New Age Islam
Sun Jul 14 2024, 04:40 PM

Islamic World News ( 31 Aug 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

A North Karnataka Village, Hiremannur In Ron Taluk, Observes Muharram Every Year, And Not One Of Its 2,500 Residents Is a Muslim

New Age Islam News Bureau

31 August 2020


This has been a centuries old syncretic tradition and 'Ale Habba" as Muharram is know in the local parlance, is observed with the installation of 'Panjas' and entering of the fire.


• Sindhi Leader Accuses Pakistan for Rising Incidents of Enforced Disappearances

• PAS Spiritual Leader Likens Minister Who Broke Self-Isolation to Quranic ‘Hero’, Blames Health, Foreign Ministries For Negligence

• Jordanian Artist Held over Israel-UAE Deal Cartoon Freed Amid Pressure from Rights Groups

• Terrorist Preacher Abu Hamza Sues US over ‘Cruel’ Prison Conditions

• Europe Warned of Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Divisive,’ ‘Dangerous’ Influence

• Peace Not Power-Sharing Deal: Ghani


• A North Karnataka Village, Hiremannur In Ron Taluk, Observes Muharram Every Year, And Not One Of Its 2,500 Residents Is a Muslim

• Breaking Away From Tradition, Shia Muslims Donate Blood on Moharram

• JCO killed in Pakistan firing along LoC in J&K

• BJP wants a Hindu majority to emerge in J&K: Farooq Abdullah



• Sindhi Leader Accuses Pakistan for Rising Incidents of Enforced Disappearances

• Imam Hussain’s charter unveils uncharted territories for Muslims in contemporary era

• Pakistan Strongly Condemns Desecration Of Quran In Sweden And Norway

• Youm-i-Ashura observed nationwide amid tight security

• Pakistan will continue to have good ties with Saudi Arabia: Qureshi

• Panels formed to monitor rights situation in districts

• 200 Pakistani nationals stranded in India to return on September 3


Southeast Asia

• PAS Spiritual Leader Likens Minister Who Broke Self-Isolation to Quranic ‘Hero’, Blames Health, Foreign Ministries For Negligence

• China’s FM Defends Uighur Muslim Detention Camps

• LDP names Bumiputera Muslim candidate for Bongawan seat

• Religious affairs minister steers clear of Zawawi controversy

• DAP trio file sedition report against PAS man for Bible slur



• Jordanian Artist Held over Israel-UAE Deal Cartoon Freed Amid Pressure from Rights Groups

• Sudanese rebels agree to key peace deal with transitional government

• Nigerian forces kill reporter, mourner in Kaduna’s Ashura procession

• Ten militants, five civilians killed in east Congo violence


North America

• Terrorist Preacher Abu Hamza Sues US over ‘Cruel’ Prison Conditions

• US-Israeli Delegation To Arrive In The UAE For Historic Meeting

• US Pressuring Saudi Arabia To Join Israel-UAE Meeting In Abu Dhabi: Report

• White House Adviser Jared Kushner Says ‘Stage Is Set’ For Mideast Progress

• Kushner Hopes For More Arab, Muslim Partners For Israel Ahead Of UAE Visit

• Biden issues historic commitment to Arab Americans



• Europe Warned of Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Divisive,’ ‘Dangerous’ Influence

• Organization of Islamic Cooperation: Burning Of Holy Quran Was Intended To Hurt Feelings of Muslims

• British Charity Whose Employee Had Connections To Al Qaeda Is Banned

• UK: Counter-terrorism team detain 2 at Stansted Airport

• Turkish top diplomat talks with EU foreign policy chief

• Turkey Slams Islamophobic Act By 'Modern Barbarians'

• Turkey's President Erdogan calls leaders of France and Greece 'greedy and incompetent'

• Protest outside Boris Johnson's residence against enforced disappearances in Balochistan


South Asia

• Peace Not Power-Sharing Deal: Ghani

• 1400 Afghan Returnees Test Positive for Covid-19

• Khaleda Zia's Family Seeks Extension On Her Suspended Prison Sentence

• Shia Muslims in Bangladesh observe muted Ashura in pandemic

• 'Deep Reforms Must To End Vicious Myanmar Violence'

• Afghan president names council to advise negotiators


Arab world

• Egypt Army Says Killed Over 70 Extremists In North Sinai

• Lebanon’s President Aoun Calls For Proclamation Of ‘Secular State’

• Hassan Nasrallah says Hezbollah is open to new political contract for Lebanon

• Syria’s President al-Assad names new government headed by PM Arnous

• Arab Coalition destroys drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

• UAE intelligence agents training YPG militants in northern, eastern Syria: Report



• Iranians Commemorate Imam Hossein (AS) Martyrdom Anniversary Watching Hygiene Protocols

• Israel hopes for Washington signing ceremony on UAE deal by mid-September

• Iran Blasts US, EU for Sheltering Terrorists

• Senior Legislator: Normalized Ties with UAE Not to Delay Israel's Collapse

• Spokesman: Ashoura Role Model for Iranians in Resistance

• Iranian FM: Imam Hossein's Sacrifice Keeps Spirit of Resistance Alive

• Israeli tanks fire on Gaza after explosive balloons drift over border

• Hamas vows to end all forms of Israeli siege on Gaza

• Israel holding secret talks with 'many more Arab leaders': Netanyahu claims

• We denounce all forms of normalization, relations with Israel: Yemen’s Houthi leader

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 A North Karnataka Village, Hiremannur In Ron Taluk, Observes Muharram Every Year, And Not One Of Its 2,500 Residents Is a Muslim

Aug 31, 2020


This has been a centuries old syncretic tradition and 'Ale Habba" as Muharram is know in the local parlance, is observed with the installation of 'Panjas' and entering of the fire.


 GADAG: A village in Gadag district in North Karnataka observes Muharram every year, and not one of its 2,500 residents of Hiremannur in Ron taluk is a Muslim.

This has been a centuriesold syncretic tradition and ‘Ale Habba’ — as Muharram is known in local parlance — is observed along with the installation of ‘Panjas’ and entering of the fire. “We observe Ale Habba with devotion,” said AndappaJigalur, an elder member in the village.

ShivappaOlekar, another resident of the village, said the Covid-19 and the lockdown had resulted in the local economy suffering a huge setback. “As a result, only few of the residents could contribute towards Muharram this year. Each year, we collect funds from all households in the village. This year, despite the problems they are facing, the villagers are contributing what they can. Many of them are offering ‘DeerghaDandaNamaskara’ at the Panjas,” said Olekar .

Sources said clerics from neighbouringHullur village are invited to perform Muharram rituals each year. “Clerics from Arahunasi and Belavanaki villages help us by informing us about when and how to observe Muharram. Moreover, all youngsters in our village are trained in rendering Rivayat songs, which are an integral part of Muharram,” the duo said.

Ramesh Talwar and KasheppaJakkannavar, two other residents in the village, said there was no organisation or association entrusted with the responsibility of conducting events during Muharram.

“A mosque was built in Hiremannur 50 years ago by our ancestors. But the mosque collapsed a few years ago. When we approached the Wakf Board for funds to rebuild it, we were told that having a registered organisation was mandatory. So, we have decided to reconstruct the mosque with contributions from the villagers,” Talwar and Jakkannavar said.


Sindhi Leader Accuses Pakistan For Rising Incidents of Enforced Disappearances

Aug 30, 2020


Shafi Burhat, the Chairman of Jeay Sindh Muttaheda Mahaz (ISMIM). Photo (ANI)


FRANKFURT: It's a common practice for fascist Pakistan spy agencies to abduct a 16-year-old boy Aqib Chandio to 70 years old SainBachal Shah. Historic nations in Pakistan are subject to worst subjugation, violence, and Holocaust while political activists are enduring worst state torture and terrorism, said ShafiBurfat, the chairman of Jeay Sindh MuttahidaMahaz (JSMM) on the International Day of the Missing Persons.

"People go missing because of various reasons but most prominent of them is the state inflicted enforced disappearances. In various countries of the world, the enforced disappearances are subject to different government policies but particularly in China and Pakistan thousands of the people mainly political activists belonging to the oppressed historic nations have been abducted and enforced disappeared by the states' spy agencies on dissenting against the oppressive policies of these governments and resisting the imperial occupation of their lands and resources by these rogue imperialist states", said Burfat, who is living in exile in Germany.

The reasons for these disappearances are purely political, he added.

"The terrorist Pakistani state has been using fascist torture and terror to crush the political movements for the freedom of the historic Sindh and Balochistan nations from the yoke of Pakistani imperialist occupation. The Pakistani fascist army is committing the Holocaust of oppressed Sindhi and Baloch people to suppress their voice for the emancipation of their nations from the worst colonization of our national history", said the exiled Sindhi leader.

He added, "Just like China is brutally subjecting Uyghurs to worst psychological and physical torture in the concentration camps; Punjab (Pakistan) is also repeating the same state terrorism, barbarism, and torture against Sindhi and Baloch youth."

Thousands of Sindhi and Baloch political activists have been abducted and enforced disappeared by the Pakistan army and ISI so far, who are enduring worst psychological and physical torture in their secret torture cells. Thousands of mutilated bullet-riddled dead bodies of Sindhi and Baloch political activists have been dumped by ISI in deserted areas of Sindh and Balochistan. The Sindhi and Baloch nations have been coping with such circumstances for decades now.

Burfat told ANI, "Pakistan is an unnatural terrorist and rogue state which has forcibly occupied the historic Sindhi and Baloch nations through its military might and deception of democracy and Islam".

It has been committing heinous atrocities and gross human rights violations against Sindhi and Baloch historic nations. To strengthen its grip over lands, resources, and seas of Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistani fascist state has been constructing illegal settlements in these lands to convert the native people in minority and committing brutal genocide.

To see the success of its multi-billion project i.e CPEC China has also become an accomplice to Pakistan's crimes against humanity. The Pakistani army has tripled its military presence and brutal genocidal operations in Sindh and Balochistan. They abduct enforced disappear, inhumanly torture, extrajudicially kill, mutilate dead bodies of these political activists and throw them on the barren roadsides or the piles of trash in the streets in broad daylight.

These shameless fascists even don't spare elderly women and children and have been abducting and torturing them to pressurize the political activists resisting the foreign occupation of their land by Chinese and Punjabi imperialist nexus. Hundreds of cases of rape and pillage have also surfaced in the past decade.

"The Pakistani army is playing the role of worst savage rogue terrorist mercenaries in the Sindh and Balochistan the same as China is doing in the Uyghur and Tibetan territories.

Pakistan and China weigh equal on the scale of human rights violations and brutal genocides of the historically oppressed nations.", said Burfat.

He added, "The UNO and international community must take a serious note of the Chinese and Pakistani crimes against humanity. This is a tragedy that secular political Sindhi and Baloch national movements for freedom are proscribed by Pakistani fascist state while extremist terrorist Islamist organizations are being sponsored by the Pakistani state."


 PAS Spiritual Leader Likens Minister Who Broke Self-Isolation To Quranic ‘Hero’, Blames Health, Foreign Ministries For Negligence

31 Aug 2020



According to PAS' spiritual leader Datuk Hashim Jasin (pic), Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali who broke the 14-day quarantine order for all returnees, was not in the wrong. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Plantations and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali should be treated like a “hero” who saved Malaysia with his Turkey investment “good news” when the country is struggling economically, according to PAS Musyidul Am Datuk Hashim Jasin.

Hashim who is the highest spiritual leader in the Islamic party said PAS members are obliged to defend Khairuddin, a fellow member, from “persecution” by political enemies even as he affirmed the minister was in violation of the government’s mandatory requirement for self-quarantine upon returning to the country after his Turkey trip last month.

“PAS people should not sit still, the hero who saved Malaysia, was persecuted. PAS people should not just keep quiet and let him defend himself,” he said during the Ipoh PAS annual general meeting last Saturday that has since been aired on Facebook.

“We should voice, give support, stand firmly behind the minister of commodities,” he added.

According to Hashim, Khairuddin who broke the 14-day quarantine order for all returnees, was not in the wrong. Instead, he claimed the blame lay with the Health Ministry and the Foreign Ministry for being “negligent”.

“The Ministry of Health is negligent, there is nothing [wrong], [it’s] negligence, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that caused him to be attacked,” Hashim said in the video.

He noted that the Opposition rallied for Khairuddin’s resignation as minister.

In the face of such “attacks”, Hashim called on PAS to rise and stand in solidarity with Khairuddin whom he likened to the hud-hud or hoopoe bird in the Quran.

He related the story of the bird and Prophet Sulaiman in Surah Al-Naml from the Quran.

In his retelling, Hashim noted that the bird broke an order by the prophet, but brought news that eventually benefitted Islam.

“Indeed, he was in violation when [Sulaiman] called him. He did not come, but he brought benefits to Islam. He became a hero,” Hashim said of the bird.

“Same as the minister, he is a hero,” he added.

According to Hashim, Khairuddin’s Turkey trip helped boost Malaysia’s palm oil exports by adding another 300,000 tonnes from the current 700,000 tonnes a year, raising the total to one million tonnes a year.

“The person who deserves it, this hud-hud, Dr Khairuddin, is a beacon to Malaysians. Palm oil rising in price is not for the Malays only. For all citizens, for the national economy,” he said.

According to Hashim further, Khairuddin who was supposed to be in quarantine was obliged to attend Parliament when it was in session due to a critical vote taking place then that was crucial to the Perikatan Nasional government.

“...he has no restrictions, it is not his fault,” Hashim said in defence of Khairuddin.

He then urged the Perak Ulama Council to put in a motion to support and defend Khairuddin at the party’s upcoming national annual general meeting later this year.

Khairuddin is under police investigation for flouting the 14-day quarantine meant to prevent the spread of infectious diseases following 27 police complaints filed.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on August 25 that his ministry had not known about Khairuddin’s travel plans and had only found out about from media reports later.

In a statement on August 22, the Health Ministry said it had issued a RM1,000 compound against the Kuala Nerus MP on August 7, for offences under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 and Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).


Jordanian artist held over Israel-UAE deal cartoon freed amid pressure from rights groups

30 August 2020

Jordanian authorities have released prominent cartoonist Emad al-Hajjaj who was arrested for publishing a cartoon satirizing the normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.

"The decision to release Hajjaj came after the state security court prosecutor decided to change the accusation against him to slander and libel, and his case has been sent back to the Amman state prosecutor," an unnamed judicial source told AFP.

On August 26, Jordanian authorities arrested Hajjaj after he posted a cartoon to his website and social media, which shows Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan holding a dove with the Israeli flag painted on it, spitting on the face of the UAE de facto ruler, who is also known as MBZ.

The cartoon referred to recent reports that Israel had urged the United States not to sell F-35 stealth combat aircraft to the UAE despite the recent normalization deal between the Tel Aviv regime and the Persian Gulf country.

The 53-year-old cartoonist was initially charged with “disturbing [Jordan’s] relations with a foreign state” which carried a sentence of up to five years in jail, if found guilty.

The State Security Court, a military tribunal which deals with terrorism-related cases, decided to keep Hajjaj in detention for 14 days pending an investigation.

But now he will face between six months and two years for "slander and libel", if convicted. 

The head of Jordan’s journalists' union, RakanSaaydeh, confirmed Hajjaj’s release and the new charges against him on Sunday. 

"He will now appear before the Amman prosecution," not the State Security Court, Saaydeh said.

It was not clear when Hajjaj’s trial would begin.

The release came following pressure from international rights groups on Jordanian authorities to free and drop abusive charges against the renowned cartoonist.  

Hajjaj's arrest also sparked condemnation from social media users and activists online, who criticized Jordan's cybercrime laws.

Human Rights Watch has underlined that Jordanian authorities should work to remove overly broad articles from the country’s Penal Code, Electronic Crimes Law, and counterterrorism law that are frequently used to unduly restrict Jordanians’ right to freedom of expression.

