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Islamic World News ( 28 Jul 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Israel Designed 9-11 to Spread Islamophobia: US Scholar

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 Jul 2017

Al-Azhar clerics answer questions at a recently installed Fatwa kiosk at Al Shohadaa metro station in Cairo. (Reuters)



 Israel Designed 9/11 to Spread Islamophobia: US Scholar

 CPM To Launch Halal Fayidah to Whet the Interest of the Muslim Community

 Al-Azhar Takes up Anti-Terrorism Fight through Kiosk on Cairo Metro Station

 Saudi Air Defense Forces Shoot down Houthi Missile Aimed at Makkah

 Nawaz Sharif Steps Down As PM after SC's Disqualification Verdict

 Islamic Foundation Plans New Stream Of Madrasas with Focus on Arabic, Urdu in Bagladesh


North America

 Israel Designed 9/11 to Spread Islamophobia: US Scholar

 Church in Canada Turns into Makeshift Mosque

 Most US Muslims believe Trump not a friend, says new survey

 U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Context of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: What We Can Do



 CPM To Launch Halal Fayidah to Whet the Interest of the Muslim Community

 Kashmir Militant Leader Announced As Head of New Al-Qaida-Linked Cell

 Uproar in Maharashtra Assembly over Making Vande Mataram Compulsory

 BRICS NSAs meet to discuss cooperation in counter-terrorism

 NIA summons Syed Ali Shah Geelani's elder son Naeem for questioning

 J&K: Two army jawans injured in terror attack in Shopian

 Islamic State man held in Kullu gets 5 yrs in jail


Arab World

 Al-Azhar Takes up Anti-Terrorism Fight through Kiosk on Cairo Metro Station

 Qatif: At Least 5 Shia Muslims Killed By Saudi Forces in the Town Of Awamiya

 30 More Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Eastern Raqqa

 US military cuts ties with Syrian rebel group, Shuhada Al-Qaryatayn

 Syrian Army Starts Offensive against ISIL's Key Stronghold in Homs

 Hezbollah Wins Control of over 95 Percent of Heights at Lebanon-Syria Border

 Saudi King Salman asserts Palestinians’ right to enter al-Aqsa Mosque

 Qatar authorities spreading lies to discourage their people from performing Hajj

 Lebanese army ‘strengthening positions’ against Daesh

 Putin signs deal allowing air forces to stay in Syria for 49 years



 Saudi Air Defense Forces Shoot down Houthi Missile Aimed at Makkah

 Israeli Police Bar Men under 50 from Friday Prayers At Al-Aqsa Mosque

 Israeli occupation forces enter Al-Aqsa courtyard, arrest dozens

 Israel removes all security apparatus from al-Aqsa Mosque after unrest

 Iran’s power stems from scientific progress: Rouhani

 Netanyahu wants execution of Palestinian who allegedly stabbed 3 Israelis

 46 injured as clashes erupt between Palestinians, Israeli police at Aqsa Mosque



 Nawaz Sharif Steps Down As PM after SC's Disqualification Verdict

 UN Body Asks Pakistan To Criminalise Enforced Disappearances

 US, Pakistan both want talks with Taliban

 Amjad Sabri murder case being sent to military court, ATC told

 New narrative of militants needs to be countered aggressively: CTD

 Malik for ‘Christian town’ in all major cities


South Asia

 Islamic Foundation Plans New Stream Of Madrasas with Focus on Arabic, Urdu in Bagladesh

 ISIS Militants Behead Alleged Sorcerer In North Of Afghanistan

 Pakistani militia forces among dozens killed in Paktia province of Afghanistan

 Pakistani envoy claims evidences available about terror sanctuaries in Afghanistan

 Joint US-Afghan operation kills 2 top insurgents

 Shia Ismaili leader Prince Karim Aga Khan’s role lauded in Bangladesh

 ICT finalises two probe reports against 16 war crimes suspects



 Hamas to Morocco: Muslim Nations Should Stand With Al-Aqsa

 France announces plan to set up processing centers for refugees in Libya



 Boko Haram Attack on Oil Exploration Team in Nigeria Kills Over 50: Sources

 Jordan king calls for Israeli embassy shooter to face trial

 UN Security Council backs plan agreed by Libya rivals

 Two German UN peacekeepers killed in Mali helicopter crash

 Education minister disputes allegation to Islamise Nigeria


Southeast Asia

 Malaysian Court: NRD Chief Not Bound by Fatwa on Child Conceived Out Of Wedlock

 Lawyer Group Wants Muslims Exempt From Civil Laws on Child Legitimacy

 New Chairman Appointed to UN Mission Probing Myanmar Abuses

 Perak Mufti Outraged Over Coa Decision on Out-Of-Wedlock Name

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Israel designed 9/11 to spread Islamophobia: US scholar

Jul 27, 2017

The September 11, 2001 attacks were part of an Islamophobic project by Israel to replace communism with “Islamic terrorism” as a new global threat which would allow Tel Aviv and its allies to further their agenda, says an American scholar.

Kevin Barrett, a political commentator in Madison, Wisconsin, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV while discussing a survey of US Muslims and the new challenges they are facing under the presidency of Donald Trump.

The Pew research showed that almost three-quarters of US Muslims see Trump as unfriendly toward them.

Sixty-four percent of those with a more distinct Muslim identity, like a head covering for women, noted that they had recently experienced some sort of discrimination and nearly half of them say they had the same problem last year, such as being treated with distrust, threatened or called an offensive name.

“Trump rode onto the office on a wave of Islamophobia that he helped accelerate himself,” said Barrett. “This Islamophobia has kind of been the basis of American political cohesion since September 11, 2001 attacks.”

The analyst argued that Israel, the US and their allies orchestrated the 9/11 “public relations operation” and used it as an excuse to replace terrorism with communism as “the next great civilizational enemy.”

“So 9/11 was part of a project to create an inter-generation and essentially permanent hatred of Muslim in the US population and this was going to be the new orientation of the West,” Barrett said.

Referring to Israel as the “main beneficiary” of the attack and the growing trend of Islamophobia, Barret noted that the attack was also used “to destabilize the Middle East on behalf of Western economic interests.”

The scholar said Trump, although not knowledgeable about world affairs, had “good instincts” in populist policies and knew that the Islamophobic approach would eventually lure in voters.

During the campaign, Trump said “Islam hates us,” proposed “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” floated the idea of monitoring US mosques and officially re-introduced the term “Islamic terrorism” in the American political parlance.

And, just seven days after taking office on January 20, Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

Barrett noted that American Muslims needed to take a more active role in exposing the reality of this “anti-Islam scapegoating operation” that sought to spread Islamophobia by blaming Muslims for a series of false-flag operations.



CPM To Launch Halal Fayidah to Whet the Interest of the Muslim Community

28th July 2017

KANNUR: Marxism may be inherently atheistic, but that has not prevented the CPM’s district unit from undertaking a big initiative to financially empower the Muslim community. It has taken the first steps towards foraying into ‘Islamic banking’ based on Sharia law.

It is all set to launch an interest-free cooperative bank named Halal Fayidah, which means profit from a Sharia-compliant business. It is expected to woo devout Muslims hesitant to engage in banking as Islamic tenets prohibit charging or accepting interest.  Minister of Local Administration K T Jaleel inaugurated the meeting convened for capital accumulation here earlier this week.

“A large section of the Muslim community in the district does not have a bank account,” DYFI district president and chief promoter of the bank M Shajar told Express. “The idea was mooted when we came to know about this.”

The idea was put forward by CPM district secretary P Jayarajan. According to Shajar, a large number of Muslims still keep their money at home.

“Many lost their savings during the demonetisation period, as they failed to produce proper documents showing the source of income. Hence, we decided to come up with a solution to address the issue,” he said.

Though Halal Fayidah will work according to Islamic principles, the bank is open to all. Being a cooperative bank, its shares can be bought by anyone. “We are open to all,” Shajar said.

As of now, the members of the board have decided to invest the capital amount in various Sharia-compliant businesses and the profit will be distributed equally among shareholders. “We are now planning to invest a sum on construction, contracting and meat processing. Once we begin to generate profits, it will be distributed. The amount will also be disbursed to people as interest-free loans,” he said.

Shajar dismissed allegations of minority appeasement and clearly stated the venture has nothing to do with politics.

“The core idea of the initiative is to bring a larger community into banking. We are not promoting identity politics nor are we aiming for electoral gains. We have received a warm response from the public, especially Muslims,” Shajar said.

The members are trying to procure an investment of `5 crore to start with. The bank is expected to be fully functional by September.



Al-Azhar takes up anti-terrorism fight through kiosk on Cairo metro station

27 July 2017

Two elderly sheikhs have set up shop at a kiosk in one of Cairo’s busiest underground stations, ready to dole out religious advice to commuters queueing outside.

It is the latest attempt by Al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning, to touch base with the wider public and counter the appeal of militant Islam.

“We are saving (people) energy, time and effort by placing this desk in this blessed place that is the greatest meeting point for the Egyptian population,” said Saeed Amer, deputy secretary general of the Al-Azhar department in charge of issuing religious edicts and one of the clerics in the kiosk.

Almost 2,000 people have come to seek advice since the initiative began two weeks ago in the Shohadaa subway station. Many questions to the clerics have touched on issues of Islamic prayer rituals, inheritance, marriage and divorce.

Commuters appeared to welcome the initiative, with some even calling for more kiosks to pop up at other stations across the capital. But some critics were not impressed.

“It is clear (Al-Azhar) is disconnected from reality. I am shocked that after almost four years of requests from the ... president, and passed through all levels of society, to make amendments to religious rhetoric, they only come up with this (kiosk) idea,” parliamentarian Mohamed Abu Hamed told Reuters.

“I will not respect what they are doing in this domain until they practically do what is demanded of them, which is the ... revision of the context (of religious discourse). That is the core problem.”

The 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar has come under fire from parliament and local media who accuse its clerics of failing to modernize their religious discourse to better counter the lure of militancy among disaffected, marginalized young people.

Islamist militants are waging an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police in clashes since 2013. Militants’ attacks have increasingly spilled into the mainland, killing Christians and tourists.

In 2015, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Al-Azhar to update their Islamic teachings to better engage youth and steer them away from violent jihadism.

The Azhar Observatory was subsequently launched. Operating in 10 languages, the Observatory tracks social media where militants spread their rhetoric so as to counter and refute it in timely fashion.

The university has also published several books about terrorism as a threat to international peace and stressed the need to correct militants” interpretations of Islam. The books are displayed for sale on shelves outside the kiosk.

The kiosk advice project will last until the beginning of September, Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said, but he added that the government is open to repeating the experiment if there was enough public demand.



Saudi air defense forces shoot down Houthi missile aimed at Makkah

28 July 2017

JEDDAH: Saudi air defense forces have intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militias toward the holy city of Makkah on Thursday night, the Arab Coalition command early Friday.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the coalition command said the Houthi missile was shot down over Al-Wasliya area in Al-Taif province, some 69 kilometers away from the holy city. No damage or injury were reported.

The missile attack was “clearly a desperate attempt to disrupt the Haj season,” said the statement.

It said the alliance command confirmed that the non-stop trafficking of missiles into the Yemeni territories comes from the lack of control and monitoring system at Al-Hodeida port in western Yemen, “as well as the misuse of permits granted by the alliance to relief and goods shipments.”

The coalition “missile trafficking” is going on because of “the world community's failure to take a decision to prevent such violations that prolong the war and endanger the lives of civilians.”

“The alliance reiterates its support for the decision of the legitimate Yemeni government for the endeavor of the UN envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Al-Chieck to impose control on this vital sea outlet,” the coalition statement said.

Earlier, the Saudi-led coalition urged the UN to take control of Hodeida port to enable the continuous flow of humanitarian support for civilians, but the UN refused to take responsibility. The Iran-backed Houthis have continued to disrupt operation at the key port despite an offensive by the coalition.

Thursday’s missile attack was the second to be aimed at Makkah. On October 27, 2016, a Houthi missile launched from Yemen toward the holy city was also shot down by Saudi air defense forces before it could reach the holy city.

Houthi forces have also launched numerous attacks on various targets mostly along the Saudi border with Yemen, killing more than a hundred soldiers and civilians.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Emirates, organized the coalition in 2015 to support the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi amid an onslaught of Houthi militias and loyalist forces of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The coalition has accused Iran of arming the Houthis as part of Tehran’s destabilization efforts in the region.



Nawaz Sharif Steps Down As PM after SC's Disqualification Verdict | Haseeb Bhatti: July 28, 2017

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court's implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, announced that the larger bench had unanimously deemed PM Sharif unfit for holding office and would also order an accountability court to open references against him and his family, and other respondents.

Shortly after the order, the PM House issued a notification saying that Nawaz Sharif, despite having "strong reservations" on the SC’s verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier. Reacting to the court's order, a PML-N spokesperson said that the party will utilise all legal and constitutional means to contest the verdict.

The judgement, announced shortly after 12pm, brings Sharif's third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly one year before the scheduled general elections which would have seen him become the first Pakistani prime minister to complete a full five-year term. It is unclear at the moment who will be appointed to take over the post till the next general elections, which are scheduled for 2018.

The federal cabinet was dissolved after Nawaz Sharif relinquished his responsibilities as the prime minister of Pakistan. Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq will assume the responsibility of the interim prime minister.

'Disqualified for being dishonest'

"The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shall issue a notification disqualifying Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from being a member of the Parliament with immediate effect, after which he shall cease to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” Justice Khan told the packed courtroom.

The judges ruled that Nawaz had been dishonest to the parliament and the courts in not disclosing his employment in the Dubai-based Capital FZE company in his 2013 nomination papers, and thus, could not be deemed fit for his office.

