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Islamic World News ( 2 Aug 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Docs in Kolkata Face Eviction over Their Religion

New Age Islam News Bureau

2 Aug 2018

As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is set to take oath as prime minister of Pakistan on August 11, a rather chilling tweet, by Indian TV host, Simi Grewal, got the attention of PTI workers and followers on social media.



 Muslim Docs in Kolkata Face Eviction over Their Religion

 Pir Predicted I Would Be Assassinated After Becoming PM, Imran Khan Allegedly Told Indian TV Host

 As Shiite Militias Kill More People, Reports Warn Of Iran Proxies Capturing Iraq

 Trump ‘Taken Hostage’ By Saudis on Iran Oil Sanctions: Official

 We’ll Protect All Religions, Not Only Islam, Against Insults, Says Mujahid

 Supporting Regimes like Saudi Arabia Is Part of UK Imperialist Agenda: Analyst



 Muslim Docs in Kolkata Face Eviction over Their Religion

 Union Minister, Jaitley, Defends Citizenship Test, Citing Muslim Growth

 Agra Muslims Appeal to Government to Have Humane Approach On Illegal Immigrants Issue

 Taking Inspiration from India, Top Pakistani Islamic Council to Push For Punishing Instant Triple Talaq

 Imran Khan A Man of Character, Accept His Invite For Swearing-In Ceremony: Navjot Sidhu

 No Presence of ISIS In Jammu And Kashmir, Only Cases Of Flag Waving: Union Minister

 Communal Tension Erupts In Hasanpura After Muslim Girl Elopes With Hindu Boy

 More Muslims enrolling for higher education in Telangana

 Mumbai: Mosque Video Goes Viral, Irks Muslims

 Syrian ambassador invites Indian companies to rebuild war-torn country

 Switch Off Loudspeakers In Mosques During Kanwar Yatra: Sadhvi Prachi To Yogi Adityanath



 Pir Predicted I Would Be Assassinated After Becoming PM, Imran Khan Allegedly Told Indian TV Host

 IHC Bench Recuses Itself from Imran Disqualification Case

 Looted wealth stashed in UK to be brought back: Imran

 Imran likely to be elected PM on 15th

 22 independents, PML-Q votes take PTI tally to 153 in Punjab

 MQM to support PTI in forming government at the Centre, says convener

 Bajwa praises military’s ECP-mandated role in polls

 PPP leader advises Bilawal to support Khan, says Zardari should’ve stayed out of NA

 Security beefed up around PTI chief’s Bani Gala residence, shade cloth installed

 SC disposes of Quetta Church affectees’ compensation case

 Hindu teenager arrested over ‘blasphemous social media posts’

 Army satisfied with efforts for peace in Afghanistan

 Amir Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Navjot Sidhu invited for Imran’s oath ceremony


Arab World

 As Shiite Militias Kill More People, Reports Warn Of Iran Proxies Capturing Iraq

 Amnesty Accuses Turkey of Tolerating Syrian Rebel Abuses in Afrin

 Egyptian forces kill five suspected militants north of Cairo

 Iraqis from same family risk death penalty over IS killings

' Victory Is Near,' Syria's Assad Tells Troops

 Syrian Army Repels ISIL Attack on Sweida Airbase

 Gov't Flag Hoisted across Manbij Ahead of Syrian Army's Imminent Arrival

 Kurds Hand over Key Hospital to Syrian Gov't Forces in Raqqa Province

 Tensions Rising between Civilians, US-Backed Militias in Northeastern Syria

 Syrian Army Launches Surprise Attack on Terrorists at Border with Turkey

 Rex Tillerson stopped Saudi and UAE from 'attacking' Qatar


North America

 Trump ‘Taken Hostage’ By Saudis on Iran Oil Sanctions: Official

 Anti-Islamic Message Written In Chalk at Oak Creek Skate Park

 Iranians will never allow talks with US: IRGC commander


Southeast Asia

 We’ll Protect All Religions, Not Only Islam, Against Insults, Says Mujahid

 Persecuted Indonesian Christians, Muslims Strengthen Bonds

 ‘Angry Muslim Father’ Writes Open Letter to Deputy PM Over Child Bride Issue

 Duterte right to bet on autonomy for troubled Muslim regions

 Southern Philippines on full alert after deadly bomb blast

 Indonesia Bans Islamic State-Linked Group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah

 Islamic State Claims Southern Philippine Blast That Killed 11



 Supporting Regimes Like Saudi Arabia Is Part Of UK Imperialist Agenda: Analyst

 UN Panel Finds Further Evidence of Iran Link To Houthi Missiles

 Denmark’s Ban on Muslim Face Veil Met with Protest

 Kadyrov calls on media to stop blaming Islam for murder of Russian journalists in CAR


South Asia

 Defeat ISIS in Afghanistan, Says Taliban

 Over 150 Daesh Terrorists Surrender In Afghanistan

 ANA forces start operations to help improve Jalalabad’s security

 Taliban’s Red Unit commander and his 5 guards killed in drone strikes



 Citing Continued Fire Balloon Launches, Israel Halts Fuel Shipments To Gaza

 Israeli Military Faces Druze Uproar over Jewish Nation Bill

 Yemeni photojournalist becomes latest victim of Houthi landmines

 Russia says Iranian forces pulled back from Golan in Syria; Israel unsatisfied

 Saudi airstrike off the coast of Hudaydah kills 9 Yemeni fishermen

 US imposes sanctions on 2 Turkish officials over detention of US pastor

 US threats of sanction in pastor's case shows 'Zionist mentality': Erdogan



 Nigeria Court Acquits 80 Zakzaky Supporters

 Uganda: Supreme Mufti Cautions Muslims On Sale of Land

 Boko Haram: New Army commander, Gen Abba Dikko takes over

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim Docs in Kolkata Face Eviction over Their Religion

Aug 2, 2018

Kolkata: They can treat us when we are ill but they may not be good enough to be our neighbours. This is the message that four Medical College and Hospital alumni, now doing their house-staffship at various hospitals in the state, have got from their neighbours at a south Kolkata housing society.

Aftab Alam, Mojtaba Hassan, Nasir Shaikh and Sawkat Shaikh are now counting their days at their Kudghat flat and have fallen back on a volunteers’ group, called Sanghati Abhijan, to resist eviction. “A few of our members will talk to the neighbours and the local councillor to find a solution,” Dwaipayan Banerjee, speaking on behalf of Sanghati Abhijan, said.

The four MCH alumni rented the Kudghat flat two months ago. “Our landlord did not have any problem with us but, right from the start, some of our neighbours created a hostile situation. Things worsened on Monday when a friend came to visit us. He was heckled by some of our neighbours, who asked him to show an ‘identity proof’. One of them — a middle-aged ‘gentleman’ — has asked us to find accommodation elsewhere as we are Muslims,” Alam, a resident of Bankra in Howrah, said on Wednesday.

“Many landlords rejected us because of our religious identity. We got this flat after several weeks of house-hunting and our current landlord did not have any problem with our religion,” he added.

Hassan added that it was one particular neighbour, who created the ruckus on Monday when their friend arrived, who was consistently against their staying in the building.

“He first said four bachelors could not stay in the society because it was meant for families. But, later, he told our landlord that he had a problem with us because of our religion,” Hassan said, adding: “He then banded a few others together.”

The four have not yet moved out of the flat but Sawkat Shaikh said they had “more or less decided” to shift. “No one can stay peacefully in such a hostile environment,” the MCH house-staff said.

TOI spoke to their landlord, who said that he did not believe in “discriminating between people on the basis of their religion”.

“That was why I agreed to rent out my flat to the four doctors. But a few of my neighbours spoke to me against my decision, their sole objection being the tenants’ religion,” he said, requesting anonymity as he did not want to get into “trouble”. He added that it would set “a bad example” if he was forced to turn out his tenants. “But I can take only so much of pressure,” he said.

Presidency University Sociology professor emeritus Prasanta Roy called the incident “unfortunate”. “But it is not very surprising because we have always created this division and denied religious minorities space in the city. This re-establishes the belief and practice that religious minorities can only live in a few city pockets,” he added.



Pir Predicted I Would Be Assassinated After Becoming PM, Imran Khan Allegedly Told Indian TV Host

Aug 2, 2018

As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is set to take oath as prime minister of Pakistan on August 11, a rather chilling tweet, by Indian TV host, Simi Grewal, got the attention of PTI workers and followers on social media.

In the, now deleted, tweet Grewal wrote: “#ImranKhan I am deeply ambivalent about the victory. It is a poisoned chalice! Many years ago @ImranKhanPTI told me that a pir had predicted he will become PM of Pakistan-and will be assassinated-Seems Imran wanted it..despite the cost. It’s sad.

The social media reacted to the tweet as one wrote: “@ImranKhanPTI, your life, your presence is precious and your security is and must be yours, your party’s first, top most priority. Don’t repeat the mistake that B.B did and what cost Pakistan paid should not be forgotten. If u love ur country, love urself 1st!”

Another Imran Khan fan wrote: “If life was like “IN TIME” movie I would give all my life to @ImranKhanPTI until the last second. Your tweet was so depressing. Thanks for deleting it.”

Thanking Grewal for deleting the tweet, one wrote: “@Simi_Garewal Thanks for deleting that depressing tweet Maam, you have no idea how much Imran Khan means to us, we are even willing to give our life away for him and to protect him. May God bless Imran Khan and keep him safe.”

Another wrote: “U have no idea how much worried I am after seeing the tweet of Simi. For God’s sake Imran, have some security with you. Pakistan cant afford to lose you. May Allah protect you.”

Recalling the cost Pakistan had to pay after the assassination of Benazir, one user wrote: ”



As Shiite militias kill more people, reports warn of Iran proxies capturing Iraq

2 August 2018

The Iraqi government imposed a curfew in the town of al-Dujail in Salaheddine governorate north of the capital Baghdad, deploying security forces after clashes erupted between armed tribal militants and forces of Asa'ib Ahl al- Haq, an Iraqi Shiite militia.

Salaheddine governor Ahmed al-Jabouri said that the Shiite militia enforced with a large number of its militant, entered the town, kidnapped and killed many resident.

This come as a report painted a terrifying picture of the future of Iraq where the 120,000-strong Popular Mobilization Units have become a powerful Iranian proxy.

VIEW: Militias, crumbling institutions and the idea of Iraq as a model

A financial Times report said warned over the potentially “subversive force in a country that has endured appalling violence over the past 15 years — much of it at the hands of militias that exploited the state’s weakness to stoke sectarian tensions.

Some Iraqi and western officials fear the predominantly Shia paramilitary groups could become a shadow force, modelled on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps or Hizbollah, the Lebanese movement that has political and military wings.

“It’s an Iranian creation led by people who follow Iran: Iran has the guards, Iraq has the PMU,” FT quotes an Iraqi general.

It added that some elements of the more pro-Iran militias in the PMU have dispatched forces to Syria to fight alongside the regime of Bashar al-Assad and have issued threats against US interests in Iraq.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the PMU’s deputy leader, was designated for sanctions by the US Treasury in 2009 “for threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the government of Iraq”, and his Hizbollah Brigades militia is designated a terrorist organization. The Treasury said he was an adviser to Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, and as recently as October a state department spokesman described Mr Muhandis as a “terrorist”.

Is this the beginning of ‘Hezbollah-ization’ of Iraq?

The PMU militias were born after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shia cleric, issued a call to arms in June 2014 following the humiliating collapse of the Iraqi security forces that the US had spent more than $20bn equipping in the face of Isis’s onslaught.

PMU leaders have resisted prime minister Haider al-Abadi’s efforts to integrate them into the armed forces. In November 2016, parliament passed a law making the PMU an independent force, which now has its own $1.6bn budget and ostensibly answers to the prime minister’s office rather than the interior or defense ministries.

Yet when Abadi tried to obtain an independent audit of their numbers, PMU leaders pushed back, the report quotes one Iraqi politician.

Some Iraqis and analysts say PMU groups are also expanding their business interests and allegedly engaging in similar smuggling rackets that Isis once operated, from sheep to grain and oil.



Trump ‘taken hostage’ by Saudis on Iran oil sanctions: Official

Aug 1, 2018

Iran’s OPEC governor says US President Donald Trump has apparently been duped by Saudi Arabia into believing that the kingdom can replace Iranian barrels cut from the market.

The White House said last month that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had promised Trump to raise oil production and that the kingdom had 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity to boost output to offset a decline in supply from Iran.

"It seems President Trump has been taken hostage by Saudi Arabia and a few producers when they claimed they can replace 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian exports, encouraging him to take action against Iran," Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted as saying.

The Trump administration has been pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November 4 when the United States re-imposes sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s banking and petroleum sectors.

However, US officials have softened their stance after initially saying they would press allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to adhere to the sanctions and reduce their imports to zero. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month his country may grant oil sanctions waivers to countries seeking relief from the measures.

The US climbdown came amid warnings that a possible face-off between Washington and Tehran could push oil prices back into the triple digits.

Kazempour Ardebili said oil prices will still rise unless the United States grants waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.

He said there were now calls for the use of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, adding “this will also mean higher prices.”

“US waivers to our clients if they come is due to the failure of bluffers (Saudi and the other producers) and, if not given, will again push the prices higher," Kazempour Ardebili said as he included Russia in his criticism.

