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and agreed to remain
engaged in dialogue to bring Taliban on negotiations table with Kabul
government on board as well.
US embassy spokesman in Islamabad said during his stay in Pakistan, Special
Representative Khalilzad met with key Pakistani officials.
spokesman said Ambassador Khalilzad consulted with Pakistani leaders on how
best to achieve a durable political settlement in Afghanistan.
in Afghanistan is vital to the long-term stability of Pakistan and the wider
region”, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was quoted as saying by US embassy
spokesman in Islamabad.
currently engaged in the Afghan peace process are Pakistan, Afghanistan, and
China. Russian has also initiated a process for Afghanistan and 11 countries
have joined it already, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia
itself and five central Asian states.
meeting to be hosted by Russia on Afghan peace process would be held by the end
of this month or in the first week of November, finalisation of dates is linked
with availability of all participants”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Moscow Qazi
Khalil told Daily Times on phone from Moscow
said this meeting was earlier planned for September 4th but was postponed on
the request of Kabul government, which wanted some time for consultations.
had earlier accompanied the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to his September
5 visit to Islamabad. In Kabul, the US envoy urged Afghan government and the
Taliban to form teams for peace negotiations, according to reports.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday has launched ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Program’
(NPHP) at a special ceremony in Islamabad.
addressing a media conference the prime minister said the target of the
government is to ensure provision of five million affordable houses for
under-privileged classes during the next five years.
prime minister expressed the confidence that the program would not only help
realize the dream of a shelter for the poor but also create employment
opportunities. It will also attract local and foreign investment and stimulate
about forty related industries.
Khan announced formation of a ‘Naya Pakistan Housing Authority’ (NPHA) to serve
as one window for all construction related formalities. The authority would be
set up in three months and till then a task force would look after the housing
National Financial Regulatory Body (NFRB) would be set up in two months to
remove hurdles in financing of construction of houses.
legal framework would also be prepared to ensure that there are no legal
hurdles in the way of implementation of housing project.
said a Land Bank would be instituted to identify land with federal government,
housing ministry, provincial governments and local bodies.
Khan said in the first phase pilot projects would be launched in seven
districts of the country. He said a
registration process would be initiated in these districts from tomorrow with
the cooperation of NADRA to gather data for housing needs of the people.
said the government is launching its first project for its employees and
registration for the same would begin from tomorrow. Punjab government would
also launch a similar project.
Khan explained that the government would serve as a facilitator while
construction activity would be undertaken by the private sector.
project would require huge manpower, training programs would be launched to
impart skills to people and seven thousand skills teaching institutes would be
established in the country,” the prime minister added.
As many as 50 Dalit families in Meerut‘s Incholi have threatened to convert to
Islam after being allegedly denied to put Goddess Kali idol in the local Shiva
temple by locals, said reports on Thursday. The villagers reached the district
magistrate’s residence to protest and they alleged that the goons had
threatened to thrash them as well. One of the protestors, Rajkumar, said, “We
are Hindus, if we can’t put a goddess idol in a temple, then where should we
go? It is better to convert.” (Also read: Meerut Cops Suspended For Slapping
Woman For Muslim Friend)
report in The Times of India says about a 100 families had threatened of
conversion. It said the protesters claimed that the four families which had
stopped them actually used the temple premises to park their cars and tractors.
Vijay Kumar, one of the protestors, said, “During the kanwar yatra, we had
hosted a bhandara at the Shiva temple and had floated the proposal of
installing a Kali Maa idol there. Everybody, including the families that are
stopping us now, had agreed to the idea and it was decided that the idol would
be set up on the first day of Navratra. However, when we went ahead with our
plan on Wednesday, the four families stopped us, claiming to be members of the
temple committee, even though they don’t have any documents to prove it.”
villagers also went on to claim that the four families, also Dalits, had laid
siege of the temple premises and even consumed liquor there. “If we are not
allowed to set up the idol in the temple, we will convert to Islam. This holds
for at least 100 families of the village, who were not let into the temple. If
the district administration does not intervene, we will convert to Islam,” said
Kuldeep Kumar, another villager.
Delhi: A non-Muslim man is pressurizing a Muslim man to become Hindu. The Hindu
man is threatening to kill the entire family of Muslim man if they don’t
convert. A complaint has been lodged but no action is taken so far. Both had a
scuffle on some issue after which the non-Muslim man had been jailed. After
release from jail, he filed a rape case against the Muslim man.
Ali told that he bought a flat in Rohini sector 25, three and a half year ago
where he has been living with his family. After a few days, the non-Muslim man
who resides on the first floor of the building met Ashraf and told that Hindu
religion is the best and asked Ashraf to accept Hinduism. He said as the
majority in India are Hindus, you will have no problem. Muslims are in minority
here. Ashraf says initially he shrugged off, but the man started harassing
Ashraf’s wife and children asking them ‘when you will become Hindu?’ He also
threatened if you don’t become Hindu you will be killed.
Shaukat Ali Road: Famous for eateries and hardware stores, it was once epicentre
of Khilafat Movement
like the popular Mohammed Ali Road winding along under the JJ flyover in south
Mumbai, the M S Ali Road or Maulana Shaukat Ali Road is also home to row after
row of eateries, offering everything from seekh kababs to delectable mawa
jalebis. But as one moves westward, the road, named after the Muslim leader of
the Khilafat movement, is also populated with hardware and electronics stores.
The road stretches right up to Grant Road railway station, after it crosses the
‘Do Tanki Junction’, named after two tanks that many decades ago provided water
near a former tram station.
Shaukat Ali, one half of the famous ‘Ali Brothers’, was an Indian Muslim leader
of the Khilafat Movement that erupted in response to the fall of the Ottoman
Empire. His elder brother Mohammad Ali Jouhar was also a renowned political
leader. The movement brought together Hindus and Muslims
the British for threatening to oust the Ottoman Caliphate in Istanbul from the
guardianship of the holy Mecca and Madina, and for carrying out the Jallianwala
Bagh massacre in 1919. Professor Abdus Sattar Dalvi, director of the
Anjuman-I-Islam Urdu Research Institute, says: “They operated out of the
Khilafat house in Byculla and published a newspaper from there. It was the main
centre from where the movement was run.”
the Khilafat movement, Ali was said to be close to Mahatma Gandhi. In his book
Gandhi and the Ali Brothers: Biography of a Friendship, Rakhahari Chatterji, a former
dean of the Faculty of Arts, Calcutta University, writes: “…he (Gandhi)
considered his personal relations with the Ali brothers no less valuable than
his political alliance with them.” The book says the friendship withered over a
period of time. Ali passed away in 1938. According to the The Indian Express
edition of November 28, 1938, “the Central Assembly, the Bombay Corporation and
the UP Assembly were adjourned for the day, and hartals and condolence meetings
were organised across the country.”
as one passes the road, not many people have much information on who Ali was.
Many, including Tanveer Shaikh, who owns a cloth store, know he was “someone
linked to the freedom struggle”.
road is as popular for sweetshops such as Hadiya and Cafe Paradise as for
electronics and hardware stores.
busiest stretch of the road, however, is the ‘Do Tanki’ (two tanks) Junction,
where two tanks had been dug for water supply. Today, the original tanks have
been covered and a defunct fountain that had once come up in their place stands
forlornly. The fountain has been walled in on three sides with a VP Road police
chowky on the other side, making it a spot for policemen to get some rest. The
engraving about the two tanks is still maintained to this day. It reads: “This
fountain was erected by The Municipal Corporation of Bombay in the year 1901 to
mark the site of an old tank built partly from money bequeathed by a person
named Huslaji and partly at the expense of government. Water was supplied to
this tank from certain well of the Mugbhat Estate of the late Mr Framji Cawasji
teacher in charge of a North Delhi Municipal Corporation primary boys school in
Wazirabad has been
for segregating Hindu and Muslim students into different sections.
Indian Express reported on Wednesday that the section-wise break-up of students
showed segregation on religious lines. The teacher, C B Singh Sehrawat, had
denied deliberate segregation, but said it “was a management decision to try
and do the best we can to see that there is peace, discipline and a good
learning environment in the school”.
to sources, a preliminary investigation found Sehrawat guilty of segregating
the students. “It was found that this segregation started in August, after the
person took charge in July. He undertook this action without any kind of
direction or guidance from any official from the education department. We
received no information or complaint regarding this earlier. We were shocked
when we heard about this,” said a senior official of the North Delhi Municipal
Corporation’s education department.
to a PTI report, the Union HRD Ministry has asked for a report. “We haven’t
received any complaint yet but have read about it in media reports. I have
asked for a report,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar was quoted as saying.
Delhi government has also sought a report. “The act of segregating children in
a BJP-governed municipal corporation school is a conspiracy against the
Constitution. I have asked the education director to look into the allegations
and submit a report by Friday,” Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said.
Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sent a notice to the head
of the school and the director (education), North Delhi Municipal Corporation,
asking what procedure was followed in assigning sections to students. It has
directed the immediate dissolution of the current sections and asked the
authorities to “ensure homogenous distribution of students” within two days of
receipt of the notice.
a statement, Mayor, North Delhi, Adesh Gupta said: “Social divide on the basis
of caste, community or religion will not be tolerated in schools of North Delhi
Municipal Municipal Corporation… If any such divide is found to be in practice,
it will be rectified immediately and strict action will be taken against those
found guilty.” He confirmed that the teacher in-charge has been suspended and
“major penalty proceedings” have been initiated against him.
Anju Agnihotri Chaba
a joint operation, the Punjab Police and the Jammu and Kashmir Police Special
Operations Group arrested three Kashmiri students from the hostel of the CT
Institute of Engineering, Management and Technology in Shahpur, on the
outskirts of Jalandhar, early on Wednesday for alleged terror links.
that they had busted a module of terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH),
police said they recovered arms and ammunition, including an AK-47, from one of
the hostel rooms. They said the students, all in their early 20s, also had
links with the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
joint team conducted a raid at the hostel early this morning, from where an
AK-47, a pistol, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the room of
Zahid Gulzar, a resident of Rajpora, Awantipora. Zahid was detained along with
Yusuf Rafiq Bhatt of Noorpura, Pulwama, and Mohammadd Idriss Shah, also of
Pulwama,” Jalandhar Police Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said.
to Bhullar, both Zahid and Yusuf are B.Tech students at the CT Institute of
Engineering, Management and Technology, while Idriss is doing his B.Sc. from
the St. Soldier Management and Technical Institute in Jalandhar. He said Yusuf
“is the cousin of Zakir Musa, a Kashmiri terrorist”.
said the police were probing how the weapons were taken into the institute.
night, around 11 pm, the police authorities called us and requested us to
extend our cooperation and support regarding the suspected students from
Kashmir. When we reached the campus, police asked us to stay near the reception
area and let them do their job. After nabbing two Kashmiri students of B.Tech.
stream and their guest from hostel room number 94, they covered their faces,”
CT Group Chairman Charanjit Singh Channi said.
don’t know what the police recovered from their room… We don’t check the bags
of every student or outsider because of privacy issues, and we can’t suspect
anybody or everybody visiting the campus,” he said.
Commissioner Bhullar ruled out any link between the three students and another
Kashmiri student from the St. Soldier Management and Technical Institute in
Jalandhar who was arrested in April. Punjab DGP Suresh Arora said the busting
of the terror module and the recovery of weapons pointed to the efforts of
Pakistan’s ISI to expand the arc of militancy on India’s western border.
search for those killed in Indonesia’s quake-tsunami disaster was called off
Thursday, despite there being around 5,000 people still missing.
magnitude 7.5-quake and a subsequent tsunami razed whole swathes of Palu to the
ground on September 28.
than 2,000 bodies have been recovered since the twin disaster on Sulawesi
authorities fear 5,000 more could be buried beneath the ruined city, where
entire villages were swallowed.
had struggled to find remains in the twisted wreckage, a job made worse as mud
hardened and bodies decomposed in the tropical heat.
search and rescue (SAR) operation for the victims will end this Thursday afternoon,”
SAR field director in Palu, Bambang Suryo, told AFP.
government earlier indicated these hard-hit areas would be left untouched as
and monuments are planned at three of these worst-hit areas -- Balaroa, Petobo
and Jono Oge -- to commemorate the possibly thousands of dead who will never
zones were all but destroyed by liquefaction, a phenomenon where the brute
force of a quake turns soil to quicksand.
assistance has poured into the disaster-ravaged city but the recovery ever been
criticized as moving too slowly.
foreign rescue teams were prevented from deploying quickly to the ground to
assist in the search for the dead and missing.
UN says 200,000 people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Palu,
with clean drinking water and medical supplies still in short supply.
estimated 80,000 people were displaced by the disaster, many squatting in tents
outside their destroyed homes.
