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Islamic World News ( 21 Nov 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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No Indian Muslim Who Believes In Islam Will Allow ISIS To Have A Base In The Country: Home Minister

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 Nov 2017 

Union Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh said that Indian Muslims will never allow an organization like ISIS to have a base in the country.



 No Indian Muslim Who Believes In Islam Will Allow ISIS To Have A Base In The Country: Home Minister

 Top Afghan Official Blames Pakistan For Taliban Return

 Over 200 Terrorists Killed in Failed Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Eastern Damascus

 Iran: Saudi-Drafted Arab League Statement Full Of Lies, Worthless

 Yes, Muslim Anti-Semitism Exists in the US



 No Indian Muslim Who Believes In Islam Will Allow ISIS To Have A Base In The Country: Home Minister

 Terrorist killed in Srinagar encounter belonged to Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen, not Islamic State, says Home Ministry

 Ayodhya Issue: Shia Board Offers To Give Up Land, Wants Mosque In Lucknow

 Rohingya Muslims: Supreme Court to resume hearing on deporting 'illegal' refugees today

 2.0 Star Rajinikanth Opens Up About His ‘Unexplainable Relationship’ With Muslims

 J-K: Three LeT Pakistani terrorists neutralised in Handwara

 Assam team in a spot over Jamiat leader’s remarks


South Asia

 Top Afghan Official Blames Pakistan For Taliban Return

 Amnesty Accuses Myanmar Of Imposing ‘Apartheid’ On Rohingya

 Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral trade through Teknaf regaining normalcy

 Ex-Pak senator links FATA’s wounds to Pakistan’s support to Taliban

 Taliban and ISIS suffer heavy casualties in Nangarhar air and ground operations

 Myanmar's Suu Kyi says ‘illegal immigrants spreading terrorism’


Arab World

 Over 200 Terrorists Killed in Failed Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Eastern Damascus

 Alliance Between Iraqi Kurds And Shiites In Tatters

 Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after Islamic State defeat

 Families Of Islamic State Foreign Fighters Sent To Baghdad ‘For Expulsion’

 Tens of Terrorists Killed Amid Syrian Army Advances in Eastern Deir Ezzur

 Four More Terrorist Commanders Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Eastern Damascus

 Russian embassy in Damascus targeted by terrorist mortar fire

 Nasrallah: US did what it could to help Daesh in Syria's Bukamal

 Lebanon has right to resist, foil Israeli plans: Aoun

 Iraqi police forces seize major Daesh chemical depot in Anbar



 Iran: Saudi-Drafted Arab League Statement Full Of Lies, Worthless

 Drone Strike ‘Kills Four Qaeda Suspects’ In Yemen

 Turkish troops, Kurdish militia clash in Syria’s Idlib

 UN envoy: Conflict likely if Palestinians fail to agree

 US Congress orders Treasury to investigate Iranian leaders’ wealth

 At least 12 people killed in fresh Saudi airstrikes in war-torn Yemen

 Turkish troops, Kurdish militia clash in Idlib


North America

 Yes, Muslim Anti-Semitism Exists in the US

 US Invaded Afghanistan Largely To Restore Heroin Industry: Scholar

 Palestinians to suspend US ties if PLO office closed

 White House Asks Supreme Court to Allow Full Travel Ban

 Crisis in Myanmar is genocide, says local Rohingya Muslim



 Morocco Rejects Any Attack Against Holy Places of Islam and Arab States

 Islamophobia Awareness Month: We Need Activism Not Diplomacy

 Palestinian President meets Spanish King for talks

 Dutch police officer 'may wear headscarf with uniform'

 EU cuts Turkey funding after 'democratic deterioration'


Southeast Asia

 Don’t Question Islam’s Status As Sabah’s Official Religion, PAS Warns

 Cops: IS Needs Social Media, Not Base, To Recruit

 Philippines Muslim region marks 28th anniversary

 Muslim countries must relentlessly fight terrorism, Najib says

 Fourteen tahfiz schools in Perak not registered



 Pakistani Government Given Three Days To Clear Islamist Rally

 JUIF will continue to play its role in international, national politics: Fazl

 Nawaz means ‘corruption, not ideology’: PPP



 Six Farmers Killed In Boko Haram Attack In NE Nigeria

 Suicide attack kills 3 children in northern Cameroon

 Sudan receives Su-35 fighter jets ahead of Bashir’s first Russia visit

 Health staff strike after doctor's kidnapping in southern Libya

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




No Indian Muslim Who Believes In Islam Will Allow ISIS To Have A Base In The Country: Home Minister

Nov 20, 2017

Dismissing reports of the Islamic State gaining a foothold in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today that Indian Muslims would never allow terrorist outfits such as IS to have a base in the country.

Singh also said he has complete faith in the Indian youth that they would not let IS misled them.

"Any Indian Muslim who believes in Islam would not allow any opportunity to the Islamic State to have a base in the country," the Union home minister said.

His remarks came in wake of claims that the global terror outfit was involved in an attack on security forces in Srinagar on November 17 in which a terrorist, Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life.

The terrorist group claimed the attack through its propaganda news agency, 'Amaq'. Photographs of Mugees with the IS flag had surfaced on the social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned terror group during funeral.

Singh urged the young men, who live near the India- Pakistan border and who have been misled into joining terrorist groups, to return to the mainstream, saying proper assistance would be provided to them.

Singh dismissed reports about IS gaining a foothold in the Kashmir Valley and said there was no confirmation about such reports. He said the matter was being investigated by security agencies and any conclusion should be arrived at only after their report was submitted to the government.

Commenting on the recent military standoff with the Chinese Army in Dokalam area in Sikkim sector, Singh said India wants cordial ties with its neighbours and even Chinese president Xi Jinping has expressed his views on this.

Indian and Chinese armies were engaged in an over two- month-long military standoff in the Dokalam area, which is claimed by Indian ally Bhutan, after Chinese troops tried to build a road. New Delhi opposed the construction of the road, fearing it would allow Beijing to cut-off India's access to its north-eastern states.

The Union home minister also visited the house of Hindi author Manu Sharma, who died earlier this month, in Varanasi to pay his respects.



Top Afghan official blames Pakistan for Taliban return

November 21, 2017

TORONTO: The Chief Executive of the Government of National Unity of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah blames Pakistan’s two-faced game helped in return of the Taliban insurgency.

Speaking during the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Abdullah said the Taliban group returned and resumed its insurgency in Afghanistan due to the two-faced games of the neighbouring Pakistan, reported Khaama Press.

Abdullah further added that the decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan in 2014 also had a negative impact on security of Afghanistan.

In the meantime, Abdullah said the Afghan government is optimistic regarding the strategy of Washington about South Asia.

According to Abdullah, the new strategy announced by President Trump will hopefully increase pressures on Taliban and its supporters to opt for the reconciliation process.

The Afghan and US officials have long been insisting that the leadership councils of the Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are based in the key cities of Pakistan where from they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

The United States has also increased pressures on Islamabad to take immediate steps in dismantling the safe havens and sanctuaries of the Taliban and Haqqani network in its soil and in its latest move restricted the future military aid to Pakistan to certification of the country’s steps against the two groups.



Over 200 Terrorists Killed in Failed Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Eastern Damascus

Nov 20, 2017

The army men fended off heavy attack of Faylaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham terrorists in the Vehicle Management Base in Harasta in Eastern Damascus.

The army soldiers further carried out a rapid counter-attack and retook control over several buildings North of Rahbah al-Dababat (Tank Repair Base), killing 200 terrorists and wounding many more and destroying two tanks.

Commander of the 10th Brigade of Faylaq al-Rahman Abu Tha'er Sawan was among the killed terrorists.

In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out a number of combat flights over terrorists' positions in the depth of Eastern Ghouta, inflicting major losses on the terrorists. 

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the army men clashed with terrorists and captured a number of hills, including al-Sawadi, Fajr 1, Fajr 2, al-Namroud and al-Faransi between Hineh and Kafr Hoor.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists' positions in Jabata al-Khashab, inflicting major damage on terrorists' military hardware.



Iran: Saudi-drafted Arab League statement full of lies, worthless

Nov 20, 2017

The spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry has described as “worthless” the closing statement of the latest Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo, emphasizing that the statement was “full of lies and distortions.”

“In line with the policies of the Zionist regime [of Israel] to intensify differences in the region and to divert [the attention of] Muslim nations and states away from the continued occupation of Palestine as the main issue of the Islamic Ummah, Saudi Arabia has succeeded through pressure as well as extensive political and propagandistic hue and cry to have a statement that is full of lies and distortions be issued in the name of foreign ministers of the Arab League,” Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

On Sunday, the Arab League foreign ministers held an extraordinary general meeting in the Egyptian capital at the request of Saudi Arabia. At the end of the meeting, the participants issued a statement accusing Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of the countries in the region and pursuing aggressive policies against Arab states.

Qassemi dismissed the resolution as “worthless” and urged Saudi Arabia to “immediately end its savage aggression” against the Yemeni Arab people so that the Yemeni civilians, particularly women and children, would no longer be affected by the “flames of their spite.”

Iran also calls on Saudi Arabia to stop its policy of exerting pressure on Lebanon, Qatar and the entire Middle East and allow the Bahraini people to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in the country by removing its forces there, he said.

Qassemi said Iran’s policy was to boost good relations with regional countries, adding that the Islamic Republic had made great efforts to counter terrorism and help resolve regional crises by actively participating in several rounds of peace talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana on the Syrian conflict and presenting a peace plan for Yemen.

The Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the solution to the regional problems was not to issue such worthless statements but to stop following the policies of the Israeli regime, put an end to bullying and terrorism and accept the demands of regional nations and states.

Saudi policies root cause of regional, world instability: Deputy FM

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari also on Monday criticized the Arab League statement and said Saudi Arabia’s policies were the root cause of insecurity and instability in the region and the world.

