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Lanka Easter Blasts: NIA Raids 7 Locations in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 Jun 2019

Two terrorists of ISIS’ local cell Wilayah al-Hind, were killed by Indian security forces in Shopian encounter.



 Lanka Easter Blasts: NIA Raids 7 Locations in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore

 ISIS Promotional Video In Kashmir Lashes Out At Pakistan, Separatists

 Another High-Level India, Pakistan Talks Meaningless Unless Terror Infra Is Dismantled: Haqqani

 Muslim cleric arrested for giving triple talaq to his wife in Agra

 Cabinet may today take up bill seeking ban on triple talaq

  ‘Missing’ files in Ishrat Jahan case: Delhi cops seek nod to summon MHA officials

 Gurugram: Iraqi arrested for ‘throwing puppies’ off eighth-floor flat

 Governor Satya Pal Malik urges terrorists in J&K to give up arms, invites them for talks

 India won't use Pakistan airspace for PM's flight to SCO summit in Bishkek


North America

 US Religious Freedom Ambassador Laments Widespread Silence On Uyghurs

 N Carolina man pleads guilty to killing 3 Muslim students



 Palestinian Sheikh Says ‘Army of Islam’ Will Set Out From Jerusalem to Conquer The World

 Iran Unveils 10 Ultra-Advanced Defensive Systems

 Iran Blasts German FM's Remarks, Reminds Europe of N. Deal Undertakings

 Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to attend ‘deal of century’ conference

 Islamic Jihad mulls military action to foil US peace plan

 Leader's Top Military Aide: Iran Strategically Tied to Iraq, Syria

 Dubai Islamic Bank gets regulatory thumbs up to buy Noor Bank


Southeast Asia

 When Disaster Hits, Indonesia's Islamists Are First To Help

 65 Rohingyas found shipwrecked on Thai island



 Islamic State’s Sinai Affiliate Remains a Destabilizing Force in Egypt


Arab World

 Tahrir Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Trying Hard to Save Strategic Base in Lattakia

 More US Security Firms Arrive in Ein Al-Assad Airbase to Transfer New Military Equipment to Iraq

 Commander Hails High Detection Power of Iran's Newly-Developed Missile Shield

 Israel Launches Fresh Attacks on Army's Military Positions in Southern Syria

 French-Dutch Delegations Arrive in Raqqa to Support US-Backed Separatist Objectives

 Idlib: Tens of Thousands of Civilians Ready to Leave Areas UnderTahrir Al-Sham's Control

 Intelligence agents arrest Islamic State logistics provider in Diyala


South Asia

 Taliban’s Shadow District Chief Killed; His Close Comrade Arrested In Sar-E-Pul

 1 terrorist hailing from Punjab of Pakistan killed, 2 others arrested in Herat

 More than 30 Taliban prisoners released from Nangarhar prison

 16 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Kapisa, Wardak and Herat provinces

 Afghan forces repel major Taliban offensive in Zabul killing at least 40 militants



 Islamic school that refused entry to inspector warned by DfE

 Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 'incredibly honoured' to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day Landings



 Special court rejects Musharraf's plea to adjourn high treason case

 Multiparty conference in last week of June, says Fazl

 Karachi remains calm despite Altaf’s arrest in London





Lanka Easter Blasts: NIA Raids 7 Locations in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

The raids were conducted after the investigating agency filed a fresh case in connection with an ISIS module

The leader of ISIS module was also found to be friends with ZahranHashim (Sri Lankan blast alleged mastermind) on Facebook

The raids were conducted within months of suicide bombing in Sri Lanka

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency on Wednesday conducted raids at seven locations in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore in connection with an Islamic State (ISIS) module case.

The raids were conducted after the investigating agency filed a fresh case in connection with an ISIS module, news agency ANI reported.

During the probe, the agency found that the leader of ISIS module was friends with ZahranHashim  ( Sri Lankan blast  alleged mastermind) on Facebook.

Searches are being held in Anbu Nagar, Podanur, and Kuniyamuthur areas of the city, along with other places. Raids, which began at 7 AM today, are currently underway.

The searches were a continuation of those conducted here and in Kerala in connection with an ISIS terror module.

However, details about seizure of documents or devices were not available immediately.

In April this year, the NIA had arrested RiyasAboobacker in connection with the terror module case. According to the investigating agency, Aboobacker was allegedly planning suicide attacks at international tourist destinations in Kerala. He was arrested from Palakkad.

The 29-year-old is said to have followed the speeches and videos of Sri Lankan Sunday Easter bombing mastermind, ZahranHashim, till he was arrested. It has been said that he was preparing himself mentally to become a suicide bomber.

The raids were conducted months after nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of blasts in Sri Lanka in which 253 people were killed.

The IS had claimed responsibility for the serial bombings in Sri Lanka and around nine suicide bombers were involved in the attack.

The Sri Lankan government has said that local terror group National TowheethJamaat (NTJ) carried out the attacks with support from the IS.

Soon after the April 21 attack in Sri Lanka that left nearly 250 dead, India stepped up security in the southern states.

A two-member team of the NIA visited Sri Lanka to hold discussions with authorities about a probe in the Easter Sunday bombings over claims that some terrorists, owning allegiance to ISIS, had travelled to India, including Kashmir.



ISIS promotional video in Kashmir lashes out at Pakistan, separatists

AartiTikoo Singh | TNN | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Two terrorists of ISIS’ local cell Wilayah al-Hind, were killed by Indian security forces in Shopian encounter...Read More

NEW DELHI: Two terrorists of ISIS’ local cell Wilayah al-Hind, were killed by Indian security forces in an encounter in Awneera area of Shopian district on Tuesday morning.

Police sources said the two terrorists, 30-year-old Sayar Ahmad Bhat of YariporaKulgam and 19-year-old Shakir Ahmad Wagay of AwneeraShopian, were wanted for their involvement in terror related activities including attacks on security establishments.

Though the police called them merely ISIS-sympathizers, a screenshot of the ISIS statement in Arabic, probably published on their website, suggested that the terror group owned the affiliation of the two terrorists. While police was still verifying the authenticity of the ISIS claim, the screenshot was circulated on social media.

Kashmir police sources said both Sayar and Shakir were school dropouts. While Sayar, son of Sonaullah Bhat of MachewaKulgam, was reportedly missing since March 17, Shakir, son of Mohammad Khalil Wagay of AwneeraShopianQuali, left his home on January 04, this year.

Incidentally, a five-minute Wilayah al-Hind promotional video with Shakir as a proselytizer, was shared on Whatsapp groups by ISIS sympathizers in Kashmir.

Accessed exclusively by the TOI, in the video Shakir wearing a black headgear, black polo-neck shirt and an ammunition jacket, is seen lashing out at Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists while sitting against the backdrop of the ISIS black flag hung from two pine trees.

With a Kalashnikov showcased against the trunk of one of the two trees, Shakir in thick Kashmiri accented Urdu, is heard saying, “After the Pulwama attack, Pakistan and Pakistani agencies betrayed the ongoing jihad in Kashmir by shutting down training camps of all the (terror) outfits. All the Pakistan based and related (terror) groups are finding themselves orphaned today. That is because instead of trusting Allah and religion, they trusted Pakistan.”

It is not clear from the footage where and when the video was shot.

Fuming at the Hurriyat Conference, Shakir in the video points out that the separatists call ‘mujahideen’ “agents” and “spies” while they are alive and honor them only for their sinful politics when they are “martyred”. Ridiculing HizbulMujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Shakir calls him “an American slave living off Pakistani crumbs like a dog.” He issues warrants against his own people on the orders of the ISI, Shakir says adding that “Pakistan is not a friend, but a huge enemy of the faith of Islam.”

Shakir argues that these were the reasons why, he and his comrades had decided to reject the authority of Pakistan and accept only Allah’s command.

The 19-year-old urges all “those who have entered the battle field for the sake of only Allah, whether you are AnsarGhazwatul Hind (al Qaeda affiliate of Kashmir), Lashkar-e-Taiba, HizbulMujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al Badr or Tehreekul-Mujahideen,” to join Wilayah al-Hind. “Let us free you from idol of nationhood and take you on the pure path of jihad. Come join us to establish Allah’s nizam on Allah’s land. March forward for the establishment of Caliphate,” he preaches.

Interestingly, Shakir also appeals to the Muslims of India to join his outfit and the war against Hindu India. “Before Lahore and Islamabad give your exact pin drop locations to the idolatrous Hindu police, we ask the Muslims living in Hindustan, establish contact with mujahideen and fill every nook and corner of Hindustan with the blood of Hindus.”

The establishment of Wilayah al-Hind has been officially declared, he says, adding, “Now it is your turn.”

Counter-insurgency analysts in Srinagar said, Wilayah al-Hind is the same as Ghazwa-e-Hind, an Islamic prophecy that a great battle in India will result in a conquest of the Indian sub-continent by Muslim warriors.



Another high-level India, Pakistan talks meaningless unless terror infra is dismantled: Haqqani

PTI | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

WASHINGTON: Supporting India's determination that "talks and terror" cannot go together, a former top Pakistan diplomat has said another high-level meeting between the two countries would be fruitless unless Islamabad ensures the terrorist infrastructure on its territory is dismantled.

Pakistan's recent initiatives for talks with India must be seen in the context of the economic and international pressures on it, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani told reporters here Tuesday.

His remarks have come just ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Kyrgyzstan on June 13-14. India and Pakistan are part of the regional security grouping and leaders of both the countries are set to attend the meeting in Bishkek.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, Pakistan premier Imran Khan had requested resumption of talks between the two countries to resolve all differences.

But no meeting has been planned between them on the sidelines of the summit.

Haqqani's remarks also came on a day the government in Islamabad presented its national budget amid an austerity drive to wriggle the country out of the financial mess it is in.

Earlier this month on Eid festival, Khan said there will be no increase in the defence budget because of "our critical financial situation". The defence budget presented Tuesday reflected that sentiment with no increase proposed in expenditure compared to last fiscal.

Weeks ago, Khan's government negotiated a USD 6 billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund to overcome the financial woes.

