New Age Islam
Thu Aug 13 2020, 09:47 AM

Islamic World News ( 14 Aug 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

In Central Africa, a Cathedral Shelters Muslims amid Sectarian Violence
















PM-in-waiting lauds 'effective' anti-corruption campaign undertaken under Prince Mohammed. FILE PHOTOS

-----

 

In Central Africa, a Cathedral Shelters Muslims amid Sectarian Violence

KSA Interested In Heavy Investment in Pakistan, Crown Prince Tells Imran

Some Canadian Muslims Skip Mecca Pilgrimage Because Of Quarrel with Saudi Arabia

Al-Qaida’s Local Outfit Inclined to Attack India but Capacity Seen as Low: UN Report

Turkey ‘Frustrated With Qatar Silence’ Amid US Sanctions Imposed On Ankara

 

Africa

In Central Africa, a Cathedral Shelters Muslims amid Sectarian Violence

Boko Haram: Nigerian Troops Overpower Insurgents, Kill Seven in Borno

Boko Haram: Britain Expresses Readiness To Support Troops Battling Insurgency

Libyan MP hurt as shots fired in row outside parliament

Jordanian King Questions Feasibility of US Deal of Century

Four al Shabaab returnees hiding in Malindi for fear of elimination

--------

Pakistan

KSA Interested In Heavy Investment In Pakistan, Crown Prince Tells Imran

New Pakistan Govt Likely To Approve Raheel Sharif As Anti-Terror Coalition Chief

US, Pakistani diplomats share hopes for reviving ties

Suspect wanted in Raiwind blast case killed in ‘encounter’

Billboards celebrating Pakistan's Independence Day put up in Iran capital

International Press Institute urges Imran to address deteriorating press freedom

Making sense of how the TLP may have 'legitimately' won seats in Karachi

Imran Khan to wear old Sherwani at oath-taking ceremony

US keen to work with Pak for stable, peaceful South Asia: Alice Wells

--------

North America

Some Canadian Muslims Skip Mecca Pilgrimage Because Of Quarrel with Saudi Arabia

Judge In N.M. Compound Case Threatened After Ordering Release Of Muslim Family

American Islam scholar Reza Aslan detained by Israel intelligence at border

--------

India

Al-Qaida’s Local Outfit Inclined to Attack India but Capacity Seen as Low: UN Report

Maldivian Activist Warns India about Radical Islamic Groups being active in Lakshadweep and Kerala

UP Madrasas Divided Over Bharat Mata Ki Jai Chant On Independence Day

Security on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir amid Hizbul Mujahideen threat to Independence Day functions

Medal for CBI SP who probed Mecca Masjid Blast case

--------

Mideast

Turkey ‘Frustrated With Qatar Silence’ Amid US Sanctions Imposed On Ankara

Key Netanyahu Partner Slams Moves for Truce with Hamas

Israel reopens its only goods crossing with Gaza

Turkey: We need to distinguish between terrorists, rebels and civilians in Idlib

Iran writes to UN, renews support for intra-Yemeni talks

UN says Saudi attack on Yemeni school bus 'tragic, unjustifiable'

Yemeni retaliatory attack leaves three Saudi soldiers dead

--------

South Asia

Fresh Clashes Erupt Among Taliban and ISIS in Nangarhar Province

Dozens of Casualties Reported After Taliban Attack on Afghan Base

Taliban capture northern Afghan base, kill at least 14 soldiers: officials

Taliban capture northern base as Afghan forces fight in Ghazni

‘Bangladesh Needs To Be Concerned About Extremism In The Long Run’

Key Taliban commander killed with his 5 comrades in Nangarhar province

Taliban considering a 4-day ceasefire during Eid Al-Adha

US and Saudi officials discuss Afghan government’s likely ceasefire with Taliban

Afghan forces foil bomb explosions in two different parts of Kabul

--------

Europe

Australian Politicians Condemn Call for A 'Final Solution' To Ban Muslim Migration

Uproar As Politician Praises White Australia Policy, Urges Muslim Ban

‘Terror attack’ injures pedestrians outside UK parliament

Anti-terrorism police lead inquiry after people hit by car at UK parliament

--------

Southeast Asia

Lawyer Slams ‘Feudal Mentality’, ‘Blind Loyalty’ To Political, Religious Leaders

Fuziah: Don’t drive LGBT group away from Islam

Ma’ruf Amin to step down from PBNU, chairman says

--------

Arab World

Syrian Army Reinvigorates Combat Capabilities of Forces for Idlib Operation

US Army Increasing Operational Bases in Northeastern Syria

More Bodies of Civilians Killed in US Air Raids Found in Northeastern Syria

ISIL Withdraws from More Positions in Syria's Sweida

More Terrorists Escaping to Turkey Ahead of Syrian Army Operation in Idlib

US-Backed Militias Send Aid Convoys to ISIL in Eastern Syria

Turkey-Backed Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

Saudi dissident preacher dies ‘after torture’ in regime prison: Report

Syria, UN delegation discuss redeployment of peacekeepers to occupied Golan

Up to 30,000 Daesh members in Iraq, Syria, says UN report

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:

--------

 

In central Africa, a cathedral shelters Muslims amid sectarian violence

August 14, 2018

BANGUI, Central African Republic (RNS) — Hundreds of Muslims are trapped on the grounds of a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern city of Bangassou, unable to leave the compound for fear of being attacked by a Christian militia.

Muslims have been attacked and murdered in the area around Bangassou, a small market city on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as a nearly five-year-old civil war between the Christian majority and Muslims has divided the southeastern part of the country.

In July, a self-styled Church Defense Group for Christians called on all Christians in the country to carry out revenge attacks on Muslims for killing Christians.

The leader of the group, François Nzapakéyé, said “priests and pastors are systematically assassinated.” He cited Father Paul Emile Nzalé, murdered in an attack by 200 armed men in May at Notre Dame of Fatima in the capital, Bangui.

“We will avenge the killings of the many church leaders and men of God, killed in the exercise of their functions. Muslims or Christians, we shall see,” Nzapakéyé said in his communique to followers.

Yet in Bangassou, St. Peter Claver Cathedral has opened its doors to some 2,000 Muslims. And three hours east, hundreds of students and residents have taken refuge in a local parish in Zemio. In both places, Muslims and their protectors live in constant fear of attack amid threats from Christian militia.

“There are armed men here waiting for Muslims to emerge out of the camp so that they can kill them,” said Father Yovane Cox of Bangassou Diocese, who lives at the compound. “We need to help them as soon as possible to avoid confrontation and bloodbath.”

“I can be killed any time,” Aboubakar Abdoulaye, 22, told Religion News Service by phone from inside the cathedral compound. “We hear sounds of gunshots and explosives every night. You can’t go outside the camp to look for food or firewood. They will kill you.”

The ethnic and religious conflict dividing the Central African Republic, which is 80 percent Christian, began in 2013, when the primarily Muslim Seleka militia ousted President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. In response, Christian militias called the “anti-balaka” rose up to counter the Muslim rebels.

Thousands on both sides have been killed, and one-fifth of the country’s population has fled abroad or internally.

The Christian militia, said Mohamadou Mana, who lives at the cathedral compound, is “determined to eliminate us.” Mana, 28, lost his family in an attack in March 2017 when he ventured out for food.

“They have been telling us that they are going to completely eliminate the Muslim community in the country,” said Mana. “We need help.”

Church leaders accused of protecting Muslim families are also being threatened.

“They call us traitors,” said Jean-Alain Zembi, a priest in Zemio. “They will kill you if they discover you are protecting Muslims.”

Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou told the BBC last year that, despite the protection of U.N. soldiers, sheltering Muslims in the Petit Séminaire St. Louis has provoked attacks on clerics.

“We have been attacked by Christians. They attacked my car,” said Aguirre. “Our properties have completely been vandalized. We are targeted from both sides, Christian and Muslim.”

“But we must help people when they need us — those who are vulnerable, including Muslims and children,” said Aguirre.

Christian militia members, meanwhile, say they are only responding to attacks on Christians by Muslim militants in the north of the country.

“Seleka militants have been going door to door murdering Christians and destroying Bibles in the north of the country, and no one speaks about it,” Francis Paguere, a militia leader in Bangui, told Religion News Service. “Who has been protecting Christians? Nobody, including even imams, has come out to condemn the killings.”

The Muslim militants deserve punishment, he said.

“It is the war they started themselves and they must be ready to fight,” he said. “They should not be protected by anyone, including church leaders, because they are killing our people.”

Some imams have been calling for harmony, releasing a statement in June 2018 reminding their congregants that freedom of worship “was guaranteed by the Constitution.”

“The acts of violence that have been happening for some time in Central Africa are aimed at turning the political crisis into a confessional crisis,” the statement said.

Aguirre said that the crisis can be solved only by reducing the barriers between Islam and Christianity. “There is no such thing as a Muslim person or a Christian person,” he told the BBC. “Everyone is a human being, and we need to protect everyone who is vulnerable.”

Abdoulaye and others trapped at the Bangassou cathedral need a quicker solution.

“It’s not safe here,” he said. “The government should relocate us.”

Still, Abdoulaye said, he was grateful for the aid he has received.

“We thank the church leaders (for) supporting us. We urge other Christians to be like them and stop attacking Muslims. We need to live in peace.”

https://religionnews.com/2018/08/14/in-central-africa-a-cathedral-shelters-muslims-amid-sectarian-violence/

--------

 

KSA interested in heavy investment in Pakistan, crown prince tells Imran

AUGUST 15, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan that the Kingdom is keen on investing heavily in Pakistan in a bid to strengthen trade ties.

The crown prince congratulated the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman on his election victory over telephone, said a statement issued by the PTI on Tuesday.

Prince Mohammed highlighted ‘extensive’ economic and trade opportunities in Pakistan.

Khan, on the other hand, lauded ‘effective anti-corruption campaign’ initiated under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia.

“Just and productive governance is possible only with an end to corruption,” he was quoted as saying during the telephonic conversation. “We will benefit from Saudi crown prince’s experience.”

The PTI chairman said that bilateral ties between the two countries would be strengthened further, adding that visits would be exchanged by leaders of the two countries for the purpose.

This is third direct contact between leaders of the two countries in as many days. On Monday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz telephoned Imran Khan, and conveyed that the Kingdom would always be at the forefront to help Pakistan.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/283671/ksa-interested-in-heavy-investment-in-pakistan-crown-prince-tells-imran/

--------

 

Some Canadian Muslims skip Mecca pilgrimage because of quarrel with Saudi Arabia

August 14, 2018

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa and Saudi Arabia are affecting some people’s ability to perform what’s seen in the faith as a fundamental religious right.

They say many currently embarking on hajj, a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, are anxious about their travel arrangements in light of the simmering spat, which has seen the country’s state airline cancel flights to and from Canada.

At least one travel agent also says some would-be pilgrims decided not to follow through on their travel plans after tensions between the two countries flared up unexpectedly earlier this month.

The diplomatic dispute began when Canada’s Ministry of Global Affairs sent a tweet calling for Saudi Arabia to “immediately release” two women’s rights activists currently detained in jail.

The kingdom reacted by severing diplomatic ties, suspending future trade, recalling students from Canadian schools and cancelling the state airline’s operations in Canada.

People in contact with hajj participants say the move involving the airline has complicated return travel plans for many, and add that they are anticipating other post-pilgrimage issues.

“We are having a lot of problems,” said Syed Ahmed, Operation Manager at King Travel agency specializing in trips related to hajj and other religious occasions. “Almost we can say 25 per cent of people are asking for a refund.”

Ahmed said travellers booked with the Mississauga, Ont., agency frequently flew to the kingdom using Saudia, the state airline that previously operated at least two direct routes departing from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

But Saudia cancelled those routes effective Monday, leaving travellers who used their services to reach the country with questions as to how they can return home.

Ahmed said Saudia has offered to cover the costs of transferring tickets to other airlines, but said spaces — already at a premium during the hectic hajj season — are extremely hard to find.

But logistical arrangements are only part of the problem, according to Imam Syed Soharwardy, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

Hajj, which officially gets under way later this week, looms large in the consciousness of all practising Muslims, Soharwardy said.

All followers of Islam with the physical and financial means to make the pilgrimage are expected to do so once in their lifetime, he said. Those who undertake the trip to Mecca seek forgiveness of past sins and hope to draw closer to God.

The annual pilgrimage draws people from around the world to Saudi Arabia each year. The crowds, squeezed shoulder to shoulder in prayer five times a day, fill the city of Mecca and surrounding areas to perform a number of physically demanding and intricate rites.

Soharwardy said members of congregations spanning from Montreal to Vancouver who are making the trip fear they won’t be in a fit state to deal with the hassles of shifting, uncertain travel arrangements.

“Whether the person is a very young man or woman or old man or woman, they get so tired because hajj is not easy,” he said. “Hajj is a very cumbersome, tiring ritual and some people get sick.”

Many, he said, also feel anxious about the prospect of travelling on a Canadian passport at a time when open suspicion of Ottawa seems to dominate among Saudi authorities.

But Soharwardy said many wary travellers will forge ahead with their plans, saying most have spent years saving up for a once-in-a-lifetime journey or may fear their physical condition could change and leave them unable to go through with the arduous pilgrimage another time.

