there is no doubt that the amount allocated to the revival of Jewish heritage
was a major source of controversy. (AFP)
Needed To Tackle Modern Challenges to Islam: Salman Khurshid
in India Influenced By Sufism, Bhakti Movement’: Jaipur Literature Festival
Not Glorify Aurangzeb, Instead Reclaim Fakiri Islam’
Browser Promises Better Web Experience with Halal Internet
Nexus Plotting Series of Terror Attacks in South Asian Nations
Pledge Joint Struggle against Terrorism
Minister Tours East Jerusalem Al-Quds, Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
Haram: Nigerian Air Force Deploys Female Combatants to North-East
Controversial Revival of Egypt’s Jewish Heritage
Positive Feeling, Gujarati Hindus Say after Visiting Masjid Umar Bin Khattab
hoisting held in Islamic Madrasas
Attending ‘Puja’, Accepting ‘Prasad’ Un-Islamic? Here’s What Muslim Clerics Say
charity fund used in buying voice of media houses in the world
ATS Nabs 24-Year-Old with Link to 'ISIS-Inspired' Group from Thane
‘Muslim’ in AMU as it’s uncomfortable: BJP MP
breaches truce on LoC, intrusion bid foiled on IB
suspect Amroha-Delhi terror handler based in Pakistan
cathedral bombing sparks peace process worries
State behind lethal Philippine church bombing
Will Not Create Islamic Caliphate, Says Christian Brother
leaders cite rise of Malay Muslim wave for BN's Cameron Highlands victory
die in Philippine church bomb attacks
Muslim couple buck the norm with piggy wares for CNY
million mosques in Indonesia? Only God knows, says Kalla
Afghan peace pact reached: Taliban
State training camp busted in Sri Lanka
is serious about pursuing peace in Afghanistan: Pompeo
shares details of U.S.-Taliban talks in Qatar with President Ghani
US, Pakistan hail progress in peace talks
shuts Mazar-i-Sharif consulate after botched attack
will try to resume peace talks with India after polls: Fawad
equality imperative to build a peaceful society: moot
that came through rigging can’t be tolerated further: Fazl
remarks about founders of opposition parties deplored
on 900km Pak-Afghan border fence completed: army
Aviv responsible for expansion of settler terrorism: PLO official
President Abbas to shake up his government
Warns Hezbollah Chief of Israel’s ‘Lethal’ Power
artist brings Japanese origami to Gaza
forces shot, injure more Palestinians in West Bank clashes
says it killed 30 Nigerian soldiers
‘Long Live Tunisia’ party born, to be led by PM Chahed
protesters rally in Sudan despite massive police deployment
Haram attacks military bases in northeast Nigeria
dismay stare in the face of displaced Libyans
Faso attack kills 10: security source
Arabia executes four Yemenis for murdering Pakistani man
League calls for Syrian integrity, peaceful solution to crisis
killed, over a dozen injured in bomb and gun attacks across Iraq
Western Arms Discovered at Terrorists' Hideouts in Syria
Sends Fresh Military Convoy to Deir Ezzur after Vast Popular Unrest Against SDF
Attack Turkish Army Camp in Northern Iraq
Turkey-Backed Forces, Kurds Engage in Fierce Clashes in Northern Syria's Manbij
Arrests over 1,300 Civilians in Raqqa Uprisings
envoy meets Arab League chief for Syria talks
attacks kill four policemen, wound several others in northern Iraq
to summon Turkish envoy over killing of Iraqi Kurd
Macron: Egypt's Rights Record Seen As Worse Than Under Hosni Mubarak
Son Was Terrified': How Prevent Alienates UK Muslims
leader eyes secession over name row with Muslim party
Islamic school leaders 'reach out' to vandals
must move away from economic reliance on Iran - British official
Ban': Two Years On, Trump's Order Still Destroying Lives
says progress made in Taliban talks amid reports of troop pull-out deal
US congresswoman slams Trump admin for backing Venezuela ‘coup’
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Needed To Tackle Modern Challenges To Islam: Salman Khurshid
Union minister Salman Khurshid Sunday said there is a need to resort to ijtihad
to interpret Islam to tackle modern challenges before the Muslim community.
is an Islamic term implying a process of deducing legal decisions based on the
modern and contemporary society, there is a great need for a serious look at
ijtihad to interpret Islam in terms of modern challenges," said Khurshid,
replying to a question on as to who speaks for Muslims in India.
problem, however, lies in acceptance of interpreters and their interpretations,
India, we have Muslim Personal Law Board; lot of people accept it, but lot
others do not," said Khurshid.
the country has the Supreme Court, but lot of people question if it is equipped
to deal with the core of Islam, he added.
was speaking here at Jaipur Literary Festival session on 'Islam: Multiple Histories'.
also urged his community members to look within.
on Islam in India, the Congress leader said Islam in India is different from
what it is in West Asia.
Islam is greatly influenced by other religions of our land, he said.
any threat to Indian Muslim world from Wahhabism, an Islamic doctrine and
religious movement, Khurshid highlighted the facts that Sufism and Bhakti
andolan came together in India, which has imbibed the ideas of Saint Kabir.
have a country that revolves around the kind of ideas that Saint Kabir gave us,
I do not think wahhabism has a ghost of a chance of finding roots in India, he
Indian Muslims and non-Muslims have been united on all issues of international
concern about the Islam. India is a country with remarkably rich culture of
Sufism and Bhakti movement coming together, he said.
Islamic State, he said it is a negation of Islam.
is a wondrous religion. There are many things in Islam but what we see in the
name of Islam today in the world with people resorting to violence not only
against people of other religions but against the Muslims themselves is a total
negation of Islam, he said.
about his views of triple talaq issue, Khurshid said it is a completely
supreme court has come to the conclusion that there is no triple talaq in
India. It came to this conclusion after having looked into this concept with
considerable efforts. That is the end, he said.
puritanical Islamic doctrine of Wahhabism was incapable of taking roots in
India because of diverse traditions in the Muslim community influenced by the
country's composite culture, experts on Muslim culture said on Sunday.
panel of experts analysed multiple interpretative traditions among Muslims in
India and elsewhere as well as modern challenges before them at a discussion on
“Islam: Multiple Histories” at the Jaipur Literature Festival here.
and the Bhakti movement have had an impact on the beliefs and thoughts of
Muslims since the medieval period, the experts said, adding that Islam
practised in India was “vastly different” from that in West Asian countries.
speakers also focused on the issues faced by Muslims living in secular
societies, dilemmas created by technological advancements and the challenge of
finding a unitary voice for the entire community.
leader and former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, historian Rana
Safvi and Canada-based anthropologist Zulfikar Hirji, who teaches at York
University, Toronto, were in conversation with American journalist and author
Max Rodenbeck, who is at present the South Asia Bureau Chief with The
Khurshid said though the basic belief of Muslims was the same everywhere, its
understanding, interpretations and conceptions were quite different. “In that
sense, Wahhabism, which is very different from Sufi Islam, cannot find a place
in our country,” he said, and added that Indian Muslims had already repudiated
the two-nation theory of Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Congress leader said the doors of Ijtihad (independent interpretation) were not
closed forever in Islam and there was a “great need” for its application in
contemporary society to interpret the religion in the light of modern
should work on it in a democratic way. Both the spiritual and political leaders
should join efforts and guide the community,” he said.
Safvi said Sufism had a special place in India’s history, as Sufi mystics such
as Nizamuddin Auliya and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti would sit and discuss Islam
and understood it as a service to the people. In the secular domain, no one
could stop non-Muslims from speaking up for Muslims’ rights, she said.
Hirji made references to the book, “Islam: An Illustrated Journey”, co-authored
by him and Farhad Daftari, while stating that Islamic violence was a “total
rejection of Islamic values”.
Used to hear victimhood stories, the packed hall at the historic Khilafat House
in Byculla heard Hilal Ahmed in disbelief. He took the community, not down the
memory lane of Muslim’s “glorious past” or the gloomy present but for some course
corrections. He urged the community to reclaim what he termed fakiri Islam
(Islam of the marginalised as the Prophet practised and preached) and
dissociate themselves from Islam that monarchs propagated.
associate professor at New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing
Societies and an eminent voice on political Islam and Muslim representation,
Hilal was in the city last week to speak on “Marginalisation and Representation
of Muslims in India: The Way Ahead” organised by Community Talking Platform, an
initiative of the NGO Qartaba Wisdom Club.
the Muslim discourse has remained confined to a few identity issues like Babri
Masjid, minority character of Aligarh Muslim University and Urdu. The
victimhood mentality has been a big hurdle,” said Ahmed, 48. A PhD from the
School of Oriental and African Studies from the University of London, Hilal
took a swipe at the tendency to turn the Babri Masjid issue into a dispute
between two communities. “It is dispute of the ownership of land which the
court will decide. A perception is being given that if Muslims surrendered
their claim over Babri Mosque, hundreds of other disputed places of worship
would surface. Country is ruled by laws not perceptions,” he said.
who went to a DAV school in Delhi where he studied Sanskrit before attending
universities of Delhi and London argued that Islam must be reclaimed from those
who look at faith from the prism of power. “Instead of glorifying Aurangzeb,
efforts should be on fakiri Islamat,” he said. He expressed dismay over the
dwindling number of Muslim devotees at dargahs of Sufi saints. He also
criticised movements like Tablighi Jamaat which spread a certain escapism in
the community. “We have to talk about and wrestle with issues more here than of
hereafter,” he said.
browser promises better web experience with halal internet
LUMPUR: A Malaysian startup is betting that there’s plenty of pent-up demand
for a new browser that’s compliant with Islamic values, at a time of mounting
concerns over privacy, bias and online abuse over the internet.
a mobile browser, is designed to deliver a Muslim-friendly web experience.
app, which includes messaging, news and other features, is aimed at users in
Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Hasni Zarina Mohamed Khan, managing
director at Salam Web Technologies.
goal is to eventually capture 10% of the 1.8 billion global Muslim population.
pointed to some of challenges facing the web, as the world’s largest technology
companies from Google to Facebook face criticism for doing too little to
address harmful content and false information.
rights group Amnesty International looked at abusive interactions and concluded
that Twitter is a “toxic place for women.”
want to make the internet a better place,” Hasni Zarina said. “We know the
internet has the good and the bad, so SalamWeb offers you a tool to create this
window that lets you go to the internet to see the good.”
relies on community-vetted content filters that mark web pages as appropriate,
neutral or inappropriate, while warning users when they approach sites with
gambling or pornography.
also has Muslim-specific functions, such as prayer times and an indicator for
Qibla, or the direction that a Muslim must face when praying.
products are certified compliant by the independent Amanie Shariah Supervisory
Board, and is built on the open-source Chromium software that’s the basis of
Google Chrome web browser.
law prohibits activities considered unethical, such as gambling, prostitution
and alcohol- and pork-related businesses, as well as interest-based financial
promoting universal values – although SalamWeb is targeted to Muslims, it can
be used by anyone.
internet can be a harmful place. It’s obvious that we need an alternative,”
Hasni Zarina said.
nexus plotting series of terror attacks in South Asian nations
newly-formed nexus between Islamic State (ISIS), Jamaat e Islami (JI) and
Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is secretly plotting series of terrorist
attacks in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
to Shwe Kalaung of the Jihad Watch, “the increasing global problem of Islamic
terrorism is now becoming a harsh reality in Sri Lanka. The four men arrested
at the compound with the explosives are being held for three months for further
interrogation, with permission from the Defense Ministry under the Prevention
of Terrorism Act, to establish more information about their network and
motives. There have been no prior Islamic terror attacks in Sri Lanka, and
authorities are wondering if this new jihadist group in Wanathawilluwa, the
northwest region of the island, has connections to international Islamic terror
organizations. The evil purpose of these explosives is yet to be determined.
recent rise of Islamic jihad activity in Sri Lanka has been paralleled by a
rise in Islamic gangs who are controlling the drug trade. The historic heroin
seizure in December, 2018 shows a direct link to networks in Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Bangladesh. Ruthless Islamic gangs are known to control the
underworld in Sri Lanka, and have been connected to the recent assassination
plot of the President, along with several other political leaders in late
October 2018. Not much information is known about this new radical Islamic
group which was caught with the explosives or their connections to the
underworld in Sri Lanka, but the common purpose of these Islamic gangs and
jihadist networks is to create conflict and political instability inside Sri
Lanka. Many Sri Lankans, both Tamils and Sinhalese, believe they have become
the target of Islamic jihadis[t] over the last few years; growing evidence
shows their fears are not unfounded, since there have been no previous historic
problems with Islamic terror in Sri Lanka.”
until recently, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) was known as a
Myanmar-based Islamist terror outfit, latest information reveals, this group
already is linked with Islamic State (ISIS). Recent attacks against Buddhists,
such as the killing of two monks at a temple in Thailand, or the smashing of
statues from a Hindu temple in India, show a heightened level of daily regional
jihadist activity. In Rakhine State, Myanmar, Islamic terror led to a complete
insurgency in late August 2017 from the ISIS-linked terror organization Arakan
Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) that was formed in 2012. This insurgency was
masterminded by Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) through a
Pakistan-born Saudi imam, Ata Ullah, who also is known as the head of ARSA. So
the war on terror in Asia has literally become like an all-out war in the
countries of the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate.
government has faced with a rise of jihadist activity from powerful jihadist
factions such as Al Qaeda-linked Ansar Al Islam (AAI) and ISIS-linked Jamaatul
Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) inside the country. Since August 2018, Jamaat e
Islami (JI) has taken control of production and sale of Yaba pills
(methamphetamines) in Myanmar. The nexus is now selling this narcotic through a
network of drug dealers inside Bangladesh. According to information, although
the illegal trade of Yaba was earlier controlled by leaders of ruling Awami
League, the control of this trade gradually now is going into the grips of JI
cadres as well as members of other jihadist outfits in Bangladesh. It is even learnt
by counterterrorism experts, an infamous Awami League leader known for his
direct involvement in Yaba trade has secretly joined hands with newly formed JI
month, Yaba pills worth US$ 20-25 million are smuggled inside Bangladesh mainly
through Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Members of Jamaat e Islami are handling such
huge trade by establishing secret distribution centers within Chittagong
division while ARSA men are coordinating it from Myanmar.
drug money spent into jihadist activities:
proceeds of Yaba pills trade are secretly handed over to Pakistani ISI by JI
men in Bangladesh which is subsequently used in buying arms and explosives for
ARSA and other jihadist outfits in Bangladesh. Similar method is also followed
in other South Asian nations such as India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal. With
the help of Jamaat e Islami, ISIS has been very successfully expanding its
existence and network within the South Asian countries.
network of jihadists and terrorists:
the directives of Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and
supervision of Jamaat e Islami (JI), cash and weapons are being secretly
supplied to several jihadist and terrorist outfits in South Asia with notorious
agenda. In India, cash and weapons are regularly going to the members of
Kashmir-based Islamist militancy groups and country’s northeastern state-based
United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
Nepal, terror assistance is reaching an active group of terrorists named Nepal
People’s Army (PLA), National Defence Army (NDA) and Terai Army. Additionally,
jihadist and terrorist groups hiding in Nepal also are amongst the recipients
of such support. Circulation of counterfeit Indian rupees:
the jihadist and terrorist groups inside India, Pakistani spy agency Inter
Service Intelligence (ISI) has been circulating hundreds of millions of
counterfeit Indian currency bills with the agenda of destroying country’s
economy. According to credible information, ISI has been producing counterfeit
Indian currency bills inside the security printing press in Pakistan, which
later is pushed into India through several routes. Members of Lashkar e Taiba
(LeT), ARSA, Ansar Al Islam, ULFA etc are actively involved in working with ISI
is spreading such huge volume of counterfeit money through its networks inside
pledge joint struggle against terrorism
Representatives of political and religious organisations of the country have
agreed unanimously to carry out a joint struggle for elimination of the menace
of terrorism and extremism from the country.
and representatives of 28 religious and political organisations from Pakistan
gathered here Sunday at Paigham-e-Islam Ulema Mashaikh Convention that held
here under the aegis of Pakistan Ulema Council. The participants of the
convention announced observing 2019 as year to mark annihilation of terrorism,
extremism and violence from the country.
convention demanded the government to redress the grievances of seminaries and
Masajid with immediate effect. The participants of the convention resolved to
carry out joint struggle for the cause of the belief of Finality of
Prophethood. Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Chairman Pakistan Ulema
Council, presided over the convention and announced that Dar-ul-Afta Pakistan
is being constituted in Lahore in March 2019 to keep check on issuance of religious
decrees in the country through a proper mechanism. A joint declaration issued
at the convention underlined that an extremist and terrorist mindset has harmed
Islam and Muslim world more than any other issue. Islam has nothing to do with
extremism and terrorism as teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has
stressed on seeking moderate way. The convention pointed out that religious
scholars had announced unanimously in Islamabad Declaration, which held on 6th
January, that extremists' ideologies should not be associated with Islam and
convention demanded the government initiate consultative process for proper
legislation of Paigham-e-Pakistan draft. It demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan
to redress the grievances of seminaries and mosques regarding to make ease for
registration process. The seminaries are serving a major share of the country's
populace and concerns of religious sections of society regarding seminaries
registration should be addressed on priority without further delay. The
extremism and terrorism will get reinforcement if extension is not given to
military courts, said participants of the convention.
joint declaration of the convention praised endeavours on part of the PTI
government for strengthening bilateral relations with brotherly Muslim
countries. The declaration welcomed the decision of Saudi Crown Prince Amir
Muhammad bin Salman to visit Pakistan and mounting investment in Pakistan. It
also praised peace talks process for stability in Afghanistan with efforts of
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stating that peace talks between Afghan Taliban and
US leadership is very fruitful for peace and stability in the region. The
convention announced that 4th international message of Islam conference will be
held on 3rd March at Convention Centre, Islamabad, in which 5,000 religious
scholars from Pakistan and all over Muslim world will participate. A resolution
adopted at the convention condemned Sahiwal tragedy and demanded the government
expose the elements responsible for this barbaric incident by taking them to
minister tours East Jerusalem al-Quds, settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque
a provocative move, an Israeli minister has toured the occupied Old City of
East Jerusalem al-Quds, and a group of Israeli settlers have stormed the
Regev, who is a member of the Knesset for the Likud party and minister of
culture and sport, toured the streets of the occupied territories with a camera
crew in order to promote her political campaign for the upcoming Israeli
parliamentary elections, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on Sunday.
