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Islamic World News ( 17 Nov 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam Has The Best Argument In Support Of Human Rights: Iran’s Judiciary Chief

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 Nov 2019

 Islam Has The Best Argument In Support Of Human Rights: Iran’s Judiciary Chief

 Islam Guarantees Religious Freedom To Minorities: Zulfi Bukhari

 'Where Is My Family?’ Leaked Files Expose How China Mass Detains Muslims

 Non-Muslim Mayor in Alabama Celebrates Election with Qur’an Readings

 There's No Difference between Abu Bakr-Al Baghdadi and Owaisi Today: Shia Waqf Board

 Saudi Arabia Joins 50 Countries to Back UN Demand On Syria

 Russia Cannot Confirm Death Of Daesh Leader: Intelligence Chief



 Israel Broadens Showdown with Islamic Jihad to Include Hamas

 Turkey’s Conservative Men Citing Qur’an to Protest Women’s Alimony Rights

 Fight with Islamic Jihad was breeze compared to future war with Iran

 Hamas, Islamic Jihad put on show of reconciliation after clash at mourning tent

 Islamic Jihad threatens to launch attack during soccer match

 Civil engineer dies after mosque collapses in south-eastern Turkey

 Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammed Safadi withdraws candidacy for prime


 Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns



 Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal team visits International Islamic University

 Nawaz Sharif to travel to London in fully equipped, medically staffed air ambulance: Dr Adnan

 Altaf Hussain asks Modi for asylum, financial help

 Worst is over, Hafeez tells business leaders in Karachi


South Asia

 Over 615 Daesh Members Surrendered In Afghanistan In Two Weeks

 Rab arrests 6 ‘Ansar Al Islam’ men

 72 ISIS sympathizers surrender to Afghan forces in Nangarhar, claims local officials

 Afghan government reconsiders decision to swap HQN leaders with American University lecturers

 Trump issues pardons to 2 U.S. military officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan

 UN mission in Afghanistan accused of interfering in presidential elections


North America

 NRC Is a Tool to ‘Render Indian Muslims Stateless’, Says US Federal Panel On Religious Freedom

 Home Secretary Patel blocks rescue of British Islamic State children: Report

 Civilians killed in eastern Congo by suspected Islamist militants

 Pompeo: Iran using Islamic Jihad to strike at Israel



 The First Friday Prayers in Ayodhya since the SC's Verdict Held At 546 Ayodhya Mosques

 Lord Ram Revered By Muslims Too, 99% Muslims in India Are Converted, Says Ramdev

 Uttar Pradesh: 'Low-grade explosive used in mosque blast'

 Owaisi arrives for Muslim Law Board meet, will decide on Ayodhya review plea

 Kushinagar mosque blast : Ex-Army doctor from Hyderabad arrested, sent to 14-day


 Former UP minister writes to PM, wants trust for mosque too

 Three Muslim petitioners want review of Ayodhya judgment, says Zafaryab Jilani

' Assam NRC targets minorities, make Muslims stateless': US body on religious freedom

 “People in Pakistan showered so much love” says Sunny Deol


Arab World

 Muslim World League Chief Urges Media Outlets To Stick To Impartiality

 Saudi Arabia Keen On Strengthening Ties With EU

 Saudi Aramco sets IPO share price between 30-32 riyals

 Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

 King Abdullah Economic City launches World of Moments Festival



 Labour told not to be blackmailed by BJP, RSS on Kashmir

 Germany detains 'Islamic State' returnee deported from Turkey

 Social services 'to monitor children of Muslim couple' says High Court judge

 London’s auctions give insight into Islamic art



 At least 15 killed in eastern Congo by suspected Islamist terrorists

 South Kordofan rebels' demands for secularism mark latest challenge to Sudan's Islamists

 Herdsmen killing: Your threat can’t stop us – HURIWA fires back at Miyetti AllahA


Southeast Asia

 Ex-Star Boss Calls HK Protesters Rioters, Foreign Backed

 Muslim Fashion Show Showcases Indonesia's Weave, Batik Heritages

 Denmark to end consular assistance to Islamist fighters

 Tanjung Piai shows Malaysians tired of waiting for a New Malaysia


Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




Islam Has The Best Argument In Support Of Human Rights: Iran’s Judiciary Chief

16 November 2019

TEHRAN, Nov. 16 (MNA) – The Judiciary Chief Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi has criticized the argument that human rights is a western notion, stressing that Islam protects human rights in the best way.

Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, the head of Iran’s Judiciary, made the comments at the closing ceremony the 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Saturday.

Today, Islamic human rights are the most important issue that can guarantee human rights and the mankind based on Islamic teachings, the Iranian judiciary head said.

He also criticized the violations of human rights in the West, rejecting the claim that human rights is a western notion.

Raeisi further said that Islam has the best argument in support of human rights, calling on the Islamic countries for more unity and developing their cultural, social and economic relations.



Islam guarantees religious freedom to minorities: Zulfi Bukhari

November 16, 2019228

ISLAMABAD, Nov 16 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari said it was Islam that allowed minorities to practice their religion freely.

In a statement issued here Saturday, he lampooned the Jammiat Ulema Islam-Fazal’s leadership for being hostile against the opening of Kartarpur Corridor.

Zulfi Bukhari said Maulana Fazal ur Rehman was the son of that religious leader who had opposed Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his party, and the very idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of Sub-continent.

He said the Maulana’s hatred for the Prime Minister was natural as Pakistan and Imran Khan were part and parcel for each other.



'Where is my family?' Leaked files expose how China mass detains Muslims

November 17, 2019

The students booked their tickets home at the end of the semester, hoping for a relaxing break after exams and a summer of happy reunions with family in China’s far west.

Instead, they would soon be told that their parents were gone, relatives had vanished and neighbors were missing — all of them locked up in an expanding network of detention camps built to hold Muslim ethnic minorities.

The authorities in the Xinjiang region worried the situation was a powder keg. And so they prepared.

The leadership distributed a classified directive advising local officials to corner returning students as soon as they arrived and keep them quiet. It included a chillingly bureaucratic guide for how to handle their anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious: Where is my family?

The directive was among 403 pages of internal documents that have been shared with The New York Times in one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. They provide an unprecedented inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, in which the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.

The party has rejected international criticism of the camps and described them as job-training centers that use mild methods to fight Islamic extremism. But the documents confirm the coercive nature of the crackdown in the words and orders of the very officials who conceived and orchestrated it.

Even as the government presented its efforts in Xinjiang to the public as benevolent and unexceptional, it discussed and organized a ruthless and extraordinary campaign in these internal communications. Senior party leaders are recorded ordering drastic and urgent action against extremist violence, including the mass detentions, and discussing the consequences with cool detachment.

Children saw their parents taken away, students wondered who would pay their tuition and crops could not be planted or harvested for lack of manpower, the reports noted. Yet officials were directed to tell people who complained to be grateful for the Communist Party’s help and stay quiet.

The leaked papers offer a striking picture of how the hidden machinery of the Chinese state carried out the country’s most far-reaching internment campaign since the Mao era. The key disclosures in the documents include:

President Xi Jinping, the party chief, laid the groundwork for the crackdown in a series of speeches delivered in private to officials during and after a visit to Xinjiang in April 2014, just weeks after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people at a train station, killing 31. Mr. Xi called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy.”

Terrorist attacks abroad and the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan heightened the leadership’s fears and helped shape the crackdown. Officials argued that attacks in Britain resulted from policies that put “human rights above security,” and Mr. Xi urged the party to emulate aspects of America’s “war on terror” after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The internment camps in Xinjiang expanded rapidly after the appointment in August 2016 of Chen Quanguo, a zealous new party boss for the region. He distributed Mr. Xi’s speeches to justify the campaign and exhorted officials to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”

The crackdown encountered doubts and resistance from local officials who feared it would exacerbate ethnic tensions and stifle economic growth. Mr. Chen responded by purging officials suspected of standing in his way, including one county leader who was jailed after quietly releasing thousands of inmates from the camps.

The leaked papers consist of 24 documents, some of which contain duplicated material. They include nearly 200 pages of internal speeches by Mr. Xi and other leaders, and more than 150 pages of directives and reports on the surveillance and control of the Uighur population in Xinjiang. There are also references to plans to extend restrictions on Islam to other parts of China.

Though it is unclear how the documents were gathered and selected, the leak suggests greater discontent inside the party apparatus over the crackdown than previously known. The papers were brought to light by a member of the Chinese political establishment who requested anonymity and expressed hope that their disclosure would prevent party leaders, including Mr. Xi, from escaping culpability for the mass detentions.

The Chinese leadership wraps policymaking in secrecy, especially when it comes to Xinjiang, a resource-rich territory located on the sensitive frontier with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups make up more than half the region’s population of 25 million. The largest of these groups are the Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language and have long faced discrimination and restrictions on cultural and religious activities.

Beijing has sought for decades to suppress Uighur resistance to Chinese rule in Xinjiang. The current crackdown began after a surge of antigovernment and anti-Chinese violence, including ethnic riots in 2009 in Urumqi, the regional capital, and a May 2014 attack on an outdoor market that killed 39 people just days before Mr. Xi convened a leadership conference in Beijing to set a new policy course for Xinjiang.

Since 2017, the authorities in Xinjiang have detained many hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in internment camps. Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party.

Of the 24 documents, the directive on how to handle minority students returning home to Xinjiang in the summer of 2017 offers the most detailed discussion of the indoctrination camps — and the clearest illustration of the regimented way the party told the public one story while mobilizing around a much harsher narrative internally.

Even as the document advises officials to inform students that their relatives are receiving “treatment” for exposure to radical Islam, its title refers to family members who are being “dealt with,” or chuzhi, a euphemism used in party documents to mean punishment.

Officials in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang, drafted the question-and-answer script after the regional government warned local officials to prepare for the returning students. The agency coordinating efforts to “maintain stability” across Xinjiang then distributed the guide across the region and urged officials to use it as a model.

The government sends Xinjiang’s brightest young Uighurs to universities across China, with the goal of training a new generation of Uighur civil servants and teachers loyal to the party.

The crackdown has been so extensive that it affected even these elite students, the directive shows. And that made the authorities nervous.

“Returning students from other parts of China have widespread social ties across the entire country,” the directive noted. “The moment they issue incorrect opinions on WeChat, Weibo and other social media platforms, the impact is widespread and difficult to eradicate.”

The authorities anticipated, however, that this was unlikely to mollify students and provided replies to a series of other questions: When will my relatives be released? If this is for training, why can’t they come home? Can they request a leave? How will I afford school if my parents are studying and there is no one to work on the farm?

The guide recommended increasingly firm replies telling the students that their relatives had been “infected” by the “virus” of Islamic radicalism and must be quarantined and cured. Even grandparents and family members who seemed too old to carry out violence could not be spared, officials were directed to say.

“If they don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism,” one answer said, citing the civil war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State. “No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study.”

Students should be grateful that the authorities had taken their relatives away, the document said.

“Treasure this chance for free education that the party and government has provided to thoroughly eradicate erroneous thinking, and also learn Chinese and job skills,” one answer said. “This offers a great foundation for a happy life for your family.”

The authorities appear to be using a scoring system to determine who can be released from the camps: The document instructed officials to tell the students that their behavior could hurt their relatives’ scores, and to assess the daily behavior of the students and record their attendance at training sessions, meetings and other activities.

The ideas driving the mass detentions can be traced back to Xi Jinping’s first and only visit to Xinjiang as China’s leader, a tour shadowed by violence.

In 2014, little more than a year after becoming president, he spent four days in the region, and on the last day of the trip, two Uighur militants staged a suicide bombing outside a train station in Urumqi that injured nearly 80 people, one fatally.

Weeks earlier, militants with knives had gone on a rampage at another railway station, in southwest China, killing 31 people and injuring more than 140. And less than a month after Mr. Xi’s visit, assailants tossed explosives into a vegetable market in Urumqi, wounding 94 people and killing at least 39.

Against this backdrop of bloodshed, Mr. Xi delivered a series of secret speeches setting the hard-line course that culminated in the security offensive now underway in Xinjiang. While state media have alluded to these speeches, none were made public.

The text of four of them, though, were among the leaked documents — and they provide a rare, unfiltered look at the origins of the crackdown and the beliefs of the man who set it in motion.

“The methods that our comrades have at hand are too primitive,” Mr. Xi said in one talk, after inspecting a counterterrorism police squad in Urumqi. “None of these weapons is any answer for their big machete blades, ax heads and cold steel weapons.”

Mr. Xi displayed a fixation with the issue that seemed to go well beyond his public remarks on the subject. He likened Islamic extremism alternately to a virus-like contagion and a dangerously addictive drug, and declared that addressing it would require “a period of painful, interventionary treatment.”

“The psychological impact of extremist religious thought on people must never be underestimated,” Mr. Xi told officials in Urumqi on April 30, 2014, the final day of his trip to Xinjiang. “People who are captured by religious extremism — male or female, old or young — have their consciences destroyed, lose their humanity and murder without blinking an eye.”

In another speech, at the leadership conclave in Beijing a month later, he warned of “the toxicity of religious extremism.”

“As soon as you believe in it,” he said, “it’s like taking a drug, and you lose your sense, go crazy and will do anything.”

In several surprising passages, given the crackdown that followed, Mr. Xi also told officials to not discriminate against Uighurs and to respect their right to worship. He warned against overreacting to natural friction between Uighurs and Han Chinese, the nation’s dominant ethnic group, and rejected proposals to try to eliminate Islam entirely in China.

“In light of separatist and terrorist forces under the banner of Islam, some people have argued that Islam should be restricted or even eradicated,” he said during the Beijing conference. He called that view “biased, even wrong.”

But Mr. Xi’s main point was unmistakable: He was leading the party in a sharp turn toward greater repression in Xinjiang.

Before Mr. Xi, the party had often described attacks in Xinjiang as the work of a few fanatics inspired and orchestrated by shadowy separatist groups abroad. But Mr. Xi argued that Islamic extremism had taken root across swaths of Uighur society.

In fact, the vast majority of Uighurs adhere to moderate traditions, though some began embracing more conservative and more public religious practices in the 1990s, despite state controls on Islam. Mr. Xi’s remarks suggest he was alarmed by the revival of public piety. He blamed lax controls on religion, suggesting that his predecessors had let down their guard.

While previous Chinese leaders emphasized economic development to stifle unrest in Xinjiang, Mr. Xi said that was not enough. He demanded an ideological cure, an effort to rewire the thinking of the region’s Muslim minorities.

“The weapons of the people’s democratic dictatorship must be wielded without any hesitation or wavering,” Mr. Xi told the leadership conference on Xinjiang policy, which convened six days after the deadly attack on the vegetable market.

