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Islamic World News ( 23 Jul 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam Is Beyond Rituals, Scholar Tells Forum on Liberalism

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 Jul 2018

More than 1,000 Jewish settlers converge on Al-Aqsa compound backed by Israeli police officers in Jerusalem [Anadolu Agency]



 Islam Is Beyond Rituals, Scholar Tells Forum on Liberalism

 Islamic Clerics, Monarchs Worship In Kaduna ECWA Church

 Mainstreaming' Militant Candidates Puts a Question Mark over the State’s Counterterrorism Strategy

 Safer To Be 'A Cow than A Muslim' At Many Places in India, Says Shashi Tharoor Days after 'Hindu Pakistan' Remark

 Over 1,000 Israeli Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Al-Quds

 Pompeo Assails Iran’s Leaders, Compares them To ‘Mafia’


Southeast Asia

 Islam Is Beyond Rituals, Scholar Tells Forum on Liberalism

 Philippine Congress’ Approval of Muslim Peace Deal Delayed

 Between PKR and Umno, PAS members told to choose Malay, Islam

 LGBT rights protected but must abide by Malaysian laws, says minister

 PAS’ rule of thumb on how to vote in Sungai Kandis: Islam/Malay



 Islamic Clerics, Monarchs Worship In Kaduna ECWA Church

 To End Boko Haram Insurgency, Include Muslim Ummah in De-Radicalisation Process —SCSN

 Somalia’s Al-Shabab Storm Military Base in Country’s South, Kill 27 Soldiers

 18 killed in Boko Haram attack in Chad

 Somalia’s Al Shabaab Says Stormed Military Base in Country’s South, Killed 27 Soldiers



 Mainstreaming' Militant Candidates Puts a Question Mark over the State’s Counterterrorism Strategy

 Imran Repeats Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Amendment Issue despite Raja Report

 Pakistan renews support for Ghani’s dialogue offer to Taliban

 PTI candidate injured in suicide blast; Shots fired at JUI-F leader in Northwest Pakistan

 Attempts being made to make general election controversial, says Bilawal

 PML-N trying to weaken institutions: Qadri

 JUI-F’s Akram Durrani escapes unhurt in Bannu ambush

 Security forces kill terrorist in Bannu, recover mobile phone

 Pakistan polls: Forget fair elections in Balochistan; CPEC, insurgency will make Rawalpindi tighten its grip

 PTI candidate killed in DI Khan suicide blast

 Nation, army to stay resolute against terror: COAS



 Safer To Be 'A Cow than A Muslim' At Many Places in India, Says Shashi Tharoor Days after 'Hindu Pakistan' Remark

 Only 'Extremists' From Muslim Community against BJP: Subramanian Swamy

 'Muslim' Meal on Air India to Protect Hindus from 'Halal'

 India Vows Justice As Many Muslims Fear Being Left Off Citizen List

 Terrorists who killed J&K cop gunned down in Kulgam encounter

 Indian Union Muslim League to change flag due to 'Pakistani effect'



 Over 1,000 Israeli Settlers Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Al-Quds

 Israel Evacuates Hundreds of White Helmets to Jordan In Face Of Syria Advance

 10 jihadists killed in Yemen drone strike

 Two Palestinian scientists found dead in an apartment in Algeria

 Turkish company linked to $21.2 mln offer to build new US embassy in Jerusalem

 Israel army kills Palestinian teen in Bethlehem: ministry

 Nine civilians killed by Houthi bombardment south of Hodeidah


North America

 Pompeo Assails Iran’s Leaders, Compares them To ‘Mafia’

 Trump Warns Iran to 'Never, Ever Threaten the United States Again'

 One dead, 13 wounded in Toronto shooting: police


South Asia

 Suicide Attack at Kabul Airport Leaves 14 Dead, 60 Wounded

 US Forces Kill 4 ISIS-K Militants in Achin, Nazian Districts

 Afghanistan's vice president escapes deadly bombing

 Bangladesh cardinal sees shared lessons with Rohingya and U.S./Mexico border

 Ghani, Dostum, and Noor react at yesterday’s attack in Kabul

 Senate Chairman Share concerns, recommendations regarding ceasefire with Taliban

 11 ISIS Khurasan militants surrender to Afghan forces in Jawzjan province


Arab World

 15 Daesh Takfiris Killed As Army Jets Strike Areas in Eastern Iraq

 White Helmets Evacuated From Syria to Israel: Report

 Inside Raqqa: How ISIS Used Its Own Currency to Profit From War

 People Keep Up Protests against US-Backed Militias in Northeastern Syria

 Syrian Army Keeps Rolling on ISIL-Held Territories in Dara'a Province

 Senior Terrorist Commanders Escape Southern Syria Battlefield for Israel

 Syrian Civilians Thwart Terrorists' Plot to Circulate US, Turkish Currencies in Idlib

 Terrorists' Drones Intercepted near Russia-Run Humeimim Airbase in Western Syria

 Syrian Army Spreads Control to More Regions in Dara'a Province

 Israeli air strike targets Syria military position

 Syria TV: Israeli warplanes hit military post in Hama Province



 Sajid Javid Tells US: We Won't Block Death Penalty for Isil 'Beatles'

 Belgian State Not Obliged To Take Back IS Children: Court

 British terrorist jailed aged 14 seeks lifetime anonymity on release

 How the UK media downplay and trivialise Hamas terror

 Operation Libya: Britain could send troops to train anti-terror forces amid fears over ISIS militants regrouping

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Islam is beyond rituals, scholar tells forum on liberalism

Minderjeet Kaur

July 22, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims are becoming obsessed with matters concerning rituals and trivial matters on do’s and dont’s at the expense of Islam’s emphasis on humanity, said a professor of philosophy from the International Islamic University.

Isham Pawan Ahmad told a forum on the theme of “liberal Islam” that it was this attitude behind the indifference of Muslim groups to the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, although they were easily riled up by issues such as the mixing of males and females in public and the correct way to perform a certain ritual.

“Today we are talking about how to pray, whether women can drive, while issues like the Zakat are not talked about,” he said, referring to the alms-giving, one of the five most important religious obligations in Islam.

Speaking at the forum “Is it time to look beyond the idea of liberal Islam?” organised by Islamic Renaissance Front and G25, Isham said the debate among Muslims today was far from the Quran’s emphasis on social justice.

He said many Muslims who undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca are worried if their haj or umrah would be accepted by God.

Giving an extreme example, he said one pilgrim had hired a religious man for RM50,000 to coach him throughout the haj pilgrimage.

“He was told on the right slippers or belt to use,” he said.

“It should be about being more compassionate. But people talk about rituals, not about behavioural change after performing the haj,” he said.

Isham said the concept of liberalism would help Muslims contextualise verses of the Quran and their meanings, so that Muslims do not just follow out of “fear of hell”, but because they give meaning to life.

He said every week during Friday prayers, Muslims were warned about the punishment of hell, adding that one outcome of this is the failure to understand the role of religion in one’s life.

“Religion is about making transformation,” he said.

He added that religion should not be used to repress others, saying this was the gist of the Quran’s message provided its verses are understood in their true context.



Islamic Clerics, Monarchs Worship In Kaduna ECWA Church

23 July 2018

Over 50 Islamic clerics and traditional leaders yesterday worshipped with their Christian counterparts at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) gospel church in Kaduna to promote religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

The Muslim clerics and the monarchs were in the church located along Lemu Road in Kaduna metropolis throughout the service that lasted almost four hours.

They gave goodwill messages, which majorly centred on religious tolerance and the utmost need for peace and togetherness regardless of religious, tribal or ethnic differences.

According to the Senior Pastor of the church, Revd. Dauda Haruna, who spoke on the essence of the service, it is possible for everybody to live in peace regardless of religious differences.

“As a church, we are committed to building a community of peace and belief me, we can live in peace if we respect one another’s faith and tell each other the truth.

“What we are doing today is what we have been doing yearly for about five years where we donate foodstuff to our neighbouring Muslims during Ramadan and after invite them to worship with us, an opportunity we equally discuss how we can further and together promote peace in the state and country at large,” he said.

On his part, Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Barnabas Bantex, who stood in for Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai, commended the church for what he called laudable initiative.

Bantex, who lauded the move as part of ways of ensuring religious cohesion among religious organisations and faith, expressed enthusiasm that such gesture could help bring about lasting solutions to religious crises in the state and Nigeria at large.

“My boss, the governor, is mandate focused and will do everything humanly possible to ensure that peace at all levels is ensured in the state” he assured.

In the same vein, the Hakimi Barnawa, Alhaji Kabiru Zubairu, who also spoke on behalf of the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji (Dr.) Shehu Idris, commended the gesture and solicited for fervent prayers against all forms of social vices in the state and country at large.

He appealed for love for one another and support for government at all levels for them to deliver on their promises.

Also, the Executive Secretary of Sultan Bello Mosque, Shiekh Hamisu Ya’u, who said the last time he entered the church was in 1986, also expressed joy for the initiative of the church.

He identified politics, role of religious leaders, hate-speeches, propaganda and lack of forgiveness and love for one another as causes of religious crises.



Mainstreaming' militant candidates puts a question mark over the state’s counterterrorism strategy

July 23, 2018

IN several constituencies, candidates with strong links to sectarian militancy and jihadi groups are being allowed to contest the general elections. What is most worrying is that the institutions that have the legal and constitutional powers to block these elements’ entry into electoral politics are looking the other way.

Chief of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat Ahmed Ludhianvi is contesting the polls as an independent from Jhang while the sectarian outfit’s Karachi-based leader Aurangzeb Farooqui is also fighting for a National Assembly seat from the platform of the Rah-i-Haq party.

Ludhianvi was taken off the Fourth Schedule by the caretaker set-up, while Farooqui is being backed in his constituency by the PTI, PML-N and a former provincial minister belonging to the PPP.

In Punjab, cadres of the Milli Muslim League — the political front of Jamaatud Dawa — are taking part in the polls under the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek banner. In Balochistan, Ramzan Mengal, an ASWJ leader, is running for a Quetta seat while Shafiq Mengal, the alleged leader of a feared death squad that is believed to have had both sectarian and Baloch nationalist targets, is campaigning for a Khuzdar seat.

But it is not just the state and security establishment that appear to be playing ball with violent extremists; mainstream parties have also courted hardliners for votes. For example, it is of concern to note that former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sought the ASWJ’s electoral support recently.

Extremist elements who forsake the way of the gun, eschew the path of religious and sectarian hatred and respect democratic norms have a right to become part of the electoral process.

However, in the aforementioned cases, there is little evidence that any of these individuals and organisations have renounced the politics of hate and violence. This puts a question mark over the state’s counterterrorism strategy.

If extremists are allowed to contest for seats and make it to the legislatures without renouncing violence, what is to be made of NAP’s goal three which states that “militant outfits and armed gangs will not be allowed to operate in the country”? What good is banning organisations when they reappear with new names, and when militant leaders run for office?

As for political parties courting extremists for votes, they should realise that should the hardliners get their way, the whole democratic edifice will be wrapped up and replaced with something much darker.



Safer To Be 'A Cow than A Muslim' At Many Places In India, Says Shashi Tharoor Days After 'Hindu Pakistan' Remark

Jul 23, 2018

New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said that it was safer "to be a cow than a Muslim" at many places in India, remarks that may trigger a controversy. Tharoor's remarks come close on the heels of his "Hindu Pakistan" statement that invited criticism from his political opponents.

"Why BJP Ministers' claims about reduction in communal violence doesn’t stand up to the facts: It seems safer in many places to be a cow than a Muslim," Tharoor wrote on Twitter. He also posted the link of his article published on a news portal, which had the "cow-Muslim" remark.

The remarks also came days after 28-year-old Akbar Khan was lynched by a mob in Rajasthan's Alwar district on suspicion of cow smuggling.



Over 1,000 Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied al-Quds

Jul 22, 2018

More than a thousand Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds amid escalation of violence by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into the holy site through the Bab al-Magharibah under the tight protection of several groups of Israeli soldiers and special police forces, Arabic-language Safa news agency reported.

The settlers performed acts deemed provocative by Palestinians at the mosque's courtyard in commemoration of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.

Heavily armed Israeli police forces set up iron barriers on the doors and confiscated identity cards of Palestinians before allowing them to enter the compound.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US President Donald Trump announced his decision on December 6 last year to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis the city triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.

On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.”

In an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution, Trump threatened reprisals against countries that backed the measure, which had earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council.

