New Age Islam
Thu Sep 24 2020, 05:37 PM

Islamic World News ( 27 Oct 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Ayodhya dispute case to come up in SC on October 29

Photo: A bench will on Monday hear appeals challenging the September 30, 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. (Representational image)

 

Call for collective efforts to cleanse Pakistan of terrorism, extremism

Civilians suffer casualties in IED explosion in Ghazni province

Prophet was against racial bigotry, SIS reminds UN treaty opponents

India

Ayodhya dispute case to come up in SC on October 29

BJP calls for promoting education at Muslim meet

Hamid Ansari says India just as responsible for Partition as Pakistan, claims 'it was easier to blame Muslims'

Pakistan Supreme Court reinstates ban on broadcast of Indian content on TV channels

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Pakistan

Call for collective efforts to cleanse Pakistan of terrorism, extremism

Pakistan hands 30 years in jail for shooting minister

Naya Pakistan of Mr Taliban Khan: Hafiz Saeed’s JuD No More a Banned Group

Pakistan poses three times more terror risk than Syria: Report

Uproar over claim about Israeli jet landing in Islamabad

Opposition knows how to get united: Fazl

Shah Mehmood denies Israeli airplane arrival in Pakistan

Kashmir’s Jihad Council wants ‘military support’ from Islamabad

Pakistan to attend Moscow meeting on Afghan peace: officials

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South Asia

Civilians suffer casualties in IED explosion in Ghazni province

Taliban IED planter, three militants killed in separate incidents in Kunar

Karzai welcomes the release of Taliban leaders from Pakistani jails

Afghans vote in Kandahar’s delayed polls, amid Taliban suicide attack elsewhere

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Southeast Asia

Prophet was against racial bigotry, SIS reminds UN treaty opponents

Does Ma’ruf Amin Hold Key To Beating Islamic Extremism In Widodo’s Indonesia?

What is 'sontoloyo', the new buzzword in Indonesian political lingo?

Education, jobs, religious intolerance among challenges of Indonesian youth says bishop

Muslim leaders try to ease tensions after Islamic flag burning protests

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Arab World

Oman says time to accept Israel in region, offers help for peace

ISIS kills 68 members of SDF faction in eastern Syria, says monitor

Daesh terrorists kill 60 US-backed SDF militants in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr

Saudis reject Turkey call to extradite Khashoggi killers

Turkey Attempting to Annex Occupied Lands in Northern Syria

Fresh Infighting Reported Again among Turkey-Backed Militants in Northern Syria

Turkey Still Unable to Force Terrorists to Leave Demilitarized Zone in Northern Syria

Non-Syrian Terrorist Commander Killed by Unknown Attackers in Aleppo Province

Oman: We are not mediating Israel-Palestine peace process, but offering ideas

Idlib ceasefire must be safeguarded, says four-way Syria summit

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Mideast

Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis

Palestinian militants agree truce after exchange of fire with Israel

Israeli army says Syria ordered Gaza rocket fire with Iran backing

Dozens of Houthis killed in training camp in Yemen’s Sanaa

Saudi project extracts 11,785 Houthi mines planted across Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis criticize Oman for Israeli premier visit to Persian Gulf Arab state

Yemeni army unveils new domestically-built high-precision Badr P-1 ballistic missile

Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement accepts to stop firing rockets into occupied territories

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Africa

Nigerian journalists protest Khashoggi’s killing

Two UN Peacekeepers killed, five wounded in Mali

Nigeria soldiers attack Muslim gathering, at least 10 killed

Somalia Says al-Shabab Official Killed; Follows US Airstrike

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North America

Pittsburgh shooting: suspect railed against Jews and Muslims on site used by 'alt-right'

Khashoggi’s murder undermines Mideast stability: Mattis

Mattis tells Arab leaders: Russia cannot replace United States in Middle East

Iranian militias must leave Syria, US anti-ISIS envoy tells The National

US stands against Iran’s proliferation of weapons and funding of 'proxy terrorists'

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Europe

German media covers Istanbul summit on Syria widely

PKK supporters attack Turkish family in Germany

Europe 'not worried' as militants return from Iraq, Syria

Campaign to remember the Muslim heroes of the First World War

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/ayodhya-dispute-case-to-come-up-in-sc-on-october-29/d/116732

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Ayodhya dispute case to come up in SC on October 29

October 28, 2018

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph will on Monday hear appeals challenging the September 30, 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute under “direction matters”.

On September 27, another SC bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra had by a 2-1 decision rejected demands to send the matter to a larger bench. The plea was raised by some of the appellants who also wanted the court to reconsider its 1994 ruling in the M Ismail Faruqui Etc vs Union Of India And Others case in which a Constitution Bench had observed that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open”.

The petitioners had claimed that the earlier decisions in the Ayodhya case were influenced by this statement in the Ismail Faruqui verdict which came on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act-1993, under which 67.703 acres were acquired in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.

Turning down the plea, CJI Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan in their majority verdict said that “we again make it clear that questionable observations made in Ismail Faruqui’s case were made in context of land acquisition” and that “those observations were neither relevant for deciding the suits nor relevant for deciding these appeals”. The judges said that “the observation need not be read broadly to hold that a mosque can never be an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”.

The judges further said that “the statement ‘a mosque is not essential part of the practice of religion’ is a statement which has been made by the Constitution Bench in specific context and reference. The context for making the above observation was claim of immunity of a mosque from acquisition. Whether every mosque is the essential part of the practice of religion of Islam, acquisition of which ipso facto may violate the rights under Articles 25 and 26, was the question which had cropped up for consideration before the Constitution Bench. Thus, the statement that a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of religion of Islam is in context of issue as to whether the mosque, which was acquired by Act, 1993 had immunity from acquisition”.

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer gave a dissenting view and said the conclusion in the Faruqui order that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open” has been “arrived at without undertaking comprehensive examination”.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/ayodhya-dispute-case-to-come-up-in-sc-on-october-29-5421679/

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Call for collective efforts to cleanse Pakistan of terrorism, extremism

OCTOBER 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Political and religious leaders at a seminar on Saturday called for collective efforts by state institutions, religious and political groups and the civil society within the ambit of the constitution to cleanse Pakistan of the menaces of extremism and terrorism.

The Paigham-e-Pakistan Conference was jointly organised by Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan Multan and Ulema Mashaikh Rabita Council Pakistan. Azad Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly Member Syed Ali Raza Bukhari was the chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, AJK LA Member Syed Ali Raza Bukhari called for unity and a unanimous narrative to counter terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.

“If we want to correct our direction for the future, it is necessary that society is peaceful and stable because without these, we cannot embark on this journey. We must also introspect and look within instead of hypothesising about external conspiracies only,” he said, adding that the unanimous fatwa issued by the religious scholars belonging to various schools of thought would undoubtedly help address the challenges posed by terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.

Ali Raza Bukhari highlighted the need for collective action within a collaborative framework to help encourage peace and stability in the country. He said in this age of information technology, there is a need to protect the nation’s ideological sovereignty by understanding dynamics of cyber terrorism and identifying ways and means to counter those.

“There is a need for the youth and professionals to start using social media efficiently and effectively and realising its potential in countering extremism and promoting peace in the country,” he added.

He said Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative launched by the government earlier this year is a step in the right direction which will help portray a soft and positive image of Pakistan and highlight Islam as a religion of peace, brotherhood, tolerance and forbearance.

Ulema Mashaikh Rabita Council President Dr Badr Munir Chaudhry touted Paigham-e-Pakistan as a means to obtain national unity.

“Paigham-e-Pakistan has provided a platform for national unity so that in the 21st century, we can make Pakistan a distinguished country, an Asian tiger and bring the Quaid’s dream to fruition,” he said.

“All religious groups and scholars are with the state and constitution for the welfare of people. We hope the initiative will help improve the present situation in the country and set a future course to lead the nation to a destination of peace and prosperity,” he added.

Chaudhry said the social, religious, political, moral and economic challenges faced by Pakistan today are unprecedented.

“Though state is responsible to rid the country of such issues, but at the same time every institution and every individual is obligated to play his role diligently and honestly to pull Pakistan out of the plethora of issues,” he said, adding that national unity is the only way forward to safeguard the country against internal and external challenges.

Other speakers said the process of projection and promotion of Paigham-e-Pakistan in seminaries and other educational institutions should be taken forward. They said the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative should be made formal part of syllabi and scholars, professors and teachers should teach it to the students in such a manner that they could understand its message in the light of Shariah and law.

They also paid tributes to the armed forces of Pakistan for their matchless sacrifices to rid the country of the menace of terrorism, adding that dragging Pakistan Army into unjustified issues will be tantamount to weakening the integrity and sovereignty of the state.

Qari Faiz Bukhsh Rizvi, Mufti Aziz Rasool Siddiqui, Farooq Saifi, Maulana Hasan Raza, Pir Syed Ramzan Shah, Makhdoon Roshan Chiragh Qureshi, Dr Ahmed Taseer and Professor Tabassum Ahmed also addressed the ceremony.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/315503/call-for-collective-efforts-to-cleanse-pakistan-of-terrorism-extremism/

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Civilians suffer casualties in IED explosion in Ghazni province

Oct 27 2018

At least five civilians were killed or wounded in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

The 203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in the southeast in a statement said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Moqor district.

The statement further added that a Toyota Corolla type vehicle struck an IED planted on a roadside in Chahardehi area of the district, leaving two civilians dead and three more wounded.

The Taliban militants and other militants including ISIS often use improvised explosive device as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials.

However, in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are killed while in some cases the Taliban militants are themselves blown up in premature explosions.

Anti-government elements must immediately end the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of all improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas frequented by civilians, said UNAMA in a special human rights report released few weeks earlier.

The special report – titled “Increasing Harm to Afghan Civilians form the Deliberate and Indiscriminate Use of Improvised Explosive Devices” – documents a sharp increase from 1 January – 30 September 2018 in the killing and maiming of Afghan civilians by IEDs, which have caused almost half of the civilian casualties from conflict-related violence.

https://www.khaama.com/civilians-suffer-casualties-in-ied-explosion-in-ghazni-province-02635/

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Prophet was against racial bigotry, SIS reminds UN treaty opponents

October 28, 2018

PETALING JAYA: An NGO today reminded Muslims that Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon emphasised that Islam is against any sort of racial bigotry.

As such, Sisters in Islam (SIS) said Muslims should support the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by Malaysia early next year.

In a statement, SIS noted that Prophet Muhammad had said that an Arab had no superiority over a non-Arab and vice versa, while “a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over a white, except by piety and good action”.

“The prophet’s message essentially underscores verses in the Quran which point out that all human beings as creatures with dignity and are intentionally created of various colours.”

SIS went on to say that the fact that most of the Muslim-majority countries, including OIC countries, have ratified the ICERD clearly showed the convention does not contradict or threaten Islam’s sovereignty.

In fact, it argued, Article 11 (A) of the OIC Charter 1972 clearly identifies its primary institutional objective as “to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination”.

“In ratifying the ICERD, Malaysia will not only show its commitment to a harmoniously diverse community but also celebrate the fact that Islam is the official religion of this country and Islam is against racism.”

Yesterday, PAS said it would organise a rally to protest Putrajaya’s plan to ratify the ICERD on grounds that the convention posed various threats, including to the Federal Constitution.

The Islamist party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan said the ratification would lead to apostasy and affect the special privileges of the Malays.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy said the ratification of the ICERD would not affect Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 153, which gives preference to the Bumiputeras, is said to go against Article 2.2 of the ICERD, which states any measure taken for the development or protection of a particular racial group, as in the current practice for the Bumiputeras, shall cease after due course.

The minister, who is in charge of national unity and social wellbeing, explained that it was meant to “make our human rights record respected by the world”.

“The Pakatan Harapan government is committed to safeguarding all provisions contained in the Federal Constitution. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has assured that Pakatan Harapan will defend the Bumiputera agenda and protect the Malay rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/10/28/prophet-was-against-racial-bigotry-sis-reminds-un-treaty-opponents/

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India

 

BJP calls for promoting education at Muslim meet

Oct 28, 2018

Nagpur: Citing Sanskrit verses as he delivered a speech in Urdu, Syed Fazaullah Chisti, a teacher from Jamia Hamdard in New Delhi, said the message of Islam is for the entire mankind and not Muslims alone.

At the World Islamic Sunni Meet underway in the city, Chisti was the key speaker during a session on ‘role of Sufism and Muslims in nation building’ on Friday. The guests included chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister for surface transport Nitin Gadkari and Union minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir. A few Muslim workers of the BJP were also among the audience.