December last year, Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve the parliament in a bid
to hold early elections in April.
on Sunday, a group of nearly 40 Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli forces
entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem
Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the al-Aqsa Mosque, said that Israeli forces
also banned employees from the Islamic Endowment Department from entry into the
holy compound, preventing them from carrying out their work duties.
said that such provocations by Israeli forces occur on a daily basis.
said that Israeli forces also detained and assaulted a Palestinian youth in the
Israeli legislators and extremist settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in the occupied city.
of the Knesset members are right-wing extremists who support the demolition of
the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead on what is known
among settlers as the Temple Mount.
al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both
the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
continue in the occupied Palestinian territories in the aftermath of US
President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital”
and the relocation of the US embassy to the occupied city.
December 21 last year, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted
in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to undo those moves.
Haram: Nigerian Air Force deploys female combatants to North-east
Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed airwomen and female air officers, known
as Women of War, for military operations in the North-east.
female military personnel, according to Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar,
are actively involved in the on-going counter-insurgency operation with special
forces against Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements.
Abubakar, an air marshal, told PRNigeria that NAF is a gender-sensitive service
that encourages its personnel to explore their potentials without inhibition in
the armed forces.
Air Force Chief said: “We call them Women of War as they are well trained to engage
in combat and combat support operations for peace, security and national
female personnel like their male counterparts, help in neutralising insurgents
during air strike missions, while also providing tactical supports for the ground
of our airwomen and female officers are regular combatants who have completed
specialised training at home and abroad. Some of them regularly fly Beechcraft,
a special fighter plane used for gathering intelligence, carrying out
surveillance and reconnaissance.
the last few months, they courageously flew our aircraft across North-eastern
states, especially in Borno and the fringe of Lake Chad to detect and strike at
insurgents’ locations. They fly sometimes between four to six hours on the ISR
Women of War have continued to showcase their professional capacity as fearless
and courageous military personnel as pilots, loadmasters, aircraft maintenance
engineers, aerospace engineers, armament specialists, squad leaders, combatants,
loadmasters, Military police, and air traffic controllers among others.”
the NAF’s Women of War are productive and adding value to the service in
critical specialties, some of them are currently undergoing various studies in
combat operations and aircraft maintenance. PRNigeria gathered that a Nigerian
female officer is currently undergoing training in the United States of America
to become the first female fighter pilot in the history of the NAF and another
female officer is undergoing training in South Africa to become the first NAF
female helicopter gunship pilot.
controversial revival of Egypt’s Jewish heritage
September of 2017, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi allocated $71
million for the restoration of Jewish sites. While seen by many as a long
overdue step to acknowledge an important part of Egyptian culture, others have
been skeptical as they questioned the motives and timing of it, or simply
objected to the amount of money allotted to the project.
December of the same year, the Ministry of Antiquities stated that Jewish
landmarks are as much of a priority for the government as Pharaonic, Roman,
Coptic, and Islamic sites. A year later, in 2018, the ministry announced the
registration of 500 Jewish artifacts collected from several synagogues across
Haroun, the head of the Jewish community in Egypt, commended the seriousness of
the government in preserving Jewish heritage and noted that the registration of
Jewish artifacts, which include lamps, chandeliers, cups, and candlesticks, is
extremely important since it protects them from damage and theft. Haroun also
said that the project is expected to yield more benefits for the community in
are now in talks with the Ministry of Culture to turn Jewish synagogues into
cultural centers and we are also planning to cooperate to restore Jewish
cemeteries,” she said. “In the past, we used to face the challenge of a lack of
awareness about Jewish heritage. Now, this challenge is disappearing at the
government and public levels.” In the first event of its kind, Haroun invited
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Egyptians in December of 2018 to the Sha’ar
Hashamayim (Gate of Heaven) synagogue in downtown Cairo to celebrate Hanukkah.
“We have a vast heritage and as an individual I am not worried about it because
the youth of Egypt will preserve it,” she said in the speech she gave at the
the other hand, Israeli journalist Ariel Ben Soloman argues that the
restoration of Jewish heritage is more of a political step than a cultural one.
He described Egypt’s president as “operating based on realpolitik,” which is
also why Egypt cooperates with Israel on defense and intelligence issues.
analyst Haisam Hassanein of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
argued that three motives are likely to have given rise to recent interest in
Jewish heritage in Egypt. The first is improving relations with the US as “the
government sees American Jewish citizens and organizations as a gateway to US
policymakers, whom they perceive as overtly sympathetic to Jewish causes.” The
second is tourism since the restoration of Jewish sites is bound to bring to
Egypt Jewish tourists from all over the globe. The third is projecting an image
of Egypt as an example of moderation, which Hassanein argues also boosts the
image of Sisi.
there is no doubt that the amount allocated to the revival of Jewish heritage
was a major source of controversy. Prominent Egyptian architect Mamdouh Hamza
said that the restoration of Jewish sites is a positive step, yet the fact that
the Egyptian government pays for it, is not.
Rehim Rihan, director general of archeological studies in Sinai and the Delta
at the Ministry of Antiquities argued that the restoration of Jewish sites
should not be associated with politics, but should be regarded as a means of
bridging the gap between cultures and achieving peaceful coexistence.
are museums in themselves. The holy chest in each of them contains the Torah
scrolls in addition to typical Jewish items such as the menorahs,” he said.
Rihan added that there should be a permanent exhibiting room in each synagogue
as is case with the Saint Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula. He also
suggested that the manuscripts discovered in 1896 at the Ben Ezra synagogue and
in 1987 at the Jewish cemetery in Cairo, both collections known as the Cairo
Geniza, should be displayed at the Egyptian National Library and Archives.
“Researchers should be allowed to use the manuscripts to conduct studies on a
community that constituted an integral part of Egypt’s social, economic, and political
positive feeling, Gujarati Hindus say after visiting Masjid Umar bin Khattab
A positive feeling and nice gesture! This is what Hindu men and women said
after visiting Masjid Umar bin Khattab in Soni Chawl of Rakhial area located
just 6 kms from Naroda Patiya in Gujarat.
am happy that they have kept the mosque open for all. Today, I came here and
witnessed the Namaz, which gave me positive vibes", a Hindu visitor told
news agency ANI.
trustees of Masjid Umar bin Khattab had opened the doors of the mosque for
people across all religions to send a message of communal harmony and provide
visitors first hand experience of "what Muslims do inside the mosques and
why they pray five times a day."
main aim is to initiate communal harmony among people. Today, people have wrong
impressions about the activities that take place in a mosque. So, we kept it
open to let people know what exactly is happening here. We request other
mosques also to follow this trend so that people can understand our
religion", a member of the masjid committee said.
to The Times of India, a Nikol resident, Pravin Patel, who runs an embroidery
business, said that he had visited the mosque and learned why prayers were
offered five times a day and how Islam gives the liberty to express your views.
Pointing at a poster carrying an Aayah (verse) from the Holy Quran, he said
that it is written that every person has a right to express his view.
organisers had also put a panel displaying a message from Hadith — sayings of
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) along with an image of a smartphone
showing social media forums like WhattsApp, Facebook and Twitter. The message
reads, “Do not spread rumours. Prophet Muhammad had stated that the man who
spreads a message without cross checking its authenticity is also a liar.”
events titled Masjid for all, A Mosque with open doors and Visit My Mosque are
being organised in the United States, UK and other Western countries to clear
misconception about Islam and Muslims since last few years. Trustees of some
mosques had recently run such campaigns in Hyderabad and Pune. However, it was
for the first time Gujarati Hindus had got a chance to visit a mosque.
On par with other educational institutions, the teachers and the students of
Islamic Deeni Madrasas also celebrated Republic Day in Hyderabad and other
districts of Telangana.
students of Islamic Madrasas participated in essay writing competition and
highlighted the importance of Republic Day in the elocution competitions.
Darul Uloom Islamic School, the Principal of the school, Maulana Mufti
Jamaluddin Qasimi unfurled the national flag and addressed the students
highlighting the importance of the constitution of India and the rights
also mentioned the role played by the Muslims and the sacrifices the Muslim
scholars offered during the freedom struggle for Indian independence.
attending ‘puja’, accepting ‘prasad’ un-Islamic? Here’s what Muslim clerics say
A meeting of Muslim scholars was held at the head office of Muslim Shibban to
consider the issue of a Muslim Minister who attended puja and accepted prasad
from a pandit.
scholars expressed the feeling that any Muslim participating in the religious
ceremonies of any other religion amounts of heresy. It becomes obligatory for
any such persons to refrain from such acts in the future.
Abdul Mughni, Maulana Durwesh Mohiuddin, Mufti Mahboob Shareef Nizami, Maulana
Hamid Husain Shuttari, Maulana Naseeruddin, Maulana Wajid Husain and other
Islamic scholars attended the meeting. They said that it is binding on the part
of the Muslims to protect the faith of unity of Allah (SWT).
charity fund known as zakat is being used in buying voice of secularist and
non-Muslim media outlets in the world. Zakat, or charity, is one of the five
pillars of Islam. The amount is calculated as 2.5 percent of a family’s annual
savings and the donation can be made in cash or kind any time of the year, but
most contributions are made during the Ramadan— a period of fasting and prayers
— because, according to Islam, it is believed that the “rewards of good deeds”
in this month are many folds more than the rest of the year.
in 2016, All-India Council of Muslim Economic Upliftment calculated the amount
of Zakat collected in India alone stood at US$ 0.5 billion per year – the total
amount now have crossed the figure of US$ 1 billion.
the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia alone collects more than US$ 35 billion from
zakat every year. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the Gulf to both impose a
zakat payment, income tax and corporation tax, which it assesses and collects
under its Department of Zakat and Income Tax. The kingdom levies zakat on
Saudi, GCC nationals and businesses.
United Arab Emirates, the amount of zakat collected from the millionaires stood
at least US$ 8 billion. On the other hand, Qatar, another oil-rich nation in
the Gulf though has not institutionalized zakat payment but it does have a
Zakat Fund which is voluntary and as in the UAE, can be paid online. According
to statistics, annual amount of zakat collected in Qatar is also above US$ 5
to assessment, the global collection of zakat per year would be more than US$
zakat fund is supposed to be used for helping the poor and upliftment of their
lives, Muslim nations in the Gulf are using such fund in patronizing media
houses around the world, especially in the non-Muslim nations. This is being
done with the goal of keeping those zakat-receiving media houses silent on
various issues such as rise of radical Islam and jihadism. In a Hindu-majority
country like India, major segment of the newspapers and television channels are
direct or indirect recipients zakat fund every year, which compels them in
remaining tight-lipped on voicing against the rise of radical Islam as well as
Muslim atrocities on Hindus, Buddhists, Ahmadiyyas, Sikhs, Bahais etc.
2017, Indian authorities banned an Islamist broadcast company named Peace TV,
which was run with zakat money by a notorious Islamist preacher named Zakir
Naik. There are dozens of channels like Peace TV in the Middle East as well as
different parts of the world, which are propagating radical Islam, antisemitism
and even jihad thus posing a grave threat to the global security.
ATS nabs 24-year-old with link to 'ISIS-inspired' group from Thane
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has arrested a 24-year-old man from Thane in
connection with an alleged ISIS-inspired group that wanted to carry out mass
attacks at big events using poisonous chemicals.
arrest was made Saturday from Mumbra in neighbouring Thane district and a
laptop, tablet computer, hard disk, pen drives, router, mobile phones and
diaries were seized from his residence, an ATS official said.
accused has been identified as Talah Potrick (34), who is said to be a resident
of Dosti Planet North, Shil Daighar, Mumbra in Thane district. According to the
police sources, Potrick was radicalised in 2014 and was in touch with an ISIS
handler since then.
the ATS had arrested 9 youths including a 17-year-old minor who were allegedly
planning to launch a massive attack by mixing chemicals in food and water. The
agency had also recovered chemicals in experimental quantity from them which
were marked as Hydrogen Peroxide. Potrik is suspected of being in touch with
one of the previously arrested accused Mohammad Mazhar Shaikh and he had
attended several meetings organised by him since August 2018.
was in touch with an ISIS handler in Syria since 2014. As per reports, he had
radicalised many other people in the last four years in southern and eastern
parts of Maharashtra including Beed, Nanded and Khed. After his arrest, we are
expecting to crack down a bigger nexus of the ISIS module which is active in
the state. Once all the dots are connected in the case, we might get a clearer
picture so as to establish the real motive and masterminds behind the nexus,”
said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity.
per police reports, Potrick is a native of Khed is a management graduate. He
was working in a private company. After being inspired by ISIS ideology in
2014, he came into contact with Syria-based handler. Sources claim that Potrick
was planning to execute a lone wolf attack in the state.
has been booked under Section 120(b) of the Indian Penal Code, section 19,20,38
and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 153 of the
Bombay Police Act,” added the officer.
arrested earlier have been identified as Fahad Shah, Zamen Kutepadi, Mohammad
Mazhar Shaikh, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Zahid Shaikh, Mushaheed Islam, a juvenile; and
Salman and Mohseen Khan.
ON ISIS IN STATE
2016: ATS officials arrested Nasir Bin
Yafi Chaus, a resident of Parbhani for allegedly being in touch with ISIS
members over social media. He had created at least 18 bogus accounts through
which he was in touch with his handler in Syria. He had plans to flee to Syria
and join the outfit.
BJP’s Aligarh MP Satish Gautam has said that the term ‘Muslim’ in Aligarh
Muslim University’s name makes many people uncomfortable and it would be best
to rename the over-a-century-old varsity. “The word ‘Muslim’ makes a large
section of the society uncomfortable. It will be suitable to call its as
Aligarh University,” Gautam said. Asked if Banaras Hindu University should also
be renamed, the BJP MP said, “India is a Hindu Rashtra and there is no point in
removing ‘Hindu’ from the BHU.”
has been in news for his frequent tirade against AMU. From demanding the
removal of MA Jinnah’s portrait hanging in one of the varsity’s many halls, to
dubbing AMU a "seminary for terrorists", Gautam has been in news for
launching several attacks on the varsity. “Being the central government's
representative, it is my duty to speak whenever things go wrong. I will never
be silent on the issues that harm national interests. I am against the
mentality that prevails and drives things there and not the institute,” the MP
The Pakistani side fired unprovoked across the Line of Control (LoC) in
Naushera sector of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday. A similar
violation was carried out by Pakistan on Saturday too in Poonch district. The
same day, an intruder was also shot at by the Border Security Force (BSF) in an
infiltration bid across the International Border (IB) in Samba sector.
Army this afternoon (Sunday), at 1315 hours, fired small arms and resorted to
heavy mortar shelling in Naushera sector of Rajouri,” a defence spokesman said.
He added that Indian troops effectively retaliated to the firing. A similar
ceasefire violation also took place on Saturday at 1000 hours in Mankote area
of Mendhar sector in Poonch along the LoC.
wake of the frequent violations by Pakistan on the LoC on Saturday, the Indian
Army called off the traditional exchange of sweets with the Pakistani Army in
Poonch district to mark India’s Republic Day.
Saturday, the Border Security Force (BSF) troops foiled an infiltration bid
across the IB in Samba sector. The intruder was shot at, and later
“hospitalized to Government Medical College & Hospital (GMC&H), Jammu,
for injuries in the right arm, left leg and abdomen,” a source said.
said investigations have been initiated.
OFFICIALS suspect that the handler of the alleged Amroha-Delhi terror module,
which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed to have busted last
month, was based in Pakistan, sources told The Indian Express.
handler assumed the online identity of Abu Malik Peshawari and was instrumental
in motivating the module’s alleged mastermind — Mufti Suhail, a preacher from
Delhi’s Jaffrabad — to join the Islamic State, the NIA has alleged.