Haqqani said another high-level meeting between India and Pakistan would be meaningless unless it is accompanied with dismantling of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and giving up the notion of the two countries being "permanent enemies".

"Between 1950 and December 2015, when Modi dropped in on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, leaders of the two countries have met 45 times," he said, but talks have never led to durable peace.

"The door to negotiations must never be considered permanently shut but nor should dialogue be an end in itself," he reiterated.

Haqqani, now the director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, is considered an uncompromising critic of the Pakistani establishment and the Jihadi ideology. He has often voiced his disagreements with the establishment during public discussions.

In an article published recently, he wrote that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right to have determined that “talks for talks' sake are meaningless as long as Pakistan refuses to change its view of its larger neighbour as a permanent enemy.”

In Haqqani's view hostility towards India emanates from Pakistan's national ideology based on religious identity and antipathy cultivated by the military that dominates the country.

Like many other countries, India and Pakistan have unresolved disputes, he said, but other countries do not have national ideologies revolving around opposition to others.

"Pakistan tends to engage in talks with India for global respectability, but its dominant military is unable to shed its ideological aversion to normal ties with India," he stressed.

The former diplomat cited the Pakistani military and said it was "not raised proportionate to an external threat".

"It needs a threat proportionate to its size to justify its claims on the meagre resources of a low-income country," he said, adding Pakistan inherited one-third of British India's army, which had originally been raised for the Second World War.



Muslim cleric arrested for giving triple talaq to his wife in Agra

Arvind Chauhan | TNN | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

AGRA: A mulism cleric was arrested by Agra police for allegedly giving triple talaq to his wife.

Identified as ZikurRehman, the accused was booked under IPC sections 147 (riot), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and Muslim Marriage Protection Act. On Tuesday evening he was arrested and sent to jail.

Apart from him, seven of his relatives identified as Taiyab, Tahir, Imran, Kullan, Zahur, Nasir, Atiq Ahmed and other unknown person were also booked for riot, causing hurt and breach of peace based on the written complaint of ZikurRehman’s brother-in-law Javeed Ali.

Speaking to TOI Javeed Ali said, “my sister Taranum (38) was married to ZikurRehman on March 26, 2008. In more than 10-years of marriage, the couple had three children including two sons. But even after so many years of marriage ZikurRehman, who is cleric in Rehamni mosque in Idgah, often raised demand for dowry in form of cash, jewellery and car. We tried to fulfil his demands, but on June 8 after a heated argument with Taranum, he claimed that he had married another woman on May 24.”

“After learning about the second marriage, on June 9, I along with my mother went to confront ZikurRehman, but he and his family assaulted us including my sister. He verbally gave triple talaq to Taranum in front of us and threw her out of home along with three children. On June 10 we wrote about the incident to CM Yogi Adityanath via tweet and marked copies to UP police. A prompt action was taken and local police lodged an FIR on Tuesday and arrested Zikur,” said Javeed Ali.

Vijay Kumar, station house officer of Malpura, said, “the cleric has been arrested and he is booked under muslim marriage protection act apart from riot, causing hurt and breach of peace.”



Cabinet may today take up bill seeking ban on triple talaq

TNN | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet is likely to take up the triple talaq prohibition bill on Wednesday to replace an ordinance promulgated earlier by the government.

The triple talaq prohibition bill was passed by the previous Lok Sabha but was pending in Rajya Sabha. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, the bill lapsed and needs to be re-introduced. Once the Cabinet approves the bill, it could be introduced in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha beginning on June 17. The government had in February promulgated an ordinance on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) banning the practice of triple talaq and making it a penal offence with provision for certain rights of the victim.

The ordinance was promulgated for the third time after a related bill could not be cleared by Rajya Sabha with opposition parties raising objections on certain criminal provisions in the bill. In its ordinance the government had clarified that "it will protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable 'talaq-e-biddat' by their husbands".



‘Missing’ files in Ishrat Jahan case: Delhi cops seek nod to summon MHA officials

byMahender Singh Manral

June 12, 2019

The “missing” documents pertain to a second affidavit filed by the MHA under the UPA government in the Gujarat High Court on September 29, 2009.

Almost three years after Delhi Police started probing a case of “missing” documents in connection with the Ishrat Jahan encounter, the Crime Branch’s Inter State Cell (ISC) has moved an application, seeking permission to allow investigators to summon senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs for questioning.

The “missing” documents pertain to a second affidavit filed by the MHA under the UPA government in the Gujarat High Court on September 29, 2009. According to the police, these documents are: office copy of the letter and enclosure sent by then Home Secretary G K Pillai to then Attorney General (AG) G E Vahanvati on September 18, 2009; office copy of another letter sent by Pillai to Vahanvati on September 18, 2009; draft of further affidavit as vetted by the AG; draft of further affidavit as amended by then Home Minister P Chidambaram on September 24, 2009; and office copy of the affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court on September 29, 2009.

The ISC moved the application for summoning MHA officials after the probe team met the officials concerned but could not get satisfactory answers, sources said.

The matter came to light in March 2016 after the inquiry led by Prasad started examining the Ishrat files in detail. “He had found that the documents laying the ground work for the second affidavit of September 2009 had gone missing during exchanges between the then home secretary (Pillai) and the then home minister (Chidambaram). He had concluded that the documents were never placed in the file at all, and they had gone missing between September 18 and September 24, 2009,” a senior police officer said.

MHA under secretary V K Upadhyay had written to the Delhi Police Commissioner on August 26, 2017 to file an FIR “into the matter of some documents from the file”, and the FIR was registered at Parliament Street police station on September 22 against unknown persons under IPC section 409 (for criminal breach of trust by a public servant).

The case was later transferred to ISC, and the investigation team reportedly met MHA officials several times to ascertain the sequence of events. “They were informed by the officials concerned that they had recorded their statements during an inquiry conducted by Prasad and they did not have any further information. Failing to get any extra information, the investigation team has now decided to summon them for questioning and record their statements,” an official said.



Gurugram: Iraqi arrested for ‘throwing puppies’ off eighth-floor flat

Sanjay Yadav | TNN | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

The Shih Tzu puppies were found on the compound of Emerald Estate in Sector 65 by morning walkers

GURUGRAM: An Iraqi national accused of throwing his two Shih Tzu puppies from the balcony of his eighth-floor apartment in Emaar Emerald Estate housing society in Sector 65 was arrested on Wednesday. SaifAzhar Abdul Hasan was produced in a city court and released on bail, police said.

The puppies, a male and a female, aged 8-9 months died of cardiac attack because of the high-altitude fall on Monday morning, triggering anger in the housing society, which later spread to social media.

Police said Saif was booked under Section 11 (1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Section 429 (mischief by maiming or killing cattle) of IPC at Sector 65 police station on Monday night itself, on a complaint by Nikhil Mahesh of Umeed for Animals Foundation, an NGO. “He was arrested on Tuesday. A probe is on and further action will be taken as per law,” said police commissioner Mohammad Akil.

Police swung into action after Emerald residents took to social media, demanding an investigation by animal rights activists and cops to get to the bottom of the matter. Later Umeed for Animals formally lodged a complaint.

“Umeed received a complaint from the residents of Emaar Emerald Estate. It was Nikita Kapoor, a morning walker, who first saw one puppy falling to the ground before her around 6.30 am on Monday. Within 2-3 seconds, the other fell and died in the same way,” states the complaint.

A police officer said Saif, who works as a translator at a leading private hospital in the city, told them he had “scolded” the puppies for littering inside his apartment and they jumped off the balcony in panic.

“Saif is repeatedly denying that he had killed the puppies. The society residents claimed he did so for sadistic pleasure. We are investigating the matter,” said police spokesperson SubhashBoken.

Meanwhile, the complainant, Nikhil, has alleged delay in police action.

“Police didn’t get his medical examination done despite repeated requests by him and others,” he said.



Governor Satya Pal Malik urges terrorists in J&K to give up arms, invites them for talks

PTI | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday asked terrorists to give up arms and invited them to hold talks, saying dialogue is the only way through which they can get what they want within the ambit of the Constitution.

He said India cannot be made to bow through violence.

"Take everything from us, we will give our life, but through love and dialogue. For that (PM) Narendra Modi is ready, we are ready. Come to the dialogue table and take it forward," Malik said at a marathon press briefing on the achievements of his administration.

"Whatever you want can be achieved through talks and dialogue. You have your own constitution, you have a separate flag. Whatever more you want, you will get it through the democratic process and within the ambit of the Indian Constitution," he said.

The governor said the terrorists may not realise it now, but 10 years down the line they will repent that they chose the wrong path.

"You cannot make India to bow through violence," he said.

Malik said the problem of militancy exists in Kashmir not only due to unemployment among youth, but also because politicians have been misleading the people for the past several decades.

"There is unemployment across the country but unemployed people (elsewhere) in the country do not pick up weapons against the government. There is something more here. The basic thing here is that the leaders have not told people the truth. People have been misled and shown false dreams, which will never be fulfilled," he said.

Malik said the people have been shown the dream of 'azadi' (independence) and sometimes that of autonomy.

"When these things did not work, they were shown the dreams of paradise through radicalisation. I want to tell the youth that they have two paradises — one is Kashmir and if they become good Muslims, they will get the other one also," he said.

Speaking about the presence of the Islamic State in Kashmir, the governor said, "These are ways of destruction of Kashmir."

Malik exhorted the youth to give up arms.

"I want to tell the youth of Kashmir, drop your guns and come to Raj Bhawan to have lunch with me. Then explain to me what good Kashmir will get from the path you have chosen," he said.

Malik called on the political leaders to help bring back the youth to the mainstream society.

"They have to muster the courage and tell them. I request the mainstream leaders, preachers and intelligentia to bring back these youth (to the mainstream) and whatever is needed for their rehabilitation, we will do it," he said.

"In every insurgency, there comes a time when fatigue sets in. That time has come in Kashmir," he added.

Asked about Pakistan's role in the situation in Kashmir, Malik said the neighbouring country is in trouble.

"There is a realisation (in Pakistan) there that we cannot fool the youth of Kashmir for too long (saying) that we will break India to give you something. (Gen Pervez) Musharraf had told the (Kashmiri) leaders here that he cannot do it as India is a superpower," he said.

