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Islamic World News ( 29 Jul 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Groups Warn Of ‘Zina’, Floodgates Opening Without ‘Bin Abdullah’ Rule

New Age Islam News Bureau

29 Jul 2017

Palestinians wave a flag near the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque



 Muslim Groups Warn Of ‘Zina’, Floodgates Opening Without ‘Bin Abdullah’ Rule

 German University Holds Workshop for Pakistani Seminary Students

 Gates to Al-Aqsa Mosque Reopen With No Age Restrictions

 Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik Now A Proclaimed Offender, His Assets to Be Attached: NIA

 Legal Experts Divided on Period of Sharif’s Disqualification


Southeast Asia

 Muslim Groups Warn Of ‘Zina’, Floodgates Opening Without ‘Bin Abdullah’ Rule

 Court Ruling on Illegitimate Kids Divides Muslims in Malaysia

 DPM: World Sufi Centre to be established in Malaysia

 Indonesia to urge international protection for Al-Aqsa

 Committee for Shariah Finance to Make Indonesia Global Hub for Islamic Economy

 Abdullah issue: Muslim lawyers’ body wants to be intervener in appeal

 Muslim Groups Rally in Jakarta against Regulation Making It Easier for Gov't to Ban Them

 Lift ban on G25 Islamic moderation book, Suhakam tells Home Ministry



 German University Holds Workshop for Pakistani Seminary Students

 Philly Archbishop: Europe’s Future Has the Face of ‘Young Muslim Immigrants’

 Irish in Britain should show solidarity with Muslims

 Hate crime in Britain: Anxiety among Bangladeshi communities on the rise

 Grozny emerges from ruins to become a ‘showcase for Islam’

 Johnson voices support for US missile attack on Syria



 Gates to Al-Aqsa Mosque Reopen With No Age Restrictions

 Saudi Forces Kill 40 Houthi Militants off Jazan

 Muslim countries to hold urgent Istanbul meeting on al-Aqsa crisis

 US, EU allies demand Iran halt ballistic activity

 Allies follow suit day after US kicked up a fuss about Iran space launch

 Iranian worshipers rally in protest at Israeli crimes

 Yemeni forces seize several Saudi military bases, outposts in Jizan region

 Israeli forces kill Palestinians in Bethlehem, Gaza



 Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik Now A Proclaimed Offender, His Assets to Be Attached: NIA

 India Keeps Close Watch As Verdict on Nawaz Sharif Puts Pakistan In A Flux

 Maharashtra Assembly: Ruckus After Abu Azmi’s No to Vande Mataram

 If Kashmir’s special status is tampered with, no one will shoulder Indian flag in Valley: Mehbooba Mufti



 Legal Experts Divided on Period of Sharif’s Disqualification

 Pak-Afghan Documentary Makers Join Hands To Promote Human Rights

 42 Suspected Facilitators Arrested In Punjab: ISPR

 Large area of Rajgal valley cleared in operation Khyber-4: ISPR

 Call to observe Defence of Al-Aqsa Mosque Day

 US hopes for smooth transition of power in Islamabad

 Shahbaz tipped to be Nawaz's choice for prime minister: reports

 Three terror suspects arrested in CTD raid


Arab World

 Qatari Islamist’s Confessions Reveal Doha ‘Plot’ To Sabotage Gulf States

 Officials: 19,000 Daesh Militants, Supporters in Iraq, Syria

 Kuwait closes Shia TV as crackdown widens

 Syrian Army Deploys 70km away from Deir Ezzur City

 Syrian Army Inches Closer to ISIL's Last Stronghold in Eastern Homs

 Russian Air Force to Remain in Syria for 49 More Years

 Syrian Gov't Forces Make Fresh Gains in War on Terrorism in Hama

 Former CIA official: Qatar has ties with terrorist groups

 Arab foreign ministers to meet in Bahrain over Qatar crisis

 Qatar appeals to UN, while US calls for dialogue


North America                                      

 American Dream Trumps Fear for US Muslims, Says Pew Survey

 US Muslim Sue Employer Claiming They Were Forced To Choose Between Their Religion and Their Jobs

 California Muslim leader apologizes for remarks about Jews

 US Senator McCain seeks diplomatic, military and economic costs on Pakistan

 Muslim-American Deedra Abboud running for US Senate: ‘People want change’

 Hundreds gather Washington to protest Israel


South Asia

 Airstrike Eliminates Main ISIS Hideout in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan

 Germany pledges to expand economic and security support to Afghanistan

 New Islamist Alliance Seeks To Ride On Awami League in Next Election

 $680 million to be allocated for Afghan Air Force soon, says Ghani



 Suicide Bomb Survivor Works To Save Islam from Radicals

 Sudan: Church Schools Ordered to Follow Muslim Week

 Nigerian cardinal: Christianity and Islam are engaged in ‘contest for souls’

 Jordanians urge cancellation of ‘shameful’ peace treaty with Israel

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim groups warn of ‘zina’, floodgates opening without ‘bin Abdullah’ rule

July 29, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― Allowing Muslim children born out of wedlock to take on their father's name instead of the common name “Abdullah” could among others risk exposing them to the dangers of zina, or illicit sex, several Islamic groups have warned.

Islamic Propagation Society International Malaysia (IPSI) president Kamaruddin Abdullah said the problem of illegitimate children was caused by the parents' lack of religious knowledge, noting that Islam's rules are for Muslims to marry before having children.

“Islam has prescribed rules that are perfect for them to go through the process of life like other people. For example, marry and then subsequently have legitimate offspring that can carry ‘bin or binti’ names of the father.

“Don't take this issue of marriage lightly because once the religious demands are not fulfilled, they are willing to do anything including approaching matters that can descend into the act of illicit sex,” he was quoted saying by local daily Utusan Malaysia.

Engku Ahmad Fadzil Engku Ali, Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia’s (IKSIM) senior fellow, today criticised a Perlis fatwa ― which allows a child born less than six months from the mother's marriage may take on her husband's name unless he denies it ― as turning the issue murky.

In a Berita Harian column, he criticised the reasoning behind the Perlis fatwa and the Court of Appeal's recent decision that said by allowing illegitimate children to use their father's name could help avoid shame, claiming that what he described as psychological reason was unbacked by experts' research.

“Will one day come when children of a rapist or robber will be allowed to change the name of the father to someone else's name based on psychological reasons of being ashamed, just like now where putting the illegitimate father's name as the father of illegitimate children allegedly to avoid shame is claimed as a reason?” he asked.

Musa Awang, president of Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) cautioned that allowing a child born out of wedlock to take on the father's name could result in murky lineage for Muslims.

“The long term effects of this problem is from the aspect of guardianship. If let's say he is not the legitimate father from the aspect of Shariah, and the child is a female and later on the child wants to marry, it is highly likely that the marriage will not be legitimate because the guardian is not the birth father.

“If that child's marriage is not legitimate, what about the marriage of the grandchildren? Therefore in the future there will be Muslim descendants who are uncertain that have no clear lineage. This is what the enemies of Islam want,” he was also quoted saying by Utusan Malaysia.

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

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



German University Holds Workshop for Pakistani Seminary Students

July 29, 2017

BERLIN - Students dressed in Pakistani Islamic attire sitting with the German students in one of the oldest university of Germany and attending sessions from highly competent faculty is not something very usual in the West.

The Chair of Muslim Cultural & Religious History (CMCRH) at the University of Erfurt holds 10-day interactive workshop on the topic of “Human Rights & Contribution of Religions”. The workshop is a third in a series of three as a part of research cum dialogue project ‘Religious Pluralism and Religious Plurality: towards an ethics of peace’, initiated by the CMCRH in January 2016.

The workshop invited students of ten madrasas (seminary) belonging to major schools of thought along with the students of Erfurt University in which they discussed the entanglement of cultural, historical, political, ethnic and of course religious factors that contribute to the recognition and implementation of universal human rights. Both madrasa and university students exchanged their ideas and conducted joint presentations about the topic.

While talking to the correspondent, the guardian of these students namely Mufti Abdullah Noorani said that this type of exposure for the madrasa students is very new and proving very beneficial. He further added that, “all the students are participating in the session very enthusiastically”.

This sort of exercises will broaden their canvas and it will also create sense of pluralism, he further added. Sohail Ahmed, a student of from JamiaBinoria Karachi, talking to the news correspondent added that this workshop has provided him a different perspective and the lens from where he used to see the things.

He further concluded that being in a German university is a unique opportunity whereas this workshop gives us lesson to the concept of let’s agree to disagree by respecting otherness. Another female madrassa student namely Nisar Fatima from Jamia Sirajia Naeemia Lahore expressed her excitement of this great learning experience and shared her thoughts that the stay in Germany has inspired her at different levels. “I can smell the true spirit of Islam that is based on peace and human rights here in Germany”, she said. Furthermore, she hoped that upon her return she will also share new educational didactics with her fellow madrasa students.

The Chair of Muslim Cultural and Religious History, Prof. Dr. Jamal Malik while talking to the news correspondent shared his thoughts about the idea of inviting madrasa students in Europe is to not only share the social values being practiced by the Europeans but the West can also learn from the vast knowledge repository that exists in the madrasa curriculum.

Professor Malik is world renowned scholar of Muslim religious history and he is among the first scholars to contribute a seminal work on madrasas in Pakistan. In 2016, we also invited heads of different leading madrasas of Pakistan here at Erfurt University and shared the idea of organizing such workshops for their students, he added. We proposed and discussed the rationale and contents of workshops to which all the religious seminaries agreed. We have seen a huge impact of such workshops on the attendees as they were not exposed to such academic environment, Prof. Malik elaborated.

He was of the view that these students gain confidence to speak in front of international students and as a part of this exercise, upon their return they conduct the similar workshops in their own madrasas which are jointly supervised by participating madrasas and the University of Erfurt. Prof. Malik is convinced that conducting such experience and exercise will bring peace, management of the disagreement, sectarian diversity and respect for religious pluralism.

This year’s workshop took place from 09-18 July and focused on how “world religions” have influenced and inspired values of social justice, human rights and peace ethics. Different theoretical perspectives were discussed in order to study the entanglement of cultural, historical, political, ethnic and of course religious factors that contribute to the recognition and implementation of universal human rights.



Gates to al-Aqsa Mosque reopen with no age restrictions

28 July 2017

The Islamic Endowments of Jerusalem confirmed that all al-Aqsa gates are now open with no age restrictions imposed, reported Al Arabiya.

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces permitted only men over the age of 50 and women of all ages during Friday prayer.

A Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at a junction near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Friday and was shot dead by security forces, the Israeli army said.

The incident occurred at the Gush Etzion junction near a large bloc of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. No soldiers were reported wounded.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have been high over the last couple weeks due to a dispute over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, but it was unclear if there was any link.

The Israeli forces clashed with the Palestinian worshipers in the vicinity of al-Aqsa Mosque after Friday prayers.

Al Arabiya correspondent reported that the Israeli forces attacked worshipers north of Bethlehem.

The Islamic Endowments of Jerusalem announced that over ten thousand worshipers performed Friday prayer inside al-Aqsa mosque.

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

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

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

End of boycott

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

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

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



Islamic preacher Zakir Naik now a proclaimed offender, his assets to be attached: NIA

July 28, 2017

National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday declared the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as a proclaimed offender, news agency PTI reported. His assets will also be attached said the investigative agency. On July 19, the Regional Passport Office of Mumbai revoked the passport of the founder of Islamic Research Foundation. Naik is wanted in connection with cases of alleged terror funding.

According to a PTI report, the order to declare Naik a proclaimed offender was issued recently by a special court in Mumbai. Eventually, the process of attachment of his assets under section 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been initiated.

Naik fled from India on July 1, 2016 after terrorist claimed that they were inspired by his speeches on ‘jihad’ and ‘Islam’. The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), was also declared an “unlawful association” by the government.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) statement said, “The Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, has revoked the Indian passport of Dr Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, resident of B-1005/1006 Jasmine Apartment, 65-B, Dockyard Road, Mazagaon, Mumbai, under the provisions of the Passport Act 1967.”

Earlier, Naik failed to respond to three summons issued to him in cases filed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. NIA also registered a criminal case against him at its Mumbai branch under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.



Legal experts divided on period of Sharif’s disqualification

July 29, 2017

ISLAMABAD: As a five-member bench of the Supreme Court on Friday handed down disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, a debate started to rage whether the former premier is out for life or may join his political fraternity as a parliamentarian after some time.

When this question was put to some seasoned lawyers, everybody seemed to be confused but some said that the issue needed determination since the same question had long been pending, though forgotten, before a larger bench of the Supreme Court.

Tariq Mehmood, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told Dawn that a larger bench of the Supreme Court was seized with a number of cases, including those of Samina Khawar Hayat and Mohammad Haneef, in which the moot point was to determine whether disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution was perpetual or not.

Former chief justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, while hearing one of such cases, had wondered how anyone could be disqualified from participating in elections forever on the basis of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, saying people could reform themselves to be qualified under the provisions after being disqualified at some point of time.

Senior lawyer Raheel Kamran Sheikh recalled that earlier former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was disqualified on June 19, 2012 from holding a seat in parliament for committing contempt of court under Article 63 of the Constitution, which specified disqualification for five years.

Unfortunately under Article 62(1)(f) no period of disqualification had been specified, he said, but endorsed what Mr Mehmood observed, adding that some cases were pending to determine should the application of Article 62(1)(f) be restricted to the current election or to all times to come.

Mr Kamran said that the Supreme Court was in a Catch-22 situation since by citing the reasons for disqualification of Mr Sharif, it had lowered the threshold for ineligibility of elected members to such an extent that too many heads might start rolling in future.

Through the Panama Papers judgement, he feared, the balance of power had been tilted in favour of the Supreme Court and the qualification of parliamentarians had been threatened.

He said if the judgement was implemented across the board, the parliamentarians, feeling threatened, might react by getting together for a constitutional amendment aimed at curtailing or restricting the scope of powers under Article 62 of the Constitution.

One the other hand, vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council Ahsan Bhoon said the disqualification (of Mr Sharif) was forever. To substantiate his point of view, he cited the 2013 Abdul Ghafoor Lehri case in which former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had held that under Article 63, there were certain disqualifications which were of temporary nature and a person disqualified under Article 63 could become qualified after the lapse of certain period, whereas the disqualification under Article 62 was of permanent nature.

