An Iranian woman walks
past an advertising billboard in Tehran for the upcoming "Muhammad" movie (AFP
Iranian Epic ‘Muhammad’ Aims To Change Islam’s Image
Indonesian Ulema Council Joins the Push for a Moderate
China mulls banning 'terrorist' clothing
Thai Army, Muslim Rebels Hold Closed-Door Peace Talks
Muslim businesses reminded to pay property zakat
Bangkok bomb theories flourish as police probe
34 PKK Militants Killed As Turkish Jets Hit Northern
Politician: Yemeni Forces to Gain Great Victories in
Jizan, Najran Soon
Yemen Fires Scud Missile at Saudi Arabia
Iran enlists Afghan refugees as fighters to bolster
Palestinians, Vatican seek to raise flags at U.N.
Envoy Urges West to Honor July N. Agreement with Iran
Commander: Over 20 Foreign Cargo Ships Escorted by Iranian
Warships in Int'l Waters
Iranian Intelligence Minister: ISIL Plot to Attack
DM: Iran to Mount New Home-Made Cruise Missile on
Terrorism, extremism doomed to fail: Tehran
Syrian Army Repels Rebel Attacks on Bashkoy in Aleppo
Iraq Forces Retake Key ISIL-Held Area in Anbar
Saudi Arabia holding main suspect in 1996 Khobar
Beirut trash talks fail amid renewed protests
Lebanon in crisis as Hezbollah enters trash fray
MSF: Syrian family showed signs of chemical exposure
Saudi Air Raids Hit Areas in Yemen
Mideast leaders flock to Moscow for Syrian talks,
ISIS Group Draws More Indians, Alarm Bells in Delhi
Bihar Polls Soon, Timing of Religion Census Data Triggers
Separatist DFP President Blames Centre for Failure of
NSA Talks with Pakistan
Economic backwardness spurs Muslim population growth
Political war in Bengal as data reveal rise in Muslim
Lack of burial grounds in Maharashtra upsets Muslims
Foreign Funding Traced To Bangladesh Based Radical
US Adds Aziz Haqqani to Its List of “Specially
Designated Global Terrorists”
Mullah Omar’s brother warns of Taliban infighting if
differences not resolved
2 NATO soldiers killed in attack by individuals in
Politics cited in parliamentary elections as further
Hanif: JaSad paved way for Bangabandhu’s death
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami biding its time
Two NATO soldiers killed in Afghan 'insider attack':
Afghan satire ‘Kabul Taxi’ angers spies
Somalia: Seven Al Shabaab Killed in the Latest Clashes
Libyan FM Calls for International Aid in Fight against
Switzerland Pledges $8mn to Help Boko Haram Victims
Man from Ghana Joins Islamic State, Family Says
In Nigeria, Boko Haram is an equal opportunity
U.N.: China arms firm sold $20m in weapons to S Sudan
Action Ordered Against 49 Madrasas with ‘Terrorist
Links’ In Sindh
SC Proposes Appointment of Architect to Restore Karak
‘Sufi poets can guarantee unity’: Chairman WPC
Election tribunal judge accuses minister of hurling
Rangers, BSF top commanders to meet in New Delhi on
Sept 9: sources
Pakistan wants CARs linked to its ports
Sino-Pak relationship unprecedented: Chinese VP
Pakistan, Kazakhstan sign MOUs to strengthen trade
92 scholars to study in French universities
Why Islamic State Prefers US Servers for Its Online
Orlando Aiport Will Open Muslim Prayer Room
US baseball great suspended for Islamophobic tweet
As Islamic State militants destroy artifacts, heritage
always a target across centuries of war
Toronto man denied subsidized housing for not being
10 Most Racist European Countries towards Muslims
French Mosque Fire Is Arson, Hollande Says, As
Anti-Muslim Crimes On The Rise In France
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
August 25, 2015
TEHRAN: The award-winning director of Iran’s most
expensive ever film, “Muhammad”, says he hopes it will improve Islam’s “violent
image”, but the religious epic risks angering many Muslims despite not showing
the prophet’s face.
The huge production about the childhood of the prophet
cost up to an estimated $40 million and took more than seven years to complete.
The 171-minute film, which stars many top Iranian
actors, premieres on Wednesday in 143 theatres throughout Iran, the day before
it opens the Montreal Film Festival.
In an interview with AFP in Tehran, its director Majid
Majidi, 56, said extremists and jihadists such as the Islamic State group “have
stolen the name of Islam”.
In the Western world, “an incorrect interpretation of
Islam has emerged that shows a violent image of Islam, and we believe it has no
link whatsoever” to the religion, he said.
“Muhammad” is the first part of a trilogy on the life
of the prophet. The film depicts events before his birth and up to his teenage
years, before he became prophet, which according to the Koran was at the age of
While Iran has denounced cartoons of the prophet like
those published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Shiite Muslims are generally
more relaxed than Sunnis about depictions of religious figures.
While many planned screenings of “Muhammad” in
Shiite-majority Iran have already sold out, in the Sunni Muslim world the
production has triggered controversy.
“Definitely, some countries like Saudi Arabia will
have problems with this film but many Islamic countries — including Turkey,
Indonesia, Malaysia and many others in Southeast Asia — have asked for the
film,” Majidi said.
The first major production about the prophet’s life,
“Mohammad, Messenger of God” from Syrian-American filmmaker Moustapha Akkad,
also drew criticism in the Muslim world when it was released in 1976.
In an attempt to allay the concerns of Muslims, Majidi
looked for alternative ways of showing the prophet, and chose not to picture
his face at all.
“To have the hero throughout the movie and not show
his face once is a big challenge,” said a smiling Majidi, whose “Children of
Heaven” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in
Majidi and his Italian Oscar-winning cinematographer
Vittorio Storaro came up with a special technique.
“We customised a steadicam especially for the prophet.
Wherever we have the prophet in the film, we see through his POV (point of
view), even in his childhood,” Majidi explained.
“Everyone is curious to see the prophet in the film,
but you cannot see his face,” he said, adding that the prophet can only seen by
his profile, or with his back to the camera.
Still, Majidi’s solution is not enough for experts at
Al-Azhar, a leading Sunni Muslim institution based in Egypt.
In a statement, Al-Azhar “objected to portraying
prophets and messengers in art” as it is “tantamount to belittling their
It opposes not only portraying the prophets’ faces but
also their voices.
“The actor who plays this role may later play a
criminal, and viewers may associate these characters with criminality,” Abdel
Dayyem Nosair, adviser to Al-Azhar head Ahmed al-Tayyeb, told AFP.
“Muhammad”, which is partially state funded, is being
released on the anniversary of the birth of the eighth imam of Shiite Islam,
The next two films in the trilogy could prove even
more controversial as the young hero is not yet a prophet in the first
“There are no disputes over this period” of the
prophet’s life, said Majidi, who has won international prizes including the
Oecumenical Special Award in Montreal for promoting unity among religions.
“From the time he becomes a prophet, even dialogue
would be very difficult to manage, but I believe it is still achievable,” the
Indonesian Ulema Council Joins The Push For A Moderate
August 25 2015
Islam in Indonesia is a tolerant religion that rejects
all forms of radicalism, said Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Din
Syamsudin during the MUI’s 9th national meeting on Tuesday.
“We present this concept of moderate Islam, or wasathiyah
Islam, not only for Indonesia but also for the whole world, to solve the
problems we have these days,” Din added as quoted by kompas.com.
Such a concept of Islam is a similar vision to those
promoted by some of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations. Nahdlatul Ulama
(NU) is using the term Islam Nusantara (Islam of the archipelago), while
Muhammadiyah uses Islam Berkemajuan (progressive Islam).
Religious moderatism has been chosen as the main theme
for MUI’s national meeting being held in Surabaya from Aug. 24 to 27.
“A moderate and tolerant Islam matches the basic
guidelines of MUI, and a moderate Islam is currently a trending topic
worldwide,” said MUI deputy general secretary Noor Achmad.
The MUI’s national meeting will bring together 550 representatives
from across the country. The event’s agenda includes the election of a new
chairman and discussions on some the organization’s recent fatwas (religious
Chinese legislators have proposed a new nationwide ban
on "terrorist" clothing in the latest move designed to curb Islamic
extremism in restive Xinjiang.
The draft amendment proposed Aug. 24 by China’s top
legislature does not specify what would be criminalized. However, the proposed
ban is believed to apply to burqas, separatist flags and Islamic beards.
Those found guilty of wearing or forcing others to
wear "clothes or symbols in public associated with terrorism and
extremism" would face three years in prison.
"The amendment could prevent terrorist activities
from spreading across China. It shows the nation’s zero tolerance toward any
action related to terrorism or extremism," Li Wei, an anti-terrorism
specialist at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told
the state-run Global Times.
Although countries including France and Turkey have
banned burqas, as noted by China’s state media, most have done so in state
institutions such as courts and government buildings. There are few examples of
countries also banning other forms of Islamic appearance including beards.
In January, Xinjiang’s regional capital Urumqi banned
burqas from being worn in public amid a one-year "strike-hard"
campaign against minority Muslim Uighur separatists. This campaign was a
response to a series of deadly attacks.
In March, a court in the Uighur-dominated city of
Kashgar sentenced a 38-year-old man to six years in prison for growing a beard.
His wife was given two years for wearing a veil. They were found guilty of
"picking quarrels and provoking trouble," the court said.
Five Muslim men were put on trial in June for wearing
"crescent moon-shaped" beards in the remote city of Atushi, close to
the border with Kyrgyzstan.
Although there are no current laws banning Islamic
dress outside of Xinjiang, the crackdown has extended to other parts of the
country in recent months.
A university provoked an online debate in May after
ordering nine female students to remove their veils in Xian, a city with a
large minority Muslim Hui population in central China.
Earlier this month, armed police took away a group of
women who were wearing burqas while shopping for shoes in the city of Nanyang,
Henan province. Many users on the micro-blogging site Weibo backed the police —
a sign of growing intolerance of overt Islamic dress among China’s mainly
"Other countries have banned the wearing of this
kind of dress. If you see it on the street, inform the police. Muslim brothers
and sisters going outside should not scare people," wrote one Weibo user.
Kayum Masimov, head of the Uighur Canadian Society and
a Xinjiang exile, said a nationwide ban on Islamic dress would fuel humiliation
and oppression of Muslims, calling the move a double standard.
"The Chinese Communist Party is eager to exhibit
Uighurs and other 'minorities' during its state-run shows at the Great Hall of
the People," he said in reference to China’s rubber-stamp parliament in
Beijing. "But the same clothes are banned in our region."
Thai army, Muslim rebels hold closed-door peace talks
25 Aug 2015
BANGKOK: A Thai delegation led by special advisor to
the Royal Thai Army General Aksara Kerdpol met with representatives of
Thailand's southern militant groups in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on
Tuesday (Aug 25).
It is the third round of secret peace negotiations, brokered
by Malaysia’s National Intelligence Agency, since the Thai military staged a
coup last year. The first two rounds
took place in April and June, respectively.
Thai officials say these closed-door meetings lay the
foundation for public talks that may take place at the end of this year or at
the start of 2016.