Chisti stressed that Muslims who preferred to stay in India after partition consider it to be their homeland and are loyal the country. Brotherhood and liberalism were flavour of the three-day event organized by Jamat Ehle-Sunnat, popularly known as the Barelvi sect.

Barevli and Deobandis are among the two main sects of the Muslim community in the country. The former is known to follow a liberal school of thought. Last year, the same organization had held a seminar on triple talaq and equality of women.

The BJP leaders called for the need of education for social upliftment. Fadnavis counted the measures taken by the BJP regime for the minorities. “The government has nearly doubled the amount of scholarships to the minority students at Rs100 crore. As against 5 students’ hostels in 2014, the government has as set up 17 such facilities. All this will promote education among the minorities,” said Fadnavis.

Gadkari, who began with on a similar note, said, “All faiths lead to one God. It’s time to achieve a socio economic change in the society and religion has a role to play in it.”

The minister however, evaded a question seeking his comment on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s call for having a law to build Ram Temple. Bhagwat had made the demand during the annual Vijaya Dashami function of RSS held this month.

When TOI posed a questioned how could a law be passed if BJP did not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, Gadkari walked away.

Earlier, Gadkari appealed the audience to open up their minds. “It’s time to apply one’s own mind and see things as they are, rather than believe what others say about it,” said the minister.

Ahir said that the Narendra Modi government has made a major contribution in improving relations with the neighbouring countries. However, certain foreign elements continue to misguide Kashmiris in the name of religion, which is hampering the state’s development.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/bjp-calls-for-promoting-education-at-muslim-meet/articleshow/66393744.cms

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Hamid Ansari says India just as responsible for Partition as Pakistan, claims 'it was easier to blame Muslims'

Oct 27, 2018

Former vice president Hamid Ansari, speaking at the launch of Saeed Naqvi's new book Being the Other - The Muslim in India, said that India was just as responsible as Pakistan for Partition.

As per a report from Times Now, Ansari said: "We are not ready to accept that we were equal culprits in the deed."

"On 11 August, 1947, four days before independence, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel made a statement where he said: 'We took these extreme steps after great deliberation. In spite of my previous strong opposition to Partition, I agreed to it because I was convinced that to keep India united, it must be divided.'"

He alleged that when politics changed, someone had to be made responsible for Partition, and it was easier to blame Muslims. "Everyone agreed that Muslims should be held responsible,' he said.

Full report at:

https://www.firstpost.com/india/hamid-ansari-says-india-just-as-responsible-for-partition-as-pakistan-claims-it-was-easier-to-blame-muslims-5457321.html

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Pakistan Supreme Court reinstates ban on broadcast of Indian content on TV channels

October 27, 2018

The Pakistan Supreme Court Saturday reinstated the ban on the broadcast of Indian content on television channels in the country, setting aside a July judgement by the Lahore High Court (LHC) which lifted the ban imposed by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Dawn reported. The decision will reinstate the ban on the broadcasting of Indian teleplays or television dramas.

According to Dawn, the case filed by the United Producers Association was heard by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, who said, “They are trying to [obstruct the construction] of our dam and we cannot even ban their channels?” Along with banning the Indian content on Pakistani television, the chief justice added, “the authorities should only air appropriate content.”

The ban was first implemented by PEMRA in 2016 after it received clearance from the Pakistani government. The decision was a fallout of relations between the two countries after the Uri attack. According to the decision, the news and entertainment TV channels, FM radio stations and the channels operated by the cable operators were allowed to air a maximum of 10 per cent foreign content in 24 hours, with the limit for Indian content of an hour and 40 minutes, excluding advertisements and breaks.

While the ban was lifted in February this year, the permission to air teleplays or television dramas was still not granted. Following the ban, M/s Leo Communications, TV channel Filmazia’s parent organisation, sought to overturn it challenging that the PEMRA circular was beyond the powers of the regulatory body and the Constitution, and claimed that the government was indulging in “selective patriotism” because even though Indian movies were allowed to be screened all over the country, they could not be aired on television, Dawn reported.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-supreme-court-reinstates-ban-on-broadcast-of-indian-content-on-tv-channels-5421366/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan hands 30 years in jail for shooting minister

27.10.2018

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan

A Pakistani court on Saturday sentenced a man to 30 years in prison for shooting and injuring the country’s former home minister during an election rally in northeastern Punjab province earlier this year, local media reported.

An anti-terrorist court in Gujranwala district also slapped a fine of 130,000 Pakistani rupees ($1,100) on the convict, broadcaster ARY News reported.

Abid Hussain had shot and injured Ahsan Iqbal, a key leader of main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party of three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, when he was addressing an election rally in his home district, Narowal in May.

The single bullet had hit Iqbal’s right shoulder forcing him to abandon his campaign for several months. However, he still managed to win his constituency in the general elections in July.

The convict pleaded that he had attacked Iqbal for his alleged statements against the blasphemy law.

Blasphemy, against Islam and Prophet Muhammad, is a criminal offense that can carry the death penalty. While the state has never executed anyone under the law, mere allegations have stirred mass protests and mob violence.

Last April, a student Mashal Khan was beaten to death at his university in northwestern city of Mardan on similar allegations.

In 2011, a bodyguard shot dead Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, after he called for a reform in the law. His killer, executed in 2016, is hailed as a martyr by hardliners.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistan-hands-30-years-in-jail-for-shooting-minister/1295145

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Naya Pakistan of Mr Taliban Khan: Hafiz Saeed’s JuD No More a Banned Group

26th October 2018

ISLAMABAD (Pakistan): Global designated Islamist terrorist Hafiz Mohammad Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) are no more on the list of banned outfits as the presidential ordinance that proscribed them under a UN resolution lapsed.

The counsel of Hafiz Saeed informed the Islamabad High Court on October 25 that the presidential ordinance banning the organizations had lapsed and the incumbent government did not extend the ordinance or table it in parliament to convert it into an act.

Hafiz Saeed contended in the petition that he established JuD in 2002 and cut off all ties with the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba.

The petitioner said he was kept in detention in 2009 and 2017 due to India’s pressure. He added that the UN Security Council had passed a resolution against JuD after which the government of Pakistan put it on the watch list.

The JuD chief termed it against the sovereignty of Pakistan that an ordi­na­nce was issued to ban his organisation.

The petitioner claimed that the promulgation of the ordinance and addition of Section 11-EE were not only prejudicial to the sovereignty but also contradictory to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

According to a list updated on Sept 5 on the National Counter Terrorism Authority’s website, 66 organisations have been banned in the country and JuD and FIF are not among them.

Full report at:

http://leagueofindia.com/india-world/naya-pakistan-of-mr-taliban-khan-hafiz-saeeds-jud-no-more-a-banned-group/

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Pakistan poses three times more terror risk than Syria: Report

Oct 27, 2018

NEW DELHI: It's not Syria, but Pakistan which poses the maximum terror risk to humanity, a study, `Humanity at Risk - Global Terror Threat Indicant (GTTI) -- by Oxford University and Strategic Foresight Group (SFG), has revealed.

The analysis states Pakistan is right on top of the list of countries with the highest number of terrorist bases and safe havens, according to an ANI report.

The study also reveals that terror outfits Afghan Taliban and the Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT), which have a significant presence in Pakistan, pose the highest risk to international security.

Pakistan thus remains the breeding ground and supporter of global terrorism and is responsible for three times the terror risk to humanity in comparison with Syria, according to the GTTI report.

“If we look at the most dangerous terrorist groups, based on hard facts and statistics, we find that Pakistan hosts or aids majority of them. Also, there are a significant number of groups based in Afghanistan, which operate with the support of Pakistan,” the report says.

“The rise of competitive extremism of all shades, misuse of weapons of mass destruction and economic disruptions can undermine human progress or even survival in the period from now until 2030. They are all interlinked with terrorism”, the report of about 80 pages states.

Strategic Foresight Group analysed almost 200 groups actively complicit in committing acts of terror in the first half decade of the 21st century. During that period, the groups motivated by their own interpretation of jihadi ideology accounted for only a fourth of almost 200 groups around the world.

Among these groups, Islamic State (ISIS) has hogged the headlines in the last five years. But with the swift rise and fall of the terror outfit , it's al-Qaida that remains the most resilient network. Until 2011, it was led by Osama bin Laden, but following his assassination, his son, Hamza bin Osama bin Laden has emerged, as what sections of the media describe, as the “new crown prince of terror”, ANI reported.

The most significant factor influencing the future of jihadi groups would be the support they get from states, intelligence agencies and criminal networks.

“The birth of Al-Qaida was in Pakistan and then Pakistan influenced Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden had a safe haven in a huge compound near the Pakistani military establishment in Abbottabad. The compound was much larger than the surrounding houses of retired Pakistani military officers. The occupants of the compound often bought expensive goods from a neighbourhood shop that most people in the vicinity could not afford. The presence of an important family in the compound was nothing but conspicuous,” the report states.

The report has in-depth information about the global terror outfits operating from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-poses-three-times-more-terror-risk-than-syria-report/articleshow/66388447.cms

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Uproar over claim about Israeli jet landing in Islamabad

Baqir Sajjad Syed

October 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday strongly denied that a private business jet flew to Islamabad from Tel Aviv (Israel) via Amman (Jordan) and went back, but opposition parties, dissatisfied with official clarifications, called for a “convincing explanation” on the matter.

The editor of Israeli newspaper Haaretz’s English edition, Ami Scharf, started the controversy by claiming in a tweet that the jet travelled to Islamabad from Tel Aviv and remained on ground in Pakistani capital for nearly 10 hours. He said the jet made a brief stopover in Amman on the way to Islamabad because of which it got a new call sign and became an Amman-Islamabad flight.

Mr Scharf asked in a tweet: “Who flew from TLV to Pakistan this week?”

It is claimed that the aircraft bearing tail number M-ULTI landed in Islamabad on Oct 24 at 5:40am. The journalist, citing data of flight tracking website flightradar24, said the plane descended from 40,000 feet to 20,000ft near Islamabad before going out of coverage. The aircraft reappeared 10 hours later heading south-west from Islamabad. It followed the same flight path for the return journey making a landing in Amman and then taking off for Tel Aviv.

The mysterious trip happened a day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the first visit to Oman by an Israeli premier in over 20 years. That visit too was kept secret till Mr Netanyahu tweeted a video of a meeting and reception in Amman.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority rejected the claim about a private jet that originated its flight from Tel Aviv visiting Islamabad and said there was no truth in any Israeli aeroplane landing at any Pakistani airport.

Pakistan does not recognise Israel and, therefore, doesn’t have diplomatic relations with it. Therefore, the landing of an Israeli aircraft at a Pakistani airport, except for emergencies, would be highly unlikely. However, it is important to note that the aircraft is registered in the Isle of Man, but is operated out of Ben Gurion for chartered flights.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the claim was a conspiracy to sabotage the Black Day being observed to condemn Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir and discredit the Pakistan government and state institutions before the public.

That led to an exchange of interesting arguments on Twitter between Mr Chaudhry and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal when the latter asked the government to “explain the exact situation”.

The minister sharply hit back saying, “Imran Khan is neither Nawaz Sharif nor does his cabinet have fake Aristotles. We will not hold secret dialogue with Modi and nor would do so with Israel.” Mr Iqbal responded to the tweet saying the way information minister had angrily reacted showed “there is something fishy”.

In Multan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said the Israeli plane story was baseless.

On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party vice president Sherry Rehman said the government should explain who came in the aircraft. The decisions that would be taken without taking the nation into confidence would not be acceptable, she said.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the aircraft story vindicated their stance about the incumbent government.

As the government clarifications came in and the opposition criticism grew, Mr Scharf put out more details. “As my previous post caused uproar in Pakistan, here are all the details I have, and have not...” he tweeted. He then gave the time when the aircraft began it descent into Islamabad and the registration details of the jet.

He further said: “Pakistan government issues denial. I’m sure @flightradar24 can tell what was final altitude and when landed. But I assume they won’t”.

Analysts questioned the motives of the Israeli journalist behind making the claim.

At the end of the day, Mr Scharf himself put the authenticity of his own claim to question by saying he was not sure if the plane landed at Islamabad and might have just flown over the city. But, at the same time, he noted that there was no point in descending from 40,000 feet to 20,000ft over Islamabad if the aircraft were to continue its journey further north, where the mountains were very high.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1441902/uproar-over-claim-about-israeli-jet-landing-in-islamabad

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Opposition knows how to get united: Fazl

October 28, 2018

LAHORE: “Those who have crossed over to the government side have already got an NRO and others do not need it,” says Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam during media talk after his party’s shura (consultative body) meeting.

