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Fathy Salama, Mahmoud Eltohamy, A Well Known Islamic Sufi Chanter, Take 'Sufism V Modernism' to UAE

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 Sept 2019

Ahram Online was there when Fathy Salama and Mahmoud ElTohamy launched 'Sufism v Modernism' project at the Cairo Opera on 25 September 2018


Al Saud Regime in Final Stages of Its Life Because Of Suppression of People, And Totalitarianism of Its Rules, Says Hezbollah Chief

If We Love All Religions Equally Then There Will Be No Incidence of Conflicts: Muslims, Around 2000 in Number, Help Perform Last Rites of Kashmiri Pandit in Pulwama

Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Declares Support To Modi Govt. On Kashmir, NRC

The Harsh Crackdown On Uighur Muslims In Xinjiang Is Spreading To More Regions

Move To Develop New Balakot City As Tourism Zone Hailed

British Muslims Launch First Ever Pride Festival

IRGC Deputy Chief: Iran Acting Patiently Toward U.S. Hostile Moves For Sake Of Islam

Why Many Muslims Treat Bernie Sanders like A Rock Star


Arab World

Fathy Salama, Mahmoud Eltohamy, A Well Known Islamic Sufi Chanter, Take 'Sufism V Modernism' to UAE

Al Saud Regime in Final Stages of Its Life Because Of Suppression of People, And Totalitarianism of Its Rules, Says Hezbollah Chief

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Cultural Rebirth’ In Spotlight on Saudi National Day

MBC’s ‘Al-Asoof’ Tells the Untold Story of the Makkah Siege

Most Europeans countries detached from reality in Syria: President Assad

Airstrikes hit Popular Mobilization Forces' camp in Iraq's Al Anbar

Qatari and Turkish state media under fire for ‘manipulating’ Egypt coverage

Separate attacks kill 7 in Baghdad suburb

US dispatches 175 trucks of weapons to SDF militants in northern Syria: SANA

Seven killed in Baghdad suburb despite anti-Daesh sweep: security sources



If We Love All Religions Equally Then There Will Be No Incidence of Conflicts: Muslims, Around 2000 in Number, Help Perform Last Rites of Kashmiri Pandit in Pulwama

Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Declares Support To Modi Govt. On Kashmir, NRC

A Delegation of Jamiat-ul-Ulema meets Home Minister of India

India A Perfect Example Of Religious Tolerance, Says Dalai Lama

Peace should be part of our life: Arif Mohammed Khan

'Howdy, Modi': How PM Modi fired on Pakistan from Trump’s shoulders

Pakistan national arrested near IB in Jammu

J&K terror funding case: NIA to file supplementary charge sheet against Yasin Malik, others

Can Pakistan play 'visa card' to deny permission to DSGMC's nagar kirtan

India, US working together to protect Indian-Americans from radical Islamic terrorism: Trump

We are committed to meet India’s energy security needs: Saudi Arabia

Amit Shah blames Nehru for Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir’s existence

Muslims in India luckier than those in Islamic countries: Mark Tully

Farooq Abdullah is busy reciting Quran, offering Namaz


Southeast Asia

The Harsh Crackdown On Uighur Muslims In Xinjiang Is Spreading To More Regions

Unprincipled leaders want Malays to stay shackled

Najib insists Umno-PAS union won’t sideline minorities



Move To Develop New Balakot City As Tourism Zone Hailed

LeT Chief Chargesheeted By Pak For Terror Financing

Pak close to being ‘blacklisted’ by Financial Action Task Force

In New York, Imran Khan meets Kashmir Study Group

PM Imran briefs US legislators about India’s excesses

Fazl-Shahbaz meet fails to coax PML-N into joining march

Punjab archives dept digitising ‘the biggest trove’ of history documents in subcontinent

Imran, Khalilzad discuss Afghan peace



British Muslims Launch First Ever Pride Festival

Turkey: Over 6,000 irregular migrants held in past week

UK Announces £87 Million Fresh Fund For Rohingya

Ayatollah Ramezani: Leader’s Letter To Western Youth Neutralized Islamophobia In West



IRGC Deputy Chief: Iran Acting Patiently Toward U.S. Hostile Moves For Sake Of Islam

Israeli Arab Parties Back Gantz for PM in Break with Precedent

Israeli president begins talks to form new government

Rouhani says Iran to present ‘Gulf security plan’ to UN

France says will focus on de-escalation of Iran-US tension at UNGA

140 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike for 13th day over cancer-causing devices

Israeli forces interrogate Palestinian girl over stone-throwing incident in Jerusalem al-Quds

Yemeni campaigners gather at the UN European HQ to highlight Houthi atrocities


North America

Why Many Muslims Treat Bernie Sanders like A Rock Star

Trump, Modi Show Unity at Houston Rally; Protesters Raise Rights Of Kashmiris Outside Venue

US Treasury Secretary: Attacks on Saudi Aramco is an attack on global economy

Trump says open to hearing Rouhani's 'Hormuz Peace Initiative' at UNGA

Trump again threatens to release imprisoned Daesh members at EU borders

US urges against China demands to repatriate Uighurs


South Asia

Airstrikes Kill 15 Taliban Militants; Destroy Small Cache Of Weapons In 5 Provinces

Baradar-led Taliban team meets China’s special envoy

Special Forces destroy Taliban’s IED making factory in Baghlan

Taliban’s shadow district chief and his comrades killed in Balkh clash

Lanka president forms five-member committee to probe Easter Sunday bombings

Karzai reacts to President Ghani’s recent remarks about Marshal Fahim

Kabul Police foils deadly explosion by defusing an IED in Sarobi

Taliban’s Red Unit militants clash with ISIS fighters in Nangarhar province



Suspected Takfiri Militants Planning Attacks Detained By Ethiopian Agents

Somalia: Al-Shabaab attack kills at least 5 troops

Somali president to attend UN assembly for 1st time

13 militants killed in al-Shabaab attack, SNA Command says

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Fathy Salama, Mahmoud Eltohamy, A Well Known Islamic Sufi Chanter, Take 'Sufism V Modernism' to UAE

Eslam Omar

22 Sep 2019

Egyptian Grammy-awarded music producer Fathy Salama and his band Sharkiat are flying this week to the UAE to play in an event featuring well known Islamic Sufi chanter Mahmoud ElTohamy and a number of his musicians, in 'Sufism vs Modernism,' on Thursday, 26 September, at the New York University (NYU) Art Centre in Abu Dhabi.

The duo will also participate in a series of master classes.

"The NYU Arts Centre is a very special place to perform in. We'll also be deconstructing our approach to modernising traditional Sufi music in the workshops," Salama told Ahram Online this week before heading to the Gulf country.

The “Godfather" of many of first-row underground bands and musicians, Salama, who played a vital rule in shaping mainstream pop in the 1970s and 1980s, has paid special attention to developing traditional Islamic music since he formed Sharkiat in the 1980s.

With his set of keyboards mixing jazzy chordal progressions with electronic sounds in a revolutionary fusion blending pop, hip hop and rock beats, with and traditionally Arabic lead solos, Salama first introduced ElTohamy in their 'Sufism vs Modernism' project at the Cairo Opera House on 25 September 2018, followed by few concerts.

Message to humanity

Sufism — a very old mystical conceptual trend that exists in both Sunni and Shia Islam, but is rejected by conservatives — has its own forms of traditional music that are normally used as part of the ritual practices of zikr, remembering Allah, and praising the Prophet Mohammed and his family.

"My cooperation with the internationally appreciated musician Salama is a global project that targets the whole of humanity with the international language that music speaks directly to the heart, aiming to spread the Islamic Sufi culture of tolerance," ElTohamy told Ahram Online this week.

Son of the famous Sufi chanter, Shiekh Yassin ElTohamy, Mahmoud mastered the deep-rooted Islamic music art from early childhood, following in his father's footsteps before taking the art further.

Besides founding and heading the Egyptian Association of Religious Hymns and Litanies, the 40-year-old chanter also runs an Islamic chanting school and is keen to develop the classic form of chanting via exposure to other international forms, sometimes eliciting criticism from his hardcore crowd.

The UAE's international role

"Singing Sufi chats in a public event in the UAE is a very special and new experience for me. The Emirati people always prove their pioneering international role as humanitarians spreading the message of love and anti-violence of Islam globally," ElTohamy explained.

For his part, Salama thinks "It's not new for the UAE to host similar events, as Sharkiat featured Youssou N’Dour last year in Sharjah playing in another Sufi project.” Salama’s album ‘Egypt,' with which he won a 2005 Grammy and BBC awards, was the main concert marking the re-opening of Africa Hall in Sharjah in September 2018.

Thursday's concert is expected to introduce new tracks from the 'Sufism vs Modernism' project that consists of ElTohamy's well known songs like Al-Burdah and Qamar, in addition to a few of Shrkiat's tunes, such as Nahawand and Rast.

The musicians will include Salama's friend, percussionist Ayman Sedky, table master Ramadan Mansour, guitarist Ziad Hisham and bassist Peter Laurence from Sharkiat, in addition to violinist Mahdy and Emad on nai and backing vocals from ElTohamy troupe.

The NYU Arts Centre is "a complex of theatres and performance venues, a project space gallery, rehearsals rooms, film editing studios, classrooms, and workshops that houses NYU Abu Dhabi’s theatre, music, film, visual arts, and new media studies departments.",-Mahmoud-ElTohamy-take-Sufism-v-Moder.aspx



Al Saud Regime in Final Stages of Its Life Because Of Suppression of People, And Totalitarianism of Its Rules, Says Hezbollah Chief

Sep 23, 2019

The secretary general of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah says the Al Saud regime may be in the final stages of its life, and the incumbent rulers are expediting the regime's demise through their policies.

"The Al Saud regime is old and may be in the final stages of its life because of natural reasons like its cruel measures over the past 100 years and the systematic corruption in the regime, suppression of people, and totalitarianism of its rules," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said.

However, he added, the performance of incumbent Saudi rulers - which is in contradiction to that of their predecessors - will expedite the collapse of the Saudi regime.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s war on Yemen, the crimes committed by the regime and the Saudi’s interference in other countries will seriously affect the future of the kingdom, Nasrallah said.

"We currently see for the first time that 'Death to Al Saud' slogan is being chanted in several Arab countries, and we see political and popular powers and governments that take explicit stances toward Al Saud and its interference in the region," he noted.

Nasrallah made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the office for preservation and dissemination of the works of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

The Hezbollah chief blamed Saudi Arabia for the tension with Iran, saying it was Riyadh who started the animosity due to the Islamic Republic’s support for Palestinians and the resistance movements in the region.

"Saudi Arabia started its hostility toward Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution [in 1979] and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, which supported the issues of Arab and Islamic countries," he said.

Nasrallah also said the US president’s recent comment about the kingdom’s payment of hundreds of billions of dollars to Washington in just one hour after Donald Trump’s call, and the silence of Saudi media over the issue showed the Saudis’ ultimate humiliation against Trump’s laughter.

Trump in April boasted to his supporters about a bizarre phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, where he made the monarch pay more money in exchange for the military support that the kingdom receives from Washington.

Trump said he would like to keep Saudi Arabia as a close partner because of the Riyadh regime’s extravagant purchases from American companies.

"They [Saudis] have nothing but cash, right?" he said. "They buy a lot from us, $450 billion they bought."

"You had people wanting to cut off Saudi Arabia... I don't want to lose them," he said, referring to bipartisan demands in Washington to punish Riyadh for the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October.



If We Love All Religions Equally Then There Will Be No Incidence of Conflicts: Muslims, Around 2000 in Number, Help Perform Last Rites of Kashmiri Pandit in Pulwama

Sep 2, 2019

Pulwama (J&K), Sep 02 (ANI): It is said that if we love all religions equally then there will be no incidence of conflicts. These words were recently proved right during the funeral of a Kashmiri pandit, Rattan Lal, when his Muslim neighbours gathered at his residence in Murran village of Pulwama to perform his last rites. Around 2000 in number, they not just provided their condolences to the Lal’s family but also did all the arrangements of his funeral that too in accordance with Hindu rituals, setting a great example of communal harmony. Besides doing all the arrangements, they even helped the Lal’s family in carrying his body to the cremation pyre. One among the few Kashmiri pandit families who decided to stay back during the tumultuous years of nineties when all Pandits were leaving the region, Lal’s family seems to have got the reward of their courage. Today all their Muslim neighbors are standing by them at their difficult times, no matter which community they belong to. It’s due to the efforts of one family who showed courage at that time when others decided to quit, that we got witness such a beautiful example of love and brotherhood.



Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Declares Support To Modi Govt. On Kashmir, NRC

September 23, 2019

New Delhi:  BJP got a much needed support from another prominent Muslim organization on abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and rolling out NRC across the country.

Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees

Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi, general secretary of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees gave his support to Modi government on abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and rolling out NRC across the country on Saturday when he met with home minister Amit Shah along with the leaders of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind.

Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind

There was no confusion about the stand of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind  regarding  Article  370 and NRC as its National president Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuir , and Mahmood Madani have already  supported the government on the above both issues more than twice in two weeks , but this time the Salafi group gave a shot in arm to Modi government on the controversial decision taken by Modi government.

According to the press statement of JUH ,  a delegation comprising of the leaders of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and other Muslim organizations called on Shri Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India at his Krishna Menon Marg residence and discussed various important issues concerning the country and community. The delegation was led by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind National president Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuir accompanied by Maulana Mahmood Madani JUH General Secretary and  Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salafi, Ameer Jamiat Ahle Hadith Hind prominently .

Maulana Mahmood Madani, General Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind during meeting handed over to the Home Minister the Hindi version of resolutions that were adopted in the recently concluded General Council Meeting of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH). Maulana Madani also apprised him that General Council of JUH comprises of representatives from all across the country.

Maulana Madani also asserted that there might be differences of opinion over some issues with the government, but if the matter belongs to the national interest, JUH would stand side by side with it.

JUH deplores every separatist movement and it always stands up for the cause of united India,he added.

Amit Shah on Article 370

Amit Shah while listening to the concern expressed by the members of the delegation clarified that scrapping article 370 is in the interest of people of Kashmir. This Article was instead harmful to the concerned people. He invoked many examples for proving his stand. But he also assured that the culture and tradition of Kashmiri shall not be affected.

Amit Shah  also lauded Jamiat’s initiative for constituting Jamiat Sadbhavna Manch across the country.

Maulana Asghar Imam Salafi Mehdi said to the Home Minister that we believe in dialogue and discussion. Various issues being faced by the minority communities shall be resolved through discussions. The Home Minister assured him that he is willing to engage every Muslim organization with dialogue and discussion with an open heart.

Its yet to be seen that  the government has had a change of heart for Muslims or Muslim leaders had changed their hearts for Modi government.



The Harsh Crackdown On Uighur Muslims In Xinjiang Is Spreading To More Regions

Steven Lee Myers

Sep 23, 2019

In China’s northwest, the government is stripping the most overt expressions of the Islamic faith from a picturesque valley where most residents are devout Muslims.

Authorities have destroyed domes and minarets on mosques, including one in a small village near Linxia, a city known as “Little Mecca.”

Similar demolitions have been carried out in Inner Mongolia, Henan and Ningxia, the homeland of China’s largest Muslim ethnic minority, the Hui. In the southern province of Yunnan, three mosques were closed. From Beijing to Ningxia, officials have banned the public use of Arabic script.

This campaign represents the newest front in the Chinese Communist Party’s sweeping rollback of individual religious freedoms, after decades of relative openness that allowed more moderate forms of Islam to blossom.

The harsh crackdown on Muslims that began with the Uighurs in Xinjiang is spreading to more regions and more groups.

Last year, a top party official from Ningxia praised Xinjiang’s government during a visit there and pledged to increase cooperation between the two regions on security matters.

Haiyun Ma, a Hui Muslim professor at Frostburg State University in Maryland, said the crackdown was continuing a long history of animosity towards Islam in China that has alienated believers.

