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Islamic World News ( 20 Apr 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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BJP Youth Wing Leader ‘Admits’ To Burning Rohingya Refugee Camp in Delhi, Complaint Filed

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Apr 2018

A demonstrator takes part in a rally of Israeli Arabs calling for the right of return for refugees who fled their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, near Atlit, Israel April 19, 2018. Reuters/Ammar Awad



 BJP Youth Wing Leader ‘Admits’ To Burning Rohingya Refugee Camp in Delhi, Complaint Filed

 Karnataka Assembly Election Is “About Hindu-Muslim Religions”: BJP Candidate

 Terming France a ‘Slave’ Country, Syrian Regime Returns French Honour Granted To Bashar Al-Assad

 Mourning Arabs Fly Palestinian Flags as Israel Marks Independence Day

 Beaten, Tortured, Sexually Abused: An American Islamic State Widow Looks For A Way Home



 BJP Youth Wing Leader ‘Admits’ To Burning Rohingya Refugee Camp in Delhi, Complaint Filed

 Karnataka Assembly Election Is “About Hindu-Muslim Religions”: BJP Candidate

 Indian Groups in U.S. Seek Swift Action in Kathua, Unnao Rape, Murder Cases

 Indian police arrest 18 Rohingya Muslims

 Boycott clerics who incite sectarian hatred, don’t talk of injustices: Mirwaiz

 Bengal Panchayat Polls: Acquitted In Mecca Masjid Case, Swami Aseemanand to Campaign for BJP

 Army busts terror hideout in Doda; ammo, Hizb donation books found


Arab World

 Terming France A ‘Slave’ Country, Syrian Regime Returns French Honour Granted To Bashar Al-Assad

 A New Terrorist Group Is Popping Up In Syria And Capitalizing On ISIS' Defeat

 Reports: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Second Film to Be Screened In Saudi Cinemas

 Bahrain sentences 24 Shia citizens to jail, revokes nationality

 11-Year-Old Boy Participates in Fake White Helmets Video on Chemical Attack in Ghouta

 Tensions Intensified between Civilians, Kurdish Militias in Hasaka

 Gunmen kill 4 Saudi officers in southern province

 Russia: German chlorine, UK smoke bombs found in Syria's Ghouta



 Mourning Arabs Fly Palestinian Flags as Israel Marks Independence Day

 Turkey Plans To Enhance Skills of Rohingya Muslims

 Inflammatory Speech By The Houthi Leader Targets Baha'is In Yemen With Genocidal Intent

 Coalition calls for UN offices to be moved out of Houthi-controlled Yemen areas

 Yemen security raid results in death of two Qaeda leaders

 Turkish parliament dismisses two pro-Kurdish lawmakers

 Five civilians killed as Saudi warplanes bombard Yemen’s Hudaydah

 Palestine: Israel shuts Palestinian media outfit in East Jerusalem


North America

 Beaten, Tortured, Sexually Abused: An American Islamic State Widow Looks For A Way Home

 Judge Halts Transfer of American ISIS Suspect to Other Country

 Quebec mosque shooting: Even before attack, Muslims were living in fear

 Suspected 9/11 recruiter for al-Qaeda captured in Syria: Report

 Durham becomes first US city to ban police training with Israeli military

 No intent to change Syria's strategic balance



 Kenya: Police Hunt for Al-Shabaab Agents Smuggling Radicalised Youth to Somalia

 Kenyan Muslims, Christians Urged to Stop Intolerance

 Ethiopia premier reshuffles cabinet to implement reform

 Rockets hit Libya airport as UN, French officials visit to talk peace

 Somalia: Somali, AU Forces Retake Town from Al Shabaab Militants

 Conduct Public Finance on Islamic Teachings, Clerics Task Officials



 ‘Sikhs Love Muslims As Much As They Did Before Partition’: Indian Sikh Pilgrims

 Afghan Taliban to Launch ‘Spring Offensive’ Soon

 MNA, tribal elders demand Afghan soldiers’ trial under international law

 Bilawal believes military alone cannot eliminate extremism

 Two Taliban commanders killed in Afghanistan


Southeast Asia

 Indonesian University Wages War on Daesh — With Animations

 Here's How the Philippines Could Prevent another Marawi Seige

 Islamic State suspect wanted by Malaysia released after questioning: Thai defence ministry

 Hadi: Mahathir caused PAS govt to fail in Terengganu



 Suspected Brussels Jewish Museum Killer to Stand Trial

 German appeals court upholds conviction of 17-year-old Islamic State sympathiser who wounded police officer


South Asia

 Islamist Parties Plan to Ride on AL, BNP’s Popularity

 Citing Rohingya massacre, Myanmar army chief urges soldiers to obey law

 Efforts were made in Bonn Conference to stop overthrow Taliban regime: Qanooni

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




BJP Youth Wing Leader ‘Admits’ To Burning Rohingya Refugee Camp in Delhi, Complaint Filed

Apr 20, 2018

NEW DELHI: A criminal complaint was filed against BJP youth wing leader Manish Chandela for allegedly admitting on social media to burning down a Rohingya refugee camp in the national capital last Sunday.

The complaint was filed by public interest lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan. "No action by Delhi Police to register a case and arrest him and no action by BJP to remove him from the party," Bhushan tweeted as he posted a copy of the criminal complaint filed against Chandela on his Twitter account.

In the complaint, Bhushan attached screenshots of tweets showing Chandela boasting about his involvement in the fire which gutted the camp in Delhi's Kalindi Kunj area last Sunday.

On April 15, Chandela (@CHANDELA_BJYM) had replied to a tweet reporting on the fire in the camp — "Well done by our heroes."

"Yes we burnt the houses of the Rohingya terrorists," he added.

A day later, the complaint alleges that Chandela again tweeted under the hashtag "RohingyaQuitIndia" and wrote - "Yes we did it and do it again".

His account is no longer active on Twitter.

Prior to Bhushan's complaint, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) on Thursday had written to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik seeking appropriate action against Chandela.

"This is to bring it to your notice that Manish Chandela, who is a member of the BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), has openly claimed on his Twitter handle '@Chandela_BJYM' that 'Yes, we burnt the houses of Rohingya terrorists'," the AIMMM, an umbrella body of various Muslim organisations, said in the letter.

The AIMMM too attached screenshots of Chandela's tweets wherein he claimed to have set the camp on fire.

A fire had broken out at the refugee camp near Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi on the intervening night of April 14 and 15 that quickly engulfed the whole camp in which more than 200 residents of the camp lost all their belongings, including identity cards and special visas issued by the United Nations.

"The open claim on social media by the culprit is a challenge to the Delhi Police and all other law enforcement agencies. The tweet was posted immediately after the fire in the refugee camp... We demand immediate arrest of Manish Chandela under appropriate sections of the IPC," AIMMM said in the letter signed by its president Navaid Hamid.

The Rohingyas are mostly Muslim ethnic in Myanmar, who are fleeing the northwestern province of Rakhine where they are facing persecution.



Karnataka Assembly Election Is “About Hindu-Muslim Religions”: BJP Candidate

April 19, 2018

Bengaluru, Apr 19 (PTI) In a potentially controversial remark, a BJP candidate for the Karnataka Assembly elections has said the electoral contest in the state was “not about roads and drinking water but Hindu and Muslim religions”.

Sanjay Patil, Belagavi (Rural) MLA and BJP candidate, is seen making the purported remarks in a video shot in his constituency amid loud cheers by a crowd of his supporters. It was not immediately known when the video, which went viral today, was shot.

“…This election is not about road, drainage or drinking water. This election is about Hindu and Muslim religions,” he told the crowd.

“Keeping a hand on my chest I say loudly, this is Bharat, this is the country of Hindus, and this is the country where (Lord) Ram was born. We are prepared to do anything to construct Ram mandir in Ayodhya,” Patil purportedly said in the footage.

Patil also told the crowd, which lapped up every word he said, that the Congress favoured constructing a mosque in Ayodhya instead of a Ram temple.

“Let Laxmi Hebbalkar speak about constructing Ram mandir, you all vote for her, but she can’t say it, as she is among those who will construct a masjid, Babri masjid,” he said, insisting the May 12 polls were “very important.” Hebbalkar, the Karnataka Mahila Congress chief, is pitted against Patil from Belagavi (Rural) constituency.

“(Those) Who want to construct Babri Masjid… who want to celebrate Tipu Sultan’s jayanti…let them vote for Congress.”

“If you want Shivaji Maharaj, if you want Sambhaji Maharaj, if you want those who offer pooja at Lakshmi temple, you will have to vote for BJP,” he added.

Belagavi (Belgaum) on Karnataka-Maharashtra border is a communally sensitive area with significant presence of Muslims and Marathi speaking Hindus.



Terming France a ‘Slave’ Country, Syrian Regime Returns French Honour Granted To Bashar Al-Assad

APRIL 20, 2018

DAMASCUS: Syria returned to France the prestigious Legion d’honneur it gave to President Bashar al-Assad, saying Thursday he would not wear the award of a “slave” to America.

Assad was decorated with the Legion’s highest rank of Grand Croix, or Great Cross, by former president Jacques Chirac in 2001, shortly after taking power following the death of his father Hafez al-Assad.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that “a disciplinary procedure for withdrawing the Legion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) is underway”.

Syria said it had returned the award after France took part in air strikes at the weekend against regime targets over an alleged chemical weapons attack.

“The ministry of foreign affairs has returned to the French republic, the decoration of the Grand Croix of the Legion d’honneur awarded to President Assad,” said the Syrian foreign ministry.

It said in a statement that the award was returned to France via the Romanian embassy in Damascus, which represents French interests in Syria.

A source close to the presidency, quoted in the statement, said the decision comes after the “participation of France in the tripartite aggression alongside the United States and the United Kingdom against Syria on April 14”.

“It is no honour for President Assad to wear a decoration attributed by a slave country and by a follower of the United States that supports terrorists,” the statement said.

France grants the Legion d’honneur to around 3,000 people a year, including 400 foreigners recognised for their “services rendered to France” or for defending human rights, press freedom or other causes.

Assad has been accused of a series of chemical attacks on his own people during the brutal civil war which has torn Syria apart since 2011.

He has become a pariah for Western powers while maintaining the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military intervention in the conflict gave Assad the upper hand against rebel opposition groups.

Putin himself is also a recipient of the Legion’s Grand Croix, decorated by Chirac in 2006.

It is not the first time Macron has stripped a foreigner of France’s highest honour, having moved to withdraw the award from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after a series of accusations of sexual harassment and rape.



Mourning Arabs fly Palestinian flags as Israel marks Independence Day

APRIL 19, 2018

ATLIT, Israel/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Waving Palestinian flags and wearing T-shirts proclaiming Jerusalem to be “the eternal capital of Palestine,” thousands of Israel’s Arab minority turned out on Thursday for a rally to commemorate a war lost 70 years ago.

In a field south of Haifa, near an Arab village that was depopulated and abandoned in 1948, children read the lyrics of nationalist anthems from their iPhones, while their elders sat beneath awnings, listening to dignitarites and musicians.

The gathering was something of an anomaly: the same day that Israelis celebrate the 70th anniversary of their Independence Day, Palestinians lament the Nakba, or “Catastrophe”, when they lost their homeland in the conflict that surrounded the birth of the modern Jewish state.