(AP) — China's far-northwestern region of Xinjiang has revised legislation to
provide a legal basis for internment camps where up to 1 million Muslims are
being held amid mounting international criticism.
clauses adopted by the regional government officially permit the use of
"education and training centers" to reform "people influenced by
authorities deny that the internment camps exist but say petty criminals are
sent to vocational "training centers." Former detainees in the
centers say they were forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the
Communist Party in what they describe as political indoctrination camps.
a retrospective justification for the mass detainment of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and
other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang," said James Leibold, a scholar of
Chinese ethnic policies at Melbourne's La Trobe University. "It's a new
form of re-education that's unprecedented and doesn't really have a legal
basis, and I see them scrambling to try to create a legal basis for this
revisions, published Tuesday, say government agencies at the county level and
above "may establish occupational skills education and training centers,
education transformation organizations and management departments to transform
people influenced by extremism through education."
new clause directs the centers to teach the Mandarin language and provide
occupational and legal education, as well as "ideological education,
psychological rehabilitation and behavior correction."
original legislation announced in 2017 banned the wearing of veils,
"extreme speech and behavior" and the refusal to listen to public
radio and television broadcasts.
has spent decades trying to suppress pro-independence sentiment in Xinjiang
fueled in part by frustration about an influx of migrants from China's Han
majority. Authorities say extremists there have ties to foreign terror groups
but have given little evidence to support that.
of Uighur, also spelled Uyghur, Kazakh and other Muslim minorities who live
abroad say they have not been able to contact relatives in China, while
authorities are placing children separated from their detained or exiled
parents into dozens of state-run orphanages across Xinjiang.
believes that the revisions are an attempt to deflect international criticism.
China has come under increasing pressure from the U.S. and the European Union
after a United Nations panel confronted Chinese diplomats in August over
reports of arbitrary mass detentions and harsh security measures aimed at
Muslims, and China is up for review by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council in
government forces have discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of more
than one thousand people executed by members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist
group in the country’s northern city of Raqqah.
RT Arabic television news network reported that Syrian soldiers made the
discovery at the Panorama roundabout in the northwestern flank of the city,
located about 455 kilometers (283 miles) northeast of the capital Damascus, and
that the grave has the corpses of at least 1,500 civilians and military personnel
report added that responders are working to uncover and identify bodies at the
site from clothes, fingerprints, documents or other special markers.
mass grave makes it the largest one found in Raqqah so far.
Forensic Medicine General Director Zaher Hajo told Arabic-language and
pro-government al-Watan daily in early January that Daesh Takfiris had executed
10,000 people and buried their bodies in mass graves across Raqqah.
stressed that his colleagues had confirmed the presence of 4,000 bodies in one
went on to say that Syrian Health Minister Nizar Yazigi has ordered the
formation of a committee in order to collect the remains of the victims and
transfer them to the military hospital in Aleppo.
stated that identification of the victims, using their teeth and bones, will
start next week, stressing that he will chair the committee.
so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a US-backed group of Kurdish and
Arab forces – said on October 20, 2017 that it had “liberated” Raqqah after
driving out Daesh terrorists from the city, which served as Daesh's de facto
capital in the war-ravaged Arab country.
US-backed forces later said the political future of the city and the province
of the same name would be determined “within the framework of a decentralized,
federal, democratic Syria.”
spokesman Talal Silo said that the group would hand over the control of Raqqah
to what he called “the Raqqah Civil Council.”
Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar reacted by saying that
Raqqah’s future could only be discussed “as part of the final political
structure of the Syrian state.”
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has, meanwhile, said that
the SDF’s purported operations in Raqqah have killed civilians and damaged
infrastructure in the city.
you’re killing around 1,200 civilians — nearly half of them women and children
— and destroying 80 percent of the city, that’s not liberating Raqqah,” Rami
Abdel Rahman, the head of the SOHR, told Arab News daily newspaper.
US senators signed a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, triggering
a US investigation and determination of whether human rights sanctions should
be imposed over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist last seen as he entered
the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
the letter, the senators said they had triggered a provision of the Global
Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine
whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation.
expectation is that in making your determination you will consider any relevant
information, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the
Government of Saudi Arabia,” they said.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the terrorist groups
in Aleppo and Idlib on Wednesday as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has not
evacuated its heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone, adding that they have
hidden their tanks, artilleries and missile-launchers.
added that Tahrir al-Sham has informed the Turkish intelligence agency that it
will not withdraw from the weapons-free zone because of a lack of agreement on
areas to be held by the Ankara-backed militants which are due to host Tahrir
to the report, Tahrir al-Sham has called for continued negotiations and
demanded Turkey to hold talks with Russia to give militants some more time for
withdrawal until October 20.
Russian media outlet reported on Wednesday that the terrorist groups continued
to fortify positions and dig more tunnels and trenches in Northeastern Lattakia
in flagrant violation of the Sochi Agreement.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that although the Turkish army has
sent a convoy from the depth of Idlib to Northeastern Lattakia to create and
monitor the demilitarized zone, Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and its allied terrorists
of al-Turkistani Islamic Party and Horas al-Deen have continued building more
positions and digging more tunnels on the hills near the small town of Kabani
or Kabanah in al-Haffah region in Northeastern Lattakia that is the first
contact line in the battlefield in Idlib. In the meantime, a field commander
said that a Turkish military convoy that arrived in the small town of Badam in
Jisr al-Shughour region has refused to patrol and monitor the strategic region
of Kabani that is a triangle-like region stretching from Northeastern Lattakia
to Southern Idlib and then the borders with Turkey.
further said that Tahrir al-Sham has launched missile attacks on the Syrian
army positions in Lattakia, targeting an army vehicle that was carrying food
near the demilitarized zone.
Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, reported that
the terrorist groups, deployed in al-Zahra region in Western Aleppo that is a
part of the demilitarized zone based on the Sochi Agreement, launched artillery
and missile attacks on al-Nil, al-Shahba and al-Sehah Housings that are under
the army's control.
further said that the army later opened heavy artillery fire at the terrorists'
positions in Western Aleppo in retaliation.
the meantime, heavy clashes erupted between the army soldiers and terrorists at
the Scientific Research district in Western Aleppo.
terrorists had announced a few days ago that they were completing withdrawal of
heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) had claimed that Faylaq
al-Sham withdrew its heavy arms from Southern and Western Aleppo.
the meantime, SOHR reported on Sunday that the Turkey-backed terrorists who had
claimed that they started transfer of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone
in Northern Syria were hiding their arms in Northern Lattakia, pro-opposition
media sources reported.
reported that there was no clear indication of a retreat by militant groups
from the weapons-free zone after the Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey,
adding that 70% of the demilitarized region was still under the occupation of
said that Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Sham and the Coastal Regiments 1 and 2,
affiliated to the National Liberation Front (NFL), have not retreated from
Northern and Northeastern Lattakia, noting that they have only concealed their
heavy weapons in tunnels.
sources said that the Kurds dug a very long tunnel connecting 17th Brigade Base
North of Raqqa city to al-Banat Plain region in the Northeastern part of the
sources further said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started digging
tunnels 4 meters wide and three meters high a few days ago to connect the
Brigade to al-Banat Plain.
went on to say that the SDF also boosted defense capabilities of the base by
erecting cement walls around its buildings and posts.
has threatened to kick off a large-scale military operation on the Eastern
banks of the Euphrates River in Syria.
Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported on Monday that the Kurdish units built
more bunkers, dug more tunnels and reinvigorated their posts and positions in
several districts in the town of Tal Abyadh in Northern Raqqa and at border
daily went on to say that the Kurds dug long tunnels and trenches from East of
Tal Abyadh up to a Power Plant Southwest of the town, adding that the Kurds
also dug long tunnels and tranches between al-Toweihanah region and the village
of al-Mantabah near the border with Turkey and also between al-Mantabah and the
Old Gate in al-Sakhani neighborhood.
daily further said that the Kurdish move came after the Turkish army boosted
its military presence in Ankara-occupied region, adding that the Kurds also are
worried about a plan of the US forces to leave them alone in the war against
the Ankara forces.
army forwarded a large number of special forces and more military equipment to
the battlefields in Toloul al-Safa rugged terrain in the Eastern desert of
Sweida from its bases in Damascus and Dara'a provinces to purge the region of
the meantime, other units of the army, backed up by artillery and missile
units, continued fighting ISIL in Toloul al-Sasfa, imposing control over more
local sources reported that attempts to free civilians captured by ISIL have
not produced results yet.
outlets reported on Tuesday that Syrian paratroopers entered the battle in
Southern Syria this week to join comrades to counter ISIL terrorists in Toloul
al-Safa in the Eastern desert of Sweida.
to a military source in Sweida city, the Syrian paratroopers landed behind
enemy lines in Toloul al-Safa region, Monday, in order to help eliminate the
ISIL's well-fortified trenches that have proven difficult to infiltrate, the
source added that the Syrian army is now storming the ISIL's positions at three
different flanks in a bid to reach the highest peak in Toloul al-Safa.
Arabic-language al-Manar TV Channel reported that Abu Yusef al-Jazrawi, a Saudi
field commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was killed after unknown gunmen opened fire
at him near the village of Ma'aratah in Southwestern Idlib.
further added that al-Jazrawi was a security advisor to Abu Mohammad
al-Joulani, Tahrir al-Sham's Chief commander.
went on to say that Mohammad Abu Salam, a Turkish Commander of Tahrir al-Sham,
was killed in another attack by other unspecified parties in the small town of
Ahsam in Southwestern Idlib.
Monday, Abu Mas'ab al-Dayeri, a notorious Chechen commander of Tahrir al-Sham
Hay'at, was gunned down by unknown raiders in Idlib province.
was killed after unknown raiders opened fire at him along a road between
Darkoush and Azmarin regions in Western Idlib.
Palestinian Authority said that Qatar’s move of bringing in fuel to the Gaza
Strip without coordinating with Palestinian official authorities has “crossed
all red lines.”
loaded with Qatari fuel began entering Gaza to supply a power station amid
completely ignoring the sovereignty of the Palestinian national reconciliation
Palestinian Authority has often warned of transforming the Palestinian cause
into a mere humanitarian cause in which the call for national rights is
replaced with humanitarian aid.
warnings, however, were ignored as Qatar decided to overlook the Palestinian
official stance and coordinated with Israel, UN departments and Hamas in order
to bring trucks loaded with fuel to Gaza.
Palestinian Authority says the Qatari intervention undermines its efforts.
Qatar pays for the fuel, Hamas in Gaza will collect the bills and put it in its
pocket, and this is an indirect financial aid to Hamas," said a PA official,
speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to
al-Habbash, the Palestinian president’s consultant, said those who want to
serve the Palestinian cause must first help end divisions.
has written to the United Nations and the UN Security Council to help release a
renowned Syrian activist from the occupied Golan Heights, who is given a prison
sentence by an Israeli court for exposing the Tel Aviv regime's ties to
terrorist groups. Sedqi Suleiman al-Maqet, who is famously known as the “Dean
of Syrian and Arab Captives” for having served the longest time in Israeli
jails, was sentenced to serve 11 more years in Israeli jails, Syria's officials
news agency SANA reported Tuesday.
Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the decision in two separate letters to the
UN and the UNSC on Wednesday, asking UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other international organizations to
push for al-Maqet's immediate release.
was released from an Israeli prison in August 2012, after serving 27 years in
his freedom didn't last long as Israel's Shin Bet raided his home in 2015 and
arrested him for photographing and videotaping Israeli forces during a meeting
with terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria.
its letters, Damascus asserted that Israel mistreated al-Maqet only because he
had uncovered Israel's support for militant groups that fought Syria's
father, Suleiman, who has also served time in Israeli prisons, told SANA that
the ruling was “null and illegal.” He also called on human rights organizations
to intervene and help free his son.
Israeli occupation authorities had initially handed al-Maqet's a 14-year prison
sentence in May last year, after postponing his trial on numerous occasions.
resistance movement Hezbollah has praised Maqet for his resistance and activism
work against Israel.
Lebanese internal security forces have announced the arrest of a Lebanese minor
suspected of belonging to Daesh who was planning to carry out a terrorist
operation by “placing a roadside bomb and remotely detonating it when a
Lebanese army patrol passed in the area where he resides.”
sources told Arab News that the minor “is from the impoverished region of Akkar
(northern Lebanon), and when he was arrested, he seemed convinced of what he
was doing after he was persuaded by the people who communicated with him to
carry out ‘jihad.’”