The Soviet Prism

Mr. Xi is the son of an early Communist Party leader who in the 1980s supported more relaxed policies toward ethnic minority groups, and some analysts had expected he might follow his father’s milder ways when he assumed leadership of the party in November 2012.

But the speeches underscore how Mr. Xi sees risks to China through the prism of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which he blamed on ideological laxity and spineless leadership.

Across China, he set about eliminating challenges to party rule; dissidents and human rights lawyers disappeared in waves of arrests. In Xinjiang, he pointed to examples from the former Soviet bloc to argue that economic growth would not immunize a society against ethnic separatism.

The Baltic republics were among the most developed in the Soviet Union but also the first to leave when the country broke up, he told the leadership conference. Yugoslavia’s relative prosperity did not prevent its disintegration either, he added.

“We say that development is the top priority and the basis for achieving lasting security, and that’s right,” Mr. Xi said. “But it would be wrong to believe that with development every problem solves itself.”

In the speeches, Mr. Xi showed a deep familiarity with the history of Uighur resistance to Chinese rule, or at least Beijing’s official version of it, and discussed episodes rarely if ever mentioned by Chinese leaders in public, including brief periods of Uighur self-rule in the first half of the 20th century.

Violence by Uighur militants has never threatened Communist control of the region. Though attacks grew deadlier after 2009, when nearly 200 people died in ethnic riots in Urumqi, they remained relatively small, scattered and unsophisticated.

Even so, Mr. Xi warned that the violence was spilling from Xinjiang into other parts of China and could taint the party’s image of strength. Unless the threat was extinguished, Mr. Xi told the leadership conference, “social stability will suffer shocks, the general unity of people of every ethnicity will be damaged, and the broad outlook for reform, development and stability will be affected.”

Setting aside diplomatic niceties, he traced the origins of Islamic extremism in Xinjiang to the Middle East, and warned that turmoil in Syria and Afghanistan would magnify the risks for China. Uighurs had traveled to both countries, he said, and could return to China as seasoned fighters seeking an independent homeland, which they called East Turkestan.

“After the United States pulls troops out of Afghanistan, terrorist organizations positioned on the frontiers of Afghanistan and Pakistan may quickly infiltrate into Central Asia,” Mr. Xi said. “East Turkestan’s terrorists who have received real-war training in Syria and Afghanistan could at any time launch terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.”

Mr. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, responded to the 2009 riots in Urumqi with a clampdown but he also stressed economic development as a cure for ethnic discontent — longstanding party policy. But Mr. Xi signaled a break with Mr. Hu’s approach in the speeches.

“In recent years, Xinjiang has grown very quickly and the standard of living has consistently risen, but even so ethnic separatism and terrorist violence have still been on the rise,” he said. “This goes to show that economic development does not automatically bring lasting order and security.”

Ensuring stability in Xinjiang would require a sweeping campaign of surveillance and intelligence gathering to root out resistance in Uighur society, Mr. Xi argued.

He said new technology must be part of the solution, foreshadowing the party’s deployment of facial recognition, genetic testing and big data in Xinjiang. But he also emphasized old-fashioned methods, such as neighborhood informants, and urged officials to study how Americans responded to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Like the United States, he said, China “must make the public an important resource in protecting national security.”

“We Communists should be naturals at fighting a people’s war,” he said. “We’re the best at organizing for a task.”

The only suggestion in these speeches that Mr. Xi envisioned the internment camps now at the heart of the crackdown was an endorsement of more intense indoctrination programs in Xinjiang’s prisons.

“There must be effective educational remolding and transformation of criminals,” he told officials in southern Xinjiang on the second day of his trip. “And even after these people are released, their education and transformation must continue.”

Within months, indoctrination sites began opening across Xinjiang — mostly small facilities at first, which held dozens or hundreds of Uighurs at a time for sessions intended to pressure them into disavowing devotion to Islam and professing gratitude for the party.

Then in August 2016, a hard-liner named Chen Quanguo was transferred from Tibet to govern Xinjiang. Within weeks, he called on local officials to “remobilize” around Mr. Xi’s goals and declared that Mr. Xi’s speeches “set the direction for making a success of Xinjiang.”

New security controls and a drastic expansion of the indoctrination camps followed.

“We must be as harsh as them,” he added, “and show absolutely no mercy.”

In free-flowing monologues in Xinjiang and at a subsequent leadership conference on Xinjiang policy in Beijing, Mr. Xi is recorded thinking through what he called a crucial national security issue and laying out his ideas for a “people’s war” in the region.

Although he did not order mass detentions in these speeches, he called on the party to unleash the tools of “dictatorship” to eradicate radical Islam in Xinjiang.

The crackdown appears to have smothered violent unrest in Xinjiang, but many experts have warned that the extreme security measures and mass detentions are likely to breed resentment that could eventually inspire worse ethnic clashes.

The camps have been condemned in Washington and other foreign capitals. As early as the May 2014 leadership conference, though, Mr. Xi anticipated international criticism and urged officials behind closed doors to ignore it.

“Don’t be afraid if hostile forces whine, or if hostile forces malign the image of Xinjiang,” he said.

‘Round Up Everyone’

The documents show there was more resistance to the crackdown inside the party than previously known — and highlight the key role that the new party boss in Xinjiang played in overcoming it.

Mr. Chen led a campaign akin to one of Mao’s turbulent political crusades, in which top-down pressure on local officials encouraged overreach and any expression of doubt was treated as a crime.

In February 2017, he told thousands of police officers and troops standing at attention in a vast square in Urumqi to prepare for a “smashing, obliterating offensive.” In the following weeks, the documents indicate, the leadership settled on plans to detain Uighurs in large numbers.

Mr. Chen issued a sweeping order: “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.” The vague phrase appears repeatedly in internal documents from 2017.

The party had previously used the phrase — “ying shou jin shou” in Chinese — when demanding that officials be vigilant and comprehensive in collecting taxes or measuring harvests. Now it was being applied to humans in directives that ordered, with no mention of judicial procedures, the detention of anyone who displayed “symptoms” of religious radicalism or antigovernment views.

The authorities laid out dozens of such signs, including common behavior among devout Uighurs such as wearing long beards, giving up smoking or drinking, studying Arabic and praying outside mosques.

Party leaders reinforced the orders with warnings about terrorism abroad and potential copycat attacks in China.

The number of people swept into the camps remains a closely guarded secret. But one of the leaked documents offers a hint of the scale of the campaign: It instructed officials to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in crowded facilities.

‘I Broke the Rules’

The orders were especially urgent and contentious in Yarkand County, a collection of rural towns and villages in southern Xinjiang where nearly all of the 900,000 residents are Uighur.

In the 2014 speeches, Mr. Xi had singled out southern Xinjiang as the front line in his fight against religious extremism. Uighurs make up close to 90 percent of the population in the south, compared to just under half in Xinjiang over all, and Mr. Xi set a long-term goal of attracting more Han Chinese settlers.

He and other party leaders ordered a quasi-military organization, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, to accelerate efforts to settle the area with more Han Chinese, the documents show.

A few months later, more than 100 Uighur militants armed with axes and knives attacked a government office and police station in Yarkand, killing 37 people, according to government reports. In the battle, the security forces shot dead 59 assailants, the reports said.

An official named Wang Yongzhi was appointed to run Yarkand soon afterward. With his glasses and crew cut, he looked the picture of a party technocrat. He had grown up and spent his career in southern Xinjiang and was seen as a deft, seasoned official who could deliver on the party’s top priorities in the area: economic development and firm control of the Uighurs.

But among the most revealing documents in the leaked papers are two that describe Mr. Wang’s downfall — an 11-page report summarizing the party’s internal investigation into his actions, and the text of a 15-page confession that he may have given under duress. Both were distributed inside the party as a warning to officials to fall in line behind the crackdown.

Han officials like Mr. Wang serve as the party’s anchors in southern Xinjiang, watching over Uighur officials in more junior positions, and he seemed to enjoy the blessing of top leaders, including Yu Zhengsheng, then China’s most senior official for ethnic issues, who visited the county in 2015.

Mr. Wang set about beefing up security in Yarkand but he also pushed economic development to address ethnic discontent. And he sought to soften the party’s religious policies, declaring that there was nothing wrong with having a Quran at home and encouraging party officials to read it to better understand Uighur traditions.

When the mass detentions began, Mr. Wang did as he was told at first and appeared to embrace the task with zeal.

He built two sprawling new detention facilities, including one as big as 50 basketball courts, and herded 20,000 people into them.

He sharply increased funding for the security forces in 2017, more than doubling spending on outlays such as checkpoints and surveillance to 1.37 billion renminbi, or about $180 million.

And he lined up party members for a rally in a public square and urged them to press the fight against terrorists. “Wipe them out completely,” he said. “Destroy them root and branch.”

But privately, Mr. Wang had misgivings, according to the confession that he later signed, which would have been carefully vetted by the party.

He was under intense pressure to prevent an outburst of violence in Yarkand, and worried the crackdown would provoke a backlash.

The authorities set numeric targets for Uighur detentions in parts of Xinjiang, and while it is unclear if they did so in Yarkand, Mr. Wang felt the orders left no room for moderation and would poison ethnic relations in the county.

He also worried that the mass detentions would make it impossible to record the economic progress he needed to earn a promotion.

The leadership had set goals to reduce poverty in Xinjiang. But with so many working-age residents being sent to the camps, Mr. Wang was afraid the targets would be out of reach, along with his hopes for a better job.

His superiors, he wrote, were “overly ambitious and unrealistic.”

“The policies and measures taken by higher levels were at gaping odds with realities on the ground and could not be implemented in full,” he added.

To help enforce the crackdown in southern Xinjiang, Mr. Chen transferred in hundreds of officials from the north. Publicly, Mr. Wang welcomed the 62 assigned to Yarkand. Privately, he seethed that they did not understand how to work with local officials and residents.

The pressure on officials in Xinjiang to detain Uighurs and prevent fresh violence was relentless, and Mr. Wang said in the confession — presumably signed under pressure — that he drank on the job. He described one episode in which he collapsed drunk during a meeting on security.

“While reporting on my work in the afternoon meeting, I rambled incoherently,” he said. “I’d just spoken a few sentences and my head collapsed on the table. It became the biggest joke across the whole prefecture.”

Thousands of officials in Xinjiang were punished for resisting or failing to carry out the crackdown with sufficient zeal. Uighur officials were accused of protecting fellow Uighurs, and Gu Wensheng, the Han leader of another southern county, was jailed for trying to slow the detentions and shield Uighur officials, according to the documents.

Secret teams of investigators traveled across the region identifying those who were not doing enough. In 2017, the party opened more than 12,000 investigations into party members in Xinjiang for infractions in the “fight against separatism,” more than 20 times the figure in the previous year, according to official statistics.

Mr. Wang may have gone further than any other official.

Quietly, he ordered the release of more than 7,000 camp inmates — an act of defiance for which he would be detained, stripped of power and prosecuted.

Brazen Defiance

Mr. Wang quietly disappeared from public view after September 2017.

About six months later, the party made an example of him, announcing that he was being investigated for “gravely disobeying the party central leadership’s strategy for governing Xinjiang.”

The internal report on the investigation was more direct. “He should have given his all to serving the party,” it said. “Instead, he ignored the party central leadership’s strategy for Xinjiang, and he went as far as brazen defiance.”

Both the report and Mr. Wang’s confession were read aloud to officials across Xinjiang. The message was plain: The party would not tolerate any hesitation in carrying out the mass detentions.

Propaganda outlets described Mr. Wang as irredeemably corrupt, and the internal report accused him of taking bribes on construction and mining deals and paying off superiors to win promotions.

The authorities also emphasized he was no friend of Uighurs. To hit poverty-reduction targets, he was said to have forced 1,500 families to move into unheated apartments in the middle of the winter. Some villagers burned wood indoors to keep warm, leading to injuries and deaths, his confession said.

But Mr. Wang’s greatest political sin was not revealed to the public. Instead, the authorities hid it in the internal report.

“He refused,” it said, “to round up everyone who should be rounded up.”



Non-Muslim Mayor in Alabama Celebrates Election with Qur’an Readings

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Steven Reed has just become mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, and he lost no time showing how intersectional and woke he is. He attended a Unity Interfaith Worship Service at a Montgomery church, where the Rev. Dr. Wendy Coleman, pastor at Reaching the Remnant Ministries, said: “We just want to remind you again of our mayor’s vision of bringing all people together from all walks of life, all faiths, all beliefs to make this city better.” To drive that point home, Coleman announced: “We will be blessed now with readings from various sacred texts, including the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an.”

How wonderful. How multicultural. How enlightened. Just wondering, however, has Steven Reed ever opened a Qur’an? Did the readings from the Qur’an include any of these passages?

“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out; persecution is worse than slaughter. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, kill them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is all-forgiving, all-compassionate. Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.” (Qur’an 2:191-193)

“We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.” (Qur’an 3:151)

“They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore do not take friends from among them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, seize them and kill them wherever you find them; do not take for yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)

“This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth to do corruption there: they shall be killed, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall be struck off on opposite sides; or they shall be exiled from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.” (Qur’an 5:33)

“When your Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; so strike the necks, and strike every finger of them!” (Qur’an 8:12)

“Fight them, till there is no persecution and religion is all for Allah; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.” (Qur’an 8:39)

“Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatever you spend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.” (Qur’an 8:60)

“Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.” (Qur’an 9:5)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book — until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (Qur’an 9:29)

“Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.” (Qur’an 9:111)

“O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.” (Qur’an 9:123)

“When you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.” (Qur’an 47:4)

Yeah, you’re going to tell me that these verses are “taken out of context,” and that the Bible has violent passages, too. All right. Why, then, have there been nearly 36,000 jihad attacks worldwide since 9/11, each performed by people who took the verses above “out of context” in exactly the same way? And if the Bible really has equivalent passages (it actually doesn’t contain any similar open-ended and universal calls to all believers to wage war against all unbelievers), why haven’t there been nearly 36,000 terror attacks committed since 9/11 by groups adhering to and quoting such verses? Why hasn’t there been even one such attack?

Also: when will the local mosque feature readings from the Bible? Or, as ever in Montgomery, Alabama as elsewhere, does the “outreach” only go one way?



There's no difference between Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi and Owaisi today: Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi

17th November 2019

LUCKNOW: Shia Waqf Board chief Wasim Rizvi slammed All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi by terming him as an equal of ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi.

"There is no difference between Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi and Asaduddin Owaisi today. Baghdadi had an army and arms and ammunition which he used to spread terror, Owaisi through his 'zabaan' (speeches) is creating terror through it. He is pushing the Muslims towards acts of terror and bloodshed. It is high time that there should be a ban on him and the Muslim Personal Law Board," Rizvi told ANI here on Saturday.

Rizvi was talking in reference to the speeches made by the AIMIM leader after the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.