"Those things both sides agree on we can make
public, and for those things we cannot agree on the talks continue covertly,”
said Major-General Nakrob Boonbuathong,
deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command's 5th
Operations Coordinator Center and a secretariat at the peace talks. “Such a
thing could not be achieved in an open process."
The former Yingluck Shinawatra government initiated
peace talks in 2013.
The six Thai Muslim separatist groups bandied together
earlier this year, under an umbrella called Mara Patani. It includes, Barisan Revolusi Nasional,
Gerakan Mujahideen Islam Patani; Barisan Islam Pembebasan Patani, and three
factions of Patani Liberation Organisation.
General Aksara says the insurgents have renamed
themselves to remove the old image of violence. And both sides are looking to
establish violence-free “safe zones” in the southern provinces. More than 6,400
people have been killed since 2004 in the battle for autonomy in Thailand’s
OTHER APPROACHES NEEDED
Observers have welcomed the resumption of peace talks
after they were interrupted by political conflict at the end of 2013 in
Bangkok. But they say other approaches are needed to end the 11-year insurgency.
"Regardless of the change of government, the
focus of the peace dialogue is identifying leaders of separatists and engaging
with them either through persuasion or coercion,” said Sunai Phasuk, Human
Rights Watch senior researcher on Thailand. “But the focus is about leadership.
What is lacking entirely is how to reach out to the masses."
Only security officials are involved in the peace
dialogue this year, with no one representing civil society and academia.
“By not including civilians who are not officials in
these talks, the government risks not getting the views from the civil society
and academia. This could be a weakness,” said Dr Srisompob Jitpiromsri,
director of the Deep South Watch at Prince Songkla University.
According to local reports, Mara Patani will hold its
first media conference on Aug 27 in Kuala Lumpur, and Thai security sources
have hinted the next round of “secret” talks could take place in September or
August 26, 2015
MIRI: Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak has called on Muslim
business operators here to pay their property zakat.
Miri officer Mariani Juraibi said this is one way
Muslims who have business profits or many properties can contribute to the poor
“Muslims can contribute their zakat to Tabung
Baitulmal,” she said during a goodwill visit from the Sarawak Bumiputera
Chamber of Entrepreneurs (DUBS) Miri yesterday.
Mariani also called on Muslims and DUBS members to
help identify eligible needy Muslims and orphans and to channel the information
to Tabung Baitulmal. Some of 16 DUBS members were present led by DUBS Miri
Youth chairman Mohamad Hafidz Rohani.
Michael Peel in Bangkok
High quality global journalism requires investment.
Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut &
paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail.
Email email@example.com to buy additional rights.
Thailand’s police are still hunting for a breakthrough
in the case of the bombing in Bangkok’s Erawan shrine last week that killed 20
people, the country’s worst such atrocity. Somyot Poompanmoung, national police
chief, has complained that investigators are having to use their “imagination”
because non-working security cameras mean there is little additional footage of
the main bombing suspect, who was caught on film arriving at the shrine,
planting the device and leaving.
Theories about the man and his accomplices have since
flourished in the information gaps:
High quality global journalism requires investment.
Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut &
paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy additional rights.
Udomdej Sitabutr, head of the army and deputy defence
minister, has played down the idea that this was the work of Muslim ethnic
Malay separatists fighting a long-running conflict with the government in
Thailand’s deep south. Surachart Bamrungsuk, a military expert at Bangkok’s
Chulalongkorn University, says the Erawan shrine device, a pipe bomb filled
with ball bearings, was different from the explosives-packed gas cylinders
typically used in the southern campaign. And while southern insurgents have
become more active outside their region, they have never before carried out an
attack to inflict mass deaths elsewhere in the country.
Full report at:
34 PKK militants killed as Turkish jets hit northern
Aug 26, 2015
More than three dozen members of the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) have been killed after Turkish military aircraft carried
out a series of airstrikes in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The Turkish army, in a statement released on Tuesday,
said the military aircraft bombarded PKK training camps in the far-flung Qandil
Mountains, killing 34 Kurdish militants in the operation.
Also on Tuesday, Turkish jets launched aerial raids
against PKK bases in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk.
According to eyewitnesses, the airstrikes targeted
areas in two regions on the outskirts of Amadiyah, the Dohuk provincial capital
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the
aftermath of the aerial attacks.
This file photo shows an F-16 fighter jet operated by
the Turkish Air Force.
Turkey has been launching airstrikes against purported
Daesh targets in Syria as well as PKK positions in Iraq, after a Daesh bomb
attack on July 20 left 32 people dead in the southeastern Turkish town of
Suruc, across the border from the northern Syrian town of Kobani.
The PKK later killed two Turkish police officers,
saying they had been collaborating with Daesh.
Aug 25, 2015
"Great victories of the Yemeni army and popular
forces are underway in the occupied territories of Jizan and Najran,"
Nasser al-Arajli, member of Yemen's Free Party told FNA on Tuesday.
He noted that Saudi Arabia is fighting a proxy war on
behalf of Israel against the Yemeni nation, and said, "The recent
victories against the terrorists and Saudi mercenaries would not have been
achieved if there had not been the efforts of the Yemeni army and popular
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 153 days now
to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,518 Yemenis, including
hundreds of women and children.
Yemen fires scud missile at Saudi Arabia
Sanna: Yemeni army units allied to the Houthi militia
fired a ballistic missile toward southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the
group's TV channel said, as combat between the kingdom and the Iran-allied
group has intensified.
"The Yemeni army fired a Scud ballistic missile
toward Jizan," Houthi-run Al Maseera TV reported on its twitter page.
Residents in the capital Sanaa reported hearing a big
roar as the Scud was launched from near the city, followed by Saudi-led air
strikes on a presidential palace and a military depot for rockets.
Saudi Arabia led an Arab military intervention against
the Houthis beginning on March 26 to restore the Yemeni government ousted by
the group and fend off what it sees as the creeping influence of the Shi'ite
Muslim group's main ally, Iran.
The Houthis say their rise to power is a revolution
against corrupt officials beholden to Saudi Arabia and the West.
A powerful Cold War-era weapon, the Scud had been
launched at Saudi Arabia by Yemeni forces twice before during the five-month
war but was shot down by American-provided Patriot missiles both times.
26 August 2015
KABUL: The fate of two brothers from Kabul, one
grievously wounded, the other killed fighting in Syria, spotlights Iran's
covert but active recruitment of Afghan refugees to buttress President Bashar
al-Assad's steadily depleting forces.
Iran, Assad's key military and financial patron,
denies enlisting Afghan mercenaries to fight alongside Syrian forces in the
four-year conflict against opposition rebels that has left more than 240,000
people dead and millions displaced.
But interviews with Afghan fighters and relatives of
combatants killed in Syria point to a vigorous — and sometimes coerced —
recruitment drive of Shia Hazara refugees by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards
Corps propping up Assad's floundering regime.
Tears well up in Jehantab's rheumy eyes as she recalls
the haunting parting words of her husband, 35-year-old Haider, when he called
two months ago from Tehran: "I am going to Syria -- and I may not come
"Very few fighters survive Syria's brutal
conflict, he told me," said Jehantab, swaddled in a white scarf and
sitting with three young children on the floor of her Kabul home.
Haider, she said, was lured by the monthly salary of
$700 — a tidy sum for a labourer with no combat experience — and the promise of
an Iranian residency permit, an attractive inducement for refugees who
otherwise live in constant fear of deportation.
"I begged him: 'Don't go, don't kill yourself for
money'," said Jehantab, who asked to be identified only by her first name
in order not to jeopardise her chances of getting the permit.
Haider's premonition came true — a few days after he
left, an Iranian official informed his relatives, also refugees in Tehran, that
he had been killed in battle.
Haider was part of a growing wave of jobless young
Afghans seeking shelter in neighbouring Iran from decades of turmoil and war
tearing their country apart, only to be ensnared in another conflict.
"In terms of how they are recruited, deployed,
and utilised in Syria, many Afghan Shia fighters have suffered the fate of
being used as cannon fodder," said Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shia militant
groups, who estimates there are 2,000 to 3,500 Afghans currently fighting in
"Some are coerced to fight, others promised
residency papers for their family, and a small salary. It demonstrates Iran's
exploitation of Afghan Shia refugees," he said.
The Iranian embassy in Kabul told AFP it rejects
allegations that Tehran is enlisting Afghan refugees, calling the assertion
In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the
Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N.
headquarters - just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month.
Supporters of the idea hope the U.N. General Assembly
will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives.
They're betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block
the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis' first U.S. visit.
The Palestinians' proposal has been tabled, and a
draft of the resolution set to be made public Wednesday has been seen by The
Associated Press. It would allow non-member observer states - there are only
two - to display their flags with the 193 member states.
The United States and Israel oppose recognizing the
Palestinian state, arguing that it undermines efforts to negotiate a peace
agreement. That process, however, has largely been at a standstill since the
deadly conflict in Gaza a year ago.
Many states have shown support for the Palestinians'
pursuit of statehood, including the Holy See.
In May, the Vatican officially recognized the state of
Palestine in their first formal, bilateral treaty. Israel's foreign ministry
said it was "disappointed." During Francis' 2014 visit to the Holy
Land, the Vatican's official program referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas as the president of the "state of Palestine."
In 2012, the Vatican welcomed an overwhelming vote in
the General Assembly to upgrade the Palestinians' status to a U.N. non-member
observer state. Their delegation promptly unfurled the flag in the chamber.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the IAEA
Board of Governors, Najafi said that after finalizing the deal, the UN nuclear
agency has the duty of supervision and verification.
Referring to his address to Tuesday meeting, Najafi
said that he underlined that the Western sides have to honor their commitments
and remove all the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Iran, as well as
the nuclear-related sanctions either unilateral or multilateral.
Najafi said that the time will well show how much the
other side will remain committed to its promises.
He expressed hope that the western governments would
discharge their duty of implementing JCPOA to regain the trust of the Iranian
nation that has been damaged during the arbitrary sanctions.
Earlier this month, Head of the Atomic Energy
Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi underlined that the world powers
accepted Tehran's right of enrichment due to the country's insistence on its
"Recognition of Iran's enrichment right and
acquisition of the nuclear technology was imposed on the other side"
during the negotiations with the six world powers, Salehi said, addressing a
gathering in Tehran.
Commander: Over 20 Foreign Cargo Ships Escorted by
Iranian Warships in Int'l Waters
Aug 26, 2015
Sayyari said that his forces have so far had nearly
200 clashes with pirates in their anti-piracy missions and escorted 22 foreign
He further pointed to providing security and safety of
the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb by the Iranian Navy, and said that Navy has
provided safe passage for Iranian shipping lines in the Gulf of Aden and Bab
el-Mandeb and the Red Sea.
"About 2,000 trade ships and oil tankers have so
far been escorted by the (Iranian) Navy's fleets of warships," the Iranian
commander went on to say.
In relevant remarks late April, Sayyari announced that
Iranian warships are carrying out patrolling missions in Bab al-Mandab Strait,
the Gulf of Aden.
"The Navy's 34th fleet of warships is (now)
conducting patrols in Bab al-Mandab Strait," Sayyari said, addressing a
ceremony in Tehran at the time.