“preliminary conclusion” on the handler’s identity is based on analysis of
purported online chats between Suhail and Peshawari, sources said. “The Urdu
that Peshawari speaks and writes is largely identified with a certain region in
Pakistan. Such Urdu is neither spoken in India nor in any other part of the
world. We are yet to identify him or come to a definitive conclusion that he is
a Pakistani,” said an officer speaking on condition of anonymity.
it claimed to have busted the alleged module on December 26, the NIA has found
that some members of this group had travelled to Kashmir twice last year to
establish contact with local militants for training and weapons, sources said.
a bid to attract the attention of IS sympathisers online, sources said, Suhail
identified himself as Abu Basir al Khurasani. The second part of this name,
sources said, was an attempt to indicate his location and allegiance — the
Af-Pak-India region and the IS Khorasan, operational in Afghanistan’s
the 29-year-old preacher from Amroha began trawling the Internet, he soon found
a “friend and guide” on Facebook in Peshawari, said sources. Investigators
suspect it was on Peshawari’s directions that Suhail allegedly began motivating
his friends and acquaintances to engage in IS activities.
investigators, however, appear to have ruled out a link between Sohail’s
alleged module and another led by Abdullah Basith from Hyderabad, who was also
found to have been in touch with suspected members of the Islamic State in
J&K. Two members of Basith’s group had been arrested by Delhi Police from
Amroha, from where Mufti Suhail and some of his associates hail.
into the Amroha-Delhi module have, however, revealed that one of the accused —
Saqib Iftekhar, a Hapur-based imam — had travelled to J&K twice in search
of weapons and to meet militants.
May, he visited Bandipora in North Kashmir and went to Rajouri in Jammu. In
August, he visited Tral to meet a cleric. He and the cleric are known to each
other as they studied theology in an Amroha seminary together. He asked the cleric
to arrange for weapons and to help him meet Mujahideen. The cleric made him
meet a man connected to militants,” the officer claimed.
NIA has arrested 12 persons in the Amroha-Delhi case. The last arrest was made
on January 12, when Mohammed Absar Ahmed, a theology teacher in Hapur, was
nabbed from Meerut. Ahmed was a friend of Iftekhar and had travelled with him
to Kashmir twice, according to the NIA.
interrogation revealed that Iftekhar wanted to start a new group. It was in
this connection that they had met a cleric in Tral,” an NIA officer claimed.
The Islamic State-claimed bombing of a Catholic cathedral that killed 20 in the
Philippines’ restive south put fresh pressure Monday on peace efforts aimed at
ending decades of separatist violence.
explosions tore through the cathedral, shattering pews and windows, on the
Muslim-majority island of Jolo, killing worshippers at Sunday mass and security
forces in one of the nation’s worst bombings in years.
voiced concern on Monday over the impact the attack would have on a
decades-long push for peace that culminated last week in voters approving
expanded Muslim self-rule in the south.
vote was the result of negotiations started in the 1990s with the nation’s
largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and will give it
considerable power over the so-called Bangsamoro region.
IS claim, in a formal communique, said two suicide bombers had detonated
explosive belts, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors
a military report said the second bomb was left in the utility box of a
motorcycle in the parking area outside the church. Police said they believe the
explosives were detonated remotely, but did elaborate.
the contradictions, authorities have not ruled out IS involvement.
factions aligned with the group – including the notorious Abu Sayyaf
kidnap-for-ransom group – which were not part of the peace process, are prime
suspects in the bombing.
remote island of Jolo is a base of the group, which is blamed for deadly
bombings, including an attack on a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed 116
lives in the country’s deadliest terror assault.
is a big challenge for the Bangsamoro government,” said Rommel Banlaoi, chair
of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research.
former rebels need to show they will be able to pull the region toward peace in
order to attract much-needed investment to alleviate poverty and counter
extremism, he told AFP.
needs to prove it can make a difference… the gravity of the problem faced by
MILF is wow, so overwhelming,” he added.
church attack came despite President Rodrigo Duterte putting the southern
Philippines under martial rule after pro-IS militants seized the southern city
of Marawi in May 2017.
officials have argued that martial rule, which gives authorities extra powers,
has been effective in taming the perpetually restive region.
condolences poured in from around the world for the victims at the cathedral,
which has been repeatedly targeted by grenade attacks that did not prove fatal.
Francis, speaking in Panama, expressed his “strongest reprobation” for the
violence. Once again, he said, “the Christian community has been plunged into
experts were also worried about how the attack would impact the hopes for new
development in the region, which were spurred by the self-rule vote victory.
a terrible human tragedy, it’s also a development tragedy,” World Bank
economist Andrew Mason told broadcaster ABS-CBN.
we see conflict areas, when we see ups-and-downs and negative impacts due to
violence and conflict, what we see is also these are development opportunities
that are squandered.”
lethal explosions targeting a Catholic church on Sunday rocked the Philippine
southern island province of Sulu, the known bailiwick of the Islamic
State-inspired Abu Sayyaf Group. At least 18 were killed and 83 wounded, the
Philippine military said.
Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), condemned the bomb attack, which erupted
at around 8:15 am in Jolo, the capital of Sulu province, as an act of
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility late Sunday for
the twin bombings through the militant group’s news agency Amaq, Reuters
Philippine National Police said as of 1:20 pm on Sunday that 27 were killed (20
civilians and 7 soldiers) and 77 others wounded in the attack. No group had
claimed responsibility for the bombing as of 3pm on Sunday afternoon.
told Asia Times military authorities are looking at the possible involvement of
the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group in the twin blasts, which killed five
soldiers and a Philippine Coast Guard officer who were guarding the church.
other 12 fatalities were civilians attending the religious mass, Besana told
Asia Times. Of the 83 injured, 16 were soldiers, two from the Philippine Coast
Guard, while the rest were civilians, he said.
said the second blast occurred at the parking area of the Catholic church,
which is administered by the missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The
improvised explosive device was placed inside the utility box of a motorcycle,
the Philippine military said.
are now investigating whether Abu Sayyaf launched the twin bomb attacks in
retaliation for the military’s recent ramped up campaign against the terror
outfit’s sanctuaries in Sulu, a Muslim-dominated province in the predominantly
deadly bombing came less than a week after a successful plebiscite to establish
a new Bangsamoro region in the south, the centerpiece of a final peace deal
between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel group.
military was cautious, however, to link the church bombing’s to the newly
ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law, which was passed on January 21 and will grant
wide-ranging autonomy to a newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim
voted against inclusion in the BARMM, which will replace the 28-year-old
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which was the outgrowth of a
separate peace deal with a different Islamic Moro rebel group.
Governor Abdusakur Tan II has challenged the legality of the BOL before the
Supreme Court, arguing that its enactment is unconstitutional because it
abolishes the existing ARMM, which he argues can only be done by amending the
Constitution and not through an act of Congress.
BARMM aims to bring just and lasting peace to the region after four decades of
civil war that has impoverished the Muslim region, the country’s perennially
President Rodrigo Duterte, who hails from Mindanao, has yet to install the
BARMM, fighting erupted on Thursday between the military and remnants of the
Islamic State-aligned Maute Group that laid siege to Mindanao’s Marawi City
beginning in May 2017.
350,000 civilians were uprooted in the five-month war that left the city in
military announced on Friday that troops overran the camp of the Maute Group
remnants in Lanao del Sur, which voted for inclusion in the BARMM. Three Maute
Group fighters were killed, while three others were arrested in an operation
that injured three government soldiers.
General Arnel Dela Vega, Westmincom’s commander, ordered all military units to
intensify security measures following the encounter in Lanao del Sur and the
deadly twin explosions in Sulu. Both provinces are under the Westmincom’s
Dinampo, a peace advocate who teaches at the Mindanao State University in Jolo,
said the explosions were so loud he heard them from his house in Sitio Tanjung
in Indanan town, which is situated four kilometers from the blast site in downtown
Jolo. “The explosions came about 45 seconds apart. I thought our troops were
firing 105 howitzers,” he said in a phone interview.
said he believes the bomb attack in Sulu was perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf in
retaliation for the losses they have suffered from continuing military
offensives in the area.
five months ago, he said the military’s intelligence community intercepted
plans that Abu Sayyaf would conduct bombings in downtown Jolo.
who was abducted by Abu Sayyaf in 2008, said the military then closed the
street where the Catholic cathedral was located for about 20 days, but reopened
it after the public complained of inconvenience.
we have this very brutal and grisly attack inside a church…This is an act of
reprisal and plain and simple terrorism to sow fear among civilians,” he said,
condemning the incident.
said there are six military brigades now operating in Sulu to neutralize Abu
month, President Duterte activated the 11th Infantry Division in Jolo to
augment troops currently deployed in the province, Abu Sayyaf’s traditional
region of operation.
said addressing the Abu Sayyaf problem with military might would likely not
uproot the notorious extremist group that beginning in 2000 turned to kidnap-for-ransom
to sustain its operations.
Sayyaf abducted 21 hostages — 10 European and Middle Eastern tourists and 11
Malaysian workers — from a posh resort in Sipadan Island, Malaysia in 2000.
Sayyaf is also responsible for the Philippines’ largest ever terror attack, the
2004 SuperFerry 14 bombing that killed 116 people. The attack, detonated with a
3.6 kilogram bomb, has been described as the world’s deadliest terror attack at
Al Haq, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the MILF’s armed
wing, condemned the blast and called on government authorities to thoroughly
investigate the incident.
is a terrible act of terrorism,” he said.
will not create Islamic caliphate, says Christian brother
candidate Prabowo Subianto’s younger brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who is
also a member of Prabowo's campaign team, said he could guarantee that the
Gerindra Party chairman would not seek to create an Islamic state if he won the
upcoming presidential election.
made the statement at a “Diversity and Peaceful Election” event organized by
the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) on Sunday.
the event, a woman asked Hashim, who is a Christian, about the support Prabowo
received from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and hard-line mass
organization Islam Defenders Front (FPI), and whether that meant Prabowo would
create a caliphate.
will tell you ma’am, what is the guarantee that Prabowo will not create a
caliphate? I am that guarantee,” he said as quoted by tempo.co. “My Catholic
older sister and brother-in-law, they are also the guarantees.”
support among conservative Muslims, including former sympathizers of the
now-banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), has led to rumors that he would turn
Indonesia into an Islam-based state if he was elected.
however, said, as a politician, Prabowo would accept support from anyone, and
that it did not necessarily indicate what Prabowo would do if he was president.
JAYA - Leaders of Malaysia's Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition have
attributed the victory it secured in the Cameron Highlands by-election to the
rise of a Malay Muslim wave, heralding the move as the first step towards
reclaiming Putrajaya after being ousted from power last year.
vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin on Sunday (Jan 27) lauded BN candidate
Ramli Mohd Nor's win at Saturday's by-election which saw him becoming the first
person from the indigenous orang asli community to be elected as a Member of
won the seat by a 3,238-vote majority in a four-corner contest against ruling
Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance candidate M. Manogaran and independent candidates
Sallehudin Ab Talib and Wong Seng Yee.
the BN's biggest component party, and the fellow opposition Parti Islam
SeMalaysia (PAS), had cooperated for the by-election, with PAS staying out of
the contest to back the BN candidate.
the understanding between Umno and PAS is further cultivated and mobilised
effectively, it will give rise to a large and important Malay Muslim wave that
could silence Pakatan Harapan," Datuk Seri Khaled was quoted saying by The
Star news website.
more so when the Malays and Bumiputeras realise that the voices of the Malays
in Pakatan Harapan are very small and represent a minority that is constantly
ignored," he said in a media statement.
Khaled said Pakatan is uncomfortable with the outcome of the Cameron Highlands
polls, as it does not want to see the Malays and the opposition parties uniting
noted that the result also showed that voters were confident that Umno and PAS
- rather than PH member parties such as the Democratic Action Party (DAP) -
were the best combination to champion the Malay and Bumiputera cause without
denying other races. “Malays and Bumiputeras will not be influenced and choose
a party such as DAP, which clearly rejects the concept of the special position
of the Malays and Bumiputeras through their Malaysian Malaysia ideology,” he
acting president Mohamad Hasan hailed the BN’s win, calling it a first step
towards returning to government. “To Pakatan Harapan, the win in Cameron
Highland’s is the start of Barisan’s revival. And we are not going to stop till
we wrest Putrajaya, God willing,” he said according to The Star.
added that BN and PAS would continue to collaborate for the benefit of the
people. “Although we do not have a formal alliance or cooperation, both parties
want the best for Malaysia. We will also continue to work together for Malay
and Muslim unity,” he said.
former Umno president Najib Razak, who campaigned for the BN at the
by-election, hit out at Mr Manogaran for claiming that the coalition had played
up racial issues to win at the polls.
he had said is not true. We did not play any racial issues to win votes.
“Instead, we only demanded the rights of the Malays according to the
constitution and also the rights of the non-Malays. We did not demand anything
more than that,” he was quoted telling reporters according to the Malay Mail.
At least 20 people were killed Sunday when a double bomb attack hit a Catholic
church on a southern Philippine island that is a stronghold of militants, the
military said, days after voters backed expanded Muslim self-rule in the
powerful first blast shattered pews, shattered windows and left bodies strewn
inside the cathedral in the Catholic-majority nation´s restive south as mass
was being celebrated.
moments later a second explosion outside killed troops who were rushing to help
the wounded in the smoking and heavily damaged church on Jolo, which is
overwhelmingly Muslim. It is one of the deadliest bomb attacks to strike the
insurgency-plagued southern Philippines in years, and shows the insurgency in
the region is still a threat despite recent steps toward peace, experts said.
The bloodshed came less than a week after voters´ decisive approval of giving
Muslims in the south more control over their own affairs, which sparked hopes
of quelling long-time separatist violence. “Just because the (referendum) has
passed does not mean that things are going to get better overnight,” said
Gregory Wyatt, director for business intelligence at PSA Philippines
Consultancy. “There are still militant groups that will continue to be active
and pose a security threat,” he said. Bishop Angelito Lampon, who previously
served in Jolo, said Sunday´s attack may be the worst, but was certainly not
the first on the church. “In my 20 years there from 1998 to last week, there
were seven hand grenades lobbed into our cathedral,” he said. “Fortunately
there was just a little damage and no casualties.” Manila swiftly vowed to hunt
down the attackers, but no group has claimed the bombing. “We will pursue to
the ends of the earth the ruthless perpetrators behind this dastardly crime,”
presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. “The law will give
them no mercy.”
KINABALU: It’s a busy day at the Riverson Walk bazaar at Kota Kinabalu Times
Square where traders have set up their stalls and spread out an array of goods
and products to tempt passers-by.
Baderun and Yuslina Badrum are among the many calling out to prospective
customers. Their stall features a variety of laser-cut items specially designed
for Chinese New Year.
chains, pins and bookmarks are carefully arranged in rows. But perhaps the most
eye-catching sight of all are the figurines of pigs, in conjunction with the
Chinese zodiac animal being celebrated this year.
pig is considered unclean by the predominant Malay-Muslim community, but this
Sabahan Muslim couple have no problem selling the figurines, nor do their
customers seem fazed by the sight of tudung-clad Yuslina hawking her piggy
nicknamed Yus, is of Kadazan-Sungai descent.
business as usual,” she told FMT. “There have been no awkward reactions so far,
only positive comments and inquiries from our customers.”
a secondary school teacher, doesn’t understand the fuss over the animal in West
Malaysia. She says if people truly understand their religion, they won’t get
upset over trivial matters.
me, there is no issue (selling pig figurines),” she said.
and dogs are God’s creation as well. As long as you keep to your own religion,
like not consuming swine meat, you’re okay.
be surprised how much we can learn and understand about other people’s culture
if we promote tolerance.”
bazaar here where FMT caught up with the couple is held every two months. Yus
and her husband Adam share the business with two others.
said all of the items at their stall are made in their own shop in Penampang
using laser cut technology. When asked about their experience of selling the
figurines, he said it is a non-issue in Sabah.
the peninsula, the very mention of babi or pig will raise red flags. But for
us, we know our faith. Selling the icons will not shake our beliefs. We don’t
consume the meat, and the items are just art.
not our place to look down on other people’s culture,” he added. “In Sabah, we
live in a multiracial and multi-religious setting, and we tolerate each other.
We learn to appreciate our respective beliefs.”
is an aircraft technician. His father is from Perak and his mother hails from
Selangor, but both have been living in Sabah for over 40 years now.
parents have no problem with us selling the pig icons,” he told FMT. “They have
been here for so long and have learned how tolerant a society Sabah is.”
the bulk of Adam’s thanks for teaching him about the harmonious lifestyle in
Sabah goes to his wife, Yus. He and Yus, both 32 now, got married in 2013.
wife’s family consists of Muslims and non-Muslims. That’s where I effectively
learned about tolerance and understanding the beliefs of others,” he said.
and Yus said the pig figurines have been a hit among their customers. In the
past, they have also sold items commemorating Easter and Christmas, including
decorative pieces inscribed with Bible verses.
had orders from people for these items as well,” Adam said. “Again, we know our
own faith as this doesn’t trouble our beliefs. It is just art.