Under the agreement between Israel and the UAE, the Tel Aviv regime has purportedly agreed to "temporarily" suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to annex.

While the Emirati officials have described the Tel Aviv deal as a means to stave off the planned annexation, Israeli leaders have lined up to reject MBZ’s bluff that Netanyahu's annexation plans were off the table.

Netanyahu has said that annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.

A senior Israeli source also said US President Donald Trump’s administration had requested to temporarily suspend the announcement of annexations "to first implement the historic peace agreement with the UAE.”

All Palestinian factions have unanimously condemned the UAE-Israel deal, describing it as a stab in the back of the oppressed nation.


Terrorist preacher Abu Hamza sues US over ‘cruel’ prison conditions

Callum Paton

August 30, 2020

Extremist preacher Abu Hamza is taking legal action against the US over “cruel” conditions in the maximum security prison where he is jailed.

The Egypt-born cleric, who delivered hate-filled speeches at Finsbury Park mosque in north London, has complained of inhuman treatment in solitary confinement in the United States.

In a civil lawsuit, Abu Hamza claims he has been reduced to tearing food packages open with his rotten teeth after being deprived of his hooks or any other prosthesis for his arms.

The Al Qaeda imam has also said he has been deprived of sunlight in his isolated cell and explained he’d launched a 10-day hunger strike over the treatment, according to The Sunday Times.

In the suit filed against US Attorney General William Barr, Abu Hamza said he was suffering from stress and anxiety because of the “inhuman and degrading” conditions inside ADX Florence, a supermax prison in Colorado.

He has been incarcerated inside the Rocky Mountains prison after being extradited to the United States on terrorist charges in 2012 and given a life sentence without parole.

Abu Hamza, whose real name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, was convicted in 2014 of facilitating satellite communications between kidnappers during a 1998 attack that killed four tourists in Yemen, of supporting plans to open an Al Qaeda training camp in Bly, Oregon, and sending someone to an Afghanistan training camp.

In the 1990s, he led London's Finsbury Park Mosque, reportedly attended by September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid.

In particular, Abu Hamza has said much of his discomfort in prison comes from a lack of consideration for his disabilities. He has no forearms and is blind in one eye.

Because he does not have a lavatory adapted for his disability, the 62-year-old has said he often soils his clothes. He has said his arm stumps also bleed when he uses the prison’s washbasin taps.

“Plaintiff lost three teeth just to the opening of pouches,” the court documents detail, describing how the Abu Hamza opens food wrappers. “All front teeth are worn out and painful. Some nerves can be seen.”

Inmates like Abu Hamza in at the Colorado prison are kept in “cage-like” cells for up to 23 hours per day, the lawsuit details. They are banned from contact with other inmates and restricted from other activities.

Abu Hamza has said he has not seen his family since he arrived in the United States and has outlined a number of issues that he has said amount to “cruel and unusual conditions in prolonged, continuous, dangerous solitary confinement since 2012” in the lawsuit.

Once cell where he was held, Abu Hamza described as having no natural light and measuring 8ft by 16ft.

He has also, because of his difficulties eating, been forced to forgo halal meals for the prison’s Jewish, kosher option. He characterised this dietary switch as “religiously stressful”.

The defendants in the case, which include the head of the US prison service as well as Mr Barr, have said the lawsuit is without merit and should be rejected by the justice system.

They have called the complaint “so ambiguous [the] defendants cannot reasonably prepare a response”.


Europe Warned of Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Divisive,’ ‘Dangerous’ Influence


August 30, 2020

ROME: European governments should not fall for the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to be seen as the representative of Muslims, says Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, an expert on Islamism in the West.

The Brotherhood is “a problematic entity within the Muslim community” whose influence as “dangerous,” he told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

Defining the Brotherhood’s role in Europe is “very difficult” because “unlike in the Middle East … there are no groups or individuals that openly identify themselves as (linked to the) Brotherhood in any European countries,” said Vidino, who is director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University and author of the recently published book “The Closed Circle: Joining and Leaving the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.”

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna and has sought to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate. It has influenced Islamist movements around the world with its model of political activism combined with charity work. By the late 1940s, the group is estimated to have had 500,000 members in Egypt, and its ideas had spread across the Arab world.

According to Vidino, from the 1960s, individuals and organizations with links to the Brotherhood in the Arab world moved to the West and “created networks throughout Europe that are now fairly independent from the Middle East.”

They “adopt the ideology of the Brotherhood” but are “for the most part free to choose their tactics and strategies,” said Vidino, whose research has focused on the mobilization dynamics of jihadist networks in the West, and the activities of Brotherhood-inspired organizations.

“These networks have been able to exert an influence that’s much greater than their small numbers.”

They are “highly problematic” because of the impact they have on social cohesion and integration in Europe, said Vidino, who has held positions at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, the US Institute of Peace, RAND Corp. and the Center for Security Studies in Zurich.

“The message they send out, at least internally within the Muslim community, is a very polarizing one. It creates a mindset of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ of constant victimhood, which pushes the idea that the West is out to get Muslims and is against Islam,” he told Arab News.

“This obviously creates a very divisive society. It prevents the integration process. It poisons relationships between communities.”

Opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood argue that it has become a breeding ground for terrorists. For instance, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, joined the Brotherhood in the 1960s, when he was 14. In comments to Arab News last year, Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst, said: “One must remember that terror organizations like Al-Qaeda and Daesh drew inspiration from Muslim Brotherhood ideologues.”

In a 2015 paper entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood in the UK,” Dr. Vidino identified three categories of individuals and organizations operating inside the UK who could be regarded as Muslim Brotherhood: “In decreasing degrees of intensity, these are the pure Brothers, Brotherhood affiliates and organisations influenced by the Brotherhood.”

Dr. Vidino added: “Significant attention has been devoted to the activities of members of the Egyptian branch of the Brotherhood living in London. This small cluster of a handful of senior leaders and young activists is engaged in media, legal and lobbying efforts aimed at challenging the current Egyptian regime.”

The Egyptian government declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group in December 2013, after accusing it of carrying out a series of bomb attacks in Cairo.

With the group pushed underground in Egypt and a number of other Arab countries, many of its members and top supporters found refuge in Turkey and Qatar.

A book published last year by two French investigative reporters, Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, claimed to reveal the details of lavish payments made by Qatar to Muslim Brotherhood organizations across Europe. Titled “Qatar Papers - How the State Finances Islam in France and Europe,” the book is reportedly based on official documents and testimonies that shed light on Doha’s extensive funding to promote the Brotherhood’s ideology on the continent.

The book published evidence of cheque and money transfers from Qatar that had been used to underwrite Brotherhood-linked projects around Europe.

Vidino, who has testified before the US Congress and other parliaments and has advised law-enforcement officials worldwide, says the Muslim Brotherhood in the West is “such a secretive organization. It even denies it actually exists.”

“This is why I thought that one of the best ways to get information about it and its structure, on what it thinks and wants, was to interview people who are part of that organization in the West,” he told Arab News.

While there are “different experiences” among those he interviewed for his book, “all of them were recruited after a very long process. They became part of what they described as a very sophisticated machinery in each country.”

Vidino added: “All of them eventually left for different reasons that had something in common: They all saw internal corruption within the organization and a lack of internal democracy. They all came to see the Brotherhood as deceitful. They saw a lot of hypocrisy, a lot of using religion to pursue purely political goals.”

People who leave the group are “ostracized,” he said. “They lose a lot of their social circles because being a member of the Brotherhood is a fully absorbing experience.”

He added: “It’s obviously difficult for anybody who has devoted 10, 20 years of their life to say that they were wrong, and that the organization and the ideology they devoted their lives to was incorrect. It takes a lot of intellectual courage to do so.”

Some apparently do summon up the requisite intellectual courage. For instance, a recent report in the German news media was part of a cache of leaked confidential documents that shed light on Qatar’s use of its wealth and charities to fund and infiltrate mosques, activate Muslim Brotherhood networks and buy influence across Germany.

The documents reveal that Qatar Charity has used its deep pockets to fund at least 140 mosques and Islamic centers across Germany since it began its campaign — costing an estimated €72 million ($84.69 million). In 2016 alone, the charity spent roughly €5 million on various construction projects in major German cities, including Berlin and Munich.

Not far behind Qatar is Turkey, which has provided various forms of support to the Muslim Brotherhood, including granting asylum to wanted Brotherhood members and equipping them with satellite TV and radio stations. In a recent paper titled “Erdogan’s influence in Europe: A Swedish case study” in The Washington Institute’s Fikra Forum, Magnus Norell, adjunct scholar, wrote: “Turkey’s political leadership appear deeply invested in a number of small European parties that align with Erdogan’s own political vision he is enacting in Turkey.”

Norell said Erdogan explicitly outlined his policy on Albania TV in June 2017, when he said that there was nothing wrong with supporting political parties in the Balkans and other European countries that shared an ideology similar to that of his Islamist AKP, and that “nobody should be bothered by this effort.”

Referring to its presence in Europe, Vidino describes the Muslim Brotherhood as “a very elite group.” “To them it’s not about big numbers. You don’t simply join. They’re very selective in who they take,” he told Arab News.

“We’re not talking about very big numbers. We’re talking about maybe a few hundred people in a country like Italy, maybe 1,000 in countries like France or Germany. Their power lies in their ability to mobilize other people, to influence a Muslim community, to influence policymaking in the West … They have a keen ability to adapt to the environment.”

Muslim Brotherhood members, he said, want to be viewed by “Western establishments, governments, media and so on as the representatives of Muslim communities and basically to become those who shaped Islam in Italy, in Germany and Sweden, in Belgium and so on.”

In conclusion, Vidino said: “It’s up to the ability of European governments to understand that that they’re not the representatives of the Muslim community, and that they are, if anything, a problematic entity within the Muslim community that influences how important and dangerous they’re going to be.”


Peace Not Power-Sharing Deal: Ghani

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

31 Aug 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Ashraf Ghani said peace is not a power-sharing deal, as he spoke at a ceremony held in western Kabul to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali on Sunday.

Speaking to the public, Ghani said peace does not mean to share power upon a political settlement; but complying with a long-lasting dream of Afghans for peaceful society by ending the ongoing violence.

“Do not be afraid of peace because peace does not mean a power sharing political deal.” Ghani consoled as local media quoted.

He said everyone wants the violence and security threats in the country to end, adding “those who think they are achieving their goals with threats should think again because the people support the republic.”

Meanwhile, First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who also attended the ceremony, exclaimed no efforts can set us Muslim brothers apart – regardless of the differences of our sects.

“Despite the effort made to separate Shiites and Sunnis, no one has been able to succeed,” he said. “We are all Muslims and brothers.”

Addressing the forthcoming peace talks, Salah expressed he has no concern on the process, as all the achievements of the past 18 years will be preserved accountably.

“I am not too worried about the current (peace) process because of what our people have gained in recent years will not be lost,” he said as quoted by local media.

Moreover, Second Vice President Sarwar Danish urged the Taliban to be honest in the peace process, exclaiming “a peace with dignity is one in which all values of the republic are preserved.”

“We call on the Taliban to be honest in the peace process and to be ready for dialogue between Afghans,” he said.





Breaking away from tradition, Shia Muslims donate blood on Moharram

Swati Sharma

August 30, 2020

Replacing the ages-old tradition of injuring themselves by blades while mourning the supreme sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain on Moharram, members of the Shia sect of Islam in village Khirwa Jalalpur donated blood on Sunday.

In view of the ban on the procession of Moharram due to the COVID 19 pandemic this year, those who used to mourn the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain in Karbala by shedding their blood with blades came up with a unique idea of donating blood that could save human lives.

This, however, was made possible by the suggestion of Indian Medical Association (IMA) secretary Dr Anil Nausaran to one of the villagers of Khirwa Jalalpur, Saiful Hassnain Zaidi, who was known to the doctor. The idea clicked him and he shared it with other villagers.

Initially, hardly five people in the village were ready for blood donation but gradually the idea became a hit and the Shia Muslims of the village came out for this cause to mark Moharram, informed Zaidi.

A team of Indian Medical Association`s blood bank reached the village on Sunday morning for conducting blood donation. Forty Shia Muslims, all clad in black outfits which they wear as a mark of mourning during Muharram, came out for blood donation.

IMA secretary, who is also the in-charge of its blood bank in Meerut, Dr Anil Nausaran said that 40 men in the age group of 18 to 59 years donated blood on Sunday to mark Moharram and pledged that they would continue doing so in the years to come.

Dr Nausaran appreciated this exemplary move of the Shia Muslims of Village KhirwaJalapur and said that this could be an inspiration to others as well.

Zaidi, who was one of the donors himself, said, “By donating blood we wanted to contribute in saving mankind as directed by Imam Hussain and it reminds us of his teaching of ‘Jio aurJeene do’. ”

ZaffrulHassnain Zaidi, another donor said that it was altogether a different feeling to have donated blood that could be life-saving to someone. Initially, people in the village were unhappy over the ban on Moharram procession but later after the decision of blood donation, they seemed happy.

According to the ages-old tradition, Shia Muslims while mourning the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his family about 1400 years ago feel the pain by shedding their blood with sharp blades on Moharram.

This had been our tradition but this time instead we decided to donate the same blood to save human lives, said Sayyed Ali Bin Haadi.

Khirwa Jalalpur is a Muslim dominated village with a population of about 10,000. The village is having around 200 Shia Muslim families who commemorated Muharram as ‘an act against terrorism this year’. “We are against terrorism and are there to serve the country by good deeds and donating blood was one such deed,” said Haadi.

Appreciating the villagers, Dr Nausaran said that one unit blood donated by a person could save two lives hence 40 units blood donated by them could save the lives of 80 persons. That is why it is rightly said that blood donation is a supreme donation. He called upon people to come forward for such a cause.


JCO killed in Pakistan firing along LoC in J&K

Aug 30, 2020

JAMMU/AMRITSAR: A junior commissioned officer (JCO) was killed on Sunday as Pakistan troops violated ceasefire by initiating unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K’s Rajouri district. He is the seventh soldier to have lost his life in cross-border firing since June.

Naib Subedar Rajwinder Singh (40) of Sikh Light Infantry Regiment was critically injured after Pakistan breached the truce early on Sunday, resorting to small arms firing at Kalsiyan, Khanger and Bhawani areas along the LoC in Nowshera sector. He later succumbed.

Rajwinder Singh belonged to the historic village of Goindwal Sahib in Tarn Taran district and is survived by wife Manpreet Kaur (38) and three children aged 16, 15 and 10 years. He had joined the Army in 2008.

His father Jagir Singh, who too was a soldier in the Indian Army, died about two years ago. His brother, Sukhwinder Singh, too, had served in the Army but died in a road accident in 2009.

According to a family member, Rajwinder Singh last spoke to his wife around 4pm on Saturday. He had spent a nearly one-month vacation with his family and left to resume his duty in January.

“Naib Subedar Rajwinder Singh was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” Jammu-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said.

The JCO’s cremation is expected to be held on Monday at his native village Goindwal Sahib. “The mortal remains of the martyr will be taken to his home tomorrow morning,” the defence spokesperson said.


BJP wants a Hindu majority to emerge in J&K: Farooq Abdullah

Aug 31, 2020

Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah has said his National Conference (NC) opted out of the Delimitation Commission in May as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was allegedly seeking to create Hindu dominance in the Muslim majority region and to divide the Union Territory on religious lines through the process.

The Centre in March set up the commission to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on the recent census in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland. NC opted out of it in May. “That is because we told them on their face that we do not believe in your delimitation. The BJP has a certain purpose. It wants that in J&K [Jammu & Kashmir], a Hindu majority emerges, and the Muslim majority goes down,” he told HT in a joint interview with his son and another former chief minister, Omar Abdullah. “Can you beat what the government of India is trying to do here?”