"We don’t enter any countries' (territorial)
waters and are present in the free waters based on the international laws and
regulations," he added.
"The ISIL had plans to launch terrorist attacks
in five regional countries and only Iran managed to identify and arrest the
saboteurs before they could conduct their terrorist activities," Alavi
said in an interview with the state TV on Monday night.
He pointed to dismantling a five-member group in the
Southeastern parts of the country, and said, "A five-member group which
intended to explode a district in the port city of Chabahar was identified and
The intelligence minister also pointed to disbanding a
Takfiri terrorist group in Western Iran, and said, "A Takfiri group in the
city of Saqez in Kurdistan province intended to launch suicide attacks last
year, but its members were arrested and the group was dismantled."
He also said that another terrorist group which had
kidnapped an Iranian international fencer and intended to carry out another
suicide attack in the city of Mashhad, in Northeastern Iran was also destroyed.
He further referred to identification and annihilation
of a Takfiri group which intended to launch suicide attacks in Tehran.
"Abu Habs Azizi, the leader of another Takfiri
terrorist group, who had killed a number of teachers and Basij members in
Sistan and Balouchestan province was identified and arrested last year,"
Alavi warned that the western, Israeli and certain
regional countries' spy agencies have hatched plots to create insecurity in
"The intelligence services of the US, Israel,
Mossad, MI6 and certain regional states are making attempts to challenge the
Islamic Republic's security and it is hard for them to see that the sound of
blasts is heard in any corner of the world but not in the Islamic Republic and
to see that it is a secure island," Alavi said.
He also referred to the continued attempts made by
terrorist groups, including the Takfiri terrorists, to harm the Islamic
Republic's security, and said fortunately the Iranian security forces'
intelligence superiority and efforts have thwarted all their plots.
In relevant remarks in March, top Military Aide to the
Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said agents of some 17
foreign spy agencies have sought to foment dissent and unrest in Iran's
oil-rich Southwestern province of Khuzestan.
General Rahim Safavi said that "17 regional and
trans-regional intelligence services affiliated to the Arab and western
states" are running operations "in support of ethnic separatist
groups to sow discord among the local people" in Khuzestan.
He said "the Arab and European secret services
are supporting separatist groups with financial and political backups" to
stir unrest through fomenting sectarian strife in the bordering province.
Aug 25, 2015
Dehqan made the remarks in Tehran on Tuesday,
addressing the inauguration ceremony of Nasr missile production line.
"Using the air-based Nasr missile by the Army and
the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)'s Air Forces will remarkably
increase their operational and tactical power," he said.
He said that the Nasr missile is equipped with a
high-precision radar which enables it to trace and intercept targets, adding
that after being fired from fighter jets, Nasr doesn’t need any backup and the
fighter jet can leave the danger zone immediately. Noting that the Nasr missile
can be mounted on different types of fighter jets, he announced Iran's future
plan to equip its home-made drones with the air-based missile.
In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in
the defense sector and gained self-sufficiency in essential military hardware
and defense systems.
The country has repeatedly made it clear that its
military might is merely based on the state's defense doctrine of deterrence
and that it poses no threat to other countries.
In March, the Iranian defense ministry started the
mass-delivery of different ballistic missiles, including Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110
and Khalij-e Fars missiles, as well as Mersad air defense system to the IRGC
and Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base.
“The honorable specialists of the Defense Ministry’s
Aerospace Organization displayed the defense industry' power and capability in
providing the Armed Forces' needs to the most advanced missile equipment by
supplying them with Qadr, Qiam, Fateh 110 and Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf)
ballistic missiles and Mersad air defense system and showed that the different
and comprehensive sanctions of the enemies imposed strictly and specially on
our defense sector have totally failed to undermine their resolve and
determination,” Dehqan said at the time, addressing a ceremony held to mark the
delivery of the new missile systems to the IRGC and Khatam Ol-Anbia Air Defense
“These missiles can strike and destroy enemy targets
with a high precision capability and provide for a wide range of the Armed
Forces’ needs to missiles with different ranges,” he added.
Dehqan underlined that all these missiles have been
built by Iranian specialists, and said, “Today the Armed Forces enjoy such a
high degree of defensive capabilities that they can counter back any kind of
threat posed from beyond the borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
He also described enemies’ threats of military action
against Iran as media hype for internal use.
Iran says terrorism, extremism and interference in
other countries’ internal affairs are a nonstarter.
“Extremism, terrorism and foreign interference are
doomed to fail,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham in
her weekly press conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.
She noted that Iran has always favored regional and
international peace and stability and opposed bullying.
Scourges facing the world such as weapons of mass
destruction (WMDs), extremism and even environmental issues could be tackled
through collective cooperation, said the spokeswoman.
Iran has proved that unfair sanctions imposed on the
country have been inefficient and “reverence and dialog” are essential to
“upgrade peace and security” in the world.
“In the past two years, Iran with its interactive approach
has shown that it not only attaches significance to the regional and
international peace and stability, but also has given priority to the
enhancement of stability and cooperation in the region and the prevention of
chaos and is ready for fresh, sincere, and in-depth dialog with all regional
and Muslim countries,” Afkham said.
On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United
States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – finalized the text of a
nuclear agreement, dubbed the JCPOA, in the Austrian capital city of Vienna.
Under the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear
activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic and
financial bans against the Islamic Republic.
Afkham went on to say, “Today, the international
community seeks an increase in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran
and Iran as a responsible country and with reliance on his diplomatic
initiative has revived dialogue in the world.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham
giving a press conference in Tehran, August 26, 2015.
She also noted that cooperation with regional
countries as one of “the fixed and principled” policies of Iran, stressing,
“Stability in this region is highly important to us.”
Afkham noted that Iran is in pursuit of finding a
solution for the crises in the region, adding, “In our region terrorism and
extremism have presented their violent faces and there are some concerns in
The Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman also
condemned Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen, calling on the
international community to take action to stop the aggression against the
impoverished Arab country.
She further noted that the Saudi aggression against
Yemen “must end” and Yemeni parties without the interference of foreign states
should find “a political solution” to the crisis in the country.
The sources said that Fateh Halab, led by Ahrar
al-Sham and Jeish al-Islam, launched a large-scale assault on the positions of
the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Syrian army in the nearby areas of
Bashkoy and Duwayr Al-Zeitoun, but the Syrian soldiers countered their attack
and pushed the rebels back.
Initially, the militants experienced success at
Bashkoy, capturing the Eastern entrance (al-Kitlet Al-Afghan) of the town and
the nearby Poultry Farms after a series of fierce firefights with the Syrian
army and the NDF on Tuesday morning.
However, as the firefights intensified between the
army men and Fateh Halab, the casualties began to mount for the aforementioned
rebel fighters at Bashkoy, resulting in a sudden withdrawal from the Poultry
Farms at Bashkoy to their positions at the nearby town of Rityan.
ccording to a military source, the clashes lasted all
night, with neither side gaining the upper-hand at the Western entrance of
Bashkoy and the Northwestern farms of Duwayr Al-Zeitoun.
The source added that over 20 militants were killed at
Bashkoy so far, including Aymen Abu Khattab (Jeish al-Islam), Mohammad
Al-Jarzanazi (Ahrar al-Sham), and Riyad Al-Najras (Jaysh al-Islam).
"Joint forces managed to free the Jubbah Region
in the Heet District," an informed source told the US-funded
Arabic-language radio Sawa reported.
This came as part of operation aimed to re-take the
city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, which was seized by ISIL back in
DUBAI: The main suspect in the 1996 bombing of the
Khobar Towers residence at a US military base in Saudi Arabia has been captured
after nearly 20 years on the run, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported on
Asharq Al-Awsat said Ahmed Al-Mughassil, leader of the
Hezbollah Al-Hejaz who had been indicted by a US court for the attack that
killed 19 US service personnel and wounded almost 500 people, had been captured
in the Lebanese capital Beirut and transferred to Riyadh.
Saudi authorities were not immediately available to
Saudi Arabia and the United States have accused Iran
of orchestrating the truck-bomb attack. Iran has denied any responsibility for
Asharq Al-Awsat quoted official Saudi sources as
saying Saudi security personnel had received information about the presence of
48-year-old Mughassil in Beirut.
"The discovery of Mughassil and his arrest in
Lebanon and his subsequent transfer to Saudi Arabia is a qualitative
achievement, for the man had been in disguise in a way that made it hard to
identify him," Asharq al-Awsat said, without elaborating on when he was
captured and who captured him.
25 August 2015
An emergency Lebanese cabinet meeting on Tuesday ended
in failure after members of the Hezbollah group and its Christian allies walked
out in protest at a proposed solution to
a garbage disposal crisis that has ignited violent protests in Beirut.
An agreement was reached, however, on cancelling all
the tenders from companies to remove the piling garbage that have been
Al Arabiya News channel’s correspondent in Beirut
confirmed the withdrawal of members from Hezbollah and its allies, the Free
Patriotic Movement and the Armenian Tashnag Party in Lebanon from Tuesday's
Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil also pulled out because
of a "theater" being performed with regards to the trash issue,
according to the Associated Press.
Beirut-based activists from the "You Stink"
campaign held two large rallies over the weekend and a smaller march on Monday
over uncollected rubbish, reflecting long-simmering anger about government
incompetence and political corruption.
Protest organizers have called on Lebanese at home and
abroad to join them in a large rally on Saturday.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tammam Salam threatened to
resign as public discontent brought thousands into the streets.
The protests that initially started peacefully over
the weekend descended into violence after clashes between police and protesters
that wounded scores.
Lebanon's army commander General Jean Kahwaji said
late on Monday the armed forces would protect any peaceful demonstrations but
would not tolerate "security violators or infiltrators" who sought to
sow "sedition and chaos."
Hezbollah threw its weight Tuesday behind mass
protests in Lebanon calling for the government's resignation, deepening a
crisis that started over piles of uncollected garbage in the streets of the
capital but has tapped into a much deeper malaise.
The explosion of anger targets the endemic corruption,
hapless government and sectarian divisions of a brittle country once torn by
civil war and now struggling with a wave of hundreds of thousands of Syrian
A grassroots youth movement calling itself "You
Stink" mobilized thousands of people in two rallies over the weekend, and
has called for another large protest on Saturday. The Hezbollah announcement of
support for the protests is likely to fuel concerns the Iranian-backed group
will try to hijack a rare, non-political movement for its own political gain.
Hezbollah ministers and their allies walked out of a
Cabinet meeting Tuesday meant to discuss the worsening garbage crisis. Prime
Minister Tammam Salam called the emergency session after the weekend clashes
between security forces and demonstrators protesting corruption and poor public
The six ministers withdrew four hours into the
meeting. Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, whose Free Patriotic Movement is
aligned with Hezbollah, said he was pulling out because of the political
"theater" surrounding the trash issue.
During the Cabinet session, ministers unanimously
rejected the winning bidders to manage Beirut's trash collection, citing high
costs and a bidding procedure some said was questionable. The Cabinet tasked a
ministerial committee with restarting the bidding, meaning no imminent solution
to the crisis was likely.