Directorate General of the Security Forces, Public Relations Section, said in a
statement that the arrest of the minor was part of “the preventive security
strategy adopted by the information division of the internal security forces,
in terms of focusing on members of the Daesh organization and those affected by
its terrorist ideology.”
directorate said it received information on Daesh’s intent to carry out
terrorist operations and “as a result of tracking and monitoring, a special
force of the division carried out a rapid security operation in which (the
minor) A.D, born in 2002 in the Akkar area, was arrested and interrogated.”
the detainee admitted to “joining many Daesh-affiliated groups about eight
months ago, which distributed Daesh publications and ideologies.”
added that he “met, through these groups, three people belonging to the
organization, and discussed with them moving to Syria but, due to the
difficulty in reaching Syria, they advised him to work for the organization in
Lebanon because that combines the rewards for exodus and jihad itself.”
directorate added in its statement that the minor “was convinced of their point
of view, and told one of them that he intended to carry out a terrorist attack
in Lebanon. The person encouraged him to do so and asked him to swear
allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as the caliph of Muslims.
person also told him that he would be assisted and directed in the manufacture
of an explosive device in order to carry out an operation in Lebanon.
minor agreed and he was given the text of the oath of allegiance, which he read
before that person.
person sent to the minor an electronic link under the name of the “explosives
channel” containing methods and means of manufacturing and preparing
explosives. For five months, the young boy learned how to manufacture explosives
with 46-caliber nitrate and other materials.
weeks before his arrest, the person sent him the way to prepare an explosive
device and a detonator and asked him to get the necessary materials, so that
the operation could be carried out through a “cellular phone” linked to the
to the investigation, the detainee said he “started searching for nitrate but
was unable to find it.
he did not explore any specific targets, so he decided to put a roadside bomb
and detonate it remotely when a Lebanese army patrol passed through the area
where he lived.”
a month ago, the directorate said the same person “sent him (the minor) a
detailed videotape about how to prepare an explosive device using a domestic
gas cylinder used for cooking, and asked him to prepare it because it was easy
and the material was easy to find.
(the minor) proceeded to prepare it secretly, but he was arrested before the
device was finished.”
journalist Hazem Al-Amin, a specialist in terrorist groups, especially Daesh,
told Arab News that he had doubts in the possibility of any communication
“between Daesh and other groups in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon because the
organization lost its ability to communicate two years ago and became separate
also questioned the possibility that the young boy communicated with Daesh,
saying that the Lebanese security services did not show competence or
credibility in the field of investigations conducted after the big scandal of
one of the security services in the case of Ziad Itani, which later proved to
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says at least 8,050 Afghan
civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of 2018.
UNAMA said in a report issued on Wednesday that the figure in 2018 saw slight
increase compared to the same period a year earlier, when there were 8,084
casualties, with deaths this year increasing five percent to 2,798 and injuries
decreasing three percent to 5,252.
there can be no military solution to the fighting in Afghanistan, the United
Nations renews its call for an immediate and peaceful settlement to the
conflict," Tadamichi Yamamoto, the top UN official in Afghanistan, said.
people still face insecurity 17 years after the United States and its allies
invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
the Taliban militant group was removed from power as a result of the invasion,
the country remains occupied and many areas are still threatened by insecurity.
late last year, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has already lost all
its urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq, has taken advantage of the chaos in
Afghanistan and established a foothold in the Asian country’s eastern and
northern regions, launching brutal attacks against civilians and security forces
UN report showed a rise in the casualties caused by bomb attacks and other
improvised devices which caused 3,634 casualties - 1,065 deaths and 2,569
wounded - in the first nine months, compared with 3,007 casualties in the same
period last year.
recalled that “attacks deliberately targeting civilians and the murder of
civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law that amount
to war crimes".
to the report, 65 percent of casualties have been the result of attacks by the
Taliban, Daesh and other anti-government militants.
the UNAMA reported that casualties from ground fighting dropped by 18 percent
to 2,311 (605 deaths and 1,706 injured).
casualties from airstrikes, which have risen as air operations have been ramped
up, were increased by 39 percent to 649 (313 deaths and 336 injured), the
least seventy five Taliban militants including five of their commanders joined
peace process in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
to the local officials, the Taliban militants renounced violence and reconciled
with the government due to the efforts of Afghan intelligence directorate.
officials further added that the militants involved in anti-government armed
insurgency activities in Bati Kot district for 16 years.
governor Hayatullah Hayat said the militants were led by Qari Fazal Ur Rehman,
Qari Haqqani, Qari Mir Zaman, Zarawar Khan, andQari Sharafuddin.
further added that the militants have also handed over their weapons to the
government which would be used for the security of Bati Kot district.
intelligence chief Gen. Nazar Ali Wahidi said the militants have handed over 75
various types of heavy and light weapons.
Wahidi further added that a recommendation would be made to the provincial
administration to financially support the reconciled militants.
of Islamist extremism in Bangladesh poses serious threats not only to the
religious minority communities in the country but also to the secularists,
intellectuals and other sects within the Muslim community, said prominent
Bangladeshi journalist Saleem Samad. Samad said this while speaking to a group
of scribes at Guwahati Press Club from Dhaka through video conferencing.
Ashoka Fellow and Hellman-Hammett Award recipient journalist, Samad also
said that an upsurge of fundamentalist
forces in the Muslim dominated country may affect its neighbouring Indian
States in future.
narrated how atheist & secularist bloggers and activists are increasingly
becoming the target of the Islamic extremists in Bangladesh, which has
otherwise slowly (but steadily) marched on the path of becoming a country of
one nationality (Bangladeshi), one language (Bangla) and one religion (Sunni
outspoken journalist made an observation that due to overwhelming majority of
Sunni Muslims in the country, among whom considerable rise of extremism is
observed, other minority sects within the Muslim community like the Ahmadiyya
also face threats of survival.
how a network of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh was busted in West Bengal few
years back, Samad urged the north-eastern States to remain alert about jihadi
elements after the ongoing crackdown on Islamic militancy. He revealed that
thousands of Bangladeshi youths had joined various militia groups in Syria,
Iraq, Chechnya, Indonesia, Philippines, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. to fight
alongside the jihadis there.
queries from Guwahati scribes, the senior journalist reiterated that currently
there is no northeastern separatist leader in Bangladesh as the Sheikh Hasina
government in Dhaka continues rigorous crackdowns against the outfits. Samad
also made it clear that Prime Minister Hasina would leave no stone unturned to
wipe out militancy in the country.
front runner for media rights, Samad painted a dismal picture of press freedom
in Bangladesh, as journalists are frequently targeted by both State and
non-State actors. He regretted that though 26 Bangladeshi journalists lost
their lives to assailants since 1991, majority cases remains pending till date.
another significant remark, Samad, who works as special Correspondent of The
Bangladesh Monitor and contributes news-features to India Today, has divulged
that none of the Indian leaders visiting Dhaka and Bangladesh delegation meets
in New Delhi had taken up the issue of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators in
Assam (India) with their counterparts.
about the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) updation in Assam,
Samad asserted that for the Bangladesh government believes that it is an
internal affair of India only and hence it has not made any official statement
over the development. He agreed that there is hardly any media attention in
Bangladesh press over the NRC updation process and its outcome.
advocating people-to-people contact between Assam (India) and Bangladesh, Samad
lamented how Assam had missed the bus
despite being so closely located, while other States like West Bengal and
Tripura were taking several steps to improve connectivity with Bangladesh via
railway and roadways.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia's fugitive son and political
heir Tarique Rahman was sentenced to life and 19 others, including a former
home minister, were given the death penalty by a Bangladesh court on Wednesday
for their role in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2004.
attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004, targeted Hasina, the then
Opposition leader, when she was about to end a speech in front of thousands of
Hasina survived the attack with a partial hearing loss, her party’s women front
chief and former president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman was killed in the
court judge Shahed Nuruddin awarded the death penalty to 19 people, including
former junior home minister Lutfuzzaman Babar, ex-deputy education minister
Abdus Salam Pintu and several former army intelligence officers.
and 18 others were sentenced to life. Eleven others were jailed for different
(who are sentenced to death) will be hanged by neck until they are dead,”
Justice Nuruddin said.
of the 49 convicts were present in the court while others, including
51-year-old Rahman, now the acting BNP chairman as his mother is serving a
five-year imprisonment in a graft case, are on the run abroad to evade justice.
was tried in absentia with the court declaring him a “fugitive”. He now lives
in London where he is believed to have sought asylum though the British
authorities have declined to reveal his immigration status.
leads the main opposition BNP from exile after Zia was jailed in February. Zia
was not made an accused in the case.
two former ministers and former top police and intelligence officials of the
then BNP-led four-party alliance government were among 49 accused in the case.
judge also made 12-point observations on the background, motive and
consequences of the attack, mainly targeting incumbent Hasina.
attack was intended to eliminate the Awami League leadership, including Sheikh
Hasina,” the judge ruled.
court had wrapped up the hearing on September 18 after a protracted
investigation and trial process.
found an influential quarter of the then BNP-led government, including Rahman,
masterminded and sponsored the attackers — the operatives of militant Harkatul
Jihad al Islami (HuJI).
on the verdict, BNP secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir expressed the
party’s deep frustration, saying it was a “politically motivated” verdict.
“It’s a naked expression of political vengeance,” he added.
law minister Anisul Huq said Rahman, the mastermind of the attack, deserved the
Cabinet colleague and the ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Qader
echoed him, saying “we are not fully satisfied with the verdict”.
may take steps to challenge his (Rahman’s) lenient punishment once we get the
copy of the entire judgment,” Huq said.
who were sentenced to death were fined one lakh Taka each. The high court must
confirm their death penalty after a mandatory review.
political figures who were given life sentence include former Prime Minister
Zia’s political adviser Haris Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Qazi Shah
Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.
enforcement agencies earlier covered Dhaka with a security blanket while armed
guards stood outside the courtroom in the old part of Dhaka to quell possible
key-accused in the case, HuJI chief Mufty Abdul Hannan, was dropped from the
convict list along with two of his associates as they were hanged by now after
trial in a separate case.
are taking steps to bring back the fugitive convicts,” home minister
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters as the verdict was announced.
Myanmar — Plainclothes police hovered around him. The elderl y Rohingya man was
too afraid to talk.
was gathered with dozens of other men, staring blankly at journalists on a
government-led trip to Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. He is among the
200,000 or so Rohingya Muslims who remain in this area, after more than 720,000
fled to neighboring Bangladesh during a brutal crackdown by the military of
mostly Buddhist Myanmar.
U.N. human rights commission said there was “genocidal intent” in the targeted
killings and razing of villages that led to the mass flight of the Rohingya.
leaders — including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — have
maintained that authorities were trying to quell an insurgency. The Myanmar
propaganda push includes media trips, in which a rotating cast of foreign
journalists are taken to Rakhine state in police convoys.
one official put it: “How can it be genocide if Muslims are still here?”
elderly Rohingya man eventually did talk.
it came on a phone call to The Washington Post. He mocked the picture painted
by Myanmar government minders about the lives of the 300,000 or so Rohingya
still in Rakhine.
homes in Muslim villages near his were torched as recently as this week, he
were told to tell [journalists] about how we are treated well here. They told
us to talk about how we are living peacefully,” said the man, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety.
couldn’t bring himself to toe the line, but could not speak the truth either.
know they are recording us,” he said.
with international pressure and mounting calls for accountability, Myanmar has
mounted a defense of denial and defiance. Among the collateral damage is Suu
Kyi’s reputation, which many see as tarnished and compromised.
diplomats, aid groups and others, the attempt to shift the narrative is more
evidence that Myanmar is unable or unwilling to correct long-standing
discrimination against the beleaguered Rohingya.
also underscores Myanmar’s unwillingness to bring any measure of accountability
to last year’s violence in Rakhine, or to allow journalists to freely
investigate the killings there.
journalists from the Reuters news agency, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who reported
on the massacre of 10 Muslim men in the village of Inn Din, were convicted and
sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the country’s Official Secrets
the Rohingya languish and grow more desperate.
bottom line is that there has been no noteworthy progress,” said one senior
diplomat in Yangon, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the issue.
Myanmar government “still seems utterly unable or unwilling to understand what
they would need to do to get themselves out of this mess,” the official said.
government’s efforts have also failed to mask attempts to erase any indication
that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya lived here. Buddhists and Hindus are
moving into new homes built across Rakhine state, and Rohingya Muslims who
remain in Myanmar say they continue to face harassment and extortion.
United Nations, which has just begun to access some parts of northern Rakhine
state, says communities there are isolated and fearful.
press freedom advocates and youth activists hold a demonstration on Sept. 16
demanding the freedom of jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in
Yangon, Myanmar. (Ann Wang/Reuters)
fear of neighboring communities and a sense of insecurity are prevalent in many
areas,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said Friday.