Earlier on November 11, a complaint was filed against AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for allegedly making inciting statements following the Supreme Court's verdict on Ayodhya dispute case.

Following the pronouncement of the verdict, Owaisi said that the "Supreme Court is indeed supreme but not infallible".

"I am not satisfied with the verdict. We have full faith in the Constitution. We were fighting for our legal rights. We do not need five-acre land as a donation," he had said.

The Shia Waqf Board chief also slammed the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) for its stance on the verdict.

"This was a great decision by the Supreme Court, the likes of which I have not seen in my life. It satisfied all the parties but there are some parties like the Muslim Personal Law Board and Asaduddin Owaisi which are fuelling the orthodox mindset. There should be a ban on them too," Rizvi said.

Earlier on November 15, Rizvi had donated Rs 51,000 to the Shri Ram Janmabhumi Nyas in Ayodhya for the construction of the temple.

The Supreme Court on November 9 directed the Central government to hand over the disputed site at Ayodhya for the construction of a temple and set up a trust for the same.The apex court further directed the government to give a suitable plot of land measuring five acres to the Sunni Waqf Board.

A decade-long legal dispute was fought by Hindu Mahasabha, a sect of Hindu monks Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya.



Saudi Arabia joins 50 countries to back UN demand on Syria

16 November 2019

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has joined more than 50 countries in adopting a UN resolution calling for help in giving Syrians justice, freedom, prosperity and stability, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Addressing the UN General Assembly’s Special Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Committee in New York, the Saudi permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, said: “Years are passing and the suffering of the Syrian people continues to haunt the conscience of people around the world. While the sites, places and methods of oppression have changed, the suffering is still the same.”

He said that the circumstances condemned by previous resolutions on the human rights situation in Syria remained, including the displacement of nearly 6 million people abroad, the displacement of almost 7 million people inside the country, and the use of internationally prohibited weapons.

Al-Mouallimi said the resolution condemns human rights violations in Syria and stressed that recent UN reports have held the Syrian government responsible for the vast majority of these violations.

He called on the international community to take all necessary measures to stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters out of Syria and to halt the rebuilding of their capabilities within the country.



Russia cannot confirm death of Daesh leader: Intelligence chief

November 16, 2019

Russia is unable to confirm the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin said in response to a TASS question on Friday.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Russia is unable to confirm the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin said in response to a TASS question on Friday.

"We have no information or genetic samples that would prove this conclusively," he said.

On October 27, US President Donald Trump said that al-Baghdadi had been killed during a special operation in Syria’s Idlib Governorate.

He thanked Russia, Iraq, Syria and Turkey for their assistance. Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had no reliable information on al-Baghdadi’s death.

The international community called the killing of al-Baghdadi an important but not decisive step, calling for continuing the war on terror.





Israel broadens showdown with Islamic Jihad to include Hamas

Sunday 17/11/2019

LONDON - Israel struck at Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip after rocket fire by the Palestinian militant group rattled a precarious truce. A lull in the fighting ensued but the confrontation raised questions as to Israel’s tactics and the regional implications of its showdown with Islamic Jihad and its widening of the confrontation to include Hamas.

In a shift of strategy, Israel’s military, on November 16, said it “holds the Hamas terror organisation responsible for events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating

from it.

“Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”

The flare-up was ignited November 12 by Israel’s targeting of two commanders from the Islamic Jihad, killing Bahaa Abu al-Atta in Gaza and missing the second in Syria.

Israeli attacks killed at least 34 Palestinians. Palestinian militants fired more than 450 rockets into Israel, paralysing much of the southern part of the country but without causing death or serious injuries.

Hamas, the more powerful militant group that rules Gaza, seemed to stay out of the fighting, sticking to the terms of the truce mediated by Egypt. Israeli strikes November 16 targeting its infrastructure in Gaza are likely to alter Hamas’s calculated restraint.

Senior Hamas official Bassem Naim earlier told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Hamas believes that “managing the relationship with the occupation has to consider different and complicated contexts. “Therefore, sometimes we have to restrain our response, mainly because of Palestinian interest,” he said

Israel was seen as stepping up its battle against Iran and its proxies, seemingly taking advantage of Tehran’s precarious position in the region. Unrest in Iraq and Lebanon sparked a backlash against Tehran proxies in those countries.

There were questions in Israel of whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was trying to boost his political fortunes through attacks on Islamic Jihad.

Netanyahu heads a caretaker government and is fighting for his political survival ahead of a possible indictment on corruption charges. His chief rival, Benny Gantz, is trying to form a government.

Israel has gone public about its intent to attack Iranian positions in the region, especially in Syria. Iran has forces in Syria and supports Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. In Gaza, Iran is believed to be supplying Islamic Jihad with funds, weapons and expertise.

The Palestinian militant group was founded in 1981 to establish an Islamic Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and all of what is now Israel. It is designated a terrorist organisation by the US State Department, European Union and other governments.

Israeli officials described Abu al-Atta as a commander in Islamic Jihad’s armed wing and of being behind recent attacks against Israel. His death was the first high-profile assassination of an Islamic Jihad figure by Israel since the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad, in addition to suspected support from Iran, produced many of its weapons. The group has amassed an arsenal equal to Hamas’s, with longer-range rockets capable of striking Israel’s Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Although its base is Gaza, Islamic Jihad has leadership in Beirut and Damascus, where it maintains close ties with Iranian officials. Another suspected Israeli missile strike November 12 targeted Akram al-Ajouri, one of the group’s officials in Syria.

“He is the real direct connection between Islamic Jihad and Iran on the one hand and the person who gives instructions to the Gaza Strip on the other hand,” Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, told the Associated Press (AP).

Islamic Jihad in Gaza is key to Tehran’s “strategy of keeping pressure on Israel on all fronts,” Kobi Michael, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv think-tank, said to the AP.

The attacks renewed questions about the civilian toll of Israel’s military actions in Gaza, which has drawn heavy international criticism. The International Criminal Court in the Hague has opened an investigation into Israel’s tactics.

Many observers said they were sceptical of whether any ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad, be it declared or undeclared, can hold for long.

“But the minute we are going to finish this round, it is just a time out until next time and when is next time? In two weeks, in one month, in two months?” Ronni Shaked of the Harry Truman Research Institute for Peace in Jerusalem asked in an AFP report.



Turkey’s conservative men citing Qur’an to protest women’s alimony rights

Burcu Özkaya Günaydın

Nov 16 2019

Turkish men who have been actively campaigning to scrap women’s alimony rights in Turkish law cite a section of the Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, to strengthen their case, women’s activists told Ahval.

Alimony rights have been one of Turkey’s hot topics of debate since last April, after some men’s groups started a mainly social media campaign saying that their rights have been neglected and they have been suffering because of women’s rights to alimony. The issue is one of the priority issues to be examined by the Turkish parliament in coming months.

Meanwhile, while pro-government media keeps the issue in the limelight by continuously reporting on it using catchy headlines like “Man sells kidney because of not time-constrained alimony” or “The solution for alimony is in Islam”.

Hülya Gülbahar, a prominent women’s right activist in Turkey, told Ahval that those groups of men had been demanding alimony payments to be decreased to three months on the basis of a section in Qur’an on divorce. The 65th chapter of the Qur’an titled divorce, Surah At-Talaq, says that Muslim women should wait for the duration of three menstrual cycles before marrying any other man after a divorce so that the father of a potential child can clearly be identified. The Qur’an also specifies waiting periods for women who are in menopause or who have not menstruated yet.

“They are using religion as a tool for their own demands,” Gülbahar said. “In fact, studies show that alimonies are well beyond the value of domestic work women do for years without any pay, like cooking, cleaning, child and elderly care. Those who oppose alimonies aim to impoverish women by derogating the value of domestic work.”

While men in Turkey accuse woman of marrying so as to live a comfortable life after divorce, Gülbahar says in most of the cases the men only pay a child support alimony around 200- 300 lira ($34.7-$52) per month. The activist says scrapping alimony rights in Turkey would in effect make women hostages of marriages in which they are subject to domestic violence.

“The discussions in parliament will restart in the coming days. On the one side, there are millions of women, on the other side there is a bunch of enemies of women. We will see whose side the politicians will choose,” Gülbahar said.

The Turkish civil code allows the less guilty spouse to have right to spousal alimony if he or she is left without a means of subsistence after divorce. The spousal alimony is decided according to the financial conditions of the guilty party. A spouse who is not awarded the right of custody by court is also obliged to pay a child alimony, while a spouse may also ask for a temporary alimony for child care costs during divorce proceedings.

Berrin Sönmez, a columnist of Duvar news site and a women’s rights activist, said that the main issue had been centred on spousal alimony, adding that men’s groups had also been objecting to women’s rights to custody under the Turkish civil law.

“Religion does not say anything about alimony or how much it should be. Alimony in Turkish (nafaka) comes from the word infak, which means sharing. The religion (of Islam) wants you to share your fortunes with those close to you,” Sönmez explained.

The spousal alimony in Turkey was made indefinite in 1998. Before it had been limited to one year.

“The law was changed as women were impoverished after divorce due to low levels of employment. And the law does not distinguish between men and women. It says the spouse who is poor. But of course in our case most of the time the woman is the spouse that is poor,” Sönmez said.

“Moreover, the spousal alimony can be removed by court upon appeal after the divorce, but if a woman does not demand spousal alimony during divorce, then she cannot apply for it,” she said. “They are objecting despite that fact as they are not only targeting rights to alimony, but all rights women have gained.”

In fact the Turkish Republic granted women relatively progressive rights in its early days long before their peers in the Middle East and Europe. Women in Turkey have been enjoying voting rights in Turkey since 1930s and the civil code eliminated polygamy and religious marriages.

But in terms of economic power, women in Turkey lag behind their peers in many countries today. The labour force participation rate among women is at 34.9 percent as of August according to the data of the Turkish Statistical institute (TÜİK), while 37.2 percent of women between ages 15 and 24 are neither in school or participating in the work force.

Sönmez said those who are calling for the women’s right to alimony to be abolished point to Nordic countries like Sweden and Norway as examples. “In those countries women can stand on their own feet. Here, the husband tells wife to leave her job when they get married, promising that he will look after her. When the woman divorces, she finds herself without a job and with the responsibility of looking after children,” Sönmez said.

According to the activist, alimony rights became an issue due to men belonging to the new conservative middle class of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) want to have second wives.

“The women no longer accept second wives; they get divorced. Since men do not want to pay alimony to the spouse that has refused to bow down, they want alimony rights be removed,” Sönmez said.



Fight with Islamic Jihad was breeze compared to future war with Iran

Amnon Abramowitz


Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was targeted for killing because he stood in the way of an understanding being negotiated between Israel and Hamas.

The understanding itself should be a subject of discussion in the Israeli public sphere: How is it that over the past few years, the government of Israel has agreed to elevate Hamas to the position of a partner for negotiations, while the Palestinian Authority is not to be spoken with?

Why is Hamas an asset and the PA an enemy?

The answer is clear for all to see and was articulated publicly: Negotiations with Hamas will not be over land.

The Gaza-based Islamist group is a partner for underhanded business deals, money transfers and prisoner exchanges.

Israel and Hamas will not have to reach a partial or complete diplomatic agreement.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority will have to be negotiated with in order to reach a long-lasting solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Israel's ability to separate the two factions is seen by the government as a win.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman both backed the targeted killing of Abu al-Ata.

Had they been opposed to the action because of the political crisis burdening the country after yet another inconclusive election result, they would have been factoring political considerations into the operational decision-making process.

The two security chiefs opposed such an attack in September when Islamic Jihad fired rockets at Ashdod, embarrassing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was made to flee the stage during a campaign rally in the southern city.

It was clear at the time that killing the terror group's military commander would have prompted an outbreak of war, and it would have required sanction by the security cabinet.

Military Advocate General Sharon Afek was dispatched to stop the pending attack, even drafting Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to reinforce his position, and the danger was averted.

After the killing of Abu al-Ata, a rowdy and violent thug, his tiny terror organization brought Israel to a standstill for three days.

What then should we expect if heaven forbid, a joint war with Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah and Iran breaks out?

In such an event we would not be counting the missiles fired into our cities in the hundreds. We would be under attack by one 100,000 rockets with war heads that could be 10 times the size of those we have just experienced, and with far superior precision.

Iran's entrenchment on Israel's borders, the growth in strength and capability of the terror groups that are threatening our security and missing defensive weapons that could have been in our possession but are not will all one day be the subject of an official investigation.

Such an investigation will have to consider decisions made by the government that have led to such a risk to the security of the civilian population.

The investigation will examine both the speeches made and the failures to provide solutions to security challenges.

Israel's enemies may have failed to defeat the IDF, but they must be overjoyed at their success in bringing daily life in Israel to a halt.

The slim fortitude of Israelis should be a source of hope for our enemies who no doubt followed the endless news feeds depicting panic and distress.

What is more, Israel is still without an elected government.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz would be wise to remember before he signs onto a national unity government that Netanyahu is not a man of his word and should view with suspicion his claim that he would step aside and respect a rotation agreement for prime minister.

After all, this prime minister will not want to set a precedent in which he is found to be telling the truth.,7340,L-5625608,00.html



Hamas, Islamic Jihad put on show of reconciliation after clash at mourning tent

The Gaza leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday put on a display of reconciliation, after senior Hamas members were twice barred Friday from a mourning tent for a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist whose killing by Israel set off two days of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited the mourning tent for Baha abu al-Ata, and was warmly received and photographed along with Islamic Jihad’s Gaza leader Khaled al-Batsh and Abu al-Ata’s father.

Haniyeh also telephoned the Damascus-based overall Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhalah, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported.

The show of harmony between the rival terror groups came a day after Palestinians affiliated with Islamic Jihad accosted Hamas officials Mahmoud al-Zahar and Ahmed Bahar as they tried to visit the mourning tent for Abu al-Ata, who was killed early Tuesday in an Israeli air strike.

The mourners were apparently angry at Hamas after the Gaza-ruling terror group did not take part in the Tuesday-Wednesday flare-up between Israel and Islamic Jihad, during which Islamic Jihad fired some 450 rockets into Israel. Islamic Jihad members yelled “out, Hamas out,” and threw stones at the Hamas leaders’ vehicle.

After a second attempt to visit was made, eyewitnesses said Hamas police fired gunshots in the air as rioting broke out. The Hamas officials then fled from the mourning tent in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood.

On Saturday, Batsh, seated alongside Zahar, spoke out against what had happened. “The unfortunate incident regarding the way our warrior brother… Zahar was received harms Islamic Jihad and Hamas equally. The demagogic behavior is not acceptable to us,” said Batsh. “We promise that we will remain united in our war against Israel and those who assist her.”

Hebrew media reports Saturday said members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad military wings also held talks, and planned further attacks against Israeli targets.