President Jusuf Kalla has said that the number of mosques in Indonesia has
increased significantly in recent years, but the exact number of remains a
God knows the number of mosques in Indonesia. If someone says 1 million, I’m
sure everyone will believe it,” he said at the opening of the national
coordination meeting (Rakornas) of the Nahdlatul Ulama’s women’s chapter,
Muslimat, in Jakarta on Sunday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
always say there are 800,000 [mosques] but 1 million is also possible. This is
an extraordinary development.”
who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council, said that with
800,000 mosques, there was one mosque for every 225 Muslims, including babies.
said mosques were located everywhere, including in offices, schools and
malls are only popular if there is a big mosque above it, allowing people to
perform Friday prayers or Maghrib prayers there,” he said. “We are thankful
that Indonesia has experienced such as good change.”
officials say US negotiators have agreed on a draft peace pact setting out the
withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 18 months, potentially
ending the United States' longest war.
details of the draft were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six
days of talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at
ending the war, more than 17 years since American-led forces invaded
stipulates that troops would leave within 18 months of the agreement being signed.
no joint statement was issued, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made
"significant progress" and would resume shortly, adding that he
planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.
here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have
made significant progress on vital issues," he wrote, adding that numerous
issues still needed work.
is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an
intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire," he wrote in the
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday wrote on Twitter that he had
received "encouraging news" from Khalilzad about the talks.
US is serious about pursuing peace, preventing #Afghanistan from continuing to
be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home," Pompeo
did not give a timetable for the potential withdrawal of US forces.
Taliban statement issued later also noted progress on troop withdrawal and
other issues but said more negotiations and internal consultations were
policy of the Islamic Emirate during talks was very clear - until the issue of
withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is agreed upon, progress in other
issues is impossible," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, using
another name the group calls itself.
was not clear whether the draft described by the Taliban sources was acceptable
to both sides or when it could be completed and signed.
to the sources, the hard-line Islamic group gave assurances that Afghanistan
will not be allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to
attack the United States and its allies - a key early demand of Washington.
18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented,
then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action," a Taliban
source said, quoting from a portion of the draft.
talks on the draft are expected in February, again in the Qatari capital Doha,
the Taliban sources said.
of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continues to stage near-daily
attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces.
the presence of US-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their
Afghan counterparts 17 years after the US-led an invasion to drive them from
power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country's
security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014.
United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led
has 300 troops and civilians in Afghanistan, the Australian Department of
Defence says on its website.
in Sri Lanka have confirmed that the massive explosives seizure at a remote
compound in Wanathawilluwa was actually a training camp for the Islamic State
(IS) that attempted to detonate multiple high explosive bombs targeting
historic Buddhist monuments in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This is the
first actual terror threat from the Islamic State in Sri Lanka, as the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) hunts for over fifty more named suspects across
the island connected to this IS chapter. Already an imam, or mawlawi, from the
remote IS training camp has been arrested; he has confessed in an interrogation
that the weapons and high explosives belong to an Islamic State chapter in Sri
2017, scores of known Sri Lankan ISIS fighters had returned from Syria, and
there was a subsequent spike in jihadist activity throughout Sri Lanka. A Sri
Lankan ISIS fighter was reported killed during airstrikes in Syria; he was
eulogized as a holy martyr of Islam on social media by Sri Lankan Muslims
across the country who have sympathies with ISIS, including a bizarre online
article in OnLanka on July 19, 2015, that alluded to more Sri Lankan ISIS
fighters. Also, an affluent postgraduate student from Sri Lanka named Mohamed Nizamdeen, who was living in
Australia, was charged with ISIS-affiliated terror-related offences while
plotting to assassinate Australian politicians. This case was widely publicized
because Nizamdeen is the nephew of MP Faiszer Musthapha, a cabinet minister in
the Sri Lankan government and the grandson of the late former Chairman of the
Bank of Ceylon. His terror-related charges were later dropped, in a surprising
move by the Australian authorities. More evidence for the Islamic State
activities in Sri Lanka comes from a propaganda video that was discovered
online, which showed an unknown doctor from India discussing ISIS medical
facilities and further claiming that Sri Lankan doctors are working for ISIS in
a side note, the doctors of the Islamic State are not the friendly family
medical practitioners of ISIS propaganda. Rather, these ISIS doctors can be
seen as performing horrific unethical medical procedures, including forced
abortions and euthanasia, and testing new procedures and organ harvesting on
Yazidis, Christians and other ISIS captives in makeshift facilities or
dungeons, with no regard to the sanctity of human life of non-Muslims. They
were akin to evil doctors in Nazi Germany. Further, in all likelihood, these
monstrous ISIS doctors could have been helping to fund Islamic State operations
through illegal organ trafficking in the Middle East, as Sri Lanka was once a
global center for organ transplants. No medical doctor with any professional or
personal ethics would travel abroad with the sole intention of joining an evil
terror organization, let alone having the perverse ambitions of providing
medical assistance to merciless Islamic State fighters and their regime of pure
foiled IS plot to simultaneously obliterate a multitude of sacred Buddhist
monuments in the ancient city of Anuradhapura with C4 high explosives has
confirmed fears that Sri Lanka is now a target of the Golden Horseshoe
Caliphate of South and Southeast Asia. The Golden Horseshoe Caliphate spans
from the western side of Indonesia to include Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand,
Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, all connected by land and water
through the Andaman Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. Additional countries
on the eastern side, including Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, have not yet been
infiltrated by Islamic jihadis at the same levels. The vast majority of Muslims
in the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate are Sunnis, having learned about and accepted
Islam through trade and conquest, while the other predominant religions are
Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism, both of which are the more widespread ancient
religions of the region, and whose core teachings reflect peace and tolerance
by any interpretation. There are much smaller populations of Christians and
localized ethnic religions in the region, too.
attacks against Buddhists, such as the killing of two monks at a temple in
Thailand, or the smashing of statues from a Hindu temple in India, show a
heightened level of daily regional jihadist activity. In Rakhine State,
Myanmar, Islamic terror led to a complete insurgency in late August 2017 from
the ISIS-linked terror organization Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) that
was formed in 2012. This insurgency was masterminded by a prominent Saudi imam,
Ata Ullah. So the war on terror in Asia has literally become like an all-out
war in the countries of the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate. Even the government of
Bangladesh is faced with a rise of jihad activity from powerful jihadist
factions inside the country.
wider scope of the recently thwarted terror attack in Sri Lanka by IS was to
cause greater conflict between the Muslim and Sinhalese community and to
provoke a public backlash, in the same tactical manner as the failed 2017
insurgency in Myanmar. Similar to the large-scale attack in Myanmar, the IS
training camp in Sri Lanka has been connected directly to narcoterrorism from
Islamic gangs in Bangladesh, supported by jihadists in the GCC (Gulf
Cooperation Council). These terror networks are using the money generated from
Islamic gangs for purchasing expensive weapons, properties, training and even
Rakhine State, Myanmar, the funds for ARSA have come from the production of
yaba pills, methamphetamines, manufactured there and sold to Islamic gangs
inside Bangladesh. ARSA has also received support from Saudi Arabia. However,
in the case of ARSA, the training camps are located inside Bangladesh close to
the border of Rakhine State, Myanmar. But heroin is the main drug in Sri Lanka,
exported from the Taliban narcostate in Afghanistan by Islamic gangs in
Pakistan linked to the notorious narcoterrorist Dawood Ibrahim, a known
resident of Karachi, whose D-Company syndicate also has deep ties throughout
India. Bangladeshi nationals have been caught trafficking in Sri Lanka, with
the recent historic heroin seizure in early 2019, where the main suspect was
discovered to be operating inside Bangladesh, frequently travelling back and
forth between the two countries. In effect, Bangladesh is a key country through
which the international distribution of drugs is organized by Islamic gangs to
fund terror activities for the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate, further
corroborating the theory that Bangladesh will be the political, religious and
geographic epicenter of this emerging Caliphate on the Western front, while
jihadists in Malaysia and Indonesia are exerting more influence in southern
Myanmar, Thailand and countries east of the Malay Peninsula.
chilling aspect of the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate is the 786 movement, which is
a doomsday prophecy, signaling the complete global Islamic takeover in simple
calculation: 7+8+6=21. The endgame here is total Islamic conquest of the world
by the end of the 21st century, hence the sum of 21. This sounds like something
from a conspiracy junkie, but many people from these areas will recognize 786
as a sign of the end of times, or Armageddon, with the rise of the global
caliphate. Indeed, reports emerge of 786 in Sri Lanka from around the mid-1980s
and in Myanmar from the 1990s; the number was commonly displayed in shop
windows and on Muslim food items, including products imported from the Middle
East and other parts of Asia, as a symbol for supporting the jihadist cause.
The 786 movement has gone underground in Myanmar after a great public backlash,
namely the 969 counter-movement: citizens started to become upset at the
blatant jihadist signs threatening their impending enslavement, similar to
watching the moving hands on the Doomsday Clock. Evidence of the 786 movement
can still be found in graffiti on walls in Yangon and Rakhine State, and in
subliminal messages from ARSA jihadist recruitment videos. The intent of the
sinister 786 movement is very clear and it is very real.
latest developments in Sri Lanka have implicated the drug kingpin Makandure
Madush, an international drug and weapons trafficker, to the funding of this
Islamic State training camp, with the expensive C4 high explosives &
weapons seizure. He is the godfather of organized crime in Sri Lanka,
controlling the illegal drug trade inside the country. Many members of his
network are experienced ex-LTTE soldiers, showing that he is utilizing an
existing framework in the underworld with a well-trained criminal army. This
raises the possibility that the LTTE armed conflict was backed by ruthless
Islamic gangs, or even the Taliban, through drug trafficking. Islamic gangs
brutally kill all rivals until a kingpin emerges as the undisputed leader; the
kingpin generally has some high-level connection to the Taliban in Afghanistan
for the heroin trade, almost like joining the Taliban family of warlords; one
can only speculate on the initiation rites.
Sri Lanka, gang-related feuds over the last few years have shown Makandure
Madush as the underworld leader of organized crime. He even went so far as to
launch a major deadly attack on a prison bus that was transporting them to court
in February 2017, killing a rival gang leader, known as Samayan, and five
associates. Madush is thought to have fled Sri Lanka after this prison bus
shooting. The feud between Ranale Samayan’s gang and Madush goes back to 2016,
when Madush’s brother was murdered by Samayan. As the bloody gang wars
continued in Sri Lanka, it was reported that there were eight killings in the
first few months of 2018, with Madush at the center of these murders.
June 22, 2018, during a jewel heist in the southern city of Matara, gang
members murdered a first respondent to the situation with a high-tech mini-Uzi
manufactured exclusively in Israel, while two other policemen and a civilian
were injured. Security camera footage from the heist can be found online.
Sadly, the police officer died from his deadly injuries sustained by the rapid
spray of munitions, being unprepared to face such powerful weapons in the line
of duty. More arrests related to the heist followed after a tense police chase,
and a key accomplice of the gang was killed by police.
police investigation traced the jewel heist back to Makandure Madush through
examination of the weapons used and interrogations. He was known to have been
living in Dubai after escaping arrest in the country for the deadly prison bus
attack sometime around the early part of 2017. During the investigation of this
jewel heist, information was discovered about the conspiracy to assassinate
President Sirisena with other key political figures, orchestrated by Madush
from Dubai, like the jewel heist and gang feuds.
to Digatha News on March 26, 2018, just before the jewel heist in June and the
subsequent police crackdown:
Lanka’s intelligence units have confirmed that persons wanted for serious
crimes such as former diplomat Udayanga Weeratunga and underworld leader
Madush, who have been issued Interpol red notices and wanted by police for
years in connection to serious crimes, are freely living in Dubai.
information received by the intelligence units have revealed that most of them
have fled to India, Singapore and Malaysia first and later reached Dubai. It is reported that they are already involved
in various crimes including drug trafficking, mafia gangs, international espionage
and arms sales and operating from the Emirati capital. According to the information received, the
absconding criminals earn millions from their illegal activities and deposit
the money in Dubai banks.
it is well known that Madush still actively masterminds the illegal drug trade,
arms deals and extortion rackets in Sri Lanka from Dubai. Even this earlier
intelligence source shows Madush as the likely candidate for supplying the new
Islamic State chapter in Sri Lanka with high explosives and high-tech weapons.
Also, narcoterrorist Dawood Ibrahim was known to have lived and conducted
business from Dubai before moving to Karachi, Pakistan, making Dubai one of the
networking hotspots for international Islamic crime syndicates.
important part of Madush’s network was taken down in a raid shortly after the
jewel heist, on June 25, 2018, when a high level accomplice, known as Thilak,
was killed by police in a shootout. A Chinese T-56 assault rifle, similar to
the Russian AK-47, was recovered from the scene. Another raid in early July 2018
saw four more henchmen arrested, including a leader working for Madush, known
as Josa. More weapons and some heroin were seized. Grenades are another item
routinely seized from Madush’s gang members. Madush is wanted by Interpol for
controlling the drug trade in Sri Lanka, and for murders and extortion as well,
but the Sri Lankan government seems powerless to demand extradition from the
United Arab Emirates, despite their new strategies in 2018. Madush and his
underworld army are implicated in involvement with this new Islamic State
chapter in Sri Lanka through the proceeds of drug trafficking, the powerful
high-tech weapons, and high explosives. Additional information about these
networks and their connections will become more apparent as the investigation continues
to make progress, with more arrests, confessions and confiscated digital
these elaborate international crime syndicates are exposed, a detailed
understanding of the networks begins to emerge, which can be traced back to the
same places, such as the GCC countries of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are
masterminding terror in the region of the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate, funded by
the drug trade with powerful Islamic gangs linked to Taliban warlords. Since
the overall short-term political objective is to create conflict and
instability in these regions, as in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the possibility
exists of a deeper political objective that the terror activities are meant to
disrupt China’s String of Pearls strategy for regional expansion and
development. For instance, both Rakhine State in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are
involved with this project, so the geopolitical significance cannot be ignored,
as they overlap with the competing Chinese intentions here.
Buddhists and Hindus living in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia,
Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore; they believe that they have been the victim
of Islamic jihad for a long time. The hard evidence here cannot be disputed,
considering landmark events such as the 1971 genocide against Hindus in
Bangladesh, the historical genocides against non-Muslims in Rakhine State, or
the constant attacks against Buddhists, Hindus and non-Muslims everywhere in
the region. The Buddhists and Hindus living in Rakhine, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and
Indonesia are continually subjected to some of the worst human rights
violations from jihadists and radical Islamic governments, with no support from
the UN, which is dominated by the GCC countries in the OIC, who consider
religious minorities to be second class citizens. There can be no doubt of the
rise of Islamic jihad activiy in the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate, as evidenced
by the constant barrage of terror-related attacks and human rights abuses in
these countries against Buddhists and Hindus.
shadowy entities in the GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE,
who are facilitating jihad in the Golden Horseshoe Caliphate need to be held
accountable by their governments, unless the government inaction of GCC
countries is a deliberate complicity to the agenda of the Islamic State and
their affiliated crime syndicates. So the conflict is expected to worsen in the
affected areas of Asia until these matters are properly addressed on the
international stage, especially the war on drugs and the increasing presence of
the Islamic State. A good strategy would be to evaluate the foreign aid given
to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia to help stop the
growing problems of human trafficking, Islamic gangs, jihad terror, and human
rights abuses, until these countries take full responsibility for their part in
international terrorism. Perhaps even Western trade penalties on places such as
the UAE would help, until the long list of criminals and terrorists living
there have been brought to justice, which gives more emphasis on the need for
ethical oil supplies to leverage such trade restrictions with oil rich
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States is serious about
pursuing peace in Afghanistan as efforts are underway to revive direct talks
between Taliban and Afghan government to end the ongoing violence in
U.S. is serious about pursuing peace, preventing Afghanistan from continuing to
be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home,” Pompeo said
in a statement posted in his Twitter account.
said “Working with the Afghan government and all interested parties, the U.S.
seeks to strengthen Afghan sovereignty, independence & prosperity.”
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
had earlier said that significant progress has been made on vital issues during
the 6-day talks with Taliban political leaders in Qatar.
six days in Doha, I’m headed to Afghanistan for consultations. Meetings here
were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant
progress on vital issues,” Khalilzad said in a Twitter post.
he said a number of issues are still left to work out, emphasizing that he will
build on the momentum and resume talks shortly.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad with with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Sunday evening and
shared the details of U.S. talks with Taliban political leaders in Qatar.
Khalilzad rejected the media reports which suggested that the talks also
focused on change of political system in the country and said no such
discussion has been made, according to a statement by ARG Palace.
also added that no discussions have been made regarding the formation of a
transitional government, emphasizing that he has no authority to discuss such
issues but to facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue.
Khalilzad said he has only held talks regarding a ceasefire during the meetings
with the Taliban leaders but there has been no progress in this regard.
to Ambassador Khalilzad, the U.S. side emphasized during the meetings that the
only way to bring peace is intra-Afghan talks.