Israel, however, rejected the world body’s resolution while thanking Trump for his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.

On January 18, the United States reneged on a pledge to contribute $45 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which supports more than five million registered Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The announcement to cut aid to Palestinian refugees came after the US president made a threat to cut off aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency.

In a series of tweets on January 2, Trump had said that the US paid “the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year” and yet got “no appreciation or respect.”



Pompeo assails Iran’s leaders, compares them to ‘mafia’

23 July 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched a rhetorical assault on Iran’s leaders on Sunday, comparing them to a “mafia” and promising unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.

Pompeo, in a California speech to a largely Iranian-American audience, dismissed Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who negotiated a nuclear deal with the United States and five other countries, as “merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry.”

US President Donald Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear accord designed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Tehran has said its nuclear work is just for electricity generation and other peaceful projects.

Iran “is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” Pompeo said, citing what he called Iranian leaders’ vast wealth and corruption.

Pompeo’s speech was the latest step in a communications offensive launched by the Trump administration that is meant to foment unrest in Iran and help pressure its government to end its nuclear program and support of militant groups, US officials familiar with the matter said.

The offensive is meant to work in concert with severe economic sanctions that Washington plans to re-impose in the coming months, including on Tehran’s oil exports, its principal revenue generator.

The United States will work with countries that import Iranian oil “to get imports as close to zero as possible” by Nov. 4, Pompeo said.

Rowhani cautioned Trump on Sunday about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying: “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.” But he did not rule out peace between the two countries, which have been at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rowhani said, in an apparent reference to reports of efforts by Washington to destabilize Iran’s Islamic government.


‘Long-ignored voice of people’

Publicly, the Trump administration says its policy with Iran is not “regime change,” but to change Tehran’s behavior so it stops nuclear and missile work, support for proxies in the Middle East and backing of militant groups.

“While it is ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country, the United States ... will support the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, to a packed house of about 1,000 people. He received frequent applause, although one audience member heckled him over the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

Several dozen protesters lined the route to the site, including one group that distributed fliers opposing both Iran’s current government and any US intervention in Iran.

Pompeo said senior Iranian leaders had benefited from embezzlement, sweetheart deals and other ill-gotten gains.

Iran’s ayatollahs, he said, were “hypocritical holy men” who “seem more concerned with riches than religion.”

Pompeo said the US government broadcasting agency was launching a 24/7 Farsi-language channel on TV, radio, digital and social media platforms. The US government also is taking steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship, he said.



Southeast Asia


Philippine Congress’ approval of Muslim peace deal delayed

July 23, 2018

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippine House of Representatives has failed to ratify as expected a new autonomy deal that many hope will peacefully settle one of Asia’s longest-raging Muslim separatist rebellions and help prevent a repeat of a disastrous Daesh group-linked attack in the country’s south.

The Senate unanimously ratified on Monday the bill that aims to establish the new Bangsamoro autonomous region but House members adjourned early amid a reported leadership challenge without approving the crucial legislation.

Both chambers need to ratify the autonomy bill for it to be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, who is expected to highlight the peace deal with the largest Muslim rebel group in his annual state of the nation address before a joint session of Congress later Monday. The rebels didn’t immediately react.



Between PKR and Umno, PAS members told to choose Malay, Islam

22 Jul 2018

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said party members should look into the interest of Malay and Islam when considering the available choices in the Sungai Kandis by-election.

This was in light of PAS not contesting in the by-election, paving to a three-way fight between PKR, Umno and an independent candidate.

"PAS members in Sungai Kandis are instructed to choose based on the interest of Islam/Malays as well as the country's future, by considering PAS attitude towards the new Pakatan Harapan government that remains the same as it was prior to the 14th general election," he said in a statement today.

PAS has had an icy relationship with Harapan since before the latter won federal power. The party was seen to be closer to Umno than Harapan in the lead up to the May 9 general election.

Takiyuddin also stressed that a check-and-balance is required in Selangor.

"In other words, the role of the opposition is very important," he said.

Harapan won a landslide victory in Selangor, winning 51 out of 56 seats. PAS was nearly wiped out, seeing its seats reduced from 13 to one. BN seats were reduced from 11 to four.

PKR, which represents Harapan, is contesting under its own banner while Umno is contesting under BN's banner.

Full report at:

He said the same position applies with the upcoming Balakong by-election.



LGBT rights protected but must abide by Malaysian laws, says minister

By Hidir Reduan

July 23, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community must still abide by related existing laws in Malaysia.

However, the minority community’s fundamental human rights will still be protected in line with the Federal Constitution as well as local culture and Islam as the official religion.

In giving this assurance, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa told the Dewan Rakyat today that the government took into account the public's concerns over the spread of the LGBT culture.

Mujahid, who is the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, said that regardless of how one feels about the LGBT lifestyle, the community must not be discriminated against, such as in the workplace.

“Any discrimination (against the LGBT community) at the workplace will only push them into the sex industry,” he said, adding that the government is committed to helping them escape the illicit trade.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris (BN-Jerantut) over steps the government would take to tackle spread of LGBT culture which purportedly goes against the Federal Constitution which places Islam as Malaysia’s official religion.

In response to additional question from Ahmad Nazlan over allegations that there are some among the LGBT community using social media to propagate the lifestyle to Malaysians, Mujahid said that there already existing laws to tackle this matter if it is used for immoral purposes.

He said these include state enactments on forbidding Muslim men from dressing up as women, among others.

“The LGBT issue is not one that only affects Muslims as we must also look at how it affects non-Muslims.

“We need to do this in order to prevent us from being caught up in a culture from abroad,” he said.

He said that the government is also in constant engagement with other stakeholders via seminars, among others, to help tackle the issue.

In response to an additional question from Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus (PH-Hulu Langat) over steps taken by the government to help members of the public from from getting involved in the LGBT lifestyle, Mujahid said that the steps are not just to tackle LGBT issues but also to help tackle other sexual issues within society.

“Sex education should not be seen as taboo as it is needed to help curb (various sexual problems in society) in line with Islam and other religions,” he said.

The subject has been a hot issue ever since prominent LGBT activist Numan Afifi was pressured to step down as Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman’s interim press officer after online criticism.

While Numan had gone on the record to state that he was never officially appointed, his name had been had reportedly listed on the ministry’s website as “special officer“, but was subsequently removed.

Previously, Mujahid had said that as a Malaysian citizen, Numan cannot be discriminated against by virtue of his sexual orientation.

The minister however, made it clear that he and the government are consistent in their stance against the propagation of LGBT culture.

Syed Saddiq however was widely panned on social media for supposedly not standing up for Numan.

The politician who has adopted “bro” as his main reference been repeatedly evasive of his stance on the community and maintained that the appointment was a misunderstanding and had asked the press to get more details from Numan himself.

Full report at:



PAS’ rule of thumb on how to vote in Sungai Kandis: Islam/Malay

July 22, 2018

PETALING JAYA: PAS which is staying out of the Sungai Kandis state by-election in Selangor next month is not endorsing any of the three candidates, but advises its members to take into account the interests of Islam and Malay when voting.

“PAS members in Sungai Kandis are instructed to choose based on the interest of Islam/Malays as well as the country’s future,” said PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan in a statement.

He said the party’s stand on Pakatan Harapan (PH), the coalition it opposed during the May polls, still remained, adding that the opposition is still needed for a check-and-balance role.

The Sungai Kandis by-election on Aug 4 will see a three-way fight between PKR, Umno and an independent candidate.

PKR is represented by religious teacher Zawawi Mughni, while Umno is represented by its Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam. Murthy Krishnasamy is standing as an independent.

PKR has won the state seat in the past three general elections. The seat fell vacant after the death of PKR assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafie on July 2.

Takiyuddin also said PAS decided to stay out of the Sungai Kandis contest as the party was still waiting for a post-mortem report on its electoral performance in Selangor.

Meanwhile, BN candidate Lokman is trying to woo PAS to win the hearts of the Malay voters there.

“I have contacted my friends from PAS… to discuss the possibility of us (BN) working together with PAS branch leaders here during the campaign.

Full report at:





To end Boko Haram insurgency, include Muslim ummah in de-radicalisation process —SCSN

July 22, 2018

The Supreme Council of Shari’ah in Nigeria has decried its alleged exclusion from de-radicalising and rehabilitation of repentant members of Boko Haram insurgents.

The SCSN comprises of the Council of ulamas (scholars) and the imams (preachers).

They maintained that if the All Progressives Congress government had involved the SCSN in the process of de-radicalising the insurgents, the issue of Boko Haram would have long been forgotten.

The SCSN Secretary-General, Dr. Auwal Faruq-Abdulsalam, stated this shortly after the meeting of the group on Saturday in Kaduna.

The meeting was facilitated by the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue.

The meeting has as its theme: “High level roundtable meeting on de-radicalisation agenda of Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria.”

Though he agreed that the insurgents had been greatly decimated by the incumbent administration, he noted that the real group that could fit into the process of de-radicalising the sect was the Islamic organisation.

The Secretary-General said, “As you are aware, the issue of Boko Haram insurgency has been persisting in the country for the past 10 years.

“The Federal Government has made good progress in anti-insurgency war and in the de-radicalisation process.

“In all this process, the ulamas and the Islamic organisation have been completely excluded.

“We felt that the ulamas and the Islamic organisation are the major stakeholders because the Boko Haram claim to be Muslims.

“They claim to use the scriptures from Islamic faith to unleash their terror. So, I think the right people that can change the narrative and counter their ideology are the real Islamic leaders or ulamas and Islamic organisations.

“But we realised that these major stakeholders are completely excluded from the process.

“We decided to do a road map on how Muslim ummah could get involved in this process.

“We believe the only way to end this problem of insurgency is to include the ulamas in the de-radicalisation process.”



Somalia’s Al-Shabab storm military base in country’s south, kill 27 soldiers

July 23, 2018

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Al-Shabab group said on Monday its fighters had attacked a military base in the south of the country, killing 27 soldiers.

“We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed. We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabab’s military operation spokesman said.

The base is some 50 km (31 miles) away from the port city of Kismayu. There was no immediate comment from government official on the attack.

Al Shabab fights to topple Somalia’s central government and impose its a rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s Sharia law.

Full report at:



18 killed in Boko Haram attack in Chad’

Just on Sunday, a Chadian military source said 18 people had lost their lives in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad region.

The source said the fatalities had taken place at around 9:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Thursday in a village south of Daboua, not far from Chad’s border with Niger.

The assailants “cut the throats of 18 people, wounded two others and kidnapped 10 women.”

Boko Haram has terrorized the region since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria, leaving at least 20,000 people dead, displacing more than two million others and triggering a humanitarian crisis.



Somalia’s al Shabaab says stormed military base in country’s south, killed 27 soldiers

23 July 2018

Somalia’s al Shabaab group said on Monday its fighters had attacked a military base in the south of the country, killing 27 soldiers.

“We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed. We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman said.

The base is some 50 km (31 miles) away from the port city of Kismayu. There was no immediate comment from government officials on the attack.

Al Shabaab fights to topple Somalia’s central government and impose its rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s Sharia law.

Full report at:





Imran repeats Khatam-e-Nabuwwat amendment issue despite Raja report

July 23, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan during a rally in Jhelum on Wednesday again alleged that ‘Khatam-e-Nabuwwat’ (SAW) clause was amended at the behest of foreign powers and demanded Raja Zafarul Haq committee report be made public even though the it states that PTI opposed Senator Hafiz Hamdullah bid to reverse the changes, a local media outlet reported on Sunday.

According to the report “It was not till the Bill was taken for consideration in the Senate on September 22, 2017, that Senator Maulana Hafiz Hamdullah of JUI-F moved an amendment inter-alia to Clause 110 relating to the declaration for restoration of the expressions “on oath” and “solemnly swear”.

“Leader of the House in the Senate, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq supported the amendment moved by Senator Hafiz Hamdullah. However, it was defeated by vote 34–13, when put to vote as opposition members from PPP and PTI opposed it,” reads the report.



Pakistan renews support for Ghani’s dialogue offer to Taliban

Tahir Khan

JULY 23, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday renewed its support for President Ashraf Ghani’s dialogue offer to the Taliban as senior diplomats, military and intelligence officials of the two countries met in Kabul to explore ways to implement key principles of a bilateral dialogue that also calls for actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements, posing security threats to either of the two countries.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjau led a 28-member delegation at the inaugural session of the five working groups of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), a joint action plan for cooperation in key areas of counter-terrorism and for reduction of violence and promotion of peace and reconciliation involving repatriation of refugees and joint economic development.