Salam suggested dumping the garbage in the remote,
impoverished region of Akkar, which has been neglected for decades, in exchange
for $100 million in development projects as an incentive.
That further riled the protesters. "Akkar is not
a garbage dump!" read the slogan on one protester's T-shirt.
The trash crisis has exacerbated the long-existing
fault lines in Lebanon which in recent years have pitted the Iranian-backed
Hezbollah against the country's Western-aligned, pro-Saudi camp. Those
divisions mirror the larger regional Shiite-Sunni divide, and have long
paralyzed the government.
Although Salam's government has elements from both
camps, Hezbollah regards the prime minister as an ally of Saudi Arabia. The
Shiite group's ally, Christian leader Michel Aoun, has been assailing the prime
minister over his handling of Cabinet and security appointments.
In a statement Tuesday, Hezbollah said the garbage
crisis reflected the "endemic and accumulated corruption of the past two
decades" and policies that only serve "personal and political
interests at the expense of citizens." It said holding peaceful protests
was a legitimate right.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on
Tuesday it had treated a Syrian family with symptoms of exposure to chemical
agents from an area where Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have
been battling other rebels.
Two adults, a three-year-old girl and a five-day-old
baby girl were treated at an MSF-run hospital in Aleppo province, northern
Syria, last Friday, the charity said in a statement.
They arrived at MSF’s hospital an hour after the
attack, suffering from breathing difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes and
conjunctivitis. Within three hours they developed blisters and their breathing
difficulties worsened, the statement said.
MSF staff treated them and gave them oxygen before
transferring them to another hospital for specialized treatment.
The family came from the town of Marea, north of
Aleppo, where ISIS recently launched a new offensive against other Syrian
The town, 20 kilometers south of the border with
Turkey, had been under intense bombardment by mortars and artillery for a week,
“If it was a chemical attack, it is impossible for us
to ascertain who was responsible,” Pablo Marco, MSF’s program manager in Syria,
The family said a mortar shell hit their home last
Friday evening, MSF said. After the explosion, a yellow gas filled their living
“MSF has no laboratory evidence to confirm the cause
of these symptoms,” Marco said in the statement. “However, the patients’
clinical symptoms, the way these symptoms changed over time, and the patients’
testimony about the circumstances of the poisoning all point to exposure to a
Saudi fighter jets bombed the area of al-Sawad in the
Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Reports said that a Yemeni military base in the area
was also pounded.
The Saudi fighter jets also bombed more than 100 times
the province of Sa’ada on Tuesday. Saudi military aircraft pounded the
residential areas of Razih district in the province, killing at least six
people. A doctor was also killed and another civilian sustained injuries in an
earlier attack targeting a clinic in the same province.
In addition, at least four people sustained injuries
in the Saudi aggression against the province of Hajjah.
MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the
Jordanian king and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi in Moscow Tuesday to discuss
the Syrian crisis and take part in a showcase of Russia’s military industry.
Jordanian King Abdullah and the Abu Dhabi heavyweight,
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, visited Moscow. Egyptian
President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi is also due in Moscow to attend the Maks-2015
Despite foreign interest in the Russian space and
defense industries, no international contracts are expected to be signed during
the salon, a spokesman for Russia’s state defense import-export company
Rosoboronexport, Vyacheslav Davydenko, told AFP last week.
Middle Eastern government delegations have been
flooding into Moscow in recent weeks and days, with a Syrian opposition
delegation tolerated by the regime of President Bashar Assad arriving on Sunday
for talks on the crisis in their war-torn country.
Iranian officials are also expected in Moscow this
week to finalize negotiations for Tehran’s purchase of S-300 air defense
systems from Russia, much to the dismay of the United States and Israel.
By Praveen Swami
Early this month, the Ministry of Home Affairs called
a meeting of the Directors General of Police and Home Secretaries from 12
states to discuss the cases of young Indians who, intelligence agencies
suspect, have either joined the Islamic State or are headed to its strongholds.
This has begun to ring alarm bells in a government that only in November said
the threat from the Islamic State was “negligible”. Also Read: A wait at
airport for two days, vigils next to phone Lists exclusively accessed by The
Indian Express show 17 Indians are now missing, reported by Indian and foreign
intelligence services to be active with the Islamic State or rival
organisations like Jabhat al-Nusra. In addition, up to a dozen Indian
Mujahideen cadre are also believed to have joined the Islamic State, while
police have stopped at least 22 volunteers from travelling.
The Indian Express reporters visited the homes and
families of the 17 in an effort to piece together what drove them to join the
world’s most savage regime. The 17 — all young men, barring a woman who has
returned home — were educated, most hailing from middle-class or affluent
families with conventional aspirations. Few had known links to Islamist
political groups, and none to terrorism. Last year, The Indian Express had
first revealed that four Thane youth had joined the Islamic State. Only one,
Areeb Majid, has since returned home and has been booked under
terrorism-related charges. Three other Indian nationals, not in the list of 17,
are thought to have been killed. Though photographs valourising Indian fighters
have appeared on Islamic State websites, the Indian presence in the Islamic
State is tiny compared with the hundreds that have gone from other countries in
the neighbourhood or even the West.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new counter-terrorism
czar, former Intelligence Bureau chief Asif Ibrahim, has been tasked with
preparing a thorough counter-radicalisation programme, government sources said.
Even though the numbers are small, government sources said, the action plan is
based on mounting evidence that the Islamic State propaganda has found
resonance among some young Muslims disenchanted with the community’s traditional
religious and political leadership and angered by growing communal violence.
Islamic State flags have come up at protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu
Kashmir; pro-Islamic State graffiti has been reported in West Bengal and Andhra
Pradesh. Perhaps most important, support for the Islamic State is blossoming in
underground blogs and chat-rooms. Islamic State propagandists have, in
particular, been calling for educated volunteers, especially engineers and
doctors, to help build an Islamic utopia. Islamic State online propaganda
targeting India feeds on these fears, using Quranic-era prophecy to give their
call legitimacy. Evidence that this propaganda is reaching out to some
alienated young people isn’t hard to find.
Bihar polls soon, timing of religion census data
The timing of the release of religion-wise data from
the 2011 census by the NDA regime at the Centre is set to have political
resonance in poll-bound Bihar where the electoral arithmetic has revolved
around caste equations so far.
There have been strong communal overtones in state
politics recently, with chief minister Nitish Kumar suggesting motives behind a
series of minor communal clashes. The entry of Hyderabad-based AIMIM in the
electoral fray is expected to trigger further debate on communal polarisation.
Kept under wraps for close to a year-and-a-half, the
religion-wise data released on Tuesday reveal Muslim population in Bihar
increased 28% between 2001 and 2011 as against the national average of 24.6%.
Muslims’ population in Bihar rose from 1.32 crore in
2001 to 1.76 crore in 2011 – a jump of over 38 lakh in 10 years. During the same
period, Hindu population in the state rose 24.6% as against the national
average of 16.8%.
But, with this election turning into a Nitish Kumar
versus Narendra Modi contest, national figures showing a slight decline in the
proportion of Hindu population to the total as against a marginal increase in
case of Muslims could dominate the poll campaign.
Reacting strongly to the timing of the release, the
Congress said it was an effort to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims.
“Instead of releasing the statistics on economic and
social status of different castes, the government has released the census data
on religious lines. Their agenda is clear: to create differences among Hindus
and Muslims apart from communalising and polarising Bihar elections,” Bihar
Congress president Ashok Chowdhary said.
Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) president Shabir Ahmad
Shah on Tuesday “blamed the Centre for the failure” of the NSA talks with
Pakistan, saying “the world is disappointed on the stand taken by India”. “The
world is disappointed on the stand taken by India which led to the cancellation
of the NSA talks. Kashmir is an internationally accepted dispute and India is
bound according to the UN Security Council resolutions to hold a referendum in
the state,” Shah told reporters here. Questioning the statement of External
Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the eve of NSA talks with Pakistan, Shah, who
parted ways with moderate Hurriyat last year to form another faction of the
separatist amalgam, said “Kashmiris are the basic party to the dispute between
India and Pakistan and not the third party.
“If we were not the relevant then why New Delhi had
sent a delegation to meet us during the 2010 summer unrest? Then Union Minister
P Chindambaram came to meet me in the Jail. The other delegation members
including Swaraj visited the homes of other leaders including Yasin Malik, S
Ath S Geelani and Mirwaiz and talked with them,” he said. He said during the
previous NDA government led by A B Vajpayee, the then government’s point-man K
C Panth came here with a letter expressing government’s willingness to enter
into a dialogue with the separatists. “We exchanged letters with New Delhi and
the proof lies with us. We are not weak and not afraid of dialogue,” he said
adding Kashmiris have rendered numerous sacrifices over the past 68 years for
the resolution of the problem. He claimed Kashmiris would not “accept any
resolution under the framework of Indian constitution.” Drawing the parallel
between the Kashmiri militants and the heroes of India freedom struggle like
Bhagat Singh, Shah said, “we have been fighting for the right of
self-determination before the onset of militancy.” Even United Jehad council, a
PoK-based amalgam of various militant groups, supported the dialogue provided
India accept Kashmir a disputed territory and initiate serious dialogue with
the “freedom loving leadership”, he claimed. “All outstanding issues between
India and Pakistan are linked with Kashmir. Whether it is Siachen or tension
along the borders. Why India is escaping from the dialogue? “If it feels its
case is strong, it should immediately implement the 18 UN resolutions passed on
Kashmir,” Shah said and reiterated his resolve to continue the ongoing freedom
struggle to ensure that the sacrifices do not go “waste”.
The latest religion-based population data shows that
between 2001 and 2011, population of Muslims in Kerala grew by 1.9%, from 24.7%
to 26.6%. After Assam and Uttarakhand, the state ranks third in Muslim
Economic backwardness, low literacy level and poor
social awareness are main reasons cited for the high-growth rate of Muslims in
the state. It is found that Muslim-majority districts like Malappuram are
socially and economically backward as compared to other districts.
As the Union government released census data which
revealed a rise in Muslim population in the state, a debate started within
political circles of Bengal.
The BJP and the RSS joined in the chorus of illegal
migration from Bangladesh while the Trinamool Congress (TMC) vowed to combat
‘communal politics’ over the issue.
The issue has become extra sensitive with the state
gearing up for assembly polls in 2016, where Muslims are key to the outcome.
According to the census, the Muslim population rose from 25.2% in 2001 to
26.94% in 2011.
The ruling TMC and its chief Mamata Banerjee have gone
out of their way for minority development in the state. Since she came to power
in May 2011, she has been accused by the Opposition of announcing a series of
sops for the community, including stipend for ‘imams’ and ‘muezzins’ and
homestead for the ‘imams’.
“The central government data is incomplete. In my
view, the Muslim population is over 29% in the state. There is a demographic
change in bordering districts such as Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas
because of Bangladeshi Muslims crossing over. The situation is alarming,” said
BJP state president Rahul Sinha.
THANE: Concerns about inadequate burial grounds for
the Muslim community in the city threaten to snowball into a political row as
the minorities feel that the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP is ignoring their demands.