"So they hanged him (Trump) on the wall. Now they want to have a mega OPEC, congratulations to President Trump, Russia and Saudi Arabia," he said.

The official said last month that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia had pretended to be able to deliver 2.5 million barrels a day of Iranian exports, leading Trump into a “miscalculation”.

“That was a miscalculation, Mr. President: you have fallen in their trap, and prices will go up," Kazempour Ardebili said, addressing the US president.

On Tuesday, Iran’s OPEC governor addressed himself again to Trump.

"The longer-term solution, Mr. President, is to support and facilitate capacity building in all countries, proportionate to their reserves of oil and gas. And we will remain the biggest opportunity," Kazempour Ardebili said.

Trump offered talks without preconditions with his Iranian counterpart President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, but Tehran outrightly rejected the proposal.

Iranian officials said Trump was not trustworthy, having already pulled the US out of an international nuclear deal with Tehran and reimposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“Sanctions and pressures are the exact opposite of dialogue,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.



We’ll protect all religions, not only Islam, against insults, says Mujahid

Aug 01, 2018

By Minderjeet Kaur

The government will protect all religions from insults, not only Islam, said the minister in charge of Islamic affairs.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said towards that end, Putrajaya was planning to introduce a law to stop racial and religious insults.

Responding to a question from Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Kurau) who asked on measures the authorities planned to take against those who insult Islam on social media, Mujahid said the new law would protect not only Islam, but also other religions, from insults.

He said he also would meet religious scholars this month on the matter, but did not give further details.

The previous government had drafted a National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill, but it never took off.

It was among three new laws proposed under the national unity blueprint by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), of which Mujahid was a member. --FMT



Supporting regimes like Saudi Arabia is part of UK imperialist agenda: Analyst

Aug 1, 2018

The United Kingdom has in one way or the other supported the actions and policies of the regime in Saudi Arabia only to advance an imperialist agenda, a British political analyst and academic in London has said.

“It is a shocking thing that the government of the UK which is supposedly democratic supports, arms (and) in every way approves of the actions of perhaps the most autocratic and vicious regime in the world, that is Saudi Arabia,” Rodney Shakespeare told Press TV on Wednesday.

The analyst described those dominating the regime in Riyadh as “a bunch of scumbags” who support terrorism and Takfirism in other places.

“That particular regime is not only the source of Wahhabism, which is the spiritual and philosophical source of head-choppers and the throat-slitters, it is also the financial source of the head-choppers and throat-slitters,” he said, adding that the UK insisted on supporting the Saudis while they are engaged in “a monstrous onslaught against the people of Yemen.”

Shakespeare said Saudi Arabia was also acting in cahoots with the Israeli regime and tolerated the expansion of Israel into the lands of others, a policy, he said, was dictated by the Zionist-controlled government in the United States and the Zionists in the occupied territories.

He questioned Britain’s support for Saudi Arabia, including its military assistance and arms sale, saying only a few people were benefiting from such a massive support to the kingdom.

Shakespeare said that "only a few people actually gain from these arms sales and we would gain in the UK much more if there was a proper wealth distribution in Saudi Arabia and it was democratic and we were trading with them in a normal way."

He said supporting regimes like Saudi Arabia was an old practice of the imperialist Britain, adding that may be a government could gain power in the country that could change that order.

“The real problem is that there is a British imperial mind which likes to deal with elites in autocratic countries and to use them to suppress the local population and that is the way the Roman Empire worked and now the British Empire worked but it is out of date,” said Shakespeare, adding that "we are supporting scum and I hope we get a change of government which would do something about it.”

Rights groups and activists have criticized a major British consulting and accountancy firm over its bidding for a massive military contract in Saudi Arabia, saying the company will become complicit in crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen. The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said Tuesday that it was finalizing a deal with Saudi Arabia’s military to modernize the kingdom’s army, according to an exclusive report by The Guardian.

The deal will in its first stage cover issues like recruitment, resourcing, performance management and strategic workforce planning, and how to manage and communicate change.

The company, however, failed to say what assurances it will put in place to avoid an involvement in a devastating Saudi war on Yemen, which has already killed 15,000 people, most of them civilians.

The United Nations estimates that some 22 million people in Yemen, about 80 percent of the population in the impoverished country, are now in need of humanitarian aid as a result of three years of illegal Saudi-led war.

Many have criticized Western countries, especially the UK, for their military support to Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom is using weapons purchased from those countries against defenseless civilians in Yemen.





Union Minister, Jaitley, Defends Citizenship Test, Citing Muslim Growth

AUGUST 1, 2018

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Union minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday defended a controversial citizens’ list to detect illegal immigrants from mainly Muslim Bangladesh, saying the growth in the Hindu population of a border state had been overtaken by that of Muslims.

The draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on Monday excluded 4 million people from Assam, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power for the first time in 2016 promising action against illegal immigrants.

Assam has the second highest percentage of Muslims among all states in Hindu-majority India.

The draft is the result of a years-long agitation by residents of Assam demanding expulsion of the immigrants from Muslim-majority Bangladesh just over the border.

“In the 50 years between 1961 and 2011, the majority community in Assam has grown 2.4 times; the minority has grown 3.9 times,” Jaitley, one of Modi’s senior-most cabinet colleagues, said in a blog post. “This has caused a major demographic impact.”

Jaitley, who is on medical leave from his role as finance minister, also quoted a Supreme Court order that said that influx of illegal migrants was turning some Assam districts into a Muslim-majority region which could lead to demands for their merger with Bangladesh.

“Nobody could have put it better,” Jaitley said.

He added that Assam’s neighbouring state of West Bengal, whose chief minister has taken the lead in opposing the citizenship exercise, was “not far behind” in the changing demographics fuelled by immigration.

Assam has been racked by waves of violence over the years as residents, including tribal groups, have clashed with both Hindu and Muslim settlers, whom they accuse of plundering resources and taking away jobs.

Scores of people were chased down and killed by machete-armed mobs intent on hounding out Muslim immigrants in 1983.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the BJP of trying to make millions of people stateless for political reasons and warned of a “bloodbath” and “civil war”.

The NRC is the result of a years-long agitation by Assam residents demanding expulsion of immigrants from Bangladesh who are accused of taking their jobs and cornering resources.

The draft list, however, has been charged with leaving out even genuine Indian citizens. There is an option for people to file claims and objections before a final list is prepared later this year.

India does not have a deportation pact with Bangladesh and the government has said it would decide on the fate of those eventually deemed foreigners in consultation with the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the registration process.



Agra Muslims appeal to government to have humane approach on illegal immigrants issue

Siraj Qureshi

August 1, 2018

As the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is gearing up to take Centre head-on on the question of deporting illegal immigrants from West Bengal, Assam and the other northeastern states, concern is mounting in the Muslim community about the treatment these illegal immigrants, most of whom are Muslims, would face after they have been branded outsiders in the National Population Register survey.

A meeting of liberal Muslims and other prominent citizens of Agra was called by the Bhartaiya Muslim Vikas Parishad recently, in which several issues concerning the growing communalisation of the society were discussed, including the issue of illegal immigrants.

Chairing the meeting, Mufti Mudassar Ali Khan Qadri said that the thought of calling a meeting to discuss ways to counter the communal mindset that was fast gaining prominence in the country was quite refreshing and hopefully progressive citizens of other cities and states will also sit together and ponder on these issues instead of ranting on social media irrelevantly.

He also said that it is quite obvious these days that there is a poison being spread in the atmosphere of the entire world, and that is of hatred.

Sectarian groups are trying to divide the society on the lines of caste, creed and religion and violent thoughts are being propagated for vote-bank politics which was destroying humanity. Qadri said that it was surprising how people were reaching the top, riding this wave of animosity and hatred, while peace loving people were facing tough times.

Jamit-ul-Quresh president Mohd. Shareef Kale said that in India, as soon as the elections come close, politicians start fanning the religious sentiments, generating a violent and poisonous air that pollutes every mind and becomes a danger to the country's internal security and peace.

Bharatiya Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai raised the issue of illegal immigrants that have supposedly been identified during the National Population Registry survey and said that there was much rectification required in the Registry before anyone could be truly identified as an outsider. He said that the data collection methods used by the government were not foolproof and a second verification of identity was required before terming anyone as an illegal immigrant.

However, he said, if anyone is truly found to be an illegal immigrant, then he or she should be sent back to their original country without fail as most of these immigrants were taking residence in the border states and changing entire demographics of these states, making it a security risk.

Aghai said that while expelling these illegal immigrants from India, care should be taken that this act is done humanely and without making it look like religious persecution as this is what the political vultures would need before they jump on this exercise, calling it a crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, Sarvdaleey Muslim Action Committee chairman Syed Irfan Saleem said, "Terrorism is a threat that is looming on the entire world and a terrorist may be of any religion, but he was not human and should not be treated as a human either." He added that in Islam, it was proscribed to unnecessarily hurt even an animal, let alone a human and those who willfully committed terrorist acts, were not the followers of Islam.

Hindustani Biradari vice chairman Vishal Sharma said, "Humanity cannot be divided into religions as humanity itself is the biggest religion that transcends all religious or geographical barriers. Religious extremism was nothing but a denial of one's humanity and should be avoided at all costs as one who loses his humanity, is nothing but an animal."

Full report at:



Taking inspiration from India, top Pakistani Islamic council to push for punishing instant triple talaq

Aug 1, 2018

NEW DELHI: After India's Supreme Court last year outlawed the practice of instant triple talaq, the legal wing of Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is now considering punishing the practice that some Muslim men resort to for divorce, reported The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

At a Council meeting later this month, this issue is supposed to be at the top of the agenda. The CII is a constitutional body of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which is responsible for giving legal advice on Islamic issues to the government and the Parliament.

"This move came after the Indian Supreme Court last year in August imposed a ban on a practice that allowed Muslim men to give instant talaq to their wives. The issue also became a hot topic in Pakistan and was debated at various forms," said Council chairman Qibla Ayaz, to the Tribune.

He added that the Council had earlier this year first recommended making instant triple talaq - saying 'I divorce you' three times in quick succession - a punishable offence.

Ayaz said the Council is waiting for the newly elected government to take charge. After that, it will form a caucus of supporters to push its recommendations. The prime minister in waiting following recent general elections in Pakistan is cricketer-turnedpolitician Imran Khan.

Full report at:



Imran Khan a man of character, accept his invite for swearing-in ceremony: Navjot Sidhu

August 2, 2018

Former cricketer and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that he would travel to Pakistan to attend the swearing-in of Imran Khan as prime minister after an invitation was extended by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Out of all the personalities invited to the August 11 ceremony from India, Sidhu is probably the first to confirm his acceptation. Besides Sidhu, Khan has also invited Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and former cricketers Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar.

Calling the Pakistan prime minister-in-waiting a “man of character”, Sidhu said sportsmen have the ability to build bridges and unite people. “It is (a) great honour, I accept the invitation. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared, but men of character are trusted. Khan Sahab is a man of character. He can be trusted. Sportsmen build bridges, break barriers, unite people,” the former cricketer said.

Sidhu was also among the first cricketers from India to congratulate Khan after PTI emerged as the single-largest party following the July 25 elections. “He brings people together, the same way he’s brought the Pakistani society together. He’s also got that passion, look at the wonders an extraordinary captain like him did to an ordinary Pakistan team back in 1992,” The Express Tribune quoted Sidhu as saying.

The invitation extended to former Indian cricketers should not come as a surprise as in his victory speech, Khan had reminded his critics about his warm relations with India since his cricketing days. “I am a person who arguably knows the most people in India because of my days in cricket. We can resolve the poverty crisis in South East Asia. The biggest problem is Kashmir,” he had said.

Full report at:



No Presence Of ISIS In Jammu And Kashmir, Only Cases Of Flag Waving: Union Minister

August 1, 2018

No terrorist of the Islamic State of Jammu & Kashmir (ISJK) an outfit influenced by ISIS ideology, is active in Jammu and Kashmir and the extent of ISIS presence in the state was till recently limited to waving flags of the global terror group and Pakistan, Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said Wednesday. Appropriate action under the law has been taken against those who were involved in cases of waving ISIS and Pakistani flags in Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said.

There were eight such cases in 2015, 31 cases in 2016 and five cases in 2017.

“Till recently the extent of ISIS presence in Jammu and Kashmir was limited to waving of ISIS and Pakistani flags by some miscreants. However, on June 22, 2018, four terrorists belonging to the ISJK, an outfit influenced by ISIS ideology, were neutralised in Anantnag district. At present no terrorist of ISJK is reportedly active in the state,” he said in response to a written question.

Since the imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir on June 20, 176 people have been arrested for pelting stones, Ahir said in reply to another question.

Besides, there were 39 incidents of terrorist violence in which eight security forces personnel were martyred and three civilians lost their lives, he added. Fourteen terrorists were also killed in these incidents.

Full report at:



Communal tension erupts in Hasanpura after Muslim girl elopes with Hindu boy

Aug 2, 2018

Tension erupted in Hasanpura area of the city on Wednesday afternoon after two communities clashed after a girl from the Muslim community eloped with a boy from the Hindu community.