At the meeting, Janjau was confident that the joint working groups would solve many problems between the two countries. “I have brought a message to reiterate support to the President Ashraf Ghani’s peace plan to the Taliban,” she said.

President Ghani had unveiled his peace initiative in February that also included recognition of the Taliban as a political movement, offering them office in Afghanistan. Taliban, who have declined all previous such offers on the plea that the Kabul administration is powerless and is not a party to the conflict, did not respond to Ghani’s offer that had received worldwide support.

The Sunday’s talks were held amid reports that the Trump administration had instructed its diplomats to initiate direct talks with Taliban.

Taliban had long been calling for direct talks with the United Stated to discuss if and when the American and its NATO allies would leave Afghanistan.

A Taliban official at the Qatar office told Daily Times that no talks with the Americans had been held as yet. But he evaded a question when asked if the US had contacted the Taliban political office for the possible talks.

Pakistani officials say reconciliation with the Taliban is one of the important items on APAPPS agenda and both sides have tasked intelligence chiefs to explore ways how to encourage the Taliban to join the peace process.

Janjua said that despite upcoming elections in Pakistan, the presence of the high level Pakistani delegation in Kabul “shows our commitment to APAPPS”.

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, who led his country’s delegation, expressed the hope that APAPPS would produce expected results. He reaffirmed Afghanistan’s commitment to working with Pakistan to achieve peace in Afghanistan and the region, according to an Afghan Foreign Ministry’s statement. Daily Times also received that statement.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have formed five groups: Political-Diplomatic Working Group, military to military, intelligence cooperation, economic and Refugee Working Group.

A Foreign Office statement in Islamabad conformed late Sunday that the Pakistani delegation comprising 28-members, including representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, States and Frontier Regions, Commerce, FBR, Railways, Communications, Interior, Military and Intelligence met their Afghan counterparts in respective working groups.

At the inaugural meeting of the working groups, both sides assessed prospects for the APAPPS forum that covers all areas of mutual interest, including counter terrorism and security, peace and reconciliation, bilateral trade and transit, connectivity, Afghan refugees’ repatriation and promoting people-to-people contacts.

Following the APAPPS inaugural session, five working groups held their respective meetings at the level of relevant ministries and departments. The working groups, besides discussing important issues, also deliberated on the TORs for future course of action and the agenda items for their next round of meetings to be held in Islamabad at mutually agreed dates, the statement added.

Full report at:



PTI candidate injured in suicide blast; Shots fired at JUI-F leader in Northwest Pakistan

July 22, 2018

A suicide bomber injured a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate and killed his driver and guard in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's troubled Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province today, police said.

Ikramullah Gandapur, a candidate for the provincial assembly seat from PK-99 constituency, was on his way to an election meeting when the bomber targeted his vehicle.

His guard and driver were killed in the attack while he is said to be in a critical condition at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dawn reported, citing hospital sources.

Gandapur served as the provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet.

He was elected through a by-election on the Dera Ismail Khan PK-67 seat, after it was vacated following the death of his brother Law Minister Israrulah Gandapur in a suicide attack.

In a separate incident, Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani survived an assassination bid today when his vehicle was ambushed by unknown gunmen during election campaign in his home district Bannu, bordering North Waziristan district.

The gunmen opened indiscriminate fire on Durrani's vehicle from the frontal side. However, he remained unhurt in the attack.

Durrani is contesting for NA-35 under the Muttahida Majlise-e-Amal (MMA) banner against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan.

This is the third attack on election candidates in Bannu district and second on Durrani ahead of July 25 polling.

On July 13, a attack targeting JUI-F's central general secretary killed four persons with wounded as many as 39. Durrani, however, remained unhurt in the attack.

On the same day, 149 people, including a top nationalist leader, were killed and over 200 others injured in a powerful suicide blast in Mastung area in the troubled Balochistan province.

Full report at:



Attempts being made to make general election controversial, says Bilawal

July 23, 2018

DADU: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that now that the electioneering has reached a crescendo and election is round the corner, attempts are being made to make the polls’ process controversial.

Bilawal said at a rally at Moundar Naka here on Sunday that his party had faced and defeated many alliances in its history. Alliances were made against Benazir Bhutto as well and she and her party courageously fought them off and defeated them. PPP would once again beat such alliances, he said.

He said that he was pursuing the political programme of his slain mother, which was aimed at safeguarding the interests of the country and people. He was doing politics of principles, he said.

His party’s manifesto was people-friendly which would greatly benefit farmers and farm workers. PPP was the only political party which was fighting against poverty and terrorism and was struggling for the rights of the poor, he said.

He said the material proof of PPP’s people friendly policies was Benazir Income Support Programme which had contributed enormously to poverty reduction across the country.

He said that after coming to power, PPP government would extend loans to women who could play a positive role in improving economy. No other political party had taken steps to raise standard of people’s life and said it was only PPP which had introduced policies for the welfare of people, he said.

Bilawal said that PPP, after coming to power, would register farmers and provide them farmer cards through which they would directly receive interest-free loans without any hassle.

He said that if farmers faced losses in crops for any reason, they would be able to withstand it through their card. The party would also introduce food cards for the poor to receive essential food items, he said.

He said the food stores to be run by women would remain open for the food card holders and they would greatly help fight poverty and unemployment. Like the promises made by Z.A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto which had already been fulfilled whatever he was promising would also be met, he said.

He said that PPP was not fighting against any political party, PPP’s fight was against poverty and unemployment. No other party could bring about positive change and only PPP was harbinger of genuine change, he said.

He said earlier at a public gathering before the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that PPP had always struggled against non-democratic elements. A weak democracy was better than a strong dictatorship, he said.

He said that PPP had always solved people’s problems and it was perhaps the only party which had to face several challenges in its history.

Former Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that PPP would once again sweep election by trouncing the rivals and form government single-handedly.

Other PPP leaders, including the party candidate for NA-233 Sardar Sikandar Ali Rahupoto and Malik Asad Sikandar also spoke at the rally. The PPP chairman visited the shrine of Qalandar after addressing the rally and offered fateha.

Full report at:



PML-N trying to weaken institutions: Qadri

July 23, 2018

LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri alleges that the incarcerated “convicted party” is using its ill-gotten wealth to weaken the armed forces and divide the judiciary.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, he said the judiciary was targeted and attempts were made to weaken it as an institution whenever it delivered verdicts against PML-N head Nawaz Sharif. It was now doling out its plundered wealth to target the judiciary as well as armed forces, he said.

He said had the elections been held after completing the accountability process, as per demand of PAT, the plunderers would not have dared to raise a finger at the institutions.

He regretted that dozens of candidates wanted in serious cases were in the electoral race.

Full report at:



JUI-F’s Akram Durrani escapes unhurt in Bannu ambush

July 23, 2018

A leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) minister, Akram Khan Durrani, on Sunday barely escaped an attack on his life in Bannu less than 10 days after he survived a similar attempt.

The JUI-F leader, who is also a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate for NA-35, was on his way to address a political convention when he was attacked in the Basia Kheil area of Bannu when shots were fired at his vehicle by unidentified suspects, who escaped after the attack, the police informed.

Durrani was going to far-flung areas of the district to conduct a door-to-door campaign when his vehicle was shot at, DPO Bannu Khurram Rashid was quoted as saying.

No one was injured in the incident.

Earlier, on July 13, his convoy was attacked while he was leaving an election rally, resulting in the death of four people and injuring several others.

Following the incident, Durrani had spoken to the reporters, stating that “the blast took place near the tire of the jeep” when he was passing through a local bazaar after addressing an election rally.

Following the blast, Durrani arrived at the hospital to tend to his supporters.

“The police and security agencies had told me about the security threats,” he had said. “I remained safe but four of my allies have been martyred,” he had remarked.

Full report at:



Security forces kill terrorist in Bannu, recover mobile phone

July 23, 2018

BANNU: A suspected terrorist was killed while his accomplices managed to escape after an exchange of fire with the security forces here on Sunday.

The security forces were on routine patrol in Jani Khel area of Bannu when the militants started firing at them. In retaliation, security forces personnel also opened fire, killing one terrorist while his accomplices managed to escape.

Full report at:



Pakistan polls: Forget fair elections in Balochistan; CPEC, insurgency will make Rawalpindi tighten its grip

Jul 23, 2018

It's time for the Pakistan security forces to take a well-deserved bow in Balochistan. According to media reports, a dreaded terrorist of the Islamic State's Balochistan chapter has been killed. Mufti Hidayatullah was reported killed in Kalat, once the capital of an independent state that was swallowed whole by Pakistan after Partition.

If this report is true, then it is a just ending for a leader of a group that claimed a heinous attack on an election rally that killed more than 140. The trouble is no one can really say if the man killed was actually a terrorist, or another of the Baloch insurgents who have been fighting Pakistan security forces for the past four decades. After all, police earlier identified the attack as being carried out by a member of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi  and that he was sheltered by some locals. The now re-run story of the bomber being apparently dropped to the attack site by the head of the Islamic State chapter sounds perfidious to say the least.

As Pakistan goes to elections, resentment in Balochistan is high. Some of that resentment led to demands for outright independence from the Pakistani State, which is the basis for continued insurgent attacks. Others want more autonomy. And a majority of those now fighting for a share of the vote, want a better say in governance of their own affairs. However, none of this is likely to come to pass.

The seriousness of the security situation in Balochistan was apparent when the government announced that all internet services had been suspended in six districts of the province and would remain so until the elections on 25 July. Unsurprisingly, all of the districts are areas of strong insurgent activity. Also three of those districts—Kalat, Keech and Awaran—haven’t had internet since February 2017. It can be argued that this denial is only the latest in a history of poor governance and high-handedness that the province has had to face.

An example of this was when Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri was toppled by his own party just months before completing his term. That the scion of a powerful political family was then replaced by a virtual unknown, Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, and that the whole exercise was initiated after the sacking of home minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, is an example of the strange happenings in Balochistan of late.

Unsurprisingly, he is now part of a new political party (Balochistan Awami Party) made up of the very dissidents who engineered the coup, and who blame ‘neighbours’ for violence in the province.  This kind of open political back stabbing is unusual, even for Balochistan. It is not surprising therefore, that polls show low political activity. In addition, news on the little election activity in Balochistan is extremely difficult to get. Barring a few stalwarts, Pakistan media virtually ignores the province, forcing Baloch politicians to take to social media and the radio to spread their message.

Unsurprisingly, a major issue at the centre of campaigning is the issue of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  All the parties fielding candidates promise greater participation for the Baloch in the project, an issue that has been a major sore point in the province. How this is to be done is tricky, and probably difficult given the low educational levels prevalent in Balochistan. A second promise is therefore, to increase the number of educational institutions, which is also difficult, given problems in staffing at higher levels. But then political parties are in the business of handing out promises.

A third issue is that of safety and an end to violence. This is not the usual “terrorism talk” that is apparent in mainland Pakistan, where politicians are quoting various statistics to show decreased terrorism, and crediting the army thereafter. The reference here is about ensuring that Baloch citizens don’t get picked up and tortured by the Pakistani security forces to become part of a statistic under the head of “Enforced Disappearances”: A nomenclature that has become emblematic of the colonial relationship between Pakistan (which generally means Punjab) and Balochistan. No one really known how many hundreds have been picked up and tortured. The only ones who write about this are safely abroad.

Despite all these negatives, there are several parties in the fray, apart from the major players. With severe infighting in its ranks, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had trouble fielding candidates. It finally announced its candidates only on 28 June. Polls indicate the sudden downfall of its government has cost the PML-N dearly. It is no longer one of the top three in terms of preferred parties. Instead, the Pakistan Peoples Party has emerged as the preferred choice with 36 percent of respondents, which is a huge climb from the 5 percent polled last year.

The popularity of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems to have dropped, probably because the party has not been giving the province as much attention as it has to Punjab and Sindh. Its party functionaries are clearly not happy. The Pakistan Muslim League (Q)—the quisling group formed under the reign of General Pervez Musharraf—and the party to which the new Chief Minister Quddus belonged, has also fielded an impressive number of candidates— 65 provincial seats and 14 national—despite a barely to be seen representation in the earlier provincial Parliament.

Decode Pakistan Logo

Baloch parties of various hues such as the Balochistan National Party (BNP) and the Balochistan National Movement (BNM) of Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch are seen campaigning, but barely. The Jamhoori Watan Party has fallen from the heady days when Nawab Akbar Bugti was its head. Instead, Nawabzada Shazhain Bugti who now heads the party, is busy praising the army to anyone who will listen.