“The People’s Republic of China has become the world’s foremost purveyor of anti-Islamic ideology and hate,” he wrote in a recent essay for the Hudson Institute. “This, in turn, has translated into broad public support for the Beijing government’s intensifying oppression of Muslims in the Xinjiang region and elsewhere in the country.”

None of the new measures, so far, have approached the brutality of Xinjiang’s mass detentions and invasive surveillance of Uighurs. But they have already stirred anxiety among the Hui, who number more than 10 million.

“We are now backtracking again,” Cui Haoxin, a Hui Muslim poet who publishes under the name An Ran, said in an interview in Jinan, south of Beijing, where he lives.

To Cui, the methods of repression that are smothering Uighur society in Xinjiang now loom over all of China. “One day, this model will not only target Muslims,” he said. “Everyone will be harmed by it.”

Islam has had followers in China for centuries. There are now 22 million to 23 million Muslims, a tiny minority in a country of 1.4 billion. Among them, the Hui and the Uighurs make up the largest ethnic groups. Uighurs primarily live in Xinjiang, but the Hui live in enclaves scattered around the nation.

The restrictions they now face can be traced to 2015, when Xi first raised the issue of what he called the “Sinicisation of Islam,” saying all faiths should be subordinate to Chinese culture and the Communist Party.

Last year, Xi’s government issued a confidential directive that ordered local officials to prevent Islam from interfering with secular life and the state’s functions.

Critics of China’s policies who are outside the country provided excerpts from the directive to The  New York Times. The directive, titled “Reinforcing and Improving Islam Work in the New Situation,” has not been made public. It was issued by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, in April of last year and classified as confidential for 20 years.

The directive warns against the “Arabisation” of Islamic places, fashions and rituals in China, singling out the influence of Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites, as a cause for concern.

It prohibits the use of the Islamic financial system. It bars mosques or other private Islamic organisations from organising kindergartens or after-school programmes, and it forbids Arabic-language schools to teach religion or send students abroad to study.

The most visible aspect of the crackdown has been the targeting of mosques built with domes, minarets and other architectural details characteristic of Central Asia or the Arabic world.

Taken in isolation, some of these measures seem limited. Others seem capricious: some mosques with Arabic features have been left untouched, while others nearby have been altered or shut down.

But on a national scale, the trend is clear. Cui, the poet, calls it the harshest campaign against faith since the end of the Cultural Revolution, when so-called Red Guards unleashed by Mao Zedong destroyed mosques across the country.

In the state’s view, the spread of Islamic customs dangerously subverts social and political conformity.

In Ningxia, the provincial government banned public displays of Arabic script, even removing the word “halal” from the official seal it distributes to restaurants that follow Islamic customs for preparing food. The seals now use Chinese characters. That prohibition spread this summer to Beijing and elsewhere.

The authorities in several provinces have stopped distributing halal certificates for food, dairy and wheat producers and restaurants. Chinese state media have described this as an effort to curb a “pan-halal tendency” in which Islamic standards are being applied, in the government’s view, to too many types of foods or restaurants.

Ningxia and Gansu have also banned the traditional call to prayer. Around historical mosques there, prayer times are now announced with a grating claxon. One imam in Ningxia’s capital, Yinchuan, said authorities had recently visited and warned him to make no public statements on religious matters.

Authorities have also targeted the mosques themselves. In Gansu, construction workers in Gazhuang, a village near Linxia, descended on a mosque in April, tearing off its golden dome. It has not yet reopened. Plainclothes policemen prevented two Times journalists from entering.

In the southern province of Yunnan, where there have long been Hui communities, authorities last December padlocked mosques in three small villages that had been run without official permission. There were protests and brief scuffles with police, to no avail. The county issued a statement accusing the mosques of holding illegal religious activities and classes.

In one of the villages, Huihuideng, Ma Jiwu carried his grandson outside the shuttered local mosque, which had operated inside a home.

Mr Ma, wearing the distinctive skullcap that many Hui wear, said the imams there had ignored warnings to move their services to the village’s main mosque, where a Chinese flag hangs in the central courtyard and a large red banner exhorts worshippers, “Love your country, love your religion.”

“They did not listen,” Mr Ma said.

Near the main mosque, a woman said the closing of the smaller one had stirred resentment, but also a feeling of resignation. She used a Chinese idiom for helplessness against a superior force, in this case the government: “The arm cannot twist the thigh.” Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Minzu University in Beijing, defended the government’s recent actions. He said that China’s far-reaching economic changes over the last 40 years had been accompanied by a loosening of restrictions on religious practice, but that the laxity had gone too far.

“Now China’s economic development has reached a certain height,” he said, “and suddenly problems related to religious and other affairs are being discovered.”

In the case of Islam, he cited the proliferation of mosques and the spread of “halal” practices into public life, saying they conflicted with the cultural values of the majority Han Chinese population.

Official statistics indicate that there are now more mosques in China than Buddhist temples: 35,000 compared with 33,500. In the last year, scores of mosques have been altered, closed or destroyed entirely, many of them in Xinjiang, according to officials and news reports.

The party asserts that it has the right to control all organised religion. Critics ascribe that to its fear that religious organisations could challenge its political power. In the past, the party’s repression has triggered violent responses.

In 1975, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the People’s Liberation Army surrounded Shadian, a mostly Hui Muslim town in Yunnan province where residents had protested the closure of mosques. Clashes ensued, prompting a massive military intervention that razed the town and left more than 1,600 people dead.

The current pressure has also been met with unrest, though not on that scale. In August 2018 in Weizhou, a village in Ningxia, protests erupted when the authorities sent demolition workers to a newly built mosque. After a tense showdown that lasted several days, the local government promised to suspend the destruction and review the plans.

Nearly a year later, police officers still block the roads into the village, turning away foreigners, including diplomats and two Times journalists who tried to visit in May.

China claims that it allows freedom of religion, but emphasises that the state must always come first. The Ningxia government, asked about its recent restrictions on Islam, said that China had rules on religious practice just like any other country.

Mosques that violate laws such as building codes will be closed, it said, and schools and universities will not permit religious activities.

“Arabic is a foreign language,” the government said about the restrictions on public signage, adding that they had been imposed “to make things convenient for the general public.”

In an interview, Ma, the Frostburg State scholar, said the current leadership viewed religion as “the major enemy the state faces.” He said senior officials had studied the role played by faith — particularly the Catholic Church in Poland — in the collapse of the Soviet Union and its dominion in Eastern Europe.

Believers have little recourse against the intensifying crackdown. Ma predicted that it would not relent soon, but that it would ultimately fail, as other campaigns against Muslims have.

“I really doubt they can eliminate religious faith,” he said. “That is impossible.”



Move to develop New Balakot City as tourism zone hailed

September 23, 2019

MANSEHRA: The chairman of Senate’s committee on defence, Lt-Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum, has welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s move to develop New Balakot City as a tourism zone but at the same time demanded him to take survivors of October 8, 2005 earthquake into confidence about all these developments.

“If this city, which is meant for the settlement of red-zone survivors is developed as a tourism-friendly zone it might be a commercial hub and would create employment and business activities for the locals,” he told reporters after visiting the New Balakot City and tourists attractions in Kaghan valley on Sunday.

He said that it was unfortunate that around 5000 survivor families were still living in small prefabricated houses in miserable conditions.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N senator criticised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for its ‘failure’ to promote tourism in the province.

“Believe me Kaghan valley is a paradise on earth but the provincial government has totally failed to develop it to attract tourists from within the country and abroad to earn huge revenue through this industry,” said Qayyum.



British Muslims launch first ever pride festival

22 Sep 2019

British Muslims are launching their first ever pride festival at a time when the community is ‘under attack more than ever’. The festival hopes to celebrate what it means to be LGTBQI and Muslim and how they do ‘not have to choose’ between both identities. LGBTQI charity Imaan is putting on the event to mark the 20 years it’s spent supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Muslims. The show of solidarity follows ongoing anti-LGBT education protests outside primary schools in Birmingham. Some Muslim parents expressed outrage at relationship and sex education (RSE) being taught as part of the national Equality Act. Several parents launched a campaign against the educational materials, claiming it is an affront to their religious beliefs, specifically targeting the ‘No Outsiders’ programme and its creator Andrew Moffat. Lesbian campaigner Anjum Mauj said the ‘furore’ over RSE is bringing out more homophobia in the Muslim community. She told ‘Homophobes are being emboldened by lack of leadership anywhere so Imaan is stepping into that position.

‘The current political climate, together with Brexit, migrant crisis, Boris, and Trump has emboldened Islamophobes too. ‘As LGBTQI Muslims we are caught in the middle. ‘On the occasion of our 20th anniversary it’s a very apt time to celebrate with a LGBTQI Muslim festival and celebrate our unique identities and bring some joy into the world.’ Anjum, who is a trustee at Imaan, said it’s absolutely vital to have an LGTBQI voice for Muslims. She said: ‘We have hundreds of thousands of members at Imaan and many of them are not able to come out. ‘When I was growing, we were just not having conversations about sex and relationships.

‘So to then talk about sexual orientation or something else was hugely problematic. ‘I was out to my family from a very young age and when I made the decision to get married to my partner, my mother was very upset about it. ‘She didn’t want to tell the rest of her Muslim community. And she still is in that zone of “what will the community say?” ‘I’ve grown up in a really loving and vibrant and inclusive community so it’s very painful to feel that I need to hide part of myself.’ Imaan said it is turning to its wider friends and communities to make the event possible, by raising funds online. They are planning to feature panels, discussions, speakers, arts, culture and history.



IRGC deputy chief: Iran acting patiently toward U.S. hostile moves for sake of Islam

September 22, 2019

Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi made the remarks on the sidelines of a military parade marking 39 years after Saddam Hussein’s army invaded Iran. 

“I hope countries in the region will understand that Iran acts patiently toward U.S. hostile deeds for the sake of Islam and Muslims,” Fars quoted Fadavi as saying.

The commander also played down military threats against Iran by certain regional Arab countries lying on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf.

“When the U.S. has admitted weakness against the capabilities of the Islamic Republic, we pay no mind to the threats made by some regional countries,” he remarked.

The IRGC-second-in command added that the Islamic Republic is seeking unity among Muslim countries.

The senior commander also warned that Iranian armed forces will shoot down any drone that encroaches Iranian territories, reminding the downing of the U.S. spy drone over the Persian Gulf on June 20 as it invaded the Iranian airspace.



Why many Muslims treat Bernie Sanders like a rock star


SEP. 22, 2019

An Egyptian American woman in a black hijab kicked off the volunteer meeting, invoking God in Arabic as she stood in front of a handwritten poster that read, “Muslims and Arabs for Bernie.”

Volunteers had gathered at a Syrian-Palestinian cafe in Oakland to talk politics over falafel and shakshuka. The few dozen graduate students, tech workers and lawyers strategized on how best to pitch their favorite presidential candidate, a 77-year-old Jewish man raised in Brooklyn.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “supports Muslims like no other candidate,” the woman, Rusha Latif of San Jose, explained after the April meeting of the group she founded, Bay Area Muslims for Bernie.

The Facebook invitation for the get-together was titled, “Inshallah, Bernie!” — “God willing, Bernie!”

Sanders has maintained a fervent following as he campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination and tries to attract key voting blocs such as African Americans and Latinos. He has found success among a smaller group rarely on the radar for White House hopefuls: Muslims.

Other Democratic presidentialcandidates have visited mosques on the campaign trail this year or spoken to Muslim groups. But Sanders has done it first and done it bigger, building on relationships with Muslim communities that took off during his previous presidential campaign, said Youssef Chouhoud, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University who studies the role of Muslims in politics.

“Historically, engaging with Muslims when you’re seeking federal office has been seen as politically dangerous,” Chouhoud said. “Bernie Sanders seems to be doing something different.”

Since February, Sanders has named a Muslim to be his campaign manager, tapped a prominent Muslim Palestinian American activist as a surrogate and visited a Los Angeles mosque to commemorate the victims of a New Zealand terrorist massacre at two Islamic houses of worship.

Last month, he headlined the Islamic Society of North America convention in Houston, where he got a standing ovation for his promise to overturn President Trump’s travel ban blocking most visitors from five predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. It was the first time a presidential candidate addressed the largest and most prominent Muslim gathering in the country, and more than 7,000 people packed in to hear him.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, the only other presidential candidate to speak at the event, followed Sanders, but many in the crowd left after hearing the senator.

Sanders’ campaign representatives said they hope Muslims will help him repeat his 2016 Michigan primary win and capture other states. The campaign credited outreach to Michigan’s large Arab American and Muslim communities — including Arabic campaign ads — as a factor in his win there.

Muslims and Islamic organizations, meanwhile, have sought out Sanders, inviting him to talk to their communities, praising his policy positions and offering endorsements. Many have taken to social media to show their support, using the hashtags #Muslims4Bernie and #InshallahBernie.

Over the summer, Latif, the Bay Area supporter, launched the website “Iftars with Bernie.” The name refers to the meals at sundown that end the daily fast during Ramadan, when extended families and friends take turns eating and praying together in each others’ homes. The website encourages Muslims to share literature about the senator at the dinners.

“Muslims appreciate how he is giving them opportunities to be part of his movement,” said Cynthia Ubaldo, a physical therapist in Columbus, Ohio, who hosted a similar event for Eid, a holiday at the end of Ramadan. She passed out homemade “Muslims for Bernie 2020” pins decorated with stars and crescent moons to her 30 guests.

Sanders isn’t the only White House hopeful to reach out to Muslims. In July, he and five others spoke — by video, livestream or in person — to the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy, hosted in Washington by the new Muslim Caucus of America. And South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, whose national political director is Muslim, have also visited mosques this year.

But representatives of half a dozen Muslim civic groups said the Sanders campaign has done the most to court them.

“Some politicians think just visiting a mosque or speaking to Muslims once is enough. Bernie is doing more, and making us feel like we are in the campaign,” said Fayaz Nawabi, a delegate for the California Democratic Party who lives in San Diego and runs the Facebook page “Muslims for Bernie 2020.”

He pointed to an organizing meeting that Sanders’ campaign manager held at the Houston Islamic convention and a voting outreach webinar this month.

Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist, is flying to Islamic conferences and mosques around the country to speak on Sanders’ behalf as a campaign surrogate. The co-founder of the Women’s March was among the leaders who left the group recently after infighting and accusations of anti-Semitism, which she has denied.

Sarsour says Sanders has attracted followers because of his response to Trump’s statements on Muslims and the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The senator “has been outspoken on Palestinian rights,” Sarsour said. “And he has been a big defender” of two Muslim congresswomen who have been the target of Trump’s ire after criticizing him.

“And the fact that he is Jewish American,” Sarsour said, “crushes the stereotype that Muslims and Jews are natural enemies.”

Sanders usually polls among the top three Democratic candidates, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He has largely held steady with few gains, and experts said it’s unclear if Muslims voters will make a difference for him or anyone else.

At 3.45 million, the U.S. Muslim population is relatively small for a religious group. National political polls that ask about religion typically don’t have enough Muslims in their samples to make predictions about their policy or voting preferences, said Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst who has tracked campaigns and elections for more than three decades.

But, Cook said, “When you have the presidency settled by less than 78,000 voters in three states, it is foolish for a party to not go after every constituency in the handful of states that matter the most.”

Muslims are concentrated in urban areas and states including Michigan and Pennsylvania, which, along with Wisconsin, were key in Trump’s 2016 win. Many also live in Texas, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Florida and California.

A Pew Research Center report in 2017 found that two-thirds of Muslim voters were Democrats, and 13% Republican, numbers that have been steady for a decade. Pew found that about 70% of Muslims in the U.S. are citizens, and of those, just over half voted in the last presidential election.

Emgage, a get-out-the-vote group that focuses on Muslims and hosted the Houston forum where Sanders spoke, recently released a report showing that Muslim voter turnout in Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia increased by 25 percentage points in the 2018 midterm elections compared with four years prior.