Soharwardy called on the Canadian government to offer support to pilgrims who may encounter difficulties.

The Canadian government has maintained talks with Saudi authorities, but has refused to back down on its critical stance against the kingdom’s human rights practices.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said Ottawa would like to improve its relationship with Saudi Arabia, but will not sacrifice Canada’s position on human rights.

https://lfpress.com/news/world/saudi-arabia-spat-affecting-canadians-embarking-on-hajj-community-members-say/wcm/12776ee3-3cdd-4a69-b76d-59b23474a838?video_autoplay=true

--------

 

Al-Qaida’s local outfit inclined to attack India but capacity seen as low: UN report

by Rahul Tripathi

August 15, 2018

Terror outfit al-Qaida’s newest ally, the al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), is “ideologically inclined” to carry out attacks in India but its capability is “believed to be low,” according to a report submitted to the UN Security Council’s al-Qaeda sanctions committee.

The 22nd report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team looks does a threat analysis on al-Qaida (AQ) and Islamic State (IS).

It states, “AQIS is relatively isolated owing to increased security measures within the wider region, but the group continues to seek security gaps for opportunistic attacks.” Citing report from a member-state, the report states, “ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or IS] in Afghanistan is responsible for at least one attack in the Kashmir region.”

The report does not mention details of the attack.

In February, Esha Fazli, an engineer killed in a police encounter in Jammu and Kashmir, was believed to be part of the JKIS module that security agencies suspect has pledged allegiance to the IS. The police believe eight to 10 local youths are part of this module in the Valley.

In June this year, the Union Home Ministry banned new offshoots of al-Qaida under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA. The group, according to security establishments, is headed by Maulana Asim Umar, a.k.a. Sanaul Haq, who belongs to Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, and was reportedly appointed the chief of AQIS in 2016.

Agencies believe al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing has been attempting to infiltrate India since September 2014, when the terror outfit’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the formation of a South Asia outfit. The group had little success and was exposed in 2015, when nearly a dozen operatives were arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand.

Another attempt to establish AQIS was made in south India when a group called “Base Movement” came to public attention with a series of bomb blasts in 2016. The group was in existence since 2014 and was responsible for a series of blasts in courts in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Three suspects – identified as Abbas Ali (27), Suleiman Mohd Abdullah (23), and Samsun Karim Raja – claimed affiliation to AQIS, not Islamic State.

The UN report describes al-Qaida as the “intellectually stronger group” that remains a “longer-term threat”, while the IS poses an “immediate” threat. “It (al-Qaida) adapts to the local environment, trying to embed itself into local struggles and communities. It is closely allied with the Taliban.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/aqis-ideologically-inclined-to-carry-out-attacks-in-india-un-report-5306392/

--------

 

Turkey ‘frustrated with Qatar silence’ amid US sanctions imposed on Ankara

14 August 2018

A state of frustration is currently permeating Turkish society due to the “silence of Qatar” regarding the crisis that hit Turkey’s economy as a result of US sanctions against Ankara, Turkish daily newspaper Takvim reported.

In a report published on Tuesday, the newspaper said that instead of supporting Ankara, Qatar has chosen to remain silent about what is happening in Turkey, although the latter was quick to support the Doha during the Arab Quartet’s boycott.

The newspaper recalled what it described as “the great Turkish support” offered by Ankara to Doha at various levels following the boycott, which was carried out by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt who believe that Qatar is “supporting terrorism and interfering in the affairs of other countries and fostering relations with Iran.”

The newspaper stated that Turkey has sent dozens of cargo flights to Qatar and has stood side by side with Doha during the boycott.

“Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that the government of Qatar is currently overlooking the situation in Turkey and did not provide the necessary political and humanitarian support… is this how a friendship should be?” the newspaper’s report said.

Later on Tuesday, the newspaper deleted the article and proceeded to delete the tweet promoting it (seen above).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a phone call to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a day after the British Financial Times reported that Erdogan would turn to Qatar in his latest feud with US President Donald Trump.

According to the Anatolia news agency, official sources at the Turkish Presidency reported that: “The two leaders maintained their countries’ determination to strengthen bilateral relations in all fields and agreed to keep close contact between them.”

The Turkish lira has lost about 40 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, after US President Donald Trump doubled, on Friday, customs duties on imports of aluminum and Turkish steel, days after Washington imposed further sanctions against the Turkish Ministers of Justice and Interior, under the pretext of not releasing American Pastor Andrew Branson, who is detained by Turkey on terrorism-related charges.

In response to the move, the Turkish president called on citizens to support the lira and boycott US electronic products, describing the sanctions as an economic war, and threatening to give up using the US dollar in trade with other countries.

Against the backdrop of these developments, British Financial Times reported that it is likely that Erdogan would turn to Qatar and request financial assistance from Doha to save the Turkish lira, nevertheless the newspaper reported that the Turkish president would eventually give in to the pressure exerted by Trump and release the priest who has been held under false pretenses.

The Takvim article has since been removed from the news outlet’s website, however it is still mentioned on their official Twitter account.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/08/14/Turkey-frustrated-with-Qatar-silence-amid-US-sanctions-inflicted-on-Ankara.html

--------

 

Africa

 

Boko Haram: Nigerian troops overpower insurgents, kill seven in Borno

August 15, 2018

Several Boko Haram insurgents lost their lives, while many others were injured in a clash with troops of the Nigerian Army.

The incident happened after a failed attack coordinated by Boko Haram insurgents on a military formation at Gundari, Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno.

“The troops also killed seven Boko Haram insurgents while several others were wounded in the attack,” Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, said.

According to him, the troops successfully repelled the attack, killed seven insurgents while several others escaped with gunshot wounds.

He also disclosed that eight soldiers sustained injuries during the attack.

http://dailypost.ng/2018/08/15/boko-haram-nigerian-troops-overpower-insurgents-kill-seven-borno/

--------

 

Boko Haram: Britain expresses readiness to support troops battling insurgency

August 14, 2018

By Maina Maina

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Abba Dikko has emphasized the conduct of thorough needs assessment to enhance the quality of intervention and assistance provided for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and other victims of war in the North-East.

The Theatre Commander made this assertion Tuesday during a visit of the British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriett Thomson, to the Headquarters of the Theatre Command, Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri.

Speaking further, General Dikko pointed out that although humanitarian activities were currently being conducted by several international agencies in the North-East, the socio-cultural and belief systems of the people of the North-East should be factored into the planning of both local and international intervention and assistant programmes to meet the realities on ground.

He noted that this will to a large extent enhance the stabilization of the North-East and facilitate the speedy recovery of socio-economic development and resettlement of IDPs in their respective communities.

While pointing out that the insurgents’ intermittent disruptive tendencies were deliberate attempts to slow down developmental activities in the North-East, the Theatre Commander called on all communities to exhibit resilience and pick up their bits to resume normal life.

He added that community resilience and resumption of socio-economic life are key to the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations as measures of defeat of Boko Haram insurgents.

He assured that Operation Lafiya Dole will continue to provide the enabling environment for humanitarian activities and socio-economic development.

General Dikko also expressed appreciation for the support provided by the British Support and Liaison Team to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-East.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/08/14/boko-haram-britain-expresses-readiness-support-troops-battling-insurgency/

--------

 

Libyan MP hurt as shots fired in row outside parliament

August 15, 2018

BENGHAZI - Two people including a lawmaker were wounded Tuesday when shots were fired during a row outside Libya's parliament, a witness said.

"An argument escalated between members of the presidential guard... the Tobruk lawmaker Saleh Hashem was lightly injured as he intervened to separate them," the witness said.

"A guard was also shot and wounded. They have both been admitted to hospital and are doing well," he added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The witness did not detail the cause of the row outside parliament, which is located in the eastern city of Tobruk.

A 2015 UN-brokered deal that set up a Government of National Accord was meant to calm years of chaos that followed the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

But the Tripoli-based unity government struggled to win the support of the elected parliament in Tobruk and its legitimacy was questioned by its rivals from the very start.

Sitting lawmakers were elected in 2014 and were due to vote at the end of July on a plans to organise a referendum on a Libyan constitution.

Parliamentary sessions have repeatedly been adjourned due to lawmakers arguing over the legal text and no further sessions are scheduled until the end of August.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/15-Aug-2018/libyan-mp-hurt-as-shots-fired-in-row-outside-parliament

--------

 

Jordanian King Questions Feasibility of US Deal of Century

Aug 14, 2018

Abdullah II said during his secret talks with the US administration that any plan on the Palestinian issue needs agreement by the legitimate Palestinian bodies, the Arabic-language al-Ray al-Youm daily reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper quoted informed sources as saying that Jordan has stressed that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan cannot help the US peace plan, called 'Deal of Century', unless the Palestinian bodies agree with it.

Jordan has also said that convincing the Palestinians to accept what is said in the media about the US plan is impossible.

In relevant remarks in July, a senior Hamas official described US President Donald Trump's proposed 'Deal of the Century' plan for Palestine as a Zionist plot, promising that the resistance movement would thwart it.

"The main core of this plan is the Sykes-Pico (an agreement of 1916 which led to partition of Turkish-held Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine into various French and British mandates). The Palestinian nation and Gaza resistance will foil it and the Deal of the Century will not succeed under any conditions," Osama Hamdan was quoted as saying by Quds Press news website.

He asked all the Islamic Ummah to adopt rapid measures to defuse the attempts to take control of the holy Quds city from the Muslims.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523001041

--------

 

Four al Shabaab returnees hiding in Malindi for fear of elimination

Aug. 14, 2018

Four al Shabaab recruits, all women, have returned from Somalia but are hiding in Malindi for fear that the Anti-Terror Police Unit will eliminate them.

They crossed to Somalia more than a year ago after being promised house-help jobs in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The point of departure was Lamu but they were diverted midway. One resisted and was killed.

A source said the four are frail and that "it seems like they underwent military training". One who is sick used to work at a hotel in Malindi town.

On Monday, Coast Regional Coordinator Bernard Leparmarai said the four should not fear.

"There is no one who will kill you," he told them.

Leparmarai said all returnees must be briefed because "they are traumatised after experiencing horrors and beatings".

"They should not fear coming out and surrendering. Nothing will happen to them. We want Kenyans to be involved in building their country, not escaping," he said.

Leparmarai said "so many" recruits are coming back after being misled.

"These people hardly eat ... there is no money ... there is nothing. Some narrate their horrific ordeals and the treatment they get in those parts."

Despite assurances of safety, the amnesty and reintegration support the government announced in 2015 has been criticised by lobby groups at the Coast.

In May, two suspected al Shabaab returnees were shot dead in Kwale after surrendering. One of them had just attended a hearing at Kwale Law Courts and was heading home when they were attacked.

Speculation about the killings has seen different theories advanced to justify the killings: it has been said that al Shabaab conducted the attack after being betrayed or that the suspects were killed for being a threat to national security.

Full report at:

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/08/14/four-al-shabaab-returnees-hiding-in-malindi-for-fear-of-elimination_c1802606

--------

 

Pakistan

 

New Pakistan govt likely to approve Raheel Sharif as anti-terror coalition chief

By Kaswar Klasra

14 August 2018

Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the country’s former army chief, General Raheel Sharif, to get permission from Pakistani government to continue his service as Military Commander of the 41-nation Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition.

The unprecedented Supreme Court order had the potential to cause rift between Pakistan’s two powerful institutions but it is believed that the necessary approval may indeed be given under the new dispensation.

This is likely to be the case even though as opposition in Pakistan’s parliament, Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had opposed Raheel Sharif’s appointment as head of military coalition. PTI swept to power during general elections held last month.

“We strongly oppose this government’s decision to allow ex-army chief to lead military coalition,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told journalists last year.

However, speaking to Al Arabiya English on Tuesday, Fawad Chaudhary, who is now information secretary of PTI, said that his party will look into the merits of the case before taking a decision.

“Well its an important issue. Our government will get briefing from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense to decide whether to give approval or not,” Chaudhary said.

Pakistan-Saudi relations

Experts believe there are more chances that PTI-led government will grant permission keeping in view Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship.

“Imran Khan led government can’t afford tensions in Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship. It is more likely to grant permission,” political and defense analyst Mustansar Abbas told Al Arabiya English.

On Sunday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a cable of congratulations to Pakistan’s incoming Prime Minister Imran Khan following his parliamentary election win. Khan will be sworn in as prime minister next week.

Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court was made aware last week that Sharif, ex-chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, joined the Saudi-led multinational military coalition without approval of the government of Pakistan.

Authorities also admitted that he took up the position without approval of the government. However, they said, General Headquarter of Pakistan’s military issued him No Objection Certificate (NoC). Supreme Court then directed the authorities to place his appointment before the federal cabinet for a regular approval.

Documents submitted to the Supreme Court last week, revealed that Raheel Sharif, who had retired from military service in November 2016, joined without obtaining NoC from the government. He, however, obtained NoC from General Headquarters (GHQ), which allowed him.

NoC by military

“Pakistan’s ex-chief of armed forces joined Military coalition of Islamic countries after defense ministry granted NoC to accept the post of Commander of Islamic Military Counterterrorism Coalition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Gen Zamirul Hassan, Secretary Ministry of Defense informed the court last week.

However, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan informed the court that as per the law, only federal government can grant NoC to government officers willing to join service in foreign lands. “It is mandatory for the NoC to be approved by the federal cabinet under government service rules,” he added.