This year the gathering was near Atlit, a small coastal village south of Haifa from which, the rally organizers said, 170 people were driven out in 1948, and fled to other towns or into neighboring countries such as Lebanon, where they and their descendants remain refugees today.

“I never miss any event related to the Nakba,” said Sami Salman, 83, a carpenter originally from Nazareth who attended the rally. “Many people left for Lebanon back then, but fortunately for us we did not have enough money to go. I am very glad about that now.”

Unable to attend but watching the event on television was Khaled Ali Hassan, a Palestinian refugee who lives in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, 80 miles up the coast of the Mediterranean in Lebanon.

His father came from the village of Ijzim, near Atlit, but was never able to go back after he fled the conflict in 1948. Lebanon has around 450,000 Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations refugee agency, many living in the country’s 12 refugee camps.

“When he used to speak of Palestine, he would stop when the tears came to his eyes,” said Hassan, 53.

He noted the irony that the Israeli celebrations and Palestinian mourning are intertwined. “The two of us are on opposite ends. Our day of tragedy, our day of misery, is their day of joy,” he said.


Certainly there was a strange juxtaposition on the crowded holiday streets around Haifa on Thursday morning.

Coaches from Jerusalem, Nazareth and other towns filled with Arabs headed to the Nakba rally, past long lines of cars bearing blue and white Israeli flags heading in the opposite direction to the coast, for the traditional picnics and beach parties at which Israelis celebrate Independence Day.

The fate of the emptied villages and the Palestinians displaced and driven into exile was part of what Palestinians — and some Israeli scholars — say was a systematic program of ethnic cleansing ordered by Zionist leaders to clear the way for the Jewish state.

Israel rejects this, saying that the refugee problem resulted from a war launched by Palestinians opposed to a U.N. partition plan adopted in 1947, and by Arab states which invaded as soon as the British Mandate expired in 1948.

Before fighting began in late 1947, about a million Arabs and 600,000 Jews lived in what was to become Israel. Israel emerged with 78 percent of Mandate Palestine. The U.N. plan, rejected by the Arabs, would have given it 56 percent.

The Arabs at the rally were mostly the descendants of the Palestinians who did not leave to other countries.

One of the main issues promoted by the organizers is the longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, a demand that has been revised in recent weeks in an ongoing protest by Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel border.

Successive Israeli governments have ruled out any right of return, fearing that the country would lose its Jewish majority.

But the refugees have not given up hope, even amid the stench of the sewers in a Lebanese camp.

“I won’t live to see it but my children might,” said Abdel Majid Al Shura, 42. “Seventy years is nothing in the history of the world.”



Beaten, tortured, sexually abused: An American Islamic State widow looks for a way home

April 19, 2018

A vacation is what made Samantha Sally to flip her quiet middle-American world of muscle cars, good lifestyle that turned into a nightmare of ritual beating, rape, torture and propaganda videos of Islamic State’s so-called Caliphate, CNN reported.

A holiday is what her husband, Moussa Elhassani, promised her when she went to Hong Kong in 2014, she says. The couple was planning to move to Morocco to start a new, cheaper life, she says, and needed to go through Hong Kong to transfer money.

Sally said that she stood on the Turkish border with Syria on the edge of IS territory with her husband who was holding her daughter, Sarah, while she kept her son cose, Matthew, 7, where she had to make the most impossible decision of her life. Either to abandon her daughter to ISIS and save her son or follow her husband into IS. She said, that choosing to follow his husband was the only way to save her daughter’s life.

“To stay there with my son or watch my daughter leave with my husband – I had to make a decision,” Sally, 32, tells CNN in northern Syria.

Will Iraq be next to abolish controversial ‘marry your rapist’ law?

“Maybe I would never have seen my daughter again ever, and how can I live the rest of my life like that.”

Samantha Sally speaks to CNN in northern Syria with her children.

Sally was in Syrian-Kurdish custody, in limbo, arrested after ISIS’s collapse in Raqqa and unsure if she will ever see the United States again

This story made Sally feel on how she suffered the ways of mystery, compassion and animal savagery befitting ISIS’s legacy of almost surreal terror. While, Sally was given the role between being naïve, manipulated housewife and the savvy pragmatist able to survive the savage, male-dominant world of IS.

She was kept as a prisoner, and was treated as a slave from a market with two broken rib injury that she suffered later on.

Sally’s time in the so-called Caliphate spanned from its most brutal beginnings in 2015 until its very final moments, the totality of which, in some way, complicates her defense that she was an innocent bystander.

Sally said: “I really don’t care what people think and what people say. Once I left, I was extremely relieved and I was not able to breathe in three years until now. All I saw was a bunch of drug-using thugs who had no place. They created their own state here and called it in the name of God.”

Iraq women with alleged links to Islamic State sexually abused: Amnesty

Yet it is the believability of her story — that of the pliable and then abused housewife, turned savior of three child slaves — upon which her and her children’s fate surely hinges, as US authorities decide their next steps.

“I will do anything to get my kids back where they belong,” Sally says. “If I have to spend 15 years in prison, it’s better than anything here.”

They dream of returning home, yet the FBI agents who visit them in custody to talk, have yet to bring charges or plane tickets home.

“Me and my kids we talk about wanting to eat McDonald’s,” she said. “We want to live a normal life again.”





Indian groups in U.S. seek swift action in Kathua, Unnao rape, murder cases

APRIL 19, 2018

Indian groups on Wednesday protested in Washington and New York against the rape and murder of a child in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, and the rape of a 17-year-old, allegedly by a BJP MLA in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, and sought speedy justice for the victims.

The protesters blamed the ruling BJP for slow prosecution of the accused. “These protests represent the shared anguish of the entire Indian diaspora over the state of human rights and religious freedom in India,” said Ahsan Khan, president of Indian-American Muslim Council. “They also represent our collective resolve to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, regardless of caste, creed or political affiliations,” he observed.

‘Shared outrage this’

The Council and Alliance for Justice and Accountability, a federation of different Indian-American groups, organised a protest march at the Gandhi statue in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington and handed over a petition to embassy officials seeking swift justice for the victims.

Suhail Syed, one of the organisers of the protest in Washington DC, said the presence of members of various faiths, including Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, at the protest was an indication of their shared outrage.

“The Kathua and Unnao rapes are about the challenges to our shared humanity, from an ideology that seeks to impose its hegemony through violence and fear,” he said. “Our protest is a pledge that we will not allow intimidation to overpower us in the struggle to save the soul of India and its Constitution,” he said.

Candle light vigil

In New York City, the Indian Students Association at Columbia and other groups are organising a teach-in and candle light vigil on Friday evening, The groups will gather at Earl Hall and march towards the Low Library steps at Columbia. Ruchira Gupta, Founder of ApneAap and Visiting Professor at New York University, will lead a teach-in against violence targeting women in India.

“The gross violence against women and the reprehensible reactions by BJP politicians over the past few days not only fills us with rage and despair but leaves us helpless about the intermingling of a spectrum of violence[s] where gender, caste, and religion occupy the center stage,” a Facebook page of New York protestors said.

What about Hindu girl’s rape in Bihar, asks Hindu American Foundation

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), while “unequivocally” condemning “all of these atrocities,” said it was “also deeply disturbed by increasing efforts in broadcast, print, and social media to perversely connect the rapes to the Hindu religion as a whole.”

“The details of rape and sexual assault cases being reported in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir which saw a 7-year-old Muslim girl brutally raped and killed, and Unnao, Uttar Pradesh where the victim was a teenager preyed upon by a state legislator, are shocking. The gruesome details of both incidents have sparked outrage and protest in India, and headlines globally. On the other hand, the rape of a 6-year old Hindu girl in the state of Bihar this week, where the police similarly dragged their feet in reporting the crime, has drawn little nationwide attention or international condemnation. That all of these crimes were committed by men in power against victims who were children and possibly victimized because of their religious identities make these crimes all the more heinous,” a statement from the HAF said.

The BJP is in power in all three States, and the party stands accused of protecting perpetrators in the first two cases. In the third — the case from Bihar cited in the HAF statement — the accused is a Muslim tailor.

BJP promoting Hindu vigilantism: FIACONA

Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) said the ruling BJP was encouraging Hindu vigilantism in India. “FIACONA believes that these are the tell-tale signs of total lawlessness under Modi & Company. These incidents show that the law and order has completely broken down by armed Hindu vigilantes roaming the streets.” the organisation said in a statement.



Indian police arrest 18 Rohingya Muslims

By Associated Press

Apr 19 2018

GAUHATI, India — Indian police arrested 18 Rohingya Muslims in a remote northeastern region on Thursday as they prepared to board a train for New Delhi after entering illegally from Bangladesh.

Police say the 11 men, four women and three children came from Chittagong in Bangladesh and were arrested in Khowai district in India’s Tripura state.

Police officer Krishnendu Chakravertty said they were looking for jobs and going to New Delhi where many other Rohingya live. India shares an 855-kilometer (535-mile) porous border with Bangladesh in Tripura state.

About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since last August to escape military-led violence against the minority group at home.

An estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in various parts of India. Less than 15,000 are registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Many have settled in areas with large Muslim populations, including the southern city of Hyderabad, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu-Kashmir.

Full report at:



Boycott clerics who incite sectarian hatred, don’t talk of injustices: Mirwaiz

Apr 19 2018

Auqib Salam

Some self styled Islamic preachers are spreading hatred to divide people on sectarian lines and they should be boycotted, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq  said here today. He said these clerics didn’t speak of the killings and injustices in the state but displayed passion and eagerness when it came to criticizing each other.

“These preachers are using the sacred pulpits of mosques to divide Muslims of the state by criticizing and demeaning one another on sectarian lines rather than working for religious and social reform among  the society and preaching the real message of unity in Islam,” Mirwaiz said while addressing a  Seerat conference organised by the Anjumane Nusrat Ul Islam at Islamia Hr Sec School Rajouri Kadal.

Mirwaiz said that some clerics were using social media to promote their sectarian agenda which misguides and confuses people especially the youth. “The breach in our unity as an Ummah unfortunately starts from our mosques which cannot be allowed,” he said. “Those who use our religious places to do so should not be tolerated and people should publically boycott them.”

Calling upon the religious leaders to promote the universal message of Islam, Mirwaiz said he will soon organize a meeting of the various religious organizations and preachers from every sect and school of thought to discuss these issues so that mosques become a site for unity and social reform rather than division.

Full report at:



Bengal panchayat polls: Acquitted in Mecca Masjid case, Swami Aseemanand to campaign for BJP

by Ravik Bhattacharya

April 20, 2018

Bengal BJP is all set to rope in Swami Aseemanand—who was recently acquitted in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case—for campaign during the panchayat polls and later to spread party base in the state. Swami Assemanand alias Nabakumar Sarkar originally hails from Hooghly district of Bengal where his family presently resides.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, who is a former RSS Pracharak, stated that he already had a talk with Aseemanand who has agreed to play a role in spreading party base in the state.

On Monday, a special NIA court acquitted all the five accused including Aseemanand in the Mecca Masjid blast case at Hyderabad. The blast took place on 18 May, 2007 which claimed nine lives. As many as 58 people were injured in the blast. Aseemanand, a self proclaimed monk and former RSS activist, was arrested by the CBI in 2010 in connection to the blast. Later, the case was handed over to NIA.

“I know him for a long time. I have spoken to him earlier and told him that the situation in Bengal is bad and we need him to work here. He has agreed. Now that he is acquitted, he will work with us in the state. He will speak during the campaign period of panchayat polls. We are yet to work out the details,” said Ghosh speaking to Express.