The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and the National Party (NP), both of whom had the ruling hand in the previous government, seem to be fielding fewer candidates. Apart from these, a raft of the religious Right which includes the Jamaat Ulema Islam-Nazryati of firebrand Maulana Khalil Ahmed, the redoubtable grouping of the religious Right under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, and the final surprise, the re-energised highly sectarian Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat which is back on the electoral scene.

All of this can be summed up simply in terms of conclusions. Forget fairness of elections in Balochistan. It's not going to happen, and the province is simply far too important for the Pakistan Army is more ways than one. CPEC aside, security forces cannot afford to have a government that will loosen the lid on insurgency that it has been able to clamp down so effectively, even if brutally. The combination of parties that will come to power will certainly include the newly formed Balochistan Awami Party, the PTI, the PML-Q and a few representatives from parties that once espoused autonomy.

Full report at:



PTI candidate killed in DI Khan suicide blast

JULY 23, 2018

An election candidate and his driver were killed by a suicide bomber in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa on Sunday, police said, three days before the general elections.

Ikramullah Gandapur, a member of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was contesting polls from PK-99 constituency.

He succumbed to his injuries at Combined Military Hospital after a suicide bomber blew himself up near his Land Cruiser, Dera Ismail Khan police chief said, adding that at least eight to 10 kilogrammes of explosive material were used in the suicide attack on Gandapur, which took place in the Kulachi area of the district.

Faraz Mughul, Gandapur’s assistant, confirmed the casualties.

Police said that the candidate was targeted near his residence while he was heading to a political convention.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent to the media.

Gandapur had till recently served as the provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet. He was elected through by-election on PK-67, Dera Ismail Khan, seat after it was vacated following the death of his brother, former law minister Israrulah Gandapur, also in a suicide attack.

PTI chief Imran Khan condemned the ‘cowardly terrorist attack’, in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

“Our hearts weep for him and his family and we pray for both,” the PTI said in a statement.

Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed his condolences through the army’s public relations directorate.

Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan expressed annoyance over inappropriate security arrangements for candidates despite reports of threats to them.

In a statement, he strongly condemned the suicide attack on Gandapur and sought report from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker chief minister, inspector general police and chief secretary. The CEC directed that foolproof security should be provided to all the candidates contesting the general elections without any discrimination and an environment of peace must be ensured for holding free, fair and transparent elections.

The bombing is the latest in a number of attacks targeting politicians campaigning ahead of the general elections scheduled for July 25.

Full report at:



Nation, army to stay resolute against terror: COAS

JULY 23, 2018

Chief of Army Staff General (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday said the nation and the army would stay determined and steadfast in the face of cowardly acts of terrorism.

Expressing grief on the martyrdom of Ikramullah Gandapur in a suicide attack, the army chief said, “We have lost another patriotic political leader.”

He said the politicians were being targeted by enemies of peace and democratic process. He said blood of the martyrs should not go waste. Former minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Sardar Ikramullah Khan Gandapur was martyred in a suicide blast in Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday.





Only 'Extremists' From Muslim Community against BJP: Subramanian Swamy

Jul 22, 2018

MUMBAI: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy claimed on Sunday that support for the ruling BJP among Muslims has increased after the Narendra Modi-led government decided to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq among the minority community.

He said only "extremists" from the community are against the BJP now.

"Only extremist Muslims will not vote for the BJP but the rest will be with BJP. After we banned things like triple Talaq, for which there is even division among Muslims, 50 per cent of the community today is voting for BJP," Swamy said, referring to the passage of a bill criminalising instant triple talaq in Lok Sabha last year.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 is pending with Rajya Sabha.

On the CBI filing a chargesheet against Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti for alleged irregularities and criminal conspiracy in the Aircel-Maxis deal case on Thursday, Swamy said: "People warned me that nobody can touch him. All judges are in his pocket. All police commissioners are in his pocket. But I said I am not in his pocket".

Last month, Swamy sought to implead himself as a party in a plea seeking a probe into alleged disproportionate assets of a senior Enforcement Directorate officer investigating the Aircel-Maxis case.

Responding to a query on the proximity between the Congress and the Shiv Sena, which abstained from voting on the noconfidence motion in Parliament despite being an NDA partner, he said: "Sena is an ideological blood brother and we have no intention of letting them go.

"They are angry about something, some of it is justified and some not... I don't see any real problem we have with the Shiv Sena. But I find it a bit odd that they have ministers in our government and yet they chose to abstain. They could have made speeches and criticised, but they should have voted with us," he said when asked about the Sena praising Rahul Gandhi's speech in Lok Sabha in its mouthpiece 'Saamna'.

The BJP had won the no-trust motion by 325-126 votes.

Responding to a query on Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal's remarks on incidents of lynching, he said: "Yes, there is a great deal of concern that prime minister Narendra Modi looks unshakable and the latest no-confidence motion has demoralised the opposition which was trying to make him look bad."

A man was allegedly lynched by a group of people in Alwar district of Rajasthan on Friday night on suspicion that he was smuggling cows. After that incident, Meghwal reportedly said "more popular Modi ji becomes, more such incidents will happen".

Swamy also that the Opposition has "not been able to level a single charge" against Modi. "In fact, Rahul Gandhi embraced Modi (in Lok Sabha during the no-confidence motion debate).



'Muslim' Meal on Air India to Protect Hindus From 'Halal'

July 23, 2018

New Delhi: On an Air India flight from London, the hostess walked down the aisle taking orders for dinner. She leaned over and asked almost conspiratorially.

"May I serve you your Muslim meal now?"

"Muslim meal?" I asked with a start, casting a glance at my equally puzzled wife.

The hostess was embarrassed. A new detail had been added to her hospitality protocol and she was not accustomed to it.

The damage, it turned out, had been done in my office. Responding to a column on dietary preferences, the person responsible for air reservation had hunted high and low for a simple non-vegetarian meal. No such meal was listed. Then he spotted "Muslim meal". The explanatory paragraph clarified that "all non-vegetarian meals are suitable for Muslims and are prepared in accordance with halal method".

The journalist in me took over.

"Fair enough, you have identified us as Muslim, but surely there are others on the flight who are non-vegetarians but not Muslim?"

Of course, there are non-vegetarians on Air India but they would not accept the odium of Muslim ancestry simply to indulge their dietary preference. They want to eat meat but as thoroughbred Hindus.

Two consequences follow. Obstacles in the way of non-vegetarianism depress the demand for non-vegetarian food. By the same token, Hindu passengers feel they are being short changed. This was reverse discrimination. They see themselves being pushed to the lower end of the culinary caste system. The demand for non-veg, therefore, gains in decibel levels: we want non-veg, that's for sure, but one which is neither "Muslim" nor "halal".

A three-way dietary division evolves: (1) Hindus not fussy about labels: "Muslim" or "halal" accept whatever is available. (2) Those for whom realization has been abrupt that what they have been eating for generations was "Muslim" - halal. Ignorance is bliss but not now that enlightenment has come riding on an Air India menu. (3) Simple vegetarians whose tribe, by the way, is growing by leaps and bounds in India as elsewhere face no problem whatsoever.

For the authors of the "Muslim meal" idea, the first category is the most disruptive because it has skewed the process of data collection on how potentially vegetarian or otherwise, India is. This is the key research required for advancing the aspect of Hindutva concerned with promoting non-Muslim dietary practices. If this category can stand its ground despite the disincentive of being called Muslims and halal eaters, this non-veg constituency might just stabilize, even grow. God forbid, it may come in the way of full spectrum Hindutva, vegetarianism et al.

The second category is demanding a non vegetarian meal which is unsullied by Muslim-halal connotations. This is a new demand. This clientele does not quite know what it wants; it knows what it does not want in the non-veg arena. It has clearly asked the catering department of Air India a question which is not easy to answer: what non-veg fare can you serve which is not Muslim-halal?"

Here the discussion acquires exactly the potential for which it was initiated - to polarize and, as a trial run, divide the aircraft cabin between vegetarians and non-vegetarians who, the perpetrators hope, would not like to be grouped as halal-eating Muslims. The cabin is, in this instance, a microcosm of the meat-mukt India of Hindutva's dreams.

A quick answer to halal is jhatka, the method of severing the animal's head with one stroke, favoured by Sikhs. The jhatka-halal debate is custom made for an Arnab Goswami show. Have a devout Sikh, a muscular Mullah and a Bajrang Bali Bhakt peer out of three windows. Extract all the gory details on jhatka and halal from the spokesmen of two distinct schools of slaughter. A possible walkout by the abstemious Bajrangi may well spur Hindu consolidation on an unprecedented scale.

On a more practical note, the "shosha" (mischief) started by AI can be put to some constructive use. A new approach to cuisine may involve drastic change: a non-veg cuisine developed over centuries as a near art form may have to be jettisoned from official banquets and national carriers. The problem will, of-course, arise when lynch mobs on the lookout for a cause, enter restaurants advertising non-veg fare. Individual non-vegetarians may also incur the wrath of the lynch mobs. In fact a malicious rumour has been floated that the monkeys that have been let loose on Delhi's citizenry are an animal loving Minister's project directed against non-veg addicts. The monkeys, says the rumour, are being trained on the Ridge to block entry of meat into non-veg kitchens. The producer of super hit Bajrangi Bhaijan has threatened to go on hunger strike if the avatars of Bajrang Bali are involved in operations which have anything, negative or positive, to do with meat.

The hypocrisy around the cuisine at official banquets at Hyderabad House or even the Rashtrapti Bhawan until the other day has always bordered on the pathetic. There was an insistence on tasteless fare called Mughlai food at a time when streets named after the dynasty were under assault. The banquets begin with a bogus "toast" of some flat cola. This then is a good time to take a hard look at the rampaging Vegan movement globally. Climate change, animal care, fear of artificially inflated livestock for the table is turning the world to organic, vegetarian food. Jeremy Corbyn, who may well be Britain's Prime Minister one day, is a vegetarian.

Full report at:



India vows justice as many Muslims fear being left off citizen list

JULY 22, 2018

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Sunday people whose names are missing from a list of citizens to be issued by a border state this month will not be detained, amid concerns that Muslims will be targeted under the guise of detecting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

“We will ensure that every individual gets justice and is treated in a humane manner. All individuals will have sufficient opportunity for all remedies available under the law,” Rajnath Singh, India’s interior minister, said in a statement.

“Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of claims and objections can appeal in the Foreigner’s Tribunal. Thus, there is no question of anyone being put in a detention center after the publication of NRC (national register of citizens).”

For an update of the NRC to be made public on July 30, all residents of Assam state in the northeast have had to show documents proving they or their families lived in the country before March 24, 1971, to be recognized as Indian citizens.

The exercise has created panic among many Muslims in Assam because Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, which came to power in the state for the first time in 2016, vowed during the election campaign to act against illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh.

Rights activists say the drive is also targeting Muslims who are Indian citizens, a charge the government denies.

Singh also said Assam had been asked to step up security so no one was harassed in the name of citizenship, and that there was no reason for panic.

Citizenship and illegal migration are volatile issues in tea-growing and oil-rich Assam, home to more than 32 million people, about a third of whom are Muslims.

Hundreds of people were killed in the 1980s in a violent protest by a native Assamese group.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled to India from Muslim-majority Bangladesh after it declared independence from Pakistan in 1971, setting off a nine-month civil war. Most of them settled in Assam and the neighboring state of West Bengal, where there are similar demands to send back illegal Muslim immigrants.

Full report at:



Terrorists who killed J&K cop gunned down in Kulgam encounter

Jul 22, 2018

SRINAGAR: A day after the police recovered the bullet-riddled body of constable Saleem Shah of the J&K Police, the security forces killed three terrorists, including one from Pakistan, in an encounter on Sunday morning. The encounter took place in Kulgam district of South Kashmir.

According to a police spokesman, the slain militants were responsible for the killing of Saleem, who was abducted on Friday evening from his home and whose body was recovered from a nearby village on Saturday.

“In the wee hours of Sunday, a joint patrol of security forces launched searches in the Redwani area of Kulgam district after receiving credible inputs about the presence of the terrorists in a cluster of houses,” the spokesman said.

As the security forces advanced, the terrorists holed up in the houses opened fire, resulting in a brief encounter in which the trio was killed. No collateral damage occurred during the encounter, the spokesman added.