"Whatever you want to get, take it within this system. There is demoralisation and fatigue factor in Pakistan, but still they do not give up, camps are running there as earlier," he said.

Malik said the security forces are alert and infiltrators are dealt with within 10 kilometres of the Line of Control.

"Recruitment (of militants) has come down. A big reason for that is that we have adopted a sympathetic attitude towards our youth. I believe that the Kashmir problem will be solved through these youth only," he said.

"Talks with leaders cannot do it as they have been lying to the people for past 50 years," he added.

Asked about the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the time to hold the polls will be decided by the Election Commission (EC).

"It is between the Union Home Ministry and the Election Commission. I cannot comment on this. If the security we require for holding elections is provided to us, we are ready to hold the elections. We have held peaceful elections (panchayat and parliamentary) but for assembly elections, the security requirements are different," he said.

The EC will decide the dates after going through the assessment of the security environment made by the concerned agencies, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, who was also present at the briefing along with advisors to the governor, said the EC has given a unanimous statement that an announcement about assembly elections in the state will be made after the AmarnathYatra.

Responding to a question about the challenge to Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, Malik said promises to this effect have been made in the manifestos of many political parties and there is a lot of talk about it, but there is "nothing to worry about" on this front.

He also dismissed the reports about delimitation of assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir as "rumours".

"There is a rumour about delimitation, it is not something that can be done overnight as it is a constitutional matter. Even the Home Ministry has not confirmed that they are doing something like this. There are basically just rumours and newspaper reports only, there is no basis to these," he said.



India won't use Pakistan airspace for PM's flight to SCO summit in Bishkek

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jun 12, 2019

India will not use Pakistani airspace for PM Modi's travel to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

PM Modi's VVIP aircraft will now fly over Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries to reach Bishkek.

PM Modi is scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14.

NEW DELHI: A day after Pakistan allowed to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, India on Wednesday decided to fly via Central Asian countries bypassing the Pakistan airspace.

PM Modi's VVIP aircraft will now fly over Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries to reach Bishkek where he is scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14.

India had requested Pakistan  to let Modi's aircraft fly over its airspace when he travels to Bishkek. Pakistan accorded an "in principle" approval to India's request.

"The government of India had explored two options for the route to be taken by the VVIP aircraft to Bishkek. A decision has now been taken that the VVIP aircraft will fly via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries on the way to Bishkek," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He was responding to media queries regarding the route to be taken by prime minister's aircraft while travelling to Bishkek.

Open airspace for PM’s flight to Bishkek, India tells Pak

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also attending the meeting of the regional grouping.

Modi leaves for Bishkek on Wednesday on a two-day visit.

The MEA had already said that no bilateral meeting has been arranged between Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently written a letter to his Indian counterpart stressing Pakistan requires a solution for all geopolitical issues including Kashmir between the two neighbouring states.

India maintains that terror and talks cannot go together.

(With inputs from PTI)


North America

US religious freedom ambassador laments widespread silence on Uyghurs


Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2019 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- Islamic countries should be more vocal in criticizing China's mistreatment of the Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnoreligious group, the US ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom said Monday.

“I have been disappointed that more Islamic countries have not spoken out. I know the Chinese have been threatening them and but you don’t back down to somebody that does that. That just encourages more actions,” Ambassador Sam Brownback said in an interview with The Guardian published June 10.

Brownback welcomed Turkey and “a number of western countries that have spoken out aggressively on this.”

Some 1 million Uyghurs have been detained in re-education camps for Muslims in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uyghurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology.

“If China is not stopped from doing this they’re going to replicate and push this system out in their own country and to other authoritarian regimes,” Brownback commented.

He suggested that some Islamic countries “are concerned about their own human rights record and then they’re saying look: we don’t want people criticizing us [so] we’re not going to criticize somebody else.”

US diplomats have increasingly focused on China's human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in recent months.

The US was among the co-sponsors last week of a United Nations resolution proclaiming a day to commemorate victims of violence based on religion. While speaking at the UN June 4, Austin Smith, the US representative to the organization, called China's treatment of the Uyghurs “one of the world’s most horrific denials of freedom of religion.”

“Chinese authorities are restricting religious freedom by labeling peaceful religious practices as manifestations of 'religious extremism and terrorism,” he said. “The Chinese Communist Party has exhibited extreme hostility to all religious faiths since its founding. This repression has intensified under the current policy of 'Sinicizing' religion.”

China's representative responded that Smith's statements were an unfounded accusation, and reiterated China's position that it is combatting extremism. He called the camps for Uyghurs learning centers, and stressed their vocational and educational nature.

In April, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom's annual report focused in its introduction on the abuse of Uyghurs.

During a March 8 speech in Hong Kong critical of the Vatican-China deal on the appointment of bishops, Brownback also addressed the detainment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in China.

He rejected Chinese government claims that the camps are vocational training centers, charging that they are “internment camps created to wipe out the cultural and religious identity of minority communities.” Internment is often based on cultural or religious identity. Detention is indefinite, and internees are subjected to “physical and psychological torture, intense political indoctrination, and forced labor,” he stated.

Mohammad bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, said earlier this year that “China has the right to take anti-terrorism and de-extremism measures to safeguard national security,” and that “Saudi Arabia respects and supports it and is willing to strengthen cooperation with China.”

Pakistan is among the few Mustlim-majority countries to have warned against the escalating persecution of the Uyghurs.

In September 2018 NoorulHaqQadri, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, advised Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing that Beijing’s crackdowns on Uyghur activity would only fuel extremism, rather than mitigate it.

Along with its treatment of Muslims, China has been criticized for its persecution of a variety of religious groups: Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners.

USCIRF has noted that while the Vatican reached a provisional agreement with China on the appointment of bishops in September, “nevertheless, repression of the underground Catholic Church increased during the latter half” of 2018.



N Carolina man pleads guilty to killing 3 Muslim students


JUNE 12, 2019


The North Carolina man charged with killing three much-admired Muslim university students pleaded guilty Wednesday, four years after the slayings.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 50, entered the plea to three counts of first-degree murder in a Durham courtroom packed with dozens of the victims' family and friends. It came two months after the new district attorney dropped plans to seek the death penalty in hopes of concluding a case that she said had languished too long.

"I've wanted to plead guilty since day one," Hicks told Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. The judge said Hicks had agreed as part of his plea bargain to accept three consecutive life sentences without parole.

Police say that in February 2015, Hicks burst into a condo in Chapel Hill owned by 23-year-old DeahBarakat and fatally shot Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha.

At the time of the slayings, Barakat, a dental student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Yusor Abu-Salha had been married for less than two months, and she had just been accepted to the dental school. Razan had just made the dean's list in her first semester at North Carolina State University. All three were making plans to visit Turkey during their coming summer break to volunteer in a dental clinic at a camp for Syrian war refugees.

Barakat was shot several times as he stood in his doorway, autopsy results showed. His wife and her sister were shot in the head at close range inside the condo.

On Wednesday, Hicks listened attentively as the prosecutor, Kendra Montgomery-Blinn, described him as a man who was watching the American Dream slip away while the victims were pursuing it. She said Hicks' third marriage was disintegrating and he'd recently quit his job in anger after workers described him as constantly playing computer sniper games.

"The defendant was an angry and bitter man," Montgomery-Blinn said.

At the time of the shootings, Chapel Hill police said Hicks claimed he was provoked by competition over parking spaces at the condo complex. Relatives of the victims said they believed the shootings were a hate crime.

The slain women's father, psychiatrist Mohammad Abu-Salha, testified to a congressional hearing on hate crimes in April that Hicks had expressed hateful comments about his daughters wearing head scarves in observance of their faith.

"Three beautiful young Americans were brutally murdered and there is no question in our minds that this tragedy was born of bigotry and hate," Dr. Abu-Salha testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.



Palestinian Sheikh Says ‘Army Of Islam’ Will Set Out From Jerusalem To Conquer The World

Al-Aqsa mosque address by Abu HanifaAwda: We will lay siege to Rome, turn White House black, impose ‘jizya’ tax on London, and pray on the slopes of the Rockies and Andes.

(June 12, 2019 / MEMRI)

A Palestinian sheikh said during an address at the Al-Aqsa mosque uploaded to the internet in June that Jerusalem is the “heartland” where the banners of the caliphate will flutter, where military convoys and brigades will assemble, and where policies will be designed to herald the “dawn of justice” and the birth of the Islamic Caliphate.

Sheikh Abu HanifaAwda said that the “army of Islam” would set forth from Jerusalem to conquer to world.

Sheikh Abu HanifaAwda: “Indeed, oh people of Jerusalem, this is the heartland. This is the land of the oath of allegiance. This is where the banners of the Caliphate will flutter. This is where the military convoys will gather, and this is where the brigades will assemble under their banners, heralding in a new dawn—dawn of justice—and the birth of a divine state: the Caliphate that will follow the guidance of the Prophethood. Policies will be designed here. From here, armies will set out to conquer the world—the mighty army of Islam, with all its brigades.

“One brigade will liberate Palestine. Another one will ‘ravage the homes’ [as is written in the Koran]. A third brigade will ‘destroy whatever would fall into their hands.’ A fourth brigade will take revenge against Bashar al-Assad and Russia. A fifth brigade will liberate all the plundered Muslim countries. A sixth brigade will cross the oceans and put the enemy to shame. A seventh brigade will lay siege to Rome. An eighth brigade will turn the White House black. A ninth brigade will impose the jizya poll tax on London. A tenth brigade will pray to fend off fear and danger on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes.”



Iran Unveils 10 Ultra-Advanced Defensive Systems


TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran on Wednesday unveiled 10 highly advanced systems to protect highly important sites and detect and intercept enemy targets in the sea and air.

The new systems were unveiled by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a ceremony during a visit of Iran Electronics Industries company in the Central province of Isfahan on Wednesday.

He also unveiled a center for the development of optoelectronics technologies in Isfahan.

Addressing the ceremony, General Hatami hailed the outstanding progress in technological fields in Iran in recent years, expressing the hope that "new achievements will be made in the field of strategic electronic products".

He added that the newly-unveiled systems which have been developed based on the international standards will help the country's Armed Forces in effective confrontation against different threats.

