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Islamic World News ( 21 Nov 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Kuwait May Grant Citizenship to Non-Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 Nov 2018

Afghan policeman keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul



 Kuwait May Grant Citizenship to Non-Muslims

 Nearly 50 Islamic Religious Figures Die as Suicide Bomber Targets Milad-un-Nabi Gathering in Kabul: Official

 Linking Urdu to Muslims and Islam is wrong: Former CEC, S Y Quraishi

 White House Working As Saudi Prince's PR Firm: US Senator

 Pakistan to Lead Global Campaign against Defamation of Religions


Arab World

 Kuwait May Grant Citizenship to Non-Muslims

 After Years of Silence, Music Fills Streets of Iraq’s Mosul

 Terrorists Continue Planning for False-Flag Chemical Attack in Syria's Idlib

 Turkish Military Creating Secret Militant Groups to Counter Kurds in Northern Syria

 Iraqi Warplanes Bomb ISIL's Bases in Syria

 Saudi Arabia, UAE announce $500 million aid program for Yemen

 Saudi FM: Justice for Khashoggi is a Saudi demand before it is an international one

 Iraq launches air strikes against Daesh in Syria


South Asia

 Nearly 50 Islamic Religious Figures Die as Suicide Bomber Targets Milad-un-Nabi Gathering in Kabul: Official

 51 ISIS Militants Killed In Haska Mina District: Afghan Military

 Bangladesh frees photographer facing charges of propaganda

 Rohingya Face ‘Intimidation, Violence’ in Bangladesh camps

 Taliban suffer heavy casualties in Balkh operations

 Ghani declares Wednesday National Day of Mourning following deadly Kabul attack



 Linking Urdu to Muslims and Islam is wrong: Former CEC, S Y Quraishi

 President, PM Greet Nation on Eid Milad-un-Nabi

 "Aligarh Muslim University Being Run On Taliban Ideology": BJP Lawmaker

 Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Leader Mir Hafizullah Shot Dead In Anantnag

 TN Guv, Palaniswami Extend Meelad-un-Nabi Greetings to Muslims

 NIA Chargesheets Maulana Masood Azhar’s Brother, 13 Others In Nagrota Army Camp Attack Case

 Delhi on High Alert as Police Release Photo of Two Hizbul Terrorists Suspected to be in City

 Terrorist ‘informer’ linked to Jammu and Kashmir cop's death held at IGIA

 4 Hizbul men killed, Jammu and Kashmir separatist shot

 Pak issues visas to over 3,800 Sikh pilgrims for attending Guru Nanak birth anniversary celebrations


North America

 White House Working As Saudi Prince's PR Firm: US Senator

 Pompeo: US Commitment to Saudi Arabia Is Vital To National Security

 Trump leaking out forbidden truth of 9/11: Scholar

 Donald Trump expects to meet Saudi Crown Prince next week



 Pakistan to Lead Global Campaign against Defamation of Religions

 Pakistan to Be Transformed Into Modern Welfare State: PM Imran

 Question mark hangs over future of Labbaik’s political status

 Eid Miladun Nabi reminds us of Islam’s golden principles، says Fawad

 Aasia Needs German Passport to Leave Pakistan: Lawyer

 Pakistan has done more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country: army chief

 Gen Bajwa vows no compromise over Pakistan’s honour, security

 Pakistan lodges formal protest with US over Trump’s remarks

 PM Imran Khan vows to transform Pakistan into modern Islamic welfare state

 Eid Milad reminds us of Islam’s golden principles: Fawad

 No change to military ties with Pakistan: Pentagon

 Hotel buildings illuminated to spread Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) message of peace



 Boko Haram Attacks Leave 53 Dead in Pre-Election Show Of Force

 Libyan Sufis Celebrate Prophet's Birthday despite Security Fears

 Muslim World League launches health, civil projects in Africa

 Mosque Opening Sends Caveat against Extremism in Liberia

 US air strikes in Somalia kill 37 militants

 5 injured, Italian kidnapped in Malindi 'Al-Shabaab' attack

 Kenya: Four Al-Shabaab Militants Killed in Linda Boni Operation



 UK, EU Collaborating For Sanctions against Saudi Arabia

 Plaque to Saddam Hussein Removed From London Bench

 EU open to Iran sanctions after foiled France, Denmark plots

 Why we need Islamophobia Awareness Month


Southeast Asia

 Federal Territories Mufti Clears ‘Polis Evo 2’, Suggests ‘Shariah Consultants’ For Films

 Problems of Muslim Ummah Due to Leaders with No Integrity - Sultan Nazrin

 My family is not radicalised, says Indonesian Minister Wiranto, responding to social media comments

 Morrison pours fuel on the extremist fire on our doorstep

 Corrupt politicians are the enemy within, says deputy Agong

 Muhammadiyah student group rejects Amien Rais' call to 'pick' candidate



 Turkey Asks US to Extradite 84 Members of Cleric Gulen’s Movement

 Zarif Condemns US President’s Shameful Statement on Saudi Crimes

 Yemenis Mark Prophet Muhammad’s Birth Anniversary despite Saudi War

 Sporadic violent clashes erupt in Hodeidah between Yemeni army, Houthis

 Ansarullah fighters ambush, kill pro-Saudi Cmdr, aides in Yemen’s Ma’rib

 Yemen at critical juncture in its fight against Saudi-led aggression: Houthi

 Palestinian teen dies of Israeli gunfire wounds sustained in Jerusalem al-Quds

 Erdogan rejects European court’s ‘non-binding’ decision over pro-Kurdish leader

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Kuwait May Grant Citizenship to Non-Muslims

November 20, 2018

Manama: Non-Muslims could be granted the Kuwaiti citizenship if two proposals approved by the parliamentary legal and legislative committee is supported by the parliament and the government.

The proposals submitted separately by MP Safa Al Hashem and by MPs Ahmad Fadhl and Khalid Al Shatti called for amending the 1959 citizenship law to allow the granting the Kuwaiti citizenship to applicants who are not Muslim.

Current law

The law currently stipulates under Item 5 of Article 4 that the Kuwaiti nationality may be granted by decree upon the recommendation of the Minister of Interior to any person who is an original Muslim by birth, or that he has converted to Islam according to the prescribed rules and procedures. It also stipulates that a period of at least five years has passed since he embraced Islam before the grant of naturalisation.

“Nationality thus acquired is ipso facto lost and the Decree of naturalisation rendered void ab initio if the naturalised person expressly renounces Islam or if he behaves in such a manner as clearly indicates his intention to abandon Islam.

In any such case, the nationality of any dependent of the apostate who had acquired it upon the naturalisation of the apostate is also rendered void.”

Other requirements

The other four requirements are residing in Kuwait for at least 20 consecutive years or for at least 15 consecutive years if he is an Arab belonging to an Arab country, has lawful means of earning his living, is of good character and has not been convicted of an honour-related crime or of an honesty-related crime, has knowledge of the Arabic language and possesses qualifications or renders services needed in Kuwait.

The parliamentary committee had long opposed amending the law to drop the religion requirement, but endorsed it this time after three of its members had resigned.

However, the proposal, promoted as achieving fairness and equal chances for all, may not pass the parliament currently dominated by conservatives.

Challenging the current law

In December 2014, the late independent lawmaker Nabil Al Fadhl challenged the constitutionality of Article 4 in the Citizenship Law.

“This is a Christmas gift for our Christian brothers,” Al Fadhl, the father of Ahmad who submitted the proposal this time, said after filing his petition to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the northern Arabian Gulf country.

Al Fadhl said that the condition was a constitutional and legal stigma.

“Those who added this condition to the Citizenship Law in 1981 are lawmakers who did not rise to the significance of their oath as they were sworn in as members of parliament,” he said.

“Such an article is a disgrace to the law and does not in any way reflect the values of the Kuwaiti people.”

The Muslim-only restriction was reportedly introduced in 1981 by MPs Ahmad Al Saadoon, Mohammad Al Marshad and Mohammad Al Rasheed.

Al Fadhl attributed his decision to seek an amendment to the Citizenship Law at the Constitutional Court and not at the parliament to his wish to avoid splitting conservative lawmakers.

“I wanted to avoid any form of embarrassment to the lawmakers and to keep away from differences in viewpoints in the parliament,” he said.

When in January 2014, MP Al Hashem suggested cancelling the condition that restricted naturalisation to Muslims, saying that it was not in line with the text and spirit of the constitution.

She was, however, opposed by several lawmakers who said that the focus should be on granting the Kuwaiti citizenship to the Muslim Bidoons, stateless people, living in Kuwait.

Al Fadhl died in December 2015 during a session of the parliament.

250 Kuwaiti Christians

The overwhelming majority of Kuwaiti citizens are Muslims.

Around 250 Kuwaitis are Christians who were granted the citizenship before the article restricting naturalisation to Muslims was introduced.

They are mainly from Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.



Nearly 50 Islamic Religious Figures Die as Suicide Bomber Targets Milad-un-Nabi Gathering in Kabul: Official

November 20, 2018

KABUL: Some 50 Islamic religious figures were killed on Tuesday in the Afghan capital in a suicide attack at a religious function, summoned for marking the birth of Islam’s prophet Mohammad (PBUH), officials said.

The interior ministry spokesman, Najib Danesh, told Arab News that nearly 70 other participants were wounded in the incident which happed inside the hall of a large hotel where the function was going on after evening’s prayers.

“It was summoned by the Ulema council and scholars from many parts of the country had gathered in it to recite Koran and mark Milad Sharif,” he said.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, calling it as unforgivable act. He ordered Wedneday as national mourning day when Afghanistan’s flag will be at half mast.

Over 20 of the scores wounded in the attack were in critical condition, public health ministry officials said.

The Taliban, the main insurgent group, which relies on suicide attacks against government and foreign military and civilian targets, distanced themselves from the attack and condemned it as a crime.

The function of was held by Sunni sect of Islam’s followers, residents said.

Sirens of ambulances could be heard in several parts of the city. Images on social media showed part of the badly damaged hall of the hotel with body parts strewn in various directions.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. But affiliates of the Islamic State, have repeatedly targeted mosques and worshipping sites of Shiites in recent years in Afghanistan.

The network Shiites as deviants and Tuesday’s attack is the first of its kind against a Sunni religious gathering in Afghanistan.

Hundreds of people had participated in the gathering and there were fears of rise of casualties.



Linking Urdu to Muslims and Islam is wrong: Former CEC, S Y Quraishi

November 20, 2018

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi Tuesday said Urdu language does not belong to any religion and linking it to Muslim community was wrong as people irrespective of different religions speak it.

In his address at the seventh convocation of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) here, Quraishi said, "Urdu is linked to Muslims and Islam... this is very wrong.. Urdu language is born in India. Urdu has grown in India..

it does not belong to any religion... people from different religions follow it... we have to remember this."

Noting that India was the most diverse country in the world, he said, "we have had a secular atmosphere over the past 5,000 years. India is secular because Hindus are secular." On the educational status of the Muslim community, Quraishi said it was very strangethat the community which had given utmost focus to education now has more number of illiterates.

Expressing concern over the educational backwardness in Muslims, he underlined the urgent need to look into it.

Emphasising the importance of democracy and the power of vote, Quraishi, who was the chief election commissioner from July 2010 to June 2012, said it was "unfortunate" that educated people don't exercise their franchise and "brag" about it.

"This not a matter of pride.. it is a matter of shame and hence we had started the voter education programme."

"Every vote counts and on the day of polls," he noted.

MANUU Vice-Chancellor Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz,said the University awarded 2,288 degrees in regular mode and 21,152 degrees indistance modein various disciplines.

University Grants Commission member Prof G Gopal Reddy was among those present at the function.



White House working as Saudi prince's PR firm: US senator

21 November, 2018

A Republican US senator slammed Donald Trump's statement of support for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, saying the White House is effectively conducting public relations for Riyadh's crown prince.

Senator Bob Corker expressed his shock surrounding the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and subsequent statements issued by the US president, saying "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia," Corker tweeted.

Two other senators from Trump's party also took aim at the president's statement.

"'Great allies' don't plot the murder of journalists, Mr. President. 'Great allies' don't lure their own citizens into a trap, then kill them," Senator Jeff Flake wrote on Twitter.

"I'm pretty sure this statement is Saudi Arabia First, not America First," tweeted Senator Rand Paul, referring to a phrase Trump used in the statement.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - a US resident - was murdered on October 2 in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of orchestrating the killing of the dissident journalist but Trump vowed to stick by Saudi Arabia even while admitting the kingdom's de facto ruler may have been behind the brutal murder.

On Tuesday, Trump said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have had "knowledge" of Jamal Khashoggi's murder - the closest the American leader has come yet to blaming the powerful royal for the journalist's killing.

But he pledged that last month's brutal killing of the journalist by Saudi operatives would not derail the US-Saudi relationship, even if Prince Mohammed bin Salman were found to bear responsibility.

"It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" Trump said in a statement.

"We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," he said.

"The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia."

Earlier, a US official has said it is "blindingly obvious" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the latest development implicating the powerful royal.

"The idea that it goes all the way to the top is blindingly obvious," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying in comments to ABC News.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded last week that the crown prince was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US media reported.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Tuesday that claims by the CIA that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were false.

After persistent denials and numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh finally admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was dismembered.



Pakistan to Lead Global Campaign Against Defamation Of Religions

November 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed the commitment to transform Pakistan into a modern Islamic welfare state in line with the Islamic teachings and ideas of its forefathers.

He was addressing the two-day International Rehmatal-Lil-Aalameen Conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister directed the Higher Education Commission to set up special chairs on Seerat-Un-Nabi (SAWW) at three different universities ensuring a specific research on the life, character and teachings of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW).

He said it would help educate and enlighten our new generation about the phenomenon as to how our Holy Prophet (PBUH) carved out the first-ever Islamic welfare state of Madinah Munawwarah and how he transformed the characters of Arabs in a short span of time.

He said Pakistan will spearhead efforts to get passed an international convention on preventing defamation of religions. He added that nobody can be allowed to hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims under the garb of freedom of speech.

Imran said he will appoint an international law expert Ahmar Bilal Sufi as his special envoy to visit different countries to contact different experts and leaders to get the convention passed.

He said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) achieved this distinct target not through mobilizing resources but inculcating a spirit in his followers to serve humanity with selflessness.

The prime minister regretted that some elements in the West and Europe are indulging in blasphemous acts time and again on the pretext of freedom of expression provoking the Muslim Ummah across the globe.

He said when a chain of reaction comes in the Muslim world; the same Western and European nations dub the Muslims as terrorists and extremists through their propaganda machines. The prime minister also urged the religious scholars and intellectuals to promote true teachings of Islam.

“After the success of Jang-e-Badr with 313 Muslims in 625 AD, the Islamic state defeated the Roman and Persian Empires, respectively, in 636 AD and 638 AD. There is a need to study how the State of Madinah converted into a superpower in 11 years,” he said.

The prime minister spoke at length about the way of life and strong character of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said Almighty Allah, Who is “Rabbul Alamin”, Himself described Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as “Rehmatul-lil-Alameen”.

He said there was a need to study the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as to how he made the poor Arabs to rule world and reach India and Central Asia from Morocco in just 30 years.

“What he (Prophet Muhammad – PBUH) had? How he turned the common people into great ones and transformed their character. History has no example of a person [except Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)] who created a state which lasted for 700 years,” he maintained.

He regretted that after every few years there was a condemnable trend of blasphemous acts in the West under the garb of freedom of expression which causes strong protests in the Muslim world including Pakistan.

The prime minister recalled that after such an incident in Holland, his government took up the issue with the Holland authorities, and succeeded in the cancellation of a blasphemous cartoon competition.