Muslims dominate the Mumbra-Kausa area which has only
two cemeteries—one at Amrut Nagar and the other at Kausa. ''We need a bigger
burial ground as the Muslim population in Mumbra-Kausa has increased. There
have been occasions when people have been forced to dig up old graves so that
they can burry their loved ones. We have been requesting the civic officials
for a burial ground for over a decade, but nothing has been done yet and our pleas
have fallen on deaf ears,'' said Najib Mulla, president of the city unit of the
Foreign funding traced to Bangladesh based radical
Bengaluru, Aug 25: A payment of 1.5 million pounds
made by a Pakistani national into the bank account of the radical Shahid Hamza
Brigade in Bangladesh is under the scrutiny of investigating agencies.
Bangladesh which has been battling with the problem of radical groups has found
that there is considerable amount of foreign funding that has been reaching the
accounts of the members of these groups.
Recently the Bangladesh police arrested three lawyers
of the Supreme Court and also the daughter of Bangladesh Nationalist Party's
leader on the suspicion that they were linked to the Shahid Hamza Brigade.
There has been a mushrooming of several radical groups
in Bangladesh in the recent past. Several moderates including bloggers have
been murdered by these radical groups. Today the investigators in Bangladesh
have found that several of these groups have been getting foreign funding. The
latest on the list of transactions was done by a Pakistan national based out of
London. It has been claimed that the Paksitani national had sent a sum of 1.5
million pounds to an account in Chittagong which in turn was moved into the
funds of the radical group by the three lawyers. The funds have been used for
various purposes such as establishing Mosques, Madrasas and also NGOs which
work against the interests of the government. During the course of the
investigation it had also been found that these NGOs which have been set up
with the help of foreign funds work against the interest of the government.
However for public consumption these NGOs claim that they are working for the
upliftment of the Rohingya Muslims, the investigators had also found. The many
forms of the Jamaat-e-Islami The Shahid Hamza Brigade was relatively unknown
until late. According to the intelligence bureau, the Brigade comprises members
of the Islami Chhatra Shibir which incidentally is the students wing of the
Jamaat-e-Islami or JeI. The JeI has branched out into several outfits especially
after the heat on it was increased by the government in Bangladesh. The role of
the JeI was also seen indirectly in the Burdwan blasts. Indian investigators
had pointed out that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen which was behind the incident was
a wing of the JeI. The JeI according to the Indian Intelligence is a political
wing, but has several other branches which carry out radical activities on its
behalf. OneIndia News
US Adds Aziz Haqqani To Its List Of “Specially
Designated Global Terrorists”
Aug 26 2015
The United States Department of State has added Abdul
Aziz Haqqani to its list of “Special Designated Global Terrorist”.
A statement by the State Department said “For several
years, Aziz Haqqani has been involved in planning and carrying out improvised
explosive-device attacks against Afghan government targets and assumed
responsibility for all major Haqqani Network attacks after the death of his
brother, Badruddin Haqqani.”
Aziz Haqqani is the brother of the head of the Haqqani
network and has a bounty set by US of up to $5 million for information leading
to his location.
Having lose ties to Al-Qaeda and hard-line elements in
Pakistani military intelligence, the Haqqani terrorist network is accused of
staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in North Waziristan,
including the 19-hour siege at the US Embassy in Kabul in September 2011.
Mullah Mohammad Omar’s brother who opposes the
election of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the replacement supreme leader of
Taliban has warned of internal fighting within the group if differences are not
Mullah Abdul Manan who wants Mullah Omar’s son Mullah
Mohammad Yaqoub as the replacement supreme leader of Taliban had earlier said
that Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was not elected by majority of Taliban’s
central Shura ‘council’ but supporters of Mullah Mansour insist that the
election was based on the decision of 95 percent of the Shura members.
A group of Taliban clerics that is mediating to remove
rifts says that they have obtained the decision-making power from the
dissidents but Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour has not yet agreed to empower
At least two service members of the NATO-led Resolute
Support Mission were killed in attack by individuals in Afghan security forces
“Two Resolute Support servicemembers died early this
morning when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces uniforms opened fire on their vehicle at an ANDSF compound in Helmand
province,” a statement by the alliance said.
The statement further added that the Resolute Support
servicemembers returned fire and killed the shooters.
“Afghan and Resolute Support officials are reviewing
the incident and further information will be released as available and
appropriate,” the statement added.
No further details were given regarding the identities
of the deceased soldiers.
The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission generally do not
disclose identities of the alliance service members killed in Afghanistan,
saying “It is Resolute Support policy to defer casualty identification
procedures to the relevant national authorities.”
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Chief Ahmad
Yousuf Nuristani cited political issues as one of the main reasons involved in
parliamentary elections as further delays are expected.
Speaking during a press conference, Nuristani urged
not to create further barriers in holding the parliamentary elections,
insisting that the elections must be kept away from the politics.
He also insisted that the Independent Election
Commission (IEC) is the only authorized body to confirm the elections date.
Nuristani further added that the election commission
submitted its proposal form regarding short term reforms in electoral system to
President Ghani in the month of May.
This comes as Nuristani said earlier in May that the
government is not prepared to conduct parliamentary election as scheduled in
early in October.
Speaking to lawmakers in the Lower House of the
Parliament – Wolesi Jirga, Nuristani said the election commission has not
received any feedback from the government of national unity regarding the
parliamentary election after proposing 3rd October as the polling date.
Awami League leader Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif yesterday
slammed JaSad, NAP and other leftist parties for having paved the way for the
murders of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members in
“JaSad, NAP and other leftist parties had opposed the
government of Bangabandhu after the country’s liberation. I think they created
the situation for creating anarchy in the country. And they made the mechanism
of killing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” Hanif told a discussion at
Bangladesh Home Economics College in the capital yesterday.
The AL joint general secretary is the second Awami
League leader this week to criticise Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JaSad), one of
the key members in the ruling 14-party alliance, for its post-Liberation War
On Sunday, Awami League Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul
Karim Selim also blamed the erstwhile JaSad for paving the path to
Bangabandhu’s murder, saying: “Anti-liberation forces would not have dared to
attack Bangabandhu and his family, had the then [JaSad] Gonobahini remained
Hanif yesterday further went on to support Sheikh
Selim’s comments. “He [Selim] mentioned the real history after the Liberation
War. There is no scope of creating confusion over the true history.”
Hanif said several leftist leaders maintained a
controversial stance between 1972 and 1975, which was not the right decision.
“The conspiracy is still going on, and BNP Chairperson
Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman are trying to create another day like
August 15, 1975,” Hanif added.
On the other hand, BNP’s acting spokesperson
Asaduzzaman Ripon on Monday made comments similar to Sheikh Selim, blaming
JaSad for the unstable situation in Bangladesh between 1972 and 1975 and
demanding investigation into their role during that time.
The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s leadership says it is
content to bide its time, claiming that the party continues to run a robust
operation in the shadows.
The country’s oldest Islamist party, notorious for
opposing independence in 1971, says it is unconcerned that its central offices
have been under lock and key since September 19, 2011.
Even with many of its top leaders convicted of war
crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal and thousands of its leaders and
activists either behind bars or on the run from the law, the right-wing
political party’s leaders strike a pose of serene detachment.
Jamaat’s leadership has indicated that it regards this
hiatus from active political engagement as a strategic interlude.
They say they are happy to buy some time to see what
The party denies it has been driven underground,
surviving like other parties only by issuing press releases and social media
Salman Rushdie effect
Party leaders say they believe “government repression”
of their leaders and activists is a blessing in disguise.
They claim to be enjoying the Salman Rushdie effect –
wherein censure by a government results in an increase in the currency if not
popularity of a message.
In practical terms, Jamaat is reassessing its tack
under the cover provided by the party’s removal from mainstream political life.
Aminul Islam Khoshru, acting Nayeb-e-Ameer of the
Barisal city unit Jamaat, said regular meetings with leaders and activists
continue to take place from time to time.
“On August 1, we held a meeting to
analyse our current political situation and sent
reports to the centre. Usually, we get directives from the centre and just
carry them out,” he said.
Since 2011, the party has not carried out any public
programmes of its own but has participated in programmes under the banner of
the BNP-led 20-party alliance platform. Several top Jamaat leaders have
criticised the trial of war criminals at these programmes.
Apart from this, the party hosts an annual iftar party
during Ramadan for local and foreign dignitaries.
Whether Jamaat leaders run from the law or sit behind
bars, the party’s social media front remains active.
Jamaat’s official web page is regularly updated and
its front and associate organisations have different social media accounts from
which they communicate with leaders and activists.
Jamaat websites are multilingual – carrying content in
Bangla, English and Arabic – a rarity in
the Bangladeshi political landscape.
The party also maintains pages on Facebook and
Basher Kella is the Facebook page of Shibir, the
student wing of Jamaat, notorious for introducing the technique of severing the
Achilles tendon as a way to murder political opponents.
Two Nato soldiers killed in Afghan 'insider attack':
KABUL: Gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms shot
dead two Nato soldiers on a base in the country's south on Wednesday, the
coalition said, in the latest insider attack on foreign troops.
So-called "green-on-blue" attacks ─ when Afghan soldiers
or police turn their guns on international troops, have been a major problem
during Nato's long years fighting alongside Afghan forces.
Wednesday's attack in the volatile province of Helmand
is the first such incident since April, highlighting long-simmering tensions
between Afghan and foreign forces.
"Two Resolute Support (Nato) service members died
early this morning when two individuals wearing Afghan (military) uniforms
opened fire on their vehicle at an (Afghan security forces) compound in Helmand
province," a Nato statement said.
"Resolute Support service members returned fire
and killed the shooters," it added, without revealing the nationalities of
The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility
for the attack.
Western officials say that most such attacks stem from
personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
The killings have bred fierce mistrust among local and
foreign forces even as the rate of such incidents has dropped in recent years.
Nato ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in
December last year, pulling out a bulk of its troops although a 13,000-strong
residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.
One of the worst insider attacks took place last
August when US Major General Harold Greene was killed ─ the most senior American military
officer to die in action overseas since the Vietnam War.
Know more: Afghan guns down US general at Kabul
And in April, an American soldier was killed in a
firefight between US and Afghan troops in eastern Afghanistan, the first
apparent insider attack since Washington announced a delay in troop withdrawals
from the country.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the time said
the US soldier's killing showed that work remains to shore up Afghan forces in
the "dangerous" country.
Nato troops have adopted special security measures in
recent years to try to counter the threat.
KABUL - The biting political satire of a Facebook page
called Kabul Taxi has got under the skin of Afghanistan’s spy agency - enough
so that it summoned the two journalists it suspects of being behind it for a
Kabul Taxi’s acerbic take on the foibles of the Afghan
government, corrupt officials and bureaucrats has made it the talk of the capital
in the three months since it was launched, and a leader in a burgeoning scene
of online satire sites. The latest target was Haneef Atmar, the powerful
National Security Council adviser to President Ashraf Ghani, who Kabul Taxi
mocked over the number of his advisers and their activities. Atmar, however,
did not find this funny. The National Directorate of Security, the intelligence
agency that effectively reports to Atmar, hauled in two reporters it suspected
to be behind Kabul Taxi. The National Security Council (NSC) issued a statement
on Monday, saying Kabul Taxi had leaked government secrets by naming some NSC
staff, presenting what it deemed a “serious security risk” to their lives.