Iran had also on Sunday unveiled a new home-made state-of-the-art missile defense system named 'Khordad 15' which is equipped with passive phased array radar system for detecting fighter jets, stealth targets and cruise missiles.

Elaborating on the features and capabilities of the defense shield, General Hatami said that it can trace targets, including fighter jets and enemy drones, 150km away and intercept them at a range of 120km.

"It can also trace stealth targets in areas 85km in distance, and destroy them at a distance of 45km," he added.

General Hatami said that the missile defense system can trace, engage, and destroy 6 targets simultaneously, enjoys high mobility and can be prepared for operation in less than 5 minutes.

"The system is equipped with (passive) phased-array radar system with a multiple-target-engagement capability. It also has separate launch pads, and operates with Sayyad 3 missiles," he underlined.

The Iranian military officials have in several occasions said that the country's advances in building different military equipment are merely aimed at defending the country against any possible aggression.



Iran Blasts German FM's Remarks, Reminds Europe of N. Deal Undertakings


TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran on Wednesday criticized German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for his recent remarks, stressing that the European states should prove commitment to their 2015 nuclear deal undertakings before voicing concern about Tehran's measures.

Mass had on Tuesday expressed concern about Iran's recent decision to modify its undertakings based on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"We agree about his comments on the importance of the nuclear deal for the international community and Europe; but we do not understand so much his emphasis on Iran's unilateral implementation of its undertakings in a multilateral agreement," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

He noted that all signatories to the nuclear deal should comply with their undertakings or understand that Iran is entitled to review its JCPOA undertakings and the agreement itself.

"We propose that he (Maas) and others who voice concern about Iran's recent nuclear deal decisions conduct a precise study on Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA and the introduction to law again," Mousavi said.

Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, re-imposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran's oil sales.

Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

In 2018, all the other signatories — Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, and the EU — refused to follow the US example and confirmed their commitment to the accord, trying to save the deal with the Islamic Republic.

Iranian officials then warned that the European Union’s failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country's patience.

Yet, Iran continued compliance with deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance.

Europeans' honesty in dealing with the Iran nuclear deal has always been seriously doubted by Iranian masses that were discontent with talks with European states.

Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced last month that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Until now, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.

In return, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories’ inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not anymore see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves," the statement said.

The statement gave the Group 4+1 (China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany) "60 days to put into action their nuclear deal undertakings, specially in the banking and oil sectors, warning that "in case these countries fail to meet Iran's demands, the Islamic Republic of Iran will cease implementation of restrictions on uranium enrichment levels and measures related to the modernization of Arak Heavy Water Reactor as well".

"Once our demands are met, we will resume implementation of the ceased undertakings. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop compliance with its other undertakings in consequent phases," the SNSC warned.

It underlined Iran's readiness to continue its consultations with the countries which have remained in the nuclear deal at all levels "but will show a firm and rapid reaction to any irresponsible measure, including referring the issue to the UN Security Council or imposition of more sanctions".

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's president has in his letter to the leaders of the nuclear deal member states clearly reminded them of the Islamic Republic of Iran's type of reaction," the statement added.

It reminded the G4+1 of Iran's good will during the nuclear talks, implementation of the nuclear deal and giving sufficient time to the other signatories to implement the deal, saying that it is now their turn to prove their good will and adopt serious and practical measures to protect the nuclear deal.

"The door of diplomacy will not remain open for a long time and the US and other members remaining under the nuclear deal are fully responsible for failure of the nuclear deal and any possible consequences," the statement said.

It underlined that the decision was made in line with defending the Iranian nation's security and national interests and materialization of Iran's rights stated in the paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a letter last month informed the Group 4+1 on stopping implementation of a number of Tehran's undertakings stated in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi submitted the letter to the ambassadors of the G4+1 to Tehran after they were called to the foreign ministry.

The letter contains decisions by the SNSC to "halt implementation of a number of the Islamic Republic of Iran's undertakings under the nuclear deal".

Also, another letter was sent by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif to Mogherini to inform her of details of Iran's measures.



Egypt, Jordan, Morocco to attend ‘deal of century’ conference

ReutersJune 12, 2019

WASHINGTON: Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have informed the Trump administration they will attend a US-led conference in Bahrain this month on proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy as part of a coming US peace plan, US officials said on Tuesday.

Egypt and Jordan’s participation is considered especially important since historically they have been key players in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and are also the only Arab states to have reached peace agreements with Israel.

However, Palestinian leaders’ decision to boycott the June 25-26 conference has raised doubts about its chances for success. They have shunned a broader diplomatic effort that US President Donald Trump has called the “deal of century,” which they see as likely to be heavily tilted in favour of Israel and denying them a state of their own.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates have confirmed their attendance

Despite that, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a chief architect of the long-delayed peace plan, is pressing ahead with arrangements for the Bahrain meeting, where the economic components are expected to be unveiled as the first step in the plan’s rollout.

Acceptance of the invitation to the conference by Jordan and Egypt will bring to the table two countries that border both Israel and Palestinian areas.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have previously confirmed their attendance, a White House official said.

The official declined to say what level of representation the countries would send. US officials have said they were inviting economic and finance ministers, as well as business leaders from the region and around the world.

Global financial bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank also plan to be present.

US officials have been vague about the timing for the second phase of their initiative, which would be the release of proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With Israel heading for new elections in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a government, uncertainty is expected to further delay the full release of the plan.

Most experts are sceptical the Trump administration can succeed where decades of US-backed efforts have failed.



Islamic Jihad mulls military action to foil US peace plan

READ IN:    العربية

Entsar Abu Jahal June 12, 2019

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Armed Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip are determined to stop the US administration's proposed peace plan for the Middle East and have the means to do so, according to Ziad al-Nakhla, secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

Several times recently, Nakhla has alluded to escalation and the use of military force to stop the plan, which is expected to be unveiled soon by the administration of US President Donald Trump. Nakhla's statements come as his movement’s military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, has shown significantly developed military potential, especially in the round of escalation between Israel and the Gaza Strip last month.

He said May 30 on Lebanese Al-Manar TV that many leaders in the region want to close the Palestinian cause dossier, and this could play out in favor of the US plan. Nakhla pointed out, however, that despite the disparity in the balance of power, the Palestinian people have the ability to thwart the plan, which the United States has dubbed the "deal of the century."

“If Palestinians are not part of the deal, then the deal is born dead. The Palestinians have the right to reject any deal that does not respect their historical rights,” he added.

On May 24, he had stressed that the armed Palestinian factions have enough strong cards to derail the plan. His movement is ready to defend Palestine, he added.

The United States is expected to reveal details of the plan at the Peace to Prosperity conference aimed at encouraging investment in Palestinian areas. The conference is set for June 25-26 in Manama, Bahrain, and while Palestinians have voiced their rejection of the conference, some Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will be attending. Others, such as Egypt and Jordan, had yet to RSVP as of June 10.

Khader Habib, an Islamic Jihad leader, told Al-Monitor the movement and its supporters are determined to keep the deal from being implemented. He said the peace plan aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause and deny Palestinians their historical and permanent rights. Palestinians across the spectrum reject the deal.

He did say that the movement might resort to diplomatic and political steps, but should such steps fail, then the military option would be a must. He stressed that the Islamic Jihad is developing a national plan against the US proposal. The plan will involve all Palestinians and will be submitted to the Palestinian forces for approval.

“The movement is ready to foil the deal by force if necessary. The resistance has the strength to put an end to the US and Israeli hegemony," he said. “The resistance is developing its capabilities to liberate Palestine, and it will spare no effort to defend our cause."

Habib said the deal can't be allowed to come to pass, as it would allow Israel to impose sovereignty over the Palestinian territories in cooperation with the US administration, which he said seeks to colonize the Arab and Islamic region to plunder its resources and blackmail its people.

Habib said the Islamic Jihad isn't the only movement willing to confront the deal militarily, as the group has armed partners such as Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah.

“As long as Israel is sitting on our land, the chances of escalation remain possible, and the choices of resistance and development of combat tools remain the most appropriate,” he said.

Ibrahim Habib, a security expert and lecturer at Ribat University College, told Al-Monitor the Islamic Jihad and the other armed factions are sparing no effort to close ranks, unite positions and confront the US proposal. However, he added, the situation on the ground is different, as the deal is not a local issue, but a regional one. He said the threats from the Islamic Jihad “are blowing things out of proportion.”

He stressed that the deal can be shut down through Palestinian unity, without military force, and explained that if Palestinians refuse the deal then it would only be natural for it not to proceed in its entirety.

Military action could pose a great political and field risk for Gaza, especially considering Israel's obvious power advantage over the Palestinian factions. He said he doesn't expect an escalation in the near future, especially with tensions so high in Syria and Iran.

Palestinian forces have to diversify their options when confronting the deal, Ibrahim Habib said. That some Arab countries have agreed to attend the Manama conference, he said, is a sign that the Palestinian leadership is politically helpless and running out of cards to impede the conference. He called for a diplomatic approach and for mobilizing the international and Arab communities.

Political analyst Hani Habib told Al-Monitor that the Islamic Jihad's threat indicates that mounting tension with Israel will make it difficult to implement the US peace plan, especially with regard to the partial annexation of the West Bank.

He said the United States has put off revealing the details of the plan to minimize opposition by saying it's not yet official. But he said the world is aware that the most significant items of the deal have already been implemented: US backing for Israel's annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, the relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the suspension of US funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

The Manama conference will only amount to simple financial compensation for Palestinians, Hani Habib said.

He added that neither the Israeli nor Palestinian sides want a war scenario. Israel wants to preserve the Palestinian division, but a war would unite all Palestinians, he added.

“The Palestinian political movement may play a role in disrupting, [but] not foiling, the plan. An alternative must be found, especially in light of US arrogance,” he said.


Entsar Abu Jahal is a Palestinian journalist covering current events. She is currently pursuing a master's in journalism and works with several local and Arab journals, as well as various local stations.



Leader's Top Military Aide: Iran Strategically Tied to Iraq, Syria


TEHRAN (FNA)- Top Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said Iraq and Syria strategically play a complementary role to Iran, and further stressed the need for using the two countries' huge markets for exports.