Farooq Abdullah said when he was the chief minister, the assembly of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir decided to go for the delimitation exercise along with the rest of the country in 2026. “Then, why has the Centre suddenly brought it forward? They want to divide us on the Hindu-Muslim lines and create Hindu dominance. That will never happen,” he said.

Farooq Abdullah was among three NC Parliamentarians named as the members of the commission.

Omar Abdullah called the commission a product of the constitutional changes brought in August last year to divest Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and to divide it into two Union territories. “When we do not recognise those changes, how can we recognise this panel? By participating in its proceedings, we will essentially be lending credence to the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019. When we are fighting this Act, there is no question of participation.”

Omar Abdullah said the commission’s membership does not grant one the veto power. “Our three MPs [members of Parliament] may have been able to share their views, but that would not have been binding on the commission. Our participation would have been used as a rubber stamp.”

The political environment in Jammu & Kashmir is in flux again a year after the constitutional changes that prompted sweeping measures, including the incarceration of hundreds of people, to prevent protests against them. Farooq Abdullah, who was among the three former chief ministers also detained, has emerged as the prime mover and pivot in the formation of a conglomerate of the six regional parties – some of them sworn rivals – that has posed the first challenge to the Centre by reaffirming commitment to the Gupkar Declaration pegged to the demand for restoration of the special status.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to delimitation exercise in his Independence Day speech and said it is underway and assembly elections would follow in Jammu & Kashmir.

When asked if he would contest the elections, Farooq Abdullah said: “Any decision [on contesting] will depend first on my party and we will take a call subject to the situation. We will talk to other stakeholders in the Gupkar Declaration. If we are united in this exercise, we will take them on board and decide.”

Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were released in March while another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, continues to be under detention under draconian Public Safety Act that allows incarceration for up to two years without trial.





Imam Hussain’s charter unveils uncharted territories for Muslims in contemporary era

Waqas Mahmood Ali

August 30, 2020

As we remember the struggle of Imam Hussain (RA), the most important lesson relevant in contemporary era is the idea of political system. The transgressions of Bani Umayya in Syrian administration (chapter four titled 'Journey from Khilafat to Malookiyat,' Khilafat-o-mlaookiyat) resulted in arrogant and ignorant political actions which undermined the 'Governance mechanisms and political settlements' that had been set on basis of the consensus on law which established  those 'terms of references' functioning as rules of business for running governmental affairs in Islamic Caliphate. Simply put, the reference is to the political agreement between Hazrat Ali and Caliph Moawiyah regarding 'transfer of power.' (The major part of events symbolised in this article have been taken from research papers introduced by contemporary Islamic scholars).

Furthermore, the opposition in Syrian court dominated by ex-Byzantine officials during Mowaiya's tenure opposed the rise of Persian province, Iraq, as the region harbouring the Government of Islamic Caliphate. The division in the House of Islam hit the last nail of the coffin when Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred in Karbala on the banks of River Euphrates in Iraq. In Islam, the level of importance of the link between Politics and Governance can be understood from the fact that Allah Almighty took this sacrifice from no one else but Imam Hussain (RA).

In essence, undue interference and illegal intervention in Political Governance by certain force/s threatens to destroy the fabric that weaves together the organs and institutions of State into One Unit. During Caliph Ali's rule, the fourth Rashidun Caliph's tenure, the battles arising due to Kharijites and Hypocrites (Reference to Hadith on opponents and killers of Ammar Bin Yasir being hypocrites ; also another reference to Sahih Bukhari's UmdatulQari 7083 in Imam Badruddin AinyHanfi's book) led to creation of State within State and also, State above State which destroyed the foundation of political system created by Islam (MiraqtulMafateh: Mishkat 5878, Mullah Ali Qari) . The event of martyrdom of Imam Hussain (RA) is nothing less than lesson regarding importance of preserving the Islamic idea of Governance and, the valuing of the sacrifice also serves as remembrance regarding the manner of adopting adequate approach to establishing and building Islamic political system which was then eroded and destroyed by actions of those who challenged fourth Caliph of Islam on basis of hypocritical stance (Umayyads; mentioned in Musnad Ahmad, 16957). 

In addition to this, Umhatul Momineen Aisha (RA) is excluded from any such blame. In fact, she is the narrator of Hadith on Ahl al-Kisa (Hazrat Aisha was witness when Holy Prophet put his cloak over Hazrat Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain) and Ghadeer Khum. Hazrat Aisha's brothers, Muhammad and Abdur Rehman, were stern and staunch opponents of Moawiya. Infact, both of Aisha's brothers supported Hazrat Ali (RA). She had sided with Talha and Zubair, for avenging martyrdom of Usman (genuine demand to bring killers of Third Caliphate to Justice), who established Madina as the seat of Government of Islamic Caliphate. Hazrat Aisha also shielded Abdur Rahman Bin Bakr when Ummayyads came to imprison him due to her brother's support for Hazrat Ali.

Coming back to the point, the 'movement of truth' depicted in historical process associated with the Days of Allah (AyaamIllah) enables us to establish futuristic approach in order to cater for debates regarding eschatological position on political events occurring  in contemporary era. For e.g. the event of Karbala indicates that the ‘form of Government’ and the ‘type of political system (including leadership)’ is central to functioning of Institution of Pledge of Allegiance in the Islamic Caliphate. The moral struggle of Imam Hussain (RA) was nothing less than political and religious struggle waged to restore the terms of agreement which prohibited any Caliph from turning the 'idea of Consensus' into 'whims of central authouritarian figure.' His (RA) struggle is in every way relevant to political events witnessed today as the Middle East Peace Plan is being dubbed as ‘deal of the century.’ What guidance do the Quran and Prophetic traditions provide Muslims regarding eschatological position on utilisation of evidence-based reasoning to institutionalise the observation (examining and identifying) of trends, patterns and trajectories of political events in the Middle East which also have connection to the ‘deal of the century.’

How do Muslim countries protect Strategic interests and safeguard National Interests as western bloc spearheads its ‘Middle East Peace Plan.’ The ‘Political Value of Symbolic Interpretationsim’ suggests that Institution of Pledge of Allegiance based on Consensus is the way forward. Such endeavor also unites Shi’ite and Sunni School of Thought related to connection between Imamat (Divine Leadership) and Khilafat (Political Leadership). Prophetic traditions enable us to determine the 'eschatological events' as link between ‘historical and political events.’  Imam Hussain's struggle is part of the historical process. If the initiator is Imam Hussain then the one who completes the unfinished business in political sense is none but Imam Al Mahdi (Sunni and Shi'ite schools of thought must come to terms on participating in establishing of regional framework and building of its respective infrastructure). Therefore, there is a need to understand the concept of authourity and idea of power when it comes to Political events associated with Islamic Caliphate. Where does the world of Islam stand with respect to pursuit of Competent and Genuine Political Leadership? The answer lies in pursuing central Islamic idea that foundations of concept of power must be based on faith. It requires the 'mistake made in Ummayyad Syria' (Mustadrak Al-Haakim, 8038)  to be corrected by contemporary Muslims by not compromising political governance for legitimising credibility of forceful interferences in a political set-up but adopt consensus based upon genuine and correct methodology. Today, once ‘Byzantinian’ Syria is assuming similar status at expense of once ‘Persian’ Iraq. It seems that future regional framework architecture and infrastructure will be based in Syria as part of western and eastern bloc’s strategic interest. This brings us to the implementation of Deal of the Century in the Middle East Peace Plan (Is Israel stepping up its game by planning to wage secret war before 'series of wars'?)

In contemporary era, the Western bloc and Eastern forces are trying to reach terms of agreement for Peace and Security through political settlement as Israel is already prepared to soon assume status as the Ruling State of the world.   However, according to eschatological details mentioned in the Prophetic traditions, it seems Syria is the country / place where all regional and global forces (major and minor) will soon gather for such Political agreements to guarantee Peace and Security (It is part of ‘deal of the century’ and the Middle East Peace Plan) in Middle East. The political events in Libya are precursor to new Syrian setup (Politics in MENA region: Is Libya the 'next Syria?'). There is a need to ensure 'Political Governance' drives the 'Syrian administration' and not the other way around. The tilt towards Syria as new diplomatic center of Middle East can be confirmed through evidence-based reasoning in terms of observation of trends, patterns and trajectories of political events particularly in MENA region. Particularly, Libya being dealt as ‘test case’ before venturing into new Syrian programme. Syria’s new rising stature might possibly be due to Russia's diplomacy in Syria being recognised by those who do not seek to come to terms with Israel and, they prefer Syria as the option (The end game of Iraq Plan: winning against fifth generation warfare). Secondly, western bloc prefers Russia in Syria rather than China in Iran (read: Iraq). Therefore, Russia recognised as viable option by the western bloc. The US and Russia are most active in military terms in Northern Syria apart from Turkish Military. Russia can diplomatically and militarily push for a planned 'balancing' approach as Western bloc also takes control of Syria (ultimately allowing Syrian administration to bypass practice of political governance). The political set-up in Syria might possibly be in clutches of US, UK, EU and NATO while Russia and opposing side will not have upper hand unless regional framework architecture and infrastructure is not settled through equal representation of eastern bloc. This is where aforementioned ‘eschatological link between Historical and Political events’ is determined through evidence-based reasoning such that two opposing sides as superpowers in history i.e. Byzantines and Persians (in first age) are now represented by two new Superpowers (US and Russia in the Second or Last Age) as explained in 'Role of religious eschatology in affairs of Ruling State, Nation of Abraham & Kurds.'

Thinking future strategy for regional framework architecture and infrastructure

As stated in first paragraph, the Byzantine-Persian enmity crept into practices of Islamic political-governmental setup after ex-Byzantine officials instigated Syrian administration to rise up against the seat of Government in Kufa, the capital of Islamic Caliphate being located in Persian province (Iraq), thereby re-ignited and intensified the rivalry between ex-Byzantine and ex-Persian officials. The genuine demands for avenging the killing of Hazrat Uthman was manipulated by Syrian administration as an excuse for wresting control from Hazrat Ali. Furthermore,  this is classic example of ‘State within State’ or ‘State above State.’ The divine truth behind sacrifice of Imam Hussain is to highlight and preserve the importance of moral and political struggle against falsehood and transgression of the bounds set by Allah Almighty. The problem persists till today which needs attention and efforts more than merely addressing needs of regional framework architecture and infrastructure. Therefore, the struggle of Imam Al Mahdi is about also preserving the political system of Islam based upon Consensus (criteria of electing or selecting leadership based Sunni school of thought) and Institution of Pledge of Allegiance (criteria based upon events leading to rise of divine leadership based upon Shi’ite school of thought and, Sunni school of thought’s acceptance to recognise genuine leadership), as the Joint-Government (comprised of western bloc and eastern forces: including, the major and minor stakeholders as well as regional and global powers) in Syria would have to be cleansed from dirt which threatens ‘Political Governance practices upheld by Eastern bloc’ in order to oppose any dictatorial stance of dictatorial stance working against strategic interests of the east. Political Governance is ‘thinking future strategy with regards to governmental set up in regional framework architecture and infrastructure based upon mutual consensual understanding of eastern and western bloc for practicing governance.’ This binds administration to political set-up.

Eschatologically speaking, the  importance of areas of Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt etc mentioned in Hadith can also be explained in detail in accordance with the context laid out above. The Political system of Islam is closely synced with Governance spectrum. The geopolitics associated with these countries in the region depicts tug of war between eastern and western bloc which must be replaced by Peace Treaties and Security Pacts for ensuring effective Governance. Specifically, Muslims should ensure that the conditions and terms set in these agreements are not against Islamic Principles (Africa Pivot: The Strategy of Pakistan, Turkey & Israel for Security Pacts and Peace Treaties. A dictatorship in Syria which is under western influence or pressure will always favour Israeli policies in the region which also brings it into direct collision course with surrounding Muslim countries. Therefore, the answer for Muslim countries lies in convincing US, European countries and Russia to establish such ‘Political Governance’ practice which does not provide Israel an opportunity to trample upon rights of other countries with full amnesty, rather, blocks Israel from bypassing and trampling upon the will of surrounding Muslim countries. This also refers to preserving popular will or Democracy. The eschatological figure of Sufyani represents dictatorial figure as puppet of Western bloc. Though, the political agreement materialised as New Syrian set up for supervising region serves as binding security pact and peace treaty but the compromise on strategic interests of Eastern bloc at expense of preserving Israel's security would be a possible reference to need for stronger political force in the Eastern bloc.

The restricting and contracting phase of Iran and Turkey has begun. Arabs / Gulf countries are playing to the tunes of the Western powers. Though, Arab countries in MENA region are adamant to pursue two-state solution and establishing relations with Israel but Arabs must not abandon such instructions of Quran, which upon ignorance, would result in more tightened, restricted and constricted space for Arabs. Unlike Arab / Gulf countries, Iran and Turkey might seek favourable political settlement in Syria. Russia will lead the process from the side of eastern bloc. Russia’s favourable position with Israel will enable it to bypass US, EU, UK and NATO’s concerns. The result will be a political solution to Mideast problem based on Diplomacy. However, lesson must be learned from Libyan episode where activities of Turkey, Russia, US, UK, EU (Germany, Italy, France), Egypt, UAE, KSA, Syria, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Algeria, Morocoo, Tunisia and China has brought Libya to forefront of geopolitical affairs with ‘far-reaching implications’ as Libya becomes test case as the ‘next Syria’ before peace treaty is upheld in new Syrian setup in future (Global Strategic Governance 2020: Politics of US, UK, EU, Russia & China in MENA region). Similarly, in Syria, the role and presence of Arabs will be systematically reduced to non-existent level while role of Iran will be ‘restricted’ and presence of Turkey will be ‘constricted.’ Concerning Arabs, prime example is that UAE and Israel have reached agreement to settle base near Yemen but such practice of consultation does not extend to ‘other Arab countries’; rather, they are targets of it. It seems Syria and Iraq would be the next target after Libya in order to create conditions to successfully coerce and force agreements favouring western bloc.

Prophetic traditions categorically mention details regarding ‘political-historical events in Syria,’ which must be taken into account for deducing ‘Political value of Symbolic Interpretationsim’ in order to extract eschatological meaning on basis of ‘evidence-based reasoning through observation (examining and identifying trends, patterns and trajectories) of political events’ associated with MENA region. Therefore, Strong Political System is central to preserving Muslim identity to safeguard (eastern) strategic interests in order to administer powerful representation in the upcoming regional framework architecture and infrastructure in Syria. However, any breach or violation of such terms and agreements as agreed between stakeholders which effects ‘strategic interests of eastern bloc (with majority Islamic representation) pursued by consensual leadership’ would definitely lead to realisation to further strengthen eastern bloc’s majority representation’s reliance on Divine Leadership. A weak or compromised political system will lead to more problems, issues, threats and challenges whilst false excuses will be made for accepting credibility of certain leadership to remove governance gap. Weak political system means that Dictatorship would rule over Muslims and also prevent them from progress, stability and peace on basis of their own strategic interests. It is a blockage and gap which needs proper regional framework architecture and infrastructure encompassing the strategic interests of eastern bloc to block dictatorial or authouritarian set up in Syria. Imam Hussain’s charter for unchartered territories in contemporary era is the timely moral and political struggle to preserve the institutions producing such genuine leadership which pursues divine truth to support movement of truth according to AyamIllah (Days of Allah recognised on basis of ‘historical-political’ link identified on basis of evidence-based reasoning). Therefore, western led process in Syria must have effective Muslim and Arab representation for favourable Political Governance; otherwise, it is a futile exercise as strategic interests will solely be pursued according to priorities of western bloc. Resources as commodity are a requirement for all. This purpose cannot be achieved without struggling to preserve Political system of Islam which rests upon central idea that ‘Power is based upon faith.’ It requires more scholarly work in order to pursue teachings of Quran and Prophetic traditions as guidance for adopting methodology of ‘Political Value of Symbolic Interpretationism’ to derive understanding regarding eschatological position on pursuing evidence-based reasoning of political events based upon observation of trends, patterns and trajectories.