“Saudi Arabia must stop pursuing the Zionist regime’s policies through causing escalation of differences and conflicts in the region and providing extensive support for terrorism and extremism,” Jaberi Ansari added.

He emphasized that regional crises would never be resolved through making false claims, distorting evident realities and publishing statements under the pressure of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian official urged Riyadh to end its interference in and pressure on Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria as well as the use of terrorism and extremism as a means.

The Saudi-drafted Arab League’s statement came on the same day that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz for the first time revealed that Tel Aviv had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia.

“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed,” Steinitz said in an interview on Army Radio on Sunday.

He added that Saudi Arabia was the side that was interested in hiding its ties with Israel and Tel Aviv had no problem with this.



Yes, Muslim Anti-Semitism Exists in the US

NOVEMBER 20, 2017

We were heartened to learn that a Philadelphia synagogue is offering an adult education course about antisemitism — a timeless scourge that every generation must combat.

But why is the course seemingly prompted, as its website suggests, solely by Christian sources of Jew-hatred and August’s despicable anti-Jewish events in Charlottesville — rather than July’s equally despicable calls in two California mosques for Jews to be slaughtered, or even the continuous despicable Jew-hatred from Nation of Islam leaders?

Are Jew-hatred and threats from some Muslims in America less vile, less threatening or less problematic than the same actions from white supremacists?

To some in the Jewish community: yes, apparently.

In a brief description of the course on the Society Hill Synagogue’s website, these are among the questions posed: “What is the role of Christianity and the Church in antisemitism? How has antisemitism morphed over the centuries? In the shadow of Charlottesville we must ask, to what extent does antisemitism threaten the Jewish people in this country? Is it confined to isolated, albeit frightening and horrific, incidents? Is it a larger threat?”

While acts of antisemitism have been and continue to be perpetrated by some Christians, there seems to be a tendency by many Jews to brush aside, downplay or even ignore Jew-hatred from some Muslims; some of these hatreds are motivated by aggressive mosques or certain interpretations of Islam.

The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville justifiably received tremendous media coverage, with video footage of torch-bearing neo-Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us” and reports of armed goons menacing synagogue congregants. It was an example of the worst that America has to offer. But nobody who monitors Jew-hatred in America suspected that Klansmen and their ilk had moderated or disappeared.

Yet equally virulent Jew-hatred from some segments of Islam is under-reported and seldom condemned. Could it be that pre-emptive accusations of “Islamophobia” have put a chill on addressing Jew-hatred from that group? Or is there a real belief that Jew-hatred is exclusive to Christians?

Some examples from this year:

1. “The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place,” said Sheikh Ammar Shahin from the pulpit of the Islamic Center of Davis, California, in July, according to a video obtained by the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI).

A translation from MEMRI states that Shahin prayed: “Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque from the filth of the Jews. Oh Allah, destroy those who closed the Al-Aqsa mosque. Oh Allah, show us the black day that You inflict upon them, and the wonders of Your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”

2. That same day, at the Islamic Center of Riverside, California, according to MEMRI, Sheikh Mahmoud Harmoush prayed: “Oh Allah, liberate the Al-Aqsa mosque and all the Muslim lands from the unjust tyrants and the occupiers. Oh Allah, destroy them, they are no match for You. Oh Allah, disperse them, and rend them asunder. Turn them into booty in the hands of the Muslims.”

3. In February, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said in Detroit: “I want to disabuse the Jews today of the false claim that you are the chosen of God and that Israel or Palestine belongs to you. I want to disabuse you of that. I want to make it so clear. And I’m going to tell you about your future. You that think you have power to frighten and dominate the peoples of the world: I’m here to announce the end of your time.”

4. Asked sarcastically at an event in New Orleans in May why Farrakhan attacks Jews, the Nation of Islam’s Ava Muhammad replied: “The only time the Jews have ever been present among us is to open their outposts, their retail stores to sell us damaged, cheap goods, marked up against the price. … We will be free of this bloodsucking parasite so they will no longer be able to sell us alcohol, drugs, depraved sex and every other type of low-life thing that is keeping us from a hereafter.”

We don’t assume that these sentiments are representative of all or the majority of American Muslims. To the contrary, despite the prevalence of such views in Muslim-majority nations, we would hope that, as is the case with the vast majority of other Americans, antisemitism would be confined to a minority. But it is curious that one of the most influential polling organizations in the country was reluctant to find out the answer to that question.

The Pew Research Center had an opportunity to shed some light on our legitimate concerns when they conducted a survey of American Muslims this year. The survey asked them many questions, but according to a copy of the questionnaire on its website, Pew did not ask American Muslims about their attitudes toward Jews or Israel — despite the fact that the topic is a potential flashpoint. Yet earlier in the year, in another survey, Pew did ask people of other faiths to weigh in on Muslims.

Unfortunately, Jew-hatred comes from a variety of corners today, and it is dangerous to focus on only one element. American Jewry must become aware of the gamut of Jew-hatred that sadly exists — and be prepared to fight it regardless of the source.

Steve Feldman is executive director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Greater Philadelphia chapter. Lee Bender and Kevin Ross are its co-presidents.





Terrorist killed in Srinagar encounter belonged to Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen, not Islamic State, says Home Ministry

November 20, 2017

The government on Monday sought to downplay Islamic State’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir but acknowledged the resurgence of a radical group in the Valley. There is no authoritative information about the presence of IS in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior home ministry official said.

The comment came in the wake of claims that IS was involved in an encounter with security forces in Srinagar wherein a terrorist, identified as Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life. ‘Amaq’, which is the official news agency of IS, had claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Pictures of Mugees with the IS flag in the background surfaced on social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned terror group during the funeral. However, the official said it had come to light that Mugees belonged to an extremist group called Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen and was its Pulwama district commander. The Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen was among the first few militant groups that emerged at the onset of terrorism in J&K in the early 1990s, the official said.

It follows the ideology of Salafism, which is ultra-radical like the IS. However, the police have found no logistical connection between the two, another official said. The cadre strength of the group is very small and it has been facing an extreme shortage of weapons.

Officials said the Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen was founded much before Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen came into existence. After the killing of Mujees, one Adil Ahmed has been appointed the group’s commander in Pulwama district.



Ayodhya issue: Shia board offers to give up land, wants mosque in Lucknow

Nov 20, 2017

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board on Monday proposed relinquishing its right over the disputed land in Ayodhya, and building a 'masjid-e-aman" in Lucknow to resolve the Ram janmabhoomi-Babri masjid tangle, a move rejected by the Muslim protagonists involved in the protracted legal fued.

The board, which is the 'mutawalli' (caretaker) of the Babri Mosque, has proposed giving up its right over the land in Ayodhya, and a draft for resolving the issue, prepared by the Shia Waqf Board, has been submitted in the Supreme Court on November 18, its chairman Wasim Rizvi told reporters here.

Claiming that the formula for resolving the matter proposed by the Shia Waqf Board was the best, Rizvi said it is of the view that instead of Ayodhya, a 'masjid-e-aman' (the mosque of peace) be constructed in Lucknow's Hussainabad area.

The Board, he said, has requested the government to provide a one acre plot for it.

The proposal, however, did not go down well with the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

"On whose behalf has he brought this draft proposal? He (Rizvi) does not enjoy the confidence or recognition of either the Sunni sect or the Shia sect," AIMPLB counsel in the case and its senior member Zafaryab Jilani said.

Jilani, who is also the convenor of Babri Masjid Action committee, referred to some legal shortcomings in the draft proposal.

"The Shia Board has no authority over the disputed land as the Allahabad High Court, in 2010, had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre area at Ayodhya among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla ... the Shia board has no right over any part of the land," he said.

Moreover, Jilani said since the Shia Waqf Board did not appeal against the high court's decision, it meant that the ruling, which was binding on all till the Supreme Court announced its judgement, was acceptable to them.

Rizvi, however, rejected the claim of UP Sunni Central Waqf Board over the disputed site, saying that the Allahabd High court had given the land to Muslims and not to Sunni Waqf Board.

Chairman of the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board Zafar Farooqui said any claim can be accepted or rejected only by the court "... our involvement has been since 1961 and it is being rejected by the Shia Board now...he (Rizvi) does not have the authority to do so..."

Rizvi, he said, has been chairman of the board since 2006-07, and could have spoken on the subject even when the case was being heard by the Lucknow bench, which came up with its verdict in 2010, or in the Supreme Court where the hearing is going on for the last seven years.

"It is absurd. He has been silent on it ever since and has become active only now. The case is going on in the highest court of the country. Whatever he has to say, he should do it in the court. What's the relevance of releasing his formula to the media?" he said.

Jilani alleged that Rizvi was "working overtime to please certain forces in order to serve his personal motives".

Rizvi, who addressed the press conference along with Mahant Narendra Giri, chairman of the All India Akhara Parishad, alleged that the Shia Board's views on the matter were never put forward in a forceful manner because the lawyers deployed for the purpose were "fake".

Referring to the criticism of his recent actions, Rizvi said it was because the board was never given any court copy and that it was not aware that lawyers were pleading on its behalf.

It was only on March 21, 2017, when the apex court said that talks could be initiated for mutual agreement to end the dispute that the Shia Waqf Board looked into the files in detail only to find that though it is a party in the case it never gave 'wakalatnama' to the counsel appearing on its behalf, Rizvi said.

"It is a matter of probe that the case is being pursued by overlooking the actual claimant which is the Shia Board...I have requested the central and state governments to get it enquired as to who had fielded the lawyers on our behalf," he said.

On Rizvi's allegations regarding fake counsel, Jilani said that it should be probed by the Shia board itself.

Jilani, however, said that he had never seen any counsel pleading on behalf of the Shia Board in the court.