Later, Pakistan also raised this issue at the OIC and the UN levels, which led to a declaration by the EU Court of Human Rights forbidding religious defamation in the name of expression of freedom, he added.

He said it was only due to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that encouraged “Ulema Deen” like Nizam-ud-Din, Data Ganj Bukhsh, Baba Farid, Baba Bulleh Shah, Khawaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti and others, to reach every nook and cranny of the world to peach Islam. “They did not preach Islam through sword, but through their character,” he remarked, adding they were the ambassadors of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He said the promotion of Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia was not due to effort of any army but due to the true character and dealing of some Muslims who had gone there for trade.

Prime Minister Khan also recalled how he inclined towards religion after meeting with Mian Bashir Sufi – a scholar, during his cricketing years and with the blessings of Allah Almighty he started reading and understanding Holy Quran and that was a turning point for him.

He said faith of any Muslim in Islam did not complete without the true love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He said Pakistan was a great country which they had to change and raise it with the support of people from every segment of life including scholars.

Earlier, a two-day international Rehmatal-Lil-Aalameen Conference began at the Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad on Tuesday.

The conference is being held under the auspices of Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. Topic of the conference is “finality of Prophethood and responsibilities of Muslims in light of the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

It is the 43rd conference aimed at promoting religious harmony, tolerance, brotherhood and equality, respect for humanity, non-violence, unity, reconciliation and culture of dialogue.

Islamic scholars, from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, and the United Kingdom are participating in the event. Ulema are shedding light on various aspects of the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Cash awards and certificates are also being given to 53 authors, whose books or articles were selected after a due process, in nine categories. These categories are Seerat and Naat Books in Urdu, English, Arabic, and regional languages of Pakistan.

Federal Ministers, politicians, diplomats of various countries, men, and women are also attending the event.



Arab World


After years of silence, music fills streets of Iraq’s Mosul

November 21, 2018

MOSUL: For centuries, it was a magnet for artists across the region and churned out Iraq’s best musicians — but recent years saw Mosul suffer a devastating musical purge.

For three years until last summer, the sprawling northern city was under the brutal rule of the Daesh group.

In imposing a city-wide ban on playing or even listening to music, the jihadists smashed and torched instruments.

“It was impossible to bring my instrument with me whenever I left the house,” said city resident Fadel Al-Badri, who hid his precious violin from the rampaging fighters.

Foreshadowing IS’ repression, the 2000s saw Al-Qaeda and other groups impose an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam in several districts of the city.

But with Mosul freed from the grip of IS in July 2017, Iraq’s second city is embarking on a musical comeback.

“After the liberation, songs are back where they truly belong in Mosul,” said Badri, welcoming the return of evening celebrations and festivals.

The 45-year old violinist now has the pleasure of playing in public once more to an audience that claps hands and sings along to traditional local tunes.

Mosul has a rich musical history.

It is the home city of Ziryab, a musician who introduced the oud — the oriental lute popular across the Arab world — to Europe in the 9th century.

One of its more recent musical prodigies is Kazem Al-Saher, the Iraqi crooner-turned-talent judge known around the region.

The city even has its own special genre of Arabic ballads, recognized across Iraq and beyond.

From folkloric shows and philharmonic concerts to weddings and other national holidays, song and dance have traditionally filled the streets and surrounding air.

But that meant nothing to IS, which ravaged Mosul’s heritage — musical and otherwise — when it took the city as part of a lightning offensive across Iraq in 2014.

The jihadists began by destroying the statue of celebrated ballad virtuoso Mulla Uthman Al-Mosuli, and then turned their attention to destroying instruments across the city.

IS also forced musicians in Mosul to sign a pledge that they would never play or sing again, which was then posted in public places like mosques.

Singer Ahmed Al-Saher, 33, said it was humiliating.

“I couldn’t leave Mosul after they made me sign because of my sick mother. I had to stay here under all that pressure and fear of the unknown,” he recalled.

Ordinary residents, as well as musicians, are keen to celebrate the return of artistic freedom.

“Terrorism failed in killing Mosulites’ love for art in all forms. It’s been born again, despite the destruction,” said Amneh Al-Hayyali.

The 38-year-old brought her husband, son, and daughter to watch a late-night concert in a cultural center in east Mosul.

“Today, after the dark era of beheadings, lashings, beards and veils being imposed on us... we sing,” she said.

But bringing Mosul’s artistic scene back to its former heyday will not be easy.

Tahsin Haddad, who heads the local artists’ syndicate, said he is keen to support public arts across the province.

“But we are in huge need of support from the central government in Baghdad, especially because Mosul currently has no stages, movie theaters, or art spaces,” he told AFP.

Without these venues, artists play in local cafes and public squares.

Celebrated Iraqi musician Karim Wasfi recently performed in a Mosul park where IS once infamously trained its child soldiers.

Earlier this month, Iraqi artists from around the country swarmed to the city for a cultural festival at Mosul University.

Performers stomped the dabkeh — a traditional Arabic line dance — and painters brought their works to display on the campus.

Glamorous Iraqi artist Adiba traveled from Baghdad with an entourage of peers.

“I am so happy to be in Mosul, singing here after it was freed from the grip” of IS, she said, moments before stepping on stage.

“Artists — Iraqi, Arab, foreign — should all come play festivals here.”



Terrorists Continue Planning for False-Flag Chemical Attack in Syria's Idlib

Nov 20, 2018

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted well-informed sources as disclosing that Tahrir al-Sham has transferred a new consignment of poisonous materials from the town of al-Dana in Northern Idlib to an unknown destination in the province.

It further said that Tahrir al-Sham terrorists took the consignment, including 5 chlorine gas cylinders, out from a warehouse near al-Dana under severe security measure, adding that no Syrian militant has been involved in the operation.

The news agency went on to say that Tahrir al-Sham, with the cooperation of the pro-militant White Helmet Organization, has distributed a large volume of chemical materials across the demilitarized zone in Northern and Northwestern Syria to use them in a false-flag chemical attack and later raise allegation against the Damascus army and pave the ground for Western powers to attack the Syrian Army across the war-hit country.  

Sputnik quoted unnamed sources as disclosing earlier this month that Tahrir al-Sham and Jeish al-Izzah terrorists arrested 29 of their own members and also 5 members of the White Helmets, accusing them of involvement in disclosing information about chemical weapons and poisonous gases, including their storage locations and transfer of them to new locations.

Tahrir al-Sham and Jeish al-Izzah set up a joint committee 3 days ago to investigate and find those behind the leak of chemical information.

Sputnik quoted another source as disclosing that Tahrir al-Sham and Jeish al-Izzah terrorists launched vast investigations to fine sources behind leaking information about the transfer of the chemical material cargos to different regions in Idlib province.

It further said that Tahrir al-Sham's move came after terrorist groups held a meeting in Khan Sheikhoun in Southwestern Idlib to set up an investigation committee.

The Arabic Sputnik went on to say that the committee is responsible for questioning the terrorists and members of the pro-militant White Helmets Organization over the leaked information.

Different Arab media outlets have released reports about chemical activities of the terrorist groups in Idlib in recent months.

Full report at:



Turkish Military Creating Secret Militant Groups to Counter Kurds in Northern Syria

Nov 20, 2018

SOHR said that the Turkish authorities have embarked on creating secret groups in regions that are under the Ankara forces' control in Northern Aleppo to conduct operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

It went on to say that Turkish intelligence service has been overseeing the training of these new groups of militants in secret training camps in the regions that are under the control of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield forces in Afrin and Northern Aleppo.

SOHR said that the groups' members have gone under training to be capable of carrying out bomb attacks, assassinations and rapid exact operations.

The Observatory further said that the Turkish army has used identity cards of Syrian refugees that have left Turkey for other countries to hide its agents' identity and to send them to operate against the SDF in Northern and Northeastern Syria.

Earlier reports said that Turkey-affiliated Free Army militants clashed with the SDF in the village of Mohsenli Southeast of the town of Jarabulus in Northeastern Aleppo.

In the meantime, sources affiliated to the Manbij Military Council reported that gunmen of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield forces attacked the positions of the council near a region where the Turkish and American forces carry out joint monitoring patrol to prevent any possible confrontation between the armed groups in the region.

Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Manbij Military Council Sharfan Darwish warned of bloody battle if the Turkish troops enter the region.

Field sources reported, meantime, that the SDF has dug a number of tunnels in Manbij and in its outskirts that have been connected to their bases, enabling the gunmen for a long-run battle.

Sources in Northeastern Aleppo reported that the Turkish army's artillery units shelled SDF's positions in the villages of Zormaqar and al-Shoyoukh, West of the town of Ein al-Arab (Kabani).

Full report at:



Iraqi Warplanes Bomb ISIL's Bases in Syria

Nov 20, 2018

The Joint Operation Command said in a statement that the Iraqi F-16 fighter jets targeted ISIL's bases on Syria's soil at the order of Iraq's General Command of the Armed Forces and under the supervision of the Joint Operation Command.

The statement said that the warplanes bombed an arms and ammunition depot of ISIL-affiliated Fayalq al-Farouq in al-Souseh region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, adding that the depot contained a large number of missiles and explosives.

It added that a sum of 10 terrorists were killed in the raid.

The statement went on to say that the fighter jets attacked al-Baqouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and bombed a base of Fayalq al-Farouq, destroying different missiles and killing a sum of 30 terrorists at the base.   

Relevant reports said earlier today that the Iraqi military forces discovered several food and arms consignments, dropped by the US military helicopters for the ISIL terrorists, at border with Syria.

The consignments included a large volume of weapons, military equipment, canned food and bottles of water and were dropped for the ISIL at Iraq-Syria border region almost a week ago.

Full report at:



Saudi Arabia, UAE announce $500 million aid program for Yemen

November 20, 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Tuesday announced a new initiative, “Imdaad,” in Yemen to address the humanitarian situation in the country, including an additional $500 million aid program. The two countries will each give $250 million in response to the food crisis to support more than 10 million people, said Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor at King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).

The program was announced by Al-Rabeeah at a joint

press conference in Riyadh with UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al-Hashimy.

Al-Rabeeah said the new initiative aims to fill the gap of food needs to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and ensure their access to food and nutrition for children in all regions and governorates of Yemen.

“We will coordinate with UN organizations to deliver aid to those in need in Yemen,” Al-Rabeeah said, adding that the coalition countries had provided $18 billion in aid to help Yemen over three years.

The latest aid package comes after the two countries and Kuwait offered $1.25 billion to the UN’s humanitarian response

plan in Yemen for 2018, according to Al-Rabeeah.

Al-Hashimy expressed her pleasure at being in Riyadh, and her sincere gratitude to Saudi Arabia, and the efforts of King Salman.

She added: “A new initiative to help our brothers in Yemen shows a common vision and one goal. This initiative aims to provide food needs for 10-12 million Yemenis, which are the most affected group.”

She explained that the launch of this initiative comes from the concern to help our brothers in Yemen to meet the difficult humanitarian conditions they live in.

The hope is to improve the lives of the population, especially as they focus on the most affected groups: Malnourished children, children under five, children in schools, women, pregnant women, nursing mothers and their families, as well as the elderly and people who suffer from diseases.

Al-Rabeeah said that the aim is to reach the people of Yemen who are deprived in coordination with international humanitarian organizations, to meet their needs and end their suffering.

He also Indicated that the Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen provided $18 billion in three years to support the Yemeni people, stressing that the Houthi militias have taken over Yemen, including humanitarian aid, where they seized 65 aid ships and 124 relief convoys.

He also pointed out that Saudi Arabia will work only with international organizations that are keen on the interest of the Yemeni people.

Al-Rabeeah said that the biggest challenge is how to reach the deprived while the Houthi militias try to stop that from happening, noting the efforts made by the center to deliver humanitarian aid in Taiz governorate when it was under siege.

Full report at:



Saudi FM: Justice for Khashoggi is a Saudi demand before it is an international one

November 20, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir has reiterated that the authorities in the Kingdom are more determined than those in any other country that the people guilty of killing Jamal Khashoggi should be held to account.

The death of the Saudi journalist, who was killed in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, provoked international outrage. Al-Jubeir said that the pursuit of justice for the slain journalist is first and foremost a Saudi demand, ahead of any call for action from other countries.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the minister said Saudi Arabia was investigating the case because it involved a Saudi citizen, and that anyone with information should contact the Saudi judiciary and pass it on. Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five of 11 suspects so far charged with murdering journalist.

The Kingdom’s top diplomat also talked about the strong links between the Saudi leaders and their people. He said that any attack on the Kingdom’s leadership, represented by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, represents a red line and there will be no tolerance of any moves against the leadership or for “any attempts to undermine...our leadership by anyone, under any pretext.”

Where does Saudi diplomacy stand today, after the unprecedented attack on the Kingdom in light of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi?

A: First I would express my deepest condolences to the family of Jamal Khashoggi – may God rest his soul.

As for Saudi diplomacy, Saudi Arabia is a leading country, not only in the Arab and Islamic worlds, but also internationally. Saudi Arabia has always been a bulwark for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world. It has always confronted and defeated the forces of evil and destruction. Therefore, and due to what this diplomacy represents, Saudi Arabia stands on firm ground and has a well-founded position, whatever the circumstances and challenges. As for the attacks on the Kingdom after the terrible crime that led to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom’s leadership ordered the public prosecutor to investigate the case and hold all the culprits accountable. Consequently, the Public Prosecution sent the culprits to court. King Salman ordered the formation of a committee headed by the Crown Prince to supervise the procedures in the General Intelligence Presidency and restructure this body to ensure that such crimes will not occur in the future. The Kingdom has taken all necessary measures to achieve justice and hold accountable all those involved in the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi. As for the media campaigns and attempts to politicize this case, those that stand behind these efforts and their motives are now exposed, especially after the transparent announcement of the results of the investigations and the referral of the matter to the courts. Throughout history, the Kingdom has been the target of many media tendentious campaigns, and different sources and arguments were used to undermine the role of the Kingdom and its position.

The United States imposed sanctions on a number of persons. How do you evaluate the US sanctions on the case and how do you see the future of Saudi-US relations?

A: Our relations with the United States are strategic, and we have common and vital interests in terms of the security and stability of the region and the world. The Kingdom’s leadership is keen on maintaining and promoting the strategic relations and the historic partnership with the US, which has spanned over more than seven decades. We also appreciate the interest of the US government and the positions of friendly countries around the world regarding the issue of Jamal Khashoggi and their support for the procedures taken by the Kingdom and its leadership to ensure justice and accountability. As for the imposed sanctions, they were sanctions against individuals and were not targeted at the Kingdom’s government or economy.

How do you see the Turkish statements that highlighted the importance of an international investigation into this case?

A: We reject any attempts to politically exploit Khashoggi’s case, and those who seek justice should submit the evidence they have to the Saudi judiciary, the sole competent body in this case.

In light of the Turkish position, which apparently sought to politicize the issue, how do you see the future of Saudi-Turkish relations?

A: We appreciate the positive Turkish attitude towards the formation of the Joint Task Force. The Kingdom cooperated with the Turkish side, and the Saudi Public Prosecution asked its Turkish counterpart to provide any detailed evidence through three memoranda. Unfortunately, the Public Prosecution has not yet received the requested evidence. We hope that the Turkish authorities will provide the Public Prosecution with the evidence related to the case to be referred to the court. I would like to emphasize that the legal measures that were taken, ensure justice and accountability and thwart any attempts to politicize the case.

As you know, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two important countries in the Islamic world, linked by historic ties. Unfortunately, some statements made by some individuals in Turkey do not serve this purpose, but rather, they strain these ties. We in Saudi Arabia, do not want this to happen because it will hinder us from addressing important issues, most notable of which is the solidarity of the Islamic World. The Kingdom has put the case of Jamal Khashoggi in its legal framework and it won’t accept any politicization of this issue, because it does not serve the ties between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, nor does it serve cooperation among Islamic countries.