“The Muslim community is increasingly aware of the importance of voting, especially in the last few years as Muslims are attacked or scapegoated,” Emgage CEO Wa’el Alzayat said.

The relationship between Sanders and Muslims is a shift from the norm over the last two decades for presidents or for those competing for the Oval Office.

In 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the Islamic Center of Washington, speaking warmly of “traditions of learning and rich culture.” It would be 44 years before a sitting president would again enter an Islamic house of worship in the U.S., according to the White House Historical Assn.

President George W. Bush visited the same center six days after Sept. 11, 2001, amid fears of anti-Muslim violence. Muslims praised him for saying “Islam is peace.” But Bush spent the rest of his presidency facing critics who said he targeted Muslims as suspects with the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq and the opening of a prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

President Obama, a Christian born in Hawaii who faced years of conspiracy theories that he was secretly a Kenya-born Muslim, did not visit a mosque during his presidency until his last year in office.

Muslims were frustrated by some of Obama’s policies, said Omar Suleiman, a popular Islamic scholar who runs the Yaqeen Institute outside Dallas. But he noted that Obama’s successor claimed during his campaign that Islam “hates us.”

“You’ve got one party who is represented by Donald Trump, who is very explicit in his anti-Muslim bigotry,” Suleiman said. “And then you have Democrats, who often take Muslim voters for granted, assuming we will vote for them.”

Suleiman, who was in the audience for Sanders’ Houston appearance and travels the U.S. frequently to lecture or lead prayers, said he has noticed an uptick in Sanders supporters in blue and white campaign shirts at his events.

“Muslims are progressive on issues like healthcare, immigration, criminal justice reform, climate change. There is also concern about militarism, there’s concern about Israel and Palestine, and if Muslims will have their civil liberties,” Suleiman said. “People keep telling me that Bernie appeals to them on all these levels.”



Arab World


Saudi Arabia’s ‘cultural rebirth’ in spotlight on Saudi National Day


September 23, 2019

JEDDAH: A conservative brand of Islam has always existed in Saudi Arabia, one of the many strands of Saudi society. However, in the wake of the 1979 Grand Mosque siege, this school of thought gained increasing prominence, spreading into official institutions including the legal system and education.

Saudi society began to lose its artistic and cultural moorings under the influence of religious hard-liners who attacked music, sculpture, painting and photography, along with a host of other artistic activities. Regressive social ideas were widely propagated via schools, universities and mosques.

Conservative preachers argued that new entertainment devices — the record player, radio, cassettes, videotapes or television — were forbidden in Islam as they encouraged moral corruption and symbolized the technological domination of the West.

In 1965, shortly after the launch of the official Saudi TV channel, a group of extremists attacked the Saudi Broadcasting Authority building, claiming that the development was a threat to the Muslim nation.

This reactionary movement, which later morphed into the “Islamic Awakening” or “Sahwa,” succeeded in eliminating most forms of entertainment, including those with a religious theme.

Abdo Khal, a Saudi author, said that the 1979 attack on the Grand Mosque in Makkah by a group of militants ushered in “an era full of extremism.”

Musical instruments were smashed by the Muhtasibin — volunteers in the religious police — in acts that appeared to have public approval, Khal said.

Although the leader of the Grand Mosque assault, Juhayman Al-Otaibi, and his followers were eliminated, their ideology spread like poison.

“Darkness reigned everywhere,” said Khal. “Television was the first to be affected. People woke up to a raft of prohibitions that turned society into an arid place where all life-affirming activities were prohibited.”

Before 1979, Saudi TV broadcast songs and concerts by Saudi folk bands and artists, including female singers such as Toha, Etab and Ibtisam Lutfi, as well as concert performances by Um Kalthoum, Fayza Ahmad, Samira Tawfik, Najat Al-Saghira and Farid Al-Atrach.

However, after the war on entertainment and the arts was launched, generations of Saudis grew up deprived of their rich cultural and artistic heritage, unaware of their country’s important role in regional art, music and culture.

According to researcher and critic Yahya Yzuriqan, the first Saudi radio station was established in 1948 in Makkah. It was later moved to Jeddah, where it flourished, recording and producing musical plays, and becoming the first building block of the modern Saudi music sector.

In Riyadh, there was no music on an official level until Riyadh Radio was founded in 1964. However, singers from other Gulf countries often visited the city, and Saudi folk music was a staple of official and private occasions.

The real renaissance of Saudi musical arts began in the 1960s when the Saudi army band was established. It was later transformed into an orchestra, featuring Arab musicians from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, and is credited with sparking a musical revival across the Kingdom.

Private musical production and marketing companies soon emerged in Al-Ahsa, Riyadh and Jeddah, in addition to talents in poetry, and music composition and performance.

Saudi society was introduced to local voices such as Ghazi Ali, Talal Maddah and Jamil Mahmoud. Some singers — Mahmoud Halawani, Mohammed Ali Sindi, Abdullah Mohammed and Fawzi Mahson — gained fame as wedding performers. The list of contributors to that era is long, but two people — composer Omar Kadars and poet Taher Zamakhshari — deserve special mention. Private companies that appeared included Riyadh Phone, a recording studio established in 1964 by Talal Maddah and Lutfi Zaini.

The studio shut down after a few years when cassette tapes began to replace vinyl records in Saudi Arabia.

Talal Maddah, a Saudi composer and singer who became hugely popular across the Middle East, was known as “The Earth’s Voice” to his admirers in the Kingdom.

Maddah’s career took off in the late 1950s with the release of his first album, “Wardak Ya Zaree Al-Ward” (“Grower of Roses”).

Another prominent figure in that era, Saudi composer Tareq Abdul-Hakim, was a key player in the Kingdom’s musical renaissance.

Abdul-Hakim, who composed the Kingdom’s national anthem, was among the first Saudi students to be granted a music scholarship. He was twice elected president of the Arab Music Academy and received the IMC-UNESCO International Music Prize in 1981.

Saudi music and singing can be divided broadly into two schools. Ibtisam Lutfi represented the Hijazi school, which was headed by her teacher, Talal Maddah. Well-known singers who belonged to this school included Toha, Lutfi Zaini, Fawzi Mahsoun, Siraj Omar and Abadi Al-Jawhar.

The Najdi school was represented by Abdullah Al-Sreikh, along with Abu Saud Al-Hammadi, Abdullah bin Salloum, Fahd bin Saeed, Bashir Hamad Shannan and Hamad Al-Tayyar.

Singers of both schools were anything but purists, and collaborated with artists from around the Middle East.

Although most of the famous names were male, the few female voices proved hugely influential. The most popular female singer was Ibtisam Lutfi.

Lutfi, whose real name was Khayriya Qurban, was blind from a young age. Like so many others, her musical career began singing at weddings feasts in Jeddah. At the age of 16, Lutfi’s melodious voice gained her an invitation to perform at King Faisal’s council.

King Faisal was impressed by Lutfi’s performance. She said in one of her interviews that he asked her: “What do you wish?” Her response came as a surprise. “I want to be the first Saudi woman to sing on radio,” she said.

Two months later, her wish came true when she received an invitation to sing for a radio station. In 1986, she became the first female voice on a Saudi TV broadcast.

Music was freely available at the time. Poet Ahmad Abdul-Haqq, a witness to the period before the “Awakening” movement, said that people could listen to music on radio and, later, on TV.

“We used to look forward to the Saudi TV theater program, which introduced us to the local Saudi stars,” Abdul-Haqq told Arab News.

Saudi music and arts proved resilient in the face of the prevailing religious orthodoxies, he said.

Despite the obstacles placed in their path, Saudis continued to represent their “heritage and the authentic arts and show them to the world,” Abdul-Haqq said.

But when official support began to dry up, some artists focused on the private sector and individual initiatives, while others moved abroad to continue their careers.

With the advent of the “Sahwa” movement, society’s need for music began to be satisfied in other, less visible, ways.

Many Saudis, especially women, took to singing at private gatherings and special occasions such as weddings.

“Awakening” activists tried to fill the vacuum with Islamic Nasheed, a form of religious-themed devotional singing involving minimal use of musical instruments and avoiding romantic themes.

However, those who continued to believe that music was forbidden in Islam created a new kind of music, Shailat, that relied on human sounds and the keyboard.

Muteb Al-Hallaj, a Saudi musician, said Shailat “came at a time when musical concerts were no longer performed in Saudi Arabia.”

“But now we can see that Saudis are thirsty for music. The success of recent concerts organized by the General Entertainment Authority is proof,” Al-Hallaj said.

Saudi Arabia’s first major concert in almost seven years was held in Jeddah in February 2017 when an 8,000-strong crowd sang along to love songs by Rabih Saqr, Mohamad Abdo and Majed Al-Muhandes for more than six hours.

In view of the social changes taking place across the Kingdom, many young Saudis see the current period as a second “Awakening.”

In 2018, the General Culture Authority in Riyadh announced the formation of the Saudi National Music Band, led by Abdel Rab Idris, a prominent Saudi singer and musician who contributed to the Kingdom’s cultural flowering before and after 1979.

With the creation of the General Entertainment Authority in 2016, Saudi Arabia is striving to build a world-class entertainment industry.

The Kingdom’s doors are now open for local, regional and international stars to start tapping into the Kingdom’s potential as a key regional cultural hub.



MBC’s ‘Al-Asoof’ tells the untold story of the Makkah siege

September 23, 2019

JEDDAH: As with any Arab drama series, a good storyline will always be the talk of majlis, or social gatherings. These days, the conversation might take place via Twitter or Instagram, but, nevertheless, it will remain a hot topic.

That was certainly the case with MBC’s “Al-Asoof” (“Winds of Change“), a historical drama that explored Saudi Arabia’s transition from its desert past to the regional powerhouse it has become today.

It was a story that all Saudis wanted to hear, with lingering questions many were asking: What changed in the Kingdom and why?

The series returned to television during Ramadan, with its second season debut depicting a watershed moment in Saudi history — the shift from a moderate to ultra-conservative ideology that followed Juhayman Al-Otaibi’s 1979 attack on Makkah’s Holy Mosque.

The show focused on a Riyadh family during a time of social upheaval as it delved into the events surrounding the siege and its aftermath, including the infamous Awakening movement.

“Al-Asoof” was written by Abdulrahman Al-Wabil and directed by Muthanna Sobh. The cast included Naser Al-Gasabi, Abdul-Ellah Al-Sanani, Habib Al-Habib, Reem Abdullah and Yagoub Al-Farrhan.

The Dubai-based MBC Group is committed to providing content that “discusses important events and issues,” Ali Jaber, its director, told Arab News recently. “The second series of ‘Al-Asoof’ tackles a major historical event in Saudi Arabia ... an important process in the formation of the present society,” he said.

“The MBC Group wants to explore the reality of the audience’s life leading up to Al-Otaibi, who turned life in Saudi Arabia upside down, pushing the country and society to a more conservative way of life.”

“Al-Asoof” deals with major intellectual changes that took place in the Saudi capital during the past five decades, including some of the most controversial events in Saudi history. The series has drawn criticism mainly from conservatives, as veteran columnist Abdulrahman Al-Rashed pointed out in a 2018 column, entitled “Why the fight against Al-Asoof?”

“Extremists are against it because they believe it is an attempt to destroy what they built during the following two decades, which they refer to as “the Awakening” — and they are right.”

University professor Fatma Zain told Arab News: “I’ve never been too keen on following shows during Ramadan, but ‘Al-Asoof’ told me a story I never lived through but felt the aftermath of when I returned from my studies in the US.

“I left Jeddah in the mid-1970s to pursue my university studies, just like many Saudis of my generation, and we never lived through the time when Al-Otaibi attacked the mosque. We heard the news on American news outlets, but never more than a few minutes on the subject. It was a confusing time for many of us,” she recalled.

“I saw the change after returning in the early 1980s. Though Jeddah was less conservative than the capital, we still felt it and saw hints of it. The religious police presence was more prominent than before and more women were covered up. After watching the show’s two seasons, I now know the story. I can make sense of it all.  The mere name (Juhayman Al-Otaibi) was taboo, and with time it was forgotten. But questions surrounding the terrorist attack still lingered.  ‘Al-Asoof’ provided answers that my generation needed and that the next generation can learn from.”

Saudi actor and producer Yagoub Al-Farrhan, who played Al-Otaibi in the show’s second season, told Arab News that the series was relevant not only to his generation, but also to future generations.

“In an interview three years ago, I was asked about a character I wanted to play in a biography film. Funnily enough, I said Al-Otaibi,” said Al-Farrhan. “I gathered as much information as I could about his character and mindset, and tried to understand the mentality of someone prepared to commit such an act. That is something all extremists groups have in common, not to mention the narcissistic characteristics and similarities their leaders share.”

Al-Farrhan said that in his portrayal of Al-Otaibi he tried to show the fake religious charisma common among militants. He said that the absence of detailed information about the Makkah siege was a problem. But with help of memoirs written by Nasser Al-Hizaimi, a former member of the extremist group, along with videos and reports, he reached a point where he felt comfortable in the role.

“Al-Asoof” not only told the story of a major event that took place amid a difficult geopolitical climate, but also offered viewers an insight into the Kingdom’s changing society.

Full report at:



Most Europeans countries detached from reality in Syria: President Assad

Sep 22, 2019

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the position of most European countries on what is happening in Syria has been detached from reality since the onset of foreign-backed militancy in the Arab country in 2011.

The Syrian leader made the remark during a meeting with a delegation of Italian legislators and politicians headed by Senator Paolo Romani in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday, adding that European countries persisted in their stance despite the major changes that have been witnessed during the past eight years.

Assad further said that instead of working to achieve their own interests, European countries continued to pursue a policy that served the interests of the United States.

The Syrian president said there were a number of positive developments despite the fact that “the countries that fueled the war — mainly Turkey and the US and its pawns — are still continuing their policies by hindering the full elimination of terrorism.” Assad also urged European politicians and parties “to determine the shape of Europe they aspire to and the role they want it to play.”

Members of the Italian delegation said that the long-held unrealistic narrative promoted by mainstream media outlets about events in Syria had started to gradually lose its effect in the European public opinion.

They said what was actually happening in the Arab country required European governments to adopt a different policy based on reality and not on what was being promoted by the media.

Full report at:



Airstrikes hit Popular Mobilization Forces' camp in Iraq's Al Anbar

22 September 2019

Unidentified planes launched an airstrike on an Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces’ camp on Sunday west of the country’s Al Anbar Governorate, according to Iraqi News Agency.

“At 12:50 a.m. on Sunday morning, the Popular Mobilization Forces’ Marsanat camp, where 13 militiamen were staying, was hit with an airstrike,” the news agency said citing the group's commander in Al Anbar Qasim Musleh.

Musleh said that no casualities have been reported.

Camps and weapons depots used by the mainly Shiite paramilitary force have been hit by a string of blasts since June.

Full report at:



Qatari and Turkish state media under fire for ‘manipulating’ Egypt coverage

22 September 2019

Qatar’s Al Jazeera news network has come under fire for its coverage of weekend protests in Egypt, during which it aired eight-year-old footage that it portrayed as new material.

Images of demonstrators gathering at Cairo’s Tahrir Square first surfaced on Friday night, followed by small protests in other Egyptian cities.

However, there has been no repeat of the large scale uprising in 2011, which ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, has accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which has links to Qatar, of instigating the latest disturbances in an attempt to undermine Egypt’s stability.

“The Brotherhood’s organized campaign against Egypt and its stability has failed miserably,” Gargash said on Saturday in a post on Twitter.

“Media outlets [backed by the group] are matched by genuine popular support for the Egyptian state and its institutions.”

He added: “The reality is not what is being promoted in externally-funded media.”

Social media users have shared screenshots, which show Al Jazeera using archive footage of Tahrir Square demonstrations in 2011 to report on events over the weekend.