In what some military sources said Saturday was a move by Hamas to demonstrate it remains committed to military confrontation with Israel, two rockets were fired from Gaza at Beersheba at around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. Both were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Channel 12 and Channel 13 news both reported, however, that while the rockets were likely fired by Hamas operatives, this was probably done without the approval of the Hamas leadership. Israel hit back at Hamas targets after the rocket fire, but the military strikes were relatively mild, the TV news reports noted, reflecting Israel’s ongoing desire to avoid a major conflict with Hamas, which is also seen to be seeking to avoid confrontation.

The military sources quoted in the TV reports said further intermittent rocket fire from Gaza could not be ruled out, but that there is an assessment that Hamas’s decision to stay out of the conflict on Tuesday and Wednesday offers a possibility of negotiations on a longer-term truce. There was no official confirmation of these reports.

Notably in this context, there were no protests Friday on the Gaza border, marking only the second time since the so-called March of Return protests and riots began in March 2018 that no weekly demonstrations took place. Hamas largely controls these protests.

Furthermore, as of Saturday night, local councils in southern Israel were planning to open schools as usual on Sunday morning, anticipating relative calm.

On Friday, the Ynet news site reported that the decision to agree to a ceasefire with Israel early Thursday led to a major rift within Islamic Jihad, with the group’s political wing supporting the ceasefire while the military wing wanted to keep fighting.

Palestinian sources told the site that officials in the military wing were also demanding that the group quit the joint war room of Gaza’s armed factions over Hamas’s decision not to participate in this week’s combat.

According to a Channel 13 report Friday night, the commander of the northern brigade in the Israeli military’s Gaza Division told security officials in southern Israel that despite the ceasefire, rocket-fire from the Strip could continue due to internal disputes between Islamic Jihad factions seeking to continue to respond to the targeted killing of Abu al-Ata.

Unlike previous escalations of tension between Israel and terror groups in Gaza, Hamas’s military wing did not actively participate in this week’s fighting, which ended with the announcement of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire early Thursday, though sporadic rocket fire continued throughout the day.

Israel also refrained from attacking Hamas targets. In previous rounds of fighting, Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for all violence emanating from the Strip; that was not the case this time.

From predawn Tuesday to Thursday morning, Israel and Islamic Jihad fought a battle in which over 450 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza, and the Israel Defense Forces responded with dozens of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad bases and weapons facilities and on the terror cells as they were firing and preparing to launch rockets.

Palestinian sources said 34 Gazans were killed. Israel said 25 of the fatalities were terrorists; human rights officials said 16 civilians were among the dead.

Hamas’s military wing said Friday one of its members was killed during the flare-up, but did not specify if he was involved in the fighting.

Fifty-eight Israelis were lightly and moderately injured or treated for anxiety.



Islamic Jihad threatens to launch attack during soccer match

Arutz Sheva


The Islamic Jihad terror group on Saturday published a photo of Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, threatening to fire rockets at it during an upcoming game.

The soccer match, scheduled for 10:00p.m. Saturday evening, will see Israel's national soccer team facing off with Poland in a UEFA Euro qualifier game.

The leaflet also included satellite imagery of the stadium with aerial photograph attached to the precise coordinates of the stadium.

The photo, included in a leaflet designed to encourage firing at Jerusalem, shows pictures of rockets hitting the stadium together, along with a hand holding a stopwatch with the time the game is scheduled to begin.

Satellite imagery of the stadium and its precise coordinates were included in the leaflet together with the photo, i24 News reported.

Israel's security organizations have not yet responded to the threat.

Early on Saturday morning, the Hamas terror group fired two rockets at Be'er Sheva - two days after Islamic Jihad agreed to a ceasefire after firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians.



Civil engineer dies after mosque collapses in south-eastern Turkey

Nov 16 2019

A civil engineer was found dead on Saturday after the structural framework of a mosque collapsed during construction the day before in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep.

The body of 37-year-old Korkut Küçükcan was found following a 33-hour search and rescue effort on the scene of the collapse, news site Diken reported.

“Hundreds of pounds of weight have been formed when a large amount of scaffolding material fell on top of him,” state run Anadolu news agency quoted Dr. Suat Zengin, who heads Gaziantep University Medical Faculty, as saying.

The structural framework of the mosque under construction in Gaziantep’s Akkent neighbourhood collapsed at 3 p.m. local time on Friday. Küçükcan, who had entered the site to obtain measurements, was buried underneath the rubble.

No other casualties have been reported.



Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammed Safadi withdraws candidacy for prime minister

November 16, 2019

BEIRUT: Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammed Safadi withdrew his candidacy to be the next prime minister on Saturday, saying that he saw that it would have been difficult to form a “harmonious” cabinet supported by all parties.

Safadi, 75, emerged as a candidate on Thursday when political sources and Lebanese media said three major parties had agreed to support him for the position.

His decision to withdraw throws Lebanon’s push to form a government needed to enact urgent reforms back to square one in the face of unprecedented protests that prompted prime minister Saad Hariri to resign last month.

Safadi said in a statement that he had decided to withdraw following consultations with political parties and a meeting on Saturday with Hariri.

“It is difficult to form a harmonious government supported by all political sides that could take the immediate salvation steps needed to halt the country’s economic and financial deterioration and respond to the aspirations of people in the street,” the statement said.

Protesters who took to the streets on Saturday denounced Safadi’s potential nomination, saying it ran counter to nationwide calls to oust a political elite they see him as part and parcel of.

In the statement, Safadi thanked President Michel Aoun and Hariri for supporting his candidacy, and said he hoped Hariri would return as premier to form a new government.

Shiite group Hezbollah and its Shiite ally Amal had agreed to back Safadi following a meeting with Hariri late on Thursday, according to Lebanese media and political sources, but no political party had since formally endorsed his candidacy.

The two Shiite groups, along with Aoun, a Maronite Christian, have sought for Hariri to return as premier but have demanded the inclusion of both technocrats and politicians in the new cabinet, while Hariri has insisted on a cabinet composed entirely of specialist ministers.

The process for choosing a new premier requires Aoun to formally consult members of parliament on their choice for prime minister. He must designate whoever gets the most votes.

Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, according to its sectarian power-sharing system.



Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

17 November 2019


BEIRUT: A Lebanese “revolution bus” traveling from north to south to unite protesters was halted by troops outside the city of Sidon on Saturday.

The army set up a road block to prevent the bus and a large protest convoy entering Sidon, the third-largest city in the country.

Local media said that the decision had been made to defuse tensions in the area following widespread protests.

Lebanese troops blocked the Beirut-South highway at the Jiyeh-Rumailah checkpoint over “security concerns,” a military source told Arab News.

“Some people in Sidon objected to the crossing of the bus and we feared that problems may take place,” the source added.

A protester in Ilya Square in Sidon said: “Those who do not want the bus to enter Sidon should simply leave the square because there are many who want to welcome the bus.”

The army allowed the bus to enter the town of Rumailah, 2 km from Sidon. “The bus will stop here after nightfall because of security fears and the risk of an accident,” the military source said.

The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest.

Activists said the protest bus “is spreading the idea of a peaceful revolution by unifying the people.”

“The pain is the same from the far north of Lebanon to the south and the only flag raised is the Lebanese flag,” one activist said.

Organizers of the protest convoy rejected claims that the cities of Sidon, Nabatieh and Tyre were reluctant to welcome the bus, and voiced their respect for the Lebanese army decision.

After leaving Akkar the bus passed through squares that witnessed protests in Tripoli, Batroun, Jbeil, Zouk Mosbeh, Jal El Dib and Beirut. Protesters chanted “Revolution” and lined the route of the convoy, turning it into a “procession of the revolution.”

The bus paused in Khalde, where the first victim of the protests, Alaa Abu Fakhr, was shot and killed a few days ago by a Lebanese soldier. The victim’s widow and family welcomed the convoy and protesters laid wreaths at the site of the shooting.

Activists’ tweets on Saturday claimed that life in Beirut’s southern suburbs is as difficult as in other areas of Lebanon.

“As a Shiite girl living in the heart of the southern suburbs, I deny that we are living well and not suffering. We are in a worse position than the rest of the regions,” said an activist who called herself Ruanovsky.

“No one is doing well,” said Wissam Abdallah. “The suburbs have external security and safety, but unfortunately there is a lot of corruption. There are forged car van plates, motorcycle mafia, Internet and satellite mafia, royalties mafia, and hashish and drugs mafia. Municipalities have to deal with these things as soon as possible.”





Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal team visits International Islamic University

November 17, 2019

Islamabad: A 45-member delegation of the Officers of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) headed by its Director Kamran Bhutta visited new campus of the International Islamic University (IIU).

The delegation had a detailed meeting with the IIU president IIU Dr. Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh, Vice Presidents, faculty members and officers where it was briefed about IIU’s profile, services, achievements, vision, future goals and scope.

On the occasion matters pertaining to boosting bilateral ties and need-based scholarships were also discussed.

Kamran Bhutta hailed IIU for its untiring efforts for promotion of higher education.

He added that the collaboration of mutual cooperation between IIU and Pakistan Baitul Mal was a very successful one as both the institutions share the goals of service of humanity.

He also appreciated the efforts of IIU president for the linkages of university with philanthropists, charities and PBM.

IIU President Dr. Ahmed Yousif Draiweesh said on the occasion that there is nothing better than helping poor and Pakistan Baitul Mal is the most important organization of the society which is helping old, orphanages and poor.

He said both IIU and PBM have similar goals of serving humanity and this fact brings both organizations closer to work together through collaboration and strong bilateral ties. Dr. Al-Draiweesh said internationalization was one of the core objectives of the IIU and it strongly encouraged bilateral cooperation with all the educational institutions and society serving organization of the world.

Later, the delegation also visited central library and Al-Farabi complex where they were briefed about advanced photovoltaic lab and interdisciplinary research centres.



Nawaz Sharif to travel to London in fully equipped, medically staffed air ambulance: Dr Adnan

November 17, 2019

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan on Sunday stated that the PML-N leader will travel to London in a fully equipped and medically staffed air ambulance.

The doctor said that the former premier will will travel to London in the next 48 hours once he’s ‘clinically stable’.

The chief executive of the Sharif Medical City tweeted saying, “He [Nawaz Sharif] will make the journey in a fully equipped & medically staffed Air Ambulance; arriving soon.”

The doctor stated that the former prime minister is scheduled to travel abroad once he’s clinically stabilised, made travel-worthy and is safe for air travel.



Altaf Hussain asks Modi for asylum, financial help

Murtaza Ali Shah

November 16, 2019

LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain has requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help by giving asylum and financial help to him and his companions.

In his first ever public speech after the police relaxed his bail conditions, the MQM leader has turned towards the Indian prime minister and asked him for help in many forms. The MQM leader has been charged with a section of terrorism by the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) and is due to stand trial in June next year. His passport remains with the UK police as part of his bail conditions and he is not allowed to apply for any travel document unless permitted by the court. Lawyers are assessing whether Hussain has breached his bail conditions by asking the Indian premier to let him stay in India while he awaits trial of his case.

In a speech watched online by thousands of people, the MQM leader said he would like to travel to India because his grandfathers are buried there. The MQM founder said in his request to the Indian government: "If India's Prime Minister Mr. Modi allows me to come to India and provides me asylum with my colleagues, I am ready to come to India along with my colleagues because my grandfather is buried there. My grandmother is buried there and thousands of my relatives are buried there in India. I want to go to India to their graves."

Addressing Modi, Altaf Hussain alleged that his assets, house and offices were taken over in Karachi after August 22, 2017. He asked the Indian prime minister to help him with money if he cannot take the risk of providing him asylum.

Altaf Hussain was speaking soon after India's superior court announced its verdict in the Babri Mosque case, maintaining that Muslims do not have a right over the disputed historic site. Hussain said the current government of Modi has the "right to establish Hindu raaj (rule)" and if Indian politician Asaduddin Owaisi and others did not like India, they should migrate to Pakistan. In his speech, Altaf Hussain sided with the Indian government's position on the Babri Mosque issue.

The MQM leader has been charged in the UK for inciting violence in Pakistan in one of his speeches back in August 2016 to a crowd of his supporters in Karachi. Most of his senior comrades have left him over incendiary speeches and remarks which caused huge damage to the once most formidable force of Karachi.



Worst is over, Hafeez tells business leaders in Karachi

November 17, 2019

KARACHI: In a two-hour long interaction with large foreign investors of the country, Finance Adviser Hafeez Shaikh faced industry concerns and tried to assuage his audience that the worst of the adjustment might be over and the year 2020 will be better.

More than 50 people assembled in the auditorium of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) to hear Shaikh, who was there on an invitation by the chamber.

“He spoke for almost one hour,” one of the participants in the meeting tells Dawn. “Mostly, his message was that the most difficult period has been managed, we are on the road to recovery, and he literally read out the last paragraph of the press release issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the last review meeting to tell us that things are improving.”

The foreign exchange situation has been stabilised, exchange rate is relatively stable and the IMF programme is being implemented to the satisfaction of the fund, he told the audience. He also explained why zero rating for export-oriented sectors was withdrawn and promised there would be no going back on this measure. Exporters will get more relief in the future, he assured the audience, adding that circular debt will also be addressed through Rs200 billion worth of bonds for which the green light has been obtained from the IMF.

In return, the participants grilled him on interest rates, circular debt and tax refunds, as well as industry specific issues.

“We told him business has been badly impacted, all are suffering directly or indirectly,” one person who was present at the meeting tells Dawn, adding that they tried to keep their own feedback positive to the extent that they could.

“We told him we support the government; their initiative like broadening of the tax base which is a good measure, but what is the way forward from where we are? A little reality check was needed to be delivered. He has to understand that not everything is sunny, there are some concerns.”

People have been adversely hit by interest rate hikes and poor decision making like withdrawing the announcement for axle-load regulation. “These things hurt business confidence.”

The OICCI shared its own research with the adviser, showing him plummeting business confidence in the present environment. “You have no industrial policy, if we have a foreign investor where do I take them, what do I point to specifically? Ease of doing business is not just a number; it should be manifest and felt by those running businesses or seeking to open one. Where is the rise in the number of small and medium enterprises being registered in the country?”

One person said Rs500 million tax refunds from his company are stuck for many months and shared some details. Another person brought up a 10-year old refund that also remains outstanding.

“After the meeting, he called the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman in front of us and asked him about these issues, who told him I don’t know off hand but I will check and revert,” the meeting participant tells Dawn.

Oil companies complained about losses suffered on account of exchange rate depreciation which was not followed by appropriate upward revision of prices. To which, the adviser “said we’ll talk.”

Turnover tax is too high, one party complained, which prompted another call to the FBR chairman, who simply said the matter is for the parliament to decide since they set the taxes.

“On the whole, people felt reassured by his appearance,” the participant says when asked how the words of the adviser were received.

He gave no assurance on the direction of interest rate, saying that these matters are decided by the State Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, though he did indicate that revisions are based on inflation, which is not increasing and the government has not passed through any large oil price hikes for four months yet.

Dawn’s calls to seek comments from finance adviser were not returned.



South Asia


Over 615 Daesh members surrendered in Afghanistan in two weeks

November 16, 2019

Over 615 Daesh members surrendered in Afghanistan in two weeks

Eighteen Daesh members accompanied by 24 women and 31 children surrendered to Afghan forces on Friday in Achin district, Nangarhar province, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Eighteen Daesh members accompanied by 24 women and 31 children surrendered to Afghan forces on Friday in Achin district, Nangarhar province, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The total number of Daesh militants and family members who have surrendered to Afghan forces in the past two weeks is “over 615,” according to the Defense Ministry, which attributes the recent mass surrenders to increased operations against “terrorists” by security forces.

On Thursday, 82 Daesh militants handed over their weapons and surrendered to Afghan security forces in Achin district of Nangarhar, and were accompanied by 51 women and 96 children.

On Wednesday, ‘at least 300’ Daesh members, including women and children, surrendered to Afghan Special Forces in Nangarhar, according to Commander Waliullah, the Army Special Forces commander in Achin district.

According to Abdulhaq Omeri, a TOLOnews reporter, a number of those 300 Daesh members are Pakistani citizens. But interviews with Daesh members indicate that militants come from a variety of countries.



Rab arrests 6 ‘Ansar Al Islam’ men

November 17, 2019

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have arrested six suspected operatives of banned militant outfit Ansar al Islam in Dhaka and Satkhira, who were allegedly operating the group online and through encrypted messaging apps.

The six were arrested in separate raids in the capital’s Uttara, Gazipur and Satkhira’s Shyamnagar upazila on Friday, said Mozammel Haque, commanding officer of Rab-4 at a press conference at Rab media centre yesterday.

The arrestees are: Shafiqul Islam alias Salman Muktadir (21), Elias Hawlader alias Khattab (32), Ekramul Islam alias Amir Hamza (21), Amir Hossain (26), Shipon Mir alias Abdur Rob (33), and Waliullah alias Abdur Rahman (25), the elite force said.

“They were planning to gather at a place in the capital’s Uttara to plan an attack,” the Rab official claimed, adding that they have seized a laptop, mobile phones and books, leaflets and digital content containing extermist ideologies.

They arrestees have been involved with the banned militant outfit for two to four years, according to the elite force.

Among them, Amir Hossain used to operate six Facebook pages to propagate the ideology of Ansar al Islam and is the chief coordinator of the outfit’s Satkhira district, Rab said.

He was influenced by sermons and write-ups of radical Muslim preacher Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani. He eventually got connected with Elias Hawlader alias Khattab, a top militant, who was earlier involved with Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh, according to Rab.

Elias influenced diploma engineering student Shafiqul, generator operator of a mobile company Ekramul and driver Shipon through encrypted messaging apps, Rab claimed.

Another arrestee Waliullah was a teacher of a madrasa in Sutrapur. Through his job, he got connected with a militant named Abdullah, in 2016.

After Abdullah left the country, he got in touch with Mahafuz and Saiful Hujur in 2018, who influenced Waliullah to work for the outfit’s Dhaka south area, the Rab claimed. Rab said Ansar al Islam is responsible for killing bloggers, writers and free thinkers in the country.



72 ISIS sympathizers surrender to Afghan forces in Nangarhar, claims local officials

Sunday, 17 Nov 2019

A group of 72 sympathizers of ISIS Khurasan terror group surrendered to Afghan forces in eastern Nangarhar province, the local officials said Sunday.

The officials further added that the militants surrendered to the Afghan forces in Achin and Haska Mina districts late on Saturday night.

Ashiqullah Sadat, the district chief of Achin said 69 ISIS militants handed over themselves to the Afghan forces with 76 women and 96 children in this district.

The district chief of Haska Mina also confirmed that three ISIS militants surrendered to Afghan forces in this district on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the provincial government in a statement said the ISIS militants also handed over several weapons to the Afghan forces.

The statement further added the local authorities predict that more ISIS militants may surrender to Afghan forces in coming days.

The Ministry of Defense had earlier announced that the Afghan forces have increased pressures against the terror group in unprecedented manner during the recent months, forcing hundreds of militants of the terror group to surrender.



Afghan government reconsiders decision to swap HQN leaders with American University lecturers

Sunday, 17 Nov 2019

The Afghan government has reconsidered decision to swap three senior leaders of the Haqqani terrorist network with the American University lecturers.

Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said late on Saturday that Anas Haqqani, Mali Khan and Hafiz Rashid, the three senior Haqqani network leaders are still in the custody of the Afghan government.

Sediqqi blamed the postponement of the prisoners swap, claiming that the group failed to respect the conditions of the process.

Meanwhile, Sediqqi said the Afghan government has reconsidered decision and will take further actions in the light of the interests and benefits of Afghanistan.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday announced that the government is intending to release the three senior Haqqani network leaders in exchange for the release of the two American University lecturers.

The Taliban group kidnapped the two American University lecturers from West of Kabul city in August of 2016.



Trump issues pardons to 2 U.S. military officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan

Saturday, 16 Nov 2019

The U.S. President Donald Trump has issued pardons to U.S. military officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan, the White House confirmed.

According to a statement released White House “Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn.”

Lieutenant Lorance was jailed for 19 years after he ordered his men to open fire on three men in 2012 in which two people were killed. He had served more than six years of the 19-year sentenced he received.

Major Mathew Golsteyn was set to stand trial for an allegedly unlawful killing of a suspected Taliban bomb maker in Marjah district of Helmand province.

“As our forces cleared the Taliban from the city of Marjah, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated, killing two Marines. The terrorist bombmaker, as identified by an Afghan informant, who had killed our troops, was detained and questioned.”

“Golsteyn was compelled to release him, however, due in part to deficiencies within the fledgling Afghan detention system,” the White House said in its statement, adding that “Golsteyn has said he later shot the terrorist because he was certain that the terrorist’s bombmaking activities would continue to threaten American troops and their Afghan partners, including Afghan civilians who had helped identify him.”

Meanwhile, the White House said President Trump has signed an order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him.



UN mission in Afghanistan accused of interfering in presidential elections

Saturday, 16 Nov 2019

The Council of Presidential Runners has accused the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan of interfering in presidential elections.

According to a statement released by Council of Presidential Runners, the UN mission in Afghanistan has adopted a ‘biased’ approach while dealing with the issues of presidential elections.

The statement specifically pointed towards the recent letter of UNAMA in which it complained regarding the behavior of one of the election commissioners, calling it a biased approach.

Meanwhile, some social media users and activists have complained that the UN mission in Afghanistan has not only removed their critical comments regarding the mission’s recent statement and Tweets but has blocked them from accessing its social media pages.

On the other hand, Asadullah Saadati, the running mate of Abdullah Abdullah in presidential election has said that he does not think UNAMA is solely responsible for the issue.

Saadati blamed certain active ‘channels’ within UNAMA for the issue, claiming that the channels are actively operating in other areas as well.

This comes as an audio clip of lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail who is also a member of the electoral team of President Ashraf Ghani recently went viral on social media websites in which she talks about a specific channel in UNAMA that operates in favor of State Builder team led by the President.



North America


NRC is a tool to ‘render Indian Muslims stateless’, says US federal panel on religious freedom

People queue up outside a Gaon Panchayat office in Pavakati village in Assam's Morigaon district after the final list of the National Register of Citizens was released on August 31. | PTI

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, or USCIRF, has described the National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam as a “tool to target religious minorities, and, in particular, render Indian Muslims stateless”.

The commission on Friday said the NRC was one more example of the “downward trend in religious freedom conditions within India”. The remarks came a day after it appeared before the US Congress and criticised the Indian government’s actions in Jammu and Kashmir.

The panel, which is an independent, bipartisan entity of the US federal government, observed that the final NRC list released on August 31 excluded 19 lakh people, or around 6% of Assam’s population.

The commission pointed out the concern of many domestic and international organisations that the NRC is a “targeted mechanism to disenfranchise Assam’s Bengali Muslim community”, as well as establish “a religious requirement for citizenship”.

The USCIRF said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government had pushed for the implementation of the citizens’ database in other states, notably Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It pointed out that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks about implementing a nationwide register of citizens. The commission alleged that “following the August 2019 release of the NRC, the BJP government has taken steps that reflect an anti-Muslim bias”.

The commission said that for many “impoverished families” presenting the required documents was a challenge because of inadequate family record-keeping, illiteracy, or lack of money to travel to government offices and file legal claims. “People were also kept off the list because of minor inconsistencies in paperwork, such as differences in the spelling of a name,” it added.

In a statement in September, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that the Supreme Court had mandated and monitored the NRC process. “The process is being monitored by the Supreme Court directly and the government is acting in accordance with the directives issued by the court,” the ministry said, according to PTI. “The apex court of the land has itself set the deadlines for all steps that have been taken so far.”

The ministry said the NRC was a process that “leaves no room for bias and injustice”. It pointed out that the NRC form did not ask for an individual’s religion. People excluded from the NRC have 120 days from the date of the list’s publication to appeal in the Foreigners Tribunal. If they are not satisfied with the verdict, they have the option of moving the High Court and the Supreme Court.



Home Secretary Patel blocks rescue of British Islamic State children: Report

16 November 2019

Home Secretary Priti Patel intervened to block a recent rescue operation to bring British orphans and unaccompanied minors home from Syria, the Guardian reported, citing unidentified sources.

Patel, along with several other ministers including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, last month objected to the extraction of British children from the war-ravaged country, the sources said.

Their opposition meant that a late-October rescue operation was abandoned because Patel, Wallace and Chancellor Sajid Javid said the children posed “security concerns”, according to the newspaper’s website.

More than 60 British minors had been identified along with a safe route to take them out of northeast Syria and then to Irbil, Iraq, where they would have been flown to the UK.

UK arrests man on 'Syria-related' terror offences after deportation from Turkey

Previously, Britain has said that it would not take back any British nationals, including children, who are stranded in northern Syria.

Several councils in the UK had offered care and reintegration programmes for the children.

The charity Save the Children, which has officials working in northeast Syria, described the resistance from ministers including Patel as “grievous irresponsibility” and said that “playing politics” with children’s lives was unacceptable.

James Denselow, head of conflict advocacy at the organisation, said that the security situation in northeast Syria had deteriorated since the UK rescue operation was planned. “There was a window of opportunity that was wider, and now it is narrowing.”

During the National Security Council meetings at which the repatriation of the children was discussed, it was understood that the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, was among those strongly advocating the repatriation of the children, the Guardian said.

On 14 October, Raab told parliament that British orphans in Syria should be brought back to the UK, yet nothing outlining how a new approach might work emerged before parliament dissolved on 5 November.

Still, Turkey has begun sending Britons back to the UK. British counter-terror police arrested a man at London's Heathrow Airport earlier this week on suspected terror offences after he was deported from Turkey, MEE reported earlier this week.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Thursday that the 26-year-old man was arrested on "suspicion of terrorism offences" after he landed at Heathrow on a flight from Turkey.

Police said the arrest was "Syria-related", but did not provide further details.



Civilians killed in eastern Congo by suspected Islamist militants

November 17, 2019

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 15 people overnight in eastern Congo, local officials said on Saturday, in the latest massacre since the army launched a major offensive against the rebels last month.

Democratic Republic of Congo's army initiated its latest campaign, with support from UN peacekeepers, on October 30 to root out fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from the dense forests near the Ugandan border.

As was the case during previous military operations against the ADF, its fighters have retaliated by attacking civilians, killing more than 40 since last week, according to local civil society activists.

Attacks blamed by the government on the ADF have killed hundreds of civilians since 2014.

The attacks on Friday in and around the village of Mbau were carried out with bladed weapons, local officials said. Among the eight victims in Mbau were six members of a single family.

Seven members of a Pygmy ethnic group living in the nearby forest were also killed, officials said. Their bodies were found tied up and their throats had been slit.

"The rebels are attacking civilians in order to spread confusion and panic among the population," said Donat Kibwana, the regional administrator in the nearby city of Beni.

Mbau residents said it had taken many hours for soldiers based nearby to respond, a common complaint after attacks in the area.

Army officials were not immediately available for comment.

Researchers and rights groups say some Congolese soldiers and other rebel groups have also participated in massacres since 2014 for a variety or motives often related to competition for power in lawless zones dominated by dozens of militia groups.

Several of the previous attacks by the ADF, which was founded in Uganda in 1995, have been claimed by Islamic State, but the extent of their relationship remains unclear. The ADF is not known to have publicly pledged loyalty to Islamic State.



Pompeo: Iran using Islamic Jihad to strike at Israel

Chana Roberts


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday blamed Iran for using a Gaza terror group as a proxy to attack Israel.

In two tweets, Pompeo wrote: "Iran uses its terrorist proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad to strike our great ally Israel. Iran does not want peace in the region. It does not want the Palestinian people to prosper. It wants more conflict. Until we address Iran’s threats, the cycle of violence will continue."

"The way forward is clear: continued pressure until Iran negotiates a comprehensive agreement that includes halting its support to terror groups like PIJ. Nations around the world can no longer claim to want peace in the region yet allow Iran’s threats to go unchallenged."

Earlier this week, the PIJ launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians before agreeing to a ceasefire.

On Saturday, Hamas, the terror group which controls Gaza, launched two rockets at the southern city of Be'er Sheva.





The First Friday Prayers in Ayodhya since the SC's Verdict, Held At 546 Ayodhya Mosques

Nov 16, 2019

LUCKNOW: The first Friday prayers in Ayodhya since the SC's verdict in Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit went off peacefully as a 6,500-strong police contingent watched over 546 mosques spread across the city.

"The WhatsApp groups we had formed as part of our initiative to maintain peace in the run-up to the verdict will continue to operate like before. The message of harmony has helped build a convivial atmosphere among the people here," Ayodhya SSP Ashish Tiwari said . Police deployed outside mosques were seen greeting and shaking hands with kids stepping out after prayers. In villages, cops interacted with locals over meals and tea before and after the three rounds of prayers. Ayodhya police are engaging in peace efforts with members of 21 outfits representing Hindu and Muslim communities.



Lord Ram Revered By Muslims Too, 99% Muslims In India Are Converted, Says Ramdev

November 16, 2019

Ramdev spoke at length on Ayodhya, the Supreme Court's verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case and the construction of Ram temple.

While speaking about the link between Lord Ram, Hindus and Ayodhya, Ramdev said, "Not just to Hindus, Lord Ram is a revered figure even for Muslims. I believe that 99 per cent Muslims in India are converted."