"The pivot of Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean (region) is an economic, political, security and defensive axis against the Zionist regime and the US," General Safavi said in the Southwestern city of Ahvaz on Wednesday.

"Iraq and Syria strategically play a complementary role to Iran," he said.

General Safavi said that the 60-million-strong market of Iraq and Syria can be a target for Iran's exports, adding that Tehran can increase the value of its exports to Iraq to $20bln from the current $10bln.

In relevant remarks last month, Commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters Saeed Mohammad announced that Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus were working on a trilateral initiative to set up a joint bank.

“Planning is underway for setting up a joint bank between Iran, Iraq, and Syria for restoration of banking and financial relationship in central banks of the three countries,” he said.

In the current situation that the country is facing severe sanctions by the United States, the private sector has promised to cooperate and collaborate with Khatam al-Anbiya construction headquarters in order to fill the vacant place of foreign companies in the Iranian oil industry, Mohammad added.

Turning to the Persian Gulf Refinery project, he said, “Despite many ups and downs facing ahead, this giant project was put into operation by domestic engineers.”

He put the annual requirement of the country to the products of downstream petrochemical industries at 20 million tons.

Mohammad pointed out that US sanctions would have no impact on the activities of the headquarters.

Mohammad pointed to Iraqi and Syrian markets with high potentials, and called on industrialists and economic activists of the country to adopt a logical approach and get the lion’s share of products in lucrative markets of Iraq and Syria.



Dubai Islamic Bank gets regulatory thumbs up to buy Noor Bank

By Mark Battersby, 12 Jun 19

One of the largest and oldest Islamic banks in the world, DIB has ambitions to enter new markets

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is set to acquire Noor Bank in a deal which will create combined assets of AED 275bn.

Its board of directors agreed on 9 June to recommend buying 100% of Noor Bank after obtaining all regulatory approvals, a statement said.

The date and agenda for the general meeting of shareholders including the terms and details about the acquisition will be announced after the same has been approved by competent regulatory authorities.

Post the completion of the acquisition, Noor Bank’s operations will be integrated and consolidated within DIB.

Global hub for Islamic finance

Mohammed Al Shaibani, chairman of DIB, said it had outperformed the market in recent years and played “a pivotal role in establishing the UAE as a global hub for Islamic finance. This acquisition is another step in our plans to expand in the region and beyond.”

Dr Adnan Chilwan, group CEO of DIB, said: “The acquisition of Noor Bank is in line with our disciplined yet flexible growth strategy which strikes the perfect balance between market dynamics and shareholder interest.

“We have always been open to both organic and inorganic growth as long as profitability and returns are protected and this transaction is no different.

“The economics of the deal will allow us the opportunity to capitalize on synergies, notably cost efficiencies, digitization, product and business development and most importantly the customer experience.”

He added: “Islamic finance is increasingly acknowledged as a viable alternative to conventional banking and, through this acquisition, we believe that we can geometrically accelerate the growth and popularity of Shari’a compliant finance across the region and beyond.”


SouthEast Asia

When disaster hits, Indonesia's Islamists are first to help


PALU, Indonesia – The two flags hanging outside Anwar Ragaua's house have gotten him police warnings but the wiry 50-year-old vows he's not taking them down.

After all, the police weren't there to help when he was the only fisherman in his village to survive the tsunami that crashed into the Indonesian city of Palu on Sept. 28. Nor was the government. Nor were the aid organizations that swept into the stricken city.

Instead, when Ragaua felt abandoned, the people to offer him a glimmer of hope — a new boat — were from the Islamic Defenders Front, a group with a notorious past that's included smashing up stores selling alcohol and attacking minority Muslim sects.

So it's the front's white-and-green flag that flutters outside Ragaua's house alongside a black banner with white Arabic script. The words are a well-known declaration of Muslim faith, but similar flags have become associated with violent extremists.

Police have visited several times, suspicious he may be spreading radicalism, but Ragaua is unfazed and eager to show his support for the group getting him back on his feet.

The Islamic Defenders Front has long pushed for Islamic not secular law to govern the lives of Indonesia's 230 million Muslims. It sees itself as the enforcer of that vision. Yet over the past 15 years it has also repurposed its militia into a force that's as adept at searching for earthquake victims as it is at inspiring fear.

In the process it has become an influential player in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Besides the Palu earthquake and tsunami that killed 4,000 people, last year saw a series of earthquakes ravage Lombok and a tsunami wreak havoc on the Sunda Strait coastlines of Java and Sumatra.

The front was there at each disaster, searching for victims, distributing aid and building temporary housing. In addition, its regular charitable activities are a lifeline for urban poor.

The turning point for the organization was its humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 100,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh, said MamanSuryadi Abdurrahman, head of the front's militia.

Even in Aceh, one of Indonesia's most conservative provinces, they weren't welcome, Abdurrahman said, but they won over Acehnese by recovering and burying thousands of bodies.

"We've changed the ways of our demonstrations to be more persuasive and peaceful," he said.

Reports of intimidation still emerge as the group takes on what it calls "community diseases." The front says its activities are part of an Islamic duty to prevent immorality and that communities often ask for its help when authorities don't take action.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, and its central government has been accused of neglecting the needs of remote regions far from the center of political and economic power. For places such as Palu, which has a bloody history of sectarian violence, that has provided an opening for hard-liners and their message that religion, not government is the answer.

While the 350 tons of aid the front says it provided in Palu is a fraction of what eventually poured into the region, its delivery was rapid and grassroots.

As officials struggled to get a handle on what had happened, truckloads of supplies had already been dispatched by a nearby front chapter.

The militia's search and rescue team was the first to scour two neighborhoods swallowed by soil liquefaction, recovering bodies before the government search and rescue agency turned up.

The government's response to images of those rescuers at work was ham-fisted, with the Information Ministry calling them a hoax. It seemed to forget that the National Search and Rescue Agency has provided training to front members.

"It is not only the bureaucracy that slows down the government's response, but rather sincerity," Abdurrahman said.

The front was formed, researchers say, by elements of the military after the 1998 fall of dictator Suharto as a tool for attacking liberal trends in a country newly embracing democracy.

It became infamous for running protection rackets and attacks on bars and other vigilantism. Researchers have estimated membership in the tens of thousands to several hundred thousand.

Crucially for its survival, it avoids a direct confrontation with Indonesia's civil law-based constitution. Walking a fine line, it wants Islamic law only to apply to citizens who are Muslim.

"We want an Islamist country, not an Islamic state," Abdurrahman said.

Nevertheless, there have been calls for the government to not renew the front's registration on the grounds that it is a radical organization.

Interior Ministry spokesman Bahtiar stopped short of saying the government would do so, but said by law organizations involved in social or humanitarian work are not supposed to be overtly political.

Ragaua was skeptical when three months after the tsunami two men from the front showed up at his house and offered new fishing boats to him and other men.

"At first, I did not believe it," he said.

A day later, the men came back and ordered several boats from a boat maker, paying in cash.

"I almost cried," Ragaua said. "I wanted to bow down in gratitude."



65 Rohingyas found shipwrecked on Thai island

AgenciesUpdated June 12, 2019

BANGKOK: Thai officials said they discovered 65 ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugees on Tuesday who were shipwrecked and stranded in southern Thailand.

The passengers — 28 men, 31 women and five children — were stranded on Rawi island in Tarutao National Park in Thailand’s southern Satun province after the boat suffered engine trouble, a park official said.

The chief of Tarutao National Marine Park, KanjanapanKamhaeng, said the boat carrying the Rohingya was found after several Thai and Myanmar citizens told park officials their ship had broken down. They initially denied they were transporting Rohingya.

Kanjanapan said the boat was found smashed onto a rocky shore and a preliminary check showed it was carrying 65 Rohingya and several Thai and Myanmar citizens who were identified by the Rohingya as in charge of operating the ship.

Kanjanapan said the Thai navy took the group away to be processed by immigration officials.

Navy officer Cmdr. ThanapongSudrak said authorities will investigate whether the incident involved human trafficking.

Rohingya originate in Rakhine state in Myanmar, where they face extreme persecution by authorities and majority Buddhists, prompting their flight over the years, many on rickety boats that were sometimes pushed back into the open sea by countries such as Thailand.

Attacks by Myanmar’s army in 2017 caused more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to overcrowded refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh and elsewhere for safety.Scores of Rohingya Muslims have boarded boats in recent months to try to reach Malaysia, part of what authorities fear could be a new wave of people smuggling by sea after a 2015 crackdown on trafficking.

A Satun government official said the passengers would be transferred to the mainland.

“Everyone will be investigated in order to see whether they are victims of trafficking or illegal immigrants,” said the official.Myanmar regards Rohingya as illegal migrants from the Indian subcontinent and has confined tens of thousands to sprawling camps in Rakhine since violence swept the area in 2012.

The unrest prompted tens of thousands of Rohingya to flee Myanmar by sea. The exodus peaked in 2015, when an estimated 25,000 people crossed the Andaman Sea for Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, many drowning in unsafe and overloaded boats.



Islamic State’s Sinai Affiliate Remains a Destabilizing Force in Egypt


Just last week, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula launched a deadly attack, killing eight police officers at a checkpoint.

Since forming in 2014, terrorists have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and destabilized the region, damaging Egypt’s once-vibrant tourism industry.

Beyond attacking the Egyptian security forces, the focus of the militants’ campaign has been sectarian attacks designed to increase tensions between Sunni Muslims and non-Sunni groups, including Christians.

Despite an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign waged by the Egyptian military, militants linked to IS are still capable of coordinating sophisticated attacks.

Just last week, the Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula launched a deadly attack, killing eight police officers at a checkpoint. The violence unfolded in Arish, a city located in the northern Sinai Peninsula. Shortly after the attack, Amaq, the Islamic State’s news agency, released a statement claiming credit for the attack. Months after the collapse of the territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the Sinai has remained one of the Islamic State’s most active and most lethal franchise groups. Journalists have been banned from entering parts of the northern Sinai, making it difficult to discern exact details surrounding militant activity. The Egyptian military responded by raiding a house and killing 14 insurgents who were holed up inside. Guns, explosives, and suicide belts were allegedly located inside the residence.