The channel also aired live broadcasts from across the country, describing a possible revolution and at one point suggesting President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had “fled” to the US, where he had travelled to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

“El-Sisi boarded his plane headed to New York not to attend the UN General Assembly like he announced, but to monitor the situation from the outside and seek refuge,” said Al Jazeera presenter Ahmed Mansour on Twitter.

He added: “If the protests continue, El-Sisi will not return to Egypt.”

Samer Al-Atrush


4000 people retweeted the woefully wrong theory that Sisi's long planned trip to UNGA (which he does every year) is in fact Sisi escaping the protests. …

A Mansour أحمد منصور


#السيسى ركب طائرته متوجها إلى نيويورك ليس من أجل حضور اجتماعات الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة كما أعلن ولكن لمراقبة الموقف من الخارج والبحث عن ملجأ بعدما أبلغ أن الشعب سيكسر حاجز الخوف وسينزل الشوارع ليطالب بسقوطه وقد نزل الشعب للشوارع ولو تواصلت التظاهرات لن يعود السيسى إلى #مصر


10:59 PM - Sep 21, 2019

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Leaders of 193 UN member states are expected to attend this year’s annual General Assembly, from September 23-37, to discuss global issues.

In a separate incident a report by Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-run news agency, showed Egyptian fans celebrating their national team’s qualification for the World Cup in 2017 – and claimed it was latest footage of demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

Kuwaiti daily newspaper Alqabas had to tweet an apology for using the image.

One Twitter user joked: “Al Jazeera showed footage of protesters saying ‘Tomorrow afternoon Morsi is returning to [Tahrir Square]’. Did we just die and go to the afterlife?”

Meanwhile, Egyptian media outlets continue to show footage of empty streets - and an empty Tahrir Square, the focal point of the 2011 uprising.

One Twitter user in Cairo also posted a video of himself driving through Tahrir Square, telling his followers there were no protesters on the streets.

However, on Sunday “Tahrir Square” remained one of the top trending topics in Arabic on Twitter in Qatar.

El-Sisi became president of Egypt following calls from his supporters to run in the 2014 elections after Morsi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, was toppled by the military in 2013 following mass demonstrations.

Morsi died on June 17 while he was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012, as well a life sentence for espionage in a case related to Qatar. He had denied the charges.

Full report at:



Separate attacks kill 7 in Baghdad suburb

Sep 22, 2019

At least seven people have been killed in three separate attacks on the northern outskirts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, over the past few hours.

Security sources said on Sunday that the overnight attacks targeted the homes of tribal fighters belonging to pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha’abi, as well as army barracks in the suburb of Tarmiya.

“Unidentified gunmen attacked the home of a member of the tribal Hashd, killing him, his wife, his son, and mother,” an unnamed police officer said.

A separate attack overnight saw sniper fire hitting an army barracks, killing two members of the security forces, the source added.

And at dawn on Sunday, an assault targeted another tribal Hashd member’s home, killing one.

On Sunday afternoon, security forces announced they had killed one would-be bomber in a village in the same region.

Tarmiya has long been a bastion of the sleeper cells of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which has been militarily defeated in Iraq but which continues to conduct singular attacks.

Daesh launched a major terror offensive in Iraq in 2014, overrunning swathes of territory. Iraqi government forces and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terror outfit and retake lost territory. Iraq declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in December 2017.

Iraqi forces have now launched a major operation to hunt down the remnants of Daesh in an area of the country’s western province of Anbar and the central and northern regions of Salahuddin and Nineveh.

Full report at:



US dispatches 175 trucks of weapons to SDF militants in northern Syria: SANA

Sep 22, 2019

Militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reportedly received 175 truckloads of weapons and munitions dispatched by the United States, irrespective of condemnation by Damascus of the "criminal and repressive" actions of the forces.

Civil and media sources, requesting anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Sunday that US military officials had provided weapons and logistical equipment to the militants, who are sponsored by Washington and led by Kurds.

The sources added that the convoy came from northern Iraq through the Semalka border crossing, which is a pontoon bridge across the Tigris, to SDF positions in Syria’s northern and eastern provinces of Hasakah, Raqqah and Dayr al-Zawr.

SANA further noted that US forces sent a convoy of 150 trucks loaded with military and logistical reinforcements through the Semalka border crossing on September 15 to support separatist SDF militants.

SDF militants continue to kidnap people, commit armed robbery and carry out raids on the residents of Jazira region in northern Syria.

They recently carried out a string of attacks – supported by five US AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, an F-16 Fighting multirole fighter jet, armored vehicles and reconnaissance aircraft – on the outskirts of Diban town in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, killing several civilians and arresting dozens more. The detainees were taken to an unknown location and their fate remains uncertain.

SANA further noted that US forces, since last March, have dispatched more than 3,000 trucks military equipment to Hasakah through illegal crossings to provide military, technical and logistical support to SDF militants.

On September 15, Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in identical letters sent to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the rotating President of the UN Security Council Vasily Nebenzya, announced that SDF militants continue their terrorist and criminal exercises against Syrians in Hasakah, Dayr al-Zawr, Raqqah and Aleppo.

The letters stated that the militants are backed by the United States and the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, who provide them with military, logistic, financial and political support.

“That goes in line with schemes being carried out by some states subservient to the United States and being concocted by the authorities of the Zionist regime (of Israel) in utter disregard to Security Council resolutions, which underline the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and unity of its people,” the letters read.

The Syrian ministry went on to say that not only do SDF militants take part in crimes being perpetrated by the US-led coalition against Syrian people, but they also kidnap, torture, murder and displace civilians.

The US has long been providing the SDF with arms and militant training, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against the terrorist group of Daesh. Many observers, however, see the support in the context of Washington's plans to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.

Full report at:



Seven killed in Baghdad suburb despite anti-Daesh sweep: security sources

September 22, 2019

BAGHDAD: Seven people have been killed in three attacks in the northern outskirts of the Iraqi capital, security sources said Sunday, despite the army recently declaring the area swept of extremists.

The overnight attacks Saturday into Sunday targeted the homes of tribal fighters belonging to the powerful Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force, as well as army barracks, in the Sunni suburb of Tarmiya, the sources said.

The Tribal Hashed is composed largely of Sunni fighters and feeds into the broader Shiite-dominated Hashed Al-Shaabi, which fought back the Daesh group with Iraqi troops.

Tarmiya has long been a bastion of Sunni extremist groups and Daesh sleeper cells have continued to operate in the area, according to the security sources.

“Unidentified gunmen attacked the home of a member of the Tribal Hashed, killing him, his wife, his son and mother,” a police officer told AFP, asking to remain anonymous.

The officer said a separate attack overnight saw sniper fire hit an army barracks, killing two members of the security forces.

And at dawn on Sunday, another attack targeted a Tribal Hashed member’s home, killing one, he added.

On Sunday afternoon, security forces announced they had killed one would-be suicide bomber in a village in the Tarmiya region.

For weeks this summer, Iraqi forces — the army, police and the Hashed — combed the orchards around Tarmiya for Daesh sleeper cells.

In July, they declared the operation a success after arresting several alleged IS members.

Daesh overran large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” in areas they controlled.

Full report at:





A Delegation of Jamiat-ul-Ulema meets Home Minister of India

By Qayam

September 22, 2019

New Delhi: A delegation of Jamiat-ul-Ulema led by Qari Syed Mohammed Osman Marsoorpuri met Home Minister of India, Mr. Amit Shah and had a talk on the burning issues concerning the Muslim Community.

The Hindi translation of Maulana Arshad Madani’s Suggestions was also presented to him.

Mr. Shah told that abolition of Article 370 is in the interest of Kashmiris. He assured that the interests of the Kashmiris will not be allowed to get affected.

Maulana Mohammed Salman told Mr. Shah that with the imposition of ban people are suffering.

Mr. Shah assured that there is no need to be afraid of NRC.



India a perfect example of religious tolerance, says Dalai Lama

Sep 22, 2019

AGRA: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Sunday said that India is a perfect example of religious tolerance and the world should learn from it.

Addressing people at the Raman Reti ashram in Mathura, he said, "In India different religious traditions are followed and people live together with due respect to each other and the world should learn from it."

The spiritual leader said that the "our" practice of "Karuna" (compassion) and "ahinsa" (non-violence) is what the world needs today. "We need to spread Karuna and ahinsa not to preserve our own traditions, but also to bring peace across the world, as too much violence is happening around the world," he said, adding that there is need for peace.

Stressing on importance of Ahinsa and Karuna, he further said that these two principles of life should have been incorporated in modern education system. "While science, technology, and economics are important for studies in the present system, at the same time our own 1000 years old traditions- Karuna and Ahinsa should also be part of the education system," he added.

Earlier, he said, "Indian culture is an ancient one and there is need to preserve it and incorporate it in our daily lives". He added that India has become a powerful nation due to its culture and traditions.

Full report at:



Peace should be part of our life: Arif Mohammed Khan

by Sameer

September 22, 2019

New Delhi: Newly-appointed Governor of Kerala, Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan told that peace is not a one-day affair. It is only to remind us. It should be part of our life.

In India, there are people professing different religions. Every religion preaches that all human beings belong to one family.

Quoting Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin, Mr. Khan said that we blong to Allah (SWT) and Allah is for all of us.

He expressed these thoughts in a reception meeting organized at Okhla, Jamia, New Delhi at the residence of former MLA, Mr. Asif Mohammed Khan.

Full report at:



'Howdy, Modi': How PM Modi fired on Pakistan from Trump’s shoulders

Sep 23, 2019

HOUSTON: The young volunteer beamed at his colleague and exchanged high-fives, exulting “Pakistaniyon ki laylee” (He took Pakistan apart). PM Narendra Modi had just lit into Pakistan and Imran Khan+ without once naming either in front of Donald Trump, and the crowd had erupted with delight at the public humiliation of a country that was once a part of India.

Sneering at Pakistan for its concern over events in Kashmir despite not being able to manage its own affairs at home and despite its reputation as a global hub for terrorism, Modi called for a decisive war on terrorism, asking the crowd to give a standing ovation to Trump. In fact, the US President had given the opening for Modi to bash Pakistan, having himself generated a standing ovation by railing against “radical Islamic terrorism” that goes beyond Pakistan.

But Modi was quick to seize the moment by linking Pakistan to terrorist events from 9/11 to 26/11, wondering sneeringly how a country that hosted its planners and that was so unstable was worried about India’s effort to manage Kashmir.

Catch complete coverage: PM at 'Howdy, Modi' event in Houston

The crowd’s response to the Trump-Modi jugalbandi on terrorism was in part driven by the relentless campaign by Pakistan in recent days to paint India – and Modi – as a terrorist entity.

In Houston itself, Pakistan had done its best to rain on the 'Howdy, Modi' parade, going so far as to send one of its federal ministers to join the protestors. They had also roped in disaffected Sikhs and other minorities for a hefty dose of India-bashing, online and onsite. The weather in Houston had relented to make way for a sunny warm day but scores of protestors gathered across the stadium holding placards that declared Modi is a terrorist and accusing India of conducting a genocide in Kashmir.

“Complete nonsense,” said Vivek Shah, who came to the rally with friends from a Houston suburb. “More people are dying in violence in Karachi than in Kashmir.” Others expressed similar anger against Pakistan, one group holding a placard with the legend #PKMKB, a coarse abuse directed at Pakistan that is not fit to print in a family newspaper.

The hashtag would soon rend globally, as anger against Pakistan peaked online.

Read also: PM Modi meets minorities in US to showcase diversity

Neither Modi nor Trump mentioned Pakistan or Imran Khan by name. But while Modi made it very obvious who he was directing his barbs at, Trump not known for any great subtlety, was more nuanced, saying the US understood India’s need to secure its borders as he took his usual shot at radical Islamic terrorism.

Pakistan’s troubles haven’t even begun as the party now moves to New York where Imran Khan has arrived to launch what Pakistanis are calling “Mission Kashmir.” India’s strategy is becoming clear: Pakistan will be dubbed a terrorist country at every global forum where India has much greater access, prestige, credibility and sway. With the Indian economy outsizing the Pakistani economy every single year despite less than anticipated growth, New Delhi is confident it can squish Pakistan economically.

Houston demonstrated what India can do and the route India will take if Pakistan chooses not to make peace.

Pakistan merely claiming it is a votary of peace is not enough, according to Indian officials. The intent has to be backed by action, something Pakistan is lacking in. That lack of intent is exactly what enabled Modi to virtually call Pakistan a terrorist state to Trump’s face without fear of contradiction.

Full report at:



Pakistan national arrested near IB in Jammu

Sep 22, 2019

JAMMU: A 20-year-old Pakistani national was arrested on Saturday after he intruded into India from the International Border (IB) here.

The intruder has been identified as Basharat Ali, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan. “Ali had managed to sneak into this side from Pakistan near a forward village, Abdullian, in R S Pura sector of Jammu district and reached the neighbouring Chandu Check village where he was caught by some villagers and BSF men patrolling the area,” said an official source.

“Ali was frisked and was found to be unarmed but he was immediately handed over to the police. He is being questioned,” the source added. Jammu inspector-general of police (IG) Mukesh Singh also confirmed Basharat Ali’s arrest.

Full report at:



J&K terror funding case: NIA to file supplementary charge sheet against Yasin Malik, others

Sep 22, 2019

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will file a second supplementary charge sheet next month against JKLF chairperson Yasin Malik and four other separatist leaders in a Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case.

According to sources in the NIA, the supplementary charge sheet against separatists Malik, Shabir Shah, Asia Andrabi, Masarat Alam and former MLA Engineer Rashid will be filed in a Patiala House court here.

The main charge sheet was filed in January last year in which 12 people were named for funnelling funds for terrorist activities in J-K.

The sources told ANI that there is "enough evidence" against the separatist leaders, including Malik, to show they were instrumental in triggering violent agitations in the Kashmir Valley in 2016 by issuing "protest calendars".

Malik is accused of being "actively engaged" in inciting secessionism and funnelling of funds for fomenting terrorism in J-K.

Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Shah is accused of receiving Rs 10 lakh from hawala operator Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, a co-accused in the case.

Hurriyat Conference general secretary Masarat Alam Bhat has been named in the charge sheet for allegedly playing a significant role in stone-pelting and subsequently in the unrest in Kashmir in 2010. The NIA, the sources said, has described Masarat Alam as the "poster boy of stone pelters" and violent agitations in the Valley.

Another separatist leader, Asiya Andrabi, the sources said, accepted during questioning to have collected funds and donations from foreign sources to organise protests by Muslim women.

Full report at:



Can Pakistan play 'visa card' to deny permission to DSGMC's nagar kirtan

Sep 22, 2019

AMRITSAR: Can Pakistan deny visa to Delhi Sikh gurdwara management (DSGMC) committee's 'sangat' that is scheduled to take 'nagar kirtan' to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan from Gurdwara Bangla Sahib on October 13.

According to highly placed sources there was a possibility of Pakistan high commission denying visa to DSGMC's sangat since the Pakistan Sikh gurdwara parbandhak committee (PSGPC) has already expressed its inability to welcome two nagar kirtan's.

SAD (D) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna is also scheduled to take nagar kirtan to Pakistan on October 28.

PSGPC president Satwant Singh said that Sarna had applied for permission of bringing nagar kirtan to Pakistan much before DSGMC planned its nagar kirtan so they were prepared to receive Sarna's nagar kirtan .

In the recent past Sarna had also stated that only SAD (D) had the permission to bring nagar kirtan to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

Sources informed that Pakistan could refuse visa's to DSGMC's sangat or some or other issue to diffuse the situation.

When contacted DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa said "Let PSGPC say whatever they want, the Indian government has a bilateral agreement with Pakistan and they can't violate it."

He questioned "Will they issues visas to persons recommended by an apex body or to a political party."

Sirsa alleged that Pakistan facilitated the persons who create division among Sikhs and they could play any game to further their agenda.

DSGMC president said that they had already applied for visa's and had received the acknowledgement.

He reiterated that DSGMC had received permission from various departments of government which were not with Sarna .

Despite both DSGMC and SAD (D) at loggerheads over nagar kirtan issue, the sources didn't rule out a last minute truce between the two bodies led by political opponents.