A three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Mian Saqib Nisar, directed the concerned authorities to place the matter before the federal cabinet.

“We are here to ensure supremacy of the ‘Rule of law’. We have to proceed according to the law,” Chief Justice remarked during the hearing. He observed that the cabinet can grant such an NoC.

Public Relation Officer of Pakistan’s Supreme Court confirmed to Al Arabiya English that Supreme Court has directed concerned authorities to consult federal cabinet in this regard.

“Supreme court has directed concerned authorities to consult cabinet on this matter,” Shahid Hussain, Public Relation Officer of Supreme Court told Al Arabiya English.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2018/08/14/New-Pakistan-govt-likely-to-approve-Raheel-Sharif-as-anti-terror-coalition-head.html

--------

 

US, Pakistani diplomats share hopes for reviving ties

Anwar Iqbal

August 15, 2018

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States wanted to further strengthen its ties with Pakistan while Pakistan’s US envoy hoped that the Trump administration would soon restore the suspended training facility for the Pakistani military personnel.

Secretary Pompeo’s Independence Day message went beyond customary felicitation, as it recalled seven decades of close ties between the two nations and expressed the desire to rebuild the troubled relationship.

The message also resonated with incoming prime minister Imran Khan’s statement last week that a recent lack of trust had eclipsed once close ties between the two countries and his government would now try to rebuild a more “balanced and trustworthy” relationship.

“For more than seven decades, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has rested on the strong foundation of close ties between our two peoples,” Mr Pompeo said.

“In the years ahead, we hope to further strengthen these bonds, as we continue to look for opportunities to work with the people and government of Pakistan to advance our shared goals of security, stability and prosperity in South Asia.”

After the Pakistan Embassy’s flag-hoisting ceremony, Ambassador Ali J. Siddiqui said at a news briefing that the suspended IMET (International Military Education and Training) facility for Pakistan was useful for both countries and both wanted it restored.

“We hope we will make progress in re-establishing this programme. It will be among the early programmes to restart when the military and security aid to Pakistan is restored,” Mr Siddiqui said. “It is a very important programme, some of our top commanders have been trained here. We are working on it to restart soon.”

The entire world appreciated Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts and was “eager to learn from us”, said the ambassador while explaining why he believed the Americans also could benefit from training with Pakistani military officials.

Mr Siddiqui said that Mr Khan’s recent statement “covered all the sensibilities” of the US-Pakistan relationship and Islamabad would base its efforts to rebuild ties on this statement.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States nosedived in January when President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of providing “safe haven” to terrorists and suspended security aid to the country. Last week, the US Congress slashed its defence aid to Pakistan to $150 million, from more than a billion dollars in the early stages of the Afghan war.

In an Independence Day message to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce said there was “no greater bridge between our countries than the Pakistani diaspora, (which) has long kept me and others informed about US-Pakistan relations”.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427075/us-pakistani-diplomats-share-hopes-for-reviving-ties

--------

 

Suspect wanted in Raiwind blast case killed in ‘encounter’

Muqaddam Khan

August 15, 2018

SWABI: A suspect, said to be a former employee of the Pakistan Air Force who was wanted in some terrorism cases, was killed in a Count­er-Terrorism Depart­ment raid on his house here on Tuesday.

While the police claimed that the man, Nural Haq, was killed in an exchange of gunfire, his relatives alleged that the CTD team shot him dead despite his surrender.

The relatives and people of the area took his body to Amn Chowk and staged a sit-in.

The protesters dema­nded registration of an FIR against the CTD personnel and urged the chief justice of Pakistan to immediately take suo motu notice of the incident.

The incident took place within the city police station’s jurisdiction when the CTD personnel raided the house of Nural Haq, the deceased, in the Sher­dadkhel Cham area at midnight.

Family members of the deceased alleged that the CTD personnel entered their house and started firing on Nural Haq and picked up one of his brothers, but released him later.

According to IG Mohammad Tahir Khan, it was a joint CTD team from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the deceased was wanted in the Raiwind blast case, which claimed 10 lives on March 10 this year.

City police station SHO Qamar Zaman said that Nural Haq was a retired official of the PAF. He was wanted to the CTD in several cases of terrorist attacks. He was arrested in an attack on former president Pervez Musharraf, but was set free later, the SHO added.

CTD officials said that the raiding team wanted to arrest the accused, but he opened fire on them, injuring one CTD man. Then the CTD team returned fire, killing Nural Haq.

But the family of the deceased said that Nural Haq did not open fire and was ready to surrender, but the CTD personnel shot him dead inside his house.

The locals and relatives took the body to the government high school playground for funeral, but later placed it at Amn Chowk and blocked Swabi-Mardan Road, Swabi-Jehangira Road, Swabi-Topi Road and Maneri-Swabi Road.

Political leaders also joined the protesters and marched towards Amn Chowk. People started pouring in from other areas and the protest turned into a large gathering.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427084/suspect-wanted-in-raiwind-blast-case-killed-in-encounter

--------

 

Billboards celebrating Pakistan's independence day put up in Iran capital

August 14, 2018

Billboards and banners felicitating Pakistan on its 72nd independence day have been put up across Tehran, the capital of Iran, Radio Pakistan reported on Tuesday.

The text in Persian on the billboards, photos of which are available with Dawn.com, congratulates Pakistan on its independence anniversary and depict historical landmarks from the four provinces. The hoardings have been put on highways and bridges across the Iranian city.

According to Radio Pakistan, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also felicitated the Pakistani nation on the occasion.

Pakistan's relations with Iran appear to be on an upward trajectory. In a call to prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had said that his country's relations with Pakistan are not only that of a neighbour but go deeper as the two countries share the same religious and cultural values.

"We want to develop special trade relations with Iran," Khan had told Rouhani in response, adding that Pakistan wishes to see further improvement in relations on the diplomatic level.

The Iranian president had also extended an invitation to Khan to visit Iran after taking the oath, which was accepted by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief.

Last month, the two countries pledged to further deepen their military cooperation.

Pakistani security officials exchange sweets with Indian, Afghan troops

At Wagah border, Pakistan Rangers officials presented sweets to their counterparts from India's Border Security Force during a ceremony to celebrate Pakistan's independence day.

On the western front, Afghan security officials congratulated their Pakistani counterparts. They also presented sweets to Commandant Khyber Rifles Farrukh Humayun.

US conveys wishes to Pakistan

The United States government has extended best wishes to the Pakistani people on the independence day, besides expressing the desire to work with the Government of Pakistan to advance the shared goals.

"On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I would like to extend my best wishes to the people of Pakistan as they celebrate their independence day," a statement released by the US embassy in Islamabad quoted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as saying.

He said the relationship between the US and Pakistan has rested on the strong foundation of close ties between their peoples for more than seven decades.

"In the years ahead, we hope to further strengthen these bonds, as we continue to look for opportunities to work with the people and Government of Pakistan to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia," Pompeo added.

British, German envoys issue statements

The British and German ambassadors to Pakistan released video statements on Twitter to felicitate Pakistan on its independence anniversary.

"I want to see Pakistan happy, strong and developed in the future," said German envoy Martin Kobler speaking in Urdu.

Thomas Drew, the British high commissioner to Pakistan, said he has been coming to Pakistan for past 12 years and has lived here for five years.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1426958/billboards-celebrating-pakistans-independence-day-put-up-in-iran-capital

--------

 

International Press Institute urges Imran to address deteriorating press freedom

August 15, 2018

KARACHI: The International Press Institute (IPI) — a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 100 countries — has urged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan to ensure that the deteriorating environment for independent press in Pakistan is reversed, and that the press is protected from the onslaught of state institutions.

The IPI, in a letter addressed to the PTI chief, congratulated Mr Khan and his party on success in the recent elections.

“While the citizens of Pakistan are looking forward to a change in the governance of the country and hope that it will be free of corruption and coercion, the IPI network expects that you will restore media freedom and create an environment where journalists and media organisations are able to function without fear,” said the letter.

The global network expressed concern over the “highhanded use of coercive measures to curtail the independence of the press in Pakistan”.

Elaborating on these coercive measures, the IPI wrote that dissenting journalists had to face physical intimidation, abduction and torture; independent newspapers were denied access to readers through the widespread disruption of distribution; and independent channel broadcasts were denied access to television audiences.

Just before the election a woman journalist, Gul Bokhari — from the Nawai Waqt/ Nation Group — was abducted for several hours, late at night, while on her way to work, the global network pointed out.

The same night, another broadcast journalist, Asad Kharal, was physically assaulted in Lahore, it stated, adding that numerous newspaper editors had been forced to drop dissenting columns from newspapers, leading some columnists to post their uncensored columns on social media platforms.

“Equally disturbing had been the nationwide use of intimidation against

distributors of newspapers. Groups of officials continue to physically stop newspaper distribution vans and agents from delivering targeted national dailies such as Dawn, Jang and The News,” the IPI regretted.

Identical tactics were being deployed against cable operators affiliated to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, with respect to news channels such as Geo and Dawn News — which were being regularly blocked from reaching audiences, it added. “You are well aware that such a climate is inimical to both democracy and the free flow of information necessary for a strong and corruption-free democracy that you have promised to usher in to create a new Pakistan,” emphasised the letter.

It called upon Mr Khan to do everything possible to reverse the repressive state of media.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427081/international-press-institute-urges-imran-to-address-deteriorating-press-freedom

--------

 

Making sense of how the TLP may have 'legitimately' won seats in Karachi

Erum Haider

August 15, 2018

HERE’S the good news: the elections in Karachi may have been stolen by local strongmen from ostensibly establishment-backed religious groups. The bad news: the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a right-wing Barelvi group, may have legitimately won seats in Karachi.

The 2018 election witnessed the rise of the TLP, which has enabled the creation of powerful narratives about the legitimacy of extremist thought among Pakistan’s voters. Experts claim the party has tapped into widely held beliefs, even in a relatively liberal and religiously diverse city like Kara­chi. On the other hand, the TLP may have also been part of an attempt to rig the polls against incumbents PML-N, PPP and MQM.

For perhaps the first time in Karachi’s history, it is possible to examine the legitimacy of these results. Thanks to the delimitation efforts of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and their census unit, each National Assembly seat in Karachi encapsulates at least one, if not two, complete provincial assembly constituency. For example, voters from PS-107 and PS-108 will only cast votes for NA-246 — previously, provincial seats regularly intersected national seats.

NA-246 was won by the PTI, with the TLP coming in second by a margin of over 10,000 votes, followed by the PPP with a margin of about 3,000, then the MMA by a margin of about 6,000. In PS-108, the MMA beat the PTI by a whisker: a mere 1,000 votes. In PS-107, the TLP received a winning 26,498 votes; PTI came in second with 16,609.

An almost 10,000 vote difference at the provincial level, in a national constituency that was solidly won by the PTI, is cause for concern. Asad Sayeed, a long-time observer of the PPP in Sindh, put it succinctly: “The math is off — [the TLP’s victory] is possible, but improbable.” Just how much of an anomaly is this? After reviewing 21 National Assembly and 44 provincial assembly seats, a few cases stood out.

First, in nearly every constituency in Karachi, the party that won the National Assembly seat also won the corresponding provincial assembly seats. Exceptions exist, but they are rare, and margins are narrow. In NA-252, the PTI won the National Assembly seat, with MQM trailing by several thousand votes. The PTI won the overlapping PS-122, but lost next door in PS-121 to the MQM by less than 500 votes. In NA-248, the PTI and PPP were virtually neck and neck, with the PPP winning by under 1,000 votes. In the two overlapping provincial seats, the PPP won one and the PTI the other.

In contrast, in NA-249, the PTI won with 35,344 votes, followed closely by the PML-N with 34,626, and the TLP third with 23,981. In the corresponding provincial assembly constituencies, the PTI won one, the TLP won the other by a margin of over 6,000 votes, and the runner-up in the National Assembly constituency, the PML-N, got neither.

The TLP’s voters, if numbers are to be believed, live in strategically clustered, provincial-assembly sized neighbourhoods. Or they may have spontaneously voted for the PTI at the national level, but for the TLP at the provincial level — an incredible feat of voter-coordinated seat-sharing by two parties that, last anyone checked, weren’t sharing tickets or seats. Possible, but improbable.

There is clearly strong support for the Barelvis in Karachi, much in the way the Jamaat-i-Islami and Deobandi religious groups have been popular in the past. Sociologist Nida Kirmani points out a tacit acceptance among residents of Lyari for the violent operation by the Rangers against PPP-backed gangs: “Law enforcement is flawed, but things are better than what was there before.” Karachi veteran Zia Ur Rehman observed that Kutchi businessmen in Lyari resented the allocation of PPP tickets to gang-backed individuals.

The TLP vote in Lyari is just part of some troubling discrepancies in Karachi’s electoral landscape. In several constituencies, votes for one party at the provincial level don’t match the number of votes at the National Assembly level. In PS-92 and PS-93 in Korangi, the MQM’s voters cast a combined 62,259 votes, while the PTI’s voters cast 47,342. Yet in NA-239, which completely contains both these seats, the PTI beat the MQM, gaining just shy of 70,000 votes. All things equal, the discrepancy of over 22,000 votes in PTI’s favour is troubling. Similarly, in PS-104, which is completely encapsulated in NA-245, the PPP got 27,615 votes. The final tally for the PPP in NA-245 was 8,822 votes.