Thus Article 62 did not provide any period after which a person, who had been disqualified under the provision, could be eligible to contest elections of parliament, he said.

Former additional attorney general Tariq Khokhar also said that Mr Sharif had been disqualified for life since ineligibility for not being sadiq and ameen was forever.

But a senior lawyer, who did not want to be named, said that Article 62 was a qualifying provision and, when originally enacted in 1973, it had qualifications which were all objectively determinable. Later Gen Ziaul Haq brought in nebulous qualifications in Article 62, which were open-ended and highly subjective. No one has articulated its limitations better than Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who rightly observed in one of the cases that no one should be disqualified on that basis.

The provision was largely dormant till it was dusted and brought out by Iftikhar Chaudhry and used to knock out parliamentarians, he said, adding that even Justice Chaudhry did not disqualify anyone directly, except in the dual nationality cases and that too on the basis of admissions.

But when people were disqualified in almost every such case, it was later observed that the disqualification was for life, he said, adding that was the law for the moment.

The lawyer also recalled that petitions were pending in the apex court to determine whether disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) was for the remaining term or perpetual.



Southeast Asia


Court ruling on illegitimate kids divides Muslims in Malaysia

Jul 29, 2017

A ruling by Malaysia's Court of Appeal that Muslim children conceived out of wedlock can take their father's name has sparked a debate over whether the country's civil court can set aside a fatwa (Islamic edict).

The court decided on Thursday that the National Registration Department (NRD) - which records births and deaths - is bound by civil law to follow this ruling.

Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli wrote in the 29-page landmark judgment: "A fatwa, we reiterate, is not law and has no force of law and cannot form the legal basis for the National Registration director-general to decide on the surname of an illegitimate child."

Conservative Muslims quickly responded that the court's ruling was unconstitutional.

The debate comes amid concern among moderate Malaysian Muslims that their views are being snuffed out by those who lean towards more conservative interpretations of Islam. Just this week, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi banned as "deviant" a book of essays by Malaysian public intellectuals on Islam's role in the constitutional democracy.

In the Court of Appeal case, the ruling came about after a Muslim couple in Johor, who had a child five months into their marriage, applied to have the child's name reflect that of her father.

A 2003 Malaysian fatwa declared that a child is considered "illegitimate" and cannot carry the name of the father if the child is born less than six months after marriage. The child would be named "bin Abdullah" or "binte Abdullah" - meaning son or daughter of a servant of Allah - instead of having the father's name in the patronymic convention used by Malaysian Muslims.

Groups like Sisters In Islam (SIS), which champions the rights of Muslim women, lauded the court ruling which would effectively reverse the NRD's policy of naming Muslim children according to the fatwa.

SIS said: "The practice... leads to serious and unjust repercussions on the children's overall upbringing and well-being, including their right to receive maintenance from paternal family members, ability to inherit and not to mention the emotional trauma of having to face social stigma at a very tender age and as they grow up."

But the Mufti of Perak Harussani Zakaria said Muslims are obliged to abide by fatwas. "Islam is the religion of the country, so Islamic laws must be followed. How can they not be bound by it when the individual involved is Muslim?" the influential cleric said.

The Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (MMLA) claimed the court's reasoning did not take into account that the legitimacy of children is to be determined by existing state Islamic family law, and not federal powers. Malaysia's Constitution allows for the 13 state governments to administer Islamic matters.

MMLA president Zainul Rijal Bakar called on the federal government to amend the law to "respect Islam as the federal religion" by making "all provisions on the legitimacy of children that are against Islamic law not applicable to Muslims".

There were more than half a million children born out of wedlock between 2005 and 2015, or just over 10 per cent of registered births.



DPM: World Sufi Centre to be established in Malaysia

July 28, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― The World Sufi Centre will be established here for conducting studies and collecting inputs on Sufi practices to be propagated to the world, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said that for a start, a philanthropist had agreed to donate US$1 million (RM4.28 million) for the purpose.

“I congratulate the Islamic scholars, religious elders and thinkers who practice Sufism throughout the world to set aside differences in opinions amongst us.

“We will use this initiative (setting up of the centre in Kuala Lumpur to unite our thinking so that Muslims throughout the world can be strong again,” he said when officiating the  International Scholars Conference and the World Zikir Perdana Council 2017: Islam is Peace closing ceremony here today

He said that with the setting up of the centre, it was hoped it could help counter negative perceptions and prejudices about Islam.

The idea of establishing the centre was agreed upon by Islamic scholars, muftis and thinkers from 38 countries who had gathered here in conjunction with the conference held at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said it was the responsibility of the entire Muslim community to correct the perceptions of people of other religions on Islam which had resulted following terrorists acts by a small group of people.

He said Muslims must inform the world that Islam is a religion that promotes peace and should separate militant groups such as Daesh from the religion.

“Islamophobia must be eradicated from the hearts of people of other faiths and Islam must also be accepted just like any other religion,” he said.

In the Malaysian context, Ahmad Zahid said the people of this country should be grateful for the peace they have enjoyed here and thank those who were responsible for maintaining the situation.

Meanwhile, Tarekat Muktabar Malaysia president Datuk As’ari Ibrahim, when met by reporters after the event, said the centre would study problems faced by Muslims especially in practicing Sufism.

He said for a start the centre expected to be established at the end of this year would be managed by the organisation probably in collaboration with certain universities.

“We may be able to set up a secretariat within this year and we will later move into our building premises but it will take some time to have a building of our own,” he said.

Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Full report at:



Indonesia to urge international protection for Al-Aqsa


By Ainur Rohmah

Indonesia next week will propose international protection for Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound to help avoid any further clashes between Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshippers, said an official on Friday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters that Indonesia will urge the international community and the UN to provide oversight and protection for Al-Aqsa.

He said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will deliver the proposal at next Tuesday’s meeting in Istanbul of the foreign ministers of the member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

"We must get assurance that the situation of Al-Aqsa is gradually getting better," said Nasir as quoted by the Metro TV News website.

Nasir said Indonesia, the world’s most populous majority-Muslim country, continues to call for unity among OIC states to maintain the status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque and encourage Palestinian independence.

He cited the efforts of OIC countries to seek Palestinian independence after a half-century of Israeli occupation.

"We cannot wait another 50 years, we must increase the unity of OIC countries to be able to encourage the international community to resolve the situation in Palestine," he said.

Palestinian independence

Indonesia has strongly condemned the killing of three Palestinians in a clash in Jerusalem last week. The incident was triggered by the closing of the Al-Aqsa compound by Israel after two of their policemen were killed in a shootout.

Father Gomar Gultom, the secretary of Indonesia's Council of Churches (PGI), told Anadolu Agency that Jerusalem should be protected by the UN due to its historical importance to three faiths: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

He urged Indonesia's Christians and Muslims to come together to help Palestine gain independence, as well as assess the conflict between the two countries as a barrier to freedom, instead of religious tension.

He stressed that Israel should hand over Al-Aqsa -- Islam’s third-holiest site -- to Muslims so they can fulfill their religious duties freely and comfortably.

"It is a place of worship and should be appreciated," he said.

Full report at:



Committee for Shariah Finance to Make Indonesia Global Hub for Islamic Economy

Jul 29, 2017

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Thursday (27/07) inaugurated the National Committee for Shariah Finance, or KNKS, as part of the government's push to make the world's biggest Muslim majority country a global hub for the Islamic financial industry.

"The formation of the National Committee for Shariah Finance is part of the government's commitment to develop Islamic finance in Indonesia," National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said.

Indonesia has lately hosted several international events on Islamic finance, including the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum in August 2016, during which the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) introduced its master plan for the country's Islamic financial architecture.

"KNKS has a mandate to accelerate, expand and develop shariah-compliant financial services to support the country's development," Bambang said in a statement.

The KNKS establishment is based on a presidential decree signed in November 2016.

Even though KNKS is not a government agency, it holds a strategic role in providing recommendations to the administration regarding Islamic finance. It also has the authority to supervise and evaluate strategic programs in the industry.

The president and the vice president chair the committee, which also has on board the coordinating economic affairs minister, the national development planning ministers, the finance minister, the religious affairs minister, the small and medium enterprises minister, the Financial Services Authority chairman, the Bank Indonesia governor, the Deposit Insurance Agency chairman and the chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council.

According to government data, Indonesia has the world's biggest number of Islamic finance organizations — including 34 shariah-compliant lenders, 58 takaful operators or takaful insurers, seven venture capitals, 163 rural lenders, around 5,500 cooperatives and one shariah-compliant pawn shop.

Reports suggest, however, that Indonesia's Islamic finance sector still lags behind other countries, with the market share of only about 5.3 percent of the country's banking industry (as of 2016), that compared with 51.1 percent in Saudi Arabia, 23.8 percent in Malaysia and 19.6 percent in the United Arab Emirates.

Full report at:



Abdullah issue: Muslim lawyers’ body wants to be intervener in appeal

Adam Abu Bakar

July 28, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Sharie Lawyers Association (PGSM) will seek to be an intervener if the National Registration Department (NRD) appeals against a Court of Appeal ruling that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname.

PGSM president Musa Awang said the case, which involved an illegitimate child, was a serious issue as it would affect the person’s descendants.

“If a father is not legitimised under shariah and he has a daughter, her marriage might not be recognised if the father acted as the ‘wali’ (guardian).

“A marriage can only be legitimate if the father is legitimate under shariah. And that is only the problem at the level of a daughter wishing to marry. What will happen when it comes to the grandchildren?” he said at a media conference at the Federal Territory Shariah Court today.

Musa said the Court of Appeal decision would cause a quandary in family relationships among Muslims in future.

The appellate court, in its judgment released yesterday, ruled that the NRD overstepped its powers when it added the surname “Abdullah” to register a Muslim child born out of wedlock.

Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli, who sat with two other members of the court, said the NRD’s action was a violation of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA), which makes no distinction between a Muslim child and a non-Muslim child.

“Section 13A (2) does not say that an illegitimate Muslim child must be treated differently from a non-Muslim child when it comes to the registration of a surname,” he wrote in the 28-page judgment.

The child, who was born on April 17, 2010, three days short of the six-month period to legitimise the birth to the couple, was given the surname “Abdullah”.

Based on a 1981 fatwa (edict) by the National Fatwa Committee, the NRD refused the Muslim parents’ request to use the father’s name in the birth certificate.

Another fatwa in 2003, meanwhile, declared that an illegitimate child shall not be given the surname of the father of the child or the person who claimed to be the father of the child.

Abdul Rahman said the fatwa was in conflict with the BDRA, which allows the father of the illegitimate child to make his name the child’s surname.

Musa also said the Court of Appeal ruling would result in confusion in the distribution of assets according to Islamic principles.

“If the biological father of an illegitimate child accepts an inheritance, he will be committing a sin and taking what belongs to someone else. There will be chaos, so we should avoid this before it happens,” he said.

Musa said the stigma in Malay society in using the name “Abdullah” for illegitimate children could be avoided since other names were available.

Full report at:



Muslim Groups Rally in Jakarta Against Regulation Making It Easier for Gov't to Ban Them

Jul 29, 2017

Jakarta. Islamist groups, numbering in their thousands, took to the streets of Jakarta on Friday (28/07) to protest a new regulation that will make it easier for the government to ban so-called "mass organizations" — including Muslim groups — accused of threatening Indonesia's national unity.

The regulation, called Perppu Ormas, was issued in the midst of a push by the government to demand stronger loyalty from mass organizations to Indonesia's state ideology Pancasila, amid fears that rising Islamist extremism may jeopardize democracy and pluralist values in the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

Backed by the regulation, the government had already disbanded a Muslim organization, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), last week over accusations it undermines Pancasila by advocating the formation of an Islamic caliphate.

Despite its political stance, HTI is known as a non-violent organization.

The government's move has sparked protests and accusations, including from rights groups, that it is actually the government that is jeopardizing Indonesia's hard-won democracy and discrediting Islamist organizations.

Ex-members of HTI and members of several other Islamist groups, including the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), gathered for a protest on Friday at the Istiqlal Mosque compound in Central Jakarta.

The white-clad protesters, wearing Muslim caps and robes and raising flags, later marched to the National Monument (Monas) to protest.

"We are no longer allowed to shout 'khilafah (caliphate),'" HTI spokesman Ismail Yusanto told the crowd. "With this regulation, the government is not only trying to ban mass organizations, but also stifle the development of Islamic teachings."

Representatives from the Muslim groups also met with Constitutional Court officials to file requests for a judicial review on the government regulation from six Islamist groups.

President Joko Widodo signed the regulation earlier this month, after receiving backing from several moderate Muslim organizations.

The regulation drops a requirement stipulated in a law on mass organizations enacted in 2013 that makes it mandatory to bring mass groups to trial before disbanding them.

"This as a trick by the government to weaken Islamic-based organizations," an FPI sympathizer in the crowd said. "This is Islamophobia."

HTI itself filed a judicial review against the government regulation last week, with the first court hearing of the complaint held on Wednesday.

HTI is the Indonesian chapter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in several countries. HTI has been present in Indonesia since the 1980s and has largely been a campus-based movement with well-attended meetings and rallies.

Full report at:



Lift ban on G25 Islamic moderation book, Suhakam tells Home Ministry

July 28, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wants the Home Ministry to lift the ban on a book produced by G25 titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation ― Islam in a Constitutional Democracy.

The commission’s chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said he was “aghast” to find out that the book containing articles in line with the government’s concept of Islam Hadhari is now prohibited and called for the government to review the relevance of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 used in it ban.

“The view of Suhakam is that the book provides access to understanding Malaysian aspirations in dealing with the promotion of peace, as well as cultural and religious understanding,” he said in a statement this evening.

He pointed out further that 11 of the 21 chapters in the book were on issues relating to Islam and Shariah laws that were in line with the Hadhari theory of governance based on Islamic principles in the Quran promoted by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Razali added that the Hadhari concept was also in the wasatiyyah or moderation idea prescribed by incumbent PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The G25 book, published by Marshall Cavendish Singapore, has been in the market since 2015 but was only banned yesterday, according to a federal gazette issued by the Home Ministry, purportedly for being prejudicial to public order.

The book by G25, a group comprising former high-ranking Malay-Muslim civil servants, civic leaders and politicians first formed in December 2014 to call for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy as they are deeply concerned over developments regarding race relations, Islam, and extremist behaviour in Malaysia.