What is your position on the Turkish statements, which stressed that a senior Saudi figure ordered the killing of Khashoggi (in an indirect reference to the Crown Prince)?

A: We have already inquired from the Turkish government – at its highest levels – about these statements and their meaning, and they affirmed that these statements were not made in reference to the Crown Prince. We have informed them that if they have any evidence, they should provide it to the Public Prosecution. we have heard many statements regarding this but the Public Prosecution said that no evidence was presented so far. Our goal is to collect all information and evidence on this issue for the sake of the investigations; and to prevent media influence that does not serve the interest of justice, which is a requirement for all of us.

I would like to highlight here that the Saudi leadership represented by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is a redline and we will not tolerate any attempts to undermine our leadership from any party under any pretext, because they represent every Saudi citizen.

But media reports in the United States indicated that the US intelligence assessment is that the Crown Prince issued the order. What is your response to this?

A: I have seen the media reports that you are referring to, they are leaks that have not been officially announced, and I noted that they are based on assessment and not conclusive evidence. In all cases, we, in the Kingdom, know that such allegations about the Crown Prince are completely not true and we totally reject them; whether such allegations are made through leaks or otherwise. We also saw how some stories stating that the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman contacted Mr. Khashoggi before the latter went to the Consulate, and this is also not true at all and has been firmly refuted, which points to the conclusion that the sources of these leaks are not reliable.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to conduct full and transparent investigations to uncover the truth of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The Public Prosecution presented the results of its investigations last Thursday. How do you assess the international reaction to the results of the investigations?

A: The Kingdom has not investigated the death of Jamal Khashoggi for the sake of international public opinion. We investigated it because it is a crime that was committed against a Saudi citizen. This is unacceptable and those who committed the crime must be held accountable. The Public Prosecution announced the preliminary results and that the investigations are still ongoing. The outcome of the investigation so far was enough to indict 11 individuals and refer them to court. There are still investigations with the rest of those in custody. The trial will move forward according to the evidence and confessions obtained.

Achieving justice in this case is a Saudi demand before being an international one, especially that the crime was compounded by the fact that those people presented a false and misleading report about what happened at the Consulate that day.

More than 45 days have passed since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, yet the location of the body is still unknown, amid conflicting stories and information about what actually happened... Do you know the truth about that?

A: The Public Prosecution issued a statement last Thursday on the results of the investigation based on the evidence and confessions that were obtained. It also confirmed that the investigation is still ongoing. It is important to note that the cooperation of the Turkish side and the provision of their evidence will help in reaching the truth. As the Public Prosecution had stated, its findings are based on its investigations and it hopes that the Turkish side will present all the evidence in their possession.

This brings us back to the subject of the story presented by the Kingdom about the truth of what happened, which has changed several times and the international media shed a light on this point. Is this the final version?

A: What happened was as follows: those who carried out the crime presented a misleading and false report, and accordingly the story was denied. When conflicting reports became apparent that contradicted the information they presented in their report, King Salman ordered the Public Prosecutor to conduct an investigation, which resulted in the preliminary findings that were first announced by the Public Prosecutor. As the investigations continued, and sufficient evidence and confessions were gathered to refer the matter to court; the Public Prosecutor announced the results of his investigation and indicted a number of individuals and referred them to court. Should the investigation uncover any new evidence the Public Prosecution will announce that in a transparent manner.

The Turkish president announced that his country has presented sound recordings to a Saudi intelligence official? Is it true that you have listened to the recordings of Ankara?

A: The Public Prosecution has announced that they did not receive any evidence from the Turkish side, and we hope that the Turkish authorities will provide whatever evidence in their possession, including any recordings, so that the Public Prosecution could provide such evidence formally to the courts. What we seek is to obtain any evidence to achieve justice in this case, in a transparent manner.

Do you fear any repercussion on defence contracts and equipment with some countries? What options do you have in this regard, especially since you are still involved in the war in Yemen and working to confront Iranian threats from your territory?

A: The Kingdom is committed to defend its land, its borders and its people against any regional threats. We always prefer to procure our defence requirements from our traditional allies; as this also contributes to the strengthening of our strategic relations. However, the Kingdom’s responsibility to defend its land and people requires that we secure the necessary defence capabilities regardless of the source.

To what extent will the death of Jamal Khashoggi affect the Kingdom’s relations with its partners around the world, especially in light of what is being circulated on the imposition of sanctions on the Kingdom?

Full report at:



Iraq launches air strikes against Daesh in Syria

November 20, 2018

BAGHDAD: Iraq launched an air strike on an Daesh target inside neighboring Syria on Tuesday, its military said on Monday.

F-16 fighter jets destroyed a building where members of the ultra-hard-line Sunni militant group were storing weapons, killing 10 of them, the Iraqi military said in a statement.

A second air strike destroyed a building housing 30 Daesh fighters, the statement said.



South Asia


51 ISIS militants killed in Haska Mina district: Afghan Military

Nov 20 2018

The Afghan Military in the East claims at least 51 militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have been killed in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the Afghan security forces and Special Forces conducted operations in Awghaz village in Haska Mina district.

The statement further added that 51 militants of ISIS terrorist group were killed during the operations.

According to 201st Silab Corps, some compounds of the terrorist group were also demolished along with a cache of weapons and munitions.

The anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups including ISIS loyalists have not commented regarding the operations so far.

Full report at:



Bangladesh frees photographer facing charges of propaganda

Nov 21, 2018

DHAKA,Bangladesh – An acclaimed photographer has been released from a jail in Bangladesh more than three months after he was arrested on charges of spreading false information about a street protest and propaganda against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Prison official Mahbubul Islam said photographer Shahidul Alam was released late Tuesday following an all-day wait after his family and lawyers provided the proper documents from the High Court that granted him permanent bail on Nov. 15.

After his release Alam briefly told reporters that he expected a free-speech environment in the country. "We expect that in independent Bangladesh, people will be able to speak freely," he said.

Alam founded Drik Gallery and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, which groomed many Bangladeshi photographers now working at home and abroad. In his career of more than 40 years, his work has been published in most globally renowned media.

After two students were killed in a road accident in Bangladesh's capital, protests by thousands of students blocked roads for a week, paralyzing the city of more than 10 million people and disconnecting it from the rest of the country. Hasina promised tougher traffic measures to improve safety on streets but urged the students to go back to school.

The protest became an embarrassment to Hasina's government, which faces a general election Dec. 30. She blamed the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and its main ally Jamaat-e-Islami for trying to manipulate the students' anger to foment trouble.

Many protesters used Facebook Live to stream information about the protests. Authorities say Alam used digital platforms to spread false information that instigated the chaos and tarnished the country's image.

Full report at:



Rohingya Face ‘Intimidation, Violence’ in Bangladesh camps

November 20, 2018


The failed attempt to send thousands of Rohingya back to Myanmar starting this month has drawn attention to alleged violence and intimidation by security forces against members of the Muslim minority living in Bangladesh's sprawling refugee camps.

Bangladesh has boosted its international reputation by hosting more than 730,000 Rohingya who fled a vicious campaign by Myanmar’s military last year that U.N. investigators have labelled genocide - an accusation Myanmar has consistently denied.

But Bangladesh appears keen to demonstrate that Rohingya refugees will not be welcome there indefinitely. The planned repatriations sparked fear and chaos last week as Rohingya went into hiding - and in a handful of reported cases attempted suicide - to avoid being sent back.

Meanwhile, allegations of sporadic beatings, looting and intimidation by Bangladeshi soldiers, police and camp officials have underscored the bleak conditions faced by Rohingya in their host country, where most are denied official refugee status and face restrictions on freedom of movement.

The repatriation of some 2,000 refugees was scheduled to begin last Thursday, but Bangladesh has now put the plans on hold until next year after failing to find any Rohingya willing to go back.

Rohingya in the camps have told VOA that soldiers were stationed near the homes of those who were told they would be sent back last week, fueling fears of forced repatriation and adding to widespread distress in communities already suffering extreme trauma after last year’s violence.

One Rohingya man told VOA anonymously that block leaders in the camps were also “announcing with loudspeakers... that it's essential for everyone to carry ID with them whenever and wherever they go if they leave their homes.”

Late last month, security forces looted property from Rohingya shopkeepers at the Balukhali camp, said John Quinley, a human rights specialist with the non-profit organization Fortify Rights.

“Right now the security forces are operating in the camps with total impunity,” he said.

In another case earlier this month, Fortify Rights reported that security forces rounded up 18 Rohingya leaders and slapped and hit some of them while telling them to instruct other refugees to cooperate with a new U.N.-backed project to provide them with “smart cards.”

Many Rohingya oppose the identity cards because they fear the information on them will be shared with the Myanmar government.

Bangladesh’s refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner, Abul Kalam, told VOA he was unaware of the allegations of violence but would follow up. "Generally, it is not acceptable that someone would apply force on or beat someone to do or not to do something," he said.

Quinley called on the U.N.’s refugee agency to “do everything in their power to make sure that the Bangladeshi authorities are respecting human rights.”

Spokesperson Caroline Gluck said the agency has notified the authorities of a “small number” of reports of violence related to the smart card project. The agency has “been following up with them to ascertain the circumstances of what happened,” she told VOA.

Officials have responded that the incidents were "not linked" to the smart card project, she said.

She added, “The new ID card will enable refugees to be better protected and will streamline access to assistance and services.”

Mohammed Sheikh Anwar, a Rohingya activist, told VOA the Bangladeshi government “needs to keep the lower-level authorities in check. There should be an accountability measure.”

“Committing violence against genocide survivors to make them agree to the authorities' terms is not the solution,” he added.

Last week a Rohingya man named Ata Ullah said he was beaten at the office of an official at the Chakmarkul camp, the Guardian reported, after he failed to provide the official with a list of refugees.

Ata Ullah said in a video circulated on social media that when he couldn’t provide the official with a list he “was beaten with a large stick... they stepped on my neck, I could not stand it.”

Human Rights Watch warned in a report in August that the Bangladeshi government was restricting access to basic services by resisting attempts by aid agencies and Rohingya refugees to “create any structures, infrastructure, or policies that suggest permanency.”

Full report at:



Taliban suffer heavy casualties in Balkh operations

Nov 20 2018

The Afghan Military claims that the anti-government armed militants have suffered heavy casualties during the operations in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces conducted operations in Chahar Bolak district of Balkh province as part of Walid-25 operations.

The statement further added at least 14 militants were killed and nearly 20 others sustained injuries during the same operations.

According to 209th Shaheen Corps, at least three militants were also arrested during the same operations while a vehicle and two motorcycles were captured by the Afghan forces.

Balkh was among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan but the security situation in some of its districts has started to deteriorate during the recent years.

Full report at:



Ghani declares Wednesday National Day of Mourning following deadly Kabul attack

Nov 20 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani declared national day of mourning following the deadly attack in capital Kabul earlier this evening that left scores of people dead or wounded.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said President Ghani has declared Wednesday the national day of mourning following the deadly attack in Kabul this evening that left a number of people dead, including religious scholars.

The statement further added that the national flag will be flown at half mast across the country and in all diplomatic missions abroad on Wednesday.

President Ghani issued a statement earlier calling the attack on ceremony ‘marking the birth of Propher Mohammad P.B.U.H’ against all Islamic values and a clear enmity with Prophet Mohammad’s path.

Calling the attack a move against the Islamic values and humanity, President Ghani said Prophet Mohammad had always invited for brotherhood and prevention of bloodshed but the savage terrorists once again acted against the instructions of Prophet Mohammad with this evening’s attack and shed the blood of innocent people.

The Ministry of Public Health officials are saying that the attack in Oranus Hotel has left more than 50 dead while 83 others have sustained injuries.

Full report at:





President, PM Greet Nation on Eid Milad-un-Nabi

November 21, 2018

New Delhi: On the occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi on Tuesday, President Ram Nath Kovind extended his hearty greetings to the country. Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, Eid-e-Milad, also known as Mawlid, Milad-Un Nabi and Barawafat is celebrated by people across the country every year.

“On the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the Prophet’s birthday, good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters in India and abroad,” tweeted Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings on Milad-Un-Nabi. He said, “We remember the noble teachings of the venerable Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and pray that there is harmony, brotherhood and peace all around.”

Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parmeshwara also wished in a tweet which read: “This Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, may you all be showered with choicest blessings of Allah.

I pray that your hearts and homes are filled with happiness and peace. Eid Mubarak to all.”

Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) national spokesperson, Nawab Malik tweeted, “Today 12th Rabbi-ul-Awwal, Birthday Of Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W) by Islamic Calendar. Eid Milad Un Nabi Mubarak to everyone.”

Here’s all you need to know about the festival Eid Milad-un-Nabi:

1) Legend has it that Prophet Mohammed was born on the twelfth day of Rabee-ul-Awwal in Mecca in 570 CE. Rabi-ul-Awwal is the third month on the Islamic lunar calendar.

2) This year, the festival began from the evening of 20 November and will continue till 21 November.

3) To mark the occasion, the Sunni community holds prayer meetings throughout the day. The devotees and religious leaders narrate and listen to the stories of the Prophet on this day. People believe that they would receive worldly and heavenly rewards by listening to the hymns sung in praise of the Prophet.

4) The Shia community believe that the Prophet had chosen Hazrat Ali to succeed him, on the day celebrated as Eid Milad un Nabi.

5) As per the Negotiable Instruments Act, November 21 this year is a bank holiday in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru due to Eid-e-Milad.

A significant aspect that completes Eid Milad un Nabi is the donation to charity. Families prepare food, serve them to guests and donate some to the needy.



"Aligarh Muslim University Being Run On Taliban Ideology": BJP Lawmaker

November 21, 2018

ALIGARH: A BJP lawmaker has said that Aligarh Muslim University is being run on Taliban ideology.

Satish Kumar Gautam, who is a member of Parliament, in his letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, wrote that anti-national and anti-government elements are being glorified in the University. The letter was titled, "AMU is being run on Taliban ideology".

Mr Gautam's statement comes after posters showing India's map without Jammu and Kashmir were put up on the University's campus.

The letter reads, "It came to my notice through media that a map of India minus the state of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the Northeast was displayed on a banner. The nation is aware that time to time some anti-national and anti-government elements are being glorified in the university."

The letter further reads that if a strict action was taken when the prayer meeting was held for Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Manan Wani in the AMU campus or other such incidents, then this should not have happened today.

The AMU administration said that the posters were made by the drama society for an anti-partition drama, which was supposed to take place in the university premises.

Full report at:



Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Mir Hafizullah shot dead in Anantnag

Nov 20 2018

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a top leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat in Anantnag district on Tuesday, days after the pro-freedom organisation said he received threat calls by some unknown persons over the phone.

An official source told Greater Kashmir that at around 11 am, some gunmen in civvies got off a car and shot at Mir Hafizullah, the Anantnag district president of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, from point-blank range outside his residence in Badru-Akingam village in Achabal area along the busy Anantnag-Achabal-Kokernag road.

Mir was rushed to district hospital Anantnag where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival, the source said.

Medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Abdul MajeedMehrab said Mir had been hit in his head, chest, and abdomen.

While the police blamed militants for Mir’s killing, the United Jihad Council, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Joint Resistance Leadership and other resistance organisations alleged that “Indian agencies perpetrated the act.”

Mir, who spearheaded the 2016 uprising in Kashmir triggered by the killing of popular HizbulMujahideen commander BurhanMuzaffarWani, was released from jail two months ago after serving two-year detention under the Public Safety Act.

In a statement issued a few days ago, the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat had alleged that Mir was receiving life threats over the phone.

“For the last one month, some unknown people (were) suspiciously roaming around his house and at times knocking the doors and windows and inquiring about him. This frightened the whole family,” the TeH statement had said.