On the role of AIMPLB, Rizvi said it (board) should have come forward for a dialogue but since it did not take the initiative, Shia board had to come forward.

Full report at:



Rohingya Muslims: Supreme Court to resume hearing on deporting 'illegal' refugees today

Nov 21, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday will resume its hearing on the contentious issue of government's decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud are hearing the contetntious issue.

During the brief hearing, the bench suggested to the Centre not to deport the Rohingya Muslim refugees.

The bench had observed that the whole issue of Rohingya Muslims has to be looked at from various angles like national security, economic interest, labour interest and also the protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons.

India is seeking to deport around 40,000 Rohingyas living in the country.

Rohingya Muslim refugees have taken shelter in India, and a large number in Bangladesh, to escape persecution against them by Myanmar authorities.

The Rohingya immigrants, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

Over 600,000 Rohingyas languishing in Bangladeshi refugee

More than 600,000 Rohingya are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in late August.

There have given chilling and consistent accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson at the hands of security forces.

The UN has said the scorched-earth operation, which has left hundreds of villages burned to ash in northern Rakhine state, amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Full report at:



2.0 Star Rajinikanth Opens Up About His ‘Unexplainable Relationship’ With Muslims

by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru

November 20, 2017

The grand audio release function of superstar Rajinikanth’s 2.0 happened in October in Dubai and it premiered on television on Sunday. Talking at the event, the 66-year-old actor revealed that he was a first-time visitor to Dubai.

“I have transited through Dubai many times but never stepped out of the airport. This is the first time, I’m visiting Dubai,” Rajinikanth revealed to the audience present at the Burj Park.

He also thanked the Dubai’s ruler for providing a lot of job opportunities for Indians. He said he has had some sort of ‘unexplainable relationship’ with Muslim people throughout his life. “When I was a bus conductor in the early 70s, the majority of the workers in that transport were Muslims. So I had many Muslim friends at the time. When I came to Chennai, I was a paying guest at a friend’s house. The landlord of that building was a Muslim friend,” he recalled.

“After I became famous (as an actor), I bought my own house at Poes Garden and even that belonged to a member of the Muslim community,” he added. “Even the Raghavendra Mandapam was earlier owned by a Muslim.”

“I have acted in many movies but even today if a movie that can cause tremors at the mention of its name is Baasha,” he noted to tremendous clap from the audience. In the 1995 crime drama, Rajinikanth’s character assumes the second name of his slain Muslim friend after he becomes a gangster.

“My Guru is Sri Raghavendra Swamy. The land to build Mantralayam (pilgrim village) was given by a Nawaab,” he said, adding that he has some strong connection with Muslims.

Rajinikanth also thanked Subaskaran of Lyca Productions and director Shankar for giving him the opportunity to act in this film. And he promised the upcoming sci-fi will make India proud globally.

2.0 also has Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson in the lead roles. The 3D film is being made at a budget of about Rs 400 Crore. Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman has composed the music for the film. 2.0 has three songs, of which two were launched at the Dubai event. The remaining song, said to be a favourite of the entire cast and crew, will be released soon.

Full report at:



J-K: Three LeT Pakistani terrorists neutralised in Handwara

November 21, 2017

Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists have been neutralised in Magam area of Handwara district in North Kashmir, informed Director General of Police (DGP) of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning. He also said that all the three terrorists were Pakistanis.

The development comes just two days after six Pakistani militants of the LeT, including the nephew of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, were gunned down in Hajin area of Bandipora in an encounter in which an IAF Garud commando was also killed.

On September 21, The Indian Express had reported that Owaid alias Osama was the third member of Lakhvi’s family to join the LeT’s ranks and be part of its operations in Kashmir. His elder brother Musaib was killed in an encounter in the Hajin area of Bandipora district in January this year. In 2007, Lakhvi’s 20-year-old son Mohammad Qasim was killed in a gunbattle with the Army and J&K police.

Full report at:



Assam team in a spot over Jamiat leader’s remarks

November 21, 2017

DAYS AFTER they shared the dais in New Delhi in which Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief Maulana Syed Arshad Madani allegedly made provocative statements about the National Register of Citizens, three former professors, two journalists and a lawyer from Assam have been asked by Assam Police to depose before it.

An Assam Police team in Delhi has questioned organisers of the event. In a joint statement, the six “immediately protested against the exaggerated, emotive and incriminatory comments of Madani” and put up their “independent views on the issue”.

READ| Assam cops to quiz Jamiat chief Madani for ‘provocative’ statement

At a seminar in Delhi’s Constitution Club on November 13, Madani allegedly said Assam would burn, and there will be a situation of “marenge, marenge, aag lagegi” (will kill, get killed, and the state would be ablaze), if names of Muslims did not find place in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Full report at:



South Asia


Amnesty accuses Myanmar of imposing ‘apartheid’ on Rohingya

November 21, 2017

Myanmar’s suffocating control of its Rohingya population amounts to “apartheid”, Amnesty International said on Tuesday in a probe into the root causes of a crisis that has sent 620,000 refugees fleeing to Bangladesh.

Read More: How 'humanitarian technology' can help deal with Rohingya crisis

Distressing scenes of dispossessed Rohingya in Bangladeshi camps have provoked outrage around the world, as people who have escaped Rakhine state since August recount tales of murder, rape and arson at the hands of Myanmar troops.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed in principle to repatriate some Rohingya but disagree over the details, with Myanmar’s army chief saying last week that it was “not possible” to accept the number of refugees proposed by Dhaka.

The Amnesty report, published on Tuesday, details how years of persecution have curated the current crisis.

A “state-sponsored” campaign has restricted virtually all aspects of Rohingyas’ lives, the Amnesty study says, confining them to what amounts to a “ghetto-like” existence in the mainly Buddhist country.

The 100-page report, based on two years of research, says the web of controls meet the legal standard of the “crime against humanity of apartheid”.

“Rakhine State is a crime scene. This was the case long before the vicious campaign of military violence of the last three months,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty’s Senior Director for Research.

Myanmar’s authorities “are keeping Rohingya women, men and children segregated and cowed in a dehumanising system of apartheid,” she added.

The bedrock for the widespread hatred towards the Muslim group comes from a contentious 1982 Citizenship law.

Enacted by the then junta, the law effectively rendered hundreds of thousands of Rohingya stateless.

Since then, Amnesty says a “deliberate campaign” has been waged to erase Rohingya rights to live in Myanmar, where they are denigrated as “Bengalis” or illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

A system of identification cards is central to those bureaucratic controls, and likely to form the basis of the decision on who will be allowed to return from Bangladesh.

The latest wave of persecution has pushed more than half of the 1.1-million strong minority out of the country, with those left behind sequestered in increasingly isolated and vulnerable villages.

Although the Rohingya have been victims of discrimination for decades, the report details how repression intensified after the outbreak of violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in 2012.

Long before the recent mass exodus of Rohingya from northern Rakhine state -- now a virtual ghostland of torched villages and unharvested paddy fields -- they were unable to travel freely, requiring special permits and facing arrest, abuse and harassment at numerous checkpoints.

In central Rakhine state, Rohingya Muslims were driven out of urban areas after the 2012 violence.

They remain completely segregated from the Buddhist community, confined by barbed wire and police checkpoints to camps that Amnesty calls an “open-air prison”.

The Muslim community is widely denied access to medical care, their children are unable to attend government schools while many mosques have been sealed off.

“Restoring the rights and legal status of Rohingya, and amending the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws is urgently needed,” said Anna Neistat.

“Rohingya who have fled persecution in Myanmar cannot be asked to return to a system of apartheid.”



Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral trade through Teknaf regaining normalcy

November 20, 2017

In September, Teknaf land port earned Tk37.92 lakh only, whereas the figure on average stands at Tk85 lakh a month

Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Myanmar through Teknaf land port in Cox’s Bazar is slowly returning to normal after almost grinding to a halt at the peak of the Rohingya refugee crisis in September.

The port employs a workforce of 650 and is the main gateway for trade with Myanmar.

Bangladesh exports 24 types of goods to Maungdaw, Sittwe and other port towns across the border. In reverse, Myanmar exports 30 types of goods to Bangladesh.

However, an official of United Group – a company supervising the port activities – said only 13 types of goods were imported from Myanmar in September and that no vessel had come from Maungdaw between late August and late September.

“The land port authorities counted about Tk5.67 crore in September by handling imported consignments while the amount was almost double in the previous month,” he said.

In September, Teknaf land port earned Tk37.92 lakh only, whereas the figure on average stands at Tk85 lakh a month.

Teknaf Land Port Revenue Officer AM Shahidul Islam said revenue earnings had “dropped drastically” from late August up to the end of September.

“The frightened Rohingya taking shelter in Bangladesh fleeing the oppression in Rakhine state is to blame for the deterioration in the trade relations,” he said.

The port’s Security Superintendent Ansarul Hoque said traders had been frightened due to the tensed situation along the maritime border of the two countries. “Hence, they did not allow their goods-laden vessels to sail through the channel of the Naf,” he said.

However, by mid-October the pace of trade through the land port had almost returned to normal, pushing up the revenue earnings as well.

“Since early October, the land port kept regaining momentum amid vibrant export-import business,” said the United Group official.

During a recent visit to the land port, the Dhaka Tribune found a healthy trading atmosphere with shipments of rice and fish seen being offloaded from vessels anchored near the port, and trucks queuing up to carry the items to other parts of Bangladesh.

However, the busy scene belied the testimonies of some of the workers hard done by during the recent dip in trade.

“I was forced to sit idle due to the stalemate in exports and imports at the port,” Babul Miah, one of the workers, said. “Now I am working hard to recoup the losses I incurred last month.”

Ehteshamul Haque Bahadur, general secretary of Teknaf Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ Association, said several hundred exporters and importers faced huge losses owing to the Rohingya issue, and that the situation only began to return to normal at the start of October.