Muslim communities there, he added, also are restricted in accessing education
or health services.
pressure is ramping up. In late September, the U.N. Human Rights Council voted
overwhelmingly to create an independent body to expedite criminal prosecution
of Myanmar generals over their treatment of the Rohingya.
action followed a 444-page report from a U.N. fact-finding mission that
explored in excruciating detail how the Myanmar military has followed a pattern
of abuse and violence across other ethnic minority states, such as Shan and
Kachin. It also described the crackdown against the Rohingya as having
U.N. findings could give prosecutors evidence for possible cases in regional or
Myanmar government and military have held firm to the explanation that their
operation in Rakhine state was provoked by Rohingya militant attacks on police
posts, but reports from both the United Nations and the State Department
indicate a degree of premeditation and coordination.
says that it is ready to repatriate hundreds of Rohingya back to their homes.
a refugee reception center near the border, one Myanmar official boasted about
new roads that Rohingya refugees will travel on from Bangladesh before turning
over their identification documents for verification and eventually moving into
new purpose-built villages to start their lives anew.
model villages like this are being built all over northern Rakhine state, and
in some, Buddhists are moving in — taking over land where Rohingya Muslims
lived before more than 720,000 left amid a brutal military operation last year.
(Shibani Mahtani/The Washington Post)
are ready,” said Soe Tun, head of the relocation center, which is prepared to
receive 150 returnees a day for five days a week. “I don’t know why they
wouldn’t want to come back.”
the same breath, officials insist that there are “no Rohingya in Myanmar,” and
will compel those who return to adopt a verification document that makes no
mention of the word “Rohingya.” The Rohingya people are excluded from
Myanmar government says the verification document will be a pathway to
citizenship. But the Rohingya — who believe themselves native to Myanmar — say
it is just another step to muddle the process and enshrine second-class status.
document will call them “Bengali.” The Rohingya want to keep their identity and
to receive recognition as full citizens native to the area.
of the government’s narrative so far has been built on physical structures,
like model villages, because those structures exist,” said Knut Ostby, the
United Nations’ resident coordinator in Myanmar. “But the rights-based part has
not been addressed yet.”
a gesture of goodwill, Myanmar has promised to close squalid camps in the
southern part of the state where 125,000 Rohingya live after a spate of
violence drove them out of their homes six years ago.
border guard officer stands watch at the Myanmar-Bangladesh friendship bridge.
More than 720,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh during a military
crackdown last year. The Myanmar government says it is ready to repatriate
Rohingya refugees, but diplomats and rights groups say the government has done
nothing to secure their rights. (Shibani Mahtani/The Washington Post)
were taken to one of the largest, in Sittwe, and were told about a new hospital
that would be built here. But no timeline has been given. The Rohingya believe
the possible camp closures will shift them to newly constructed villages without
restoring freedom of movement, the ability to own shops and businesses again,
or the right to go to schools or hospitals freely.
emerging from the northern Faryab province of Afghanistan suggest several honor
killings have taken place in this province since the scandal videos of a local
Mullah went viral on the internet recently.
local officials in Faryab have said at least nine women have been killed the
past three months amid concerns that the women who have appeared in the videos
of Mullah Landay have either been killed or fearing their lives.
Azimi, the provincial director of women’s affairs, has told The New York Times
that nine women had been killed in the past three months as a result of
gender-based violence, compared with four in the same period last year.
are concerned that honor killings will increase, that the women suspected of
going to him will be killed,” Ms. Azimi said.
governor Naqibullah Fayeq has also confirmed that several women have killed
recently in what appears to be a sharp rise in honor killings.
governor Fayeq has said he was not sure and wonders if the recent killings are
related to the case of Mullah Landay.
comes as several videos of Mullah Landay have been published and have gone
viral on the internet, purportedly showing the Mullah exploiting the women and
sexually abusing them.
Taliban local commander who was in charge of a group of at least 50 militants
was killed in an airstrike in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
airstrike was carried out at around 12:20am on Wednesday.
statement further added that the airstrike left at least seven militants dead,
including a Taliban commander who was in charge of a group of at least 50
to 209th Shaheen Corps, the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Shakh
area of Qaisar district.
Taliban commander killed in the airstrike has been identified as Mullah Daud
Taimani, the 209th Shaheen Corps added in its statement.
A Bangladesh court Wednesday sentenced a top opposition leader to life in
prison and sentenced 19 more people to death over a 2004 grenade attack on the
current prime minister.
thank God for the verdict,” prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain told reporters after
announcing that Tarique Rahman, the self-exiled acting head of the country’s
main opposition party, was jailed for life while 19 others, including two
former ministers, received the death penalty.
—Britain has been acquiring an increasingly Islamic face, with hundreds of
official Shariah courts operating in the capital and many mosques dotting many
is more Islamic than many Muslim countries put together,” Maulana Syed Raza
Rizvi, an Islamic preacher, was quoted as saying in the local media.
can not stand London’s multiculturalism”, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said after
the deadly terror attack at Westminster last year.
are 423 new mosques in London and most of these mosques are crowded at prayer
times unlike many churches which rarely see visitors.
Daily Mail published photographs of a church and a mosque a few meters from
each other in the heart of London. At the Church of San Giorgio, designed to
accommodate 1,230 worshipers, only 12 people gathered to celebrate Mass. At the
Church of Santa Maria, there were 20
nearby Brune Street Estate mosque has a different problem: overcrowding. Its
small room can contain only 100.
2020, estimates are that the number of Muslims attending prayers will reach at
least 683,000, while the number of Christians attending weekly Mass will drop
2001, 500 London churches of all denominations have been turned into private
homes. During the same period, British mosques have been proliferating. Between
2012 and 2014, the proportion of Britons who identify themselves as Anglicans
fell from 21% to 17%, a decrease of 1.7 million people, while, according to a
survey conducted by the respected NatCen Social Research Institute, the number
of Muslims has grown by almost a million. Churchgoers are declining at a rate
that within a generation, their number will be three times lower than that of
Muslims who go regularly to mosque on Friday.
is also full of Shariah courts. There are officially 100. The advent of this
parallel judicial system has been made possible thanks to the British
Arbitration Act and the system of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
universities are also advancing Islamic law. — Agencies
of the UK’s most recognisable far-right figures, Tommy Robinson, is famous for
many things – chief among them founding the anti-Muslim English Defence League
and a string of legal battles and jail sentences. However, among his most
notable contributions to popular culture is the creation of the #creepingsharia
hashtag on Twitter. Like most things he does, this backfired. It was meant to
highlight how the UK is supposedly becoming “Islamised”, but instead became a
meme used to belittle such absurd concerns.
greater irony, however, is that sharia “crept” into the UK a long time ago.
Indeed, the British legal system depends on it, and has done for centuries.
his 2004 book The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilisation, Columbia University’s
Richard Bulliet states: “Muslims have been massively present in Europe before
today. In fact, through the centuries, Muslims have been engaged in the
creation of Europe and European civilisation.” This is an idea I explored in my
own book, Muslims of Europe: The “Other” Europeans. However, the influence of
Muslim countries on the development of laws and institutions is particularly
worthy of further exploration.
is not clear when the first links between Britain and Islam began to be forged.
Some historical documents state that the Celts came into contact and built
trade relationships with Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean back in the 8th
century. Later records indicate that Arab Muslims were visiting London as far
back as the 12th century for trade, and that the alliance between King John and
the Sharif of Morocco in the 13th century was so strong that the former
proposed to the latter’s daughter.
The Rise of Colleges, published in 1981, the American academic George Makdisi
posited the theory that European universities took many of their cues from
Arab-Islamic madrasas. He traced the idea of charitable trusts back to the waqf
system in Muslim societies, and linked the ijaza or licence system of Islamic
tradition to western university degrees, which emerged centuries later.
Makdisi, George Makdisi’s son, has argued in several academic works that the
origins of English common law, created in the 12th century, are to be found in
Islamic jurisprudence. He has explored several areas of law to make this point,
notably the creation of the royal English contract, which he has related to the
Islamic aqd, and, most fascinatingly, the creation of the jury. Both have
unique characteristics and appeared quite suddenly in 12th-century England, following
a close connection between King Henry II of England and King Roger II of
Sicily. It is important to note that Roger ruled over a territory that had
previously been Muslim, where much of the Islamic legal system remained in
is widely believed that Italian and French civil law are significantly
influenced by Islamic jurisprudence. Much has been made, correctly, of the
impact Muslim Spain and Portugal had on the rest of Europe, but precious little
has been written about the ways in which the Norman conquest of the Emirate of
Sicily affected European legal systems far beyond the island’s shores.
years ago, a wonderful project promoted by the British Council and titled Our
Shared Europe took this idea seriously. The point of the project was to educate
and enlighten Europeans of all backgrounds about the shared links between
Islamic tradition and the development of European history, culture and
civilisation. Unfortunately, it did not remain active for long, even though it
unearthed a treasure trove of enthralling information.
who moved to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS could be allowed back into the
country, UK security minister Ben Wallace has said, even if they cannot be
brought to justice for their actions.
Wallace said that his “number-one preference” would be to see such fighters
taken to court in the UK, and he said the British government would happily
accept any who were sent back by foreign governments or who chose to returned
told the National Security Summit in London: “British citizens are British
citizens. If they seek to come back to this country or another country deports
them, we will take them and we will either seek to convict them or we will try
to deradicalise them.”
there were “clear legal challenges” in trying to bring back Britons who were currently
being held by Kurdish forces in Syria - and in putting together watertight
legal cases against them in a British court. There are currently nine British
fighters with ISIS who are being held by Kurdish forces.
was accused earlier this week of abandoning its long-standing opposition to the
death penalty for ISIS terror suspects in the United States, as European
capitals sought to avoid the repatriation of foreign fighters from Syria.
officials shifted the country’s stand over three months in 2018, after their
ambassador in Washington stirred fears of outraging president Donald Trump,
London’s High Court was told. Mr Trump could “hold a grudge” if Britain refused
to allow its intelligence to be used for death penalty cases in the US, according
to the diplomat.
apparent change in policy came as Britain prepared the ground for members of an
ISIS hit squad – suspected of kidnapping 27 people and beheading five
westerners in Syria and Iraq – to be tried in the US.
government has left the door open to exporting arms to Saudi Arabia and its
allies in the Yemen conflict, the news weekly Der Spiegel reported Wednesday,
seemingly in spite of a deal within the country's ruling coalition.
would be no German arms embargo on countries taking part in the Yemen conflict,
which has left 10,000 people dead since 2015, the news weekly said on its
website. It cited a letter to that effect sent by the economy ministry to
Social Democratic Party (SPD) MP Thomas Hitschler.
part of a March coalition deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative
CSU party and the centre-left SPD appeared to rule out arms exports to
countries "directly involved" in the conflict.
letter to Hitschler, however, said that export licences will be granted on a
case by case basis, Der Spiegel reported.
issue provoked a sharp dispute within the SPD's parliamentary group, the news
weekly said, with several deputies accusing Foreign Minister Heiko Maas --
himself a SDP member -- of kowtowing to the Saudis.
coalition is already fragile, with its third member, the Bavarian conservative
CSU, agitating for a migration crackdown as well as facing regional polls on
Der Spiegel report also comes amid mounting international scrutiny of the
disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen by his fiancee
entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.
police say they think he was killed by a 15-strong team sent to Istanbul, an
accusation strongly denied by the Saudis.
authorities in Turkey have released security camera footage showing a man
thought to be Khashoggi entering the consulate.
and Saudi Arabia only returned their ambassadors in September after 10 months
of frosty relations following criticism from Berlin of what it said was Saudi
interference in Lebanese affairs.
Arabia leads a coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the
government there against armed rebels backed by Iran.
Syed Zafar Mehdi
the gloomy morning of March 22 2016, Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and
a major European tourist attraction, experienced a series of bombings, killing
at least 31 people. Like the devastating November 2015 Paris attacks, which
claimed 130 lives, Brussels attack provoked unprecedented levels of public
outrage and media coverage that went well beyond the tragic event.
newspaper editorials were dedicated to Paris and Brussels and ‘security
analysts’ appeared on prime news TV shows to discuss state security and
perceived threat of Syrian and Afghan refugees.
is not to suggest that the mindless bloodletting in Paris or Brussels or
Manchester or Madrid should not provoke outrage or it should not be discussed
in the mainstream corporate media. But, why does the media – in the west or
east – focus so heavily on these attacks when equally deadly, equally ghastly
attacks occur in places like Kabul, Baghdad, Beirut, Ankara, Quetta, Tehran,
Kenya, Yemen? What does this selective coverage and selective outrage say about
the corporate news media?
attacks by ‘Muslims’ against non-Muslims in Europe have grabbed headlines
recently, a study conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of
Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a
research center at the University of Maryland, states that Muslims are
most victimized by the global terrorism.
the attacks in Paris, Brussels, Manchester or Madrid – and the global response
to them – amply highlight the selective outrage towards global terrorism and
biased coverage of the corporate news media.