In its eagerness to consolidate its own victory, the PTI will almost certainly ignore allegations of electoral fraud. If so, they would follow the precedent set by the PPP, MQM and PML-N — massaged victories, flouted institutions, ignored calls for transparency. When democratic parties create space for extremist religious entrepreneurs to capture vote banks, everyone loses — especially those desperate for clean water, electricity and employment.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1427090/the-barelvi-vote

--------

 

Imran Khan to wear old Sherwani at oath-taking ceremony

August 15, 2018

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is unlikely to wear a new Sherwani when he takes oath as prime minister on August 18, a local media outlet reported on Tuesday.

An order had been placed for Khan’s Sherwani but was cancelled as part of his austerity drive. An order for a waistcoat was then placed but that was cancelled as well.

According to reports, Imran Khan will wear a Sherwani in accordance with tradition but not a new one.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/08/15/imran-khan-to-wear-old-sherwani-at-oath-taking-ceremony/

--------

 

US keen to work with Pak for stable, peaceful South Asia: Alice Wells

August 15, 2018

WASHINGTON: United States (US) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells said that the US is keen to work with Pakistan to achieve stability and peace in South Asia.

Wells was addressing a ceremony regarding Independence Day in Washington where she also acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in the ongoing war against terrorism.

Several dignitaries including Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Ali Jahangir Siddiqui were also in attendance.

Earlier on August 14, United States Secretary Michael Pompeo had said that the US hopes to further strengthen ties with Pakistan in the coming years and work with the government to advance shared goals of security, stability and prosperity in South Asia, even though Washington has stepped up pressure on Islamabad by cutting down vital military assistance to the country.

Wishing the people on the 72nd Independence Day, Pompeo, in a statement, had said, “For more than seven decades, the relationship between the US and Pakistan has rested on the strong foundation of close ties between our people.”

“In the years ahead, we hope to further strengthen these bonds, as we continue to look for opportunities to work with the people and Government of Pakistan to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia,” he had further stated.

Earlier, prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan had said that “Pakistan and the US should strengthen their relations based on trust, amidst tensions in bilateral ties over the former’s support for terror groups”.

Moreover, the US Congress had also passed a bill to slash Pakistan’s defence aid to USD 150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than USD one billion per year.

The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for 2019 had ramped up the military spending and avoided policy changes that would have antagonised US President Donald Trump.

In the latest NDAA, the security aid to Islamabad — that had once started from almost $750 million per year to $1 billion — was marked down to a mere $150 million.

However, it also relaxed certain conditions that were attached with the financial assistance, including action against the Haqqani Network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

This crucial reduction translates into the fact that the Pentagon might not have any tools to pressurise Pakistan into taking action against the banned militant outfits.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/08/15/us-keen-to-work-with-pak-for-stable-peaceful-south-asia-alice-wells/

--------

 

North America

 

Judge in N.M. compound case threatened after ordering release of Muslim family

Aug. 14, 2018

A New Mexico district courthouse was evacuated Tuesday after multiple threats poured in to a judge who ordered the release of four adults associated with a ramshackle compound where a toddler's body was found buried.

The social media, email and telephone threats made against Taos District Court Judge Sarah Backus were deemed so serious that court officials felt compelled to reiterate her responsibility to decide on the law, not public opinion based on incomplete information. It remained unclear Tuesday evening whether the Taos, New Mexico, courthouse evacuation was connected to the threats.

More: New Mexico compound: Muslim woman believed dead boy would be reincarnated as Jesus, FBI says

Backus on Monday night ruled that three women and a man could be released and tracked with GPS ankle monitors pending their trial on child-abuse charges in connection with the treatment of their 11 kids kept on the site. As of Tuesday evening, two of the women and one of the men remained jailed at the Taos County Detention Center; the third woman is a Haitian native was turned over to ICE agents, Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told Albuquerque's KOB-TV.

A fifth man arrested during the early August SWAT raid at the remote compound isn't eligible for release because he remains jailed on a kidnapping warrant from Georgia. Authorities said he snatched his toddler son from his former wife but failed to give him medical care, causing him to die sometime early last year.

Police say the group members are Muslim extremists preparing an attack by teaching the older kids how to shoot and reload at their homemade firing range. Backus on Monday called the accusations disturbing, but said prosecutors failed to show enough evidence that the group posed a danger.

More: Grisly find follows SWAT raid on New Mexico compound where 16 lived in buried RV, truck

She noted that prosecutors in particular failed to present any specific evidence about the children's health or welfare and instead focused on the group's heavy weaponry at the compound.

Prosecutors have not brought any terrorism-related charges against the group, which means Backus was deciding only on the child-abuse charges. Several police officers testified that they own similar hunting rifles and handguns for their personal use.

"The judge's responsibility is to fairly and impartially apply the law and make a decision based on the evidence presented to the court," court officials said in a statement. "A judge's responsibility is to follow the law — not popular sentiment that may develop from incomplete or misleading information."

Backus said much the same in making her ruling Monday night. Gov. Susana Martinez criticized her ruling, arguing that the group was too dangerous to release. Martinez appointed Backus to the bench in 2011.

Police raided the compound after intercepting a message sent by one of the women begging for food and water. They found a missing toddler's body buried in a 100-foot-long hand-dug dirt tunnel beneath the compound cobbled together by the group.

In court testimony Monday, an FBI agent said two of the oldest children rescued from the compound told him that one of the women believed the dead toddler would be reincarnated as Jesus to attack “corrupt institutions” like banks and schools. Police found multiple loaded rifles and handguns at the compound, which they said had been built to repel an armed attack.

Defense attorneys say the group members who built the compound near Amalia, New Mexico, were simply exercising their Constitutional rights to possess firearms and freely practice their religion. The adult group comprises two sisters and a brother, his wife, and a man who is married to one of the sisters. They are the children's parents or guardians.

Online, critics have blasted Backus for permitting the group's release, with many critics saying the five adults should be executed without a trial, particularly because they are Muslim and because the father of three of the adults is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, a prominent cleric from the Masjid At Taqwa, a well-known mosque in Brooklyn.

Court officials on Tuesday reminded the public that the legal system doesn't work that way. Under the American legal system, the accused are innocent until proven guilty.

"The state constitution provides that criminal defendants may be detained in jail pretrial only if prosecutors show by clear and convincing evidence that they are so dangerous that no release conditions will reasonably protect public safety," court administrators said in their statement. "People may disagree over what constitutes dangerousness in any given case, and the district attorney can appeal the judge’s decision. But every judge in New Mexico takes seriously their responsibility to establish conditions of pretrial release for criminal defendants that will protect public safety and assure a defendant’s return to court for future proceedings.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/08/14/judge-new-mexico-compound-case-threatened-after-releasing-muslim-family/993139002/

--------

 

American Islam scholar Reza Aslan detained by Israel intelligence at border

15 August, 2018

American Islam scholar Reza Aslan was detained by Israeli intelligence services when entering the country from Jordan, in a harrowing hours' long ordeal.

Aslan said Shin Bet officers threatened that the author would not see family, as they were separated from his children for two weeks.

"We can make it so you don't see your kids for a long time," Aslan said the officers told him at the time.

The officers questioned his Iranian background and made a series of chilling threats against the scholar, who has written a number of best-selling books on religion, including No God But God and Zealot.

"The Shin Bet lady - who already knew everything about me and my family's journey around the world  - began with 'You think because you're a public person I can't do whatever I want with you?'" Aslan wrote on Twitter.

"I was floored. This is how interrogations begin in police states."

He was the quesioned about his father's past work in Iran, where Aslan was born.

"The questions got dumber and more surreal: 'Who did your father work for in Iran?' I don't know. I was 7 when we left. Oh Mr Scholar! You can tell me everything about the Ottoman Empire but you don’t know your own father’s history?'" he said.

"For the record I am not an Ottoman scholar."

He said after hours of questions, the Shin Bet officer at the Jordan border crossing, threatened his family.

"In the end, after hours of this, she warned 'I may let you into Israel but, who knows, I may not let you out. I will keep you here and kick out your family. It depends on you. You would miss your kids yes?'"

"That my friends is the classic police state trick. Iran has perfected it," he said, after a series of tweets.

Aslan wrote that he was encouraged to give his account of the detention, after Jewish-American writer Peter Beinart this week was detained at Tel Aviv airport and questioned on his political views.

"The session ended when my interrogator asked me, point blank, if I was planning to attend another protest," Beinart wrote.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later apologised to Beinart about his ordeal, saying his detention was an administrative mistake and that all were welcome to Israel.

Visitors from the Arab and Muslim world are frequently detained questioned at the Israel border, according to Haaretz, with many turned away.

Full report at:

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/8/15/american-islam-scholar-reza-aslan-detained-by-israel-intelligence

--------

 

India

 

Maldivian Activist Warns India about Radical Islamic Groups being active in Lakshadweep and Kerala

Kallol Bhattacherjee

AUGUST 15, 2018

‘There is every possibility that Indian territories like Lakshadweep and Kerala could be affected by these elements’

Radical Islamic groups active in the Maldives could spread into Indian coastal areas, said a human rights activist here on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media, Shahindha Ismail of Maldivian Democracy Network cautioned that the Islamist groups of the Maldives are drawing strength from a network of religious fundamentalists who are likely to target the nearby Indian islands and even the southern part of India.

Moderate Islam

“There is a moderate Islam that Maldivians have traditionally practised. Our moderate Islam is not like secularism. But even that is not acceptable to these fundamentalists who want to impose ancient customs and violence on our society. There is every possibility that Indian territories like the Lakshadweep and Kerala could be affected by these elements especially since India attracts large number of Maldivian visitors every year,” said Ms. Ismail who participated in a civil society outreach organised by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

Vigilante attacks

Ms. Ismail was part of a delegation of activists who have been campaigning for ensuring transparency in the upcoming September election in the island country. Members of the delegation pointed out that Islamist groups have been carrying out vigilante attacks against moderate voices, writers and free thinkers in the society.

“These Islamist groups who often work as violent gangs serve multiple purposes. They receive private sermons from some of the fundamentalist preachers who receive support from certain social and political quarters. They implement social practices like female genital mutilation that have not been part of the recent centuries of our country’s history,” said an activist member of the delegation.

Extremists from the country are known to have fought in recent years in the Syrian civil war and even in the Af-Pak theatre.

The visiting delegation members pointed out that the Islamist extremism is adding to the political repression existing in the country that is headed for election in September.

Election process

The controversial election process drew harsh criticism after the authorities warned political parties that they would be penalised for displaying posters of opposition’s political leaders who are facing jail terms. Maldives at present has several opposition figures in jail and the former President of the country Mohammed Nasheed remains in exile. In July, the joint presidential candidate from opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was attacked by gang members.

“We are still faced with new rules coming up that stand in the way of the opposition. I think the opposition will get its votes in the coming election because the general public also hopes that something will change,” said Ms. Ismail.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/maldivian-activist-warns-about-radical-islamic-groups/article24693485.ece

--------

 

UP Madrasas Divided Over Bharat Mata Ki Jai Chant On Independence Day

Nelanshu Shukla

August 15, 2018

Ahead of the Independence Day, madrassas in Uttar Pradesh are gearing up for celebrations. However, it seems some of the institutions have objections to the chanting of Bharat Mata ki Jai.

Speaking to India Today, Ashraf Ali who is a teacher in Madrassa Darul-Ul-Wasia in Lucknow said, "Students will be reciting the national anthem and tricolour will also be unfurled. We are going to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the nation. However, instead of chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai we will sing Saare Jahan Se Acha."

Another teacher who teaches Arabic in the madrassa said, "We will celebrate Independence Day like every year but chanting of Bharat Mata ki Jai is not necessary. It is just a political stunt ."

Students at the madrassa said that Independence Day should be celebrated with fervour but chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai is not necessary.

BHARAT MATA KI JAI AN INTEGRAL PART

However, the chief of another madrassa in Lucknow, Maulana Afzal Hussain Qazmi told India Today that students participating in the Independence Day celebrations will be chanting 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' apart from reciting the anthem and hoisting the national flag .

Uttar Pradesh Minority Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary told media in Mathura on Monday that the order of Independence Day celebrations to the madrassas was given last year also and it has to be followed.

Tributes should be paid to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. It is obvious that when national songs will be sung Bharat Mata ki Jai will also be included and it should be chanted. The government will take action if August 15th is not celebrated

- Uttar Pradesh Minority Affairs Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary

The state BJP leader Rakesh Tripathi also said that Bharat Mata Ki Jai slogan is not related to any religion and people who have problems in chanting it are bigots.

BJP DISTRACTING PEOPLE

Hitting out at the BJP over such statements, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Sunil Sajan said, "The BJP has nothing to tell people about their work and that's why they are trying to distract people by giving such statements. It is unfortunate that the party which has no contribution to the country's freedom gives such remarks."

UP Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi had issued instructions to all the committees and caretakers last week to ensure that Bharat Mata ki Jai must be chanted in all educational institutions during celebrations on Independence Day.

The state madrassa department has also issued a circular to all the concerned officers across the state on August 13 to ensure that hoisting the national flag, reciting the national anthem, giving information about martyrs, singing national songs and other patriotic programmes take place in madrassas. However, the order does not mention anything about chanting Bharat Mata ki Jai.