Pakistan Strongly Condemns Desecration Of Quran In Sweden And Norway

31 Aug 2020

The Foreign Office on Sunday strongly condemned recent incidents in Sweden and Norway in which copies of the Holy Quran were reportedly burnt, saying that "freedom of speech can't justify religious hatred".

In a statement issued on Twitter, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri further said:

"The rise of such Islamophobic occurrences goes against the spirit of any religion."

"Ensuring respect for religious beliefs of others is a collective responsibility and is absolutely critical for global peace and prosperity," Chaudhri added.

A day earlier, a riot broke out in the southern Swedish town of Malmo, where at least 300 people had gathered to protest against anti-Islam activities, police said.

Protesters were throwing objects at police officers and car tyres had been set on fire, a police spokesman said. Earlier in the day, a copy of the Quran had been burned in Malmo by right-wing extremists.

The demonstrations had escalated in the same place where the Quran had been burned, the spokesman added.

Daily Aftonbladet said several anti-Islam activities had taken place in Malmo on Friday, including three men kicking a copy of the Quran between them in a public square.

Meanwhile, at an anti-Islam protest on Saturday in Oslo, Sweden — held by the far-right group Stop the Islamisation of Norway (SION) — a protester tore out pages of the Quran and spat on them, Anadolu Agency reported.


Youm-i-Ashura observed nationwide amid tight security

Qazi Hassan | Imtiaz Ali | Sirajuddin | Ghalib Nihad

31 Aug 2020

Youm-i-Ashura was observed nationwide on Sunday to pay homage to Imam Hussain and other martyrs of Karbala amid strict security arrangements to protect mourners from any untoward incident.

Processions were carried out in various cities as thousands of security personnel protected the mourners while cell phone services in areas across the country also remained suspended.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that there were three important messages to take away from Imam Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala.

"One, immortality is earned by those who give the supreme sacrifice of their lives to stand against tyranny & injustice. It is not earned simply by being rich, powerful or educated.

"Two, throughout history many great Muslims have been inspired by Karbala & sacrificed their lives to stand against oppression, colonial rule, injustice.

"Three, today the struggle continues against oppression of occupation & injustice in occupied Kashmir."

The premier added that the Kashmiris, who were fighting against the worst form of military oppression and tyranny, should be "inspired" by Karbala to remain steadfast in their courage.

"Their struggle against tyranny & injustice will succeed as the martyrs of Karbala showed us."

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took to Twitter to share the lessons that could be learnt from Iman Hussain's legacy.

"Let us draw strength from the legacy of Imam Hussain Ibn e Ali (R.A), the embodiment of bravery and determination in the face of oppression and tyranny. May we learn to meet every challenge ahead with the same fortitude and courage."

PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said "mankind will remain indebted to Hazrat Imam Hussain (A.S.) for his supreme sacrifice in the path of truth and justice."

"His example of patience and trust in Allah in the face of extreme brutality & oppression has been a source of inspiration to the oppressed people around the world!" he added.


The main procession in the city was taken out from Nishtar Park after a Majlis, which was led by AllamaShahenshah Hussain Naqvi, with five to six thousand mourners, according to police officials.

The procession reached Tibet Centre around 1pm where afternoon prayers were offered, led by Maulana Ali Afzaal. After the prayers, the procession moved through NumaishChowrangi, Sea Breeze, Empress Market, Regal Chowk and Bolton Market, ending at ImambargahHussainian Iranian.

A spokesperson for Karachi Police said 6,368 policemen and three companies of the Rapid Response Unit were deployed for the security of the processions. A further 90 snipers were also present along the route of the main procession.

A total of 12,455 policemen were deputed for the security of 513 Majalis and 281 processions in the city, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said 1,095 officials of the Traffic Police were deployed to ensure smooth flow of traffic along the route.

Additionally, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said police coordinated with Shia Scout organisations for security arrangements.


A total of 12 processions were taken out in Peshawar, according to police officials. Strict security arrangements were made while cell phone services were completely suspended in the city.

At least 10,600 policemen and 1,400 Frontier Corps officials were deployed for security while the situation was also being monitored from the police command and control room. The areas through which the processions passed were sealed and no unrelated person was allowed to enter, police said, adding that the roads along the route were also washed in view of the pandemic.


The main procession in Balochistan's capital emerged from Shuhada Chowk on Alamdar Road. It was led by Balochistan Shia Conference President Syed Dawood Agha. The procession passed through its traditional routes and reached Meezan Chowk, where afternoon prayers were offered.

At least 10,000 security officials were deployed for protection of the mourners. Mobile phone services in the city remained suspended until 12am, according to police.

Additional Inspector General of Police (IG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema said searching and sweeping of processions' routes had been completed while security officials and snipers remained posted.

He further said three battalions of the Pakistan Army were on standby in case of any untoward incident and that two helicopters were being used to keep an eye on the situation from the air. Control rooms were established to monitor the situation, he said.


Pakistan will continue to have good ties with Saudi Arabia: Qureshi

30 Aug 2020

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Pakistan enjoys good relations with Saudi Arabia and the leadership of both countries will continue visiting each other.

Talking to the media here on Saturday, Mr Qureshi said the relations with the kingdom would remain friendly. He said political parties of India-held Kashmir had turned against Delhi and the Indian policy on Kashmir had badly failed.

He regretted that India, which claimed its people enjoyed religious freedom, imposed a ban on taking out Muharram processions in occupied Kashmir.

“A ban has been imposed on all types of Muharram gatherings in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government has deprived the people of Kashmir of their rights,” he said.

The foreign minister said the Pakistan Army and the government were standing with the Kashmiri people and supporting their right to self-determination.

“My request to speakers at the Muharram gatherings is that they should also mention the hardship the Kashmiri people are facing at the hands of Indian forces in their speeches,” he said.

He said India had failed to get Pakistan included in the black list of the the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) despite making efforts.

He claimed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had prepared the draft laws related to FATF in consultation with the opposition. However, he regretted the opposition voted in favour of the bills in the National Assembly, but opposed the same in the Senate.

He said the water level in the reservoirs of the country was increasing and there were chances of flood.

“There was a flood-like situation is Balochistan and the federal government will provide all kinds of support to the province’s government in this regard,” he said.

He said the Sindh government was responsible for the urban flooding in Karachi.

Mr Qureshi said Shahbaz Sharif was the guarantor of Nawaz Sharif, and he should ensure return of the former prime minister from London as now his (Nawaz’s) condition was better.


Panels formed to monitor rights situation in districts

30 Aug 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has constituted special committees in all districts to monitor human rights situation with the respective deputy commissioners heading them.

A notification issued by the law and human rights department said the chief minister had formed the district human rights committees under Section 4 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Promotion, Protection and Enforcement of Human Rights Act, 2014.

The committees will be headed by the respective deputy commissioners as their chairpersons and will comprise superintendent of police (investigation), superintendent of prisons, district officer (male/female) of the education department, district health officer, district social welfare officer and two representatives of civil society to be nominated by the chairperson.

The district social welfare officer will also act as the committee’s secretary.

The committees will monitor the overall human rights situation in the respective districts, investigate the cases of human rights violations, visit jails for monitoring human rights of inmates, go to hospitals for assessing provision of facilities to visitors, visit places of detention (police stations) on complaint of torture, inspect schools, colleges and universities for creating rights awareness, visit orphanages and shelter homes, identify and recommend cases for the relief of the human rights violation victims through the relevant organisations, and mobilise local community and encourage their participation for promotion and protection of human rights.

In Oct 2019, the provincial government had made amendments to the KP Promotion, Protection and Enforcement of Human Rights Act, 2014, and inserted new Section 4 in it that declared that the government may in each district establish a regional office to be headed by the deputy commissioner of the district concerned.

The deputy commissioner of the relevant district is also empowered to delegate his or her powers under the law to any officer subordinate to him.

Under that law, the deputy commissioners will submit the annual reports of the committees to the department, which will forward them to the director general (human rights).


200 Pakistani nationals stranded in India to return on September 3

Aug 30, 2020

LAHORE: Around 200 Pakistani nationals stranded in India due to coronavirus induced travel restrictions will return to their country on September 3, according to media reports.

They will be travelling back home through Wagah-Attari border crossing which will be specially opened for their return, reported ARY News.

As per the report, the Pakistani nationals got stuck in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

Pakistan's High Commission in Delhi made efforts to ensure their repatriation to the country after being approached.

According to the latest data available on Dawn, the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan stand at 295,636 while the death toll stands at 6288.



Southeast Asia


China’s FM defends Uighur Muslim detention camps

30 August 2020

China’s foreign minister defended Uighur Muslim detention camps in Xinjiang on Sunday, brushing off human rights concerns by European countries and cautioning against interference in Chinese affairs.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on his first European tour since the virus pandemic erupted, seeking to revive trade and relations strained by the resulting global health and economic crisis.

Speaking in Paris on Sunday, Wang repeated the claim that all those sent to re-education centers in Xinjiang have been released and placed in employment -- even as rights groups and families report on continuing detentions of the region’s Uighur Muslims and the loss of contact with loved ones.

“The rights of all trainees in the education and training program, though their minds have been encroached by terrorism and extremism, have been fully guaranteed,” he told a conference at the French Institute of International Relations.

“Now all of them have graduated, there is no one in the education and training center now. They all have found jobs.”

The Chinese government has detained an estimated 1 million or more members of ethnic Turkic minorities in Xinjiang, holding them in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language and physically abused.

China has long suspected the Uighurs, who are mostly Muslim, of harboring separatist tendencies because of their distinct culture, language and religion.


LDP names Bumiputera Muslim candidate for Bongawan seat

Willie Jude

August 30, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has named a young Bumiputera Muslim candidate to contest the Bongawan seat at the coming state elections.

MohdAzree Abd Ghani was named by honorary LDP president Chong KahKiat today as the party’s candidate in Bongawan, a coastal town south of here.

Azree, 29, a Bongawan native, is one of several young candidates who will be featured by LDP in its attempt to be a third force against Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Warisan, which took power in 2018.

Chong said the selection of the right candidate is important not only to ensure victory but also to serve the people.

“We want honest candidates, we want candidates with integrity to develop the Bongawan area,” he said. “Because of that, I myself went down to the field to choose the candidate to represent the party at the next elections.”

It is understood that LDP has listed a number of candidates to represent the party in areas with a major population of Bumiputera Muslim and Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) voters.

Bongawan has a Muslim Bumiputera majority but also contains many voters among the KDM.

The LDP had previously announced that it wanted to contest more than 40 seats in line with its ambition to be an alternative to PN and Warisan.

The LDP was formerly a component party of Barisan Nasional and only contested in areas with many Chinese voters. It has decided to expand into other constituencies.


Religious affairs minister steers clear of Zawawi controversy

Nora Mahpar

August 30, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The minister for religious affairs, Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, has steered clear of controversial remarks by a PAS member of Parliament regarding Christian scripture.

Zulkifli, a former mufti for the Federal Territories, told reporters this evening: “I think it is better to ask the mufti.” He said he did not want to make a comment because people might later say he was talking about a fatwa (religious edict).

The minister had been asked about a remark in the Dewan Rakyat by PasirPuteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh, who alleged that biblical injunctions about drinking alcohol had been “distorted or altered” and that the Bible had formerly outlawed the consumption of alcohol.

His remarks have brought protests from politicians in Sabah and Sarawak, and a Sarawak archbishop who called for a retraction and an apology. A sedition report was also filed against Zawawi in Kuching today.

Zulkifli had been asked to comment while he was at a dakwah event for National Day.

He said the government would announce the names of new members of a technical committee in Jakim, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, this week.

Some previous committee members would be re-appointed based on need, he said.

The main agenda of the new committee is to streamline several matters including amendments to the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

“We are trying to refine the amendments in time for the next parliamentary session,” he said.

Recently, there was an issue of termination of service of members of the Islamic and Civil Technical Committee effective August 14 even though their contract is supposed to expire at the end of 2021.

Last week, the service contracts of the chairman, Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman, and committee members were terminated on Aug. 14, well ahead of their expiry in 2021.


DAP trio file sedition report against PAS man for Bible slur

August 30, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Three Sarawak DAP members were reported to have called for PasirPuteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh of PAS to be investigated under the Sedition Act for his comments on Christian scripture last week.

Julian Tan, Brolin Nicholson and Anthony Chin were reported to have filed the complaint. They were accompanied by Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.

Yii said it was better to lodge a police report rather than calling for Zawawi and other PAS leaders to be banned from entering Sarawak, according to a Malay Mail report.

He said PAS was now able to influence all national policies through its alliance with Umno and PPBM in Muafakat Nasional, which had created the country’s biggest political bloc, able to affect all Malaysians.

Three Sabah political leaders have also called for Zawawi to retract his remark that the Bible had been “distorted” or altered.

Zawawi had made the remark in response to Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham, who had said Christians were allowed to drink alcohol but were enjoined against drunkenness. Zawawi insisted that alcohol had been forbidden but the Bible had been distorted or altered.

The exchange came during a debate on proposed amendments to the Road Transport Act to provide heavier penalties for drink driving offenders.

Zawawi has since said he would not apologise, and that Christians had “no right to be offended”.

Earlier today, Kelvin Yii said he had written to the Dewan Rakyat speaker for a ruling on Zawawi’s remarks, which he said, had crossed the line and could be deemed to be insulting to the Christian faith.





Sudanese rebels agree to key peace deal with transitional government

31 August 2020

Sudan’s transitional government and main rebel alliance have reached a landmark peace agreement aimed at ending a 17-year-old conflict in the Northeast African state.

The SUNA news agency said on Sunday that the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of rebel groups from the western Darfur region and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, had inked a peace deal with the government.

A formal signing ceremony is scheduled for Monday in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, which helped broker the agreement, with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and a number of his cabinet members in attendance.

The peace deal covers key issues including security, land ownership, power sharing, and the return of refugees to their homes. The dismantling of rebel forces and their integration into the country’s army is also included in the agreement.

Hamdok said Sunday that due to the complexity of the issues, closing the final deal had taken more time than he had expected following an initial agreement reached during talks between the two sides in Juba last September.

“At the Juba declaration in September [2019], everyone expected peace to be signed within two or three months, but ...we realized that the questions were of one great complexity,” Hamdok noted. ‘However, we were able to accomplish this great work, and this is the start of peace-building.”

Two other key rebel groups have, however, refused to take part in the deal — a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdelwahid Nour, and a wing of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), headed by Abdelaziz al-Hilu.

The transitional government took power in Sudan in August 2019 following the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir earlier in the year. The ruling council has since been seeking to make peace with the rebel groups, a key condition for the country’s removal from the United States’ so-called terror sponsor list.

The rebel groups — mainly from Sudan’s non-Arab minority — have been fighting Khartoum against what they see as economic and political injustice.

In Darfur, about 300,000 people have lost their lives since the armed rebellion broke out there in 2003, according to the United Nations.

The conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile erupted in 2011 over unresolved issues from Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.


Nigerian forces kill reporter, mourner in Kaduna’s Ashura procession

30 August 2020

Nigerian forces have killed a reporter and a mourner after attacking the Ashura procession in the northern state of Kaduna, a report says.

The deadly incident took place in the eponymous provincial capital on Sunday, when Muslim mourners held a procession to commemorate Ashura, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam, 14 centuries ago.

The Nigerian forces opened live fire against the mourners, killing a Kaduna press reporter, identified as Bashir, and a teenage mourner, identified as Mohammed Baqer, the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said in a report.