“He has great organisational skills and has worked with the masses for years. After the panchayat polls we want him to spread the party base in tribal areas of Bengal. Tribals are already with us and with his organisational skills, party will be further benefited. Few months back when he came in Hooghly, I had a talk with him regarding the situation in Bengal. He agreed to be with us,” he added.

According to party sources, Aseemanand will shortly visit Bengal after legal formalities. State BJP unit wants him to tour different rural areas of Bengal during the campaign phase and spread party’s ideology. BJP has already sought his travel plans in Bengal.

State BJP insiders feel that the party’s Hindutva ideology in the state will get a boost after Aseemanand joins hands and works at the grassroot level. BJP is emerging as the main opposition in the state keeping an eye on crucial 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Later, the BJP plans to utilise his organisational skills in tribal dominated districts of Bengal including Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore. Assemanand, who used to work for RSS backed ‘Vanabasi Kalyan Ashram’, has spent considerable time among the tribals of Bengal.

Full report at:



Army busts terror hideout in Doda; ammo, Hizb donation books found

Apr 20, 2018

The army on Thursday busted a terror hideout and recovered arms and ammunition, including two AK rifles, 289 rounds of ammunition, and Hizbul Mujahideen donation books in Doda district, rasing concern of presence of the terror outfit in the hills of the Jammu region, an officer said.

Acting on intelligence inputs, the Army and the police launched a search operation in the Majmi area of Dessa in the district this morning, the army officer said.

The joint party cordoned off the area and carried out meticulous searches during which they located a natural hideout of terrorists in a cave containing a huge cache of weapons and ammunition, he added.

One AK-47, one AK-56, five magazine of AK 47/56, one under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL), two UBGL grenades, 289 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition of AK 47/56 and Hizbul Mujahideen’s donation receipt book and papers (in Urdu language) were recovered, he said. This is the first time such huge recovery has been made particularly of Hizbul Mujahideen donation books and other material aimed to raise funds in the hills of Jammu region and increase the foot-prints of terror outfit in the hills of the region, he said.

Full report at:



Arab World


A new terrorist group is popping up in Syria and capitalizing on ISIS' defeat

APR 20, 2018

With up to 90% of its territory lost, ISIS appears effectively defeated as a conventional foe. But while the black flag of ISIS is being lowered, another may soon take its place - the white flag of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham.

A new report in the Wall Street Journal details HTS' rise as it consolidates power in northwest Syria. Led by a former Al-Qaeda militant, HTS is mostly based in Syria's Idlib Governorate and has taken advantage of the US-led coalition's focus on ISIS in the East, as well as the Syrian government and Russia's focus on other parts of the country.

HTS came into existence roughly a year ago, when Jabhat Fath al Sham, previously known as the Al Nusrah Front and Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria until its re-branding in July of 2016, announced a merger with four other islamist groups operating in Syria.

Combined with the other groups, HTS - or the Assembly for Liberation of the Levant - was created.

The reason for its existence, according to its propaganda, is "to unite our banners and to preserve the fruits and the jihad" of the revolution against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, so that it can "be the seed of unifying the capacities and strength of this revolution."

The group's leader, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, has said that he wants his followers to engage in "a war of ideas, a war of minds, a war of wills, a war of perseverance," according to the Wall Street Journal, and that he will conquer Damascus - Syria's capital - and implement Sharia law.

Thr group announced in February that it had defeated the remnants of ISIS militants in Idlib, and a month later said that they had taken control of up to 25 villages in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

It has created a religious police force in its territory, similar to ISIS' Hisbah. They enforce Sharia law, control services like electricity and water, and collect taxes from citizens.

The group has also been fighting forces from the Syrian government in Homs, Hama, and Aleppo. But while the terror group continues to grow and solidify its control, the Syrian government and US-led coalition have their attention elsewhere.

"The area seems to be out of focus for Western powers," Hassan Hassan, an analyst with the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told the Wall Street Journal. "The jihadis are having a honeymoon there."



Reports: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ second film to be screened in Saudi cinemas

19 April 2018

The Black Panther movie made its debut in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with a spectacular opening of the kingdom’s very first movie theater. It is now announced that a second film will be screened and it is another Marvel movie: Avengers: Infinity War.

The superhero movie will be released on April 26 in the kingdom, according to the producers of the film. Black Panther is set to be screened for five days in Riyadh.

The science fiction film is two-hours and 23-minutes long starring  Karen Gillan, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt and Anthony Russo.

The 620-seater theatre where the film will be screened is a converted symphony hall in the King Abdullah Financial District, and is the first of hundreds of cinemas planned to open in the next decade.

Full report at:



Bahrain sentences 24 Shia citizens to jail, revokes nationality

April 20, 2018

DUBAI: A Bahrain court sentenced 24 Shia citizens to prison and stripped them of their nationality after finding them guilty of forming a “terrorist group”, a Bahraini judicial source said on Thursday.

Other charges included travelling to Iraq and Iran for “weapons and explosives training” and attempted murder of police officers.

The High Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced 10 of the defendants to life in prison, 10 to a decade behind bars and the other four to jail terms ranging from three to five years.

The Sunni-ruled, Shia-majority kingdom has stripped hundreds of its citizens of their nationality and jailed dozens of high-profile activists and religious clerics since protests demanding an elected government erupted in early 2011.

The Bahraini government has accused Shia Iran of backing the protests and attempting to overthrow the government. Tehran denies involvement.

Authorities on Wednesday also referred to trial seven Bahrainis accused of attacking an oil pipeline to Saudi Arabia in November.

That trial is set for May 10.

The blast cut off the pipeline linking Bahrain’s Bapco refinery with oil giant Aramco’s main pumping station in neighbouring Saudi Arabia’s Dhahran province.

Manama in February said it had arrested four men suspected of attacking the pipeline, accusing Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran of training and arming two of them, which Tehran denied.

Under Bahrain’s citizenship law, amended after political protests broke out in 2011, the authorities can revoke the nationality of individuals who engage in acts deemed “disloyal” to the state.

Human Rights Watch in February accused the kingdom of “stripping away the citizenships of people whom they find undesirable”.

Full report at:



11-Year-Old Boy Participates in Fake White Helmets Video on Chemical Attack in Ghouta

Apr 19, 2018

The Russia 24 TV channel released a video of an interview with Hassan Diab. Diab said that he and his mother heard loud voices on the street, urging everyone to rush to the hospitals. When Hassan entered the hospital, unknown people grabbed him, poured water on him and then put him with other patients.

"We were in the basement. Mom told me that today we don't have anything to eat and that we will eat tomorrow. We heard a cry outside, calling 'go to the hospital'. We ran to the hospital and as soon as I entered, they grabbed me and started pouring water on me," Diab said.

His father continued the story. He was at his work when he heard that his son was in hospital. He rushed to the hospital and found his family there in good health. He added that he was on the street, smoking and didn't feel any chemical weapon. According to him, it turned out militants gave all the participants food — dates, cookies and rice — and then released them.

"There were no chemical weapons. I smoked outside and felt nothing. I entered the hospital and saw my family. Militants gave them dates, cookies and rice for participating in this film and released everyone to their homes," Hassan's father said.

The TV channel also broadcast an interview with a doctor who was in the hospital when the White Helmets filmed their fake video. He said that no patients with signs of chemical weapons-related injuries arrived that day, but there were many people with respiratory problems due to smoke and dust from the recent bombing. All doctors were busy taking care of them and didn't have time to react to the White Helmets' film crew.

The White Helmets is a Syrian NGO, financed by several Western countries, which is associated with staging and filming false-flag chemical attacks. They have been seen several times working with terrorist groups in Syria.

On April 9 the group published another video suggesting that doctors in one of the Douma hospitals were treating patients that had suffered from the chemical attack and accused Damascus of the ordeal. However, the information that later surfaced, as well as witness testimonies, demonstrated that it was staged, performed by the White Helmets.

Immediately after the alleged attack, Moscow dispatched its chemical corps to determine whether there was an actual attack and if there were victims in need of treatment. The Russian crew didn't find any traces of chemical weapons or any victims in the nearby hospital. Moscow and Damascus invited the OPCW to come to Douma and investigate the incident.

Also in June 2016, the White Helmets made another story about Omran Daqneesh, a 5-year-old boy whose image became a symbol of the suffering in Syria's Aleppo after he was photographed following an August 2016 attack.

Early Saturday morning, Washington and its allies unleashed scores of missiles on civilian and military facilities in Syria in response to an alleged gas attack in Douma, which the West blamed on Bashar Assad’s government.

Immediately after the alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta, the United States and its allies accused the Damascus government of killing civilians with prohibited weapons.

Notably, the bombing occurred just hours before the UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts were set to carry out an on-site inspection in Douma on Saturday to establish whether chemical weapons had been used there.

Damascus and Moscow previously rejected the chemical attack accusations, saying the whole thing may have been fabricated. Russia and Syria have also called on the international community for an independent investigation.

Responding to the typically unverified claims, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that as fake news, while the Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the reports about the alleged use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian forces were being spread by the White Helmets, who have been repeatedly busted for fabricating stories and providing fake footage. According to Moscow, no traces of chemical agents had been found in the area where the alleged attack had taken place, and the information was being used to undermine the ceasefire in Syria and prevent the envisaged evacuation of militants from Douma.

The Russian Reconciliation Center has also spoken with doctors in the town, as well as the Syrian Red Crescent, who reported that they had not received any patients with signs of chemical poisoning.

Syrian officials have over and over again denied the allegations, arguing that the chemical attack was staged by terrorist groups, and the government did not need such measures to curb the militants.

Full report at:



Tensions Intensified between Civilians, Kurdish Militias in Hasaka

Apr 19, 2018

Local sources in Northeastern Hasaka reported on Thursday that the Kurdish militants have detained dozens of civilians in the village of Bazouneh near the town of al-Qahtaniyeh, most of them elderly people.

They added that the measure was adopted after civilians prevented capture of 3 defected militants who had earlier been forcefully recruited by the Kurdish militias.

Reports last month said that the Kurdish militants had intensified forced recruitment in different areas in Hasaka after the Turkish army extended clashes from Afrin in the North-West to Northeastern Syria.

Witness accounts said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had detained tens of young people in Hasaka city, Qamishli and Ra'as al-Ain to reinforce its troops against the Turkish army and its allied militants.

They referred to the intensified forced recruitment in Hasaka, and said the Kurdish militants had also earlier exercises forced recruitment of Kurdish and Arab civilians residing in Hasaka for years but they are now recruiting even those people who have immigrated to Hasaka from Deir Ezzur and Raqqa.

Full report at:



Gunmen kill 4 Saudi officers in southern province

Apr 20, 2018

At least four Saudi officers have been shot dead and four others wounded after gunmen stormed their checkpoint in the southwestern border region of Asir.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the casualties came after the outpost on Arqob Road between the provinces of Mujarda and Bareq came under gunfire on Thursday.

Citing the Saudi Interior Ministry, the SPA said local authorities killed one suspect and apprehended two others, both Saudi nationals.

“In the interest of the investigation, their names cannot be revealed,” it said.

The attack comes as Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a deadly war against its southern neighbor, Yemen, since early 2015.

Around 600,000 people have been killed and injured in Riyadh’s aggression.