U.S. Special Representative also added that the Taliban leaders demanded the
U.S. troops withdrawal but no agreement has been reached in this regard, insisting
that if any decision is taken in this regard then a comprehensive discussion
would be made in coordination with the Afghan government.
Afghan Taliban on Sunday acknowledged that progress had been made in talks held
last week in Qatar but denied reaching any agreement with their American interlocutors
on a ceasefire and talks with the Afghan government.
a brief statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the meeting
between their political office in Doha and special US representative Zalmay
Khalilzad held for six consecutive days had finally come to an end.
accordance with the agenda, this round of negotiations revolving around the
withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and other vital issues saw
progress,” he said.
since issues are of critical nature and need comprehensive discussions,
therefore it was decided that talks about unresolved matters will resume in
similar future meetings in order to find an appropriate and effective solution
and also to share details of the meetings and receive guidance from their respective
leaderships,” the statement read.
made it clear that until the issue of withdrawal of foreign troops from
Afghanistan was agreed upon, progress on “other issues is impossible”.
statement ran counter to media reports about a “rather definitive” agreement on
the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
denied his group had reached any agreement on a ceasefire with Khalilzad.
“Reports by some media outlets about agreement on a ceasefire and talks with
the Kabul administration are not true,” his statement added.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s role in
facilitating the dialogue between Taliban and the United States and hailed the
progress made in the talks, Mujahid’s statement thanked Qatar for “their
Qureshi said “the world has accepted Pakistan’s stance on the peace process”.
But peace in the region was not possible without dialogue, he said.
has pursued a regional outlook by reaching out to different countries and
advocating its resolve for a stable and peaceful region,” Mr Qureshi said.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called it an “encouraging news”.
his envoy, Pompeo used Twitter to hail the peace process. “Encouraging news
from [Ambassador Khalilzad]. He reports significant progress in talks with the
Taliban on Afghanistan reconciliation,” he tweeted.
underlined the US desire to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan in his
brief message. But equally important for the US was the need to ensure that
Afghanistan did not again become a hub of terrorism after the pullout, he
US is serious about pursuing peace, preventing Afghanistan from continuing to
be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home,” he wrote.
also emphasised the US commitment to continue working with the Afghan
government. “Working with the Afghan govt & all interested parties, the US
seeks to strengthen Afghan sovereignty, independence & prosperity,” he
Khalilzad was in Kabul on Sunday to try to secure cooperation from Afghan
president after negotiations with Taliban leaders in Qatar, Reuters reported.
the special US representative and his boss Secretary Pompeo, as well as
Pakistan and the Taliban, hailing progress in the talks, he must now win over
President Ashraf Ghani — whose government the Taliban have so far kept out of
days of talks ended in Qatar on Saturday with key parts of a draft pact
reportedly mapped out. But it is not clear whether the draft described by the
Taliban sources is acceptable to both sides or when it could be completed and
fresh round of talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban is expected to take
place on February 25 in Doha, two senior Taliban sources said.
he has not been directly involved until now, Ghani’s role is likely to grow as
a full deal gets closer and diplomacy intensifies.
going into details on Saturday night, Khalilzad said in tweets that nothing
could be agreed without an intra-Afghan dialogue and a full ceasefire.
[Khalilzad] will inform Ghani and his officials about all the developments,
seek their opinion before travelling back to Washington,” a senior Afghan
official said on conditions of anonymity.
is also due to brief top regional diplomats on Monday morning.
diplomats describe Ghani as being in a tight spot, with no authority to decide
on the foreign troops’ departure and the final decision to declare the
ceasefire resting with the Taliban.
however, does enjoy the power to decide to support an interim government rather
than push for presidential elections which could prove to be a distraction to
the peace effort.
far he has rejected talk of an interim government.
is time for Ghani to choose between elections or peace process,” said a western
diplomat based in Kabul.
the progress on a draft pact, violence is widely expected to continue, with the
Taliban mounting daily attacks against the Afghan government and its security
Taliban now control about half of Afghanistan’s territory and Ghani said in
Switzerland last week that 45,000 members of the country’s security forces had
been killed since he took office in 2014.
former Taliban leader predicted intense fighting ahead. “I think Taliban won’t
stop their fight until they get 100 per cent sure that foreign forces are
leaving Afghanistan,” said Sayed Mohammad Akbar Agha, who heads Ways to Save
Afghanistan, an independent group run by tribal elders and religious scholars
working towards securing peace in the war-torn country.
Pakistan on Sunday announced closure of its consulate general in Mazar-i-Sharif
following a foiled bid of a grenade attack.
to the Foreign Office, the decision has been taken after a woman was caught
trying to sneak a hand grenade she was carrying in her personal hand bag into
woman was arrested by the police and is under investigation to find
perpetrators of the failed attack.
embassy of Pakistan in Kabul urged the Afghan foreign ministry to ensure
provision of foolproof security to its consulate general in Mazar-i-Sharif and
to share the findings of its investigation at the earliest.
Pakistani consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif will remain closed for visa services till
the provision of foolproof security by the authorities in Mazar-i-Sharif to
prevent any untoward incident in the consulate general, announced the FO.
to reports, an Afghan official has also confirmed that a woman has been
arrested on suspicion of attempting to attack the Pakistani consulate in northern
Balkh province after a hand grenade was found in her bag.
spokesman for the provincial governor, Munir Ahmad Farhad, said the woman was
in police custody and an investigation was under way. She was arrested after
being interviewed inside the consulate, he added.
attempt to attack the consulate came at a time when the negotiations between
the United States and the Taliban appear to be moving towards a peace deal to
bring the longest and costliest war in Afghanistan to an end.
a rare development on Saturday, the two sides admitted “progress on vital
issues” in their talks, albeit the insurgents said there was no agreement on
ceasefire or talks with the Afghan government, which they had labelled as
chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad held negotiations with Taliban
representatives at their political office in Qatar for six days, much longer
than planned and the longest ever attempt to end the bloody conflict.
year Pakistan had closed its consulate in Jalalabad, which remained closed for
over one month. It resumed operation in the first week of October after being
assured of proper security by the Afghan government.
Pakistan will try to resume peace talks with India once elections are results
are out and the political flux there subsides, reported Gulf News.
have delayed our efforts to hold talks with India because we do not expect any
big decision from the present Indian leadership,” said Fawad Chaudhry, Minister
of Information of Pakistan.
told Gulf News in an interview on Sunday that it is not the right time to hold
dialogue as Indian politics is currently in turmoil because of the upcoming
elections. “It is useless to talk to them (India) now unless there is some
stability. We will move forward once the new government is formed after the
elections,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited India on a number of occasions, including
during his acceptance speech, for talks to make peace after winning the
elections, but there has been no major response from the
said the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan in
November last year is a remarkable development between the two countries
because it will not only help the Sikh community but also benefit the Indo-Pak
spoke on a wide range of topics covering Afghan peace talks, relations with the
US, Pakistan’s role in the regional peace and his country’s relations with
countries in the Middle East.
asked which Indian leader will suit Pakistan more when it comes to peace talks
— Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi, the minister said it does not matter for
Pakistan. “We will respect any Indian leader and the party elected by the
Indian people. And, we would like to move forward to hold dialogue with
whosoever comes into power in India,” he said.
being asked who calls the shots in Pakistan when it comes to foreign policy –
the army or the civilian government, Chaudhry said sternly: “Of course Prime
Minister Imran Khan.”
the earlier regimes, there had been conflicts between the civilian government
and the army on various issues as they were not capable of talking to each
other frankly. But this is the not the case anymore since Imran Khan has come
into power,” he said.
government has an advantage that we can talks freely with each other.
Currently, each and every major policy in Pakistan is actually a consensus
policy – with the civilian government and the army on the same page,” he
said Pakistan is playing its role at a fairly advanced level for the Afghan
peace dialogue. “Frankly, we expect a positive outcome from the negotiations
between the US and Afghan Taliban,” he said.
Information Minister said Pakistan’s role in bringing Taliban to the
negotiation table has been appreciated by US President Donald Trump so much so
that he has reviewed and changed his policies against Pakistan.
to reports, the US may offer Pakistan a free trade agreement (FTA) in return
for its assistance in ending the Afghan war. During a recent visit to Pakistan,
US Senator Lindsey Graham is believed to have discussed the idea with Pakistani
know about the FTA offer but cannot comment on this at this stage,” said
said stability and peace in Afghanistan is not just in the US’ interests but
Pakistan will also greatly benefit from this.
Minister said the meeting between Imran Khan and Trump is on the cards but it
will be possible only after the Afghan peace talks. “We are waiting to see this
happen,” he added.
role in the Middle East
the last decade or so, Chaudhry noted that Pakistan had become irrelevant to
the Middle East for the earlier governments isolated the country.
after coming into power, Prime Minister Imran has reviewed the policies and we
have worked on improving relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Imran visited
both the countries on his first official visit and talked to the leadership at
length,” he said.
Speakers at a conference on Sunday maintained that social equality was
imperative to build a peaceful society where there is no room for violence,
extremism and terrorism.
event titled ‘Ishq-e-Rasool (PBUH) and Paigham-e-Pakistan Conference’ was
organized by the Anjuman Mohibban-e-Tareeqat International, Mohra Shareef, in
Multan. The conference was the last in a series of events organized under
Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the Government of Pakistan in Burewala, Mandi
Bahauddin, Cheecha Watni and Multan from January 25 to January 27.
of Islamic Ideology member and Ittehad Mashaikh-e-Pakistan President Pir
Shehzad Fazeel Ayyaz Qasmi chaired the session. A large number of religious
scholars, intellectuals, lawyers, civil society activists and notables of the
area attended the conference.
Shehzad Fazeel Ayyaz Qasmi called for promoting the true message of humanity
given in the ‘Charter of Madina’ for salvage of the society caught up in the
clash of interests. He stressed the need to follow the teachings of Prophet
Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) whose life is a complete guidance and a source of
inspiration for every Muslim irrespective of his age, creed or geographical
said the role of teachers and ulema is of vital importance in character
building of students at educational institutions and madaris to achieve lasting
peace and tranquility through elimination of extremism, sectarianism and
terrorism from the society. He urged ulema belonging to different schools of
thought to forge unity among their ranks to thwart the evil designs of enemies
who wanted to divide and weaken the Muslims on religious lines.
Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in his last sermon taught us the lesson of basic
human rights. It is need of the hour to review our curricula to include human
rights, which will help counter the trends of extremism and sectarianism among
youth,” he opined.
ISMAIL KHAN: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman on
Sunday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, which came through
rigging, cannot be tolerated further.
the participants of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) ‘Million March’, he said
that Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam and nobody would be allowed
to strip the country of its Islamic identity.
MMA leader Liaquat Baloch, Mufti Kifayatullah, Maulana Gul Naseeb and Abdul
Jalil Jan were also present on the occasion.
Rehman said that the people of the southern districts supported the JUI-F as
they had rejected the PTI leaders. He said the participation of a large number
of people in the march showed that the government had lost the trust of the
JUI-F leader said the government was conspiring to amend the law that had
declared the Ahmadis as a minority. He said the government was trying its best
to please its western maters. He said that the anti-Islam elements were obliged
in the Aasia Bibi case.
Maulana demanded the Supreme Court of Pakistan to reopen the Aasia Bibi case.
He said that the government would not be allowed to please a particular
community. He said that efforts were afoot to recognise Israel, adding that
doing so would be a betrayal to the ideology of Pakistan and the objectives for
which the country came into being. Fazlur Rehman said the government borrowed
heavily in the last five months, increasing the country’s foreign debt burden.
He added that his party would not allow the implementation of any foreign
agenda contrary to the teachings of Islam.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks about the founding leaders of two major
opposition parties during his speech at the convocation of the Namal College
Mianwali on Sunday drew sharp reaction from leaders of the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party.
leaders of both parties rejected the PM’s speech in which he said military
dictators Gen Ayub Khan and Gen Ziaul Haq had brought PPP founding chairman
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to power corridors.
to the utterances, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said, “The
selected PM” had “distorted something about which he did not know anything i.e.
Ghani, who is also president of PPP’s Karachi division, said “Shaheed Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto introduced the parliamentary system in our country at a time when
there was no democracy and no mechanism to hear the voice of the people.”
said the late Bhutto had made great contributions to ensure democracy in
Pakistan and the 1973 Constitution, which was still the country’s backbone, was
one of them. “Who will deny this that at that time there was no constitution,
democratic order or parliament?” he said, explaining that the founding party
leader was a member of Ayub’s cabinet but “it does not change the fact that he
changed the system while becoming part of the system”.
the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi, former
president Asif Zardari inherited the political turmoil but proved himself the
true heir of the Bhuttos by according provincial autonomy under the 18th
Amendment and empowering the parliament, he said.
former president restored the 1973 Constitution in its original shape “by
removing aberrations made by dictators Gen Ziaul Haq and Gen Pervez Musharraf”,
Mr Ghani added.
Ghani said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had bequeathed the philosophy of
his mother and grandfather while “Imran Khan’s legacy is tainted by proven
corruption charges against his father”.
of distorting history, he said, PM Khan should have focused on the issues that
had inflicted the country.
the PM Khan’s address to students at Mianwali, former minister and PML-N leader
Ahsan Iqbal said, “He doesn’t even know the difference between convocation and
jalsa. Convocations are not occasions to make political speeches and do
opposition bashing. Where has Oxford education gone?”
KHAN: The army has said that work on a 900-kilometre-long portion of fence
along the Pak-Afghan border has been completed.
journalists and anchorpersons on Sunday at Ghulam Khan, a border village in
North Waziristan tribal district, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)
Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said work on about 1,200km chunk — the
most sensitive portion out of the total 2,600km border with the war-torn
country — had commenced last year.
a look: Pakistan fortifies border with Afghanistan to reduce cross border
said the project would cost about Rs70 billion, which included the cost of
gadgets and surveillance equipment to keep strict vigil on the illicit movement
from across the border.
said the fence had helped check the movement of terrorists from across the
border and the situation would further improve after the completion of the
project next year.
visit of media persons was conducted for the first time in the country’s
history as earlier no such activity could have happened as it had been a no-go
area for civilians and even security forces.
a break-up, the ISPR chief said that about 1,200km of the total 2,600km border
with Afghanistan was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest in Balochistan.
reply to a question about the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, he said
Pakistan had been playing a role in it and if the parties concerned struck some
mutual settlement it would ultimately be in its interest too. Due to that
settlement, he said, the elements having the backing of inimical forces in
Afghanistan, such as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, would have to opt for some
reconciliatory path as they would be left with no other choice.