It added that an unidentified number of others sustained injuries during the raid on the Ashura procession.

“The use of live ammunition against peaceful protestors and this case mourners taking part in a religious ceremony, are part of the Nigerian landscape under [Nigerian President Muhammadu] Buhari,” MassoudShadjareh, head of IHRC, said.

He called on the Nigerian authorities to stop their attacks against unarmed and peaceful people, demanding the launch of “an immediate process of restitution.”

Nigerian forces have for the past several years mounted a bloody crackdown on the Shia Muslim minority in the African country.

Nigeria’s top Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, who is in his mid-60s, has been in detention since December 2015 after his home in Zaria, also in Kaduna, was brutally raided by the country’s security forces, during which he was beaten and lost his left eye.

During the violent crackdown, three of his sons lost their lives, his wife sustained serious wounds and more than 300 of his followers were killed.

Sheikh Zakzaky, who leads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), was charged in April 2018 with murder, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disruption of public peace and other accusations. He has pleaded not guilty, vehemently rejecting all accusations brought up against him by his country's authorities.

In 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.

His followers have held countless of peaceful protests, demanding his immediate release, but have almost always faced brutal crackdown by the Nigerian forces. 

The IMN members say the Nigerian government has turned a deaf ear to all protests calling for the top cleric’s release.


Ten militants, five civilians killed in east Congo violence

30 August 2020

Ten militants were killed after they ambushed an army convoy in eastern Congo on Friday, according to the military, while a community leader said five civilians were killed by members of the same militant group soon after.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group operating in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for more than three decades, has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to United Nations figures.

The latest violence saw six Congolese soldiers wounded in clashes with the militants following the ambush near the town of Mbau, army spokesman Antony Mwalushayi said on Sunday.

"Two ADF fell on the spot. In the evening after we secured the area, we discovered another eight," he said, referring to the militant casualties.

Not long after the ambush, members of the same ADF group killed five civilians near Mbau, including three women, and took a few hostages, according to Mathe Esdras, head of the local youth council. Reuters could not independently verify his report.

The army launched a large offensive against the ADF late last year, sparking a violent backlash against civilians.

The insecurity has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and complicated Congo's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,200 people.

Several attacks attributed to the ADF have also been claimed by Daesh, although researchers and analysts say there is a lack of hard evidence linking the two groups.



North America


US-Israeli Delegation To Arrive In The UAE For Historic Meeting

August 31, 2020

DUBAI: A US-Israeli delegation aboard the first Israeli commercial flight has taken off for Abu Dhabi for a meeting with Emirati officials to put the final touches in formalizing relations between Israel and the UAE.

The delegation is headed by Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to US President Donald Trump, and includes US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Meir Ben-Shabbat, National Security Adviser and head of the Israeli National Security Council.

“While this is a historic flight, we hope that it will start an even more historic journey in the Middle East and beyond,” Kushner said, before boarding the El Al aircraft to Abu Dhabi.

“The future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time, and I believe that so much peace and prosperity is possible in this region and around the world.”

Flight LY971 is expected to land in Abu Dhabi in a few hours. The return flight, LY972, takes off on Tuesday morning. The flights numbers are a nod to the countries’ respective calling codes: +971 for the UAE and +972 for Israel.

Israel and the UAE announced on Aug. 13 that they would forge official ties under a deal brokered by Washington. The diplomatic move reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.

Officials have said that other Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the UAE’s lead and normalize relations with Israel. Among those publicly mentioned were Oman, Bahrain and Sudan.

The Trump administration has been trying to coax other Sunni Arab countries that share Israel’s concerns about Iran to join in a regional peace push.

Kushner, speaking earlier in Israel, has described the UAE deal as a “giant step forward” in the direction.

The visit comes as part of trilateral efforts to initiate normalized relations with the aim of achieving peace, stability, and support for bilateral cooperation, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Israel’s national carrier El Al released pictures of the Boeing 737-900 jet that will take the delegates. The word “peace” in English, Hebrew and Arabic is inscribed on the exterior above the cockpit windows for the occasion.


US pressuring Saudi Arabia to join Israel-UAE meeting in Abu Dhabi: Report

30 August 2020

A new report has revealed that the Americans are mounting pressure on Saudi Arabia to join a trilateral summit of Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the US, which is due to be held in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said on Sunday that Saudi envoys may arrive in Abu Dhabi on Monday to join the trilateral summit, which will focus on the normalization deal that Washington brokered between Israel and the UAE earlier this month.

Earlier, Reuters quoted an informed source as saying that an Israeli airliner will fly to the UAE on Monday with aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump aboard to put final touches on the normalization pact.

The Israeli report said Jared Kushner, an advisor to Trump, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, US Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and other US officials will travel to the UAE together with an Israeli delegation led by Meir Ben-Shabbat, the regime’s security advisor.

Meanwhile, Kushner is also trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to join the signing ceremony of the normalization agreement in October.

“Ahead of the planned event in Washington, Kushner and his aides have recently been working with [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Salman to approve the dispatching of high-ranking Saudi envoys to Abu Dhabi as early as tomorrow, in parallel with the arrival of the Israeli delegation,” Yedioth Ahronoth said.

The Middle East Eye news portal had previously revealed that bin Salman had pulled out of a planned visit to Washington DC to meet Netanyahu after he received reports that news of his trip had been leaked.

Sources told MEE that Trump and Kushner have been pushing for the meeting to happen to relaunch bin Salman's image as a young Arab peacemaker and shore up regional support for the deal between Israel and the UAE.

The US-mediated agreement for the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel has already drawn stern reactions from the Muslim world, Palestinians in particular, and has been described as an act of treason and betrayal of the cause of Palestine by Palestinians and other Muslims nations.

Riyadh has no formal relations with Tel Aviv, but the two regimes have long had clandestine contacts. Under bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, the kingdom has stepped up its overtures towards Israel.

Saudi Arabia reacted cautiously to the Israel-UAE deal, saying it will stand by a 2002 Arab peace initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without condemning the agreement that has angered supporters of the Palestinian cause.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Kushner, however, said it was inevitable that the Riyadh regime would follow suit in forging ties with Israel.

“I do think that we have other countries that are very interested in moving forward,” he added. “And then, as that progresses, I do think it is an inevitability that Saudi Arabia and Israel will have fully normalized relations.”

In highly controversial comments during an April 2018 visit to the US, bin Salman told the Atlantic that he recognized Israel’s “right to exist,” distancing himself from the kingdom’s longtime policy of opposing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.


White House adviser Jared Kushner says ‘stage is set’ for Mideast progress

30 August 2020

White House adviser Jared Kushner on Sunday said “the stage is set” for other Arab states to follow suit in the wake of the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but he gave no indication that any new deals were imminent.

Appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Kushner spoke a day before he is to join a senior Israeli delegation on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE.

The Aug. 13 announcement makes the UAE just the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, and the first to do so in over 25 years.

“Today obviously we celebrate a historic breakthrough for peace,” Kushner said, adding that the deal will create “previously unthinkable” economic, security and religious cooperation.

“While this peace agreement was thought by many to be impossible, the stage is now set for even more,” he said, claiming he has heard optimism throughout the region since the deal was announced.

“We must seize that optimism and we must continue to push to make this region achieve the potential that it truly has,” said Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser.

Israel and the UAE have moved quickly to cement their ties over the past two weeks. Almost immediately, they opened direct phone lines, and Cabinet ministers have held friendly phone conversations.

On Saturday, the UAE formally ended its commercial boycott of Israel.

Monday’s flight of an El Al plane from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi will be the first known flight of an Israeli commercial airliner from Israel to the Emirates. The two Mideast countries are expected to sign a formal agreement at the White House in the coming weeks.


Kushner hopes for more Arab, Muslim partners for Israel ahead of UAE visit

August 30, 2020

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday more Arab and Muslim countries were likely to follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing relations with Israel.

The White House official, Robert O’Brien, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the eve of talks in Abu Dhabi on Monday on finalizing formal Israel-UAE ties.

Israel and the UAE announced on Aug. 13 that they would forge official ties under a deal brokered by Washington. The diplomatic move reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.

“We believe that other Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead and normalize relations with Israel,” O’Brien told reporters after talks at Netanyahu’s residence.

He did not name the states, but Israeli officials have publicly mentioned Oman, Bahrain and Sudan.

Palestinians have condemned the UAE’s move as abandonment of a policy of linking official relations with Israel to achievement of Palestinian statehood in territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war.

The Trump administration has been trying to coax other Sunni Arab countries that share Israel’s concerns about Iran to join in a regional peace push.

Kushner, speaking alongside Netanyahu and O’Brien, said the UAE deal was a “giant step forward” in the direction.

“To have played a role in its creation, and I say this as the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, it means more to me and to my family that I can ever express,” Kushner said.

Kushner, O’Brien and other US officials will join an Israeli delegation on Monday in the first flight by an Israeli commercial airline — El Al — to the UAE.

Speaking on Israel’s Kan public radio on Sunday, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister OfirAkunis said Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for the UAE deal by mid-September.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to attend a White House signing event and give Trump a boost ahead of the Nov. 3 US presidential election.

“They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” Ashrawi said.

On Saturday, the UAE announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel. Officials from the two countries have said they are looking at cooperation in defense, medicine, agriculture, tourism and technology.

Netanyahu told reporters that abolishing “the anachronistic boycott” opened the door for “unbridled” trade, tourism and investment.

Statements issued by the UAE and Israel on Sunday said the UAE minister of state and Israel’s agriculture minister spoke by phone on Friday and “pledged to collaborate on projects that address food and water security.”

The UAE, a desert state, relies on imports for around 80 percent to 90 percent of its food, and has heavily encouraged investments in recent years in agricultural technology and farmland investments abroad.


Biden issues historic commitment to Arab Americans


August 30, 2020

CHICAGO: Democratic nominee Joe Biden has issued a comprehensive “Plan for Partnership” with Arab Americans as part of his presidential campaign.

He vowed to enforce the plan if he wins November’s election, but refused to back down on his criticism of extremism, opposition to the BDS movement and support for Israel.

Biden, who issued a YouTube video in which he cites an Islamic Hadith last month and appealed to Muslim US voters to “do the right thing” when they “see a wrong,” is pursuing support from Arab and Muslim Americans who have been ostracized by US President Donald Trump.

In his historic statement, never before promised by any presidential candidate, the former vice president called Arab Americans “essential to the fabric of our nation,” adding that he will not only fight “anti-Arab bigotry,” but will include Arab Americans in his administration, something Trump has failed to do while in office.

“Anti-Arab bigotry has been used in attempts to exclude, silence and marginalize an entire community, and Biden believes it must be rejected whenever it surfaces, including when it emanates from elected officials or those seeking public office,” the partnership said.

“Biden embraces the partnership of Arab Americans in his campaign and will include Arab Americans across his administration. A Biden-Harris Administration will restore our values as a nation of immigrants, defend the civil rights of all Americans, provide equal opportunity for every American and champion democracy and human rights globally.”

The nine-page partnership statement has been welcomed by Arab American leaders and activists who previously expressed concern about several of Biden’s remarks, including a TV interview in August 2008 in which he declares himself a “Zionist” and one of Israel’s strongest supporters.

Arab Americans have also raised concerns about his running mate Kamala Harris’ close ties with the Israeli right. Harris, elected to the US Senate representing California in 2016, has addressed Israel’s AIPAC lobby twice and co-sponsored a resolution rebuking fellow Democrat and former president Barack Obama for not being tougher in defending Israeli settlements.

Arab American politicians and community leaders across the board applauded Biden’s statement.

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, in a heated battle against Republican Arab American Darrell Issa for California’s 50th Congressional seat, welcomed Biden’s statement.

“I feel seen. These past few years have been rough, being called a terrorist by your own congressman was hard to live through. Regardless of party, and there are many Republican Arab Americans, this is praiseworthy,” he tweeted.

The partnership statement follows Biden’s disavowal of controversial activist Linda Sarsour, a critic of Israeli policy who has condemned moderates and compromise with Israel.

Biden’s spokespeople said the candidate “rejects” Sarsour’s rhetoric.

As part of his pledge to Arab Americans, Biden vowed to immediately rescind Trump’s controversial “Muslim ban” upon being sworn-in as president, and to support immigrants and refugees by reversing other policies.

“On day one, Joe Biden will rescind the un-American Muslim travel and refugee bans and will cease the immoral family separation policy,” the statement said.

“Biden will reestablish the US as a welcoming destination for those seeking to pursue the American dream, including immigrants from the Arab world. Prohibiting the populations of entire countries from coming to the US is morally wrong, does not make our nation more secure and is yet another abuse of power by the Trump Administration.”

The Biden pledge also promised to protect the free speech of all Americans. But the statement added that he will not compromise on his support for Israel or his rejection of the BDS movement.

“Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech. He also does not support efforts by any democracy to criminalize free speech and expression, which is why he spoke out against Israel’s decision to deny entry to American lawmakers because they favor boycotting Israel.

“However, Biden has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the US to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel,” the statement said.

More than 27 US states have approved laws that punish support for the BDS movement.

If elected, Biden said he and Harris will also:

“End the Trump Administration’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Program.”

“Regularly consult with leaders from historically targeted communities, including Arab Americans, to ensure that civil rights are protected.”

“Support Syria’s reconstruction.”

“Undertake a review of ‘watchlist’ and ‘no-fly list’ processes to ensure that they do not have an adverse impact on individuals or groups based on national origin, race, religion or ethnicity, and improve the process to remove names, when justified, from these lists.”

“Work with civil society and the citizens of Lebanon to assist them as they develop and implement an economic and political future for their country, free of corruption and inclusive of all stakeholders.”

President of the Arab American Institute Jim Zogby welcomed the partnership pledge.

“A historic first. Biden’s agenda for Arab Americans rejects excluding or silencing us, closes profiling loopholes, rejects racist policies and protects our first amendment right to advocate for Palestine,” he said on Twitter.





Organization of Islamic Cooperation: Burning Of Holy Quran Was Intended To Hurt Feelings of Muslims

31 August 2020

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the burning of a copy of Islam’s Holy Qur’an by far-right extremists in Sweden as a “provocative offense” devised to anger Muslims.

In a statement on Sunday, the OIC’s General Secretariat said the highly sacrilegious assault was “counterproductive to the global effort to defeat extremism and hatred on grounds of religion and faith.”

The move, it added was a “provocative offense deliberately intended to outrage” the Muslims.

During an illegal gathering on Friday, supporters of right-wing Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, who leads the anti-Islamic group Tight Direction (StramKurs), burned a copy of Holy Qur’an in the southern Swedish city of Malmo.

A riot broke out after Paludan was stopped at the Swedish border and denied permission to attend the gathering. The rioters set car tires on fire and threw objects at police officers, injuring several of them.

The controversial Danish figure was subsequently banned by Swedish authorities from entering the country for two years. At least 10 arrests were also made in connection with the violence.

The OIC Islamophobia Observatory, which documents Islamophobic incidents across the world, welcomed the measures taken by the Swedish authorities against those who burned the holy book.

It also called on the Muslim community in Sweden “to exercise restraint and avoid violence.”

The Muslim body also said it would support global efforts to tackle such harmful islamophobia moves through different channels, including UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which provides a comprehensive plan for “combating incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence based on religion and faith.”

Paludan came to attention by provoking unrest through anti-Islam demonstrations and publicly burning a copy of Holy Qur’an in Denmark.

In an incident last year, the controversial figure had tossed in the air a book he claimed was a copy of Qur’an and let it fall to the ground.

He was also banned from commenting on Facebook last year over promoting hate speech aimed at people of a particular religion or ethnicity.

In June this year, Paludan, was sentenced to three months in jail after being found guilty of racism.