Since forming in 2014, terrorists have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and destabilized the region, damaging Egypt’s once-vibrant tourism industry. The most high-profile attack attributed to IS in the Sinai was the 2015 downing of Metrojet Flight 9268, blown out of the sky with 224 people on board, all of whom died in the attack as the airliner took off from the popular tourist destination of Sharm el-Sheikh for its destination in St. Petersburg, Russia. In December 2018, IS militants were behind the bombing of a tour bus in Giza that killed three Vietnamese tourists and their Egyptian guide en route to touring Egypt’s famous pyramids.

Beyond targeting the Egyptian security forces and tourist attractions, the focus of the militants’ campaign has been sectarian attacks designed to increase tensions between Sunni Muslims and non-Sunni groups, including Christians. In April 2017, militants attacked two Coptic Christian churches, launching suicide bombings against St. George’s church in the city of Tanta near the Nile delta, and another against St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, located in Alexandria. One week later, there was a shooting at a monastery, making it clear that Christians were a top target of jihadist militants. Toward the end of December 2017, 11 worshipers were killed in an attack on a Coptic Church near Cairo. And it is not just Christians who are under assault. In November 2017, in what has been recorded as Egypt’s deadliest terror incident to date, over 300 Sufi Muslims were killed in an attack on their mosque in the Sinai.

Despite an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign waged by the Egyptian military, militants linked to IS are still capable of coordinating sophisticated attacks. Finding safe haven and sanctuary throughout the lawless and ungoverned Sinai peninsula, IS-linked insurgents maintain the ability to engage in classic guerrilla warfare—directing ambushes, staging hit-and-run attacks, and emplacing improvised explosive devices along roads frequently used by Egyptian military vehicles. The Sisi government has responded with a scorched earth effort to crush the insurgency. And while the military’s efforts have been successful in killing and capturing insurgents, it has also proved counterproductive, with gratuitous violence directed against entire populations. The response has been more people, not fewer, willing to join and support the insurgency.


Arab World

Tahrir Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Trying Hard to Save Strategic Base in Lattakia


TEHRAN (FNA)- Ringleader of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) Abu Mohammed al-Jolani has reportedly arrived in the strategic town of Kabani in NortheasternLattakia to take command of the terrorist group in the battle against the Syrian Army over the group's main stronghold in the region.

The Syrian Army backed by the heavy artillery and missile units attacked Tahrir al-Sham's main military base and engaged in very fierce clashes with the terrorists in JabalZawikat region where Kabani is located in NortheasternLattakia after it made advances in several axes.

Meantime, battlefield sources pointed to the collapse of defense lines of Tahrir al-Sham and Turkistani Party South of Kabani, and said the Syrian Army has made advances there.

Meantime, several battlefield sources confirmed that al-Jolani has arrived in Northern Lattakia to take charge of commanding terrorists in battle against the Syrian Army and prevent the army's further advances.

The Syrian Army plans to seize vast areas from the towns of Jabal al-Akrad in Northern Lattakia and Sahl al-Ghab region in Northern Hama as well as Jisr al-Shoghour and also Lattakia-Aleppo Highway up to Ariha in the suburbs of Idlib after taking control of Kabani.

In a relevant development in late April, Al-Jolani threatened other terrorist groups to avoid handing over Syria's occupied territories to the Damascus Army.

Al-Jolani held a meeting with eight senior commanders of other terrorist groups, including Islamic Turkistani Party, Harasuddin and Jeish al-Izza, in Atmaeh town near the border with Turkey, the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted local sources in Idlib province as saying.

Tahrir al-Sham's ringleader who attended the meeting under tight security measures strongly warned commanders of other terrorist groups that they would be regarded as traitors if they hand over any region under any agreement to the Syrian Army, warning of Tahrir al-Sham's revenge and lethal blow.

Meantime, al-Jolani also asked other terrorist commanders to put their militants on a state of full alert and keep their bomb-laden suicide vehicles prepared for operation.

Al-Jolani, who was attending his first meeting after two months, was accompanied by three Turkish-speaking militants in the meeting with other notorious terrorist commanders.

Al-Jolani was critically wounded in twin explosions in the Center of Idlib city in late February and went into a state of coma.

"One of those injured in Idlib blasts was severely suffering from brain injury and he was transferred to a government hospital in Antakia City in Hatay region," Sputnik quoted a medical source in Turkey as saying.

The medical source said that the injured person is Abu Mohammed al-Jolani who had shrapnel head injury and he is now in a state of coma.



More US Security Firms Arrive in Ein Al-Assad Airbase to Transfer New Military Equipment to Iraq


TEHRAN (FNA)- US security firms have sent tens of personnel to at Ein al-Assad airbase in Western al-Anbar in line with Washington's plan to redeploy large amounts of military equipment and weapons systems from Jordan and Syria in Iraqi province.

The Arabic-language website of al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted a security source in al-Anbar as saying on Tuesday that the security firms' personnel have arrived in Ein al-Assad on special planes and under tight security measures.

He added that the new group came to Ein al-Assad concurrent with the transfer of military and engineering equipment from Jordan and Syria to the airbase by their security firms and in line with the US plans to transfer military equipment to the Western parts of al-Anbar.

The source also said that recently, the US security firms have started patrolling missions in the Western towns of Iraq.

A former Iraqi legislator disclosed last week that the US had established 17 military bases in Iraq and deployed F35 fighter jets in Ein al-Assad airbase.

Al-Ma'aloumeh quoted Mohammad al-Dayeni as saying that Washington had set up 17 military bases in Iraq.

He added that the US had also deployed Spirit (stealth) fighter jets in Ein al-Assad, adding that the F-35 fighters which had earlier been stationed in the airbase fly on a daily basis to spy on Iran.

Al-Dayeni said that the US forces had specified 63,000 targets in and outside Iraq for attacks, including the positions of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces).

Meantime, a prominent Iraqi political expert revealed late last month that Washington continued to increase the number of its troops in Iraq, warning of the US plots to make aggression against the neighboring states.

Sabah al-Akili told al-Ma'aloumeh that the number of US forces had increased in Iraq despite the general demand by the Iraqi people for their withdrawal.

He added that the US forces' attacks on Iraqi security forces indicated that they were combat forces and were not deployed for advising or training purposes.

Al-Akili underlined that expansion of Ein al-Assad airbase, extension of its runway and deployment of Patriot missile systems at the base showed that Washington intended to stay in Iraq for the long-run, specially given the reports that the US planned to use Iraq as a platform to attack the neighboring states and was, thus, sending more forces to its bases in Iraq.



Commander Hails High Detection Power of Iran's Newly-Developed Missile Shield


TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Iranian Army's Khatam ol-Anbiya Air Defense Base Brigadier General AlirezaSabahiFard announced that the radar system used in the country's newly-developed missile defense shield named 'Khordad 15' enjoys high power for detecting enemy flying objects.

"Khordad 15 missile defense shield enjoys a powerful radar system and it can counter advanced and state-of-the-art targets well, and given its indigenized nature that entails no dependence on foreign countries, we may operate it independently," General SabahiFard said on Wednesday.

He added that Iran can fully supply the defense shield's needs, including the radars, missile equipment, artillery and training of humanitarian resources, using internal capacities.

Iran on Sunday unveiled a new home-made state-of-the-art missile defense system named 'Khordad 15' which is equipped with passive phased array radar system for detecting fighter jets, stealth targets and cruise missiles.

The missile defense system was unveiled in a ceremony participated by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and General SabahiFard in Tehran.

Elaborating on the features and capabilities of the defense shield, General Hatami said that it can trace targets, including fighter jets and enemy drones, 150km away and intercept them at a range of 120km.

"It can also trace stealth targets in areas 85km in distance, and destroy them at a distance of 45km," he added.

General Hatami said that the missile defense system can trace, engage, and destroy 6 targets simultaneously, enjoys high mobility and can be prepared for operation in less than 5 minutes.

"The system is equipped with (passive) phased-array radar system with a multiple-target-engagement capability. It also has separate launch pads, and operates with Sayyad 3 missiles," he underlined.

The Iranian military officials have in several occasions said that the country's advances in building different military equipment are merely aimed at defending the country against any possible aggression.



Israel Launches Fresh Attacks on Army's Military Positions in Southern Syria


TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army's air defense systems responded to the Israeli Army's fresh missile attacks on the Damascus troops' military positions in Southern Syria early Wednesday morning.

The Israeli forces targeted the Syrian Army's military positions in Tal al-Harreh in the Southern part of Syria at around 2am local time, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

It noted that the Syrian Army downed several Israeli missiles, and said that the Israeli Army targeted the Syrian Army's radar systems with electronic warfare and jamming after its missile attacks.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency pointed to the Israeli missile attacks from inside the occupied territories, specially from the West of Jbal al-Sheikh on areas under the control of the Syrian Army.

It said that before this attack Israel's spying drones flew over the occupied Jbal al-Sheikh.

Israel's new aggression on the Syrian Army's military positions takes place as the army is fighting with terrorist groups in Northwestern Syria.

In a relevant development earlier in June, Israel launched fresh airstrikes on the Syrian Army positions near Damascus and Quneitra in Southern Syria.

The Syrian Army's air defense system shot down several Israeli missiles, the Arabic-language SANA news agency reported.

It noted that Israel's invaders launched two waves of missile attacks from the side of the Occupied Golan, hitting several military positions of the Syrian Army to the Southwest of Damascus and East of Quneitra.

The SANA news agency reported that the Syrian Army's air defense systems were activated right after these attacks and shot down a number of Israeli missiles.

Meantime, the Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted a military source as saying that Israeli warplanes fired six rockets at the Syrian Army's military positions near Damascus, but most of them were destroyed by the Syrian air defense systems.

The Syrian Army's air defense shield also destroyed most of the missiles fired at Tal al-Sha'ar region in the surrounding area of Quneitra. Three Syrian Army soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the Israeli aggression.

Meantime, the Israeli Army in a statement claimed that the Israeli helicopters and fighter jets had pounded the Syrian Army's military positions in response to two missiles fired from Syria.