The additional police force had to be deployed to maintain law and order as the cops arrested three men in the matter. The duo had fled late on Tuesday night and was found on Wednesday by police, however, later the girl gave her statement that she is an adult and wanted to be with the boy on her own wish.

Late on Tuesday night, a Muslim girl and Hindu boy fled and the girl’s family approached the Sadar police to search her. “The cops found her and brought her back to the family. However, she said in the court that she will stay with the boy,” said Hem Raj, station house officer, Sadar police station.

While the police were completing the legal formalities in the matter, a spat broke out in the Dhanka Basti area where the girl’s family resided.

Full report at:



More Muslims enrolling for higher education in Telangana

AUGUST 02, 2018


While the enrolment of Muslims in institutes of higher education in Telangana rose by 22% over a period of five years, enrolment of other minorities such as Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis dropped by around 17%.

These were the observations of the All India Survey on Higher Education released by the Ministry of Human Resources Development. While the enrolment of students from the Muslim community in 2012-13 stood at 89,524, it rose to 1,09,240 in 2017-18. On the other hand, the number of students enrolled from other minority communities was 11,920 in 2012-13; the number fell to 9,866 in 2017-18.

Analysing the data, former Head of Strategy and New Initiatives, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Prof. Amir Ullah Khan said that greater access to education, as compared to previous years, in the State had led to the increase in enrolments. He said that enrolment in institutes of higher education was linked to a larger number of schools – both government and private — being opened.

New schools

“The spurt in new schools, including residential schools for minorities and private schools, has led to an increase in enrolment. These schools are acting as feeders for institutes of higher education,” Prof. Khan said.

Touching upon the drop in enrolments of students belonging to other minority communities, Prof. Khan said that students reached nearly full enrolment in the last decade or so, sometimes crossing 100%, as they were enrolled in multiple institutions. “Hence the enrolment rate has now slowed down as there is a correction. The Muslim minority has now got access to schools in their neighbourhood and in their medium of instruction. This is the reason for the late catch-up,” he said.

Full report at:



Mumbai: Mosque video goes viral, irks Muslims

Aug 2, 2018

A video showing some people having a merry swim in the water pool of a mosque in Grant Road has gone viral, upsetting god-fearing members of the community.

The footage, shot at Bilal Masjid at Do Tanki, purportedly shows some unidentified people splashing about in the mosque’s hauz, the water tank where worshippers carry out ablutions before offering namaz.

The video has been doing rounds on social media for the past few days. “I have seen the video and cannot vouch for its authenticity. However, from the looks of it, it appears that the people are not respecting the holiness and sanctity expected in a mosque,” said Farid Khan, a member of the community.

Anjuman-i-Islam, an educational institute, is fighting a legal case against the group of people who manage Bilal Masjid. A case related to the gate of the mosque is already going on in the court.

Maulana Moin Ashraf, who looks after the Bilal Masjid, said that it was a bid to defame him.

“It is not how it is being made out to be. Some people were cleaning the place. And the khadim’s little girl also went inside. We have taken action against him. Can you imagine someone doing something like that in the mosque? It would have been a major cause for tension. They were only there to clean the tank. It is mischief by some people who want to take over this land with the help of some underworld people. Why did the person not make any noise when he took that video of what was happening? The issue is of property and they are trying to defame me. The masjid and the idgah have been safe because of me. Otherwise, there would have been a building in this place, erected by criminals who are on the run. It is because of me that the property is safe,” the Maulana said.

Full report at:



Syrian ambassador invites Indian companies to rebuild war-torn country

Aug 1, 2018

NEW DELHI: Syrian ambassador to India on Wednesday invited Indian companies, investors and businesses to help rebuild his war-torn country, according to ANI.

“Syria was able to defeat terrorists and all the conspiracies against Syria.

Now we are planning to rebuild Syria and we are looking for help from our friends especially India," Dr Riad Abbas said.

Abbas' comment came soon after Syrian President Bashar al Assad told his troops that they were close to winning country's seven-year-long war.

"Our priority is that Indian companies come and help us rebuild Syria and we are open for Indian investors and businesses," the ambassador added.

Assad's announcement of "victory" came soon after his forces inflicted a succession of defeats on rebels.

Early last year, government forces held just 17 per cent of national territory but a series of blistering offensives has since forced the rebels out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's government back in control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

Much of the territory was recaptured without any ground fighting as the rebels reluctantly agreed to leave their bombed out enclaves in Russian-protected convoys.

The army has been bolstered in its offensives by Russian air strikes, Iranian military advisers and militiamen from Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Full report at:



Switch off loudspeakers in mosques during Kanwar Yatra: Sadhvi Prachi to Yogi Adityanath

August 2, 2018

Accused of hate speech and known for controversial remarks, former VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi was at it again. On Tuesday, she advised Muslim women to marry Hindus and, later, referring to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as her brother, requested him to ensure that loudspeakers at mosques were switched off during the Kanwar Yatra processions in the state.

The Uttar Pradesh government had recently initiated the process of withdrawing cases related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, which included hate speech cases against Prachi.  “Mere bade bhai Yogi ji.. kam se kam.. jab tak Uttar Pradesh mein kaanwar tak Masjidon mein loudspeaker band ho (My elder brother Yogi ji should ensure that till the time Kaanwar processions are going on… there should be ban on use of loudspeakers in the mosques),” Prachi said in Mathura.

Full report at:





IHC bench recuses itself from Imran disqualification case

August 02, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A two-member division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday recused itself from hearing an appeal seeking the disqualification of PTI leader Imran Khan for concealing his alleged daughter, Tyrian Jade White after the counsel of a candidate from NA-53, Islamabad, challenged the constitution of the bench.

Abdul Wahab Baloch, NA-53 candidate for the Justice and Democratic Party Pakistan, raised objections over Imran Khan’s nomination papers for concealing his alleged daughter in the nomination papers.

The returning officer (RO) as well as the appellate tribunal for Islamabad rejected these objections and allowed Imran Khan to contest the general elections.

Sheikh Ahsanuddin, Mr Baloch’s counsel, argued that the tribunal and the RO had dismissed the objection by saying that only voters of a particular constituency could raise objections.

Under the Elections Act 2017, he argued, an opposing candidate could also file objections to the candidacy of a contestant.

The counsel said, Imran Khan is not Sadiq and Ameen under Article 62(1)(F) of the Constitution.

Initially the case was fixed before the division bench consisting of IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Aamer Farooq. However, the IHC chief justice re-constituted the bench and replaced Justice Siddiqui with Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.

On Wednesday, advocate Sheikh challenged the re-constitution of the bench, saying that on July 23, the division bench headed by senior puisne judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui passed an effective order, for admitting the petition for hearing and the case was adjourned till Aug 1.

The petition filed against the constitution of bench says: “as per Court Program (duty Roaster) issued for July 16, 2018 to July 20, 2018, Hon’ble Mr Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb was (not available on 20th July, 2018) and for the period from July 23, 2018 to till further orders.”

Subsequently, for July 30, 2018 to August 03, 2018 a fresh roster of sitting was issued according to which the division bench consisting of Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb has been constituted despite the availability of the senior puisne judge.

It said that “in media time and again it has been disseminated that summer vacations of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb has been cancelled to reconstitute the bench hearing the writ petition against Imran Khan relating to Article 62, 63 of the Constitution. Obviously such impression in the interest of institution could have been dispelled conveniently by allowing Court Roster for the week commencing from July 23, 2018 onward to continue.”

Advocate Imran Haider Kazmi, another counsel of Mr Baloch, requested the court not to hear the matter since the constitution of their bench has been questioned.

Justice Farooq though, expressed displeasure over these arguments but finally remarked that since allegations have been hurled against the constitution of the bench, therefore, him and his fellow judge were recusing themselves.

While dictating the order of the day, he requested the IHC chief justice not to include him as well as Justice Aurangzeb in the bench that would hear this case.

Dr Babar Awan appeared on behalf of Imran Khan and opposed the re-constitution of the bench and requested that the plea seeking transfer of the matter may out-rightly be dismissed.

Full report at:



Looted wealth stashed in UK to be brought back: Imran

Syed Irfan Raza

August 02, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman and prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to bring back the country’s laundered wealth stashed in the United Kingdom.

“It is our firm resolve to bring back to the country the money laundered to the UK,” Mr Khan said during his meeting with British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew at Banigala.

The British envoy called on the PTI chief at his residence to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the July 25 general elections.

According to the PTI media cell, Mr Khan said relations between Pakistan and the UK were quite important, adding that a large number of Pakistanis were residing in that country.

The British envoy expressed good wishes for the PTI’s government.

Both sides exchanged views on strengthening better ties and cooperation in various sectors.

Mr Drew acknowledged Mr Khan’s address to the nation on July 26 and said it bore positive imprints and created a lot of interest in the UK. He was quoted as saying: “The British government is ready to support and work with Islamabad.”

He said the Department for International Development (DFID) would support the PTI-led government put more than 22 million out-of-school children in schools.

The PTI chief thanked the British high commissioner for the warm wishes and felicitations and also praised the role of DFID in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s development.

Meanwhile, independent candidates continued to join the PTI on Wednesday.

Party spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that 25 out of total 27 independent candidates in the Punjab Assembly had joined the PTI so far and now the party had adequate number of seats to form its government in Punjab.

He said independent MNAs-elect Asim Nazir from Faisalabad and Sardar Khurram Leghari from Muzaffargarh had announced they would join the PTI.

Full report at:



Imran likely to be elected PM on 15th

Iftikhar A. Khan

August 02, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Uncertainty surrounds the exact date when the election for the new prime minister and the oath taking will be held as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is yet to finalise results of the July 25 polls and notify the winning candidates.

Given the situation, it’s unlikely that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan will take the oath as prime minister on Aug 11, informed sources told Dawn.

“It’s a touch-and-go situation,” a senior ECP official said while commenting on Mr Khan’s announcement that he would take the oath on Aug 11.

He said the final notification of the returned candidates would be issued after receiving consolidation statements from the constituencies where the ECP had ordered recounting and submission of returns of election expenses by the winning candidates.

The official referred to Section 98 (3) of the Elections Act 2017, which reads: “Every returned candidate shall, within ten days from the poll of an election, submit a return of election expenses under section 134 and the Commission shall not notify in the official Gazette the result of a returned candidate who fails to submit his return of election expenses.”

He said that under the law, three days would be given to the independent candidates to join a political party if they so desired, on the basis of which the share of reserved seats for women and minorities would be worked out.

“Let us assume that all the returned candidates submit their returns of election expenses by the last date set for the purpose — August 4 — it will take two days for issuance of notifications to take it to August 6,” said the official. He added that the independents would then have three days to join a political party — meaning August 9 would be the last date for it. He said the calculation of share of parties in the reserved seats would take another two days, and then the names of the returned candidates would be published in the official Gazette.

“Moving on a fast pace then can only ensure the first session of the National Assembly on August 12, where the newly elected members would take the oath, followed by the election of the speaker and deputy speaker,” said the ECP official. He said the newly elected speaker would then announce schedule for the election of the prime minister, adding that under the normal practice the prime minister was administered the oath of the office by the president the day following his election.

The official said the election to the office of prime minister was most likely to take place on Aug 15.

When contacted, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry agreed that the oath taking of the new PM would not be possible on Aug 11, but expressed the hope that it could be done by Aug 14 — the Independence Day.

“Yes, we had desired that the oathtaking should take place on August 11, but this seems to be impossible,” he remarked.

Answering a question, he said it was the party’s desire that the swearing-in ceremony was held at a public place, preferably at the Parade Ground in front of the Parliament House, but confirmed that it would now be taking place at the President House.

Presidential election

Meanwhile, with the term of President Mamnoon Hussain expiring on Sept 9, the polls to elect his successor are all set to hit a snag.

An official of the ECP pointed out that election to the office of the president under Article 41 (4) of the Constitution was to be held not earlier than 60 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of the president in office.

That means the elections at the latest were to be held by Aug 8, and the schedule for the polls was to be announced some two weeks before it.

However, a proviso attached to the constitutio­nal provision reads: “Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within 30 days of the general election to the assembly.”

Full report at:



22 independents, PML-Q votes take PTI tally to 153 in Punjab

Mansoor Malik

August 02, 2018

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has entered the `final phase’ of forming its government in Punjab with assertions that the party has already got the support of required number of MPAs-elect. However, there is no discussion on the selection of a candidate for Punjab chief minister for now.

Besides eight elected members of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), including an independent, the PTI claims 22 independents have formally joined the party, taking its tally to 153 in the directly-elected house of 297 members.

The 22 independents, who have joined the party, are: Raja Sagheer Ahmad (PP-7), Syed Saeedul Hassan (PP-46), Muhammad Ajmal Cheema (PP-97), Ghulam Rasool Sangha (PP-83), Ameer M Khan (PP-89), Saeed Akbar Khan (PP-90), Khawar Shah (PP-203), Muhammad Umer Farooq (PP-106), Faisal Hayat (PP-125), Hussain Jahanian Gardezi (PP-204), Sheikh Salman Naeem (PP-2017), Fida Hussain (PP-237), Shaukat Lalika (PP-238), Sardar Abdul Haye Dasti (PP-270), Basit Bukhari (PP-272), Khurram Leghari (PP-275), Tahir Mehmood Randhawa (PP-282), Syed Rafaqat Ali Gillani (PP-284), Muhammad Hanif Pitafi (PP-289), Taimoor Laali (PP-93), Rai Taimoor Bhatti (PP-124) and Mehr Aslam Bharwana (PP-127).