A rather grim looking Fazlur Rehman, who was reportedly on a mission to bring all opposition on a joint anti-government platform, told media that the opposition was in no hurry to do anything: “We would do everything carefully and not rush into anything.” His facial expressions were noted by a questioner, who asked if it reflected failure of his mission, but Fazl told him after a laughter:

“Everyone in opposition is mature. They (Nawaz and Zardari) have spent life time either in power or opposition. They know how important it was to stay united and launch a joint struggle from a common platform. The opposition is calculating each and every thing carefully and will plan on its own terms.”

He said the country has two brands of politics: one of establishment and other of democratic forces. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is used to first brand of politics.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1441804/opposition-knows-how-to-get-united-fazl

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Shah Mehmood denies Israeli airplane arrival in Pakistan

OCTOBER 27, 2018

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday has denied the news regarding landing of an Israeli airplane in Pakistan.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi while addressing a press conference in Multan said that there was no need to reply to the thing that has no authenticity.

Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry dispelled rumors that Israeli prime minister has landed in Islamabad on a secret visit.

The minister took to popular blogging website Twitter and responded to a tweet of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal demanding immediate clarification from the Imran Khan-led federal govt on the issue.

“The reality is that neither Imran Khan is Nawaz Sharif nor there is any fake Aristotle in his cabinet. We will not hold secret talks either with Modi Jee or Israel. Had you really care about Pakistan, we would not have been in the current situation. So, don’t express worry as Pakistan is in safe hands now”, Fawad replied in a detailed Tweet.

“The way federal minister for information and broadcasting lost his cool on demanding clarification, it seems something is suspicious”, the former interior minister responded.

Yesterday, the editor of Hareetz, an Israeli English newspaper claimed that Israeli PM Netanyahu had landed in Pakistan on a secret visit. He in a series of tweets stated that Netanyahu and his delegation remained in Pakistan for ten hours.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/315258/shah-mehmood-denies-israeli-airplane-arrival-in-pakistan/

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Kashmir’s Jihad Council wants ‘military support’ from Islamabad

Oct 28, 2018

Kashmiris on Saturday, while observing ‘Black Day’ across Pakistan and other parts of the world including the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, called on Islamabad to extend them “full military support”.

During the day, various social and political organisations rallied to demonstrate against Indian control over Kashmir. They warned that the situation in occupied Kashmir was worsening beyond control in the wake of unprecedented atrocities by Indian forces.

While addressing a press conference at Muzaffarabad’s Central Press Club, United Jihad Council (UJC) head Syed Salahuddin said, “India’s entire leadership and institutions are unanimous in their nefarious designs to annihilate the Kashmiris and their economy.”

“Their brutalities and bloodlust are unprecedented in history and the situation is getting out of control,” observed,” he added, wishing that “every Kashmiri should take up arms against India, including my own children.”

Prominent among the leaders accompanying Salahuddin were UJC Vice Chairman Muhammad Usman, Secretary General Sheikh Jameelur Rehman of Tehreekul Mujahideen, Mufti Asghar of Jaishe Muhammad, Gen Abdullah of Jamiatul Mujahideen, Farooq Qureshi of al-Barq Mujahideen, Masood Sarfraz of Hizbe Islami, Almas Rizwan of Kashmir Liberation Movement, Jan Muhammad of Harkate Jihad e Islami, Wasim Baig of Tehreek e Jihad, Farooq Kashmiri of Harkatul Mujahideen and Muhammad Manzoor of Lashkar e Taiba.

The UJC brings together around a dozen groups fighting the Indian occupation of Kashmir, of which Salahuddin’s Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest constituent.

Leaders of almost all member outfits accompanied Salahuddin at the presser, which coincided with the observance of a ‘Black Day’ to condemn India’s invasion of Jammu and Kashmir on this day in 1947.

Salahuddin warned that “a grave human tragedy” was in the making in occupied Kashmir and added that the Government of Pakistan should announce full military support for Kashmiris “without wasting even a second.”

“Please do not leave the Kashmiris at the mercy of 800,000 savage troops […] After all, they [Kashmiris] too are human beings and may run out of patience anytime,” he said.

He regretted that Pakistani leadership was “begging” for talks notwithstanding India’s “intransigence, haughtiness and jingoism”.

“There does not arise any question of a peaceful negotiated settlement of the longstanding [Kashmir] issue in the presence of such an attitude and atmosphere in India,” he said, asking Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to “hear the pleas of Kashmiris in their hearts.”

He pointed out that Pakistan had held “more than 150 rounds of talks” with India in the past, but had gained “nothing except damage to the Kashmir cause”.

“We feel so much pain when we see Pakistani rulers pinning hopes on talks. I wonder: Why are they following the beaten track?” he said.

“If we could not judge them [India] over the past seven decades, it’s a grave mistake on our part,” he said.

Salahuddin noted that despite the “criminal silence” of international institutions and the weak policies of governments in the ‘base camp’ (Azad Jammu & Kashmir), Kashmiris were “fighting the tyrant army with stones and sticks”.

“But for how long? Isn’t it high time Pakistan extends us full military support?” he said.

He maintained that since Pakistan was the basic party to the dispute, it was her moral, constitutional and national responsibility to extend full support to the struggling Kashmiris.

“We are not worried about India because, being an oppressor, she has been and will continue to kill us. But our questions are directed at you,” he said, addressing Islamabad and Muzaffarabad.

“Our youngsters are quitting their PhD courses, embracing martyrdom in the jungles while shouting ‘Long live Pakistan’. Their bodies are draped with Pakistani flags and despite the presence of 800,000 troops, their graves are also covered with Pakistani flags.”

“Does this not shake the conscience of the people at the helm in Pakistan? What moment they are waiting for?”

“Will you come [in aid of us] when the last Kashmiri child will be rendered blind [by pellet guns]? When the last Kashmiri girl will lose her chastity and when the last settlement will be reduced to ashes?” Salahuddin asked.

He said: “If the Government of Pakistan is unable to save Kashmiris from genocide, it should make it clear to them, plainly.”

Salahuddin also took strong exception to oft-repeated assertions about Pakistan’s ‘political moral and diplomatic’ support to Kashmiris as “turgidity.”

“You [Pakistan] are bound by morality and your Constitution to help your oppressed, unarmed and vulnerable brethren materially.”

“At every function, at every meeting, we hear them say this. Let me tell them, it does not change the situation on the ground.”

The UJC chief, while referring to the recent United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s (UNHCR) report on Kashmir, said it had proved with facts and figures that Kashmir was the most disturbed area in the world where the worst human rights violations were being committed with impunity.

He stressed that the more than 800,000 Indian troops were committing “genocide” of Kashmiris without any international resistance, condemnation and hindrance.

“Unfortunately, the Foreign Office and Pakistani missions failed to exploit the UNHRC report in favour of Kashmiris,” he claimed.

“You should have reached out to the whole world as well as the UN Security Council to call their attention to the UNHRC report to awaken their conscience; but alas, no such thing was done except for issuing a few customary statements.”

Salahuddin said that Pakistan should also launch an effective media campaign to highlight the historical struggle of Kashmir and expose Indian atrocities.

“Remembering Kashmir on two or three occasions in a calendar year is not going to work,” he said.

Salahuddin also asked the India-friendly leadership in the held Kashmir to “give up political opportunism and join the ranks of their wounded, freedom-seeking nation.”

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/10/27/kashmirs-jihad-council-wants-military-support-from-islamabad/

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Pakistan to attend Moscow meeting on Afghan peace: officials

Tahir Khan

OCTOBER 28, 2018

Pakistan will attend the upcoming meeting of the representatives of regional countries in Russia on peace in Afghanistan next month, officials said Saturday.

Previously scheduled for September 4, the Moscow format consultations were postponed after Afghan government refused to attend the meeting on the plea that every process should be Afghan-led.

Kabul declined invitation after the United States said it would not participate. The US had also boycotted a similar meeting that Russia hosted in April, 2017, which was attended by 11 countries.

The Afghan government, however, had endorsed the meetings between the American official and the Taliban political representatives in Qatar.

Taliban had announced to send a delegation to Moscow from their Qatar office that was also thought to one of the reason the Kabul administration decided to stay away.

The Russian Interfax news agency recently reported that the next Moscow format meeting on Afghanistan would take place in Moscow on November 1 and that Kabul and the Taliban would take part in it.

However, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova had said on Thursday that the process of agreeing the dates, modalities and participants of the next Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan was still underway. She said at her regular briefing that no date had yet been decided. Record of the briefing was posted online.

Pakistani official sources told Daily Times that senior officials would represent the country. A source said Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua or another senior official could lead Pakistani delegation.

Russia had been active in diplomatic efforts for peace in Afghanistan since it hosted a trilateral meeting of Pakistan, China and Russia in December 2016 that was followed by another meeting, which was also attended by Afghanistan, India and Iran.

Afghan Taliban did not conform if they would attend the upcoming conference, which had gained importance as the consultations in the region would contribute to the political efforts at a time when the US and Taliban had held at least two meetings in three months.

Taliban stepped up diplomacy following their meeting in Qatar in July and their political envoys visited Uzbekistan and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Russia had again clarified its position on contacts with the Taliban.

“Unfortunately, we have to constantly refute insinuations concerning our contacts with the Taliban movement. I would like to stress again that the main objectives behind these contacts are ensuring the safety of Russian nationals in Afghanistan and contributing to the national reconciliation process in that country,” spokesperson Zakharova said in Moscow on Oct 25, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

“By the way, the United States and some other nations also have regular contacts with the Taliban. We hope those contacts are made in the interests of promoting the peace process in Afghanistan,” she said at press briefing.

Daesh threat in Afghanistan:

The Russian spokesman also responded to the impression that Russia was “overstating” threats, in particular with regard to Daesh in Afghanistan.

“We do not consider our assessments of the threats emanating from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Afghanistan to be exaggerated. ISIS members continue to reinforce their positions in the northern province of the country, conducting aggressive propaganda among the local population,” she said.

She said Daesh militants were committing large-scale terrorist attacks, adding that Russian officials had also repeatedly drawn attention to flights by unidentified helicopters carrying weapons and new recruits to their bases.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/315440/pakistan-to-attend-moscow-meeting-on-afghan-peace-officials/

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South Asia

 

Taliban IED planter, three militants killed in separate incidents in Kunar

Oct 27 2018

At least four Taliban militants including one of their mine planters were killed during separate incidents in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said Friday that the coalition forces carried out an airstrike on Taliban militants in Watapur district, leaving three militants dead and two others critically wounded.

The statement further added that the airstrike was carried out in Tarwa Kor area of the district on Thursday, using unmanned aerial vehicle.

In the meantime, the 201st Silab Corps a Taliban militant was killed while he was planting an Improvised Explosive Device in Dangam district of Kunar on Thursday.

According to 201st Silab Corps, the incident took place in Goriga area of the district when Improvised Explosive Device went off prematurely.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the incidents so far.

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-ied-planter-three-militants-killed-in-separate-incidents-in-kunar-02633/

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Karzai welcomes the release of Taliban leaders from Pakistani jails

Oct 27 2018

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomed the release of a number of senior Taliban leaders including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar from Pakistani jails.

The Office of the President in a statement said the former President Hamid Karzai welcomes the Pakistani government’s move regarding the release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Mohammad Rasool, and some other Taliban leaders from the jails.

Karzai further added that the release of Taliban leaders from the jails is a positive step forward for the Afghan peace and stability in Afghanistan.

He said efforts were also made during his tenure for the release of Mullah Baradar and Taliban leaders and conditions were also set for the meeting between the former Afghan High Peace Council Chief Salahuddin Rabbani and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/karzai-welcomes-the-release-of-taliban-leaders-from-pakistani-jails-02631/

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Afghans vote in Kandahar’s delayed polls, amid Taliban suicide attack elsewhere

27 October 2018

Security was tight in southern Kandahar on Saturday for parliamentary elections that were delayed by one week after an attack by an elite guard killed two top government officials, including a powerful provincial police chief.

Major roads throughout southern Kandahar were closed nearly 24 hours before polls opened to stop vehicle-born explosive devices from entering the province, said the provincial governor’s spokesman.

Kandahar’s police chief office spokesman, Ahmad Zia Dorani said no security incidents had been reported in any polling station around the province, according to the Associated Press.

The first parliamentary elections since 2010 are being held against a backdrop of near-daily attacks by the Taliban, who have seized nearly half the country and have repeatedly refused offers to negotiate with the Afghanistan government.

The UN-backed government is rife with corruption and many Afghans have said they do not expect the elections to be fair.

Yet millions of Afghans have defied Taliban threats and waited, often for hours, to cast their votes.