Speaking about the Supreme Court verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case that cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, Ramdev said: "I look at this from the perspective of national unity".

Ramdev said the Ram temple in Ayodhya should depict the culture of Hindus and it should be the most beautiful temple in the world. "Ram temple must be the most beautiful one. That is the dream of Hindus of India. It should reflect our cultural heritage," Ramdev said.

Ramdev also said, "What Vatican is to Catholics, Mecca is to Muslims, Golden Temple to Sikhs, Ayodhya is to Hindus."

The Supreme Court on Saturday pronounced its verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, clearing the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the 2.77-acre disputed site in Ayodhya and giving an alternate five-acre land to the Sunni Waqf Board at some other suitable place for construction of a mosque.

Talking about the next step on the Supreme Court verdict, Ramdev said both parties should help each other in construction of Ram temple and a mosque. "Muslims should help in building a Ram temple. Hindus should also help Muslims build a new mosque."

Ramdev also went on to say that earlier few people have falsely predicted that there would be chaos if the Ayodhya verdict ever came out. "Look at the situation now. There is smooth functioning of law and order. No stone has been thrown at anyone ever since the verdict came out. This proves that India has moved ahead."

Ramdev lauded the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for handling the matter and maintaining peace and order in the country after the Ayodhya verdict.



Uttar Pradesh: 'Low-grade explosive used in mosque blast'

Nov 17, 2019

LUCKNOW: The Agra unit of state forensic science laboratory analyzed the evidence samples from the blast site at a mosque in Kushinagar district and on Saturday confirmed the usage of low-intensity explosives. The FSL unit was sent blast samples on Wednesday. The blast had ripped windows and doors of a mosque in Bairagi Patti village under Turk Patti police station area of the district on Monday.

Kushinagar SP, Vinod Kumar Mishra, said the report from Agra confirms that the blast which occurred on Monday used the material used in fire crackers, mainly lithium. It is a component of fire crackers that causes explosion, he added.

Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and intelligence bureau sleuths are interrogating the accused. Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Kushinagar police arrested the seventh accused, Salauddin Ansari aka Munna, from Bhalui in Turkpatti area.



Owaisi arrives for Muslim Law Board meet, will decide on Ayodhya review plea

November 17, 2019

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has called for a meeting in Lucknow on Sunday to decide whether to go for a review of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya case.

In a unanimous verdict last week, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

The five-judge Bench also acknowledged that “exclusion of the Muslims from worship and possession took place on the intervening night between 22/23 December 1949 when the mosque was desecrated by the installation of Hindu idols” and “the ouster of the Muslims on that occasion was not through any lawful authority but through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship”.

Soon after the verdict, the AIMPLB had expressed dissatisfaction with it and said the board was considering seeking a review of the judgment.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi was among the leaders who arrived for the meeting today. Expressing dismay over the judgment, Owaisi had his party was not in favour of the five acres of land proposed by the court. “I speak for my party, we do not want this ‘khairat’ (donation or charity). Our fight was for a legal right, for a Babri Masjid. Our fight was not for, to get this piece of land,” PTI quoted Owaisi as saying.

Ahead of the meeting today, AIMPLB held a meeting with various Muslim parties to discuss the judgment. The Sunni Waqf Board, one of the litigants in the case, had said that it would seek a review of the judgment. “The Ayodhya verdict has a lot of contradictions. We will seek a review as we are not satisfied with the verdict,” the board’s lawyer Zafaryab Jilani had said after the judgment was pronounced. It will take whatever legal recourse is possible, he added.



Kushinagar mosque blast : Ex-Army doctor from Hyderabad arrested, sent to 14-day remand

17th November 2019

HYDERABAD: Former Army doctor Ashfaq Alam, who was picked up from the city by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the UP police on Thursday in connection with the Kushinagar mosque blast, was arrested and produced before the court on Saturday.

The court remanded him to 14-day judicial custody. He is accused of destroying evidence after the blast. ATS officials told Express that they will file a petition before the court seeking the custody of Ashfaq and Haji, to interrogate them to know the motive behind storing the explosives and their attempt to divert investigating agencies.

Sources said that Ashfaq’s grandfather Haji Kutubuddin, the alleged mastermind in the blast, had revealed to Ashfaq about the blast prior to the incident. According to officials, Ashfaq, who was present outside the mosque at Bairagipatti village under the police limits of Turkpatti in the district, informed police about the blast.



Former UP minister writes to PM, wants trust for mosque too

Nov 17, 2019

Manish Chandra Pandey

Former Uttar Pradesh minister Ammar Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about setting up a trust for construction of a mosque on the lines of one that the Supreme Court has directed for construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.

Ammar Rizvi, who heads the All India Minorities Forum For Democracy, joined the BJP in Delhi a little ahead of the Supreme Court’s November 9 Ayodhya verdict.

In his letter to the PM, Rizvi has advocated that the mosque should come up about 25 to 30 kilometres from the place where the Ram temple is to be built and it should ideally have a campus that also houses a university and a hospital.

“I believe education is one sector that the community needs badly. So a mosque in the same campus where a university and a hospital are housed would be perfect symbolism highlighting that along with religion, the minorities need education most. PM Modi’s vision is of a community that holds the holy Quran in one hand and a computer in the other and that’s why I have written to him on this aspect,” he said.

Rizvi, who was a key minister in the Congress government under ND Tiwari in Uttar Pradesh, feels that had it not been for a few vested interests, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was in favour of paving the way for temple construction to end the age-old discord.

“That didn’t happen then. But since the past can’t be undone, I feel that now people from each others’ faith should be included in the trust for temple as well as a trust that I feel should come up for a mosque too. The trust for construction of a mosque is necessary as otherwise it would needlessly raise controversies no matter how honest individual efforts for construction of a mosque are,” he said.

Rizvi said he had made out a case for keeping people from each others’ faith in both the trust for the temple as well as the trust for the mosque.

“Keeping people like Iqbal Ansari in trust for temple and some Hindus in the trust that I believe should be set up for construction of mosque would help showcase the spirit of togetherness that has been displayed post verdict,” Rizvi said.

He also lashed out at those Muslim leaders who still want to challenge the Supreme Court verdict.

“There are leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi who have said that they need a mosque. Some others have also struck discordant notes. But I feel these people are actually going back on their word after having committed to abide by the SC verdict whatever it might be,” Rizvi said.



'Assam NRC targets minorities, make Muslims stateless': US body on religious freedom

Nov 16, 2019

Washington: A federal US commission on international religious freedom has alleged that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is a tool to "target religious minorities and to render Muslims stateless".

Observing that the final NRC list, which validates bona fide Indian citizens of Assam, has excluded 19 lakh residents, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Friday said that a number of domestic and international organisations have expressed concern that the NRC is a "targeted mechanism to disenfranchise Assam's Bengali Muslim community, implicitly establishing a religious requirement for citizenship and potentially rendering large numbers of Muslims stateless."

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens.

The process to update the register in Assam began following a Supreme Court order in 2013, with the state's nearly 33 million people having to prove that they were Indian nationals prior to March 24, 1971.

The updated final NRC was released on August 31, with over 1.9 million applicants failing to make it to the list.

The USCIRF in Issue Brief: India released on Friday said the NRC "as a tool to target religious minorities and, in particular, to render Indian Muslims stateless has become one more example of the downward trend in religious freedom conditions within India."

Prepared by policy analyst Harrison Akins, the USCIRF alleged that following the August 2019 release of the NRC, the BJP government has taken steps that "reflect an anti-Muslim bias."

The BJP has indicated its intent to create a religious test for Indian citizenship that would favour Hindus and selected religious minorities but exclude Muslims, the USCIRF said.

Assam has seen a huge influx from other places, particularly Bangladesh, since the early 20th century. It did not stop even after Independence, with a large number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, both Hindus and Muslims, settling there.

Updating of NRC is a statutory, transparent, legal process mandated by the Supreme Court of India. This is not an executive-driven process, the Ministry of External Affairs has said in response to questions on the NRC.

"The process is being monitored by the Supreme Court directly and the government is acting in accordance with the directives issued by the court. The apex court of the land has itself set the deadlines for all steps that have been taken so far," it said in a detailed statement in September.

The statement also said that the NRC is a fair process based on scientific methods.

"It is a non-discriminatory process, which leaves no room for bias and injustice. As can be seen from the application form for data entry in NRC, there was no column in the application asking for religion of the applicant," the statement said, adding that anyone excluded from the list has a right to file an appeal within 120 days of receiving a notification exclusion, to the designated Tribunal.



“People in Pakistan showered so much love” says Sunny Deol

Fri, 11, 19

Bollywood actor and BJP parliamentarian, Sunny Deol recently visited Pakistan to attend the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

The actor, while talking to the Indian media after his return, revealed that he’s overwhelmed with all the love he received during his visit to Pakistan. “It was a great visit to Pakistan. People in Pakistan showered so much love. This is the new beginning for peace and I want everyone to stay together with it,” said Deol.

He further shared, “This is a great initiative for both countries. What benefit could war bring to India or Pakistan? There should be love only.” Moreover, Sunny Deol told the Indian media that a really good thing has been initiated by both sides. “I hope that it stays this way and we can coexist with love and kindness...”

Before coming for the inauguration ceremony, the BJP MP had said, “If I won’t go, who will? I’ll definitely go. It is my area and my home.”

We wonder if Sunny Deol regrets doing all the anti-Pakistan films that decorate his career and whether he would agree to yet another one if offered.



Arab World


Muslim World League chief urges media outlets to stick to impartiality

November 16, 2019

UTAH: The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, has arrived in Utah, US, where he was received by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Al-Issa and Herbert met to discuss cooperation and issues of common interest to achieve shared objectives.

Al-Issa also visited the Mormon church in Utah, where he met the leader of the group and discussed ways to promote harmony among followers of different religions and cultures.

The Mormon leader and his assistants hosted a dinner for Al-Issa, in the presence of Utah government members and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Muslim diaspora. 

Elder David Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles extended his thanks to Al-Issa. “On behalf of our church and the state of Utah, I would like to thank you for your inspiring words calling to promote rapprochement among followers of different religions and cultures and combat hate speech and violent extremism,” he said.

Al-Issa took part in a Deseret News editorial board meeting in Utah, during which he reiterated the need to support rapprochement between nations and peoples and break the barriers built by distance, lack of dialogue and understanding, and false information spread by unreliable sources.

He also spoke about the need to promote moral values such as justice, tolerance and humanitarian work and support the efforts to achieve peace and harmony, especially in multi-religious, cultural and ethnic countries as well as promoting awareness about tolerance and acceptance of diversity and differences.

Al-Issa reviewed the Makkah Document that has achieved, for the first time in Islamic history, consensus among 27 sects and confessions, represented by more than 1,200 Muftis and Muslim scholars. The board praised the document and its importance.

He said that Islam was a tolerant religion that promotes justice, love and respect of diversity, stressing the importance of the media’s role in creating content and influencing public opinion.

Al-Issa urged media outlets to stick to the truth and impartiality to avoid losing credibility and compromising their mission. 

On another note, Al-Issa shed light on the Mormons’ experience in humanitarian work, citing the factories and facilities that have been established to provide food, clothes and furniture for the needy in the US.

Al-Issa was invited to visit the University of Utah, where he met its President Kevin Worthen and gave a lecture in the presence of hundreds of students and professors.

Al-Issa said that MWL’s message focused on building bridges and breaking down barriers caused by a lack of dialogue and false information, noting that all followers of religion, cultures and civilizations shared the same moral values that promote justice and harmony.



Saudi Arabia keen on strengthening ties with EU

Saad Al-Arifi

16 November 2019

Al-Arifi explained that Vision 2030 guides the Kingdom’s aspirations toward a new stage of development to establish a vibrant society where all citizens could realize their dreams

BRUSSELS: Saudi Arabia has underlined the importance of strengthening and developing relations with the EU in all fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

The permanent representative of the Kingdom to the EU, Saad Al-Arifi, said during the dialogue session with the Arabian Peninsula Relations Mission in the European Parliament in Brussels that long-term relations had bound the Kingdom and the Gulf states with the EU since 1967 and that there was a strong convergence on a range of issues, based on mutual respect and common desire to continue these ties at a number of levels.

“We have emphasized the deepening of these ties by establishing our mission to the EU, promoting our bilateral discussions, enhancing interpersonal contacts as well as building bridges between Saudi society and European societies,” he said.

“The Kingdom is currently developing Vision 2030, which is a blueprint for an ambitious nation, and reflects the long-term goals that are based on the strengths and unique capabilities of the Kingdom.”

Al-Arifi explained that Vision 2030 guides the Kingdom’s aspirations toward a new stage of development to establish a vibrant society where all citizens could realize their dreams, hopes and aspirations, to succeed in a prosperous economy with major reforms in a number of aspects.



Saudi Aramco sets IPO share price between 30-32 riyals

November 17, 2019

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco’s multibillion-dollar initial public offering (IPO), probably the biggest in history, shifted to full gear as its share price was announced and subscription to the world’s biggest oil company commenced on Sunday.

Saudi Aramco set an indicative share price between 30 and 32 riyals for the 1.5 percent of its shares – or about 3 billion shares of its 20 billion regular shares – that it would offer for  the domestic part of its public offering. The blockbuster IPO could be worth least $24 billion, and values the state-owned oil giant at up to $1.71 trillion.

The offering – or book-building – period for institutional subscribers, which started today, closes on December 4 while the retail offering for individual investors will begin on November 21 and will end on November 28.

The final pricing for the Aramco shares would be announced on December 5.

Samba Capital & Investment Management Company has been designated as issue manager while National Commercial Bank, Saudi British Bank, Samba Financial Group, Saudi Investment Bank, Alawwal Bank, Arab National Bank, Albilad Bank, Aljazira Bank, Riyad Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Alinma Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and Gulf International Bank were named as receiving banks.

If there are applications for more than the 0.5 percent on offer — amounting to 1 billion shares — allocations to private investors will be scaled back proportionate to demand; if there are fewer applications than the 0.5 percent when all maximum applications are satisfied, private investors can have the over-payment refunded either in cash via the receiving banks or in the form of extra shares in Aramco.

There is an incentive mechanism in the IPO whereby Saudi investors will receive a bonus one-for-ten allocation of shares, up to a maximum of 100 shares, if they do not sell shares in the market for a period of six months after dealings begin in December, at a date still to be determined.

Saudi Aramco also intends to buy $1 billion worth of shares for employees under a plan to incentivize executives and staff members alongside the IPO next month.

The plan — which was disclosed in the IPO prospectus — will involve Aramco buying the shares from the government and making them available for employees under special terms.



Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

17 November 2019


RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.



King Abdullah Economic City launches World of Moments Festival

November 16, 2019

JEDDAH: The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Friday launched its winter World of Moments Festival.