“The NSC office with respect to freedom of expression
and people’s access to information, has asked concerned authorities to act
against the offenders of this case to prevent further leaks of secrets in the
security sector,” the statement added.
25 AUGUST 2015
In the latest clashes in south of Somalia has left at
least seven Al Shabaab militants dead and several others wounded, government
Somalia's deputy DC, Hussein Mohamed Ali told Shabelle
Media that its military soldiers had killed at least 7 militants during an
ambush attack on army bases outside Burhakaba town.
"The military soldiers repulsed heavy offensive
launched by Al Shabaab. In addition to that we have put 7 militants down in the
raid" Mr. Hassan said in an interview with Shabelle Media.
Hassan Mohamed stated that government soldiers would
launch military offensive against Al Shabab, in a bid to re-take all areas
under militants' control.
Libyan FM calls for international aid in fight against
Libya’s foreign minister has called on the
international community for aid in battling the Daesh Takfiri group and the
lifting of an arms embargo imposed on his country.
"The situation is extremely serious," said
Mohamed al-Dairi, the foreign minister of Libya's internationally-recognized
government, during a visit to French capital Paris on Tuesday.
ISIL militants are present in the eastern town of
Derna, the northern towns of Benghazi and Sirte and northwestern town of
Sabratha. However, they have not yet taken the oilfields “but we fear they
might come to control several wells," he added.
Libya has two rival governments vying for the control
of the country, with one faction controlling Tripoli, and the internationally
recognized one governing the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.Dairi’s government is
in control of most of the North African country’s eastern regions after being
chased out of Tripoli in July 2014 by a motley coalition of Takfiri militants.
"On Saturday, there was a call from their leaders
in Iraq and Syria to reinforce their ranks in Libya. They want to make Libya a
rear base," Dairi added.
The Takfiri militants also control parts of land in
Iraq and Syria where they carry out various indiscriminate atrocities.
Libya has been witnessing chaos since a 2011 uprising
that led to the ouster and subsequent killing of long-time ruler Muammar
Gaddafi. "After 2011, Libya was abandoned to its fate," he added.
Switzerland pledges $8mn to help Boko Haram victims
Switzerland has pledged $8 million for humanitarian
services for the victims of Nigeria's Boko Haram militant group and for
investigations into the causes of the insurgency, a senior Swiss official said.
Daniel Cavegn, acting ambassador/charge d’affairs at Switzerland’s
embassy in Nigeria, who was in the city of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria
earlier this week, said Switzerland had been closely following the Boko Haram
crisis, both in Nigeria and other countries in the Lake Chad region.
He said the Swiss government was not only interested
in helping affected areas, but also wanted to investigate the root causes of
the Boko Haram insurgency with a view to curtailing its spread to other African
“We have contributed $8 million not just to Nigeria,
but also to neighboring countries… around Lake Chad to support the people
affected by the Boko Haram crisis,” Covegn told local officials during a visit
to the area.
Man from Ghana joins Islamic State, family says
Accra – A 25-year-old Muslim from Ghana has travelled
to an Islamic State training camp, becoming the first known recruit from the
West African nation to join the militant group, his family said on Tuesday.
The decision by university graduate Nazir Nortei Alema
is likely to shock a country that prides itself on its ability to preserve
social harmony and manage political and communal disputes peacefully, in
contrast to some of its neighbours.
"We are devastated. Since the news came his
mother has been crying," Alema's father Abdul Latif Alema told Reuters,
adding that he believed Islamic State should be crushed.
About a third of Ghana's population of 27 million is
Muslim. They co-exist peacefully with the Christian majority and have so far
apparently avoided the influence of the kinds of radical Islam that have taken
root in neighbouring Nigeria and Mali.
Alema spent much of his spare time online and it is
almost certain he was radicalised through his interactions on Facebook rather
than through anything taught in mosques in the Osu neighbourhood of Ghana's
capital, his family and friends said.
He finished a government internship in July and had
initially told his parents he was travelling from his home in Accra to Prestea,
a mining town in the west of the country.
"Two weeks later on August 16, we got a Whatsapp
message from him saying he was at a training ground to join the Islamic State
group in an unknown country," his brother Kabiru Alema told Reuters.
Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations have
joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq.
Kate Ehis, for instance, is also in her 30s. Her
12-year-old son has three pieces of metal in his brain, producing extreme
headaches. Her daughter only recently began walking again after spending months
in the hospital as a result of an exposed fracture in three places in her left
Ehis strikes a defiant note about the Boko Haram
militants who brought their war to the doors of her church, insisting that the
experience has actually deepened her faith.
“I believe they did this to put fear in the lives of
Christians, but unfortunately [for them], they couldn’t,” she told Crux. “God
has strengthened us.”
The Rev. Almady Michael Gadache, who runs an office of
justice and peace for the local Catholic diocese, also serves as coordinator of
a welfare center that St. Theresa’s opened after the blast. The center
distributes some aid to victims, but not enough to meet the need.
Gadache is currently knocking on the doors of
international Christian charities to raise the $21,000 he says is needed to
cover urgent medical expenses for more than 100 people injured in the blast.
“The number is higher today than it was then,” he
said. That’s partly because many victims didn’t seek treatment at the time
because they couldn’t afford it, and in the four years since the attack, their
In reality, however, it wasn’t just parishioners at
St. Theresa’s who perished, because the bomb went off outside the church and
also killed several Muslim passersby in the religiously mixed neighborhood.
As a result, the attack is a compelling symbol not
merely of the human cost of religious hatred, but also the enigma that Boko
Haram often presents.
Boko Haram is an Islamic extremist organization whose
commonly used name means “Western education is forbidden,” but which formally
calls itself Jama’at Ahl As-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad, meaning “People for
the Teachings [of Islam] and Preaching and Jihad.” It’s based mostly in
northern Nigeria, and occasionally bleeds into the neighboring nations of Chad,
Niger, and Cameroon.
It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Muslim
leader who preached against the evils of Western culture and the corruption of
local Islamic elites as well as the Nigerian state.
After Yusuf’s summary execution in a police station in
2009, a process of radicalization began under the leadership of his successor,
Abubakar Shekau, who has led the group into killing an estimated 19,000 people,
kidnapping hundreds — including 213 schoolgirls — and torching dozens of
More than 1.5 million people are said to have been
internally displaced because of Boko Haram-related violence in 2014 alone.
While everyone can agree on the carnage Boko Haram has
produced, there’s a wider range of opinion as to why they’re doing it.
Nigerian sociologist Musa Abdullahi, a Muslim, says
that despite conventional wisdom, Christians aren’t the main target of Boko
“Shekau is very dangerous, very brutal, he likes
killing,” he told Crux last week. “When he took over, he first said they’re
just after the police, after the government. Then they included civil servants,
then business people, then every citizen … man or woman, girl or boy, old or
young; it doesn’t matter.”
Statistically speaking, he says, in the 12 northern
Nigerian states where Boko Haram has a strong presence, the victims among
Christians and Muslims are proportional to the population of each religious
group, and the same is true of the number of mosques and churches they’ve
Suleiman B. Mohammed, a political scientist, agreed
that Boko Haram is just as lethal to Muslims as Christians.
A U.N. panel of experts has stated that a major
Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to
South Sudan's government last year, several months into the country's deadly
The experts' report was made public on Tuesday, saying
China North Industries Corp., also known as Norinco, sold South Sudan's
government 100 anti-tank guided missile launchers, 1,200 missiles, about 2,400
grenade launchers and nearly 10,000 automatic rifles, as well as 24 million
rounds of various types of ammunition.
Action ordered against 49 Madrasas with ‘terrorist
links’ in Sindh
KARACHI: The Sindh home department has identified 49
Madrasas having alleged links with ‘terrorist organisations’ against whom the
‘relevant authorities’ have been told to take action, it emerged here on
Senior officials in the provincial home department
said they had got reports from intelligence sources listing 49 Madrasas ‘having
linkages with terrorist organisations’.
The officials, who have prepared a report based on the
latest information and submitted it to Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah,
avoided naming the militant groups those Madrasas had ties with. However, they
said the information had been shared with the Sindh police and Rangers for
‘appropriate action’ against them.
The latest report prepared by the home department said
26 of the seminaries linked with the banned groups were in Karachi, 12 in
Hyderabad, seven in Sukkur and four in Larkana.
517,695 students are enrolled in all seminaries
Officials said such Madrasas were identified with
convincing evidence and legal action against them was being planned.
The provincial authorities have updated their previous
figures relating to the number of Madrasas in Sindh — said to be more than
double the number the government had shown recently.
In a report the government released in April, the
number of Madrasas in Sindh was said to be around 4,000, while in the latest
report, the home department says 9,590 Madrasas are functioning in the province
— 6,503 registered and 3,087 unregistered.
The report said 517,695 students were enrolled in all
The government has sealed just 167 unregistered
Madrasas in Hyderabad and Benazirabad while 2,920 of them are still running ––
a dominant majority of them are in Karachi’s west district.
Officials said six of the unregistered seminaries had
been searched elsewhere in Sindh but none in Karachi.
“The unregistered Madrasas which have not yet been
sealed are under strict surveillance of the law enforcement agencies and will
be sealed if they hindered the registration process any further,” said a senior
official in the home ministry.
They said the registration of seminaries was under way
and necessary coordination had been made to launch a search operation soon.
The officials had originally made the same statement
during Ramazan in which they said the search of all the unregistered Madrasas
would begin after the holy month, but they have not yet specified a deadline
SC proposes appointment of architect to restore Karak
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court proposed on Tuesday that
a renowned architect be employed to rebuild a Hindu temple in Karak district of
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as had been done in case of a temple in Shahalmi Market of
Lahore a few years ago.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief
Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja asked the PML-N MNA from Tharparkar, Dr Ramesh Kumar
Vankwani, KP Home Secretary Arbab Mohammad Arif and Karak Deputy Commissioner
(DC) Shoaib Jadoon to sit together and come up with a plan to rebuild the Shri
Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s Samadhi in Teri village of Karak.
Take a look: Footprints: A saint without a shrine
The chief justice said that the order must not be
defied and should be implemented at all cost. Mr Jadoon assured the court that
its earlier order about restoration of the temple had been carried out and a
boundary wall had been built around it.
The DC submitted photographs to substantiate his
“We have also given a right of way to reach the
Samadhi through the house of Maulvi Iftikharuddin who was earlier in possession
of the temple,” the DC explained.
But the court declared that the efforts put in by the
provincial administration were not enough and proposed construction of a new
building instead of just erecting boundary walls.
The surrounding walls will spoil the area, observed
the chief justice, recalling how a temple in Shahalmi Market, Lahore, was
reconstructed by architect Kamil Khan, who had a clear understanding of
architectural heritage and had provided free consultancy to rebuild the temple.
LAHORE - Only Sufi poets can guarantee the national
unity because their teachings of tolerance, brotherhood and love can overcome
the present day social and political degeneration in the country.