Sources say the PTI will bag 34 women seats and five minority seats against its 153 members and show up with 192 members in the complete house of 371 members.

Sources say party chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday remained busy in discussions about party policies for the first 30 days, 90 days and 100 days. “However, there was no discussion on the chief minister candidate as the party is weighing all options,” says a party leader.

Owing to indecision, the candidates for the coveted chief minister slot are increasing and lobbying with their credentials besides discrediting others on different grounds.

Full report at:



MQM to support PTI in forming government at the Centre, says convener

Imtiaz Ali

August 02, 2018

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Wednesday announced its decision to extend support to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for the formation of the upcoming federal government.

The decision was revealed by MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while appearing on Geo TV's evening show 'Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Saath'.

"Yes, we have agreed to cooperate with them [PTI] for the formation of [a coalition] government at the Centre," Siddiqui said when asked by the host whether his party is ready to join the Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Strongly asserting that the party had "gone through so many [unpleasant] experiences in the past" with the PPP government in Sindh, Siddiqui said it was not conscionable for MQM to join the PPP in opposing the formation of a PTI-led government "given the current situation in Sindh".

Earlier, as news emerged of an All Parties Conference (APC) convening in Islamabad on Thursday, the MQM-P had confirmed that it would not attend the gathering purposed to chalk out a future strategy against alleged rigging in the July 25 elections.

“The MQM-P will not be attending the APC,” MQM-P spokesperson Aminul Haq told Dawn.

Haq, who is a newly-elected MNA from Karachi, said former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair — who had recently resigned from his post — on Tuesday night contacted their party leader, Faisal Subzwari, inviting the MQM to attend the APC.

Haq, also a member of the MQM-P’s Coordination Committee, said they have decided not to attend the APC because they had a "bitter experience" of working with the PPP both at the Centre and in Sindh as a coalition partner and due to the fact that it (PPP) is a part of the joint opposition.

The MQM leader also said that they planned to work with PTI for the "urban development" of Karachi, Hyderabad, and Mirpurkhas.

He recalled that when MQM leaders met with PTI leader Jahangir Tareen in Karachi recently, they had discussed the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), initiating the second phase of K-IV project for the provision of drinking water to Karachi, transport issues, and the redressal of other civic problems the urban centres of Sindh are faced with.

The MQM-P won six National Assembly seats — four in Karachi and two in Hyderabad — in the July 25 elections, compared to 24 NA seats in 2013.

Full report at:



Bajwa praises military’s ECP-mandated role in polls

Baqir Sajjad Syed

August 02, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday praised the military for playing the role assigned by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the general elections held last week.

“COAS appreciated efforts of Army Elections Support Centre (AESC) and field formations for assisting Election Commission of Pakistan as per assigned mandate for conduct of elections,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement on the corps commanders conference held at the General Headquarters.

Also read: 'No direct role of army in July 25 elections,' DG ISPR tells Senate committee

Gen Bajwa, while chairing the conference, also thanked the people for supporting the armed forces in the discharge of their duties during the July 25 elections.

The ECP had requisitioned deployment of the armed forces to assist it in free, fair and transparent conduct of elections 2018. The armed forces were primarily assigned the role of security.

In one of the biggest deployments for election duties in the country, 371,388 troops were deployed at 85,000 polling stations. Besides performing duties at polling stations, the troops also guarded three printing presses where ballot papers and other election stationery were printed and provided security during the transportation of election material.

The role of the troops was covered by a code of conduct for security personnel that had been issued by the ECP.

The European Union Election Observers Mission had in its report noted that the ‘code of conduct for security personnel’ increased the powers and role of security personnel posted. Questions were also raised over the role of military inside the polling stations on election day.

“While a secure environment for voters, candidates and polling staff is essential, the deployment of large numbers of soldiers, and their presence inside polling stations with expanded powers could raise voter intimidation,” EU mission’s report had said.

Three troops were martyred when terrorists attacked a convoy transporting the polling staff of NA-271 (Buleda). Casualties were also reported when a vehicle transporting election material in NA-12 (Battagram) met with accident.

“Forum paid tribute to all martyrs and injured who sacrificed their blood during the process,” the ISPR said.

Barring Quetta and Buleda incidents, polling day largely remained peaceful.


Gen Bajwa directed continuation of the counter-terrorism and counter-militancy operations.

Geostrategic environment, regional peace and internal security situation of the country were reviewed at the meeting.

Full report at:



PPP leader advises Bilawal to support Khan, says Zardari should’ve stayed out of NA

Aug 2, 2018

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Southern Punjab chapter President and former governor Makhdum Ahmed Mehmud advised PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto to support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for the next five years and said that PPP Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari should not have contested the recent general polls for a National Assembly (NA) seat.

He said, “Now, we should think about Pakistan and I wish Imran Khan completes his five-year term as prime minister.”

He added that Bilawal’s entry into the NA was a good sign for democracy in the country.

“Previously he [Zardari] would summon the meetings of NA as the president and now he would sit in that very assembly as an ordinary member,” the former governor also said.



Security beefed up around PTI chief’s Bani Gala residence, shade cloth installed

Aug 2, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In order to save the prime minister-in-waiting from prying eyes, shade cloth has been installed around Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence.

The required instructions were issued to authorities concerned after a security audit of the PTI chief’s house which had been conducted earlier.

The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chiefs were also directed to increase security measures around PTI Chairman Khan’s residence.

An official said, “The National Counter-Terrorism Authority has issued at least four security alerts for Imran Khan since the election.”



SC disposes of Quetta Church affectees’ compensation case

Aug 2, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Wednesday disposed of Quetta Church affectees’ compensation case.

A three-member bench of the SC presided over by CJP took up Quetta church affectees compensation case for hearing on Wednesday.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar said, “In my opinion, all affectees have got the compensation and any further working on this case on suo motto notice is not needed’’.

CJP remarked during the hearing that thanks for giving compensation in such a short time and further steps are not necessary to be taken in this regard.

The representative of Christian community Javaid Maseeh has said that we are not Christians so we should be called and written as Maseeh not Christians.

The CJP said that the court order should be shown if there is any problem and disposed of the case.



Hindu teenager arrested over ‘blasphemous social media posts’

Aug 2, 2018

Mirpurkhas Police on Wednesday booked a teenage Hindu boy for allegedly posting blasphemous content on social media.

The boy was arrested and sent on a 14-day judicial remand after a complaint was filed by a local prayer leader.

He was charged under Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) that pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

The prayer leader alleged that the suspect had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims by posting ‘highly controversial’ posts on his Facebook account since July 30.

According to media reports, the reason behind these alleged posts could be a result of the frustration felt by the teenager after his teenage sister converted to Islam a few days back.  “Some other members of his family were also expected to convert to Islam,” it was reported.

The punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan ranges from several years in prison to a death sentence. Under existing laws, a person making a false accusation can only face proceedings under Section 182 of the PPC, which entails a maximum punishment of six months, or a mere Rs1,000 fine. However, an amendment had been proposed in the Islamabad High Court which sought the same punishment as under Section 295-C for those who falsely accuse people of blasphemy.

Full report at:



Army satisfied with efforts for peace in Afghanistan

AUGUST 2, 2018

Pakistan Army on Wednesday expressed satisfaction on progress of military-level engagements with Afghanistan for regional peace, especially through Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability, a press statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The 212nd Corps Commanders’ Conference held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi reviewed geo-strategic environment, regional peace and internal security situation of the country. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who presided over the meeting, directed commanders to continue consolidating the gains against terrorism and militancy.

The COAS appreciated efforts of army elections support centre and field formations for assisting the Election Commission of Pakistan as per assigned mandate for conduct of general elections in the country. The forum paid tribute to all martyrs and injured who sacrificed their blood during the process. The conference also thanked people of Pakistan for their participation and wholehearted support for the armed forces during performance of their duty towards the national cause.



Amir Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Navjot Sidhu invited for Imran’s oath ceremony

AUGUST 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Invitations have been sent across the border to Bollywood ace Amir Khan and cricketing legends Sunil Gavaskar and Navjot Singh Sidhu for PTI chief Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.

PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that invitations have been sent to Amir, Gavaskar, Sidhu and several other known personalities from beyond Pakistan for oath taking ceremony of Imran Khan.

Moreover, the PTI is also pondering over inviting Indian PM Narendra Modi and leaders of SAARC nations to the ceremony too. However, a final decision will be made by the foreign office.



Arab World


Amnesty accuses Turkey of tolerating Syrian rebel abuses in Afrin

2 August 2018

Amnesty International on Thursday accused Turkish forces of allowing Syrian armed groups to commit major rights abuses in the northern region of Afrin, urging Ankara to immediately end the violations.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels seized control of Afrin earlier this year after a military operation which ousted a Kurdish militia that is an ally of the United States but Ankara regards as a terror group.

Amnesty said that, since the takeover, residents in Afrin had been “enduring a wide range of violations” which Turkish armed forces “turned a blind eye” to.

“These violations include arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and confiscation of property and looting to which Turkey’s armed forces have turned a blind eye,” Amnesty said.

Disrupted education

Some of the Syrian groups as well as Turkish armed forces have taken over schools, Amnesty claimed, which it said disrupted education for thousands of children.

Amnesty said residents told them that Afrin University was “completely shut down after it was destroyed and looted”, adding only one school in Afrin city was accessible.

The rights group said that when contacted for comment, the Turkish government questioned its impartiality for using the terminology of Kurdish-dominated forces to describe regions.

Turkey says the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia it ousted from Afrin is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since 1984. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the US and the European Union.



Egyptian forces kill five suspected militants north of Cairo

1 August 2018

Egyptian security forces killed five suspected militants in a shootout in Qalyubiya province, north of Cairo, the interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said the militants were members of the Hasm group who were instructed to conduct “terrorist operations aimed at destabilizing the country” by movement leaders abroad.

Egypt accuses Hasm, which emerged in 2016 and has claimed several attacks on security forces, of being a militant wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood denies this.

Hasm has sometimes released statements claiming attacks against security forces.

It has not claimed links with the Brotherhood.

Hasm did not immediately issue a statement about the shootout.

Police also arrested five other suspected militants during a separate raid in the al-Salam neighborhood in Cairo and confiscated weapons at a third location, the ministry said.

Egypt has been fighting an extremist insurgency in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula since the ouster of Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

The ISIS militants in North Sinai have not signaled any connection to Hasm, which has operated mostly in the Nile Delta region.

The military launched an offensive against militants in February which has focused on Sinai, but which it said was country-wide.

Full report at:



Iraqis from same family risk death penalty over IS killings

August 02, 2018

BAGHDAD : Eight Iraqis from the same family risk being sentenced to death after admitting to involvement in killing 370 people while members of the Islamic State group, the judiciary said Wednesday.

The men face charges under Iraq's anti-terror legislation over the killings at Khasfah, a sinkhole in northern Iraq just eight kilometres from Mosul, the former capital of IS's self-declared "caliphate".

"The eight terrorists arrested have admitted to participating in the Khasfah massacre," said Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar. "They participated in the execution of 370 civilians and members of security forces and the arrest of 400 people in Mosul," who were then held in IS jails, he added in a statement.

After IS overran Mosul in 2014, Khasfah became one of Iraq's largest mass graves as jihadists carried out a series of executions at the site.

Witnesses said the victims were blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs, before being forced to kneel. They were then shot and pushed into the crater.

More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death or life in prison by Iraqi courts over their membership of IS, according to judicial sources.

Full report at:



'Victory is near,' Syria's Assad tells troops

August 02, 2018

DAMASCUS  -  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told his troops on Wednesday they were close to winning the country's seven-year civil war after inflicting a succession of defeats on rebels.

Early last year, government forces held just 17 percent of national territory but a series of blistering offensives has since forced the rebels out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad's government in control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

"Our date with victory is near," Assad wrote in an open letter to the rank and file.

"They (the rebels) were ultimately forced to leave - humiliated, rolled back, their tails between their legs - after you gave them a taste of bitter defeat."

Much of the territory was recaptured without any ground fighting as the rebels reluctantly agreed to leave their bombed-out enclaves in Russian-protected convoys.

The army has been bolstered in its offensives by Russian air strikes, Iranian military advisers and militiamen from Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Government troops are now mopping up the remaining pockets of rebel and jihadist territory in the south, where the uprising against Assad first broke out in 2011.

Last week, Assad promised a similar offensive against the rebels' sole remaining major stronghold - Idlib province in the northwest.

But his ally Moscow has ruled out any large-scale assault on the province in the near future.

Idlib is the last of four "de-escalation" zones agreed by world powers in 2017 where the rebels still have a major presence.

Rebels and civilians bussed out of the other three zones when they fell to the government were all taken to Idlib, increasing its population to around 2.5 million people.