"It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)."

Read the Supreme Court's complete order in Panama Papers case

References in accountability courts

Justice Khan said that the bench had recommended that all material collected by the joint investigation team (JIT) tasked with probing the Sharif family's financial dealings be sent to an accountability court within six weeks.

The bench said that on the basis of this information, cases would be opened against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; MNA Captain Muhammad Safdar; Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz; as well as the premier.

A judgement on these references should be announced within six months, he said. One judge will oversee the implementation of this order.

The references to be filed by NAB before the accountability court include:

Finance minister to be disqualified

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Captain Safdar, who is an MNA, were also declared unfit for office.

ECP has been directed to de-seat Dar for "possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income".

Court appreciates JIT's efforts

The judges "commended and appreciated" the hard work and efforts made by members of the JIT in preparing and filing a comprehensive and detailed report.

"Their tenure of service shall be safeguarded and protected and no adverse action of any nature including transfer and posting shall be taken against them without informing the monitoring Judge of this Court nominated by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan," reads the court order.

The lead up

The original five-member bench of the Supreme Court which heard the Panama Papers case — comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Ijazul Ahsan — announced the much-awaited verdict in Courtroom No. 1 shortly after 12pm.

According to media reports, the courtroom was filled to capacity as prominent politicians, lawyers and journalists crowded the room to hear the judges decide Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's fate.

The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi had been on high alert in anticipation of the SC verdict.

The Red Zone had also been partially sealed and people were only being allowed inside after undergoing identification and strict security checks.

Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel had been deployed at the Supreme Court and the Red Zone to assist the police.

Speculations before SC judgement

Over the last few days, the entire country had been awaiting the apex court's verdict with bated breath. Gossip, speculation and rumours had been rife over when the final verdict would be announced and what conclusion the judges would arrive at. The most important question of all remained whether the prime minister would be unseated or not.

On Thursday evening, the Supreme Court office had put all speculation to rest when it issued a supplementary cause list heralding the announcement of the judgement on Friday.

On the announcement that the larger bench would deliver the judgement, legal observers took the view that the earlier minority judgement, which recommended sending the prime minister packing, may become a majority view in case even one of the three majority judges ruled against the prime minister.

The court could also rule that there is still not enough evidence to topple Sharif, and call for a further investigation.

April 20 order and JIT investigation

The April 20 judgement issued by the larger bench in the Panama Papers case had been split 3-2 among the five judges, with two dissenting notes from Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed. Justice Ejaz Afzal authored the majority opinion in the 540-page judgement.

The two judges who ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif had said he should be disqualified as he could not be considered 'honest' and 'truthful' (ameen and sadiq), whereas the other three were in favour of forming a joint investigation team (JIT) to definitively answer the question of whether the allegations against the prime minister were true or not.

The court had further said that: "upon receipt of the reports, periodic or final of the JIT, as the case may be, the matter of disqualification of respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif] shall be considered. If found necessary for passing an appropriate order in this behalf, [Nawaz Sharif or any other person may be summoned and examined."

A special bench of the Supreme Court was subsequently constituted to examine the case under Section 184/3 of the Constitution. The bench comprised the three judges who had prevailed.

The Supreme Court had on May 6 formed the JIT, putting a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in charge.

After considering the background and antecedents of the officer, FIA’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, was appointed head of the probe team.

Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muha­mmad Nauman Saeed of Inter-Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence were appointed as the remaining members of the team.

The six-member JIT's damning report, submitted after a 60-day investigation that sought answers to 13 questions raised by the Supreme Court's larger bench, had maintained that Prime Minister’s family owned assets beyond its known sources of income. It declared that both Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were used as proxies to build family assets.

Consequently, the six-man JIT concluded that it was compelled to refer to sections 9(a)(v) and 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, which deal with corruption and corrupt practices, though such charges are yet to be proven in an accountability court.

The JIT report also highlighted Articles 122, 117, 129 and other sections of the Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order 1984 (Law of Evidence), which places the burden of disproving the allegations on the person facing accusations.

The JIT pointed out failure on the part of the Sharifs to produce the required information that would confirm their “known sources of income”, saying that prima facie, it amounted to saying that they were not able to reconcile their assets with their means of income.

The prime minister's daughter, Maryam Nawaz, had on the same evening issued a strongly-worded statement on behalf of the PML-N, saying:

"JIT report REJECTED. Every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated in SC. NOT a penny of public exchequer involved: PMLN."

Her tweet followed a press conference conducted by four senior PML-N leaders, who had taken turns to criticise the JIT report as 'serving Imran Khan's agenda'.

The Sharif family's legal team's strategy in subsequent hearings had focused on discrediting the report, the evidence collected and the means used to do so, and raising questions about the impartiality and capability of the six men who had comprised the JIT.

— Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui and Javed Hussain




Islamic Foundation Plans New Stream Of Madrasas with Focus on Arabic, Urdu in Bagladesh

Salman Tareque Sakil

July 28, 2017

Draft syllabuses and curricula of this proposed new education system have already been prepared by the foundation’s research department

Bangladesh Islamic Foundation is moving forward with plans to launch its own line of madrasas where Urdu and Arabic will be given priority.

Draft syllabuses and curricula of this proposed new education system have already been prepared by the foundation’s research department.

Currently, there are two types of madrasas in Bangladesh: state-sponsored Alia madrasas; and Qawmi madrasas that are run on private donations.

Islamic Foundation – an autonomous body set up under the Ministry of Religious Affairs to “preach and propagate the values and ideals of Islam” – will start classes from grade I to grade V. It hopes classes will eventually run up to MA level.

The proposal has already been passed and will be implemented soon. A conference to be held on July 29 will finalise the draft curriculum and syllabus.

“We are emphasising more on Arabic,” Islamic Foundation Director General Shamim Mohammad Afjal said. “We will start implementing some of the projects that have already been approved.”

He said they were opting to teach religious studies under the Arabic curriculum as “there were some distortions in the Bangla translation”.

“We have received approval [for running classes] up to grade V, so we will start that soon. The proposal for grade VI to MA is being processed. The institution will be called Darul Arkam,” Afjal added.

Islamic Foundation sources said the organisation lacks the necessary manpower  and infrastructure to introduce an education system with a new curriculum.

“Initially, classes will be added to the foundation’s ongoing mosque-based initiative,” said Abdul Hye Bhuiyan, director of Islamic Foundation’s research department.

He sidestepped a question on plans for building infrastructure for introducing classes from grade VI to MA, saying: “The director general can give you an answer”.

The new curriculum

A review of the draft revealed that the Islamic Foundation had completed the draft syllabus up to Honours or ‘Fazil’ level.

For introducing ‘Darul Arkam’ or primary education, the draft discusses some issues prominently:

Aim and objective of the Darul Arkam Ebtedayee madrasas

Marginal eligibility of Ebtedayee madrasas

Madrasa curriculum

Syllabus and allocation of marks

Islamic Foundation proposed Hifz section syllabus and marks allocation; and

Islamic Foundation compiled syllabus and allocation of marks from grade I to BA Honours

According to section 23 of the draft, the objective of the Darul Arkam is to create Nayeb-e-Rasul by following Quran and Sunnah in line with the National Education Policy 2010.

This will encourage students “to live exemplary lives” through developing their physical, psychological, ethical and spiritual faculties, and by cultivating religious and social awareness, patriotism, creativity and scientific thinking in them.

Students are also expected to gain proficiency in Urdu, Persian, English and mathematics. They are also encouraged to grow a civic sense, while expanding their capacity for independent thinking, and for practising democratic norms.

Apart from Bangla, Section 6 of the draft says a base will be created for the students so that they are able to speak, read, and write Arabic, and are able to make others understand.

Section 19 emphasises learning English as a medium of international communication and learning Urdu as a tool to help practice religious knowledge in the sub-continent.

Forty sections in the draft discuss the marginal eligibility of Darul Arkam. They include believing in, and practicing, the seven fundamentals of the Islamic faith.

It also emphasises the importance of imagination, curiosity, creativity and developing an interest in expanding their learning.

Syllabus and marks allocation

According to the syllabus, pre-primary students will study Qiratul Quran, religious studies, Al Lugatul Arabia, Al Hadisun Nababi, Bangla, English, handwriting and mathematics. In this grade, 400 marks have been allocated across five periods.

In the first grade, students will study Qiratul Quran, Fiqhul Islami, Lugatul Arabia, Al Hadisun Nababi, Bangla, English, handwriting and maths. From grade I to III, 500 marks have been allocated across six subjects.

Apart from these subjects, general and social sciences have been included in grade IV. The grade will have a total of 650 marks.

A total of 700 marks have been allocated for seven subjects in the fifth grade and 750 marks in the sixth grade. The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NTCB) will be in charge of publishing Bangla, social science, maths, English and general science books for these grades.

NTCB books will be taught alongside Islamic studies from grade VII to X.

In the two-year grade IX-X course, students will learn Quran translation, Hadith, Arabic language, Fiqh, history of Islam, Bangla and English. They will sit exams for 1,200 marks.

Grade XI and XII will also be a two-year course but the exams will carry 1,400 marks. Economics, social science, anthropology, history, sociology, statistics and geography will be taught in this course.

In the four-year Honours programme, 40 courses will be taught in eight semesters – five in each semester. First-year students will learn Quran and have Bangla as mandatory subsidiary course. Second-year students will have mandatory English courses.

But third-year students can choose a subsidiary subject among Tasauf, Arabic literature or language. Final-year students will have to choose either Hadith, Usulul Hadith or Islamic Fikh as subsidiary. Final year exams will carry 800 marks.

What the experts say

People related with madrasas and education say they believe that a separate curriculum is unnecessary in the continued presence of Alia and Qawmi madrasas.

University Grants Commission Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan pointed out that there are many madrasas in the country. “I do not think that we need a new system,” he said.

Mannan said there had been no discussion on the new curriculum within the Islamic Foundation’s governing body, of which he is a member.

“There has been no discussion on introduction of a new curriculum at any of the conferences I have been to,” he said. “Instead of introducing a new curriculum, there should be efforts to coordinate Alia and Qawmi madrasas.”

Qawmi Madrasa Education Board Secretary General Maulana Abdul Kuddus said: “Qawmi madrasas already exist. There are Alia madrasas for those who want to study in public institutions. Then why do we need a new system?”



North America


Church In Canada Turns Into Makeshift Mosque

28 July 2017

An Anglican Church in Canada has decided to turn into a mosque in an effort to make Syrian refugees feel welcome. During the Muslim so called holy month of Ramadan hundreds of muslims attended this church/mosque to pray. Muslim community leader  Taha Halabi said “We tried to show the community in Leamington, and everywhere in Ontario, that Muslims and Christians are hand to hand,”.

Charlotte McDonald from the church said “That’s just reaching out and saying here we are together — brothers and sisters of this earth, regardless of religion, creed, color, it doesn’t matter.”

However many critics have rightly criticised the church for accommodating a  false religion and is a betrayal of Jesus. This church should not be pandering to Islam but should instead be working to steer these Syrian refugees to Jesus instead. In Mathew 21:12 there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. This shows that church is for worshipping god and should not be used for anything else. The pastors of this church should not be massaging their liberal egos by showing the world how “accepting” they are by letting Islam take over the church. Across the Middle East Christians are being ruthlessly persecuted by muslims, for example in Pakistan christians were told to convert or die in a recent court case.



Most US Muslims believe Trump not a friend, says new survey

Jul 27, 2017

Yashwant Raj

Most Muslim Americans believe President Donald Trump is not a friend of the community and worry on account of him and fear that the country was going in the wrong direction, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.

A large number of them said they have felt discriminated against a lot and believe most Americans don’t consider them a part of the mainstream. And being Muslim remains hard in America, but not any harder than it’s been in the last decade.

The survey also found a disturbingly high level of distrust Americans felt for Muslims — though a majority (54%) of them said there was little or no support for extremism among Muslim Americans, 46% felt there was between “fair amount” and “great deal” of support for extremism in the community, something that could explain the harsh scrutiny Muslims here have felt after every terrorist attack.

Candidate Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States temporarily came in the immediate aftermath of the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in which a Pakistani-origin couple gunned down 14 people at an office holiday party.

Trump toned down that extreme proposal in the face of criticism, but not the rhetoric, which he carried through the election, engaging in a cringe-worthy public spat with parents of a fallen Pakistani Muslim American US soldier. And with within few days of taking office, he ordered a ban on the entry of travellers from seven Muslim-majority nations, which he subsequently brought down to six.

Trump’s first six months in office also witnessed a notable spike in hate crimes against the Muslim American community — as well as other religious and ethnic minorities. The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading advocacy body for the community, said in a report in early July that anti-Muslim hate crimes went up by 91% over the corresponding period in 2016.

And, it warned, “If acts of bias impacting the American Muslim community continue as they have been, 2017 could be one of the worst years ever for such incidents.”

Not surprising then that a staggering 74% of Muslim  in the Pew survey said they believed the president was unfriendly towards the community and 68% said they felt worried on account of him and 48% felt angered by him.

Their feelings about the president were not, however, much different from that of the rest of the country, the survey pointed out: “Trump evokes similar levels of worry (60%) and anger (39%) among the general public as he does among Muslims.”

Muslim Americans had felt far better and more hopeful about their prospects and that of the country at large under the presidency of Barack Obama, with most of them saying America was headed in the right direction in 2011, in a similar but last such survey of the community by Pew.

According to Pew, there are about 3.3 million Muslims in America — compared to 5.3 million Jewish people — which is about the same as Indian Americans.