Independent Election Commission deputy spokesman Aziz Ibrahimi said voting was to start at 7 am.

Saturday at 1,113 polling stations throughout Kandahar, but early reports said scores of polling stations were late opening because staff did not show up or election materials were not readily available.

Ibrahimi said 111 candidates were vying for 11 seats in Parliament from southern Kandahar in Afghanistan’s 249-seat chamber.

Suicide attack on Afghan police bus kills six

Meanwhile, a suicide car bomb attack on a bus carrying police officers and workers in central Afghanistan killed at least six people and wounded dozens on Saturday, officials said.

The Taliban-claimed blast happened as the bus entered a police compound in the Wardak provincial capital of Maidan Shar, provincial police spokesman Hekmatullah Durrani told AFP.

Six bodies and 31 wounded had been taken to hospitals in the city, health director Salim Asgharkhil said.

Provincial governor spokesman Abdul Rahman Mangal confirmed the death toll.

In a WhatsApp message, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said “tens of Afghan police and soldiers were killed” in the attack.

The latest assault by the Taliban comes amid a flurry of US-led diplomatic activity to convince the group to negotiate an end to the 17-year war.

In an apparent move to aid tentative talks, top Taliban commander Abdul Ghani Baradar has been released by Pakistan after more than eight years in detention, sources said Thursday.

That came less than two weeks after US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban’s representatives in Qatar to discuss ending the Afghan conflict.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/10/27/Afghans-vote-in-Kandahar-s-delayed-polls-amidst-Taliban-suicide-attack-elsewhere-.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Does Ma’ruf Amin Hold Key To Beating Islamic Extremism In Widodo’s Indonesia?

By Yang Razali Kassim

28 OCT 2018

INDONESIAN ULAMA, or religious scholar, Ma’ruf Amin’s speech in Singapore last week was awaited with some anticipation.

He came with the reputation of having played a key role in the massive movement that brought down the controversial Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, over accusations of blasphemy against Islam. This in itself had given Ma’ruf Amin a certain image of being a “conservative”. However, the posture that he struck in Singapore was, well, not exactly this. If anything the prospect of being a national leader, beyond just the Muslim majority community, may be pushing him to become more centrist.

Kyai Ma’ruf Amin, as he is referred to respectfully as an ulama, is now a vice-presidential running mate for incumbent President Joko Widodo in next year’s pilpres, or presidential election.

‘Non-halal’ measles-rubella vaccine hits resistance in Muslim Indonesia

While not really seen as an ideal pairing, the coming together of the duo is significant. It reflects the traditional symbiosis of the two main streams of Indonesian politics – nationalism as embodied in Jokowi, as the president is known colloquially, and Islam, in Ma’ruf Amin.

But who really is Ma’ruf Amin? What are his thoughts? How would he face an international audience? Needless to say, his speech at the lecture organised by the Singapore-based think-tank RSIS (S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies), was followed closely for a measure of the man who is, after all, within earshot of being Indonesia’s No 2 leader.

MIDDLE WAY

KMA, as he is also referred to, spoke as chairman of the Majlis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian Ulama Council), though in a non-active capacity, having stepped down due to his nomination as a VP candidate. Also a veteran politician, Ma’ruf Amin wasted no time, diving straight into the theme of his talk on ‘The Emergence of Wasatiyyah Islam in Indonesia: Promoting Middle Way Islam and Socio-economic Equality in Indonesia’. Loosely translated, the term wasatiyyah connotes a middle way, a path of moderation that is balanced in all respects.

The talk was to be a tour d’horizon of his thoughts, with nuggets on how much Wasatiyyah Islam meant to Indonesia, and how Indonesia should not only practise but also project Wasatiyyah Islam to the world. To him, Wasatiyyah Islam not only engenders peace and security in Indonesia but in turn also contributes to peace and security globally, given the country’s position as the world’s fourth largest country in terms of population.

So what is Wasatiyyah Islam? “It is,” Ma’ruf Amin said, “Islam Tengah (Middle Way Islam or centrist Islam) that produces the best community (khairu ummah).” Islam Tengah, according to him, is anchored in at least six characteristics: tawassuth (the middle way); tawazun (balance); tasamuh (tolerance); musawah (egalitarian and non-discriminatory); musyawarah dan muakafat (consultation and consensus); and islah (reformism).

Interestingly, his own text was entitled “Reconsolidation of Islam Wasatiyyah in Indonesia”. Indeed, Ma’ruf Amin had a lengthy explanation about why Wasatiyyah Islam is not really new to Indonesia: it has always been part and parcel of Indonesian life and was the driving spirit behind the founding of the Indonesian republic, which led to the ideological compromise between political Islam and nationalism that became the basis of the independent nation-state.

How Islamists stigmatise Indonesia’s transgender waria

Nahdlahtul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation that Ma’ruf Amin also led as chairman, had historically been one of the groups that played a key role in this ideological compromise. The relationship between political Islam and the state in Indonesia has, however, gone through ups and downs in a process marked by a mix of latent tension and mutual accommodation.

“The commitment to Wasatiyyah Islam in Indonesia in recent years is a reaffirmation of Islamic moderation as the conviction of mainstream Muslims in Indonesia. This is an important response to the strengthening consolidation in recent years of extremism in the name of Islam, be it from the left or from the right,” he said.

In a national convention in August 2015, the Indonesian Ulama Council adopted Wasatiyyah Islam as its devotional paradigm. This was a year after Islamic State (IS) came into existence in Syria and campaigned for a caliphate through war. “IS’ influence spread to Indonesia, followed by various acts of terror by its supporters,” Ma’ruf Amin said.

Before IS, Indonesia had already seen the emergence of the caliphate ideology which Ma’ruf Amin described as ‘contra nation state’. “Some were of the non-violent kind such as Hizbut Tahrir. Some resorted to violence such as Jemaah Islamiah, a transnational organisation with structures covering Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.” In the earlier years of Indonesian independence, there was Darul Islam, which morphed into the Indonesian Islamic State movement.

All of them shared one thing in common: a push for the maximum accommodation of political Islam. What Indonesia needed, Ma’ruf Amin said, was a nation based on the consensus of all elements of society − what he called Darul Mitsaq. In its current form, this is known as the Pancasila state based on the national ideology of Pancasila (five principles) and the 1945 constitution of independence.

GOING GLOBAL

With Indonesia’s strategic position in the Muslim world, and in Southeast Asia in particular, Ma’ruf Amin’s push for Wasatiyyah Islam is significant and bears import for the region, especially should his views prevail and become national policy if he is elected as vice-president. Indeed, Ma’ruf Amin argued for the globalisation of Middle Way Islam. “Given its importance, Wasatiyyah Islam must not be seen to be exclusive to Indonesia. Wasatiyyah Islam can also be used to foster harmony and stability of the Southeast Asian region.”

Philosophically, Wasatiyyah Islam, in spirit or in form, has also been a part of mainstream Islam in Southeast Asia, which is preponderantly Sunni Muslim. In Malaysia, under three previous prime ministers, Islamic moderation was already the clarion call and practised policy. In his first tenure as prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad consistently advocated Islamic moderation. This was followed by his successors through ideas such as Islam Hadhari and Islam Wasatiyyah too, leading to the formation of the Wasatiyyah Institute Malaysia. As in Indonesia, the institute manifested the Malaysian response to the rising extremism in some sections of the Muslim community and was to be a platform to promote moderation in the practice of Islam in Malaysia. Wasatiyyah Islam has also long been a key characteristic of Islam as practised in Singapore, a polyglot society where Muslims are a significant minority always conscious of life in a multi-religious and multicultural milieu. Moderation, balance and the middle way are the three Islamic principles that guide Singapore’s Muslim community.

In short, Wasatiyyah Islam, as popularised in Indonesia and Malaysia, is something very much familiar with the Singaporean Muslims. It can be argued that the Muslims of Southeast Asia as a whole are going through a phase of adjustment and response to what Ma’ruf Amin sees as the twin phenomena of religious extremism and religious liberalism. Will this response lead to the wider reaffirmation of the doctrine, as Ma’ruf Amin put it, of Middle Way Islam, which is the essence of the religion?

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/2170331/does-maruf-amin-hold-key-beating-islamic-extremism-widodos

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What is 'sontoloyo', the new buzzword in Indonesian political lingo?

October 27, 2018

Devina Heriyanto

The word “sontoloyo” has enjoyed a prolonged five-minutes of fame since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo uttered it on Tuesday.

Jokowi was commenting on the backlash against the subdistrict fund program, which the opposition called a political stunt.

"This is the government's commitment to the people, not for anyone else, so don't equate this issue to politics," Jokowi said in his speech. He then warned the public to be careful about politicians who tried to influence them with their remarks. "Be careful, there are many good politicians but there are also many ‘sontoloyo’ politicians."

Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, who is also an outspoken government critic, quickly slammed the speech, calling it rude and inappropriate coming from the head of state, according to kompas.com.

Jokowi later admitted that he was angry and could not stop himself from swearing.

According to the official Indonesian dictionary (KBBI), "sontoloyo” is a colloquial word that means foolish, crooked or stupid. The opposition might consider the word rude as the KBBI itself notes that the term is used as a curse word.

Gajah Mada University linguistic professor I Dewa Putu Wijana told tempo.co that “sontoloyo’s” usage was limited to the older generation because the word was often used in old novels.

An actual “sontoloyo”, which in Javanese means duck farmer, said the word was often used negatively. “We are hard workers and consistent when doing our job,” Mbah Dasar, a 60-year-old “sontoloyo” from Rembang, Central Java, told detik.com.

Jokowi’s ‘sontoloyo’ and Sukarno’s ‘sontoloyo’

Jokowi is not the first Indonesian politician to use the word in public. The country’s founding father and first president, Sukarno, used the term in Islam Sontoloyo. The article was first published in Pandji Islam magazine in 1940, before he included in an essay collection titled Di Bawah Bendera Revolusi Jilid I (Under the Revolutionary Flag Part I).

Sukarno wrote the article after reading in a newspaper that a religious teacher had raped his own student. The teacher justified the rape by marrying the girl.

“If the news in the Pemandangan newspaper is true, we are seeing a ‘sontoloyo’ [crooked] Islam. A sin is permissible under a fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence),” Sukarno wrote. He went on to criticize how some people used fiqh to justify their actions, as if “they [were] playing cats and dogs with God”. The rest of the article slammed Muslims who were “religious only on the surface”.

Jokowi’s “sontoloyo” speech, however, is apparently not related to religion, but to what he refers to as Indonesia’s “politics of lies”.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/10/27/what-is-sontoloyo-the-new-buzzword-in-indonesian-political-lingo.html

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Education, jobs, religious intolerance among challenges of Indonesian youth says bishop

Oct 28, 2018

According to a Synod Father from Indonesia, education, jobs, the fight against intolerance and environmental protection are the main challenges that the young people of his country are facing.

"The country is called to provide them with an adequate education, with the same quality both in the more developed regions, such as Java and Sumatra, as well as the less prosperous regions, like Papua and Kalimantan," Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang told AsiaNews.

Bishop Prapdi, the president of the Youth Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (KWI), and Bishop Adrianus Sunarko of Pangkal-Pinang (Bangka-Belitung) are the two Synod Fathers representing the Indonesian Church at the world Synod of Bishops in the Vatican.

There is also a young lay woman, Anastasia Indrawan, a member of the Youth Commission who is representing the young people of Indonesia at the Synod as an auditor.

The October 3-28 world Synod of Bishops on the theme, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”, is coming to an end on Sunday, with a Mass by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Demographics

Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population and the fourth most populous country in the world, is going through a demographic transition.

In the coming years, the younger segment of the Indonesian population will continue to grow, although at a slower rate than that of their parents. According to government data, those aged between 15 and 29 number more than 62 million of the nation’s estimated population of over 266 million.   

While expressing satisfaction over numerous young people, Bishop Prapdi said that a young and growing labour force will need quality jobs, which makes vocational training crucial.  "It would be a disaster if young people were not qualified and had a weak mindset", the bishop stressed.

Islamist pressures

Young people in the most populous Islamic country in the world are also threatened by Islamist pressures.

According to Bishop Prapdi, "relations between the different communities are good", but it is necessary to "recognize that radical groups operate in society, promoting intolerance with a considerable attraction for youth."

Environment

According to the bishop, economic development must not ignore the protection of the environment. He called for a "serious commitment to nature" through programmes and initiatives that counter consumerism and the problems it creates, such as monocultures, excessive use of plastic and paper and deforestation.

In Indonesia, out of about seven million Catholics, two are young. "We realize that they are a 'small flock' but we can face the challenges knowing that they are the missionaries in today's world," Bishop Prapdi said.