“I hope that the port will witness full-fledged export-import trade, contributing to the national economy as in the past,” he said.

United Group’s Assistant General Manager Md Jashim Uddin Chowdhury said the port has a 2,000-ton daily handling capacity but handles 1,000 tons of goods per day on average, rising to 1,500 tons during peak periods.

Full report at:



Ex-Pak senator links FATA’s wounds to Pakistan’s support to Taliban

Nov 20 2017

A prominent former Pakistani senator Afrasiab Khattak has linked the wounds of Federally Administered Tribal Agency (FATA) to support to the Taliban group by certain security circles in Pakistan.

Published in local Nation media outlet, Khattak has mentioned regarding the recent military operations launched in South Waziristan area as he expressed his concerns regarding the thousands of families displaced since the operations were launched earlier this month.

The article titled ‘FATA’s wounds’ mainly focuses on the miseries the residents of the region faces in the past 15 years as he warns that the security circles will continue to use the area as launching pad as long they support the Taliban against the Afghan state.

According to Khattak, FATA needs serious change in the misguided policies but the area is hostage to Pakistan’s Afghan Policy.

“As long as the country’s security establishment supports Taliban’s war against Afghan state it will continue to use FATA as a launching pad. Put in simple words that means that the decades old war will continue to rage in FATA.  This is a situation which can’t be changed without revisiting Pakistan’s bankrupt Afghan policy designed and executed by the security tsars of the country,” the article states.

Raising questions regarding the situation of the FATA in the aftermath of the recent operations and lack of oversight of military operations regarding possible human rights violations, Khattak said  “The peaks of Rajgal mountain in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency were reported to have been cleared from terrorists connected with the so called Islamic State.”

“Actually the IS operating in eastern Afghanistan is mostly manned by former TTP fighters who actually belong to FATA and still have widespread connotations with the networks on Pakistani side of the border,” he noted in his article.

According to Khattak, Pakistani mentors of Afghan Taliban are at pains to explain the distinction between TTP and Afghan Taliban. But fact of the matter is that they are two sides of the same coin.

Full report at:



Taliban and ISIS suffer heavy casualties in Nangarhar air and ground operations

Nov 20 2017

At least twenty militants of the Taliban group and loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed or wounded during the operations in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps in the East said the militants were killed or wounded in three different districts in the past 24 hours.

The Silab Corps officials said at least 13 ISIS militants and 3 Taliban insurgents were killed during the airstrikes in Khogyani and Achin districts.

The officials further added that a local leader of the ISIS terrorists identified as Saqib was also among those killed.

At least 4 ISIS militants were killed and 2 others were wounded during a clash with the security forces in Chaparhar district, the officials added.

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

The Afghan national defense and security forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations to suppress the insurgency activities of the militant groups.

Full report at:



Myanmar's Suu Kyi says ‘illegal immigrants spreading terrorism’

Nov 20, 2017

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has come under global scrutiny for backing an ethnic cleansing campaign against the country’s unwanted Muslim population, has blamed “illegal immigration” for conflicts and “spread of terrorism” across the world.

Suu Kyi made the comments Monday in a speech in the capital Naypyitaw, which is hosting a biennial meeting of Asian foreign ministers and European Union officials.

“The history of numerous countries, including that of Myanmar, illustrated that conflict and instability cast a long and lasting shadow in a country’s development,” Suu Kyi said, without peace, there can’t be any "durable progress and prosperity."

She said in the context of the meeting, “there is a vital need for new and stronger partnerships to address far-reaching challenges.”

Amongst the challenges she named were “the impact of regional and international conflicts on domestic security and the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.”

Suu Kyi's remarks echoed the views of Myanmar’s government and military, which consider the country’s Rohingya Muslim community as illegal immigrants and accuse them of carrying out terrorist attacks in the state of Rakhine.

Myanmar's government has defied calls by the UN and the international community to grant citizenship to stateless Rohingya Muslims, whose roots in the country go back centuries.

The military has used such terrorism allegations to unleash a brutal government-backed military crackdown targeting Muslims in Rakhine.

Some 620,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled rape, murder and arson attacks by Buddhist extremists and military forces in Rakhine since the onset of the campaign in late August.

The UN and leading human rights groups have described the crackdown in Rakhine as an ethnic cleansing campaign aimed at getting rid of the minority group.

ASEM pressures Myanmar

The two-day gathering of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) kicked off in Myanmar on Monday with representatives from 51 Asian and European countries plus the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The meeting is expected to focus on how Suu Kyi will respond to their demands, which will likely include an independent investigation into the ongoing violence and abuses in Rakhine.

European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, held a meeting with Suu Kyi, about which she told reporters, “I found it extremely encouraging.”

“I am very much encouraged by the possibility – that I believe is real and concrete – of Myanmar and Bangladesh” reaching an agreement for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, she said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh are yet to strike a deal to repatriate the Rohingya refugees.

Mogherini called on “both Bangladesh and Myanmar to work bilaterally [on] this issue with the support of the EU and with the international community.”

She visited a refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar in the southeast of Bangladesh, accompanied by some other officials, including German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

The top EU diplomat said the Rohingya Muslims living in squalid camps were “carrying with them terrible stories.”

Full report at:



Arab World


Alliance between Iraqi Kurds and Shiites in tatters

21 November 2017

BAGHDAD: The four-decade alliance between Iraqi Kurds and Shiites was thrown into doubt on Monday as Baghdad moved to further consolidate its grip on northern Iraq.

The Federal Supreme Court ruled that the controversial referendum in September, in which more than 90 percent of Kurds voted for independence, was unconstitutional, and canceled the results.

Kurdish leaders said they respected the decision, but senior Shiite figures noted that the Kurds had not agreed to be bound by it — and they told Arab News that relations between the two groups could not return to where they were before the referendum.

The Shiites considered the referendum a “stab in the back” by the Kurds, and a betrayal of all the charters and agreements between the two parties since the 1970s.

“We have been suffering from verbal manipulation by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Today they said the court’s decision was unilateral and they respected it but they did not say they were bound by it,” Abdullah Al-Zaidi, who is responsible for Shiite-Kurdish relations in the ruling Shiite National Alliance, told Arab News.

“The KRG must take a forward step and say it is bound by the court’s decisions, rather than saying it respects the court’s decisions.”

Leading Shiites, federal officials and members of Parliament told Arab News that talks between the Kurds and the federal government would be based only on the Iraqi constitution.

In addition, the situation on the ground in disputed areas and the steps taken by the federal government to impose its control of regional airports and border crossings would not change, and Baghdad would exert more pressure to impose fully constitutional federal authority in and around the region.

“Baghdad is continuing to implement the constitution and the imposition of federal authority within the region and in the disputed areas, with no return to the situation prior to Sept. 25,” Al-Zaidi said.

“Kurdish leaders wrote the constitution with us and they know what it contains.”

Habib Al-Turfi, a senior Shiite MP, told Arab News: “Whether they accept it or not, it the referendum is over and a new page is supposed to be opened.”

“They have no choice, but to accept the decision of the court and work based on it. The region has been given much more than its right, but now things have to go back to normal.”

The Kurdistan regional prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, said: “The government of the region confirms its commitment to all articles of the Iraqi constitution and demands the application of all of it. The lack of application of the constitution is what led the Kurdistan Region to hold the referendum.”



Hezbollah says ready to pull forces from Iraq after Islamic State defeat

November 20, 2017

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday he was prepared to pull his forces from Iraq , after the militant Islamic State group lost control over its last urban stronghold in the country.

In a televised address on Monday evening, Nasrallah said the Lebanese movement had deployed “large numbers of our commanders and cadres” to Iraq to fight IS.

“We consider that the mission has been accomplished, but we are waiting for the final, Iraqi announcement of victory,” he said.

Once that official declaration came, Hezbollah would reassess its presence in Iraq and may pull its members out.

“If we find that it's over, that there is no need for the presence of these brothers, they will return to be deployed in any other arena that needs them,” Nasrallah said.

Hezbollah mostly deployed experienced commanders as advisers and trainers to work alongside the Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary umbrella dominated by local Shiite militia groups also loyal to Tehran.

Iraqi forces on November 17 announced they had retaken Rawa, the last town to have been held by the Islamic State group in Iraq , capping three years of anti-jihadist military operations.

The latest efforts against IS have been spearheaded by Iraqi special forces and other regular troops but the Hashed, which counts tens of thousands of fighters, has been a key component of the bruising campaign.

Full report at:



Families of Islamic State foreign fighters sent to Baghdad ‘for expulsion’

Nov 20, 2017

About 300 wives and children of foreign jihadists captured in Mosul have been transferred from northern Iraq to Baghdad “for expulsion to their home countries”, an official told AFP on Monday.

“This is the second wave of expulsions, and two or three more will follow,” said Nureddin Qablan, deputy head of the Nineveh provincial council.

Iraq’s second city of Mosul was recaptured in July after being taken in a lightning summer 2014 offensive by the Islamic State group.

“A total of more than 1,200 members of jihadists’ families will be transferred” from Tel Keif detention centre north of Mosul to a similar facility in the capital, Qablan said.

In mid-September, a senior security official said when the families arrived in Tel Keif that they comprised 509 women and 813 children from 13 different countries in Europe, Asia and America. An Iraqi government source has told AFP that about 300 of the women were Turkish.

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council NGO, which is seeking access to the detainees for humanitarian purposes, they are mainly from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia and Tajikistan.

What to do with captured jihadists and their families has been an issue of great concern in their home states.

For example, French jihadist prisoners will be tried in Iraq, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said, adding that children would be treated “on a case by case basis”.

Full report at:



Tens of Terrorists Killed Amid Syrian Army Advances in Eastern Deir Ezzur

Nov 20, 2017

The sources said that the army men drove ISIL out of the small town of al-Kashmah (Tishrin) after they captured the town of al-Salehiyeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

Tens of ISIL terrorists were killed and several bomb-laden suicide vehicles of them were destroyed in the attack.  