Paris attacks took place, social media was bombarded with evocative hashtags,
candle light vigils were held, popular news sites carried live blogs, world
leaders rushed to send out messages of solidarity with the French people.
the same time, Lebanese people were in a state of mourning, after 43 people
were killed and 200 others wounded in multiple suicide bombings in Beirut. But
the bombings in Beirut – for which ISIS claimed responsibility – drew no
outrage from world leaders, no candle-light demonstrations from human rights
defenders, no hashtags or live blogs from Western media.
May 31 2017, a devastating truck bomb in the diplomatic enclave of Kabul
claimed at least 100 lives and injured more than 450, mostly civilians.
According to security officials, the intended target of 1500 kg explosives packed
in a sewage tanker was the ‘green zone’ – housing foreign embassies – but
Afghan policemen manning the main entrance stopped the vehicle from going
inside, sacrificing their own lives to save foreign diplomats. It was the
deadliest attack with unprecedented civilian casualties on the soil of
Afghanistan since 2001 but the news media coverage made it look like just
another terror attack, because the victims were poor Afghans.
the truck packed with ammunition had managed to go past the main entrance and
hit the intended target – foreign embassies and NATO headquarters – it would
have been a different scenario altogether. But, since the Afghan policemen
foiled the plan of attackers, the casualties were all Afghan civilians, which
is not something Western readers and viewers are interested in. It was followed
by two more deadly attacks in the same week.
attacks continue as the protracted war stretches into its 18th year now. But
these attacks are not ‘news’ anymore for the mainstream Western media, because
the violence in Afghanistan has been normalized to the extent that lives of
Afghans don’t matter to them.
day before the Kabul ‘green zone’ attack, more than 40 people were killed in a
spate of explosions in central Baghdad’s Karrada area, bringing back chilling
memories of the truck bomb attack in which 320 people were killed in the same
neighborhood. Less than two weeks after the Karrada attack, a suicide bomber
blew himself up in the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad, killing at least 30
attacks elicited no angry reactions and no vigils were held. There were no
banner headlines and no editorials. World leaders did not deem it important to
send out messages of solidarity, unlike Paris attack or Brussels attack or
is important to note that Iraq has been turned into a bedlam because of U.S.
military intervention and the resurgence of militancy in the form of ISIS can
be blamed on America’s flawed Middle East policy. As Noam Chomsky once told me,
Americans owe huge reparations to Iraqis and Afghans for destroying their lives
and their homes.
capital city Tehran also had a brush with terror on June 7 2017, when two of
the most important symbols of Iranian pride – parliament house and Ayatollah
Khomeini’s mausoleum – came under attack. At least 17 people were killed in two
simultaneous attacks. But, reportage in the Western media was in sync with
President Trump’s statement that Iran was “falling victim to the evil they
promote”. Tehran later denounced his reaction as “repugnant”.
recently, the deadly attack on a military parade in southwestern Iranian
province of Ahvaz claimed almost 30 lives, including children. The attack was
claimed by a group that traces links to Arab states, so obviously the Western
media and Western leaders had reservations in condemning the attack.
simple truth is: Muslims are far more likely to die at the hands of other
‘Muslims’, and they are also more likely to be killed by Westerners who seek to
exterminate ‘Islamic extremists’.
Yemen, the carnage continues and the world unforgivably looks the other way.
Thousands of people have been killed and injured, mostly in airstrikes.
Saudi-led coalition has been committing horrendous war crimes in Yemen but the
U.S., Britain, France and other ‘allies’ keep shipping bombs to Riyadh.
Unfortunately, the coverage of Yemen war is pathetically erratic while we had
wall-to-wall media coverage of the war in Syria. The answer is simple: most of
the Western powers are complicit in the genocide of Yemenis, hence it is a
attackers, non-Muslim attackers
to a study by a team of researchers from Georgia State University, attacks by
people claiming to be Muslim received 449 percent more coverage on average in
recent years than those perpetrated by virtually anyone else. “When attacks are
perpetrated by a Muslim, they receive drastically more coverage,” Erin Kearns,
the lead author of the study, was quote saying. “Across every model that we
looked at, we are still finding that Muslim perpetrators have at least 200
percent increase in coverage.”
do Muslim perpetrators dominate headlines? Who is a terrorist? Apparently, a
Muslim is a terrorist even if he is mentally ill, and a non-Muslim is
mentally-ill even if he is a terrorist. It’s terrorism only when Muslims do it.
As George Orwell so succinctly put it, “Actions are held to be good or bad, not
on their own merits, but according to who does them.”
November 2009, when a Muslim US army major fatally shot 13 people in Texas, the
attack was quickly characterized as ‘terrorism’. It was indeed an act of
terrorism and American Muslim groups also strongly and unequivocally condemned
when a US military officer went on a rampage in southern Afghanistan in March 2012,
mowing down 16 civilians – including nine children and three women – no Western
media outlet called him a ‘terrorist’. The media protected his identity and
refrained from mentioning his faith, because the label is strictly reserved for
Muslim perpetrators. All major news outlets in the West reported that the
soldier “was suffering from the stress of a fourth combat tour”, had a “brain
injury” and “marital problems”.
time there is a terrorist attack, Muslims watch the news with uneasiness and
alarm, not because every terrorist is a Muslim but because there is amplified
media coverage and a deluge of Islamophobic rhetoric on social media whenever
the perpetrator is identified as Muslim.
put things into perspective, according to FBI, 94 percent of terrorist attacks
carried out in the U.S. between 1980 and 2005 have been by non-Muslims, and
less than two percent terrorist attacks in Europe in the past five years were
carried out by Muslims.
crisis and vilification campaign
three men went on a rampage at London Bridge in June 2017, killing seven
people, global media went berserk. The religion of perpetrators was repeatedly
mentioned to emphasize that it was ‘Islamic terrorism’ by ‘radical Islamists’,
even though clerics at London city’s largest mosque clearly condemned the
‘deranged and despicable’ act. It was terrorism, but not ‘Islamic terrorism’.
They were terrorists but not ‘Islamists’.
Bridge attack, followed by Finsbury Park attack, and before that Westminster
attack, dominated headlines for weeks. Seasoned ‘commentators’ spoke of how
Islam was a ‘part of problem’ and why Muslim refugees cannot be trusted,
without examining the cause and genesis of refugee crisis.
is the European Union facing unprecedented numbers of refugees? Why are Syrians
and Afghans and Iraqis and Somalis risking their lives to cross the
Mediterranean Sea to Europe? No, they are not “seeking a better life” as some
believe, they are setting off into the Mediterranean to seek refugee from war
and persecution, for which U.S. and European governments are responsible. Those
following their perilous journey will understand why the hashtag
#SyrianRefugeeCrisis is just as devastating as #PrayForParis.
countries make up more than half of the world refugees: Syria (4.9 million),
Afghanistan (2.7 million), Somalia (1.1 million) – all Muslim countries,
devastated by unending war and grinding poverty, for which Western governments
must share the blame.
Afghanistan, as President Ghani has repeatedly said, it is an ‘imposed war’.
Most of the European countries are part of the U.S.-led coalition – or have
been – that is fighting the war. In Syria, America and its allies have been
financially and militarily supporting ‘rebel forces’ in their fight against
Bashar al-Assad government. In Somalia, the intervention of U.S. has only
intensified the civil war, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
of Hazaras and Rohingyas
August 7 2017, Taliban joined forces with ISIS to overrun Hazara-dominated
Mirza Olang village in northern Afghan province Sar e Pul, killing at least 50
civilians. On August 2 2017, a suicide attack at a packed Shia mosque in
western Afghanistan killed at least 37 people and injured 60 others.
the month of Ramadan last year, ISIS suicide bomber and gunmen forced their way
into a popular mosque in Hazara-dominated Dasht e Barchi area of Kabul, killing
four people and injuring at least a dozen. In the month of Muharram last year,
there was an attack on Ziyarat e Sakhi, a popular Shia shrine in Kabul, in
which 18 worshippers were killed and 54 others injured. On the day of Arbaeen
last year, terrorists struck again, killing at least 27 people and wounding
hundreds at the Baqir ul Uloom mosque in central Kabul.
year, the attacks targeting Hazara Shias, particularly in Kabul, have
intensified. There was a deadly attack on a school in Shia-neighourhood of
Kabul in August, killing at least 34 school children. In the same neighourhood,
a month later, more than 30 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated
his explosives inside a wrestling club.
thing common about all these attacks is that the victims were Hazara Shias.
Afghanistan has a grim history of ethnic violence, especially when it comes to
targeted killing of Hazara Shias. These attacks have brought back chilling
memories of 1990s when the Taliban would raid houses, identify and kill Hazara
attacks on Hazara Shias in Afghanistan and also in Pakistan have become so
routine that many major news outlets do not consider it newsworthy anymore.
Imagine the anger and outrage if ISIS terrorists had attacked a church or a
synagogue in Paris or Manchester or Manhattan or even Mumbai? That explains the
hypocrisy of mainstream news media.
heart wrenching is the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
The communal violence fanned by the Burmese government led by Nobel Laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi has led to the killing of hundreds of Rohingyas and displaced
thousands. Satellite images have shown how military burnt Rohingya villages.
But there has been little international action so far. Aung San continues to be
the darling of the Western leaders.
per conservative estimates, there are around 905,000 Rohingya refugees in
Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar presently, although some human rights bodies have put
the figure higher. The exodus of persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s
Rakhine state started in October 2016, following the crackdown by Burmese
security forces. However, things took nasty turn in August last year when more
than 720,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh en masse to escape
persecution, murder, arson and rape. The savagery in Rakhine was described by
the United Nations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”
mobs in India and injustice in Kashmir
India, it has become difficult for Muslims to look Muslim, with paranoia and
suspicion all around. The lynching of Muslims (and also Dalits) in last few
years has created a sense of fear and desperation among Muslims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was widely criticized for not speaking up on ‘cow
politics’. He finally broke his criminal silence after the #NotInMyName
protests rocked multiple cities across India. But, the big question is: with
Sangh Parivar leading this hate campaign against Muslims in the name of ‘gaw
raksha’, can the government stop these lynch mobs?
the liberals have been unfairly attacked by run-of-the-mill TV channels and
prime time ‘talking heads’ for giving voice to the voiceless. India’s TV media,
quite bizarrely, has been siding with the lynch mobs and their patronisers.
brings us to the issue of Kashmir and how the Indian media vilifies Kashmiris.
Any debate over Kashmir in TV news studios lacks nuance. The Kashmir narrative
peddled by loud-mouthed TV anchors these days seeks to push the agenda of
right-wing forces that thrive on hate-mongering and war-mongering. That is
precisely why media becomes a devil’s advocate when army men convicted in
Machil fake encounter are given reprieve by a kangaroo military court and when
a poor civilian is tied to a jeep and used as a human shield.
quote Aloe Blacc, “we all bleed the same blood”. Terrorism and extremism in all
their forms and manifestations, irrespective of who the victim and perpetrator
are, should be unequivocally condemned. Selective outrage is dangerous and
a rare British challenge to Riyadh, the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has
asked Saudi Arabia for answers over the disappearance in Turkey of Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
was last seen visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, and Turkey
says he may have been murdered there. However, this suggestion has been
strongly denied by the Saudis.
a phone call to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Jeremy Hunt
warned Saudi Arabia that its friendship with the UK depends on “shared values,”
after he demanded answers over the claims.
tweeted a message after meeting the Saudi ambassador to London, Mohammed bin
Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz, on Tuesday.
was the second time in two days that the ambassador had been questioned by the
Foreign Office about what the Saudi royal family may know about the
disappearance of one of the highest-profile critics of the Saudi leadership.
ambassador discussed the incident with the permanent secretary to the Foreign
Office, Sir Simon McDonald, on Monday.
against journalists is going up and is a grave threat to freedom of expression.
If media reports prove correct we will treat the incident seriously –
friendships depend on shared values,” Hunt added.
United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies.
March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the UK and signed a raft
of business deals. During the visit the two nations launched the UK-Saudi
Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, which involves £65 billion mutual trade
and investment to be spread across sectors including finance, education, health
care, renewable energy and defense.