Full report at:



Russia: German chlorine, UK smoke bombs found in Syria's Ghouta

Apr 19, 2018

Russia says Syrian government forces have found containers filled with toxic chlorine gas from Germany and smoke grenades manufactured in Britain in Syria's recently-liberated Eastern Ghouta region.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the seizure of the Western-made chemicals and weapons undermined "the faith in humaneness” of some countries’ leadership.

“In the liberated areas of Eastern Ghouta, Syrian government troops have found containers with chlorine – the most horrible kind of chemical weapons – from Germany, and also smoke grenades produced ... in the city of Salisbury, the UK,” she said.

Zakharova also referred to the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb town of Douma on April 7, which Western states blamed on the Damascus government.

She stressed that the images and videos of the incident, which had been circulated on social media, were "100-percent fake."

One week after the suspected Douma gas attack, the US, Britain and France launched a coordinated missile attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemicals.

Syrian air defenses, however, shot down a significant number of the more than 100 missiles fired at the country in violation of international law and the UN Charter.

Elsewhere in her remarks, the Russian spokeswoman said that the tripartite strikes on Syria were meant to allow terrorists to replenish their ranks.

"Our assumptions have been confirmed, the actual goal of the three Western countries was to let the extremists catch their breath, restore their ranks and prolong the bloodshed on Syrian soil thus hindering the political settlement process," she pointed out.

Child witness casts doubt on alleged chemical attack

In a relevant development on Thursday, Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said that Moscow would screen at the world body an interview with a Syrian child who says he was made to pose as a victim of chemical weapons.

"We are distributing it to member countries (of the UN Security Council) and journalists, and at the next meeting of the Security Council we will find a way to screen it," he said.

Omar Diab, the father of the 11-year-old Syrian boy called Hassan, said he is ready to go to international organizations to testify that no chemical attack took place in Douma.

Full report at:





Turkey plans to enhance skills of Rohingya Muslims

Apr 20, 2018

The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV), which comes under Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, will establish needlecraft and soap production workshops for Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh.

"We came up with an idea of providing jobs for people here so that they can at least have jobs after they return home when the crisis ends.

"Under this framework, we started the construction of a needlecraft workshop on the Turkish Hill at the Kutupalong Camp [in Cox's Bazar]," Oguzhan Atsiz, deputy expert of foreign humanitarian aid at the charity, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

Atsiz said the charity will also establish a soap production workshop for Rohingya Muslims.

"Here, soap production will be made by those who stay in the camp. The soaps will be distributed freely to the people for meeting their needs," he added.

Atsiz added the Rohingya Muslims will in this way acquire a profession and also soap production will contribute to solving hygiene problems.

He added the charity will also establish a social complex, including a mosque on the Turkish Hill, saying: "Our aim is to contribute to both their social needs and education rather than feeding the people."

TDV has delivered humanitarian aid worth $3.7 million to Rohingya Muslims since the crisis began in 2012.

The foundation is also sponsoring 4,134 Rohingya students studying at schools in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Malaysia. TDV also supports 11 Rohingya students in Turkey.



Inflammatory speech by the Houthi leader targets Baha'is in Yemen with genocidal intent

Apr 19, 2018

SANA'A, Yemen, April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 23rd, Mr. Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthis in Yemen, gave a televised speech that vehemently vilified and denounced the Baha'i Faith, further intensifying the ongoing persecution of the Baha'is in that country.

Within days, over 20 publications in Yemen reiterated his comments about the Baha'is, and a prominent Houthi strategist commented on social media that "we will butcher every Baha'i". Several political and religious actors associated with the Houthis expressed similar sentiments.

"We find Mr. al-Houthi's comments extremely alarming," said Mr. Anthony Vance, Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Baha'is of the United States. "Mr. al-Houthi's comments, taken with those made by Yemeni media and public officials suggest the beginnings of a strategic campaign of incitement to genocide".

Over the course of his speech, Mr. al-Houthi employed a rhetoric reminiscent of statements made by the Iranian regime against the Baha'is, warning Yemenis of the "satanic" Baha'i "movement" that is "waging a war of doctrine" against Islam.

Indeed, several independent sources have been confirming that Iranian authorities are directing the persecution of the Baha'is in Yemen. Multiple reports further indicate that high-ranking officials in the National Security Bureau are maintaining pressure on the Baha'i community as a result of instructions from Iran despite repeated appeals by prominent Yemenis.

Full report at:



Coalition calls for UN offices to be moved out of Houthi-controlled Yemen areas

19 April 2018

The Arab Coalition called on the UN to transfer all UN offices in Yemen from Houthi controlled areas to areas secured by the legitimate government.

In a letter sent by the Saudi mission to the UN to the Security Council and the UN secretary general, they stated that the Houthi militias set up their bases for launching ballistic missiles near UN offices, like UNICEF, in Yemen which hinders the coalition and legitimate army from targeting them.

The Yemeni government had sent a similar request to the UN confirming the need to move all UN offices from areas with a strong Houthi presence to areas controlled by the legitimate forces.

Meanwhile, the Houthis are suffering grave losses on battlefronts.

Yemeni security sources confirmed that several Houthi leaders were killed during battles in Saada north of Yemen.

The head of what the militia calls their “National Conciliation Council”, Daifallah Rassam, wasl also reported to have been killed by an Arab Coalition raid in the Daher directorate.

In light of these severe losses, the Houthis have pushed a number of tribesmen to battlefronts in an attempt to gather more fighters.

Full report at:



Yemen security raid results in death of two Qaeda leaders

19 April 2018

Two al-Qaeda leaders died following a raid by Yemeni security forces in the Abyan governorate.

Security sources said that the two men were Morad al-Dobly and Hassan Bou Saree who are wanted terrorists. The two died during the operation which took place on Wednesday morning following an armed clash with security forces in the al-Wadea district.

The sources added that Dobly and Bou Saree are considered two of the most dangerous al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen.



Turkish parliament dismisses two pro-Kurdish lawmakers

Apr 19, 2018

The Turkish parliament has stripped two more lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) of their legislative position as Ankara presses ahead with a clampdown on members of the opposition party.

An official from HDP said Osman Baydemir and Selma Irmak were removed from office Thursday over recent criminal convictions. Baydemir was convicted of insulting police while Irmak was convicted of terror propaganda.

Reacting to the stripping of the MPs' status, the party said on social networking site Twitter that the dismissed lawmakers will continue to represent the people.

"Those who usurp the people's will should be consigned to the dustbin of history, Baydemir and Irmak will continue to represent the peoples!"

The opposition party has come under intense pressure since the July 2016 failed coup and the crackdown against coup plotters and Kurdish militants.

Its members still face dozens of court cases, with many involving accusations of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group engaged in an armed insurgency against Ankara in the nation’s predominantly Kurdish southeast since the 1980s.

This is while the HDP, which denies direct links to the PKK, had 59 lawmakers elected to parliament in the 2015 general election but has since lost several members.

At least nine HDP lawmakers and former co-chiefs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag are currently in prison.  Meanwhile, 11 HDP lawmakers have lost their legislative status including Yuksekdag.

The party elected Pervin Buldan and former MP Sezai Temelli to replace Yuksekdag and Demirtas.

Demirtas campaigned at the time on a promise to stop Erdogan becoming president under an executive presidency. However, Turks narrowly approved constitutional changes to create such a system in an April 2017 referendum.

The development on Thursday took place a day after Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections in June.

Full report at:



Five civilians killed as Saudi warplanes bombard Yemen’s Hudaydah

Apr 19, 2018

At least five civilians have been killed and several others injured when Saudi fighter jets carried out a string of airstrikes against a residential neighborhood in Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah as the Riyadh regime continues with its bombardment campaign against its impoverished neighbor.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told al-Masirah television network that Saudi military aircraft had launched three aerial assaults against an area in the al-Hali district of the province, located 150 kilometers southwest of the capital Sana'a, on Thursday afternoon.

The sources added that five people had lost their lives in the attacks, while a number of others sustained injuries.

Earlier in the day, Saudi warplanes struck Sa’ada airport as well as Kahlan military base, situated 3 kilometers northeast of the mountainous northwestern city of Sa'ada, with cluster bombs.

There were no immediate reports about the extent of damage caused in the airstrikes.

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured since March 2015.

The United Nations says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

A high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living conditions in Yemen, stating that there was a growing risk of famine and cholera there.

“After three years of conflict, conditions in Yemen are catastrophic,” John Ging, UN director of aid operations, told the UN Security Council on February 27.

He added, “People's lives have continued unraveling. Conflict has escalated since November driving an estimated 100,000 people from their homes.”

Full report at:



Palestine: Israel shuts Palestinian media outfit in East Jerusalem

20th Apr 2018

JERUSALEM (AA): Israel has closed a Palestinian media organization in East Jerusalem for allegedly “inciting violence”.

“The Israeli authorities posted a warrant on the door of the organization — bearing the name of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman — announcing its closure,” Ahmed al-Safadi, director of the Elia Youth Media Foundation, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

The East Jerusalem-based foundation is known for documenting Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

Notably, Israeli decisions regarding Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem are usually issued by Israel’s internal security minister, not the defense minister.

“We were surprised to find the decision was issued by the Defense Ministry — that’s highly unusual,” al-Safadi said.

The move, he said, should be viewed within the context of ongoing efforts by Israel to force Jerusalem-based Palestinian institutions to relocate to the occupied West Bank.

“This is unacceptable,” al-Safadi said. “We insist on our right to express our point of view; there is no justification at all for this closure.”

He added: “This is an obvious attempt to silence alternative viewpoints regarding what’s going on in Jerusalem.”

Two days ago, Lieberman said via Twitter that he had recently signed a decision classifying the foundation as a “terrorist” organization.

In a related development, scores of Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, according to the Jordan-run Islamic Endowments Agency.

“About 200 settlers entered the mosque complex in the morning, with another 40 coming after noon prayers,” the agency said in a statement.

A Palestinian mosque guard told Anadolu Agency that Thursday’s incursions had included attempts by settlers to perform “Jewish rituals” inside the mosque complex.

Full report at:



North America


Judge Halts Transfer of American ISIS Suspect to Other Country


APRIL 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — A federal judge blocked the Trump administration on Thursday from transferring an American citizen detainee — who has already been held in Iraq as a suspected Islamic State member for seven months — to the custody of another country against his will.

The decision, by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, was a significant ruling in a case that has raised novel questions about national security and individual rights. It was also a milestone in the unusual case of the man, whose name has not been made public, and which will now most likely go before a federal appeals court.

The man was captured by a Syrian militia in September and turned over to the American military. This week, the government notified the man that it intended to transfer him to another country, but he has decided to fight that plan in court.

While that country’s name has been redacted as classified in court filings, the man is also a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Officials familiar with his case have said the Trump administration decided to ask Saudi Arabia to take custody of him after concluding that there was insufficient courtroom-admissible evidence to prosecute him.

Judge Chutkan issued a brief order granted the man’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking any transfer late Thursday evening, just minutes before a 72-hour notice period was set to expire that would have cleared the way for the government to proceed.

The judge wrote that she would later make public a full opinion explaining her reasoning. But at a hearing earlier on Thursday, she had made clear that she worried that the transfer would set a troubling precedent, and suggested that the government’s argument that it had a diplomatic need to swiftly carry out the deal probably did not outweigh the man’s constitutional rights to contest the legality of his detention.

In a statement, the man’s lead lawyer, Jonathan Hafetz of the American Civil Liberties Union, celebrated the blocking as a victory for the rule of law.