11 Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen and his team separately arranged a briefing
for the media persons at the Corps Headquarters, Peshawar. The corps commander
said that after the end of the war in the area troops were now in the process
of consolidation while steps were in hand to resettle about 4,000 families, who
had gone to Afghanistan about four decades ago.
said that 95 per cent work on resettlement of internally displaced persons
(IDPs) had already been accomplished. Talking about the Pashtun Tahaffuz
Movement (PTM), he claimed that most of their demands had already been met,
while the rest, if any, could be sorted out through a dialogue process.
said that following the operation against militants there was no no-go area in
the erstwhile Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), which had become part
of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Gen Shaheen said the local commanders had been empowered to hold dialogue and
meetings with the people of their respective areas and help mitigate their
ISPR chief was of the opinion that instead of making a hue and cry abroad, the
PTM leaders should sit with the local leadership and seek settlement of their
media persons were also taken to Miramshah, the district headquarters of North
Waziristan, where they interacted with the local populace. Students, traders
and common citizens, while interacting with the media persons, welcomed the
role of the Pakistan Army in restoring what they called complete peace in the
area. However, some of them complained that they had not been given
compensation by the civil administration for the losses they had incurred
during the decade-long drive against militancy.
the occasion, head of the Petroleum Dealers Association Raqib Gull said the
local administration had made estimates of the losses caused to petrol pumps in
the area. He said that around 69 petrol pumps had been damaged and they
demanded a financial compensation of Rs560 million.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has held the Israeli regime and its
allies fully responsible for the recent spike in settler terrorism across the
occupied territories, referring to the latest fatal shooting of a Palestinian
man during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Sunday, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, condemned “the
heinous murder of Hamdi Na’san, 38, and the injury of 30 other Palestinian
civilians at the hands of armed Israeli settler militias.”
heavy protection from Israeli forces, these militias raided al-Mughayyir
village near Ramallah, terrorizing the defenseless residents and wreaking havoc
on the isolated village.
political climate in Israel negates Palestinian rights and expresses
objectionable racism against the Palestinian people. As such, the marked
escalation of terror attacks by armed groups of Israeli settlers against
Palestinian civilians is a natural outcome of the culture of hate and
atmosphere of incitement and violence against Palestinians that this extremist
Israeli government espouses and promotes,” Ashrawi pointed out.
senior Palestinian official further held the Tel Aviv regime fully accountable
for what she described as a “heinous crime.”
stressed that those governments, which actively support Israel’s colonial
policies and “shield it from accountability, also bear moral and criminal
liability” for the crimes that are committed by Israeli forces and settlers,
and go unpunished.
those states that choose to remain silent against this terror campaign must
know that silence amounts to complicity,” she stated.
was shot in the back on Saturday, and succumbed to his wounds shortly after at
a hospital in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. He is survived by his
wife and four children.
than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s
occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank in 1967. This is
while much of the international community considers the settler units illegal
and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied
officials say President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to shake up his government.
move is the latest sign of failure in more than a decade of attempts to
reconcile with the rival Hamas movement.
officials say Abbas appointed a four-member committee from his Fatah movement
on Sunday to consult with political factions about forming a new government.
three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing
official Wafa news agency said Fatah had decided to form a political government
to replace the current Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s Cabinet of technocrats.
warns Hezbollah chief of Israel’s ‘lethal’ power
prime minister warned the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah of his army’s “lethal”
power on Sunday, in reaction to Hassan Nasrallah cautioning the Jewish state
against further strikes in Syria.
lethal striking force of the IDF (Israeli army) stands facing Hezbollah,”
Israel’s premier Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting.
an interview with Beirut based al-Mayadeen television on Saturday, Hezbollah
chief Hassan Nasrallah had warned Netanyahu that Syria and Hezbollah could “at
any moment” decide to “deal with ... Israeli aggression.”
make an error of judgement and don’t lead the region toward war or a major
clash,” Nasrallah said, stating that Hezbollah possessed “high-precision
missiles” capable of hitting anywhere in Israel.
army has since 2013 claimed hundreds of attacks on what it says are Iranian
military targets and arms deliveries to Tehran-backed Hezbollah, with the goal
of stopping its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in
said Nasrallah was experiencing “great consternation” over Israel’s recent
operation to expose and destroy tunnels from Lebanon to Israel.
also spoke of what he called Hezbollah’s “financial distress” and the Jewish
me, Nasrallah has good reasons not to want to feel the might of our arm.”
this month Israel concluded an operation to unearth and destroy tunnels which
the army accused Hezbollah of digging across the border from Lebanon.
had on Saturday acknowledged “there are tunnels in southern Lebanon,” refusing
to specify who built them and when, and mocking Israel for taking “many years”
to find them.
a small studio packed with sculptures made of scrap metal, Palestinian artist
Ahmed Humaid has found a new medium in origami, the Japanese art of paper
an unlikely pursuit for an artist living in the Gaza Strip, which has been
largely cut off from the outside world since Israel and Egypt imposed a
crippling blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory more than a decade ago.
the 29-year-old Humaid, who has no regular job, says interest in origami is on
more people asking about it, this work has turned into a source of income for
me,” said Humaid, who lives in Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
practices a form of origami in which he folds and forms the pages of an entire
book into a readable inscription of calligraphic letters.
has no formal training. He said he learned about origami when he saw some
photos on Instagram. He began following Japanese artists and wrote to them.
Some offered help and feedback.
he made his first origami work in October, it took him 15 hours to finish. He
shared the photo with some Japanese artists who acclaimed the work.
then, Humaid has sold 45 works locally, including books folded into names that
lovers have given to each other as gifts, as well as logos for local
businesses. Depending on the size and number of letters, he charges 50 to 100
shekels (about $15-30) per order.
in Gaza, a coastal enclave sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, stands at more
than 50 percent, according to UN and other international estimates. It is even
higher among Gaza’s youth.
would like to expand his business beyond Gaza’s borders, but the blockade has
cut off virtually all exports, and Israel and Egypt heavily restrict travel
into and out of the territory.
series of violent clashes have broken out between Palestinian youths and
Israeli regime forces in a village of the occupied West Bank, where mourners
were waiting for the funeral procession of a man who was killed by Israeli
settlers a day earlier.
sources said on Sunday that one Palestinian youth was shot by Israeli forces in
his foot while dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation at the entrance
of Turmusayya Village, near the city of Ramallah.
Sunday skirmishes followed a raid by Israeli settlers on the nearby West Bank
village of al-Mughayer on Saturday evening, which led to a Palestinian man
being shot dead and dozens more sustaining injuries. Thirty eight-year-old
Hamdi Taleb Na’san was killed and 30 others were wounded after Israeli settlers
escorted by regime troops stormed al-Mughayer, which is located 27 kilometers
northeast of the city of Ramallah in the occupied territories.
least six of those injured were struck with live ammunition, while the 24
others suffered wounds after being hit with rubber-coated steel bullets.
is the fourth Palestinian killed by Israeli violence across the Palestinian
territories over three days.
to the latest attack, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
Nickolay Mladenov in a Twitter post on Sunday voiced “shock” at the “terror”
carried out by Israeli settlers in al-Mughayer.
settlers engage in provocative, violent, and sometimes deadly actions against
Palestinians on a regular basis.
October 2018, an extremist teenage settler killed a Palestinian mother in the
northern West Bank by throwing a rock at her.
said on Sunday it killed 30 Nigerian soldiers in an attack in the country's
northeastern Borno state, a claim disputed by the Nigerian Army.
Nigerian Army spokesman said an attack on troops by insurgents in the Borno
village of Logomani was repelled on Saturday and eight soldiers were hurt, none
with life-threatening injuries.
a statement issued through its news agency Amaq, ISIS claimed responsibility
for the attack on a village it referred to as Lomani.
in West Africa (ISWA), which split from Islamist group Boko Haram in 2016, has
carried out a number of attacks in northeast Nigeria in the last few months.
is the state worst hit by the insurgents whose attacks on Nigerian military
bases in the last few months have made security a key campaign issue ahead of
the country's presidential election on February 16.
eight of our troops were wounded, out of which four have since been
evacuated...while the other four are receiving treatment," said the army
government leaders announced a new party called Long Live Tunisia on Sunday
which is to be led by the prime minister and will compete with moderate
Islamists in upcoming elections.
the premier, Youssef Chahed, was not there, thousands of supporters gathered in
the coastal city of Monastir to celebrate the birth of Tahya Tounes, the
party’s Arabic name.
new movement was formed after months of wrangling within ruling coalition party
Nidaa Tounes (Tunisia’s Call), resulting in the resignation of dozens of
fragile coalition, which also includes the moderate Islamist party Ennahda
(Renaissance), is struggling to pass economic reforms demanded by foreign
goal will be to have a strong party that will lead economic reforms and return
hope for frustrated Tunisians,” Zohra Idriss, a lawmaker and member of the new
party, told Reuters by telephone from Monastir.
seek to lead the nation and compete with the Islamists ... Chahed will be the
are due by the end of this year, with Renaissance, Tunisia’s largest party,
favorite to win, according to polls.
opposition said the prime minister, a 43-year-old technocrat in office since
2016, had neglected Tunisia’s problems to concentrate on his political future.
months, Chahed has focused on establishing this party and not saving the
national country economy,” said Zouhair Magzaoui, head of Harakat Achaab
North African country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic
success because protests toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011
without triggering the kind of violent upheavals seen in Syria and Libya.
nine cabinets since then have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems,
including high inflation and unemployment.
protesters in Sudan have flocked to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and
its twin city of Omdurman to hold sit-ins and rallies, as hundreds of riot
police attempted to break up the crowds and disrupt the rallies.
of demonstrators held rallies in their neighborhoods and some squares in both
cities on Sunday, the latest in a string of demonstrations since December 17
last year against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over price hikes and
shortages in the East African nation, calling on him to step down.
Sunday rallies, as those held previously, were called and organized by the
Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), an umbrella group of unions
representing doctors, teachers, and engineers.
to witnesses, the massive deployment of riot police and security agents
prevented protesters from convening at several of the designated locations.
they marched, the demonstrators shouted, “The people want the downfall of the
regime,” a signature slogan of the “Arab Spring,” the series of uprisings and
revolutions that erupted in Arab countries back in 2011.
police, you have to protect us,” shouted the protesters as police cordoned off
a number of squares in the capital and Omdurman — which is the country’s second
largest city, where demonstrators had planned to gather for sit-ins. Police
forces also filled some locations with muddy water to prevent demonstrators
from gathering, witnesses said.
country’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have reportedly
been carrying out a crackdown on protesters, opposition leaders, activists, and
reporters in an attempt to prevent the spread of the rallies.
President Bashir, who is in Egypt on an official visit to meet with his
Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, continues to reject calls for his
has said the demonstrations are “an attempt to clone the so-called Arab Spring
is a problem [in Sudan]. We are not claiming that there is not. But it’s not of
the size or extent raised in some media,” he has said.
figures say that at least 30 people, including a number of security agents,
have lost their lives since the onset of the rallies. Some rights groups say at
least 40 people have been killed.
rallies first erupted in the farming town of Atbara in the wake of a move by
the government to triple the price of one loaf of bread, which angered people
and triggered the initial demonstrations, which swiftly mushroomed into nationwide
protests against Bashir.
Haram militants attacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria's Borno State,
near the border with Cameroon, injuring six soldiers, two military sources told
AFP on Sunday.
attacks were the latest against military targets in the region, with security
becoming a major campaign issue ahead of presidential and legislative elections
Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 on a pledge to end the militancy,
is seeking re-election in the February 16 polls.
on Sunday, troops fought off an attack by militants believed to be from the
Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram in the town of Pulka, along the border
terrorists attacked around 1:15 am (0015 GMT) and soldiers engaged them in a
30-minute fight, forcing them to withdraw," a military officer said in an
account confirmed by another officer.
militants' intention was to attack and loot the town after overrunning the
base, said the officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not
authorized to speak to the media.
on Saturday, militants from the same faction attacked another base in Logomani
Village near the town of Gamboru, leading to a fight that left six soldiers
came under attack by Boko Haram terrorists who came in four gun trucks around
6:30 pm (1730 GMT)," the second officer told AFP.
soldiers were wounded from bomb fragments," he said.
Haram has intensified attacks on military targets in the region over the past
Wednesday and Thursday, the militants attacked three bases in Borno and neighboring
Yobe State, stealing weapons and burning the bases.
Haram's militancy in northeast Nigeria has claimed 27,000 lives since 2009.
Libya: “Our town has been looted, homes wrecked and olive trees torched,”
Moftah Mohammed said in dismay on returning home to Al-Gawalesh in western
Libya after years wandering from place to place.
perched on the slopes of Jebel Nefussa, 120 km west of Tripoli, paid the price
for its support of former Prime Minister Muammar Qaddafi during a 2011
NATO-backed revolt in which he was captured and killed.
home to close to 10,000 people, the town is a scene of desolation: Wind- and
dirt-swept, burnt-out homes, destroyed schools and other public buildings,
devoid of any public services.
was July 6, 2011” when he and his family like all other residents had to flee
Al-Gawalesh, Mohammed said. “To stay would have meant death,” in the face of
NATO airstrikes on Qaddafi’s forces.
of reprisals by neighboring communities which had sided with the victorious
rebels kept it a ghost town for the past seven-and-a-half years. In the face of
often entrenched bitterness and a hunger for revenge, the UN mission in Libya
has been working for reconciliation through the return of displaced communities
to their pre-war homes.
way was cleared for a return to Al-Gawalesh with a reconciliation deal signed
back in 2015 between representatives of the towns of Jebel Nefussa that came
along with promises of financial aid.
town’s mayor, Said Amer, said residents were still waiting for compensation
payments to repair their homes.
families have no choice but to live in these burned-out homes, not realizing
the risks posed to their health and that of their children,” the mayor said.
municipality says families have filed 1,600 compensation claims, none of which
have been settled. Libya’s financial woes have blocked reconstruction in towns
such as Al-Gawalesh, according to the internationally recognized Government of
National Accord (GNA).
need a development plan and financing for reconstruction that we don’t have,”
Yussef Jalala, minister for the displaced in the Tripoli-based GNA, told AFP.
He pinned the blame on the international community.
several occasions the international community has promised aid to help rebuild
devastated towns but nothing has materialized,” he said.
to the latest figures published by the International Organization for
Migration, Libya’s displaced number around 187,000.
Rights Watch (HRW) this week raised the alarm over the fate of Tawergha, a town
in northeast Libya that also sided with Qaddafi during the revolt.
of its 48,000 inhabitants have still been unable to return, more than seven
years on, it says.
Government of National Accord should urgently devise a strategy for Tawerghans’
safe return, ensuring reconstruction and security,” it said.
people were killed Sunday in northern Burkina Faso in a "terrorist
attack", according to a security source and a local elected official.
10 armed individuals in the morning carried out a terrorist attack in the
village of Sikire," which left "10 dead and two seriously
wounded," a security source told AFP.
is in the Sahel region and is frequently a target of Islamist attacks.
to a local official in Arbinda, about 20 kilometres away, contacted by phone
from Ouagadougou, "the assailants armed with Kalashnikovs made several
tours of the village opening fire on the inhabitants."
ransacked and set fire to shops and other businesses and took motorbikes,"
added the official who requested anonymity.
said the inhabitants had stayed holed up in the homes "in panic over these
attacks which have been increasing in the area," he said.
January 10, 12 people were killed in attack in Gasseliki, a village around 30
kilometres south of Arbinda.
Faso lies in the heart of the vast Sahel region, which is struggling with a
bloody Islamist insurgency.
region turned into a hotbed of violent extremism and lawlessness after chaos
engulfed Libya in 2011.
first concentrated in the north, the attacks have spread to other regions
including the east, which borders Togo and Benin.
capital Ouagadougou has been hit three times, leaving nearly 60 dead.
attacks attributed to several Islamist groups and to other smaller factions has
caused more than 280 deaths since 2015.
January first, a state of emergency has been declared in 14 of the country's 45
Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed four Yemenis found guilty of murdering a
security guard, the kingdom’s interior ministry said.
four men robbed and killed a Pakistani man who worked as a security guard at a
company, said a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
execution took place in Mecca, the statement added.
people have been executed in the kingdom since the beginning of the year,
according to the authorities.
ultra-conservative kingdom has one of the world’s highest rates of execution,
with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug
trafficking facing the death penalty.
2018, Saudi Arabia carried out the death sentences of 120 people.
of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit has stressed the need for maintaining
Syria’s territorial integrity against foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist
groups, and a peaceful settlement to the conflict there.
a meeting with the United Nations’ new envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, in the
Egyptian capital city of Cairo on Sunday, Aboul Gheit said the solution to the
conflict in Syria must meet the aspirations of all Syrians while preserving
unity in the country and region.
went on to say that his 22-member regional organization’s stance vis-à-vis the
crisis is in line with the related UN Security Council resolutions, saying the
conflict "is considered first and foremost an Arab issue.”
high-ranking Arab diplomat then underlined the need for measures to stop
regional and international meddling in Syria, saying such interventions have
had negative repercussions on the course of the conflict settlement.
Gheit also called for the complete elimination of terrorism from the Syrian
for his part, briefed the Arab League chief on the most important results of
his initial contacts with the parties concerned with the crisis in Syria ever
since he took office earlier this year.
Saturday, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui called on the Arab League
to restore Syria’s membership, saying the “natural place” of the country is
within the 22-member regional organization.
is an Arab state, and its natural place is within the Arab League,” Jhinaoui
said during a news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in
question of Syria returning to the Arab League does not depend on Tunisia but
on the Arab League,” he noted, adding, “The foreign ministers (of member
states) will decide on this subject.”
is scheduled to host the 30th annual summit of the Arab League in March.
security officials and medical sources say at least six people have lost their
lives and more than a dozen sustained injuries when separate bomb and gun
attacks struck the country’s northern provinces of Salahuddin and Nineveh as
well as the eastern province of Diyala.
police chief colonel Majeed Ghatran said two policemen died and eight others
were wounded when a bomb hit a bus transporting security forces on their way to
work near the town, located some 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of the
capital Baghdad, on Sunday.
added that another bomb struck a second group of officers, who were heading to
the location of the first explosion, killing two and wounding three.
Police Lieutenant Abdelkadir al-Jabbouri said unidentified gunmen fatally shot
an Iraqi man and his wife in the town of Shoura, south of Mosul.
Captain Habib al-Shimari also said militants had attacked a security checkpoint
in Diyala, injuring five security personnel.
were no immediate claims of responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, but such
assaults bear the hallmark of those carried out by Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which
served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi
fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of
fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 that year.
sources reported on Sunday that engineering units of the Syrian army discovered
a number of TOW and Grad anti-tank missiles and guns made by the US and other
NATO members along with several machine-guns, RPGs, mortars, grenades,
satellite systems, thermal cameras and military vehicles in cleansing
operations in the former strongholds of terrorists in the three provinces.
Syrian army forces on a daily basis find different types of military equipment
made and supplied by the western states to terrorists, in liberated areas.
a relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army found a large number of
weapons and ammunition, including Israeli and western arms, during cleansing
operations in the former bases of terrorists near Damascus.
engineering units of the Syrian army discovered weapons and military equipment,
including different types of mortars, artilleries, RPGs and over 200,000 rounds
of machine-guns and guns, in operations to purge terrorists from the towns near
US military convoy comprising military vehicles and equipment have been
dispatched to the town of al-Shahil in Southeastern Deir Ezzur," local
sources in Deir Ezzur were quoted as saying.
sources reiterated that the US military convoy was dispatched to Southeastern
Deir Ezzur after the residents of al-Shahil town held massive rallies against
the SDF fighters.
pointed to the armed conflict between the tribesmen of the region with the SDF
in the surrounding oil-rich areas of al-Amr, and said a number of people were
wounded in clashes.