Russian Defense Ministry says chlorine canisters have fallen in the hands of
Daesh terrorists after they attacked the headquarters of the Western-backed
White Helmets “aid group” and al-Nusra Front militants in northern Syria.
head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, Major General Vladimir Savchenko,
announced in a Wednesday statement that pro-Daesh terrorists on Tuesday evening
“attacked the headquarters of the detachment of the terrorist organization
Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham," formerly al-Nusra Front, in al-Lataminah village
in Hama province.
a result, four militants and two employees of the White Helmets organization were
killed. Two chlorine containers were stolen from the headquarters room,” the
Russian official went on to say that the stolen chlorine containers were
transported to the south of the Aleppo province and handed over to terrorists
of Harras al-Din terrorist group, associated with Daesh.
blamed Western countries supporting the militants for their “irresponsible
actions”, which have led to a situation in which terrorists can gain access to
chemical agents have ended up in the hands of Daesh terrorists, whose actions
are impossible to predict, the statement added.
statement came a few weeks after the Russian defense ministry warned terrorists
and the White Helmets group, which stands accused of working with Takfiri
militants and launching false-flag gas attacks in Syria, have met in the
northwestern province of Idlib to stage a chemical attack which they will blame
on the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
early September, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor
Konashenkov said based on “irrefutable” data terrorist groups, including
al-Nusra Front, and members of the so-called rescue group met in Idlib to
prepare the final scenarios for the chemical attack which will target the cities
of Jisr ash-Shugur, Serakab, Taftanaz and Sarmin.
in August, Russia’s Defense Ministry had noted that eight canisters of chlorine
had been delivered to a village near Jisr al-Shughur city in Idlib, and that a
foreign-trained group of militants had also arrived in the area to simulate a
rescue operation after the staged attack.
seeking to use fake chemical weapons attack to strike Syria: Russian MoD
said the terrorists aimed to stage the chemical attacks and lay the blame on
the Syrian government to provoke a western attack as the Assad government was
planning to launch a full-scale offensive to retake the militant-held Idlib
offensive, however, was called off after Russia and Turkey agreed to enforce a
new demilitarized zone in Idlib from which "radical" rebels were
required to withdraw by October 15.
terrorists leave demilitarized zone in Idlib'
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday that
over 1,000 militants have left the demilitarized zone in Idlib, the last
stronghold of militants.
month, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan and his Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin met in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and announced an agreement
government’s counter-extremism tsar, Sara Khan, has criticised the far-right
activist Tommy Robinson for posing for a photograph alongside military figures,
saying his “attention-seeking is cover for divisive anti-Muslim hatred”.
army is investigating after the former English Defence League leader posted an
image of himself surrounded by a group of grinning young men in camouflage
uniform, apparently soldiers or cadets.
the lead commissioner for countering extremism, who is overseeing a study of
extremism across England and Wales, said: “This is typical of the far right.
They manipulate and exploit their way into the mainstream, often targeting the
military and co-opting its symbols.
Tommy Robinson’s attention-seeking is cover for divisive anti-Muslim hatred
that is causing real harm to individuals, communities and society in general.
We have to call it out. Muslims are proudly and selflessly serving in the armed
forces, and the army’s decisive response is to be praised.
am very worried about the growing impact of the far right in England and Wales.
We have to strengthen our response across society.
we need to better understand the scale, the tactics and objectives and the
harms of the far right. That is why my commission has confirmed that we will
bring in academics and frontline practitioners to review the threat of the far
right in England and Wales.”
also posted a video of himself on Monday with a crowd who started cheering and
shouting his name. He wrote on Facebook: “A moment like this makes it all worth
while. Today I met real British heroes.”
army said it was aware of the photograph and footage, and was “investigating
the circumstances surrounding this”. A spokeswoman said: “Far-right ideology is
completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces. The armed
forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views
are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.”
Asim Hafiz, an Islamic religious adviser to the armed forces, said: “Any form
of racism, discrimination or extremism is taken extremely seriously and will be
dealt with accordingly. The armed forces remain absolutely committed to
welcoming individuals from across all faiths and cultures into its ranks.”
Muslim Council of Britain said Robinson “does not represent our armed forces,
however much he tries to claim otherwise”.
deal between Turkey and the United States regarding the northern Syrian town of
Manbij is delayed “but not completely dead”, President Tayyip Erdogan was
quoted as saying by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.
made the comments to reporters on Tuesday on the flight back from his visit to
about the trial of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey, Erdogan said
he was not in a position to interfere with the judiciary because Turkey is a
state of law.
extremists and Turkish-backed militants have withdrawn most heavy weapons from
territory around Syria’s last major opposition stronghold ahead of a deadline,
a monitor said.
weapons pullback is the first major test of a truce deal brokered by
government-backed Russia and opposition militants-backer Turkey last month to
avoid what the United Nations warned would be the appalling humanitarian
consequences of a major government offensive.
agreed by the two NATO allies in June, Turkish and US forces had carried out
patrols in Manbij, but those are independent of each other. Training is the
last step before the two countries carry out joint patrols.
forces have bulldozed two more Palestinian houses in Al-Halawa neighborhood in
the south of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
news outlets reported Wednesday that the two small houses were destroyed the
previous day under claims that they had been built without “building permits”,
which are impossible to obtain from the Israeli regime, said Ratib al-Jabour,
the coordinator of the Anti-Settlement and Wall Committee.
told Quds Press that the Israeli forces had also seized the solar panels used
to supply electricity to the two houses, which belong to Palestinians Khalil
Younis Arram and his cousin Ahmad Ismail Arram.
neighborhood where the two homes were located is surrounded by illegal Israeli
settlements and has come under increased attacks by Israeli forces. They
frequently raid the Palestinian houses and confiscate any new equipment donated
to the residents, including mobile homes funded by the European Union.
demolition was carried out on the same day as the Tel Aviv regime issued a
confiscation order against 2,036 acres of Az-Zawiya village’s lands in the
Salfit district of the West Bank.
land is located in the western part of the village where Israeli settlements
are built on Palestinian lands.
land owners have been given seven days to appeal through the so-called Israeli
to the support it receives from the administration of US President Donald
Trump, the Israeli regime has increased its settlement constructions in
Palestinian territories since he came to power in 2017.
who has thrown his weight behind Israel’s policies, recently moved the US
embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds after declaring the holy city the
capital of the Israeli regime, in a globally-condemned move which was in
contravention of international law.
1967, the Israeli regime has been enforcing the draconian policy of demolishing
the homes of the Palestinians it deems to be behind fatal attacks against
Israeli settlers. The practice, however, was temporarily halted from 2005 to
2014, with the exception of 2009, when scores of homes were sealed and razed in
East Jerusalem al-Quds.
in 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced as a policy the
resumption of demolitions in the occupied West Bank.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also
said in July that Israeli authorities demolished 197 Palestinian structures in
the West Bank during the first half of 2018.
defense ministry said on Wednesday the demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib has
been formed and heavy weapons have been withdrawn, following an agreement by
Russian and Turkish leaders in Sochi last month.
agreement dictated that heavy weapons, tanks, rocket systems and mortars of all
opposition groups would be withdrawn by October 10, and the zone will be
monitored by coordinated Turkish and Russian patrols.
the deal agreed last month between Turkey and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s
ally Moscow, militants will be required to withdraw by the middle of this month
from the zone, and heavy weaponry must be withdrawn from the 15-20 km buffer
zone by October 10.
Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday over 1,000 militants had left the zone.
about Turkish reports that all heavy weapons had been removed, Russian Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that around 100 heavy
weapon units had been withdrawn from the zone, but gave no further details.
has charged an Iranian diplomat and three other individuals with planning to
bomb a meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in France in June, Belgian
prosecutors said on Wednesday.
diplomat, identified only by his given name as Assadollah, worked at the
Iranian embassy in Vienna. He was arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning
an attack against the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran
(NCRI), an umbrella bloc of opposition groups in exile.
Tuesday, Germany transferred the diplomat to Belgium, where he was charged with
preparing a terrorist attack, the state prosecutor said.
other three alleged participants have also been charged in Belgium.
of them were arrested by Belgian police in June with 500 grams of TATP, an
explosive that can be home-made from easily available chemicals, as well as a
people died after a boat filled with migrants sank off the western coast of
Turkey and another 25 were missing, the Turkish coast guard said on Wednesday.
was not clear where the boat was headed or where it left from. Hundreds of
thousands of migrants crossed the sea channel from Turkey to Greek territory in
2015 before Ankara curbed the flow under a deal it struck with the European
coast guard said the boat sank off the coast of Turkey’s Izmir province after
water began leaking shortly after its departure. Search and rescue operations
for the missing migrants were continuing, a coast guard statement said. It said
there were initially around 35 migrants on the boat in total.
became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrants taking
the sea route to EU territory in 2015, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the
Middle East and Africa.
influx of migrants was drastically curtailed by a 2016 accord between Ankara
and the EU, after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the
holding talks in Riyadh on Wednesday, United Nations special envoy to Yemen
Martin Griffiths headed to Muscat to revive political negotiations.
discussed visions, proposals and efforts to achieve peace and build trust.
UN envoy met with Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Muscat and
discussed latest Yemeni developments and international efforts to reach a
political solution in Yemen.
on Wednesday, Griffiths met with Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and
Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr in Riyadh and discussed efforts to reach a
peaceful solution to the crisis in Yemen, the official Yemeni news agency
voiced his appreciation of Griffiths’ efforts to achieve peace and ease the
Yemeni people’s suffering. He reiterated that legitimacy is headed towards
fulfilling permanent peace that’s based on the three references, the Gulf
initiative, the outcomes of the national dialogue conference and UN Resolution
added that the Houthis’ oppressive policy against citizens in areas they
control, their assault on civilians, theft of resources and destabilizing
regional and international security imply that they adhere to the option of war
also called on the international community to exert pressure to implement
international resolutions and subjugate the Houthis to sit for dialogue.
armed forces have fired a domestically-developed ballistic missile at a
military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Asir, in
retaliation for the regime's campaign of military aggression, according to a
Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, citing an unnamed military
official from the missile unit of the Yemeni army, reported that the military
base had been hit with a short-range Badr-1 missile late on Wednesday, adding
that the projectile had struck its target with precision.
report added that the missile attack left an unspecified number of Saudi mercenaries
either dead or wounded, and inflicted damage to the base and its equipment.
al-Masirah said in a separate report that Yemeni forces killed a number of
Saudi-led mercenaries west of a border crossing in Asir in rocket and mortar
added that the Yemeni forces also managed to retake at least eight strategic
areas in the northernmost parts of the country’s Sa’ada province, which shares
a border with Asir.
on Wednesday, the Yemeni army had hit a Saudi base in the kingdom’s Jizan
region with two home-grown Zelzal-1 (Earthquake-1) ballistic missiles. There
were no immediate reports about possible casualties or the extent of damage
Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and
Sudan, launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to
reinstall Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the
country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has played a significant
role, alongside the Yemeni army, in defending the impoverished nation.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Some 15,000
Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more injured.
than 2,200 others have also died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what
the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
imposed war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record
22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened
by severe hunger.
Haram terrorists have claimed the lives of eight Chadian soldiers in the Lake
Chad region in an attack that was repelled by the army troops who killed 48
Haram terrorists attacked defense force positions in Kaiga Kindji early this
morning," a military spokesman said Wednesday.
added that the attack also injured 11 other soldiers, but had been
is a member of a multinational task force combating Boko Haram across its
border with Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. The force has been created with the
aim of preventing a spillover of the militancy to those countries from Nigeria.
Haram has been largely pushed out of its main strongholds in northern Nigeria,
according to the country’s military and government. The group, however, is
still active in its Sambisa Forest enclave in Borno and launches sporadic
attacks on civilians and security forces from there.
than 20,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in more
than eight years of insurgency by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and
Niger. The group pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh group in 2015.
United Nations has warned that areas affected by Boko Haram face a humanitarian
this month, a Chadian soldier was killed in a mortar attack launched by Boko
Haram on a military camp in Litri, near the border with Nigeria.
late September, six people, including two soldiers, were killed in another Boko
Haram attack on the Chadian shores of Lake Chad, in which 17 of the assailants
were shot dead by the army.
Libyan coastguard fired shots at Italian fishing boats before seizing the
vessels and detaining their crew, Italian media said Wednesday.
boats, both from Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, came under fire some 29 nautical
miles off the North African coast late Tuesday in an area that Libya insists is
an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the town’s mayor was quoted as saying.
officials boarded the boats and ordered the captains to head to the port of Ras
Al Hilal, mayor Nicola Cristaldi said.
vessels, with crews of six and seven respectively, were boarded “in waters that
Libya unilaterally and illegitimately considers its own,” Cristaldi said,
adding that no one was hurt.