Small but committed

Full report at:

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2018-10/synod-youth-2018-indonesia-prabdi.html

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Muslim leaders try to ease tensions after Islamic flag burning protests

October 27, 2018

Following the Islamic flag burning incident that has led to protests by thousands of people around the country, Muslim leaders assembled on  Friday night to settle their differences and agreed to put the issue behind them.

Muslims were outraged after the burning of a flag bearing Islamic script by members of the Guardian Troops of Ansor (Banser) in Garut, West Java, who were celebrating National Santri Day on Monday.

The video,which went viral, shows members of Banser, which is part of the Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth wing, burned the flag that they think is a symbol of the outlawed organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI). Thousands of Muslims and Islamic organizations took to the streets to condemn Banser and demand justice.    

Members of the National Movement to Safeguard Fatwas (GNPF), that had called for the prosecution of former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, joined the protests against Banser, along with members of Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization after the NU.  

Banser has been guarding their headquarters in anticipation of attacks by protesters. As of Friday, no attacks are reported. A plan to protest at Banser’s headquarters on Jl. Kramat Raya, Jakarta, by the Islamic Students Association (HMI) was canceled after senior members of the group had called on their members to stay calm.

Read also: Uproar over flag-burning reaches new heights

During Friday's gathering at the residence of Vice President Jusuf Kalla, a former HMI activist and current chairman of the Indonesia Mosques Council (DMI), leaders of several Islamic organizations, including the NU and Muhammadiyah, met with the government to address the issue.

The meeting was reportedly inconclusive on whether the flag was an Islamic or HTI flag, but all agreed that any crimes committed during the incident should be handled by the police.   

“The Islamic organization leaders regret the flag burning incident in Limbangan, Garut, and agree to maintain peace and efforts to reduce conflicts,” the leaders said in a statement that was read out by Kalla after the meeting.

Among those who signed the agreement were Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma’ruf Amin, Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nasir, NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj and Islamic Union (PERSIS) advisory council chairman Maman Abdurahman.

Read also: MUI calls for flag burners to apologize to 'the faithful'

The NU and GP Ansor said they regretted the incident and had sanctioned the perpetrators.

The police have questioned and then released three Banser members who were allegedly involved in the incident.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/10/27/muslim-leaders-try-to-ease-tensions-after-islamic-flag-burning-protests.html

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Arab World

 

Oman says time to accept Israel in region, offers help for peace

October 28, 2018

MANAMA: Oman described Israel as an accepted Middle East state on Saturday, a day after hosting a surprise visit by its prime minister that Washington said could help regional peace efforts.

Oman is offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together but is not acting as mediator, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanates minister responsible for foreign affairs, told a security summit in Bahrain.

“Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this,” bin Alawi said.

“The world is also aware of this fact. Maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as others states] and also bear the same obligations.” His comments followed a rare visit to Oman by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which came days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas paid a three-day visit to the Gulf country. Both leaders met with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos.

“We are not saying that the road is now easy and paved with flowers, but our priority is to put an end to the conflict and move to a new world,” bin Alawi told the summit.

Oman is relying on the United States and efforts by President Donald Trump in working towards the “deal of the century” (Middle East peace), he added.

Bahrain voices support for Oman

Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa voiced support for Oman over the sultanate’s role in trying to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace, while Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom believes the key to normalising relations with Israel was the peace process. The three-day summit was attended by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, and his counterparts in Italy and Germany also participated, but Jordan’s King Abdullah cancelled his appearance after a flood that hit the Dead Sea region killed 21 people.

Trumps Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt welcomed the “warming ties & growing cooperation between our regional friends” in a tweet late on Friday.

“This is a helpful step for our peace efforts & essential to create an atmosphere of stability, security & prosperity between Israelis, Palestinians & their neighbours. Looking forward to seeing more meetings like this! Greenblatt said.

Israel and some Gulf states share an interest in curbing Iran’s influence in the region.

Oman has long been to the Middle East what neutral Switzerland is to global diplomacy. The country helped to mediate secret US-Iran talks in 2013 that led to the historic nuclear deal signed in Geneva two years later.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1441911/oman-says-time-to-accept-israel-in-region-offers-help-for-peace

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ISIS kills 68 members of SDF faction in eastern Syria, says monitor

27 October 2018

The ISIS terrorist group killed 68 members of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria battling to oust the militantt group from their eastern holdout of Hajin on the Iraqi border, a war monitor said Saturday.

ISIS launched a wave of bloody attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces “from Friday evening to dawn on Saturday”, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, raising the death toll from an earlier figure of 41.

The SDF fighters, who are backed by US-led coalition air strikes, were killed overnight, the Britain-based Observatory said.

“The death toll has increased due to the discovery of new victims on the front line and the existence of 100 wounded,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition said “at this time, numbers cannot be confirmed as both sides are taking casualties as this difficult fight... continues”.

A “sandstorm allowed an ISIS counterattack, which was surprising given the conditions, but now the air is clear, the coalition will continue to increase air and fire support to assist our partners,” spokesman Sean Ryan said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, ISIS said it had attacked the village of Sousa late Friday and detonated a car bomb near the village of al-Baghuza further south, down the Euphrates river.

The SDF last month launched an offensive against the extremists in the Hajin pocket on the eastern banks of the Euphrates, in Deir Ezzor province.

ISIS has staged a bloody fightback.

Since September 10, 270 SDF militants and 496 ISIS members have been killed in the offensive, the Observatory says.

The coalition estimates that 2,000 ISIS members remain in the Hajin area.

Last week the Observatory said coalition air strikes had killed 41 civilians in Sousa, 10 of them children, on October 18 and 19.

But the coalition said it had targeted an ISIS command post on October 18, and denied carrying out any strikes in the area the following day.

ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” across land it controlled.

But the extremist group has since lost most of that territory to various offensives in both countries.

In Syria, its presence has been reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the Hajin pocket near the border with Iraq.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/ISIS-kills-41-members-of-SDF-faction-in-eastern-Syria-says-monitor.html

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Daesh terrorists kill 60 US-backed SDF militants in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr

Oct 27, 2018

Dozens of US-backed militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been killed after members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group launched a surprise attack on them in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr near the border with Iraq.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday that Daesh extremists had dispatched a group of bombers as part of a counter-attack against SDF militants, killing at least 60 and wounding more than 100 of them overnight.

Daesh, in a statement published on the Telegram messaging application, said it had attacked the village of al-Sousa late on Friday, and detonated a car bomb near the village of al-Bagouz further south.

On September 15, the SDF said its fighters had stormed Bagouz and were close to the center of the village.

The forces added that they planned to open another front in Sousa area along the Euphrates River to build up pressure on the extremists.

The development came only a day after at least 20 SDF militants were killed in a Daesh ambush around the town of Hajin in Dayr al-Zawr province.

“The fighters were advancing during a sandstorm, they were surrounded, Daesh members used explosives and opened fire,” the SOHR said.

SDF militants, mainly active in the eastern part of the Euphrates River, are purportedly fighting against the remnants of Daesh, which has already been driven out of all its urban bastions both in Iraq and Syria.

However, the Damascus government regards the SDF as unwelcome armed forces occupying parts of Syrian territory without the consent of the central government.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578272/Daesh-terrorists-slay-60-USbacked-SDF-militants-in-Syrias-Dayr-alZawr

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Saudis reject Turkey call to extradite Khashoggi killers

October 28, 2018

MANAMA - Riyadh Saturday dismissed Ankara’s calls to extradite 18 Saudis being held over the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi, as Washington warned the crisis risked destabilising the Middle East.

“The individuals are Saudi nationals. They’re detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a regional defence forum in Bahrain.

He was responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who on Friday renewed his call for the 18 men to be extradited for trial in Turkey.

Saudi journalist Khashoggi, 59, who had lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, was murdered after entering his country’s Istanbul consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Gruesome reports have alleged that he was killed and dismembered by a team sent from Saudi Arabia to silence the Washington Post columnist, who had criticised the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

After weeks of denials, Riyadh has sought to draw a line under the crisis with an investigation.

Prince Mohammed, heir to the oil-rich nation’s throne, publicly denounced the murder as “repulsive”, while the Saudi prosecutor acknowledged for the first time this week that based on the evidence of a Turkish investigation the killing had been “premeditated”.

But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who was also addressing the Manama forum, warned that “the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all greatly”.

“Failure of any nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most,” he stressed.

The journalist’s murder has generated international outrage and undermined Riyadh’s relations with the United States and other Western governments.

France and Germany’s leaders said Saturday they want a “coordinated” European position for sanctions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

This came after French President Emmanuel Macron had on Friday implied German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government was engaging in “pure demagoguery” by halting arms sales to Riyadh.

On the sidelines of a Syria summit in Istanbul, the two leaders had a “peaceful exchange”, the Elysee palace said, and agreed not to announce their next positions on the issue without first coordinating “at the European level”.

The Saudi foreign minister vowed Saturday that the kingdom would “overcome” the crisis over Khashoggi’s killing.

“The issue, as I said, is being investigated. We will know the truth. We will hold those responsible accountable. And we will put in place mechanisms to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Jubeir told the defence forum.

Beyond the detention of the 18 suspects, five Saudi intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of the crown prince’s inner circle.

On Thursday, CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed US President Donald Trump on the latest developments in the investigation after a fact-finding mission to Turkey.

Pro-government Turkish media said intelligence officers showed Haspel video images and audio tapes of Khashoggi’s killing gathered from the consulate.

But the body of Khashoggi, who was once an insider in Saudi royal circles, remains missing.

“You need to show this body,” Erdogan insisted on Friday, indicating that his country had more evidence about the killing to reveal.

The Turkish president, who has stopped short of directly blaming the Saudi government, added the 18 suspects must know who killed Khashoggi and repeated his call for the men to be tried in Turkey.

“The culprit is among them. If that is not the case, then who is the local conspirator? You have to tell,” he said.

“Unless you tell, Saudi Arabia will not be free from this suspicion.”

Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz said in a TV interview on Friday that she never would have let him enter the consulate if she had thought that “Saudi Arabia authorities would hatch a plot” to kill him.

“I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice,” Cengiz told the Haberturk television station.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/28-Oct-2018/saudis-reject-turkey-call-to-extradite-khashoggi-killers

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Turkey Attempting to Annex Occupied Lands in Northern Syria

Oct 27, 2018

A local council, affiliated to the Turkish army, announced via a circular that people have to use newly-issued Turkish ID cards.

In the meantime, local sources reported that the council issued the circular at the order of Turkey's intelligence service, adding that the Ankara forces had already warned that residents in Northern Syria will be punished if they use their Syrian identity cards.

Ankara has been attempting to annex a part of Northern Syria to its soil in the last 7 years via different measures that also includes bans on Syrian IDs.

In July, well-informed sources reported that the Ankara-backed forces made industrious efforts to issue Turkish identity cards for the residents of the occupied town of Afrin.

The sources further said that residents of Afrin referred as refugees in these identity cards, adding that but residents of Afrin were allowed to use their Syrian identity cards.

The sources went on to say that the Ankara forces embarked on erecting checkpoint at the entrances of Afrin to register identity details of Arabs and Kurds to issue new Turkish identity cards for them.

The Ankara forces threatened to burn the houses of all those who refused to cooperate with them in the new ID plan.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970805000738

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Fresh Infighting Reported Again among Turkey-Backed Militants in Northern Syria

Oct 27, 2018

The sources said that Ahrar al-Sharqiyah and Sultan Murad terrorists, both backed by the Turkish troops, clashed fiercely in the village of Ein al-Hajar near the town of Afrin on Friday, adding that the clashes started over the groups' differences over their share of the people's assets and agricultural products looted by the militants.

They further said that at least 15 terrorists have been injured in the infighting.

Both groups further kept fighters on alert and arrested each others' members.

In the meantime, the Kurdish language Hawar news reported that Turkey has set up a free trade zone for transferring Afrin's looted alive products to Turkey after Ankara forces created a passageway between Afrin and Turkish territories via the Syrian border village of Humam. 

Local sources in Northwestern Aleppo reported on Wednesday that two groups of Faylaq al-Sham terrorists, affiliated to Ankara, engaged in heavy clashes over the olive products of the civilians in Afrin, adding that a number of militants, including one of the commanders of Faylaq al-Sham, namely Nayef Alavin, was killed in infighting.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970805000605

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Turkey Still Unable to Force Terrorists to Leave Demilitarized Zone in Northern Syria

Oct 27, 2018

SOHR said that the terrorists have not yet left the demilitarized zone that covers a large region in Lattakia, Hama, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, adding that Ankara's attempts to persuade the militants to leave the zone have thus far failed.