Full report at:





Philly Archbishop: Europe’s Future Has the Face of ‘Young Muslim Immigrants’

28 Jul 2017

“If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle, look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told a group of Catholics Thursday.

Speaking at an annual conference of the Napa Institute in California, Chaput tied the future of civilization to a willingness to have children—an area where Muslims lead every other group.

“Islam has a future because Islam believes in children,” Chaput said. “Without a transcendent faith that makes life worth living, there’s no reason to bear children. And where there are no children, there’s no imagination, no reason to sacrifice, and no future.”

“Christian” Europe, on the other hand, languishes under a loss of hope in the future, illustrated by a birthrate well below replacement levels, which is offset only by its uncontrolled mass immigration.

“At least six of Europe’s most senior national leaders have no children at all,” the Archbishop noted.  “Their world ends with them. It’s hard to avoid a sense that much of Europe is already dead or dying without knowing it.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, along with the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, have zero children among them, a feat perhaps never matched in European history. This startling fact has led some to speculate that as a group these leaders have less of a stake in the future of their nations because they have no children of their own.

President Macron got into hot water recently when he chided African nations for having too many children, bringing an avalanche of accusations of racism crashing down upon his head.

As European nations wallow in negative population growth, the French President blamed big families for Africa’s poverty and underdevelopment. Asked about the development of Africa at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Macron pointed to the “seven to eight children” African women are having as a “civilizational” problem demanding a solution.

“When countries are still having seven or eight children per woman, you can spend billions of euros on them but you won’t stabilize anything,” Macron quipped.

In his address Thursday, Archbishop Chaput seemed to suggest that Macron may have his priorities exactly backwards. Children are far more important than possessions, he said, and the future of the world is with them.

“When young people ask me how to change the world, I tell them to love each other, get married, stay faithful to one another, have lots of children, and raise those children to be men and women of Christian character,” he said.

“Money is important, but it’s never the most important thing,” he said. “The future belongs to people with children, not with things. Things rust and break. But every child is a universe of possibility that reaches into eternity, connecting our memories and our hopes in a sign of God’s love across the generations.”

“That’s what matters,” Chaput said. “The soul of a child is forever.”



Irish in Britain should show solidarity with Muslims


My friend is in his mid-20s and works in a coffee shop in London, having moved over from Northern Ireland earlier this year. He has, in the past few months, been told to go “home” twice, and that he does not speak “real” English.

It is shocking that in 2017, people are being told what my grandfather from Co Donegal was told when working on a construction site in the south of England, in the 1960s. The English builders, one day, went around saying “Irish out”. Luckily for my grandfather, he was a unionist of planter descent, born when Ireland was still part of the Empire, and declared that he was not only Irish, but also British. After listening to his explanation of his family history, he was permitted to stay.

Knowledge gap

Irish people are no longer denied jobs, verbally and physically assaulted on mass levels for being Irish, or racially profiled and mistreated by the police and justice systems. Yet, this level of hostility is now focused on the Muslim populations within the UK.

As with Irish communities during the Troubles, Muslim communities of today are being mass associated and vilified by the British media and the government. In the wake of the most recent attacks in Manchester and London, some in the national press called for internment of Muslims. It was a strategy used in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and which the British military later admitted did not work and increased terrorist activity.

A headline from the Sun recently did the rounds on social media, from several decades ago when the paper advocated for the mass deportation of Irish homeless people back to Ireland. In 2017, the likes of Katie Hopkins are given column inches to advocate for deporting Muslims.

Racially profiled

At government level, Muslims are racially profiled in a way Irish people used to be. The Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven are the most well-known instances of innocent Irish people being wrongly accused. To simply have an Irish accent or surname was enough to risk arrest in the wake of an attack.

The PREVENT programme set up by Labour in 2006, designed to counter Muslim extremism and terrorism, has been criticised by the UN, for being likely to cause increased marginalisation and alienation of people within Muslim communities.

Teachers are required to report students to the police for anything they deem as possibly indicating extremism leanings. Examples have included a student of conflict being reported for reading books on terrorism. Of course, like with interment and racial policing of Irish people, some of those caught will be guilty, but many will not. Beyond the immorality of susceptibility based on race or faith alone, the innocent citizens wrongly profiled are at risk of becoming more hostile to the state, thus increasing the likelihood of attraction to terrorist activity.

Attacks on Muslims are increasing, and are not getting the attention they deserve. Acid attacks are becoming ever more prevalent. In East London alone on June 29th and 30th, four acid attacks were made on Muslim people, according to reports by Harry Shotton, a student who is gathering evidence on Twitter of increasing hostility towards Muslims.

Acid attacks

The attack on Resham Khan and Jameel Muklthar, two Muslim cousins who were celebrating Khan’s 21st birthday when they were doused with acid, has received widespread media coverage, but these kinds of attacks and attitudes are not isolated incidents. In Ireland, a mosque in Galway was recently attacked; it seems some people don’t know their own history, or simply don’t care for a grouping being held mass accountable, if it is not one they are part of.

The British prime minister and the government need to work to counter terrorism, but they should also be working to make communities feel safe. As Irish people, our history is one of discrimination, hostility and injustice within Britain; during the conflict and for generations before it.

We should call out, in Ireland and in Britain, those who wish to blame a whole community for the horrific actions of some within it. This can happen in our one-on-one interactions with family and friends, and in other ways such as protesting at anti-racist rallies, volunteering at refugee aid centres, attending mosque open days, and learning more about the faith.

Full report at:



Hate crime in Britain: Anxiety among Bangladeshi communities on the rise

July 28, 2017

The hate crimes on Muslim community in Britain have increased manifold in recent times since the terrorist attacks took place in Manchester and London

Acid attacks have emerged as a new weapon in communal violence in Britain and the Muslim population, specially Bangladeshi communities living in Britain, have become the primary targets of this aggression.

Frequent acid attacks on Bangladeshi communities have been spreading fear and anxiety among the Bangladeshis living across the Britain. Parents can no longer breathe a sigh of relief until their children return to the safety of their homes.

At least eight acid attacks have been launched in last month and a half in different Bangali-inhabited areas of East London. The latest acid attack was on two Bangladeshi youths at Tower Hamlets on July 25 this year.

The hate crimes on the Muslim community in Britain have increased manifold in recent times, after the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Muslim women have been facing physical assault because of their attire.

Bangladeshi community activists in London have organised a meeting to discuss and protest the series of acid attacks. The meeting was chaired by Councilor Maiyum Mia.

Also Read – Acid attacks have become a gruesome criminal trend in the UK

Maaj Selim, a renowned face in Britain’s anti-racism movement whose father was killed by the white supremacists in Birmingham last year, said: “What is going on in Britain right now is not acid attacks, it is racially-motivated acid terrorism.”

KM Abu Tahir Chowdhury, a senior leader of the Bangladeshi community in Britain, said that more than 400 acid attacks have been recorded in London and Wales by London metropolitan police in the last six months.

“Most acid attacks have been taking place in the Newham, Barking and Tower Hamlets areas, where a large number of Bangladeshi people live,” Tahir added.

Asked about the reason behind such frequent attacks, Tahir replied: “The current government of Britain has reduced the number of police officers in the name of budget cuts, which is a vital reason behind the increased number of crimes.”

Also Read – Five hurt in acid attack robberies in London

“During the tenure of former Mayor Lutfur Rahman, 41 policemen were recruited in Tower Hamlets with the council fund, but the number has been reduced to six in recent times.”

“It is quite difficult to maintain law and order in such a big area with such a small number of policemen,” he added.

Former councilor and leader of ruling Conservative Party Dr Anwara Ali said the government has to undertake three initiatives to prevent acid terrorism.

Firstly, the availability and sale of corrosive substances must be controlled. Secondly, strict punishment should imposed on perpetrators and thirdly, awareness campaigns need to be arranged across the country.

President of the UK-Bangla Press Club Reza Ahmed Faisal Chowdhury Shoaib said: “In 2014, some 200 acid attacks took place in London while the number increased to 431 in 2015.”

“According to the statistics, it can be derived that an acid attack has been taking place every 20 hours.”

Full report at:



Grozny emerges from ruins to become a ‘showcase for Islam’

July 29, 2017

“Here it’s better to be veiled,” she told AFP.

On Grozny’s streets, many women follow her example and wear headscarves or a hijab that covers the chest, while others are in long dresses that hide their arms and legs.

“We don’t force women to wear a headscarf,” the city’s mayor Muslim Khuchiyev said. “But we remind them that this is the Chechen tradition and what our faith calls for”.

Under authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, in power since 2007, the role of Islam has grown massively in the Russian North Caucasus republic.

In Grozny, dozens of mosques have been built from the ruins of a city devastated after separatists waged two wars against the Russian army.

Grozny hit the headlines in recent months after Russian opposition daily Novaya Gazeta published a report alleging that gay men were being persecuted by the Chechen authorities.

Homosexuality in the conservative region is taboo.

Kadyrov, 40, has also expressed support for polygamy, which is against the law in Russia, saying that “for me, the most important thing is Islamic law”.

With alcohol sales restricted, school children studying the canons of Islam and women officially encouraged to wear headscarves for work and study, regional authorities are actively promoting Islam.

‘The good Islam’

Malika, 29, goes to the mosque every day with her husband.

“In the last two or three years, people have become more and more religious,” she said, adding that she makes her daughter take lessons in religious morality.

“Of course the authorities encourage us. A religious woman is a good mother, a religious man is a peaceful person,” said Malika as her phone rang to alert her to one of the five daily calls to prayer, which are also broadcast around the city over loudspeakers.

“Grozny has emerged from ruins to become a modern Muslim city, a showcase for Islam,” Khuchiyev said.

Taking pride of place in the centre of Grozny is the Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, named after Kadyrov’s father. Chechnya’s previous leader Akhmad Kadyrov was assassinated in 2004.

It was opened in 2008 on the site of the ruined former parliament building, destroyed by Russian bombs.

Now “the largest mosque in Europe… is already not big enough,” said Khuchiyev.

Asked about financing for the mosque, the mayor simply said “the money came from Allah,” echoing a phrase often used by Kadyrov himself to bat away questions about public spending.

Most of the city’s grand reconstruction projects were enabled by lavish funding from Russia.

Since taking power Kadyrov has sought to eliminate the Islamist insurgency known as the Caucasus Emirate that grew out of the pro-independence fighting units in the second Chechen war that erupted in the late 1990s.

“We absolutely had to build new mosques so that people came back to the good Islam,” Khuchiyev said.

Khuchiyev means that Chechens should embrace religion without being drawn into the Caucasus Emirate or the Islamic State group, to which the Emirate has now sworn allegiance.

A large number of Chechens have joined IS fighters in Syria and Iraq, according to Russian authorities.

‘Muslim city, for Muslims’

In recent years, Kadyrov has expanded his message to address the wider Islamic world.

After the violence erupted this month at a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, he seemed to declare support for Palestinians on his highly popular Instagram account.

“Almighty Allah has always at the necessary moment put a sword in the hands of a warrior for Islam who is capable of liberating Al-Aqsa,” the post read.

Al-Aqsa mosque is part of a compound in Jerusalem’s Old City known as Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount to Jews.

Moscow-based political analyst Nikolai Petrov said Kadyrov’s desire for “a special role in the Muslim world” has been visible ever since Charlie Hebdo.

Hundreds of thousands of Chechens joined a government-directed protest against the French satirical magazine for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in January 2015, just days after staff at Charlie Hebdo were murdered in a jihadist attack.

Kadyrov’s “latest statements on Israel and Palestine, on Chechens in Syria, and even the scandal over gays in Chechnya — all this only strengthens his position,” said Petrov.

“The greater the shock tactics, the stronger his status as leader.”

Grozny is aiming to be a place of influence for Muslims internationally, Khuchiyev said: “People come from very far away to pray and study here”.

However, the emphasis on Islam has alienated some residents, such as Yelena, who has lived in the city since she was born.

Yelena, a Russian Orthodox member, said she feels “like a second-class citizen.”

Full report at:



Johnson voices support for US missile attack on Syria

Jul 28, 2017

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has thrown his full support behind US President Donald Trump’s order to launch a missile strike on Syria following allegations of a chemical attack in April, hailing the move as a “kinetic” response.

Johnson, speaking at an event in Australia on Thursday, praised Trump’s reaction to the Khan Shaykhun suspected gas attack, saying, “Actually, the Americans responded to the barbaric massacre on 4 April, when up to 100 people died in a chemical weapons attack, by kinetic action, which the Obama administration never did.”

The British foreign secretary also voiced support for Trump’s handling of relations with Russia over the conflict in Syria, noting that the US president has taken a more uncompromising approach towards the Kremlin than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“When you look at how the Americans responded to the Syria crisis, they’ve been more hard-line against the Russians than the Obama administration was,” Johnson said.

“Is it fitting and right for the president of the United States to have any kind of personal relationship with Mr Putin? Well, I think, actually, it is. He didn’t meet him until 20 July, and they had a lot to discuss,” he added, rejecting claims that Trump was too close with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Following the Khan Shaykhun incident on April 4, the Western states and their regional allies rushed to pin the blame on the Syrian government, without providing any evidence to support their accusations.

Syria, however, rejected using banned weapons during its anti-terrorism operations.

Damascus agreed to surrender its entire chemical arsenal to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in a mark of transparency after it was blamed for a similar attack in 2013.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said the Syrian air force had targeted a militant arms depot in the area that is believed to have contained some chemicals. Damascus and Moscow also called for a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident.

In a unilateral move on April 7, the US military, however, decided to target the Syrian army directly by firing 59 Tomahawk missiles at al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syria. Washington claimed that the airbase targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the Khan Shaykhun incident.

Full report at:





Saudi forces kill 40 Houthi militants off Jazan

28 July 2017

Saudi Arabia's joint forces killed at least 40 Houthi militants off Jazan, on Friday, with the support of Apache helicopters.

Al Arabiya correspondent reported that the Saudi forces had information in the past few days about attempts by Houthi militias and the forces of ousted Saleh to mobilize militants in the Yemeni governorates opposite the Saudi border.

These militants have been under constant surveillance over the last few days.

The Saudi forces were able to lure the Houthi militants to enter within their target range to destroy those groups.