British charity whose employee had connections to Al Qaeda is banned

Nicky Harley

August 29, 2020

A British aid group whose representative had links to Al Qaeda has been removed from the UK charity register after it failed to account for £3 million (Dh14.7m) worth of aid.

Aid Convoy is the latest Muslim charity to be investigated by regulators over governance and accounting issues.

Last week, Islamic Relief Worldwide was forced to restructure after revelations that its trustees had shown support for Hamas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on social media.

On Friday, the Charity Commission announced it had removed Aid Convoy from its register.

The charity, which launched in 2012, was involved in the organisation of aid convoys to the border between Turkey and Syria.

One of its workers, Tauqir Sharif, was deprived of his UK citizenship by the Home Secretary in 2017 because it was assessed that he had travelled to Syria and was working with Al Qaeda.

He was the face of the charity's social media videos accounting for the aid sent to Syria.

Despite being told to review the charity’s relationship with him, the trustees told the commission “this is not a decision we are willing to rush into”.

Also in 2017, the charity shipped 48 containers purporting to contain £3m of aid that was not accounted for.

The watchdog found the charity guilty of misconduct and mismanagement and disqualified two of its trustees, Muhammed Abdul Mumin and Asim Shafaq, from being trustees or senior managers of any charity in England and Wales for eight years.

"The action we have taken here, on behalf of the public, has protected the charity sector from further harm and held the responsible individuals to account," said Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Inquiries and Investigations at the Charity Commission.

"But this case highlights the damaging effects of trustees failing to properly safeguard or protect a charity from associations with terrorism. Ultimately, the trustees did not honour the trust donors placed in them by giving generously to help people affected by the crisis in Syria.

"Good governance is not a bureaucratic detail – it underpins the delivery of a charity’s purpose to the high standards required under charity law and which the public rightly expect.

"The trustees failed to live up to those standards, committing repeated acts of mismanagement and misconduct, and aligning the charity to individuals whose past conduct posed a threat to their charity."

The regulator uncovered a series of examples of mismanagement over the course of two inquiries.

These included repeated non-compliance with reporting requirements, significant under-reporting of its income, the provision of false or misleading information to the regulator, and the use of trustees’ personal bank accounts when the charity’s bank withdrew its services.

The regulator found that in the 2017 financial year, trustees said the charity had sent 48 containers of aid to Syria, valued at an average of £60,000 each, but could not provide adequate records of what was in those containers.

"There was a risk that because the trustees do not know what is included in each container, they could not accurately account for the end use of the donated goods," it said.

"The trustees fail to keep accurate records of what goods are loaded into containers, therefore are unable to assess whether all goods are accounted for once the container reached Syria, and that they have not fallen into the hands of terrorist organisations."

The first inquiry was opened in 2013 following two cash seizures by the police at UK ports.

As a result of the police investigation and the inquiry, the charity suspended all aid convoys.

The regulator then found serious concerns about the charity’s financial management and took action to freeze its bank account.

Further probes found severe weaknesses in the charity’s processes for ensuring monies and goods went to the people the charity was set up to help.

In 2016, the regulator issued an order directing the then trustees to take steps to improve the charity’s governance and financial management.

A second inquiry was opened in 2018 after the charity’s then trustees failed to comply with it.

The second inquiry found that the charity was handling donations of controlled substances, including morphine, without the required licence.

"These were collected in appeals for shipments to Syria but the trustees did not know what was included in containers and so could not account for the end use of donations or be sure that they did not fall into the hands of terrorist organisations," it said.


UK: Counter-terrorism team detain 2 at Stansted Airport

Ahmet GürhanKartal



British counter-terrorism officers have detained two men arriving in London’s Stansted Airport Sunday evening, authorities confirmed.

A 34-year-old man from Kuwait and a 48-year-old man from Italy have been escorted off a Ryanair plane, which was intercepted by two RAF Typhoon fighter jets after reports of a security threat on board.

The men had arrived on a flight from Vienna and were detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, according to a police statement.

Some passenger tweeted after they were permitted to leave the plane following the two men’s detention by armed police.

They said police found suspicious material in the plane’s toilet.

A Ryanair spokesman said the crew were “alerted of a potential security threat on board.”

“In line with procedures, the captain informed UK authorities and continued to London Stansted, where the aircraft landed normally and taxied to a remote stand where passengers disembarked safely,” he said.


Turkish top diplomat talks with EU foreign policy chief

Mehmet Sah Yilmaz 


Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Sunday spoke to EU’s foreign policy chief over the phone over latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cavusoglu and Josep Borrell discussed regional developments amid heightened tensions between Greece and Turkey over energy exploration, according to diplomatic sources.

Greece has disputed Turkey's current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey -- the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean -- has sent out drilling ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region.


Turkey slams Islamophobic act by 'modern barbarians'



Those who burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden are “modern barbarians” who have a “primitive mindset,” Turkey’s presidential spokesman said on Sunday in a strong message against the Islamophobic act.

“They shamelessly burn the Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam, in the middle of Europe. They then claim to be the paragons of reason, logic, freedom and justice,” Ibrahim Kalin said in a tweet.

“They label anyone not like them as anti-reason bigots and retros. Modern barbarians know no limits in primitive mindset.”

The incident took place in the Swedish city of Malmo on Friday evening, where far-right activists of the anti-Muslim group StramKrus (Hard Line) burned a copy of the Quran at a rally in the largely migrant neighborhood of Rosengard.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has also vehemently criticized the incident, saying that such “provocative acts are a heavy blow to the culture of coexistence and European values.”

“This despicable act against our holy book is an exemplary act, as it reveals the extent to which the threat Muslims face in Europe has come,” the ministry said in a statement earlier on Saturday.

Protests against the racist act broke out in Malmo soon after, with demonstrators blocking roads and burning tires as they called for action against the perpetrators.

Swedish police later said that three people were arrested for burning the Muslim holy book.

The racist far-right group’s leader, anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, was banned from entering Sweden for two years.


Turkey's President Erdogan calls leaders of France and Greece 'greedy and incompetent'

August 31, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at leaders of France and Greece, calling them "greedy and incompetent" for challenging Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr Erdogan's charge came as the country celebrated on Sunday its victory in 1922 against Greek troops during Turkey's war of independence.

Ankara and Athens now dispute major offshore gas fields and France's support for Greece has drawn it into a serious crisis for the Nato military alliance.

Cyprus is a third, albeit much smaller, nation vying for access to large energy deposits that have been discovered in the region.

Mr Erdogan asked newly commissioned officers in Ankara: "Do Greeks accept what could happen to them because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?

"Do the French know the price they will pay because of their greedy and incompetent leaders?"

The crisis between putative Nato allies began on August 10 when the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis entered Greek waters, after which both sides began to stage naval exercises.

French frigates and fighter jets joined the Greek side, and have shadowed Turkish vessels while Paris warned Mr Erdogan not to overplay his hand.

On Sunday, Paris denounced "escalating behaviour" on the part of Ankara.

Ships from Cyprus, Italy and the US have also taken part in the Greek exercises, while the US and Italy have held drills with Turkish units as well.

Mr Erdogan has challenged Greece and France in particular, however, and said: "When it come times to fight, we will not hesitate to make sacrifices.

"The question is: when they stand against us in the Mediterranean, are they ready to make the same sacrifices?

"To our enemies, we say: Bring it on!"

Turkey on Saturday announced fresh military manoeuvres in northern Cyprus.

Turkish vice president FuatOktay also warned Greece not to expand its coastal zone into the Ionian Sea by six nautical miles under international maritime law, saying it would be a "casus belli" that could lead to armed conflict.


Protest outside Boris Johnson's residence against enforced disappearances in Balochistan

Aug 31, 2020

LONDON: The Free Balochistan Movement on Sunday held a protest against Pakistan outside the official residence of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson here on the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Several Baloch and other human rights activists joined the protest from different cities of the UK and expressed their support for the families of those who have been forcefully disappeared.

The protestors were carrying banners and raised slogans against Pakistan military's atrocities against Baloch people. They demanded the immediate release of previously abducted Baloch people and stopping of more enforced disappearances.

They also urged the international community, including the UK, to stop supporting Pakistan as their support is allowing Pakistan to commit more crimes against humanity.The activists stated that thousands of innocent Baloch people have been arrested and later disappeared. Many of them have been killed in custody. They also strongly condemned the recent murder of Hayat Baloch, who was shot dead by Frontier Corps in front of his parents, in Turbat, Balochistan.

"On International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, we are staging a protest outside Boris Johnson's residence. Pakistani forces are committing human rights abuses against Baloch people. We appeal to the international community to take note of what is happening in Balochistan," said an activist.

"We saw how a woman named Malik Naz was killed in front of her four-year-old daughter Bramsh by the Pakistani military. A 12-year-old girl was also killed by the establishment. These things were not coming to light earlier due to blackout (in Pakistan). But now, the news on atrocities committed by Pakistani military is there on social media and people are coming to know about it," she added.

The activist appealed that there should be a fact-finding mission in this regard and said the UK Prime Minister should take cognisance of the human rights abuses in Balochistan.



South Asia


1400 Afghan Returnees Test Positive for Covid-19

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

31 Aug 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan – At least 1400 Afghan refugees, who returned home within the past few months, have tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus 2019, according to Herat Public Health officials.

Women and Children are among those tested positive for the Virus.

According to the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, more than 3000 Afghan refugees have returned back to home in the past few months, as the Covid-19 first wave hit Islamic Republic of Iran earlier this year.

Mohammad Rafiq Sharzai, provincial speaker to the Public Health, said at least 1411 people are tested positive, who returned home from Iran in the past couple of months.

In every 24 hours, more than 1000 Afghan refugees are entering the country via Islam Qala Border, connecting Afghanistan with Iran – of which 10 to 15 test positive Covid-19.

It came at a time, when some 3000 Afghan refugees flooded back to home country within the past six months, either deported by Iranian officials or volunteered.


Khaleda Zia's family seeks extension on her suspended prison sentence

Aug 30, 2020

DHAKA: The family of Bangladesh's main opposition leader Khaleda Zia has sought an extension of six more months on her suspended prison sentence for the former prime minister's treatment, according to a media report. The government in March released the 74-year-old leader for six months on condition that she would stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country, receive treatment and not travel abroad.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that Zia was freed on humanitarian grounds after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's approval.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief is serving a 17-year prison term in two graft cases since February 8, 2018.

Zia's family filed a plea with the government for an extension of the suspended prison sentence as the six months allotted to her in March will end on September 24, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

A M Ehsanur Rahman, one of Zia's counsels, said that an application, signed by the BNP chief's younger brother Shamim Eskander, was sent to the home ministry on August 25.

The BNP chairperson did not receive proper treatment due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, her family said. They also want another extension for her treatment, the counsel was quoted as saying in the report.

Home Minister Kamal confirmed that they have received an application which was sent to the law ministry for its consideration and "further steps will be taken after considering the legal basis of the application, the report said.

Zia served thrice as the premier since 1991. Her party was routed in the 2018 election, bagging only six seats in 300-seat Parliament.

Her conviction on "moral turpitude" charges barred her from contesting the polls.

She was sent to jail in February 2018 by a local court on charges of embezzling foreign donations meant for an orphanage, named after her slain husband and president Ziaur Rehman, during her premiership between 2001 and 2006.

Rehman, a military ruler-turned-politician, was the founder of the BNP.

She was convicted in another corruption case later the same year, though her party claims both cases are politically motivated.



Shia Muslims in Bangladesh observe muted Ashura in pandemic

30 Aug 2020

Shia Muslims in Dhaka have observed Ashura in a subdued manner, performing the mourning rituals in remembrance of the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussain under tight restrictions amid the pandemic.

Devotees were not allowed to bring the main procession, known as Tazia or a replica of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain, out onto the streets as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.

People in the procession walked barefooted around Old Dhaka's HussainiDalanImambara area where they gathered on Sunday morning carrying red, black and green flags amid traditional Ashura chants.

Every year, the Tazia procession is taken out of Imambara to parade along different streets of Dhaka before coming to a halt at the symbolic Karbala ground in Dhanmondi.

Ashura is observed on the 10th day of the lunar month Muharram in the Islamic calendar. It marks the climax of the remembrance of Muharram when Shia Muslims commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein ibn Ali in 680 AD in the Battle of Kerbala in modern-day Iraq.

The day marks sacrifice and mourning in the Muslim community all over the world. Muslims in Bangladesh, especially the Shia Muslims, observe the day with religious rituals.

Small groups of 10-20 pilgrims walked in circles and detailed the events that took place at the Kerbala while others were seen praying in front of the graves inside Imambara.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police had placed prohibitions on public gatherings in open spaces and asked people to follow health directives while observing the Ashura with their families.

A lot of pushing and shoving was noticeable as the pilgrims tried to show respect to the symbolic horses of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain.

Earlier, the young men were seen carrying sharp weapons and flogging themselves with it in passion plays re-enacting the martyrdom in the Tazia procession, which was banned after a militant attack during the preparation of a Tazia procession in 2015.

Since the attack, Dhaka Metropolitan Police have banned carrying and showing stunts with sharp weapons, fire and sticks in the procession this year too. Creating loud sounds with drums is barred as well.

People had to go through two layers of security to enter the Imambara this year as well.

Many pilgrims said they had come to pray for an end to the coronavirus crisis.

“The pandemic has affected Ashura. The mourning rituals have been scaled down this year in line with the government's directives,” the caretaker of Imambara told


'Deep reforms must to end vicious Myanmar violence'



The International Crisis Group (ICG) has called for dialogue and deep reform to address issues of citizenship, improve the administrative structure, and rein in the increasing violence in Myanmar.

Ethnicity and conflict are inextricably linked in Myanmar, creating a vicious cycle of violence that continues to escalate, the Brussels-based organization said in a report published on Friday.

“The state’s inability to address ethnic minority grievances or provide adequate security to communities has created a literal arms race among minority groups,” said the report released on the third anniversary of the 2017 crackdown that marked the start of the genocide of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar army.

It said Myanmar must initiate reforms in “citizenship, the country’s administrative structure and the peace process with the aim of making ethnicity less central to the political and legal domains.”

The group urged Myanmar authorities and leaders to immediately pursue more manageable changes “such as the language and narratives they use when discussing ethnicity and conflict.”

The report underlined that Myanmar, since its independence in 1948, has struggled to forge a national identity reflecting its ethnic diversity.

The country's leaders have perpetuated dangerous notions of ethnic identity that divide rather than unify its national races, read the report titled Identity Crisis: Ethnicity and Conflict in Myanmar.

“Ethnic minority grievances toward the state have perpetuated some of the world’s longest-running armed conflicts,” said the report.

Minorities’ grievances and the way forward

Highlighting that the country’s Burman elite continue to control most levers of power, the ICG report said Myanmar’s leaders have done little to address “minority grievances or build a more inclusive national identity.”

It said the government’s failure to protect minority communities has led “tens of thousands of people to take up arms – both for and against the state, and both allied with or acting against armed groups representing rival ethnicities.”

"Ethno-nationalism is at the core of all these groups, a characteristic that often sets them against their neighbors,” the report added.

On the ongoing violence against minority groups in the state of Rakhine by the Myanmar military, the report said “the vicious fighting … since 2018 underlines the dangers of ethnicity’s growing social and political salience.”

“Non-Rakhine minorities in Rakhine State have found themselves caught between two warring groups, neither of which they can rely on for protection,” it said.

“The insecurity that such conflicts generate only encourages the creation of ever more armed groups, a phenomenon that has recurred over and over in Myanmar’s modern history.”

Acknowledging that “charting a more tolerant and inclusive future for the country will not be easy,” the ICG said one of the first steps was that “communities must be free to celebrate their ethnic heritage, culture and identity.”

However, it said that citizenship and protection should not be based on membership in particular ethnic categories.