“The court is rightly protecting this U.S. citizen’s constitutional rights and checking the Trump administration’s excessive claims of executive power,” he said. “The government cannot do whatever it pleases with a U.S. citizen without judicial review and a basis in law.”

Earlier, at the hearing, Mr. Hafetz had said the government’s only options, if it could not come up with a transfer deal his client would assent to, were to charge his client with a crime or release him.

One of the oddities of the case is that were the military to open his cell door, he would risk being immediately rearrested by Iraqi authorities who have been swiftly prosecuting and executing people associated with the Islamic State. Judge Chutkan said the man would have no right to make the United States bring him out of Iraq.

The man has admitted to working for the Islamic State, including guarding a gas field and monitoring civilians, and the recruiting files for the extremist group indicate that he was registered as a fighter, court filings have shown. But the man has insisted he went to Syria for journalistic reasons and was arrested, then agreed to work for the group to get out of prison. The government has not accused him of fighting for the Islamic State.

Mr. Hafetz also argued at the hearing that the government had no legal authority to send his client to another country against his will. He noted that the United States does not have an extradition treaty with the proposed receiving country and that the man is not accused of committing a crime on its soil.

He also noted that the court had not yet had an opportunity to rule on whether the man is indeed an enemy combatant, which his client contests. One of the novel questions raised by the case is whether the legal authority Congress granted the executive branch to fight Al Qaeda can be legitimately stretched to include the Islamic State.



Quebec mosque shooting: Even before attack, Muslims were living in fear

April 19, 2018

QUEBEC — Even before a gunman strode into a Quebec City mosque and killed six people last January, the city’s Muslim community had been living in fear.

At one mosque, vandals had sprayed hateful graffiti and broken windows. At another, someone left a pig’s head outside the door during Ramadan.

And Muslim-owned stores around the city had been targeted by people distributing business cards for the far-right Quebec group La Meute; in one case, the person dropping off the cards said “a war” was about to start against Muslims.

One of the cards had been handed to grocer Azzeddine Soufiane, who was later killed in the Jan. 29, 2017, mosque massacre.

Mohamed Labidi, former president of the mosque where the shooting occurred, recounted the incidents in a Quebec City courtroom Thursday during the sentencing hearing for Alexandre Bissonnette, who has pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

Labidi told Justice François Huot that after the massacre, the mosque was in a “race against time” to increase security because the Muslim community was traumatized by the attack and worried more violence would follow.

The front door is now locked at all times and worshippers need a smart card to get in. During Ramadan, security guards patrol around the mosque.

“Alexandre Bissonnette defiled a meeting place, a place of spirituality and tranquility,” Labidi said.

The attack compelled leaders to curtail mosque activities and led to a drop in attendance.

Social events for children were cancelled for four months. Meetings for women were cancelled for six weeks. Since the attack, 20 fewer children now attend the mosque’s religious school.

Overall, the number of worshippers has dropped by one third, Labidi said.

He called Bissonnette’s actions as “an act of terrorism,” noting the confessed murderer “was inspired by fanatical and hateful propaganda on the internet and social media.”

Bissonnette has not faced any terrorism-related charges. And the 28-year-old killer has said he is not Islamophobic, telling a police interrogator he “wasn’t targeting Muslims. It could have been anybody.”

But Labidi said evidence presented in recent days — including the fact that Bissonnette was closely following right-wing anti-immigrant extremists online — shows he was obsessed with Muslims.

“I conclude that without a shadow of a doubt Islamophobia and racism were (Bissonnette’s) main motive,” Labidi said.

He said Bissonnette succeeded in “intimidating the Muslim community,” noting some Muslims have left or are contemplating leaving Quebec and Canada.

The co-founder of the mosque also testified Thursday. Boufeldja Benabdallah read a letter directly to Bissonnette, telling him the Muslim community has been receiving, daily, letters, smiles, handshakes and flowers from supportive people.

He said Quebec Muslims are haunted by terrible memories of the attack.

“Despite the fact that the bright red blood of my dead or injured brothers has been cleaned from the mosque’s green carpet, and that the walls have been replastered to hide the bullet holes from those who are praying or coming to visit us, there will always be the memory of the bodies — lying still or moving in pain — and that will remind us of the tragedy, of which you were the architect,” Benabdallah said to Bissonnette.

Since Monday afternoon, the prosecution has been calling to testify people directly affected by the shooting, including the injured and those who escaped unharmed, and relatives of those who died.

An emotional Ahmed Cheddadi told the court Thursday that he is haunted by what he saw in the mosque on the night of the shooting. Images of a terrified child screaming as bullets flew, the sight of Bissonnette firing his gun left and right, and shooting at Soufiane after he had tried to tackle Bissonnette and had fallen to the ground.

Cheddadi concluded by telling the court that his 10-year-old daughter is afraid for him to go to the mosque. This, he said, is what she told him: “Papa, the mosque is dangerous at night, you should not go there another Bissonnette could come and hurt you, we need you, please don’t go there.”

Full report at:



Suspected 9/11 recruiter for al-Qaeda captured in Syria: Report

Apr 19, 2018

Kurdish fighters in Syria say they have arrested a German national accused of being involved in the planning of the September 11, attacks in 2001 in the United States, a report says.

"Mohammed Haydar Zammar has been arrested by Kurdish security forces and is now being interrogated in northern Syria," the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) commander, who wants to remain anonymous, said on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported

The detainee, who is his mid-fifties, was previously questioned by German police following the September 11 attacks which were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

Zammar has been accused of recruiting some of the plane hijackers. He fled Germany after the 9/11 attacks and relocated to Morocco before being arrested in the North African country as part of an operation involving CIA agents. 

Zammar was then handed over to the Syrian authorities. In 2007, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  He was released in 2014.

The Pentagon hasn’t yet confirmed the Zammar's capture, but reportedly said it was looking into it.

Fifteen of the 9/11 “hijackers” from Saudi Arabia were CIA agents working for the United States government, according to Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American academic who has been studying the events of 9/11 since late 2003.

“We know that the 15 hijackers who were Saudis, the alleged hijackers, because they were not on those planes – not one of the 19 hijackers, or any Arabs, were on any of the four planes, according to the passenger list, and according to all of the evidence that would be there if they were on the planes, but has not been produced,” Dr. Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, told Press TV.

Full report at:



Durham becomes first US city to ban police training with Israeli military

Apr 19, 2018

The city council in Durham in the US state of North Carolina has banned training and exchanges between Durham's police department and the Israeli military, which some analysts have said is directly linked to police brutality in the country.

Durham's city council unanimously voted to adopt the measure on April 16, after a coalition of community organizations successfully lobbied the city to prohibit exchanges with the Israeli military, making the first US city to ever explicitly take such measure, Al Jazeera News reported on Thursday.

"The council opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham,” the resolution read.

The statement Durham is committed to create safe and healthy environment of its residents and to "recognize and share the deep concern about militarization of police forces around the country.”

“We know that racial profiling and its subsequent harms to communities of color have plagued policing in our nation and in our own community,” the statement said.

US police have been often criticized over fatal shootings of and brutality against African Americans and other ethnic minorities, who are killed and incarcerated in disproportionate numbers.

Many African Americans have been shot dead in recent years, leading to a series of protests and court trials which have failed to check the repeat of those incidents.

The militarization of police and use of heavy-handed tactics against protesters, especially in communities of color like Ferguson and Baltimore, have become a major concern for many in the United States.

In court trials, police officers have mostly defended their actions as a measure against the threat which they faced because the victims carried arms, but in other cases those shot dead even did not carry arms.

Some analysts have said that police brutality in the United States is directly linked to the training of Israel, which is training the US police force with a mindset to become an occupying army.

“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States,” American political commentator John Miranda has told Press TV, “I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.”

Full report at:



No intent to change Syria's strategic balance

20 April 2018

The U.S. had no intention of changing the strategic balance of the conflict in Syria with the recent joint attack against the Bashar al-Assad regime, a high-ranking military official said Thursday.

"I don’t think we sought to change the strategic balance of the Syria conflict with those strikes," Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon press briefing.

"We sought to send a lesson that it's bad practice to gas women and children,” he said.

Forces of the Assad regime struck targets in Douma district in the suburb of Eastern Ghouta earlier this month using a toxic gas which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets.

Following the attack, the U.S., UK and France jointly launched strikes Friday night targeting the Assad regime's chemical weapons capabilities in retaliation.

The strikes targeted a chemical weapons research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons warehouse and a command center related to chemical weapons located west of Homs, said U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford.

Asked if the U.S. was confronted by Russia during the joint attack, McKenzie said even though Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense system was active and scanning, it did not engage with the U.S.-led coalition's missiles.

"Russian air defenses were energized. They were scanning. They had a main state air defense aircraft up. They did not choose to engage, so I cannot speculate about why they did or did not do that," he responded.

But the rest of Syria’s air defense capability, which was provided by Russia, engaged extensively and comprehensively failed, according to McKenzie.

Stating that the U.S.-led coalition planned and analyzed the operation in a way to prevent any chemical leakage out of the areas that were hit, he added that the coalition was successful, based on the fact that there were no casualties.

In response to a question about his thoughts on the Syrian regime's response to the coalition missiles when the operation was conducted, McKenzie described it as "confused and chaotic".

"They had no clear picture of what was actually happening to them," he said, referring to the Assad regime.

"I would note that on the evening of the 16th, we noticed a spasm of Syrian air defenses where they again fired six surface-to-air missiles against no targets, and probably without any kind of fire direction, which means the missile goes ballistic, travels to either where it explodes in air, or continues forward. So that indicates a pretty serious dislocation of Syrian air defense," he added.

Rejecting Moscow's claim that Russia’s air defense system downed a majority of the missiles, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White also said Russian-made air defenses operated by Syrian crews were completely useless.

“The Russian manufactured air defense systems were totally ineffective,” she said. “Russia and the regime demonstrated the ineffectiveness of their systems again two days later, when those systems engaged accidentally."

The Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta has been under siege for the last five years. Humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.

Full report at:





Kenya: Police Hunt for Al-Shabaab Agents Smuggling Radicalised Youth to Somalia

19 APRIL 2018

By Jeremiah Wakaya

Nairobi — The National Police Service (NPS) is pursuing local Al-Shabaab contacts who aided three Kenyans to sneak to Somalia with the aim of joining the terror group.

NPS Director for Corporate Communications, Charles Owino, said in a statement on Wednesday the contacts assisted Mohamed Abdalla Asman from Nairobi's Majengo area, and Hamisi Hemed and Ali Ahmed Ali both from Malindi to join the Somalia-based terrorist group for training early this month.

The three suspects are said to be planning an attack on their return to the country according to Owino.

Of the three, Asman alias Papa or Raymond has previously been charged and convicted after a botched plan to travel to Somalia for Al Shabaab training; serving a jail term of five years from October 4, 2013, to July 12, 2017.

Police at the time identified Sheikh Ibrahim Umar alias Amru, a religious leader at the Answar Sunna Mosque, as the key facilitator of Asman's aborted trip to Somalia.

Members of the public have been urged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious individual to the police service.

The police also warned Kenyan families and businessmen facilitating and abetting radicalization and terrorist activities of firm action.

"We wish to warn parents, guardians or religious leaders withholding information on radicalization that they are liable for prosecution for abetting crime," Owino said in the statement released to newsrooms on Wednesday.