Addressing Khawaja Farid conference, jointly organised
by Pakistan Academy of Letters, International Writer’s Council (IWC) and World
Punjabi Congress (WPC), Fakhar Zaman Chairman WPC said that Khawaja Farid lived
in a time of strife when Punjab had been annexed by the British and they were
rapidly expanding their colonial rule.
He said that the famous line of the poet ‘Patt angrezi
thaaney’ bears eloquent testimony to his resistance to the colonial rulers. He
further said that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his last speech to the Supreme Court
started with a famous line of Khawaja Farid ‘Dardan maari jindari aleel hai’.
The profundity of pain, separation and ishq was the
predominant theme of this great poet, Zaman said.
Talking at length about his poetry, he said that it
drew sustenance from the desert, oasis, river, the vastness of Rohi, and its
singular species of bird. He uses them as metaphor in his poetry to elaborate
his concept of love and separation, oneness of God and the unity of sublime
humanity. Fakhar Zaman reiterated the demands that Sufism should be taught at
colleges and universities as a compulsory subject, Punjabi University should be
established in Lahore and Punjabi language declared as the medium of
instruction at the primary level. He concluded his presidential address saying
that the series of conferences on Sufi poets of Pakistan’s first stage is
complete because conferences on 7 Sufi poets from Punjab have already been
organized. In the next phase, starting in September, such functions will be
organized on Sufi poets from Sindh, namely Shah Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast
and Shah Inayat to be followed by Mast Tawaqali from Balochistan and Khushhaal
Khan Khattak and Rahman Baga from KPK.
Dr Imrana Mushtaq, President of IWC shed light on
Khawaja Farid’s biography and dwelt upon different dimensions of his poetry.
She said that her organization will continue to cooperate in the holding of
conferences on Sufi poets from other provinces. Nabeel Shaad spoke of the
various qualities and trends of Khawaja Farid’s kaafis and explained the
beautiful meaning found in his poetry. Mujahid Bodla also spoke on different
shades of Khawaja Farid’s poetry.
LAHORE: The Lahore election tribunal judge whose
decision in the NA-122 case has deprived National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq
of his office accused Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid of hurling life
threats at him.
Retired district and sessions judge Kazim Ali Malik,
of the one-man Lahore election tribunal, said in a TV talk show: “I know by
whom he (Mr Rashid) is (trying to) frighten me. I’ve understood to whom he gave
The tribunal, in a verdict on Saturday, declared the
2013 election in NA-122 null and void after finding irregularities in the
election process committed by the Election Commission and ordered a re-poll in
the Lahore constituency where Mr Sadiq had defeated PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
Also read: ‘Threats’ to NA-122 judge prove PML-N fixed
election results: Imran
The verdict earned ire of the PML-N and Pervaiz Rashid
termed it biased and said that the head of the tribunal was concerned more
about his own projection instead of justice while issuing the judgment.
Mr Malik broke his silence on Tuesday when Punjab Law
Minister Rana Sanaullah repeated Mr Rashid’s allegations and claimed that the
tribunal head had personal issues with the PML-N which had declined to give a
party ticket to his son.
As anti-corruption establishment director-general,
added Rana Sana, Mr Malik had problems which led to his summoning by the
Privileges Committee of the Punjab Assembly.
Terming the verdict a stain on the independent
judiciary, the provincial minister said had there been any judge other than
Kazim Ali Malik, he would not have heard the case (because of personal issues).
ISLAMABAD: Top Commanders of Pakistan Rangers and
Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) are scheduled to meet in New Delhi from
September 9 to 13, sources in Pakistan's paramilitary force told DawnNews.
"As per border ground rules 1961, a routine,
biannual meeting of Inspector General BSF and Director General Pakistan Rangers
is scheduled to take place in New Delhi starting September 9, 2015," a
spokesman for Pakistan Rangers told DawnNews.
Pakistan would take up the matter of 'unprovoked'
Indian firing along the Line of Control (Loc) and Working Boundary, and the
killing of its civilians, the spokesman said.
He added that matters related to smuggling and other
border issues are also likely to be discussed in the meeting.
Also read: Pakistan, India border guards abandon
customary Eid greeting
A meeting was earlier held between representatives of
Rangers and BSF at Wagah border to coordinate modalities of the September
meeting and to finalise the meeting's agenda, the Rangers spokesman said.
The meeting will follow days of bickering between
India and Pakistan, as the Pakistani government on Saturday decided to cancel
the planned meeting of national security advisers with India, citing New Delhi’s
refusal to allow an expanded agenda and a meeting with Kashmiri leaders.
Know more: NSAs’ talks cancelled over Indian
The Indian external affairs ministry immediately
termed the decision “unfortunate” and tried to wash its hands of the controversy
that led to the cancellation of the meeting by saying that it “did not set any
ASTANA - Pakistan offers the Central Asian Republics
(CARs) the shortest route to sea and it wants them all to be connected by rail,
road and air links for prosperity of the whole region, Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif who arrived in the Kazakh Capital yesterday, said.
At a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Karim
Massimov, the Pakistani leader said the purpose of his two-day visit to
Kazakhstan was to further strengthen ties, expand cooperation in different
areas, and increase bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.
The prime minister said Kazakhstan was an important
country of Central Asia offering immense business opportunities and stressed
that it was the time for the traders of two countries to fully exploit this
“There is a large scope for trade in textile and
cotton products, pharmaceuticals, food items, engineering equipment and
machinery and construction enterprises,” he said.
“Pakistan’s ports (Gawadar and Karachi) provide the
shortest route to sea for the Central Asian Republics (CARs),” he said.
Most of the CARs had shown keen interest in using
Pakistan’s sea ports for their exports, he added.
On the occasion, Pakistan and Kazakhstan also signed
three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for cooperation in the areas of trade
and investment, defence and strategic studies and training in foreign services.
MOU between the National Export & Investment
Agency of Kazakhstan and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was
signed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Deputy Chairman of the
Kazakh Agency, Meirzhan Maikenov in presence of the two prime ministers.
The MoU aims at increasing the volume of bilateral
trade, investment and technology transfer.
It will also encourage the mutual exchange of
information on trade and services, facilitate development of potential trade
routes between the both countries and establish contact among the key priority
areas such as agribusiness, food industry, entertainment and services,
machinery and equipment, fashion, design, technology and health, construction,
metallurgy and pharmaceuticals.
The MoU between the Foreign Services Academy of
Pakistan and the Academy of Public Administration Under the President of
Kazakhstan was signed by Special Assistant to PM Syed Tariq Fatemi and Rector
of the Kazakh Academy of Public Administration.
The MoU will help establish and further develop
cooperation in training and improving professional skills of diplomats with an
aim to strengthen bilateral relations.
The MoU on Cooperation in the area of Defence and
Strategic Studies between the National Defence University (NDU) and the Centre
for Military Strategic Research of Kazakhstan, was signed by Pakistan’s
Ambassdor Abdul Salik Khan and President of the Kazakh Center for Military
Strategies Kozy Korpesh Karbazob.
The MoU aims at enhancing academic cooperation between
two institutions through conferences, research and other academic activities.
Meanwhile, in a detailed interview published in the
Astana Times, the leading English daily of Kazakhstan, the prime minister said
the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was far below its
LAHORE - Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told Punjab
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif yesterday that he would personally monitor
China-invested projects in Pakistan and a high-level committee would be set up
for the purpose.
The idea for setting up a committee was floated by
Shahbaz at a meeting with the Chinese Vice Premier Gaoli at Great Hall in
Beijing, a handout said.
“China has been working with various countries but its
cooperation with Pakistan is unprecedented.
Beijing China is extending full cooperation to
Pakistan in energy, transport, infrastructure, health and other sectors,” Goali
He added that China-Pak Economic Corridor will
establish economic contact of Pakistan not only with China but also with 60
He also extended good wishes for Prime Minister Nawaz
He also praised Shahbaz for his steps being taken to
bring in betterment.
CM Shahbaz assured the Chinese leader of all-out
support for finishing the task on time.
He said that the recent visit of Chinese President to
Pakistan has taken Pakistan-China friendship to new heights.
Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal,
Pakistani Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Special Representative of Prime Minister
Zafar Mehmood, Adviser on Health Kh Salman Rafiq and Lahore Transport Company
Chairman Kh Ahmad Hasaan accompanied chief minister.
The chief minister also held a meeting with the
President of China Exim Bank, Li Ruogu during which it was agreed to provide
funds expeditiously to the Chinese companies investing in Pakistan.
ASTANA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the purpose
of his visit to Kazakhstan was to strengthen ties and expand cooperation in
"There is a large scope for trade in textile and
cotton products, pharmaceuticals, food items, engineering equipment and
machinery and construction enterprises," Nawaz mentioned as he met his
Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov.
"Pakistan's ports (Gawadar and Karachi) provide
the shortest route to sea for the Central Asian Republics (CARs)," he
said, adding Pakistan was eager to see a prosperous Central Asia with all
countries connected by rail, road and air-links and generating business.
"Pakistan offers Kazakhstan the shortest access
to the sea."
Most of the Central Asian States had shown keen interest
in using Pakistan's sea ports for their exports, he added.
Pakistan and Kazakhstan signed three Memoranda of
Understanding (MOUs) for cooperation in the areas of trade and investment,
defense and strategic studies and training in foreign services.
Nawaz and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov
witnessed the signing of MoUs.
Meanwhile, in a detailed interview published in the
Astana Times, the leading English daily of Kazakhstan, he said the bilateral
trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was far below its potential. There
existed tremendous potential for enhancing the same, he added.
He stressed that both sides needed to make efforts to
utilise all available options, while simultaneously exploring new areas of
Responding to a question, Nawaz said that Pakistan
supported the Conference for Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in
Asia (CICA) process and actively participated in its activities.
ISLAMABAD - As many as 92 scholars have been selected
from across Pakistan in different disciplines to pursue MS and PhD studies in
French universities, under “Overseas Scholarship for MS/MPhil leading to PhD in
Selected Fields, Phase-II.”
In this regard a send-off ceremony for HEC scholars to
pursue MS and PhD studies in France, was held at Higher Education Commission
(HEC) Secretariat yesterday.
The HEC has so far sent 654 scholars to France for PhD
under different scholarship programmes, out of which, 432 have successfully
completed their degrees. However, under the Overseas Scholarship Programme, a
total of 291 scholars proceeded to France, out of which 165 have successfully
completed their PhD studies.
Congratulating the selected scholars, Dr. Mukhtar
Ahmed, Chairman HEC urged them to properly utilize their stay in France and
excel in academic and research work. He said, “You will be Ambassadors of
Pakistan in France and we expect all of you to prove yourselves as socially
responsible citizens,” he said.
The Chairman said that HEC has been greatly
emphasizing on human resource development programmes to provide
highly-qualified faculty and researchers to Universities, R&D organizations
“The HEC has allocated more than 35 percent of the
development funds through merit based scholarship programmes being managed by
HEC as well as by the public sector universities.
Pierre Fournier, Charged’ Affairs, French Embassy
thanked HEC and the Government of Pakistan for sending scholars to France for
higher studies, adding that the performance of Pakistani scholars has been very
Appreciating the fact that number of Pakistani PhD
scholars to France has been growing over the years, he advised the scholars to
explore opportunities for their professional development and also act as
ambassadors to build bridges between the two nations.