A military operation in the province would cause mass displacement towards the border with Turkey, and even Russia has warned against an assault.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Repels ISIL Attack on Sweida Airbase

Aug 01, 2018

The army men exchanged heavy fire with ISIL that tried to prevail over government forces' positions in Khalkhala airbase in Northeastern Sweida from Eastern Badiyeh (desert) and managed to ward off the offensive, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units and aircraft pounded ISIL's positions and movements in the depth of Northeastern Badiyeh of Sweida, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

Other army units stormed ISIL's positions in the villages of Rami and Um Rawaq in Northeastern Syria, destroying their strongholds.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties and the remaining pockets of the terrorists retreated from the battlefield after the attack failed.

Last week, the army forwarded a long convoy of military vehicles and trucks carrying equipment to Eastern Sweida.

Over 50,000 army men, popular forces and tribal fighters were dispatched to Sweida for cleansing the regions that were under the control or attack of the terrorists.

Full report at:



Gov't Flag Hoisted across Manbij Ahead of Syrian Army's Imminent Arrival

Aug 01, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted local sources as reporting that civilians in Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo have hoisted the government flags across the town, preparing for a warm welcome ceremony as the army is regaining control over the town following talks between the Kurds and Damascus officials two days ago.

Al-Watan said that civilians have prepared banners to welcome the army at the Western entrance of the town where the army is expected to enter Manbij.

Manbij residents have also repaired and reconstructed police stations in the town and along the Aleppo international highway to Manbij to hand over their control to the army forces, al-Watan further said.

It quoted a member of the Manbij Military Council as reporting that the Syrian government flags have been hoisted over the highest point of the town over Municipality Palace Building near al-Karank square that is a sign of Damascus' reign over the region. On Saturday, a preliminary agreement was made between the SDF and the Syrian government on transferring control of different parts of the country to Damascus and withdrawal of the US forces from Syria.

The Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quoted informed Syrian sources as saying that the SDF agreed to give control of Raqqa city and a large number of districts in Hasaka city, including those near the government and security centers, to the Syrian government.

Based on the report, the meetings were held in the presence of the Kurds close to the Syrian government, adding that they told the SDF officials that regaining control of the occupied areas was possible but Damascus prefers to retake them through political ways and negotiations.

Full report at:



Kurds Hand over Key Hospital to Syrian Gov't Forces in Raqqa Province

Aug 01, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted opposition sources as reporting that the SDF has handed over Tabaqa General Hospital to the Syrian government as enshrined in an agreement endorsed by the SDF and Damascus officials at the end of last week, which also requires the central government to start services in the region.

In the meantime, the SDF also handed over 35 bodies of the Syrian soldiers of the 93rd Brigade killed by the ISIL in Ein Issa in Raqqa on Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday, a preliminary agreement was made between the SDF and the Syrian government on transferring control of different parts of the country to Damascus and withdrawal of the US forces from Syria.

The Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quoted informed Syrian sources as saying that the SDF agreed to give control of Raqqa city and a large number of districts in Hasaka city, including those near the government and security centers, to the Syrian government.

Based on the report, the meetings were held in the presence of the Kurds close to the Syrian government, adding that they told the SDF officials that regaining control of the occupied areas was possible but Damascus prefers to retake them through political ways and negotiations.

Full report at:



Tensions Rising between Civilians, US-Backed Militias in Northeastern Syria

Aug 01, 2018

A number of civilians engaged in heavy fighting with the SDF in Baq al-Rashid district in Raqqa city, leaving a number of people and gunmen injured.

The SDF has put its militants on alert following the clashes.

In the meantime, the SDF seized people's shops in al-Sina'ah and al-Hadid streets in Raqqa city, claiming that the shops once belonged to the ISIL.

On Tuesday, the SDF occupied residential units of over twenty civilians in Raqqa city amid intensified tensions between the SDF and people in Northeastern Syria.

The SDF seized 24 residential units in the Youth District in Raqqa city, preventing the owners from returning home.

The SDF occupied the units under the pretext of security concerns, claiming that the units were located in a security zone that was home to the SDF's military, media and security centers.

In the meantime, Abu Doham, an SDF commander, and his aide were killed after unknown gunmen opened fire at them near the village of al-Akarishi in Eastern Raqqa.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Launches Surprise Attack on Terrorists at Border with Turkey

Aug 01, 2018

The army's elite forces, backed up by missile and artillery units, carried out a massive surprise attack on Tahrir al-Sham in al-Saraf region near Northern Lattakia's border with Turkey, destroying over 20 positions.

Terrorists were launching their attacks on the army from al-Saraf region.

Most members of the terrorist groups in Northeastern Lattakia are Turkish, Uzbek, Chechen, Turkistani and from the Persian Gulf's Arab states.

Al-Quds al-Arabi daily quoted militant-affiliated sources in Northern Syria as reporting on Sunday that Syria's Liberation Front, Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at, National Liberation Front, Jeish al-Islam and Idlib Free Army formed a new coalition known as Jeish al-Fatah in Idlib province.

The daily further said that the newly-formed Jeish al-Fatah has almost 75,000 gunmen, adding that the terrorist groups' move is aimed at confronting the Syrian Army's large-scale imminent operation in Southern and Western Aleppo, Western Idlib and Northern and Northeastern Lattakia.

Full report at:



Rex Tillerson stopped Saudi and UAE from 'attacking' Qatar

Aug 2, 2018

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates planned to launch a military operation against Qatar at the beginning of a diplomatic crisis that erupted in June last year but were stopped by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an act that may have played a key role in his dismissal.

According to the investigative news website The Intercept, the plan involved Saudi ground troops crossing the land border into Qatar, and with military support from the UAE, advancing 100km inland and seizing the Qatari capital.

Based on information it said it received from a current member of the US intelligence community and two former Department of State officials, The Intercept said the coup, which was largely devised by Saudi Arabia and the UAE's crown princes, "was likely some weeks away from being implemented".

It said the attack against Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, would have involved Saudi forces circumventing the Al Udeid Air Base, which is home of the US Air Force Central Command and some 10,000 American troops, and seizing Doha.

Al Udeid serves as one of the US' most important overseas military bases and carries out operations throughout the Middle East.

However, after Tillerson was notified of the plan by Qatari intelligence officials, he reportedly urged Saudi Arabia's King Salman not to carry out the attack and also encouraged Defense Secretary James Mattis to explain the dangers of such an invasion to his counterparts in the kingdom, it said.

Pressure from Tillerson caused Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, to back down, who was concerned that the invasion would damage Saudi Arabia's long-term relationship with the US.

Long-standing rivalry

However, Tillerson's intervention reportedly enraged Mohammed bin Zayed, also known as MBZ, with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the UAE, subsequently lobbying the White House for Tillerson's removal.

MBZ has had a long-running rivalry with Qatar and supported a failed coup against the Qatari government in 1996 when he served as chief of staff of the UAE armed forces.

The Intercept said none of the current or former officials interviewed by The Intercept had direct insight into why Trump decided to fire Tillerson, but one source said that the timing - a week before the Saudi crown prince arrived in Washington for a much-publicised visit - was significant.

Tillerson, a former executive for the energy company Exxon, had repeatedly criticised the blockading countries for the crisis before his dismissal, and in October last year, accused them of heightening tensions.

"There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage," Tillerson said at the time.

"It's up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear - they're ready to engage."

Emirati influence over Trump

Tillerson has not given any interviews since he was replaced with Mike Pompeo, but is believed to have disagreed on a number of issues with President Donald Trump, including the blockade of Qatar.

According to one news report, Tillerson was frustrated with Trump for endorsing the blockade, with his aides suspecting that a line in the president's speech where Qatar was accused of funding terrorism at a "very high level" had been written by the UAE's ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba.

Otaiba is a well-known figure in US national security circles, and according to Politico maintains "almost constant phone and email contact" with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The Intercept also reported that four of the sources it interviewed pointed to an ongoing campaign by the UAE to try to provoke Qatar into escalating the crisis.

The UAE has made it illegal for people to express sympathy with Qatar on social media, meanwhile Emirati officials, with close links to its leadership, repeatedly hurl insults against Qatari women.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, along with Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of supporting "extremism and terrorism" and cosying up to Iran.

Qatar has vehemently denied all allegations.

The quartet subsequently ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries, and also urged their citizens to return to their respective nations, disrupting the lives of thousands in the region and restricting their freedom of movement.

According to several media reports, the four countries want Qatar to join a regional alliance against Iran and normalise relations with Israel.

Full report at:



North America


Anti-Islamic message written in chalk at Oak Creek skate park

Aug. 1, 2018

OAK CREEK - Police received a report of an anti-Islamic message written in chalk at an Oak Creek stake park July 25.

The message read "Islam and Shari Law is Anti-American," according to Oak Creek Police Department records.

"Shari Law" is a misspelling of sharia law — a set of principles that touch on many aspects of public and private life in Islamic culture.

Police received a report of the message at 6:31 p.m. at Skate Park, 1425 E. Drexel Ave., records said.

An officer was able to scrub it off with water.

A few days later, hate speech directed toward Jews was spray painted on a pavilion in Greenfield Park in West Allis.

Hate speech, including "(expletive) Jews," "death to all," "666," and sketches of vulgar and anarchist symbols, was spray painted in red across the Lannon-stone building.

A Milwaukee County Parks employee said graffiti covered all three entrances from side to side and top to bottom.



Iranians will never allow talks with US: IRGC commander

Aug 1, 2018

The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) rebuffs US President Donald Trump’s offer of talks with Tehran, saying the Iranian nation will never allow their officials to hold talks with the “Great Satan” and will, instead, stay on the path of resistance against pressure.

In an open letter to Trump, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said “Iran is not North Korea to give a positive response to your offer for a meeting.”

“The Iranian nation has many differences with those nations that submit to domination, and will never allow its authorities to hold talks and meetings with the Great Satan,” referring to the US.

The senior general also described Trump as an “amateurish president” who is sticking with his same old “cheap” business tactics instead of practicing professional politics.

Former US presidents learnt better than Trump that Iran and its people could not be threatened, and that they would instead close their ranks and strengthen their unity against any foreign threat and pressure, he added.

“You will take to the grave the dream of Iranian officials asking you for a meeting or getting the permission to meet you from their nation. You would never live to see that day,” Jafari said.

Speaking at a White House news conference on Monday, Trump said, “I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet.” Asked if he had any preconditions for such a meeting, Trump replied, “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Hours later, however, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set some conditions for the meeting.

Also on Tuesday, the US president said he has “a feeling” the Iranians will “be talking to us pretty soon.”

Responding to Trump’s offer, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US should blame itself for leaving the negotiating table by unilaterally scrapping the 2015 nuclear deal – officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Back in May, Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from the JCPOA despite objections from the other signatories to the multilateral accord. The move entails the re-imposition of the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

Besides those restrictive measures, the White House has vowed the “strongest sanctions in history” on Iran unless the country fulfills a list of US demands.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Persecuted Indonesian Christians, Muslims strengthen bonds

August 1, 2018

More than a hundred Indonesian Christian and Muslim youths whose places of worship were shut down by authorities gathered together at the end of July in demonstrations of support for each other and defiance against their "oppressors."

The July 27 to 29 gatherings were sponsored by local human rights groups and held at the headquarters of the National Commission on Violence against Women in Jakarta and in nearby Bekasi, a city in West Java.

The events aimed to unite "persecuted" congregations through various activities such as sports, singing, poetry reading, discussion, and sharing stories of discrimination they are allegedly facing.

Participants were members of the Filadelfia Batak Protestant Church in Bekasi, the Indonesia Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin in Bogor, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

All hailed from West Java, a which has the highest number of incidents of religious intolerance, according to rights group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

The local government has shut both Christian churches, prompting their congregations to hold Sunday services outside the presidential palace since 2013.

Meanwhile, persecution against the Ahmadiyya — a Muslim sect that believes Muhammad was not the last prophet — has been more widespread and seen many expelled by local Muslims from their villages and their worship places closed or destroyed.

"It's time for us as young people to unite to create peace," said Dio Saputra Christiano Manurung, a member of the Filadelfia church and co-organizer of the event.

He said they wanted to establish a movement that will voice the truth, and to make the gathering an annual activity.

"We see human rights abuses continue, including against churches. Many Christians in some regions do not have a church to pray in," he told

He said his own church has remained shut because of local authorities despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering its reopening in 2011.

Andre, 27, from the Indonesia Christian Church of Yasmin in Bogor, West Java, said the three-day gathering has strengthened his relationship with members of other churches that have similar experiences to his.

"Our church is sealed but it does not limit our love for our neighbors, including Muslims," he told

Nivari, 24, a Muslim, said the event has brought her to closer to Christian friends.

"I want to let them know that not all Muslims hate other religions," she said.

"Many Muslims, including me, can involve themselves in the activities of Christian friends and are committed to building peace," she said.



‘Angry Muslim Father’ Writes Open Letter To Deputy PM Over Child Bride Issue

2 Aug 2018

PETALING JAYA: The 40-year-old Muslim father who started an online petition asking for child marriages to be outlawed has written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister over her lack of action.

Umran Kadir, a Malaysian who is based in the United Kingdom, said his petition on has received nearly 22,000 signatures since he initiated it on July 11 (July 12 Malaysian time).

“This is despite it remaining a truly private initiative backed by no organisations.

“It has been endorsed by people of all faiths and backgrounds, including a substantial number of Muslim men and women.