MADRASSAS BEING TARGETED

It's quite baffling that orders and statements are only issued targeting madrassas despite the fact that we celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day every year. This is just a political conspiracy to defame our community.

- Sunni Cleric Maulana Sufiyan Nizami

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/independence-day/story/up-madrassas-divided-over-bharat-mata-ki-jai-chant-on-independence-day-1314832-2018-08-15

--------

 

Security on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir amid Hizbul Mujahideen threat to Independence Day functions

Ishfaq Naseem

Aug 14, 2018

Srinagar: Security personnel are on high alert in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of India's 72nd Independence Day. Forces have been asked to stay vigil since militants escaped a cordon in Srinagar on Sunday and also because the Hizbul Mujahideen has warned parents against sending their children for 15 August celebrations at schools.

"School or college heads forcing our brothers and sisters to participate in such events must know that they have to answer the people who have sacrificed everything for this pious cause," read a poster issued by the Hizbul Mujahideen.

The posters, which have been circulated on WhatsApp groups and put up at a number of places in Srinagar, have been signed by the militant group's district commander for Srinagar Abu Irfan.

"We cannot tolerate anything that goes against the spirit of freedom and Islam," it read. "Therefore, we are providing a last chance to all these people to refrain from doing this and seek forgiveness. Else we, too, have our own ways to deal with all this. Don't we owe any respect to all those students who were showered with bullets and pellets by Indian forces? Think well and then pick a side."

Troops are also on alert as separatists have called for a complete shutdown on Wednesday. They wished people on Pakistan's Independence Day on Tuesday, while videos of youth shouting slogans calling for freedom in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir and celebrating Pakistan's Independence Day went viral on social media.

Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelni tweeted: "The Kashmiri nation is highly grateful to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for extending whole-hearted moral, political and diplomatic support to our just cause and struggle since 1947... Hum Pakistani hain, Pakistan humara hain (we are Pakistan's, and Pakistan is ours).

With these threats days after militants struck the heart of Srinagar — barely a few kilometres from the main venue of the 15 August celebrations at the Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium — heightened security comes as no surprise. Checks have been intensified in Srinagar, and the number of troops patrolling the roads has multiplied.

After the Hizbul issued the threat though its posters, Srinagar's senior superintendent of police Imtiyaz Ismael Parraey said they were assessing the situation .

The secretary of the youth services and sports department, Sarmad Hafeez, said deputy commissioners will oversee the process of sending children to the Independence Day functions, and that several other departments had been asked to help with the task.

Besides government-run schools, private institutes in Srinagar have also prepared its students for cultural shows for the main function at Srinagar's Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium.

Despite the threats, Chief Education Officer (Srinagar) MK Fazli said that the instruction to schools heads to send students to Independence Day functions still stands. However, parents have not taken well to the order, saying "children should be spared from attending the functions". The coordinator of the Parents' Association of Privately Administered Schools, Mohsin Iqbal Goni, said there was no need for school managements to "politicise education", and that "the lives of children shouldn't be risked when separatists have given a shutdown call".

At present, security is even more of a challenge than usual in Jammu and Kashmir as the government has directed all its employees to attend the 15 August celebrations. "It is the duty of every government servant to attend the function commemorating an important turning point in the history of our nation," read the circular issued recently by the state general administration department. "All officers and officials of the state government stationed in Srinagar/Jammu are, therefore, enjoined to attend the main Independence Day function at the Sher-i- Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Sonawar, Srinagar, and at Parade Ground in Jammu as a part of their official duty."

The department has also asked administrative secretaries, heads of departments, managing directors and chief executives of public sector undertakings to ensure that "all officers/officials working under their administrative control and stationed in Srinagar/Jammu attend the function at their respective places".

The commissioner secretary of the department, Hilal Ahmad Parray, said all government officials have to attend the 15 August Celebrations. "It is a national function that the employees have to attend," Parray said. "Everyone must comply with the order. There is an order for all employees working with the state, and action will be taken against the employees later in case of non-compliance."

Full report at:

https://www.firstpost.com/india/security-on-high-alert-in-jammu-and-kashmir-amid-hizbul-mujahideen-threat-to-independence-day-functions-4966271.html

--------

 

Medal for CBI SP who probed Mecca Masjid Blast case

August 15, 2018

CBI SP T Rajah Balaji, who investigated the Mecca Masjid blast case and under whose watch Swami Aseemanand recorded his confessional statement before a court, is among 30 agency officers who have been awarded medals for meritorious and distinguished service by the President. Also among the awardees is CBI Director Alok Verma’s personal assistant and Grade – I stenographer Devendra Kapoor.

Balaji, who has also investigated the Madhumita Shukla murder case leading to life imprisonment of Amarmani Tripathi, has been awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service. He is currently posted in Bengaluru with the agency’s Banking Security and Fraud Cell (BSFC).

Other notable mentions include Inspectors D Damodaran and Anand Swarup. Damodaran is the investigating officer of the Rs 13,500-crore PNB scam allegedly involving Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Sarup was investigated the Commonwealth Games cases and it was his probe that led to the first conviction in the case.

“President’s Police Medals for Distinguished Service have been awarded to six officers while Police Medals for Meritorious Service have been awarded to 24 other officers,” a CBI spokesperson said.

The winners of President’s Police Medals for Distinguished Service include Superintendents of Police Nagendra Prasad, K M Varkey, Additional SP Santosh Kumar, Deputy SPs B Shankar Rao, Bijay Kumar Pradhan, and Inspector Shama Maruf.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/medal-for-cbi-sp-who-probed-mecca-masjid-blast-case-5307268/

--------

 

Mideast

 

Key Netanyahu partner slams moves for truce with Hamas

14 August 2018

A key partner in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition on Tuesday condemned moves for a long term truce agreement with Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, hawkish head of the religious nationalist Jewish Home party, said his party would oppose such an agreement if it were put to a government vote.

“In light of the agreement being forged between Israel and Hamas, (Bennett) announced tonight that the Jewish Home Party would oppose an agreement based on a temporary calm,” his office said in a statement.

Such a deal “would allow Hamas to rearm and regroup for the next round of terror,” it said.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.

A wave of protests and clashes erupted along the strip’s border with Israel on March 30, since when at least 169 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July.

Since July there have also been three major military flare-ups between Israel and Hamas, with Palestinian rocket and mortar fire into Israel answered with Israeli air strikes and tank fire.

A fragile ceasefire came into effect Thursday night, mediated by Egypt and the United Nations, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The defense ministry said on Tuesday that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had ordered some easing of Israel’s blockade of the coastal Palestinian territory if the current calm was maintained.

It said that Israel would reopen its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning if there were no incidents, and restore Gaza’s offshore fishing zone to nine miles, which had been reduced last month to three.

There have been efforts by United Nations officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, though there has not so far been any official comment from the Israeli government.

Bennet slammed his political rival Lieberman’s decision to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

“Lieberman’s gestures to Hamas are a mistake -- Jewish Home ministers will vote against the Israel-Hamas agreement,” he wrote in the English-language statement.

Israeli media said that the security cabinet was expected to convene on Wednesday to debate the Gaza situation.

“After 130 days under attack and rocket fire, we must not reward terrorists,” Bennet added. “The terrorists will learn that terror pays, and Israel’s power of deterrence will be harmed.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/14/Key-Netanyahu-partner-slams-moves-for-truce-with-Hamas-.html

--------

 

Israel reopens its only goods crossing with Gaza

14 August 2018

Israel has reopened its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

Kerem Shalom has been closed to most goods since July 9. Fuel has intermittently been banned during that time, including since August 2, though food and medicine has been allowed.

Last month, Israel also reduced the limits of the fishing zone it allows fishermen off the blockaded Gaza Strip to three nautical miles offshore.

Gaza border protests and clashes broke out on March 30 and have led to months of tension that have also seen several military flare-ups.

At least 169 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since March 30, mostly during clashes and protests.

One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July.

Israel says its blockade is necessary to keep Gaza’s rulers Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

Gaza’s only other goods crossing is at Rafah on the Egyptian border.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/14/Israel-to-reopen-Gaza-goods-crossing-Wednesday-if-calm-maintained-.html

--------

 

Turkey: We need to distinguish between terrorists, rebels and civilians in Idlib

14 August 2018

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday he hoped his country and Russia could find a solution over the northern Syrian region of Idlib, a rebel-held enclave which the Syrian government says it aims to recapture.

The Idlib region, a refuge for civilians and rebels displaced from other areas of Syria as well as powerful extremist forces, was hit by a wave of air strikes and shelling last week, in a possible prelude to a full-scale government offensive.

Turkey, which has backed some rebel groups in the region and set up a dozen military observation posts, is trying to avert an attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Moscow.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was important to distinguish between “terrorists”, rebel fighters and up to three million civilians in Idlib.

“We need to determine these terrorist (groups) and eliminate them with intelligence and military forces,” he said in Ankara ahead of talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, whose country has backed Assad militarily.

“It would be a massacre to bomb Idlib, civilians, hospitals, schools just because there are terrorists.”

Idlib is controlled by an array of insurgent groups, with extremists believed to be the dominant force there.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/14/Turkey-we-need-to-distinguish-between-terrorists-rebel-fighters-and-civilians-in-Idlib.html

--------

 

Iran writes to UN, renews support for intra-Yemeni talks

Aug 15, 2018

Iran renews its support for intra-Yemeni negotiations towards the resolution of the conflict there, saying the Saudi regime and its allies should stop their deadly attacks on the impoverished Arab state and give room to peace efforts.

In a letter to the UN and its UN Security Council (UNSC), UN Ambassador Gholam-Ali Khoshrou said Iran is of the position that there is no military solution to Yemen’s conflict, and that a peaceful solution can only come about through an all-out national dialog under Yemeni-Yemeni leadership.

Therefore, he added, Saudi Arabia should end its military and political intervention in Yemen and put an end to its blockade of the impoverished country, where the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in unfolding, according to the UN.

Iran repeats its strong warning to the international community and the Security Council about the repercussions of the Saudi-led invasion, and the threat it poses to regional peace and security, the senior diplomat said.

Khoshrou pointed to Iran’s four-point proposal for the realization of peace in Yemen, saying Tehran was prepared to join all stakeholders in meaningful negotiations aimed at realizing the peace plan.

The plan, set out by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, stresses the need for “ending the senseless aerial attacks and establishing a ceasefire, ensuring delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Yemen and restoring peace and stability to this country through dialogue and national reconciliation without pre-conditions.”

The ambassador also denounced Saudi Arabia’s accusation that Iran violates UNSC Resolution 2216 on Yemen.

Riyadh accuses Iran of flouting the resolution, which, among other things, calls for an end to arms support for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Tehran and the popular group, which defends Yemen against the invaders, have invariably rejected the claims.

Saudi Arabia has been leading many of its allies in an invasion of the Arab world’s most impoverished nation since 2015. The invasion has killed thousands and placed Yemen on the brink of outright famine.

The letters were submitted to the world body days after the Saudi-led coalition massacred at least 51 civilians, 40 them children, in a single air raid targeting a bus in Sa’ada Province.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/15/571224/Iran-Yemen-United-Nations-letter-Khoshrou-Saudi-Arabia

--------

 

UN says Saudi attack on Yemeni school bus 'tragic, unjustifiable'

Aug 15, 2018

The UN has said that there is no justification for Saudi Arabia's latest massacre in Yemen which claimed the lives of scores of civilians, mostly of whom were children.

"What we are seeing today are the victims of the airstrike. The terrible human cost of the airstrike and of the war. The entire world condemns this," said UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande on Tuesday during a trip to the war-torn country.

On Thursday, dozens of civilians have lost their lives and dozens more sustained injuries as Saudi warplanes targeted a bus carrying children in Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Grande added that the UN Secretary General has called for an "immediate transparent, comprehensive, independent investigation," into the deadly attack on civilians.

Meanwhile, UNICEF's resident representative in Yemen, Meritxell Relano, has called for an end to Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen and continued massacring of children.

"In the recent attack in Sa’ada, I have visited at least 13 children that have injuries and I hope that they are good to go very soon and back to play, and play football, and back to their normal lives because this has been a very shocking attacks, terrifying, which will leave them not only physical injuries but also psychological injuries," Relano added.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has announced  40 children were among 51 civilians recently killed during a Saudi airstrike on the school bus in northwestern Yemen.

The children were returning from a trip organized by a religious seminary when the bus came under attack. Images later circulated online, showing pieces of a US-made bomb on the scene.

The United Nations Security Council has called for a "credible and transparent" investigation into the airstrike.

Thousands of mourners attended a funeral procession for many of the dead children in Sa’ada’s provincial capital of the same name on Monday, venting their anger against Riyadh and Washington.

The Saudi-led coalition, however, described the attack as “legitimate,” with coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki even claiming that the strikes “conformed to international and humanitarian laws.”

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen in March 2015.

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

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

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/15/571212/un-yemen-saudi-bus-kids

--------

 

Yemeni retaliatory attack leaves three Saudi soldiers dead

Aug 14, 2018

At least three Saudi soldiers have been killed when Yemeni army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Committees launched an attack against a military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Jizan as they continue their retaliatory raids against the Riyadh regime’s aerial bombardment campaign.