Meantime, Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and its terrorist allies deployed in Western Aleppo continued targeting al-Nile street in Aleppo city, injuring several civilians and destroying their residential units.

Other terrorists in  Northern Hama launched missile attacks on the village of al-Safsafiyah in Northwestern Hama.

Field sources said that the army's artillery units, in response to the terrorists' attacks, pounded their positions in Morek, Skeik and Atshan regions in Northeastern Hama.

SOHR reported on Sunday that Turkey failed to convince terrorist groups to withdraw from the demilitarized zone mentioned in the Sochi Agreements that covers parts of Lattakia, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo provinces a week after the agreement's deadline of October 15.

In the meantime, al-Watan pointed to the failure of Turkey in expelling terrorists from the demilitarized zone, and said that the Syrian Army's artillery units pounded the movements of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at terrorists that tried to prevail over the army's positions in al-Latamina region in Northeastern Hama and in the village of al-Zarzour in Southeastern Idlib.

A number of Tahrir al-Sham terrorists were killed or wounded in the army's artillery attack.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970805000463

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Non-Syrian Terrorist Commander Killed by Unknown Attackers in Aleppo Province

Oct 27, 2018

The sources said that Abu al-Bara'a, a Qatari field commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was killed along with two of his aides after unidentified assailants staged a grenade attack on his vehicle in al-Mohandeseen farms area in Western Aleppo.

In the meantime, a number of people were killed or wounded after a bomb went off in the town of al-Dana near the border with Turkey. 

Last week, two notorious commanders of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at  and National Liberation Front (NLF) were killed in a bomb and gun fire attacks by unidentified raiders in Southern Idlib.

Abdulhamid al-Azo, a field commander of NLF, was killed in a bomb blast along a road connecting Dayer Sharqi to Ein Qari'a in Southern Idlib.

In the meantime, Abu Osama al-Terablosi, a notorious commander of Tahrir al-Sham, was gunned down by unknown raiders near the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman in Southern Idlib.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970805000509

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Oman: We are not mediating Israel-Palestine peace process, but offering ideas

27 October 2018

Oman’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, has said that the Sultanate does not play the role of mediator between the Palestinians and Israel, but is offering ideas to help them to come together.

At a security summit in Bahrain, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, the Omani minister said his country was very optimistic about reaching a solution in the Middle East that would be beneficial to both the Palestinians and Israel.

Bin Alawi said earlier that Netanyahu’s visit to Muscat and his meeting with Sultan Qaboos was preceded by the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but the two visits came within their bilateral framework.

On the topic, Bahrain's foreign minister referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Oman on Friday and meeting with Sultan Qaboos.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/Oman-We-are-not-mediating-Israel-Palestine-peace-process-but-offering-ideas.html

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Idlib ceasefire must be safeguarded, says four-way Syria summit

27 October 2018

The leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany on Saturday called for a ceasefire around the last major rebel-held bastion of Idlib in Syria to be preserved.

The four nations “stressed the importance of a lasting ceasefire” according to a statement read at the end of an Istanbul summit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and also called for a committee to be established to draft a new constitution for Syria before the end of the year, “paving the way for free and fair elections”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a solution to the Syria crisis cannot simply be military and must include a political process under the auspices of the United Nations that envisages free elections as a goal.

“At the end of this political process, there must be free elections to which all Syrians have access - including the diaspora,” Merkel told a news conference in Istanbul where she met the leaders of Turkey, Russia and France. 

Major rebel stronghold

The four leaders of gathered in Istanbul on Saturday for a summit on Syria, where violence this week in the last remaining major rebel stronghold highlighted the fragility of a deal to avert a massive government offensive.

Ankara, which has long backed rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and Moscow, Assad’s principal foreign ally, brokered the deal last month to create a demilitarized zone in the northwest Idlib region.

Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of the rebels, who rose up against Assad in 2011. The area is home to an estimated 3 million people, more than half of whom have already fled other areas as government forces advanced.

Idlib casualties

Shelling in Idlib killed at least seven civilians on Friday, the largest one-day loss of life there since Russian air strikes stopped in mid-August, a war monitor said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Erdogan are due to have four-way talks in Istanbul on Saturday. Putin spoke ahead of the summit by phone to Macron and Erdogan.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is stepping down at the end of next month for family reasons, is also taking part.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/Russia-Germany-France-and-Turkey-meet-for-four-way-Syria-summit.html

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Mideast

 

Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis

October 27, 2018

GAZA/JERUSALEM: The Israeli frontier with Gaza fell silent on Saturday under what Palestinians described as an Egyptian-mediated truce, after Israel responded to the biggest salvo of Palestinian rockets for months with scores of air strikes on Gaza targets.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the armed groups operating in Gaza, said it fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel’s killing of four Palestinians at a border demonstration on Friday. Israel said its air force hit more than 80 targets in response to about 40 Gaza rockets launched into Israel.

There were no immediate reports of deaths on Saturday from either the rockets or the retaliatory strikes.

“After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive cease-fire will begin immediately,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said. “The Islamic Jihad will abide by the cease-fire if the occupation (Israel) does the same.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on Shehab’s remarks. By nightfall on Saturday violence had abated, with no further reports of Palestinian rocket launches or Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

Egyptian security officials have been talking separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to restore calm along the border.

Iranian meddling

The four Palestinians were killed on Friday during protests at the frontier between Israel and Gaza, held since March 30 against Israel’s blockade of the territory and in support of a right for Palestinian refugees to return to homes in Israel.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 213 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests. One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Israel said its forces had been attacked with explosive devices and that some demonstrators breached the border.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Syria and Iran were involved in the rocket attacks.

“Orders and incentives were given from Damascus with a clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al-Quds force,” Conricus told reporters. “Our response is not limited geographically.”

Israel regularly accuses Iran of aiding Gaza militants, but rarely levels the charge in connection with a specific rocket attack. It has struck scores of times inside Syria during the seven-year civil war there, at what it has said were Iranian targets or Teheran’s transfers of weapons to Hezbollah fighters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Oman on Friday. Israel and some Gulf states share an interest in curbing Iran’s influence in the region.

Shehab dismissed the allegation of foreign involvement as “an Israeli attempt to evade its responsibility” for the border deaths.

The Israeli military said it holds Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that has controlled Gaza since 2007, accountable for all events there. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since Hamas took power in Gaza.

About two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, mainly stateless descendants of refugees who fled or were driven from homes in Israel when it was founded in 1948. Gaza is in a deep economic crisis as a result of an Israeli naval blockade and tight Israeli and Egyptian control of its land crossings, which Israel says it maintains for security reasons.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1394761/middle-east

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Palestinian militants agree truce after exchange of fire with Israel

27 October 2018

Palestinian militants said on Saturday they would halt attacks into Israel from the Gaza Strip after they fired the heaviest rocket salvoes across the border since August.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the armed groups that operates in Gaza, said it fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel’s killing of four Palestinian protesters on Friday.

Israel in response struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

A spokesman for the militants said an Egyptian-mediated truce had been reached.

“After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately,” spokesman Daoud Shehab said. “The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same.”

Egyptian security officials have been talking separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to restore calm along the border.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined comment on Shehab’s remarks and there was no immediate response from other Israeli officials. Israel rarely acknowledges it has reached a truce with Gaza’s militant groups which it designates as terrorist organizations.

Earlier, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus accused Syria and Iran of involvement in the rocket attack.

“Orders and incentives were given from Damascus with a clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds force,” Conricus told reporters. “Our response is not limited geographically.”

Israel regularly accuses Iran of aiding Gaza militants, but rarely levels the charge in connection with a specific rocket attack.

Weekly protests

Shehab dismissed the allegation as “an Israeli attempt to escape its responsibility” for Friday’s protest deaths.

There were no casualties reported from the heavy exchange of fire in either Israel or Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas group.

The Israeli military said it holds Hamas accountable for the events in Gaza. It said its air force hit more than 80 targets including one used by Hamas as a headquarters, in response to more than 30 rockets launched into Israel. There was no immediate comment from Hamas.

The flare-up began after the four Palestinians were killed on Friday during weekly protests. Israel said its forces were attacked with explosive devices and some demonstrators breached the border.

Palestinians have been protesting along the frontier since March 30, demanding an end to an Israeli blockade and the right to return to lands from which they fled or were driven from when Israel was founded in 1948.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 213 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

About two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip which is in a deep economic crisis. Israel says it keeps a naval blockade and tight control of its land crossings with the enclave for security reasons.

Israel has struck scores of times inside Syria during the seven-year civil war there, at what it has said were Iranian targets or Teheran’s transfers of weapons to Hezbollah fighters.

Also Read: Iranian MP: Secret negotiations underway between Tehran, Washington in Muscat

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Oman on Friday. Israel and some Gulf states share an interest in curbing Iran’s influence in the region.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/Palestinian-militants-agree-truce-after-exchange-of-fire-with-Israel.html

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Israeli army says Syria ordered Gaza rocket fire with Iran backing

27 October 2018

The Israeli army accused the Syrian government Saturday of instructing a Palestinian militant group to fire dozens of rockets at Israel from Gaza with Iran's support and vowed to respond.

"The rockets that were launched against Israel... we know that the orders, incentives were given from Damascus with the clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force," army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said referring to the Guards' foreign operations unit.

Conricus told reporters Israel's response "is not limited geographically."

Israeli aircraft have struck dozens of “militant sites” across the Gaza Strip as Palestinians fired some 30 rockets into Israel in the heaviest exchange of fire between the bitter enemies in several weeks.

The fighting early Saturday followed a bloody day of border protests, in which Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians protesting along the perimeter fence dividing Hamas-ruled Gaza and Israel.

The sudden burst of fighting and bloodshed complicated the mission of Egyptian mediators, who have intensified shuttle diplomacy to achieve calm and prevent a full-blown conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/Israel-launches-heaviest-strikes-in-weeks-after-deadly-Gaza-protests.html

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Dozens of Houthis killed in training camp in Yemen’s Sanaa

27 October 2018

Dozens of members of the pro-Iranian Houthi militias were killed and others injured in the Arab coalition air strikes which targeted a training camp for the militias in the northwestern suburb of the capital, Sanaa.

Local sources confirmed that the fighter jets of the coalition backing legitimacy in Yemen, launched six raids targeting a training camp in al-Shaab area in the directorate of Hamdan, northwest of the capital.

On Wednesday, reports revealed that the coup militias tightened their security and monitoring measures against officials and ministers in the coup government in Sanaa, fearing they might break away and flee to areas under the control of the Yemeni legitimate government.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/10/27/Dozens-of-Houthis-killed-in-training-camp-in-Yemen-Sanaa.html

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Saudi project extracts 11,785 Houthi mines planted across Yemen

27 October 2018

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center landmine clearance project (MASAM) in Yemen extracted in 3 weeks of October 77 antipersonnel mines, 3,116 anti-vehicle mines, 1,817 explosive devices, and 146 unexploded ordnance, totaling 5,156 mines.

This brings the total extracted mines, planted by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias, since the beginning of the project to 11,785.

The mines are typically planted by Houthis in areas with schools and homes and are disguised in different shapes and colors.

They have become a means for Houthis to target a large number of children, women and the elderly, resulting in death, serious injuries or amputations.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/10/27/Saudi-project-extracts-11-785-Houthi-mines-planted-across-Yemen-.html

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Yemen’s Houthis criticize Oman for Israeli premier visit to Persian Gulf Arab state

Oct 27, 2018

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has criticized the Sultanate of Oman for welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his unannounced visit to the Persian Gulf Arab country.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the president of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), made the remarks in a tweet on Saturday, adding that the real goal of the Israeli premier’s trip to Muscat “is to isolate Oman from playing any positive role in the future with its allies and friends.”

He added that Muscat should learn “a lesson” from the governments of those Muslim countries that “normalized ties with Israel but lost their nation” as the condemned relations with Tel Aviv created deep rifts between them and their people.

Netanyahu, along with a delegation, including Yossi Cohen, the director of the Mossad spy agency, and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, arrived in Muscat on Thursday night and flew back to the occupied Palestinian territories later on Friday, making it the first such meeting in over 20 years. 

A joint statement by Netanyahu and Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos said the two sides “discussed ways to advance" the so-called Middle East peace process and “a number of issues of mutual interest to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Muscat and Tel Aviv have no diplomatic relations, and the last Israeli leader to visit Oman was in 1996, when Shimon Peres was prime minister.

Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also visited the Persian Gulf Arab state for three days.