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the army men stormed ISIL's positions in the town of Albu Kamal and advanced against the terrorists, deploying on the Western bank of the Euphrates River in the town.

Also, the army aircraft carried out repeated combat flights over ISIL's positions and supply lines around Albu Kamal, killing a number of militants and destroying several military vehicles, including a vehicle carrying militants in al-Mojavedah settlement.

Full report at:



Four More Terrorist Commanders Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Eastern Damascus

Nov 20, 2017

The websites said that Ihim al-Haj Ali, Rezwan Darwish, Samir al-Halaq nom de guerre Abu Hamzeh and Qasan Warda al-Sham, four senior commanders of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group, were killed in clashes with the army men in a region near the Vehicles Management Base in Harasta in Eastern Ghouta.

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the army continued its mop-up operations in the Southeastern countryside of Damascus by purging terrorists from key regions.

The army units also pushed back terrorists from the key areas and took back their positions while advancing further into Southeastern Damascus.

The Syrian troops killed tens of terrorists and injured dozens more in fierce clashes over controlling of strategic regions. They also destroyed military equipment of the terrorists.

The Syrian Army troops pushed terrorists back from the entire hills between the towns of Hineh and Kafr Hoor in Jabal al-Sheikh region in Southeastern Damascus near the border with Quneitra province.

Full report at:



Russian embassy in Damascus targeted by terrorist mortar fire

Nov 20, 2017

The Russian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus has come under mortar fire from terrorist held positions.

"In a mortar shelling of Damascus conducted from terrorists’ positions at about 10:35 local time on November 20, a shell hit the outer fence of the Russian embassy to Syria, which is located close to its dwelling compound,” read a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday.

It added that a 122-millimeter shell was used in the attack which damaged the building’s wall, electricity lines and water supplies.

"No one from among the embassy’s employees was hurt," it added.

It also noted that Russia expects Western countries at the UN Security Council to properly evaluate the incident.

"We hope that our so active on the Syrian trajectory Western colleagues in the UN Security Council will have the heart not to keep silent but to give proper public evaluation of the incident in which the lives of Russian diplomats were jeopardized," it stated.

It also stressed that the incident will not affect the country’s resolve in its battle against terrorism.

“We want to confirm once again that such provocations don’t influence Russia’s resolve to complete the destruction of a terrorist hotbed in the Syrian Arab Republic, to contribute to restoration of peace and security in Syria, strengthening of its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” it added.

“We resolutely condemn this new attack by terrorists against the Russian diplomatic mission in Damascus," it concluded.

The Russian diplomatic mission in war-torn Syria has so far come under several militant attacks, including a number of mortar attacks. No casualties, however, were reported in either of the incidents.

Russia has been engaged in an anti-terror campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, based on a request from the Damascus government. According to analysts, the campaign has largely been successful in helping Syrian government forces dislodge foreign-sponsored terrorists from many regions across the country.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which started in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people, according to an estimate by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Saudi-backed Syrian opposition head quits

Meanwhile, the director of the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), has stepped down after nearly two years of chairing the umbrella group.

Riad Hijab (seen above) released a statement via social media claiming that he was forced to leave the post, without giving specific reasons for the move.

Full report at:



Nasrallah: US did what it could to help Daesh in Syria's Bukamal

Nov 20, 2017

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says despite the US claims about fighting terrorism, it spared no effort to help Daesh forces in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a televised address to the Lebanese nation in capital city of Beirut on Monday.

Nasrallah noted that recapturing Bukamal was a major victory over Daesh, because Bukamal was the last Syrian city occupied by Daesh.

“The US helped Daesh as much as it could in Bukamal short of directly engaging forces that fought to liberate the town from Daesh,” the Hezbollah leader noted.

Nasrallah went on to note that the US provided Daesh terrorists with full air cover in Bukamal.

The US sent its drones to Bukamal and provided Daesh with accurate information about what was going on, Nasrallah said, adding that American forces also waged electronic warfare against forces that were fighting to liberate Bukamal.

American forces also provided air transfer for Daesh commanders and facilitated their escape to eastern shores of the Euphrates, he said. The Hezbollah leader stated that even Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the US for helping Daesh.

Nasrallah emphasized that recapturing Bukamal led to unity of Syria and ended Daesh’s self-proclaimed state in the country.

Following recent victories in Iraq and Syria, he added, the military structure of Daesh collapsed in the two countries and Iraqi forces have reached the Syrian border.

Hezbollah leader noted that the victory over Daesh was victory of Islamic values over terrorists’ savagery.

Nasrallah also highlighted the role played by Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in anti-terror operations in both Iraq and Syria.

He noted that Soleimani was commanding anti-Daesh operations in the two countries at the frontline and was never a commander to issue orders from behind the lines.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah referred to the latest meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, who designated the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist group, saying that this was not the first time that such accusations were leveled against Hezbollah.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a press conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday that Arab states had agreed to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement a “terrorist organization.”

The Arab League’s extraordinary general meeting on Sunday was held at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has assumed an aggressive stance against Hezbollah for its alleged links to Iran, Riyadh’s powerful rival in the region. Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement, which is Lebanon's de facto deterrent force against Tel Aviv.

In its concluding resolution, the Arab League announced that Arab foreign ministers, excluding those of Lebanon and Iraq, would hold Hezbollah responsible for supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.

Nasrallah said the Arab League statement has labeled Hezbollah’s council, which is part of the Lebanon’s government, as a terrorist outfit, alleging that it provides missiles to terrorist groups in the region.

He added that accusations about Hezbollah sending missiles to regional countries were false and undocumented, emphasizing that the group has never sent any missiles or even light weapons to Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq or Bahrain or any other country in the region.

The leader of Hezbollah went on to say that the Arab League has warned Lebanon that if Hezbollah is not disarmed, security of the country would be in jeopardy.

Hezbollah rejected the accusation, noting that the main threat to security of Lebanon was the Zionist regime of Israel.

He added that the resistance front’s weapons were the main factor restoring security and stability to Lebanon, because they were used for defensive purposes in the face of the Israeli aggression.

Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah’s weapons were used only against terrorist groups such as Daesh and posed no threat to security of Lebanon.

Nasrallah stated that the main reason behind the recent Arab League meeting was not to discuss the issue of Palestine or other problems facing the Islamic world, but its main reason was the recent missile attack against a Saudi airport near the country’s capital, Riyadh.

Refusing Saudi Arabia and Arab League’s claims that the missile was provided to Yemeni Ansarullah fighters by Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah, Nasrallah said Iran or Hezbollah had not sent any missiles to Yemen and Yemeni forces made their own missiles in the country.

He categorically rejected Arab League’s claims in this regard, noting that Saudi Arabia and its allies must admit that they have been defeated by Yemeni forces in their war of aggression against the country.

Nasrallah emphasized that Arab countries must put an immediate end to their support for terror groups, and do not fill the Middle East region with such outfits.

He reiterated that no member of Hezbollah was involved in the November 5 Yemeni missile strike against King Khalid International Airport of Riyadh.

The Hezbollah leader then took the Arab League to task for failing to address Saudi Arabia’s devastating aerial bombardment of the “Arab country of Yemen,” saying, “Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemeni people day and night.”

Strongly denouncing the Riyadh regime over perpetrating outrageous atrocities against millions of “Arab Muslims” in Yemen, Nasrallah lashed out at the Arab world’s “deafening silence” over the grim situation in Yemen.

“The turmoil we are witnessing in the Arab world is a cover for the announcement of normalization of relations with Israel,” he commented.

Nasrallah then called on Arabs to do their best to maintain their national unity in the face of all divisive efforts.

Full report at:



Lebanon has right to resist, foil Israeli plans: Aoun

Nov 20, 2017

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says his nation has the absolute “right to resist and foil” Israel’s aggressive plans by “all available means” as Tel Aviv continues “targeting” the Mediterranean country.

President Aoun made the remarks via his official Twitter account on Monday, a day after Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a press conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo that Arab states had agreed to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement a “terrorist organization.”

Being a member of Lebanon’s coalition government, the popular Hezbollah movement, which currently holds 14 of the 128 seats at the parliament of Lebanon, has been a strong aid to the Lebanese army in thwarting any Israeli aggression against the country. Back in 2000, the resistance movement successfully forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah is also playing a major role in fighting against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorist groups, which have been wreaking havoc in neighboring Syria for the last six years. 

The Arab League’s extraordinary general meeting on Sunday was held at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has assumed an aggressive stance against Hezbollah for its alleged links to Iran, Riyadh’s powerful rival in the region. Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement, which is Lebanon's de facto deterrent force against Tel Aviv.

In its concluding resolution, the Arab League announced that Arab foreign ministers, excluding those of Lebanon and Iraq, would hold Hezbollah responsible for supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.

Furthermore, it also blamed the Lebanese government for aiding and supporting the resistance group, accusing Beirut of being an accomplice to what Hezbollah is doing.

However, in a separate tweet on Monday, Aoun strongly defended Hezbollah, saying he “cannot accept suggestions that Lebanon’s government is a partner in acts of terrorism.”

The accusations leveled by Saudi-dominated Arab League against Hezbollah echoes exactly what Israel alleges against the resistance movement, strongly suggesting Riyadh is trying hard to help the Israeli entity by weakening Hezbollah. 

The developments came some two weeks after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his shock resignation in a televised address aired from the Saudi capital, shortly after he arrived there for a visit, repeating the same accusations against Hezbollah. After resigning, Hariri spent two more weeks in Saudi Arabia amid rumors he was under house arrest there, before traveling to Paris on Saturday.

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Hariri promised to be in Lebanon in time to mark its independence day on Wednesday. His awkward decision, however, has already plunged the country into political turmoil.