The Israeli Army's new aggression against Syrian Army's military positions in Quneitra province came as the US and Turkish sides are trying to bring to a halt the Syrian Army battle against Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in Idlib province.



French-Dutch Delegations Arrive in Raqqa to Support US-Backed Separatist Objectives


TEHRAN (FNA)- French-Dutch joint delegations have arrived in Kurdish-held regions in Raqqa in line with supporting their separatist objective in Syria, opposition sources told the state daily on Wednesday.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying that a joint delegation from French and Dutch foreign ministries have recently met with People’s Protection Units (YPG) commanders in Raqqa Province.

The newspaper noted that the meeting was held in line with supports from separatist objectives of the Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria, and said that the French delegation has declared its full preparedness to provide military, diplomatic and political support for these forces in Northeastern Syria.

Meantime, the Dutch-French delegation is to hold two meetings in Paris on June 25 and June 27 to review the manner of support for these forces with cooperation of France, Holland, the US and the UK as well as other countries.

In a relevant development in May, tens of trucks carrying the US military and logistical aids had been dispatched to the areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Euphrates despite declaring the end of the ISIL by Washington, media sources said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a convoy comprising 60 trucks containing logistic and military consignments as well as prefabricated houses was sent to Eastern Euphrates via Simalka crossing in Northern Iraq.

The SOHR also reiterated that about 20 trucks have also been sent to Kobani Airport and KharabAshk military base in Northern Aleppo, and said that the remaining of military aid was also sent to the areas under SDF control in al-Jazira region in DeirEzzur province.

Also in May, media reports said that the Kurdish forces backed by the US-led coalition have prepared to launch military offensive against the Syrian Army and resistance forces in DeirEzzur Province.

The Turkish-language Anatoly news agency quoted local sources as saying that after taking control of Eastern Euphrates region, the Kurdish fighters are preparing to launch an attack on Damascus-backed forces in Eastern Euphrates in DeirEzzur.

It noted that the US-led coalition forces are training the Kurdish fighters in Ain Issa bases in Raqqa province and al-Amr oil region in Eastern DeirEzzur, adding that the trainings include passing through mobile bridges and rivers.

The US-led coalition forces and Kurdish fighters are looking for winning the support of regional tribes for launching the attack after residents of the region called for holding massive protests in Eastern Euphrates and called for expulsion of US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Meantime, the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leasers in al-Amr oil zone.



Idlib: Tens of Thousands of Civilians Ready to Leave Areas UnderTahrir Al-Sham's Control


TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia's Hmeimem Peace Center declared preparedness of over 80,000 civilians to get out of areas under the control of the terrorist groups in Idlib for safe areas controlled by the Syrian Army as Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and other militants prevented people from getting out of those regions.

The Arabic-language service of Russia Today quoted head of the Russian Peace Center in Syria Victor Kubechichin as saying that between 40,000 to 80,000 civilians are ready to get out of Idlib region.

Kubechichin reiterated that temporary centers have been set up in Homs, Hama and DeirEzzur provinces to pave the way for exit of civilians from that region.

Meantime, the Syrian Army has also established safe human corridors in Abu al-Dhohour in SoutheasternIdlib and Souran in Northern Hama over the past month and concurrent with the Syrian Army's military operations in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.

Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups prevent the exit of civilians from this region by blocking the roads and blackmailing them.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian Army continued to dispatch massive military convoys to Northern Hama and Southern Idlib as heavy fighting between the two sides inflicted tens of casualties on the terrorists.

A military convoy comprising hundreds of Syrian soldiers and massive military equipment were dispatched from Hama Airport to contact lines with terrorists in Northern and Northwestern Hama as well as Southern Idlib to reinforce the Syrian Army's military positions in those regions.

Three military convoys comprising tens of military vehicles carrying military equipment and a large number of fresh troops arrived in Northern Syria from Damascus province.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that the Syrian Army's artillery units and air force as well as the Russian air force pounded the terrorists' military positions and movements in all fronts in Northwestern Hama and Southern Idlib, including the towns of Kafar Zita, Mourek and al-Latamaneh, destroying all their military positions and killing tens of terrorists.

Meantime, sources affiliated to the militants admitted that at least 52 terrorists, including two notorious commanders of Jeish al-Izza terrorist group, namely Mohammad Khaled al-Saba and Yasser Ahmad al-Helal were killed.



Intelligence agents arrest Islamic State logistics provider in Diyala

by  MohammedEbraheem

Jun 12, 2019

Paramilitary fighters and military vehicles are seen during a military operation to retake positions held by Islamic State militants, on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah in Diyala province, north of Baghdad January 25, 2015. Picture taken January 25, 2015. REUTERS

Diyala ( – Iraqi intelligence forces arrested on Wednesday an Islamic State logistics provider during a security operation in Diyala province.

“Troops of the 20th division of the Military Intelligence Directorate have arrested an Islamic State militant on charges of supplying the terrorist group with logistical support in al-Nada district in Diyala,” the privately-owned Baghdad Today website quoted the directorate as saying in a statement.

“The terrorist was wanted on terror-related charges pursuant to article no. 4 of the anti-terrorism law,” the statement added.

In January 2015, Iraqi forces announced liberation of Diyala province from Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

The province has seen months of fighting between Iraqi troops and IS militants especially in the Jalawla and Saadiyah areas in the province’s north and areas near the town of Muqdadiyah.


South Asia

Taliban’s shadow district chief killed; his close comrade arrested in Sar-e-Pul

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

The security forces have killed the shadow district chief of Taliban for Sayad district of Sar-e-Pul province.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said Wednesday that the Special Forces of the Afghan Police conducted an opeation in Sayad district late on Tuesday night.

The statement further added that the Police Special Forces killed Sher Mohammad alias Ghazanfar, the shadow district chief of Taliban for the district.

The ministry also added that Special Forces also arrested one of the close comrades of Sher Mohammad during the operation.

Meanwhile, the ministry of interior said Sher Mohammad was one of the key commanders of Taliban who was involved in major terrorist attacks in Sayad district.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the killing of Sher Mohammad so far.



1 terrorist hailing from Punjab of Pakistan killed, 2 others arrested in Herat

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

The NDS Special Forces killed one terrorist and detained two others during an operation in Herat province.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the terrorists originally hail from Punjab province of Pakistan.

The statement further added that the three terrorists, Mohamad Hakim alias Bilal son of Obaidullah, Rafiullah and Rauzuddin, were fighting for the Taliban leader Mullah Wakil Ahmad Osmani.

NDS also added that Mullah Osmani is actively involved in terrorist related activities in Kerkh district of Herat and bordering regions between Herat and Badghis.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) also released a video confession of one of the detained terrorists.

The militant briefs the intelligence operatives regarding his recruitment to Taliban ranks and travel to Afghanistan.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the killing and detention of the Pakistani militants so far.



More than 30 Taliban prisoners released from Nangarhar prison

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

The authorities have released more than 30 Taliban prisoners from the central prison of Nangarhar province.

The Nangarhar governor’s office in a statement said the authorities released the Taliban prisoners in accordance with a presidential decree.

The statement further added that 32 Taliban prisoners were set free from the central prison of Nangarhar.

The governor’s office also added that 2,300 people including women are currently serving in Nangarhar central prison.

The statement also added that President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had ordered the release of 887 Taliban prisoners on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr.

The release of Taliban prisoners has attracted mixed reactions from the people as some believe that released Taliban group members would return to battlefield.

However, the authorities are saying that they release the prisoners after proper security screening.



16 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Kapisa, Wardak and Herat provinces

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

The security forces conducted separate operations in three provinces killing or wounding at least 16 Taliban militants.

The informed military sources said Wednesday that the Afghan Special Forces killed 3 Taliban fighters during an operation in Tagab district of Kapisa.

The sources further added that the security forces also conducted an airstrike in Nerkh district of Wardak and killed 3 Taliban fighters.

Furthermore, the Special Forces killed 4 Taliban during an operation in Chisht-e Sharif district of Herat.

The military officials also added that the Special Forces wounded 6 Taliban fighters and destroyed 5 improvised explosives devices during the same operation.

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



Afghan forces repel major Taliban offensive in Zabul killing at least 40 militants

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

The Afghan security forces repelled a major Taliban offensive on Daichupan district of Zabul province killing at least 40 militants.

The 205th Atal Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants launched a major attack on Daichupan district from various angles.

The statement further added that the security forces killed at least 40 militants after repelling the attack.

The security forces also killed two senior commanders of Taliban Jamil Talawat and MawlaviHebat.

According to Atal Corps, the security forces handed over the bodies of 12 Taliban militants to local residents.

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



Islamic school that refused entry to inspector warned by DfE

Posted: Wed, 12 Jun 2019

An independent Islamic faith school has been warned by the government after it refused entry to a school inspector and was rated 'inadequate' by education watchdog Ofsted.

Rashid Raja, headteacher of Islamic Preparatory School Wolverhampton, refused to allow lead inspector Tim Hill onto the premises on the second day of the school's Ofsted inspection in February.

In its inspection report, Ofsted called the incident "unacceptable" and said it had reported it to the Department for Education (DfE).

Refusing entrance to school inspectors contravenes Section 110 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, which provides inspectors with the right of entry to any school to carry out a lawful inspection.

In a warning notice issued to the school in April and published on the DfE website last week, the DfE said obstructing an inspector is a "criminal offence".

Ofsted criticised the headteacher for his "weak" understanding of safeguarding procedures and said his checks on the quality of teaching which are "not effective enough".

Inspectors found "several hazards" in the school, including an unlocked cupboard in the girls' toilets containing "flammable and hazardous materials accessible to young children" and a fire door opening onto a "small enclosed area".

The designated safeguarding lead was not able to satisfactorily explain the number of attempted log-ins to "inappropriate website content" on school computers.

Islamic Preparatory School Wolverhampton is part of the registered charity Wolverhampton Mosque Trust and shares the same site as Wolverhampton Central Mosque. It also failed its inspection in May 2017.

National Secular Society head of education Alastair Lichten said: "This is not the first time we have seen school authorities working to prevent Ofsted inspectors carrying out lawful investigations, assessing children's welfare and educational provision.