“[…] Ethnicity should be delinked from the territory, and politics and the peace process must become venues for resolving grievances and charting a more peaceful future, rather than cementing arbitrary ethnic categories and encouraging zero-sum competition between different groups,” the report said.

Myanmar’s most targeted community is the Rohingya, who have been described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down, while 113,000 others were vandalized, it added.


Afghan president names council to advise negotiators


August 30, 2020

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani late on Saturday named 48 people who will decide the negotiation strategy for a meeting with the Taliban aimed at ending the country’s protracted conflict.

The members of the High Council for National Reconciliation include former President Hamid Karzai, ex-mujahideen leaders Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad YunusQanooni, Salahuddin Rabbani, and members of other factions.

“The council will draw the red line, strategy and agenda for the negotiators who will engage in direct talks with the Taliban that are set to be held in Doha,” Zarqa Yaftali, one of the eight women on the team, told Arab News. She added that she was unaware if the council “would have the authority to take the final decision on peace” with the armed group.

While the council is seen as a government-appointed body, Karzai has said he “will not be part of any government structure” but that he would continue his endeavors for peace.

At least one general from the ex-communist regime is on the list, as are those who fought with the Taliban for nearly three decades.

Ghani is keen to broaden the team that will advise the squad of negotiators ahead of the crucial meeting, the date for which has yet to be finalized.

He has asked religious scholars, parliament, the media and provincial councils to put forward their picks for the council within a week, an indication that the talks are not likely to start in early September.

The setting up of the council has been beset by delays since the signing of an historic peace agreement between the Taliban and Washington in Doha in February this year.

Intra-Afghan talks should have begun in early March following a prisoner exchange deal between the Taliban and Kabul in line with the February agreement, which also paves the way for a complete withdrawal of all foreign US-led troops from Afghanistan by next spring.

According to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the 48-member team, the talks are scheduled to take place in the coming week.

But the Taliban said the group had made “no such pledge” and that the talks would take place only after Kabul freed “all of its remaining comrades from prison” — a key condition of the February accord.

After being sidelined from the US-Taliban talks, Ghani’s government initially refused to release Taliban prisoners but began freeing them under pressure from Washington.

However Ghani has yet to free 320 Taliban inmates because of objections from France and Australia, which say that some of those prisoners killed their nationals in Afghanistan.

A majority of the council members are men and include factional figures who have been involved in Afghanistan’s more than 40 years of war, particularly since the Taliban’s ouster in late 2001.

“The newly established council is an aquarium of known politicians, with Ghani keeping the water and food supply in his control to keep the fish happy,” Torek Farhadi, who served as an adviser in Karzai’s government, told Arab News. “This National Reconciliation Council was set up to keep Ghani’s potential rivals under his thumb. They are all men.”

But Yaftali appeared unperturbed by the list of council members, saying her focus was on “pushing for just peace where women’s rights and all Afghans are protected.”

Two weeks ago a female negotiator and prominent women’s rights activist, FawziaKoofi, was wounded in an attack to the north of Kabul by people she described as “peace spoilers.”

And while Yaftali said she was put forward by activists to be on the list and had been informed before the appointment, another member said that being selected for the council had come as a surprise for her.

“I was not consulted at all,” Mari Akrami, head of the Afghan’s Women Network, told Arab News. “I feel worried because there is no security guarantee. It is a huge responsibility both to accept the membership and to not do it.”

Akrami was among the group of women who last year met the Taliban in Doha, where the armed group has had a political office since 2013.

“They were different from the warrior Taliban from any aspect, but am not sure they were different ideologically,” she said.

Experts have questioned the names in Ghani’s latest decree.

“Many on the list are civil-era warlords, and those responsible for the destruction of Kabul and elsewhere or the same corrupt political circle since the Taliban’s fall,” analyst Shafiq Hapal told Arab News. “Those who have lost dear ones in the war, or the victims’ sides, are not on the list, that is a great pity, but let’s hope that these men who have fought each other can agree on something that will lead to peace.



Arab world


Egypt Army Says Killed Over 70 Extremists In North Sinai

30 August 2020

Egypt’s army announced Sunday that more than 70 alleged extremists have been killed in recent military operations in North Sinai, the location of an insurrection affiliated to ISIS terrorist group.

A statement by the Egyptian army said that the operations had targeted alleged “homes of terrorists” and “takfiri elements” leading to “the deaths of 73 takfiris in northern Sinai” between July 22 and August 30.

Four other “takfiris” were killed, the statement added, without elaborating.

The term “takfiri” is used by Egyptian security officials to refer to extremists.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

During the clashes “three officers and four soldiers were killed or wounded,” the statement said, without providing further details.

In February 2018, security forces launched a nationwide operation against militants, focused on North Sinai.

More than 930 suspected militants have been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures.

No independently verified death toll is available and the region is largely cut off to journalists.

However, the Egyptian government has organized occasional media visits, closely supervised by the military.


Lebanon’s President Aoun calls for proclamation of ‘secular state’

30 August 2020

President Michel Aoun called Sunday for the proclamation of a “secular state” during a televised address to mark the upcoming centenary of the Lebanese state.

“I call for the proclamation of Lebanon as a secular state,” Aoun said during a speech in which he acknowledged the need “to change the system,” after an enormous explosion at Beirut’s port in early August and months of deepening economic crisis.

Amid the political deadlock gripping Lebanon, the country’s ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib is emerging as the frontrunner to be next prime minister.

Former Prime Ministers NaiibMikati, Fouad Siniora, Saad Hariri and Tamam Salam, announced in a statement on Sunday that they have agreed to nominate Ambassador Mustapha Adib to head the next government, according to the National News Agency NNA.

They hoped in their statement that “Adib would be named with the highest number of votes from the parliamentary blocs and representatives,” stressing the need for a speedy government formation and drafting of its ministerial statement “without delay.”

Meanwhile, both Shia groups Hezbollah and Amal will also nominate Adib to be the next prime minister, according to a senior Shia source, Reuters reported.

Adib is Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany.


Hassan Nasrallah says Hezbollah is open to new political contract for Lebanon

Tommy Hilton

30 August 2020

Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed on Sunday that the organization was open to a new political contract for Lebanon, despite protesters criticizing Hezbollah's role as part of the political elite that has mired the country in corruption and economic ruin.

French President Emmanuel Macron had called for a new political pact for Lebanon following the Beirut blasts killed 190 people and devestated much of the Lebanese capital in a country that had already been struggling from a deteriorating economy.

"On his latest visit to Lebanon, we heard a call from the French president for a new political pact in Lebanon... today we are open to a constructive discussion in this regard," Nasrallah said, adding "But we have one condition: this discussion should be carried out ... with the will and consent of the various Lebanese factions."

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Nasrallah made the comments in a televized speech in which he also called on the Lebanese Army to release the results of the technical investigation into the Beirut blasts.

Since the blasts, Hezbollah has come under renewed criticism along with Lebanon's other main political parties for decades of mismanagement and corruption.

Threatens Israel

Nasrallah also reaffirmed Hezbollah's condemnation of the historic peace deal signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The Iranian-backed organization rejects the state of Israel, which it has fought against on multiple occasions including in the 2006 Lebanon War.

The Hezbollah leader also used the speech to threaten Israel, saying Hezbollah would kill an Israeli every time one of the Iranian-backed organization's own fighters are killed.

However, he added that Hezbollah would not engage in border clashes with Israel because it would be in Israel's interests, following Israeli strikes on Hezbollah targets this week.

Nasrallah's speech came the day after he singled out Al Arabiya and Al Hadath for criticism and told his supporters to boycott the channels.


Syria’s President al-Assad names new government headed by PM Arnous

30 August 2020

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree Sunday appointing a new cabinet without changing the heads of so-called “sovereign” portfolios, days after confirming Hussein Arnous as the country’s premier.

The decree, published on the presidency’s social media channels, keeps the heads of the foreign affairs, defense, interior, economy and information ministries in their posts but changes those in charge of 12 other cabinet portfolios, including the ministries of finance, energy and public health.

The 29-minister government, which includes three female ministers, is the fifth to be formed since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

It came as Syria grapples with a grinding economic crisis, a spiraling coronavirus outbreak and continued violence in the country’s north.

The government’s official mandate will expire next July when presidential elections are due, after which it will continue to function in a caretaker capacity until a presidential decree is issued naming a new cabinet, as per the constitution.

President al-Assad had on Tuesday named Arnous as prime minister after he was appointed interim premier in June ahead of last month’s parliamentary polls.

Arnous, an engineer who was previously the water resources minister, replaced Imad Khamis after he was sacked more than two months ago.

Khamis headed the government for four years and the presidency did not give an official reason for his removal, but it followed a wave of criticism against the government for its handling of an economic crisis that had plunged war-weary Syrians deeper into poverty.

A new wave of US sanctions against Syria that came into effect in June has sparked fears of deeper economic turmoil.

Like al-Assad and Khamis, Arnous has been a target of US and European sanctions.

He is now to head a government that must grapple with a coronavirus pandemic that is sparking alarm among medics and aid groups.

The Syrian government says it has recorded 2,628 cases of COVID-19, including 106 deaths in government-held areas, but doctors and residents in Damascus say the real number is much higher.

Arnous, 67, hails from Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, half of which is controlled by extremists and allied fighters.

After nine years of war, al-Assad controls some 70 percent of Syrian territory.

The conflict since 2011 has killed at least 380,000 people and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population.


Arab Coalition destroys drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport

30 August 2020

The Arab Coalition supporting the Yemeni legitimate government said on Sunday that it intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone launched by Iranian-allied Houthi militias toward Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport.

Col. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Arab Coalition said some shrapnel of the destroyed drone fell near the airport without causing any injuries or damages among civilians and employees at the airport.

“In the face of these terrorist acts and immoral abuses of the terrorist Houthi militia we will continue to implement strict measures to deter this terrorist militia,” said al-Maliki according to a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.

The attack follows a series of other drone and missile attempted attacks on the Kingdom from within Yemen.


UAE intelligence agents training YPG militants in northern, eastern Syria: Report

30 August 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s spy agency has reportedly been training Kurdish militants affiliated with the anti-Damascus People’s Protection Units (YPG) in areas under their occupation in northern and eastern Syria over the past few years.

Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, citing multiple sources, reported on Sunday that Signals Intelligence Agency (SIA) officers held secret talks with the Kurdish militants back in 2017, and were dispatched to YPG-held areas in Syria the following year.

The report added that SIA agents purportedly train YPG militants to carry out espionage and counter-espionage operations, acts of sabotage as well as assassinations. The Kurdish militants are also being taught how to conduct signal intelligence, information security and cryptography on communication networks.

Such training missions are said to be underway in the Kurdish-populated northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli as well as major cities of Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr.

Anadolu further noted that Emirati intelligence officers have even established a secret direct hotline with YPG militants.

The UAE has long been accused of sponsoring the militant groups, which have been operating across Syria since early 2011 to topple the Damascus government.

The YPG — the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — has America’s support in its anti-Damascus push. The Kurdish militants seized swathes of land in the northern and eastern parts of Syria from the Takfiri Daesh terror group in 2017, and are now refusing to hand their control back to the central government.

Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

On October 9, 2019, Turkish forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in an attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.

Two weeks after the invasion began, Turkey and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants had to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.

Back on June 14, an unnamed security source at the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) told the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper that the UAE had allegedly provided financial aid to PKK militants in Iraq’s northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The source said KRG authorities had imposed limitations on money transfers coming from the Persian Gulf state, and that the measure applied to all exchanges in Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah.





Iranians Commemorate Imam Hossein (AS) Martyrdom Anniversary Watching Hygiene Protocols

Aug 30, 2020

This year's Moharram mourning ceremonies differ from previous years due to the outbreak of the coronavirus global epidemic.

Every year, Muslims across the globe, including in Iran, take to the streets in black clads mourning over Imam Hossein (AS) martyrdom, reading prose and poetry and beating their chests. But this year the National Coronavirus Combat and Prevention Headquarters in Iran issued a long list of strict orders for all religious bodies and Husseiniyahs (Imam Hossein Mourning Centers) across the country to observe anti-coronavirus and social-distancing protocols.

Mourners in Tehran dressed in black took to unroofed places considered by the health authorities as safe hygienically, beating their chests with bare hands-rituals and grieving the slaying of Imam Hossein (PBUH) while wearing masks and respecting the social-distancing rules.

Songs eulogizing Imam Hossein (PBUH) played over loudspeakers. Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his companions were denied water by their enemies who controlled the nearby Euphrates.

Similar processions were staged in other cities across the nation of over 80 million people.

Meantime, a large number of people across Iran commemorated Ashoura by watching and listening to grieving processions on TV and radio.

Ashoura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, marking the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)'s grandson, the revered Imam Hossein (PBUH) in the Battle of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq nearly 1,400 years ago.

Imam Hossein (PBUH) was martyred in the 680 A.D. battle fought on the plains outside Karbala, a city in modern Iraq that's home to the Imam's holy shrine.

In the battle, Imam Hossein (PBUH) was decapitated and his body mutilated by Yazid's armies. All of Imam Hossein (AS)'s male family members, relatives, friends, soldiers who all together formed a 72-member army were beheaded in an unequal war with a 30,000-strong army of the enemy in the desert of Karbala.

The occasion is the source of an enduring moral lesson for the Shiites.

Imam Hossein's martyrdom - recounted through a rich body of prose, poetry and song - remains an inspirational example of sacrifice to Shiites, who make up a majority of the Muslim population in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain.


Israel hopes for Washington signing ceremony on UAE deal by mid-September

30 Aug 2020

Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for its normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by mid-September, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet said on Sunday.

The date for such an event could be decided by senior aides to Netanyahu and to US President Donald Trump when those officials fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday for talks, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister OfirAkunis told public broadcaster Kan.

Top Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the other US delegates were due in Israel on Sunday to prepare for the UAE mission.

“This [normalisation] agreement is expected to be signed in the month of September in the city of Washington,” Akunis said.

“That is meant to be one of the outcomes of the talks in the next 24 hours in the Emirates — setting a date for the signing.”

Akunis added that the Netanyahu government hopes the ceremony will take place “before our Rosh Hashanah” or Jewish new year, which is on September 18.

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they would normalise diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by Trump. The agreement reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.

On Saturday, the Gulf power announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial agreements between the countries.

Officials from the two countries have said they are looking at cooperation in defence, medicine, agriculture, tourism and technology.

“We are talking about commercial deals worth $500 million in the initial stages, and this will keep rising all the time,” Akunis said.

Such bilateral deals, he said, will give rise to “trilateral investments, in other words, in additional projects with other countries in the region”. He did not name these countries.

The US and Israeli delegations are due to travel together to Abu Dhabi on an El Al Israel Airlines Ltd plane, Israel's first direct flight between Tel Aviv and the UAE capital.

El Al released pictures of the Boeing 737-900 jet that will take the delegates. The word “peace” in English, Hebrew and Arabic is inscribed on the exterior above the cockpit windows for the occasion.


Iran Blasts US, EU for Sheltering Terrorists

Aug 30, 2020

The Iranian Foreign Ministry in a post on its official Twitter account on Saturday, commemorated the national Day of Fight against Terrorism.

The occasion is named after the 1981 assassination of then president Mohammad Ali Rajaei and prime minister Mohammad JavadBahonar.

The two and several other officials had convened at the Tehran office of the Iranian prime minister in a meeting of Iran’s Supreme Defense Council when a bomb explosion ripped through the building.

Survivors said an aide, identified as Massoud Kashmiri, had brought a briefcase into the conference room and then left.

Subsequent investigations revealed that Kashmiri was an MKO operative, who had infiltrated the then-prime minister’s office disguised as a state security official.

“Aug. 29, the national Day of Fight Against Terrorism, is the time to remember President Rajaei and PM Bahonar who, 39yrs ago today, were martyred in a bombing by the MEK terrorist group. Despite assassinating 1000s Iranians and fighting alongside Saddam, MEK is sheltered by the US and EU,” the Foreign Ministry wrote on its twitter page on Saturday.