Full report at:



U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations in the Context of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: What We Can Do


Recent violence and loss of life in Jerusalem[1] once again reminds us of how much we need to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It also highlights the lack of imagination and political will of the parties most directly invested in the conflict, who for all the proposals made, meetings held, and declarations signed have not moved an inch closer to peace. They seem to be comfortably entrenched in their positions waiting for the inevitable to happen, which I am sure works out differently in the minds of each opposing group.

Two imams in California, of all places, have given us a taste of what that “inevitable” might be, as they angrily responded to the violence in Jerusalem with appalling invective against Jews. One, in Davis, prayed that God “would liberate al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” and “annihilate them down to the very last one.” The other, in Riverside, spoke of a supposed plot by Jews to extend their conflict with Muslims beyond Palestine and called on God to “destroy them… disperse them and rend them asunder.”

I, together with the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, can see such statements only with the utmost horror, finding them totally contrary to the respect for Jews and those of other faiths that the Qur’an and the whole mainstream Muslim tradition enjoin upon us, as a recent article published by the Yaqeen Institute, “The Myth of an Anti-Semitic Genocide In Muslim Scripture,” proves.[2] I cite them here only to point up the seriousness of a situation that can, even among a small minority, provoke such outrageous sentiments. We cannot allow the current stalemate to fester, as it continues to drive increasing numbers on both sides to extremism.

Even among the majority of those in the various communities invested in the conflict who are not driven to extremism and violence, the seeming intractability of the situation has naturally produced long-standing suspicion and tension between these various groups—including American Muslims and Jews.

What We Need to Understand About the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in the Context of Muslim-Jewish Relations in the United States

As someone who is invested in interfaith relations in the United States and has worked for more than a decade to build Muslim-Jewish relations between mainstream individuals and groups, there are three things that we have to understand about each other, based on my own experiences:

One: regardless of how hard mainstream Muslim and Jewish groups work not to define their relationship by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we can’t escape having our relationship so defined by our respective community members who call into question our loyalties either to the suffering of the Palestinians or to the threats against Israel, especially during breakouts of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. This is why any efforts between American Muslims and Jews are usually put on hold or suspended for a period of time until tensions in the Middle East cool down.

Two: as much as we understand and believe that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is rooted in politics, not religion, one can’t escape the religious pull and influences on the conflict, since each side now claims near-divine authority over the land, although no legitimate Islamic authority that I am aware of would ever advocate killing someone or committing violence over a piece of land. Both sides on this conflict argue for their point of view as if it’s a matter of religious duty and/or life or death.

Three: while both the American Muslim and American Jewish communities are diverse and not monolithic, we should understand by now that the dominant narratives on each side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict tend to be radically divergent, generated as they are by very different news sources. I share them here not to upset either side of this conflict, but rather to encourage each community to understand how the other sees the situation, based on what I’ve heard both tell me over the years.

The narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which I hear from my Jewish friends and partners seems something like the following: The state of Israel is a small country surrounded by hostile powers, some of whom, at least, seek its annihilation and want us dead. American Jews are deeply invested in the survival of the state of Israel, which many see as a sanctuary because of the Holocaust and a long history of anti-Semitism that keeps reappearing in Europe[3] and the US,[4] and also because of the sacredness of the land in Jewish tradition. This feeling leads to a variety of actions: a close relationship with Israel through regular trips of various kinds and purposes, financial support of Israel through dozens of groups that support it, and a reluctance or outright refusal to criticize Israel in public, which is considered threatening to the survival of the Jewish state. As one rabbi friend told me, “There is a price to be paid for criticizing Israel. Groups like the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) or people like Peter Beinart [columnist and writer] are persona-non-grata in the Jewish community for that reason. They threaten the survival of Israel.” A Jewish high school student recently told me that “there is nothing more that says to the Jewish community that you’re not interested in Israel’s survival like working with the JVP.”

Less forthright in the Jewish community are Jews who have disengaged from the conversation on Israel altogether because of the same conflict fatigue I describe below among Muslims. Finally, in all my conversations with Jewish Americans, Muslims should know that I have never heard anyone calling for the annihilation of Palestinians or their removal from Gaza or the West Bank. On the contrary, I’ve only been asked to join peace efforts to bridge the two groups in the Middle East towards a resolution of the conflict.

The American Muslim and Arab communities, by contrast, are generally focused on “the plight” of the Palestinians, whom they consider to be deeply oppressed by the Israelis, a viewpoint which is generated by news from close family in Gaza and “Occupied territory,” or by human rights reports. They view the U.S. media as censoring news on the conflict and the U.S. government as not being a balanced arbiter nor having the will to resolve the conflict,[5] since it sees US strategic interests as dependent on Israel’s ability to control the situation and to that end supplies Israel with more aid and weapons to sustain and expand the Occupation through increasing settlements, while supporting Israel’s draconian military justice system that continues to humiliate and abuse Palestinians by measures such as checkpoints, arrests and incarcerations, and house demolitions.[6]

Meanwhile, Palestinians under these circumstances, and without much support from Muslim or Arab nations, continue to be divided among themselves and to find themselves on the losing end of this conflict, sometimes committing terrorism in their defense, and always enduring terrible suffering and loss of life.[7] A few in this group (mostly of Arab origin as well as college students) are aligned with the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement, but generally, many American Muslims, especially those not regularly involved in a mosque (as the majority of American Muslims are not) are not thinking about or dealing with the conflict. In a recent poll of American Muslims, only 3% named “foreign policy/foreign affairs” as a top concern for the nation.[8] They’re very critical of Israel if the issue comes up, but they’re also very sensitive about not being viewed as anti-Semitic in doing so; in fact, the majority of them support the existence of the state of Israel.[9]

American Muslims are also experiencing mental and emotional fatigue as a result of anti-Muslim hate in the US, the Islamophobia industry that influences large segments of the media and domestic politics, and the many conflicts involving Muslims in various parts of the world today. Nonetheless, the dominant Muslim narrative of the Palestinians and Israel remains alive, I think, just below the surface, and comes to the fore in times of crisis — which is precisely when dialogue between Jews and Muslims is most crucially needed.

What is interesting about these two different narratives is that they never address each other’s interests or points of contention; it’s as if they exist in completely different worlds. And in the process of never addressing the other community’s viewpoint, we continue to watch Palestinians and Jews suffering from the conflict, a conflict that has widespread implications not only in the Middle East but around the world as nations line up to take sides. The implications are also found in lost opportunities to build relationships between Muslims and Jews everywhere, despite the fact that the two faith communities have more in common than they have differences. The result is that Muslims and Jews are not contributing as much as they could by working together for the common good—a duty imposed by both religions.

How American Muslims and Jews Can Help Resolve the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and Grow Muslim and Jewish Relations in the United States for the Common Good

The differences in the narratives of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict held by American Muslims and Jews may seem unbridgeable, but I remain convinced that American Muslims and Jews can do a great deal together. I put forward the following considerations both to address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to grow American Muslim-Jewish relations:

First and foremost, I believe that we should urge the two groups to talk with each other, pro-BDS people with defenders of Israeli policy, Israeli and other Jews with Palestinian Muslims and Christians; indeed, all groups with a stake in the conflict need to find a way to talk peaceably and with mutual respect even in the face of — indeed, precisely because of — their profound and passionately held differences. As a Muslim, for example, I have a stake in Al-Quds (the mosque constructed on the site of the Second Temple) which I’d like to make pilgrimage to someday, but I am certainly not willing to die or kill for it. The point of such conversation, at least initially, should be to listen to and understand each other’s narrative of the conflict and to allow one’s own view to be tempered by such understanding—to be ready, that is, to see at least some elements of truth in narratives other than our own.

I believe, for example, that Jews — not just individually (as many already do), but in the mainstream organizations of their community — need to acknowledge and speak out against serious injustices suffered by the Palestinians instead of seeming to conceal them[10]. Similarly, I believe that Muslims must learn to acknowledge and respect the Jews’ deep, at least two-millennia old, devotion to the land and their very real — and by no means unjustified — concern for their security, in Israel and elsewhere. If we, American Muslims and Jews together, can listen to one another in this way and take seriously what we hear, rather than confining ourselves to our familiar narratives, then I believe that we, precisely because of our shared heritage and our long history (and present reality in many cases) of friendly and mutually supportive relations, can make a substantial contribution to peace between Israelis and Palestinians — and to peace elsewhere in the world.

In this process of hearing out each other’s narrative, also consider the following:

Because you’re relying on different news sources, the information which you have about the other is always going to be biased and tainted.

Apply the same standards to all in human rights. Enjoin the good, but understand that you must also speak out against what is evil, sinful, and wrong, no matter by whom it is committed.

Listen to the critics in your own community, such as the Jewish Voice for Peace for Jews and Muslim Leadership Institute for Muslims. Those groups are made of human beings, intelligent people who are flesh and blood, your co-religionists, who have a lot to offer in terms of varying perspectives that can teach us something.

Read up on what independent organizations are reporting about the status of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Rabbis for Human Rights, to name a few.

Own the fact that leadership in Israel and Palestine has not always acted for the good of their people. Hamas lobbing bombs over the border when they know that Israel is going to respond in a way that will kill a lot of civilians is unconscionable. It’s also unconscionable for the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with the Israelis in subjecting the civilians of Gaza to terrible deprivation in order to defeat Hamas politically.[11] For both Palestinians and Israelis, it’s sinful to put innocent children, men and women in harm’s way for the sake of political gain.

Furthermore, despite the appeals to our respective religions, we have to understand that this is a conflict that is in fact rooted between Israelis and Palestinians, not between Jews and Muslims. The tensions it has produced between Jews and Muslims in this country and elsewhere have to be seen as departures from the historically much more common friendly relationships between the two faith communities. And those positive relations are in fact not just a matter of history. Jewish communities were among the first to speak out and to act against the current administration’s refugee and Muslim bans.[12] Muslims in turn have raised money for Jewish communities hit by recent hate crimes.[13] The wave of bigotry and hate crimes in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign and elections brought both communities together in expressions of solidarity.[14] There are also hundreds of efforts between Jews and Muslims all across the country in towns and cities. Right here in the Bay Area, Islamic Networks Group’s Muslim-Jewish panels[15] and Halaqa-Seder programs,[16] which bring Jews and Muslims together for conversation and mutual learning, are highly popular in both the Jewish and Muslim communities and have contributed to mutual understanding and respect.

Full report at:





Kashmir militant leader announced as head of new al-Qaida-linked cell

Michael Safi

27 July 2017

An al-Qaida-affiliated propaganda channel has announced one of Kashmir’s most popular militant leaders as the head of a newly created cell in the disputed Himalayan territory.

The appointment of Zakir Musa as head of the new group represents the first time militants linked to al-Qaida have operated openly in Kashmir, site of a decades-long separatist insurgency and the only Muslim-majority region under Indian control.

Musa, 23, is the leading figure among a new generation of militants who have exploited social media and growing disillusionment among Kashmiris to revitalise the insurgency against Indian control of the region.

The new cell, named Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind, is the deepest inroad al-Qaida has yet made in Kashmir. A 2014 video called on “brothers” there to wage jihad against Indian authorities.

The creation of the group was announced by Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated information network.

Kashmir, a former princedom divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both, has been the scene of an insurgency opposed to Indian rule since 1989.

Though Islamist militants have previously operated in Kashmir, they have been regarded as proxies of Pakistan rather than grassroots jihadist movements.

Al-Qaida announced the establishment of an Indian wing in 2014 but, like Isis, has garnered little support among India’s Muslim population, the third largest of any country in the world.

However, in recent years analysts have been detecting an ideological shift among local militants towards the worldview of both jihadist groups.

In 2015 Burhan Wani, another popular fighter, called for a “caliphate [to be] established in Kashmir”. After Wani’s death last year, his successor Musa sharpened the rhetoric further, declaring in April that Kashmiris should not “fall for nationalism” – the traditional goal of the separatist movement.

“I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” Musa said. The fight in the region should “not be for the sake of Kashmir”, he added. “It should be exclusively for Islam so that sharia is established here.”

Another video released by Musa’s group in April attacked Pakistan for the first time, declaring: “There is no Islam [there] at present, so we are unhappy with it. We have to do jihad with Pakistan as well.”

Musa’s increasing alignment with al-Qaida is likely to deepen divisions between local militants and an older generation of separatist leaders in Kashmir.

Kashmir’s traditional separatist leadership has been at pains to distance the movement from groups such as al-Qaida and Isis, saying in May they had “nothing to do with our struggle and are non-existent in Jammu and Kashmir”.

An alliance of separatist leaders has yet to respond to the announcement of the new group. Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind said on Thursday it expected to release another statement this week.

The formation of the group comes at a time of increased tension in Kashmir after another summer of protests in which Musa’s name has been frequently invoked.

Local sympathy for the militants, who number around 210, is thought to have grown in recent years as hopes for political dialogue with Delhi have languished. The Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi has pursued a harder security line in the restive state.

Nearly 100 civilians were killed in months of protests last year that followed Wani’s death at the hands of Indian security forces. Turnout at elections in April was a record low. Eight Hindu pilgrims were killed this month when their bus came under fire from militants.



Uproar in Maharashtra assembly over making Vande Mataram compulsory

Bhavika Jain

Jul 27, 2017

A political war of words erupted in Maharashtra over the issue of making singing of Vande Mataram compulsory in schools, colleges and other institutions in the state on the lines of a recent ruling by the Madras High Court.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raj Purohit on Thursday said that he will write to the state government demanding that singing of Vande Mataram should be made compulsory in all schools, colleges, government officials and other institutions in the state tomorrow.

"Vande Mataram was a chant which revolutionaries and freedom fighters used to say. And with this one chant they faced the British. Vande Mataram is a symbol of patriotism and deshbhakti. People who don't know the true meaning of Islam are the ones who are opposing it," said Purohit on Thursday inside the Vidhan Bhavan complex.

Meanwhile, AIMIM leader Waris Pathan said that he will not say Vande Mataram even if a gun is put to his head. "Nowhere in the constitution it is written that if I don't say Vande Mataram we will become anti-national. Everybody in this country has the right to practice his religion under the constitution. If the government plans to make singing Vande Mataram compulsory in the state I will oppose it," said Pathan.

Similarly, Samajwadi Party leader, Abu Azmi said that he loves and respects the country but will not sing Vande Mataram as Islam doesn't allow as for it as they only worship Allah. "Shoot me or even drive me away from this country but I will never say it. People like Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukhtar Abbas Naqqvi may be singing Vande Mataram, but a true Muslim like me will never sing it," said Azmi.

Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote said that people who don't want to say Vande Mataram have no right to live in this country. "If people feel ashamed to sing Vande Mataram they should leave the country and go," said Raote.

On June 25 Madaras High Court said that Vande Mataram must be sung in all Tamil Nadu's schools and colleges at least once a week, on a Monday or Friday and in factories and offices, it must be sung at least once a month, the court had said.

As saffron spreads across India, 2019 poll prospects look rosy for BJP

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BRICS NSAs meet to discuss cooperation in counter-terrorism

Jul 28, 2017

BEIJING: India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval along with top security officials of the BRICS countries held their annual security dialogue here on Friday to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism, cyber and energy security.

The meeting of NSAs from BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — is hosted by China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

Doval and Yang, who are special representatives of India-China border, on Thursday held a separate meeting to discuss bilateral issues, during which they were also understood to have discussed the stand-off between the troops of the both the countries at the Dokalam area in Sikkim section.

The military stand-off began on June 16 when Chinese troops attempted to lay a road in the Dokalam area. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.

India and China share a 220-km-long border in Sikkim section.

Besides Doval and Yang, today's meeting is attended by minister of state security David Mahlobo of South Africa, minister Sergio Etchegoyen of the Office of Institutional Security of the Presidency of Brazil, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev of Russia.

The NSAs meeting was held ahead of the 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Fujian province's Xiamen city from September 3 to 5.

Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry said the seventh meeting of BRICS high representatives for security issues is a major platform for BRICS countries to discuss and carry out cooperation in the political security field.

The meeting aims to enhance strategic communication, political mutual trust and international influence of BRICS countries, it said.

The meeting will focus on global governance, counter-terrorism, cyber security and energy security, international and regional hotspots, and national security and development, the ministry added.

Full report at:



NIA summons Syed Ali Shah Geelani's elder son Naeem for questioning

Jul 27, 2017

NEW DELHI: Widening its probe, the NIA on Thursday issued summons to Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani's elder son Naeem Geelani, asking him to appear before it for questioning on Monday in connection with its probe in the terror funding case in the Kashmir Valley.

A surgeon by profession, Nayeem had returned from Pakistan in 2010 after spending 11 years there.

He is tipped as the natural successor to the Geelani-led Tehrek-e-Hurriyat, a separatist conglomerate comprising pro- Pakistan hardline groups.

Officials privy to the developments said the summons has been issued to Nayeem to appear before the NIA on July 31 in connection with the case of terror funding in the valley.

Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh has already been arrested by the NIA and was being interrogated in the same case, they said.

Besides him, Geelani's close aides Ayaz Akbar, who is also spokesman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, and Peer Saifullah were also arrested by the NIA from the Valley earlier this week.

Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman of the moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, as also Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Nayeem Khan (of the Hurriyat's Geelani faction) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate' have also been arrested, the officials said.

All of them have been remanded to 10 days of NIA custody.

Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ul-Dawah, the front of another proscribed outfit Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), has been named in the FIR as an accused besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and all-woman outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat.

The NIA had registered a case on May 30 against the separatist and secessionist leaders, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have been acting in connivance with active militants of the HM, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, LeT, other outfits and gangs.

The case was registered for raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and for causing disruption in Kashmir valley by way of pelting security forces with stones, burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.

In pursuance of this case, the NIA had conducted widespread searches on the suspected persons in Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Haryana and incriminating documents, electronic devices, cash and other valuables worth crore of rupees were unearthed.

Full report at:



J&K: Two army jawans injured in terror attack in Shopian

Jul 27, 2017

NEW DELHI: At least two army jawans were injured in a terror attack in Materbugh area of Shopian on Thursday evening, Police said.

According to police, security forces were fired upon by terrorists near Chakora village of Shopian district.

"A joint combing and search operation party of Jammu and Kashmir police's Special Operation Group and Army's 62 Rashtriya Rifles was attacked by heavily armed terrorists after they were returning back from Materbugh," a senior police official said, adding, "The party was part of the combing and search operation conducted in the area earlier today."

"During the terror attack, two Army jawans sustained minor injuries and were rused to nearby hospital for treatment,"the official said.

He also said that the area has been cordoned off and searches mounted to trace the terrorists.

However, Srinagar-based defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said "no soldier was injured" in the attack.

Meanwhile, in another attack, a policeman was injured after terrorists fired at him in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Full report at:



Islamic State man held in Kullu gets 5 yrs in jail

July 28, 2017

The NIA court in Shimla on Thursday sentenced Abid Khan, a member of the Islamic State (IS), to five years in jail. Abid (23), who was arrested from Kullu earlier this year, was convicted on July 19 for carrying out unlawful activities, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence, besides various other provisions punishable under Explosives Substances Act. The chargesheet submitted in the court that led to Abid’s conviction details how, in order to evade detection by intelligence and investigation agencies, he had been using at least six web-based instant messaging and chat platforms to stay in touch with his IS handlers and for recruitment of young Muslims into ISIS. These web apps included WhatsApp, Telegram, Tango, Signal and Trillian. Abid also used Hello Talk, a learning language exchange app that connects directly with native speakers and provide interface to text and speak.

Full report at:



Arab World


Qatif: At least 5 Shia Muslims killed by Saudi forces in the town of Awamiya

Jul 27, 2017

At least five people have been killed in eastern Saudi Arabia in two days, activists and a family member said on Thursday, as security forces begin an operation to flush out suspected Shia militants from the town of Awamiya in Qatif province.

Saudi interior ministry spokesmen could not immediately be reached by telephone for comment on the reports by community and political activists on social media about the violence in Awamiya.

The area, part of the oil-producing Qatif province where some of the country’s Shi’ite Muslim minority live, has seen unrest and occasional armed attacks by suspected militants on security forces since the 2011 Arab Spring protests.

Residents of the town complain of marginalisation by the Sunni-led Saudi government, a charge Riyadh denies.

Activists who write on community websites and use social media said three local residents and two expatriate workers have died since the security operation began early on Wednesday when a column of armoured vehicles entered Awamiya.

Since May, workers have also been tearing down structures in the 200-year-old walled old town district of al-Musawara, in what officials say is a plan to deny militants places to hide.

Several policemen have been killed in attacks by militants since that demolition work began.

Since the security forces advanced into the town, residents have reported the sounds of extensive shooting and explosions.

It was not immediately clear if armed men wanted by the authorities had fired back at the security forces.

Activists posted photos of several people they said had been hit, including the dead. Others have been wounded, but no precise figures were immediately available.

They identified the three local residents killed as Mohsen al-Awjami, Mohammed al-Faraj and Hussein Abu Abdullah, but gave no details on the expatriates.

A relative of Awjami said the 42-year-old man was returning home from work when he was shot by security forces.

“When he got out of the car, he was hit by a salvo of gunfire from security forces. He was struck in the abdomen...,” a family member told Reuters.

“He was outside for 2-1/2 hours before people managed to pull him inside and for an ambulance to take to hospital. He is now at the morgue at Qatif hospital.”

Officials from the region’s main Qatif Central Hospital declined to comment when reached by telephone, saying they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Activists posted a picture of another dead man they identified as Faraj, a bearded young man on a dark road with a bulge in his side, apparently from a projectile that hit him.

The authenticity of the posting could not be verified.

Authorities accuse militants in the area of a wave of attacks on security forces and a campaign of intimidation against local Shi’ites whom they accuse of cooperating with Saudi authorities.



30 More Civilians Killed in US-Led Coalition Airstrikes in Eastern Raqqa

Jul 27, 2017

The US-led coalition warplanes bombed heavily the Raqqa city, killing at least 30 civilians, including 8 children, and wounding several more.

At least 5 civilians were killed in the Kurdish forces' attacks on residential areas.

Relevant reports said earlier that over 20 civilians were killed in the US-led coalition air raids in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur.

The US-led coalition fighter jets bombed the villages of al-Kashkiyeh and Abu Hamam in Eastern Deir Ezzur, killing 21 civilians and wounding several more.

In the meantime, three civilians were killed in the air raids in Raqqa city.

Also, the US-led coalition warplanes bombed heavily the town of al-Mayadeen in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing eight civilians and wounding several more.

Also, the warplanes raided the village of al-Sobheh in Eastern Deir Ezzur, killing a number of civilians, including several children.

Full report at:



US military cuts ties with Syrian rebel group, Shuhada Al-Qaryatayn

28 July 2017

The Pentagon is cutting ties with a group of Syrian opposition fighters after they started targeting regime forces instead of ISIS, officials said Thursday.

The group, known as Shuhada Al-Qaryatayn, had been receiving training and weapons from US-led coalition forces in southern Syria.

They “unilaterally, without US or coalition permission or coordination,” conducted patrols outside a specified zone and engaged in “activities not focused on fighting ISIS,” coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon.

The group have been “important partners in the fight against ISIS in southern Syria. However, the coalition will no longer support their operations,” Dillon added.

Shuhada Al-Qaryatayn are based in the area around Al-Tanf, where the coalition operates a training garrison near the border crossing with Jordan.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Starts Offensive against ISIL's Key Stronghold in Homs

Jul 27, 2017

A field commander pointed to the control of the Syrian troops on the most important regions in the areas surrounding al-Sukhna city and purging the city of terrorists, and said that the Syrian army has started its military operation against the ISIL in al-Sukhna.

The commander also reiterated that ISIL's defense lines have collapsed, and added that ISIL leaders transferred their families from al-Sukhna to the city of al-Mayadeen in Deir Ezzur province yesterday.

Meantime, the Syrian army's artillery and missile units as well as the country's air force heavily pounded ISIL's positions in the city.

In a relevant development earlier on Thursday, the Syrian army continued its military operations deep inside Badiyeh (desert) region in Eastern Homs and took control of several new areas.

The Syrian army intensified its clashes with ISIL terrorists in al-Heil gas field-al-Sukhna road and took control of several areas overlooking Jabal (mount) al-Rabiat which is 11 kilometers Southwest of al-Sukhna city.

This is while the Syrian army troops are now less than nine kilometers away from al-Sukhna from the Eastern direction of al-Heil.

Also, the Syrian army also further continued its advances in Eastern Homs and took control of Sabqa al-Mala West of al-Baqliya after taking full control of al-Baqliya village North of Homs-Palmyra road.

The Syrian army backed up by the country's air force continued its advances against ISIL deep into Badiyeh (desert) region in Eastern Homs, taking control over more strategic areas in the region that is seen as the gate to Deir Ezzur.

The army troops seized control of key regions and hilltops Southwest of the city of Al-Sukhna after clashes with the ISIL terrorists near Palmyra.

Meantime, a military source confirmed that the Syrian army's command has prepared for the final battle to liberate al-Sukhna dispatching massive forces and military equipment to the battle zones in Badiyeh.

The source also said that the Syrian army has fortified its military positions in the region.

Full report at:



Hezbollah Wins Control of over 95 Percent of Heights at Lebanon-Syria Border

Jul 27, 2017

The sources said that the resistance forces engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra and imposed control over several heights, including al-Qariyeh, in Arsal.

Military sources said Hezbollah's dominance over al-Qariyeh will help restore security to the regions around mountainous areas.

The sources also confirmed that 95 percent of Arsal heights have been liberated and the Al-Nusra Front only controls a small portion of the heights and is almost left with no other choice but to surrender.

Meantime, ISIL terrorists have come under the siege of resistance forces in the Northern passage of Arsal and their supply lines have also been cut.

Relevant reports said on Tuesday that the resistance forces clashed fiercely with Al-Nusra and took control over the heights and positons of Wadi Komeil, Wadi Hamoudi, Maka'ah al-Feran, al-Bider, Sho'abat al-Nahleh and Wadi Zalil al-Barak.

The Hezbollah forces also fortified their positions in areas surrounding al-Malahi region.

According to some field reports, negotiations are underway for the surrender of Al-Nusra's Commander in Arsal heights Abu Malik al-Tali.

Full report at:



Saudi King Salman asserts Palestinians’ right to enter al-Aqsa Mosque

27 July 2017

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had a telephonic conversation with US authorities in order to resolve the al-Aqsa clashes over Israeli security measures last week.

During the call, King Salman asserted the rights of Palestinian Muslims to access al-Aqsa Mosque, reported Al Arabiya. According to the report, King Salman’s communications with world leaders succeeded in resolving Al- Aqsa confrontations.

The Saudi King contacted US President Donald Trump and urged for the opening of al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslims, and for allowing them the right to worship after restrictions on access to the mosque were imposed by the Israeli forces, a statement by the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, said.

The statement added that King Salman's efforts have been successful in a way that contributed to restoring stability and provided reassurance to the worshipers. It helped safeguaerd their dignity and security.

King Salman stressed the need to restore stability and calm to the holy sites and the surrounding areas. The statement stressed Saudi Arabia’s emphasis on the importance of achieving a just and comprehensive peace for the Palestinian cause, in accordance with the Arab peace initiative and the vision of a two-state solution.

On Thursday, Israeli police announced the removal of all security measures sparked intense Palestinian and Islamic anger and bloody clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces since July 14.

Last night, Israel removed all security installations it had put in place this month at the Muslim entrances of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, stepping up its efforts to diffuse political and religious tension.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince praises King Salman's initiative

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed praised King Salman's role in the resolution of Al-Aqsa crisis.

Full report at:



Qatar authorities spreading lies to discourage their people from performing Hajj

28 July 2017

Saud al-Qahtani, an advisor in the Saudi royal court, has reiterated that Saudi Arabia welcomes all Qataris who want to perform Hajj or Umrah. He also accused Qatari authorities of spreading lies to discourage their people from performing their religious duties.

“Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that our people in Qatar are welcome to come perform Umrah from any place from the world or transit through Doha and via any airlines except the Qatari authority’s airlines,” Qahtani said on Twitter. He added that for the past five years, the average number of Qatari pilgrims was around 1,600 pilgrims per year.

Qahtani also said it was important that Qatar’s authorities facilitate the Qatari pilgrims’ procedure, adding: “The number of those coming for Hajj from our people in Qatar must not be lower than the average of the past years.”

Full report at:



Lebanese army ‘strengthening positions’ against Daesh

28 July 2017

BEIRUT: The Lebanese army says it is currently strengthening its positions against Daesh following skirmishes with militants close to the Syrian border.

A military source stated that the army had exchanged fire on Thursday with fighters attached to Daesh, which controls a barren mountainous area in northeastern Lebanon.

The official Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported that “Daesh militants fired at the Lebanese army which in turn responded.”

A Lebanese military source confirmed to Arab News that “skirmishes between the Lebanese army and Daesh militants take place on a regular basis and cannot be considered as new military operations.”

The source added: “No negotiations with Daesh are currently taking place. We are strengthening our positions in preparation for any possible incident. According to the given data and conditions on the ground, we will determine if we will wage a battle against Daesh.”

Meanwhile, areas close to those controlled by Daesh were calm at 6 a.m. on Thursday, following the announcement of a cease-fire by Hezbollah, after its battle against Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (JFS), formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, in the Jaroud Arsal area.

According to the NNA, “the General Security Head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim led successful negotiations in order to achieve this cease-fire.”

After his visit on Wednesday to the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, Ibrahim confirmed that the “terms of the cease-fire are confidential.”

He continued: “All I can say is that there is a real cease-fire in effect. Militants and civilians can go to Idlib in an organized manner under the supervision of the Lebanese authorities; the Lebanese Red Cross will oversee logistical matters. This is all I can disclose now, and I believe that the terms of the agreement will be shown by concrete actions. There is no time limit for the agreement but it will be achieved in a matter of days.”

Hezbollah will be handed three of its fighters who were kidnapped by the JFS, according to the NNA. They were reportedly detained in the town of Al-Eis in the Aleppo countryside between 2015 and 2016. The JFS shared a video clip two days ago showing the hostages, calling on Hezbollah’s leadership to stop the war or they would pay the price with their lives, it was reported.

A Lebanese military source confirmed to Arab News that the JFS was in control of “barren areas between Lebanon and Syria” but that “the Lebanese barren areas will be under Lebanese army control after the implementation of the cease-fire.” As for the areas under the control of Daesh, “they are completely (within) Lebanese territory and their fate is in the hands of the Lebanese army.”

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on Tuesday night that Hezbollah has nothing to do with the ongoing negotiations that are currently carried out by Lebanese authorities. Hezbollah also announced the names of 26 men who died during six days of battles against the JFS.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday discussed the developments in Jaroud Arsal with Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk.

He stated after the meeting that “the battles took place on disputed lands, as there is a disagreement over the possession of these lands between Lebanon and Syria.”

He responded to Hezbollah’s accusations directed against those who objected to the battles saying, “we only want the Lebanese army to be in control; we are not attacking others.”

“Years ago, we discussed the strategic defense initiative and the role of the resistance, but the discussions were stopped. We call on the president to restart the discussions,” Machnouk said.

Full report at:



Putin signs deal allowing air forces to stay in Syria for 49 years

Jul 28, 2017

Russia’s president signs a law enabling the country’s air forces to remain in Syria for 49 years as part of a protocol to a 2015 agreement with the Damascus government.

The protocol signed by Moscow and Damascus in January 2017, regulating issues related to the Air Forces’ deployment to the Syrian territory.

It was adopted by the Russian State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament, on July 14, and approved by the Senate five days later.

Vladimir Putin signed it on Thursday, RT cited a Kremlin statement as saying.

Enshrined in the protocol is an option enabling automatic extension of the arrangement for another 25 years.

The protocol also features Damascus’ agreement to provide the Russian air force with free land in its northwestern Latakia Province.

Russia has been using the Khmeimim Air Base there to carry out anti-terror operations since September 2015.

The Russian military has also been offering advisory support to Syria, helping the Arab nation make numerous gains in its battles on terrorists.

In March 2016, Moscow withdrew many of its forces from Syria, with Putin saying the goals of the anti-terrorist mission there had been “generally accomplished.”

Full report at:





Israeli police bar men under 50 from Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque

28 July 2017

Israeli police said they would bar men under 50 from Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque after clashes erupted as Palestinians ended a boycott of the compound the previous day.

“Security assessments were made and there are indications that disturbances and demonstrations will take place today,” police said in a statement regarding the Haram al-Sharif compound, or the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem.

“Only men over the age of 50 will be permitted and women of all ages are permitted. A number of roads around the Old City will be limited to access and all necessary security measures are being taken to prevent and to respond to any outbreak of violence,” it said.

End of boycott

On Thursday, Palestinians ended a boycott of the site over new Israeli security measures there and entered for the first time in two weeks.

Thousands of worshippers streamed into the site on Thursday afternoon. Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians erupted soon after, with the Palestinian Red Crescent reporting around 100 people wounded.

Palestinians had decided to end their boycott of the site after Israel removed the new security measures, including metal detectors, installed after an attack nearby killed two policemen on July 14.



Israeli occupation forces enter Al-Aqsa courtyard, arrest dozens

27 July 2017

Large numbers of Israeli occupation forces broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque on Friday and arrested dozens of Palestinians, Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

According to eyewitnesses from inside Al-Aqsa, soldiers broke into the Holy site and cut the power off, while other soldiers attacked worshipers.

Witnesses said rubber bullets were used after prayers ended and did not allow others to enter, forcing youths to pray near the door instead.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave orders on Thursday to reinforce the border guards in Jerusalem.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, for the first time in two weeks, to perform the Asr prayer, after the Israeli occupation forces opened the gates.

Clashes erupted

Clashes erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site Thursday as thousands of Muslim worshipers entered to end a boycott of the compound over new Israeli security measures.

An AFP correspondent witnessed the clashes erupt shortly after the worshipers entered. The Palestinian media and Red Crescent reported that 96 people wounded both inside the al-Aqsa compound, and in the immediate area outside it.

Palestinians ended a boycott and entered a sensitive Jerusalem holy site for the first time in two weeks Thursday after Israel removed controversial security measures there, potentially ending a crisis that sparked deadly unrest.

Full report at:



Israel removes all security apparatus from al-Aqsa Mosque after unrest

27 July 2017

Israel overnight removed all security infrastructure it had put in place this month at Muslim entrances to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, stepping up its efforts to diffuse political and religious tension.

Celebrations started in Jerusalem after Al-Aqsa Mosque doors reopened. Al-Aqsa Mosque Imam told Al Arabiya that Asr prayer will be performed today for the first time in two weeks.

The government had already dismantled metal detectors it installed in the area after the killing of two Israeli policemen on July 14, hoping the move would calm 10 days of often-violent protests that have put the city on edge.

But separate security measures, including closed-circuit cameras and low metal gates, were left in place, angering Palestinian leaders and the population, who have threatened a “day of rage” on Friday. Most Muslims have avoided entering the compound in the past two weeks, praying instead in the streets.

The stand-off at the holy site – the Haram al-Sharif compound, or the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem – has provoked some of the worst bloodshed in Jerusalem for years, with peace efforts having stagnated since 2014.

Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians in fighting in the cramped streets of East Jerusalem in the last week, and a Palestinian stabbed three Israelis to death in their home.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for calm, saying there was the risk of an explosion of violence. Tensions around the holy site have led to long periods of unrest in the past, including the second Palestinian uprising or Intifada, which left thousands dead from 2000 to 2004.

Risk of escalating violence

“I am particularly concerned about the potential risk of escalating violence, urge all political, religious and community leaders to refrain from provocative action and rhetoric, and call on Israel to demonstrate restraint,” Guterres said.

Amateur video shot overnight showed Israeli contractors dismantling gantries put up to hold security cameras and using forklift trucks to take away metal barriers from the marbled Lion's Gate entrance to the mosque compound.

Witnesses said all the security devices had been removed and crowds of Palestinians gathered in the early hours to celebrate. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the removal. “Everything that was installed after the attack (the killing of the two police officers) was taken down overnight,” she said.

Full report at:



Iran’s power stems from scientific progress: Rouhani

Jul 28, 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the successful test-launch of his country’s new satellite carrier, saying such scientific achievements boost the Islamic Republic’s power and grandeur.

“Today, space science and technology are of great importance to us, and the more we push forward in these and other scientific fields, the more powerful and dignified we will be,” Rouhani wrote in a message on his Instagram account on Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, the president went to Iran’s central province of Semnan to attend the opening ceremony of the Imam Khomeini Space Center (IKSC), which began its operations by firing off the indigenous Simorgh carrier.

Designed and developed with the latest standards in mind, Iran’s new space rocket can carry satellites weighing up to 250 kilograms (550 pounds) about 500 kilometers (310 miles) away, well within the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The rocket, Iran's largest to date, will be used to launch the domestically-built Earth observation satellite Tolou (Sunrise) in the near future.

Rouhani said the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which led to the removal of Western sanctions, had ushered in a new opportunity for progress.

“In the post-JCPOA era, we have the opportunity to take note from others' experience while relying on the hard work of our own experts and scientists to earn achievements that ultimately boost national development,” the president wrote.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, who accompanied Rouhani at the IKSC, told reporters that the spaceport acted as a “command and control site” that could track and control satellites at all times.

He noted that the center was already capable of launching satellites to higher orbits of up to 1,000 kilometers.

Iran launched its first locally-built satellite, Omid (Hope), in 2009. The country also sent its first bio-capsule containing living creatures into space in February 2010, using Kavoshgar-3 (Explorer-3) carrier.

In February 2015, Iran placed the domestically-made Fajr (Dawn) satellite into orbit. The satellite is capable of taking and transmitting high-quality and accurate pictures to stations on Earth.

Simorgh's launch came days after the US Congress passed new sanctions against Iran over its development of missiles for defensive purposes. The bill, which also includes sanctions against Russia and North Korea, awaits US President Donald Trump's approval.

Full report at:



Netanyahu wants execution of Palestinian who allegedly stabbed 3 Israelis

Jul 27, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the execution of a Palestinian who allegedly stabbed to death three Israelis in the occupied West Bank last week.

"The death penalty for terrorists -- it's time to implement it in severe cases,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem al-Quds on Thursday.

On July 21, a 19-year-old Palestinian allegedly attacked a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them. He was shot and wounded by an off-duty Israeli officer.

The stabbings came after a day of protests and clashes over a series of new restrictive measures by Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

The measures, which included installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional surveillance cameras, had been imposed following an attack earlier this month.

On July 14, three Palestinians opened fire on Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, killing two of them before being shot dead.

Palestinian worshippers have strongly condemned Israel’s new restrictive measures at al-Aqsa Mosque, engaging in bitter clashes with Israeli military forces.

On Thursday, Muslim elders urged Palestinian worshippers to return to prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque after Israel backed down in the face of angry protests and removed all the restrictions at the holy site.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

Full report at:



46 injured as clashes erupt between Palestinians, Israeli police at Aqsa Mosque

Jul 27, 2017

Dozens of people have sustained injuries after clashes broke out between Israeli military forces and Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque as thousands of Muslim worshippers entered the holy site in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds after abolition of the Tel Aviv regime’s restrictive measures.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported on Thursday that 46 people had been wounded both inside the mosque compound and in the immediate area.

Some were beaten and suffered fractured bones, while others were struck with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Israeli troopers also fired stun grenades and used pepper sprays, causing several Palestinians to cough and wheeze.

Thousands of Palestinians had earlier streamed into al-Aqsa Mosque for afternoon prayers after Israeli forced reopened all the gates to the compound.

A number of young men then scaled the mosque walls and raised the Palestinian national flag at the holy site. Israeli forces took down the flags shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Waqf (Endowment) and Religious Affairs Sheikh Yousef Id'es has called on Palestinians to hold Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque.

He said the Israeli regime’s decision to remove controversial new security measures, installed after the July 14 attack, clearly showed that Palestinians were capable of defending their legitimate right of sovereignty over Jerusalem al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque.

On July 14, three Palestinians opened fire on Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, killing two of them before being shot dead.

Id’es added that Palestinians must have religious freedom in Jerusalem al-Quds, and pray at al-Aqsa Mosque without the fear of getting arrested.

Israeli forces dismantled security measures installed at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound late on Wednesday night.

The measures, which included installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional surveillance cameras, had been imposed following the July 14 attack.

Palestinian worshippers have strongly condemned Israel’s new restrictive measures at al-Aqsa Mosque, engaging in bitter clashes with Israeli military forces.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

Full report at:





UN body asks Pakistan to criminalise enforced disappearances


by Umair Rasheed

Lahore: The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has recommended Pakistani government to criminalise enforced disappearances in its concluding remarks on Pakistan's first ever review following the country's ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The commission has asked the government to investigate all known cases of disappearances and extra judicial killings and penalise those responsible for these acts. It has held that the government should ensure that penalties are 'commensurate with the gravity of crimes'. The report calls upon the government to ensure protection of families of disappeared persons and their lawyers and witnesses, and that a mechanism is put in place for full and prompt reparation for victims and their families. "It [the government] should further strengthen the authority and the capacity, financial and personnel, of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearance," the report said.

To check the abuse of the anti-terrorism act, the report asks the government to bring the definition of terrorism provided in Article 6 of the law in accordance with international standards. In particular, the report seeks removal of the ATC courts' jurisdiction over juvenile offenders, repeal of Section 21-H of the Act (concerning conditional admissibility of confession), introduction of procedural safeguards in the Act and to bring ATC court proceedings in line with Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR to ensure fair trials.

On the matter on military courts, the government has been asked to abrogate their jurisdiction over civilians as well as their authority to impose the death penalty. Like the ATCs, the proceedings of military courts should also be brought in conformity with Articles 14 and 15 of the ICCPR, the commission has noted.

The commission has sought repeal of all blasphemy laws or their amendment to bring them in compliance with strict requirements of the Covenant.

It has asked the government to 'ensure that all those who incite or engage in violence against others based on allegations of blasphemy as well as those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy are brought to justice and duly punished'.

Other recommendations are regarding adequate protection of judges, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses involved in blasphemy cases; thoroughly and promptly investigated and perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished; thorough and prompt investigation in cases of hate speech and hate crimes; review of school textbooks and curricula with a view to removing all religiously biased content and incorporation of human rights education and regulation of affairs of madrassas.

The commission has particularly asked the government to fully implement the June 19, 2014, judgement of the Supreme Court.

The commission also discussed the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act of 2016, seeking revisions to bring it in line with government's obligations under the ICCPR. It sought establishment of independent oversight mechanisms on the implementation of the PECA, including judicial review of surveillance activities. It also sought review of laws and practices of intelligence sharing with foreign agencies; and of all licensing requirements that impose obligations on network service providers to engage in communication surveillance, particularly in relation to indiscriminate data retention. It asked the government to adopt a comprehensive data protection law in line with international standards.

On the matter on freedom of expression, the commission has asked the government to decriminalise defamation to ensure that imprisonment is never a punishment for defamation and that criminal laws are not improperly enforced on journalists and dissenting voices in general. The government has been asked to 'review its legal provisions relating to freedom of expression, including Article 19 of the Constitution, the rules applicable to the PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007, and the Code of Conduct for programmes and advertisement for broadcast media and distribution services, with a view to putting in place effective oversight mechanisms and procedural safeguards and bringing them in line with Article 19 of the Covenant'.

The government has been asked to 'promptly and thoroughly investigate all reported cases of harassment, disappearances and killing of human rights defenders.

On the matter of violence against women, the commission has sought expedited efforts towards adoption of laws relating to violence against women that are still under consideration at federal and provincial levels and effective enforcement of anti-honour killings, anti-rape, and other relevant laws criminalising violence against women including domestic violence.

Other recommendations are effective enforcement of prohibition of the application of qisas and diyat laws in so-called honour-related crimes and provision of necessary legal, medical, financial and psychological support tro victims.

The commission has also asked the government to ensure that judges, prosecutors and law enforcement authorities continue to receive appropriate trainings that equip them to deal with cases of violence against women effectively and in a gender-sensitive manner. It has asked that the number of female police officers should be increased to an adequate level.

The government has also been asked to review its legislation to ensure that legal restrictions do not prompt women to resort to unsafe abortions that may endanger their lives and health. "It should also take all measures necessary to combat the stigma associated with abortion; ensure the provision of safe voluntary termination of pregnancy by trained medical providers; ensure ready and affordable access to post-abortion health care services throughout the country; and improve access to affordable contraception and sexual and reproductive health education and services including for adolescents and disadvantaged women and girls in rural areas," the report notes.

On the issue of death penalty, the government has been asked to reinstate a moratorium lifted in the wake of the 2014 attack on Peshawar's Army Public School and to consider abolition of capital punishment altogether. If it is to be retained, the commission has urged that in no instance should it be imposed on juvenile offenders or those with serious psychosocial or intellectual disabilities and in cases other than extremely serious crimes involving intentional killings.

The commission has also taken exception to a perceived lack of autonomy and efficacy of the National Commission on Human Rights, particularly in reported instances of rights violations involving intelligence agencies and armed forces. It has asked the government to adopt all legislative, policy and institutional measures necessary to ensure that the commission is able to carry out its mandate fully and in an effective and independent manner, and in conformity with principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Major recommendations to the government

* Criminalise enforced disappearances

* Bring definition of terrorism in the ATA in line with international standards

* Abrogate military courts’ jurisdiction over civilians

* Repeal blasphemy laws or amend them to ensure conformity with ICCPR

* Decriminalise defamation

* Ensure protection of judges, lawyers and families involved in enforced disappearance and blasphemy cases

* Reinstate moratorium on death penalties

* Strengthen the NCHR to ensure that it is able to carry out its mandate effectively.



US, Pakistan both want talks with Taliban

Anwar Iqbal

July 28, 2017

WASHINGTON: In a rare display of agreement on the Afghan issue, the United States and Pakistan have both reiterated the need for including the Taliban in the Afghan peace process.

Yet differences over the alleged presence of militant safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) continue to plague a decades-old relationship between the two countries.

“One of the things that the Secretary [of State] feels very strongly about is trying to get to a place where we can have some sort of a peace process,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert while sharing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s views on how to resolve the Afghan conflict.

“And that means actually sitting down and talking with members of the Taliban and starting to facilitate that kind of dialogue,” she said at the department’s latest news briefing.

Pakistan’s US envoy Ambas­sa­dor Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry expr­essed similar views in his address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.

“Pakistan continues to support an inclusive political reconciliation process in Afghanistan as the only viable path towards obtaining lasting peace in the region,” he said, adding that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Ms Nauert explained that while the military option was part of an overall strategy for Afghanistan “in the long run you have to bring both sides to the table or multiple sides to the table together to determine their future”.

The White House has confirmed that a team of security and foreign policy experts are now working on a new strategy to end the Afghan war.

While the new strategy may lead to an addition of about 5,000 US troops to those already deployed in Afghanistan, the White House has said that diplomacy will be a key component.

The White House has also confirmed that the new strategy would go beyond Afghanistan and cover the entire South Asian region — from India to Iran and part of Central Asia.

Speaking at a seminar in Colorado earlier this week, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen Joseph Dunford said “a critical element of our strategy in the region has to be Pakistan.”

Gen Dunford also said that the US “cannot be successful in Afghanistan — we’ve seen that over the last several years, unless we have a higher degree of cooperation from Pakistan”.

At the State Department briefing, Ms Nauert avoided several attempts by an Afghan journalist to blame Pakistan for this week’s terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Asked if she was still optimistic about involving Taliban in the Afghan peace process, Ms Nauert said that it was premature to say that but “when we can get to the point where we might be able to help facilitate along with Afghanistan to get people to sit down and talk together then that would certainly be a step in the right direction”.

Until that point was reached, the United States would continue to support its Afghan partners, she added.

Full report at:



Amjad Sabri murder case being sent to military court, ATC told

July 28, 2017

Ishaq Tanoli

KARACHI: The murder case of renowned qawwal Amjad Sabri along with two dozen other cases against two suspected militants of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is being sent to military courts for trial, an antiterrorism court was informed on Thursday.

The LJ suspects, Ishaq alias Bobby and Mohammad Asim alias Ahmed alias Capri, were arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department of police in November 2016 for their alleged involvement in around 25 cases pertaining to the targeted killing of Amjad Sabri, army personnel, the Rangers, police officials and members of the Shia community.

When one of the cases fixed before the ATC-VII judge inside the central prison came up for hearing on Thursday, investigating officer Inspector Mohsin Zaidi informed the court that the provincial authorities had sent all the cases pending against both the suspects to the federal government for scrutiny and final approval for trial in military courts. He said the cases were likely to be transferred soon after the approval of the competent authorities.

Qawwal Amjad Sabri was heading to a private TV channel to perform in a Ramazan-related programme in June last year when he was gunned down in Liaquatabad in a targeted attack on his car.

Both the LJ suspects have also been allegedly involved in the murder of two Military Police personnel near Tibet Centre on M.A. Jinnah Road in December 2015. Besides, they were booked for killing two army soldiers near Parking Plaza in Saddar in July last year and killing four Rangers’ personnel outside a mosque in Ittehad Town after Friday prayers in November 2015.

The suspected militants are also facing trial for allegedly killing five people, including two brothers, in October 2016 outside a house in Nazimabad where a Muharram majlis was being held for women.

They have also been booked for allegedly killing seven policemen in Orangi Town in April 2016, two traffic policemen near Ayesha Manzil in May 2016, murder of advocate Ameer Haider Shah near Civic Centre in August 2016, advocate Nadeem Waqar in April 2014 in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, head constable Syed Anwar Hussain Jaffri in Korangi in March 2014, police constable Mohammad Amir Ali in Mominabad in June 2016 and other cases of targeted and sectarian killings.

Two suspects remanded in police custody

The administrative judge of antiterrorism courts on Thursday remanded two suspects in police custody in a double murder case pertaining to the killing of Pak Sarzameen Party workers.

The Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Wednesday claimed to have arrested Mohammad Danish and Mohammad Raheem for allegedly killing PSP activist Nadeem Maulana and Rashid Lal Khan in Orangi Town on July 17 and said they were affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London.

Police produced the suspects before the administrative judge and the investigating officer sought their custody for questioning.

The administrative judge handed them over to police on physical remand till July 30 and directed the IO to produce them on the following day with a progress report. In the remand papers, Bilal, Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Owais are shown as absconders.

Full report at:



New narrative of militants needs to be countered aggressively: CTD

Imtiaz Ali

July 28, 2017

KARACHI: Police investigators probing the targeted killing of law enforcers on Thursday claimed to have detected an emerging militant group’s communication based on a different but dangerous narrative.

It suggested that the group would target only the officials of state institutions and regretted the deaths of “civilians” in collateral damage vowing to “pay compensation to the families of such victims”.

“This is a different and dangerous narrative of the new militant [groups] and needs to be countered aggressively,” said Additional IG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, heading the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police in Sindh.

Dr Abbasi believed that the attacks on the police vans in New Town, SITE and Korangi as well as the attack on traffic constables in Gulshan were linked due to their common pattern.

A new group, Ansarul Sharia Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for most of these incidents.

“Ansarul Sharia Pakistan is a reality and we believe that it is involved in recent wave of terror in the metropolis,” said the CTD chief.

The CTD assessment suggested that this group seemed to be far more professional, combat trained and media savvy, indicating a higher level of education.

He said that mobile patrols and traffic police were being targeted as they represented the softest targets for the militant group that has declared it would only target law enforcers and armed forces.

The CTD chief said the increase in frequency of attacks in the past month indicated that this group might have ‘additional resources’, allowing it to step up attacks.

“Perhaps the number of weapons that the group has also increased, as ballistic test indicates that there are at least two 9mm pistols and one TT pistol at their disposal.

“The fact that one of the assailants also took away MP-5 [rifle] from traffic constables seems to indicate that the group may be stockpiling weapons for a large-scale attack,” apprehended the CTD chief.

Following the recent attacks on policemen, it was decided that besides the deployment of Rapid Response Force, the Rangers and police would conduct joint patrolling and raids.

“There are apprehensions that the security threat posed by this group may continue until this outfit is eliminated.”

It was decided that profiling of policemen would be done and only young officers would be deployed in the field while aged personnel would be assigned desk jobs, said the CTD head.

He said it was also decided that police patrol and deployment would be made in an unpredictable manner, taking into consideration the pattern of attacks on police in recent months. The police van attacked in New Town had been stationed there for the past six months, he explained. “Now there will be an element of surprise in the patrolling of police,” he said.

Dr Abbasi said that the recent incidents of terrorism were not Karachi-specific, as policemen were also attacked in Lahore where 10 personnel were killed in the recent blast.

Besides, he added, it was also not area-specific in the city as the militants targeted police personnel wherever they found them as ‘soft targets’.

The CTD chief said that in the traffic police attack case, they followed the SOPs as they were wearing bulletproof jackets owing to which the life of one traffic policeman was saved.

Full report at:



Malik for ‘Christian town’ in all major cities

July 28, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Rehman Malik on Thursday said that a “Christian town” with all basic facilities should be constructed in every major city of the country.

In a meeting with a delegation of the Christian community here, he said that the working Christian community was being denied the facilities for a better life.

Malik said that he would move in the Senate that the words “sweeper” might be replaced with the word “municipality worker”, which was highly appreciated by the delegation.

The delegation included Basharat Khokhar, Shamim Masih, Peter, Samson Sohail and others.

Senator Malik expressed solidarity with fellow Pakistanis.

He said that under the flag of Pakistan, “we all are one and stand united for the well-being and prosperity of Pakistan.”

In the meeting, matters and problems pertaining to the Christian community were discussed.

The delegation apprised Senator Malik about the Christian community problems regarding registration of their marriage and requested him that a Christian Registration Marriage Bill may be tabled in the parliament as the community was facing problems regarding registration of their marriages.

Full report at:



South Asia


ISIS militants behead alleged sorcerer in North of Afghanistan

Jul 27 2017

The militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have beheaded a man, allegedly over sorcery in northern Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan.

According to the local officials, the incident took place late on Tuesday night in the vicinity of the provincial capital.