Full report at:



India, US working together to protect Indian-Americans from radical Islamic terrorism: Trump

September 23, 2019

Addressing the Indian diaspora in Texas alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump stated Sunday that the two largest democracies in the world are coordinating to secure the Indian Americans from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Trump, at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event, also underlined the issue of border security and said that the issue concerns both the countries.

Talking about the potential defence deals between India and the US, President Trump announced that soon several defence deals would be signed between the two countries with the objective of bolstering the security relationship.

Trump asserted that the relationship between the two countries is stronger than ever and India has never had a better friend in the White House before. “We are grounded in the commitment to democracy,” he said. Trump also praised PM Modi’s leadership and said that the world is witnessing a strong, thriving and sovereign India under his rule.

Taking New Delhi’s ties with the US to new heights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed US President Donald Trump for a second term saying ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar‘ in front of nearly 50,000 Indian-Americans at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Houston.

Further praising Trump for his contributions across the globe, Modi said, “His name is familiar to every person on the planet. His name comes up almost every conversation in the world on global politics.”

Full report at:



We are committed to meet India’s energy security needs: Saudi Arabia

September 22, 2019

Notwithstanding the biggest-ever attacks on its oil facilities, Saudi Arabia has said it is committed to meet India’s energy security needs and will work constructively with other oil producers to maintain market stability.

Saudi Ambassador Dr. Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati, in an exclusive interview to PTI, said his country will invite the United Nations and international experts to view the situation on the ground and to participate in the investigation into the attacks.

He said Saudi Arabia has the capability and resolve to defend itself and to forcefully respond to “these aggressions”, and appreciated India’s support and solidarity to Riyadh following the strikes which, he asserted, were “against the international community as a whole”.

A series of drone and missile attacks on oil facilities of Saudi Aramco, the country’s national petroleum company, on September 14 knocked out half of its daily oil production, severely impacting the global oil market and triggering fresh tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“As the investigations are ongoing, the Kingdom will invite UN and international experts to view the situation on ground and to participate in the investigations,” the ambassador said.

“The Kingdom will take appropriate measures to ensure its security and stability. The Kingdom affirms that it has the capability and resolve to defend its land and people, and to forcefully respond to these aggressions,” he said.

Yemen’s Houthi terror group has taken responsibility for the biggest-ever attacks on Saudi oil facilities which severely impacted global oil supply. Saudi Arabia and its ally, the US, have blamed Iran for the attacks but Tehran has strongly denied the allegations.

“The recent attack against Saudi Aramco was not only against the Kingdom, but against the international community as a whole, and was a deliberate attempt to disrupt the global economy. Therefore, the perpetrators should be held accountable,” the envoy said.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia will increase oil supply to India to address the shortfall due to curb on import of oil from Iran, the envoy said his country is committed to India’s energy security and will meet any shortfall that may arise due to disruptions from other sources.

He said as one of the world’s leading energy producers, Saudi Arabia will continue working constructively with other producers within and outside OPEC to maintain market stability, thus protecting all the interests of producers and consumers alike.

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is a 14-nation powerful bloc of oil producing countries.

“India condemned the attacks on our oil facilities and reiterated its resolve to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. As a friend and strategic partner, we appreciate India’s support and solidarity,” Al Sati said.

He said initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian, adding probe was going on to determine the source of the strike.

“The Kingdom condemns this egregious crime which threatens international peace and security and affirms that the primary target of this attack is in line with the previous attacks against Saudi Aramco pumping stations using Iranian weapons,” he said.

“The Kingdom calls upon the international community to assume its responsibility in condemning those that stand behind this act, and to take a firm and clear position against this reckless behaviour that threatens the global economy,” he said.

The envoy said Saudi Arabia will continue working with its partners and allies in stabilising the security of the region.

Full report at:



Amit Shah blames Nehru for Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir’s existence

September 22, 2019

Blaming India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for allegedly allowing to Pakistan to occupy parts of Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir would not have come into existence had Nehru not declared ceasefire with the neighbouring country.

He also said the country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel should have been allowed to handle the Kashmir issue instead of Nehru.

Targeting Nehru over “non-integration” of Kashmir with India, Shah said: “PoK wouldn’t have come into existence had Nehru not declared untimely ceasefire with Pakistan. Article 370 was the reason why every Indian had to say and prove that Kashmir was an integral part of the nation. It was a barrier in the unity of India and the integrity of the nation.”

Addressing a BJP rally in Goregaon on the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and to campaign for the BJP for the next month’s Maharashtra Assembly polls, Shah claimed that not a single bullet was fired in the Valley since scrapping of special status and that terrorism will be completely wiped out in the upcoming day.

Targetting Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Shah said, “Congress sees politics behind Article 370 abrogation, we don’t see it that way. Rahul Baba you have come into politics now, but three generations of BJP have given their life for Kashmir, for the abrogation of Article 370. It’s not a political matter for us, it’s part of our goal to keep Bharat maa undivided.” “Those who indulged in corruption in Kashmir now feeling the heat despite the cold there,” he said.

Shah also reiterated that Devendra Fadnavis will continue as Maharashtra Chief Minister for a second term. It is expected that both BJP and Shiv Sena, which have formed an alliance for the upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra, will announce the seat-sharing arrangement today.

Full report at:



Muslims in India luckier than those in Islamic countries: Mark Tully

September 22, 2019

Muslims in India are “much luckier” than those in the Islamic countries as they can worship in any Islamic tradition here, says veteran journalist Mark Tully.

Citing an example, he says that in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, where he resides, there is the Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters and they are “very strict and orthodox”.

Next to it, there is the Sufi tradition where people pray at the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya and sing qawwalis, he adds.

“India’s spirit of tolerance is its strength which makes a harmonious environment for different religions to exist side by side,” Tully is quoted as saying in the latest issue of The Equator Line magazine. The issue is titled “Home and The World”.

According to Tully, India is “unique and is home to all the religions, well almost”.

“India has spirituality. As of now these religions are varied themselves. Muslims in India are much luckier than Muslims in the Islamic countries because in India they can worship in any Islamic tradition,” he says.

Also in the issue is a piece by Tim Grandage, a Briton who came to Kolkata 32 years ago as a banking officer. He later gave up his job to set up a charity called Future Hope to work for slum children.

Grandage says he learnt a lot from these children.

“The value of trust, care, opportunity, commitment, and of tolerance, of talking to others and listening too, of seeing a glass as half full and not half empty.”

There are also essays by Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; US-based psychiatrist Reshma Hingorani; consultant and former UN staffer Sarthi Acharya and writer and television producer Jad Adams among others.

In the editorial, Bhaskar Roy writes that the real challenge for India is to “go out meet the world upfront occupying as much space as our talent and capability permit, and also to restore and recover the backend from the abysmal chaos and dysfunction”.

Full report at:



Farooq Abdullah is busy reciting Quran, offering Namaz

by Qayam

September 22, 2019

Srinagar: Former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Mr. Farooq Abdullah who is under house arrest in Srinagar, is spending most of his time in reciting the Quran and offering five times Namaz.

It was reported by his youngest sister, Suryya Abdullah that these days, Mr. Farooq Abdullah is going through the English translation of the Quran rendered by Abdullah Yousuf Ali.

It may be mentioned that he is a sugar paitent and his kidney has also been transplanted earlier.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Unprincipled leaders want Malays to stay shackled


September 22, 2019

THERE was recently a move by the two Malay opposition parties to rouse the Malays with the call, ‘Melayu Bangkit’.

It is quite ironic that the same people who cast the Malays into a stupor are now trying to wake them up.

The Malay minds of yore were encased in the enchantment of the bygone era suffused with legendary musings of the bravado and adventures of the fictionalised heroes as portrayed on the wayang kulit screen, the makyong and bangsawan stage.

They somewhat woke up during the Japanese occupation that momentarily jolted them from the slumber induced during the British colonial period when the British by design labelled them as lazy natives only good as fishermen and farmers.

This was accepted as a norm by their feudal mentality which emphasised subservience to rulers and authority.

However, in the early 20th century some Malay leaders woke up to the reality of the situation and opposed the British.

Among them were Mat Salleh, Dol Saip, Rentap, Tok Bahaman, Tok Janggut, Maharajalela and Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong.

But they were all either incarcerated or killed as traitors by the British for challenging imperial authority.

After this episode of Malay resurgence, they again lapsed into a slumber to be partly awoken by the Japanese atrocities and communist insurgency.

That galvanised them to fight for independence.

This was the time when the Malays were unshackled from the feudal subservience and the awe of British imperial supremacy.

For this brief period, the Malays woke up to the reality that the British were not unassailable.

The Malays had to fend for themselves and they rose to the occasion charting the path towards independence and even thwarted the British-sponsored Malayan Union that would have reduced the rulers to mere ulama and the people recolonised.

After independence, however, the Malays let down their guard and once again began to slumber with the onset of neo-feudalism extending reverence to the leaders of Umno.

The Islamic party, on the other hand, used religion to lull its members into submission to the dictates of their leaders, who convinced the stupefied members to accept their economic and social predicament as a test from Allah rather than the result of the incompetency of their leaders.

Both the secular Umno and the Pas religious chauvinism entranced the Malays into an illusionary world of submission and loyalty with the leaders vowing to fight for and maintain the supremacy of the Malays and Islam.

They abide by the Quranic injunction of being loyal to the ulul amri (leaders), which is always emphasised by the leaders to the masses. But they mute the part that qualifies this injunction, that leaders must be just, morally and ethically upright.

The efforts of the Malay opposition parties to provoke ‘Melayu bangkit’ are not to cause a mental awakening but merely to support the neo-feudal agenda of unquestioned loyalty to the leaders who have manipulated the 3Rs — race, religion and royalty — to serve their agendas at the expense of the masses.

They are lulled into a state of nonchalance and regaled with false notions of inalienable rights, ownership, pride and bravado.

These unscrupulous leaders cannot afford to see the Malays wake up and unshackle themselves from the feudal-religious attitude and see that the world has changed.

They want them to live in the past and to be beholden to the rulers or ulul amri; to be shackled by tradition that perpetuates servitude to the ruling class.

Those who freed themselves from this mental psychosis and awoke to the reality of the situation and are no longer bemused by the neo-feudal trappings are branded as traitors to race, religion and rulers and in cahoots with enemies to erode Malay supremacy.

Alternatively, they were brought in line by coercion or gifted to toe the cohort’s line and agenda.

Thus this is the raison d’etre of the alliance of two oldest Malay political parties whose grip on power was broken by the partial awakening of some Malays.

They need the Malays to somnambulate in the dreamy world of pretense and false assertions and continue to hallucinate the unrealised grandeur of Malay supremacy to enable the leaders to manipulate them.

These defeated cohorts need docile and unquestioning masses who are subservient to their dictates to regain power by playing on race and religion as well as posing themselves as the saviour of Malay rights and supremacy even at the expense of national unity and integration.

Malays must wake up to the new political and economic realities, and cast off the traditional mindset of subservience and patronage as well as the illusionary world of Malay supremacy.

They need to dispense with the notion of inalienable rights and embrace a paradigm shift towards an attitude of sharing and cooperation.

At the same time, they must disengage from the subsidy mentality and be willing to stand on their own and chart their future not based on privileges but on equitable participation.

The Malays must realise that their lives and future are inextricably woven into the political, economic and social matrix of a plural society that demands an integrated equitable effort.

Likewise, the other races must abandon their chauvinistic sentiments and acknowledge the constitutional rights of the Malays as the original indigenous people of this land and to integrate into the melting pot of Malaysian potpourri to be together in the pursuit of peace, harmony and prosperity.



Najib insists Umno-PAS union won’t sideline minorities

22 September 2019


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today gave his own assurance that the wellbeing of other non-Malay ethnicities would be well cared for, after Umno and former rival PAS inked a joint political charter on September 15.

During the “Ulasan Apek Cina Bersama Bossku” video on Facebook, Najib was asked about the impact of the union, with the host who addresses himself as “Apek”, raising concerns about the collaboration, on the rights of the ethnic Chinese and Indians here.

Najib however brushed off the concern, saying that the aim of the charter was allegedly to defend the Federal Constitution as well as to also safeguard the interests of those of other ethnicities and beliefs.

“No, Apek. Why? Firstly, we defend the Constitution of our nation. The rights of all races, religions will be defended.

“Secondly, Islam as a religion, respects other faiths, and I hope, let us not have insults between religions, because before this, before the 14th GE, this didn’t happen,” he said referring to the 14th general election last year.

“No need to worry,” he said, adding that there would be no elements which would not touch on the other ethnicities way of life and interests.

“Can. I will still defend,” he said, when asked for a guarantee.

Full report at:





LeT chief chargesheeted by Pak for terror financing

Sep 23, 2019

NEW DELHI: In a move that went unnoticed outside Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and 26/11 main accused Hafiz Mohammad Saeed has been chargesheeted in a terror financing case by a Gujranwala court besides being named as an accused in four similar cases.

India continues to await significant action against Saeed and recent developments are seen as intended to fend off international pressure in context of FATF ‘grey listing’ and Indian agencies are waiting to see if he is chargesheeted in four other cases as well and there are credible curbs on Lashkar chief’s movements.

The five cases in which Saeed has been named with a few others for allegedly funding terror activities have been registered across Gujranwala, Multan and Lahore. As per details gathered by TOI, the provisions invoked against Saeed relate to Section 11 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, of Pakistan.

The ATA cases registered against Saeed include a case in Gujranwala, relating to a seized property in Moza Makwal; a case in Multan, regarding a property in Tehsil Mian Channu; another in Lahore, relating to a property seized in Raiwind Mandi; and another two cases at Sahiwal, Lahore, about seized properties in Lahore and Tehsil Arifwala respectively.

On the face of it, the cases seem mild considering Saeed’s direct role in planning and executing terror activities in India and the global links Lashkar has developed. Lashkar has been a patron of jihadi fighters who have travelled to several destinations and the group is known to run camps in Afghanistan as well. Lashkar is proscribed by the US and is on the United Nations sanctions list as well.



Pak close to being ‘blacklisted’ by Financial Action Task Force

Sep 23, 2019

NEW DELHI: Pakistan appears to be falling grossly short of delivery on the 27-point action plan prepared by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to help it escape ‘black listing’, with sources monitoring its actions against terror financing indicating that Islamabad has delivered on only six of the 27 points so far. ‘Black listing’ by FATF stands to choke Pakistan’s access to international finance.

Pakistan currently figures on the FATF ‘grey list’ and is up for a final review of its status at the FATF plenary meeting in Paris next month.

The objectives of the Financial Action Task Force are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to integrity of the international financial system.

Sources monitoring Pakistan’s implementation of FATF action plan said Pakistan has located only five of the 100-plus UN-designated terrorists currently said to be within its territory. The five include Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawah/Falah-i-Insaniyat boss Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Saeed was arrested by Pakistani authorities in July on terror financing charges. He has been in custody since.

As per reports coming from Pakistan, over 900 properties, including madrassas and dispensaries, have been seized for terror financing linkages. While 750 of these properties are allegedly linked to Falah-i-Insaniyat, 150 are associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad.

However, Pakistan is yet to identify the source of funding behind the seized properties or register any case against their owners. Also, none of the properties seized are active terror facilities like armouries, weapons/explosives dumps or terror training camps.

As many as 23 terror funding cases were registered in July, one year after the FATF placed Pakistan on the grey list and asked it to deliver on a 27-point anti-terror financing plan to escape the blacklist. Nearly 65 active terrorists have been named in these cases.

Full report at:



In New York, Imran Khan meets Kashmir Study Group

September 22, 2019

As part of his 'Mission Kashmir' to draw global attention on the issue, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the Kashmir Study Group to highlight the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which he said "poses a grave threat to regional peace and security".

Imran Khan met with the founder of Kashmir Study Group, Farooq Kathwari, who called on him in New York and both discussed the prevailing situation in J&K.