“On the basis of the incriminating materials seized from the spot, the killed terrorists were identified as Muawiya from Pakistan, Suhail Ahmad Dar of Redwani Balaa and Mudassar alias Rehaan of Katarsoo village -- all involved in the killing of constable Saleem. As per police records, the terrorists were affiliated to proscribed terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taeba and Hizbul Mujahideen,” he said.

Pakistani terrorist Mauwiya was involved in a number of civilian killings in J&K. Suhail, who was working as a labourer earlier, had later joined terrorist ranks, the spokesman said, adding that some arms and ammunition, including two AK-47 rifles and a carbine, were recovered from the site of the encounter.

Thousands of people joined the funeral of the two local militants in Kulgam while the body of the Pakistani terrorist was taken to Uri for last rites. The police said one civilian was injured after militants, who had mingled with the crowd, offered a gun salute to their slain local associates during the funeral procession.

The police claimed that while offering gun salute, the militants misfired, inflicting a bullet wound in the leg of Fayaz Ahmed, a resident of Shigan Pora in Kulgam. Fayaz was immediately shifted to Kulgam Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, a firing incident was reported during a cordon-and-search operation in Shumriyal forest area of Lolab in North Kashmir's Kupwara district in the wee hours of Sunday. Reports said that some gunshots were heard in the forests when the Army's 28 RR search party was moving through the area.

Full report at:



Indian Union Muslim League to change flag due to 'Pakistani effect'

23rd July 2018

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is set for a major overhaul, with a change of its flag also being a possibility. The Muslim Youth League (MYL) leaders have come out with the suggestion that the party, which they believe is set to make a major foray into the north Indian states, must rework on the flag, especially the “Pakistani” effect on it.

One other major reason for thinking of a change of flag is the public interest litigation filed in Supreme Court by Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Wakf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi. He had said there was nothing Islamic in the flag which resembles that of Pakistani Muslim League. The apex court has sought the Central Government’s view on it.

Rizwi termed hoisting of such flags “un-Islamic” and added it had resulted in communal clashes in several parts of the country. IUML state secretary Abdurahiman Randathani told Express: “Syed Rizvi is a Shia cleric who has called to build Ram Temple after demolishing Babri Masjid. He has also asked to ban madrasas across the country stating they teach terrorism and communalism. His opinion must be rejected outright.”

‘We have never thought of changing IUML flag’       

Muslim Youth League (MYL), led by state president Munavar Ali Shihab Thangal, will conduct a yatra from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram from November 24 to December 24. In the public programme held in Kannur to announce it, the green flag was seen missing while the dais was full of red colour. MYL state general secretary P K Firoz, however, denied the allegation and said the green colour was prominent.

In a related incident, at the national executive in Thiruvananthapuram, delegates were received with red garlands instead of green.

At a recent meeting at the League House in Kozhikode, a firebrand leader of its student wing MSF told on the face of a senior leader that the party has to change the flag, in green colour with crescent and star, as it has a resemblance to that of Pakistan Muslim League.

ET Mohammed Basheer MP, who is the IUML national organising secretary, denied any change of party flag. “These are mere rumours. Party has never thought of such a move and the League has been part of the Union Government for 10 years and had produced a Chief Minister in Kerala. We have been using this flag all these years, so what’s the need for a change now?” he asked.

Full report at:





Israel evacuates hundreds of White Helmets to Jordan in face of Syria advance

July 23, 2018

Israel evacuated hundreds of White Helmets rescuers and their family members threatened by advancing Syrian regime forces to Jordan on Sunday for resettlement in Western countries.

Jordan's foreign ministry announced in a statement that the kingdom received 422 Syrian citizens, after earlier saying it had given permission for 800 to arrive.

Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said Britain, Germany and Canada had initially agreed to accept around 827 rescuers and their relatives, but eventually settled on a figure of 422.

He said they would be allowed to stay in Jordan for a period of time not exceeding three months.

A Canadian government source told AFP that a second group of White Helmets and their relatives was also supposed to be evacuated but "could not reach the border because of the situation on the ground."

The group is still in Syria and it is not certain that a new effort to bring them out can be mounted due to the "precarious" situation there, according to the source.

Founded in 2013, the Syria Civil Defence, or White Helmets , is a network of first responders which rescues the wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or explosions in rebel-held territory

The Israeli military said it had transferred the rescue workers and their families to a neighbouring country, adding that the operation was "exceptional".

"A few days ago President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and others approached me with the request to help extract from Syria hundreds of White Helmets ," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

"These are people who save lives and now find themselves in deadly danger, therefore I approved bringing them through Israel to another country as an important humanitarian step."

White Helmets head Raed Saleh said the evacuees had arrived in Jordan after being "surrounded in a dangerous region".

They had been encircled in the Syrian provinces of Daraa and Quneitra, which respectively border Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, he told AFP.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in 1967, in a move never recognised internationally.

The United States praised Israel and Jordan for facilitating the evacuations and Britain, Canada and Germany for agreeing to give the evacuees new homes.

"We are glad that these brave volunteers, who have saved thousands of lives, are now out of harm's way," the US State Department said of the White Helmets .

Britain's Foreign Office said it had helped facilitate the overnight evacuations.

"White Helmets have been the target of attacks and, due to their high profile, we judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection," it said.

Save all of humanity

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told Bild newspaper that Germany would take in eight White Helmets members and their families.

The move was "an expression of my stance of ensuring humanity and order in migration policy," he said.

Canada will take in up to 50 White Helmets volunteers and their families, totalling up to 250 people, officials said.

"A group of core countries have committed to resettle a number of White Helmets . Canada is resettling up to 50 members and their families, and is working with the international community to assess remaining needs," said Canada's foreign affairs spokeswoman Elizabeth Reid.

Ottawa confirmed that Trudeau spoke to Netanyahu Saturday about "the regional security situation and the evacuation of White Helmets from Syria".

Israel's Haaretz daily said the evacuees also included orphans who had been injured in the Syrian fighting.

It was unclear how many White Helmet volunteers remained in both the Daraa and Quneitra provinces after the evacuations.

But a volunteer in Daraa city, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had decided to stay despite being given the choice to leave.

"It's our country and we have a right to live in it in safety," he told AFP, however adding he was among a minority who wished to remain.

"We are first and foremost a humanitarian organisation, not a military one, or a terrorist one as the regime alleges."

The White Helmets have rescued thousands of civilians trapped under the rubble or caught up in fighting in opposition-held zones along various fronts of Syria's seven-year conflict.

Since its formation, when Syria's conflict was nearing its third year, more than 250 of its volunteers have been killed.

The group's motto -- "To save one life is to save all of humanity" -- is drawn from a verse in the Koran, although the White Helmets insist they treat all victims, regardless of religion.

Thousands flee

Some members have received training abroad, including in Turkey, returning to instruct colleagues on search-and-rescue techniques.

The group receives funding from a number of governments, including Britain, Germany and the United States, but also solicits individual donations to purchase equipment such as its signature hard hats.

On June 19, Syrian government forces launched a Russia-backed offensive to retake Daraa and Quneitra provinces.

Just a month later, regime forces have regained control of most of these two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals.

Jihadists are not party to these deals, and Russian planes bombarded a holdout of the Islamic State group in Daraa province overnight, a Britain-based war monitor said.

More than 20,000 civilians have escaped bombardment on the IS-held corner in the past 24 hours, fleeing into regime-held areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.



10 jihadists killed in Yemen drone strike

July 23, 2018

ADEN : Ten suspected Al-Qaeda jihadists and two soldiers fighting for Yemen's government have been killed in clashes and a drone strike, local officials and security sources said Sunday.

The US military is the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen.

Officials in Marab loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised government said a drone on Sunday targeted a house used by Al-Qaeda in the central province, killing four jihadists.

Separately, six Al-Qaeda members and two pro-government soldiers were killed in clashes Friday following an attack on a jihadist site in southern Shabwa province, security sources said.

The United States considers the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to be the radical group's most dangerous branch.

A long-running drone war against AQAP has intensified since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the country's civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Shiite Huthi rebels.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government's fight against the Huthis.

Full report at:



Two Palestinian scientists found dead in an apartment in Algeria

Jul 22, 2018

Two Palestinian scientists have been found dead in an apartment in Algiers, says the Palestinian Embassy in Algeria.

Suliman al-Farra, 34, and Mohammed Albana, both from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, were found dead in an apartment on Sunday.  

Based on preliminary findings, the pair either died of gas inhalation or due to electrocution from a short circuit.

Palestinian reports claim the two scientists were assassinated.

A local news agency in Gaza said that "the death occurred two days ago and was discovered by incident on Sunday evening after the neighbors smelled the smell of gas scattered in the building."

It also noted that police found one of the corpses near the door, while the other found in the bed.

"We don’t have any more details, I expect the authorities in Algeria and the Palestinian embassy there to do everything necessary to understand what happened," said Albana's brother.

Over the recent years multiple Palestinian scientists have been killed around the world, most of the cases have been linked to Israel's Mossad espionage agency.

In April the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement said Israel’s spy agency Mossad was behind the assassination of a Palestinian lecturer in Malaysia.    

Malaysian police said that the 35-year-old victim, identified as Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, was shot dead by two gunmen on a high-powered motorcycle near his home at Idaman Puteri condominium in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Palestinian drone expert Mohamed al-Zawari was killed in his car by multiple gunshots in front of his house in the town of El Ain, located seven kilometers north of Sfax, Tunisia, on December 15, 2016.

The Ezzedinne Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, blamed Israel for the killing, noting that Zawari had been a member of the group for 10 years and had been supervising its drone program.

Full report at:



Turkish company linked to $21.2 mln offer to build new US embassy in Jerusalem

22 July 2018

The United States has reportedly accepted an offer from an American company with connections to a Turkish constructions firm to build the new embassy of Jerusalem.

The offer came from Desbuild Limak Firm that is linked with its partner company, Limak Holding which is a Turkish contracting giant.

Limak Holding has been working on joint projects with Desbuild Limak over the past five years and has contracted several projects from the US State department, including building American embassies in Arab cities like Baghdad and Beirut.

The price agreed on to build and design the embassy was valued at $21.2 million which will be located in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. This is excluding the $335,000 to get equipment and manpower to build the temporary embassy facilities as an expansion from the current consulate, according to Al-Monitor website.

Although Turkey was the first Muslim country to acknowledge Israel as a state, their current relationship has been unstable since Trump declared his administration was moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.

Full report at:



Israel army kills Palestinian teen in Bethlehem: ministry

July 23, 2018

BETHLEHEM, Palestinian Territories: Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian teenager during a raid in the occupied West Bank overnight, the Palestinian health ministry said on Monday.

Arkan Mizher, 15, was shot in the chest during clashes in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, in the southern West Bank, the ministry said.

His funeral was due to take place later Monday.

The Israeli army said its forces had entered the camp and arrested two people suspected of “terror activity.”

“During the operation, a violent riot was instigated in which Palestinians hurled rocks and threw firebombs and grenades at (Israeli) soldiers,” the army said in a statement.

Soldiers fired live rounds at the protesters, the statement added.

The camp is in a part of the West Bank supposedly under full Palestinian control but the Israeli army regularly carries out raids in such areas.

Full report at:



Nine civilians killed by Houthi bombardment south of Hodeidah

July 23, 2018

DUBAI: Seven civilians were killed and four more wounded after Houthi militants fired three mortar shells at Heiss, south of Hodeidah province, Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.

In a separate incident, two civilians, including one child, were killed by militia mortar fire within the same city.

In a statement issued to the official Yemeni news agency, a local source said “militants fired missiles from their positions in Jabal Ras on three houses in Heiss, killing seven – among them four women and children.”

Local sources said the militia targeted civilians gathering to drink water in the residential Bahis neighborhood within the city.

Full report at:



North America


Trump warns Iran to 'never, ever threaten the United States again'

July 23, 2018

President Donald Trump on Sunday warned Iran of consequences “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered,” if it threatens the United States (US).


“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Trump said, in a direct message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The response came after Rouhani earlier Sunday issued his own warning to the US leader not to “play with the lion's tail,” saying that conflict with Iran would be the “mother of all wars”.

The high-stakes verbal sparring is reminiscent of the exchanges Trump had last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, before tensions eased and the two leaders met this year in an historic summit.

Trump has made Iran a favourite target since his unexpected rapprochement with nuclear-armed North Korea.



One dead, 13 wounded in Toronto shooting: police

July 23, 2018

A gunman opened fire in central Toronto on Sunday night, killing one and injuring 13 people including a child before being shot dead, police reported.