Al-Houthi added that the people of Oman, who are known for their strong bonds to their fellow Arabs in other countries, including Palestine, are also “known for rejecting any normalization of ties” with the occupying regime of Israel.

Earlier on Saturday, Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah told a security summit in Bahrain’s capital Manama that Muscat was only offering ideas to help Israel and Palestinians to come together, but it would not act as a “mediator” between the two sides.

Despite apparently trying to sound impartial, Abdullah said Oman relied on the United States and efforts by US President Donald Trump in working towards the “deal of the century.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578268/Yemen-Houthis-Oman-Israel-Netanyahu-Palestine

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Yemeni army unveils new domestically-built high-precision Badr P-1 ballistic missile

Oct 27, 2018

Yemeni army forces have unveiled a domestically- designed and -manufactured smart missile intended to precisely hit specific targets, minimize collateral damage and increase lethality against designated targets, as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its atrocious aerial bombardment campaign against its southern neighbor.

The media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center, in a statement released on Saturday, announced that the short-range and solid-propellant Badr P-1 missile is an upgrade of Badr-1 missile, and has a pinpoint accuracy of 3 meters.

Earlier in the day, Yemeni soldiers and allied fighter from Popular Committees struck the al-Mostahaddeth base in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah with the same ballistic missile, killing and injured a large of Saudi-led Sudanese troopers there.

Yemeni snipers kill five soldiers in Saudi Arabia's Asir border region

Meanwhile, at least five Saudi soldiers have been killed when Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees launched an attack in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Asir in retaliation for the kingdom’s ongoing military aggression against their impoverished and conflict-plagued country.

The Houthi Ansarullah movement stated that Yemeni forces and their allies fatally shot the Saudi soldiers at Sahwa military camp in al-Rabuah region.

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

The Legal Center for Rights and Developments in Yemen, in a statement released on October 15, announced that the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against the impoverished and conflict-plagued Arab country has resulted in the death of 15,185 civilians, including 3,527 children and 2,277 women.

A total of 23,822 civilians, among them 3,526 children and 2,587 women, have also sustained injuries, and are currently suffering from the lack of medicine, medical supplies and poor treatment due to the crippling Saudi siege.

The center highlighted that aerial assaults being conducted by the Saudi-led alliance had resulted in the destruction of 15 airports and 14 ports, and damaged 2,559 roads and bridges in addition to 781 water storage facilities, 191 power stations and 426 telecommunications towers.

The statement went on to say that the incessant Saudi-led bombardment campaign had destroyed more than 421,911 houses, 930 mosques, 888 schools, 327 hospitals and health facilities plus 38 media organizations, halted the operation of 4,500 schools and left more than four million people internally displaced.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578264/Yemeni-army-unveils-new-indigenous-highprecision-ballistic-missile

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement accepts to stop firing rockets into occupied territories

Oct 27, 2018

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement says it has agreed with Egyptian mediators to stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Israeli-occupied territories and restore calm in the besieged coastal enclave.

“After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt, it was agreed that a comprehensive ceasefire will begin immediately,” the movement’s spokesman Dawood Shihab said in a press statement released on Saturday.

He added, “The Islamic Jihad will abide by the ceasefire if the occupation (Israel) does the same.”

Earlier, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, al-Quds Brigades, said it had fired dozens of rockets from Gaza into communities in the southern sector of the occupied territories in retaliation for Israel's killing and injuring a number of Palestinian protesters on Friday.

It said in a statement "fire for fire and blood for blood," adding, "if the Zionist enemy wants to expand the circle of fire, we are ready to do so and ready to protect our people."

In response, Israeli fighter jets carried out intensive airstrikes on military facilities, training posts and buildings, which belonged to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, all over the Gaza Strip.

The spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra, said one of the Israeli airstrikes on the northern Gaza Strip overnight wounded nine Palestinian civilians and badly damaged Rumah Sakit Indonesia Hospital in Jabalia, located four kilometers north of Gaza City.

Palestinian security sources in Gaza said that an Israeli warplane destroyed a 4-floor building in Gaza City and leveled it to the ground, adding that the building was empty at the time and no injuries were reported.

Gazan youth dies of Israeli gunfire wounds sustained in anti-Israel protests

Meanwhile, a young Palestinian man has died less than a day after being shot by Israeli military forces during clashes between a group of Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and the occupied territories.

Qidra said in a statement that 23-year-old Ziad Zaki Akel, a resident of Nuseirat refugee camp, died early on Saturday at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Dayr al-Balah city, where he had been taken for medical treatment.

He had been shot and wounded during “The Great March of Return” protests on Friday afternoon.

More than 210 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 22,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578252/Palestinian-Islamic-Jihad-movement-accepts-to-stop-firing-rockets

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Africa

 

Nigerian journalists protest Khashoggi’s killing

26.10.2018

A group of Nigerian journalists and activists on Friday held a protest against the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The crowd gathered at a square in the capital Abuja and marched to the Saudi Consulate in the city.

The group carried placard reading “Justice for Khashoggi,” “Journalism is not a crime,” “Stop violence against journalists,” and chanted slogans against Saudi Arabia.

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, a local journalist, told Anadolu Agency that the murder of Khashoggi was “horrifying act of Saudi Arabia.”

“Turkey has shown it stands by justice,” he said, adding Ankara is doing its best to reveal the truth.

“Whoever has a hand in [this murder] should be brought to justice,” Abdulaziz said.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After weeks of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week admitted that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate building.

Turkish police have been investigating the case. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia over the killing should be extradited to Turkey to face the trial.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigerian-journalists-protest-khashoggi-s-killing/1294573

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Two UN Peacekeepers killed, five wounded in Mali

Oct 27, 2018

Two soldiers have been killed and five others wounded after unidentified assailants mounted two attacks on United Nations peacekeeping forces in central Mali, according to the country's UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA).

A statement from the Mission announced that forces situated in Ber, close to Timbuktu city “repelled a complex attack, launched simultaneously by several pickups armed with rocket launchers and machine guns,” on Saturday at dawn. The morning raid was followed up by an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in the Mopti region, situated south of the initial attack location.

Burkina Faso's General Staff of Armies later announced the targeted soldiers to have been part of its forces committed to the UN mission.

UN Special Representative and head of MINUSMA Maamat Saleh Annadif condemned the assaults carried out by “enemies of peace”, adding that it "will not undermine our determination to support Mali, on its march to peace”.

Annadif further said that “the perpetrators of these crimes must be prosecuted and made to pay for their actions”, stressing that attacks on UN peacekeepers can be recognized as a war crime based on international law.

Moreover, the MINUSMA chief expressed his condolences to the families of the killed soldiers and wished the wounded a “speedy and complete recovery”.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578286/Mali-UN-Attack

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Nigeria soldiers attack Shia Muslim gathering, at least 10 martyred

October 28, 2018

At least 10 people have been killed in a fresh raid by Nigerian security forces on members of the country’s Shia Muslim community.

Report in local Nigerian media on Saturday said scores of people had also been injured after Nigerian security forces opened fire on Muslim worshipers gathering for a procession in Zuba, in Gwagwalada area of the capital Abuja.

Those killed in the attack were members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), a group that has been subject to a harsh government crackdown over the past three years.

Local media said the Muslim worshipers had gathered near Abuja from Suleja, in Niger state, for a three-day procession to commemorate the annual Arba’een occasion, which marks the 40th day since the death anniversary of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

They said police was forced to open fire on the Muslim worshipers after they refused to turn back from a checkpoint in Zuma, north of Abuja.

However, IMN said in an statement that it was the military that open fire without any provocation from the side of the marchers.

“The Movement vehemently condemns the action of the security agents, as unwarranted, since the march has been peaceful,” said the statement, adding, “In fact it the procession was being rounded up for the day, when soldiers opened fire on the peaceful marchers without any provocation whatsoever”.

An IMN spokesman alleged that police and security forces resorted to extreme violence, prompting marchers to hurl stones and rocks at soldiers to defend themselves.

Abdullahi Musa said that security forces even moved several of the bodies of the victims to a nearby police stations.

He said Shia Muslims in Nigeria, including those who gathered for the annual procession, will not be deterred by the crackdown.

“I want to assure you that we are not disturbed with this onslaught. The more they kill us, the more people are coming out to protest,” Musa told The Cable news website.

Nigeria’s crackdown on IMN followers began in December 2015 when the army attacked a religious ceremony in the city of Zaria in the northern Nigeria. Nigerian forces later raided the house of IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect the prominent Muslim cleric.

Full report at:

http://en.abna24.com/news/africa/nigeria-soldiers-attack-shia-muslim-gathering-at-least-10-martyred_914506.html

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Somalia Says al-Shabab Official Killed; Follows US Airstrike

27 Oct 2018

JOHANNESBURG — Somalia's national security agency says a senior official with the al-Shabab extremist group has been killed, a day after the U.S. military announced an airstrike against al-Shabab in the same area.

Saturday's statement says the unnamed official in charge of collecting revenue was killed on Thursday in Kunyo Barrow, north of the port city of Kismayo.

The U.S. statement says its airstrike near Kunyo Barrow on Thursday killed two extremists. The U.S. has carried out over two dozen such airstrikes this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab.

In a separate attack, the African Union peacekeeping mission this week said al-Shabab's head of tax collection in Lower Shabelle region was killed on Monday after an ambush at a meeting in Bariire.

Full report at:

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/10/27/somalia-says-al-shabab-official-killed-follows-us-airstrike.html

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North America

 

Pittsburgh shooting: suspect railed against Jews and Muslims on site used by 'alt-right'

27 Oct 2018

The alleged gunman who reportedly shouted “all Jews must die” before opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday appears to have regularly posted antisemitic conspiracy theories on an extremist social media site, including accusing Jewish people of trying to bring “evil” Muslims into the United States.

Officials named the suspect as Robert Bowers, of Pittsburgh. His age was unclear but he was reported to be 46. He was taken into custody shortly after the shooting, officials said.

On Gab, a social media network favored by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other “alt-right” figures, including those kicked off other social networks for hate speech, there was until late on Saturday morning a profile for a “Robert Bowers” who had posted frequently about Jewish control of the American government. The account was taken down but archived versions of the page remained available.

The account suggested white Americans and “Western Civilization” were “headed towards certain extinction”, and that Jewish and Muslim people were to blame.

The final post read: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

That post, from Saturday morning, referenced “HIAS”, a global not-for-profit organization, founded in 1881 as the “Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society” to help Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. It now protects refugees.

The post claimed the organization “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people”.

The author of the posts was someone “steeped in the debates of the alt-right”, said the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks American hate groups. The SPLC posted on Twitter that the alleged gunman’s social media postings “show adherence to antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews are trying to destroy the white race through immigration – aka ‘white genocide’”.

The final post appears to reference a debate within the American “alt-right” over the “optics” of different kinds of public advocacy for white nationalism, SPLC analysts said.

Public records for a 46-year-old Robert Bowers from Pittsburgh contain several possible email addresses for him that include the phrase “onedingo”, the social media handle used by Robert Bowers on Gab.

HIAS works with the US government to help resettle a wide range of refugees. The organization has worked to mobilize other Jewish organizations against the Trump administration’s attempts to limit and block the admission of refugees, particularly Muslims and, more recently, those from Central America.

The Robert Bowers account reposted another user who wrote: “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!”

In an initial statement, HIAS made no reference to the alleged shooter. “There are no words to express how devastated we are,” the organization wrote.

The Robert Bowers Gab posts also repeatedly criticized Donald Trump for not being a true ally of white nationalists.

“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” Bowers wrote. “There is no #MAGA [Make America Great Again] as long as there is a [Jewish] infestation.”

The account also shared a post criticizing of Trump for charges brought by federal prosecutors against a small number of violent white supremacists after protests in Charlottesville, Virginia last year during which a counterprotester died.

Shortly after the shooting, the Twitter account of Donald Trump Jr, the president’s son, liked a tweet that highlighted the posts containing the alleged shooter’s criticism of Trump.

Several of the posts also referenced internal divisions among white nationalist and conspiracy theorist groups, including one post that suggested supporters of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory were deluded.

Gab was founded by Andrew Torba in August 2016, after the rightwing activist Milo Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for encouraging the online abuse of a black Hollywood actor. The site, which brands itself as a refuge for “free speech”, has been popular from the beginning with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has been called “Twitter for racists”.

It was banned from the Google Play app store last year, for violating the company’s hate speech policy.

Gab confirmed in a public statement on Saturday there had been a verified account with the same name as the alleged Tree of Life gunman. The site said it had suspended the account but saved all data associated with it. Gab pledged that it would fully cooperate with a law enforcement investigation.