The event, which runs until Feb. 22, 2020, will offer a wide range of activities for visitors seeking entertainment and relaxation in an integrated modern environment.

KAEC is the largest privately funded new city in the world. The festival is part of KAEC’s program of entertainment projects aimed at promoting quality of life on its pristine beaches and green landscapes, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“KAEC is an attractive investment tourist destination on the coast of the Red Sea. This made it one of the economic pillars supporting the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 due to its effective contribution to quality of life and tourism, entertainment and investment development programs,” said KAEC’s chief executive officer, Ahmed bin Ibrahim Linjawy.

“In order to improve KAEC’s position as a modern residential destination, we are constantly working to innovate and enrich the experiences of the city’s residents so they can run unique lives,” he added.

KAEC held its highly successful Turquoise World summer festival between July 18 and Aug. 31, which offered activities including a beach ball tournament and a range of water sports at Yam Beach.





Labour told not to be blackmailed by BJP, RSS on Kashmir

November 17, 2019

LONDON: The Jammu & Kashmir Human Rights Council (JKHRC) has called on Ian Lavery MP, Chairman of the Labour Party, not to be blackmailed by the Bharitya Janta Party’s affiliates in the UK trying to interfere in the UK’s general elections next month on sectarian and communal basis.

Dr Syed Nazir Gilani, president of the JKHRC, wrote to the Labour Chair after the Indian government was accused of interfering in UK elections through the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) which is campaigning to unseat at least 50 Labour MPs in retaliation of the emergency motion on Kashmir passed at this year’s Labour Party conference”. The Labour chair then wrote to the Indian organisations on November 11, 2019.

He said Kashmiris respect the views of Indian diaspora on the question of good community relations, but it has to be in equity and not at the cost of a political blackmail.

He wrote: “It is unfortunate that these groups of Indian diaspora, should act to further the Hindutva programme of the RSS and misrepresent the situation in Kashmir. Their concern for ‘community harmony’ is a camouflage and you should consider to examine the merits of their sinister dig at the Labour Party. In fact, the letter is an offence to ‘community harmony’ and people like us who work for the promotion and protection of human rights, find the misrepresentation on Kashmir very offensive.”

Gilani added: “India has re-aggressed, occupied and imprisoned our brothers, sisters and elderly on 5 August 2019. Indian army is in violation of 4 bilateral and 3 UN restraints placed on their number, behaviour and location. Over 900,000 Indian soldiers are engaged in a war with the people of Kashmir, known to UN for the last 72 years and described as, ‘…the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are worthy of the right of their own self-determination through a free, secure and impartial plebiscite. They are a people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life giving waters.’”

The JKHRC president added: “I join all other British voters of Kashmiri, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian origin, and the broad constituency of voters from other countries, who sympathise with the sufferings of the people of Kashmir and have testified in the British Parliament, European Parliament, US Congress, in wishing Labour Party, the best in the December Elections. Kindly continue to keep the traditions as an ‘internationalist party and defend the dignity of the stand taken by Clement Attlee and British government on Kashmir.”

The letter to the Labour Chair has been copied also to Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour leader; High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais des Nations, Geneva; High Commissioner of Pakistan, London; and UK’s Electoral Commission.



Germany detains 'Islamic State' returnee deported from Turkey

The father of a family of seven, expelled by Turkey on Thursday, was taken into custody on arrival in Germany, said Martin Pallgen, a spokesman for the Berlin state Interior Ministry. 

A warrant for his arrest is understood not to be terrorism-related.

The man, who is considered a member of the Salafist movement, is currently in a Berlin prison awaiting transfer to the state of Lower Saxony.

Pallgen said the rest of the family — the suspect's wife, his two sons, two daughters and one grandchild — had left Berlin, where they arrived late Thursday from Turkey. Turkey described them as "foreign terrorist fighters."

Ankara this week started repatriating foreign jihadists to their home countries, saying that Turkey was "not a hotel" for foreign fighters and suspected members of the "Islamic State" (IS) terror group.

Allegations unclear

Turkish authorities allege that the man's family was connected to IS and had planned to travel to Syria after arriving in Turkey earlier this year before they were arrested and placed in custody awaiting deportation.

But a spokesman for the German Interior Ministry said he was not aware of the family's ties to IS.

A total of nine suspects have been repatriated to Germany this week, including two German women who were escorted by police to the airport in Frankfurt on Friday.

One of the women, identified only as Nasim A., was detained upon her return, accused of "being a member of a terrorist organization in a foreign country." A judge decreed that she should formally be arrested on Saturday.

Federal prosecutors said the suspect had left Germany for Syria in 2014, married a fighter and moved with him to Iraq and later Syria. She was paid to maintain an IS-controlled house and carried a weapon.

Jails abandoned

The whereabouts of many Islamic State suspects are in doubt after a Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria caused the Kurdish-led forces there to abandon the prisons that they had been guarding in the region.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that each suspected Islamist deported by Turkey would be assessed in counterterrorism centers run by the federal government and the individual states.

"Naturally it will be ensured that no danger arises from these people," she said, adding that if the authorities did deem them a threat "the usual legal procedures" would apply.

Ninety-five German suspected IS supporters are believed to be in custody in Turkey, Syria, or Iraq. German police have active investigations against 33 of them and arrest warrants have been issued in 26 cases, according to the DPA news agency.

sri,kp/sms (dpa, AFP)



Social services 'to monitor children of Muslim couple' says High Court judge

16th November

A Muslim couple facing allegations of "terror-related offences" can care for three children - but must be monitored by council social services staff, a High Court judge says.

The man and woman became embroiled in family court litigation relating to the care of their children after being stopped at Gatwick following a holiday in Turkey more than a year ago.

Mrs Justice Knowles says the three children, who are aged between six and 14, can stay at home.

But she says social services bosses will have control of the children's lives, under a care plan agreed with the couple, who are the subject of an ongoing police investigation following allegations of "terror-related offences".

She says the plan means that electronic devices can be inspected on request and "monitoring software" might be installed.

Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles analysed issues relating to the care of the three children at a private family court hearing in Leicester earlier this year and has outlined detail of the case in a written ruling published online.

The judge said neither the children, nor their parents, could be identified in media reports of the case.

She said the couple had arrived in the UK in 2003 and indicated that they have previously lived in France.

"The mother is a strong, if not, fanatical sympathiser of terrorism, and with the use of murder and violence in the support of the aims of the so-called Islamic State," said the judge in the ruling.

"The father too sympathises with violent extremism and terror."

She said council social services staff would try to "re-calibrate" the couple's beliefs.

"I do not underestimate the magnitude of the task which lies ahead for the local authority, and its partner agencies, in seeking to re-calibrate the beliefs of these parents towards a more inclusive and tolerant acceptance of those who live in this country, and who do not observe the Muslim faith," said the judge.

"Both the mother and father profess themselves to have been profoundly shocked by the police and local authority's intervention in their family life."

She added: "It is obvious to me, how much they love their children, and I urge them to make full use of the help and assistance available to them.

"They owe it to their children to do so.

"If they fail to do so or believe that mere lip service to what is demanded will suffice, they are most seriously mistaken."

By Brian Farmer



London’s auctions give insight into Islamic art

Sunday 17/11/2019

LONDON - British auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams recently conducted the biannual Islamic Art Week, featuring Indian art and modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art, a relatively recent phenomenon introduced by Christie’s in 2017.

The decision to move the sale from Dubai to London was meant to “internationalise the market further for Middle Eastern Art,” Michael Jeha, Christie’s managing director and deputy chairman, said at the time.

Sara Plumbly, head of Department for Islamic and Indian Art at Christie’s, pointed out that works of particular interest included Quranic manuscripts and wooden caskets originating from Gujarat in India. A striking Quranic folio from a manuscript includes verses from Surah Ash-Shu’ara of the Quran.

The script used is a beautiful, elaborate and smooth one known as Maghrebi, a cursive form of the Arabic alphabet influenced by Kufic letters that developed in North Africa and Andalusia. Because of its colour, the work is referred to as the Pink Quran folio by Islamic Art specialists, Plumbly said.

The October sale featured textiles, jewellery, paintings, ceramics and works of art from Spain to China. Islamic objects influenced by Chinese artistic methods could also be found.

The most expensive work listed was a 15th-century illustrated double-sided folio “The Angel of Bounty and the Arrival at the Second Heaven of Pearls” and an illustrated double-sided bifolium “The Two Hells Reserved for Misers and Flatterers” from “Nahj al-Faradis” (“Paths of Paradise”). Both works were given a price estimate of $901,211-$1.28 million.

The least expensive lot was a collection of silver and brass overlaid steel rams and brass or gold and silver overlaid steel camels, originating from 19th-century Iran and owned by a private Swiss collection. It was estimated at $2,574-$3,862.

Despite the uncertainty of how much Islamic art attracts collectors, it is safe to say there is a relatively high demand for such art during auction events, Plumbly said, noting that Christie’s had an extremely successful sale during Islamic Art Week in April.

The piece that sparked a lot of excitement was a Quran written for Sultan Qaytbay (1468-96), the 18th Mamluk sultan of Egypt. With an estimate of $644,000-$1.02 million, the Quran sold for $4.79 million. One explanation for the high demand for the Mamluk Quran could be that it has an inscription stating whom the holy book was made for, in this case Sultan Qaytbay.

“It’s quite rare to find Quranic manuscripts with royal dedicatory inscriptions. Having one, of course, increases the importance, the value and the demand,” Plumbly said.

Christie’s officials said they take extra precautions regarding objects originating from conflict areas, particularly in Syria and Iraq, where much art and cultural heritage has been destroyed, looted or sold on the black market.

Christie’s measures to authenticate the legal origin of the pieces include asking stringent questions about the works of art and documents proving legal acquisition. The due diligence process ensures works of art offered are licit with sound provenance.

“You have to treat every object like it’s guilty until proven innocent,” said Plumbly, adding that Christie’s has been vigilant to ensure that it has a transparent market in which art specialists know from where acquisitions come.

The only “blip” that Christie’s encountered five years ago concerned a 17th-century tinned copper Safavid bowl. After extensive research, Plumbly said she discovered the bowl belonged to the collection of the Kabul museum.

“After realising that the bowl was looted from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, we worked with the British Museum, which had been doing a lot of work with the museum in Kabul, and the bowl was returned to where it belonged,” she said, adding that “the bowl was bought in good faith by the owners.”

Islamic Art Week brings together collectors, curators, academics and connoisseurs from all over the world. Free access to pre-sale galleries gives the public an opportunity to learn about Islam and Islamic art.

This firsthand insight into rare, elaborate, detailed and valuable works of art allows positive thoughts about Islamic civilisation





At least 15 killed in eastern Congo by suspected Islamist terrorists

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

MBAU, Democratic Republic of Congo - Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 15 people overnight in eastern Congo, local officials said on Saturday, in the latest massacre since the army launched a major offensive against the rebels last month.

Democratic Republic of Congo's army initiated its latest campaign, with support from U.N. peacekeepers, on Oct. 30 to root out fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from the dense forests near the Ugandan border.

As was the case during previous military operations against the ADF, its fighters have retaliated by attacking civilians, killing more than 40 since last week, according to local civil society activists.

Attacks blamed by the government on the ADF have killed hundreds of civilians since 2014.

The attacks on Friday in and around the village of Mbau were carried out with bladed weapons, local officials said. Among the eight victims in Mbau were six members of a single family.

Seven members of a Pygmy ethnic group living in the nearby forest were also killed, officials said. Their bodies were found tied up and their throats had been slit.

"The rebels are attacking civilians in order to spread confusion and panic among the population," said Donat Kibwana, the regional administrator in the nearby city of Beni.

Mbau residents said it had taken many hours for soldiers based nearby to respond, a common complaint after attacks in the area.

Army officials were not immediately available for comment.

Researchers and rights groups say some Congolese soldiers and other rebel groups have also participated in massacres since 2014 for a variety or motives often related to competition for power in lawless zones dominated by dozens of militia groups.

Several of the previous attacks by the ADF, which was founded in Uganda in 1995, have been claimed by Islamic State, but the extent of their relationship remains unclear. The ADF is not known to have publicly pledged loyalty to Islamic State.



South Kordofan rebels' demands for secularism mark latest challenge to Sudan's Islamists

By Mohammed Amin in Khartoum

16 November 2019

A Sudanese armed group that waged a deadly insurgency for several years has called on the country's newly-created sovereign council to abandon Islamism and embrace secular rule.

Aljak Mahmoud, the spokesman for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told Middle East Eye that Sudan's transitional government needed to make substantive changes to the country's constitution, or risk facing calls for secession in the largely Christian south.

The SPLM-N, which has been fighting the government of Sudan since 2011, has long demanded secular rule or self-determination in the predominantly Christian area of South Kordofan which borders South Sudan.

The group has since last month been attending peace talks in Juba, South Sudan's capital, which are aimed at ending the country's years-long conflict.

A third round of talks are expected to be held on 21 November.

"We agreed on the agenda of the talks but [are] stuck on the issue of religion and secularism," Mahmoud said.

The SPLM-N has frequently clashed with the Sudanese military since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

South Sudan has been gripped by its own civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have died.

The new peace initiative comes after the removal of long-time president Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April in the wake of months-long mass protests against his 30-year rule.

Under Bashir's military regime, Sudan claimed to have laws which took the Sharia, or Islamic law, as their main source of governance.

Floggings were a common punishment for crimes like drinking alcohol, while amputations were carried out for thefts and robberies.

Although sentences of stoning were rare, in 2012 a young teenage mother was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, sparking condemnation from human rights groups and activists.

One hundred percent Islamic?

After uprisings swept through the region in early 2011, toppling Hosni Mubarak in neighbouring Egypt, Bashir cemented Islamist ideology into his military regime, despite opposition in the country's south.

The former president went as far as to promise that Sudan's constitution would be "100 percent Islamic", in an effort to placate some of the country's most hardline groups.

But since his removal from power earlier this year, an 11-member sovereign council, made up from the military and a coalition of opposition forces for a three-year transitional period, has rolled back the role Islam plays in everyday life.

Split between the Sudans, families hope for reunions after fall of Bashir

Read More »

Mohamed Alfaki Suleiman, a 40-year-old journalist and member of the sovereign council, said that the authorities had significantly curbed the role of Islam in political life and were planning on going further.

"If you look carefully … [in] the constitutional declaration [of] the current transitional period, there is no indication to the adoption of an Islamic system," Suleiman told MEE.

"Also, the ministry of justice is working on the process of amendments to laws that restricted [the] freedoms of the people and came from a wrong interpretation of Islamic laws… such as public order laws."

However, Suleiman added that that the transitional government could not issue directives on self-determination for any part of the country, a main demand of the SPLM-N.