On Monday evening, Mir arrived at his home to admit one of his five children to a school on Tuesday.

“At around 11 am, Mir was standing next to his house located on the main road, when three masked men in civvies came in a car, got off the vehicle and fired at him randomly from a close range before fleeing from the spot,” Mir’s family members and neighbours said, pointing towards the blood-splashed road.

They said as soon his wife saw Mir being shot at, she ran and jumped over him in a bid to save his life.

“She was drenched in blood oozing out of Mir’s body, and fainted,” a relative of Mir told Greater Kashmir. But, he said, Mir died on the spot.

Mir’s family and neighbours said he was being harassed and intimidated by some unknown persons and “had apprised the police about it.”

“An unknown person made rounds of our house twice. At the third instance, when Mir spotted him and questioned him in front of the principal of a local private school, he didn’t give any satisfactory answer. He was not carrying any identity proof but claimed that he hailed from Anantnag town and would visit the place in connection with his walnut business,” the family members said.

They said that Mir complained about the incident at police station Achabal and even provided them with a mobile number of the suspected person.

As the word about Mir’s killing spread, a spontaneous shutdown was observed in Achabal area, while protests followed.

People in droves from different areas converged at Mir’s native village Badroo-Akingam to participate in his funeral prayers. Amid pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and pro-Islam sloganeering, Mir was later laid to rest.

Addressing the mourners telephonically, Geelani condemned Mir’s killing and alleged that “Indian agencies are behind it.”

“Just as Ikhwan (a pro-government militia) targeted Jamaat-e-Islami members in mid-nineties to weaken the organisation, the same is being repeated now. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and other pro-freedom people are being targeted under a design by Indian agencies,” Geelani alleged.

He, however, said “these tactics won’t cow us down. We won’t surrender but pursue our goal more vigorously.”

Geelani called Mir the “most sincere person who was committed to the cause of freedom.”

Several Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leaders including its Srinagar district president Rafiq Ahmad, Amir Hamza, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front vice-chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat and district president JKLF Anantnag Muhammad Issaq and hundreds of others participated in the funeral of Mir and addressed the mourners.


United Jihad Council chairman and HizbulMujahideensupremo Syed Salahuddin strongly condemned Mir Hafizullah’s killing and alleged that it was “the handiwork of agencies.”

“The machinations of Indian agencies and their supporters in Kashmir have been exposed with this killing. The agencies have started ‘target killing’ of pro-freedom leadership which, in turn, is acceptance of India’s failure in Kashmir,” a UJC statement quoted Salahuddin as saying.


The police however blamed militants for Mir’s killing.

In a statement, a police spokesman claimed that militants barged inside the residential house of Hafizullah Mir at BudoodaAchabal and fired indiscriminately.

“In this incident, Hafizullah sustained critical gunshot wounds and was evacuated to a nearby hospital where he succumbed,” the spokesman said. “The police have registered a case under relevant sections of law and initiated an investigation into the matter.”


Mir started his political career as an activist of Jamiat-Tulba, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, in the early eighties and faced imprisonments since then.

As armed conflict started in Kashmir, Mir joined militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen but was arrested in 1993.

After his release from jail after eight years, he joined Geelani-led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and rose to become its district president for Anantnag.

Coming from a modest background, Mir was an active political activist and would often be arrested by the police for organising pro-freedom protests and mobilising people.

Imprisoned for more than 14 years since his association with Jamiat-Tulba, Mir played a major role in 2008 and 2010 uprisings in Kashmir for which he was booked under the PSA. He remained out of jails for brief intervals only.

Just ahead of Eid in 2016, he was released from prison.

However, only a few days after BurhanWani’s killing, Mir went underground and organised massive pro-freedom rallies in southern Kashmir areas. He mobilised people and played a vital role in the (2016) uprising following which he was arrested by policemen in civvies during a pro-freedom rally in Hakoora village in Anantnag in November that year.

He was booked under PSA again and lodged in Jammu jails. He was released only two months back.

Mir is survived by his wife and five minor children. His eldest child studies in class 8 and youngest in Nursery.


Lashkar-e-Toiba on Tuesday expressed immense grief over the killing of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Mir Hafizullah in Anantnag district.

Quoting chief of the outfit Mahmood Shah, a spokesman of LeT said in a statement that “unjust killing of Kashmiris will bring about the demise of Indian control. History repeats itself. The Indian government is shedding blood of innocents with its rhetoric of Hindutva rule and committing worst terrorism. Such sacrifices will never go in vain.”

Shah, the statement read, thanked the public for showing up in funeral prayers of Mir Hafizullah in great numbers and said the “public are our true assets.”

Shah also paid immense tribute to militants killed in Shopian including Inam-ul-Haq, AbidNazir, Meraj-u-Din and Basharat Ahmed.

Shah, according to the statement, strongly condemned “shifting of the following personnel to international jails (sic), namely chairman Muslim League Jammu and Kashmir Mushtaq-ul-Islam; Latif Ahmed Athar; Basharat Ahmed Mir; Manzoor Ahmed Nijar; Showkat Ahmed Ganai; Manzoor Ahmed Ganai, Feroz Ahmed Khan; Shakil Ahmed Thokar; Imtiaz Ahmed Dar; Abdul Majeed Dar; Naseer Ahmed Sheikh; Ameer Aziz Lone; Irfan Ahmed Lone; Zafar-ul-Islam Shah; Imtiaz Ahmed Mir; Ghulam Muhammad Khan; Farooq Ahmed Batt; Bashir Ahmed Qureshi; Bashir Ahmed Dar; Muhammad Shafi Dar; Firdos Ahmed Paray, and Ghulam Hassan Shah.” Shah asked the international human rights organisations to take notice of “aggressive policies and motives of New Delhi against Jammu and Kashmir and play their proactive role in pushing forces to quit Kashmir.”

TuM pays tributes to Mir Hafizullah

Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) has strongly condemned the killing of Hurriyat leader Mir Hafizullah and said it was "aimed at terrorizing the people of Kashmir."

Full report at:



TN Guv, Palaniswami extend Meelad-un-Nabi greetings to Muslims

November 20, 2018

Chennai, Nov 20 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister K Palaniswami Tuesday extended greetings to the Muslim community on the eve of Meelad-Un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

In a statement, the governor said the prophet stood for human values such as discipline, kindness, compassion and charity.

“I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

The Chief Minister in his greetings recalled the services provided by the AIADMK government for the benefit of the Muslim community.

Full report at:



NIA Chargesheets Maulana Masood Azhar’s Brother, 13 Others In Nagrota Army Camp Attack Case

November 20, 2018

The NIA Tuesday filed a chargesheet against Maulana Abdul Rouf Asgar, deputy chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group and brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, and 13 others in connection with a case pertaining to the attack on an Army camp in Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir in November 2016, officials said.

The spokesman of the NIA said in a statement that the chargesheet was filed under various sections of Ranbir Penal Code (substitute of IPC in Jammu and Kashmir), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Foreigners Act against the accused.

“Investigation conducted by the NIA revealed that four local Kashmiri JeM members, namely Mohd. Ashiq Baba alias Mohd. Ashaq, Syed Munir-Ul-Hassan Qadri, Tariq Ahmad Dar and Ashraf Hamid Khandey (all arrested by NIA) had facilitated a group of three heavily armed Pakistani terrorists and transported them from International Border in Samba-Kathua sector to Hotel Jagdamba in Jammu and subsequently to Nagrota in their vehicles for the attack on the November 28, 2016 on Officers’ Mess Complex, 166 Medium Regiment of Indian Army in Nagrota Cantonment (near Jammu),” the spokesman said.

The three Pakistani JeM terrorists — Khalid alias Abu Hissam, Numan and Aadil, who were highly trained and equipped with AK-47 rifles and explosives carried out the attack in which seven Army personnel were killed and three were injured. All the three terrorists were killed.

The NIA said the probe showed that Maulana Abdul Rouf Asgar, Deputy Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar, was the mastermind of the Nagrota attack.

“He worked out the plan of Fidyeen (suicide) attack and provided training to above three Pakistani JeM terrorists. He also directed Mufti Asgar (launch commander of JeM in Kashmir region) to provide training, funds, equipment and mobile and other logistics to local JeM member Mohd. Ashiq Baba.

Mohd Ashiq Baba had visited Pakistan many times and met JeM terrorists Waseem (Operational commander of JeM), Abu Talha alias Doctor (deputy commander in Jammu region) and Qari Zarar (launch commander of JeM for Jammu region).

He was taken for a meeting with Mufti Asgar at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. On reaching there he was received by Abdullah alias Al Hijama and Tariq Mir, both JeM terrorists who are close associates of Mufti Asgar.

“During meeting with top leadership of JeM commanders Mufti Asgar chalked out a detailed plan including the modus operandi to be adopted for infiltration of JeM terrorists and he asked Ashiq to activate local JeM network in Jammu and Kashmir for Jehadi cause. Ashiq Baba was given training at Manshera in Pakistan and handed over money for arranging logistics along with a GPS enabled Huawei mobile phone for communication with JeM leaders in Pakistan,” the spokesman said.

Full report at:



Delhi on High Alert as Police Release Photo of Two Hizbul Terrorists Suspected to be in City

November 21, 2018

New Delhi: A high alert was sounded in Delhi on Tuesday after intelligence agencies informed the Special Cell of Delhi Police that two suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists had entered the capital.

The Delhi Police released a photo of the two terrorists who are seen standing by a milestone which reads: “Delhi 360 km, Ferozepur 9 km”. Ferozepur in Punjab is close to India-Pakistan border.

Police have pasted posters of the two suspects across the city and have also circulated their photos on the social media to alert people.

In an advisory, the Delhi Police asked the public to remain alert. “Anybody who spots them (terrorists) is requested to call Paharganj police station on 011-23520787 or 011-2352474,” the advisory read. Police have also stepped up vigil at all entry points.

It said that guest houses, hotels and paying guest accommodations where foreign students usually stay, are being scanned to trace the two.

Last week, the Punjab Police was placed on high alert after its counter-intelligence wing suggested that six to seven Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists were in the state “could be moving towards Delhi” from the state.

It had come close on the heels of four people taking over a taxi at gunpoint in Pathankot around 11:30 pm on November 13, sparking fears of another 2016-like terrorist attack.

Three persons were killed and over 20 injured when two motorcycle-borne men threw grenade in a prayer hall at the Nirankari Bhawan near Rajasansi on Sunday, an incident which police are treating as a “terrorist act”.

The Punjab Police has found striking similarities between the modus operandi of the perpetrators of the grenade attack and the one allegedly planned by an ISI-backed terror module busted in Patiala early this month.

The Punjab Police had nabbed on November 1 Shabnamdeep Singh alias Maninder Lahoria, who “confessed” to the police that he was asked by his Pakistani handlers to target police posts and crowded places during festivals.

Full report at:



Terrorist ‘informer’ linked to Jammu and Kashmir cop's death held at IGIA

Nov 21, 2018

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police’s special cell has arrested a Kashmiri man from IGI airport on Tuesday for allegedly supplying information about the movements of a J&K cop, who was abducted by terrorists while on his way from Srinagar to Pulwama and killed in October this year. The man, now under arrest, had arrived from Bangalore and was heading for Srinagar, DCP (special cell) Pramod Kushwaha said.

The accused, 28-year-old Ansar Ul Haqe, was a postgraduate in English literature and a member of Hizbul Mujahideen, police claimed. Ansar and his girlfriend Syed Saika had allegedly tipped off the terrorists about the movements of sub-inspector Imtiyaz Ali. Saika was friends with SI Imtiyaz, police said.

“In October, Ansar was allegedly directed by Hizbul area commander Zahur Thokar to provide movement details of SI Imtiyaz of the CID Branch of J&K Police. A Pulwama resident, Imtiyaz was posted in Srinagar,” Kushwaha said. Saika, also a resident of Pulwama, contacted Imtiyaz and got to know that he was going home on October 28. She fixed a meeting with him on that day in Srinagar.

“Imtiyaz’s village Tikan had a WhatsApp group called Tikan XI. Both Imtiyaz and Ansar were members of this group. In September, a warning was posted on the group by one Nisar, saying all SPOs and cops should leave the force otherwise they would be killed. From Tikan, there were four, including Imtiyaz, who had joined the force,” a police officer said.

Full report at:



4 Hizbul men killed, Jammu and Kashmir separatist shot

Nov 21, 2018

SRINAGAR: The spate of kidnappings by militants in J&K has spread dread across the valley. Yet another youth, Parvaiz Ahmad Wani of Batmuran Wanpora in Shopian, was abducted on Tuesday. And though he was released, it wasn’t before terrorists put a bullet through his leg. This came even as the body of a 23-year old youth was recovered from Brass area in central Kashmir’s Budgam district the same day, taking the number of such abductions to eight in the last two weeks.

The body of Fayaz Ahmad Dar, 23, was recovered from Arizal, Brass, after locals spotted it hanging from a tree. A police officer confirmed the incident and said police teams have been rushed to the spot.

Last Saturday, terrorists slit the throat of 19-year-old Huzaif Ashraf after he was abducted “on charges of being an Army informer”. The body was found at an orchard in Hermain village, south Kashmir. Earlier, terrorists had abducted and killed Nadeem Manzoor, a resident of Safanagri area on Thursday last week. Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Riyaz Naikoo, in an audio message released along with a video, defended Manzoor’s killing, saying he was an informer of the Army. A family in Brass that refused to be identified said, “People are living in fear as no one knows who will be abducted next and on what charges.”

Meanwhile, four militants were killed on Tuesday during an encounter with government forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. They have been identified as Inam-ul-Haq, Mehraj-u-din, Abid Nazi and Basharat Nengroo, all residents of Shopian.

Full report at:



Pak issues visas to over 3,800 Sikh pilgrims for attending Guru Nanak birth anniversary celebrations

November 20, 2018

Pakistan has issued visas to over 3,800 Sikh pilgrims to participate in the birthday anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev there from November 21-30.

These visas are in addition to those issued to Sikh pilgrims participating in the event from other countries, the Pakistan High Commission here said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is by far the largest number of visas issued in recent years to Sikh yatrees for Baba Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary celebrations, well beyond the maximum number of 3000, mutually agreed between the two countries for this event,” the statement said. Under the framework of the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, a large number of Sikh pilgrims from India visit Pakistan to observe various religious festivals and occasions every year, it said.

According to Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood, this was a “special gesture” by the Pakistan government in view of Guru Nanak’s 550th anniversary celebrations commencing from this year.

Full report at:



North America


Pompeo: US commitment to Saudi Arabia is vital to national security

21 November 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States’ commitment to Saudi Arabia is vital to US national security.

Pompeo stated during a press conference, following his meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu who is on an official visit to Washington, that: “It is the President’s obligations indeed and the US State Department’s duty as well to ensure we adopt policies that further America’s national security. So as the President said today, the United States will continue to have a relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they are an important partner of ours.”

The statement came as a reaffirmation of President Trump's statement on Tuesday which asserted the strong US-Saudi relationship.

The US Secretary of State further asserted the strong relations between the US and Saudi Arabia by saying: “This is a long historic commitment and is absolutely vital to America’s national security. We are determined to ensure we take care of the American people in all the strategic decisions we make about who we work with around the world.”

Pompeo added: “That is the commitment made today… It is that straightforward.”

For his part, US President Donald Trump confirmed in a statement earlier on Tuesday that Washington would keep the “steadfast” partnership with Saudi Arabia in the face of regional threat from Iran and its activities.

President Trump said in his statement that congress is “free” to “go in a different direction” on Saudi Arabia, but that he will only consider ideas “consistent" with US security.



Trump leaking out forbidden truth of 9/11: Scholar

Nov 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump is leaking out a little bit of forbidden truth about the false flag operation of 9/11, American scholar Dr. Kevin Barrett says.