Various groups have taken Dr Wan Azizah, also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister, to task over her inaction against the 41-year-old Kelantanese man who married an 11-year-old Thai girl.

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) said her failure to take swift action against the man showed a lack of political will.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Latheefa Koya also lambasted Dr Wan Azizah for delaying action, saying that there was no excuse or complexity as the facts were clear that he sexually groomed the girl.

Umran’s letter to the Deputy Prime Minister is reproduced verbatim below:

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail,

On July 11, I started a petition calling on the Federal Government to immediately do everything in its power to ban and criminalise the vile and state-sanctioned practice of child marriage as it provides a licence to paedophiles to prey on our children, in particular our girls.

To date, the petition has been signed by over 20,000 people and that number continues to rise with each passing day. A significant proportion of the signatories are Muslim men and women with many signatories having left public comments.

Nevertheless, if it was not already obvious to you, people of all faiths and ethnicities are united in their anger and utter revulsion that such a practice is condoned under Malaysian law.

A stop must be put to this immediately. No other outcome is acceptable.

The reports of a 41-year-old man grooming a seven-year old girl and then marrying her at the age of 11 has been in the press for some weeks. A piece on it even appeared in The New York Times a few days ago.

Since the issue hit the headlines, many of us have been appalled by the lack of a robust, decisive and urgent response from you on this hugely important issue.

More recently, press reports dated Aug 1 carried a baffling quote from you that “more evidence” is needed in the case of the 41-year-old man marrying the 11-year-old child!

Just what more evidence do you need to successfully charge the man under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017? To be vague and wishy-washy simply will not do at this stage.

Surely there can be nothing more important than the safeguarding of children?

As Minister of Women and Family Development you must unequivocally state the position that child marriage will not be sanctioned under any laws in Malaysia, be they religious or otherwise, and that any evidence of those pursuing any form of sexual or inappropriate behaviour with children must be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible under the law.

Your deeds must match those words. Nothing else will be acceptable.

In any society there will always be a fringe element. Our society is no different, but you must simply not let them intimidate you or in any way dictate the discourse or public policy. To allow this will only embolden them and disempower the vast majority of Malaysians who are law abiding and patriotic.

Instead, we insist that you display courage and leadership and be unafraid to be guided by your moral compass.

It is frustrating that post-May 9 2018 that the Malaysian Government must still be shamed and pressured into doing the right thing.

At a talk delivered by your husband in London he spoke of his aspiration that Malaysia should become a beacon of hope in a fractured world and in particular, that it could serve as a model for other Muslim majority countries to emulate.

Yet, on this most important of issues, your husband has very disappointingly remained silent and other Muslim majority countries are already leading the way.

President Jokowi (referring to Indonesian President Joko Widodo – ED) is reported at the end of April 2018 to have said that the Indonesian government is already taking steps to ban child marriages.

If indeed you share your husband’s vision of making Malaysia a model worthy of emulating, then decisive and quick action is needed from you on this issue.

The people have spoken out loudly and clearly.

You must heed our call to action.

The following must be done without any further delay:

1. Prosecute the 41-year-old man under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017;

2. Table in Parliament what your plans are to put a total stop on the practice throughout Malaysia, including a clear indication of timeframes that we can hold you to;

3. Stop making statements that come across as weak and indecisive; and

4. Keep the public informed

Full report at:



Duterte right to bet on autonomy for troubled Muslim regions

Richard Heydarian

August 01, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte kicked off his third year in office with a historic decision, which may radically transform the fortunes of his home island of Mindanao.

In late July, he signed a law paving the way for the creation of a Muslim-majority regional entity in the Catholic-majority Southeast Asian nation.

If approved by a plebiscite scheduled for later this year, the new political administration is expected to encompass Muslim-majority provinces from the southern tip of the Philippines all the way to central regions of Mindanao.

Under the new law, tens of thousands of rebels will be disarmed and demobilized as part of a long-term transition plan toward peace, which includes the eventual reintegration of insurgents into the state security apparatus. Called the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), the legislation covers the majority of the country's 10 million Muslims, often called Moro, who live mainly in central and southern Mindanao and comprise about 10% of the total national population.

The path ahead, however, is strewn with daunting challenges, including deep-seated ethnic-tribal rivalries among various Moro groups, the absence of basic infrastructure after decades of conflict and neglect across the area, and the enduring appeal of extremism and terrorist organizations in Mindanao.

Duterte and his successors will have to expend huge political capital to mediate between the toxic rivalries existing among rebel groups and allocate time and energy to shepherd the tortuous process of transition, which will test the mettle of Moro leadership like never before. But there is no alternative.

The creation of the Bangsamoro (the nation of Moros) is a core element of the 2014 peace agreement between the Philippine government, then under President Benigno Aquino III, and the country's largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Duterte's predecessor, however, failed to mobilize legislative support for the BOL, previously known as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, due to widespread public opposition from Filipino Christians. They were inflamed largely by the Mamasapano Massacre in early 2015, when MILF members killed dozens of Philippine Police Special Forces during a botched counterterror operation.

The tragic incident immediately rekindled deeply ingrained anti-Muslim sentiments among many Christians and undermined mutual trust and confidence between the government and the MILF. It almost cost Aquino his presidency, as a growing number of people, including some of his legislative allies, called for his resignation.

During the 2016 presidential elections, Duterte, the only candidate from Mindanao, was the only major national leader to wholeheartedly support the creation of a Bangsamoro. As the first Filipino president from Mindanao, Duterte portrayed himself as harbinger of peace, who will staunch the gushing wound of communal wars in his home island.

The months-long siege of the city of Marawi in Mindanao last year, led by militants tied to the so-called Islamic State (IS), only reinforced Duterte's determination to mobilize his allies for the passage of the long-stalled Bangsamoro bill.

To him, granting greater autonomy to the Moros is the only way to end the conflict in the troubled south. Only two months after certifying (May) the BOL as an urgent bill, something that his predecessor failed to do during his final years in office, Duterte managed to convince both houses of the Congress to pass a final version, which was amenable to all sides, including the MILF leadership.

The proposed Bangsamoro will supplant the much smaller Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a largely failed experiment at political decentralization heavily concentrated in the southernmost provinces of Mindanao.

Under the new law, the MILF's military wing will be disbanded with its members reintegrated into the emerging Bangsamoro state institutions. The MILF leadership will transform from a coterie of revolutionaries, who saw Manila as a mortal enemy, into the core element of Moro ruling class, but within the overall framework of the Philippine constitution.

The Moro peoples will be able to determine their own legislations and unique administrative regimes, including the creation and expansion of Sharia courts for dispensation of justice. The law also grants greater fiscal autonomy through a 75-25 revenue sharing arrangement, with the Bangsamoro leadership obliged to remit only a quarter of its locally-generated taxes to the national government. Other provinces remit as much as 60%.

Annually, the national government will automatically allocate up to 5% of national revenues, amounting to over $1 billion, to the Bangsamoro administration. Such a 'fiscal transfer' arrangement is meant to help the Bangsamoro institutions to strengthen over time.

Yet, problems abound. First are the myriad ethnic-tribal rivalries, which led to the split within the Moro insurgency movement in the past century. The ARMM has been under the leadership of the Tausug ethnic group, which formed the core leadership of the Maguindanao-dominated MILF's parent organization, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The Tausug-Maguindanao rivalry has put into question the willingness of provinces under the ARMM to join the proposed larger Bangsamoro entity, where the MILF will be in a strong position for dominance.

Moreover, political dynasties and warlords in some religiously-mixed and more prosperous Muslim-dominated provinces, particularly in Cotabato but also in Lanao del Norte, may also opt out of joining the Bangsamoro, not only due to their rivalries with the MILF leadership but also their interest in preserving a more predictable status quo.

After all, many doubt whether the MILF is capable of successfully transforming from a fierce insurgency into a capable and inclusive governing class. Some among the Moro elite fear greater mayhem and insecurity once Muslim-majority regions are left to their own devices by the national government.

IS-affiliated groups have often branded the MILF as apostates, who have supposedly sold out to the (Christian-dominated) national government. Amid endemic poverty and unemployment, terrorist organizations and extremist ideologues will likely exploit any form of uncertainty to sow discord, incite violence, and push for a more radical form of change.

Surveys also show that the Filipino public is largely 'neutral' on the Bangsamoro issue, reflecting lingering skepticism over the wisdom of such political innovation. It's likely that some critics will challenge the constitutionality of the BOL at the Supreme Court in order to thwart its fruition.

Thus, Duterte will have to allocate significant capital to mediate among rival Moro groups, convince the Filipino people to support the creation of the Bangsamoro nation, and allocate sufficient resources to facilitate the transition.

Full report at:



Southern Philippines on full alert after deadly bomb blast

August 2, 2018

Security forces have been placed on full alert in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao following a deadly suicide bomb blast in Basilan province that killed ten people on July 31.

Catholic Church leaders in the region warned the attack — blamed on the Abu Sayyaf terror group — could heighten tensions between Muslims and Christians in the region.

"There can never be peace if we continue this kind of attitude of fomenting fear among our people," Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz said.

The prelate, who served as bishop of Basilan for 14 years, said the attack makes the achievement of peace on the island elusive.

The powerful explosion at a military checkpoint in the city of Lamitan killed six soldiers and four civilians. The driver of the vehicle that exploded was also killed in the blast.

The vehicle, rigged with improvised bombs, went off while being examined by the soldiers.

The attack came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which seeks to establish a new Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.

The law is part of a peace deal signed between the Philippine government and Moro rebels aimed at ending almost five decades of war in the region.

Terrorism expert Rommel Banlaoi of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said the peace deal was not a "magic pill that can give a panacea to the multifaceted problems of armed conflicts."

He said challenges will come from local politicians and armed groups opposed to the new Bangsamoro law.

Banlaoi warned that the new law could be used as leverage by the so-called Islamic State to attract foreign fighters to come to Mindanao to oppose the "cooptation of the infidels."

Archbishop Jumoad said peace in Mindanao could only be achieved if Muslims and Christians achieve unity.

Bishop Edwin dela Pena of the Prelature of Marawi said the bomb attack was "violent extremism at its ugliest manifestation."

"We condemn this act without reservation," said the prelate of the war-torn city of Marawi, where about 400,000 people lost their homes during clashes between security forces and Islamic State-inspired fighters last year.

Bishop Dela Pena said the Abu Sayyaf terror group, which is known for abducting and killing hostages in Basilan, bungled the opportunity for dialogue with this week's attack.

Last month, Duterte announced that he was inviting the group for talks in line with his efforts to bring peace and stability to Mindanao.

Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao condemned the blast as a "brazen act of violence against our people."

The governor assured the families of the victims of help, adding that he would strengthen security in the region without compromising the rights of the people.

Full report at:



Indonesia Bans Islamic State-Linked Group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah

July 31, 2018

Jakarta. The South Jakarta District Court has declared Islamic State-affiliated group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, or JAD, a forbidden organization over its involvement in high-profile terrorist attacks in Indonesia.

"[We] declare JAD and other organizations affiliated with ISIS, Daesh, ISIL or IS forbidden organizations in Indonesia," Judge Aris Bawono said on Tuesday (31/07), as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

The group was found guilty of having carried out acts of terror and ordered to pay a Rp 5 million ($347) fine.

Prosecutors indicted JAD on July 24 for its role in several terrorist attacks.

The group was represented by Zainal Anshori, head of JAD's East Java chapter, who is considered the group's second-in-command after Aman Abdurrahman.

Aman is currently on death row after his conviction on terrorism charges in June.

Full report at:



Islamic State Claims Southern Philippine Blast That Killed 11

August 02, 2018

Manila. A bomb exploded in a van in the restive southern Philippines on Tuesday (31/07), killing 11 people at a military checkpoint in what militant group Islamic State called a suicide attack for which it claimed responsibility.

The blast took place on Basilan, the island stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group notorious for kidnapping and banditry, which was the home of the former "emir" of Islamic State in Southeast Asia, killed last year by Philippine troops.

A suspected bomber, a soldier, five paramilitary troopers and four civilians, including a mother and her child, were killed and seven people were wounded in the blast, an army spokesman said.

Vehicle bombings are extremely rare in the Philippines, despite decades of separatist and Islamist violence that have destabilized the Mindanao region and lured foreign extremists.

In a statement carried by its Amaq news agency, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing attack, which it called "a martyrdom operation."

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque condemned the bombing as a "war crime," calling it "an illegal use of force, even in times of armed conflict."

Tuesday's explosion happened moments after troops stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver, who was alone and probably detonated the bomb, the military said.

A soldier who witnessed the attack said in an interview on private-run DZMM radio that the driver spoke in an unfamiliar dialect and may have been foreign.

However, military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo said security forces were investigating and there was no basis yet to conclude that the incident was a suicide bombing or had been carried out by a foreigner.

Intelligence indicated that militants planned to build homemade bombs and target army bases, he added.

Basilan is a no-go area for most Filipinos and Western countries typically warn citizens to stay away because of the presence of Abu Sayyaf and fierce military offensives against its fighters.

Abu Sayyaf is infamous for taking fishermen and crew from commercial ships as hostages and beheading Western captives for whom ransom is not paid.

President Rodrigo Duterte was on a neighboring island at the weekend and has offered peace talks with several Abu Sayyaf factions.