Kenyan Muslims, Christians Urged to Stop Intolerance

18 APRIL 2018

Kenyans Christians and Muslims have been urged to embrace one another and end religious intolerance.

Speaking at a two-day conference on Inter-religious dialogue between Muslim and Christian scholars at Tangaza University College in Karen, Bishop Miguel Guixot, Secretary of the Vatican-based Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue, on Wednesday said the church was committed to promoting religious tolerance and harmony, which is key to global peace.

He called upon world leaders, both political and religious, to work together and build bridges.

"The spirit of dialogue and encounter is important for building bridges across different faiths. There is a need for all of us to come together as brothers and sisters to create a better world through collaboration as Pope Francis is urging us to do," he said.

The bishop's thoughts were echoed by Dr Ali Adan, the director of research, innovation and outreach at Ummah University, who appealed to Kenyans to join the initiative.

"We are not interested to look at the issue of theology, which book or group is right or good. We are more concerned with common good, which can be delivered through partnership in faith as brotherhood in humanity."

Father Innocent Maganya, one of the organisers of the conference, expressed hope that by coming together, religious leaders can better shape the country and the continent.

"We live in interesting times where we see so many cases of religious intolerance and injustices. We as religious leaders have a big role to play through our partnership and collaboration within our institutions of higher learning to ensure the people we serve live justly," he said.

The gathering of the scholars from the two religions came in the wake terrorism attacks associated with religious fundamentalism and intolerance in the region.

Full report at:



Ethiopia premier reshuffles cabinet to implement reform

Apr 19, 2018

Ethiopia's new premier Abiy Ahmed named a new defense minister on Thursday as part of a reshuffle to help implement reforms demanded by the public during unrest in which hundreds were killed by security forces.

Abiy named 10 new ministers but retained the finance and foreign ministers from the cabinet of his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February to pave the way for the reforms.

"To respond to public demand a cabinet reshuffle is essential. This follows the change of leadership that was enacted in an attempt to change the existing situation in the country," Abiy, a former army officer, told lawmakers.

He told the new ministers to tackle graft and streamline bureaucracy.

"This is a red line that has to be enforced," said Abiy, 42, who was sworn in on April 2. "What the public is fed up of is graft and maladministration. This will not be tolerated."

Unrest broke out in the largest province of Oromiya in 2015 largely fuelled by young people who said they were marginalized economically and politically in the country of around 100 million people.

Ethiopia's economy has grown at an average of nearly 10 percent for the past decade, which is the fastest pace in Africa. Unrest has led to concerns over its long-term stability.

Parliament swore in some 10 new ministers on Thursday and six others were moved to head other ministries. Motuma Mekassa, a former minister of mines, petroleum and natural gas, was named defense minister.

Abiy also named new industry, energy, trade, mining, health, and revenue ministers, as well as an attorney general.

Those he retained included Finance Minister Abraham Tekeste and Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu, both of whom Hailemariam appointed in late 2016. Every lawmaker in the 547-seat parliament is from the ruling EPRDF coalition.

Abiy appointed former parliament speaker Abadula Gemeda as the national security adviser.

He also named a new federal police commissioner, a new director general of the Information Network Security Agency, which oversees cybersecurity, and a new director general of METEC, a military-industrial conglomerate.

All four are civilians, a change from previous governments in which such posts have been held by men from the security branches.

On visits to different parts of the country, Abiy has stressed unity among the many ethnic groups and has promised to expand political and civil rights over time.

Full report at:



Rockets hit Libya airport as UN, French officials visit to talk peace

April 19, 2018

Tripoli: Rockets hit Libya’s main airport and damaged a plane as it was waiting to take off early on Thursday, a security force said, the same day as the United Nations envoy and France’s ambassador were visiting the capital to discuss a peace plan.

One rocket hit an Airbus 320 and others struck the arrivals hall at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport at around 2 a.m. (midnight GMT), but no one was injured, a spokesman for the Special Deterrence Force (Rada) said.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame and French ambassador Brigitte Curmi arrived at the same airport — the only one operating in the city. Their offices did not immediately release a statement on the attack or say when they landed.

Tripoli has been controlled by a patchwork of armed groups since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi and splintered the country.

There have been rival governments in Tripoli and the east since 2014, when most diplomatic missions evacuated to neighboring Tunisia.

Armed groups fighting for territory and power have regularly attacked Tripoli’s transport hubs — undermining the government’s efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return to the capital.

Airlines have also struggled to maintain services and keep the oil-producing country connected to the outside world as attacks damage their planes.

Rada, a security group that controls the airport alligned to Libya’s internationally recognized government, said the rockets were fired by men loyal to a militia leader known as Bashir “the Cow,” a group it has clashed with before.

France’s Curmi met representatives of that govenrment in Tripoli at around 9 a.m., and the UN’s Salame held his meeting in the early afternoon.

When asked whether elections would be held this year, Salame said after meeting Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala: “Sure. We promised this the UN Security Council.” He did not elaborate.

The United Nations launched a new round of talks in September in Tunis between the rival factions to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 but divisions have prevented reaching an accord.

Full report at:



Somalia: Somali, AU Forces Retake Town From Al Shabaab Militants

18 APRIL 2018

Somalia National Army (SNA) backed by African Union forces recaptured new villages in Hiiraan region of central Somalia from Al Shabaab on Tuesday.

Mohamed Nur Agajof, a military spokesperson in the region, told Radio Shabelle that the allied troops gained control of areas located between Beledweyne, Mahas and Mataban.

The takeover came after a joint offensive against the militant group of Al-Shabaab, the official added.

He said the operation will continue until the whole areas still under Al-Shabaab control are liberated. Al Shabaab is yet to comment on the assault and the latest development.



Conduct public finance on Islamic teachings, clerics task officials

April 20, 2018

An Islamic cleric and professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Ekiti state University, Ado Ekiti, Imam Musa Adeshina Abdulraheem, has also admonished incoming administration to conduct public finance in line with Islamic teachings of fiscal prudence

This, the University don said, would help them to deal with corruption in all ramifications.

He gave the counsel in Abuja during a two day workshop on linking good public finance management with Islam teachings organized by Centre for Social Justice (CJS).

“There are laws in this country that encourage people to be transparent, abhor corruption and live up to the guidelines, expectations expected of various offices. However, many of us are found wanting. The Centre for Social Justice has come up with this manual to use religion as a means of creating awareness in people. This is a country that is very religious- is either you are a Muslim or a Christian,” he said.

He advised incoming Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to strive by upholding probity, accountability and transparency, virtues he said Nigerians expect of his government.

“We would like incoming president and government to observe where outgoing government has made some mistakes especially in the fight against corruption and try to amend. Go out and stamp corruption because if they fail do so, people will draw comparison. Corruption is the bane of this country, it retards progress”, he said.

Speaking in an interview with New Telegraph, workshop Convener and Director of CSJ, Barrister Eze Onyepkere said the workshop was part of wider programmes designed to involve faith based groups in the struggle for improvement of fiscal government, transparency and value for money.

“We noticed that all humans’ laws are written in line with religious and moral doctrines. If you look at the Bible, the ten commandments is almost a replication of most society‘s laws today. We note that majority of Nigerians are either a Muslim or a Christian who attends mosque on Friday or church on Sunday.

“These people belonging to these groups are at the same time leading Nigerians. We then ask ourselves that why corruption is still this pervasive in our polity if the leaders are people of great faith? Why are we not having value for money? Why is economy being mismanaged?

Full report at:





‘Sikhs Love Muslims As Much As They Did Before Partition’: Indian Sikh Pilgrims

Apr 20, 2018

NAROWAL: The Sikh nation loves the Muslims as much as it loved them before the partition 70 years ago and it will not become the part of a conspiracy against Pakistan, reported by a local media outlet.

These views were expressed by the Sikh pilgrims who arrived here from India and other countries in connection with Baisakhi while talking to the media at Darbar Sahib Kirtarpur at the Samadhi of Baba Guru Nanak on Thursday.

The Sikh pilgrims from India, including Sarvant Singh, Suraj Singh, Diljit Singh, and Lal Singh, said: “The Sikhs love Pakistan as much as the Pakistani Muslims love Saudi Arabia because the founder of Sikh religion, Baba Guru Nanak Dev Ji, was born in Pakistan and his Samadhi is also here”.

They termed it a matter of pride that the Pakistan government was looking after their Gurdwaras properly and expressed gratitude to it for this favour.

Gurmeet Singh, Diljeet Kaur and Rani Jay Kaur said: “We have visited Pakistan for the first time in order to pay a visit to the Darbar of Guru Nanak and we feel as if we are in our own country”.



Afghan Taliban to launch ‘Spring Offensive’ soon

Tahir Khan

APRIL 20, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban are set to launch the annual ‘Spring Offensive’ soon, with fighting this year likely to be tough for the Afghan forces as US military estimates suggest Afghan government’s control of districts is at the lowest since December 2015.

Afghan insurgents usually start major operations in late April or early May as weather warms up. This time Taliban will fight with an apparently strong position due to increased territorial gains.”We will start spring operations soon. We will launch offensive as soon as it is possible for fighters to stay in open in the night in cold areas,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Daily Times when a query was posted on his WhatsApp.

Last year, the Taliban started annual offensive on April 28, which was named after Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the supreme leader who was killed by the US in a drone strike in May 2016.This winter also witnessed several deadliest Taliban attacks despite a surge in American troops and increase in NATO air strikes following Trump’s new Afghan strategy.

Days ahead of the announcement of the major offensive, the insurgents have staged deadly attacks in recent days that the Taliban spokesman describes as a ‘teaser’ for the spring offensive.

On April 18, the Taliban killed Col Janan Mama, a top commander of the border rapid reaction force, and three of his police bodyguards in Kandahar. Taliban described Janan as a big asset for the US-led foreign forces in southern Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters also briefly overran Khawaja Omari district in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province on April 12 and killed district governor and more than a dozen security personnel.

Taliban sources say their main focus would be on southern parts of the country where the Taliban military chief Ibrahim Sadr is personally advising the Taliban troops. Taliban Helmand governor Abdul Manan Akhund, one of the few influential Taliban commanders, is also a main character behind the Taliban gains in the south.

Mullah Younas, a senior leader, is dealing with the Taliban military affairs in the east and the north, according to the Taliban sources. Taliban deputy Mullah Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani, is looking after the whole military and other organizational affairs, they said. In a recently circulated audio message, Haqqani ruled out any compromise on what he called ‘Jihad’ unless the American invading forces are stationed in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are set to launch the spring offensive at a time when the recent US military report said Afghan forces control was evading.A US watchdog says the Resolute Support Mission has identified the southern provinces with the largest percentage of insurgent-controlled or -influenced districts as Uruzgan Province, with four of its six districts under insurgent control or influence and Helmand Province (nine of 14 districts).

The Trump’s strategy announced in August last year, which mainly focuses on use of force, is seemed to have failed to weaken the Taliban insurgents. The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in its quarterly report saidthe percentage of districts under insurgent control or influence has doubled since 2015.”The percentage of contested districts has risen by nearly 50 percent since 2015. The percentage of districts under government control or influence had decreased by over 20 percent since 2015,” said SIGAR, which regularly provides analysis of the now-releasable data for Congress and the public.

Taliban have discredited all regional initiatives on the plea that they have not mentioned withdrawal of the foreign troops as they insist foreign invasion is the lone reason of their armed resistance.