Libyans... opened fire on the crew... On defenceless and unarmed people,” said
Vincenzo Asaro, owner of one of the boats.
Italian foreign office declined to comment.
officials say a mass grave containing 75 bodies has been found near Sirte, the
former bastion of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the North African
al-Amial, the coastal city's municipal council spokesman said on Wednesday
that the mass grave was uncovered in an
agricultural area of al-Daheir, west of Sirte.
decomposed bodies were recovered" in the presence of the public
prosecutor, Sirte's security force and the Red Crescent.
said the find was made "a few days ago" and that the bodies were
believed to be of Daesh members , although there was no confirmation.
samples had been taken for analysis.
exploited the disarray that emerged in Libya following the 2011 overthrow and
death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, taking over a strip of coastal
land, including Sirte, in June 2015.
on the Mediterranean coast, the city was the main urban center that Daesh
managed to seize outside Iraq and Syria.
of Libya's UN-backed unity government, known as GNA, expelled Daesh from the
coastal city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly combat. The group
has since pulled back to desert outposts.
their defeat in Sirte, the militants have kept up the fight from rural areas of
western Libya. In April, the Tripoli-based unity government launched a campaign
to flush them out.
terrorist group claimed responsibility for a an attack last month on the
Tripoli headquarters of Libya's National Oil Corporation that killed two
staffers as well as an assault in May on the country's electoral commission in
which 14 people died.
the formation of the internationally-recognized GNA, which emerged from two
competing governments in Libya in December 2015, the country has yet to become
administratively unified. Military factions allied with renegade General
Khalifa Haftar continue to act on their own and without coordination with GNA.
There have been reports that Haftar loyalists have been in contact with foreign
forces conducting drone operations in Libya as well.
from several Western countries, including the United States, France and
Britain, are in Libya in a purported drone war on Daesh.
The Somalia-based Al-Shabab extremist group says it has executed five men
accused of spying for US, British and Somali intelligence agencies.
announced the killings on its Andalus radio station, saying they were carried
out in a public square in Jilib town in Middle Jubba region late Tuesday.
to residents, the men were tied to poles and shot by a firing squad shortly
after a self-proclaimed judge sentenced them to death.
a seperate incident, two Kenyan teachers were killed when suspected Al-Shabab
militants threw an explosive device at a house at a school in Mandera county
near the Somali border, police said.
claimed responsibility for the attack overnight.
teachers were killed in a fire caused by the explosion in the attack at Arabia
Boys Secondary School, police said on Twitter.
reservists guarding the school "engaged the attackers who then fled as
more reinforcements were mobilised", police said.
Al-Qaeda’s East Africa affiliate, has fought for years to impose a strict
version of Islam in the Horn of Africa nation.
Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Tijjani Bande, has said that
Nigeria has taken measures that contributed to the confrontation and decimation
of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group.
Bande stated this while addressing a UN Committee on the topic: ‘Measures to
Eliminate International Terrorism’ at the 73rd Session of the UN General
Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.
envoy said: “Nigeria is no stranger to the activities of terrorists, and in
particular, Boko Haram.
the Nigerian Government has since confronted and decimated their activities and
has put in place bold and robust strategies to continue to address the heinous
atrocities of the Boko Haram insurgency.
collaboration of neighbours and many partners aided us in large measure to
achieve the current outcome.
continue to enjoy closer cooperation with our neighbours, especially Cameroon,
Chad, Niger and Benin Republic who have come together within the framework of
the Lake Chad Basin Commission to form a Multinational Joint Task Force
(MNJTF), headquartered in N’Djamena, Chad”.
Nigerian envoy regretted that terrorism had continued to be a serious menace to
international peace and security.
to him, terrorist acts are insidious in character and usually destabilise the
structures of governance with adverse effects on development in the affected
this sad reality, Mr Bande said, the international community needed to develop
an inclusive and collaborative approach to jointly deter and annihilate
reaffirmed Nigeria’s continued support and readiness to cooperate with UN on
efforts to end terrorism in all its manifestations.
said: “I am glad to also emphasise that Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy is
fully anchored on the respect for human rights and international humanitarian
is against this background that the residents in the North-Eastern states of
Nigeria now move about their daily businesses in relative safety.
the commencement of the revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST)
by the current administration in 2016, Nigerians have equipped themselves
psychologically to win the war against terrorism.”
to him, the strategy succeeded in uniting Nigerians from all works of life
towards defeating Boko Haram.
also encourages religious leaders to use their various places of worship to
enlighten their followers against any extremism or intolerance, he added.
Bande said the programme for de-radicalisation, rehabilitation, reorientation
and re-integration for repentant Boko Haram members, Victims Support Fund and
the Presidential Initiative for the North East as well as the Safe School
Initiative are still ongoing.
initiatives, he said, had facilitated the provision of humanitarian relief,
socio-economic stabilization and resettlement of persons displaced by Boko
the war against terrorism on all frontiers can only be achieved through the
determined resolve of all Member States of the United Nations to work together.
Parties must ensure full compliance with all United Nations Resolutions and
Conventions against terrorism and its financing as well as other instruments
adopted at regional levels.
will constitute not only a valid point of departure, but also a contextual
framework for cooperation among member states,” he stressed.
Bande said Nigeria’s adoption of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy and
Plan of Action to prevent violent extremism is a clear indication of its
readiness to root out terrorism and end the destructive activities of Boko
portrayal of the FBI has fortunately come a long way since the old procedural starring
Efrem Zimbalist that aired on ABC in the mid-1960s.
this year, the Hulu series “The Looming Tower” took viewers inside the workings
of the bureau’s New York office where real-life agents Ali Soufan (Tahir Rahim)
and John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels) fought a nasty turf war with the CIA over
intelligence related to al-Qaeda.
& Order” mastermind Dick Wolf has used the New York office as the basis for
his latest procedural, somewhat prosaically titled “FBI” (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
It too has a Muslim agent, the fictitious Omar Adom “OA” Zidan, played by
Egyptian-born newcomer Zeeko Zaki. The role was originally written for a Latino
detective — until Zaki’s agent slipped the actor the script and told him to put
himself on tape. Shortly thereafter, he was summoned to Wolf’s office.
were very interested in me being just me,” says Zaki, 28. “I came in so dark
and so HBO and they were like, “ ‘Nah … stop. We want America to have a beer
with this guy. Bring a little levity into it.’ ”
who grew up Muslim outside of Philadelphia, laughs, as if he’s unlocked the
secret to getting a job on a network drama. Prior to this big break, he had
$300 in his bank account and was taking real-estate classes. He was making a
living playing “terrorist and ex-military characters.” In 2017, he appeared
simultaneously on the failed Fox series “24: Legacy” and the History Channel
his meeting with Wolf, Zaki received a script where the first line was in
Arabic; the part of the Latino detective had been rewritten. “Zeeko’s
Egyptian/Muslim background both grounds and adds depth to the character,” says
Wolf. “He speaks fluent Arabic and that character has not been on a series
before. I think he is representative of the type of people that are the boots
on the ground in the FBI.”
“boots on the ground” experience was put to the test in the pilot, where a
series of Bronx apartment buildings exploded. While much of that shattering
effect was created by a special effects team, Zaki says there was enough
pandemonium on location to bring back memories of 9/11 for members of the crew.
“They had cannons in every window. You’re getting covered in soot. You have
guys following you around with these dust guns. And there’s fire and
everything. And in the moment as an actor, I have no precedent for that,” he
says. “It got a little deep. Our director came out, tearing up. It was a very
heavy moment. It kind of showed us how important is to represent FBI agents.”
doing his bit to make viewers aware of the personal sacrifices made by FBI
agents, Zaki sees a larger purpose to his role as Zidan — to rehabilitate the
image of his people on American TV, since he’s all too aware that Muslims have
been the go-to enemy on network series for years.
sees “FBI” as a chance to change “the narrative for Arab-Americans and help
create a platform and a voice — I hate the word ‘tolerance.’ I was given this
platform and this opportunity so we have to figure out how to use it for good.
I have a lot of Arab-American actor friends and everyone is sick and tired of
playing terrorists and crying mothers.”
United States said Wednesday it will refuse any post-war reconstruction
assistance to Syria if Iran is present, expanding the rationale for US
involvement in the conflict.
of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to a pro-Israel group, vowed an aggressive push to
counter Iran across the Middle East and said that Syria was a decisive
onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syrian government, which
bears responsibility for its presence there,” Pompeo told the Jewish Institute
for National Security of America.
Syria doesn’t ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian-backed troops, it will not
receive one single dollar from the United States for reconstruction,” Pompeo
speech effectively broadens the official explanation for why the United States
is involved in Syria’s civil war, which a monitoring group says has killed
close to 365,000 people since 2011.
president Barack Obama authorized military action with the goal of rooting out
the Islamic State group, or ISIS, the extremist force that has boasted of a
slew of grisly attacks both in Syria and the West.
United States has about 2,000 troops in Syria, primarily to train and advise
forces other than ISIS that are waging an increasingly precarious fight to topple
President Bashar al-Assad.
acknowledged that Assad was stronger thanks to Iranian and Russian help and
said that, with ISIS “beaten into a shadow of its former self,” new priorities
ISIS, which was once our primary focus, continues to be a priority. But it will
now be joined by two other mutually reinforcing objectives,” Pompeo said.
include a peaceful political resolution to the Syrian conflict and the removal
of all Iranian and Iranian-backed forces from Syria.”
hesitant on Syria –
US funding threats are unlikely to make an immediate impact in Syria.
a vocal critic of foreign aid as he promotes an “America First” policy, in
August pulled the United States out of Syria’s near-term reconstruction, suspending
$230 million after Gulf Arab allies made their own pledges.
Pompeo’s speech marks a new sign that the United States is not leaving Syria
anytime soon after Trump, a onetime critic of foreign interventions, earlier
this year mused aloud about withdrawing troops.
national security adviser John Bolton, a longtime hawk on Iran, told reporters
last month that US troops would stay “as long as Iranian troops are outside
ruled by Shiite Muslim clerics, has deployed both troops and its Lebanese ally
Hezbollah to prop up Assad, a secular leader who belongs to the Alawite sect
and is facing down hardline Sunni Muslim forces.
has seen instability in Syria as a golden opportunity to tip the regional
balance of power in its favor,” Pompeo said.
warned that Iran, a sworn foe of Israel, would open a new front against the
Jewish state if it remained in Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has similarly warned that he will never
accept an Iranian presence in Syria.
has withdrawn from an international agreement negotiated under Obama through
which Iran slashed its sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
Pompeo boasted that Trump has imposed on Iran “some of the harshest sanctions
Trump administration has closely allied itself with both Israel and Saudi
Arabia, the Sunni kingdom which sees Iran as its chief rival in the region.
in his speech did not air any criticism of Saudi Arabia, which has been accused
by Turkish government sources of killing a prominent Saudi journalist last week
inside its Istanbul consulate.
American Muslim Advisory Council is pushing back against Republican
gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee's campaign for reportedly trying to have his
Democratic opponent photographed at a "Muslim event."
Nashville-based advisory council, a nonprofit focused on building mutual trust
and respect in order to protect all Tennesseans from violence and prejudice,
released a statement Tuesday night saying they were disappointed in the
statement came after reports that a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was
reassigned for inadvertently divulging information about Democrat Karl Dean to
the Lee campaign about Dean attending a Muslim event.
order to create a prosperous, welcoming state, a governor must serve the
interests of all Tennesseans, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion,
socio-economic status or zip-code," Sabina Mohyuddin, the advisory
council's program manager, said in the statement. "We invite Mr. Lee to
reach out to diverse communities, including Tennessee Muslims, and understand
how to best serve their needs."
Tuesday, the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee reported that a trooper assigned to
provide security for both candidates was removed from his post last month after
violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing details of Dean’s schedule to
learning about a Dean stop the Lee campaign understood to be part of a
"Muslim event," the Lee campaign jokingly asked another trooper whether
his staff could obtain a photo of Dean at the event, according to the
Lee campaign did not immediately provide a comment for this story. On Tuesday,
Lee spokeswoman Laine Arnold said the candidate didn't remember the interaction
has no recollection of the conversation being described in the report,"
Arnold said in a statement. "He has great respect for the THP members
involved, but this sounds like a miscommunication."
made mistakes in its diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia, and was not effective in
its dealings with the kingdom, the expelled Canadian Ambassador to Riyadh
Dennis Horak said on Wednesday.
was a situation that didn’t need to occur … to sort of yell from the sidelines
I don’t think is effective,” Horak said in a phone interview.
added that the liberal government of Justin Trudeau should have spent more time
improving ties with the kingdom.
comments are considered the first time a top Canadian official makes public
statements placing the blame on Ottawa for the row that has almost severed
relations between the two countries.