"This must always be seen as a serious red flag. When inspectors are prevented from assessing compliance with independent school standards then such standards can be assumed to be breached. Schools cannot be allowed to isolate pupils and evade oversight."

In recent months Ofsted reports have revealed that parents have withdrawn permission for children to speak to inspectors at several Charedi Jewish schools.

In a letter to independent school heads earlier this year the government said inspectors must be able to speak to pupils.

The DfE published warning notices which it had sent to 19 independent schools last week. Islamic Preparatory School Wolverhampton was one of four Islamic schools while two were Jewish, one Catholic and one Seventh Day Adventist.

Among them were an Islamic and a Jewish school which segregate children by gender and a Jewish school which encourages girls to enter "caring professions".

Weaknesses in safeguarding were among the failings at all four of the other schools.

The other Islamic schools were Al-Mahad-Al-Islami, an all-girls school in Croydon in south London, and Paradise Primary School in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

The Catholic school was St Pius X Preparatory School in Preston in Lancashire. The Seventh Day Adventist school was Stanborough Secondary School in Watford in Hertfordshire.

Schools that receive warnings must improve within a specified period or they will be removed from the independent schools register.



Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 'incredibly honoured' to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day Landings

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 'incredibly honoured' to commemorate 75th anniversary of D-Day Landings

The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said the group was ‘incredibly honoured’ to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings. 

The group joined the Royal British Legion’s Cippenham branch on Saturday (Jun8) for a prayer service opposite the Cenotaph in Lower Cippenham Lane.

President Atiq Ahmad Bhatti delivered a short prayer for world peace that was delivered by His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph and head of the community at the 2019 Peace Symposium. 

Mayor of Slough Cllr Avtar Cheema and the town’s Labour MP Tan Dhesi also attended.

Atiq said: “It was an incredible honour for us to be a part of this very historic prayer service, remembering those who gave their lives for our country, so that we may live in peace.

“Their sacrifice will never be forgotten, nor their incredible bravery. May God grant them eternal peace.”



Special court rejects Musharraf's plea to adjourn high treason case

HaseebBhattiJune 12, 2019

A special court in Islamabad on Wednesday rejected former military dictator Pervez Musharraf's plea for adjournment of the hearing of a high treason case against him.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice TahiraSafdar also cancelled retired Gen Musharraf's right of defence due to his repeated non-appearance before the court.

Musharraf is facing a treason trial under Article 6 of the Constitution as well as Section 2 of the High Treason Act on a complaint moved by the federal government.

During the proceedings, Musharraf's lawyer Salman Safdar said that the former military dictator was "fighting for his life", adding that he was not physically or mentally capable of returning the country.

Musharraf's counsel said that he was embarrassed by repeatedly submitting requests to adjourn the case's hearing.

He said that his client was rapidly losing weight, adding that he was unable to walk and used a wheelchair.

Safdar asked for one more chance so that Musharraf could himself appear in court.

He said that the former military dictator was having "heart chemotherapy" because of which his health had deteriorated.

Justice Safdar remarked that the Supreme Court had given a verdict, to which the lawyer responded that he was aware of this and requested that the plea be accepted on the basis of compassion.

The bench of the special court asked the lawyer to read the Supreme Court verdict from April 1.

On April 1, the apex court had directed the special court to proceed with the trial on the next date of hearing (May 2) and in case the former president surrendered and appeared before it, he would be entitled to record his statement.

But if he failed to appear, being a PO (proclaimed offender), the special court was empowered to proceed against him even in his absence under Section 9 of the High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973, the top court had held.

The prosecutor's lawyer Dr Tariq Hassan in his arguments today said that the court had given Musharraf the chance to give his statement through a video link.

He presented arguments regarding Musharraf's health in response to which Justice Safdar enquired: "Are you speaking against his physical health?"

Justice Nazar Akbar asked if he wanted confirmation about Musharraf's health, which the lawyer denied.

Justice Shahid Karim that they need to look at whether or not to approve the request to adjourn the case. The prosecutor's lawyer opposed the adjournment.

The three-judge bench rejected Gen Musharraf's plea to adjourn the case.

While speaking to the media, Musharraf's lawyer said that they had presented medical and photographic evidence in court so that the judges could get an idea of Musharraf's condition.

He said that there were "no two opinions" about his client's current condition, adding that he was very unwell.

Safdar said that the current plea was not an excuse, the former military dictator was unwell, adding that Musharraf had stayed in the country for three to four years but the trial had not been completed.

"It was a small trial, it would have been reasonable if it was completed in his presence," said the lawyer.

He alleged that the petitioner from the interior ministry had himself sent Musharraf abroad.

"Today he is himself not accepting Musharraf's illness," he said.

Safdar said that therefore they had submitted another plea today. He reiterated that his client was unwell and was wheelchair bound.

"If the doctor gives him permission, he will certainly come to Pakistan," he said.

Safdar said that now the federal government will make a panel of lawyers after which the court will make a decision about who will represent Musharraf, adding that he was ready to give the lawyers his assistance.



Multiparty conference in last week of June, says Fazl

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentUpdated June 12, 2019

MULTAN: JamiatUlema-i-Islam-F chief MaulanaFazlurRehman says that a multi-party conference will be held in the last week of June and consultation sessions with political parties regarding the conference would begin from June 15.

He told reporters on Tuesday said his party’s MarkaziMajlis-i-Shoora would meet in Islamabad on June 19 and million marches by his party would be held in Quetta on July 15 and in Peshawar on July 21 while a final destination would be Islamabad.

He said the arrests of opposition parties’ leaders were making the task of the opposition easier.

He said the government had presented a flop budget and the arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Hamza Shahbaz was an attempt to divert attention of the masses. He said the arrests would never discourage the politicians as the arrests were the part of politics.

"People are saying the government is collapsing but I would say that the state is collapsing. We all have to protect the state. State institutions should realize that supporting such an unpopular government is not in the favor of the country. Whatever we are purposing is in the favor of the state. Enough is enough. The narrative which had been sold out in the name of war on terror in last 18 years should be discouraged now as terrorism has been created and these things weaken the countries,” he said.

He said that usage of power has never been a solution to problems.

“Power was used against the Taliban but they are still flourishing in tribal areas. Despite the claims that peace has been restored, there is no peace. It means the claims are fake and the ground realities are different. There is need to introduce new narrative. We have to focus on our economy and prepare new economic action plan. The country would not move forward until we get rid of the National Action Plan which was introduced to target religious forces,” he said. He said that to strengthen the system, a true democratic government should be formed as the country could not be run through such a fake government.

He said that the Imran Khan government was a proven incompetent government and it may cause more damage to the country if it was allowed to remain in power.

He said that so far his party had held 13 million marches.

“We are already on the streets,” he added. He said that lawyers should contact politicians on the issue of a reference against Justice QaziFaez Isa, field by the government.



Karachi remains calm despite Altaf’s arrest in London

Imran AyubJune 12, 2019

KARACHI: It was a similarly hot and humid afternoon of June 2014 when panic and fear gripped the metropolis shortly after TV channels aired news about the arrest of Altaf Hussain, the founder of then unified MuttahidaQaumi Movement, in London on suspicions of money laundering, sparking gunfire and arson attacks in different localities where more than a dozen vehicles were set on fire. But five years later, the same news hardly affected daily life in the metropolis on Tuesday.

In June 2014, Mr Hussain was arrested in connection with a money laundering investigation by the British authorities. The move had attracted a strong reaction in Karachi, where traffic system collapsed, stock market nosedived and streets of the city of over 20 million inhabitants wore a deserted look within no time.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Hussain — who has been living in self-exile for almost three decades — was taken into custody by the London Metropolitan Police in connection with an investigation into his alleged hate speeches, but there was not even a word from his former loyalists.

Analysts say the former MQM supremo retains support of lower middle class in city

‘Altaf’s support not yet over’

With so much change in the political landscape of Karachi over the past five years, political pundits and analysts believe that Mr Hussain retains his support base among the people of urban Sindh, but at the same time they hardly see any “space” for the 66-year-old leader in Pakistani politics in near future.

“There is a lower middle class in Karachi which still supports Altaf Hussain,” said Dr Jafar Ahmad, a former head of the Pakistan Study Centre at Karachi University. “They support him with all his narrative whether it’s extremist views, his diction and even his attire. He has definitely been excluded from the organisation successfully but his social support [has] not [been] erased yet.”

The reaction from the unified MQM in 2014 and now over Mr Hussain’s arrest is very much self-explanatory regarding the future of the party’s founder in Karachi politics.

By sunset on June 3, 2014, 13 vehicles were torched amid a sit-in by hundreds of workers and supporters of MQM at the Numaish traffic intersection. But today, it appears that Mr Hussain’s loyalists have turned their back on him.

But, the analysts believe that with so much “political engineering” already done by the “forces which matter the most” and split within the party during the past three years, the support among the people of urban Sindh mainly in Karachi for Mr Hussain cannot be replaced with an alternative leadership.

“It [support] would remain there and it demands substantial socioeconomic change to erase that. We should not be in the illusion that if the leadership is not on the scene, his support is over. But as far as his future in Karachi politics is concerned, I don’t see any such thing happening in the near future,” said Dr Ahmad.

Kamal vindicated?

Meanwhile, Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Mustafa Kamal held a press conference soon after Mr Hussain’s arrest.

He said: “I tried my best to convince Altaf Hussain for five consecutive years when he chose the wrong path.

“I parted ways with him to rescue the Mohajir community. Today, I am neither feeling happy nor sad over his arrest.”

PPP continues protest over Zardari’s arrest

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party, the other major political player in Sindh, continued its protests in different parts of Karachi and in other areas of the province over the arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari by the National Accountability Bureau.

In view of the situation, a security alert was issued in Sindh, where Pakistan Rangers and police carried out patrolling to maintain law and order.

Scores of PPP workers attended protests at Hasan Square and in Central district. Party leader Waqar Mehdi and Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani addressed the two demonstrations, respectively.

In their speeches, they termed the arrest of Mr Zardari by NAB a “biased” action and vendetta against the PPP and its leadership.

They warned that the party could paralyse the government if it was not allowed to hold peaceful protests in other parts of the country.