No doubt president Ashraf Ghani offered unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban in February with some new suggestions but the peace overture could not convince the Taliban as the beleaguered leader skipped the issue of foreign troops. Pakistanis believe president Ghani cannot publicly speak about the foreign troops because Americans don’t want it.

Although the Kabul Process received support from all key stakeholders including Pakistan, Taliban did not give any importance to the process. Similarly, the Tashkent conference in March also did not make any change for the Taliban because it also did not address the basic issue.

The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan in March was thought to be a political endorsement for the Kabul Process. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev wanted to please both the US and Russia but he could not speak about the fundamental issue. However, President Mirziyoyev’s offer to host direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban representatives was a positive step. However, Taliban have ruled out any direct talks with the Kabul administration and want face-to-face talks with the US in first phase.

Full report at:



MNA, tribal elders demand Afghan soldiers’ trial under international law

Apr 20, 2018

KURRAM AGENCY: Member National Assembly (MNA) Sajid Hussain Turi alongside tribal elders on Thursday called for Afghan soldiers involved in the skirmish along the Laka Teega check-post incident to be punished under the international law.

During a joint press conference with tribal leaders, the lawmaker said the skirmish in Lower Kurram Agency was being resolved through a jirga and stressed on the need for fencing of the international border to control and check the flow of terrorists crossing over.

Expressing dismay at the lives lost in the incident, Turi said any force challenging the writ of the state or eyeing Pakistan with malicious intent will not be tolerated as the tribes of the region stand united.

Referring to the recently passed bill extending the jurisdiction of the apex court and the provincial high court to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the lawmaker said that after a long struggle, the tribesmen will now be able to approach the court for justice.

He further added that thousands of residents of FATA working in foreign countries will be eligible to vote as and when overseas Pakistanis are allowed to do so.

Turi claimed that ‘record-breaking’ development work had taken place during the last decade in Kurram Agency – he said issues pertaining to electricity and water were curbed to a major extent after spending millions.

Full report at:



Bilawal believes military alone cannot eliminate extremism

Apr 20, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that military solution is not essential for the elimination of extremism.

Talking to BBC in an interview, the PPP chairman maintained that reforms in education, syllabus, police and judiciary are needed to end extremism.

“I think that Pakistan is only focusing on military solution against extremism but we need a broad strategy. Surely, people who challenge the state and raise weapons against it, they should be dealt on a military forefront. But to tackle terrorism, we need an overall approach which not only focuses on terror activities but end extremism also,” said the PPP chairman.

Bilawal, while talking about the former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf asserted that he threatened his mother Benazir Bhutto and that there are witnesses of the event who can corroborate.

“Seven judges were changed in the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto. The case could have solved in two weeks but ten years have passed and we have yet not received justice. This is the mockery of justice,” he said.

He also questioned why Musharraf does not come back to face the accusations levelled against him in court.

Later in the day, Bilawal will visit Keti Bunder where he will inaugurate planting campaign in the area.

The campaign will set a new record to plant most trees in a single day. Sindh forest department will make the record by planting more than 10 lac trees.

Full report at:



Two Taliban commanders killed in Afghanistan

Apr 20, 2018

JALALABAD  - Two Taliban divisional commanders have been killed in two eastern Afghan provinces as Afghan and coalition forces continued in mopping-up operations, authorities said Thursday.

In one operation, a Taliban commander named Abdullah alias Mazlomyar, along with three of his subordinates, was killed after special operations forces of the country’s primary intelligence agency or National Directorate of Security (NDS) attacked Taliban hideout in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, on Wednesday, provincial government said in a statement.

In neighbouring Logar province, a Taliban commander Enayat Khan was killed after a Taliban group came in contact with Afghan National Police (ANP) on outskirts of provincial capital Pul-e-Alam city also on Wednesday, the provincial police department said, adding a female civilian was also killed after the gunfight.

The Afghan security forces and US and NATO-led coalition forces have increased ground and air offensives against militants in the last few months as the militants attack government interests.

Taliban militants have yet to make comment on the reports.


AFP adds: Five people kidnapped from a voter registration centre in a largely Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan were freed on Thursday.

Gunmen attacked the facility in the central province of Ghor on Tuesday, abducting three employees of the Independent Election Commission and two policemen.

Provincial police spokesman Iqbal Nizami blamed the Taliban for the attack - the first on a voter registration centre since the process began last Saturday.

Local elders negotiated with the Taliban for the release of the hostages, Nizami told AFP, adding “no ransom was paid”.

Provincial IEC chief Fazlullah Jalali confirmed the employees and police had been released.

Voter registration in the area will resume only after security officials give the green light, he said.

The attack underscored concerns about security in the lead-up to the war-torn country’s long-delayed legislative elections scheduled for October 20.

Afghanistan last weekend began registering voters as it seeks to ensure that the parliamentary and district council elections — which are a test-run for the presidential poll next year — are seen as credible and fraud-free.

In an operation that will last for two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres — an ambitious goal in a country where militants control or contest much of the territory.

President Ghani on Thursday urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to register.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Indonesian university wages war on Daesh — with animations

20 April 2018

JAKARTA: Ahmad met his friends Udin and Ari at a mosque, and Ari asked him why he had not been around for some time.

When Ahmad said he had just returned from Syria, Ari replied in awe that he, too, wanted to go there to wage "jihad".

When a teacher approached them and asked Ahmad the same question, Ari replied, saying: “He (Ahmad) just returned from Syria to wage jihad. Isn’t that cool?” But Ahmad told both men the caliphate propaganda was false and many innocent people had been killed in the name of the caliphate.

“They were Muslims just like us,” he said. The teacher closed the conversation by saying that Ari had learned his lesson and should understand he did not have to go far to wage jihad. The teacher then asked Ari to join him assisting elderly people.

“This is also jihad,” he said.

Ahmad, Udin and Ari are characters in an animated film entitled “Kembali dari Syria,” or “Returning from Syria,” produced by the Center for the Study of Islam and Social Transformation (Cisform) at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta. The short film — one of 20 animated clips produced to counter extremism among teenagers — was launched in Jakarta on Wednesday, following the February release of the other productions in Yogyakarta.

Mohammed Wildan, Cisform’s director, told Arab News the films had been made to counter radical propaganda after earlier efforts to publish two short comics largely failed because of the poor reading habits of Indonesian teenagers.

“We decided to develop these animated short clips to expand our reach. They will be more accessible through social media,” Wildan said.

Most of the clips are between 90 seconds and three minutes long, depending on the content.

Wildan said the real challenge was to condense the message with the correct reference to Qur’an and package it in a maximum three-minute clip.

“We are careful when choosing our arguments that cite the Qur’an and the Hadith,” Wildan said.

Lecturers from the university had offered their expertise on specific subjects, he said.

Also present at the film launch was 20-year-old Nur Shadrina Khairadhania, who went to Syria as a teenager with her extended family. She shared her own account of emigrating to the so-called caliphate and explained why going to Syria to wage jihad was wrong.

Speaking to an audience of high school students, Khairadhania said that after her interest in Islam began to grow, she fell victim to Daesh online propaganda introduced to her by an uncle.

“I watched their videos, which showed that life would be really good in the caliphate. I was enticed to join,” Khairadhania said.

She convinced her father, Dwi Djoko Wiwoho, a high-ranking civil servant in Batam, Riau province, as well as her mother and two siblings, to migrate to Syria.

A group of 26 extended members of her family, including two uncles and a grandmother, left for Syria in 2015. After 19 managed to cross the border with Turkey, they quickly discovered that life in the caliphate was very different to the propaganda.

“Everything is contrary to Islamic teaching. A male family member was forced to fight and was put in detention for months when he refused,” she said.

The family tried for a year to leave and finally returned to Indonesia in August 2017.

Family members completed a rehabilitation program run by the national counterterrorism agency, but now her father and uncle are facing terrorism charges.

Rebuilding her life had been difficult because of the stigma of her past, she said.

“But God gave me a second chance to live. This is probably my jihad, to tell the truth to people so no one will be deceived like us,” she said.



Here's How the Philippines Could Prevent Another Marawi Seige


By Joseph Franco

For more than five months, the Battle for Marawi raged between Philippine security forces and militants linked to the Islamic State. The battle raised important questions as to how much foreign terrorist fighters influenced their Filipino counterparts.

Was Marawi the prelude to a systematic campaign to bring the so-called caliphate to Southeast Asia? On the face of it, the urban warfare seen in Marawi’s streets would appear to be a successful importation of tactics and strategy from Raqqa or Mosul.

In the aftermath of the battle, there were some concerns about how other cities in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao might be targeted next by remnants of the Maute Group or other Islamic State‐inspired terrorist groups. But these views ignored the socio-economic and historical context of Mindanao.

The battle for Marawi should be viewed instead as a proverbial perfect storm, with the Maute Group and its allies more correctly considered as opportunistic actors who exploited the violent milieu of the area.

Several factors made Marawi a setting conducive for the Maute Group to attempt a violent takeover. Insecurity in Marawi is linked to the emergence of a built environment that is distinct in the Philippines. Houses and establishments are built from reinforced concrete or what the locals term as buhos, which made it especially difficult for government forces to re-take the city.

The self‐help and clan‐centered nature of Marawi’s enclaves not only created physical structures and micro‐environments that aided the terrorists. Distrust and insecurity also led to a fragmented sense of community, which could have inoculated the Muslim population against the appeal of IS. The perennial siege mentality of the city’s residents meant that the military could not hope to rely on the community providing information on infiltrating militants. That same hardy, self‐reliant mindset which built the city’s physical infrastructure effectively walled‐off the population from the security services.

What lessons can we draw from this battle and how can we prevent another Marawi?

The need to resolve the roots of the conflict remains under-appreciated and points to a surprising reality. Although the Philippines has been facing multiple secession and terrorist threats in Mindanao for more than four decades, no presidency has yet come out with a strategy to counter violent extremism at the national level.

Preventing future "Marawis" cannot be premised on counter‐ideological approaches or be focused against IS narratives alone. Violent extremism in Mindanao is driven by largely material considerations, so counter‐ideological work such as promoting a state‐supported brand of Islam may only prove to be counterproductive and further alienate Filipino Muslims. It would also fail to address the material quality‐of‐life issues that underpin the conflict. A heavy‐handed ideological approach would further exacerbate identity-based divisions between Muslims, Christians and the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.

For the military, Marawi will serve as another reminder of the need to enhance its capabilities for future contingencies in urban terrain. The Armed Forces of the Philippines should incorporate the lessons of Marawi into military training curriculums. One lesson is that re-trained forces need the appropriate equipment to execute their expanded mission set. For instance, mechanisms which covered the emergency procurement of drones should be codified into better standard operating procedures.

In addition, Manila should foster its existing partnerships with foreign military forces. During the crisis, US special operations forces were immediately deployed to Marawi to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to their Philippine counterparts.

To prevent similar outbreaks of violence, broader initiatives should also be pursued in step with military efforts.

First, President Rodrigo Duterte must follow through with the promise for political autonomy for the region, as outlined in the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro ("Moro nation") homeland should take precedence over the hard push by Duterte’s allies to convert the Republic of the Philippines into a federal state. A shift to a federal form of government would render moot the comprehensive agreement and could likely lead to a flare‐up in violence.