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Commission (HEC)
yesterday said that universities are under no obligation to hold graduate
assessment test (GAT) through National Testing Service (NTS).
An official of the HEC talking to APP said the HEC has
directed universities to conduct their own entrance GAT tests rather than NTS
for admissions in higher education. The HEC categorically denies such a claim
of students of different private universities, saying that HEC asking them to
pass GAT conducted by NTS.
Why Islamic State prefers US servers for its online
By Taylor Luck
AUGUST 25, 2015
AMMAN, JORDAN — Hacker-activists across the world have
launched an online war against the so-called Islamic State, targeting the
web-savvy jihadists’ vast Internet network of supporters and suspected sleeper
But bureaucracy at a wary FBI and stringent US laws
against hacking are slowing these efforts to take down the IS web forums and
social media accounts, experts and analysts say. As a result, they say, the
jihadists are opting to base their web operations on US-hosted sites in order
to take advantage of US legal protections.
Various groups of anonymous citizen hackers are taking
on the jihadists, including Ghost Security, an alliance of 12 like-minded
hackers with military and intelligence backgrounds. Known as GhostSec, the
group seeks to monitor and flag various web forums and social media accounts
allegedly used by the group to communicate to its followers.
Recommended: How much do you know about the Islamic
Using a network of activists from across the Arab
world, the online vigilantes say they have racked up some major victories.
Since January, GhostSec says it has brought down or disrupted 133 IS-linked
websites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks, and reported some
60,000 IS-linked accounts to Twitter, which then suspended them.
Under US law, DDOS attacks are a federal crime should
authorities prove malicious intent. But, more than disrupting IS communication
and propaganda channels, GhostSec says its hacking-campaign has saved lives.
Most recently, through monitoring IS Facebook and
Twitter accounts, the group in July uncovered a plot targeting British tourists
and Jewish residents on the Tunisian island of Djerba, according to the head of
GhostSec’s operations, who asked not to be named. After GhostSec says it
forwarded the information to the FBI and private intelligence firms, Tunisian
authorities arrested 17 plotters, an incident confirmed by intelligence
For GhostSec hacktivists, it is all part of what they
are calling a “second front” against IS. Lara Abdallat, a Jordanian former
beauty queen and fashion designer, now spends several hours a day tracking IS
social-media accounts. “They are committing crimes that are against Islam –
they are destroying the image of our religion, and I wanted to do my part to
stop them,” she says.
The Orlando International Airport is spending $250,000
to build the "Reflection Room," a prayer room for Muslims.
The airport made the decision after Emirates Airlines
announced it will soon be offering direct flights from Orlando to Dubai.
Muslims make up the majority of the airlines travelers.
Rev. Franklin Graham said the new prayer room appeases
"The airport already had an interfaith prayer room
since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it) - but that wasn't enough,"
he posted on his Facebook page.
"How loud do you think the objections would be
today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room
exclusively for evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other
group?" he asked. "Why do Muslims get preference?'
However, an airport spokewoman denied that any
taxpayer funds are being used for the facility.
26 August 2015
A television sports channel removed former baseball
great Curt Schilling from its broadcast after he tweeted a message that equated
Muslims to Nazis.
"Curt's tweet was completely unacceptable, and in
no way represents our company's perspective," the ESPN network said in a
"We made that point very strongly to Curt and
have removed him from his current Little League World Series assignment pending
further consideration," it added.
Schilling on Tuesday posted a photo of Adolf Hitler on
Twitter that read: "It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In
1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?”
Above the photo, he wrote: "The math is
staggering when you get to true #s")."
The tweet was later deleted.
Aug. 25, 2015
CAIRO (AP) — A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the
Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State
group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it
controls in Iraq and Syria.
The group has destroyed ancient buildings and
artifacts, as well as shrines to Shiite and Sunni Muslim saints — looting some
sites for profit — all in the name of purging what it considers symbols of
idolatry to create a society dedicated solely to its extreme and violent
interpretation of Islam. The IS campaign has horrified many around the world
with a scope of destruction that hasn't been seen for decades.
Still, it isn't unprecedented.
Throughout the centuries, invaders, religious fanatics
and colonizers have targeted works of art, houses of worship and other pieces
of heritage. The goal is often to uproot, eliminate, replace or impose control
over the culture and heritage of their opponents. Nearly every ethnic or
religious conflict across history has seen at least some cultural destruction,
along with genocides like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.
Below is a look at some examples:
The Islamic State group's rabid ideology against
shrines and historical sites is rooted in Wahhabism, the ultraconservative
Sunni Muslim interpretation preached by Sheikh Mohammed Abdul-Wahhab, who lived
in the 1700s in what is now Saudi Arabia. Allied with the powerful Saud family,
Abdul-Wahhab's followers destroyed anything they saw as promoting idolatry or
polytheism, including shrines of Shiite and Sufi saints, and the destruction of
a major Shiite shrine at Karbala in what is now Iraq. Today, the alliance with
Wahhabism remains one of the foundations of rule by the Al Saud royal family.
During the Reformation in 16th century Europe,
Protestant preachers railed in sermons against Catholic statues of saints and
other religious relics as forms of idolatry. Mobs of Protestants attacked
hundreds of Catholic churches, particularly in France, Germany and the
Netherlands, destroying statues and images — and in England under King Henry
VIII, churches were stripped of their relics and riches. The result erased from
Europe's cultural landscape untold numbers of works of art.
During the Muslim invasion of Spain in the 8th
century, churches were often destroyed or turned into mosques. Conversely, when
Christians took back the peninsula in the centuries-long Reconquista, completed
in the 15th century, they destroyed mosques or turned them into churches. Also,
after King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of Jews from
the peninsula in 1492, synagogues were turned into churches.
CAIRO – A
nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the
latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic
sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.
August 25, 2015
WATCH ABOVE: At 21, Austin Lewis of Toronto lives his
life in a wheelchair. Now, as Sean O’Shea reports he’s also dealing with
another obstacle when it comes to getting a subsidized apartment: he has the
TORONTO — A disabled Toronto man had his name removed
from the waiting list of a subsidized city apartment because he does not meet the
main criteria for living there: being Muslim.
“It doesn’t make any sense; I lived in Texas, that
doesn’t make sense even there,” said Austin Lewis, 21, who is paralyzed and
confined to a wheelchair.
Lewis is attempting to find subsidized, rent-to-income
accommodations in Toronto. He has applied to dozens of apartments through
Housing Connections, an organization that manages a waiting list of applicants
applying for subsidized housing.
This week, Lewis received a letter from Housing
Connections, informing him he would be taken off the list for an apartment at
3001 Finch Ave. West, operated by Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace Inc.
The letter reads, in part: “The vision of this
community includes providing housing for households in which at least one
person is a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. This means if none of the
individuals of your household are a member … you will be removed from the
“It’s prejudiced, it’s racist,” said Laura Whiteway of
Brampton, Lewis’s mother. “It’s wrong on every single level: this goes against
everything Canada represents to me.”
Whiteway contacted Global News after receiving the
letter, which she says unfairly discriminates against her son because he is not
“If it’s legal, it should not be legal; it’s insulting,
that’s what it is,” she said.
Under provincial law, renters aren’t supposed to be
denied accommodations on the basis of religion.
“The purpose of the Human Rights Code in Ontario is to
make sure people feel as though they are part of the community and that their
dignity and their worth is protected,” said Shane Martinez, a Toronto criminal
defence lawyer who specializes in human rights issues.
“The Human Rights Code for the province still applies
and is really the paramount legislation that needs to be given consideration in
a situation like this,” Martinez added.
But the city of Toronto says the practice of allowing
only certain ethnic or religious groups is legally acceptable.
“Ahmadiyya has received approval under Council
authority to enter into an Agreement to establish a Mandate to restrict tenancy
to ‘members of the Muslim Jama’at’ in accordance with the requirements approved
by City Council in November 2002. The Agreement to Establish a Mandate has been
executed by both parties and has a five year term with an effective date of Jan
1, 2015,” according to John Gosgnach, communications manager for the City of
“The City’s mandate policy allows social housing
providers to restrict their housing to individuals belonging to an identifiable
ethnic or religious group if specific conditions are met,” Gosgnach said.
After 11 Most Racist Countries in Europe, we bring to
you our list of 10 most racist European countries towards Muslims. After the
incident of September 2001 in United States the image of Muslims and Islam has
taken a pounding all over the world. Many people around the world attached a
label of terrorism with the name of Muslims. This is one reason that in many
countries Muslims are still seen as some alien creatures.
Not only terrorism but there are other aspects of
human life which are always questioned by non-Muslims. For instance, Muslim
women cover their entire bodies as it is obligatory for them in their religion.
Many western countries and torchbearers of freedom for women think of this
obligation as a severe restriction.
A Muslim lifestyle is subjected to interrogating eyes,
comments and sometimes even harsh reactions. There are countries which are
known for stereotyping Muslims and their daily dealings with the world. Some
religious groups exercise extreme hatred for Muslims in the form of Muslim
genocides and right abandonment.
In Europe, the ‘Islamophobia’ is at its worst. Many of
the European countries consider Muslims as an intolerable community and
therefore Muslims in these countries have to face torrid times during their
jobs, studies and social activities. One of the main reasons for this hatred
towards Muslims is the fear that all Muslims are directly or indirectly
connected to terrorism. This article brings to you the top 10 European
countries that are most biased and racist towards Muslims.
The country does not consist of a vast population of
Muslims. Muslims constitute around 5% of the total Belgian population. However,
anti-Muslim sentiments do not cease to develop in the region. This places
Belgium in our list of 10 most racist European countries towards Muslims.
Anti-Islamic protests were observed in the country in spite of government ban.
Leniency towards the protesters in this regards is a clear evidence of racism
towards Muslims. Muslim women wearing scarves and veils were reported to have
been insulted in public.
Spain has quite a history with hate for Islam. The
country has had a wide Muslim population over the years. However, since the
1970s the country started following a strict immigration policy not allowing
many Muslims to enter the country. The Muslim population in Spain since then
mostly comprises of Spanish nationals. Surprisingly, the growth in Muslim
population was observed as many Spanish citizens started converting to Islam.
Meanwhile, the government policies and local’s attitude towards Muslims still
indicate the Islamophobia prevailing in the country.
A fire that destroyed most of a mosque in southern
France this past weekend was deemed arson by the French government Monday.
French President François Hollande condemned the crime in an official statement
released Monday, saying the actions of the perpetrators went against the
"values of the [French] Republic."
The arson in the mosque in Auch, near Toulouse,
occurred Saturday, just one day after a heavily armed man attacked a high-speed
Thalys train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris in what authorities believe was
a terrorist act. The assailant, Ayoub El Khazzani, 25, was wrestled to the
ground Friday by several bystanders, including U.S. servicemen, after he
boarded the train armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic
pistol and a box cutter.
Authorities have not yet identified suspects or
motives in the arson incident in Auch, though authorities said they feared the
crime was an anti-Muslim reaction to the Thalys attack. Anti-Muslim crimes have
been on the rise in France since January, after two extremists who identified
themselves as Muslim stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo
in Paris, killing 12 people and wounding many more.