Yemeni forces and their allies fatally shot the troopers in the al-Farizeh military base of the region, located 969 kilometers south of the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, on Tuesday afternoon, the website of the Houthi Ansarullah movement reported.

Later in the day, scores of Saudi-backed Yemeni militiamen loyal to resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi were killed and injured in a roadside bomb attack in Yemen's northern province of al-Jawf.

A Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Yemeni army soldiers and Popular Committees fighters detonated an explosive device as a vehicle carrying the Saudi mercenaries was traveling along a road in the Khabb wa ash Sha'af district of the province.

Elsewhere in the al-Durayhimi and Hays districts of Yemen’s western coastal province of Hudaydah, a host of Saudi-backed militiamen lost their lives and sustained injuries when Yemeni forces targeted their military vehicles.

Separately, Saudi fighter jets and artillery units launched two airstrikes and a barrage of projectiles at the Shada'a district of the northwestern Yemeni province of Sa’ada. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.

The Yemeni Ministry of Health also revised the death toll from an earlier Saudi airstrike against a residential area in the al-Durayhimi district of Hudaydah province, stating that the number of deaths now stands at 13, based on public health records. Twenty-two people have also suffered injuries.

The ministry added that ongoing Saudi aerial attacks have prevented ambulances and medics from reaching the area, calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to intervene in order to help the wounded.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen in March 2015.

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

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

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/14/571173/Yemeni-retaliatory-attack-leaves-three-Saudi-soldiers-dead

--------

 

South Asia

 

Fresh clashes erupt among Taliban and ISIS in Nangarhar province

Aug 14 2018

Fresh clashes have erupted among the Taliban militants and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) militants in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said the latest clashes have erupted between the two sides in Deh Bala district.

The source further added that the latest clashes have left one ISIS militant dead so far.

In the meantime, Silab Corps in a statement said the US forces have also conducted an airstrike in Deh Bala district, leaving one ISIS militant dead.

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

Nangarhar has been among the relatively calm provinces since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 but the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to expand their foothold in this province during the recent years.

However, the Afghan armed forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations to suppress the militant groups.

This comes as scores of Taliban and ISIS militants were killed during the similar clashes in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan few weeks ago.

At least 250 ISIS militants also surrendered to the Afghan forces after their main stronghold was overrun by the Taliban militants in Darzab district.

https://www.khaama.com/fresh-clashes-erupt-among-taliban-and-isis-in-nangarhar-province-05762/

--------

 

Dozens of casualties reported after Taliban attack on Afghan base

August 15, 2018

KABUL: A Taliban attack on a military outpost in the northern province of Baghlan in the early hours of Wednesday killed as many as 44 Afghan police and soldiers, provincial officials said, as the insurgents kept up pressure on government forces.

There was no immediate comment from the ministry of defense but officials in the area said nine police and 35 soldiers were killed in the attack, the latest in a series that have killed dozens of members of the security forces in provinces across Afghanistan.

The attack came as the situation in the embattled central city of Ghazni eased after the Taliban said they had ordered forces out after five days of fighting that killed and wounded hundreds and left the city a burned-out wreck.

The city hospital was overcrowded with hundreds of wounded people and dozens of bodies and people desperately searching for relatives among the dead and wounded.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was providing dressing packages and oral and intravenous medicine to treat wounded at the provincial hospital.

The ICRC also sent fresh water and electricity generators for trauma surgeries and delivered material for the management of remains.

About 20 percent of the population in Ghazni depend on the city water system, which has been down since the beginning of fighting. The ICRC is organizing emergency water supplies by truck to cover the needs of about 18,000 people.

“Some people had managed to flee the city but there were many others trapped in their houses,” said one Taliban commander, who said the decision to pull out was made to prevent further destruction in the city.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1356856/world

--------

 

Taliban capture northern Afghan base, kill at least 14 soldiers: officials

AUGUST 15, 2018

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Taliban fighters overran a northern Afghan army base, officials said Tuesday, killing at least 14 soldiers with dozens feared captured and others said to have fled in the latest blow to the country’s security forces.

Militants gained control of the base in Ghormach district of volatile Faryab province after days of heavy fighting, according to army spokesman for northern Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Rezaee, adding that 100 soldiers were on the base when it was first attacked Sunday.

“It is a tragedy that the base fell to the enemy. Some soldiers were martyred, some captured and some fled to nearby hills,” Rezaee told AFP.

Faryab MP Hashim Otaq said that 14 soldiers were killed and about 40 others were captured by Taliban fighters in the base, known as Chenaya.

The Taliban victory in Faryab comes days after militants launched a brazen attack on the southeastern Afghan city of Ghazni late Thursday, some two hours drive from the capital Kabul.

Tahir Rehmani — head of Faryab’s provincial council — said the base fell after the soldiers begged for reinforcements and air support from Kabul but were ultimately ignored.

“They were too busy with Ghazni,” said Rehmani.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and under intense pressure, have been struggling to beat back insurgents since US-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.

The attack on Ghazni is the largest tactical onslaught by the Taliban since an unprecedented truce in June brought fighting between security forces and the Taliban to a brief stop, providing battle-worn Afghans some welcome relief.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/283785/taliban-capture-northern-afghan-base-kill-at-least-14-soldiers-officials/

--------

 

Taliban capture northern base as Afghan forces fight in Ghazni

August 14, 2018

Taliban fighters overran a northern Afghan army base, officials said Tuesday, killing at least 14 soldiers with dozens feared captured in a stinging blow to security forces already struggling to push insurgents from eastern Ghazni.

The fall of the base in Ghormach district of volatile Faryab province came with security forces who have struggled to hold back the Taliban since NATO combat troops pulled out in 2014 already stretched by the days of fighting in Ghazni, a strategic provincial capital two hours from Kabul.

Militants gained control of the base after days of heavy fighting, according to army spokesman for northern Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Rezaee.

He said around 100 soldiers were on the base when it was first attacked Sunday.

"It is a tragedy that the base fell to the enemy. Some soldiers were killed, some captured and some fled to nearby hills," Rezaee told AFP.

Faryab MP Hashim Otaq said that 14 soldiers were killed and about 40 others were captured by Taliban fighters in the base, known as Chenaya.

Tahir Rehmani head of Faryab's provincial council said the base fell after the soldiers begged for reinforcements and air support from Kabul but were ultimately ignored.

"They were too busy with Ghazni," said Rehmani.

The city, which the Taliban first assaulted late Thursday, remains in government hands, officials have said.

But the insurgents appeared entrenched there Tuesday, according to residents who said they were burning buildings, killing civilians and firing on security forces conducting a clearing operation.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and under intense pressure, have been struggling to beat back insurgents since US-led NATO troops ended their combat mission in December 2014.

The attack on Ghazni is the largest tactical onslaught by the Taliban since an unprecedented truce in June brought fighting between security forces and the Taliban to a brief stop, providing battle-worn Afghans some welcome relief.

Analysts have said the insurgents may be seeking to demonstrate strength as they come under increasing pressure since the ceasefire to join peace talks.

Ghost city

Fears were growing of civilian casualties in Ghazni as Afghan security forces backed by US airpower struggled to push the Taliban out on the fifth day of fighting.

The United Nations said unverified reports put civilian casualties at more than 100, with residents also at risk from several days of US airstrikes.

An MP from Ghazni, Shah Gul Rezaye, said Tuesday that some parts of the city had been cleared.

But in others "the Taliban have positioned their fighters in high buildings shooting at security forces from there", he added.

Communication networks remained largely down, making any information difficult to verify.

"Ghazni is a ghost city now. The Taliban are going from house to house to find government officials or their relatives to kill," said one resident, Sayed Zia.

"Those who can are fleeing."

Another resident also said the Taliban were killing civilians who refused to help them.

"I saw two trucks full of coffins going toward a cemetery in the city. They all seemed to be civilians," said Abdullah, who asked to only use one name.

"The city is full of smoke. Everywhere they go they set the places on fire," he said, adding that shops were being looted, with water and food scarce.

Other residents have told AFP of bodies littering the streets of the city in recent days.

"So far the fighting has reportedly resulted in 110 to 150 civilian casualties. The numbers still need to be verified," said a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Reports the Taliban are hiding in residents' homes and marketplaces "heightened the risk of civilian casualties arising from any military aerial response", the UN warned.

Bombs placed along the road leading north and south from the city also "prevented civilians from safely fleeing the violence", it said.

On Monday the Afghan defence minister said at least 100 security forces had been killed in the fighting so far, and "20-30" civilians.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/14-Aug-2018/taliban-capture-northern-base-as-afghan-forces-fight-in-ghazni

--------

 

‘Bangladesh needs to be concerned about extremism in the long run’

August 15th, 2018

'Starting in 2013 it became very violent. There were a number of brutal killings, we had people who were bloggers – who had written very strongly in support of the war crimes trials, who had been very critical of political Islamism—and were hunted down and killed'

Speakers at a discussion on extremism in Bangkok on Tuesday, said that Bangladesh is not immune to global trends, referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent radicalization of many Muslim majority nations.

UNDP in Asia and the Pacific, and the ExtremeLives by UNDP Asia Pacific, jointly organized a panel discussion on the issue.  The speakers at the panel discussion were renowned Bangladesh security expert and former Elections Commissioner, Brigadier General (Retd) M Sakhawat Hussian, Dhaka Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief, Zafar Sobhan, and Rajaratnam School of International Studies Assistant Professor, Dr Mohamed Nawab Osman.

“Starting in 2013 it became very violent. There were a number of brutal killings, we had people who were bloggers – who had written very strongly in support of the war crimes trials, who had been very critical of political Islamism—and were hunted down and killed,” said Zafar Sobhan, speaking on extremism in Bangladesh. 

“In 2014 a hit list was published with 84 names on it, of which nine people have actually already been killed. The first person attacked was Asif Mohiuddin in January 2013. A month later, Rajib Haider attacked and killed, and since then there have been a number of high profile killings.

“All this came to a head in July 2016 when we had Bangladesh’s first major terrorist attack at the Holey Bakery Restaurant. Since then, the government has really moved into high gear in terms of countering extremism, stepping up their campaign against militancy. As a result, things have quietened down over the last two years,” he added.

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in its latest statement, said that in 2017 they arrested 486 people in 156 operations, because of their involvement with militancy. A total of 21 militants were also killed in eight other operations.

Saying there is no proof or evidence that international militant group ISIS or AQIS have links with the homegrown militants or base in Bangladesh, Brig Gen (R) M Sakhawat Hussian said Bangladeshi people are becoming sensitive to security concerns, and people’s attitudes in this regard have been changing over the last couple of years.

Citing his own research on militant organization funding in the subcontinent, Dr Nawab Osman said political space is needed in Bangladesh for removing extremism and controlling militancy. He also warned there are chances of the Rohingyas becoming radicalized in the camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Full report at:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/militancy/2018/08/15/bangladesh-needs-to-be-concerned-about-extremism-in-the-long-run

--------

 

Key Taliban commander killed with his 5 comrades in Nangarhar province

Aug 15 2018

A key Taliban commander was killed with his five comrades during an operation of the Afghan intelligence operatives in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government in a statement said the militants were killed late on Monday night in Ghani Khel district after being ambushed by the National Directorate of Security operatives.

The statement further added that the Taliban commander killed during the operation has been identified as Aimal.

The militants were looking to carry out attacks on the district administrative compound of Ghani Khel and security outposts on the highway, the statement added.

According to the provincial government, the militants were attempting to flee the area when spotted by the security forces.

The other militants killed during the operation have been identified as Almas Afridi, Edris Afridi, Hamza Afridi, Abdullah, and Tufan, the provincial government said.

The statement also added that a hatchback vehicle and some weapons and munitions were also destroyed during the operation.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/key-taliban-commander-killed-with-his-5-comrades-in-nangarhar-province-05763/

--------

 

Taliban considering a 4-day ceasefire during Eid Al-Adha

Aug 15 2018

The Taliban militants group is considering a 4-day ceasefire during Eid Al-Adha due to start next week, it has been reported.

Taliban officials privy of the development have told Reuters that the leadership of the group would decide regarding the ceasefire on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“Our friends are advising us that we should announce a four-day ceasefire for the upcoming Eid-al Azha so that the people of Afghanistan can peacefully celebrate their Eid like they did two months ago,” a Taliban official has said.

The official further added “The demand is for one week but our leadership may announce four days of ceasefire to enable the Afghan people to buy sacrificial animals and celebrate Eid-ul-Azha in a peaceful environment.”

This comes as President Ghani had said the government is working on a similar ceasefire during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha, according to the Office of the President, ARG Palace.

He made the remarks during a meeting with the representatives of the registered political parties in Kabul last week and while pointing towards the successful experience of the ceasefire with the Taliban during Eid Al-Fitr.

Presidential spokesperson, Haroon Chakhansuri had earlier said that there are chances of another ceasefire announcement with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-considering-a-4-day-ceasefire-during-eid-al-adha-05767/

--------

 

US and Saudi officials discuss Afghan government’s likely ceasefire with Taliban

Aug 14 2018

The US and Saudi officials have discussed the likely announcement of ceasefire by the Afghan government with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

“Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with SAudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” the State Department said in a statement.

The statement further added that the Secretary and the Crown Prince discussed their support for a ceasefire in Afghanistan over the coming Eid, and peace in Afghanistan more broadly.