Second, young people should be given particular attention in any Mindanao development programs. The Maute Group was able to recruit its fighters from disaffected youth in Lanao del Sur province with promises of financial rewards and economic mobility. For those who were educated and hailed from wealthy clans of the Maranao ethnic group, the Maute Group promised adventure and the fulfillment of a sense of duty to fight the "crusaders" from the Philippine military.

Much needs to be done, but there are reasons to be hopeful. In spite of decades of conflict in Mindanao, not one incident of a Filipino extremist killing himself in a suicide bombing or attack has ever been reported. The appeal of martyrdom (and rewards in the afterlife promised by jihadist propaganda) has meant little in the face of the real world financial inducements that prompt membership in organisations like the Maute Group.

Full report at:



Islamic State suspect wanted by Malaysia released after questioning: Thai defence ministry

19 Apr 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: A Thai national wanted by Malaysian police for suspected links to Islamic State (IS) has been released after authorities found no affiliation to the terror group, an official from the Thai defence ministry told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Apr 19).

It was reported earlier on Thursday that Awae Wae-Eya, 37, had been arrested.

“This individual Awae was arrested by authorities. They have questioned him. He is not Islamic State. He has been released,” said Panitan Wattanayagorn, principal security advisor to Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

“He (Awae) has no record of participating in any IS activities. He is just active online, making comments on IS-linked websites,” Panitan told Channel NewsAsia.

He did not elaborate on when Awae was arrested and released.

According to Malaysian news agency Bernama, he was arrested in Cho Airong district in southern Thailand.

Awae hails from Narathiwat province, and is believed to be a former member of southern Thailand’s separatist movement.

Malaysian police announced on Monday that they were trying to track him down, along with three other IS-linked suspects over their alleged involvement in a plot to kidnap and kill police officers, as well as attack churches and temples in Johor.  

A Malaysian security source earlier told Channel NewsAsia that Awae had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, and was planning to establish an IS presence in southern Thailand to fund his “jihad.”

It marked the first known case of a Thai Malay pledging allegiance to IS. Southern Thailand insurgents have long eschewed IS and other radical groups as their fight is for greater autonomy, not global jihad.

Panitan said Thai authorities have also detected several individuals in southern Thailand who have been communicating with people in the Middle East via extremist websites.

“But they have not taken part in any real action on the ground (with terrorists). Some of them have been using IS’ name to raise money for themselves,” said Panitan.

“Authorities have since shut down several websites,” he added, without elaborating.

Full report at:



Hadi: Mahathir caused PAS govt to fail in Terengganu

April 19, 2018

PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has blamed interference by Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s federal government for the failure of the PAS state government in Terengganu in 1999-2004.

“The failure of the state administration at that time was in fact due to the interference of the federal government, which was then led by Mahathir,” he said, quoted by Bernama.

“There were many economic and administrative constraints (when PAS ruled Terengganu) and the interference had affected the state’s development policy at that time,” he said.

Hadi added that Kelantan people’s rights had also been denied following the interference of the federal government in the state administration, especially when Mahathir was prime minister.

PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has blamed interference by Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s federal government for the failure of the PAS state government in Terengganu in 1999-2004.

“The failure of the state administration at that time was in fact due to the interference of the federal government, which was then led by Mahathir,” he said, quoted by Bernama.

“There were many economic and administrative constraints (when PAS ruled Terengganu) and the interference had affected the state’s development policy at that time,” he said.

Full report at:





Suspected Brussels Jewish museum killer to stand trial

19 April 2018

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche was ordered Thursday to stand trial in Brussels for allegedly killing four people at a Jewish museum four years ago in a jihadist attack, his lawyer said.

Judges decided there was enough evidence to try Nemmouche, 33, and alleged accomplice Nacer Bendrer, who is also French, in the Belgian capital for the attack in 2014, lawyer Henri Laquay told AFP.

He did not name a date but the trial is expected to begin later this year or early next year.

The judges decided there was not enough evidence to put Mounir Attalah, a third Frenchman linked to the attack, on trial.

On May 24, 2014 a gunman armed with an assault rifle opened fire in the entrance hall of the museum in the center of the Belgian capital, killing two Israeli tourists, a French volunteer, and a Belgian museum receptionist.

Six days later Nemmouche was arrested in the southern French port city of Marseille when getting off a bus from Brussels.

Nemmouche had returned from Syria where he had been fighting with Islamist extremists.

Nacer Bendrer was formally charged as an accomplice in the attack in February 2015 in Brussels, two months after his arrest near Marseille in possession of various weapons.

These included a Kalachnikov assault rifle like the one used at the Jewish museum.

Nemmouche has been linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the ringleader of the November 13, 2015 Paris gun and bombing attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others.

Abaaoud died in a police shootout near the French capital days after the massacre.

The Paris attacks were allegedly plotted in Brussels by the same cell that carried out the suicide bombings in the Belgian capital’s airport and a metro train station on March 22, 2016, killing 32 people.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and the Brussels 2016 attacks.



German appeals court upholds conviction of 17-year-old Islamic State sympathiser who wounded police officer

Apr 19, 2018

Berlin: A German appeals court upheld a ruling against a teenage girl who badly wounded a police officer with a kitchen knife, affirming that she did act on behalf of the Islamic State group.

German-Moroccan Safia S, who in February 2016 stabbed a police officer in the neck at Hanover's main railway station, had "agreed on the concrete act" with the jihadists, said the court, throwing out her appeal.

The now 17-year-old had sought to overturn her conviction for attempted murder and the support of a terrorist group by a court in Celle in January 2017.

She was sentenced to six years of juvenile detention for the attack which the Celle court said was committed "to support the Islamic State group".

In her appeal, her defence argued that she did not act on behalf of Islamic State, which never claimed responsibility for the attack.

Authorities believe Safia S was radicalised as a young girl.

They found a message on her phone after the deadly Paris jihadist attacks in November 2015, exulting about the carnage.

"Yesterday was my favourite day", she wrote. "Allah bless our lions who carried out an operation in Paris".

Full report at:



South Asia


Islamist parties plan to ride on AL, BNP’s popularity

April 20, 2018

Zaker Party, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan, Islami Front Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote are also trying to enter the ruling alliance

A number of Islamist parties are planning to join coalitions led by the ruling Awami League and the BNP while some others are reportedly planning to form separate alliances before the national election.

Some of these parties have limited activities outside the areas they are based in. Being part of a large coalition will likely guarantee them at least some seats or a share of power if the alliance wins the polls.

But other parties say they are planning to contest the election alone.

There are 11 registered religion-based parties in Bangladesh. Four of them – Khelafat Majlish, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam, Islami Oikya Jote and Bangladesh Islamic Party – are part of the BNP-led 20-party alliance.

The allure of the ruling alliance

Zaker Party, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan, Islami Front Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote are also trying to enter the ruling alliance.

Awami League presidium member Mohammed Nasim, also the 14-party spokesperson, told the Dhaka Tribune that several other religion-based parties had also approached them.

“We met Islami Front Bangladesh leaders but did not take any decision,” Nasim said.

In the 8th national election, the ruling party left a seat for Islami Front’s Sayed Mohammad Bahadur Shah Mujaddedi but he lost. He said he hoped his party would win at least two seats this time.

Meanwhile, 14-party member Bangladesh Tariqat Federation has started campaigning and made a list of 120 eligible candidates. Joint Secretary Syed Tayabul Bashar Maizbhandari said they would demand 30 seats to contest.

Tariqat is the only Islamic party to have MPs in the current parliament.

New Islamist alliance?

Leaders of several Islamist parties claim that votes of the religious-minded people will help them secure at least 15 seats.

Khelafat Secretary General Ahmad Abdul Quadir claimed that Islamist parties were preparing to join the next election as part of an alliance.

On the other hand, several Qawmi madrasa-based parties are trying form a coalition. A leader of Chattogram-based hardliner group Hefazat-e Islam said they were backing the new alliance.

Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat has made it clear that it will not join the ruling coalition. But it is unclear whether it plans to go alone or be part of a different alliance.

Islami Andolan’s Secretary General Maulana Yunus Ahmad said that they are prepared to contest the polls alone. “But we will try to form a coalition with like-minded parties or join a big alliance,” he said, declining to divulge


The party has already announced candidates for the Khulna City Corporation election and four parliamentary seats in Bagerhat.

Meanwhile, Nurul Islam Khan, chairman of Ganatantrik Islamic Andolan, an unregistered party, is trying to form a separate coalition with like-minded parties.

He said he was going to form the ‘Islamic Democratic Alliance’ with 15 parties. “We demanded 30 seats from the Awami League. We will join the 14-party alliance if our demand is accepted. Otherwise, we will fight the election on our own,”

he added.

A senior leader of the party, declining to be named, told the Dhaka Tribune that they were “instructed by the Awami League to form an alliance of Islamic parties.”

“We will work for the Awami League and may contest the polls under the ruling party’s banner. But there is also the possibility that our coalition will contest the polls alone if the BNP boycotts it,” the leader said.

“But our alliance will work to ensure victory for the Awami League,” he added.



Citing Rohingya massacre, Myanmar army chief urges soldiers to obey law

April 19, 2018

Seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour this month for taking part in the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in the village of Inn Din, in northwestern Rakhine state, last September

Myanmar army chief Min Aung Hlaing has told military personnel in the country that they must obey the law, citing as an example the sentencing of seven soldiers for a massacre of Rohingya Muslim men that was the subject of a Reuters investigation.

In a speech at a military school in the country’s north, Min Aung Hlaing told soldiers they “must abide by the military codes of conduct and international laws and conventions,” according to a translation posted on his official Facebook page on Thursday.

“No one is above the law. Actions will be taken if someone breaks the law. The problems in Inn Din village … were solved in line with the Geneva Convention and legal action was taken against military officers and other ranks who failed to respect the law,” said Min Aung Hlaing, in his first direct comment on the killings.

Seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour this month for taking part in the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in the village of Inn Din, in northwestern Rakhine state, last September.

The massacre was being investigated by two Reuters journalists – Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 – who were arrested in December and remain in custody accused of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act.

The authorities told Reuters in February the military opened an internal investigation into the killings independently and that it was unrelated to the Reuters reporters, who they said were accused of obtaining unrelated secret government papers.

The Rohingya men were buried in a mass grave in early September after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist civilian neighbours and soldiers. Reuters published its story on the murders in February.

The killings were part of a larger army crackdown on the Rohingya, beset by allegations of murder, rape, arson and looting, unleashed in response to Rohingya insurgent attacks on security forces in late August.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar as a result, according to United Nations agencies. The UN and the United States described it as ethnic cleansing – an accusation that Myanmar denies.

Full report at:



Efforts were made in Bonn Conference to stop overthrow Taliban regime: Qanooni

Apr 19 2018

The former Afghan parliament member and vice President Mohamamd Younus Qanooni says efforts were made by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia intelligence during the Bonn Conference to prevent the fall of the Taliban regime.

Speaking during a gathering in Kabul, Qanooni said Pakistan also opposed for the transfer of power to United Front during the conference and therefore another option was proposed during the conference to replace the Taliban regime.

He said the other option included a temporary government led by Hamid Karzai as a consensus already existed for the same.

Qanooni further added the peaceful transfer of power by the ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani was one of the major achievements and a great honor.

In regards to the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban regime, Qanooni said the Taliban group was not fully eliminated as the leaders of the group managed to flee the country to remain safe from the invasion.

This comes as almost 17 years pass from the fall of the Taliban regime but the international community and the Afghan government have so far remained short to ensure and peace stability in Afghanistan.

Full report at:




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