Toronto Police said they had responded to a call at around 10:00 pm (0200 GMT Monday) in the city's Greektown district.

“Conditions of victims not known yet. A young girl is one of the 9 victims,” the police department tweeted.

The police said the nine victims did “not include the shooter who is dead.”

Global News quoted a Toronto police source as saying the suspect is believed to have opened fire at police before killing himself.

Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said it was too early to say whether the shooting was terrorism.

The shooter was caught on camera prior to opening fire.

Witnesses described to local media hearing about 20 shots and the sound of a weapon being reloaded several times.

Jody Steinhauer, an eyewitness of the shooting, told CBC News that she was at a restaurant in the area when she heard what sounded like 10 to 15 blasts of firecrackers.

"We started to hear people scream out front," she said.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford tweeted out a message of solidary with the victims, saying: “My heart goes out to the victims and loved ones of the horrific act of gun violence in Toronto.

“Thank you to all the first responders for acting quickly to help everyone affected.”

The incident comes with Canada's largest metropolis concerned over a spate of shootings, more than 200, this year. About two dozen have been fatal.

Full report at:



South Asia


Suicide attack at Kabul airport leaves 14 dead, 60 wounded

JULY 23, 2018

A suicide bomber killed at least 14 people and wounded 60 at the entrance to Kabul international airport on Sunday, officials said, as scores gathered to welcome home Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum from exile.

Senior government officials, political leaders and supporters were leaving the airport after greeting the powerful ethnic Uzbek leader and former warlord when the explosion happened.

“This is the first time I have seen a suicide attack,” one witness told AFP.

“People were collecting human flesh with their hands,” he said, shaking as he spoke. “What is going on in Afghanistan?”

Dostum, clad in a Western suit and sunglasses and travelling in an armoured vehicle, was unharmed, his spokesman Bashir Ahmad Tayanj said.

Kabul Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said 14 people had been killed and 60 others wounded, adding that nine members of the security forces and traffic police were among the dead.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack through its official Amaq news agency late Saturday, according to the SITE intelligence monitoring group.

The suicide bomber was on foot, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, adding that civilians, including a child, and security force members were among the casualties.

Dostum, who is linked to a catalogue of human rights abuses in Afghanistan, was mobbed like a celebrity as he left the chartered plane from Turkey, where he has lived since May 2017.

His return, which has been the subject of much speculation, comes amid violent protests in several provinces across northern Afghanistan, his traditional power base.

Thousands of Dostum’s supporters have taken to the streets in recent weeks, shuttering election and government offices and blocking sections of highways to demand the release of a pro-government militia leader and to call for Dostum’s return.

Expectations of the return did little to quell the unrest, with protesters vowing Sunday to continue demonstrating until the burly leader of the Uzbek ethnic minority tells them otherwise.

“We don’t trust the government. We will continue our protests unless General Dostum tells us to stop,” Ehsanullah Qowanch, a protest leader in Faryab province, told AFP.

Qowanch also repeated calls for the release of Nezamuddin Qaisari — a district police chief and Dostum’s provincial representative in Faryab — whose arrest earlier this month ignited the protests.

Another protester, Massoud Khan, said: “We have been on the streets for 20 days now. We are not going to stop our protests unless our demands are met.”

– ‘Known killer’ –

Observers say President Ashraf Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, gave the green light for Dostum to come home to stabilise the north and secure Uzbek support before next year’s presidential election, which he is widely expected to contest.

spent the last year in Turkey

Dostum left Afghanistan in May 2017 after he was accused of organising the rape and torture of a political rival.

He had denied the allegations and said his departure was for medical check-ups and family reasons.

Ghani in 2009 described Dostum as a “known killer”, yet he chose him as his running mate in the 2014 presidential election, underlining the sometimes uncomfortable ethnic realities of Afghan politics.

Presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said Saturday that Dostum had been “treated” and would resume his duties upon his return.

Seven of Dostum’s bodyguards have been convicted of the sexual assault and illegal imprisonment of Ahmad Ishchi, a former governor of the northern province of Jowzjan, in 2016.

Dostum allegedly had Ishchi abducted in Jowzjan and then kept him hostage in his private compound for several days, where the captive was said to have been tortured and sodomised.

Chakhansuri deflected questions about whether Dostum would face charges over the incident, saying “the judiciary is an independent body, the government does not interfere in their decisions”.

Dostum is one of several controversial figures whom Kabul has sought to reintegrate into mainstream politics since the US-led invasion in 2001.

His heroic status in the north belies the barbarities for which he is known.

Dostum, who helped the United States oust the Taliban regime in 2001, allegedly allowed hundreds of Taliban prisoners to be suffocated in shipping containers.



US forces kill 4 ISIS-K militants in Achin, Nazian districts

Jul 22 2018

The US force conducted airstrikes in Achin and Nazian districts of eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, leaving at least 4 ISIS Khurasan (ISIS-K) militants dead.

The provincial security commandment in a statement said Saturday that the airstrikes were carried out in the two districts on Friday.

The statement further added that three ISIS Khurasan militants were killed and one of their Dshk heavy machine gun was destroyed during the airstrike conducted in Bagh Dara area of Achin district.

The US forces also conducted airstrike in Nazian district targeting the ISIS Khurasan militants in Spin Zhai area, leaving one militant dead.

According to the provincial security commandment, the local residents and security personnel on the ground did not suffer any casualty during the airstrikes.

Earlier, the provincial government had said at least six militants affiliated with the Taliban and ISIS Khurasan groups have been killed and five others sustained injuries during the separate operations conducted in Haska Mina and Khogyani districts.

Full report at:



Afghanistan's vice president escapes deadly bombing

Jul 22, 2018

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and at least 14 others injured in a bombing carried out at Kabul's airport, where scores had gathered to welcome home Afghanistan's Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who had been in exile.

Kabul police spokesman, Hashmat Stanekzai, said the bomb attack hit near the airport's main entrance, where supporters were waiting to greet Dostum. He had left the airport in a motorcade only minutes before the explosion, which officials said appeared to have been caused by a bomber.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, Najib Danish, said civilians, including a child, and members of security forces were among the casualties.

Dostum’s spokesman, Bashir Ahmad Tayanj, said the vice president, traveling in an armored vehicle, had not been harmed.

Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the deadly blast. The Daesh-affiliated Amaq news agency said the bomber detonated his suicide jacket at a gathering to receive the vice president.

Dostum, a former warlord and an ethnic Uzbek veteran of decades of Afghanistan's occasional bloody politics, was mobbed like a celebrity as he left the chartered plane from Turkey, where he had been living since May 2017. His return comes amid ongoing violent protests in several provinces in northern Afghanistan, his traditional power base.

Expectations of the return did little to quell the unrest, with protesters in Faryab province vowing Sunday to continue demonstrating until the strong leader of the Uzbek ethnic minority tells them otherwise.

"We don't trust the government. We will continue our protests unless General Dostum tells us to stop," said Ehsanullah Qowanch, a protest leader in Faryab. Qowanch repeated calls for the release of Nezamuddin Qaisari, Dostum's provincial representative in Faryab, whose arrest earlier this month ignited demonstrations.

Massoud Khan, another protester, said, "We have been on the streets for 20 days now. We are not going to stop our protests unless our demands are met."

Dostum left Afghanistan last year after he was accused of organizing the rape and torture of a political rival. He denied the allegations and said his departure was for medical checkups and family reasons.

Seven of Dostum's bodyguards have been convicted of the sexual assault and illegal imprisonment of Ahmad Ishchi, a former governor of the northern province of Jowzjan, in 2016. Dostum allegedly had Ishchi abducted in Jowzjan and then kept him hostage in his private compound for several days, where the captive was said to have been tortured and sodomized.

Observers say President Ashraf Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, gave the green light for Dostum to come home and secure the Uzbek support before next year's presidential election, which he is widely expected to contest.

Presidential spokesman, Haroon Chakhansuri, said Saturday that Dostum had been "treated" and would resume his duties upon his return.

Full report at:



Bangladesh cardinal sees shared lessons with Rohingya and U.S./Mexico border

Jul 23, 2018

QUEENS, New York - While the situations in Bangladesh, where the country has taken in more than 800,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing in neighboring Myanmar, and those seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, are undoubtedly different, Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario believes there’s a shared lesson to be learned.

“The people who are coming are human beings. They have the right to live, and they have the right to shelter,” said D’Rozario. “The world is home to everyone, not just people of a specific nation.”

In an interview with Crux at Queen of Angels Church in Sunnyside, Queens, the Archbishop of Dhaka in Bangladesh said that migrants and refugees - regardless of where they are in the world - are seeking a place in “our common home,” a nod to Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’.

“Pope Francis is always saying that, and I think we must listen to his call to receive them as human beings,” he said.

For the past three days, D’Rozario - who was created a cardinal by Francis in 2016, the first in the country’s history - has been engaged in a pastoral visit to the largest Bengali population in the United States.

When the first wave of immigrants from Bangladesh arrived in the United States, they settled in Queens, one of the most diverse regions in the United States. They arrived with their full families in tow, and with a commitment to bringing their cultural identities along with them.

Despite “social bonds that are very strong” and a commitment to being “community-minded,” D’Rozario said the Bangladeshis struggled with issues of employment and documentation that most migrant groups do when trying to assimilate in a new country.

Yet despite those challenges, which they would eventually overcome and give birth to a dynamic Bengali-American community, he said they also managed to keep their faith.

D’Rozario, who has traveled to New York on multiple occasions over the years - although this visit marked his first since being made a cardinal - is pleased with what he’s seen.

“God has brought them here with a certain purpose, and they are trying their best to keep their faith, to practice their faith, and the family values linked with their parents and religion - and I see that,” he said.

“They’re coming here as kind of a missionary because Bangladesh has religious values. In the midst of secularization, they can be a witness, and they are,” he continued.

When Jesuit missionaries from Portugal first arrived in Bangladesh at the end of the 16th century, they already faced an uphill battle in the Muslim and Hindu majority country. Yet when a local Hindu prince, Dom Antonio da Rozario, adopted Christianity, widespread conversions followed which fueled greater interest in the new faith.

Although the Church has grown through the centuries, today there are only approximately 375,000 Catholics in Bangladesh, or .3 percent of the population. By contrast, over 86 percent of Bengalis are Muslim, while another 12 percent are Hindu.

Yet this small Church has managed to set an example of interreligious solidarity. D’Rozario told Crux that since Vatican II, the “Church became more local,” and ticked off a list of ways in which the Church provides services to people of other faiths - from education, healthcare, and interreligious dialogue, ways in which he believes Catholics are more outward-facing than any other religious group in the country.

“The Church cannot be restricted to the few,” he said.

Reflecting on the missionary focus of the local Church, D’Rozario mourned the fact that the Church in Europe is in decline and seems embattled by secularizing forces throughout the continent.

“We were evangelized by them. Why did they lose?” he asks rhetorically.

“We cannot just build the Church as an institution,” he said, determined that his small Church will have a different outcome. “The Church is the people of God.”

And it seems that he is not the only one actively working for the Bangladeshi Church to serve as a global example: Not only did Francis shine a spotlight on his country by making him a cardinal, but also by traveling there last December.

As he recalls the surprise news of being made a cardinal, he readily admits, “I was the first one to be dumbfounded.”

In the aftermath of that announcement, he said he could only make sense of it by realizing the honor had nothing to do with him, but “was about the Bangladeshi Church.”

“Pope Francis took an option to bring what is good in the peripheral Church to the center, to the world,” he told Crux. “The Church is poor, the country is poor, but it has its richness in its values.”

“The poor have the power of being dependent on God, not in a way that’s superstitious, but a confidence,” he continued.

Francis’s visit to Bangladesh in December 2017 was the second stop on a seven-day tour, where he first visited neighboring Myanmar. There, he shined a spotlight on the persecuted Muslim minority known as the Rohingya, hundreds of thousands of whom are now living in Bangladesh in make shift camps and shelters.

Since the pontiff’s closely watched-visit to both countries, D’Rozario says he believes the situation has improved. However, he says the displaced status of the Rohingya cannot last forever and they need a more permanent and stable existence.

Even so, he’s proud of the care that Catholics have provided in helping to improve the conditions of the Rohingya refugees, noting that they are working to build new camps and better shelters, and especially directing their efforts at helping the children who are growing up in such unfortunate conditions.

D’Rozario, who has visited the camps on two separate occasions, recalled after one visit that he had “touched the wounds of Jesus.”