Duterte's offer came two days after he approved a law to allow minority Muslims in the region to create a new autonomous area with its own political and economic powers.

Tuesday's blast was a "horrifying attack" and a "cowardly act" said opposition lawmaker Senator Risa Hontiveros, a backer of the autonomy law who urged that the attack should not derail moves towards self-determination for the region's Muslims.

The bombing was a sign extremists were bent on sabotaging a peace effort that had a chance of success, said security expert Rommel Banlaoi.

Full report at:





UN panel finds further evidence of Iran link to Houthi missiles

1 August 2018

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are still arming themselves with ballistic missiles and drones that “show characteristics similar” to Iranian-made weapons, a report by a UN panel of experts has found.

In a confidential report to the UN Security Council, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Monday, the panel said it “continues to believe” that short-range ballistic missiles and other weaponry were transferred from Iran to Yemen after an arms embargo was imposed in 2015.

Recent inspections of weaponry including missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by the Houthis “show characteristics similar to weapons systems known to be produced in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, said the 125-page report.

During recent visits to Saudi Arabia, the panel was able to inspect debris from 10 missiles and found markings that suggest an Iranian origin, said the report spanning January to July this year.

“It seems that despite the targeted arms embargo, the Houthis continue to have access to ballistic missiles and UAVs to continue and possibly intensify their campaign against targets in KSA [Saudi Arabia],” said the report.

The panel said there was a “high probability” that the missiles were manufactured outside of Yemen, shipped in sections to the country and reassembled by the Houthis.

The experts are also investigating information that the Houthis received from Iran a monthly donation of fuel valued at $30 million.

Iran has denied providing any financial support to the Houthis.

During the inspections of the missile debris, the experts mandated by the council also found power converters produced by a Japanese company and Cyrillic markings on components that suggested a Russian link.

The investigation of those findings continues.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the council in a separate report in June that some components from five missiles fired at Saudi Arabia were manufactured in Iran, but that UN officials were unable to determine when they were shipped to Yemen.

The panel has opened an investigation of seven air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition that hit civilian buildings, a gas station and commercial vessels, in a possible violation of international humanitarian law.



Denmark’s Ban on Muslim Face Veil Met With Protest

Aug. 1, 2018

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s ban on face veils in public took effect on Wednesday, setting off protests and reigniting a debate over a law that rights groups say discriminates against Muslim women.

The law, passed in May, does not specifically mention Muslim dress — it states that “anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine” — but protesters say Muslim women are the intended target.

On Wednesday evening, women wearing the traditional Muslim face veil, known as a niqab, and full coverage burqas were joined by dozens of supporters wearing makeshift coverings and handkerchiefs tied across their faces at a protest in central Copenhagen. A simultaneous demonstration was held in the city of Aarhus.

And at the center of a protest for a woman’s right to cover up were women who didn’t. Bare legs, exposed shoulders and long blond hair mixed with head scarves and black veils.

The police did not fine the protesters or intervene. Under the new law, protesters who cover their faces while peacefully exercising their right of expression are exempt from ban.

The protest began near Mjolnerparken, a housing complex heavily populated by immigrants, which the government has described as a “ghetto” and “parallel society” because of crime and lack of integration. The protest finished with a human chain near one of Copenhagen’s main police stations.

Some carried posters with the messages, “Fingers away from my niqab” and “My clothes, my choice.”

A group called Kvinder i Dialog, which means Women in Dialogue, helped organize the demonstrations. On social media it said the new law “discriminates, criminalizes and suppresses a minority — Danish Muslim women.” Only about 200 women in Denmark are believed to wear the face veil, according to Danish researchers.

One protester, Sabina, 21, a student teacher who declined to give her last name because other members of Women in Dialogue have received threats, called the law oppressive and Islamophobic.

“I’m not going to take my niqab off, but will try to continue my education. To wear the niqab is a spiritual choice and now a sign of protest,” she said. “The only result of this law is that we’re going to stick more firmly to our faith and niqab and encourage more women to wear it.”

She said she planned to continue to protest, waiting to see when police issue the first fine. First-time offenders face fines of 1,000 Danish kroner, around $150. Fake beards, balaclavas, and other face masks are also banned.

Sabina maintained that it was her choice to wear the religious garment.

“It’s illogical to say you want to liberate women by force or fines. I refuse to believe the politicians have women’s best interests in mind,” she said.

Defenders of the law say it is a matter of public safety. Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen said earlier this year that it was also a matter of Danish values.

“I see a discussion of what kind of society we should have with the roots and culture we have, that we don’t cover our face and eyes, we must be able to see each other and we must also be able to see each other’s facial expressions. It’s a value in Denmark,” Mr. Poulsen said in March.

Human rights groups argue that the ban on the face veil violates the rights of Danish citizens.

Amnesty International argued that while some restrictions on wearing face veils for the purpose of public safety may be legitimate, the ban was “neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women’s rights to freedom of expression and religion.”

“All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs,” Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s deputy Europe director, said in a statement. “This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.”

Human Rights Watch has called the ban the “latest in a harmful trend.”

Denmark follows Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland, which have all moved to either ban or restrict where the veil can be worn.

Full report at:



Kadyrov calls on media to stop blaming Islam for murder of Russian journalists in CAR

1 Aug, 2018

Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has blasted reports linking Islam to the fatal attacks on Russian journalists in the Central African Republic (CAR), saying that criminals remain criminals regardless of religion.

“Certain mass media write that the attack was allegedly perpetrated by the Seleka rebel group and attach the adjective ‘Muslim’ to this name. But the Russian reporters were shot dead not by Muslims and not by Christians, but by criminals and bandits regardless of the organization of agency that they represent,” Kadyrov wrote on Wednesday in his blog on Russia’s leading social network Vkontakte.

“When in the USA some young guy organizes a shooting in a school no one in mass media would specify this man’s religion,” Kadyrov added.

The Chechen leader also wrote that one of the victims, Orhan Dzhemal, was himself a Muslim and a son of a well-known Russian Muslim activist Geydar Dzhemal, but the other two - Alexander Rastorguyev, and Kirill Radchenko, were most-likely Russian Orthodox Christians.

Kadyrov also expressed hope that Russian law enforcement agencies and other bodies of power would find and punish the perpetrators of the attack as well as the people who organized the reporters’ trip to the war-torn CAR in violation of the basic safety rules.

“There are some reports that their trip was not arranged in accordance with the rules, they had no proper papers and they had not duly informed the Russian embassy to the Central African Republic about their visit. If it is true that they were sent to this country with tourist visas we should bring to responsibility those who organized this because they knew that they were putting the journalists’ lives in real danger.”

Earlier this week, bodies of Orhan Dzhemal, Aleksandr Rastorguyev, and Kirill Radchenko were found in the CAR near a vehicle destroyed by gunfire. Local authorities described the incident as a result of a robbery and also quoted some witnesses as saying that the attackers wore turbans and spoke in Arabic.

Full report at:



South Asia


Defeat ISIS in Afghanistan, Says Taliban

August 01, 2018

More than 150 ISIS surrendered to Afghan security forces in the northwestern province of Jawzjan after they were defeated and driven out by the Taliban, Taliban and government officials said on Wednesday.

The defeat represents a major setback for the group, which first appeared in eastern Afghanistan around four years ago and which had gained a foothold in southern Jawzjan, where it fought for control of smuggling routes into neighboring Turkmenistan.

“The evil phenomenon of Daesh has completely been eliminated and people have been freed from its tortures in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, using an Arabic term for the group.

The Taliban launched an offensive several weeks ago in Jawzjan against the group, which they oppose as much as they do the Western-backed government in Kabul and which has established an unmatched reputation for brutality.

Last month, General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, welcomed the fact that the Taliban were fighting Islamic State, which he said had to be destroyed.

US forces have launched air strikes against ISIS in Jawzjan in recent months, but the Taliban has rejected any suggestion of cooperation and accused the United States of trying to obstruct them.

The fighting prompted thousands of people to flee to the provincial capital of Sheberghan, where many gave shocking accounts of the brutality of Islamic State fighters and commanders in Darzab and Qush Tepa, the two districts they controlled before being driven out.

Mujahid said more than 150 ISIS had been killed and more than 130 captured by the Taliban with the rest surrendering to government forces rather than the Taliban.

Afghan government officials said 152 fighters from the ISIS strongholds of Darzab and Qush Tepa surrendered to security forces in the early hours of the morning.

Mawlawi Habiburrahman, commander of ISIS forces in the north, and another commander called Mufti Nematullah were among those who surrendered, they said.

Bands of ISIS have been increasingly active in northern Afghanistan in recent years, fighting the Taliban for control of resources and sparking alarm in neighboring nations.

Government officials said the group’s defeat in Jawzjan would ease concerns about its potential to expand and support militant activity outside Afghanistan.

“The worries of neighboring countries, and the presence of Daesh groups on their borders, have now been removed,” said Mohammad Reza Ghafouri, a spokesman for the provincial governor.



Over 150 Daesh terrorists surrender in Afghanistan

Aug 1, 2018

Over 150 Daesh Takfiri terrorists have surrendered to Afghan security forces in the northern province of Jawzjan after they were defeated by Taliban.

Local Afghan officials said 152 terrorists from the Daesh strongholds of Darzab and Qush Tepa surrendered in the early hours of Wednesday.

"Their fighters have surrendered in the past, but this time it is more important because the Daesh leader and deputy surrendered with more than 150 fighters all at once," said Mohammad Hanif Rezaee, an army spokesman. "With this the Daesh chapter is going to be closed in the north."

General Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, the provincial police chief, said Habib-ul Rahman, a senior Daesh leader, was among those who surrendered.

The Taliban militant group took credit for the surrender announced by Afghan officials, saying it had "cleared" the north of Daesh terrorists.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said more than 150 Daesh terrorists had been killed and more than 130 captured by Taliban with the rest surrendering to government forces rather than Taliban. "The evil phenomenon of Daesh has completely been eliminated and people have been freed from its tortures in Jawzjan province of Afghanistan."

Taliban launched an offensive several weeks ago in Jawzjan against Daesh.

In a separate development, the UN mission to Afghanistan said an employee of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was among the people who were killed in a coordinated attack on a refugee and repatriation center in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday.

The UN said in a statement that the employee who died was a 22-year-old woman whose husband had died in a bombing in Kabul three years earlier. It said she leaves behind a six-year-old daughter who is “now an orphan.”

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack.

Since late last year, Daesh, which has already lost all its urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq, has taken advantage of the chaos in Afghanistan and established a foothold in the Asian country’s eastern and northern regions, launching brutal attacks against civilians and security forces alike.

Full report at:



ANA forces start operations to help improve Jalalabad’s security

Aug 01 2018

The soldiers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces were deployed in Jalalabad city to help improve the security of the city after yesterday’s deadly attack on the provincial refugees and repatriation directorate.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the ANA soldiers have started search operations based on the instructions of governor Hayatullah Hayat.

The statement further added that the armed forces will have an equal approach towards all and anyone violating the laws would face strict actions.

According to the governor’s office, a unit of the Special Forces of the national police will also be deployed in Jalalabad city to help improve the security situation of the capital of Nangarhar.

This comes as President Ghani called for an emergency meeting after yesterday’s deadly attack that left at least fifteen dead including an IOM employee and fifteen others sustained injuries.

Full report at:



Taliban’s Red Unit commander and his 5 guards killed in drone strikes

Aug 01 2018

A commander of the Red Unit of the Taliban group and his five security guards were killed during the drone strikes conducted in northeastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said the airstrikes were carried out in the vicinity of Nejrab district on Tuesday.

According to a statement released by Silab Corps, the US forces conducted airstrikes using unmanned aerial vehicles in Pechghan Valley of the district, leaving at least six militants dead, including a commander of the Red Unit of the group.

The statement further added that the airstrikes were carried out as the Taliban Red Unit commander and his security guards were travelling in a vehicle.

The vehicle of the Taliban militants was destroyed in the airstrike and the local residents did not suffer any casualty, the statement added.

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

Full report at:





Citing continued fire balloon launches, Israel halts fuel shipments to Gaza

2 August 2018

Israel will stop shipments of fuel and gas to the Gaza Strip from Thursday in response to militants in the enclave launching incendiary balloons that have torched fields in Israel.

A statement from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office on Wednesday said he had ordered a halt to fuel supplies into the strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing until further notice.

“The decision has been taken in view of the continued terror of incendiary balloons and friction along the (border) fence,” the statement said.

Four months of weekly Friday border protests that began on March 30 have calmed slightly but organizers have vowed they will continue until Israel lifts economic sanctions on the enclave.

At least 155 Palestinians have been killed in the protests and one Israeli soldier was shot dead by a sniper in Gaza.

Israel has lost tracts of farmland and forests to fires set by kites and helium balloons laden with incendiary material and flown over from Gaza. Israel had already responded by preventing the entry of non-essential commercial goods to Gaza.



Israeli military faces Druze uproar over Jewish nation bill

1 August 2018

Israel’s military chief is pleading to keep politics out of the army amid protests by the Druze minority against a recent bill to enshrine the state’s Jewish character.

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has called on “all commanders and soldiers to keep controversial political issues” out of the military.