Meanwhile, the Arab League’s head said that Lebanon should be “spared” from spiraling regional tensions after arriving in Beirut to meet with Aoun.

“Arab countries understand and take into account the situation in Lebanon and want to spare it ... from any dispute,” said Aboul Gheit.

Hamas slams Arab League for terrorist labeling of Hezbollah

Later on Monday, Palestinian Hamas movement slammed Arab League for labeling Lebanon's Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

A statement released by the Gaza-based Hamas said it "rejects the description of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement as terrorist."

The Palestinian movement added that instead of Hezbollah, Israel's actions against Palestinians should be labeled "terrorism."

Full report at:



Iraqi police forces seize major Daesh chemical depot in Anbar

Nov 20, 2017

Iraqi security forces have uncovered a major chemical depot belonging to Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the country’s western province of Anbar, as government forces, backed by fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, are purging the territory of the last remnants of the terror group.

The Iraqi Directorate of General Military Intelligence said in a statement that police forces together with units of the 9th Armored Division made the discovery in the Salman district of al-Qa’im town, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad.

The statement added that the depot contained 3,000 bags of urea, each weighing 50 kilograms.

Daesh terrorists would use the chemical agent in order to make improvised explosive devices and booby traps.

Late last month, the Iraqi prime minister formally ordered the launch of operations to purge Daesh terrorists from the towns of Rawah and al-Qa’im.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the newly-liberated town of Qa'im and the nearby Husaybah border crossing in far western Iraq on November 5, and raised the Iraqi flag at the border crossing.

Meanwhile, an unnamed security source told Arabic-language al-Ghad Press news agency that Iraqi army troops have recovered some 40 tons of munitions belonging to Daesh Takfiris in Ain al-Jahsh region southwest of Mosul.

On July 10, Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

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

Full report at:





Drone strike ‘kills four Qaeda suspects’ in Yemen

20 November 2017

ADEN: A drone strike killed four suspected Al-Qaeda fighters in central Yemen on Monday, a local official said.

The United States is the only force known to operate armed drones over Yemen.

“A car carrying four fighters was hit as it drove on a mountain road” in Bayda province, the official said. “All of them were killed.”

“The fighters were from Al-Qaeda,” he said.

Washington considers the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to be the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the country’s civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against the Houthi Shiite rebels.

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

An air raid he ordered that month killed a US Navy SEAL and several Yemeni civilians in Bayda.

US strikes in Yemen have typically targeted suspected Al-Qaeda fighters, but last month the United States said it had killed dozens of fighters from its jihadist rival, the Daesh group, at training camps in Bayda.



Turkish troops, Kurdish militia clash in Syria’s Idlib

November 21, 2017

ISTANBUL - The Turkish army and Kurdish militia exchanged fire Monday in the northern Syrian province of Idlib where Ankara’s troops are stationed as observers, the first report of such an incident in the area, state media said.

Kurdish militia fighters fired five mortars at an observation post in Idlib staffed by Turkish troops , the Anadolu news agency said. No casualties were reported and the mortars did not hit their target, it added.

In response, the Turkish army fired towards Kurdish militia-held positions around the town of Afrin, it added.

Turkish troops are deployed in Idlib as part of of an agreement with Iran and Russia to implement four so-called de-escalation zones in flashpoint areas around Syria .

Up until the deployment of Turkish troops in mid-October, Idlib had largely been controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate.

The incident comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to host Turkish and Iranian counterparts Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani for summit talks on Syria in Sochi on Wednesday.

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a military operation on Afrin, which is controlled by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militia considered by Turkey to be a terror group.

Ankara views the YPG as the Turkish branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Turkish troops have repeatedly clashed with the YPG in Aleppo province, especially during Ankara’s incursion last year, but this is the first time such an incident has been reported in Idlib.

Russia, along with Iran, is the key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Turkey has backed the rebels seeking Assad’s ouster.

But Russia and Turkey have been working together since a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian war plane over Syria .

Full report at:



UN envoy: Conflict likely if Palestinians fail to agree

 20 November 2017

The UN’s Mideast envoy says reconciliation talks between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas must succeed, warning that failure “will most likely result in another devastating conflict.”

Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council Monday that “critical intra-Palestinian talks” are scheduled to open in Cairo on Tuesday.

He said the Oct. 12 agreement between the rivals, aimed at restoring the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s rule in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, started “a long road that could lead to reconciliation.”

But he said the rival factions must first solve the humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million residents and return the territory to full civilian and security control by the Palestinian Authority.

Full report at:



US Congress orders Treasury to investigate Iranian leaders’ wealth

20 November 2017

The US Senate Committee on Finance in Congress has ordered the US Department of the Treasury to reveal how Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei and 80 other senior Iranian officials and Revolutionary Guard commanders obtained their wealth.

The department was also asked to determine the real numbers these riches stand at and how they were invested and employed.

Full report at:



At least 12 people killed in fresh Saudi airstrikes in war-torn Yemen

Nov 21, 2017

At least twelve people have been killed in Saudi Arabia’s latest series of airstrikes on its impoverished neighbor Yemen.

On Monday, three people were killed as Saudi warplanes carried out raids on the country’s northern province of Sada'a.

Another nine people were killed and three more were wounded as Saudi jets bombed a vehicle in the country’s Hudaydah province.

On Sunday, At least eight children and three women were killed after Saudi fighter jets targeted a residential area in Yemen's northern province of Jawf.

Saudi Arabia has been ceaselessly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of the regime in Riyadh.

Latest figures show that the war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more. The Saudi aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Full report at:



Turkish troops, Kurdish militia clash in Idlib

21 November 2017

ISTANBUL: The Turkish army and Kurdish militia exchanged fire Monday in the northern Syrian province of Idlib where Ankara’s troops are stationed as observers, the first report of such an incident in the area, state media said.

Kurdish militia fighters fired five mortars at an observation post in Idlib staffed by Turkish troops, the Anadolu news agency said. No casualties were reported and the mortars did not hit their target, it added.

In response, the Turkish army fired toward Kurdish militia-held positions around the town of Afrin, it added.

Turkish troops are deployed in Idlib as part of of an agreement with Iran and Russia to implement four so-called de-escalation zones in flashpoint areas around Syria.

Up until the deployment of Turkish troops in mid-October, Idlib had largely been controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate.

The incident comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to host Turkish and Iranian counterparts Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani for summit talks on Syria in Sochi on Wednesday.

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a military operation on Afrin, which is controlled by the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) militia considered by Turkey to be a terror group.

Ankara views the YPG as the Turkish branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Turkish troops have repeatedly clashed with the YPG in Aleppo province, especially during Ankara’s incursion last year, but this is the first time such an incident has been reported in Idlib.

Russia, along with Iran, is the key supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad while Turkey has backed the opposition seeking Assad’s ouster.

But Russia and Turkey have been working together since a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a crisis caused by the shooting down of a Russian war plane over Syria.

Full report at:



North America


US invaded Afghanistan largely to restore heroin industry: Scholar

Nov 20, 2017

The United States invaded Afghanistan largely to restore the heroin industry and it is now making about $1.5 trillion every year from this business, according to Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American academic and political analyst.

US Army General John Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support forces and US forces in Afghanistan, on Monday announced that American jets targeted drug producing facilities in Afghanistan for the first time under a new strategy aimed at cutting off Taliban funding.

He said that the air strikes were carried out on Sunday in the southern Helmand province, adding that Taliban militants generate about $200 million per year from poppy cultivation and opium production.

The general said that the US military carried out the raids under a new war strategy for Afghanistan announced by President Donald Trump in August.

“This latest announcement by the US military that the new strategy involves bombing drug labs is quite humorous given that the US went into Afghanistan in reality largely to protect the heroin industry,” Dr. Barrett told Press TV on Monday.

“Just as the Vietnam war was heavily driven by the fact that at that time most of the world’s heroin was coming from the Golden Triangle, today the heroin epicenter has moved with the CIA’s areas of interest to Afghanistan,” he stated. 

“The Taliban had shut down opium production in Afghanistan, and it was not tolerable to the Deep State which profits to the tune of $1.5 trillion per year from the heroin industry, which is then moved in a shell-game to various banks and corporations and leveraged into vastly more money than that,” he noted.    

“So they invaded Afghanistan in large part to restore the opium industry. And indeed there was zero opium being produced before the US invasion,” the academic said.

“The first thing in the first year the US did was to release all the drug lords, set them up, and tell them to plant away. Within two years, Afghanistan was setting world records every single year in opium production as US troops guarded the poppy fields and supported the creation of a number of labs which were refining the opium into heroin, which was then transported to the West in Global Hawks – US military vehicles that can fly all way around the world without refueling,” he noted.

In August, Trump announced his controversial war strategy for Afghanistan. In a blatant U-turn from his campaign pledges to end the now 16-year occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said that his views had changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention “as long as we see determination and progress” in Afghanistan.

Trump authorized an increase of thousands of troops requested by General John William Nicholson, who has said he needs about 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, and NATO countries have also pledged to help make up the difference.

The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and a half decades, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.

After becoming president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war, but he failed to keep his promise.

Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as "Obama's war."



Palestinians to suspend US ties if PLO office closed

19 Nov 2017

Palestinian officials have warned that they will freeze all communication with the US, following steps by the Trump administration to close the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) office in Washington, DC.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Saturday the PLO had been informed by the US Department of State of a decision not to renew the operating permission for the organisation's diplomatic office in the American capital.

The state department's move was in response to the Palestinians' decision to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), and to submit files for investigation of several Israeli war crimes, including settlements, against Palestinians, according to Erekat.

The senior PLO official said the organisation had sent a letter to the US government officially informing it that all communication lines with the Trump administration would be cut off if it followed through with the plan to shutter the office.