Such suffering, while heartbreaking and devastating, he says is a reminder of the Church’s purpose - and he says Francis understood this during his time in the country.

“The Holy Father said, ‘I have seen the suffering faces, but I have also seen the smiling faces,’” D’Rozario recalled.

Looking ahead, he believes that his small nation and its even smaller Church, and its people who now live in the United States, serve as a reminder of “the power of the little ones.”

Full report at:



Ghani, Dostum, and Noor react at yesterday’s attack in Kabul

Jul 23 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Chief Executive of Jamiat Islami Ata Mohammad Noor strongly condemned yesterday’s deadly suicide attack in Kabul city.

Calling the attack an act of the enemies of Afghanistan, Gen. Dostum said the enemies think that they can create barriers on the way of the people of Afghanistan in their efforts for development.

However, he said the Afghan nation and the government of Afghanistan will continue to their efforts for a bright a future.

The Chief Executive of Jamiat Islami Ata Mohammad Noor also reacted at the attack and said he strongly condemns the bombing that left a number of innocent civilians dead or wounded.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said the enemies of Afghanistan once again committed a crime that resulted into the martyrdom of a number of civilians and security personnel while leaving a number of others wounded.

A statement by ARG Palace stated that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani hailed the security forces for their sacrifices and ensuring security of the people.

Full report at:



Senate Chairman Share concerns, recommendations regarding ceasefire with Taliban

Jul 23 2018

The Chairman of the Afghan Senate House, Upper House of the Parliament (Meshrano Jirga), Fazal Hadi Muslimyar says the ceasefire with the Taliban group on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha should be announced considering the national interests and demands of the people.

Speaking during the general session of the parliament, Muslimyar said the government and specially the President of the country should consider the previous experience, demands of the people, and the national interests of the country if a ceasefire is planned during Eid Al-Adha.

He also added that the government must consider the malicious intent and excuses of the enemies and the regional intelligence.

Muslimyar further added that he will share the recommendations and concerns of the people and the lawmakers with the government leadership regarding the possible ceasefire.

A Presidential spokesperson, Haroon Chakhansuri, told reporters in Kabul on Saturday that there are chances of another ceasefire announcement with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

Chakhansuri further added that signs of interests are seen on both sides, the government and Taliban, to declare another ceasefire during the upcoming.

He said the ceasefire will only be declared based on the decision of the government and demands of the people and religious scholars.

This comes as the officials in the Chief Executive Office of the Unity Government had earlier informed regarding the possible announcement of ceasefire with the Taliban group.

Full report at:



11 ISIS Khurasan militants surrender to Afghan forces in Jawzjan province

Jul 22 2018

At least eleven militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) surrendered to the Afghan armed forces in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants surrendered to the Afghan armed forces in Qosh Tapa district.

The source further added that the militants also handed over five weapons and six motorcycles to the Afghan armed forces.

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

Jawzjan has been among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan but the security of the province has deteriorated during the recent years amid ongoing efforts by the anti-government armed militant groups to expand to expand their foothold in this province.

Full report at:



Arab World


15 Daesh Takfiris killed as army jets strike areas in eastern Iraq

Jul 22, 2018

More than a dozen members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group have been killed when Iraqi Air Force fighter jets carried out a string of airstrikes against militant hideouts in the country’s eastern province of Diyala.

Lieutenant General Mezhir al-Azzawi, provincial commander of security forces, said the Iraqi aircraft bombarded terrorist hideouts in Balkana area, located some 110 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital Baquba, leaving 15 Daesh Takfiris dead.

Azzawi added that local militant commanders were among the slain extremists.

Separately, a security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a Daesh terrorist was captured at a security checkpoint in Tal Afar city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

The source added that the militant had classified documents with him when he was arrested.

Iraqi security forces also conducted an operation in the country's northern Salahuddin province, where they destroyed an arms depot belonging to the remnants of Daesh terrorist group.

The weapons cache reportedly contained 28 hand grenades as well as bomb-making materials.

On June 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, pledged to hunt down Daesh militants across Iraq after recent attacks and abductions carried out by the terrorist group.

“We will chase the remaining cells of terrorism in their hideouts and we will kill them, we will chase them everywhere, in the mountains and the desert,” Abadi said.

Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.

On July 10 that year, the Iraqi prime minister had formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.

The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.



White Helmets evacuated from Syria to Israel: Report

Jul 22, 2018

Members of a Western-backed "aid group" accused of working with Takfiri militants and staging false flag gas attacks in Syria have reportedly been evacuated to an Israeli military base.

The Israeli military said Sunday on Twitter that Israeli forces had evacuated “members of a Syrian civil organization and their families” at the request of the United States and “additional European countries.”

It did not specify the group, but German tabloid Bild said some 800 members of the White Helmets had been expected to be brought to Jordan through Israel to be reportedly resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany.

“The evacuation kicked off at 9:30 pm local time on Saturday and was expected to continue into the night. Several roads were put on lockdown by the army and police as part of preparations for the exodus,” Russia Today said of the development.

The Israeli military said the “civilians” were being taken out of Syria “due to an immediate threat to their lives,” and because Israel wanted to make “an exceptional humanitarian gesture.”

Admitting to the operation later on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the operation was an "important humanitarian step," adding that he ordered it after requests from US President Donald Trump and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau.

Syria is reportedly about to prosecute the self-styled relief workers over reports of their involvement with the militants and the gas attacks.

The US, the UK, and France have launched many missile strikes against the Syrian territory, accusing Damascus of deploying such weapons. The Syrian government has surrendered its chemical arms stockpiles during a procedure overseen by the United Nations’ chemical watchdog.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Mohammad al-Kayed said Amman had accepted to take in the White Helmets after Britain, Canada and Germany each reportedly pledged to take some of them each, Amman-based Ammon News said.

The news about the Israeli involvement came amid Tel Aviv’s ongoing provision of assistance to the militants fighting the Syrian government.

Full report at:



Inside Raqqa: How ISIS used its own currency to profit from war

23 July 2018

For the years it wreaked havoc in cities like Raqqa and Mosul, ISIS made sure to use its own currency, the dinar and dirham, in order to impose not only its hand on the economy but reap the profits of war.

The militant group announced in November 2014 that it was reinstated the golden dinar and silver dirham in areas it controlled as it wanted to free Muslims from the “satanic global economic system”.

Full report at:



People Keep Up Protests against US-Backed Militias in Northeastern Syria

Jul 22, 2018

Citizens reported that residents of al-Romeileh neighborhood staged demonstrations against the Washington-back Syrian Democratic Forces, and the SDF opened fire at the protestors and dispersed them.

"Several people were killed or sustained injuries and some others were arrested by the SDF," they added.

In the meantime, a number of SDF militants were killed or wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb along a road between Raqqa city and the town of Tal Abyadh in Northern Raqqa, the sources said.

They went on to say that the SDF later arrested a number of civilians and killed a person North of Raqqa.

On Tuesday, people in the town of Tabaqa in Western Raqqa poured into the streets and protested against SDF's measures, including forced recruitment of young men.

The SDF, later, stormed the gathering and opened fire at demonstrators, making a number of arrests.

The demonstrators further closed off the streets in Tabaqa and threw pebble at the SDF.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Keeps Rolling on ISIL-Held Territories in Dara'a Province

Jul 22, 2018

The army men struck ISIL's positions South of the town of Nawa in Western Dara'a from several directions.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units and the country's Air Force, pounded ISIL's positions and movements in the small town of Tasil, Tal Jamou'a region and several more towns and villages in Hawz Yarmouk.

The army soldiers further managed to push ISIL back from Tal Jamou'a Northwest of Sheikh Sa'ad overlooking the town of Tasil.

Reports said earlier today that The Syrian Army imposed full control over a number of other militant-held regions in the Southern province of Dara'a after 500 more terrorists left their positions for the Northern part of the country on Sunday.

A sum of 250 militants and their family members left the town of Nawa for Northern Syria on 20 buses.

Another 250 terrorists and their family members left the small town of Mahajah for Idlib as well.

Full report at:



Senior Terrorist Commanders Escape Southern Syria Battlefield for Israel

Jul 22, 2018

Ma'az Nasar, the commander of Liwa Farsan al-Joulan, Ahmad al-Nahas, the commander of Alawiya Seif al-Sham, Ala al-Halqi, the commander of Jeish al-Ababil and Abu Ratib Nasar, another commander of Liwa Farsan al-Joulan have escaped in Quneitra towards positions of the Israeli army.

The Syrian Army soldiers have arrived at the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan after seven years and after government troops imposed control over tens of villages and towns in Quneitra.

Israel has been providing financial and military supports for the terrorist groups in Quneitra province in the past recent years.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted a security source as reporting that a sum of 1,500 terrorists and 2,200 of their family members have left Quneitra for Idlib on 45 buses via Um Batinah passageway.

The report further said that the army has driven a wedge between militant-held regions in the South and North of Quneitra province through its recent advances.

Full report at:



Syrian Civilians Thwart Terrorists' Plot to Circulate US, Turkish Currencies in Idlib

Jul 22, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted local sources in Idlib province as disclosing that civilians in Northwestern Syria have started to use 2,000 lira notes with the image of President Bashar al-Assad in their transactions.

It said that the terrorist groups had forbidden using the Syrian notes in Idlib.

The daily went on to say that the Syrian legal currency is used in trades and transactions in spite of the terrorists' demand from the public to the US dollar, adding that terrorists tried hard to replace the Syrian notes with Turkish lira and US dollar but resident in Idlib preferred to use the Syrian lira to foil the plot.

The daily further said that relatives and friends of the population living in Idlib province had played a crucial role in circulating Syria's 2,000 lira notes in the militant-held regions in Idlib province.

The Syrian government issued 2,000 lira notes almost a year ago.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted Commander of Bani Izz tribal forces Sheikh Ahmed al-Mobarak as saying on Thursday that thousands of trained forces were waiting for the start of the Syrian army's operations against the terrorist groups in Idlib.

He added that thousands of residents of Idlib supported the Syrian army since the start of the war in the country, and said all tribal forces received military training for the battle, specially against the foreign terrorist groups, including the Chechnians, Uzbeks and Uygurs, stationed in Idlib province.

Al-Mobarak said that the tribal forces participated so far in several battles, including in Southeastern Idlib, and foiled the terrorists' attacks despite the fact that the militants used armored Turkish vehicles and resorted to suicide attacks and bomb-laden vehicles.

Full report at:



Terrorists' Drones Intercepted near Russia-Run Humeimim Airbase in Western Syria

Jul 22, 2018

The Russia-run airbase reported that two drones of the terrorists tried to approach Humeimim military airport, but they were downed by the Russian air defense units.

In the meantime, the Russian Defense Ministry also announced in a statement that the air defense units intercepted a drone flying from militant-held regions toward Humeimim airbase.

The ministry further said that terrorists in the de-escalation zone in Idlib are preventing dispatch of humanitarian aids to the region.

Earlier this month, the AMN quoted a local field source in the coastal city of Jableh as reporting that several armed drones targeted the Humeimim Airbase’s Northeastern perimeter, prompting the Russian air defense to activate its warning sirens.

Once the sirens were activated, the Russian air defense reportedly intercepted the armed drones before they could hit any targets inside the Humeimim Airbase or its vicinity.

The AMN further said that the armed drones originated from Jisr al-Shughour region in Southwest Idlib.

Jisr Al-Shughour is the same place that the Russian Air Force has been heavily bombing over the last 24 hours.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Spreads Control to More Regions in Dara'a Province

Jul 22, 2018

A sum of 250 militants and their family members left the town of Nawa for Northern Syria on 20 buses.

Another 250 terrorists and their family members left the small town of Mahajah for Idlib as well.

The army entered Nawa and Mahajah as soon as the terrorists withdrew and hoisted the government flag.

Field sources said that the army has now imposed full control over the entire militant-held regions in Dara'a, adding that only six percent of the province's land is still under ISIL's control.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), ISIL and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) started a coalition in Western Dara'a on Saturday to prevent the pro-government forces' march in the region.

FSA and Al-Nusra Front-affiliated groups in Western Dara'a and ISIL groups deployed in Hawz Yarmouk set up a coalition to stand against the government troops in a triangular region between Syria, Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Full report at:



Israeli air strike targets Syria military position

22 July 2018

Israel on Sunday launched an air strike on a Syrian regime military target in the west of the country, Syrian state media reported.

“One of our military positions in Mesyaf was the target of an Israeli air aggression,” Syria’s official news agency SANA said quoting a military source.