During the meeting, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the PM Naeem ul Haq, United Nation (UN) Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan and other senior officials were also present.

Khan urged Kathwari to outline the issue of India's revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has termed as "illegal annexation", and the alleged human rights violations there, in order to "expose the real face of fascist Modi-led Hindu nationalist government in front of the world".

Kathwari had earlier served as member of the US President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans.

Kathwari highlighted the Kashmir Study Group's earlier engagement on the Jammu and Kashmir issue and efforts for conflict resolution.

Imran Khan is New York on a week-long visit to attend the UN General Assembly session and hold high-level meetings with world leaders.

According to Lodhi, upon his arrival here Khan has begun "mission Kashmir for Pakistan" with full zeal in order to draw the world's attention towards the Kashmir issue.

"This is mission Kashmir for the prime minister and for Pakistan his message will be clear: the occupation must end, and a peaceful solution found for the Kashmir dispute. He will highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people who continue to suffer a suffocating lockdown and a brutal occupation," said Lodhi said, adding the Prime Minister would meet world leaders and the UN secretary-general.

This is the Prime Minister's first General Assembly visit and "he will be the voice of the Kashmiri people at the UN," she said.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi told reporters that Khan wanted to listen to Kashmiris from both parts of Kashmir ahead of his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 27

Qureshi said the main objective of Imran's visit to US was to highlight alleged Indian atrocities in the valley.

Speaking to the media in New York, Qureshi said Imran will hold meetings with heads of different states and a Kashmiri delegation.

The Kashmir Study Group (, consisting of 25 members with political, diplomatic and academic backgrounds, who extensively interact with the parties to the Kashmir issue. Established in 1996, KSG is headquartered in Larchmont, New York.

Full report at:



PM Imran briefs US legislators about India’s excesses

Anwar Iqbal

September 23, 2019

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan spent the second day of his seven-day visit to the United Nations briefing US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media on the repercussions of the Indian annexation of the disputed Kashmir valley.

The lawmakers who called on the prime minister on Sunday include the US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Chair­man of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham.

Both are among the most important lawmakers on Capitol Hill and enjoy considerable influence in their parties. Senator Schumer, a New York Democrat, is known for his interest in human rights issues and can be very helpful in highlighting rights violations in held Kashmir.

Senator Graham, a Republican, is among a handful of lawmakers whom President Donald Trump consults on major issues. Recently, he was twice sent to Pakistan to solicit Islamabad’s support for the Afghan peace process.

In Washington’s diplomatic circles, Senator Graham is often credited for arranging Prime Minister Khan’s July visit to the White House that helped improve strained relations between Washington and Islamabad.

Senator Graham was also among those four US senators who wrote a letter to President Trump last week, asking him to take immediate action to end deepening humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir.

They asked him specifically to put pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the curfew imposed on local residents and restore telecommunication services in the disputed territory, among other steps.

President Trump has repeatedly offered to help mediate the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan but has been rebuffed by Mr Modi, who rejects external help in resolving New Delhi’s disputes with Islamabad.

US special envoy for Afghan peace process Zalmay Khalilzad also had a meeting with the prime minister.

In Washington’s diplomatic circles, it’s often acknowledged that there can never be a durable peace in Afghanistan unless relations between India and Pak­istan improve. Appar­ently, this perception is also linked to President Trump’s repeated offer to help reduce India-Pakistan tensions, particularly over Kashmir.

AI report hailed

The prime minister also met Amnesty International’s secretary general Komi Naidoo and discussed with him the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5.

“The prime minister appreciated the lead role that Amnesty is playing in presenting the real state of human rights in the occupied territory and amplifying the voices of the Kash­miri population in a state of seven-week-long lockdown,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.

These efforts have helped raise international community’s awareness about the continuing suffering of the Kashmiri people.

The prime minister lauded Amnesty’s report on the use of pellet guns by India and their devastating impact on Kashmiri youth.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who also attended the meeting, noted that the two UN reports on Kashmir served as a strong basis for continued civil society advocacy in support of the Kashmiri people.

Mr Naidoo briefed the prime minister on Amnesty’s advocacy work on Kashmir including the recently launched “Let-Kashmir-Speak” campaign.

Others on the prime minister’s list included David Fenton and George Soros. Mr Fenton is the chairman and founder of Fenton Communications, which promotes issue-oriented campaigns focusing on environment, public health and human rights.

Mr Soros is an American investor who still has a net worth of $8 billion even though he has donated more than $32bn to his philanthropic agency, Open Society Foundations.

Mr Khan also held meetings with Kashmiri leaders and the leaders of the Sikh community in the United States.

Later, the prime minister gave interview to various US media networks, explaining Pakistan’s concerns on India’s actions in held Kashmir.

He said that if not resolved the Kashmir dispute could lead to a nuclear conflict in South Asia, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire world.

He appealed to the international community help defuse this potentially dangerous situation.

In his meeting with Mr Khalilzad, Prime Minister Khan said that peace in Afghanistan was vital for South Asia’s stability and economic development of the entire region.

He urged all parties involved in the Afghan dispute to play their role for restoring peace to that war-ravaged country.

“Condemning the recent surge of violence in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that peace in Afghanistan is vital to advancing his government’s vision for a peaceful neighborhood and for economic development and regional stability,” said a statement issued by the Pakistan Mission.

“All parties must play their role in strengthening peace and promoting reconciliation as a shared responsibility,” the prime minister added.

Ambassador Khalilzad called on the prime minister at his hotel in New York and the two also talked about the joint efforts that

Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United States were making for bringing peace to Afghanistan.

Mr Khan appreciated Mr Khalilzad’s efforts for promoting a peaceful, political settlement in Afghanistan.

Mr Khan reminded the US envoy that Pakistan always believed that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

“Pakistan would, therefore, continue to support all initiatives towards achieving a sustainable peace in Afghanistan and hoped for an early resumption of the peace process,” Mr Khan said.

Full report at:



Fazl-Shahbaz meet fails to coax PML-N into joining march

Amjad Mahmood

September 23, 2019

LAHORE: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on PML-N president and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday and discussed modalities for the proposed long march against the government.

Both the leaders, along with their aides, also discussed political and economic situation of the country in the meeting which lasted more than an hour.

Maulana Fazl was accompanied by Maulana Amjad Khan while Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Tanveer and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq assisted the PML-N president The two sides avoided the media after the sitting.

A JUI-F insider, however, told Dawn that the PML-N leaders didn’t give their word about joining the proposed long march and sought time, saying a decision on the issue would be taken in a meeting of the party’s central working committee (CWC) within the next few days.

He said they were told that the CWC opinion would then go to incarcerated PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif for approval.

He said the two sides agreed on convening a multiparty conference next month to bring other opposition parties on board regarding the long march and for devising a joint strategy for the anti-government protest movement.

However, a senior leader of the PML-N said the visitors (the JUI-F delegation) showed their interest in attending the PML-N CWC meeting to brief its members on the protest plan and other opposition parties’ views on the political scene, but their request was politely declined “because we want to take our own decision without any outside influence”.

He claimed that Shahbaz Sharif would be holding a meeting of his confidants in the party on Monday (today) before summoning the CWC session.

‘Religious cause’

Earlier in the day, Maulana Fazl said while speaking to the media that a date for the “Azadi March” would be decided in a couple of days.

Dispelling the impression that the JUI-F was unable to organise the long march, he claimed that they had arranged 15 million-marches successfully and had the ability to organise another long march.

He said they had no plans to confront any state institution and, like in the past, their long march would be peaceful.

The JUI-F chief responding to a query said that religious cause and defending Islamic provisions of the Constitution was part and parcel of the agenda set for the march.

He accused the government of “selling” Kashmir and said that “the incumbent government was “illegal and incapable”. Overthrowing this government would be in country’s interest, he added.

Maulana Fazl said a joint strategy on the march would be announced after consulting the opposition parties.

Full report at:



Punjab archives dept digitising ‘the biggest trove’ of history documents in subcontinent

Intikhab Hanif

September 23, 2019

LAHORE: Taking a major leap towards digitisation of its half-a-million documents carrying history right from the Mughal period, the Punjab archives department has sorted out 27,000 files and bought four specialised scanners to digitise these.

“The slow-paced digitisation, preservation and modernisation project of the Punjab archives department has been given a fresh boost, through major steps to protect the invaluable record and also make it available to people,” says Archives Director Abbas Chughtai.

According to him, a committee, on the request of the archives secretary, recently revised the cost of the project to Rs100 million, saving Rs57 million from the originally approved cost without reducing the scope of work. The project is being executed by the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and funds have been placed at its disposal.

A number of tasks have been completed under the digitisation project, including the sorting of around 27, 000 files, more than 100 preliminary condition reports, preparation of digital coding rules and testing scan of almost 6,000 pages.

The research work is also being done on different topics, including fairs and communication networks in the British Punjab. The project website is completely functional with all the necessary information.

The sorted out 27,000 files contain the Colonial Period (1849-86) record of Lahore Residency, Sutlej Territories, Home General Department, Revenue Department, Judicial Department, Political Department, Mutiny Telegrams, Agencies Record. The process of sorting out is in progress.

The ‘Preliminary Condition Reports’ are the primary part of conservation and so far 103 such reports have been completed from the record of Mutiny Telegrams 1857 – 1858.

Similarly, cataloguing of 2,000 files have also been completed from the record of Mutiny Telegrams 1857 – 1858 and currently cataloguing of Agencies Record is in progress. The scanning of 5,721 pages from 112 files has been completed from the record of Mutiny Telegrams 1857–1858.

The director says that four book scanners (Comfort Basic Scanners) have been received from the PITB, but these will be installed in the Tomb of the Anarkali, Civil Secretariat, after reduction in temperatures. Once the scanners are installed and codal formalities are completed, the project will be inaugurated in near future.

Mr Chughtai says a state-of-the-art archives website that was launched in July this year is fully functional and is another step towards digitising the rare record.

He claims the Punjab archives department maintains one of the biggest collections of historical documents in the subcontinent. This collection, housed partially in Anarkali’s Tomb in the Punjab Civil Secretariat, is estimated to contain 80,000 books and several million documents, besides a fine collection of lithographs, miniature paintings, seals and coins.

The documents, once kept in the rear portion of the chief secretary’s block, are stored in boxes in the upper portion of the Secretariat’s H Block ever since the colonial library was turned into chief secretary’s conference hall around a decade ago.

The archive was established in 1923 by Lt Col H L O Garret. The records storing in the archives began officially with the establishment of the Ludhiana and Ambala Agencies in the early 19th century. However a large number of documents which predate this are also available, the oldest of which dates back to the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s rule in the 17th century. Extensive records from the Sikh and British rules in Punjab, as well as from other parts of the subcontinent, are found in the archives.

The English record includes a great bulk of documents from the government departments constituted under the Board of Administration which was established in Punjab after the province was annexed by the British in 1849. This collection also includes official documentation, gazetteers and correspondence not just from Punjab, but also from other areas of the subcontinent.

Records from the Delhi Residence and Agency were transferred to Punjab in 1857. Apart from this, records from Ludhiana, Ambala, Karnal and what was then the North-West Frontier as well as from the Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan divisions and the Tribal Agencies, prior to the establishment of a separate administrative unit for that region, are also found in this collection. Also included are records from Sindh after it was annexed by Charles Napier up to the time the province became a part of the Bombay Presidency, as well as records from the occupation of the tribal areas of Balochistan.

The collection also includes reports on annual administration, budgets, typography, archaeology, medical and sanitary service, agriculture, forestry, census, revenue surveys, settlement industries and railways, submitted by various central and provincial commissions, committees and conferences.

Full report at:



Imran, Khalilzad discuss Afghan peace

Sep 23, 2019

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session, discussed Afghan peace process among other issues with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who called on him on Sunday.

They discussed various issues including the Afghan peace process on Sunday, Radio Pakistan reported.

During the meeting, the prime minister expressed hope the peace talks with the Afghan militant outfit would be revived to achieve regional peace. There had been no statement by the US envoy though.

The talks had been called off by US President Donald Trump after the Taliban stepped up attacks in the country.

On Sunday, the prime minister held a series of meetings with different organisations, including Amnesty International Secretary General Komi Naidoo, US Senator Lindsey Graham, Kashmir Study Group founder Farooq Kathwari and officials of Red Cross, with Kashmir being the focal point.

Imran informed the delegations of the dire humanitarian situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while briefing reporters about the PM Imran’s meetings.

During his meeting with Amnesty International’s secretary general, Imran appreciated the lead role the international organisation is playing in presenting the real state of human rights in held Kashmir and amplifying the voices of the Kashmiri population in a state of seven-week long lockdown.

The prime minister said that Amnesty’s efforts had helped raise the international community’s awareness about the continuing suffering of the Kashmiri people. He lauded Amnesty’s report on the use of pellet guns by India and their devastating impact on Kashmiri youth.

Naidoo briefed the prime minister on Amnesty’s advocacy work on Kashmir including #LetKashmirSpeak. He updated the premier on Amnesty’s work relating to climate justice and suggested consideration of global south advocacy by the prime minister on a range of climate change-related issues.

Qureshi said that Senator Lindsay Graham is one of the four senators who wrote a letter to President Trump inviting his attention to situation in Occupied Kashmir.

Prime Minister thanked his effort in highlighting the Kashmir issue and plight of innocent Kashmiris.

He said the US Congress can play an important role in raising the voice of Kashmiris in the US.

According to the foreign minister, a delegation of George Soros Foundation also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. The delegation apprised the PM of their work in the field of education in Afghanistan.

It also expressed their wish to work in improving the quality of education through various projects in Pakistan. They also informed the Prime Minister of their expertise in taxation reforms.


Earlier in the day, Kashmir Study Group founder Farooq Kathwari called on PM Imran in New York to discuss the prevailing situation in IOK.

During the meeting, the prime minister urged Kathwari, a Srinagar-born Kashmiri-American, to further highlight the grave situation resulting from India’s illegal occupation of occupied Kashmir and its blatant human rights violations.

He said that there was a need to expose the “real face” of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to the world.

Kathwari, on the occasion, highlighted the Kashmir Study Group’s earlier engagement on the dispute and efforts for conflict resolution.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeemul Haq, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi, Ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan and other senior officials were present in the meeting.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi told reporters that the prime minister wanted to listen to Kashmiris from both parts of Kashmir ahead of his speech to the UNGA on September 27

Qureshi said that the main objective of prime minister’s visit to the US was to highlight the Indian atrocities in the region.

Speaking to the media in New York, the foreign minister said that PM Imran will hold meetings with heads of different countries and Kashmiri delegations.

PM Imran arrived in New York on Saturday to lead the Pakistan delegation to the 74th session of the UNGA.

The prime minister will address the 193-member assembly on September 27 sharing Pakistan’s perspective and position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its current human rights and related dimensions.

He will enunciate Islamabad’s position on key global and regional issues before one of the largest gatherings of leaders from around the world.

The prime minister will specifically focus on the deteriorating situation in the occupied region, particularly the grave violations of human rights taking place there, since August 5 when the Indian government revoked the special status of Kashmir.

During his week-long visit to the US, the prime minister is expected to make a clarion call on the international community and the United Nations (UN) to live up to their promise of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

On Monday, PM Imran is expected to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His first official engagement at the UN is a meeting with China’s Vice President Wang Qishan.

PM Imran during his seven-day visit, will hold several bilateral meetings with his counterparts, including United States President Donald Trump on Monday.

He will also participate in high-level UN summits on climate change, sustainable development, universal health coverage and financing for development.

During his visit, the prime minister will also attend and speak at high-level side events co-hosted by Pakistan and Turkey on countering hate speech and on environmental protection and poverty alleviation, co-hosted by Malaysia and Pakistan.

A trilateral summit meeting of Pakistan, Malaysia and Turkey will be held on the General Assembly session’s sidelines.

The prime minister will also interact with international media outlets.