The four-hour military operations were carried out opposite Al-Khashl, Al-Fadna and Al-Malhama mountains, by Apache helicopters and Saudi artillery.

Saudi rockets targeted Houthi strongholds in places where they camped at the border of Saada province.

Military sources confirmed that Saudi forces had killed at least 40 militants and destroyed several of their military vehicles.



Muslim countries to hold urgent Istanbul meeting on al-Aqsa crisis


Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will convene in Istanbul on Aug. 1 to discuss ongoing tension in east Jerusalem after Israel attempted to restrict the use of the Harem al-Sherif for Muslims, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

According to the statement, Turkey made the call for the extraordinary meeting as the term president of the OIC.

The OIC Executive Committee will discuss recent developments, read the statement without giving details.

The statement came on July 28, when Israel banned men under 50 from disputed Jerusalem holy site for the day in anticipation of more mass protests.

Tensions have been high at the compound for two weeks, often erupting into clashes, after two Israeli police officers were killed there, prompting Israel to install metal detectors at the entrance to the site and a subsequent Muslim boycott.

Under immense diplomatic pressure Israel removed the metal detectors on July 27, a move welcomed by the Arab world, but violence quickly returned when thousands of Muslim worshippers surged into the mosque.

Before Israel removed the new security apparatus, Palestinian factions had called for a “day of rage” on Friday.

“Security assessments were made and there are indications that disturbances and demonstrations will take place today,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

“Extra police and border police are in and around the Old City and will respond to any disturbances.”

He said women of all ages will be allowed into the site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in a move that has never been recognised internationally.

Al-Aqsa mosque sits on a tree-lined marble plateau in the heart of the Old City. It is also the holiest place in Judaism - the venue of two ancient temples, the last destroyed by the Romans. Jews pray under heavy security at the Western Wall at the foot of the elevated plaza.

Turkey to Israel: Read history

Ankara backed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks on the al-Aqsa crisis from Israeli criticisms on July 27.

“We are proud of our history. All religions, even before the Ottoman era, carried out their worship in complete freedom” in the holy lands, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told private broadcaster Habertürk.

“Those who try to attack our history should read about it first,” he added.       

On July 25, Erdoğan criticized the Israeli measures at al-Aqsa Mosque.

Erdoğan had urged Muslims to play their role in protecting the mosque in Jerusalem, the same day Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon blasted Erdoğan’s statements as “delusional.”

“The days of the Ottoman Empire are over. The capital of the Jewish people was, is and always will be Jerusalem. As opposed to the past, this is a city where the government is committed to its security, liberty, freedom of worship and respect for the rights of all minorities,” Nahshon said.

Full report at:



US, EU allies demand Iran halt ballistic activity

29 July 2017

The United States and three of its European allies urged Iran to halt all ballistic missile activity after Tehran tested a satellite-launch rocket in what Washington denounced as a “provocative” act.

“We condemn this action,” read a joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and the United States, saying Thursday’s test was in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region. We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities.”

US sanctions

The US said it is slapping Iran with new ballistic missiles sanctions in response to its launch of a satellite-carrying rocket into space a day earlier.

The sanctions target six Iranian subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group. The Treasury Department says that group is “central” to Iran’s ballistic missiles program.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the sanctions illustrate deep US concerns about Iran’s missile testing and other actions. He says the US will continue countering Iran’s ballistic missile program including Thursday’s “provocative space launch.”

The US has said that launch flouted a UN Security Council resolution because the technology is inherently designed to be able to carry a nuclear payload.

Full report at:



Allies follow suit day after US kicked up a fuss about Iran space launch

Jul 29, 2017

Three European allies of the US have engaged in rhetoric against Iran after the country successfully tested a satellite-launch rocket, urging Tehran to halt all its missile activities. 

"We condemn this action," read a joint statement by Britain, France, Germany and the US on Friday, claiming the test is in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015 to endorse Iran's nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA), with six world powers.

"Iran's program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region. We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities," the statement added.

Resolution 2231 calls on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology."

Tehran insists its missile tests and rocket launches do not breach any UN resolution, because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Earlier on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “every word” of the nuclear deal has been carefully negotiated, adding, “Iran does not develop missiles that are designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

The statement by the US and its European allies came a day after Washington described the successful satellite-carrying rocket launch as “a provocative action,” accusing Iran of violating UN Security Council resolutions.

Since his inauguration on January 20, US President Donald Trump has adopted a hostile policy towards Iran.

He has repeatedly vowed to cancel the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, including the US. Trump’s administration has also imposed new sanctions on multiple Iranian individuals and entities.

On Thursday, Iran launched its domestically-manufactured Simorgh carrier, whose mission is to put Iranian satellites into orbit.

The launch was carried out from the Imam Khomeini Space Center in the central Iranian province of Semnan. Simorgh, named after a bird in Persian mythology, is capable of placing a satellite weighing up to 250 kilograms in an orbit of 500 kilometers.

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

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

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the successful test-launch, saying such scientific achievements boost the Islamic Republic’s power and grandeur.

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

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

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

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

Full report at:



Iranian worshipers rally in protest at Israeli crimes

Jul 28, 2017

Iranian worshipers have staged a demonstration in Tehran to express their outrage at the crimes committed against the Palestinian and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

During the rally, held in the Iranian capital after the Friday prayers, the protesters chanted slogans such as “Death to Israel” and “Death to the US, Britain and Al Saud” and called on Muslims to reinforce their unity to counter global arrogant powers led by the United States.

The demonstrators issued a statement in condemnation of the Israeli regime’s recent atrocities against the oppressed Palestinian people and the killing of worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as crimes by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya Muslims.

Israel is afraid of the Palestinian people’s resistance against this bogus regime and spares no efforts to take control of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the entire Palestine, the statement said.

However, it added, the arrogant powers and ignorant Israeli leaders must know that the Palestinian people’s resistance would continue until final victory. 

It said Muslims and freedom-seeking people across the world would not remain silent in the face of any violation of the al-Aqsa Mosque’s sanctity and called for a firm stand against the Israeli regime’s crimes.

The protesters also expressed regret over the “cruel and painful” killing of Muslims in Myanmar amid the silence of international bodies and so-called advocates of human rights and called for an end to the killings.

“The silence of international communities and organizations that claim to defend human rights and human values has added to the sorrow and grief of Muslims over the killing of defenseless people in Myanmar and Palestine,” the statement read.

This silence once again showed the affiliation of these bodies to global hegemonic powers, it added.

It warned that Saudi-led Takfiri groups and Wahhabi movements seek to sow discord among Muslims and commit every possible crime with the support of the US and Israel to achieve their goal and emphasized that blood of the oppressed people would haunt the Takfiri terrorists and the Al Saud regime soon.

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

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

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

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Myanmarese troops and police are accused of killing and raping Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar and widely viewed as outsiders by the majority Buddhists.

The more than one million Rohingya Muslims have been suffering widely-reported aggression for years in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, which has also been under a military lockdown since October 2016.

Full report at:



Yemeni forces seize several Saudi military bases, outposts in Jizan region

Jul 29, 2017

Yemeni army troops, backed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, have managed to seize several strategic Saudi military bases and outposts in the Arab kingdom’s southwestern Jizan region, inflicting casualties on Saudi forces.

According to Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, the Yemeni forces captured al-Jaberi and al-Malhamah military bases as well as al-Fariza and al-Ghavieh military outposts on Friday, after launching a retaliatory offensive against the southwestern regions of Saudi Arabia.

The report added that dozens of Saudi troops were either killed or wounded in the offensive, without giving a specific number of the casualties.

The Yemeni forces, backed by Houthi Ansarullah fighters, also managed to destroy at least five armored vehicles belonging to Saudi mercenaries in Moze district in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta'izz.

Since the beginning of the Saudi war on Yemen in March 2015, which was carried out in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, Saudi warplanes have pounded the nation day and night, killing over 12,000 people, including many women and children, and displacing over three million others.

Full report at:

The Riyadh regime has, however, failed to reach its goals despite suffering great expense.



Israeli forces kill Palestinians in Bethlehem, Gaza

Jul 28, 2017

Israeli forces have killed a young Palestinian man over an alleged stabbing attempt in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and shot dead a teen in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Safa Palestinian Press Agency reported that the young man was killed in Gosh Atsion settlement, south of Bethlehem, on Friday.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the slain youth as Abdullah Ali Mahmoud Taqataqa, a 24-year-old resident of the town of Beit Fajjar.

Palestinian sources said Israeli forces banned ambulances from reaching to the man.

Another Palestinian was killed and three others were injured in clashes between Israeli troops and protesters in Gaza on Friday.

Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, said the 16-year-old, Abdul Rahman Abu Hamisa, was killed in the east of Bureij refugee camp.

Clashes continue in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds between Israeli forces and Palestinians angered by Tel Aviv’s restrictions at al-Aqsa Mosque.

Muslims had been refusing to hold prayers at the mosque and prayed in the streets around the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds for almost two weeks after Israel installed security equipment, including metal detectors and cameras, at the sacred compound following a deadly shooting incident there on July 14. Israel’s recent restrictive measures have drawn widespread international condemnations.

Al-Aqsa TV reported that Israeli forces violently repressed pro-Aqsa rallies in the West Bank on Friday.

Palestinian sources said Israeli forces also clashed with Palestinians in Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus in the West Bank. Two Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

Israeli forces also cracked down on a rally that was staged in solidarity with the holy site near the checkpoint after Friday noon prayers, firing tear gas at the worshipers. A number of them suffered suffocation.

Israeli forces have also attacked worshipers in Wadi al-Joz area outside al-Aqsa compound.

Red Crescent reported that over 200 Palestinians were injured in Friday’s clashes in Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank. Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition on Friday.

The administration of the al-Quds Awqaf said on Thursday that Israeli forces had arrested about 100 sit-in protesters in al-Aqsa.

Israel lifts all restrictions at Aqsa

The Israeli regime reopened all the doors of the mosque for the worshippers on Friday, Al-Aqsa TV quoted the media official at the Islamic Awqaf, Feras al-Debs, as saying.

Tel Aviv also lifted age restrictions. Israeli police had said in a statement on Friday morning that men under 50 would be banned from Friday Muslim prayers at the holy site.

The satellite television network also reported that the regime opened the doors of Hatta, al-Ghawanmeh and King Faisal, adding the other doors will be opened in the upcoming hour.

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

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

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

Full report at:





India keeps close watch as verdict on Nawaz Sharif puts Pakistan in a flux

Jul 29, 2017

NEW DELHI: The ouster of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan+ and its after-effects are being closely watched in India as New Delhi keeps an eye on who will succeed him and the possibility of heightened adventurism by the Pakistani military.

The government has stayed silent, refraining from even categorising this as an "internal matter", which is a stock response by the foreign ministry, but the unseating of the Pakistani leader is not a surprise to South Block.

The possibility of political instability deepening in Pakistan cannot be ruled out and, if that happens, India will take on a more defensive posture.

Pakistan watchers point to a long history of Pakistan's security-intelligence complex using terror to ratchet up tensions and then emphasise the Indian threat — and their own indispensability.

They have played this game for a long time. This time, though, India's responses may be far tougher. In addition, Pakistan-US ties are coming under strain+ with Washington now building a case against Islamabad's collusion with terror groups.

Though China is a tested ally and Russia a budding friend, it's not yet clear how far they will cover for Pakistan. Nawaz's choice as successor — daughter Maryam, or brother Shahbaz — would not be able to take over until they are made members of the National Assembly.

As Pakistani commentators say, there are very few "sadiq" or "ameen" (honest and upright) leaders the ruling party can turn to with national elections due in 10 months. The party could split and leaders gravitate to Imran Khan's PTI or Bilawal Bhutto's PPP, or as former home minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has been signalling, a rival power centre could come up or another party even.

For PM Narendra Modi, Sharif was once a promise that ceased after Pathankot and Uri terror attacks. India's Pakistan policy now is best described as benign neglect, officially accompanied by a tougher line on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

To that extent, who takes Sharif's place is less relevant to India. Pakistan's economy is more or less in the same place as it was in 2013 when Sharif was elected. He tried to do more on infrastructure, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was started on his watch. Nevertheless, economic management was sorely inadequate.

Pakistan's continuing problems with terrorism didn't change, particularly with regard to India. Sharif may have wanted to open up to India but he did nothing to curb terror against India.

So, the question is asked once again: whether India will now deal with the Pakistan army instead of the civilian leadership? First, that is a way away, because the quality of interactions between India and Pakistan are negligible at present.

Second, India has a long history of dealing with the party or person in power, as does China. That is unlikely to change. Third, and possibly the most important, the Pakistan army does not want to be India's direct interlocutor.

Also, in this current crisis certainly, and in the past few years, the army has preferred to pull the strings from the background, leaving the politicians to be the facade. That is unlikely to change either.



Maharashtra Assembly: Ruckus after Abu Azmi’s no to Vande Mataram

July 29, 2017

There was fracas in the Maharashtra Assembly on Friday with Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi squaring off against the ruling party MLAs over singing of “Vande Mataram”.

On Thursday, BJP MLA Raj Purohit had stated that he would urge Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to adopt a policy on the lines of the Madras High Court judgement making singing of “Vande Mataram” compulsory.

Subsequently, Azmi had responded saying he would not sing “Vande Mataram” even if he is “thrown out of the country”.

On Friday, BJP MLA Anil Gote took umbrage at Azmi’s remarks in the Legislative Assembly. “There should not be any opposition to Vande Mataram. It is a patriotic song and it should not be opposed by people like Abu Azmi,” Gote said.

When Azmi rose to respond, he was shouted down and later, he got involved in a slanging match with the BJP MLAs. “If a person lives and feeds on the soil of this country, what is wrong in being grateful to it? You are born here and after your death, you will be buried in the same land. Why can’t you respect the soil by saying ‘Vande Mataram’?” senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse questioned Azmi. Azmi said saying “Vande Mataram” was against the tenets of his faith and he was ready to say Hindustan Zindabad thousands of times. “I am opposing any move to make singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ mandatory. If my faith tells me that singing ‘Vande Mataram’ is against my faith, then I should not be forced to do so,” he said.