Southeastern Deir Ezzur is now under SDF-imposed curfew after an unknown group
attacked an SDF military post in al-Tayaneh South of Zabian town in the region.
a relevant development on Saturday, a large number of people poured into the
street in Eastern Deir Ezzur to show their protests against the SDF.
of the town of Abu Humman in Southeastern Deir Ezzur launched massive protests
and closed the roads leading to the town, battlefield sources in Eastern Deir
sources reiterated that the civilians staged massive protests against SDF's
measures, including piling up fuel products, corruption and other offenses in
residents of Deir Ezzur called for releasing the people who have been arrested
by the SDF fighters," they said.
residents of Shaitat town in Southeastern Deir Ezzur also held massive protests
and called for their rights with regard to oil revenues.
report comes as the armed tribesmen had clashed with SDF fighters in the town
of Khasham over control of oil resources of the region.
popular uprising in Deir Ezzur is taking place while Raqqa was also scene of protests
and clashes between civilians and SDF fighters over the past three years.
a relevant development in early December, a large number of people poured into
the street in a key town in Northeastern Hasaka, calling for the withdrawal of
the US and Turkish troops and their allied militants from their region.
reported that a large number of civilians, social activists and parties in the
town of Qamishli took to the streets, opposing occupation of the region by the
US and Turkish troops.
further said that the protestors condemned a visit by the former French Foreign
Minister to al-Jazeera region controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),
calling for independence of the Syrian parties from the US policies and asking
for their affiliation to Damascus again.
protestors, also, opposed US forces' illegal bases and presence of militants,
affiliated to Turkey and the US, in Syria as a violation of international law
and against Syria's national unity and integrity, SANA said, adding that the
protestors called for expulsion of the occupiers and their allied militants
a relevant development in Northeastern Syria, media activists reported last
month that protesters took to the streets and called for the expulsion of the
US army men and the SDF from the city of Raqqa in Northeastern Syria.
of Raqqa residents revolted against the US deployment and SDF forces in
al-Mansour district of Raqqa city and called for their expulsion," media
activists in Raqqa said.
sources, meantime, said that the Raqqa residents in their slogans called on the
Syrian army to free the region from the occupiers, and said that the protests
took place after the SDF forces launched attacks on civilians which resulted in
the eruption of clashes between the two sides.
the meantime, the SDF forces arrested several protesters in a new wave of
suppression of civilians.
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website reported on Sunday that the
residents of Dohuk province staged protest rallies near the Turkish forces'
security headquarters in Shiladzi region in the town of al-Imadiyeh, setting
fire at it.
added that the demonstrations were held after the Turkish army's airstrikes
against Dohuk province killed 5 civilians.
Kurdish civilians set fire at the Turkish army's headquarters, wounded 9
soldiers and took captive 2 others but freed them later.
Turkish forces also responded the attack with bullet fire, killing and wounding
a number of civilians.
Iraqi foreign ministry in a statement condemned the Turkish soldiers' firing at
civilians in Shiladzi, summoning the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad to protest
at the incident.
Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that heavy clashes followed after the
Turkish Army and its allied militants known as 'Euphrates Shield' targeted and
attacked the military positions of Manbij
Military Council along Sojour control line in the outskirts of Manbij
city in Northeastern Aleppo.
noted that the villages of Sokria Kabira, Halounji and Mohsena to the North and
Northwestern parts of Manbij city came under attack by the Turkish Army and its
battlefield sources reported heavy clashes between Turkish Army troops and
militants of Manbij military council near the village of Halvanji in Northern
Ankara-backed militants were also killed and wounded in fierce clashes with the
Kurdish fighters in al-Malekia front and Mara'anaz as well as Ma'areh in
a relevant development earlier this month, the Turkish army dispatched a new
convoy of forces and equipment to borders with Syria's Hasaka to counter the
Turkish army forwarded a long convoy of military vehicles to borders with Syria
near the Syrian town of Ra'as al-Ain that is under the Kurdish fighters'
control in Northwestern Hasaka.
Turkish convoy, including a number of vehicles, Tanks, armored vehicles and a
large volume of military hardware, entered the Kilis region.
Turkish military is preparing to kick off military operations against the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Euphrates.
the Arabic-language Al-Manar news website reported that the Turkish Army has
fired artillery and rockets at SDF's military positions in Silvaha region in
Ra'as al-Ain in Northwestern Hasaka.
sources said that the Turkish Army attacks on the SDF have taken place after
SDF fired at Jilanbiner region in Turkey just opposite to Ra'as al-Ain.
sources, meantime, reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
arrested a number of people in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces after accusing them
of cooperating with the Ankara forces.
news had reported earlier this month that the Turkey-backed militants continued
shelling the strongholds of the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij region in
Northeastern Aleppo regardless of the US support for the Kurds.
added that gunmen of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Force targeted the
positions of the Manbij Military Council from the village of Tokhar in
Syrian Democratic Forces have detained more than 1,300 Syrian citizens, most of
them children, youth and women, in areas stretching between Abu Qabi and
al-Tabaqa, South of Euphrates River, the Arabic-language service of Russian
Sputnik news agency quoted media activists as saying.
noted that a number of Arab members of SDF left the group after the US-backed
militia arrested a number of Arab tribesmen in Raqqa.
media activists in Raqqa were quoted as saying that the residents of Raqqa
hoisted Syria's national flag and printed graffiti against the US occupying
troops and the SDF in several regions, including the town of Kadiran to West of
Raqqa, calling for the Syrian Army rule over the region.
SDF fighters have reportedly severely tortured a renowned tribal leader of
Al-Tarn Tribe in the Western part of Raqqa after he in a statement called for
the presence of the Syrian Army in the areas under the control of the US and
a relevant development on Saturday, the SDF dispatched a well-equipped military
convoy to Raqqa to confront the heightened tensions between the SDF and
civilians in the region.
Arabic-language service of Sputnik news agency reported that the convoy,
consisting of the US-made Hummer vehicles and other military equipment supplied
by Washington, was sent to the Western parts of Raqqa city to suppress the
tribal people's uprising.
added that thousands of SDF forces have also been stationed in regions near the
towns of Hunaideh and al-Mansoureh, noting that the US forces deployed in
Western Raqqa have withdrawn from the two towns towards Eastern Euphrates for
their fear of popular uprising.
reports also said that the SDF militants have in the past three days attacked
over 600 houses in the two towns, and detained at least 70 people, adding that
the civilians threw stones at the Kurdish vehicles to stop the arrests.
a relevant development on Thursday, the people of Raqqa in Northern Syria
poured to the streets to protest at the US-backed SDF moves in the region,
setting fire at a number of their bases.
activists in Raqqa reported that hundreds of residents of the town of
al-Mansoureh in Southwestern Raqqa staged massive protest rallies against the
SDF and set fire at some of their checkpoints and bases in the town.
added that the protest rallies were held after a young resident of the region
was killed by the SDF during forced recruitment operations.
sources said that similar rallies were also held in the towns of Hunaideh,
al-Safsafeh and Mazra'at al-Safsafeh region, adding that the residents surrounded
the US-backed forces' strongholds.
the SDF sent a large number of forces and military equipment from Raqqa city
and the town of al-Tabaqah to al-Mansoureh, wounding a number of civilians with
bullet fire to disperse the angry crowd.
new UN special envoy for Syria held talks Sunday with the head of the Arab
League, whose members appear divided about whether to readmit the war-torn
League, which will hold its annual summit in Tunisia in March, suspended
Syria’s membership in November 2011 as the death toll in the country’s civil
diplomat Geir Pedersen, who this month become the fourth UN negotiator aiming
to resolve the nearly eight-year conflict, met with Arab League chief Ahmed
Abul Gheit in Cairo on Sunday, the organization said.
discussed the latest talks among Arab states about the organization’s decisions
on Syria since 2011, the League said in a statement.
Gheit also pointed to the importance of “reaching a peaceful solution” to the
Syrian crisis, it said.
also met with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Arab states including Lebanon and Tunisia have recently called for Syria’s
return to the Arab League.
December, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit by any Arab
leader to the Syrian capital since 2011, and the United Arab Emirates reopened
its embassy in Damascus.
another sign of a diplomatic thaw, the speaker of Jordan’s parliament invited
his Syrian counterpart to meetings of the Arab Parliamentary Union in Amman in
March, Jordanian state news agency Petra reported Sunday.
not all of the League’s members support closer ties with Damascus.
which has backed rebels in Syria’s civil war, said this month that Damascus
under President Bashar al-Assad should not be allowed back into the Arab
least four policemen were killed and 11 wounded by two roadside bombs that
targeted police convoys in separate attacks in northern Iraq on Sunday, the
service and medical sources said.
died and eight were wounded when a bomb hit a bus carrying police on their way
to work near the town of Shirqat, its police chief colonel Majeed Ghatran said.
bomb struck a second group of officers that was heading to the location of the
first explosion, killing two and wounding three, he said.
organization claimed responsibility for the bombings.
militants have carried out guerrilla-style attacks in the area since their
military defeat in Iraq in December 2017.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry says it will summon the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad
over the death of an Iraqi Kurd by Turkish fire in Iraq’s semi-autonomous
Saturday, a crowd attacked a Turkish military camp in the Shiladzeh area of
Iraqi Kurdistan’s Duhok Province to apparently protest Turkish airstrikes on
troops opened fire on the crowd, killing one of them and wounding several
Sunday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry denounced the incident, saying it planned to
summon the Turkish envoy.
Foreign Ministry will summon the Turkish ambassador to hand a protest note
about the incident and demand that it not be repeated,” it added.
Turkish air force has been carrying out operations against positions held by
the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — a Turkish secessionist group designated as
terrorist by Ankara — in Turkey’s troubled southeastern border region as well
as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
air raids left 36 people dead in the Iraqi Kurdistan in 2018, according to a
tally by local Kurdish authorities.
the Turkish Defense Ministry said the Saturday raid on its base in northern
Iraq was the “result of provocation by the PKK terrorist organization.”
was partial damage to vehicles and equipment during the attack,” the ministry
tweeted, adding that necessary precautions were being taken.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) admitted that there had been “provocateurs”
and vowed to launch a comprehensive investigation into the incident.
are provocateurs behind the attack and they will be punished,” the KRG said in
Macron: Egypt's rights record seen as worse than under Hosni Mubarak
President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday human rights in Egypt were perceived
as worse now than under former strongman Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by
protests in 2011.
comments marked a hardening after he said in 2017 he would not
"lecture" President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi over civil liberties, which
activists say are being eroded.
think current policies are perceived by intellectuals and Egypt's civil society
as tougher than under the Mubarak regime," Mr Macron told reporters on the
sidelines of a trip to Egypt.
Mubarak, a former air force commander, was jailed for conspiring to kill
demonstrators who ended his three-decade rule, but he was freed on appeal in
can't see how you can pretend to ensure long-term stability in this country,
which was at the heart of the Arab Spring and showed its taste for freedom, and
think you can continue to harden beyond what's acceptable or justified for
security reasons," Mr Macron added.
think that's becoming paradoxical and harmful for Egypt itself."
organisations are pressuring Mr Macron to be firm with the Egyptian president,
who in April secured a second term, shoring up his position as a power-broker
in the region.
Macron said he would be more outspoken during the three-day trip, which began
on Sunday, and would also mention individual cases in private. He was to meet
Mr El-Sisi on Monday.
El-Sisi's critics accuse him of cracking down on all dissent, but supporters
say tough measures are needed to stabilise Egypt, rocked by years of unrest
after the fall of Mr Mubarak.
an interview earlier this month, Mr El-Sisi denied that Egypt was holding
political prisoners, though one rights group estimates the number at 60,000.
October 2017, Mr Macron gave Mr El-Sisi, who was visiting Paris, a list of
activists he believed could be released from prison.
Sunday, he said only two of them had been freed, which he considered
will at the same time have a confidential dialogue on individual cases and
speak out more distinctly, as well as have symbolic exchanges, because I think
that's in the interest of President Sisi and Egypt's stability," Mr
Egypt, we're not only talking about political opponents who are being
imprisoned, but opponents who are part of the traditional democratic sphere and
are not threatening the regime. Journalists, homosexuals, women and men of
son was terrified': how Prevent alienates UK Muslims
Smith’s son was 13 years old when he was questioned by school officials and
asked if he was affiliated to the jihadist group Islamic State.
was shocked when she ultimately realised her child had been questioned under
the government’s Prevent strategy – but was left baffled when she discovered
the interrogation was triggered by his use of the term “eco-terrorist” in a
classroom discussion about environmental activists.
boy was in a French class at his school in Islington, north London, when he
used the phrase to describe some images. Nothing was said at the time. He went
home, enjoyed the weekend and returned to school on Monday.
was in a French lesson, someone came in, said something to the teacher and the
teacher pointed at him. They said, ‘follow me,’” Smith said. “He had never been
in trouble at school. He was really nervous. There were two women there, one he
didn’t know. “First they made a joke asking him was he a ‘tree-hugging hippy’
but then they asked him if he was affiliated with Isis. Isis wasn’t even a word
in his vocabulary. He was terrified. He didn’t know what was going to happen.”
the officers were satisfied that Smith’s son was not the next Osama bin Laden.
He was asked to return to class and the subject was never raised again. When
Smith’s son returned from school and told her what happened, she immediately
called the head of his year group.
penny dropped. I said, ‘have you been questioning my son under Prevent?’ She
said they had to because of regulations, schools were having to do this. This
was such a shock. I’d heard little bits about Prevent, I just thought it’s
something so far removed from us, we’re not going to be affected by this.”
experience of Smith’s son reflects the central concern surrounding the
government’s Prevent strategy for years: that it fosters discrimination against
people of Muslim faith or background and inhibits legitimate expression.
have been numerous similar reports over the last 15 years: an eight-year-old
questioned by Prevent after his teachers mistook his T-shirt slogan for Isis
propaganda, a 17-year-old referred because he wore a “Free Palestine” badge to
school and a student of counter-terrorism questioned after an official spotted
him reading a textbook entitled Terrorism Studies.
years of pressure from individuals, campaigners and politicians, the government
has finally agreed to address these concerns with an independent review of the
of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as
Contest, Prevent was created by the Labour government in 2003 and its remit was
widened by the coalition government in 2011.
stated purpose is designed to steer people vulnerable to all forms of extremism
away from violence and essentially from becoming terrorists capable of violence.
The Channel programme, an arm of Prevent, mentors those identified as at risk
of radicalisation. Since 2012 more than 1,200 people had been supported by
controversy surrounding the approach deepened in July 2015, when the government
introduced a statutory duty on schools, NHS trusts, prisons and local
authorities to report concerns about people who may be at risk of turning to
extremism or terrorism.
Faure Walker, a secondary school teacher in Tower Hamlets and a PhD candidate
investigating the impact of counter-extremism discourses in educational
settings, saw the impact of the duty first-hand when children suddenly stopped
talking about specific issues for fear they would be targeted by Prevent
officers – a so-called “chilling effect”.
most profound example I had was a kid who was a devout Muslim telling me he was
scared of practising his religion in school for fear of a referral,” he said.
said that as a teacher he came to realise that having robust discussions with
children on difficult topics – such as those who expressed frustration with
western foreign policy or made racist remarks – actually helped ensure such
views did not lead to violence.
my experience what is now being targeted as extremism was part of the mechanism
that pathways to violence were diverted,” he said. “Since then Prevent comes in
and starts to specifically target those types of conversations, putting a duty
on me as a teacher to report those conversations as extremism – and it’s based
on a false premise that the airing of extreme views is a predictor for
critics of Prevent have cautiously welcomed the review, which will be launched
within six months of the government’s counter-terrorism and border security
bill passing into law.
Ahmed, the director of the NGO Rights Watch UK, which in 2016 produced a
landmark report on the impact of Prevent, said: “We think it’s essential given
serious human rights concerns – particularly the impact on children in schools.
Prevent strategy is not a hard security measure, we’re not talking about
torture. It’s incredibly pervasive. Parents weren’t talking to their children
about political pressures or Islam because they were worried about what the
children might go on to say at school. It was hugely chilling. It’s a form of
added: “Prevent has alienated and marginalised the community who are now
mistrustful of the security apparatus that needs them to work with them.”
Versi, assistant secretary general at the Muslim Council of Britain, said one
of their core concerns with Prevent had been the lack of a means of testing or
proving its success. He said: “If you have a strategy it should have the
appropriate controls to see if it’s effective. It’s standard practice. That’s a
core part of our concern.”