Sar-e-Pul governor’s spokesman Zabiullah Amani confirmed the incident and said the victim has been identified as Mullah Taj Mohammad who was beheaded in Ganda area of the central city of Sar-e-Pul.

He said the man was beheaded by a local ISIS commander identified as Qari Sher Mohammad.

The main reason behind the execution of the man has not been ascertained so far but the beheading was apparently carried out for offering talisman to the people.

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

Sar-e-Pul is among the relatively calm provinces in northern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups are active in some of its districts and often conduct insurgency activities.

This is not the first time the ISIS loyalists have executed the civilians but numerous incidents have taken place in various other districts.

At least three civilians were beheaded by the militants of the terror group in northern Jawzjan province nearly four months ago.



Pakistani militia forces among dozens killed in Paktia province of Afghanistan

Jul 27 2017

Dozens of insurgents including several Pakistani militia forces were killed during the clashes with the security forces in southeastern Paktia province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, the militants and Pakistani militias were killed during the clashes in Jani Khel district.

Provincial police spokesman Sardar Wali Tabasoom confirmed the report and said more than 50 insurgents were killed during the clashes which started four days ago.

He said at least sixteen Pakistani militia forces are among those killed and at least 25 insurgents were also wounded.

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

Paktia is located along the Durand Line close to the tribal regions of Pakistan which is home to several Taliban insurgents and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.

The militants often carry out insurgency activities including coordinated attacks on government and security compounds in this province.

Full report at:



Pakistani envoy claims evidences available about terror sanctuaries in Afghanistan

Jul 27 2017

The Pakistani Ambassador to Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has claimed that evidences are available regarding the existence of the sanctuaries of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Chaudhry made the claims during his speech at the International Institute of Strategic Studies on Wednesday.

“The terrorists escaped to neighbouring Afghanistan after Pakistan launched military operation Zarb-e-Azb have their sanctuaries there,” he said.

The Pakistani envoy also claimed that the terrorists based in Afghanistan are conducting insurgency activities both against Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In regards to the efforts to bring peace and stability in the region, the Pakistani ambassador said negotiations are the only way to achieve peace.

This comes as the officials have long been insisting that the Afghan militant groups, specifically the Haqqani terrorist network are having freedom of actions and sanctuaries under the support of certain elements in Pakistan from where they plan and launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The United States Department of States also released its latest reports regarding terrorism for 2016 last week, providing an overall report regarding the terrorism related upheavals during the year.

The new report by the State Department further strengthens the claims made by the Afghan officials regarding the presence of the safe havens of the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network inside the Pakistani territory.

“Afghanistan, in particular, continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, including the affiliated Haqqani Network (HQN) and other insurgent and terrorist groups,” the report stated.

Full report at:



Joint US-Afghan operation kills 2 top insurgents

July 28, 2017

An Afghan official says a joint US and Afghan military operation in eastern Paktika province killed two al-Qaida linked leaders and led to the capture of a third.

Paktika provincial governor’s spokesman Mohammad Rahman Ayaz says the battle in a remote mountainous region on the border with Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region raged throughout the night and into the day Thursday.

The two men who were killed were identified by Ayaz and militants with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as Asad Mehsud and Gul Wali Mehsud. Jamal Mehsud was arrested. Mehsud is a tribe that lives in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal areas.

Full report at:



Shia Ismaili leader Prince Karim Aga Khan’s role lauded in Bangladesh


Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has praised the Shia Ismaili community’s spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan for his global role.

He spoke at a reception celebrating the diamond jubilee of the Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims in Dhaka on Thursday .

Ali said like his grandfather, he focused on efforts concerning the well-being of his own community and the wider Muslims as well.

“The Aga Khan’s work is underpinned by an emphasis on Islam as a spiritual faith which cherishes the role of the intellect, teaches compassion and tolerance, and upholds the dignity of humankind”.

He also praised the role of the Aga Khan Development Network in Bangladesh and said the network is committed to enhancing its investments in the education sector with the establishment of the Aga Khan Academy Dhaka which is to be located on approximately 20 acres of Network-owned land in Bashundhara.

The academy will be comprised of world-class facilities and become part of an integrated network of 18 such academies being built globally.

The Shia Ismaili community organised the reception at a Dhaka hotel.

The Aga Khan is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his cousin and son-in-law Ali, the first Imam, and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter.

At the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan as the Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims 60 years ago.

Today, the Aga Khan leads a global community of some 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims, living predominantly in South Asia, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and the Far East.

Full report at:



ICT finalises two probe reports against 16 war crimes suspects


The investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal or ICT has finalised two reports over 16 people accused of crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 Liberation War.

Four of them are from Mymensingh while the rest are from Jessore and Narail.

The charges include genocide, abduction, torture, loot, arson, rape and murder.

M Sanaul Huq, a senior official of the ICT’s investigation agency, presented the summary of the two reports at a media briefing in Dhaka on Thursday.

He said both the reports would be submitted to the prosecution.

Investigation Officer Monwara Begum has prepared one of the reports on four war crimes suspects from Mymensingh.

Aminuzzaman Faruq, Khawaza Doctor and AKM Akram Hossain are currently behind bars while the fourth is a fugitive.

The 54-page report narrates involvement of four in abduction of six people, forced detention, torture, murder, loot and arson.

The report comes as a result of the investigation which started in 2015 and ended in February this year. Depositions of 60 people were recorded in the meantime; 34 of them were made witnesses.

Investigation officer Abdullah Al Mamun has prepared the other report on 12 suspects from Jessore and Narail.

Five of them -- Omar Molla, Omar Ali, Badruddoza, Daud Sheikh and Golzar Hossain Khan – are in detention.

Golzar Hossain Khan has been directly involved with the ruling Awami League while the rest were active in the political practices of BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Muslim League, said Sanaul.

The other report, which has 434 pages, narrates seven crimes allegedly committed by 12 suspects. The investigation has confirmed 76 people who will testify against them.

The investigation started in March 2016 and ended after about one and a half years.

“Police are yet to arrest any of the fugitives.

Full report at:





Hamas to Morocco: Muslim nations should stand with Al-Aqsa

July 27, 2017

Ismail Haniyeh, chief of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has sent a letter to King Mohammed VI of Morocco concerning Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In his letter, Haniyeh stated that the mosque has never witnessed such attacks since it was occupied 50 years ago, and that the Israeli occupation is more determined than ever to implement its plan to take full control of Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to impose a temporal and spatial divide between Muslims and Jews. The Israeli moves also seek to establish the Israeli government as the main reference point for the management of the mosque so as to curtail the historical role of the Islamic Awqaf (endowments) Department in occupied Jerusalem, the only authority responsible for the management of the mosque’s affairs.

Haniyeh added that the occupation authorities closed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday 14 July. The mosque is still closed due to the intransigence of the occupation and its introduction of electronic gates at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa compound in order to tighten its grip and strengthen its control over movements into and out of the mosque. This is a blatant attack on the sanctity of the place that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) visited and which is the third holiest site after the two holy mosques (Mecca and Medina).

In the letter, Haniyeh said that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is appealing to your consciences and magnanimity. It is not possible to keep silent about the Israeli occupation’s attempts to impose a new reality on Al-Aqsa Mosque, in which the occupation controls the mosque’s future.

The Palestinian leader stated that the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have issued many resolutions in support of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that it is time to work to implement them in order to strengthen the resistance of the people in Jerusalem, who defend the nation’s holy places, according to Haniyeh.

“Our Arab and Islamic governments have a lot of diplomatic, legal, public and media cards. Today, Al-Aqsa urgently needs these cards to be used in order to pressure the occupation in all forums and events.”

Haniyeh said that the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nation have demonstrated that the love of Al-Aqsa Mosque is still running through their veins. Therefore, protests and campaigns were launched in more than one country. He added that the governments of the Arab and Islamic nation should use their people’s sympathy with Al-Aqsa to establish positions that are consistent with the demands of the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic peoples, which are to force the Israeli occupation to permanently remove its control over Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Today we have a historic opportunity to force the occupation to end its attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to stop its interference in its matters, through the coordination of official and public efforts that place pressure on the Israeli occupation.”

He ended his correspondence by insisting that the Palestinian people, along with the people of the Arab and Islamic nations, reject any Israeli measures that undermine exclusive Islamic sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinians are maintaining the most impressive resistance against Israeli domination and the terrorism of extremist settlers who are supported by the occupation government, he explained, while also maintaining hope and trust in the leaders of the Islamic nation, who have a significant influence in the battle of defending Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also insisted that history will remember their positions in support of Al-Aqsa and the resistance of the Palestinian people.

As chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, King Mohammed VI warned the United Nations that Israel’s illegal actions could lead to widespread anger and a broad-based popular reaction and provoke more tension and violence in the region as a whole. He called for action to be taken in order to force Israel to stop its practices of creating facts on the ground and taking full control over Jerusalem’s future.

In a letter he sent to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, the King of Morocco wrote that “these illegal actions violate the dignity of Jerusalemites, provoke the sentiments of all Palestinians and may lead to a huge wave of anger and a public reaction, further complicating the situation in the Palestinian territories.”

“These measures represent a clear provocation of the feelings of all Arabs, Muslims and free people around the world, and are a factor in inciting extremist tendencies that lead to further tension and violence in the whole region.”



France announces plan to set up processing centers for refugees in Libya

Jul 27, 2017

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will set up processing centers in Libya for refugees and asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe through a perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

Macron made the announcement during a visit to a refugee shelter in the central French city of Orleans on Thursday. The president noted that the plan would be put in place "this summer," with or without other European Union member countries.

"The idea is to create hotspots to avoid people taking crazy risks when they are not all eligible for asylum. We'll go to them," media outlets quoted the French president as saying.

"We have between 800,000 and a million people in Libya -- in camps, hangars, there's not even a minimum of humanity," he said.

The president insisted that he was ready to go it alone, if necessary. "Other European countries are very reticent. We'll try to do it with Europe but we in France will do it."

Officials in the French presidency, however, cast doubt on whether the centers could be established that quickly. The say the security conditions were "not yet in place" across the violence-wracked North African country.

The plan also appeared to take the EU by surprise.

European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud, however, said the bloc was "open to discussing with any and all of our member states" ways to improve the situation in the Mediterranean.

The announcement came two days after Macron brokered talks in the French capital Paris between the leaders of the two rival authorities in the war-torn North African country, who committed to a conditional ceasefire.

Presenting the deal, Macron hoped a return to stability in Libya would check the outflow of refugees.

Libya now has two governments, one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other based in the far east, in the city of Tobruk. The government in Tripoli is internationally recognized but the eastern-based parliament refuses to recognize it.

Smugglers, exploiting the chaos in Libya caused by the 2011 uprising, pack desperate refugees and asylum seekers onto ill-equipped boats, which are usually intercepted by European vessels once they enter international waters.

However, some other boats capsize or become stranded when traffickers remove the engines for reuse. A number of other illegal boats get turned back by the Libyan coastguard.

During the past few years, Libya has served as a transit point for tens of thousands of undocumented refugees trying to reach Europe by sea.

According to the International Organization for Migration, since January, more than 100,000 people have made the perilous voyage across the water. Over 2,300 have drowned this year in the attempt.

Europe has been facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. Many blame major European powers for the exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and conflicts in the Middle East, displacing the locals.

Macron’s refugee policy comes under criticism by rights group

During his campaign, Macron was fulsome in his praise of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy for refugees.

But his government has taken a hard line with young refugees sleeping rough on the streets of the northern French port of Calais.

Full report at:





Boko Haram attack on oil exploration team in Nigeria kills over 50: Sources

Jul 28, 2017

An ambush attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria against an oil exploration team has killed more than 50 people, according to sources, who said the death toll could rise further.

The terrorists attacked a convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the Magumeri area of northeastern state of Borno on Tuesday, sources said on Friday.

Initial reports from the army, which suggested that the ambush had been an abduction attempt, put the number of casualties at a mere ten. Reports later claimed that the abducted geologists and surveyors, who worked at the University of Maiduguri, had been rescued.

But details gradually emerged showing that the attack had been an ambush that killed many more people than originally reported.

“The death toll keeps mounting,” one source involved in dealing with the aftermath of the attack told AFP. “Now we have more than 50 and more bodies are coming in.”

“It’s clear that the attack wasn’t for abduction. They (Boko Haram) attacked just to kill,” he added.

Several others still remain missing, the sources said.

Meanwhile, an aid agency worker in the area said some of the many victims killed in the attack had been burned to death.

“Eleven of them were badly burned in the attack. They were burned alive in their vehicle, which was stuck in a trench,” he added. “We buried them here because they couldn’t be taken to Maiduguri.”

“Many more could be recovered because search and rescue teams are all over the place,” the worker said.

Eight years of militancy by Boko Haram has so far killed more than 20,000 people.

Following the Tuesdays attack, the Federal Government said on Thursday that it would once again halt oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin in the northeast, where Nigeria has common borders with Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

Both Chad and Niger are exploiting reserves on their side of the freshwater lake, but activities on the Nigerian side had to stop exploration on their side in November 2014 due to Boko Haram violence. In November last year, the Nigerian military permitted the resumption of exploration, according to Nigeria’s junior oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.

He described the recent attack as “unfortunate.”



Jordan king calls for Israeli embassy shooter to face trial

27 July 2017

Jordan’s king on Thursday called for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure a security guard who killed two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman at the weekend face trial.

Abdullah II urged Netanyahu to “take responsibility and take legal steps including the trial of the killer,” a royal court statement reported him as saying.



UN security council backs plan agreed by Libya rivals

28 July 2017

The UN Security Council on Thursday endorsed a plan agreed by Libya’s rival leaders for a ceasefire, political talks and elections, in the latest attempt to put an end to six years of chaos in the north African country.

Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar, the military commander based in the east, reached agreement on the new initiative during talks hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Council members including Russia and Egypt, which back Haftar, said in a statement that they welcomed the meeting on Tuesday in Paris and the joint declaration that it yielded.

The United Nations has been struggling for months to re-launch talks on a deal reached in 2015 on setting up a national unity government that has been rejected by Haftar and other factions.

Appointed last year to lead the new government of national accord, Sarraj has failed to assert authority outside of Tripoli while Haftar’s forces this month scored a major military victory when they seized Benghazi, Libya’s second city.

“Council members urge all Libyans to support a negotiated political solution, national reconciliation, and an immediate ceasefire, as called for in the joint declaration” reached in Paris, said a council statement.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre briefed council members on Wednesday on the Paris talks and said he would be seeking their support for the outcome of the meeting.

In the 10-point joint declaration, Sarraj and Haftar agreed to work on a roadmap for security and defense, unifying national institutions such as the National Oil Corporation and the central bank, and hold elections as soon as possible.

They pledged to support new UN envoy Ghassan Salame who will lead the political talks.

Full report at:



Two German UN peacekeepers killed in Mali helicopter crash

Jul 27, 2017

Two German United Nations (UN) peacekeepers were killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they were monitoring clashes in northern Mali, German and UN officials say.

UN diplomats confirmed that the attack helicopter and the crew had been supplied by Germany to MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali.

"Sadly we now know that two Bundeswehr (German army) soldiers have given their lives for our country," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in Berlin late Wednesday.

According to German Vice Admiral Joachim Georg Ruehle, the helicopter crew did not issue any distress calls and there were no firm indications as to the cause of the crash, which happened at around 1220 GMT, 70 kilometers north of the city of Gao.

The army believes the helicopter was the victim of "a massive technical failure," the German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

MINUSMA in a statement confirmed the two UN peacekeepers had been killed and that the crash was thought to have been the result of a mechanical failure.

A UN source in Gao said earlier that nothing at this stage would suggest the aircraft was hit or shot at as it monitored fighting in the area.

The UN operation, launched in 2013, is considered the world body's most dangerous peacekeeping mission, with dozens of its staff killed over the last four years.

Germany has reinforced its presence in Mali this year, deploying several Tiger combat helicopters and raising the number of Germans serving in MINUSMA to 639 as of June, the army's largest presence overseas.

Following Wednesday's crash, all helicopter operations have been suspended, Von der Leyen said.

The crash comes two years after two Dutch UN peacekeepers died when their Apache attack helicopter crashed in northern Mali.

Northern Mali is the site of frequent clashes between rival armed groups, as well as a haven for terrorist activity.

Fighting between the Gatia pro-government group and the CMA former rebel alliance close to the city of Kidal claimed numerous victims on Wednesday, a military source within the UN mission said, separate to the clashes near Gao.

MINUSMA chief Mahamat Saleh Annadif said Wednesday his staff were "devastated by the crash".

"All MINUSMA personnel and myself salute the supreme sacrifice made by peacekeepers," he said in a statement posted on the mission's Facebook page.

In 2012, key cities in Mali's north fell under the control of militant groups linked to al-Qaeda, who exploited an ethnic Tuareg-led rebel uprising. While the militants were largely ousted by a French-led military operation, attacks have continued on UN and French forces, civilians, and the Malian army.

Former rebels still control the northern city of Kidal, and fighting between groups previously loyal to the Tuareg rebellion and pro-government militia is common, in violation of a ceasefire.

Full report at:



Education minister disputes allegation to Islamise Nigeria

Jul 27 2017

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has disputed rumours that the ministry is planning to Islamise Nigeria, saying the allegation was untrue, baseless and unfounded.

Adamu disclosed this on Thursday in Kano when he paid a courtesy visit to Kano state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

He said he only read the accusation on the social media and Newspapers.

He said: “Ever since the controversy started, I did not say anything about it until today. And I will like to give a background of the whole issue. The ministry is accused and by extension, I am accused, of picking out Christian Region Knowledge from the education curriculum and then imposing Islamic Religious knowledge on both Christian and Muslim schools. I will like to seize this opportunity to say this is not true at all.

“In 2012, the then federal government under Jonathan formulated a policy where IRK and CRK were grouped together. The implementation of the policy started since 2014, that was two years after the formulation of the policy and about two years before I became minister of education.”

The minister further explained that what exactly happened was that, at the last National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, he suggested to the council that that IRK and CRK should be made core subjects.

“And not only that, the two subjects will become compulsory subjects; IRK will become compulsory for Muslim students and CRK for Christian students and council approved it,” he added.

He, however, lamented that “If some people still believe that the policy was formulated to Islamise Nigeria, with due respect, the President at the time the policy was formulated was Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister was Nyesom Wike, the present governor of Rivers state, the formulator and writer of the policy was Professor Godswill Obioma and Mrs Okwonko who was at the time the policy was implemented the director of basic education in the ministry, were all Christians.”

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Malaysian Court: NRD Chief Not Bound by Fatwa on Child Conceived Out Of Wedlock

28 July 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can now take his or her father’s surname following the Court of Appeal’s latest landmark decision.

The appellate court ruled that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general is not bound by a fatwa or religious edict issued by the National Fatwa Committee to decide on the surname of a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock.

In the judgment, Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli said the director-general’s jurisdiction was a civil one and was confined to determining whether the child’s parents had fulfilled the requirements under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which covers all illegitimate children, Muslim and non-Muslim.

He said the director-general acted irrationally in refusing to alter a child’s surname from “Abdullah” to the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate on the purported grounds that the fatwa did not allow it.

“A fatwa, we reiterate, is not a law and has no force of law and cannot form the legal basis for the director-general to decide on the surname of an illegitimate child under Section 13A (2) of the BDRA.

“A fatwa issued by a religious body has no force of law unless the fatwa or edict has been made or adopted as federal law by an Act of Parliament, otherwise a fatwa would form part of federal law without going through the legislative process.”

He said the Act did not give the power to the director-general to override a father’s wish to have his name ascribed as his child’s surname.

“Nor is it a provision that empowers him to decide upon himself that the child’s surname should be Abdullah,” the judge said, in allowing the appeal brought by a couple and the child. Their names were withheld by the court to protect the child’s identity. The couple had sought an order from the civil court to compel the director-general to replace the surname “Abdullah” with the name of the child’s father in the birth certificate.

The couple, both Muslims, were legally married in 2009 and the child born in Johor in April the following year, which was less than six months from the date of their marriage.

The child’s birth was only registered two years later as late registration and the couple jointly applied for the father’s name to be entered in the register as the father of the child.

However, in the child’s birth certificate issued on March 6, 2012, his surname was given as “Abdullah” instead of the father’s surname.

In February 2015, the father’s application to correct his child’s surname was rejected based on the fatwa.

The couple then filed a judicial review and named the NRD, its director-general and the Govern­ment as respondents.

The case was dismissed by the High Court.

The couple then appealed and on May 25 this year, Justice Abdul Rahman, together with Justices Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Zaleha Yusof, allowed their appeal.

In his judgment, Justice Abdul Rahman added: “A fatwa issued by a religious body involves purely the administration of Islamic law or Hukum Syarak and has nothing to do with the National Registration director-general’s duty under the BDRA to register births and deaths in the states of peninsular Malaysia.

“We believe Islam does not condone such open and public humiliation of an innocent child.

“Unfair as it may appear to be, the child will have to carry the stigma of being an illegitimate child for the rest of his life, a classic case of being punished for the sins of his parents, who had in fact legally married before he was born.”



Lawyer group wants Muslims exempt from civil laws on child legitimacy

July 28, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― The Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association has called for Muslims to be exempt from certain parts of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) that are said to clash with Shariah provisions.

The group has also demanded Putrajaya to amend the Act to “respect Islam”, questioning its constitutionality by claiming that issues regarding child legitimacy and inheritance to be under the purview of state governments instead.

“I urge the Federal Government to amend this Act to respect Islam as the religion of federation … and exempt Muslims from parts of the Act that are against Shariah laws,” its president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said in a statement.

“All provisions regarding child legitimacy that are against Shariah laws must be amended to not apply on Muslims,” he added.

Zainul also claimed that the court should not have made the decision solely based on the stigma and psychological effects against illegitimate children.

“Such decisions will invite more polemic among the society where the issue of inheritance, child illegitimacy and others will become harder to prove in court,” he said.

In 2003, the National Fatwa Committee declared that a child conceived out of wedlock (“Anak Tak Sah Taraf”) cannot carry the name (“tidak boleh dinasabkan”) of the person who claims to be the father of the child, if the child was born less than six months of the marriage.

But yesterday, Justice Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli reportedly asserted that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general is a civil officer and that he is bound under civil law, meaning the NRD should have referred to Section 13A (2) of the BDRA for any decisions relating to a child's surname.

The ruling could effectively allow all Muslim children born out of wedlock to finally bear their father's name.

Full report at:



New Chairman Appointed to UN Mission Probing Myanmar Abuses

July 28, 2017

Yangon. The United Nations' Human Rights Council has replaced the chairwoman of a team investigating allegations of killings and rape by Myanmar's security forces, it said on Thursday (27/07), amid concerns over her perceived bias.

Indian Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising was initially named to chair the fact-finding mission, which has a focus on the western state of Rakhine that is home to the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority.

Council president Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli had decided to replace Jaising with Marzuki Darusman, a former attorney-general of Indonesia who has previously conducted rights investigations on North Korea, the council said in a statement from its headquarters in Geneva.

Jaising was appointed to lead the panel in May, after a resolution passed by the Human Rights Council in March calling for a team to be sent to look into the abuse claims.

The panel's two other members, Harvard-trained Sri Lankan lawyer Radhika Coomaraswamy and Australian consultant Christopher Dominic Sidoti, remain in place.

Myanmar has said it will refuse visas to the commissioners, arguing the mission would aggravate tension in Rakhine.

"As in all such cases, the mission will make it a priority to reach out to and engage constructively with the government and other relevant interlocutors," the council said.

"The Human Rights Council reiterates its hope that the government of Myanmar will grant the mission unfettered access to affected areas."

The statement did not give any reason for the change of personnel, but a UN official told Reuters Jaising agreed to step down after the council president raised concerns about public comments she made that could be seen as indicating bias.

The official requested anonymity, in the absence of authorization to speak to reporters.

The panel was formed after the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights said Myanmar security forces probably committed crimes against humanity, and possibly, ethnic cleansing of Rohingya civilians.

Rohingya militants killed nine border guards in October, sparking a response in which the army was accused of raping Rohingya women, shooting villagers on sight and burning down homes, sending an estimated 75,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.

Many in Myanmar see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although about 1.1 million of them live in Rakhine and say their roots in the region go back generations.

'Perceived Bias'

The UN official and a human rights advocate familiar with discussions around the mission told Reuters that Jaising's comments had stirred concern among UN officials in Geneva that she would not be considered impartial.

After her appointment, Jaising was quoted by broadcaster Al Jazeera as saying the Rohingyas' situation in Myanmar "is especially deplorable because they face the risk of genocide".

"If there's any perceived undermines the credibility of the mission before it has started," said the UN official.

Jaising declined to comment when contacted by telephone on Thursday.

The panel will meet in Geneva in August, the statement said, and is expected to give a verbal update on its progress to the Human Rights Council in September before a final report in March.

Darusman is a veteran UN human rights investigator, having served as special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea and taken part in a landmark Commission of Inquiry on the North.

Full report at:



Perak Mufti outraged over CoA decision on out-of-wedlock name

July 28, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria was outraged that the Court of Appeal had yesterday rejected a fatwa, and ruled that a child conceived out of wedlock may bear the father's name.

The Perak mufti also cautioned Muslims, saying that Islamic laws still apply and must be obeyed by adherents although they have been rejected by “worldly” laws.

“Islamic laws remain Islamic laws, it is obligatory for all Muslims to obey, although worldly laws have rejected them,” Harussani was quoted saying by Islamist portal Ismaweb.

“What has the court decided? Why is it opposed to the Constitution? It has already been decided by a fatwa, why didn’t the court follow the fatwa ruling?”

Harussani insisted that Islamic laws must be followed, especially when it involves Muslims, because the faith is the religion of the federation.

In 2003, the National Fatwa Committee declared that a child conceived out of wedlock (“Anak Tak Sah Taraf”) cannot carry the name (“tidak boleh dinasabkan”) of the person who claims to be the father of the child, if the child was born less than six months of the marriage.

Yesterday, Justice Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli reportedly asserted that the National Registration Department (NRD) director-general is a civil officer and that he is bound under civil law, meaning the NRD should have referred to Section 13A (2) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act for any decisions relating to a child's surname.

The ruling could effectively allow all Muslim children born out of wedlock to finally bear their father's name.

In making the court ruling, Justice Abdul Rahman said the NRD director-general is not obligated to apply, let alone to be bound by a fatwa issued by a religious body such as the National Fatwa Committee

In response, pro-Shariah Bill group Ummah was reported by Ismaweb in a separate article as downplaying the decision, saying that the relevant section only applies to surnames and not patronyms.

“The section refers to surname, if available, for families that practise the use of family names. Meanwhile, the practice among Muslims in Malaysia of using ‘bin’ or ‘binti’ with the name of the father may not fall under the Section 13A(2),” said Aminuddin Yahaya, its chief and the deputy president of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).

The NRD and government have since filed for a leave application to appeal the decision, a move that was welcomed by Aminuddin.

“Considering the legal issue involving lineage has an effect that goes over the administration of Shariah laws at state level, Ummah urges Islamic councils at all states to help untangle the issue by applying to be interveners in the appeal.

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