"This is very unfortunate and unacceptable. This is the pressure being exerted on this [US] administration by the [Benjamin] Netanyahu government while we are trying to achieve the ultimate deal," said Erekat, adding such steps will "undermine the whole peace process".

'Ninety days'

The PLO is seen by the international community, including the United Nations, as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Every six months, the US Department of State signs a waiver that allows the PLO office to remain open in Washington. The certification period for the current waiver ended this month.

In a comment to Al Jazeera, a White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson said the move does not mean that the office will be permanently closed.

He added that US President Donald Trump now has 90 days to determine whether "Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel".

Since Trump was elected a little more than a year ago, he has made no progress on promises to forge a peace deal between Palestinian and Israeli officials.

Instead, illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories have expanded exponentially and, for the first time in two decades, a new Israeli settlement is being built in the West Bank.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said in a statement that the US measure aiming "to bring the closure of the PLO office represents an unprecedented step in the history of US-Palestinian relations".

He added that the development "represents a blow to peacemaking efforts, while rewarding Israel, which is working to obstruct US efforts by persisting with its policy of settlements and its refusal to accept the two-state solution".

International Criminal Court

The NSC spokesman cited a "condition" introduced in US Congress in 2015 - the year in which the Palestinian Authority (PA) joined the ICC - "concerning certain Palestinian actions" related to the court, as one of the reasons behind the non-renewal.

The provision, which was enacted in 2015, imposes legal punishments on the PLO and the Washington office if it does not comply with the conditions outlined by Congress.

The provision includes ramifications against Palestine if the state takes "any actions with respect to the ICC that is intended to influence a determination by the ICC to initiate a judicially authorised investigation or to actively support such an investigation that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians".

It also promises consequences if Palestinians obtained full UN membership "or any specialised agency thereof" without "an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians".

While Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute - the treaty of the ICC to which all members are bound to - its nationals could be tried by The Hague-based court for crimes committed on Palestinian territory.

The PA has previously submitted files of evidence to The Hague-based court of Israeli war crimes, but a preliminary examination is still ongoing.

In February, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said officials would take the issue of Israel's illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories to the ICC.

Since 1967, Israel's government has transferred between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli citizens into the occupied Palestinian territories. They live in illegal, fortified settlements - the largest of which houses some 64,000 Israelis - built on Palestinian land, often private property, seized by Israel.

Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman, reporting from Washington, DC, said the development came "at a very awkward time".

"Jared Kushner, Trump's chief negotiator and son-in-law, and Jason Greenblatt, the US Middle East representative, have been shuttling between Ramallah and Jerusalem to try to work out what they have been advertising as a blueprint for a concrete plan that they will be unveiling early next year," said Ackerman.

"The threat of disrupting all these negotiations, even the preliminary ones, seems to be a serious one," he added.

Full report at:



White House Asks Supreme Court to Allow Full Travel Ban

NOV. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — The White House asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to allow President Donald Trump's latest travel ban to take full effect after an appeals court in California ruled last week that only parts of it could be enacted.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 partially granted a Trump administration request to block at least temporarily a judge's ruling that had put the new ban on hold. It ruled the government could bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States.

Trump's ban was announced on Sept. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.

The administration's appeal to the top U.S. court argued that the latest travel ban differed from the previous orders "both in process and in substance" and that the differences showed it "is based on national-security and foreign-affairs objectives, not religious animus."

It also argued that even if the 9th Circuit ruled to uphold the partial ban, the Supreme Court was likely to overturn that decision as it had "the last time courts barred the President from enforcing entry restrictions on certain foreign nationals in the interest of national security."

Last week's appeals court ruling meant the ban would only apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who did not have connections to the United States.

Those connections are defined as family relationships and "formal, documented" relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies. Those with family relationships that would allow entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

The state of Hawaii, which sued to block the restrictions, argued that federal immigration law did not give Trump the authority to impose them on six of those countries. The lawsuit did not challenge restrictions toward people from the two other countries listed in Trump's ban, North Korea and Venezuela.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu ruled last month that Hawaii was likely to succeed with its argument.

Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January, just a week after he took office, and then issued a revised one after the first was blocked by the courts. The second one expired in September after a long court fight and was replaced with another revised version.

Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamist militants. As a candidate, Trump promised "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

Critics of the travel ban in its various iterations call it a "Muslim ban" that violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion.

The 9th Circuit is due to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 6. In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect.

Full report at:



Crisis in Myanmar is genocide, says local Rohingya Muslim

Nov 20, 2017

Yasmine Ullah says the current plight of the Rohingya Muslims — which has forced more than 600,000 refugees to flee Myanmar — is genocide and she wants the international community to recognize it.

Ullah, a Rohingya Muslim who left Myanmar at the age of three, lived in Thailand as a refugee before immigrating to Canada six years ago. She now lives in Surrey, B.C., but remains in constant contact with immediate family in her home country.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch accused the Myanmar military of using widespread rape as a systematic tool to attack Rohingya Muslims.

Rohingya Muslims, a minority group in Buddhist majority Myanmar— also known as Burma — have been facing persecution for decades. Since August 25, they have been flooding into neighbouring Bangladesh, creating a humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations has described the situation as one of ethnic cleansing and says it is still determining whether the crisis is genocide.

But Ullah believes using those words makes it too easy for the international community to turn away — despite the fact that all the characteristics of genocide according to the United Nations definition are there, she said.

"The word ethnic cleansing, it doesn't bring about as much responsibility ... It doesn't bring anyone to be accountable for this," she said.

Ethnic cleansing vs. genocide

Shayna Plaut, an adjunct professor at the school for international studies at Simon Fraser University, says once something is labelled as genocide, there's an obligation for the international community to intervene.

"The definition of genocide requires that there is intervention," said Plaut.

Plaut says this is the reason why the United Nations has never called anything a genocide while it occurs.

"So if you want to say something is bad, but you don't actually want to put your money where your mouth is, then one of the things you could call it would be ethnic cleansing," Plaut said.

"Ethnic cleansing is something that is recognized by international law as a very bad thing. It is not something that is recognized by international law as requiring an intervention."

'They're finding it hard to survive'

Ullah has been raising money to help people in Myanmar, where part of her family continue to struggle.

"My uncle has just said to my mom last night that the military have come in and tried to take away men in the villages again and two men were incarcerated yesterday without charges."

The Rohingya have faced segregation, have been denied education and were stripped of their citizenship in 1982. Ullah said that because her people are not considered citizens, they have no rights.

"My cousin, she is just a few years older than me, and she has two very young children. They're finding it hard to survive in the country now," she said.

Ullah said her cousin's husband is incarcerated and has been for months without charges.

"He doesn't have any rights to fair trial. So it's either he will be murdered later on or he would be kidnapped. That's just the plight of the Rohingya," she said.

Call for help

Ullah will be heading to Ottawa this week in hopes of spurring members of parliament to take action.

"We cannot just say that we're going to help with humanitarian aid because this is not going to end the issue. This is not going to end the crimes against humanity."

Ullah plans to go with Maung Zarni, a long-time human rights activist who studies genocide and has been speaking out on the state-sanctioned violence against Rohingya Muslims for decades.

"I've lived all my life thinking that I don't matter," Ullah explained.

Full report at:





Morocco Rejects Any Attack Against Holy Places of Islam and Arab States

20 NOVEMBER 2017

Cairo — The Kingdom of Morocco underlined on Sunday in Cairo that it does not accept any attack against the Holy Places of Islam and the other Arab states.

"The Kingdom of Morocco, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed, and given its deep and historical ties, its relations of cooperation and its strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf States, will not accept any attack against the Holy Places of Islam, the other Arab Gulf States and the Arab countries", Secretary of state to the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mounia Boucetta, told MAP on the sidelines of her participation in an urgent meeting of Arab foreign affairs ministers held in Cairo.

In this regard, Boucetta reiterated Morocco's solidarity with these countries in defending their security.

The Moroccan official underscored the need to respect the fundamental principles of good neighbroly relations and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, noting that the Arab region does not need more wars and waste of resources.

The region needs the creation of the conditions that would foster cooperation and solidarity in order to meet the current challenges and move forward in the development path, she added.

During this meeting, "we discussed the challenges facing the Arab region and which pose a direct threat to its security, stability, territorial integrity and the unity of its peoples, Boucetta said.



Islamophobia Awareness Month: We need activism not diplomacy

20 November, 2017

This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month.

A full 30 days of reflecting on the condition of Muslims in the UK today, from employability statistics, attainment in education, visibility in our history books and parliament, to how we are treated in the streets.

Most people won't have realised this aspect of November however.

This is perhaps unsurprising in a country where the most popular newspapers spew ant-Muslim hatred almost daily, and women's hijabs have been ripped off in the streets, while so-called experts debate whether the Muslim veil is "democratic" or "aligned to British values".

The reality for Muslims in the UK, and for many others around the world, is that we have reaced crisis point. Islamophobia has been on the rise over the last decade and recent statistics indicate there has been a 37 percent increase since last year.

Furthermore the UK is a leading nation when it comes to institutionalised Islamophobia. The government's anti-terrorism strategy - 'Prevent' - that forces doctors, nursery teachers, mental health professionals, academics and social works to racially profile and strengthen the othering of communities of colour - and especially Muslims - is being rolled out across Europe as a 'model strategy'.

Apparently, when it comes to targeting Muslim communities, Brexiteers and Europhiles agree to deeper cooperation.

Recent figures released by the Home Office show that between 2015 and 2016 of the 7,316 individuals referred, only 5 percent went on to receive specialist support. Two thousand children were targeted, and over half of the total were under the age of 20.

During last year's launch in parliament of the Open Society Justice Initiative's report, Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy in Health and Education, a father and community activist stood up and told his story.

He explained how he had taken on the role of championing Prevent in the West Midlands because he truly believed it would  tackle the problems within the local community.