Full report at:





Turkey: Over 6,000 irregular migrants held in past week

Büşra Nur Bilgiç  


At least 6,000 irregular migrants were held across Turkey over the past week, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from security sources.

A total of 1,858 migrants were held in multiple operations carried out by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne, Kirklareli and Tekirdag provinces, bordering Greece and Bulgaria.

According to local security forces in Edirne, Greece has recently stepped up efforts to send irregular migrants to Turkey in violation of the Geneva Conventions, European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture.

In the coastal provinces of Canakkale, Balikesir, Aydin, Izmir, Mugla and Antalya, the Turkish Coast Guard and gendarmerie forces rounded up a total of 3,659 migrants as they were trying to cross to Europe through Greece.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Moreover, border forces and police in the southern Hatay province caught 206 migrants for reportedly entering Turkey from Syria through illegal means.

In eastern Erzincan, Sivas and Batman provinces, provincial gendarmerie forces detained 117 irregular migrants, who entered Turkey illegally.

Additionally, some 49 irregular migrants were also held by police in the central province of Kayseri, while in the south-central province of Adana a total of 100 migrants were held by police over the past week.

The migrants included Pakistani, Congolese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Tunisian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Turkmenistani, Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Indian, Algerian, Somali, Ghanian, Yemeni, Palestinian, Eritrean and Nigerian nationals.

All of the migrants held during the week were either taken to hospitals for medical care or transferred to provincial migration offices.

In 2018, some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey, according to the Interior Ministry. Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.



UK Announces £87 Million Fresh Fund For Rohingya

SM Najmus Sakib  


UK has announced to provide a fresh fund of £87 million to support the Bangladesh government and the UN joint response plan for the displaced Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar.

The additional fund will be spent ensuring lifesaving aid including food, water and shelter, education, training and counseling to help the forced displaced nationals of Myanmar rebuild their lives, according to the British High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday.

Besides, over £20 million will be provided to mitigate the economical and environmental impact in the host community caused by the Rohingya influx.

Since August 2017 UK has provided taking the fresh announcement to £226 million, it added.

UK is working closely with the government and also with its partners in the international community – other bilateral donors, the UN family, it said.

“Our goal is to find a solution to this crisis so that the Rohingya can voluntarily return to Myanmar in safety and dignity. And we remain committed to ensuring that conditions are put in place in Rakhine State to allow returns to happen” the release read.

We are also acutely aware of the impact on the local communities in Cox’s Bazar. And we are also aware of the economic impact – with daily wages falling due to the competition; and valued health and education workers moving to work in the camps, it added. Persecuted people

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.

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

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

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

Full report at:



Ayatollah Ramezani: Leader’s letter to Western youth neutralized Islamophobia in West

September 22, 2019

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The new secretary-general of the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly called the assembly a link between the sources of emulation and followers of the Ahl al-Bayt in the world and added, ‎‎“The letter of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to the youth of the West neutralized Islamophobia in the West.”

Ayatollah Dr. Reza Ramezani, the new secretary-general of the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly, met with Grand Ayatollah Hoseyn Nouri-Hamadani said that due to the Islamic Revolution, we have a golden opportunity and the number of Muslims and Shi’ahs has increased.

The former imam of the Islamic Centre of Hamburg in Germany stated that the enemies and malicious people don’t allow pure Islam to be propagated through the media and said, “95% of the media under the control of the Zionists and no day passes without a doubt being spread against Islam and Shi’ism.”

Ayatollah Ramezani said, “Extremist Islam is propagated in other countries and in some countries we have anti-Islamic political parties and groups are trying to prevent pure Islam from being introduced in the world. For this reason, the phenomenon of extremist Islam, among both Shi’ahs and Sunnis, is pursued. There are networks in the United Kingdom and the United States that engage with some of these deviant aspects.”

His Eminence added, “If ‘Ashura’ is searched for in the Latin language, blood appears on the front page. Unfortunately in Europe, there is also liberal Islam. There is a project in Berlin that says the Quran and its audience were Arabs and therefore, it can’t be a book for all of the people of the world and we responded that the audience of the Quran were the people of reason and intuition.”

Full report at:





Israeli Arab parties back Gantz for PM in break with precedent

September 22, 2019

JERUSALEM: Israel's Arab-dominated Joint List party moved on Sunday to back the centre-left bloc of Benny Gantz, who is challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing alliance, to form a new government.

With final results all but in, neither Gantz nor Netanyahu command a majority in parliament, so the Arab List's decision to end its usual policy of withholding support for any candidate in the wake of elections could nudge President Reuven Rivlin to ask Gantz to form a government.

Rivlin, who began consulting with party leaders on Sunday to discuss who should lead the country after no clear victor emerged from Tuesday's election, suggested Gantz and Netanyahu join forces, though it is uncertain who would be the senior partner.

Netanyahu's right-wing Likud failed, for the second time in five months, to secure a clear election victory. The centrist Blue and White party led by ex-armed forces chief Gantz has a slight lead with nearly all votes counted.

No party drawn from the 21% Arab minority has ever been part of an Israeli government. But an increased turnout saw the Joint List win 13 seats, making it the third largest grouping.

This would provide an outlet to voice Arab complaints of discrimination in Israeli society and give a bigger platform to Arab parties which differ markedly with those drawn from the country's Jewish majority on many political issues.

"We want to bring an end to the era of Netanyahu, so we recommend that Benny Gantz be the one to form the next government," party head Ayman Odeh told Rivlin on Sunday as part of consultations to form a new government coalition.

Joint List's support does not mean it will sit in the governing coalition, but its backing gives Gantz's centre-left bloc 57 seats, compared to Netanyahu's right-wing bloc of 55.

Netanyahu denounced the Arab party support of Gantz. He said it meant only two choices -- "a minority government that leans on those that reject Israel as a Jewish, democratic state," or a "broad national government".

Gantz has so far rebuffed Netanyahu's calls to join a unity government.

Near-final results show Blue and White will be the largest single party in the new parliament with 33 of the 120 seats, while Likud has won 31 seats, three less than it had before.

In a meeting with Likud party leaders on Sunday, Rivlin said it was up to the "two biggest parties, the first and second that are almost equal in size, to join forces ... so that you together manage and establish a system that brings a stable government." "This is what the people want. None of us can ignore that," he said.

The president's role is largely ceremonial, but it includes consulting with factions and choosing which party leader has the best chance at forming a coalition.

There were only narrow differences in the two main parties' campaigns on many important issues during the campaign. An end to the Netanyahu era would be unlikely to bring significant changes in policy on relations with the United States, the regional struggle against Iran, or the Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu and Gantz are now seeking other potential coalition allies, prominent among whom is the far-right former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman. He secured eight seats for his Yisrael Beitenu party, making him a potential kingmaker.

Lieberman on Sunday reiterated his call for a unity government and said he would not recommend either candidate in his meeting with Rivlin.



Israeli president begins talks to form new government

22 September 2019

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is starting his two-day consultations with all elected parties before deciding upon the prime minister-designate amid post-election deadlock.

Rivlin will begin hearing Sunday the recommendations of various parties at his residence. The largely ceremonial president is tasked with picking the politician with the best chance of forming a stable coalition. It’s usually a formality, but this time Rivlin plays a key role after an almost tied election result.

In last week’s vote, Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party won 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament, while incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud took 31 seats. Neither can muster a majority coalition with their traditional smaller allies. The emerging compromise appears to be some form of unity government between the two, though both insist upon leading it.



Rouhani says Iran to present ‘Gulf security plan’ to UN

22 September 2019

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran would present to the UN a regional cooperation plan for peace.

He added that the presence of foreign forces creates “insecurity” in the Gulf, after the US ordered the deployment of more troops to the region.

“Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at an annual military parade.

Tensions escalated between Iran and the United States after devastating September 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran.

Following the attacks, the United States announced on Friday that it was sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia at “the kingdom’s request.”

In his speech on Sunday, Rouhani called on the foreign powers in the Gulf region to “stay away.”

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race,” he said.

“Your presence has always brought pain and misery for the region. The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be for our region.”

Rouhani said Iran would present a plan for peace to the United Nations in the coming days.

Full report at:



France says will focus on de-escalation of Iran-US tension at UNGA

Sep 22, 2019

France says its main aim at the UN General Assembly meeting is to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the US, rather than arranging a meeting between the two countries' presidents.

"The meeting between (US) President (Donald) Trump and (Iranian) President (Hassan) Rouhani is not the number one subject," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters on Sunday.

"The priority subject is whether we can restart a de-escalation path with the different actors," he added.

In recent months, French President Emmanuel Macron has taken the lead in a European effort to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.

In May 2018, the US president withdrew his country from the multilateral deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran waited for a year to see if Europe can compensate for the US withdrawal; however, in May 2019 it finally decided to start scaling back its commitments under the JCPOA.

France has offered a credit line of $15 billion, which will guarantee the sale of Iran's crude oil, as an incentive to bring back Iran to the JCPOA. However, the offer has yet to be finalized.

The Iranian president, who will depart for New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting on Monday, is to hold a bilateral meeting with Macron. However, he has officially declared he will not have any meeting with Trump as long as the US sanctions are in place.

In his Sunday remarks, the French foreign minister said the path to dialogue between Iran and the US was there, "but the parameters for a negotiation have been reduced and the margins shortened" following the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities, for which the US blames Iran.

"This moment is dangerous for the world and the situation is serious because of the magnitude of the strikes (on Saudi oil facilities) and its targets and ...(they) came when we thought there was a window of opportunity for talks," the French top diplomat added.

On September 14, Yemen's popular Ansarullah movement launched retaliatory drone strikes against major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which led to a halt in about 50 percent of the Arab kingdom’s crude and gas production, causing a surge in oil prices.

Riyadh and Washington, without evidence, blamed Iran for the brazen attack and promised retaliatory attacks. However, Tehran has vehemently rejected accusations of involvement in the raids as "lies" and warned of "an all-out war" in the event of military strikes against the country.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall a Riyadh-backed former regime and eliminate the Houthi movement, which has been defending the country along with the armed forces.

Full report at:



140 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike for 13th day over cancer-causing devices

Sep 22, 2019

Dozens of Palestinian prisoners behind bars in Israeli jails are continuing their open-ended hunger strike for the 13th consecutive day to protest the presence of cancer-causing mobile phone jammers in prisons.

According to a report by the Palestinian Information Center on Sunday, the hunger strike began after the Israeli prison service recently installed many cell phone jamming devices in its detention centers and later boosted the level of their hazardous radio signals.

It added that Israeli prison authorities still refused to meet the demands already made by the representatives of Palestinian prisoners about removing the jammers, activating public telephones, and putting an end the restrictive measures against the prisoners.

In recent months, the Palestinian prisoners in various jails have complained of severe headaches as a result of the operation of the mobile phone jammers, but the authorities keep ignoring the negative impacts of the devices on the prisoners’ health.

Full report at:



Israeli forces interrogate Palestinian girl over stone-throwing incident in Jerusalem al-Quds

Sep 22, 2019

Israeli military forces have interrogated a Palestinian resident of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of al-Isawiyah on allegations that she was filming them when some youngsters hurled stones at their jeep.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan (Silwanic) said Israeli soldiers broke into the house of 12-year-old Sondos Omar Atiya on Saturday afternoon, and asked her if she had seen who threw stones at them and if she had filmed the incident on her mobile phone.

The soldiers then examined several phones, and questioned her father before leaving the house.

“One of the soldiers was asking me if I was wearing a black shirt and filming them – he asked if I had a phone, or if I was using my brother’s phone – I said no,” the minor Palestinian girl told Silwanic.

“They kept questioning and interrogating me, asking whether I filmed anything or if I saw who threw stones at them… and my father told them that the family is just having some barbecue,” she added.

On July 31, Israeli police summoned a Palestinian resident of the same East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood on allegations that his young son had thrown stones at Israeli military forces.

Firas Obaid received a warrant the previous day, asking him to come to an Israeli police station for interrogation, after his six-year-old son Qais was accused of throwing stones at Israeli officers patrolling Isawiyah.

The Palestinian father showed up at the police station the following morning, and was allowed to leave after questioning.

The development came on the heels of a similar incident, where another Isawiyah resident, identified as Rabiaa Elayyan, was interrogated by Israeli police over alleged stone throwing of his four-year-old son, Mohammad, at Israeli police officers.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned Elayyan’s interrogation in a statement, saying the move was meant to “terrorize the Palestinian people and convey the message that no one, not even the United Nations, the UN Security Council and all other UN organizations, can protect Palestinians from the brutality of the Israeli occupation.”

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the summoning of parents for alleged acts committed by their children as a “standard procedure,” adding, “It’s an educational process and at the same time community policing to deal with that incident.”

Full report at:



Yemeni campaigners gather at the UN European HQ to highlight Houthi atrocities

September 22, 2019

GENEVA: Yemeni demonstrators were gathered outside the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva on Saturday to highlight the torture and killings of civilians, which they say have been carried out by the Houthi militia.

The protestors say there has also been a large number of people injured due to the indiscriminate use of weapons, while people’s houses, historic sites and educational institutions have been destroyed, and many families have been displaced.

They also say members of the press and have been oppressed, preventing them from enjoying a freedom of expression.

The protest by members of the International Yemeni Diaspora Federation and allied human rights organizations marked the anniversary of the Houthis’ coup.

On this day Houthi militia protested against the government’s decision to lift subsidies on oil derivatives.

The situation later escalated and erupted into clashes between the Houthis and the forces of Ali Abdullah Saleh, as well as the militias of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform and Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar.

More than 250 Yemenis, Arabs, Europeans, human rights activists and journalists demanded the condemnation of the crimes committed by the Houthis and the silence of the UN, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council.

The protesters also condemned the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths for his silence and for resorting to pampering as a means to deal with the Houthis who continue to kill, destroy and intimidate benefiting from the UN’s soft positions.

They also denounced the complacency of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lisa Grande and her constant defense of the Houthis, calling on the International Community to help save Yemen from the militias.

Protesters handed out leaflets and called for the classification of the Houthi militia as a terrorist group as their ideology is similar to that of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

The Federation’s President, Dr. Hayaf Khalid Rabih demanded the issue be dealt with as a humanitarian one and not political.

He also asked the international community to act and exert pressure on the Houthis to hand over their weapons, disband the group of eminent experts and challenge the validity of their report.

Yemenis delivered speeches in Arabic, French and English expressing their frustration due to indifference and silence of the international community in the face of their people’s suffering.

Full report at:



North America


Trump, Modi show unity at Houston rally; protesters raise rights of Kashmiris outside venue

September 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a stage and showered each other with praise on Sunday at a “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston, while protesters gathered outside to raise their voice for residents of occupied Kashmir who have been under a lockdown for 49 days.

Hundreds of people belonging to various ethnicities came out to hold an "anti-Modi demonstration" outside NRG Stadium, where they called attention to the "racist Modi regime" and its ongoing human rights violations in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"People of every race, colour, gender, and age have taken to the streets to condemn the acts of Modi's racist regime. The mass protest stands against the supremacist government's brutal interference in Kashmir," a post on Twitter by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said.

One of the participants, Maria Kari, said that buses had been arranged to go around the Houston area to pick up protesters.

"There are at least three groups that have organised protest rallies," said Kari. "A lot of Muslims and Pakistanis have gathered here. Tons in fact."

The crowds beat drums, chanted slogans and some used rap lyrics as a way to communicate their message, calling for world leaders to end the suffering of Kashmiris.

Last month, the Indian government repealed Article 370 of its constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status, and imposed a strict lockdown and communications blackout in the region that has snapped off ordinary people's internet and mobile telephone service across much of occupied Kashmir. The lockdown entered its 49th day on Sunday.

Thousands have also been reportedly arrested or illegally detained in the disputed territory.

Trade tensions simmer

Inside the stadium, deafening drums marked the entrance of President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi as they clasped hands and walked across the stage, sending a message of unity between the world's two largest democracies despite trade tensions.