In a statement Wednesday, he reaffirmed “our shared mission and camaraderie” with the Druze, an Arabic-speaking minority that serves in the military.

Like other minorities, the Druze have been outraged by the bill, which they say renders them second-class citizens. Two Druze officers recently said they would stop serving in response to the bill.

Full report at:



Yemeni photojournalist becomes latest victim of Houthi landmines

1 August 2018

Houthi landmines continue to fiercely take away the lives of civilians and innocent people in Yemen.

The mines have been planted by the Houthi militias in civilian and military areas across the districts in an arbitrary way.

The latest victim was identified as Issa al-Nuaimi, a photojournalist with the Yemen Shabab website who was killed in the Baqim sistrict of the Saada governorate after stepping on a Houthi landmine.

Journalist Osama Faraj, who worked closely with al-Nuaimi, told Al Arabiya English about his last colleague’s final moments. “First of all, we wish mercy to our colleague Issa al-Nuaimi. The truth is he was a brave man who did not care about the dangers surrounding us in order to broadcast the truth as it was to the public opinion, not as portrayed by the misguided Houthi militia media,” he recalled.

“He used to accompany me on my different field coverages. He was the first to grab the difficult mission and report day and night, he added.

“Tuesday was the last day of reporting I had with my colleague al-Nuaimi. We were in the heart of Abwab al Hadid in the Baqim district after its emancipation from the Houthi militias. As we entered the area, we encountered dozens of improvised explosive device that were extracted from the sides of the international lines and sub routes which were planted by the militias before their defeat. When we passed through a sub route we found ten improvised explosive devices that were not dismantled, and my colleague al-Nuaimi documented the sight with his lens and we were preparing a special report to be broadcasted later,” he said.

“The martyr Issa took advantage of my inattention when I assigned him a mission to report the latest developments in faraway positions so he went ahead carrying his camera earlier on Tuesday to the first clash line wearing his disguise suit so he doesn’t raise the suspicions of the snipers but God chose him to be a martyr,” he said.

Full report at:



Russia says Iranian forces pulled back from Golan in Syria; Israel unsatisfied

1 August 2018

Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, TASS quoted a Russian envoy as saying on Wednesday, but Israel deemed the pullback inadequate.

Backed by Russia, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shi’ite militia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has retaken territory in southern-western Syria from rebels, closing in on the Golan.

Moscow has sought to reassure Israel by saying it wants only Syrian forces to deploy on or near the Syrian-held Golan. Israel, however, insists that forces controlled by Iran, its arch-foe, exit Syria entirely now the civil war there is ending.

“The Iranians withdrew and the Shi’ite formations are not there,” TASS news agency quoted Alexander Lavrentiev, President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Syria, as saying.

Lavrentiev said Iranian service personnel whom he described as advisors could be among Syrian army forces who remain closer to the Israeli border.

“But there are no units of heavy equipment and weapons that could pose a threat to Israel at a distance of 85 km from the line of demarcation”, Lavrentiev said.

An Israeli official deemed such a pullback insufficient.

“What we have laid down as a red line is military intervention and entrenchment by Iran in Syria, and not necessarily on our border,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Israel Radio, citing the longer-range threat posed by Iranian missiles or drones positioned in Syria.

“There’ll be no compromises nor concessions on this matter.”

Last week an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Russia had offered to keep Iranian forces at least 100 km from the Golan Heights ceasefire line.

Israel rejected the offer, which was made during a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

In an apparent riposte, Russia’s ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov, said on Monday that Moscow could not compel Iran to leave Syria.

But Viktorov also signaled that Russia would continue to turn a blind eye to Israeli air strikes against suspected Iranian and Hezbollah arms transfers or emplacements in Syria.

Hanegbi said Israel wanted to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from effectively extending their Lebanese front against it.

Full report at:



Saudi airstrike off the coast of Hudaydah kills 9 Yemeni fishermen

Aug 2, 2018

At least nine fishermen have been killed in Saudi Arabia's latest airstrikes on its war-torn neighbor Yemen.

According to Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network on Wednesday, the fisherman were killed when Saudi aircraft targeted their ship off the coast of Hudaydah.

The Wednesday night Saudi raids were carried out a day after at least four civilians were killed in similar airstrikes the port city.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saudi warplanes targeted a residential building in Bani Sa’ad area of the al-Dhaher district in the mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused. The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the Saudi-led war had left some 600,000 civilians dead and injured since March 2015.

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



US imposes sanctions on 2 Turkish officials over detention of US pastor

Aug 1, 2018

The United States Treasury Department is imposing sanctions on two Turkish officials over detention of a US pastor.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made the announcement on Wednesday, calling Andrew Brunson’s incarceration "unfair and unjust."

"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong," she said.

Washington is "not happy with Turkey's decision not to release" the pastor, said the White House spokeswoman, adding that US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have discussed the issue "on several occasions."

The two officials, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu, will have their assets and properties under US jurisdiction blocked and Americans will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with them.

"These officials serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses, and are being targeted pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, 'Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,' which builds upon Treasury's Global Magnitsky Act authorities," the Treasury said in a statement.

Turkey to retaliate

Turkey issued a written statement to “protest” the new sanctions.

“We strongly protest the sanctions announced by the US Treasury Department,” it read. “This aggressive stance that does not serve any interest will be retaliated in the same, without delay,”

According to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, "Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable… President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately."

The sanctions come before a scheduled meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Singapore on Friday.

"The Turkish government refused to release Pastor Brunson after numerous conversations between President Trump and President Erdogan, and my conversations with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. President Trump concluded that these sanctions are the appropriate action," Pompeo said.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has also called the detention “unjust,” adding, "Turkey knows our position well. This has gone on far too long.”

Full report at:



US threats of sanction in pastor's case shows 'Zionist mentality': Erdogan

Aug 1, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will never give in to threats of sanction by the United States over the trial of an American pastor, accusing the NATO ally of displaying a "Zionist mentality."

Relations between Washington and Ankara have spiraled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor who is accused of helping the perpetrators of a failed military coup against Erdogan in 2016.

US President Donald Trump threatened last week to impose "large sanctions" on Turkey unless it frees the pastor, was transferred to house arrest last week after spending 21 months in a Turkish prison on terrorism charges.

"These threatening remarks against us will not benefit anyone. We showed the best solidarity with the United States in NATO. We have acted together with them in Korea. Together, we put up many fights. Such a threat against Turkey, a country that still fights together with the United States side by side and shows top-notch solidarity in NATO, is not fitting for them. And excuse us but we do not give credit for using such threatening language," Erdogan told reporters in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Wednesday.

"However, we will never accept this understanding and the usage of such threatening language in the United States by the evangelist, Zionist mentality," he added.

Erdogan’s Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Tuesday that Ankara would retaliate against any US sanctions over the trial of the Christian pastor.

The Turkish president also said his foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, was going to discuss the matter with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on the sidelines of an upcoming ASEAN summit that will be held in Singapore in the coming weeks.

The remarks came a day after a Turkish court rejected an appeal by Brunson's lawyers to end the house arrest during his trial.

Brunson’s lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, who had filed the appeal, said he had not been notified of a court ruling about his 52-year-old client. Brunson’s next hearing as part of the trial is scheduled for October 12.

The American pastor, who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, has been required by court to wear an electronic bracelet at all times and prevented him from traveling outside of the country.

Full report at:





Nigeria court acquits 80 Zakzaky supporters

Aug 1, 2018

A top Nigerian court has cleared dozens of the followers of prominent cleric Ibrahim al-Zakzaky of criminal charges, raising hopes for the release of the cleric himself, who has been held captive for almost three years by the Abuja government.

Justice David Shiri Wyom of the Kaduna State High Court cleared 80 detainees of the charges on Tuesday.  They had been arrested during a government raid on Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) headquarters in December 2015.

During that raid, security forces killed some 300 Zakzaky supporters, including three sons of the cleric, and later buried them in mass graves.

Zakzaky and his wife, who were shot and injured, were taken into custody.

They were accused of plotting to attack the military convoy of army Chief Tukur Buratai in an earlier incident.

Zakzaky’s followers say they were merely holding a rally when Buratai’s convoy happened to pass by at the time. Facing the crowds of ralliers, agitated guards shot at them and Buratai’s car sped away, thinking an assassination attempt was underway.

Following the Tuesday ruling, prosecutor Dari Bayero said he was dissatisfied and was “in the process” of appealing the court’s verdict.

But defense lawyer Maxwell Kyon described the ruling as a victory for the movement, saying the court has found “no credible evidence” to charge the detainees.

Some one hundred other members of the movement still remain in custody.

Zakzaky is also “standing trial for having abetted the commission of the offenses,” said the lawyer. “So if court has now found that no such offenses were committed, it becomes difficult to convict someone for abetting the commission of these crimes.”

A Federal High Court ordered his unconditional release in 2016, but the Nigerian government has so far refused to abide by the ruling.

A spokesman for the Islamic Movement said earlier in March that the government in Abuja was planning to keep the cleric and his wife in detention indefinitely.



Uganda: Supreme Mufti Cautions Muslims On Sale of Land

1 AUGUST 2018

By Yudaya Nangonzi

Two years ago, the Muslim community of Kiteete in Mityana district pleaded with well-wishers to help them fundraise for construction of a new mosque in the area.

In March 2016, heavy rains and thunderstorms had blown off part of the old mosque's roof, breaking the front canopy that holds the structure.

The remaining structure was left with cracks and leaked whenever it rained. Slowly, the community pooled resources but didn't get enough to start such a big project.

"Initially, some members wanted to refurbish the mosque but some of us insisted that we should construct a new structure. We had collected about Shs 10 million but it could not take us far," says Hassan Badru Zziwa, the vice chairman of Kiteete Mosque.

Zziwa approached the vice chairman of the Uganda Muslim Youth Assembly, Imam Idi Kasozi, who pledged his readiness to solicit for more funds. Little did Zziwa know that this was the start of a relationship that would remain etched in their memories.

By August 2016, Kasozi had secured Shs 140 million from a Turkey-based organisation; the Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). The IHH had received applications from two people for a similar project but Kiteete mosque was chosen.

Last Thursday, Supreme mufti Sheikh Silman Kasule Ndirangwa visited Kiteete to officially commission a new 400-seater fully-furnished mosque, a three-roomed house for the imam, a 10,000-litre water storage tank and sanitation facilities whose construction lasted eight months.

Zziwa and Kiteete Muslims could not hide their excitement, showering praises on Kasozi for his generosity.

"I have not met an honest person like Imam Kasozi. He did not stop at securing the funds but paid attention to every detail of the new mosque. May Allah reward him abundantly," he said.

The new mosque sits on a 10-acre piece of land that was donated by the late Yunus Kimbugu and comprises Kiteete Umea Primary school that was established in the 1940s.

Ndirangwa commended the grandchildren of late Kimbugu for not selling off the land for material things.

"In this era, many children are selling off property that was donated by their parents out of good will to support Islam. Today, even an Imam can sell off a mosque in exchange for money but this has not been the case with his [Kimbugu's] grandchildren," Ndirangwa said, urging well-to-do Muslims to reach out to the needy in hard-to-reach areas.

He entreated Muslims in Kiteete to pray from the new mosque all their five daily prayers. Kasozi, also the IHH coordinator in Uganda, said such projects are donated by well-wishers and aimed at strengthening the Muslim brotherhood from various parts of the world.

"Kiteete Muslims should protect this project jealously to pave way for others in the country. Once the people who are giving realize that the previous work is maintained well, it motivates them to give back," Kasozi said.

At the same event, the mosque's outgoing Imam Sheikh Abdul Kisuule was applauded for his 40-year service without a monthly salary. Kasozi said UMYA and other colleagues will support him with a new bicycle, home utilities and a take home package of Shs 2m as a token of appreciation.

An excited 80-year-old Kisuule said: "Alhamdulillah... I thank Allah that I have served my religion very well because other people leave service when they are at loggerheads with others. I am humbled that Muslims in the area are still respecting me."

Since 2011, IHH through UMYA has built modern mosques in Oyam, Mukono, Amolatar, Lira and Dokolo districts in addition to supporting over 300 orphans across the country.

Full report at:



Boko Haram: New Army commander, Gen Abba Dikko takes over

August 1, 2018

By Wale Odunsi

Major General Abba Dikko has assumed office as commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the Army operation against Boko Haram.

This followed a major shake-up by the Nigerian Army.

Dikko took over from Major General Rogers Nicholas in a brief ceremony on Tuesday at the Operation Lafiya Dole Headquarters in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Nicholas, who proceeds to Nigerian Army Resource Centre, in his valedictory speech, expressed confidence that his successor would do a good job.

Col Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman of Operation Lafiya Dole, quoted him as thanking the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai for the opportunity to serve the nation as Theatre Commander of the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations against the Boko Haram terrorists in North Eastern Nigeria.

Nicholas also thanked troops, other security agencies, Governor Kashim Shettima, members of his cabinet, the people of Borno state and the media.

Speaking, Dikko hailed Nicholas for his efforts and achievements while in charge of the command.

He appealed to all stakeholders to strengthen the bond of relationship among them to further enhance the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the north east.

General Dikko revealed that he is wearing a double cap as the Theatre Commander as well as Commander Operation Last Hold.

Full report at:




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