Syria TV: Israeli warplanes hit military post in Hama Province

Jul 22, 2018

Israeli warplanes have bombarded a military post in Syria’s central province of Hama, Syrian state television reports.

The brief report did not elaborate on what exactly had been hit in the city of Misyaf on Sunday evening, but said only material damage had been inflicted.

"One of our military positions in Masyaf was the target of an Israeli air aggression," Syria's official news agency, SANA, said quoting a military source.

The unnamed source added that the strike was an attempt to cover up for the collapse of terrorist organizations in Dara'a and Quneitra.

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is close to Syria’s opposition groups, claimed that the Israeli strike targeted a workshop where surface-to-surface missiles were made.

Masyaf, where a government scientific research center is located, was also hit by another Israeli airstrike in September 2017.

Last week, Syrian state news outlets reported that Israeli rockets had struck a Syrian military position near Nairab airport on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo.

The Tel Aviv regime has recently increased its airstrikes in Syria. Damascus has on multiple occasions denounced the Israeli regime’s aggression and also warned about the “dangerous repercussions” of Israeli assaults on its territory.

Tel Aviv is widely believed to have been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria inside the occupied Golan Heights.

Earlier this month, Syrian air defenses repelled an Israeli attack on the country's Quneitra Province.

Back on May 10, Israel conducted what it called its most intensive airstrikes on Syria in decades. According to Russia's Defense Ministry, Israel had used 28 warplanes in its airstrikes and fired 70 missiles. Both Damascus and Moscow said the Syrian army managed to shoot down over half of the missiles.

The Tel Aviv regime, at the time, claimed that its assault was in response to a barrage of 20 rockets fired from Syria at Israeli military outposts in Golan.

Full report at:





Sajid Javid Tells US: We Won't Block Death Penalty for Isil 'Beatles'

22 JULY 2018

Britain has secretly abandoned its blanket opposition to the death penalty and Guantanamo Bay to allow two notorious members of the "Beatles" group of Isil terrorists to be sent to America, The Telegraph can reveal.

Documents seen by this newspaper reveal that the UK Government has agreed to hand over intelligence to help prosecute the captured jihadists Alexanda Kotey and Shafee El-Sheikh, who both held British citizenship, in the US courts.

In a letter sent by Sajid Javid to Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, the Home Secretary says that Britain will demand no “assurances” that the pair will not be executed in America.

Other documents say that British officials have also assessed the pair...



Belgian state not obliged to take back IS children: Court

July 22-2018

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Belgian state is not obliged to take back the six children of two Belgian Islamic state (IS) fighters currently in Syria, according to a court ruling published on Thursday.

Two IS widows, Bouchra Abouallal (25), and Tatiana Wielandt (25), along with their children, were earlier evacuated from Syria in 2013.

After giving birth in Belgium, however, both returned with their children to Syria. In March 2018, they were sentenced in absentia up to five years in prison.

The women gave birth again this year, bringing the total of children born to IS members up to six.

The two families are currently living in Kurdish-run refugee camps in northern Syria. Many women, children, and IS fighters were captured while trying to escape IS-territory and battles against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The local Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria have called on foreign states to take back IS women and children. But so far, the majority of them have not responded to their calls.

A Belgian judge, as reported by news website Het Laatste Nieuws on Thursday, said the court still recognized the moral duty to pay attention to the fate of foreign jihadist minors.

However, the judge ruled there was no legal impetus to take back the children as the Belgian government has no jurisdiction over refugee camps.

Brussels had already announced that IS children under five years old should be repatriated if their parents are Belgian.

Belgian jihad expert Montasser AlDe'emeh told Kurdistan 24 the Belgian government has no legal basis to use to bring back the children.

“There are practical problems with repatriation,” he said. “Belgium has no jurisdiction in these camps. Moreover, one cannot invoke the European Convention on Human Rights to demand repatriation,” he explained.

AlDe'emeh also noted the war against the jihadist group is not yet over and that this could create security risks for Belgium. 

“Radicalization can also be related to early traumatization. An example of that is young jihadists of Chechen origin who never properly processed traumatizing experiences in their homeland and who have joined IS in recent years. The perpetrator of the stabbing in Paris a few months ago was born in 1997 in Chechnya," he said.

The expert warned against returning children to Europe.

“Four children were reportedly involved in recent attacks in Indonesia. Traumatized children of (killed) jihadists might look for revenge. That is why we should not run the risk,” he concluded.

The US has called on Western countries to take responsibility and take foreign fighters back.

“Foreign terrorist fighters are a third area of growing interest among the international community.  Among the past few months, officials of several governments have spoken openly of hundreds of foreign terrorist fighters under SDF detention in Syria,” US army spokesperson Colonel Thomas Veale told reporters in June.

Full report at:



British terrorist jailed aged 14 seeks lifetime anonymity on release

22 Jul 2018

Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist, who was jailed for his part in a plot to behead police officers in Australia when he was 14 years old, is seeking to keep his identity secret by asking the courts for lifelong anonymity.

The teenager, from Blackburn, Lancashire, referred to as RXG during his trial for inciting terrorism, was granted anonymity until adulthood by a judge in 2015 because of fears his case could inspire copycat plots.

He was jailed for life in October 2015 for convincing Australian jihadist Sevdet Besim, then 18, to plot an attack in Melbourne on Anzac Day.

RXG will be eligible for release in 2020 after serving a minimum term of five years on the condition he no longer poses a threat to the public.

Lawyers for RXG will argue for lifelong anonymity citing his right to privacy under human rights law and his desire for a second chance, according to the Sunday Times. The move is unprecedented in a terrorism case in the UK. If it is granted, RXG will join some of the country’s most high-profile offenders whose identities are protected, including Jon Venables, Robert Thompson and Maxine Carr.

The teenager’s lawyers will have to successfully convince a high court judge that RXG is at serious risk from reprisals if his identity becomes public knowledge or that it would affect his rehabilitation.

Children are normally given anonymity in criminal proceedings, but judges can choose to name offenders upon conviction in the most serious cases, such as the trial of Alex Bolland and Thomas Wyllie, who were named on Friday for plotting a Columbine-style attack on their school in Yorkshire.

In March 2015, a court heard that RXG exchanged from his bedroom more than 3,000 encrypted messages with Sevdet Besim, encouraging Besim to murder police officers guarding an Anzac Day event in Melbourne by beheading them. The plot was foiled by Australian police.

The court also heard how RXG had previously been radicalised by online Islamic State propaganda.

Full report at:



How the UK media downplay and trivialise Hamas terror

July 22, 2018

Over the past few months, Hamas has been engaged in an ongoing terror campaign against the Jewish state: continuously striving to infiltrate into Israel, launching incendiary devices over the border, and last weekend firing more than 200 rockets and mortar shells.

Although the Israeli press has covered these attacks extensively, the UK media has largely minimalised them. This, despite the obligation of the press to report accurately and fairly. The coverage has been flawed in three specific areas.

First, the media has largely dismissed Hamas’s ongoing attempts to infiltrate the border with Israel as mere “protests”.

Since March of this year, Hamas has repeatedly assembled large groups of Palestinians to storm the Gaza border, in an effort to break through into Israel and murder Israeli civilians living in communities nearby.

However, headline-writers at the Independent and other publications have described these activities as “protests” (‘Jerusalem Day’ protests: Three Palestinians die as violence on Gaza-Israel border resumes), belittling the fact that many of the so-called “protesters” have been carrying pipe bombs and machetes, and not simply placards. Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar has openly admitted that the strategy of labelling events in Gaza as “peaceful protests” has been a deliberate “deception”.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has proclaimed boldly, “we will tear down the border” to “tear out their hearts”.

It is a sad day when journalists ignore the very words that Hamas themselves declare about their own tactics and motives.

The second major problem has been a decided lack of accurate reporting when it comes to Hamas’s sending incendiary devices into Israel. Arsonists have attached explosives, Molotov cocktails and other highly flammable materials to kites and balloons, turning toys into weapons. In at least one case, Hamas tied incendaries to the feet of a kestrel.

These bombs may be “homemade” and “improvised”, but that does not make them any less dangerous — especially when in the hands of professional terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other such groups.

Their attacks have caused more than 850 fires, destroying more than 6,500 acres of natural habitat and farmland. All of this has taken a huge economic toll on the Israeli farmers in the border region.

Key facts about Hamas’s use of incendiary weapons have been downplayed, under-reported, and trivialised — the devices being dismissed as mere children’s kites and party balloons.

Back in April, the Guardian mentioned these incendiaries only in passing, describing those launching them as “protesters”, rather than as arsonists and terrorists. Only when Israel has responded to this terror from Gaza, then — and only then — has the media seriously taken notice.

All too often, a perverse logic appears to be at work, which snoozes as these fires burn through Israel’s wheat fields, and wakes up when Israel tries to prevent further fires by taking steps to defend itself.

If the damage caused by incendiary devices is not conveyed to the readers, then how can they understand the gravity of Hamas’s actions, and indeed Israel’s need to respond?

If terrorists seeking to destroy the UK were to set vast swathes of British farmland ablaze, then every newspaper in this country would devote their front pages to the attacks.

When Israel acted to bring an end to Hamas’s ongoing violence, Hamas responded with a massive barrage of rockets and mortars.

This fresh assault forms the third aspect of Hamas’s terror campaign that the media is playing down.

Newspapers are publishing headlines that make no mention of Hamas rockets at all. In recent weeks, those rockets have destroyed infrastructure, with one missile landing in a kindergarten shortly before children were due to arrive. Last weekend, a house was hit and four people were taken to hospital. A synagogue was also struck.

The Guardian’s headline Israel makes ‘most painful Hamas strike’ since 2014 ignores Hamas’s aggression completely, as does the BBC with its headline Israel deals ‘hardest blow’ to Hamas since 2014 Gaza war.

Full report at:



Operation Libya: Britain could send troops to train anti-terror forces amid fears over ISIS militants regrouping

23 July 2018

Britain could send troops to Libya to train anti-terror forces to fight Islamic State after a request from the country's military.

The commander of the UN-backed government's counter-terrorism force said he had asked for help to teach a specialist unit new skills to combat jihadists amid fears the militants are trying to regroup.

Major General Mohamed Al-Zain said his preference was for the training to take place inside Libya, not in Britain.

British defence sources said they had yet to have the request passed to them but would consider it – and they believed training inside Libya was possible.

General Al-Zain's comments come weeks after he met the UK's ambassador to Libya, Frank Baker, where they discussed building closer ties.

Talks are also underway to re-establish a British embassy in the war-ravaged country in the coming months, diplomatic sources in London said.

Speaking from the unit's base in the city of Khoms, Libya, General Al-Zain said: 'Right now they [IS also known as Daesh] are trying to re-gather and re-establish their forces once more.

Because the Libyan borders are not under total control, there is a concern about the movement of some of the Daesh leadership, from places where they are currently under attack and making their way into the Libyan desert.

'We have requested from our British partners help in training.

'I am talking about the training of our counter terrorism soldiers wherever that may be.'

Asked if this would take place in the UK or Libya, he said: 'My personal belief is that if the Libyan troops are trained here in Libya it will be better and more beneficial for us.

'Training our troops inside Libya on the ground on Libyan terrain is the best type of training we could receive.'

He said there are still potentially several hundred IS fighters in hiding in the country, down from 5,000 two years ago.

The troops would be sent in a training capacity and not in a combat role. The security situation in Libya is considered so volatile that there is no permanent British presence in the country.

A deployment of UK trainers to Libya would need a large number of troops to protect them.

When Britain last examined sending training troops to Libya in 2016, they worked on the basis that only a third of the UK troops would be engaged in training and the rest would be needed for protection.

No one government is in charge of Libya and there are numerous militias competing for control.

A Whitehall source said any training would probably take place in Libya. In 2014 a British training programme for Libyan troops ended after soldiers at Bassingbourn Barracks, Hertfordshire, carried out sex attacks.

Two cadets on a basic infantry course were later jailed for 12 years for the rape of a man in Cambridge and three others were jailed for sexually assaulting women.

The source said: 'After what happened at Bassingbourn, I can't see us wanting a repeat of that any time soon.' 

General Al-Zain said: ‘After the most recent visit by the British ambassador we are in the process of building a more close relationship with the British.

‘This is based on the directives from the Libyan prime minister and also from the British side.’

The commander, who did not want to be pictured for security reasons, said: ‘The first level of co-ordination will be the sharing of intelligence.’

Full report at:




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