No further details were given regarding the discussion about the likely ceasefire in Afghanistan.

This comes as President Ghani had said the government is working on a similar ceasefire during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha, according to the Office of the President, ARG Palace.

He made the remarks during a meeting with the representatives of the registered political parties in Kabul last week and while pointing towards the successful experience of the ceasefire with the Taliban during Eid Al-Fitr.

Presidential spokesperson, Haroon Chakhansuri had earlier said that there are chances of another ceasefire announcement with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/us-and-saudi-officials-discuss-afghan-governments-likely-ceasefire-with-taliban-05765/

--------

 

Afghan forces foil bomb explosions in two different parts of Kabul

Aug 14 2018

The Afghan security forces have foiled two explosions in two different parts of capital Kabul as the anti-government armed militants are attempting to increase attacks in key provinces and cities of the country.

The Criminal Investigation Department said Tuesday that an improvised explosive device was discovered from Deh Mazang area of the city close to Park Shahr.

The militants had planted the bomb and were looking to detonate it using a remote control but it was discovered and defused by the security forces during a patrol in the area.

In the meantime, the Criminal Investigation Department said a similar improvised explosive device was planted close to the security commandment of Qarabagh.

The source further added that the bomb was discovered and defused at around 7am local time today before the militants manage to detonate it.

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

This comes as the anti-government armed militants have been attempting to increase attacks in key provinces and cities of the country, including capital Kabul during the recent months.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-foil-bomb-explosions-in-two-different-parts-of-kabul-05764/

--------

 

Europe

 

Australian politicians condemn call for a 'final solution' to ban Muslim migration

AUGUST 15, 2018

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and all major political parties on Wednesday condemned a speech by a minor senator who used the term “final solution” in calling for a revival of a “White Australia” restrictive immigration policy.

In one of the most divisive speeches seen in parliament since 1996 when far-right politician Pauline Hanson declared incorrectly that Australia was being swamped by Asians, Senator Fraser Anning on Tuesday called for a national vote on whether to ban Muslim migration.

Anning said Muslims were responsible for acts of terror and crime and were dependant on welfare. Muslims account for less than three percent of Australia’s population, census data shows.

Amid national outrage Turnbull, who will head to the polls within nine months, quickly condemned Anning.

“We reject, we condemn racism in any form, and the remarks by Senator Anning are justly condemned and rejected by us all,” Turnbull told Australia’s parliament.

Opposition Labor party leader Bill Shorten told parliament on Wednesday: “You have to be pretty outrageous to be condemned by everybody in the Australian parliament, but Senator Anning has managed to do just this”.

Australians will return to the polls by May 2019, and recent polls show the majority of the electorate back multiculturalism, but far-right politicians are expected to pose a challenge to the mainstream parties.

“Turnbull can and must bat this away,” said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia.

Anning, who has been in parliament for less than a year has entered into a lose alliance with several conservative independent lawmakers that has boosted his otherwise inconsequential role in Australia’s upper house.

Anning split from Hanson’s One Nation party shortly after being sworn in, though his speech had many of the hallmarks of his former leader who has called for cuts to Asian and Muslim immigration.

“The final solution to the immigration problem, of course, is a popular vote,” Anning told parliament in his maiden speech.

The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi plan for the genocide or extermination of the Jews during World War Two. Anning has since said he did not know the history of the phrase.

Hanson joined the condemnation, telling the Senate she was appalled by Anning’s speech.

“We are a multi-racial society and I have always advocated you do not have to be white to be Australian,” she said.

Under what was commonly called a “White Australia” policy Australia restricted non-European immigration from 1901 until the late 1960s using various laws.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-politics/australian-politicians-condemn-call-for-a-final-solution-to-ban-muslim-migration-idUSKBN1L00AE

--------

 

Uproar As Politician Praises White Australia Policy, Urges Muslim Ban

August 15, 2018

An Australian politician was widely condemned Wednesday after demanding "a final solution" to immigration and calling for a return to the White Australia policy which favoured "European Christians".

Queensland senator Fraser Anning stunned lawmakers when he invoked during his maiden speech the infamous Nazi phrase used under Adolf Hitler in reference to annihilating Jewish people from Europe.

He also sparked widespread opposition by calling for a ban on Muslim migrants and defending the race-based White Australia immigration policy which was in place for seven decades from 1901.

"We as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here predominantly reflect the historic European-Christian composition of Australian society," Anning, formerly of the populist One Nation Party and now with the Katter Australian Party, told the upper house Senate late Tuesday

"Those who come here need to assimilate and integrate."

He added that "ethnocultural diversity ... has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs".

"In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner-urban areas, has become the norm."

The Queenslander called for migration numbers to be slashed, and a ban on Muslims, justifying his call by saying they had "consistently shown to be the least able to assimilate and integrate".

"While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims, so why would anyone want to bring more of them here?"

Immigration remains a hot button issue in Australia, amid concern about jobs and overcrowding in major cities.

Data released last month showed migration numbers hit a 10-year low last year, with the annual intake falling by 20,000 to 162,000 as vetting procedures were tightened.

Anning's comments sparked a backlash from all sides of politics, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who emphasised Australia was one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world.

"So we reject, we condemn racism in any form, and the remarks by Senator Anning are justly condemned and rejected by us all," he said.

Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten called the speech "a low point for our parliament", while independent senator Derryn Hinch said there "was hardly a group of Australians he did not offend unless you were very close to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan".

Even Pauline Hanson, who runs One Nation on a platform of zero-net migration and opposition to Islam, said Anning went too far.

"You may have your grievances on what Fraser Anning has said, don't direct them at me," she added. "It's got nothing to do with me."

Despite the criticism, Anning was unrepentant Wednesday and claimed he did not know the connection between the phrase "final solution" and Nazi Germany.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/15-Aug-2018/uproar-as-politican-praises-white-australia-policy-urges-muslim-ban

--------

 

‘Terror attack’ injures pedestrians outside UK parliament

August 15, 2018

LONDON - A car swerved into passers-by then slammed into a barrier protecting Britain’s Houses of Parliament in a suspected terror attack on Tuesday.

A 29-year-old British man, not previously known to the security services, was arrested at the scene by armed officers. Three people were injured.

Police, who initially said the man was refusing to co-operate, were holding him at a London police station on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the suspected attack was “shocking” and an “appalling incident” as she condemned the “twisted aim of the extremists”.

Last year, five people were killed when a car mowed down pedestrians in an attack outside parliament.

Footage from Tuesday’s suspected attack shows the silver Ford Fiesta veering across an intersection, hitting cyclists and pedestrians, before speeding into a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament at 7:37 am (0637 GMT). Armed officers swooped in to arrest the driver, removing him from the vehicle at gunpoint.

Images showed police holding the man, dressed in jeans and a black puffer jacket, in handcuffs.

“Given that it appears to have been a deliberate act, the method used and the iconic location, it is being treated as a terrorist incident,” police said in a statement.

Police said there was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and was being searched. No weapons have been recovered. A man and a woman were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Both have since been discharged. Another man was also treated at the scene for minor injuries. Witness Kirsty Moseley, 31, from south London, was a passenger in a nearby car.

“I heard a few shouts, looked up and this silver car was driving at high speed the wrong way into the cyclists,” she said.

“It’s absolutely amazing there was only one cyclist seriously injured, he went straight through them. People were thrown everywhere.”

The driver “wasn’t shouting anything, he wasn’t screaming, he didn’t look crazed or out of control - he was just deadpan.”

Searches are being carried out at two addresses in Birmingham and one in Nottingham in central England.

Police said the privately-owned car travelled from Birmingham to London late on Monday, arriving in the capital just after midnight.

It was in the Tottenham Court Road area from around 1:25am until 5:55am, then was driven around Whitehall and Westminster, where the parliament and government ministries are, from around 6:00am until the time of the incident.

May urged the public to “remain vigilant but also to come together and carry on as normal”.

“The twisted aim of the extremists is to use violence and terror to divide us. They will never succeed,” she said.

No other arrests have been made and police have said there is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners.

May’s spokesman said there were 676 live investigations being carried out by the security services and counter-terror police at the end of June, up from more than 500 in March.

Some 13 Islamist and four far-right extremist plots have been foiled in the past 18 months, he added.

US President Donald Trump urged tough action.

“Another terrorist attack in London... These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!” he tweeted.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “All Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city.”

“We will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack,” he said.

Westminster was the scene of a terror attack last year when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, drove a car at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge over the River Thames, before fatally stabbing a policeman on guard outside parliament.

The attack left five people dead and around 50 injured, and only ended when police shot Masood dead.

Britain endured a tumultuous period following the March 22 rampage, with four further terror attacks within months.

Britain’s national terror threat level is set at severe, the second-highest of five levels, meaning an attack is considered highly likely.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/15-Aug-2018/-terror-attack-injures-pedestrians-outside-uk-parliament

--------

 

Anti-terrorism police lead inquiry after people hit by car at UK parliament

August 14, 2018

Two people were injured when a car drove into security barriers outside the British parliament on Tuesday and the driver was arrested, emergency services said, with counter-terrorism police leading the investigation into the incident.

Neither of those hurt were believed to have suffered serious injuries and police said they were trying to piece together what had happened.

“While we are keeping an open mind, the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the investigation into the #Westminster incident,” London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter.

Earlier, police said the male driver of the car had been arrested at the scene of the crash which occurred at 0637 GMT.

Witness Jason Williams said the car had struck a barrier on a lane used for access to the parliament building with force. He said he thought it was deliberate.

“It’s a very serious incident,” he told reporters. “There was smoke coming from the vehicle.”

Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at a vehicle. Footage on social media showed a handcuffed man being led away by heavily armed police. Other footage showed a cyclist lying on the street.

“I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I’ve seen people, about 10, on the road, lying down, but I haven’t seen any fatalities,” Williams said.

London’s Ambulance Service said it had treated two people for injuries at the scene and they had been taken to hospital. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

Westminster Underground station, close to parliament, was closed to the public and the building cordoned off.

Parliament is in summer recess and most lawmakers are not using the building. Prime Minister Theresa May is on holiday abroad.

In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge before he stabbed to death an unarmed police officer in the grounds of parliament. He was shot dead at the scene. It was the first of five attacks on Britain last year which police blamed on terrorism.

Britain is on its second highest threat level of “severe”, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London’s Oxford Street, the capital’s major shopping thoroughfare.

Full report at:

https://nation.com.pk/14-Aug-2018/anti-terrorism-police-lead-inquiry-after-people-hit-by-car-at-uk-parliament

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Lawyer slams ‘feudal mentality’, ‘blind loyalty’ to political, religious leaders

August 15, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior lawyer told an international conference today that Muslims in Malaysia must free themselves from political and religious restraints if they are to make wholesome progress.

Jahaberdeen Mohamad Yunos said they must also hold themselves accountable to Allah by reading and understanding the Quran.

The lawyer, who made it clear that he was not speaking as a religious scholar, said he feared it could lead to strife and disunity among Muslims if the current mindset was not changed.

“The feudal mentality and blind loyalty to political and religious leaders has to be removed if they want to progress,” he said at an event titled “Freedom of Religion and Freedom to Manifest One’s Religion: Balancing the Scales of Secularism”, held in conjunction with the International Malaysia Law Conference here.

Muslims make up close to two-thirds of Malaysia’s 33 million population.

Jahaberdeen said over the past 30 years, Muslims had been “intellectually imprisoned” by politicians and the religious elite.

“If left unchecked, third parties will dictate how you are going to lead your life,” he added, referring to such figures.

He quoted Surah 6 verse 94 in the Quran which, loosely translated, means: “We return to Allah alone, we are answerable to Him”.

“This means I am responsible for my faith. This is a universal message in the Quran,” he said, adding that faith was a matter between individuals and God.

He also said there was no example of compulsion in Islam, adding that this had come about in Malaysia due to the politicisation of the religion.

Another speaker, Suri Kempe, said religion was used to oppress Muslim women, which was against the teachings of Islam.

“Many human rights violations are perpetrated and justified in the name of religion, with approval from the state, society, community and even individuals,” she said.

She added that the 14 different sets of codified state “shariah” laws in Malaysia showed that there were differences in interpretation and that they were not divine.

“Discriminatory laws can and must be reformed in the direction of justice and equality for women.”

She said the concepts of equality and justice in Islam were also consistent with the first article of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/15/lawyer-slams-feudal-mentality-blind-loyalty-to-political-religious-leaders/

--------

 

Fuziah: Don’t drive LGBT group away from Islam

August 15, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh yesterday said the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group must be approached with compassion and respect.

She said the best way to tackle the issue was not to alienate the group as this would only drive them further away from Islam.

“In our religion, what is haram is haram and there is no compromise about that.

“(But) if we alienate the group, which has been done before, how are they supposed to live in dignity? We do not accept them at the workplace and shun them in public places, and sometimes look upon them as if they are dirt.

“So, the way we approach them should be different to ensure it does not drive them further away from Islam.”

Fuziah said this during a question-and-answer session at the International Malaysia Law Conference 2018, titled “Raising The Bar By Preserving and Furthering the Rule of Law”.

The four-day conference aims to empower lawyers to meet the modern challenges of internalisation of legal services and to prepare lawyers to seize opportunities as they arise.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/15/fuziah-dont-drive-lgbt-group-away-from-islam/

--------

 

Ma’ruf Amin to step down from PBNU, chairman says

August 15, 2018

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s running mate for the 2019 presidential election, Ma’ruf Amin, will step down as Rais Aam, or the supreme leader, of the country’s largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj has confirmed.

Said said Ma’ruf would officially tender his resignation after completing the haj to Saudi Arabia. Ma’ruf departed to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday morning.

“We will hold a meeting as soon as [Ma’ruf] returns [to Indonesia],” Said said on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co, adding that, “the vice supreme leader, Miftahul Akhyar, would automatically assume the Rais Aam post.”

The NU central board (PBNU) does not allow the Rais Aam to hold any political positions, according to Said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/15/maruf-amin-to-step-down-from-pbnu-chairman-says.html

--------

 

Arab World

 

Syrian Army Reinvigorates Combat Capabilities of Forces for Idlib Operation

Aug 15, 2018

The army sent fresh convoys of military vehicles and well-equipped soldiers to Northern Lattakia and al-Ghaab Plain, reinvigorating the government forces' combat capabilities and setting up new positions.

Also, a military convoy, including hundreds of army men and a large volume of equipment, left Southern Syria for Northern Hama.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at the positions of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and other terrorist groups in the town of al-Latamina and the village of Ma'arkaba in Northern Hama and also in the villages of al-Mushayrafa, Um al-Khalalil, Badama, al-Tineh and al-Lubideh in Eastern and Western Idlib.

Terrorists suffered heavy casualties and their military hardware sustained major damage in the attacks. 

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted media activists as reporting on Tuesday that a large number of terrorists each paid $250 to human traffickers to cross into Turkey in women's dress as the army was preparing to kick off a large-scale operation to end terrorists' presence in Northwestern Syria.

In the meantime, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network quoted local sources in Western Idlib as reporting that some had even been forced to pay $1,500 to bribe Turkish gendarmes.

Meanwhile, terrorists of the National Liberation Front arrested 30 more civilians in the towns of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman and Ariha on charges of attempts to join peace with the government forces.  

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970524000263

--------

 

US Army Increasing Operational Bases in Northeastern Syria

Aug 14, 2018

SOHR said that the US-led coalition has started developing and equipping its military airports in Northeastern Syria after it sent a large military convoy to al-Shadadi airport in Southern Hasaka.

It went on to say that the US forces have also started developing Ein al-Arab (Kobani) base in Northeastern Aleppo and another base in Tal Tamar region in Northwestern Hasaka.

SOHR further disclosed that the US army is planning to build a large military base in Manbij region on the Western Bank of the Euphrates River in Northeastern Aleppo. 

The Arabic-language Smart News website affiliated to the militants in Syria reported last week that a military convoy of the coalition crossed Iraq into Northeastern Syria via Simalka border-crossing.

It further said that the US military convoy, including 150 trucks with military vehicles on board, a number of oil tankers and other military equipment, was sent to regions that are under SDF's control in the province of Hasaka and Raqqa.

In the meantime, local sources in Hasaka city reported that an SDF commander was killed by unknown assailants in al-Nashwa neighborhood.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000840

--------

 

More Bodies of Civilians Killed in US Air Raids Found in Northeastern Syria

Aug 14, 2018

Bodies of nine civilians that were killed by the US air raids were taken out of debris near a historical Wall in Raqqa city.

In the meantime, bodies of three civilians that also were killed in the US-led coalition air attacks were unearthed near al-Sharaka Grand Mosque in the Southern part of Raqqa city.

Local sources said on Saturday that a mass grave with several bodies of the civilians killed in the US air attacks was found behind a garage in al-Badu neighborhood.

They further said that a sum of 20 bodies of civilians was taken out of debris in different areas in al-Badu in the last three days.

In the meantime, another mass grave was found in Panorama district South of Raqqa city.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000961

--------

 

ISIL Withdraws from More Positions in Syria's Sweida

Aug 14, 2018

The army men pushed ISIL back from Um Madoukh region Northwest of Toloul al-Safa in the Eastern Badiyeh of Sweida that is located in Southern Damascus.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at ISIL's movements Southwest of Toloul al-Safa, destroying two heavy military vehicles of the terrorists.

Local sources, meantime, said that the army men exchanged fire with a group of ISIL terrorists and repelled their attack that was aimed at breaking the siege on the terrorists in Toloul al-Safa.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties in the failed attack and pulled back the remaining pockets of its militants from the battlefield.

Reports said earlier today that the army men pushed ISIL back from Minqar Rahbah, Rahbah and Hawi Hossein regions in Badiyeh.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded ISIL's positions and developments in a region in the Eastern Badiyeh, destroying their strongholds and killing a number of them.

Also, other units of the army carried out an ambush operation in Qabr Sheikh Hossein in Badiyeh, inflicting heavy casualties on a group of ISIL terrorists and capturing several more.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000994

--------

 

More Terrorists Escaping to Turkey Ahead of Syrian Army Operation in Idlib

Aug 14, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted media activists as reporting that a large number of terrorists have each paid $250 to human traffickers to cross into Turkey in women's dress as the army is preparing to kick off a large-scale operation to end terrorists' presence in Northwestern Syria.

In the meantime, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news network quoted local sources in Western Idlib as reporting that some have even been forced to pay $1,500 to bribe Turkish gendarmes.

Meanwhile, terrorists of the National Liberation Front arrested 30 more civilians in the towns of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman and Ariha on charges of attempts to join peace with the government forces.   

A-Watan had also quoted sources affiliated to terrorists of the National Liberation Front as saying on Monday that the Front fighters did not trust Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and would possibly abandon them in the upcoming battle with the government forces.

It went on to say that Tahrir al-Sham vowed to support its allies, including Jeish al-Izzah and al-Turkistani Islamic Party in Northern Hama and Northeastern Lattakia, while it focused on saving its non-Syrian and Arab members.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000670

--------

 

US-Backed Militias Send Aid Convoys to ISIL in Eastern Syria

Aug 14, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported that the SDF has dispatched a sum of 13 trucks to the regions that are still under the ISIL terrorists' control in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.

The daily went on to say that the trucks were sent to the towns of al-Sha'afah, al-Souseh and Hajin, adding that the SDF has justified the move by claiming that the convoys carried food for civilians in the ISIL-held regions.

Local sources said last month that an American military helicopter, accompanied by several military vehicles of the Washington-backed Kurdish militias, conducted a heliborne operation between the villages of Tal Mashhan and Tal Dowayem in al-Ya'arabiyeh region in Eastern Hasaka near the border with Iraq.

The sources further said that three ISIL members, including an Iraqi terrorist, were rescued in the US heliborne operation and were transferred to an unknown destination.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000725

--------

 

Turkey-Backed Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Kurds in Northern Syria

Aug 14, 2018

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that Abdul Razaq al-Bokour, a commander of Ankara-backed militants, was killed in the Kurdish units' bomb attack on the Turkish troops and allied militants in Mobata region in Afrin.

"The Kurdish militias' operation against the Turkish troops and allied militants has been codenamed as Olive Rage," it said.

In the meantime, a bomb-laden motorcycle went off on a road to Kafr Jinah in Shera region that is usually patrolled by the Turkish forces and allied militants, killing a Turkish soldier and injuring a militant.

Local sources reported on Wednesday that one of the notorious commanders of a Turkey-backed militant group was found dead in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo amid growing insecurity in occupied regions in Northern Syria.

The sources said that the body of Omar al-Kadro, a commander of the 51st Brigade affiliated to the Free Army, was found in the town of Jandaris in Southwestern Afrin.

The sources went on to say that militants of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield were kept on alert five days ago after al-Kadro was kidnapped by unknown assailants from the main base of the Euphrates Shield forces in the town of al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo.

They further said that heavy infighting erupted between the 51th Brigade and Sultan Morad Firqa in Akhtarin region after the attackers kidnapped al-Kadro.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970523000771

--------

 

Saudi dissident preacher dies ‘after torture’ in regime prison: Report

Aug 14, 2018

A political dissident and Muslim preacher in Saudi Arabia has reportedly died as a result of torture while in regime custody as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against Muslim preachers and intellectuals widens in the conservative oil-rich kingdom.

The rights group Prisoners of Consciousness, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page on Tuesday that Sheikh Suleiman al-Doweesh had lost his life due to severe torture he was subjected to during criminal investigations.

The news came only two days after Saudi authorities arrested Shaikh Nasser al-Omar, a former professor at the Faculty of Fundamentals of Religion at Riyadh-based Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, and suspended his Twitter account.

Saudi Arabia has lately stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

Saudi officials have also intensified security measures in the Shia-populated and oil-rich Eastern Province.

Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime with security forces increasing security measures across the province.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/14/571162/Saudi-dissident-preacher-dies-after-torture-in-regime-prison-Report

--------

 

Syria, UN delegation discuss redeployment of peacekeepers to occupied Golan

Aug 15, 2018

A delegation of UN commanders has visited Damascus for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub on the redeployment of the world body’s peacekeepers to the volatile demilitarized zone along the Israeli-occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights. In a meeting in Damascus on Tuesday, the two sides discussed coordination between the Syrian government and the world body’s command on the resumption of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)’s mission along the ceasefire line between Syria and Israel based on the 1974 armistice, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

They also discussed an agreement for reopening the Quneitra crossing, which would allow Syrian families in Israeli-occupied Golan to return to their homeland under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Syria’s Golan Heights and annexed it four years later, a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war, known as the Arab-Israeli War, broke out between the Israeli regime and a coalition of Arab states, including Syria. A year later, a United Nations-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which the Tel Aviv regime and the Syrian government agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone patrolled by the UNDOF.

Israel has built dozens of illegal settlements in the occupied Golan Heights since its occupation, and has used the territory to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government in support of the terrorists wreaking havoc on the Arab country.

The UNDOF mission pulled out of Golan in 2014, when al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overran the area and kidnapped dozens of Fijian peacekeepers.

Back then, the terrorists also seized UN weapons, equipment and uniforms in a foreign-backed campaign that saw Syria’s side of Golan Heights fall into their hands.

Over the past weeks, however, the Syrian army, backed by its allies, namely Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, has made sizeable gains against Takfiri terrorists in the country’s southern areas near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The liberation of those areas would cut Israel’s much-reported contacts with anti-Damascus militants and deal a blow to Tel Aviv’s plans to make the international community recognize its annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

Tel Aviv has thus increased its military presence in Golan as well as its aerial assaults against Syrian army positions in a bid to prop up terrorists.

Last week, Israel’s minister for military affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, admitted that Syrian ground forces are recovering from the losses they suffered during over seven years of battles against foreign-backed terrorists.

Russia helps UN Golan patrols

Separately on Tuesday, the Russian military said that it would help the peacekeepers fully restore their patrols in Golan and would leave the region once the UN mission fully takes charge.

“The Russian military police work in close interaction with the UN,” Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko told reporters during a visit to Golan. “We are offering all possible assistance to the UN mission to allow it to resume its operations in the demilitarized zone in full.”

The Russian military police has already set up a hotline with UNDOF and four checkpoints on the edge of the demilitarized zone, he said, adding that another four checkpoints are planned to be erected.

Kuralenko also noted that a top priority for the Russian military police is to clear mines left by Takfiri elements.

“The main problem is a large number of explosive objects left,” he said. “We see our mission not only in clearing mines, but also in training local personnel. We are helping train Syrian military engineers so that they can do the job themselves.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/15/571221/Syria-Israel-Golan

--------

 

Up to 30,000 Daesh members in Iraq, Syria, says UN report

August 15, 2018

NEW YORK: Daesh has up to 30,000 members roughly equally distributed between Syria and Iraq and its global network poses a rising threat — as does Al-Qaeda, which is much stronger in places, a UN report says.

The report by UN experts circulated on Monday said that despite the defeat of Daesh in Iraq and most of Syria, it is likely that a reduced “covert version” of the terrorist group’s “core” will survive in both countries, with significant affiliated supporters in Afghanistan, Libya, Southeast Asia and West Africa.

The experts said Al-Qaeda’s global network also “continues to show resilience,” with its affiliates and allies much stronger than Daesh in some spots, including Somalia, Yemen, South Asia and Africa’s Sahel region.

Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Iran “have grown more prominent” and have been working with the extremist group’s top leader, Ayman Al-Zawahri, “projecting his authority more effectively than he could previously” including on events in Syria, the experts said.

The report to the Security Council by experts monitoring sanctions against Daesh and Al-Qaeda said the estimate of the current total Daesh membership in Iraq and Syria came from governments it did not identify. The estimate of between 20,000 and 30,000 members includes “a significant component of the many thousands of active foreign terrorist fighters,” it said.

While many Daesh men have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily “and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas.”

With its physical caliphate largely destroyed, Daesh is transforming from a “proto-state” to a covert “terrorist” network, “a process that is most advanced in Iraq” because it still controls pockets in Syria, the report said.

The experts said the discipline imposed by Daesh remains intact and its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi “remains in authority” despite reports that he was injured.

“It is just more delegated than before, by necessity, to the wider network outside the conflict zone,” the experts said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1356751/middle-east

--------

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/in-central-africa,-a-cathedral-shelters-muslims-amid-sectarian-violence/d/116121

 

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

 

Loading..

Loading..