Full report at:



If Kashmir’s special status is tampered with, no one will shoulder Indian flag in Valley: Mehbooba Mufti

July 29, 2017

If the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir is tampered with, or the Permanent Resident Act (35A) — a provision that empowers the state’s permanent residents — removed, there will be “no one to shoulder the Indian flag in the Valley”, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday. Speaking at an event in the national capital, she said that J&K “would not exist” without the special status it is accorded.

On the recent arrest of separatists in Kashmir, Mufti stated that NIA arrests are “administrative measures, and administrative measures only contain the issue — they do not resolve it.”

In Srinagar, DGP S P Vaid told the media, “All law enforcement agencies were in unison. We have no differences. We did support them (NIA). When the raids were conducted, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was with them.”

At the conference — “Under-standing Kashmir”, organised by the Bureau of Research on Industry & Economic Funda-mentals (BRIEF), a socio-economic consulting group — Mufti emphasised that the idea of azaadi has to be replaced with a better idea. “Are we ready to do that? Or are we depending more on administrative measures or security measures to tackle the situation,” she asked. “We have seen it for the last 70 years that we have not been able to address the real problem.

“In a state where people are asking for azaadi, if you want to take away what they have (the special status), this system will not work,” the Chief Minister said.

Mufti added that Pakistan has to play a positive role in the process “that was revived by Modi when he went to Pakistan, but unfortunately it was not reciprocated. But we can’t give up.” She said that the PDP-BJP alliance in the state has been put together “with the belief and hope that we will be able to revive the magic of Vajpayee ji’s time.”

Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s leadership as an asset that needs to be harnessed, Mufti said that Modi was the man of the moment and has the potential to rise and become a man of history. She also stated that the idea of India is incomplete without the idea of Kashmir.

Full report at:





Pak-Afghan documentary makers join hands to promote human rights

July 29, 2017

KARACHI - Pakistani and Afghan documentary makers presented their joint audio and video productions on human rights issues at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism, Karachi, on Friday.

These documentaries were produced in a first-of-its-kind residential training programme that brought together documentary makers from Pakistan and Afghanistan in Karachi from 17-28 July 2017. The training was led by award-winning journalists from Serbia, Sonja Ristic and Zoran Culafic.

Foundation Hirondelle, the Centre for Excellence in Journalism, International Film Festival and Forum of Human Rights and the United Nation Information Centre jointly organized the training on ‘Documentary Making for Human Rights and Peace building,’ which was funded by the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan. Documentaries produced in the training would be broadcasted on radio and screened at film festivals across the world.

“Bringing different people together is always a fascinating idea. You get different perspectives, skill sets and different ways of thinking,” Mohammad Behroozian from Afghanistan said, adding that, “It is even more important when the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan come together. The people-to-people diplomacy will, hopefully, result in better relations between the people of the two countries.”

“There is a wide gap between the journalists of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Trainings such as these definitely help build better understanding among professionals and improve the prospects of peace, because these people have the power to build public opinion, “ said Said Nazir, a Pakistani participant.

“It was not an easy decision to come to Pakistan because the media shows only problems. There are more similarities between the two cultures than differences. I found Pakistan like my own home,” said Tamana Ayazi, a participant from Afghanistan.

Kanzul Fatima Arif (Pakistan), Gulzar Nayani (Pakistan) and Tamana Ayazi’s (Afghanistan) film ‘Behaali’ or ‘Recovery’ is a journey into the lives of two children Mohammad Ramzan and Shakeel, who are recovering drug addicts but do not let their history of addiction define them.

At the centre of Nameera Ahmad (Pakistan), Mohammad Behroozian (Afghanistan) and Najiba Noori’s (Afghanistan) film ‘Sound of Silence’ is a 15-year-old girl Fariah, who was born deaf. Through Fariah’s story, the film explores the challenges faced by deaf people in Karachi and how they deal with them. Radio journalist Said Nazir (Pakistan) produced an audio documentary on the challenges and success stories of transgender people in mainstream professions. Sadeq Naseri (Afghanistan) produced an audio documentary on child labour in Karachi.

Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan Marc P George, Director UN Information Centre Vittorio Cammarota, diplomats as well as the characters of the documentaries were present on the occasion. A day earlier, the Swiss Consul General Philippe Crevoisier hosted the closing ceremony of this training at his residence, which was also attended by filmmakers and film enthusiasts.

In his comments Marc P. George, Ambassador of Switzerland in Pakistan said: “The Swiss government is proud to offer this unique opportunity to enhance dialogue and professional relations between young Pakistani and Afghan documentary makers by developing common projects with the support of professionals.”

Vittorio Cammarota, Director UN Information Centre said: “This training programme reflects the three pillars of the United Nations: human rights, peace and security, and socio-economic development. We brought filmmakers from Afghanistan and Pakistan to work on documentaries on human rights with a focus on children and minorities. This training programme was a concrete exercise of peace building and a great opportunity for promoting freedom of expression.”

Kamal Siddiqi, Director Centre for Excellence in Journalism said: “We are happy to host such an exercise. It is our aim to make CEJ a regional Centre for excellence in Journalism and we are excited at the prospect of having journalists from Afghanistan and Pakistan come together and collaborate in this manner at our state-of-the-art facilities. Such an initiative will help build bridges of understanding between our two countries and we hope to conduct more such exercises in the future too.”

Caroline Vuillemin, CEO Foundation Hirondelle said: “This training was an exciting opportunity to marry capacity building and production for the participants. The Foundation Hirondelle experts worked with a mixed team that brought new angles and rich inputs to the stories and produced unique documentaries.”



42 suspected facilitators arrested in Punjab: ISPR

July 29, 2017

As Operation Khyber-4 continues in Khyber Agency, 110 square kilometres of Rajgal Valley have been cleared, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Friday, with over 40 suspected facilitators of terrorists arrested in Punjab.

The army's public relations wing said that a number of terrorist hideouts in the area had been "dismantled" and improved explosive devices neutralised, adding that "forces [are] searching cleared areas of Wucha Wana, Bagh, Ziarat Sereh and Pak Darra."

Additionally, the Punjab Rangers, along with the Counter-Terrorism Department Punjab and police conducted operations against terrorists and their facilitators in the province, ISPR said, adding that 42 suspects had been arrested in Islamabad, Lahore and Rawalpindi over the past 48 hours.

"The apprehended individuals are suspected of providing harbouring places to terrorists in the suburbs of Lahore and Islamabad," the ISPR handout said.

The army announced the launch of Operation Khyber-4 to "wipe out terrorists" in Rajgal Valley under Radd-ul-Fasaad earlier this month.

Khyber-4 seeks to target terrorist hideouts in what ISPR called "the most critical area in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas".

Since the launch of Operation RuF, the army has launched 46 major operations in the country and over 9,000 intelligence-based operations (IBOs).

Full report at:



Large area of Rajgal valley cleared in operation Khyber-4: ISPR

July 29, 2017

RAWALPINDI: The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in their latest statement said that 110 square kilometres area in Rajgal valley has been cleared by the Pak armed forces as Operation Khyber-4 continues.

According to ISPR, "various terrorist hideouts in the area were "dismantled" and a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) neutralised."

Pakistan Army Engineers Counter IED teams detected, recovered and neutralised IED’s which were laid by terrorists. “Forces [are] searching cleared areas of Wucha Wana, Bagh, Ziarat Sereh and Pak Darra,” said ISPR.

The ISPR also added that “during last 48 hrs, 42 suspects were apprehended from Islamabad, Rawalpindi & Lahore. The apprehended individuals are suspected of providing harbouring places to the Terrorists in the suburbs of Lahore / Islamabad.” Punjab Rangers, along with the Counter-Terrorism Department Punjab and police, conducted operations against terrorists and their facilitators in the province.



Call to observe Defence of Al-Aqsa Mosque Day

July 29, 2017

KARACHI - The supporters of Palestine Foundation (PLF) Pakistan staged demonstrations in Karachi on an appeal to all Pakistanis that Friday to be observed as Defence of Al-Aqsa Mosque Day.

PLF’s central leadership along with the supporters stage demonstration outside New Memon Masjid on MA Jinnah Road Karachi where Allama Aqeel Anjum Qadri of JUP, Mohammad Hussain Mehanti of Jamaat-e-Islami and Sabir Abu Maryam, secretary general, PLF Pakistan led the pro-Palestine people.

Eminent Naat Khwan Maaz Chishti, Shakil Qasmi, Maulana Abdul Ghaffar Chishti, Maulana Rafiq Qadri, Mehmood Askari, Asfandyar Khan and All City Tajir Ittehad leader Rafiq Jafrani also attended the main demonstration.

The demonstrators were carrying placards and banners inscribed with anti-Israel, anti-US slogans and demands for liberation of Palestine with al-Quds as its capital. They also raised slogans against the Zionist regime of fake state of Israel for its latest aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque and preventing Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa mosque in the name of security.  They also burnt the flags of US and Israel and also denounced the Indian regime for its partnerships with these two countries and for its atrocities in the occupied Kashmir and fanning terrorism in Pakistan.   Speaking to the protesters, the PLF leaders said that Israel is an illegitimate and fake state that is the name of illegal occupation of Palestine by the racist Zionists. They said that Israel was plotting Zionisation of al-Quds including Aqsa mosque.

Full report at:



US hopes for smooth transition of power in Islamabad

Anwar Iqbal

July 29, 2017

WASHINGTON: The United States says it hopes for a smooth transfer of power in Pakistan after the Supreme Court verdict that disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“This is an internal matter. We look forward to a smooth transition as Pakistan’s parliament selects the next prime minister,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked to comment on the verdict, on Friday.

The comment followed an announcement that the State Department is sending its acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells on “an introductory trip” to India and Pakistan this week.

And the visit is not the only important foreign policy matter that the government in Islamabad has to deal with this week, despite the political turmoil that it finds itself enmeshed in. Even more important is the immediate need to send a high-powered team to Washington for crucial water talks with India at the World Bank headquarters.

The State Department’s careful reaction to the verdict comes at a time when the Trump administration is busy finalising a new strategy for South Asia and senior US officials have said that Pakistan will have a key role in the new policy.

Since a team of senior security and foreign policy advisers are busy finalising a master plan, both the State Department and Pentagon avoid making any binding statement on developments in South Asia.

On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a news briefing that President Donald Trump was “still in consultations” with the National Security Council, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis on a new strategy for South Asia and until the final decisions were made, she was “not going to go ahead” and comment on developments in that region.

Diplomatic observers in Washington say since the administration is also sending a senior envoy to Islamabad, it will wait for her to return before offering more comments on the situation in Pakistan.

Ambassador Wells, who is also the acting US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, leaves Washington on Friday for a weeklong – July 30-Aug 8 – visit to South Asia that brings her to both New Delhi and Islamabad.

Full report at:



Shahbaz tipped to be Nawaz's choice for prime minister: reports

Sanaullah Khan | Syed Sammer Abbas

July 28, 2017

Speculation is rife about who the country's next prime minister will be after the Supreme Court (SC), in a landmark ruling on the Panama Papers case, disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding public office on Friday.

As head of the ruling PML-N, Nawaz will be able to nominate a successor a candidate who will be put to a vote in the National Assembly — a rubber stamp affair as the party holds a strong majority in the house.

Nawaz Sharif, during a party meeting held at PM House today following the SC verdict, said he had received suggestions that his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, be considered a contender for prime minister, well-placed PML-N sources present at the meeting told DawnNews.

There was no resistance to Nawaz's proposal, which was met with applause, the sources said.

However, they added, Nawaz was concerned about who would take up the mantle of CM Punjab if Shahbaz took the reins as prime minister a position that would require him to be elected to the National Assembly.

A couple of attendees of the meeting named Hamza Shahbaz, Shahbaz Sharif's son, as a possible contender for the post of CM Punjab, but Nawaz Sharif showed little interest in the suggestion, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with it, the sources told DawnNews.

Who are Nawaz's possible successors?

Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif

If Nawaz Sharif selects his brother to succeed him, Shahbaz Sharif would first have to win a by-election for a seat in the National Assembly a process which would take at least 45 days.

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq

Sadiq was elected from Lahore's NA-122 constituency in the 2013 General Election, defeating Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. The PTI challenged the election results, leading to the deseating of Sadiq and re-polling in the constituency. Sadiq then defeated PTI's Aleem Khan to retake the constituency, also referred to as the 'Takht-i-Lahore'.

Pundits say Nawaz could select Sadiq as his successor just to annoy Imran Khan, who spearheaded the Panamagate petition against the Sharif family.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif

Asif has been a harsh critic of the military and its propensity to involve itself in the country's civilian affairs. He was elected from Sialkot.

Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Abbasi is another close ally of Sharif. He faced charges along with Nawaz Sharif following the 1999 coup by former president Pervez Musharraf who overthrew Nawaz.

Abbasi was elected from Murree.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal

An engineering graduate, Iqbal has been a member of the PML-N since 1988.

He studied business in the United States and is considered a close Sharif ally. He was elected from Narowal.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan

Full report at:



Three terror suspects arrested in CTD raid

July 28, 2017

LAHORE: Punjab’s counter terrorism department Friday claimed to have arrested three members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan during a successful operation in Multan.

The latest raid comes days after a suicide bomber killed 26 people including eight policemen in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat area. Over 70 people were also wounded in the blast claimed by an off-shoot of the TTP.

A CTD spokesman said the raid was conducted on the basis on actionable intelligence. By arresting three terrorists, a terrorism plan has been thwarted in Multan, the spokesman said. “A credible source gave information that three terrorists belong to proscribed Organisation TTP are present at Southern-bypass Vehari Road in Multan. They had planned to attack vital installation in Multan.”

“On this information, (a team of) CTD Multan conducted raid near Southern Bypass Multan in afternoon and arrested three terrorists,” the spokesman added. The arrested suspects were shifted to an unknown police facility for further interrogation.



Arab World


Qatari Islamist’s confessions reveal Doha ‘plot’ to sabotage Gulf states

29 July 2017

Qatar’s alleged “plots” against the UAE and Gulf states have been detailed in a new documentary released by Emirati state television channels, local media reported on Friday.

The program features audio and video confessions by Qatari Muslim Brotherhood supporter Mahmoud al-Jaidah, who received a seven-year jail term in the UAE for supporting the illegal Islamist group, Al Islah.

In the documentary, Jaidah is filmed saying that Qatar had become “the preferred” and “only” mediator of terrorist organizations in the past 20 years.