Dr. Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on a verbal between Trump and Adm. William H. McRaven, the former Navy SEAL commander who oversaw the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Monday that Trump's attacks against the retired Navy admiral was "a slam at the intelligence community."

"What this really is misplaced criticism McRaven," Clapper said.

"It's really a slam at the intelligence community, who was responsible for tracking down Osama bin Laden, and reflects, I think, his complete ignorance about what that took."

In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News, Trump dismissed McRaven as a "Hillary Clinton fan" and an "Obama backer". 

“I would see this is an example of Trump leaking out a little bit of forbidden truth. He has done this before regarding 9/11 and bin Laden issues, for example when he blamed the 9/11 on George W. Bush. That was of course too much for a lot of Republicans but it did not hurt his ability to gain Republican nomination,” Dr. Barrett said.

“And, the media always goes after Trump when he says things about 9/11 that let out a little bit of truth, when Trump talked about the dancing Muslims celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey. Of course, that was taken by many as a bleak reference to the dancing Israelis that’s the Mossad agents who widely celebrated the success of their operation, and flipped cigarette lighters and held them up for cameras and video cameras as they celebrated during the fire and then the explosive destruction of the world trade center,” he stated.

Dr. Barrett, an American academic who has been studying the events of 9/11 since late 2003, pointed out that the rogue elements within the US government and neocons orchestrated had approved the 9/11 terrorist plan to benefit Israel.

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

Full report at:



Donald Trump expects to meet Saudi Crown Prince next week

Joyce Karam

November 20, 2018

US president Donald Trump said that he will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next week on the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina.

Mr Trump was asked at the White House on Tuesday if he would meet the Saudi Crown Prince during the summit in Buenos Aires. He said he will if Mohammed bin Salman is there.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced that the crown prince will be attending the G20 summit on November 30 and December 1. This would be the first meeting between Mr Trump and Mohammed bin Salman since last March, and the highest-level US meeting with the Saudi crown prince since the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2.

“We are with Saudi Arabia, we’re staying with Saudi Arabia,” Mr Trump said, reiterating his statement earlier on Tuesday that supports the kingdom. “We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars of orders.” He warned that if he did, “I think the oil prices would go through the roof”.

Mr Trump also cautioned that Riyadh would seek deals elsewhere if US abandons its support. “They will get the military equipment and other things from Russia and China. Russia and China would be very, very happy.”

He also said there is “nothing definitive” from US intelligence that ties the Saudi crown prince to the killing, and “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t”.

Earlier on Tuesday, the president issued an unusual statement, reaffirming support to Saudi Arabia on regional issues and in countering Iran, while shying away from implicating the Saudi leadership in the killing of the Khashoggi, stating that the US intelligence agencies would continue to assess the information.

In a three-page statement titled Standing with Saudi Arabia, Mr Trump started by reiterating his America First campaign slogan and then stating that the “world is a dangerous place”.

He called the killing of Khashoggi a terrible crime, “and one that our country does not condone”. He said that US sanctions remained on 17 Saudi nationals “known to have been involved in the murder of Mr Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.”

He also said that representatives of Saudi Arabia “say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that — this is an unacceptable and horrible crime”.

The president said that “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr Khashoggi”. The US president has had several calls with both leaders since the murder on October 2.

As far as the US intelligence is concerned, Mr Trump said “our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi.”

The statement shifted focus on the larger US-Saudi relationship. Mr Trump called Riyadh “a great ally in our very important fight against Iran”. He said “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region”.

Addressing criticism from Congress to Saudi Arabia following the Khashoggi murder, Mr Trump said it was driven by politics. “I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.”

The statement took aim at Iran holding it “responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilise Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria [who has killed millions of his own citizens] and much more”.

It added that “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave”.

Mr Trump also wrote of his trip to the kingdom in May last year, and the agreement from Riyadh “to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States … It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.

“If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!”

Full report at:





Pakistan to Be Transformed Into Modern Welfare State: PM Imran

November 20, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said reaffirmed the commitment to transform Pakistan into a modern Islamic welfare state in line with the Islamic teachings and ideas of its forefathers.

He was addressing the two-day International Rehmatal-Lil-Aalameen Conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister directed the Higher Education Commission to set up special chairs on Seerat-Un-Nabi (S.A.W.W) at three different universities ensuring a specific research on the life, character and teachings of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).

He said it would help educate and enlighten our new generation about the phenomenon as to how our Holy Prophet (PBUH) carved out the first ever Islamic welfare state of Madina and how He transformed the characters of Arabs in a short span of time.

He said Pakistan will spearhead efforts to get passed an international convention on preventing defamation of religions.  He added that nobody can be allowed to hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims under the garb of freedom of speech.

Imran Khan said he will appoint an international law expert Ahmar Bilal Sufi as his special envoy to visit different countries to contact different experts and leaders to get the convention passed.

He said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) achieved this distinct target not through mobilizing resources but inculcating a spirit in His followers to serve humanity with selflessness.

The premier regretted that some elements in the West and Europe are indulging in blasphemous acts time and again on the pretext freedom of expression provoking the Muslim across the globe.

He said when a chain of reaction comes in the Muslim world; the same Western and European nations dub the Muslims as terrorists and extremists through their propaganda machines.

The PM also urged the religious scholars and intellectuals to promote true teachings of Islam.

A two-day international Rehmatal-Lil-Aalameen Conference started at Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad.

The conference is being held under the auspices of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

The topic of the conference is "Finality of Prophethood and responsibilities of Muslims in light of the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)".

It is the 43rd conference aimed at promoting religious harmony, tolerance, brotherhood and equality, respect for humanity, non-violence, unity, reconciliation and culture of dialogue.

Islamic scholars, from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, and the United Kingdom are participating in the event.

Ulema shedding light on various aspects of the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Cash awards and certificates are also being given to 53 authors, whose books or articles were selected after a due process, in nine categories. These categories are Seerat and Naat Books in Urdu, English, Arabic, and regional languages of Pakistan.

Federal Ministers, politicians, diplomats of various countries, men, and women are also attending the event.



Question mark hangs over future of Labbaik’s political status

Nov 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the election watchdog and the federal government to explain why Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) continues to remain a registered political party, as it issued a detailed order in the suo motu case regarding TLP’s protests at Faizabad Interchange in Islamabad during November 2017.

The detailed order was made as a two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Esa, resumed hearing of the case.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had submitted a report on the registration of the TLP as a political party which was rejected by the top court.

“The report is signed by the secretary, who we are told, has taken a one-day holiday for an undisclosed personal reason on the very day this case was fixed, which creates the impression that this hearing is being avoided,” the Supreme Court said in its order while rejecting the report.

“The report states that those who had resorted to the dharna at the Islamabad Faizabad Interchange was registered as a political party. We would want to hear the ECP and the learned AGP on the question whether a party that brought the country to a standstill, caused massive economic loss, the loss of life, injured law enforcement personnel and cause destruction of public and private property can be registered as a political party or be allowed to continue as such,” the order read.


In addition, the report submitted by the ECP regarding TLP’s registration shows that “a person who held a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) which showed his residence to be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)” registered the party with the ECP.

The SC in its order said that ECP director general of law failed to answer if the person who registered the party holds a Pakistani, dual or foreign nationality.

However, the ECP director general of law “instead states that a political party can also be registered by those having NICOPs, but without referring to any provision of law”, the order read.

The order further read that the party failed to provide “particulars of expenses incurred by it which it is required to submit”.

“We are amazed that a senior employee of the ECP, that is the director general (law), ECP, is himself undermining the Elections Act and the Elections Rules [under which parties are required to submit expenditure details],” the order read with regards to ECP DG’s statement that legal provisions over the matter are “cosmetic in nature”.

“Needless to state, the credibility of the ECP is tarnished and undermined when its own senior officer states that its law is cosmetic,” the order read while expressing “grave concern” over the statement.

“ECP is therefore directed to submit in writing whether it proscribes to the views of Mr Muhammad Arshad, its director general (law) and if not then what action it proposes to take against the political party.”

The ECP secretary was also directed to appear before the apex court for the next hearing on November 22.

“We expect the learned AGP to come prepared to attend to the matters noted herein as well those in earlier orders. We also need to determine the parameters of protests and how these have to be handled by the state. In this regard whether there are parallels with earlier protests and how those were handled, including those of May 12, 2007 in Karachi and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) dharna at D-Chowk, Islamabad,” the order states.


The top court was dissatisfied with the account submitted by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) regarding the blocking of certain TV channels’ transmissions in parts of the country.

According to the order, the PEMRA chairman verbally informed the bench that they had imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on a cable operator who had interrupted the channels’ broadcasts but that no evidence was provided to confirm the same.

The media watchdog was represented by seven officials in the court. “But not one of them has the proof of the purported fine/penalty that has been allegedly imposed,” the order said.

The bench recalled in its order that the PEMRA cannot curtail the broadcast of any channel “at the whim of any cable operator”.

Although the authority’s chairman did not disagree that transmissions of certain channels have been interrupted, he “expressed his ignorance on whose bidding this was done”.

The order slams “PEMRA’s inability to trace out the culprits [behind the blocking of channels] is undermining [the] fundamental rights [of freedom of speech and press] and the laws governing PEMRA.”

The apex court termed PEMRA’s report “non-serious” and directed the authority to submit a fresh report signed by its chairman.


The Supreme Court directed the secretary of Defence Ministry and AGP to “submit the law/rules/instructions governing ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and its mandate”.

The order states that the court was informed by the country’s premier intelligence agency through a report that the agency can neither ascertain whether a person has a bank account, nor whether he or she is a taxpayer, and that such information could only be obtained from the State Bank and the Federal Board of Revenue, respectively.

In response to the bench’s inquiry, Defence Ministry Director (Legal) Brig Falak Naz stated that the intelligence agency is governed by the laws of the country, “but without mentioning any law”, according to the order.


The SC bench has stated it will determine in the future hearings of the case “the parameters of protests and how these have to be handled by the state”.

The court will also examine whether there are parallels to protests staged by religio-political groups in past protests and how those were handled, including the May 12, 2007 demonstrations in Karachi and the 126-day sit-in jointly staged by the PTI and PAT in 2014 at D-Chowk.

The protests and sit-in at Faizabad Interchange by TLP workers lasted for three weeks until an agreement was reached with the government on November 27, 2017.

In the same month, a suo motu notice of the sit-in was taken by the country’s top court.

Full report at:



Eid Miladun Nabi reminds us of Islam’s golden principles، says Fawad

November 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday felicitated the fellow Muslims on the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him). In his message on the eve of Eid Miladun Nabi, he said the birthday of the unrivalled benefactor of humanity, messenger of Almighty Allah and the flag-bearer of the great religion of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “reminds us of the golden principles of Islam which were illustrated in the sublime way of life that he led.

“His life was, indeed, an embodiment of what Islam stood for,” said the minister. “This day makes us to comprehend the significance of the lofty values of sacrifice, tolerance, brotherhood and unity among the Muslim Ummah.”

He said the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) terminated the history of inhumanity, oppression, tyranny, ignorance, injustice and deviation from the right path and purified the human civilisation by inculcating characteristics like human dignity and forgiveness. “Our salvation, peace and progress ofthe country rests on faithfully following his teachings and injunctions of Islam at the individual and collective level.

Full report at:



Aasia needs German passport to leave Pakistan: lawyer

November 21, 2018

FRANKFURT: The lawyer for Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother who was acquitted of a blasphemy charge, has appealed to Germany to give citizenship to her whole family so that they start a new life in Europe.

Saiful Mulook told a news conference in Frankfurt on Tuesday that Aasia was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan last month but she and her family needed a passport to leave the country.

Aasia, 53, was convicted of a blasphemy charge in 2010 over allegations that she made derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

“The whole world is asking why she’s not coming,” Mr Mulook told reporters. “The answer is first that to leave a country you need a visa or you require a passport of another country,” he added.

Also read: Aasia is in Pakistan, won’t leave till end of legal process: minister

“If the German chancellor directs her ambassador to give a passport to her, her husband and her two daughters conferring German nationality, nobody can stop her for one second,” he said, regretting that so far no government had come forward to support her in such an open and free manner.

He said another wife of Aasia’s husband and her three daughters were not seeking to leave Pakistan with her.

It was unclear why citizenship, rather than a visa, was necessary for her to leave Pakistan, though Mr Mulook said pressure from religious extremists was making it harder for Islamabad to arrange her departure. She and her family are reportedly staying at a safe house in Pakistan despite offers of asylum from countries, including Canada.

German officials have said that they and a number of other countries are in talks with Aasia’s family and the Pakistani government to find a way out.

Full report at:



Pakistan has done more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country: army chief

November 20, 2018

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday highlighted Pakistan's efforts in the war against terrorism and for regional peace, saying the country "has done much more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country".

The statement comes a day after US President Donald Trump's continued tirade against Pakistan and its strong rebuttal by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"Pakistan has successfully fought against terrorism while also contributing to regional peace," a tweeted by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor quoted the army chief as saying.

In an apparent reference to Trump’s remarks regarding alleged inaction on Pakistan's part on the Afghanistan issue, Gen Bajwa said Pakistan has "paid the highest military, economic, political and social cost and the world should acknowledge that".

"We shall continue to contribute towards peace in Afghanistan," the army chief said, "but Pakistan’s honour and Pakistan’s security shall always stay premier".

Prime Minister Khan had on Monday led the sharp reaction by political leaders to Trump’s rant against Pakistan by hinting at a review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America’s failure in Afghanistan.

Trump, however, looked unwilling to end the row that began with his interview to Fox News on Sunday and followed Khan’s rejoinder with more tweets in which he repeated the allegations and insisted that the US was no more in a giving mood.

“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 Nato troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan said in one of his four tweets in response to Trump’s remarks.

President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over-a-billion-dollar annual aid for Pakistan, said the country didn’t do “a damn thing for us”. He raked up allegations of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden having lived in Pakistan with relative ease.

“But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” Trump alleged.

PM Khan reminded Trump that Pakistan’s support for the US in the war on terror cost it 75,000 casualties and over $123 billion in financial losses, tribal areas were devastated because of terrorist attacks and millions of people were displaced because of counterterrorism operations that had to be carried out to reclaim the area from terrorists.

Full report at:



Gen Bajwa vows no compromise over Pakistan’s honour, security

Nov 21, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday said that Pakistan’s honour and security are the nation’s foremost priority.

The COAS called on the global community to acknowledge the military, economic, political and social costs paid by Pakistan in the war on terror, according to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Underscoring the nation’s contribution to regional peace, Gen Bajwa reminded the international community that Pakistan’s contributions towards peace in neighbouring Afghanistan would not come at the cost of its own honour or security.

“We have paid the highest military, economic, political and social cost and the world should acknowledge that. We shall continue to contribute towards peace in Afghanistan but Pakistan’s honour and Pakistan’s security shall always stay premier,” the COAS said.

“Pakistan has successfully fought against terrorism while also contributing to regional peace. Pakistan has done much more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country,” the army chief added.

Earlier in the day, the Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, issued a series of statements, reaffirming diplomatic relations with Pakistan and said it remains a critical partner in America’s strategy in South Asia.

This development came a day after speaking to Fox News on Sunday, US President Donald Trump sought to justify his administration’s decision at the start of 2018 to pull military aid to Pakistan by linking it to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan in 2011.

“They [Pakistan] don’t do a damn thing for us,” the US president had said.

However, US Director of Defense Press Operations Colonel Robert Manning, speaking to reporters during an off-camera news conference, said that Pakistan still holds strategic importance for the US when it comes to its presence in South Asia.

“The US and Pakistan have strong mutual interests in the region. As you know, they are critical (and) vital to the South Asia strategy and including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” Colonel Manning said.

When asked a question pertaining to Trump’s tweets in response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s rejection of his earlier statement, he said: “They [Pakistan] remain a critical partner in our South Asia strategy and there’s been no change to our military-to-military relationship with Pakistan.”

When told that his statements differed from the perspective that the American president seems to have, Manning said that he does not have any announcement on any changes in military relationship with Pakistan.

Full report at:



Pakistan lodges formal protest with US over Trump’s remarks

Nov 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: US Chargé d’Affaires Paul Jones was summoned to the Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday where a protest was lodged with him on the “unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations” made against Pakistan by the US President Donald Trump.

While speaking to Fox News on Sunday, President Trump sought to justify his administration’s decision at the start of 2018 to pull military aid to Pakistan by linking it to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden being found in Pakistan in 2011.

“They [Pakistan] don’t do a damn thing for us,” the US president had said.

In a letter, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua conveyed Pakistan’s disappointment over recent comments by the US president, stating that “such baseless rhetoric about Pakistan is totally unacceptable”.

Referring to Trump’s accusation that Pakistan had actively sheltered the al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, the foreign secretary reminded the US diplomat that it was Pakistan’s intelligence agencies that had provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of Bin Laden.

“No other country has paid a heavier price than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism,” the letter added.

“The US leadership had acknowledged on multiple occasions that Pakistan’s cooperation had helped in decimating the core Al-Qaeda leadership and eradicating the threat of terrorism from the region.”

“The US must not forget that scores of top al Qaeda leaders were killed or captured by active Pakistani cooperation. Pakistan’s continued support to the efforts of the international community in Afghanistan through ground, air and sea lines of communication was unquestionably critical to the success of this mission in Afghanistan.”

The foreign secretary added that in the wake of recent US pronouncements to seek a political settlement in Afghanistan, Pakistan and US were working in close coordination with other regional stakeholders in order to end the prolonged conflict.

“At this critical juncture, baseless allegations about a closed chapter of history could seriously undermine this vital cooperation,” the protest statement added.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan responded to Trump’s statements, saying that Pakistan had decided to “participate in the US War on Terror” although no Pakistani was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war and over $123 billion was lost,” he added, of which “US ‘aid’ was a minuscule $20bn”, the premier had said.

Full report at:



PM Imran Khan vows to transform Pakistan into modern Islamic welfare state

November 20, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will be transformed into a modern Islamic welfare state, Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed the commitment.

The Premier was addressing the two-day International Rehmatal-Lil-Aalameen (PBUH) Conference in Islamabad today Tuesday.

PM Khan regretted that some elements in the West and Europe are indulging in blasphemous acts time and again on the pretext freedom of expression provoking the Muslim Ummah across the globe, Radio Pakistan reported.

Imran added when a chain of reaction comes in the Muslim world; the same Western and European nations dub the Muslims as terrorists and extremists through their propaganda machines.

The Prime Minister also urged the religious scholars and intellectuals to promote true teachings of Islam.

Full report at:



Eid Milad reminds us of Islam’s golden principles: Fawad

November 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Husain Tuesday felicitated the fellow Muslim on the birth anniversary of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him). In his message on the eve of Eid Miladun Nabi, he said the birthday of the unrivalled benefactor of humanity, messenger of Almighty Allah and the flag-bearer of the great religion of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “reminds us of the golden principles of Islam which were illustrated in the sublime way of life that he led. “His life was, indeed, an embodiment of what Islam stood for,” said the minister. “This day makes us to comprehend the significance of the lofty values of sacrifice, tolerance, brotherhood and unity among the Muslim Ummah.” He said the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) terminated the history of inhumanity, oppression, tyranny, ignorance, injustice and deviation from the right path and purified the human civilisation by inculcating characteristics like human dignity and forgiveness.



No change to military ties with Pakistan: Pentagon

NOVEMBER 21, 2018

A day after US President Donald Trump alleged that Pakistan does “not do a damn thing” for the US, the Pentagon on Monday said that Pakistan remains a critical partner to the United States’ South Asia strategy,. US Director of Defense Press Operations Colonel Robert Manning, speaking to reporters during an off-camera news conference, asserted that Pakistan “remains a critical partner to America’s South Asia strategy.”

“The US and Pakistan have strong mutual interests in the region. As you know, they are critical (and) vital to the South Asia strategy and including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan,” Colonel Manning said.

Responding to a question about the recent series of tweets by President Trump, he said, “They [Pakistan] remain a critical partner in our South Asia strategy and there’s been no change to our military-to-military relationship with Pakistan.” When told his answers differ with the views of the US president, Colonel Manning added, “I do not have any announcement on any change to the military to military relationship we have with Pakistan.”



Hotel buildings illuminated to spread Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) message of peace

NOVEMBER 21, 2018

Hashoo Group, owners of the Marriott and Pearl Continental Hotels celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) with its guests and employees across the country. Hotels from the valley of Muzaffarabad in the North, to the coast of Gwadar in the south are lit up to mark the occasion along with other buildings in the entire country. The illumination however is just one part of the entire activities planned for the month. Milaads and discussions are being held across all hotels for the thousands of employees, as an affirmation to prove that by following Uswa-e-Husna, our character, our way of talking, and our acts, we are the Ummah of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). A mercy sent upon mankind to spread the message of love, compassion, and harmony of existence.

Chief Operations Officer Hashoo Group, Haseeb Gardezi extended his felicitations to employees on the occasion, and said “Rabi ul Awal is a great month for Muslims around the world, and a time to remind ourselves that the teachings of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) are not just for Muslims, but for all of mankind. By holding Mehfil-e-Milaad and Naat contests at our hotels, we remind ourselves of the messages, and uphold the spirit of the occasion. May the blessings of Allah be with all of us on Milad un Nabi and always.”






Boko Haram Attacks Leave 53 Dead In Pre-Election Show Of Force


Boko Haram jihadists have killed 53 soldiers and farmers in three days of attacks in northeastern Nigeria, security sources said on Tuesday, in a new show of force ahead of February elections in the West African country.

Despite the government's insistence that Boko Haram is near defeat, the group has recently carried out a string of major attacks on military and civilian targets.

President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking re-election in February, faces widespread criticism over his security record as soldiers based in the northeast regularly complain of fatigue and insufficient supplies of food and arms.

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram splinter group, killed at least 44 soldiers in attacks on three military bases at the weekend, according to security sources.

Of those, at least 43 were killed on Sunday in Metele, a remote village near the border with Niger, according to a military officer who requested anonymity.

"Our troops were completely routed and the terrorists captured the base after heavy fighting," he told AFP, adding that the base commander and three officers were among the dead.

A search was under way for survivors or further victims in the surrounding bush, he said.

A pro-government militiaman said the jihadists arrived on around 20 trucks and army air support did not arrive until after they had "invaded the base and looted the weapons".

The same day, jihadists also launched a pre-dawn attack on a base in the town of Gajiram, some 80km north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

Fighting lasted several hours, local residents told AFP.

And a soldier was killed in an attack Saturday on a base in Mainok, also in Borno state, the cradle of the Boko Haram movement, security sources said.

Villages also attacked

ISWAP asserted responsibility for the attacks in Metele and Mainok, claiming to have killed at least 42 soldiers in addition to carting away four tanks and other vehicles, according to the SITE Intelligence monitoring group.

In addition, Monday saw the latest in a string of attacks on villages, usually carried out to pillage food and abduct civilians used as fighters or forced to marry jihadists.

The jihadists have accused farmers and loggers of passing information to the military.

Armed with guns and machetes, jihadists killed nine farmers and abducted 12 others in the Mammanti village in Borno state, locals told AFP on Tuesday.

The jihadists came on bicycles, said Usman Kaka, a farmer who escaped. "They just opened fire on us and continued to fire as we fled," Kaka said.

Village chief Muhammad Mammanti said the assailants had hacked "three people who resisted being abducted".

Also on Monday, seven women were snatched while working in fields near the city of Bama, according to militiamen fighting alongside army soldiers.

In an attack on Mammanti last week, jihadists stole hundreds of heads of cattle.

The surge in attacks on military targets suggests that hardliners within ISWAP have taken the upper hand after internal divisions, observers say.

More than 27 000 people have died since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009, and 1.8 million remain homeless.



Libyan Sufis celebrate Prophet's birthday despite security fears

November 2018

TRIPOLI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Libyan Sufis packed the narrow streets of Tripoli's walled old city to celebrate the Prophet Mohammad's birthday on Tuesday, chanting hymns to the beat of drums and cymbals.

Participants dressed in traditional robes said it was the biggest turnout for the celebration of Mawlid in the Libyan capital for several years, after poor security and pressure from hardliners prevented previous large processions.

In Benghazi, Libya's second city, men, women and children also celebrated the holiday in greater numbers than in recent years, holding processions in the morning and evening in four neighbourhoods.

Mawlid is an important event for Sufis, whose spirituality is an integral part of North African Islam.

Sufism, a mystical strain among both Sunnis and Shi'ites, dates back to Islam's early days. Besides the standard prayers, Sufi devotions include singing hymns, chanting the names of God or dancing to heighten awareness of the divine.

"Many more people have joined this year. In the past two years few came after attacks from extremists," said Siddiq Abuhadena, an engineer attending the Tripoli procession.

Sufi worshippers said they were wary of Salafists and others in Libya opposed to their traditions.

Tensions have grown in recent years between Sufis and Salafists, a group influenced by Saudi Wahhabis and other ultra-conservative foreign Islamists.

Salafists following a Saudi preacher, Rabi al-Madkhali, have gained ground in Libya since the 1990s.

Since an uprising toppled former ruler Muammar Gaddafi seven years ago, Libya has seen intermittent armed conflict.

A Salafist-led armed group is one of Tripoli's strongest, and has arrested cultural figures, citing moral reasons. Salafist fighters have played a role in supporting prominent eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, and in military campaigns in other parts of the country.

Dozens of Sufi sites including mosques, shrines, tombs and libraries have been destroyed or damaged by hardliners since 2011 across Libya, Human Rights Watch said in a report a year ago.

"For those who say this celebration is heresy, we are not doing anything harmful to Islam," said Akram al-Feitouri, one of the participants of the celebrations in Benghazi.

"On the contrary, we prove to the world that Islam is a religion of love and passion."

Two months ago Tripoli was shaken by 10 days of heavy clashes, though the situation has since stabilised.

After processing through the capital's old city, marchers spilled out onto Martyrs Square, known under Gaddafi as Green Square, where the former leader used to address his supporters.

Full report at:



Muslim World League launches health, civil projects in Africa

November 20, 2018

JEDDAH: The Muslim World League (MWL), represented by the International Association for Relief, Care and Development (IARCD), has launched a series of civil, humanitarian and health projects in African countries as part of its special program for the continent.

MWL recently carried out a heart surgery program for the elderly, distributed allocations for 14,000 orphans, and implemented a program to fight disease in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala.

Sudanese Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Awad Ibn Auf extended his appreciation for MWL’s international efforts to provide assistance and mitigate the effects of disasters around the world.

Full report at:



Mosque Opening Sends Caveat Against Extremism in Liberia

Nov 21, 2018

A grand mosque in western Liberia opened its doors for worship services on Saturday with its implementing partner cautioning Muslim faithful against radicalism.

Sheikh Zaidan Musa Sheriff said extremism no longer has a place in the modern Muslim world and so it’s time for Muslims to refrain from acts that are defamatory to the image of Islam.

The formal opening of the Mohamed Salim Bakit mosque in the town of Makpomah, Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County, had lingered for years after it was constructed. The delay was due to personal problems encountered by Sheikh Sheriff in Saudi Arabia. But no soon had he surmounted his problems, than he returned home and the facility was opened last Saturday amidst fanfare.

Looking visibly elated over the imposing appearance of the mosque, an ebullient Sheikh Sheriff expressed gratitude to community leaders, elders and activists for their patience and urged them to remain committed to the service of the Almighty Allah.

He also expressed gratitude to the Bakit family, a wealthy philanthropist in Saudi Arabia who has sponsored many projects in Liberia, for providing US$45,000 for the construction of the mosque in Makpomah, a holy town that has since been devoted to indoctrinating the minds of the youth and elders in Islam.

Sheikh Sheriff pointed out that much of the extremist activities being carried out by certain people in the name of Islam are based on nothing but economic reasons.

“Today, for the first time, everyone gets a little bit of a glimpse into the future of what this mosque is going to offer the people of Makpomah and other areas,” he said.

He assured his fellow Muslims that if they continue to live together in peace and harmony, dedicating themselves to Islamic practices, the Arab people will surely continue to assist them in many ways.

“You should not engage in violent activities. You should show respect and oneness of purpose for one another,” he told them as he formally opened the mosque.

The ebullient Sheikh ended his opening speech with the exhortation, “I urge you not to get yourselves involved in extremism. It doesn’t pay good dividend to anybody. It only defames our good image as Muslims”

Many local Imams, brief remarks, frowned on people, especially those outside Liberia, who engage in terrorism and fanaticism under the guise of defending Islam. They said Liberian Muslims are not accustomed to such practices and as such local Islamic leaders will not use their positions to preach extremism.

People came from the surrounding towns of Banala, Jagbaka, Mabuela and Bendu to participate in the opening ceremony.

“My heart is so warm when I see this giant mosque in our town,” Ibrahim Sheriff, a resident from Jagbaka, stated.

Isatu Kiazolu, a 30-year old woman from Banala, said she and her companions were honored to participate in the program. “Islam is the best and most disciplined religion in the world and we are determined to remain as Muslim until our death.”

A caretaker told our reporter that worshipers look forward to seeing the Bakit family provide further means for the construction of nondenominational facilities at the mosque like a pipe-born water supply, toilets, cartoons of the holy Quran and related Islamic literature and an instructional center for those wishing to lean Islam.

Full report at:



US air strikes in Somalia kill 37 militants

November 20, 2018

WASHINGTON: US air strikes in Somalia killed an estimated 37 fighters from the militant group Al-Shabab, the US military said Tuesday.

The two air strikes were carried out Monday near Debatscile, the military’s Africa command said in a statement, adding that the “air strikes did not injure or kill any civilians.”

It said the first “precision strike” killed 27 militants in a “planned and deliberate action.” The second strike killed another 10 fighters.

The US military said the strikes were “conducted in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade Al-Shabab.”

Last month, the US military said it had killed 60 Shabab fighters in a single air strike, the largest since an air raid on one of the group’s training camps that killed around 100 fighters in November 2017.

Full report at:



5 injured, Italian kidnapped in Malindi 'Al-Shabaab' attack

NOVEMBER 21 2018

Five people have been injured and an Italian student volunteer kidnapped in a suspected Al-Shabaab night attack on a shopping centre at Chakama in Kilifi County.

The gunmen, whom police described as “bandits”, raided the market in Makongeni Sub Location, about 80 kilometres west of Malindi town, on Tuesday at around 8pm.

Residents on Wednesday told the Nation that 80 "heavily armed men" attacked the village in Galana Kulalu at around 8pm and started shooting in the air.

"They then kidnapped the young Italian lady, who works as a volunteer in the area," said a local who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The 23-year-old woman was among Italian volunteers who had rented a house from which she was abducted at Chakama trading centre.

She was working as volunteer with Africa Milele Onlus, a non-governmental organisation whose mission is to raise literacy and education levels in Chakama.

In a Twitter thread, the National Police Service on Wednesday said the attackers “fired indiscriminately at residents”, injuring the five.

Police named the injured as:

Samini Garama Dadu, 23: She was shot on the left side of the neck and is in serious condition,

Ibrahim Said,16: He was shot on the left knee and his condition is stable,

Elias Mwaringa Kathua, 12: He was shot on the left thigh, his condition is stable,

Mohamed Kalume Konde, 10: He was shot on the left eye and his his condition stable, and

Mang Katana Jeffa, 20, who was was shot on the right thigh.

Police were deployed to the scene after the attack but by the time they arrived, the anonymous source who said he witnessed the attack said, the gunmen had already crossed River Galana.

"The lady could be heard calling for help as they took her across the river," the source who witnessed the attack said.

The area of the attack, Galana Kulalu, is near Tana River and Garissa where Al-Shabaab elements roam.

The injured were taken to Malindi Sub County Hospital and on Wednesday morning, sources told the Nation that two were in critical conditions.

Kenya Red Cross Society Coast region coordinator Hassan Musa told the Nation that the injured woman was shot in the shoulder.

Full report at:



Kenya: Four Al-Shabaab Militants Killed in Linda Boni Operation

19 NOVEMBER 2018

By Kalume Kazungu

Security agencies have killed four Al-Shabaab terrorists and recovered six AK-47 rifles in Ijara on the border of Lamu and Garissa counties.

The officers from the by Rapid Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) are part of the ongoing multi-agency security Operation Linda Boni meant to flush out Al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the dense Boni Forest.

Confirming the incident on Monday, Linda Boni Operation Director Joseph Kanyiri said a number of ammunitions were also recovered in the 11pm Sunday incident.


Mr Kanyiri said the militants had attacked a Safaricom communications mast in Ijara but officers engaged them in a fire fight that saw four of the terrorists killed.

"Last night at around 11pm, Border Patrol Unit officers serving in Boni Forest thwarted an Al-Shabaab terrorists attack against Ijara Safaricom mast. BPU officers engaged the Al-Shabaab in a fire fight that saw four terrorists killed, six AK-47 rifles and a number of ammunitions recovered," said Mr Kanyiri.

He said Al-Shabaab terrorists have been making futile attempts at destroying communication masts, particularly in Lamu and Garissa counties, with the main objective being to cripple communication networks in the region.


Mr Kanyiri said security organs in the area are in hot pursuit of other terrorists believed to have escaped with multiple injuries.

"Some terrorists have escaped with injuries during the fire fight. I therefore appeal to members of the public in the area to report to security organs any suspicious characters with bullet wounds or unexplained injuries," said Mr Kanyiri.

He said operations to mop up Al-Shabaab elements in the area will continue until security and peace is guaranteed.

Full report at:





UK, EU collaborating for sanctions against Saudi Arabia


By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


Britain on Tuesday said they are looking into ways to introduce global sanctions against Saudi Arabia in the wake of the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The U.K. has been clear that we need to see accountability for the horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

“The actions Britain and our allies take will depend on two things: firstly the credibility of the final explanation given by Saudi Arabia, and secondly on our confidence that such an appalling episode cannot -- and will not -- be repeated,” the spokesperson added in a statement.

The U.K. is “exploring with EU partners the potential for an EU global human rights sanctions regime, which could address such brutal human rights violations".

“We will of course wait for the final outcome of the investigation before making any decisions," the statement concluded.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later that he was killed there.

His body has yet to be returned to his family amid reports that it was chemically dissolved.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said earlier this month that if the reports on the murder of Khashoggi turn out to be true, the U.K. would take necessary action against Saudi Arabia.

“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago,” Hunt had said.



Plaque to Saddam Hussein removed from London bench

November 20, 2018

A council in England has been forced to remove a commemorative plaque dedicated to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein following outcry from residents.

The plaque, on a bench on Wansted High Street in northest London, appeared on Monday. “In Loving Memory of Saddam Hussein, 1937-2006,” it said.

Local authorities said they had not given permission to anyone to install the plague, and did not know how it ended up on the bench.

It provoked a mixed response on social media and around the world after local resident Victoria Richards posted a photo of it. The picture was retweeted thousands of times.

Hussein was president of Iraq for more than twenty years until he was ousted in the US invasion of 2003. He was later captured and executed three years later by hanging.

Ms Richards told Sky News that locals took offense. “People are shocked that it’s gathered this much national attention and seem split between not wanting to give the prankster any publicity and outrage over such a public displau of insensitivity to the Iraqi community and to anyone affected by the Saddam regime.”

She added,” I would love to know more about the prankster’s motivation: was this a political act? An artistic statement? Or just a bad joke? And will we ever know?”

Full report at:



EU open to Iran sanctions after foiled France, Denmark plots

20 November 2018

European Union foreign ministers showed cautious support on Monday for possible new economic sanctions on Iran in a shift of policy after accusations of Iranian attack plots in France and Denmark, diplomats said.

Denmark and France briefed their EU counterparts at a meeting in Brussels on the alleged plots and ministers agreed to consider targeted sanctions on Iranians in response, although no details or names were discussed, five diplomats told Reuters.

Though still at an early stage, the EU’s readiness to penalize Iranians would be the first such move in years after months of internal division over how to punish Iranians accused of destabilizing activities in Europe and the Middle East.

Until now, the EU has been straining to uphold the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers that US President Donald Trump pulled out of in May. It has been less willing to consider sanctions, instead seeking talks with Tehran.

Iran has warned it could ditch the nuclear deal if EU powers do not protect its trade and financial benefits.

France has already imposed sanctions on two Iranians and Iran’s intelligence service over what it says was a failed plot to carry out a bomb attack at a rally near Paris organized by an exiled Iranian opposition group. One option is to establish those asset freezes at an EU-wide level, diplomats said.

Denmark, which in October said it suspected an Iranian government intelligence service had tried to carry out an assassination plot on its soil, is also open to EU-wide sanctions, the diplomats told Reuters.

In October, France said there was no doubt that Iran’s intelligence ministry was behind the June plot to attack the demonstration by Iranian exiles near Paris.

It froze assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals - a Vienna-based diplomat now under arrest in Belgium for the plot and the deputy minister and director general of intelligence, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam.

Neither appear to have held any assets in France. Paris also discreetly expelled an Iranian diplomat, diplomatic sources told Reuters last month.

Iran has denied any involvement in either alleged plot.

Full report at:



Why we need Islamophobia Awareness Month

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

20 November 2018

Islamophobia is not a phobia. For too long it has been explained away as 'fear of' or 'prejudice towards' Muslims, but Islamophobia is much more comprehensive than this. It is a strategy of governance to legitimize state violence through dehumanization and the othering of Muslims.

Launched in 2012, Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) is an annual attempt to raise awareness and campaign with increased vigour towards the eradication of this particular injustice. Whilst some condemn the month as hyperbolic in its very existence, this just proves that awareness of the depth of Islamophobia is actually very limited in society at large.

Many are able to cite awareness of negative media stereotypes and rise in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain. However, if this is where our understanding of Islamophobia starts and ends, IAM remains essential.

Whilst physical and verbal assaults have multiplied – causing genuine trauma and fear to countless people, visibly Muslim women in particular who face the brunt of this – such acts of violence are not the crux of Islamophobia, they are its most apparent symptoms.

If we trace manifestations of Islamophobia further up the chain of influence we land at the rhetoric of ‘journalists’ and ‘politicians’ such as Rod Liddle and Boris Johnson who described Muslim women as ‘letter boxes’ and ‘bank robbers’. Their vitriolic comments undoubtedly bolster and legitimize interpersonal violence – with many women citing being called ‘letter boxes’ by their assaulters.

Rod Liddle recently wrote in the Sunday Times that ‘British Islamists’ should ‘blow themselves up’ in places like Tower Hamlets - an unambiguous incitement to violence against Muslims which make up 38 per cent of the Tower Hamlets borough.

This language is violent, abusive and dehumanizing. Interrogating it leads us closer to understanding why everyday manifestations of Islamophobia in the streets and online are being bolstered – but if we are truly to become ‘aware’, we must dig deeper still.

Deliberate denigration of Muslims by those in mainstream public conversation is not based solely on personal prejudice – as the affix ‘phobia’ can often imply. Rather, the dehumanization of Muslims has a longer history of stereotyping pre-9/11 that was integral to Britain’s colonisation of South Asia and parts of the Middle East.

The idea of uncivilized Muslim ‘Others’, was cultivated to justify conquest of their lands and resources. The legacy of these tropes are apparent in today’s media depictions of Muslims seen narrowly through the frame of violence, or as foils to Britain’s so-called ‘modern democracy’.

These stories are biased, misleading and often actually just incorrect, as the work of spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain Miqdaad Versi has shown. A month dedicated to deconstructing violence against Muslims is essential to further our understanding of Islamophobia beyond just spikes in prejudice – its roots lie in British history and thus eradication in increasingly nuanced examinations of Britain’s colonial past.

What makes IAM essential though is that it is a rare chance to push comprehension of Islamophobia further. It is only through understanding the reasons for the stereotyping outlined that we can truly build up the tools to eradicate their consequences. Tracing these reasons back to their origins means asking what the functions of such stereotypes are in terms of who they benefit. This brings us to the heart of the British state: the government and all arms of the state’s bureaucracy that reproduce stereotypes of Muslims to underpin legislation and policy.

For example, the Prevent (Preventing Violent Extremism) policy, is one arm of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to pre-emptively identify acts of violence ‘before the fact’ by using social indicators to target those who may perpetrate them. The indicators are based in science that has long faced criticism by NGOs like CAGE, but now even mainstream NGOs such as Amnesty and Liberty have declared it ‘highly dubious’, ‘built on shaky, almost evidence-free foundations’ which result in discriminatory surveillance of Muslims in public spaces. Indeed, Prevent legally compels public sector workers to ‘look out for signs of radicalization’ amongst those they work with – leading to outcomes such as the referral of 2000 children under the age of 15 to the police under Prevent specification in 2017. Such legislation clearly doesn’t deal competently with violence or its causes, instead it targets those already stereotyped as ‘potential terrorists’.

These strategies mark the crime not as perpetration of violence, but a presumed predisposition to it – a very Orwellian stance. Other measures do the same, meaning ‘reasonable suspicion’ is usurped by stereotyping which in turn has led to increased use of secret courts, secret trials, home raids, separation of parents and children and deportation and extradition in contravention of human rights.

These state-sanctioned activities highlight that Islamophobia is baked into the foundations of society. The historic trope of Muslims as inherently dangerous is inscribed within the practices of the state and there can be no other reason for this than a deliberate desire to misunderstand the causes of violence because they might otherwise expose the state as complicit and thus accountable.

Scapegoating therefore beats interrogating the role of austerity, racial profiling, criminalization, institutional racism, unjust foreign policy, the lack of avenues to express legitimate grievances and the causes of violence.

Beyond reiterating the regularity of visible and easily-identifiable Islamophobia then, Islamophobia Awareness Month is a crucial chance to expose the root causes of it: an institutionalized understanding of Muslims as sub-human and predisposed to violence which is reinforced at every level of the state.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Federal Territories Mufti Clears ‘Polis Evo 2’, Suggests ‘Shariah Consultants’ For Films

20 November 2018

By Jamny Rosli

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad was invited to a preview of comedy action film Polis Evo 2 last night, amid accusations that the plot “insults Islam”.

The mufti said afterwards that the film did not disparage the religion despite highlighting religious terrorism and portraying jihadists as its antagonists.

“In general, we think the film does not contain any insulting message to Islam.

“Instead, it highlights the fanatical teachings that threaten the nation,” he wrote in an opinion piece yesterday.

Despite that, he said films with religious themes should consider employing “Shariah consultants” to avoid sensitive issues involving religion, by referring to said consultants from the script’s drafting to the end of filming.

He also suggested that a film display a “clarification” or an addendum during its opening credits, when the plot may lead to a “misunderstanding” of Islam.

“It is not our desire or task to censor every film in the country,” he clarified.

Last week, producer Astro Shaw explained that the villain, played by Hasnul Rahmat and portrayed as wearing a turban in the film, was not meant to depict Islam in a negative light.

In the past few weeks, some have taken to social media urging the public to boycott Polis Evo 2 for allegedly depicting Muslims as terrorists.

Last week, the Film Censorship Board also confirmed that the film did not contain any element that could be interpreted as giving Islam a bad name.

The film was directed by Joel Soh and Andre Chiew, and stars Shaheizy Sam, Zizan Razak, Raline Shah, Erra Fazira, Tanta Gintin, Riz Amjn and Syafie Naswip.



Problems Of Muslim Ummah Due To Leaders With No Integrity - Sultan Nazrin

20 Nov 2018

PUTRAJAYA: Many of the problems faced by Muslims currently are caused by a lack of integrity among those entrusted with power, said Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

Sultan Nazrin said most of the problems are due to a scramble for wealth in a manner that is not proper and transparent.

“Power struggles also occur because power is seen as a conduit to build personal wealth and the wealth of their families and cronies,” Sultan Nazrin said in his address at the national-level Maulidur Rasul celebration to mark the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Sultan Nazrin said a leader with no integrity will cause his people to suffer.

“Poverty will become worse when leaders make it a priority to increase material wealth by taking away or denying the rights of the ummah.”

Sudden material wealth, when not accompanied by a wealth of the mind, intellect, knowledge and spirituality, is a false and temporary wealth, he explained.

Such wealth will cause resource leakages, lopsided development, a rise in unemployment, outward migration, increased smuggling, and high crime and corruption rates in a country.

“In the end, public order is jeopardised along with political stability, and the sufferings of the ummah will worsen,” said Sultan Nazrin.

He added that the well-being and prosperity of a country is very much influenced by the character of its leaders.

Muslims should learn from the example set by the Prophet Muhammad.

Sultan Nazrin said the Prophet was strict in upholding truth and implementing justice.

“Nobody got rich by being close to the Prophet.

"Instead, those who were already rich, sacrificed their wealth to support the Prophet’s struggles,” he said.

Full report at:



My family is not radicalised, says Indonesian Minister Wiranto, responding to social media comments

Nov 21, 2018

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Security chief Wiranto went the extra mile to defend his family following allegations that some of his family members had joined a radical group.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto wrote a public letter on Monday (Nov 19) to respond to comments about pictures that were posted on social media of his family at the funeral of his grandson, Achmad Daniyal Al Fatih, last Friday.

The 15-month-old toddler died after he slipped into a fish pond in the garden at home on Nov 15.

His mother, Mr Wiranto's daughter Lia Wiranto, was seen in a picture wearing a niqab (full-face veil). Next to her was the mourning father, wearing a white Muslim turban. The boy was the youngest of seven children.

The funeral pictures made the rounds on social media, with some people surprised that the country's top official on security, who deals with radicalism and terrorism, would have a daughter and son-in-law wearing attire often associated with radicalism and terrorism.

"When my grandson, Achmad Daniyal Al Fatih died, his mother, father and older siblings wore Muslim attire - niqab and white turbans - and many people were surprised. Social media was abuzz talking about them," Mr Wiranto said in the letter.

"Some were happy to see them, some were insulting and casting aspersions. Some tried to relate (the Muslim attire) to my position as (the chief security minister)."

Mr Wiranto continued: "I give my family the freedom to be anything they want as long as they don't veer off the principles I taught them.

"I always emphasised that they should do good for the country, instead of making the country suffer."

The founder of the Hanura Party, who also shared his 50-year devotion to protect the country's unity and sovereignty in the letter, said he had taught his children to feel a sense of nationalism and to learn about religion to equip themselves in the afterlife and for the benefit of others.

Mr Wiranto also told his family members, none of whom are following in his footsteps as a member of the military or politician: "You can wear anything you want as long as you are comfortable. But the most important thing is don't use your appearance only to show off how Islamic you are because the depth of your religion is not measured by your clothes and appearance, but by your morals and behaviour."

Wearing a niqab has never been considered a mainstream Islamic practice in Indonesia, where a large number of Muslim women wear the hijab that covers only their neck and head, while many also do not wear head coverings.

The use of the niqab - which has often been associated with religious extremism - has stirred controversy in the country, with the nation's largest Islamic organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, saying that wearing a veil is not obligatory for Muslim women.

The picture of Mr Wiranto's family also reminded some of his late son Zainal Nurizky, who died of an illness in 2013, when he was studying the Quran at Islamic university Darul Uloom Zakariyya in South Africa.

Mr Zainal was also known as an active member of Jamaah Tabligh, a transnational Islamic movement that originated in India, which focuses on preaching.

When he died, Mr Wiranto admitted that some people accused Mr Zainal of being a follower of radical Islam and a terrorist.

"I just laughed because I would not deign to respond to them," the minister said.

When 10 Indonesian citizens and members of Jamaah Tabligh were trapped during intense clashes between security forces and insurgents linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group in Marawi City, the Philippines, last year, Mr Wiranto asserted that the group was not extremist.

Ms Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, explained that Jamaah Tabligh was a non-violent missionary movement that began in South Asia and was known for its khuruj programme, in which members were encouraged to spend 40 days per year preaching, often outside their own country.

The Indonesian citizens who were trapped in Marawi and later evacuated with the help of Filipino authorities were performing the khuruj at the time.

Full report at:



Morrison pours fuel on the extremist fire on our doorstep

By Roman Quaedvlieg

20 November 2018

Even first-year graduates at the Department of Foreign Affairs are well appraised of the sensitivities around Jerusalem which both Israelis and Palestinians want to claim as their capital. Australia's policy has always been carefully calibrated to maintain an equilibrium with Israel as well as the much broader Arab and Muslim worlds, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. All of which made Prime Minister Morrison's stream-of-consciousness musing during the Wentworth byelection about moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem a faux pas majeur.

His motivation for doing so, while still not plausibly explained, is now moot. The consequences of him doing so though are not moot by any stretch. Initial murmurings of discontent from Indonesia, soon turned into a roaring protest from Arab nations and a threat to the ratification of a critical Free Trade Agreement with our closest Muslim neighbour. As the public discord spread further, an even more pernicious consequence was floated – had Morrison put national security in jeopardy with his ill-disciplined kite flying?

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir made that point on the margins of the APEC summit in Port Moresby, but Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg shot back, publicly accusing Mahathir of pursuing his trademark anti-Semitic posturing. The very public squabbling now emerging within the Coalition frontbench is a symptom of a government that is divided on this issue and belies attempts by the likes of Simon Birmingham and Mathias Cormann to portray this discussion as one of sober due process. Curiously, Peter Dutton and Marise Payne have been quiet when their portfolios are arguably in the best positions to gauge the threat to national security.

No doubt behind the tough rhetoric Morrison is looking for a face-saving solution to this diplomatic own goal. He may well find one, but a breakthrough in the diplomatic impasse may not diminish the nourishment he has thrown to Islamic extremists on our doorstep.

Indonesia has a population of more than 260 million. Malaysia has one of 32 million. Both countries are predominantly and moderately Muslim, but in any large population of faith, an element of zealotry will be present.

Indonesia knows this only too well, having had to deal with the militant Jemaah Islamiyah for the last 15 years. Australia hasn’t been a passive observer in the fight against radical Islamists in Indonesia.

Eight-eight Australians died in the 2002 Bali bombings, our Jakarta embassy was bombed in 2004 and a second Bali bombing claimed four Australian lives in 2005. We have partnered extensively with Indonesian authorities to combat terrorism, not just because we want to help our northern-most Muslim neighbour, but because Australia and Australians are also terrorist targets.

The Coalition government is playing a provocative hand with our national security. It seems to have forgotten that hundreds of confirmed foreign fighters, and thousands of probable ones, from Indonesia and Malaysia have fought for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. So many arrived that IS reportedly formed a Malay-speaking military unit to fight on its behalf in the Middle East. The Coalition also seems to have forgotten that many foreign fighters have returned from those battlegrounds hardened, more radicalised and with lethal war-fighting skills.

Most critically, the Coalition government has failed to appreciate that radicals do not need a fully formed, logical rationale to engage in terrorism, nor do they need more than a gossamer-thin thread to what they perceive as anti-Islam sentiment for their hatred to manifest into murderous intent. It is highly likely, even before President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Mahathir started with their muscular rhetoric, that security arrangements at Australian embassies in Israel, the broader Middle-Eastern region, Indonesia and Malaysia, were hastily reviewed in the wake of Morrison’s reckless Wentworth commentary. It’s almost certainly the case now, in the wake of the "yes, it will, no, it won’t" debate, that Australian security agencies are dedicating substantial resources to reviewing not just security arrangements for potential Australian targets offshore and onshore, but also the national security threat level itself.

That we have a mature counter-terrorism apparatus which is able to respond - even to rash Prime Ministerial commentary - is comforting, and testament to decades of counter-terrorism investment in this country, however, for the government to dismiss the potential security consequences of Morrison’s thought bubble is as dangerous as the potential consequences themselves.

It is not inconceivable, in fact it is more than possible, that Islamic extremists in Indonesia and Malaysia - returned foreign fighters not the least - have turned their thoughts to Australia as a result, potentially spurred on by the comments of their political leaders.

Full report at:



Corrupt politicians are the enemy within, says deputy Agong

20 November 2018

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 20 ― Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah today called corrupt politicians the most dangerous enemy of the people, branding them hypocrites whose greed he blamed for the country's deteriorating integrity.

His Royal Highness the deputy Yang Di-Pertuan Agong said the danger posed by rotten leaders had been forewarned by Allah in the Quran.

Sultan Nazrin who is also the Ruler of Perak said corrupt politicians were also mentioned in the Quran as “munafik” or hypocrites, adding that their insatiable greed was the chief cause of divisions within Muslim society.

“This culture of hypocrisy has weaken the pillar of integrity because of this inclination towards [pretentious goodness], because we allow the scissors to remain comfortable within the fold,” he said in his speech at the federal celebration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday here.

“The biggest problem confronting the ummah today is the absence of integrity, especially since this absence of integrity is seen among those entrusted with power.”

Sultan Nazrin has spoken out against corruption in the past, often in speeches at official functions where politicians are among the audience.

He has repeatedly called for more action to rein in graft among high-ranking officials and political leaders, and urged reform of key institutions.

In commemorating Muhammad's exemplary political leadership today, the Perak ruler decried selfish Muslim leaders who deploy cunning political scheming to exploit passion and communal insecurities for personal gain.

He said many of them perverted the democratic process as a “conduit” to enrich themselves and their families at the expense of the community.

“One of the biggest problems facing the ummah today is caused by crisis emanating from enterprises to attain wealth through dishonest and non-transparent means.

“In fact, from it stem power struggles because power is seen as a channel and conduit to build personal wealth, or wealth for families and cronies,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin's criticism follows investigations on a number of senior politicians from the previous administration by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), including former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who have also been charged with power abuse and money laundering.

The sultan said the zealous pursuit of material wealth has impoverished the people both intellectually and spiritually.

He said corruption has caused “leakages” in resources, in a clear reference to the country's bloated debt, and also unemployment and rising crime.

Corruption also perpetuates a cycle of violence, he added.

Full report at:



Muhammadiyah student group rejects Amien Rais' call to 'pick' candidate

November 21, 2018

Amien Rais has urged Muhammadiyah, the country’s second largest Muslim organization, to decide which presidential candidate to support in the upcoming 2019 election.

Amien is the patron of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and an adviser to the Muhammadiyah central executive board. The party is part of the coalition backing the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno camp alongside Gerindra, the Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“If you did that [remained silent], I will pinch your ear. In the upcoming presidential election, you can’t just say ‘it's up to you’!” Amien said on Tuesday during the organization's 106thanniversary event at the Islamic Center Surabaya in the East Java capital.

Amien’s calls for Muhammadiyah to publicly declare its support for a presidential ticket, however, were quickly dismissed by the organization's student grouping.

The central executive board of the Muhammadiyah Students Association (IMM) called on its parent organization to remain “neutral” and unswayed by Amien’s calls to support a particular candidate.

“If we did support a certain candidate, how would we be different from a [campaign] success team or a political party?” IMM central executive board chairman Najih Prastiyo said in a written statement on Wednesday.

Najih said that Muhammadiyah should stay true to itself, remain independent and not issue an instruction for its members to pick a side during political events like the presidential election.

“Muhammadiyah is home to all elements of the nation,” he said as quoted by “Whoever is elected the President, Muhammadiyah will remain as a critical partner of the government.”

Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir had recently reiterated that the organization would uphold its philosophy of ummatan wasathon (moderates) and would not pick sides in national politics.

Full report at:





Turkey asks US to extradite 84 members of cleric Gulen’s movement

21 November 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday gave US officials a list of 84 members of Fethullah Gulen’s movement -- including the cleric himself -- whose extradition Ankara is requesting.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen -- whom he once regarded as an ally -- for the July 15, 2016 failed coup plot against him, but calls for his extradition have so far been unsuccessful.

Turkey’s chief diplomat said he did not receive any “assurances” after meeting with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo and national security advisor John Bolton during a visit to Washington.

“But we have given this list of the people that we request the US to extradite,” Cavusoglu said.

President Donald Trump “asked Erdogan to send that list and I gave that list to both Pompeo and ambassador Bolton,” he said.

Trump said Saturday that he had no plans to extradite Gulen, who strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

“It’s not under consideration,” Trump told reporters, while also saying that Erdogan is “a friend of mine. He’s a strong man, a tough man and a smart man, so whatever we can do, we’ll do... but at this point? No.”

US-Turkish relations have recently been strained, but they warmed up after Ankara’s release in October of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The fate of Gulen remains a central point of tension between the countries.



Zarif condemns US president’s shameful statement on Saudi crimes

Nov 20, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced a statement by US President Donald Trump that Washington will stand by Saudi Arabia despite the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “shameful.”

Earlier in the day, Trump said in a statement issued by the White House that the incumbent US administration will support the Saudis despite international condemnation of Khashoggi's killing at the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul early last month.

He added that the US intends to remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia even though "it could very well be" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had knowledge of Khashoggi's death.

“It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event," Trump said, adding, "maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"

He added that he had no intention of cancelling military contracts with Riyadh.

The US president then accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East region, saying, “Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.””

Trump further claimed that “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave.”

The allegations came as Iran has no military ties with Yemen and the missile capabilities of Yemeni army forces and allied fighters from Popular Committees are home-grown.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Full report at:



Yemenis mark Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary despite Saudi war

Nov 21, 2018

People in Yemen have taken to the streets of the capital Sana’a and different cities of the country to celebrate the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad. During the event, people reaffirmed their unflinching support for those who are fighting against the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Press TV’s Mohammad al-Attab has more.



Sporadic violent clashes erupt in Hodeidah between Yemeni army, Houthis

20 November 2018

There have been sporadic violent clashes between the Yemeni army forces and Houthi militias in Hodeidah in lines of contact at the July 7 district and the center of Sanaa Street as well as in the city of Al-Saleh northeast Hodeidah. This comes after the Houthis tried to advance towards army posts that the army had seized before the undeclared truce.

The Houthis launch artillery shells and mortars every now and then on residential neighborhoods and streets that are under the army’s control, targeting houses and headquarters of companies and factories.

Meanwhile, the national army is securing the posts it restored in the past few days.

A UN draft resolution on Yemen presented to the Security Council on Monday by Britain called for an immediate truce in the port city of Hodeidah and set a two-week deadline for the warring sides to remove all barriers to humanitarian aid.

Yemen’s Houthi militias said on Monday they were halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their Yemeni allies, responding to a demand from the United Nations.

However, Yemen’s Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani accused the Houthis of violating the truce in Hodeidah, hours after announcing it.

Full report at:



Ansarullah fighters ambush, kill pro-Saudi cmdr, aides in Yemen’s Ma’rib

Nov 21, 2018

Fighters from the Houthi Ansarullah movement have reportedly ambushed and killed a Saudi-backed field commander loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur in the country’s central province of Ma'rib.

A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of Russia's Sputnik news agency that Ansarullah fighters mounted a surprise attack in an area of the Sirwah district on Tuesday, killing Ali Ameesan al-Ajdaei along with five of his aides in the process.

Yemeni forces foil Saudi-led push to seize Jabal al-Nar in Jizan

Meanwhile, Yemeni army troopers and allied fighters from Popular Committees have thwarted an attempt by dozens of Saudi mercenaries to take control of Jabal al-Nar mountainous area in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Jizan.

A Yemeni military official, requesting not to be named, said scores of Yemeni militiamen were killed and injured in the failed push. A number of military vehicles belonging to the Saudi-sponsored forces were destroyed as well.

Separately, three civilians lost their lives when Saudi fighter jets bombarded their home south of Kilo 16 district in the western Yemeni province of Hudaydah.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Full report at:



Yemen at critical juncture in its fight against Saudi-led aggression: Houthi

Nov 20, 2018

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says his country is now at an “important and decisive stage” in the fight against Saudi-led military aggression as the “unjust onslaught is targeting the national dignity, identity and sovereignty” of the conflict-ridden Arab country.

Addressing his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a on Tuesday evening, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said the Yemeni people reserve the right of self-defense in the face of the Saudi-led aggression besides the right to freedom and independence.

He described the young Yemeni people as the country’s treasure, emphasizing that enemies are seeking to undermine their faith, awareness, honor and morale.

He warned the Yemeni youths that the United States, its regional allies and corrupt officials aim to strike their values in order to assert control over them.

Houthi further noted that hypocrisy dissipates the Muslim nations’ weight and wealth, and cements US hegemony and arrogance at the global level.

He said the Saudi war on Yemen, backed by the United States, shows Washington’s support for Takfiri terrorists.

The Ansarullah leader also censured attempts by a number of Persian Gulf littoral states, notably Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to forge diplomatic relations with Israel, stressing that the Palestinian cause is a major issue to the Yemeni people.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Full report at:



Palestinian teen dies of Israeli gunfire wounds sustained in Jerusalem al-Quds

Nov 20, 2018

A Palestinian teenage boy has died less than a week after being shot by Israeli military forces over an alleged stabbing attack in the southern sector of East Jerusalem al-Quds as tensions continue in the occupied territories as part of the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocation of the US embassy to the occupied city.

Palestinian sources, requesting not to be named, said 17-year-old Abdul Rahman Ali Abu Jamal passed away at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem al-Quds on Tuesday.

Abu Jamal had been shot and wounded inside the Oz police station in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem al-Quds last Wednesday.

His family members were reportedly not allowed to visit him and check his medical condition.

They have demanded the detection of surveillance cameras inside the police station, and the circumstances around the purported stabbing incident.

Abu Jamal’s family insist that their son told them that he was going to the grocery store to buy milk before leaving the house, and that they were surprised to find out that Abdul Rahman Ali had been charged with carrying out an assault inside the police station.

On December 21 last year, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial policy shift.

Despite the vote, the US went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.

Israel’s crackdown in Gaza left over 60 protesters dead in the impoverished coastal enclave on that day alone.

Full report at:



Erdogan rejects European court’s ‘non-binding’ decision over pro-Kurdish leader

November 20, 2018

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday rejected a decision by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights calling for the release of pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas.

“The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday called on Turkey to release pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas, saying his detention since 2016 on terror charges was aimed at “stifling pluralism.”

Demirtas, one of two former co-leaders of the leftist pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested in November 2016 over his alleged links to Kurdish militants.

At the time of his arrest he was a member of parliament.

The court in the French city of Strasbourg said it accepted that Demirtas had been arrested on “reasonable suspicion” of committing a crime, but said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not “sufficient” and constituted “an unjustified interference with the free expression of the opinion of the people.”

It found that the extension of his detention, particularly during a referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers and later a presidential election, were aimed at “stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society.”

“The court therefore held, unanimously, that the respondent state was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention,” it added.

Full report at:




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