"Such issues can only be discussed at the constitutional conference which is supposed to be held at the end of the three-year transitional period," he said.

Diminishing role of political Islam

Since the sovereign council issued their constitutional declaration in August, Islamic groups believed to be close to Bashir's regime, have been highly critical of political Islam's diminishing role, often staging rallies or issuing statements denouncing the new government.

A Salafist group, led by the popular cleric Abdul Hai Youssef, has held demonstrations in the capital Khartoum under the banner: "Strengthening the Sharia," while also declaring officials in the transitional government as apostates.

Wala Alboushi, a minister of youth and sports and one of those accused over the commencement of the first league of Women Football in Sudan, has opened a legal case against Youssef; but anger against the apparent rolling back of political Islam appears to be mounting.

From singing children to free transport: Sudan's battle for public opinion

Mohamed Ali Algizouli, a prominent Islamic cleric, has also slammed the constitutional declaration as "non-Islamic," warning that it could lead to serious reactions and consequences among Sudan’s Islamic community.

"This constitution has been made by a minority group of secularists that didn't consult the people," he said.

"This hijacking of the will of the people will lead to serious consequences."

Alhadi Alamin, a Sudanese political analyst, has said that "radical Islamic groups" and individuals from the "circle of the old regime" were trying to exploit unrest in the transitory period to “counter” the revolution.

"Sudan is witnessing a big change as thousands from a new class - women and youths - embrace the ideology of liberalism that is colliding with the conservative community," he said.

"The problem is that the radical Islamic groups and the circle of the old regime will exploit this to counter the revolution.

"This tension is expected and will lead to more polarisation and more confrontations."



Herdsmen killing: Your threat can’t stop us – HURIWA fires back at Miyetti AllahA prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has declared that the threat issued by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, won’t stop it from saying the truth.

November 16, 2019

By Seun Opejobi

This was as HURIWA blamed the climate of impunity being allegedly encouraged by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government for the continuous threats unleashed on its leadership for condemning the atrocities of armed Fulani herdsmen who have received support by some persons parading as officials of MACBAN.

MACBAN’s National Secretary, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, had on Friday night warned HURIWA to stop calling the association a terrorist group.

Ngelzarma, while insisting that it was different from Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, warned rights group to stop ascribing the actions and comments of the latter to it.

Ngelzarma had said: “The people HURIWA quoted to have made statements on Ruga have nothing to do with MACBAN and neither did MACBAN say anything to warrant being tagged “Supporter of Terrorism”. It amounts to reckless mischief by a group who ought to know better that their writings have the power to cause genocide. Rwanda is an example on how writers caused the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in which over a million people were killed.”

However, HURIWA restated her determination to continue to call on the central government and the international community to take action to stop the regime of impunity and lawlessness in Nigeria manifested by the failure of the Federal government to arrest, prosecute and punish armed Fulani herdsmen that have unleashed devastating bloodcurdling violence on communities all over Nigeria.

A statement by HURIWA’s Coordinator, Emmanuel Onuwbiko said even the United States of America through numerous reports have recorded that there is official impunity in Nigeria in the current dispensation and that too many people connected to officials of government are getting away with too many crude crimes including mass murders.

HURIWA recalled that its leader recently advised ethnic groups in the country to defend their rights over “terrorism unleashed on the Nigeria space by armed Fulani herdsmen and Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association”.

The statement reads: “HURIWA is determined to ensure that mass murderers are brought to justice or justice brought to mass murderers and no amount of threats from faceless callers can stop us from defending the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians including peace loving members of the Fulani ETHNIC nationality. We have on many occasions condemned the violence meted out on peace loving Fulani herdsmen. We know it as a fact that not all Fulani herdsmen are armed so we take exception to the false information being bandied about us by MACBAN.

” May we remind the signatory to the media statement attacking HURIWA for condemning the atrocious actions of armed Fulani herdsmen that only a year ago it was reported by a section of the media that Miyetti Allah allegedly revealed the reason why its members unleashed mayhem in some villages of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state killing nearly 200 innocent and defenceless Nigerians.

“Where you in another Planet or did you not read in the media some months back that the Chairman of the north central chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Danladi Ciroma, in a statement reportedly condemned the attacks but noted that the attacks were “retaliatory”?

HURIWA further reminded MACBAN that Ciroma allegedly said in the reported statement that no one should expect peace in the areas where about 300 cows were stolen.

“We wish to refresh the mind of the National secretary of MACBAN who has just attacked us in the media that the following is the statement the media credited to the aforementioned official of MIYETTI ALLAH AND THE STATEMENT HE WAS QUOTED AS SAYING ON THAT VIOLENCE IN PLATEAU STATE ABOUT A YEAR AGO GOES THUS: “These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of human being, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on revenge mission.There have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities but the communities are hiding them….”

HURIWA has, therefore, asked, “Nigerians to take note of the threats on the lives of our officials contained in the media statement calling us unprintable names when what we had insisted on is that the government must stop the climate of fear and impunity and punish persons especially armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for the violence all across the country and to declare MIYETTI ALLAH CATTLE OWNERS ASSOCIATION as a terrorist group for supporting the actions of the armed Fulani herdsmen.”

It added: “Mind you in all our statements we have always supported those positions with information that are public knowledge and we have always stated that MIYETTI ALLAH CATTLE OWNERS ASSOCIATION for not forcefully condemning the mass murders is a terrorists group and should be declared so. We have equally condemned all kinds of killings wherever they had occurred and so we wonder why some persons will attack us for asking that those who carry out attacks should be punished? Recall too that a leader of Miyetti Allah CATTLE breeder in Benue state Garus Gololo stated too that over 1000 cattles were stolen which is why the Benue killings occurred. We humbly asked MACBAN to openly condemn all attacks targeting farmers carried out by armed Fulani herdsmen and also all killings including the killings of members of the Fulani ETHNIC nationality which we had done and will continue to do”.

HURIWA recalled that Garus Gololo told BBC News Pidgin that over 1000 of their cows were stolen at Nengere when their owners were relocating to Taraba through Nasarawa State just as Gololo said the herdsmen were only defending themselves from thieves.

The right group stated that however,a Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, distanced itself from the Benue killings and their perpetrators,labelling them irresponsible elements.

HURIWA insisted it has, “nothing against Fulani ETHNIC nationality but is against the violent activities of armed Fulani herdsmen and wondered why anyone for that matter could issue threats just as a lot of phone calls from unknown persons kept harassing us through our official line each night at every point that we make a public statement condemning activities of armed Fulani herdsmen.

“Why is Nigeria becoming a dungeon whereby those who advocate for HUMAN RIGHTS are threatened, arrested and jailed and persons who indeed made threats or supported mass killings are roaming about powerfully even within the corridors of power.”



Southeast Asia


Ex-Star boss calls HK protesters rioters, foreign backed

November 17, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Former Star Media Group CEO Wong Chun Wai claims that foreign forces are behind the violent protest in Hong Kong that has plunged the city into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

In an interview with pro-Beijing media outlet China Daily, Wong said it was certain that foreign powers were “encouraging” the protest to go on, which has so far seen two deaths.

Now The Star’s editorial adviser, he pointed to activist Joshua Wong’s meetings with leaders from the United States to back his claim.

“He could not possibly make a phone call and say, ‘Hello! Is this the White House? Is this the House of Congress? Can I come over now?’

“That’s not going to happen. How is he able to go to America just like that?,” he said in the interview recorded earlier this month.

Wong said that someone had to organise and pay for Joshua’s trip.

“Who is Joshua Wong anyway? These are legitimate questions people are asking.”

Wong went on to say that all protests were financed and wondered who was financing the one in Hong Kong.

He also labelled the protesters as rioters as they had “set fire to the streets” and attempted to set policemen on fire, as well as destroy and vandalise shops.

He questioned how the protesters would not see themselves as rioters despite such acts.

“Now, you tell me what’s rioting. Explain to me what is rioting. If it is not rioting, what is it?” he said, adding that there was a “great confusion” with those involved in the protest.

Wong, who stepped down as The Star’s group CEO and managing director in January, said while people had rights, they should do it “the correct way”.

The Hong Kong unrest was ignited by a now-scrapped proposal to allow extraditions to the mainland but has since snowballed into a wider movement pushing for democracy and police accountability after Beijing and Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam took a hard line.



Muslim Fashion Show Showcases Indonesia's Weave, Batik Heritages

NOVEMBER 14, 2019

Jakarta. Over 70 Indonesian designers held a Muslim fashion show during the 6th Indonesian Sharia Economic Festival, in Jakarta, on Thursday and Friday.

Backed by the Bank of Indonesia who collaborated with the Indonesian Fashion Chamber (IFC) and Indonesia Halal Lifestyle Centre (IHLC), this fashion show aims to reach potential local and foreign consumers.

“Ethical and sustainable fashion supports Indonesian to be a player in the global halal industry, it concerns all the garment industry's supply chain and cycle, from the source, producing technique, to waste management,” Bank of Indonesia senior deputy governor Destry Damayanti said on Thursday.

She said that Indonesia spends $20 billion or Rp 300 trillion in the Muslim fashion industry, making it the third biggest global consumer. Indonesia aims to be the center of the industry and to promote it internationally.

“The potential of Muslim fashion industry is really huge. According to Thomson Reuters, the Islamic economic market potential is predicted to grow to $3 billion by 2023. World Muslim population is 2 percent of the world or 1.8 billion people,” Destry said.

The designers were assigned to mix batik from various provinces in their designs, also holding on to the sustainability and ethical fashion principle in their process.

The show started with “The Purun” by Vivi Zubedi, Saffana who took up South Sulawesi batik, Itang Yunasz took West Sumatran songket, Rosie Rahmadi with Jakarta-nuanced batik, Tutyadib with Acehnese songket, WAD Studio by Anti Dewi with Espoir theme, Wignyo Rahadi with Tapis from Lampung, Vee House by Alvy Oktrisni with Sarita Toraja batik, Dian Pelangi with Riau songket, Irma Intan with Southeast Sulawesi weave, Neera Alatas with West Nusa Tenggara weave, Defika Hanum with Rhythm theme, and Irna La Perle Heritage with West Javanese Garut Hendar weaving.



Denmark to end consular assistance to Islamist fighters

Saturday, 16 Nov 2019

COPENHAGEN, Nov 16 — Denmark said Saturday it planned to withhold consular assistance from Danish citizens who went abroad to fight for Islamist groups such as the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria or Iraq.

The announcement comes days after Turkey began sending back foreign jihadists to their countries of origin, deporting Europeans including those from France, Germany and Denmark.

“We owe absolutely nothing to foreign fighters who went to Syria and Iraq to fight for IS,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted.

“This is why we are now taking measures against the access of foreign fighters to consular assistance by the foreign ministry and Danish representations abroad,” he said.

According to Danish news agency Ritzau, consular assistance usually consists of prison visits and discussions with local authorities about detention conditions.

If parliament approves the measure, it would “apply to all foreign fighters who travel to join the Islamic State or other terrorist movements”, Kofod told Ritzau.

“Denmark should not be forced to help people who turned their backs on us, represent a threat to Denmark's security and fight against everything that we defend,” he said.

After a Turkish offensive in Syria forced many IS fighters to flee, Denmark said last month it would strip jihadist fighters with double nationality of their Danish citizenship to stop them from returning to Denmark.

In September, the government said it thought 36 radical Islamists had travelled from Denmark to combat zones.

Of the total, 10 held a Danish residence permit which the authorities took away, and 12 Danish citizens had been imprisoned. — AFP



Tanjung Piai shows Malaysians tired of waiting for a New Malaysia

A. Kathirasen

November 17, 2019

The victory of Wee Jeck Seng in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election appears to have thrown a lifeline to both the MCA and the Barisan Nasional.

The Tanjung Piai MCA division chief, standing on a Barisan Nasional ticket, has managed to increase the number of MCA’s parliamentary seats to two. While it is insignificant on the national level, for the party it is a rejuvenating factor.

Decimated after the May 9, 2018 general election, the MCA was floundering and even, at one time, considered quitting the Umno-led BN. The party is seen as being alive simply because of the regular press statements by its president, and sole MP till yesterday, Wee Ka Siong.

Now, it has one more voice. But if it expects Umno or the recently-formed Umno-PAS alliance to listen to it, the MCA will be sadly mistaken. If the party expects Umno and PAS to tone down on talk of ketuanan Melayu or Muslim supremacy, it will be mistaken.

If anything, this victory will embolden the two Malay-based parties and they will almost certainly ramp up their Malay-Muslim rhetoric among the Malay population.

After all, if they do win in the next general election, filling up the cabinet would be so much simpler with only a handful of MCA and MIC representatives and yet give the impression of being multiracial and multireligious.

For the equally decimated BN, the victory is a lifeline, too. It can continue brandishing its multiracial, multireligious image – despite the fact that it is now made up only of Umno, MCA and MIC and despite the fact that the MCA has two MPs and the MIC one, and Umno 37.

This victory will also embolden former prime minister Najib Razak, who is actively trying to win in the court of public opinion on the back of numerous criminal charges, to be more visible. Already, he has overtaken veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang as the politician who issues the most statements – these days, of course, on Facebook or blog posts.

But if Najib or the MCA or Umno or PAS think that it is an endorsement of them by the voters, they will be wrong. From grassroots sentiments, it is clear that the voters want to send a message to the ruling Pakatan Harapan government.

The message is simple: we are not happy with you; you have let us down.

There are various reasons for this unhappiness but the two major reasons are the rising cost of living and disillusionment with the PH for not fulfilling many of its promised major reforms, especially those related to freedom and democratic space.

PH promised to bring down the cost of living but, if anything, prices have gone up.

There have been many reports quoting residents of the constituency, especially oil palm smallholders, about how their income has been affected. I’m sure these residents are aware of how Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s accusations over Kashmir angered India and how palm oil orders from India have decreased, affecting thousands upon thousands who depend on it for a living.

The PH promised to repeal several laws that impact on the democratic space of citizens but has since reneged on them or is dragging its feet. Increasingly, people are saying that PH chairman Mahathir is to blame for this.

PH can learn many lessons from this humiliating defeat. I believe its leaders will make some noises about reviewing the situation and delving into the reasons for the defeat so as to rectify them. But don’t hold your breath.

PH is slowly becoming like an Umno-dominated BN. The only difference being that it is now dominated by former Umno president Mahathir.

For instance, Tanjung Piai voters were able to see how PH leaders, who had in the past accused the BN of using its government position and project allocations to entice voters, was doing just that now that it was in power.

Tanjung Piai voters and many other Malaysians are seeing clearly that parties may change and leaders may change but the business of politics, national governance and the problems they face remain almost the same, if not the same.

Malaysians are getting tired of waiting for the promised New Malaysia.




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