“Gab unequivocally disavows and condemns all acts of terrorism and violence,” the statement said.

On Twitter, Gab’s official account defended the site against accusations it had created a platform for hate and terrorism to flourish, and suggested violent terrorists used many different social media sites. It shared an article about Twitter postings by Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of sending mail bombs to prominent Trump critics.

By late afternoon, Gab’s Twitter account announced that PayPal had cut off its relationship with the site. A PayPal spokesman confirmed the move.

“The company is diligent in performing reviews and taking account actions,” a spokesman, Justin Higgs, said. “When a site is explicitly allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.”

Higgs said PayPal “has been closely monitoring Gab and was in the process of canceling the site’s account before today’s tragic events occurred”.

In response to Paypal’s public comments, Gab responded: “‘Hate’ is subjective.”

Gab also bragged on Twitter that it had “been getting 1 million hits an hour all day”.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/27/pittsburgh-shooting-suspect-antisemitism

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Khashoggi’s murder undermines Mideast stability: Mattis

27.10.2018

The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi undermines stability in the Middle East region, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday.

“With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all,” Mattis said in remarks to the annual Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain.

“Failure of any one nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most," Mattis said.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After weeks of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week admitted that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate building.

Turkish police have been investigating the Khashoggi’s murder. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia over the killing should be extradited to Turkey to face the trial.

Mattis said he will continue to consult with U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to consider the implications of the Khashoggi issue.

He said that the U.S. State Department plans to take "further action in response to the killing".

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/khashoggi-s-murder-undermines-mideast-stability-mattis/1294789

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Mattis tells Arab leaders: Russia cannot replace United States in Middle East

27 October 2018

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told Arab leaders on Saturday that Russia is no replacement for the United States in the Middle East following Moscow’s military intervention in Syria.

“Russia's presence in the region cannot replace the longstanding, enduring, and transparent US commitment to the Middle East,” Mattis told a meeting in the Bahraini capital Manama.

He was speaking as Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to hold talks in Istanbul with the leaders of France, Germany and Turkey on Saturday seeking to find a lasting political solution to the seven-year civil war in Syria.

Russia supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey backs the rebels seeking to oust the Syrian leader.

Mattis told the IISS Manama Dialogue that Moscow’s “opportunism and willingness to overlook Assad's criminal activities against his own people evidences its lack of sincere commitment to essential moral principles.”

He said Iran’s support for the Syrian regime “coupled with Russia’s repeated vetoes of UN Security Council Resolutions, is the leading reason Assad remains in power.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to host Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the summit on the conflict, in which more than 360,000 people have been killed since 2011.

Saturday’s summit will be the first to bring together the Turkish and Russian leaders with the European Union’s two most significant national leaders.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/10/27/Mattis-tells-Arab-Forum-Russia-cannot-replace-US-in-Mideast-.html

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Iranian militias must leave Syria, US anti-ISIS envoy tells The National

October 27, 2018

Iran-backed forces must leave Syria for stability to prevail in the war-torn country, the US envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS told The National.

Washington’s enduring political and military mission is to ensure a stable and independent Syria free from Iran-backed militias, Brett McGurk said.

“No one wants them there. We even hear from the Russians that they shouldn’t be there. We’ve taken that and said for a stable Syria these forces must leave,” Mr McGurk said at a military conference in Bahrain.

He said that many militias supported by Tehran were trying to control the streets of Aleppo after President Bashar Al Assad’s army drove rebels from their stronghold in the Syrian city.

Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city and industrial engine before the war and its recapture delivered Mr Al Assad’s biggest battlefield victory.

After the regime recaptured the city there was violence and displacement, and the Russians had military police trying to stabilise the situation, Mr McGurk said.

The US official was speaking as Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Istanbul with the leaders of France, Germany and Turkey on Saturday, seeking a political solution to the seven-year conflict in Syria.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with the Russians and they are very concerned about these forces on the streets. They are also disingenuous on that regard because they are also working with the Iranians,” Mr McGurk said.

Moscow has been Mr Al Assad’s principle foreign ally in the war.

On ISIS, Mr McGurk said that the fight against the insurgents was entering its final stage.

“It’s now the time to focus on the long-term political solution and we cannot have these forces dominating the grounds,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Britain said that ISIS gunmen killed at least 40 US backed Syrian fighters.

“Since Friday, ISIS killed 41 fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces,” the monitor said.

Washington believes that if the US leaves Syria in the near future, a vacuum will be filled by those working against the Syrian people, including the Iran-backed militias, Mr McGurk said.

Meanwhile in Iraq, armed groups that operate outside of the state are posing as a serious problem, he said.

“What we hear from the Iraqis and Iraqi leadership is that they want to get all armed groups under the control of the state,” Mr McGurk said.

This has been a driving theme coming from the Iraqi population and played a part during May’s parliamentary elections.

“That means that all armed groups must be under control of the state. That means if an armed group operates outside of the control of state that’s a problem for the Iraqis,” Mr McGurk said.

He said Washington was willing to train Iraq’s security forces to protect their independence.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/iranian-militias-must-leave-syria-us-anti-isis-envoy-tells-the-national-1.784865

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US stands against Iran’s proliferation of weapons and funding of 'proxy terrorists'

October 27, 2018

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said on Saturday that Washington vows to end Iran's support for the proliferation of weapons and its funding of militias in the region.

Mr Mattis critiqued Iran's "outlaw regime", saying that it has fuelled insurgencies in Yemen and Iraq, backed Bashar Al Assad's brutal regime in Syria and fostered chaos across the region.

"The US stands against Iran’s proliferation of advanced conventional weapons and its funding of and technical assistance to lethal militants and proxy terrorists," he told Arab leaders in Manama, Bahrain.

He reiterated Washington's support for its regional partners to defend themselves against Iranian-backed Houthi attacks on their territories and at the same time called for an urgent end to the fighting.

"Proxy forces [supported] by Iran’s regime doesn't lessen their accountability [and] we will stand against Iran's effort to enhance its nuclear programme," he said.

On Yemen, Mr Mattis said that all wars in the region must end.

“We strive to build the capacity of legitimate Yemeni forces, calling for urgent end to the fighting,” he said. "Compromise must replace combat".

He told leaders that there is no role for Iran in this conflict, stressing that diplomats should be allowed to "work their magic in Yemen. It's in the interests of the Houthi rebels to engage with UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths."

Mr Mattis called for support for a UN-backed political process in Yemen.

The US vows to ensure that weapons of mass destruction will stay out of the hands of irresponsible actors to counter emerging terrorist threats.

"Failure of any nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most,” he added.

Addressing the Syrian conflict, Mr Mattis said that Russia will not take America's place in the region.

"Russia's presence in the region cannot replace the long-standing, enduring and transparent US commitment to the Middle East," Mr Mattis said.

The US official was speaking as Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to hold talks in Istanbul with the leaders of France, Germany and Turkey on Saturday seeking to find a political solution to the seven-year conflict in Syria.

Mr Mattis said that Moscow's "opportunism and willingness to overlook Syria's criminal activities against his own people evidences its lack of sincere commitment to essential moral principles."

Iran's support for the Syrian regime "coupled with Russia's repeated vetoes of UN Security Council Resolutions, is the leading reason Assad remains in power," he said.

On the death of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, the defence secretary said Washington will get to the bottom of what happened.

"We will maintain our twin imperatives, protecting America and our interests and holding those responsible for this murder," Mr Mattis said.

But asserted that it will not impact its historic alliance with the kingdom.

Adel Al Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, spoke after Mr Mattis and criticised what he described as “hysteria” over Mr Khashoggi’s killing in response to questions.

“I think people have assigned blame on Saudi Arabia with such certainty before the investigation is complete. We have made it clear that we are going to have a full and transparent investigation, the results of which will be released.”

He added that six officials have now been dismissed.

“We’re trying to uncover what happened, we know a mistake was committed. We know that people exceeded their authority. And it wasn’t 2 officials that were dismissed, it was 6 in addition to the 18 detained by the public prosecutor. So this is where we stand, we will investigate, we will share the results of the investigation, we will hold people to account and those responsible will be held to account and we will put in mechanisms to ensure that this doesn’t happen again," said Mr Al Jubeir.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/us-stands-against-iran-s-proliferation-of-weapons-and-funding-of-proxy-terrorists-1.784675

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Europe

 

German media covers Istanbul summit on Syria widely

28.10.2018

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN

The four-nation Istanbul Summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia, Germany, and France on Saturday has been widely covered by German media outlets.

Under the headline “the quadripartite summit plans a new start for peace process in Syria”, weekly Der Spiegel’s internet page emphasized the importance of agreement between the leaders for the Syrian constitutional committee’s meeting by the end of this year.

The country's public broadcaster ARD reported that the German, Turkish, Russian and French leaders have defined “permanent ceasefire” in Syria’s Idlib province as their short-term goal.

ARD also underlined that despite doubts among some observers ahead of the meeting, the quartet summit managed to agree on a joint statement, calling for a political solution and stressing that there would be no military solution to the conflict.

Germany’s influential Sueddeutsche Zetiung daily has also highlighted the success of the summit.

“The Syrian summit in Istanbul ended with an agreement on the basic elements of a political process in Syria,” the daily reported.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/german-media-covers-istanbul-summit-on-syria-widely/1295853

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PKK supporters attack Turkish family in Germany

27.10.2018

By Cuneyt Karadag

BERLIN

Supporters of PKK terror organization on Saturday attacked a Turkish family in the German capital.

During an unauthorized demonstration at Alexander Square around 100 terror supporters unfurled banners, chanted slogans and attacked a Turkish family which came to Berlin for a visit from North Rhine-Westphalia province.

The terrorists carried posters of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The Turkish family responded to anti-Turkey slogans of the terrorists by chanting "Turkey", following which they came under attack.

Police arrested some terrorists and the family.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/pkk-supporters-attack-turkish-family-in-germany-/1295807

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Europe 'not worried' as militants return from Iraq, Syria

Oct 27, 2018

Germany says more than a hundred militants, who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria, have now returned to the country, but among them only dozens are being investigated for possible terror links.

German Interior Ministry said in a statement on Friday that they know of 124 people, who were part of at least 249 people who had traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria. Twenty-one of them were killed.

The Foreign Ministry released the information in response to the Left Party, which has criticized investigating the returning militants, whom it claims had voluntarily been supporting Syria-based Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

One of the party politicians Ulla Jelpke, has recently denounced questioning the militants as “grotesque".

She was referring to the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is considered by Turkey as the Syrian branch of the PKK militant group that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would be a security challenge for years to come across the continent.

Earlier this month, Russia warned that Daesh was expanding its presence in the Syrian regions controlled by Washington and its allied Kurdish militants, revealing that the Takfiri terror outfit has managed to take hundreds of people hostage in those areas.

According to EU's Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove, from some 5,000 Europeans who joined Daesh, hundreds have returned to their home nations across the continent this year.

Europol's annual EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) also warned earlier this year that a particularly strong security threat is posed by militants, who have received military training in the use of weapons and explosives, or have gained combat experience during their stay in Iraq and Syria.

Returning militants no longer ‘biggest threat’ for UK

At least 900 Britons of “national security concern” are estimated to have traveled to Syria to join Daesh. While about 20 percent of those have been killed, some 40 percent have returned to the United Kingdom, according to the country's latest counter-terrorism strategy.

The European Union’s top terror official, Gilles de Kerchove, also said in a report last year that Britain was home to up to 25,000 Takfiri extremists. He warned that they could pose a terrorist threat to the country as well as other EU countries.

Counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu, however, said they are no longer considered as a main threat.

He said that police and prosecutors had been unable to build a case for prosecution against most returnees.

The greatest concern, Basu said, however, came from “simple attacks on softer targets that are cheap to mount, easy to disguise and harder to see and stop.”

“The weapons used by the attackers can now range from home-made explosives to a family car or an everyday kitchen knife,” he added.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/27/578214/Germany-EU-UK-Daesh

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Campaign to remember the Muslim heroes of the First World War

28 OCTOBER 2018

The majority of Britons are unaware that hundreds of thousands of Muslim soldiers fought alongside the country in the First World War, according to a new campaign backed by a former military chief and the Mayor of London.

"Few know" that thousands of Muslim troops fought alongside British troops, helping to make up a force that "looked more like the Britain of 2018 than the rest of the country did at that time", a cross-party groups states in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph today.

The letter, whose signatories include General Lord Richards, the former chief of the defence staff, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and James Cleverly, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, marks the launch...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/10/28/campaign-remember-muslim-heroes-first-world-war/

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URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/ayodhya-dispute-case-to-come-up-in-sc-on-october-29/d/116732

 

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