“The report revealed that Qatar supported Al Islah and provided hotel accommodations to members of the group,” according to the Dubai-based Gulf News.

The documentary comes amid a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have boycotted Qatar over its alleged support for extremist groups.

Jaidah’s confessions detailed the organizational structure of Qatar’s Muslim Brotherhood branch, which included an "Executive Office" and a "Shura Council."

Jaidah, Qatari doctor, had been granted amnesty by the UAE, but he later returned to attack the UAE on Qatar’s state television.

He said that meetings that took place in Qatar resulted in the “blatant financing” of these organizations and that the Qatari government provided material and moral support to fugitive members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gulf News reports: “Qatar’s contact with Al Islah members began with Khalid Mohammad Abdullah Al Shaiba, who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for links to the Muslim Brotherhood and setting up a branch of the organization in the UAE.

“The group then infiltrated Qatari state facilities with the support of members of the ruling family, with 30 representatives of the group governing the ‘Ahl Al Hall Wa Al Aqd’ Council.”

The newspaper stated that Jaidah’s testimony “serves as the most incriminating proof of Qatar’s role as the primary incubator of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The following points were also revealed in the documentary, citing Jaidah’s admissions:

        Doha’s efforts to recruit GCC nationals to carry out terrorist acts inside the UAE and in the region.

        That the UAE has been the chief target of the Muslim Brotherhood for years.

        The members of a group setting up a Muslim Brotherhood branch in the UAE were named by Jaidah: Eisa Al Ansari, Mohammad Thani, Nasser Mohammad Eisa, Ebrahim Al Ebrahim, Abdul Hamid Mahmoud and Khamis Al Mohannadi.

        The Brotherhood’s actions were supported by the Qatari government, as well as organizations such as, the Shaikh Thani Ibn Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services, and the Shaikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association.



Officials: 19,000 Daesh militants, supporters in Iraq, Syria

Jul 29, 2017

High-ranking Iraqi security officials say there are about 7,000 Daesh terrorists and supporters remaining in the Arab country.

The sheer number comprises an estimated 4,000 militants and 3,000 sympathizers, who were employed by the Takfiri group and received salaries, they told The Associated Press anonymously.

The sources said neighboring Syria was holding another 7,000 Daesh militants and 5,000 supporters.

The countries used to be awash with around 19,000 to 25,000 Daesh terrorists alone in February 2016 and 20,000 to 31,000 in 2014.

The northern city of Mosul was Daesh's main Iraqi stronghold, which was liberated on July 10. The group’s turf has now dwindled to patches within the northwestern province of Nineveh, the sprawling neighboring Anbar province, and the Hawija area in the nearby Kirkuk Province.

The northern city of Raqqah constitutes the group’s base in Syria, which is now the subject of concerted counter-terrorism operations and yet to be declared militant-free.

Reports have been circling around pointing to alleged death of the group’s notorious ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Iraqi intelligence officials, however, told AP that he was still alive.

"We will be reviving Daesh if we killed Baghdadi now," one of the top officials said, adding the strategy was to get rid of possible successors first.

Full report at:



Kuwait closes Shia TV as crackdown widens

Jul 28, 2017

uwait has shut down a Shia satellite television channel, accusing one of its owners of having links to Iran and Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah.

The official Kuwait News Agency reported on Thursday that the private Shia Al Kout TV’s broadcast licenses had been revoked.

It named the owner as Bassel Dashti, saying he was a former member of the so-called “Abdali cell,” which Kuwait claims was in contact with Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Hezbollah.

The agency said Dashti was sentenced to five years earlier this month on charges of “contributing to bringing weapons and receiving illegal training.”

Kuwait City announced in 2015 that it had disbanded “Abdali cell”, and charged its “26 members” with possessing weapons, smuggling explosives, and planning “hostile actions” inside Kuwait.

They received sentences ranging from a few years in prison to, in one case, the death penalty, though the latter sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.

The defendants were later acquitted on appeals and set free. Kuwait’s Supreme Court, however, overturned their acquittal and sentenced them to between five and 15 years in prison.

Earlier in July, Iran said its ambassador to Kuwait met with Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry officials, who told him “it would be better” for the staffers at the Iranian diplomatic mission to reduce in number, and that the mission was advised to take action towards downsizing the workforce within a month and a half.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Kuwait’s charge d’affaires afterwards.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Deploys 70km away from Deir Ezzur City

Jul 28, 2017

The army men drove ISIL out of the towns of Rajm al-Soleiman and al-Kharaz  and laid siege on the last center of the terrorist group in Southeastern Raqqa.

The army soldiers are now near the town of Ma'adan in Deir Ezzur.

The Arabic-language Anab news website affiliated to opposition groups reported that the army units deployed only 70km away from Deir Ezzur city.

The tribal forces that are fighting ISIL along with army units entered the village of Shanan between the towns of al-Akereshi and Ma'adan along the road that connects Raqqa to Deir Ezzur two days ago.

The army men also liberated the town of al-Dahleh and laid siege on Ma'adan.

Relevant reports said on Wednesday that the army men continued to hit ISIL's positions in the Southeastern part of Raqqa province and took control of al-Jarih oil and gas wells after capturing the village of Salam Alaykom near the wells.

A military source reported that the army unis were advancing towards East from two main flanks after taking control over the Southwestern territories of Raqqa province.

The source added that, in the first flank, the army men were pushing towards the Southern bank of the Euphrates River and Raqqa-Deir Ezzur road.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Inches Closer to ISIL's Last Stronghold in Eastern Homs

Jul 28, 2017

The army units and the popular forces have expanded control to areas surroundings the al-Sukhnah gas field only five kilometers South-East of the town of al-Sukhnah.

The recent advances of the army were materialized two months after imposing control over ISIL-held regions in Eastern Qalamoun and Khneifis region.

Al-Sukhnah is the most important town along the road to Deir Ezzur.

The army's steady advances in the regions near Arak and al-Heil oil fields enable the pro-government forces to capture more key heights South and North-West of al-Sukhnah.

The army, now, needs to capture Tantour heights West of al-Sukhnah to impose control over the Southwestern entrance of the town.

The Arabic-language Lebanese Al-Akhbar daily reported that the army will move towards North and East after capturing al-Sukhnah.

The daily added that after the liberation of al-Sukhnah the army will have the two options of pushing towards the town of Kabajeb 80km away from Deir Ezzur in the East or move Northwards to join other army units that are advancing against ISIL towards the ancient region of Ba'ar al-Hamal.

Earlier reports said that the army troops launched a powerful attack in the Western outskirts of the town of al-Sukhnah this morning, targeting the ISIL terrorists' last positions along the hilltops overlooking the town.

Full report at:



Russian Air Force to Remain in Syria for 49 More Years

Jul 28, 2017

The protocol signed by Russia and Syria in January 2017 regulated issues related to the deployment of the Russian Air Force on Syrian territory as well as related to Russia’s exercise of jurisdiction over its military movable and immovable assets on Syrian territory, AMN reported.

It also covers the measures needed to maintain the operation efficiency of the Russia Air Force.

Under the protocol, the Russian Air Force are allowed to stay on Syrian territory for 49 years with an option of automatically extending that arrangement for 25-year periods after this term expires.

The document, published on the Russian official legal information website, particularly says that the Syrian government is handing over a plot of land in Lattakia province, where the Humeimim Air Base is located, over to Russia for its free use.

The bill ratifying the protocol was signed by Putin on Thursday, according to a Kremlin statement.

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

The Russian Air Force was deployed to Syria on September 30, 2015 at the request of the Syrian government as part of the operation aimed at fighting terrorist groups. The group was stationed at the Humeimim Air Base.

Full report at:



Syrian Gov't Forces Make Fresh Gains in War on Terrorism in Hama

Jul 28, 2017

The army men and their allies stormed ISIL's defense lines and liberated new positions and hilltops East of the government-controlled town of al-Sabbourah, reaching the outskirts of the ISIL-held town of al-Dakilah al-Shamaliyah.

Moreover, a large number of pro-government reinforcements have just arrived in Eastern Hama to take part in an imminent offensive to drive ISIL out of the region.

According to military sources, the ISIL-held town is expected to be ceded by the terrorist group to the Syrian Army soon since the pro-government forces have established fire control over it.

In the meantime, a significant number of pro-government reinforcements redeployed to Eastern Hama from their positions in Damascus and Badiyeh al-Sham regions.

Also, reports said that the pro-government forces plan to isolate the militant group’s regional bastion to push its fighters to either surrender or flee East.

In relevant developments in the province on Thursday that the Russian and Syrian fighter jets hit ISIL's military positions in al-Qastal, al-Hanouteh, Jarouh, Abu al-Fashafish, al-Rawyza, Abu Hanaya, Abu Habilat, Qalib al-Thur, Salba, al-Dakileh, al-Hardaneh, Masadeh, al-Makiman and Jeni al-Ablabawi, killing a large number of terrorists and destroying their military positions and equipment.

Meantime, the Syrian army killed the entire militants of a group of ISIL terrorists at al-Zakiya junction in Eastern Ithriya who were trying to penetrate into Ithriya-Rasafa road in Eastern Hama.

The army troops also foiled an attempt by a group of Al-Nusra terrorists who intended to open their way into Salamiyah-Homs road near the town of Khanifis and pushed them back.

Full report at:



Former CIA official: Qatar has ties with terrorist groups

28 July 2017

Michael Morell, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the US appeared on “Charlie Rose” program which aired, Wednesday on PBS channel to discuss Qatar crisis.

Morell and al-Otaiba summed up the key concerns of the boycotting countries and their ally the US with regard to Qatar’s regional policies and their fight against terrorism and extremism.

"I think Qatar, small country, small population, significant wealth from natural gas, wanted to have a foreign policy that was outsized for itself and they looked around and said where can we make a difference? And one of the areas that was open was talking to these groups that the rest of us won’t talk to, and they saw an opportunity to play a role with that,” Morell said.

He added “As they became closer and closer to these groups over time, they started supporting them in many ways, so as Yousef said for example; groups that the United States of America considers to be International terrorist organizations that we have designated as such; Hamas and Taliban have offices in Doha.”

“They are also supporting them and others with money and arms including Al Nusra, another designated terrorist organization of the US in Syria, so clear -clear support of terrorist groups,” Morell said.

As for The Muslim Brotherhood group, he said that the United States looked at it hard, and it doesn’t see it as a terrorist group although they (UAE and other boycotting countries) have a different story to say: “It is absolutely an organization that wants, we think, through political means to impose a particular way of life on the populations throughout the Middle East, and Qatar supports those organizations.”

Morell continued, “How should the American people think about this from my perspective. They should think about it as the Qataris are trying to do with the Muslim Brotherhood in places like the Emirates, in places like Saudi Arabia, what the Russians are trying to do to the United States, in terms of interfering in our politics, it is exactly the same.”

Qatar harbors terrorist groups

UAE ambassador to the United States, spoke of Qatar's support over the past 15 years for terrorist groups such as militias in Syria, in Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban and Hamas.

"Inside Doha, you have the Hamas leadership, you have a Taliban embassy, you have the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, you have groups going on Al Jazeera everyday promoting and justifying suicide bombings,” the UAE Ambassador said.

Full report at:



Arab foreign ministers to meet in Bahrain over Qatar crisis

29 July 2017

The foreign ministers of four Arab countries that cut ties with Qatar over its alleged backing of terrorism will meet in Bahrain on Saturday "to watch Doha's seriousness in combating terrorism," Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt will hold a two-day meeting in Manama to evaluate the recent developments of Doha situation," foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmad Abu Zeid was quoted as saying.

The Arab quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar last month after accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, interfering in their internal affairs and seeking closer ties with Iran.

Qatar had strongly denied the charges and rejected a list of 13 demands put forward by the bloc for resuming diplomatic ties.

On Thursday, Qatar's foreign minister said the United Nations should step in to help resolve the crisis.



Qatar appeals to UN, while US calls for dialogue

28 July 2017

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called the United Nations to help in resolving the Gulf crisis.

The Qatari minister said to the reporters after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stressed that the international organization supports solving the crisis regionally.

The UN secretary-general reiterated his full support for Kuwait-led mediation in an attempt to resolve Qatar crisis.

In Washington, where Qatar's foreign minister met with his US counterpart, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert said that Washington believe that to solve the crisis; the stakeholders need to sit together to talk and discuss it directly.

In a related context, China's permanent ambassador in the United Nations expressed his country's belief that the crisis should be resolved within the Gulf Cooperation Council as an internal dispute, stressing that China hopes that the parties of the crisis will hold direct talks to overcome the obstacles to solve the issue.

Full report at:



North America


American dream trumps fear for US Muslims, says Pew survey

July 26, 2017

Muslims in United States (US) say they have experienced widespread suspicion about their faith in the first months of Donald Trump's presidency, but also have received more support from individual Americans, and remain hopeful they can eventually be fully accepted in American society, a new survey finds.

Nearly three-quarters of US Muslims view Trump as unfriendly to them, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Wednesday.

Around 62 per cent say Americans do not view Islam as part of the mainstream after a presidential election that saw a surge in hostility toward Muslims and immigrants.

At the same time, nearly half of Muslims said they had received expressions of encouragement from non-Muslims in the past year an increase over past polls.

And Muslims remain optimistic about their future about 70pc believe hard work can bring success in America, a figure largely unchanged for a decade.

"There's a sense among the American Muslim population that others are beginning to understand them and beginning to sympathise with them," said Amaney Jamal, a Princeton University political scientist and adviser to Pew researchers.

Prejudice against Muslims has "pushed the average American to say, 'This is really not fair. I'm going to knock on my neighbour's door to see if they're all right," Jamal said.

The Pew survey is its third on American Muslims since 2007, and its first since Trump took office January 20.

He promised to fight terrorism through "extreme vetting" of refugees and had a plan to temporarily ban travellers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The latest poll of 1,001 adults was conducted by phone, both landline and cellphones, between January 23 and May 2, in English, Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.8 percentage points.

The last several months have seen an uptick in reports of anti-Muslim harassment, including arson and vandalism at mosques and bullying at schools.

In the Pew survey, nearly half of US Muslims say they have faced some discrimination in the last year, such as being treated with distrust, threatened or called an offensive name.

That percentage is only a slight increase over previous surveys.

However, the figure is much higher for respondents who said they were more visibly identified as Muslim, for example women who wear the hijab, with 64pc of those with a more distinct Muslim identity saying they had recently faced some type of discrimination.

Still, the survey found evidence of a growing sense of Muslim belonging in the United States.

About 89pc said they were proud be both Muslim and American and nearly two-thirds said there was no conflict between Islam and democracy.

A larger share of American Muslims told Pew they had registered to vote and actually voted, with 44pc of Muslims eligible to vote cast ballots in last year's presidential election, compared to 37pc in 2007.

Those numbers on Muslim voting are compared to 60pc of eligible voters overall who cast ballots in 2016.

American Muslim leaders, alarmed by anti-Muslim rhetoric in the campaign, made an unprecedented push to register voters in mosques and at community events. Turnout overall was higher after the highly contested 2016 campaign.

Muslims overwhelmingly backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who drew 78pc of their vote compared to 8pc for Trump.

Following a trend found in other American faith groups, a slight majority of US Muslims now accept homosexuality, a dramatic reversal from a decade ago when 61pc said same-sex relationships should be discouraged.

Pew researchers estimate the number of US Muslims has been growing by 100,000 per year, reaching 3.35 million, or 1pc of the American population.

Just over half of US Muslims identify as Sunni, while 16pc say they are Shia. Nearly six in 10 adult American Muslims were born outside the US.

The largest share of immigrants come from South Asian countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, while others have come from Iraq, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

African Americans born in the US comprise about 13pc of all Muslims in America, but their share is shrinking. Overall, eight in 10 are US citizens, according to the survey.

Eight in 10 American Muslims said they were concerned about Islamic extremism, and more than 70pc said they were very or somewhat concerned about extremism in the US.

However, three of 10 said that most of those arrested recently on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack had been tricked by law enforcement authorities and did not represent a real threat.



US Muslim Sue Employer Claiming They Were Forced To Choose Between Their Religion and Their Jobs


A group of Muslim men has launched a legal complaint against their former employer after they were allegedly told to choose between their religion and their jobs.

Sixteen former employees of US auto supplier Brose Jefferson are reportedly suing the company for religious discrimination after they say they were forced to "involuntarily resign".

It comes after the Michigan-based company told the men their request for a change in their meal break time during Ramadan could not be accommodated, according to Michigan Radio.

The men reportedly made the request in May to take their meal break at 9pm, rather than the standard 7pm.

The men worked a 2pm to 10pm shift, and asked for the meal break to be pushed to after sundown at 9pm, when Muslims are able to break their fast.

But according to their legal representatives, their employer told them the request would not be accommodated, and they would have to choose whether their religion or their jobs were more important. The men unanimously resigned following the incident.

Cary McGehee, one of the lawyers representing the men, said: "The law is very clear that an employer has an obligation to provide its employees with reasonable accommodation related to their religious beliefs, and [Brose] failed to do so in this case."

"From our independent investigation and from the discussions with our clients, there was no difference in production needs this year that would make it unduly burdensome for the company to provide this accommodation."

Brose Jefferson said in a statement it "carefully considers" the needs of its employees and said it would "vigorously defend" any claims brought against the company.

"Brose Jefferson’s workforce is one of the most racially, ethnically, gender, generationally and religiously diverse workplaces in Michigan,” the company said.

"Unfortunately, this year, a small percentage of Muslim production and temporary agency workers were not satisfied with Brose’s proposed accommodations during Ramadan.  They chose to walk off the job rather than discuss other accommodations that would not unduly impact Brose’s production.

Full report at:



California Muslim leader apologizes for remarks about Jews

July 28, 2017

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — An imam in Northern California who gave a widely criticized sermon last week about tensions over a holy site in Jerusalem apologized Friday for his remarks.

Imam Ammar Shahin apologized during a news conference Friday in Davis, California, saying he let his emotions cloud his judgment, the Los Angeles Times reported (

In a July 21 sermon, Shahin condoned the annihilation of Jews and those restricting access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli officials installed metal detectors at the mosque’s entrances after Arab gunmen on July 14 shot and killed two police officers in the site that is holy to both Muslims and Jews. The move outraged Muslims and sparked some of the worst street clashes in years. Five Palestinians died in the past week and scores were wounded in violent clashes with Israeli security forces over the holy site.

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DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — An imam in Northern California who gave a widely criticized sermon last week about tensions over a holy site in Jerusalem apologized Friday for his remarks.

Imam Ammar Shahin apologized during a news conference Friday in Davis, California, saying he let his emotions cloud his judgment, the Los Angeles Times reported (

In a July 21 sermon, Shahin condoned the annihilation of Jews and those restricting access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli officials installed metal detectors at the mosque’s entrances after Arab gunmen on July 14 shot and killed two police officers in the site that is holy to both Muslims and Jews. The move outraged Muslims and sparked some of the worst street clashes in years. Five Palestinians died in the past week and scores were wounded in violent clashes with Israeli security forces over the holy site.

Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque attended by tens of thousands ended peacefully.

Shahin’s sermon to worshippers at the Islamic Center of Davis set off a firestorm of criticism after a videotaped excerpt was translated and distributed.

“I said things that were hurtful to Jews. This was unacceptable,” Shahin said, flanked by religious and community leaders during a news conference in that was part of an effort to ease tensions.

“I hope to grow and develop as a more worthy leader in the community,” he added.

Full report at:



US Senator McCain seeks diplomatic, military and economic costs on Pakistan

Jul 29, 2017

WASHINGTON: US Senator John McCain has moved a legislative amendment in the Senate to impose gradual diplomatic, military, and economic costs on Pakistan if it continues to provide support to terrorist groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network.

The move, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018, is part of an effort by McCain to establish lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, and to prevent this war-torn country from being a launch pad for terrorist attacks against the United states.

McCain is chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee and legislative moves by him always get through the Congress.

The Senate amendment 609 to NDAA- 2018 says that it is the sense of the US Congress to deny, disrupt, degrade, and destroy the ability of terrorist groups to conduct attacks against the US, its allies, and its core interests.

The amendment also allows it to prevent Taliban from using military force to overthrow the Afghan Government and reduce the Taliban's control of the Afghan population.

As part of this objective, McCain calls for strengthening the Afghan security forces, authorisation of US forces to target terrorists of the Haqqani network and the Taliban and others. He also calls for regional diplomatic initiatives including India under this move.

The legislative amendment calls for "imposing graduated diplomatic, military, and economic costs on Pakistan as long as it continues to provide support and sanctuary to terrorist and insurgent groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network.

"It calls for simultaneously outlining the potential benefits of a long-term United States-Pakistan strategic partnership that could result from the cessation by Pakistan of support for all terrorist and insurgent groups and constructive role in bringing about a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan."

Moved on the Senate floor on Thursday, the amendment also calls for intensifying America's regional diplomatic efforts working through flexible frameworks for regional dialogue together with Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and other nations to promote political reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The move is also aimed towards advance regional cooperation on issues such as border security, intelligence sharing, counter-narcotics, transportation, and trade to reduce mistrust and build confidence among regional states.

The McCain amendment proposes strict conditioning of American economic, and governance assistance programs for Afghanistan upon measurable progress in achieving joint United States-Afghanistan benchmarks for implementing necessary institutional reforms, especially those related to anti- corruption, financial transparency, and the rule of law.

Calling for increasing the number of US counter terrorism forces in Afghanistan; the amendment calls for providing the United States military with "status-based targeting authorities" against the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al- Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and other terrorist groups that threaten the United States, its allies, and its core interests.

In his amendment, McCain calls for pursuing a joint agreement to secure a long-term, open-ended counter terrorism partnership between the US and Afghanistan, which he said would include an enduring United States counter terrorism presence in Afghanistan.

The US Senate is yet to vote on NDAA-2018.

Yesterday, in a statement, McCain rued on the delay in its passage.

"It is unfortunate that one senator chose to block consideration of a bill our nation needs right now, the National Defense Authorization Act," he said.

"For 55 years in a row, Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides our men and women in uniform with the resources, capabilities, and pay and benefits that they need to perform their missions on behalf of the American people and keep our country safe. This legislation is more vital than ever," McCain said.

Full report at:



Muslim-American Deedra Abboud running for US Senate: ‘People want change’

29 July 2017

Politics in the United States have taken a turn since President Donald Trump came into power, causing a stir of controversies and a sense of uneasiness for minorities in the country.

Deedra Abboud, 45, is one Muslim-American who decided to take matters into her own hands and run for a US senate seat in the upcoming 2018 elections and said it was an “extraordinary” opportunity to bring Arizonans together to discuss real issues they face in their state.

“In 2016, I became so disappointed in how elected leaders were deliberately attacking and marginalizing my fellow Americans, and worse that their colleagues were not defending their own constituents against those attacks,” Abboud told Al Arabiya English.

Abboud said she was interested in politics from an early age, such as women’s rights, social justice, and civil rights, while her expertise has always been in holding elected leaders accountable.

The Phoenix-based attorney for over 15 years and founder of the leadership consulting firm, the Global Institute of Solution Oriented Leadership, said she has personally experienced only a few incidents of Islamophobia.

“Other than an avalanche of online attacks and one white supremacist protest at an event (totally peaceful but with lots of anti-Muslim comments), I have had zero negative experiences since announcing my campaign,” she said.

Prior to her candidacy, Abboud recalled a memory of an incident that took place ten years ago when she was presenting at a diversity training at a Sky Harbor airport transportation company, where people threw chair across the room in protest of her presence.

“One lady sat directly in front of me, staring intently and hatefully at me, and made comments about knowing I was really a devil and that my scarf was hiding horns. I ignored her and continued with the presentation. About a year later, the lady contacted me. She apologized for her behavior and said she had come to realized how much she had misunderstood,” Abboud recalled.

‘People want change’

“Hate is not what is dividing us. Not knowing each other, not actually talking to each other, is the real divider. But that’s something we each have the power to change. The ball’s in our court. And I’m doing my part,” she told Al Arabiya English.

According to the Democratic senate hopeful, people have been very supportive and excited about her candidacy.

“People want a change, they want progress, they want progressive platforms that bring us all together and create opportunities for all of us,” she said.

One of Abboud’s main focus in her campaign is to unite the citizens and make Americans voters a priority again.

“A strong United States is not just about defense but about every dimension of our strength: our effectiveness in the world, our economy, our educational system, our health care system, our families, our communities, and our environments,” Abboud said.

“We must also sever the unholy marriage between religion and state that has taken root. A strong separation between religion and state ensures all people have freedom of religion.”

Change for Muslim-Americans

Abboud, however, believes that while one person winning an election could increase social connections for minorities, it will not drastically overhaul the bigger picture.

In order for real change to happen in America, she calls out on Muslims to stop letting others take the lead. She said: “We have to stop looking around for the perfect leader, and start standing up and being leaders”.

She believes an upturn will occur when Muslims begin supporting local causes outside the Muslim communities by propping up others being marginalized in today’s America. “Because while Muslims are the flavor of the month, we aren’t the only flavor on the menu”.

“It is true that Muslims in America are facing a tidal wave of discrimination, flowing forth from the policies of the current administration and affecting every corner of American society. Clearly, it is more important than ever that we confront the insidiousness that is Islamophobia,” Abboud told Al Arabiya English.

“While Muslims pride themselves on being up-to-date on national politics, as well as being well-versed in global events, they are mostly absent when it comes to domestic politics. Many Muslims only vote in the presidential elections, if they vote at all,” she added.

Abboud believes that volunteering, running for city councils, for school boards, and for state assemblies, can help Muslim-Americans rise above the hate.

Full report at:



Hundreds gather Washington to protest Israel

29 July 2017

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered here in front of the Israeli embassy to protest Israel's recent blockade of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and perform the Islamic Friday congregational prayer.

Palestinians, Christians and Orthodox Jews were among those who participated in the demonstration organized by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).

“We are here because we find that all what Israel is doing for decades against the Palestinian people is totally wrong and this step they are taking out escalate its violence to a level where they just encourage conflict and fuel hatred,” Rabbi Dovid Felman, president of Naturei Karta International organization, or Jews United Against Zionism, told Anadolu Agency.

Felman stressed that oppressing, killing, and stealing is wrong, according to Judaism, in reference to Israel’s actions toward Palestinians.

“We find today, Palestine the worst place for Jews or for Muslims. unfortunately, all of this was caused by the invention of Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel,” he added.

While Muslims performed the prayer in front of the embassy, others held banners that read: “Torah true Jews in Jerusalem and Worldwide condemn the aggression in Al-Aqsa and the occupation of Palestine” and “Judaism rejects Zionism and the state of Israel”.

AMP National Policy Director Dr. Osama Abuirshaid said the Israeli government can deny Palestinians their right to worship freely but its embassy in Washington DC does not have the same right and cannot stifle freedom of religion and expression.

“We will continue to fight against Israel's injustice in this country until the Palestine and Palestinian people are free,” he added.

Executive Director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), Nihad Awad, said “We are here to tell our elected officials and the Trump administration to behave as a worthy American administration by protecting the freedom of religion at home and abroad.” He also emphasized Israel brutalizes Palestinians with American weapons, money and support.

Kristin Szremski, AMP’s Director of Media and Communication asked demonstrators to contact their congressman and the State Department to pressure on Israel.

“American public opinion is changing. Congress is changing. Israel has become partisan topic in Congress. It used to be bi-partisan,” said Szremski. “It's now very partisan. It's only just a matter of time and they know it. That's why their measures are getting more and more harsh.”

Anger spilled across the West Bank since July 14, when Israel imposed security restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound -- a site venerated by Muslims and Jews, following the deaths of two Israeli police officers and three Arab Israelis in an attack.

Full report at:



South Asia


Airstrike eliminates main ISIS hideout in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan

Jul 28 2017

An important hideout of the militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group was eliminated in an airstrike carried out in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local officials, the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Achin district of Nangarhar.

The officials further added that the terror group also lost at least eight militants in the airstrike.

The provincial government media office in a statement also confirmed the airstrike and said the main hideout of the terror group was targeted in Wach Kot area.

The statement further added that the hideout of the terror group was totally destroyed in the airstrike but no casualties or property damage was incurred to the local residents.

It is yet not clear if the airstrike was carried out by the Afghan forces or the US forces based in Afghanistan.

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

Both the Afghan and US forces conducted regular strikes against the loyalists of the terror group in this province.

The increased raids, usually involving drone strikes, by the US forces followed a broader role granted by the Obama administration earlier last year.

The broader role was granted amid concerns that the loyalists of the terror group are attempting to expand foothold in the country and turn the eastern Nangarhar province into a regional operational hub for its fighters.



Germany pledges to expand economic and security support to Afghanistan

Jul 28 2017

A top German envoy in Afghanistan has said the government of Germany is committed to expand economic and security support to Afghanistan.

The Office of the National Security Adviser in a statement said the German envoy Thomas Peter made the remarks during a meeting with the national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Thursday.

Thanking the Afghan government for the security measures to ensure security of the diplomats, the German envoy said Afghanistan has more importance for the German nation and therefore the government of Germany is committed to expand its support in the economic and security sector with Afghanistan.

In his turn, Atmar thanked the German government for the support to Afghanistan and called the role of German forces in the framework of the NATO Resolute Support Mission as vital for the training of the Afghan forces.

The statement by the Office of the National Security Adviser also added that the two sides discussed other issues of bilateral interest during their meeting.

Full report at:



New Islamist alliance seeks to ride on Awami League in next election


Several Islamist parties that defected from the BNP-led alliance after the 10th parliamentary election are forming a new coalition with the Awami League, a move considered to add a new dimension to the count of votes in the next polls.

The initiators of the new alliance wish to take part in the next election, scheduled to be held in one and a half years, aligned with the ruling party's boat symbol through negotiation.

Lawyer Nurul Islam Khan, the chief of the Democratic Islamic Movement, is coordinating the efforts to form the new alliance. Khan is a former leader of Islami Oikya Jote, a former partner of the BNP in its four-party alliance.

The new alliance will have 10 Islamist and like-minded parties, Khan told in an interview.

"The alliance will work to uphold the spirit of Liberation War and Islamic values with the name Islamic Democratic Alliance or Bangladesh Democratic Alliance," he said.

Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote, is expected to become the chief of the new alliance.

He hoped the new alliance would be able to field 20 of its candidates in the next election with the boat symbol after negotiations with the Awami League.

Members of potential alliance

1. Bangladesh Khilafat Andolan (led by Maulana Zafrullah Khan)

2. Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote (Chairman: Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury)

3. Ganatantrik Islamic Movement (Chairman: Nurul Islam Khan)

4. National Democratic Party or NDP (Chairman: Alamgir Majumder)

5. Bangladesh Islamic Party (Chairman: Abdur Rashid Prodhan)

6. National Awami Party or NAP Bhashani (Chairman: Hasrat Khan Bhashani)

7. Jatiyatabadi Ganatantrik Dal (Chairman: Abdul Malek Chowdhury)

8. Jamiyate Hizbullah Bangladesh (led by Maulana Shah Mostakim Billah Siddiqui of Sharshina Darbar Sharif)

9. People's Justice Party (Chairman: Barrister M Haider Ali)

10. Bangladesh Muslim League (General Secretary: Kazi Abul Khayer)

For 29 years, Zafrullah Khan was the secretary general of Bangladesh Khilafat Andolan. Following a dispute over the leadership, he left the party and formed another with the same name.

Claiming that his party is the original organisation, Khan also applied to the Election Commission for the ‘banyan tree’ as its electoral symbol.

Misbahur Rahman Chowdhury, who was vocal against the Jamaat-e-Islami, was with Bangladesh Islami Oikya Jote in different movements. He is known as a supporter of the Awami League.

Nurul Islam Khan was the legal affairs secretary of the Islami Oikya Jote, which was a member of the BNP-led four-party alliance. He left the coalition in 2009 and formed Ganatantrik Islamic Movement, which he leads as the chairman.

NDP, Islamic Party, Jatiya Ganatantrik Dal, and NAP Bhasani had left the BNP-led 20-party alliance earlier and joined the coalition led by NPP with Shawkat Hossain Nilu as its chief.

NDP Chairman Alamgir Majumder was the secretary general of that coalition. After Nilu had fallen sick, they had formed another coalition named Democratic Alliance.

During the Liberation War in 1971, the ‘Bara Pir’ of Sharshina was in the Razakar force, collaborating with the Pakistani army. But Mostakim Billah Siddiqui, known as ‘Mejho Pir’, had supported Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom. He is now leading Jamiyate Hizbullah Bangladesh.

Haidar Ali, a leader of People’s Justice Party which came into being three years ago, was the founding managing director of Islamic TV. But he was involved with the Bangladesh Chhatra League and the Awami League during his student life, according to Khan. The Bangladesh Muslim League, which had opposed the nation’s independence in 1971, looks to the new coalition while one of its factions -- under the name Bangladesh Muslim League -- is currently a member of the BNP-led alliance.

Several political parties had left the BNP-led alliance after it failed to get any result after carrying out a three-month-long anti-government movement in 2015.

BNP leaders have been saying that the ruling party had lured the parties away in an effort to diminish their alliance’s power.

Recently, an announcement has also been made that a new coalition of ‘Islamic values’ led by Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad and named ‘Sammilita Jatiya Jote’, is to form soon.

The Awami League, which had redefined itself as a secular force under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has only one Islamist group, Tariqat Federation, in its 14-party coalition.

The ruling party now appears to be an ally of Islamists: it awarded a post-graduate status to the highest Qawmi Madrasa degree and removed a statue of Lady Justice from the Supreme Court, giving in to a demand from hardliners.

Khan said they started the process to form the new alliance six months ago. A meeting will take place on Saturday to finalise the name before it makes an official announcement by August. Khan claims that these Islamist parties will be able to garner at least 20 percent of the total votes.

Full report at:



$680 million to be allocated for Afghan Air Force soon, says Ghani

Jul 28 2017

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said a total fund of $680 million will allocated for the Afghan Air Force in the near future.

Speaking during a meeting with the local government and security officials in Helmand, President Ghani said the funds will be allocated to further equip and bolster the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

He said the government is committed to equip and maintain the national defense and security force and for this reason will soon allocated $680 million to increase the capabilities and equip the Afghan Air Forces.

President Ghani further added that the government also review and take proper actions for the recommendations of the security officials.

This comes as the Afghan government and the country’s international allies including US and NATO have stepped up efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan force and Air Force.

The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force, saying “Going forward, transitioning from Russian to U.S. airframes will ensure Afghan forces have a more sustainable fleet that is interoperable with U.S. forces and will enhance the Afghans’ ability to operate independently of coalition forces. The U.S. government is considering a critical AAF initiative to replace the unsustainable Russian-manufactured aircraft fleet and make up for combat losses in Afghan transport helicopters by providing U.S. UH-60s.”

He said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s. The requested FY2017 Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) budget, including the 23 additional funds for the first year of this proposed aviation initiative, went to Congress on 10 Nov 2016.”





Suicide bomb survivor works to save Islam from radicals

28 July 2017

The 2010 football World Cup, held in South Africa, left an indelible mark on the continent and will go down as a momentous event in sporting history.

However, in Uganda, the tournament will always be synonymous with "bloodbath" and a grim reminder terrorism is among the biggest menaces of today.

As Spain and the Netherlands were searching for a goal to break the deadlock on a chilly Johannesburg night, more than 4000km north in the Ugandan capital Kampala, extremists were executing an evil plan.

Al-Shabaab carried out suicide bombings in crowds watching the final at two locations in Kampala, killing 74 people and injuring 70. The Islamist militia based in Somalia claimed responsibility for the blasts as retaliation for Ugandan support for the AU mission in Somalia.

Ugandan survivor Hassan Ndugwa, 30, recounts the ill-fated day seven years later.

“I was joining my friends on July11, 2010, at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala. White chairs covered the rugby pitch where the crowd viewed the match on a giant screen. As the game closed on the 90th minute mark, two explosions rocked the field in quick succession, killing dozens.

“It was al-Shabaab’s first attack outside its home base of Somalia. At the same time, a restaurant elsewhere in the capital was targeted. At final count, 74 people were dead,” said Ndugwa, who needed multiple stitches in his face.

“It was not until I saw news reports on TV two days after the incident, and al-Shabaab’s claim to be acting based on Islamic values, that I realised what I wanted to do to combat the people who had hijacked the religion I love in order to justify violence.”

“That was the beginning of my engagement with countering violent extremism,” he said.

Together with a colleague who also survived, Ndugwa founded the Uganda Muslim Youth Development Forum (UMYDF).

“Instead of sitting back and blaming the government or the radical Muslims, we started the very active process of creating dialogue and building capacity among the young Muslims and imams so the youth do not become target of radicalisation. This would ensure mosques become centres of development where the youth can learn life skills.

“Through UMYDF, we are able to directly reach 10000 East African youth through direct training and online platforms.

“My mission is to contribute positively towards my community by involving myself and my peers in processes leading to a tolerant and peaceful society,” said Ndugwa.

“I have been deeply involved in initiatives to counter violent extremism and radicalisation of the youth. I have been listening and learning on the extent and causal factors of violent extremism in East Africa, so as to determine the best practices to save the region from the continuing scourge.”

At UMYDF, Ndugwa implements initiatives like the East Africa Regional Credible Voices Exchange Programme that brings together 40 religious, youth, women and cultural leaders from Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and Tanzania, with the aim of developing strategies to prevent the spread of violent extremism.

He also manages the Skills Enhancement Programme for imams, which seeks to build the capacity of Muslim clerics to use online technologies and social media to reduce the spread of hate speech and violent narratives by engaging susceptible youths.

Ndugwa also runs the Teachers for Peace programme to equip teachers to prevent extremism.

The National Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, another UMYDF initiative, provides positive alternatives to youths at risk of recruitment by extremists.

A holder of social sciences degree and currently pursuing a Master's in local governance and human rights at Uganda Martyrs University, Ndugwa’s crusade is globally endorsed.

He is a pioneer member of the Generation Change Global Fellows programme implemented by the US Institute of Peace and a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow.

“In the US, I got exposed to new knowledge and different actors in countering violent extremism, which deepened my understanding of the extremism ideology.”

He is also among the 10 global advocates selected by the Koffi Annan Foundation and youth empowerment movements to counter violent extremism in the world through the Extremely Together initiative. - CAJ News



Sudan: Church Schools Ordered to Follow Muslim Week

28 JULY 2017

Khartoum — Sudan's Ministry of Education has reportedly issued an order to church schools in Sudan to observe the weekend on Friday and Saturday, and operate schools on Sunday.

According to the public relations officer for the Coptic Church in Sudan, the authorities demolished the Catholic school of Angola one week before the start of the study, displacing more than 500 students who are still looking for an alternative school.

The church complains that Sunday has been the free day for church schools since their founding in the country.

Freedom of Christians probed

The European Union Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief visited Sudan mid-March to inquire about the situation of Christians and the demolition of churches in the country. He pointed to the planned demolition of 27 churches and church buildings in Khartoum which was delayed after an appeal was made to the court by lawyers.

The chairman of Sudan's Legislation and Justice Committee at the National Assembly, Ahmed El Tijani, then told the visiting Jan Figel that the freedom of belief is sanctioned by the Sudanese constitution, and the state does not impose any religious belief or practice on its citizens. He said the churches were demolished for land-ownership reasons.



Nigerian cardinal: Christianity and Islam are engaged in ‘contest for souls’

July 28, 2017

The leading prelate in Africa’s most populous nation said that Christianity and Islam are engaged in a “contest for souls.”

“Our evangelizing mission does indeed entail our doing our best to propagate openly the Gospel of Jesus, and to welcome all who freely accept faith in Jesus,” Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, preached at the ordination of a bishop. “It is in this light that I do not hesitate to declare that it is my desire to ‘Christianize Nigeria’ by all means of peaceful persuasion and conviction.”

“But I am also aware that there are others who have a similar desire, in respect of their own faith,” he continued. “I therefore respect the right of those who claim that they want to ‘Islamize Nigeria.’”

Cardinal Onaiyekan added:

We are therefore engaged in a contest for the souls of Nigerians—a contest that is legitimate, but must be carried out strictly with the rules of nonviolence, justice, freedom and sincerity before God. This is not only possible, but also necessary, for peace to reign in our land …

Evangelization, spreading the good news, does entail, but goes beyond making converts and swelling the statistics of our Church membership. We must also endeavor to generate a critical mass of witnesses to truth, justice and love, who, in collaboration with other men and women of good will, can make a positive impact in our society.

Full report at:



Jordanians urge cancellation of ‘shameful’ peace treaty with Israel

Jul 29, 2017

Angered by a recent fatal shooting at the Israel embassy, Jordanians hold a demonstration in Amman demanding the government shut down the mission and scrap the unpopular 1994 peace treaty with Tel Aviv.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “Death to Israel” and “No Zionist embassy on Jordanian soil” during Friday’s protest near the Israeli mission in the Jordanian capital.

On Sunday, an Israeli embassy guard shot dead two Jordanians after one of them allegedly attacked him with a screwdriver.

Israel's Foreign Ministry claimed that the guards had acted in self-defense.

However, Jordanian police said that the security officer shot the Jordanian victim, who worked for a furniture company and was delivering an order, after they got into a brawl.

The security man, along with the rest of the embassy staff, returned to the occupied territories under the protection of diplomatic immunity.

The shooter received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised him for what he termed acting "calmly.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi denounced Netanyahu’s move as “a disgrace,” saying Israel "tried to portray things as if the ambassador and the suspect were under siege, and that they were liberated and celebrated as heroes coming home.”

Jordan has launched an investigation into the deadly shooting incident and Jordan's attorney general has filed murder charges against the Israeli embassy guard.

On Thursday, Jordan's King Abdullah II urged Israel to put the shooter on trial and said the premier's behavior towards the security guard had been "provocative on all fronts and enrages us, destabilizes security and fuels extremism.”

"We demand that the Israeli Prime Minister abides by his commitment and takes all measures to ensure the trial of the killer, and not handle this like a political show to achieve personal political gains," he pointed out.

During Friday’s demonstration, which saw a heavy police presence, the Jordanian demonstrators called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

"The main headline of this protest is to move the shameful embassy of the Zionist entity from our capital Amman and at the same time to focus on cancelling the shameful agreement of Wadi Araba,” said protester Abdul Majeed Dandees.

He further noted that the Jordanians will continue anti-Israel demonstrations “because the national dignity is a red line for us and Zionists have to understand this."

Full report at:




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