Logan, legal expert at Amnesty International UK, which has repeatedly called
for an independent review, said: “Prevent has always looked to be a highly
dubious scheme built on shaky, almost evidence-free foundations, and we need to
see a review that properly assesses its impact and approach.”
is not without its supporters, however, including significant, influential
voices within counter-terror circles. Announcing the review, the security
minister, Ben Wallace, challenged critics of the strategy to produce solid
evidence of their allegations, accusing them of “distortion and spin”.
Walton, who was head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command from 2011 to
2016, said: “The implementation of the government’s Prevent strategy has
undoubtedly resulted in lives being saved that would have been lost from
terrorist attacks had interventions not taken place. It comes as no surprise,
therefore, that the strategy has traditionally been opposed by extremist and
terrorist groups who want to undermine the government’s efforts to prevent
question whether a review commissioned by the Home Office of its own
counter-terrorism strategy is really necessary and value for money at this time
when the threat from terrorism remains severe, which means a terrorist attack
is highly likely.”
the emotional and psychological impact on those who believe they were wrong to
have been quizzed under the Prevent strategy is clearly damaging.
leader Milorad Dodik has renewed threats to break up Bosnia, after the
country’s main Muslim party said the name of its Serb-run Republika Srpska
region should be changed.
row has deepened uncertainty in ethnically divided Bosnia, where bickering
parties from its Serb, Croat and Muslim (or Bosniak) communities are yet to
form a new central government after national elections last October.
Dayton peace accord that ended Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war divided it into two
semi-autonomous “entities”, Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation,
which are linked at the state level by a relatively weak government in
pro-Russian Mr Dodik has long resisted EU-backed efforts to integrate the
regions and has threatened to seek independence for Republika Srpska rather
than transfer powers to the central government, which he claims the Bosniak
majority will use to victimise Serbs.
Party of Democratic Action (SDA), which is the largest Bosniak political group,
now plans to ask Bosnia’s constitutional court to change the name of Republika
Srpska (RS) in response to its alleged discrimination against Muslims and
time we say ‘enough’. We accepted the name Republika Srpska because we wanted
peace, but we never accepted that it would be an entity where we’d be
humiliated,” said SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic.
is not the intention of the SDA to abolish the name of the RS. We will ask that
Bosniaks and Croats be included in everything, including in the name,” Bosnia’s
N1 media outlet quoted him as saying.
Dodik, who is the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite state presidency and leads
Republika Srpska’s main party, said he would not wait for a ruling from a
constitutional court in Sarajevo that he believes “will always rule against the
this appeal is accepted by the constitutional court... we will consider this a
flagrant violation of the Dayton peace agreement and we will call for a session
of the RS national assembly to decide on the future status of Republika
Srpska,” he declared.
the SDA wants to do this, I will push for rigorous protection measures in the
RS... All the laws that allow us to take control of the border overnight are
already written,” he added.
you wanted to throw us, Republika Srpska, out of Bosnia... then you are doing
the best job possible.”
Bosnian-Serb political leaders agreed with Mr Dodik, who is under US sanctions
for allegedly undermining the Dayton accords and Bosnian statehood.
seeking close ties with Moscow, Mr Dodik says he backs Bosnia’s faltering bid
to join the European Union, but his party’s opposition to Bosniak and Croat
hopes of Nato membership has hampered formation of a new national government.
call on all political parties to refrain from political manoeuvres aimed at
distracting attention from the real issues facing Bosnia,” the EU delegation in
Sarajevo said of the name dispute.
of an Islamic education centre that was vandalised have said they do not want
to punish those responsible.
of the Bahr Academy in Newcastle would like to talk to the perpetrators about
was scrawled on walls, furniture overturned and copies of the Koran thrown on
to the floor.
centre's trustees said they wanted those involved to come to get to know its
members, as talking could prevent further attacks.
Abdulmuheet said he was shocked when he saw the damage, which included a
swastika on one of the walls.
thought we'd moved away from that. What are they trying to say?," he said.
want to say to them, whoever they are, come and speak to us, we want to inform
you that we are not really what you might have thought we are," Mr
want to speak to you, so you can find out what we are about and teach you what
Islam actually says, so you have a correct understanding of what we are trying
to do in these places."
must wean itself off economic reliance on Iran and become more energy
self-sufficient, Britain's foreign office minister for the Middle East said on
Burt visited Iraq after a flurry of high-profile diplomacy in Baghdad this
month that followed US President Donald Trump's surprise announcement he was
pulling American troops out of Syria.
allies worry the withdrawal, even if it proceeds more slowly than initially
planned, will embolden Iran, whose influence has grown in Iraq and Syria in
hopes to counter Iranian influence through renewed sanctions, and has pressured
Iraq to halt imports of Iranian gas.
expect Iran to have no influence in Iraq is fanciful," Mr Burt said in an
interview with Reuters at the British Embassy in Baghdad.
is important is that Iraq finds the opportunity to follow its own future in
terms of foreign relations and that its economy is strong, and isn't reliant on
said Iraq must convert oil resources to become more self-sufficient. "The
sooner all its oil wealth can come on stream and can capture all the energy
that is sometimes not used as effectively as possible ... the better," he
oil export capacity is nearly 5 million barrels per day, although it is pumping
below capacity in line with an OPEC agreement to reduce production to stabilise
prices. Washington hopes it can reduce its gas flaring to satisfy domestic
energy needs and rely less on Iranian power imports.
Burt said there were ideas for more power projects in Iraq, without
doubted that a military escalation between the United States and Iran in Iraq
or Syria was imminent, but warned of "confrontation which might occur
should there be a miscalculation."
has ramped up between Washington's chief regional ally Israel, and Iran and its
allies in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks. Israel struck what it said were
Iranian targets near Damascus on Monday in an increasingly open assault on
Iran's presence there.
ban': Two years on, Trump's order still destroying lives
DC - Families split; travellers stranded; students unable to attend their
universities; people being forced to be away from their loved ones.
years after President Donald Trump signed an executive order severely
restricting travel from several Muslim-majority countries, the effects of the
executive order that came to be known as the Muslim ban, are still happening.
seen families torn apart, individuals not being able to visit loved ones,
weddings that were missed, healthcare they haven't been able to receive,
students not being able to come to school - there is a real life daily impact
that it has, and that's ongoing," Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said.
Trump signed his ban on 27 January 2017, demonstrators flooded airports, 1,000
State Department officials lodged a rare dissent cable, and lawyers filed a
rush of lawsuits all in protest against the executive order, which put a 90-day
block on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.
protests and early court decisions suspending the ban restored hope of a united
front against the executive order and underlying bigotry behind it.
year, however, the Supreme Court upheld the ban after a lengthy legal battle,
ruling in favour of executive power to control immigration, although Trump had
professed to his discriminatory intent as a candidate in late 2015, calling for
a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" coming to the US.
advocates say they are turning to politicians and presidential candidates to
undo the ban.
order left the lives of people like Syrian doctor Khaled Almilaji, who was
waiting to get a visa to continue his masters programme at Brown University and
return to his wife who was pregnant with their first child, in limbo.
can go to the website – you see your number and there is 'pending'. This
pending can take years," he told MEE at the time, stuck in Turkey and
continuing his studies remotely while his wife's due date grew closer.
also threw the country's airports into an instant tailspin, as protesters and
lawyers, like Sharifa Abbasi who works for the Virginia-based HMA law firm,
gathered to help new arrivals, and untangle a knot of bureaucracy, so freshly
spun, no one knew exactly what was going on.
were lawyers on the phone with the local elected official's offices, people
trying to reach Customs and Border Protection and airlines, people writing
different memos, teams doing legal research, conference calls going on every
day," said Abbasi, who was volunteering at Dulles Airport.
was beautiful because everybody just wanted to come together and offer their
the pack of at least 50 lawyers, fed by other volunteers and surrounded by
chanting demonstrators and journalists, continued to advise people, Abbasi said
she felt certain that the order would be "blown out by the courts".
didn't think it was going to go on for this long, that it even stood a
chance," she said. "But unfortunately, given the political climate we
are in now, anything can fly."
fact, the ban had gone through several incarnations before making its way to
the Supreme Court last June.
originally applied to permanent residents, before the Department of Homeland
Security issued a directive exempting Green Card holders from the executive
order, following some 24 hours of mass confusion at airports.
March 2017, Trump signed what would become known as the "second Muslim
ban". The new decree excluded Iraq from the list. Baghdad had agreed to
start accepting deportees from the US in exchange for the move.
deal allowed the administration to round up dozens of Iraqi Christians who had
outstanding deportation orders, even as they argued that sending them back to
Iraq could amount to a "death sentence".
yet another amendment to the ban in September 2017, the White House removed
Sudan from the list and added travel restrictions on the citizens of Chad,
North Korea and Venezuela.
McCaw, director of the government affairs department at Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said each version of the ban aimed to
"cover up the discrimination, bigotry and unlawfulness" of the
CAIR's position that the Muslim ban continues, not only to be discriminatory,
but is unconstitutional," McCaw said.
Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the ban was a "travesty of justice",
McCaw said, citing other historical missteps by the high court, including the
Korematsu case that allowed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World
he noted that the Supreme Court's decision is not subject for appeal.
now it is up to Congress to use its lawful authority to de-fund or repeal this
Muslim ban executive order," McCaw continued.
in 2017, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Senator Chris Murphy introduced a bill that
would "prohibit the use of any funds or fees to implement" the order.
"legislative fix", according to McCaw, would be to reform the
Immigration and Nationality Act, on which Trump based his executive order.
acknowledged that such efforts have minimal chances of passing through
Congress, as Trump's Republican Party is still in control of the US Senate. A
legislative push however is still important, he said.
is to communicate to the American public that this order can be overturned by
Congress, if there is enough votes," he said.
Trump loses his re-election bid in 2020, his successor could overturn the ban
by executive order.
handful of Democratic politicians and activists have announced their candidacy
for the upcoming presidential elections; McCaw said he is still waiting to see
who will be the first candidate who will pledge to repeal the ban.
ban has had a chilling effect on the number of people from the targeted
countries coming into the US.
State Department data shows that in the fiscal year 2018 only 819 Yemenis were
granted "immediate relative visas" to join their families in the US,
a stark drop from the 8,447 in 2016, President Barack Obama's last year in
fiscal year ends on 30 September, meaning the ban was fully in effect for three
months in the last reporting cycle.
the direct impact of the ban on potential travellers and family members who may
await them here, advocates say the executive order has created an atmosphere of
fear that has contributed to the rise of Islamophobia.
Muslim ban itself - being discriminatory - marginalises American Muslims and
paints them as being a threat to their fellow citizens and neighbours,"
President Trump was elected and he issued the Muslim ban executive order, there
has been a stark increase in hate crimes and acts of discrimination targeting
American Muslims, and vandalism targeting their houses of worship and community
echoed McCaw's statement, adding that the ban had a "psychological
impact" on Arab, Muslim and immigrant communities in the US.
in the government, worrying about their immigration status, worrying about
loved ones, the stress - that really took a toll," he said.
to Ayoub, that anxiety was not limited to people from countries listed in the
executive order, as people from all communities, including US citizens, started
questioning if they would be targeted next.
their concerns are warranted: Abbasi said she has noticed that the processing
time for visas for people from countries with large Muslim populations not on
the list – like Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan – have slowed down.
you are already outside the country, there are a lot of people that are
hopeless," she said. "Imagine all of the talent in these past two
years that really could have done something for the country."
each other together'
of those people was Khaled Almilaji, the Syrian doctor who was stranded in
Turkey when the ban came down, hoping to return to his masters programme and to
his pregnant wife, Jihan, who is also a doctor.
37, was working for a pharmaceutical company and finishing up a medical
residency when the war started. In September 2011, he was imprisoned for six
months in Damascus. He was tortured for two weeks, including by electrocution,
and one of his fingers and a rib was broken.
prison authorities relied on him to treat other prisoners which he did
blindfolded so he couldn't identify anyone later on.
he was released from prison, he spent the next five years making a major impact
on healthcare services for Syrians, including his role on a task force that
vaccinated 1.4 million Syrian children against polio and stopped the virus from
spreading as it had in Iraq.
years after the ban altered their lives, Almilaji's now 17-month-old daughter,
Daria, Jihan and he are now settled in Toronto, where Khaled and Jihan were
reunited in June 2017.
is nearly done with a masters in health informatics at the University of
Toronto, and said he has already used what he has been learning to improve
health services in northern Syria.
finishing my masters in April. It's amazing, right?" he said on Saturday.
"I was lucky that I didn't waste more time in this."
who is preparing for exams to continue her medical studies, has been able to
travel to visit her family in Germany. Meanwhile, Khaled has returned
frequently to Turkey to work on initiatives including an underground hospital
for women and children, and projects providing care for Syrians in Idlib,
Aleppo and Hama.
were lucky that we were still able to get degrees, look for medical training
jobs and, at the same time, continue doing this work. Not a lot of people had
the same chance," he said.
day, he said, he hoped history books will detangle the chaotic political
moment, and provide lessons for the world.
a mess, but it's needed because it's not a matter of the results of one
election or another, it's a matter of our collective behaviour. Our communities
are divided, but these things showed that division," he said.
is good because as a doctor you cannot fix something unless you diagnose it. It
was there and now it is on the surface. We have to put each other together.”
US envoy leading the so-called “peace talks” with the Taliban terrorist group
has confirmed “significant progress” in the negotiations amid claims by the
group that the American side has agreed to a troop-withdrawal deal.
here were more productive than they have been in the past. We have made
significant progress on vital issues,” Zalmay Khalilzad said in a Twitter
message on Saturday from Qatar, where the talks have been underway for the past
noted, however, that no deal had yet been finalized with the militant group
that has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings and terror attacks
against the Afghan government and civilian targets as well as on the US-led
foreign troops in the war-torn country. He further expressed confidence that
talks would resume shortly.
is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an
intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire,” he further wrote.
US State Department spokesperson, however, declined to comment on Khalilzad’s
US negotiators Saturday agreed on a draft peace agreement, setting out the
withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 18 months, according to
the details of the agreement given to Reuters by Taliban sources.
policy of the Islamic Emirate during talks was very clear — until the issue of
withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is agreed upon, progress in other
issues is impossible,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, using another
name the group calls itself.
was not immediately clear whether the draft described by the Taliban sources
was acceptable to both sides or when it could be completed and signed.
Taliban sources further said other clauses in the draft include an agreement
over the exchange and release of prisoners, the removal of an international
travel ban on several Taliban leaders by Washington and the prospect of an
interim Afghan government after the ceasefire is signed.
also confirmed provisions in the draft that have wider repercussions for
Afghanistan’s ties with its neighbors, particularly Pakistan, India and China.
sources added the deal include provisions that separatist militants from
Balochistan, a resource-rich southwestern Pakistani province, will not be
allowed to use Afghan soil to target Pakistan.
to the sources, the terrorist group gave assurances that Afghanistan will not be
allowed to be used by allied al-Qaeda and rival Daesh (ISIL) terrorist groups
to attack the US and its allies — a key early demand of Washington. Daesh
terrorists were among the militants initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in
2012 to destabilize the Syrian government.
further said the deal included a ceasefire provision but they had yet to
confirm a timeline and would only open talks with Afghan representatives once a
truce was implemented.
until now, the Taliban has repeatedly rejected the Afghan government’s offer of
holding talks, preferring instead to talk directly to the American side.
18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented
then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action,” a Taliban source
said, quoting from a portion of the draft.
the presence of US-led forces in Afghanistan 17 years after their invasion to
drive Taliban from power, the terrorist group controls nearly half of the
President Ashraf Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country’s
security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014.
US Representative Ilhan Omar has blasted the administration of President Donald
Trump for backing the recent “coup” attempt against the legal government in
who in November became one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress,
took to twitter to express outrage over Washington’s policy of “handpicking”
leaders of other countries to serve operate interests.
cannot hand pick leaders for other countries on behalf of multinational
corporate interests," Omar wrote Friday. "The legislature cannot
seize power from the President, and Venezuela's Supreme Court has declared
their actions unconstitutional."
has been convulsed by a political crisis. The Latin American country further
plunged into crisis on Wednesday, after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared
himself “interim president” and rejected the presidency of Nicolas Maduro.
after Guaido’s self-proclamation, the US said it recognized him as the
“legitimate” leader of Venezuela, calling on other countries to follow suit.
Caracas responded by cutting ties with Washington.
who began his second term this month after winning a vote boycotted by the
opposition, has called Guaido an “agent of the gringos,” accusing him of taking
orders from the US.
Associated Press has revealed in a report that Guaido quietly traveled to
Washington, Colombia and Brazil in mid-December to brief officials on his plans
to provoke unrest.
US has also imposed several rounds of economic sanctions against Venezuela on
the grounds that Maduro’s government undermined people’s democratic rights.
a Minnesota Democrat, said if the US wanted to really help Venezuelan people it
could begin by removing the sanctions.
we really want to support the Venezuelan people, we can lift the economic
sanctions that are inflicting suffering on innocent families, making it harder
for them to access food and medicines, and deepening the economic crisis. We should support dialogue, not a coup!” she
lawmaker also called on the White House to roll back foreign interventions and
focus on domestic issues instead.
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