Instead of dwelling on trade, Trump highlighted the growth of US exports to India, the billions of dollars India is spending on US-made defence equipment and joint military exercises with New Delhi.

“India has never invested in the United States like it is doing today,” Trump said, adding that “we're doing the same thing in India.” The president also discussed border security, an important campaign issue for Texas, which shares a border with Mexico.

“We are taking unprecedented action to secure our southern border and stop illegal immigration,” Trump said.

About 50,000 Indian Americans attended the rally, where the crowd chanted “Modi! Modi! Modi!” as he took the stage to introduce Trump as “my friend, a friend of India, a great American president.”

Modi even used Trump's political slogan to say the president had a strong resolve to “make America great again.”

“When I met him for the first time, he said to me 'India has a true friend in the White House,'” Modi said.

“Mr President, this morning in Houston, you can hear the heartbeat of this great partnership in this celebration of the world's two largest democracies.”

Trump said Modi invited him to the rally — one of the largest US gatherings of the Indian diaspora in history — when they met last month in France, and Trump told reporters on Sunday that “I love India,” explaining his decision to attend.

Sunday marked their third meeting in as many months and their first time together on stage. The leaders, who seem to have developed a rapport, are to meet again on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Modi, 68, won the biggest re-election India has seen in years after some 600 million Indians cast ballots across the country earlier this year.

At the UN, Trump also scheduled a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, who told the president recently that he would [welcome his help][2] mediating the Kashmir dispute.

Trump said US-India bonds are expanding, but tensions over India's trade surplus with the US are simmering.

In June, the US cancelled India's special trade privileges that had allowed India to export certain goods with lower tariffs. India responded by slapping tariffs on more than two dozen US goods.

The US and India are discussing ways to negotiate at least a partial trade deal, which would let the president score a victory as he campaigns for re-election in November 2020. A partial deal could include Washington reinstating India's special tariff status if New Delhi gives the US concessions related to access to Indian markets, possibly in dairy and medical devices.

Several unresolved issues are thwarting efforts to sign a larger deal. The US wants India to buy more American products to reduce its trade surplus with the United States, which today is some $24 billion a year.



US Treasury Secretary: Attacks on Saudi Aramco is an attack on global economy

22 September 2019

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that the attacks on Saudi oil facilities are an “an attack on the global economic system.”

Following the attacks on Saudi Aramco installations in Abqaiq and Hijrat Khurais on September 14, US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that new sanctions were imposed on Iran, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.

“We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country,” the president said.

Mnuchin explained that the sanctions were meant to target Tehran’s last source of funds.

Full report at:



Trump says open to hearing Rouhani's 'Hormuz Peace Initiative' at UNGA

Sep 23, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he has no plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, but he is open to hearing his "Hormuz Peace Initiative" at the UN General Assembly in New York.

"I'm always open. I have no plans to meet with them, but I'm always open," Trump said Sunday in Houston, when asked if he was open to hearing Rouhani's plan.

The Iranian president, who will depart for New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting in coming hours, said on Sunday he will present at the United Nations this year an initiative for regional cooperation to ensure peace in the Strait of Hormuz.

“This year at the United Nations, we will present to the world the Hormuz Peace Initiative — the gist of which is love and hope — with the slogan ‘The coalition of hope,’” he said.

Asked about a meeting with President Rouhani, Trump told reporters he would meet if Iranians wanted "but I have absolutely no plans to meet."

"We'll see what happens. Certainly the United Nations Week is going to be very interesting. I look forward to it," he added.

Rouhani 'willing to meet Trump' if sanctions lifted

A few hours after Trump's remarks about the possibility of a meeting with Rouhani, CNN's Christiane Amanpour quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the Iranian president was willing to meet Trump in New York "provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary."

Zarif reportedly said the meeting is possible if the US lifts the sanctions against Iran in exchange for permanent monitoring of the country's nuclear facilities.

Christiane Amanpour


NEW: Iranian FM @JZarif tells me today that President Rouhani is willing to meet with President Trump in New York this week “provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary,” exchanging sanctions relief for “permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities.”

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Iran to enter into talks if US ends economic war

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi also said on Sunday that negotiations between Tehran and Washington would be possible if the latter ends its economic war against the Islamic Republic.

"Not only Iran, but no country will negotiate under pressure," Araqchi said, stressing that Iran first needs a ceasefire in the US economic war in order to do real talks and find sustainable solutions.

Speaking at the Iranian mission to the UN in New York, Araqchi said Tehran was prepared to negotiate with the US within the framework of a P5+1 meeting provided that the US returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it unilaterally left last year.

He also pointed to the "maximum pressure" policy of the Trump administration against Iran, saying the pressure has produced maximum resistance from Iran, and the country will continue to resist.

Araqchi also warned that if the maximum pressure turns into military pressure, Tehran will react with military resistance.

Araqchi and Zarif have already arrived in New York ahead of President Rouhani's visit.

While in New York, the Iranian president is to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of France, the UK, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Iraq and Pakistan, among others, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

Rouhani will also hold a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, meet senior managers of international news media and US elites, hold a press conference, and deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly.

He will also have interviews with two major US TV channels.

The US issued visas allowing President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to travel to New York after an unnecessary delay.

Full report at:



Trump again threatens to release imprisoned Daesh members at EU borders

Sep 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump has once again threatened to set free European members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group captured in Syria and Iraq if their countries decline to take back the captives.

Trump late on Saturday singled out France and Germany from among European nations that their citizens had joined ranks of Daesh wreaking havoc in the Middle East, and said Washington would release those captured at the EU’s borders if the bloc refused to cooperate.

"We're asking the countries from which they came, from Europe, we're asking them to take back these prisoners of war. And they can try them, do what they want. So far, they've refused. And at some point, I'm going to have to say, I'm sorry, but you either take them back or we're going to let them go at your border,” he said.

Trump stressed that Washington “is not going to have thousands and thousands of people” held at Guantanamo Bay, where a notorious American prison for terrorists is located, for the next 50 years and claimed the US was “spending billions and billions of dollars” on that issue.

"We've done Europe a tremendous favor. If they don't take them back, we're going to probably put them at the border and then they'll have to capture them again," Trump said.

According to the European Commission, 42,000 foreign militants from over 120 countries joined the Daesh terrorist outfit between 2011 and 2016, with 5,000 of them allegedly coming from from Europe.

This is not the first time that the US president has warned European countries about the consequences of being uncooperative with regard to the situation of the imprisoned Daesh members.

In August, Trump warned that Washington was prepared to set free some 2,500 Daesh prisoners into countries in Europe if those states refused to take them back voluntarily.

“You’ll always gonna have somebody around, but right now we’ve captured over 10,000 – we have 2,500 ISIL fighters that we want Europe to take, because they were going back into Europe, into France, into Germany, into various places,” Trump said at the time, using an acronym for Daesh.

“So we have thousands of ISIS fighters that we want Europe to take and let’s see if that take them. And if they don’t take them, we’ll probably have to release them,” he added.

Trump also threatened in February to release the captives but European countries have yet to act upon his demands.

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

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

Full report at:



US urges against China demands to repatriate Uighurs

Servet Günerigök  



U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday called on Central Asian countries to dismiss China's demands to repatriate Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic group from Xinjiang, in China’s west. 

Pompeo was speaking at a meeting with foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The top diplomat asked his counterparts to cooperate on counterterrorism, highlighting handling of foreign terrorist fighters and their returns, prosecution and reintegration. He vowed U.S. support to assist the Central Asian nations while fighting terrorism.

"And further on the subject of terrorism, I want to make clear that China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism," said Pompeo. "It’s about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens’ Muslim faith and culture."

Up to one million people, or about seven percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.

"We call on all countries to resist China’s demands to repatriate Uighurs," said Pompeo.

Full report at:



South Asia


Airstrikes Kill 15 Taliban Militants; Destroy Small Cache Of Weapons In 5 Provinces

22 Sep 2019

A series of airstrikes killed at least 15 Taliban militants in 5 provinces and destroyed a small cache of weapons.

The military officials said Sunday airstrikes in Jurm and Raghistan districts of Badakhshan killed 5 Taliban militants.

The officials further added an airstrike in Qalat district of Zabul killed 2 Taliban militants an destroyed a small cache of weapons.

Furthermore, an airstrike in Khash Rod district of Nimroz killed 2 Taliban militants.

Another airstrike in Khugyani district of Ghazni killed 2 Taliban militants, the officials said, adding tht a similar air raid killed 4 Taliban militants in Baraki Barak district of Logar province.



Baradar-led Taliban team meets China’s special envoy

September 23, 2019

KABUL: A Taliban delegation met China’s special representative for Afghanistan in Beijing on Sunday to discuss the group’s peace talks with the United States, a spokesman for the militant group said.

The meeting comes after US President Donald Trump’s eleventh-hour cancellation earlier this month of the negotiations between his country and the Taliban, which many had hoped would pave the way to a broader peace deal with the Afghan government and ending a 17-year war.

The Taliban’s nine-member delegation travelled to Beijing and met Deng Xijun, China’s special representative for Afghanistan, said Suhail Shaheen, the Afghan group’s spokesman in Qatar, on his official Twitter account.

“The Chinese special representative said the US-Taliban deal is a good framework for the peaceful solution of the Afghan issue and they support it,” Shaheen wrote.

Mullah Baradar, the Taliban delegation’s leader, said they had held a dialogue and reached a “comprehensive deal”, Shaheen tweeted.

Full report at:



Special Forces destroy Taliban’s IED making factory in Baghlan

22 Sep 2019

The Afghan Special Forces destroyed a Taliban factory where the group was manufacturing improvised explosive devices.

The Special Operations Corps said in a statement the Special Forces discovered and destroyed the IED making factory in Ghulam Bai Village of Baghlan-e Jadid district.

The statement further added that the Special Forces also confiscated and destroyed 30 kilograms of explosives during the raid.

The Special Forces also cleared the village of Taliban presence, the Special Operations Corps added.

Full report at:



Taliban’s shadow district chief and his comrades killed in Balkh clash

22 Sep 2019

The security forces killed the shadow district chief of Taliban for Zari district of Balkh province during a clash on Saturday.

The 209th Shaheen Corps said in a statement a group of Taliban militants clashed with the security forces at around 8:45 pm on Saturday night.

The statement further added that the security forces responded to the attack killing Mawlavi Gul Ahmad alias Abuzar, the shadow district chief of Taliban for Zari.

Furthermore, the security forces killed 8 comrades of Mawlavi Gul Ahmad and wounded at least 13 others.

The 209th Shaheen Corps also added that the Air Forces provided close air support to the security forces during the clash.

Full report at:



Lanka president forms five-member committee to probe Easter Sunday bombings

Sep 22, 2019

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a five-member committee to investigate allegations of intelligence inputs being ignored and related errors that led to the Easter Sunday bombings, killing over 258 people.

According to an extraordinary gazette notification on Saturday, the committee would comprise two appeal court judges, two retired high court judges and a retired administrator.

The panel will investigate allegations of disregarding of prior intelligence inputs on the Easter attacks and related errors which stopped authorities from taking preventive action.

On April 21, nine suicide bombers carried out a series of blasts that tore through three churches and as many high-end hotels in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, killing 258 people.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) for the bombings.

The new five-member committee was constituted following local Catholic church Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith's demand for an independent investigation.

Earlier, Sirisena had appointed a three-member panel to probe the attacks that led to the sacking and the arrest of the then police chief Pujith Jayasundera and top defense ministry official Hemasiri Fernando.

Sirisena initially resisted a parliamentary probe and slammed its suggestion as an attempt to pin blame on him for the attacks.

Full report at:



Karzai reacts to President Ghani’s recent remarks about Marshal Fahim

23 Sep 2019

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s recent remarks about Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

The former president said in a statement ‘Unfortunately, indecent remarks were made about Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim during one of the election rallies.’

Karzai further added that he found Marshal Fahim a dignified, patriotic, religious and a committed personality to the national interests of Afghanistan and unity of the Afghan people, during his two presidential terms when the Marshal was serving as Vice President of the country.

This comes as President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani recently claimed during an election rally that he used to oppose implementing the decrees of Marshal Fahim while serving as finance minister.

President Ghani went on to claim that in one instance he even tore a decree of the Marshal in the presence of cabinet ministers.

Full report at:



Kabul Police foils deadly explosion by defusing an IED in Sarobi

22 Sep 2019

The Kabul Police foiled a deadly explosion by defusing an improvised explosive device in Sarobi district.

The Kabul Police Headquarters said in a statement the police forces discovered and defused the bomb in Sarobi district at around 10:30 am local time today.

The statement further added that the enemies had planted the bomb on a roadside in Jagdalak area and were looking to detonate it using a remote control.

However, the Kabul Police Headquarters said the police forces managed to detect the bomb and subsequently defused it, preventing a deadly explosion.

Full report at:



Taliban’s Red Unit militants clash with ISIS fighters in Nangarhar province

22 Sep 2019

The Red Unit militants of the Taliban group clashed with ISIS fighters in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, the local authorities said Sunday.

The Governor’s Office of Nangarhar said in a statement that the Taliban militants clashed with ISIS fighters in Zawi area of Khugyani district on Saturday night.

The statement further added the Taliban militants killed 9 fighters of ISIS Khurasan terrorist group during the 5-hour long clash.

Furthermore, the ISIS fighters killed 2 militants of the Red Unit of Taliban and wounded 2 others, the statement said.

Full report at:





Suspected Takfiri militants planning attacks detained by Ethiopian agents

Sep 22, 2019

Ethiopia said it had arrested an unspecified number of Somali al-Shabab and Daesh militants who were planning to carry out attacks in the country on various targets including hotels.

Some of those arrested were carrying out intelligence work including photographing potential targets, the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) said in a statement read out on state-affiliated broadcaster Fana.

“The group was ... preparing to attack hotels, religious festivities gathering places and public areas in Addis Ababa,” NISS said.

Ethiopian intelligence coordinated with neighboring Djibouti to detain the suspects including their leader, Muhammed Abdulahi, NISS said.

Those detained, NISS said, were arrested in the capital Addis Ababa, Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Al-Shabab has been fighting for years to topple Somalia’s central government, which the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM helps to defend.

The militants have carried out numerous attacks in Somalia on military and civilian targets, and have also conducted attacks abroad including in Kenya.



Somalia: Al-Shabaab attack kills at least 5 troops

Magdalene Mukami  



The Somali National Army (SNA) on Sunday morning repulsed an al-Shabaab attack in El-Salini area in Lower Shabelle region, killing 13 militants.

Speaking to the media, Somali military official Mohamed Abdi denied claims by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group which said they had killed 23 soldiers during their dawn attack.

“We lost only five soldiers, “Abdi told the media.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdi Aziz Abu Musab said through their propaganda Radio Andalus that they had killed 23 soldiers during the dawn attack.

Full report at:



Somali president to attend UN assembly for 1st time

Mohamed Dhaysane



President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has left the capital Mogadishu to the U.S. to attend United Nations General Assembly in New York for the first time since he took office in earlier 2017, the Somali presidential office said Sunday.

The president's delegation include Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beyle and other senior government officials.

”Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and his delegation left for the U.S. to attend United Nations General Assembly and he is accompanied by the finance minister, State House director and other senior officials,“ the presidential office told Anadolu Agency.

During his first official visit to the U.S., the Somali president will meet world leaders on the sidelines of the 74th season of the UN General Assembly conference in New York, according to a statement issued by the Somali presidential palace.

Full report at:



13 militants killed in al-Shabaab attack, SNA Command says

September 22, 2019

The Somali National Army (SNA) on Sunday morning repulsed an al-Shabaab attack in El-Salini area in Lower Shabelle region, killing 13 militants, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to the media, Somali military official Mohamed Abdi denied claims by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group which said they had killed 23 soldiers during their dawn attack.

“We lost only five soldiers, “Abdi told the media.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdi Aziz Abu Musab said through their propaganda Radio Andalus that they had killed 23 soldiers during the dawn attack.

Full report at:




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