Arabia froze new trade with Canada in August and expelled the Canadian
ambassador in retaliation for Ottawa’s call to free arrested Saudis in the
kingdom. It also ended state-backed educational and medical programs in Canada,
making plans to relocate tens of thousands of Saudi students and patients to
urging of immediate release I think went too far,” Horak said.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had demanded an apology from Canada last month
during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He denounced
an “outrageous” tweet by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland directed
at the kingdom last month, and accused them of treating the kingdom like “a
are we? A banana republic? Would any country accept this?” al-Jubeir said at an
event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “You owe us an apology.
It is very easy to fix -- apologize, say you made a mistake.”
who was head of Canada‘s diplomatic mission in Iran when the previous
government cut ties with Tehran in 2012, said Ottawa needed to put more effort
into talking with nations it did not always agree with.
Trump administration officials have talked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman about the disappearance of a dissident Saudi journalist in Turkey.
security adviser John Bolton and President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared
Kushner initially talked to him about Jamal Khashoggi.
of State Mike Pompeo also had a follow-up call with the Saudi’s de facto
both calls they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be
transparent in the investigation process," the White House said.
House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the US would continue to
inquire about the fate of the journalist.
was last seen late last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul,
where Turkish officials insist that he was killed inside the facility, an
allegation denied by Saudi officials.
Turkish Daily Sabah has released the identities of the Saudi operatives, who
had apparently travelled from Riyadh to Istanbul on two private jets and
entered the Saudi mission on October 2 as Khashoggi entered the building.
mysterious disappearance has led to protests in front of the Saudi Embassy in
Washington, DC, where activists demanded justice for missing journalist.
US senators triggered an investigation and potential sanctions against Riyadh.
lawmakers, Bob Corker, Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy wrote a
letter to Trump demanding a probe under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights
urged Trump to consider any information in the investigation "including
with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi
days, our global political alliances seem to shift with remarkable rapidity, as
if we were actually living in George Orwell’s 1984. Are we at war this month
with Oceania? Or is it Eastasia? In that novel, the Party is able to erase
history, sending old newspaper articles down the Ministry of Truth’s “memory
hole” and so ensuring that, in the public mind, the enemy of the moment was
always the enemy. Today, there is one constant, though. The Trump administration
has made Muslims our enemy of the first order and, in its Islamophobia, is
reinforced by an ugly resurgence of fascism in Germany, Italy, Hungary, and
other European countries.
hard today even to imagine that, in the late 1980s, the rightwing Christian
Voice Magazine published a “candidate’s biblical scoreboard,” urging its
readers (and potential voters) to rate their politicians by how “biblically”
they cast their ballots in Congress. One key measure of this: Did that
legislator support the anti-Communist Muslim jihadis in Afghanistan, a cause
warmly supported by evangelist Pat Robertson in his 1988 presidential campaign?
Now, attempting to appeal to twenty-first-century evangelicals, President Trump
has announced that “Islam hates us.”
kaleidoscope of geopolitics and Islamophobia is now spinning so fast that it
should make our heads spin, too. At times, it seems as if Donald Trump is the
anti-Ronald Reagan of the twenty-first century, idolizing former KGB operative
Vladimir Putin, but seeing former U.S. allies in the Muslim world like Pakistan
as purveyors of “nothing but lies and deceit” -- until, that is, with
bewildering rapidity, he suddenly gives us the “good” (that is, oil-rich)
Muslims again, willingly performing a sword dance with the Saudi royals,
seemingly entirely comfortable with the scimitar of the Saracen.
the president oscillates between abusing and fawning over the elites of the
Muslim world, his true opprobrium is reserved for the poor and helpless. His
hatred of refugees uprooted by the horrific Syrian civil war, for instance,
stems from his conviction that this population (predominantly women and
children, as well as some men fleeing the fighting) might actually be adherents
of the so-called Islamic State group (also known as ISIL, ISIS, or Daesh) and
so part of the building of a secretive paramilitary force in the West. He’s
even speculated that “this could be one of the great tactical ploys of all
time. A 200,000-man army, maybe.”
summer, he also tweeted: “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over
Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently
changed their culture!” And a day later claimed it had risen by 10%. Though
immigrant communities can indeed produce some crime until they find their
footing, the crime rate in Germany, despite the welcoming of two million
immigrants in 2015 alone, has fallen to a 30-year low, as have crimes by
of course, is there an army of terrorists the size of the active-duty forces of
France or Italy among those hapless Syrian refugees. Still, that outlandish
conspiracy theory may be part of what lay behind the president’s blatantly
unconstitutional 2015 call for a “total and complete shut-down” of Muslims
coming to the United States. Consider it a great irony, then, that some
significant part of the turmoil in the greater Middle East that helped provoke
waves of refugees and an Islamophobic backlash here and in Europe was, at least
in part, the creation of this country, not Muslim fundamentalist madmen.
Islamophobes like to argue that Islam is an inherently violent religion, that
its adherents are quite literally commanded to such violence by its holy
scriptures, the Qur’an. It’s a position that, as I explain in my new book,
Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires, is both utterly false and
ahistorical. As it happens, you would have to look to far more recent realities
to find the impetus for the violence, failed states, and spreading terror
groups in today’s Greater Middle East. Start with the Reagan administration’s
decision to deploy rag-tag bands of Muslim extremists (which al-Qaeda was first
formed to support) against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. That
set in motion massive turmoil still roiling that country, neighboring Pakistan,
and beyond, decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.
course, al-Qaeda notoriously blew back on America. Its September 11, 2001,
attacks on New York and Washington were then used by American neoconservatives
in the administration of George W. Bush -- some of whom had served in the
Reagan years, cheering on the American-backed Afghan fundamentalists, as well
as their Arab allies -- to set the United States on a permanent war footing in
the Muslim world. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, promoted on the false pretext that
Saddam Hussein’s government supported al-Qaeda, kicked off a set of guerrilla
insurgencies and provoked a Sunni-Shiite civil war that spread in the region.
of thousands would die and at least four million people, including staggering
numbers of children, would be displaced over the years thanks to George W.
Bush’s boondoggle. The al-Qaeda franchise ISIL (formed initially as al-Qaeda in
Iraq in the wake of the U.S. invasion) arose to expel American troops there.
Ultimately, its militants made inroads in neighboring Syria in 2011 and 2012
and the U.S. allowed them to grow in hopes of putting pressure on the Syrian
government of Bashar al-Assad.
is now all too clear, such policies created millions of refugees, some of whom
streamed towards Europe, only to be greeted by a rising tide of white Christian
bigotry and neo-Nazism. There’s no way to measure the degree to which America’s
wars across the Greater Middle East and North Africa have, in fact, changed our
world. When, for instance, British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed on to
Bush’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, how could he have foreseen that
he was helping set off events that would result in a British withdrawal from
the European Union (a decision in which anti-immigrant sentiment played an
outsized role) -- and so the diminishment of his country?
helped spread extremism and set in motion massive population displacements,
Western elites then developed a profound fear of the millions of refugees they
had helped chase out of the Middle East. Executive Order 13769, President
Trump’s abrupt January 2017 visa ban, which created chaos at American airports
and provoked widespread protests and court challenges -- many of its elements
were, however, ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court -- appears to have been
premised on the notion that a Trojan Horse of Muslim extremism was headed for
reality, the relatively small number of terrorist attacks here by
Muslim-Americans (covered so much more intensively than the more common mass
shootings by white nationalists) have most often been carried out by “lone
wolves” who “self-radicalized” on the Internet and who, had they been white,
would simply have been viewed as mentally unbalanced.
realities of that sort don’t make a dent in the president’s agenda. In 2018,
the Trump administration will likely only admit about 20,000 refugees, far less
than last year’s 45,000, thanks to administration demands that the FBI carry
out “extreme vetting” of all applicants without being given any extra resources
to do so. Of the refugees admitted in the first half of this year, only about
one in six was a Muslim, while in 2016, when 84,995 refugees were admitted, they
were equally divided between Christians and Muslims.
average, the U.S. still admits a little more than a million immigrants
annually, of which refugees are a small (and decreasing) proportion. Since
2010, more immigrants have come from Asia than any other area, some 45% of them
with college degrees, which means that Trump’s very image of immigrants is
ban on immigrants from five Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Syria, Libya,
Yemen, and Somalia) was largely symbolic, since they were generally not sources
of significant immigration. It was also remarkably arbitrary, since it did not
include Iraq or Afghanistan, where violent insurgencies and turmoil continue
but whose governments host American troops. It does, however, include the
relatively peaceful country of Iran.
Muslim ban has broken up families, even as it harmed American businesses and
universities whose employees (or in the case of colleges, students) have been
abruptly barred from the country. The restrictions on immigration from Syria
and Yemen are particularly cruel, since those lands face the most extreme
humanitarian crises on the planet and the United States has been deeply
implicated in the violence in both of them. Moreover, Iranians who do emigrate
to the U.S. are, for the most part, members of minorities or political
dissidents. In fact, no nationals from any of those five banned states have
committed lethal acts of terrorism in the United States in the last 40 years.
Islamophobia of President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National
Security Advisor John Bolton, and others in the administration, aided and
abetted by the megaphone that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News offers, has had a
distinct impact on public opinion. Attacks on Muslim-Americans have, for instance,
spiked back to 2001 levels. A recent poll found that some 16% of Americans want
to deny the vote to Muslim-Americans, 47% support Trump’s visa restrictions,
and a majority would like all mosques to be kept under surveillance. (A
frequent, if completely false, talking point of the Islamophobes is that
Muslims here have a single ideology and are focused on a secret plan to take
over the United States.) You undoubtedly won’t be surprised to learn that such
unhinged conspiracy theories are far more prevalent among Republicans than
Democrats and independents.
unsurprising is the fact that Americans in the Trump era give a lower
favorability rating to Muslim-Americans (a little over 1% of the U.S.
population) than to virtually any other religious or ethnic group (though
feminists and evangelicals are runners-up). By a spread of about 20 points,
they believe that Muslim-Americans are both more religious than Christian
Americans and less likely to respect the country’s ideals and laws. They slam
Muslims for according women and gays low status, though a majority of
Muslim-Americans say that homosexuals should be accepted in society, a belief
that Muslim-American women hold in the same percentages as the rest of the
American public. As for those women, they are among the best educated of any
faith group in the country, suggesting extremely supportive families.
reality, Muslim-Americans are remarkably well integrated into this country and
have committed little terrorism here. In the past decade and a half, on
average, 28 Muslim-Americans a year were associated with acts of violent
extremism out of a population of 3.5 million and most of those “acts” involved
traveling abroad to join radical movements. Muslim-American extremists killed
17 people in 2017, a year in which white gunmen killed 267 Americans in mass
Islamophobia that Donald Trump has made his own arose in the decade after the
collapse of the Soviet Union, once the bogeyman of Communism was removed from
the quiver of the American Right. The 1990s were hard on the Republican Party
and its plutocrats (with a popular Clinton in the White House), and on the arms
manufacturers facing a public increasingly uninterested in foreign adventurism
with no sense of threat from abroad. The Pentagon budget was even briefly cut
in those years, producing what was then called a “peace dividend.” (It wasn’t.)
And though it’s now hard to imagine, in 1995 the United States was not involved
in a conventional hot war anywhere in the world.
this no-longer-so-new century, the Republican Party, like the Trump presidency,
did, however, find the bogeyman it needed and it looks remarkably like a
modernized version of the rabidly anti-Communist McCarthyism of the 1950s. In
fact, the endless demonization of Muslims may be less a cudgel to wield against
the small Muslim-American community than against Democratic opponents who can
be lambasted as “soft on terrorism” if they resist demands to demonize Muslims
and their religion.
my own state of Michigan, Elissa Slotkin, an acting assistant secretary of
defense for international security affairs in the Obama years and a former CIA
analyst, is running as a Democrat in the 8th District against Congressman Mike
Bishop. Slotkin played a role in developing the anti-ISIL strategies that Trump
adopted when he came into office. Nonetheless, our airwaves are now saturated
with pro-Bishop ads smearing Slotkin, a third-generation Michigander, for her
supposed involvement in President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and so for being
little short of a Shiite terrorist herself. Similarly, in San Diego,
California’s 50th district, the scandal-ridden campaign of Republican
Congressman Duncan Hunter (indicted for embezzling $250,000 in campaign funds)
continues to broadly intimate that his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a
Christian American of Palestinian and Mexican descent, is a Muslim Brotherhood
infiltrator seeking to enter Congress.
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