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community. Its members fled Iran in 1986 for Iraq, where they received support from then dictator Saddam Hussein.

The notorious outfit has carried out numerous attacks against Iranian civilians and government officials for several decades.

In 2012, the US State Department removed the MKO from its list of designated terrorist organizations under intense lobbying by groups associated to Saudi Arabia and other regimes adversarial to Iran.

A few years ago, MKO members were relocated from their Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala Province to Camp Hurriyet (Camp Liberty), a former US military base in Baghdad, and were later sent to Albania.

Those members, who have managed to escape, have revealed MKO's scandalous means of access to money, almost exclusively coming from Saudi Arabia.

The MKO terrorist group specified the targets as martyred Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Iranian Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi.

The terrorist organization said it would “welcome” their assassination, adding that it desired for the ranking officials to “join” AsadollahLajevardi, Tehran’s former chief prosecutor, and Ali Sayyad-Shirazi, a former commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces during Iraq’s 1980-88 war against Iran.

Earlier in June 2019, a leaked audio of a phone conversation between two members of MKO, revealed Saudi Arabia has colluded with the MKO elements to frame Iran for the recent tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf.

In the audio, Shahram Fakhteh, an official member and the person in charge of MKO’s cyber operations, is heard talking with a US-based MKO sympathizer named Daei-ul-Eslam in Persian, IFP news reported.

In this conversation, the two elements discuss the MKO’s efforts to introduce Iran as the culprit behind the tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf, and how the Saudis contacted them to pursue the issue.

“In the past week we did our best to blame the [Iranian] regime for the (oil tanker) blasts. Saudis have called Sister Maryam (Rajavi)’s office to follow up on the results, [to get] a conclusion of what has been done, and the possible consequences,” Fakhteh is heard saying.

“I guess this can have different consequences. It can send the case to the UN Security Council or even result in military intervention. It can have any consequence,” Daei-ul-Eslam says.

Attacks on two commercial oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, and an earlier attack on four oil tankers off the UAE’s Fujairah port on May 12, 2019, have escalated tensions in the Middle East and raised the prospect of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States.

The US, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have rushed to blame Iran for the incidents, with the US military releasing a grainy video it claimed shows Iranian forces in a patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese-owned tanker which caught fire earlier this month.

It later released some images of the purported Iranian operation after the video was seriously challenged by experts and Washington’s own allies.

The MKO which is said to be a cult which turns humans into obedient robots, turned against Iran after the 1979 Revolution and has carried out several terrorist attacks killing senior officials in Iran; yet the West which says cultism is wrong and claims to be against terrorism, supports this terrorist group officially.

After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the MKO began its enmity against Iran by killings over 17,000 Iranians and terrorist activities. Several members of the terrorist group and its leaders are living in France now, freely conducting activities.

The MKO terrorist group has martyred 17,161 Iranian citizens, including late president Mohammad Ali Rajayee, former prime minister Mohammad JavadBahonar, late Head of Supreme Judicial Council Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, late Deputy Chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff Ali Sayyad Shirazi, and 27 legislators, as well as four nuclear scientists.


Senior Legislator: Normalized Ties with UAE Not to Delay Israel's Collapse

Aug 30, 2020

"The agreement on normalization of relations between the UAE and the Israeli regime will not help to prevent the collapse and the process of demise of the Zionist regime," Head of the International Diplomacy and National Interests Faction of the Iranian parliament Hossein Noushabadi said.

He condemned the agreement, calling it as against the interests of Islamic countries and the regional people.

US President Donald Trump on August 13 announced a deal brokered by his government between Israel and the UAE which he said would lead to full normalization of ties between the two.

Critics see the deal as the latest attempt by Trump to save his presidential campaign against the Democrat Joe Biden.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decried the recent normalization deal between the UAE and Israel, describing it as a gift to Trump before elections.

“These days we have faced a neighboring country which has approached the enemy of the Islamic world and the region and the murderer of the Palestinian nation in a decision to get close to the Zionist regime,” Rouhani said, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran earlier this month.

He added that the UAE rulers are wrongly thinking that their security and economy will improve through relations with Israel, noting that the measure is aimed at helping Trump win the November elections.

“(The UAE’s) measure is one hundred percent wrong and condemned,” Rouhani said.

He warned the regional states not to pave the way for Israel to have a foothold in the region.

In a relevant statement on August 14, the Iranian foreign ministry strongly condemned the UAE's decision to set up diplomatic relations with "the Zionist regime of Israel" and termed it as a strategic act of idiocy by Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv which will undoubtedly result in the further reinvigoration of the axis of resistance in the region.

The statement further stressed that "the oppressed nation of Palestine as well as other freedom-seeking peoples worldwide will never forgive the sin of normalization of the ties with the occupier and bloodthirsty regime of Israel and also the act of those who approve and cooperate with its crimes".

Undoubtedly the innocent bloods shed during the past seven decades of resistance to free the sacred land of Palestine which is Muslims' first Qibla will sooner or later take those that betrayed the Palestinian cause by the throat, it added.

The statement also stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran considers as dangerous Abu Dhabi's act of normalizing ties with the fabricated, illegitimate and anti-human regime of Israel, and warns the Zionist regime against any kind of meddling in the Persian Gulf region's equations.

The UAE administration and all other governments which approve of this move should be ready to take the responsibility of all the consequences of such a measure, it further said.

The Iranian foreign ministry's statement also noted that the history will definitely demonstrate how this strategic mistake by the Zionist regime and the dagger which stabbed both the Palestinian nation and the Muslim peoples in the back will backfire and further strengthen the resistance axis by enhancing unity and solidarity against the Zionist regime and the backward governments in the region.

The foreign ministry advised those rulers who, from inside their "glass castles", hatch plots against the Palestinians and other regional oppressed nations, including Yemen, to regain consciousness and stop erring in distinguishing between friends and foes.


Spokesman: Ashoura Role Model for Iranians in Resistance

Aug 30, 2020

"Ashura is not just a day in history; it is a constant momentum between right and wrong, dignity and humiliation, and liberty and coercion," Khatibzadeh tweeted on Saturday.

"Iran's consistency in resisting hegemony has roots in this culture. No power, no matter how cruel, can take this away from a nation ready to sacrifice," he added.

Ashoura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, marking the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)'s grandson, the revered Imam Hossein (PBUH) in the Battle of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq 1,300 years ago.

Imam Hossein (PBUH) was martyred in the 680 A.D. battle fought on the plains outside Karbala, a city in modern Iraq that's home to the Imam's holy shrine.

In the battle, Imam Hossein (PBUH) was decapitated and his body mutilated by Yazid's armies. All of Imam Hossein's male family members, relatives, friends, soldiers who

all together formed a 72-member army were beheaded in an unequal war with a 30,000-strong army of the enemy in the desert of Karbala.

The occasion is the source of an enduring moral lesson for the Shiites.

Imam Hossein's martyrdom - recounted through a rich body of prose, poetry and song - remains an inspirational example of sacrifice to Shiites, who make up a majority of the Muslim population in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Bahrain.


Iranian FM: Imam Hossein's Sacrifice Keeps Spirit of Resistance Alive

Aug 30, 2020

“Since 680 CE, millions of Muslims have commemorated the martyrdom of Imam Hussein,” Zarif wrote on his twitter page on Saturday.

“Honoring his great sacrifice has ingrained resistance to tyranny and injustice in hearts and souls of his followers for centuries,” he added.

Zarif, then, quoted a famous saying by the Infallible Imam that says, "I do not see death but bliss, and life under tyranny but misery".

On the 10th of the month of Moharram, in the 61st year of the Islamic Calendar (680 ACE), in a barren land (which is now the city) of Karbala, some 100 kilometers Southwest of Baghdad, Imam Hossein (PBUH) - the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the third Imam of Shiite Islam - was savagely slaughtered in battle and rose to martyrdom.

The Battle of Karbala was the result of Imam Hossein (PBUH)'s attempt to liberate the people of the region from the tyrannical rule of the second caliph of the Ummayad Caliphate, Yazid I. Over the days preceding his martyrdom, Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his small caravan of friends and family (between 72 and 124 men) were surrounded by Yazid's army of thousands (over 30,000 armed men). They were ultimately forbidden access to water for three days, and on the tenth day (Ashoura), Yazid's army attacked in full force, killing all 72 of Imam Hossein (PBUH)'s closest companions, including his six-month old son. The final and most brutal casualty of Karbala was Imam Hossein (PBUH) himself, who sustained countless unimaginable wounds from arrows, stones and swords before his throat was cut off and he was decapitated while he was prostrating before the Lord in prayer. Thus, on that day, Imam Hossein (PBUH) rose as a martyr and has remained so for over a thousand years.


Israeli tanks fire on Gaza after explosive balloons drift over border

30 August 2020

The Israeli military said it struck militant targets in Gaza early on Sunday in response to continued launches of explosives-laden balloons out of the Hamas-run territory.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side. But the violence comes at a time when Gaza is struggling with a worsening economic crisis and a new outbreak of the coronavirus.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app

Hamas-linked groups have launched a wave of incendiary balloons into Israel in recent weeks, torching wide swaths of farmland. Israel has responded with airstrikes and other attacks. The army said Sunday's tank fire struck Hamas “military posts” in southern Gaza, without elaborating.

Hamas is pressing Israel to ease its blockade on Gaza and allow large-scale development projects. Egypt and Qatar are trying to shore up an informal cease-fire.

Those efforts have grown more urgent in recent days as authorities in Gaza have detected the first cases of local transmission of the coronavirus. Hamas has imposed a lockdown in the coastal territory bordering Israel and Egypt, which is home to 2 million Palestinians.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep Hamas from building up its arsenal, but critics view it as a form of collective punishment. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles since the closure was imposed.

The restrictions have pushed the local economy to the brink of collapse, and years of war and isolation have left the health care system ill-equipped to cope with a major outbreak.

In response to the recent attacks, Israel closed Gaza’s sole commercial crossing, forcing its only power station to shut down for lack of fuel and leaving Gazans with just a few hours of electricity a day. Israel has also closed the coastal territory’s fishing zone.

The UN's Mideast envoy, NickolayMladenov, last week warned the situation is “rapidly deteriorating.”


Hamas vows to end all forms of Israeli siege on Gaza

30 August 2020

The head of the political bureau of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for an end to more than 12 years of Israeli all-out siege on the coastal enclave, promising that it will spare no effort to achieve this goal.

In a statement released by his office on Sunday, Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas will continue to make efforts to end all forms of blockade on the Gaza Strip.

He said “his movement and the people in Gaza are determined to confront the unjust blockade until it is lifted entirely.”

“The Hamas leadership is keenly following the current situation in the Gaza Strip as well as the contacts and efforts being made by many parties to end the siege on the Strip,” the statement read.

Elsewhere in the statement, the Hamas leader expressed his confidence in the mediation efforts being made by Egypt and Qatar to end the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

In late July, Hamas said that the movement had turned down a $15-billion development aid offer conditioned on disarming.

According to Haniyeh, the hefty aid offer had been made in the context of US President Donald Trump’s highly provocative ‘peace' plan, which would allocate billions to Gaza for development if implemented.

Trump had given Tel Aviv the green light to annex large parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley in his self-proclaimed “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in January with the aim of legitimizing Israel’s occupation and re-drawing the Middle East map.

The scheme has drawn global condemnation. Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to carry on with it.

Trump’s plan largely gives in to Israel’s demands while carving out a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

Under the US scheme, the future Palestinian state will consist of scattered lands linked together via bridges and tunnels. The plan also denies Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homeland, among other controversial terms.

Hamas has been defending the Palestinian cause against Israel for years.

The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli land, air and sea siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008. Israeli forces conduct regular air raids on Palestinians in Gaza under the pretext of hitting Hamas targets.

The Israeli siege has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.


Israel holding secret talks with 'many more Arab leaders': Netanyahu claims

30 August 2020

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv is currently engaged in “secret talks” with many more Arab leaders for normalizing bilateral relations, days after a much-condemned agreement on normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was publicized.

“There are many more unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders to normalize relations with Israel,” the Israeli premier claimed on Sunday, on the eve of Israel's first commercial flight to the UAE.

The Israel-UAE agreement “will pave the way for other countries to normalize their ties with Israel,” Netanyahu added.

The development came after Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv announced on August 13 that they had reached an agreement that would lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides.

The highly controversial deal, which has since been widely condemned across the occupied Palestinian territories and the Muslim world, was brokered by US President Donald Trump, who has attempted to paint it as a big breakthrough.

The UAE-Israel deal marks the third such normalization agreement the occupying regime has struck with an Arab country after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). The UAE, the first country in the Persian Gulf region to reach such a deal with Tel Aviv, was already believed to have clandestine relations with Israel.

On Saturday, the UAE announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial accords between the two sides under the recently-struck deal, which has been unanimously condemned by all Palestinian factions, which describe it as a stab in the back of the oppressed nation.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli regional cooperation minister OfirAkunis said that Tal Aviv expected to hold a signing ceremony for the agreement in Washington.

He added that the precise date for the ceremony could be decided by senior aides to Netanyahu and Trump when they fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday morning for talks.

The American delegation is led by White House advisor Jared Kushner, who stood next to Netanyahu during his remarks on Sunday.


We denounce all forms of normalization, relations with Israel: Yemen’s Houthi leader

30 August 2020

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has condemned in the strongest terms any attempt to normalize relations with Israel after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Tel Aviv regime reached an agreement to establish diplomatic ties.

“We denounce all forms of normalization and relations with Israel as it is religiously forbidden. Our positions towards the issues of the Muslim world, particularly the Palestinian issue, and solidarity with the peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, the Islamic Republic of Iran besides oppressed Muslims in Myanmar, India and Kashmir will remain unchanged,” Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in a televised speech broadcast live from Yemeni capital Sana’a on Sunday afternoon.

The speech marked the occasion of Ashura, which falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram and commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH) – Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and the third Shia Muslim Imam – in the battle of Karbala in AD 680.

The UAE and Israel announced the US-brokered agreement on August 13, sparking anger among the Palestinians, who rejected the peace treaty as a stab in the back of Palestine.

Emirati officials have described the normalization deal with the Tel Aviv regime as a successful means to stave off annexation and save the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Israeli leaders have lined up to reject the bluff and emphasized that the regime’s annexation plans were not off the table.

Days after the deal was announced, US Secretary of State toured a number of Arab countries, which have long had unofficial ties with Israel, to push for more normalization agreements with the occupying regime.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Houthi highlighted that the ongoing battle nowadays is between genuine Islam and the camp of hypocrisy and falsehood, between truth and falsehood, and between vice and virtue.

“It is a battle that does not accept neutrality. Our dear Yemeni Muslim nation has made this choice and decided to adhere to Islam in its originality. The path ensures freedom, independence and dignity, and rejects surrender to the brutal tyranny of the United States and Israel in addition to compromise with the camp of hypocrisy in the Muslim world spearhead by the Saudi and Emirati regimes,” the Ansarullah chief pointed out.

He added, “Confronting the brutal US, Saudi, Emirati and Zionist aggression against our country is a principled position based on our faith and religious obligations. It is a religious, humanitarian and patriotic duty, and whoever neglects this obligation is indeed betraying his faith and identity.”

“Therefore, we trust in God Almighty and will spare no effort to stand against such aggression, whatever the scale of challenges might be and whatever the size of the sacrifices required would be,” Houthi highlighted.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives for more than the past five years.

The Houthi movement, backed by the armed forces, has been defending Yemen against the Saudi-led alliance, preventing the aggressors from fulfilling the objective of their deadly campaign.,-relations-with-Israel-Yemen-Houthi



 New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism