New Age Islam
Wed Jul 24 2024, 07:29 AM

Islamic World News ( 30 Oct 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Macron Vowed France Would Stand Firm Against Religious Extremists After 'Islamist' Knife Attack In Church Kills Three

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 October 2020


French President Emmanuel Macron visit the knife attack spot in Nice. (Photo| AFP)


• Twitter Removes Mahathir Mohamad’s Tweet On Killing Millions Of French People, Accusing Of ‘Glorifying Violence’

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi Greeted Muslims On The Occasion of Milad-un-Nabi with Message Of Brotherhood

• Pulwama Attack ‘Major Imran Achievement’: Pakistan Minister To Parliament

• Middle East Leaders Join World In Condemnation Of Deadly France Attack

• French Investigators Identify Nice Attacker As A 21-Year-Old Tunisian Migrant

• Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, A Religious Political Party, Holds Anti-France Rally Against The Anti-Islam Rhetoric

• Iranian Protesters Issue Final Statement, Warn Western States to Avoid Sacrilege of Islamic Sanctities



• Macron Vowed France Would Stand Firm Against Religious Extremists After 'Islamist' Knife Attack In Church Kills Three

• French Interior Minister: More Attacks Likely Due To ‘War Against Islamist Ideology’

• Nice attacker is Tunisian, entered France from Italy, had Quran copy on him: Official

• European Union leaders demand that Turkey show them some ‘respect’


Southeast Asia

• Twitter Removes Mahathir Mohamad’s Tweet On Killing Millions Of French People, Accusing Of ‘Glorifying Violence’

• Malaysia Condemns 'Provocative Acts', Defamation Of Islam As Anger Over French Cartoon Mounts

• Pompeo urges Indonesia to focus on China's treatment of Uighurs



• Prime Minister Narendra Modi Greeted Muslims On The Occasion of Milad-un-Nabi with Message Of Brotherhood

• India Backs Macron After Attacks By Pakistan, Turkey; Says No Justification For Terror

• AIMPLB Appeals To Muslims To Boycott French Products After Macron's Comments On Islam

• Kashmiri Pandit organisations welcome move to allow any citizen to purchase land in J&K

• Raids Meant To Cripple Terror Funding Ahead Of India’s FATF Test

• Gujarat State Waqf Tribunal Stays Mosque Construction, Prayers In It

• Pak has no locus standi to talk on J&K laws: India

• NGO funding case: NIA conducts searches in J&K for 2nd day

• Efforts to assist Afghanistan through Chabahar port appreciated by US: MEA



• Pulwama Attack ‘Major Imran Achievement’: Pakistan Minister To Parliament

• Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani Neuroscientist Has Signed Mercy Petition, Senate Told

• Imran Khan-led Pakistan government will be sent packing by January 2021, says PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto

• IS ‘prime suspect’ for Peshawar seminary bombing

' • Misleading' to link Abhinandan's release with anything other than Pakistan's mature response: DG ISPR

• UHS won’t forge cooperation with French institutes: VC


Arab world

• Middle East Leaders Join World In Condemnation Of Deadly France Attack

• MbS Would Get Killed By Saudi Royal Family If Riyadh Normalized Ties With Israel: Dissident

• Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry Condemns Nice's Terrorist Attack

• Lebanon and Israel agree to continue maritime border negotiations next month

• Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks



• French Investigators Identify Nice Attacker As A 21-Year-Old Tunisian Migrant

• Somalis protest against offensive cartoons on birthday of Prophet Mohammad

• Nice attack link to Tunisia points to its continued struggle with ‘jihadists’

• Moroccan prison guard killed by ISIS-linked inmate


South Asia

• Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, A Religious Political Party, Holds Anti-France Rally Against The Anti-Islam Rhetoric

• Bangladesh's Institute of Public Health director apologises for ordering Islamic dress code amid outcry

• Parents Name Twins Vladimir Putin, Barak Hussain Obama

• Officials Nab Afghan National in 2008 Kidnapping of U.S. Journalist, Two Others

• Man lynched for stepping on Quran in Bangladesh



• Iranian Protesters Issue Final Statement, Warn Western States to Avoid Sacrilege of Islamic Sanctities

• France’s Macron ‘a puppet in hands of Zionists,’ says Houthi

• Palestinians set to hold Friday of Rage over cartoons insulting Prophet, Macron’s anti-Islam remarks

• Bosnian Speaker Underlines Further Expansion of Ties with Iran

• UN calls for protection of West Bank Palestinian's olive trees

• Israeli court gives three years in prison to Palestinian minor


North America

• US Presidential Contest Increases Influence Of Pakistani, Muslim Voters

• Pompeo calls China "the gravest threat" to the future of religious freedom

• US to allow Jerusalem-born Americans to list Israel as birthplace, says Pompeo

• Trump admin to sell Iranian fuel meant for Venezuela, give proceeds to terror victims

• How might a potential Biden win change US policy on Turkey?

• US moves forward with sale of 50 F-35 jets to UAE: Sources

• US imposes Iran-related sanctions on individuals, entities

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Macron Vowed France Would Stand Firm Against Religious Extremists After 'Islamist' Knife Attack In Church Kills Three

Oct 30, 2020


French President Emmanuel Macron visit the knife attack spot in Nice. (Photo| AFP)


NICE: French president Emmanuel Macron vowed his country would stand firm against religious extremists after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church, in the country's second attack blamed on Islamist terrorism this month.

France will not "give up on our values," Macron said in Nice, after a Tunisian migrant went on a near half-hour rampage with a 30-centimetre (12-inch) knife, targeting people praying in the southern city's Notre-Dame basilica.

A 60-year-old woman died inside the church and the body of a man, a 55-year-old church employee, was found nearby, his throat also slit.

Another woman, a 44-year-old Brazilian who had fled the church to a nearby restaurant, died shortly afterwards from multiple knife wounds.

"Tell my children I love them," she managed to say before her death, according to French cable channel BFM TV.

The assailant, who was shot and wounded by police, was identified as 21-year-old Brahim Aouissaoui, who arrived in Italy last month, then travelled to France, judicial sources said.

Aouissaoui who had a copy of the Koran and three knives with him, shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) when approached by police who shot and seriously wounded him, France's anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told a press conference.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi told journalists at the scene the attacker "kept repeating 'Allahu Akbar' even while under medication" as he was taken to hospital.

The church killings come after the October 16 beheading in a Paris suburb of history teacher Samuel Paty by an extremist after Paty showed pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a free speech lesson.

Macron defended the cartoons and the right to mock religion, sparking widespread anger against France in the Islamic world and several campaigns in Muslim-majority countries to boycott French products.

Daniel Conilh, a 32-year-old waiter at Nice's Grand Cafe de Lyon, a block from the church, said it was shortly before 9:00 am when "shots were fired and everybody took off running".

"A woman came in straight from the church and said, 'Run, run, someone has been stabbing people'," he told AFP.

French anti-terror prosecutors are handling the inquiry into charges related to a "terrorist murder".

The police who shot Aouissaoui had "without any doubt prevented an even higher toll," said chief prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard, adding investigators had found two unused knives in a bag at the scene.

The killings, which occurred ahead of the Catholic holy day of All Saints Day on Sunday, prompted the government to raise the terror alert level to the maximum "emergency" level nationwide.

France has been on high alert since the January 2015 massacre at the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo marked the beginning of a wave of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 250 people.

Tensions have heightened since last month, when the trial opened for 14 suspected accomplices in that attack.

The paper marked the start of the court proceedings by republishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that infuriated millions of Muslims worldwide -- the same caricatures that teacher Samuel Paty used as lesson material.

Days after the trial opened, an 18-year-old man from Pakistan seriously injured two people with a meat cleaver outside Charlie Hebdo's former offices in Paris.

In Nice, Macron announced increased surveillance of churches by France's Sentinelle military patrols, to be bolstered to 7,000 troops from 3,000.

Security at schools would also be boosted, he said.

But some claim Macron is unfairly targeting France's estimated five to six million Muslims -- the largest community in Europe.

Macron on Thursday urged people of all religions to unite and not "give in to the spirit of division".

After Thursday's attack, Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad tweeted that "Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past".

Twitter later deleted his post.

Thursday also saw a Saudi citizen wound a guard in a knife attack at the French consulate in Jeddah while police in the French city of Lyon said they had arrested an Afghan spotted carrying a knife while trying to board a tram.

In Nice, painful memories remain fresh of a jihadist attack during Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, 2016, when a man rammed his truck into a crowded promenade, killing 86 people.

Abdallah Zekri, director general of the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) denounced Thursday's attack and urged French Muslims to cancel festivities to mark the Mawlid, or the Prophet's birthday, which ends Thursday, "in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones".


Twitter Removes Mahathir Mohamad’s Tweet On Killing Millions Of French People, Accusing Of ‘Glorifying Violence’

Tuqa Khalid

30 October 2020


Mahathir Mohamad. Photo: Bloomberg


Twitter removed a tweet by Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, accusing him of “glorifying violence” in a message that said that Muslims had a right “to kill millions of French people,” shortly after a knife-wielding man killed three people in a church in the French city of Nice.

In a tweet, which was among a longer thread about Muslims living in France, Mahathir said: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”

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

Three people were killed at a church in the southern French city, with the attacker slitting the throat of at least one of them, in what authorities were treating as the latest jihadist attack to rock the country.

Shortly afterwards, Mahathir – who was prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia until his government collapsed in February – launched an extraordinary outburst on Twitter.

Referring to the beheading of a French teacher who showed pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Mahathir said he did not approve of that attack but that freedom of expression does not include "insulting other people".

"Irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill," said the outspoken 95-year-old.

"The French in the course of their history has killed millions of people. Many were Muslims. Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past."

Mahathir, who served as Malaysian premier twice for a total of 24 years, said that French President Emmanuel Macron was "not showing that he is civilised", adding he was "very primitive".

"The French should teach their people to respect other people's feelings. Since you have blamed all Muslims and the Muslims' religion for what was done by one angry person, the Muslims have a right to punish the French.

"The boycott cannot compensate the wrongs committed by the French all these years."

He made no direct reference to the Nice attack.

The beheading of the teacher, Samuel Paty, prompted Macron to promise a crackdown on what he described as “Islamist extremism.”

But the move has inflamed tensions, with protests against France erupting in several Muslim countries, with some urging a boycott of French goods.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi Greeted Muslims On The Occasion of Milad-un-Nabi with Message Of Brotherhood

October 30, 2020


Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI Photo


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday greeted Muslims on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. "Best wishes on Milad-un-Nabi. Hope this day furthers compassion and brotherhood all across. May everybody be healthy and happy. Eid Mubarak!" PM Modi said in a tweet. Eid Milad Un Nabi or Mawlid is being celebrated today in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other parts of the subcontinent. Eid Milad Un Nabi is celebrated in the third month of the Muslim lunar calendar.

Best wishes on Milad-un-Nabi. Hope this day furthers compassion and brotherhood all across. May everybody be healthy and happy. Eid Mubarak!

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 30, 2020

President Ram Nath Kovind in his greeting on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi tweeted, "On the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially to our Muslim brothers and sisters in India and abroad. Let us follow his teachings and work for the well-being of society and peace and harmony in the country."   

On the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), good wishes to all fellow citizens, especially to our Muslim brothers and sisters in India and abroad. Let us follow his teachings and work for the well-being of society and peace & harmony in the country.

— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) October 30, 2020  

The history of Mawlid goes back to the early days of Islam when people gathered to read poetry and sang verses to honour Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet's life and teachings, as reflected in the Hadith, continue to influence believers. Muslims who observe Milad-un-Nabi remember, discuss and celebrate the Prophet's life on Eid Milad Un Nabi. People hold night-long prayers and send Milad-un-Nabi e-cards to friends and family. Eid Milad Un Nabi Mubarak!


Pulwama Attack ‘Major Imran Achievement’: Pakistan Minister To Parliament

Oct 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD/ NEW DELHI: In what amounts to an admission — for the first time — of Pakistan's role in the February 14, 2019 Pulwama terror attack, the country’s minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said the jihadi strike was a "major achievement" under the leadership of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In his remarks on the floor of the National Assembly, Chaudhry said the attack was a success of both the treasury and opposition benches. Though the statement was a response to a jibe from PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq that the country’s military caved in to an Indian threat of retaliation if captured IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan was not returned, science & technology minister Chaudhry ended up admitting the terror strike was Pakistan's doing.

resize15 (1)

Sadiq had claimed a day earlier in the National Assembly that the Imran Khan government had released Abhinandan fearing an imminent attack from India. The IAF pilot was captured after an unsuccessful Pakistani attempt to bomb targets in India after the February 26 Balakot strike by the IAF.

"Humne Hindustan mein ghus ke unko maara (We hit India in their home). Our success in Pulwama is a success of this nation under the leadership of Imran Khan. You (opposition) and we (government) are all part of that success," Chaudhry said in response to Sadiq’s claim. He seemed to be borrowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's words describing the IAF action on a jihad nursery in Balakot.

On Wednesday, Sadiq claimed that the government had "pleaded" with parliamentary leaders that Abhinandan be allowed to be set free. "I remember foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was present in that meeting, which the prime minister had refused to attend. The chief of army staff was also present," Sadiq had said on Wednesday.

"With his legs shaking and sweat on his forehead, Qureshi told us, ‘For God’s sake, let him (Abhinandan) go back now, otherwise India will attack Pakistan at 9pm’," Sadiq quoted Qureshi as saying.

Meanwhile, Pakistan army spokesperson Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said that any attempt to link Abhinandan’s release with "anything other than the country’s mature response as a responsible state was disappointing and misleading".

Addressing a press conference on Thursday with a one-point agenda, Iftikhar said he sought to "correct the record" regarding the events that surrounded India's violation of Pakistani airspace in February last year.

"A statement was given yesterday which tried to distort the history of issues associated with national security," he said, referring to Sadiq’s statement.

He said following the Pulwama attack, India "showed aggression against Pakistan in violation of all international laws on February 26, 2019, in which not only did it face defeat but was humiliated around the world".

"Pakistani armed forces’ alert and timely response foiled the enemy's designs. The enemy planes that had come to drop the explosives on the Pakistani people escaped while dropping their payload on empty mountains in panic after seeing our Shaheens," the spokesperson said.

"Pakistan responded to India in broad daylight after announcing it. Not only did we give an appropriate reply, but also shot down two enemy war planes and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan," the military spokesperson said.

"During these actions, the enemy became so frightened that it shot down its own helicopter and troops in a state of panic. This victory not only exposed India’s hollow claims of power before the world but made the entire Pakistani nation proud," he said.

"Being a responsible state, the government of Pakistan, in order to give peace another chance, decided to release Indian prisoner of war Wing Commander Abhinandan," he added, emphasising that this decision, which was in line with the Geneva Convention, was praised the world over.


Middle East leaders join world in condemnation of deadly France attack

October 30, 2020

PARIS: World leaders condemned fatal stabbings in the French city of Nice Thursday that France called an Islamist terrorist attack.

Condemnation came from US President Donald Trump, UN chief Antonio Guterres, as well as European, Arab and Israeli leaders.

“Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest Ally in this fight,” Trump tweeted. “These Radical Islamic terrorist attacks must stop immediately. No country, France or otherwise can long put up with it!“

One of the first to condemn was Turkey, embroiled in a row with France over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have triggered a wave of attacks against French people.

“We strongly condemn the attack committed today inside the Notre-Dame church in Nice,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said.

It expressed solidarity with France, and offered condolences to relatives of the three people killed in the attack.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also condemned the attack, while adding that “peace cannot be achieved with ugly provocation.”

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Arab and Islamic leaders drew a clear distinction between their religion and violent acts that claimed to defend it.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said it “stands as a government and people with... France in combating this hateful incident.”

Qatar voiced strong condemnation and reiterated its rejection of violence and terrorism, especially against places of worship and regardless of the motives.

Lebanese prime minister designate Saad Hariri urged Muslims “to reject this criminal act that has nothing to do with Islam or the Prophet.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the killing as “an attack on liberty. When we think of France, we think of liberty. And we stand with the people of France.”

European Union leaders quickly expressed solidarity with France, and pledged to confront “those that seek to incite and spread hatred.”

“I condemn the odious and brutal attack that has just taken place in Nice and I am with France with all my heart,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

“We will remain united and determined in the face of barbarity and fanaticism.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “deeply shaken by the brutal murders” and said “my thoughts are with the relatives of those murdered and injured. Germany stands with France at this difficult time.”

In a statement issued later by EU Council chief Charles Michel, the 27 leaders expressed solidarity with France but made no reference to the controversy over cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned a “cowardly attack” and said: “Our convictions are stronger than fanaticism, hatred and terror. We embrace the families of the victims and our French brothers. We are united!“

Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez added: “We continue to defend freedom, our democratic values, peace and the security of our citizens.”

A harder tone came from Hungary, where populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote that the attack showed clearly “that our culture, our way of life and our European values are in the crosshairs of extremist terrorism.

“We are ready to join forces in order to protect traditional European values and the traditional European way of life,” Orban added.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who previously governed with far-right ministers, called the murders in Nice “a despicable Islamist terror attack.”

“We will defend our values and European ‘way of life’ with all our might against Islamists and political Islam,” Kurz said.

Indian premier Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, strongly condemned the “heinous attack in Nice” and added that his country also “stands with France in the fight against terrorism.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “appalled” at the “barbaric attack at the Notre-Dame Basilica,” he tweeted in English and French.

“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance.”

Pope Francis prayed for the victims as the Vatican said that “terrorism and violence can never be accepted.

“Today’s attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The pontiff urged people in France, a multi-cultural society, to “unite to combat evil with good.”

During talks with the Italian foreign minister, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned: “The attempt to foment war between religions is inconceivable.

“There is no war between Christianity and Islam, or between Judaism and Islam and we must be sure that no one is allowed to make that happen.”


French investigators identify Nice attacker as a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant

29 October 2020

The man suspected of killing three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday is a 21-year-old Tunisian who arrived in Europe just a few weeks ago, sources close to the inquiry said.

The suspect, identified as Brahim Aoussaoui, landed in late September on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he was placed in virus quarantine by authorities before being released with an order to quit Italian territory.

He arrived in France in early October, the sources said.


Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, A Religious Political Party, Holds Anti-France Rally Against The Anti-Islam Rhetoric

Md. Kamruzzaman  


DHAKA, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a religious political party, on Thursday protested against the anti-Islam rhetoric and publication of blasphemous cartoons in France.

Protesters at the rally in the capital Dhaka chanted slogans against France, and urged Bangladeshis for a boycott of French products.

Shafiqur Rahman, a party leader, said Muslims cannot tolerate any insult against the Prophet Muhammad.

"I expect all Muslims to raise their voice against France's pro-blasphemy stance strongly but peacefully," he told Anadolu Agency.

Addressing the rising trend of Islamophobia in Europe, he said: "Muslims across the world should stay united, and not let anyone ridicule Islam."

Thousands of protesters from the Islami Andolon Bangladesh group also demonstrated against French President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of blasphemous cartoons on Tuesday.

They demanded a boycott of French goods, and urged the Bangladeshi government to expel France's ambassador. 

Police had placed barricades to keep marchers away from the French embassy.

Muslims have been calling for both protests and a boycott of French goods in response to the controversial statements following the killing of a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Macron also described Islam as a "a religion in crisis," and initiated a crackdown against "Islamist separatism."


Iranian Protesters Issue Final Statement, Warn Western States to Avoid Sacrilege of Islamic Sanctities

Oct 29, 2020

"The insulting act of the French publication has hurt the hearts of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, as they took to the streets all over the world to express anger and disgust even under coronavirus situation," the statement said.

"Unfortunately, we have recently witnessed that some reactionary governments in the region betrayed the Muslim Ummah by normalizing their relations with the occupying regime and served the leaders of infidelity, and became their puppets," it added.

They voiced their firm stance on the sacred ideals of Islam, and said, "We will not give up the struggle until your complete destruction and the eradication of oppression from the world."

Groups of people, including university students, gathered in front of the French embassy in Tehran on Wednesday to protest at President Emanuel Macron’s position in support of the blasphemous acts against the holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH).

The protestors, who wore surgical masks and met social distancing protocols due to the coronavirus epidemic, condemned the organized sacrilege of Islamic sanctities in France, chanting slogans against Macron and other French officials.

They also called on the Iranian government to expel the French ambassador, and stressed the need for boycotting the France-made goods.





French interior minister: More attacks likely due to ‘war against Islamist ideology’

30 October 2020

More attacks on French soil are likely as France is engaged in a “war against Islamist ideology”, its interior minister said on Friday.

A knife-wielding Tunisian man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday before being shot and taken away by police.

“We are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside,” Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio.

“We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.”


Nice attacker is Tunisian, entered France from Italy, had Quran copy on him: Official

30 October 2020

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor says the man who killed three in a Nice church was a Tunisian aged about 20 who entered France from Italy, and was carrying a copy of Islam’s Holy Quran, on him at the time of the attack.

Jean-Francois Ricard told a press conference late Thursday that the man arrived in Italy by reaching the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on September 20, and traveled to Paris on October 9.

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

The travel information came from a document on the man from the Italian Red Cross, Ricard said. The attacker was seriously wounded by police, who fired at least 14 bullets at him, and is being treated in a hospital.

Ricard added that the attacker was not on the radar of intelligence agencies as a potential threat.

He detailed the gruesome scene inside the church where a man and woman were killed by the attacker. The third victim, a 44-year-old woman who managed to flee, died at a nearby restaurant.

A 60-year-old woman whose body was found at the entry of the church, suffered “a very deep throat slitting, like a decapitation,” Ricard said. The 55-year-old man also died after deep cuts to his throat.

An investigation was opened for murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise, a common term for such crimes.

A copy of the Quran and two telephones were among the things found on the attacker. Also found was the knife used in the attack, with a 17-centimeter (6.7-inch) blade, Ricard said. A bag with the attacker’s personal affairs was found to contain another two unused knives.


European Union leaders demand that Turkey show them some ‘respect’

30 October 2020

European Union leaders demanded that Turkey show them some respect on Thursday and warned its encroachment into Greek waters is "completely unacceptable".

The 27 national leaders met by videolink to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, but European Council chief Charles Michel said they also discussed the stand-off in the Mediterranean.

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

Turkey has deployed a research ship to search for gas in waters claimed by Greece, setting off a fierce war of words with European leaders and talk of sanctions.

NATO has set up a hotline to help the Greek and Turkish militaries avoid accidental clashes, and Germany has been leading a diplomatic outreach.

But Greece and Cyprus, with strong backing from France, have been calling for tougher action. The EU leaders are due to return to the issue at their next summit.

"We expressed our determination to be respected and we agreed to work on two tracks, a positive track and a less positive one," Michel said.

"We offered a clear way to work towards a positive agenda with Turkey. So far Turkey has not chosen this path," he said.

"We condemn the recent unilateral action in the eastern Mediterranean, provocations and rhetoric which are completely unacceptable," he warned.

"We will have the occasion to revert to this topic in December," he said, referring to the next scheduled EU summit, at which the 27 could decide on action.



Southeast Asia


Malaysia condemns 'provocative acts', defamation of Islam as anger over French cartoon mounts

OCT 28, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian government said it strongly condemns provocative acts that would defame Islam as Muslim activists in the country called for the boycott of French products amid a growing anger across the world over the French President's remarks that defended cartoons of the Prophet.

Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement on Tuesday night (Oct 27) that as a matter of principle, Malaysia strongly condemns any inflammatory rhetoric and provocative acts that seek to defame Islam.

He cited the populist speeches and publication of blasphemous caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad as examples of actions that are disrespectful towards the religion and more than two billion Muslims all over the world.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin also said his government is gravely concerned over the "growing open hostility towards Muslims".

"Malaysia is committed to upholding the freedom of speech and expression as fundamental human rights for as long as these rights are exercised with respect and responsibility in order to not infringe on or violate the rights of others," his statement read.

"In this context, to denigrate and tarnish the Prophet and to associate Islam with terrorism are certainly beyond the scope of such rights."

Umno Youth has also submitted a memorandum to the French embassy in Kuala Lumpur asking French President Emmanuel Macron to retract his statement and apologise to Muslims.

President Macron found himself in the centre of a global backlash, particularly in the Islamic world, over a remark he made at a memorial service for high school teacher Samuel Paty, who was murdered earlier this month in a terror attack.

Mr Paty was beheaded near his school in a northern suburb of Paris after he showed cartoons of the prophet published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a class on freedom of expression.

In an apparent defence of free speech, Mr Macron said that France would not "give up" the caricatures and pledged to tackle extreme Islamism in the country, which outraged many Muslim-majority countries.

Protesters took to the streets in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza and Turkey as France warned its citizens abroad to take extra precautions.

"As a democratic and moderate Islamic country with a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, Malaysia continues to promote and maintain harmonious relations and peaceful co-existence, not only among our people of different faiths and convictions, but also in the context of the diverse global community," said Mr Hishammuddin.

He added that Malaysia will continue to work with the international community to promote mutual respect among religions and prevent religious extremism at all levels.

The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), one of Malaysia's largest Islamic organisations, has also criticised President Macron, for making allegations "with elements of Islamophobia by hiding behind freedom of expression".

"As an organisation that promotes religious harmony, Abim condemns the brutal murder of Samuel Paty and at the same time strongly criticises the statement of the French president," its president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said in a statement.

He called on Muslims in Malaysia and around the world to boycott French products.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has similarly called on Turks to boycott French goods. But European leaders have come out in support of France, with leaders from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands publicly expressing their solidarity with Mr Macron.


Pompeo urges Indonesia to focus on China's treatment of Uighurs

OCTOBER 29, 2020

By Tom Allard, Kate Lamb

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday urged Indonesians to focus on the treatment of Muslim Uighurs in China, describing it as the “gravest threat” to religious freedom in a speech to an Islamic group.

On a trip to the world’s largest Muslim majority country, Pompeo praised Indonesia’s tradition of tolerance, but urged Jakarta to resist China’s entreaties to “look away from the torments of your fellow Muslims”.

Pompeo said China had brutalised its Uighur minority in Xinjiang province, corralling them in huge detention centres and forcing some to eat pork during the Islamic holy month.In his address to the youth wing of Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, he also accused China of separating Uighur children from their parents and imposing sterilisations.

China denies mistreating Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism and promote development.

Indonesians are typically vocal about the mistreatment of Muslims, but the backlash against abuses of Uighurs has been comparatively muted.

China - Indonesia’s largest trade partner and a leading investor - has also embarked on a diplomatic push to influence perceptions about Uighurs in Indonesia, including paid trips for journalists and Muslim leaders to Xinjiang.

Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi has said her government has pressed China on the treatment of Uighurs.

Pompeo also lamented the rise in “blasphemy accusations” and discrimination against non-official religions, both growing problems in Indonesia, according to Human Rights Watch’s Andreas Harsono.

Indonesia is religiously pluralist but recognises only five religions: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism.

“Indonesia has a toxic blasphemy law and is planning to expand it,” said Harsono.

“Indonesia continuously discriminates against non-Islam and non-Sunni minorities, as well as indigenous faiths,” he said.

Pompeo is visiting Indonesia as part of a regional trip to bolster trade and security ties amid rising geopolitical tensions between the United States and China. He also met Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno in Jakarta.





India backs Macron after attacks by Pakistan, Turkey; says no justification for terror

Oct 29, 2020

India on Thursday came out strongly in support of French President Emmanuel Macron’s stance on radical Islam in the wake of the beheading of a teacher in Paris and deplored personal attacks on him by countries such as Turkey and Pakistan.

New Delhi’s opposition to criticism of Macron came against the backdrop of foreign secretary Harsh Shringla beginning a two-day visit to France and another terror attack in the French city of Nice, where a knife-wielding man killed three people in a church.

Macron has pledged to crack down on radical Islam in France after the October 16 beheading of Samuel Paty, a professor who used controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression. Paty’s killing by a suspected terrorist triggered a heated debate on secularism and Islamophobia in France.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Macron needs “some sort of mental treatment” for his attitude towards Muslims, while Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the French president of encouraging Islamophobia.

Asked about such criticism of Macron at the external affairs ministry’s weekly news briefing, spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said without naming any countries: “We have strongly deplored the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron and we have also condemned the brutal terrorist attack that took the life of a French teacher.”

He added, “We believe there is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance.”

The external affairs ministry also said in a statement that the attacks on Macron violate the “most basic standards of international discourse”. It added that Paty’s murder has “shocked the world”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned recent terror attacks in France, including the one in Nice, in a tweet, saying: “Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of France. India stands with France in the fight against terrorism.”

Shringla tweeted that he had reiterated the “PM’s message to our #French interlocutors and at the public event at the Institute of French International Relations (IFFRI)”.

French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain responded to the external affairs ministry’s expression of support by tweeting: “Thank you @MEAIndia. France and India can always count on each other in the fight against terrorism.”

Amid protests in some Muslim countries over Macron’s defence of the publication of the caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, there was support for the French president from European states such as the UK. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the UK stands with France “in sorrow, shock and solidarity at the horrifying events in Nice” and he offered “every support to the French people in pursuing those responsible for this appalling attack”.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I am appalled to hear the news from Nice...of a barbaric attack at the Notre-Dame Basilica. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance.”

France has emerged as one of India’s strongest allies in Europe and has taken a strong position on security challenges facing the country, especially at the UN Security Council. It has consistently criticised cross-border terrorism targeting India and was also one of the first countries to offer support amid the border standoff with China and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash in June.

French defence minister Florence Parly expressed “deep solidarity” over the death of the Indian soldiers in a violent face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and conveyed her country’s “steadfast and friendly support” in a letter sent to her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

India’s support for Macron also comes at a time when New Delhi’s relations with Islamabad and Ankara are at a low. Pakistani and Turkish leaders have earned India’s ire by repeatedly raising the issue of Kashmir and treatment of minorities at international forums such as the UN.


AIMPLB appeals to Muslims to boycott French products after Macron's comments on Islam

Oct 30, 2020

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) appealed to the Muslims to boycott French products on Thursday. Maulana Muhammad Umrain Mahfuz Rahmani, the secretary of the board and in-charge of the social media desk, made the announcement.

The appeal was issued over French President Emmanuel Macron's speeches on Islam and Muslims. In Bhopal, members of the Muslim community also protested at Iqbal Maidan against Macron over the controversy about the depiction of Prophet Muhammad in cartoons.

Speaking at the demonstration, Congress MLA Arif Masood demanded that the Union government asked the Indian Ambassador to France to register protest against "anti-Muslim" stand of that country's regime.

This becomes after the French President made certain comments on Islam after the brutal killing of schoolteacher Samuel Patty for showing a cartoon of the Prophet.


Kashmiri Pandit organisations welcome move to allow any citizen to purchase land in J&K

Oct 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: Prominent Kashmiri Pandit organisations have welcomed the government notification allowing Indians to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a joint statement, Roots in Kashmir (RIK), Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM) and Youth for Panun Kashmir (Y4PK) have welcomed the government decision.

Dilip Mattoo, President JKVM said that the Kashmiri Pandit community has always kept the rights of Indians above any community or regional aspirations.

“We have chosen exodus but no compromise on the unity and integrity of this nation,” he said.

Rahul Mahanoori, spokesperson, RIK said that soldiers fighting the terror and jihad in Kashmir come from every part of India and thousands have sacrificed their lives fighting the enemy in Kashmir. It was unfair till now that protectors and martyrs had no right on the land, they were ready to sacrifice their lives for.

Netri Bhat, a prominent woman community activist said that with ownership rights extended to entire India is a welcome step towards the One Nation, One Law and One rule. This will also bring in much needed investment and generate employment that will benefit the residents of the state.

Vithal Chowdhary, organising secretary for Y4PK said that the best way to counter jihad in Kashmir is by giving every Indian a right to settle in Jammu & Kashmir.


Raids meant to cripple terror funding ahead of India’s FATF test

Oct 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: The series of raids on Kashmir-based non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and sympathisers of terror outfits by intelligence and enforcement agencies are part of a strategy of the government to dismantle the terror infrastructure in the Valley and cripple sources of terror financing, a pre-condition for India to clear the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) test coming up sometime early next year.

The fourth round of the on-site visit of the FATF team for ‘mutual evaluations’ of India is to take place sometime in February/March next year.

India was removed from the ‘regular follow up process’ after a 2013 plenary meeting of the FATF which found ‘satisfactory level of compliance’. India had carried out all the required legislative reforms associated with anti-money laundering and countering terror financing (AML & CFT) as recommended by the Paris-based intergovernmental body.

Clearing the FATF test is not an easy task for enforcement agencies as they have to prove ‘decisive actions’ on the ground against money laundering and terror financing to avoid being part of the Grey list,which is where Pakistan has found itself in recent times.

Being on the grey list of FATF impedes foreign investments and the country’s trade with others in view of stringent conditions imposed on the financial system and on the inter-governmental transactions. Since 2010, when it became a member of the Paris-based body, India has carried out several legislative reforms and enacted laws required as part of FATF’s guidelines on AML/CFT.

As part of actions on the ground, the government has asked all agencies to file chargesheets in a time-bound manner and ensure completion of trials and convictions in cases registered by them. Indian agencies' record of obtaining convictions in cases investigated by them is very poor owing to many reasons, including witnesses turning hostile or delay in the trial process, all pointing at deficiencies in the present prosecution system.

The searches on Wednesday and Thursday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Kashmir-based NGOs and some overground workers of terror outfits are just among a series of actions being taken against those associated with Pakistan-based terror sponsors. The NIA actions have come just after the Enforcement Directorate attached assets of many hawala operators and Srinagar-based businessmen used by Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed to fund terror operations in the Valley.

The RBI had recently cancelled the licences of 19 foreign exchange agents across the country after they were found issuing foreign currencies, particularly US dollars, to people without keeping track of who they were or what had been their source of funds. Thousands of crores worth of foreign currencies have been distributed by these agents without maintaining any record. A lot of this is suspected to be dirty money, proceeds of crime, and used for anti-national activities, including terror financing.

The ED last month filed a chargesheet against hawala dealers, terror sympathisers and heads of terror outfits, including LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. Its probe revealed many in the Union Territory of J&K, including some NGOs, were founded by Saeed’s Pak-based NGO Falah-i-Insaniyat for terror operation and providing safe houses to Pak-based terrorists operating in the Valley.


Gujarat State Waqf Tribunal Stays Mosque Construction, Prayers In It

Oct 30, 2020

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat State Waqf Tribunal has ordered a stay on further construction of a mosque and the offering of prayers at it, after a Muslim group objected to the masjid being built on a graveyard with old graves.

The dispute concerns control over a Sunni Muslim graveyard at Badarpura village near Palanpur in north Gujarat. A shrine named Balapir and a few old graves existed on the graveyard land. As members of the Tabligh Jamaat wrested control of the trust, they got permission to build a mosque at the graveyard from the Gujarat State Waqf Board.

The construction of the mosque on top of the old graves irked members of another group, which follows the Sufi tradition. They objected before the Masjid, Madresa, Kabrastan Balapir Waqf Trust, which manages the graveyard’s affairs, and the government authorities, but to no avail. They finally approached the Waqf Tribunal and argued that construction permission for a mosque by destroying the graves of their forefathers could not have been granted by the board, as they are revered in their faith. They also objected to the construction of a mosque on a graveyard.

After a preliminary hearing on October 15, which involved the lawyer from the Waqf Trust, the tribunal said that the Tabligh Jamaat was not able to supply evidence regarding the handing over of the disputed land to it and that illegal construction of a religious structure would create an unnecessary dispute between people of two different faiths.

While directing a stay on further construction and use of the religious structure, the tribunal also ordered the board and concerned government authorities in Banaskantha district to monitor the situation and if the tribunal’s order is violated, they should take immediate action. The status quo has been ordered to be maintained till the court pronounces a final verdict in this case.


Pak has no locus standi to talk on J&K laws: India

Oct 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: The government Thursday hit out at Pakistan for attacking India on the issue of terrorism as it said that the whole world knew the truth about Pakistan and its role in supporting terrorism. India also asked Islamabad to not talk about land laws in Jammu & Kashmir as it was an internal matter of India and no country had the locus standi to comment on the issue.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told reporters that Pakistan was providing shelter to the maximum number of UN proscribed terrorists.

On the issue of J&K land laws, the official said India had taken a number of measures in recent times for the socio-economic development and for improvement of livelihood in Jammu & Kashmir.


NGO funding case: NIA conducts searches in J&K for 2nd day

Oct 29, 2020

SRINAGAR: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) continued with its operation against a number of NGOs and trusts for the second consecutive day on Thursday, conducting searches at six locations in Jammu and Kashmir and two in Delhi.

According to an NIA spokesperson, these searches were in connection with a case related to NGOs and trusts allegedly diverting funds meant for charitable activities to secessionist and separatist activities in J&K.

NIA sleuths conducted searches at premises of JK Yateem Foundation in Srinagar and Kulgam, Salvation Movement in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Voice of Victims in Baramulla, Falah-e-Aam Trust in Budgam, Human Welfare Foundation offices in Delhi and Anantnag and Charity Alliance in Delhi.

“These searches were in continuation of Wednesday's operations. The case was registered on October 8, under Sections 120B, 124A of IPC and Sections 17, 18, 22A, 22C, 38, 39 and 40 of UAPA as per the directions of MHA. The ministry had received credible information that certain NGOs and trusts are collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations and business contributions in the name of welfare activities such as public health and education,” said an NIA spokesperson.

“These funds are sent to J&K through various channels like hawala and cash couriers. Several incriminating documents and electronic devices have been seized during searches,” the spokesperson added.


Efforts to assist Afghanistan through Chabahar port appreciated by US: MEA

Posted by Shivani Kumar

Oct 29, 2020

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Thursday said that India’s efforts to assist Afghanistan through the Chabahar port were appreciated by the United States during the recently concluded 2+2 Ministerial dialogue.

Speaking at the weekly media briefing, Srivastava said: “Our development assistance and multi-modal connectivity infrastructure and trade linkages that have been built and our efforts in this regard through our development assistance to Afghanistan to sustain the growth and development there over the long term was something which was appreciated by the US side.”

The MEA Spokesperson was replying to a question -- whether the US had given a green signal to the developments on Chabahar port in Iran.

In 2018, Iran and India had signed an agreement worth USD 85 million to develop the Chabahar Port in south-eastern Iran.

The Chabahar Port, which provides an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan, is located in the Gulf of Oman.

The United States has provided a “narrow exemption” to India from sanctions on the Chabahar project in Iran as it plays a vital role in transporting India’s humanitarian supplies to war-torn Afghanistan.





Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani Neuroscientist Has Signed Mercy Petition, Senate Told

Iftikhar A. Khan

30 Oct 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Thursday that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted by a US court on the charge of shooting at army and FBI officers while in custody in Afghanistan, has finally signed a mercy petition.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said during the question hour that earlier Dr Siddiqui had reservations over filing the mercy petition, but now she has signed it and the petition was being sent to the US president through the jail authorities.

“If we had the power, we would have brought Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan within 24 hours,” Mr Awan said.

He said Dr Siddiqui had access to e-mail through which she stayed in touch with her family and counsel.

Besides, he said, Dr Aafia had spoken to officials of Pakistan Embassy in the United States by telephone several times.

The adviser said that legal action could be taken against those who had handed over Dr Siddiqui and Aimal Kansi to the United States.

On behalf of the foreign minister, Mr Awan was responding to a question asked by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad who had sought to confirm whether ban had been imposed on meetings with Dr Siddiqui in the US jail during the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of Covid-19 patients was increasing in that prison.

The written reply said that during the pandemic, the consular visits had been suspended by the prison authorities in Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, a US federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, for female inmates with special medical and mental health needs.

“Resultantly, in person meetings of our Consul General with Dr Aafia Siddiqui had been put on hold. However, Consul General remained in touch with the prison authorities in order to get updates on the health and well-being of Dr Aafia,” the reply said.

It said that due to efforts made by Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington DC, a special consular visit had been arranged for the consul general in Houston to meet Dr Siddiqui on Sept 24. During the meeting she herself informed the consul general that her Covid-19 test had come negative. She was alert in her conversation with the diplomat and told him that she had recently been examined by her psychiatrist who had declared her well.


Imran Khan-led Pakistan government will be sent packing by January 2021, says PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto

Oct 29, 2020

GILGIT-BALTISTAN: Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday insisted that Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would be sent packing by January 2021, and a 'people's government' would take over.

While addressing a public gathering at the main Skardu Bazaar as part of the party's campaign for the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections in November, Zardari said that today every section of the society was protesting against the PTI government, further pointing out that GB had not yet become a separate province, but the PTI government at the centre had already imposed taxes on the region's people, reported Dawn.

He also declared that the campaign for the right to rule and right to property belonged to the PPP."PPP is the only party which included the demands of people of Gilgit-Baltistan in its manifesto for elections in Pakistan in 2018," Dawn quoted him.

He went on to say that PPP was the only party advocating that people of GB should have their own province, representation in the Senate and the National Assembly of Pakistan. The PPP chairman also warned that his party won't allow stealing of votes in Gilgit-Baltistan.

He stated that it was unfortunate that the 'tyrants' had snatched Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto, Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto from the people.

"I have gone to the smallest town and village in Gilgit-Baltistan and seen that Bhutto is alive at all those places," Zardari declared.

Thousands of PPP workers from across the Baltistan division had shown up in the meeting.Former Gilgit-Baltistan governor and PPP central leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, former chief minister Mehdi Shah, PPP GB president Amjad Hussain Advocate and Sadia Danish were also present on the occasion.

Along with moving ahead with its plan to make Gilgit-Baltistan as its province, Pakistan is also planning to hold elections to the so-called Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly on November 15.


IS ‘prime suspect’ for Peshawar seminary bombing

30 Oct 2020

PESHAWAR: The Islamic State, a militant outfit, is the prime suspect for the Peshawar seminary bomb blast in light of initial investigations, the provincial government was informed during a meeting on Thursday.

The high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was called over the Zubbariyah Madrassah bombing, which had killed eight students and around 120 others injured on Tuesday morning.

A senior official told Dawn requesting anonymity that the participants discussed the threat perception in the wake of the bomb blast and the recent regrouping of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

He said the chief minister was informed that Zubbariyah Madrassah administrator Sheikh Rahimuddin Haqqani was vocal against the Islamic State and had issued several fatwas (decrees) against it.

The meeting was also informed that the Sheikh Haqqani, who survived the attack, was on the hit list of the IS, which had attempted to kill him in the past.

Investigators say explosive, timed device used in blast apparently smuggled from Afghanistan

“These things made the IS the prime suspect for bomb attack,” the official said.

He said the initial investigations had revealed that the ‘military grade’ explosive or TNT was used in the timed detonation and both of the explosive and timed device were not available locally and were apparently smuggled from Afghanistan.

The official said after being ‘badly battered’ in Afghanistan, the Islamic Sate seemed to be trying to make for losses by reasserting themselves in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a statement issued here said the meeting was attended by chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, home secretary Ikramullah, Peshawar commissioner Amjid Ali Khan and senior police officials.

The participants were briefed about the current security situation in the province and security arrangements made to prevent terrorist attacks.

The statement said Chief Minister Mahmood Khan declared security of the public life and property the government’s foremost duty and top priority and said there won’t be any compromise on peace in the province and all resources would be utilised for the purpose.Mr Mahmood said the seminary bomb blast was an attempt to spoil the peaceful atmosphere of the province but the government would maintain law and order at all costs.

He directed the police to ensure fool proof security arrangements and further improve their intelligence system to preempt terrorist attacks.

Earlier, seminary administrator Sheikh Haqqani, in a message on Facebook Live, a video streaming feature of the social networking website, had pointed the finger at the Islamic State for the bomb blast.

He, however, didn’t name the militant outfit explicitly.

“Neither it was the first Kharijite attack nor would it be the last one,” the cleric said in the message in an apparent reference to the Islamic State.

He, however, said, “we would not retreat from our mission despite the attack.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of the religious educational boards met the city police’s officials to chalk out a strategy for the security of the local religious schools.

The police officials briefed visitors about the steps being taken for the security of seminaries.

The delegates assured the police of their support and cooperation for maintaining peace and law and order in the city.


'Misleading' to link Abhinandan's release with anything other than Pakistan's mature response: DG ISPR

Javed Hussain

29 Oct 2020

Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), on Thursday termed as "disappointing" and "misleading" any attempt to link the release of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with anything other than Pakistan's mature response as a responsible state.

Although the chief of the military's media wing did not name anyone, his statement comes a day after former National Assembly speaker and senior PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq suggested that the PTI government had released Abhinandan in capitulation, fearing an imminent attack from India.

After his comments sparked a social media storm, Sadiq on Thursday issued a clarification, saying his remarks were being "misquoted and misreported".

Addressing a press conference with a one-point agenda, the DG ISPR said he sought to "correct the record" regarding the events that surrounded India's violation of Pakistani airspace last year in February.

"A statement was given yesterday which tried to distort the history of issues associated with national security," he said.

The DG ISPR said following the attack on Indian troops in occupied Kashmir's Pulwama area, India "showed aggression against Pakistan in violation of all international laws on February 26, 2019, in which not only did it face defeat but was humiliated around the world".

"Pakistani armed forces' alert and timely response foiled the enemy's designs. The enemy planes that had come to drop the explosives on the Pakistani people escaped while dropping their payload on empty mountains in panic after seeing our Shaheens."

He said the Pakistani forces "decided to teach the enemy a lesson in response" to the attack and country's entire civil and military leadership was united in the decision.

"Pakistan responded to India in broad daylight after announcing it. Not only did we give an appropriate reply, but also shot down two enemy war planes [and] Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured.

Timeline: Events leading up to the Feb 2019 Pak-India aerial combat

"During these actions, the enemy became so frightened that it shot down its own helicopter and troops in a state of panic. [...] This victory not only exposed India's hollow claims of power before the world but made the entire Pakistani nation proud," he said.

The ISPR chief said Pakistan's victory was "not only acknowledged by the world" but the Indian leadership had attributed their forces' failure to the absence of Rafale fighter jets.

"Being a responsible state, the Government of Pakistan in order to give peace another chance decided to release Indian prisoner of war Wing Commander Abhinandan," he added, emphasising that this decision, which was in line with the Geneva Convention, was praised the world over.

"I want to make it clear once again for the sake of record that Pakistan first showed its capability and resolve and this decision was taken keeping in view all warfare options from a position of strength. Pakistan's leadership and the armed forces were fully prepared to deal with any situation.

"We gave them a bloody nose and it is still hurting," he said while referring to Pakistan's response to India's violation of its airspace.

"It is extremely disappointing and misleading to link Wing Commander Abhinandan's release with anything other than a responsible state's mature response.

"This is in fact equivalent to making controversial the Pakistani nation's clear supremacy and victory over India, and I think this is not acceptable to any Pakistani."

Maj Gen Iftikhar said such "negative narrative directly affects national security and the enemy is taking thorough advantage of these things in the information domain and you all can see a glimpse of this in the Indian media".

"This same narrative is being used to minimise India's defeat and loss," he continued. "In these conditions, when enemy forces have imposed a hybrid war on Pakistan, we will all have to move forward with great responsibility."

He said the Pakistan Army "is keeping a close eye on the regional security situation and is not only aware of internal and external threats but is also ready to counter all kinds of challenges".

"With the nation's help, we will foil every conspiracy against Pakistan and give proportionate response to any aggression," he added.

Asked by a journalist to give his take on some "recent statements which could create a rift between the armed forces' leadership and soldiers", the DG ISPR said: "The armed forces are an organised institution and its leadership and rank and file cannot be separated.

"No difference can be created between the leadership and rank and file of the armed forces. There is a unity and it will remain."

'No attack was imminent'

Abhinandan was captured in February 2019 after his plane was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) after it violated Pakistani airspace in a serious escalation of hostilities between India and Pakistan.

A day after his capture, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that the pilot would be released as a "gesture of peace" to India.

On Wednesday, former speaker Sadiq claimed on the floor of the National Assembly that the government had 'pleaded' to parliamentary leaders to let Abhinandan be freed.

"I remember [Foreign Minister] Shah Mahmood Qureshi sahib was present in that meeting, which the prime minister had refused to attend. The chief of army staff also attended," Sadiq had said while responding to federal minister Murad Saeed.

"With his legs shaking and sweat on the forehead, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said to us, 'For God's sake, let him (Abhinandan) go back now'," he had claimed, adding "no attack was imminent; they only wanted to capitulate and send Abhinandan back".

As his comments went viral on social media and were picked up by Indian television channels, Sadiq issued a clarification on Thursday, saying the tweets and Indian media reports were "totally contrary" to what he actually said in the parliament.

"Abhinandan had not come to Pakistan to distribute sweets; he had attacked Pakistan and it was a victory for Pakistan when his plane was shot down," he said in a video message.

Sadiq said Prime Minister Imran had called a meeting of parliamentary leaders on the issue but "could not dare" to attend the meeting because he was very anxious. "He did not share with us on whose instruction he was doing this and what pressure he was under because he did not attend the meeting," he alleged.

Sadiq said upon Qureshi's request, the civil leadership decided to release the Indian pilot for the sake of "national interest".

"We did not agree with the decision. There was no rush to return Abhinandan; you could have waited a little. But it was done in the national interest. But Imran Khan's decision betrayed weakness of the civil leadership."

Qureshi slams 'irresponsible statements'

Reacting to Sadiq's comments, Foreign Minister Qureshi said the PML-N leader's statement was "contrary to the reality".

"I did not expect Ayaz Sadiq to say such a thing," he said, adding that the parliament had been taken into confidence over the intelligence information received regarding tensions with India. This information did not involve Abhinandan, Qureshi said.

"Such irresponsible statements are being given only to gain political mileage," he said, accusing the opposition of "misleading" the nation regarding Abhinandan and Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

"We don't want to give India a chance to take Pakistan to the International Court of Justice again," he added.

Qureshi said no Pakistani would be willing to "bargain" on the issue of Kashmir. "We unify the nation on Kashmir and they try to peddle India's narrative," he added, referring to the opposition.

"An attempt is being made to make the issue of Abhinandan controversial for no reason."

Addressing a news conference, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said Sadiq had "pleased the enemy" through his comments.

"The nation will hold him accountable for his statement and we want him to apologise in the assembly," Faraz said, calling upon the leadership of the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement to also condemn and apologise for Sadiq's comments.

'Pakistan wants peace in the region'

At a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri reiterated that Pakistan had released Abhinandan as a gesture of peace and ruled out any pressure in this regard, Radio Pakistan reported.

"Pakistan wants peace and stability in the region and release of [the] Indian pilot manifests this resolve," he said in response to a question.

Chaudhry, however, emphasised that Pakistan was fully prepared and capable to take "firm action against any misadventure" by any country.

He said Pakistan's successful downing of Indian planes last year reflected the level of preparedness of its armed forces against any external threat directed at the country.


UHS won’t forge cooperation with French institutes: VC

30 Oct 2020

LAHORE: President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan says the recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron are indicative of rising European nationalism.

University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Professor Javed Akram, on the other hand, has announced that the UHS will not collaborate anymore with French institutions in research and academics.

Addressing the senior faculty during a visit to UHS on Thursday, Sardar Masood Khan said: “India is using the cover of Covid-19 to ethnically cleanse Kashmiris. This is the eighth stage of genocide. In Occupied Kashmir, a child can be sentenced to two years for merely chanting the slogan of independence. They are being persecuted because they are Muslims.” He said Azad Jammu and Kashmir had a special bond with the UHS as all the three government medical colleges [in Kashmir] were affiliated with the university.

“Prof Javed Akram and his team went to the Line of Control and proved that when a doctor wants to reach his patient, no border or army can stand in his way”, he said.

UHS Board of Governors Chairman retired Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani said India had failed to silence the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said like government medical colleges in Punjab, UHS should also allocate seats for Kashmiris in its M.Phil and PhD programmes.

UHS VC Prof Javed Akram announced that the university would not enter into academic or research collaboration with any French institutions.

Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering, China, and a delegation from the Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine were also present on the occasion.

Head of the team of Chinese researchers, Dr Qiu Don Xu, said the human trial of Chinese vaccine for coronavirus had started in Pakistan and so far 2,000 volunteers had been registered [for trial]. “Our target is to register 10,000 volunteers in coming days,” he added.



Arab world


MbS Would Get Killed By Saudi Royal Family If Riyadh Normalized Ties With Israel: Dissident

30 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) actually fears deadly reprisal from his own relatives if he joined the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan in normalizing ties with Israel, an anti-regime activist says.

Dissident Saudi academic Madawi al-Rasheed dismissed as unfounded recent allegations by American-Israeli millionaire, Haim Saban, that the reluctance of the kingdom’s de facto ruler to take a step forward to recognize the Tel Aviv regime was due to his fear of reactions from Iran, Qatar or "his own people."

She highlighted that none of those three constituencies are contemplating an assassination, and that the Saudi crown prince’s nightmare is to get killed by his royal rivals as his ambitious scenario is to rule as a king.

Rasheed went on to say that any assassinations in Saudi Arabia have been historically carried out by members of the House of Saud.

The dissident academic noted that Saudi princes and kings have been killed by a brother, uncle or nephew since the 19th century. The last murder in the palace took place in 1975, when King Faisal was shot dead by his young nephew, also called Faisal.

Revenge, treachery and power struggles within the royal household were simply behind such murders. Neither the Palestinian cause nor any other cause was responsible for the homicides.

Rasheed underlined that MbS will not rush into publicizing his relations with the Israeli regime if he can keep them secret, and he and his father, King Salman, will continue to make noises about respecting the so-called defunct Arab Peace Initiative – which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied after 1967 in exchange for peace and the full normalization of relations.

The Saudi social anthropologist added that MbS would continue to deploy his media resources to erode Arab public support for the Palestinian cause, until the Riyadh regime’s normalization with Israel becomes a fait accompli, and the move would not jeopardize his life or undermine the legitimacy of the ruling Al Saud regime.

US President Donald Trump announced on October 23 at the White House that Sudan and Israel had agreed to normalize relations.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Burhan, senior US officials said.

Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin, however, later said the accord will depend on approval from its yet-to-be formed legislative council.

It is unclear when the assembly will be formed under a power-sharing deal between the country’s military officers and civilians.

Earlier, Netanyahu signed US-brokered normalization deals with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani during a September 15 ceremony at the White House.

The normalization deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They say the deals ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.


Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry condemns Nice's terrorist attack

29 October 2020

The Saudi Press Agency, quoting a foreign ministry statement: The Kingdom expresses its strong condemnation and condemnation of the terrorist attack that took place near Notre Dame Church in Nice, France.

Latest: Police shoot suspect threatening people with knife in France’s Avignon

Latest: Man arrested in Saudi Arabia's Jeddah after stabbing guard at French consulate: SPA

"The Kingdom reaffirms its categorical rejection of such extremist actions that are incompatible with all religions and human beliefs, and stresses the importance of rejecting practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism", the statement added.


Lebanon and Israel agree to continue maritime border negotiations next month

29 October 2020

In statement released jointly by the Government of the United States and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, the two announced that Lebanon and Israel agreed to continue maritime border negotiations next month.

"Building on progress from their October 14 meeting, on October 28 and 29 representatives from the governments of Israel and Lebanon held productive talks mediated by the United States and hosted by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL). The United States and UNSCOL remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a long-awaited resolution. The parties committed to continue negotiations next month.", the joint statement added.


Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks

October 29, 2020

BEIRU: Talks between Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime borders are expected to resume next month following two days of productive negotiations, the US and UN said.

US-mediated talks held at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura ended on Thursday with plans for another round of negotiations to begin on Nov. 11.

Lebanon presented documents and maps claiming its right to 2,270 sq. km of the marine area, a position at odds with Israel.

Following the talks, the US and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon released a statement saying: “Building on progress from their Oct. 14 meeting, on Oct. 28 and 29 representatives from the governments of Israel and Lebanon held productive talks mediated by the US and hosted by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

“The US and UNSCOL remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a long-awaited resolution. The parties committed to continue negotiations next month.”

Meanwhile, a terrorist attack that left three people dead in a church in the southern French city of Nice has drawn widespread condemnation in Lebanon.

Prime minister-designate Saad Hariri condemned what he described as a “heinous criminal attack.”

After meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority, he said: “The incidents in France are regrettable, but we condemn in return the words and cartoons mocking the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). But what happened today in Nice is a very regrettable murder because it makes it seem like all Muslims have the same mentality, and this is entirely false.

“Thoughts, speech or revenge should not be based on this logic. This discourse is wrong. Just as well, such cartoons should not be published, and we condemn them. But the important thing is to realize that Islam is fine.”





Somalis protest against offensive cartoons on birthday of Prophet Mohammad

29 October 2020

Protesters in Somalia's capital Mogadishu gathered on Thursday for a second day to protest against French President Emmanuel Macron and the printing of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in France.

Hundreds of people including clerics and youths gathered at a compound of an Islamic learning center to hold Mawlid celebrations, which marks Prophet Mohammad's birthday, and shouted slogans denouncing France and President Macron.

Some protesters carried paper drawings and photographs of Macron which they then burned while others chewed the pictures.

Protests have spread across the Muslim world since Macron made comments about Islam which angered many observers of the faith.

The row has its roots in a knife attack outside a French school on October 16 in which a man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson on freedom of speech. The caricatures are considered blasphemous by Muslims.

Macron has pledged to fight "Islamist separatism", saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France.

Several world leaders including Imran Khan and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spoken out against Macron's recent comments.

Boycotts of French goods have also been called for in some Muslim countries.


Nice attack link to Tunisia points to its continued struggle with ‘jihadists’

29 October 2020

Though French police believe the attacker who killed three people in Nice on Thursday is a Tunisian, the North African democracy has made big strides in tackling the ‘jihadist’ threat in recent years.

A French police source told Reuters the man who beheaded an elderly woman and killed two others in a church in the French Riviera city was thought to be a 21-year-old Tunisian who recently entered France via Italy.

Five years after ‘militant Islamists’ killed scores of tourists in two mass shootings in Tunisia, police in the North African state have grown far better at disrupting plots and responding quickly when attacks take place, diplomats say.

However, a steady series of smaller attacks has shown that the threat remains.

Tunisians made up one of the largest contingents of foreign fighters for ISIS, and though many died in wars in Syria and Iraq, some returned home and were imprisoned.

An al Qaeda group is meanwhile entrenched in a hilly, inaccessible part of the border region between Tunisia and Algeria but has proven unable to stage attacks beyond that area.

The last major attack in Nice was also carried out by a Tunisian man who had emigrated to France in 2005 before driving a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in 2016, killing 86 people.

Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the latest Nice attack and a branch of the judiciary said it has opened an investigation into the suspect.

Though the 2011 revolution brought Tunisia democracy and freedom of expression, it did not translate into an improvement in living standards or economic opportunity, and ever more young people have sought to emigrate.

In September, Italy said the number of migrants arriving over the past year in boats across the Mediterranean -- often to the small island of Lampedusa -- had risen by half thanks in part to Tunisia's economic woes.

Lampedusa is only 130 km (80 miles) from the Tunisian coast and young Tunisians living in port towns have told Reuters of a constant temptation to board the ever-present boats departing at night and seek their fortunes in prosperous Europe.


Moroccan prison guard killed by ISIS-linked inmate

28 October 2020

A Moroccan prison guard was killed by an inmate who was in jail for belonging to a militant cell linked to ISIS terrorist group, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The detainee on Tuesday “took captive an employee in his cell and assaulted him with a metal object” at Tiflet prison on the outskirts of the capital Rabat, they said in a statement.

“A rapid intervention unit was deployed to free the employee” but the officer was declared dead of his injuries in hospital, it added.

Three other prison staff were wounded in the incident. The fate of the inmate was not reported.

The prosecutor’s office said it had “ordered the judicial police to open a careful investigation to determine legal responsibility.”

The detainee had been arrested in September near Rabat in an operation to dismantle an ISIS-linked cell.

He and five other men were accused of plotting suicide attacks against prominent figures and against a Morocco security installation.

Morocco has been spared from extremist-linked acts of violence in recent years since two Scandinavian tourists were beheaded in 2018 in the High Atlas mountains in an ISIS-claimed attack.

The perpetrators were sentenced to death, the first time Morocco handed down capital punishment since 1993.

Last year, 79 people were arrested in the country on “terrorism” charges, according to an official report.



South Asia


Bangladesh's Institute of Public Health director apologises for ordering Islamic dress code amid outcry

29 Oct 2020

Md Abdur Rahim, the director at the Institute of Public Health, has withdrawn his own order that made following the Islamic dress code mandatory for its Muslim staff members.

He apologised for issuing the order “inadvertently” and promised “not to repeat such mistake” in a statement on Thursday evening amid a debate over the issue on social media.

Hours earlier, the Health Services Division asked him to explain which rules he had followed and which authority had permitted him to issue the circular.

Sharmin Akhter Jahan, the deputy secretary at the Health Services Division, in the show-cause notice on Thursday gave Rahim three working days to clear his position.

The notice said Health Minister Zahid Maleque has ordered the health and family welfare secretaries, and the director general of health services to take “urgent” steps.

The circular by Rahim triggered a debate on social media after stating on Wednesday that men must wear trousers above the ankle and women must cover themselves from head to toe in hijab.

It also ordered all employees to strictly maintain ‘purdah’, or seclusion, and asked them to keep their mobile phones turned off or on silent mode.   

“He (Rahim) can’t issue such a notice. Is he insane!” said ABM Khurshid Alam, the director general of health services, citing the public servant conduct rules.


Parents Name Twins Vladimir Putin, Barak Hussain Obama

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

29 Oct 2020

DAYKUNDI, Afghanistan – Parents in Nili, downtown Daykundi, named their twin children Vladimir Putin and Barack Hussain Obama, according to sources, saying their preference was after the two known world leaders’ personality and leadership characteristics.

Gholam Ali Peyman, father of the twins, said four years ago they negotiated over the name without a full knowledge of his wife being pregnant with twins.

“Sometimes I told my wife that if a boy was born, we would name him Barack Hussain Obama; but my wife insisted that we would name him Vladimir Putin,” he said, adding God has blessed them with twins so they could name each as parents always wished.

Payman admires former United States President Barak Obama because of his moderate policies and leadership approach, while his wife applauds Russian incumbent President Vladimir Putin because of his courage in politics.

The father believes his initiative for naming their children as such breaks the conservative norms and, perhaps, helps bring nations of the worlds a step closer. According to Payman, the four-year-old Vladimir Putin is interested in English, computers, math and chess, while the four-year-old Barack Hussain Obama is interested in sports.

Previously, another family named their newborn Donald Trump three years ago in Daykundi, which triggered a widespread of perspective among social media users.


Officials Nab Afghan National in 2008 Kidnapping of U.S. Journalist, Two Others

30 Oct 2020

The Department of Justice announced Thursday an Afghan man has been arrested and charged in the November 2008 kidnapping of two New York Times journalists, including their driver.

Haji Najibullah is charged with six counts, according to the news release: “hostage taking, conspiracy to commit hostage taking, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and two counts of using and possessing a machine gun in furtherance of crimes of violence.” All charges carry potential life sentences.

After seven months in captivity, American journalist David Rohde and Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin escaped in June 2009. Their driver, Asadullah Mangal, did not escape with them.

Najibullah and his co-conspirators “forced the victims to make numerous calls and videos seeking help” from loved ones “while surrounded by masked guards armed with machine guns,” the Justice Department said.

“Nearly 12 years ago, the defendant arranged to kidnap at gunpoint an American journalist and two other men, and held them hostage for more than seven months,” acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “The prosecution of Haji Najibullah shows that law enforcement will never stop in our mission to hold accountable those who commit violent crimes against American citizens.”

Security officials did not provide further details of Najibullah’s arrest, but the news release said he was transferred to U.S. custody from Ukraine.


Man lynched for stepping on Quran in Bangladesh

October 30, 2020

DHAKA: Hundreds of people in a Bangladesh town on Thursday beat and lynched a man who had allegedly desecrated the Muslim holy book, police said.

The crowd seized two men who had been in official custody after they were accused of stepping on a Quran in the main mosque of the town of Burimari, near the frontier with India, police said. The second man escaped with injuries.

“They beat one man to death and then burnt the body,” district police chief Abida Sultana told AFP.

Police took the two men into protective custody in a municipal office after the allegations were made by worshippers at the Burimari Jame Masjid mosque.

They said more 1,000 people stormed the council office and police fired 17 live shotgun rounds in a bid to calm the crowd but could not stop them seizing the 35-year-old man.

The victim was beaten to death before the crowd torched the office and burned the body in the street.

The incident came amid mounting anger in the Muslim majority country over comments about Islam made by France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

Tens of thousands of people took part in anti-French rallies this week in the capital Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong. More demonstrations have been called for Friday after weekly Muslim prayers.





France’s Macron ‘a puppet in hands of Zionists,’ says Houthi

29 October 2020

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has strongly condemned Emmanuel Macron after he publicly defended publication of derogatory cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), saying the French president is “a puppet in the hands of Zionists.”

“Emmanuel Macron is just a puppet in the hands of Zionists. They pushed the French president into insulting Islam and the Messenger of God,” Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said at a televised speech broadcast live from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a on Thursday evening as thousands of people were celebrating the birth anniversary of the prophet across the country.

He added, “Western states and media outlets, which permit insults to God and the divine prophets but forbid exposition of Zionists’ conspiracies, are dominated by … Zionist lobbyists.”

The Ansarullah leader then termed deviations from divine messages and teachings as the root cause of all grave problems of the Muslim world and the international community, stressing that such approaches will have irreparable consequences.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Houthi reiterated his rejection of normalization of ties with Israel, denouncing the move as betrayal and partnership with the enemies of Islam.

“While the Saudi regime has opened the gates of the Two Holy Mosques to Zionists, it is enforcing a blockade on Yemeni people and continuing its attacks at the same time. It has also imprisoned Palestinian expatriates simply because of their stance against the Zionist enemy,” the Ansarullah chief pointed out.

Houthi also called the Israeli regime a threat to the Muslim world and the stability and security of the Middle East region.

He said Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan are partners in US-Israeli conspiracies against the Muslim world.

The Ansarullah leader then described resistance against the Saudi-led coalition waging a devastating military onslaught against Yemen as a religious and national obligation, and called on all Yemeni groups and forces to confront enemies’ psychological operations and misinformation campaign.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

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

The popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, backed by armed forces, has been defending Yemen against the Saudi-led alliance, preventing the aggressors from fulfilling the objectives of the devastating war.


Palestinians set to hold Friday of Rage over cartoons insulting Prophet, Macron’s anti-Islam remarks

29 October 2020

The preacher of the al-Aqsa Mosque and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds has called on Palestinians to observe a Friday of Rage across the Israeli-occupied territories in protest at publication of blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in France and French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for for the move.

On Thursday, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri called on Palestinians from all walks of life to prove their allegiance to Islam’s Prophet and unite against any insult to him.

“Muslims condemn publication of blasphemous cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and firmly oppose such uncivilized conduct,” the distinguished Palestinian religious leader pointed out.

He added, “These offensive caricatures contradict the principles of free speech as well as freedom of opinion. They run counter to what they claim. Such behavior is nothing but mockery and ridicule indeed.”

On October 16, French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded outside his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old assailant of Chechen origin, identified as Abdullakh Anzorov. He had shown the caricatures during a lesson about free speech.

While eulogizing the history teacher a few days later, Macron said France would not renounce its display of the blasphemous cartoons.

French consulate guard wounded in Jeddah knife attack

Meanwhile, a Saudi national wounded a guard in a knife attack at the French consulate in the country’s Red Sea port city of Jeddah on Thursday.

Police officials in Mecca province, where Jeddah is situated, said the attacker, whose identity was not immediately disclosed, was a Saudi citizen.

They did not provide any information about the nationality of the guard, and only said he had sustained minor injuries.

“The assailant was apprehended by Saudi security forces immediately after the attack. The guard was taken to hospital and his life is not in danger,” the French embassy in Riyadh said in a statement.

The diplomatic mission strongly condemned the attack, and urged its nationals in the ultra-conservative Persian Gulf kingdom to exercise “extreme vigilance.”

Somalia condemns Prophet cartoons, Macron's support

Separately, Somalia on Thursday condemned comments by the French president supporting cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

“The Federal Government of Somalia regrets the violation of the faith, sanctity, and theology of the Muslim people, and our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him,” the Somali Presidency said in a statement.

“Any act that harms the feelings of Muslims serves the interests of extremist groups, and such acts should be avoided as they create social hatred among people of different nations and religions,” it added.

The Horn of Africa nation then urged the world leaders to carefully consider statements that provoke the sentiments of Muslims by distinguishing between freedom of expression and violation of religious sanctities.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people protested in the Somali capital Mogadishu against Macron’s controversial remarks.


Bosnian Speaker Underlines Further Expansion of Ties with Iran

Oct 29, 2020

Radmanovic made the remarks in a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to Sarajevo Reza Qelichkhan.

He referred to the good relations between the two countries, and said that "further development of relations with Iran, especially in the economic field, supported by the Bosnia-Herzegovina parliaments, and I hope that trade and economic relations between the two countries would be further enhanced with the rapid lifting of the coronavirus pandemic along with the expansion of political relations."

He noted that "we will continue our relations with the Iranian Parliament and the Bosnia and Herzegovina parliaments support the expansion of relations with Iran".

Qelichkhan, for his part, stated that parliamentary relations are essential factors between the two countries and expressed hope that Iran-Bosnia ties would be expanded in all areas with the support of the two countries' parliaments.

He stressed good relations between the two countries, and added that "the Islamic Republic of Iran has been beside the people and government of Bosnia and has supported the unity of the European country since the beginning of its independence".

The two sides exchanged views on bilateral parliamentary relations, the latest status of the nuclear agreement and the US withdrawal from it, and the coronavirus pandemic in Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In relevant remarks last month, Qelichkhan said that Tehran has always supported stability, unity and peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups in Bosnia- Herzegovina.

He made the remarks in a meeting to submit his credentials to the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina Šefik Džaferović.

“Over the past three decades, the government and people of Iran have always stood by the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iran has always supported and will continue to support the stability, unity and peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups and development of Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Qelichkhan said.

Džaferović, for his part, appreciated Iran’s support for his country since its independence, saying that Iran is a large and important country.

“Relations between the two countries have always been at a good level, and the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes promotion of political, economic and cultural ties with Iran,” he added.


UN calls for protection of West Bank Palestinian's olive trees

29 October 2020

For many West Bank Palestinians, the olive tree is both a revered cultural emblem and an economic necessity - but it has also become a focal point of a struggle between them and Israeli settlers for a land they both claim.

More than 1,000 trees owned by Palestinian farmers have been burned or damaged in the Israeli-occupied territory since the harvest began three weeks ago, according to a United Nations report.

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

The Oct 23 report by humanitarian affairs office UNOCHA has also logged 19 disruptions “by people believed or known to be Israeli settlers,” with 23 Palestinian farmers injured.

While the settlers dispute those figures, in normal years peace monitors accompany the farmers to protect the harvest. But the coronavirus pandemic has made this harder.

Some Israeli activists are still deploying. “With COVID-19 it is impossible for foreigners to come, harder for Israelis,” said one activist, Guy Butavia.

Olive farmers in areas near some Israeli settlements say they face problems each year.

“When we try to reach our fields, the army protects the settlers and prevents us from accessing our olives,” said Adnan Barakat, council head of Burqa village, near Ramallah.

In Burqa, Israeli settlers “stoned and physically assaulted Palestinian olive pickers on three occasions, triggering clashes”, UNOCHA said.

Calling on Israel to ensure the farmers’ safety, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council on Monday: “Each year, the ability of Palestinians to harvest is compromised due to access restrictions, attacks and intimidation.”

Yigal Dilmoni, a spokesman for the settler council Yesha, said most of the accusations came from “dubious” sources.

“For many years now, extremist organizations... have been carrying out provocative actions and exploiting the harvest season to incite against Israeli civilians,” he said.

“I live on the ground and see thousands of Palestinians harvesting their olives daily without any problem.”

Burning Bushes

Around 430,000 Israeli settlers live among three million Palestinians in the West Bank, territory that Israel captured in 1967. Settlers have also been targets of Palestinian stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks.

Palestinians claim the West Bank for a future state. But Israel cites its security needs and historical ties to the region.

Tensions rose this summer over Palestinian fears that newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would implement pre-election promises to annex part of the West Bank.

Last week in Burqa, Reuters journalists there saw Palestinians and Israelis confronting each other. Israeli security forces intervened, firing tear gas and stun grenades towards Palestinians, who threw stones back.

A brush fire broke out amid the clashes and Israeli firing, and spread to nearby olive trees.

The Israeli military said security forces had coordinated with landowners to ensure safe picking, but were met with “rioters” hurling rocks.

“A few arson attempts were identified,” a military statement said. “Troops responded with riot dispersal means... During the incident, a fire broke out and several trees were damaged.”

The military said it “would not allow the olive harvest to be used in order to harm Israeli civilians or security forces.”


Israeli court gives three years in prison to Palestinian minor

29 October 2020

An Israeli military court has sentenced a Palestinian minor from the occupied east Jerusalem al-Quds to three years in prison over an alleged attempt to carry out a stabbing attack.

The court on Thursday ruled that 13-year-old Ashraf Adwan from Eizariya town should pay 5,000 Israeli shekels ($1461) in fine and compensation, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Adwan was abducted from outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in September last year.

He has been interrogated in harsh circumstances at an Israeli detention center over the past few months. The teenager is also said to have been tortured.

Adwan’s mother expressed her sadness at the ruling on Thursday and said the Israeli authorities had only allowed her to visit him once after his detention.

“I am longing to see Ashraf and I miss his presence at home because he is my youngest child. His father died when he was a seven-month-old baby. During the last period of his detention, I was able to visit him once,” the mother said.

Back in April, the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said in a report that nearly 200 Palestinian children were kept behind bars in Israeli prisons in inhumane conditions, undergoing “very rough interrogation process and torture.”

Qadri Abu Baker, the head of the commission, denounced the UN at the time for failing to “provide the minimum protection for the Palestinian children” against physical and psychological abuse in Israeli jails.

Abu Baker said Israeli forces had arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000, adding that in most cases the children under the age of 10 were detained. He stressed that the majority of the children had been subjected to physical and psychological torture.

According to figures by the Defense for Children International, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children at the age of 12-17 are arrested and tried in Israeli military courts every year. 

Detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli regime violates Article 33 and Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to which the parties must protect children from abduction and all forms of exploitation.

Israel has a long history in wounding and killing Palestinian children, especially during anti-occupation protests.

In March 2019, UNICEF said about 40 Palestinian children had been killed and hundreds more wounded in a year of anti-occupation protests along the fence that separates the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli prisons. Hundreds of inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinians are kept in Israeli detention centers without trial or charge.

Palestinian injured in car-ramming attack by Israeli settler

In a separate development, a Palestinian citizen identified as 41-year-old Jibril al-Amour was injured when an extremist Israeli settler rammed his car into a horse-drawn cart in the occupied West Bank. The incident happened on a road near Rifa’iya village in the south of al-Khalil (Hebron) on Wednesday.

The settler fled the scene following the hit-and-run attack.

According to human rights groups, incidents of sabotage and violence by extremist settlers against Palestinians and their property are a daily occurrence throughout the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlers have pressed ahead with their acts of vandalism and violence, known as price tag attacks, against Palestinians and their property as well as Muslim holy sites.

The Israeli settlers also launch attacks on Palestinian homes, set their cars on fire, vandalize their property, and uproot their olive trees and other crops.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem earlier this year said Israeli settlers had noticeably escalated attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in April despite restriction of movement and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

For years, Israel has clearly allowed its settlers to assault Palestinians and inflict damage on their property as one of its policies. This has included provision of military protection for the attackers, and in some cases troopers' active participation in the assault.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.


North America


US presidential contest increases influence of Pakistani, Muslim voters

Anwar Iqbal

25 Oct 2020

WASHINGTON: Five journalists of an American broadcasting service recently lost their jobs for publishing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s election message in Urdu.

Normally, such deviations would have been ignored but the 2020 elections are different. A close contest between President Donald Trump and Mr Biden means that all votes count, even that of Pakistanis, the single largest country group within America’s 3.45 million Muslims. The Pakistani community includes thousands of professionals — particularly physicians – and this gives them an influence much larger than their size. This also explains why the Trump administration reacted so strongly to Voice Of America’s Urdu message.

Pakistani and other Muslim voters are concentrated in key swing and battleground states, such as Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Two of these states — Michigan and Wisconsin — changed from blue to red (Republican) in 2016.

In 2016, Democrats lost Michigan by less than 20,000 votes. The state has more than 100,000 Muslim voters who can help the Democrats take it back, as those in other key states can too. This will ensure that Mr Biden gets 270 of the 435 electoral votes he needs for the White House.

So, they have a clear message for Muslims. If elected, Mr Biden will “prioritise issues affecting American Muslims, protect their constitutional and civil rights and will honor the diversity of Muslim-American communities”, says a group that identifies itself as “Muslims for Biden”.

Five VOA journalists lose jobs for publishing Biden’s message in Urdu

But a recent survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding says that Muslim support for President Trump nearly doubled in 2020 compared with a year ago, with 30 per cent of Muslims willing to vote for him.

Another survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations reports that American Muslims’ support for the Democratic Party fell by 12pc since 2018, while the Republican Party gained 2pc.

Yet, both surveyors acknowledge that Muslims appear to be the religious group least likely to support Mr Trump in 2020. Jewish Americans came in as the second least likely, with only 34pc favouring the president. The only group that showed less support for the president than Muslims was Americans who are unaffiliated with any faith, 23pc.

Mr Biden re-emphasized his message for Muslims in the final US presidential debate on Thursday night, saying that President Trump has “banned Muslims” from coming to the United States because “they are Muslims”.

In July, Mr Biden told Million Muslim Votes Summit that if elected, “I will end the Muslim ban on day one. Day one. And I will work with Congress to pass hate crimes legislation” to prevent future actions.

One of Mr Trump’s first actions as president in 2017 was to suspend entry to the United States of travelers from seven majority Muslim nations.

There are about 23m immigrant voters this year against a total of nearly 240m eligible voters. Of these, only 1m are Muslims — not a large number but when compared with voting patterns, this becomes a significant bloc.

In 2016, only 55.5pc voters used their right to elect. Even if the expected 60pc cast their votes this year, the total would still be 144m. This gives 23m immigrant voters, including Muslims, a deciding role in the 2020 election.


Pompeo calls China "the gravest threat" to the future of religious freedom

29 October 2020

China is the “gravest threat” to the future of religious freedom, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, in his latest verbal assault on Beijing during a whirlwind Asian tour.

Pompeo has made attacks against China the focus of his trip this week which kicked off in India and included visits to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and, later Friday, Vietnam.

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

In Indonesia -- which has the world’s biggest Muslim population -- Pompeo took aim at China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority.

“The gravest threat to the future of religious freedom is the Chinese Communist Party’s war against people of all faiths: Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners alike,” Pompeo said in a speech Thursday to major Muslim organization the Nahdlatul Ulama.

“The atheist Chinese communist party has tried to convince the world that its brutalisation of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang is necessary as counter-terrorism or poverty alleviation,” he added.

Rights groups say that more than one million Uighurs languish in camps in the northwest Xinjiang region as Beijing attempts to forcibly integrate the community and root out its Islamic heritage.

China has denied the numbers and describes the camps as vocational centers that teach skills to prevent the allure of Islamic radicalism following a series of attacks.

“But we know that there is no counter-terrorism justification in forcing Uighur Muslims to eat pork during Ramadan, or destroying a Muslim cemetery,” Pompeo said.

“There is no poverty-alleviation justification for forced sterilizations, or taking children away from their parents to be re-educated in state-run boarding schools.” Pompeo rejected what he called Beijing’s “fantastic tales of happy Uighurs”.

“The Chinese Communist Party has tried to convince Indonesians to look away from the torments your fellow Muslims are suffering... Search your hearts. Look at the facts,” he said.

“Think about what you know of how an authoritarian government treats those who resist its rule.” China is Indonesia’s biggest trading partner and criticism in the Southeast Asian country of Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs has been muted.


US to allow Jerusalem-born Americans to list Israel as birthplace, says Pompeo

29 October 2020

US citizens born in Jerusalem will now be able to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports and other consular documents, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday, in a nod to

Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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

Effectively immediately, Jerusalem-born Americans can elect to state Israel but otherwise their passports would still say only Jerusalem -- an option sure to be preferred by many from the city’s predominantly Palestinian eastern part.

The announcement comes days before the presidential election in which Trump has promoted his steadfast support of Israel, a key cause for his evangelical Christian base.

In his first year in office, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and later moved the US embassy there -- putting the United States at odds with virtually every other country.

“The United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its seat of government but continues to take no position on the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said as he announced the passport changes.

“This matter remains subject to final status negotiations between the two parties.”


Trump admin to sell Iranian fuel meant for Venezuela, give proceeds to terror victims

30 October 2020

The Trump administration plans to use proceeds from the sale of fuel confiscated from Iranian tankers to benefit victims of terrorism, officials announced Thursday.

The US military in August seized 1.1 million barrels of fuel from four Iranian tankers bound for Venezuela. The fuel has since been sold, and officials say the proceeds will go to a special fund for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

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

The money "will now go to a far better use than either regime, Iran or Venezuela, could have envisioned because it will provide relief for victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of such acts," said Elliott Abrams, the State Department's special representative for Iran and Venezuela.

“So that is both poetic and tangible justice,” he added.

The US estimates that it will be able to recoup some $40 million from the sale, said Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia.

A separate forfeiture complaint from the Justice Department centers on Iranian missiles that were seized from flagless vessels in November and February. Officials say the cargo was intended for militant groups in Yemen.

In addition to the forfeiture complaints, the administration also announced sanctions against multiple petroleum companies in Iran.

The administration has had a contentious relationship with Iran, announcing last month that it had restored all United Nations sanctions that had been eased under the 2015 nuclear deal. Last week, officials accused Iran of election interference through the distribution of threatening emails to Democratic voters in multiple states.

“With these seizure actions, we are expanding our toolbox to combat Iran’s bad behavior,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official.


How might a potential Biden win change US policy on Turkey?

29 October 2020

Days after Turkey took delivery of Russian missile defense systems in July 2019, top security officials in the Trump administration were in full agreement that Washington should deliver on its threat to impose sanctions on its NATO ally.

The US State Department had sent its recommendations to the National Security Council calling for prompt sanctions on Turkish individuals and entities and the measures were going to be rolled out once President Donald Trump approved.

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

He never did, disagreeing with his closest advisers, two sources familiar with Trump’s decision-making said. To date, he has refused to impose sanctions on Ankara for buying the Russian S-400 missiles, which Washington says compromise NATO defenses.

While overruling advisers is common in Trump’s policy playbook, his instinct to go lightly on Turkey has prevented severely fractured ties between Ankara and Washington from total collapse.

The decades-old partnership between the NATO allies has gone through unprecedented tumult in the past five years over disagreements on Syria policy, Ankara’s closer ties with Moscow, its naval ambitions in the eastern Mediterranean, US charges against a state-owned Turkish bank and erosion of rights and freedoms in Turkey.

Should Republican Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden win Tuesday’s election, as opinion polls suggest, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be losing his most valuable ally in Washington, leaving Ankara vulnerable to the wrath of a deeply antagonized US Congress and some US agencies skeptical of Turkey.

Biden, who called Erdogan an ‘autocrat’ last December, is expected to be tougher on Turkey, particularly over its weakening of human rights and democratic norms and could impose sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400s after Erdogan last week confirmed testing was underway.

Still, Biden’s priority to counter Russia and Iran and reinvest in multilateral alliances could play into Ankara’s hands, analysts said.

“Biden is unlikely to lurch into a reflexively punitive approach, as many seem to assume, but he will likely close the gap between the professional ranks of the US government bureaucracy and the White House that has yawned wide under Trump,” said Max Hoffman, associate director at the Center for American Progress.

“That means Erdogan will not be able to upend US policy with one call to the White House,” he said.

Trump has publicly praised Erdogan and his combative ruling style, calling him “a friend” and “hell of a leader.” Washington has largely stayed quiet in the face of an increasingly authoritarian Erdogan.

“I think it’s fair to say you would see stronger pushback (from a Biden administration) against the Turkish government where it does run counter to US interests,” Torrey Taussig, research director at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center said, while noting that Turkey’s democratic backsliding would likely be a more primary concern.

Biden campaign officials declined to comment for this story.

Congress ‘out of patience’

One of Biden’s first foreign policy moves would be to restore Washington’s commitment to alliances, first and foremost to NATO, whose cohesion has been damaged under Trump as he questioned the relevance of the 70-year-old organization.

To repair the transatlantic alliance, analysts said, Biden will have to work with Turkey, or at least try.

“I expect Biden will reach out to Erdogan because the priority is going to be to resuscitate NATO and you know you can’t do that without Turkey,” said Soner Cagaptay, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

But that effort will clash with mounting pressure from the US Congress to impose Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), legislation that passed 98-2 in the US Senate, designed to punish aggression by Russia, Iran and North Korea and deter others from cooperating with them.

“Congress has already run out of patience,” Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in an interview. “I think you will find bipartisan support in Congress to push the administration, regardless of which administration, to follow through on the CAATSA sanctions.”

Washington’s punishment to Ankara’s Russian missile purchase so far has been expelling Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program. But Turkish companies still produce components of the jets.

Ankara and Washington have a window of six to nine months to reset ties and build goodwill, Emre Peker, director at Eurasia Group, wrote in a recent research note, with “risk of accidents” remaining high and increasing over time.

“Given the options to punish Turkey, and short of Ankara renouncing its S-400s, Biden will likely start to impose toward end-2021 less onerous measures under CAATSA and threaten more severe action unless Turkey reverses course. CAATSA could be catastrophic for Turkey,” Peker wrote.

Turkey’s beleaguered lira is particularly vulnerable to US sanctions.

For now, Ankara gives no indications of walking back.

The tests “have been and are being conducted,” Erdogan said on Friday, adding in what sounded like a challenge to America: “Whatever your sanctions are, don’t hold back.”


US moves forward with sale of 50 F-35 jets to UAE: Sources

30 October 2020

The US State Department has notified Congress its approval of the sale of 50 F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a deal that could be worth $10 billion, despite a declared congressional effort to secure the Israeli regime's alleged military advantage in the Middle East region, sources have said.

The sources said on Thursday that the Trump administration aims to send formal notifications for the deal in the coming days to Congress which can choose to pass legislation to block the sale.

Reuters reported last month that Washington and Abu Dhabi hope to have an initial deal on the F-35s by UAE National Day celebrated on December 2.

The US Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process.

The Trump administration has been working to advance Abu Dhabi’s longstanding request to buy F-35s after the UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement at the White House in August.

Israel initially tried to stop the prospective sale but last week ended its opposition after getting so-called US guarantees that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.

Israel said that any deal must satisfy an old agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv that any American weapons sold in the Middle East region must not weaken Israel's "qualitative military edge.”

"We all face a common threat," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday when asked about reports of the impending UAE jet sale.

"But with that said, it was important that the (Israeli) defense establishment received this clear American undertaking to preserve our qualitative military edge," added Netanyahu, who earlier on Thursday hosted visiting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel said that an informal notification was sent to Congress on Thursday. "As Congress reviews this sale, it must be clear that changes to the status quo will not put Israel's military advantage at risk," he said.

Under understandings dating back decades, Washington has refrained from Middle East arms sales that could blunt Israel’s “qualitative military edge” (QME). This has applied to the F-35, denied to Arab states, while Israel has bought and deployed it.

Israel and the UAE, on August 13, reached a deal that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides, in an agreement apparently brokered by US President Donald Trump.

Reports say that the driving factor for the UAE to sign the agreement with Israel has been a US weapons deal to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, including supplying F-35 jets, advanced UAVs and other arms.

A day after the normalization deal, Amos Yadlin, a former general in the Israeli air force and the ex-head of the Israeli military tweeted, "It is important to remember that Abu Dhabi seeks to acquire very sophisticated weapons from the United States."

Under pressure from Israel and the Israeli lobby in Washington, Congress had earlier blocked a plan for such a sale.


US imposes Iran-related sanctions on individuals, entities

29 October 2020

The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed Iran-related sanctions on several individuals and entities, including some based in China and Singapore.

The Department of Treasury made the announcement on Thursday in a statement on its website just days before the November 3 election between Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

“Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eight entities for their involvement in the sale and purchase of Iranian petrochemical products brokered by Triliance Petrochemical Co. Ltd. (Triliance), an entity designated by Treasury in January 2020. These entities, based in Iran, China, and Singapore, engaged in transactions facilitated by Triliance or otherwise assisted Triliance’s efforts to process and move funds generated by the sale of those petrochemical products,” the Treasury statement said.

Iran “benefits from a global network of entities facilitating the Iranian petrochemical sector,” said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The Trump administration returned the sanctions in 2018 after leaving a historic and internationally-lauded nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers.

Departure from the deal -- that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- and restoration of the bans both constituted illegal actions because they came in absolute disregard for the fact that the JCPOA has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council. The illegal measures were also marked by sheer unilateralism as they violated the international nature of the deal that has the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany as its other parties.

In September, the United States imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran after it had failed to garner support for its anti-Iran move at the United Nations.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions would target Iran’s Defense Ministry and the country’s Atomic Energy Organization on September 21, a day after Washington unilaterally declared that all UN sanctions against Tehran were re-instated.

Pompeo announced that all UN sanctions against Iran were "back in effect" under the “snapback” provision in the JCPOA.

The claim came 30 days after Pompeo notified the UN Security Council of what he called Iran’s “significant non-performance” with its obligations under the JCPOA – from which Trump withdrew in May 2018.

Following Pompeo's announcement, the three European signatories to the JCPOA said in a statement that the US claim has no legal effect.

The United Nations secretary-general, for his part, said “uncertainty” prevents him from taking any action on a US declaration that all UN sanctions have been reinstated against Iran.,-entities




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