And then his own son was referred.

The child was left traumatised, unable to go back to school or interact with his friends and fearful of everyone and everything around him. The father's direct contact with this so-called counter-extremism project cast doubt over the programme's true purpose, and the very real impact it has on peoples' lives.

This is especially true for children who are unable to comprehend these experiences when they happen. How exactly should one go about explaining to a child that he was interrogated by the police not because of what he did, but because of who he is?

While the state, the media, and countless public 'experts' normalise anti-Muslim hatred and institutionalise Islamophobic policies, it is perhaps unsurprising that the far right is feeling increasingly confident across Europe.

As recently as last week, our screens were flooded with the news that over 60,000 ultra-nationalists marched the streets of Warsaw, Poland chanting "white Europe of brotherly nations", "Pure Poland, white Poland!" and holding a banner that read "Pray for Islamic Holocaust".

This was worrying to so many in the UK because it felt like hard evidence of far-right groups like Pegida, Britain First and the newly formed Football Lads Alliance, increasing their following.

It is unfortunate then, that the very institutions whose purpose it is to take on anti-Muslim racism from the streets to the state, seem stuck in a race for official approval and institutional support from the very same organisations who target us.

The launch of Islamophobia Awareness Month was for example, in some cases attended by MPs and other officials known for their pro-Israel stances, trips to illegal settlements and support for the Prevent agenda.

This is not a first.

It has become common to find right-wing figures within the Labour Party such as Wes Streeting MP, or members of this racist Tory government, involved as keynote speakers at public events hosted by national and reputable Muslim organisations.

The contradiction is striking.

One might ask, where were the hundreds of parents of children victimised under Prevent, or the sisters who have been physically and verbally abused on public transport? Where were all the grassroots groups, mosque volunteers, teachers, activists and ex-Guantanamo detainees who have been tortured for years to legitimise the "War on Terror"?

The problem is that too often our so-called community leaders, representatives, and organisations hope that by inviting those who target us into our houses, associations, and mosques, they will change their minds and come to see the Muslim community in a more humane way.

What this fails to acknowledge is that racism is not rooted in ignorance or confusion. It is a political strategy by the powerful to drive a wedge through society and pit its members against each other.

From anti-imperialist struggles, to civil rights and local anti-racism efforts, it was always the mass struggles from below that forced politicians, media outlets and other talking heads to change their minds. In the words of Frederick Douglas, the Black American freedom fighter:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both."

It is this, the centrality of resistance, that our official leadership seems unable to grasp.

In truth the UK has a long history of popular revolts against both the racism of the state and the ineffectual powers that be within oppressed communities: The Asian Youth movement and the Anti-Nazi League, the black unions and British Black Panthers, to name just a few.

At the height of 1930s European fascism, while community officials were involved in negotiations with state officials, it was thousands and thousands of Jewish working class activists, bundists, socialists, communists and trade unionists - alongside their non-Jewish comrades - who took on the British Union of Fascists in the battle of Cable Street.

It was the activity of the oppressed, not their attempts to pacify the racists, that broke the back of British fascism and sent a clear message to the British ruling class: Growing anti-Semitism would be responded to with growing resistance and struggle.

Full report at:



Palestinian President meets Spanish King for talks

21 November 2017

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday met with Spanish King Felipe VI in the capital Madrid, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

During the meeting, Abbas briefed the Spanish King on developments in the Palestinian territories and Israeli violations, the agency said.

Abbas also reiterated the Palestinian support for Spain’s territorial integrity following Catalan's unilateral declaration of independence last month.

The Spanish government stripped the region of its autonomy after its controversial independence vote in parliament, effectively taking charge of its government.

Full report at:



Dutch police officer 'may wear headscarf with uniform'

by Yarno Ritzen

November 21, 2017

Police in Netherlands are discriminating against a Muslim female officer by not allowing her to wear a headscarf with a uniform, since her contact with the public is limited, the country's Commission for Human Rights has ruled.

According to Dutch law, police officers are banned from wearing visible religious symbols while on duty on the grounds that they need to appear "neutral".

Sarah Izat, the Rotterdam-based adminstrative officer who brought the case to the council, lodged a complaint in May, saying the ban was discriminatory against her and hindered her from progressing in her career.

Whilst Izat's non-Muslim colleagues were allowed to be dressed in uniforms, the 26-year-old officer could only be in plain clothes if she wanted to wear her headscarf.

On Monday, the Commission ruled that, in Izat's case, the headscarf ban could not be justified, mainly because she was doing a desk job that required her taking statements over the phone or sometimes via a video projection system.

"When she is on the phone, civilians can't see her. Prohibiting her [from wearing the scarf] therefore does not add to the intention of being neutral", the council said, adding that the police had made a "forbidden distinction on the basis of religion".

In its ruling, the Commision also said that in those cases where people saw Izat's face, via the video projection system, the scarf had no an influence on her job since she only took the statements and was not authorised to make any decision about how the police would further proceed.

The human rights council also rejected as unfounded a claim by the national police that the headscarf could pose a danger to Izat's personal safety.

'We won!'

Instated in 2012, the Dutch Commission for Human Rights is an independent supervisory body tasked with the advancement, protection and safeguarding of human rights in the Netherlands.

As with all of its decisions, Monday's ruling is non-binding. This means police can decide whether or not to abide by it.

The ruling also only applies to this case and does not address the wider question of headscarves or other religious symbols worn by police officers.

"We would have liked it if the Commission had made its decision a bit broader, but we are satisfied with this ruling", Betul Ozates, Izat's lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

"I hope this motivates the police to look and change its code of conduct which now prohibits people from wearing a headscarf, especially because my client has been doing her job for months while wearing her scarf. She just wasn't allowed to do it wearing her uniform", she added.

"She was more than capable in doing her job while wearing the scarf, so we feel she should be able to wear the uniform when she does her job as well just like her colleagues."

On Twitter, Izat responded to the decision by saying, "We won! The Commission has confirmed I have the right to wear a uniform and a headscarf. This means everything and this victory belongs to us all"!

Talking to Al Jazeera, a police spokeswoman referred to its official press release, saying the police would look at the decision.

"The police want to be a neutral organisation, that's why we take the Commission's decision seriously. Neutrality will remain a key facet of police work," the press release read.

Political world reacts

Later on Monday, several politicians condemned the Commission's ruling, citing police neutrality and the separation of church and state.

Arno Rutte, a member of parliament for VVD, the biggest party in the Dutch coalition government, wrote: "The police uniform shows the neutral character of the State."

He added that police officers would not  be allowed to show their political affiliation or wear football shawls either.

Far-right politician Geert Wilders said the decision was "insane" and called for a total ban of the headscarf.

The question whether police officers should be allowed or not to wear any religious symbols at work has for months been a topic of discussion in the Netherlands.

The police have always said they strive to be neutral and not show any possible partiality.

Earlier this year, however the head of police in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, said he has been contemplating allowing headscarves to improve diversity in the force, citing the example of other countries with officers from more diverse backgrounds.

The remarks by Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg led to most political parties condemning the idea, saying police should be neutral and not show any religious expression.

A public survey conducted soon after showed a majority of Dutch was also in agreement with those politicians.

Full report at:



EU cuts Turkey funding after 'democratic deterioration'

by Umut Uras

November 21, 2017

The European Union will cut funds allocated to Turkey due to the "deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights" there, according to a European Parliament (EP) statement.

The bloc will shrink the so-called "pre-ascension funds" for Turkey by 105m euros ($124m) and suspend an additional 70m euros in the 2018 budget, the statement said on Saturday.

Ankara is entitled to receive 4.45 billion euros from the EU between 2014 and 2020 in the framework of the bloc's "Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance".

The Council of the EU and the EP, the two legislative institutions of the bloc, still need to formally approve the new budget.

"Concerning Turkey, MEPs made sure to cut pre-accession funds by 105 million euros (with a further €70 million in commitments put in reserve), as they consider the deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights worrying," the statement by the EP said, referring to its members as MEPs.

Many of the EU member states have been in condemnation of the Turkish government's arrests and purges of tens of thousands of people after a failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Local and international rights groups have accused the government of using the coup attempt as a pretext to silence opposition in the country.

The government has said that the purges and detentions aimed to remove from state institutions and other parts of society the supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based, self-exiled religious leader on whom Ankara blames the attempted coup.

"For those … that depart from our democratic standards and breach fundamental rights, we have sent a clear message that the money that the EU provides cannot come without strings attached," MEP Siegfred Muresan the rapporteur for the 2018 general budget, told reporters after the announcement of the deal.

Turkey denies accusations

Ravza Kavakci Kan, a deputy chairperson of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said Ankara takes the EU membership and its relations with the bloc seriously, despite, what she called Turkey's unfair treatment by the bloc.

"The EU, as well as some member states, have not been acting fair in their attitude towards Turkey for a while now. We can see it in decisions taken against Turkey by the EP as well as some national parliaments. This situation bothers us," Kavakci Kan, who is also a member of Turkish parliament's committee on EU harmonisation, told Al Jazeera.

"We do not accept the accusations made by the EU. We have been particularly closely monitoring the investigations and trials that started after the failed coup in order for them to be carried out within the rule of law. Turkey should be congratulated for these efforts," she said, regarding the EU move to cut Turkey's funds.

The EP, which has a limited impact over Turkey's membership talks, has at various times called for the process to be suspended in non-binding votes.

The latest was in July, when the EP called on the European Commission, the EU's executive body, and member states to "suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged" after a referendum in April that changed Turkey's parliamentary system to an executive presidency.

In March, before the referendum in question, relations hit a new low when the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Denmark prevented Turkish politicians, including ministers, from taking part in rallies within their borders to back a "Yes" vote to the referendum.

Dutch authorities actively intervened after a Turkish minister tried to reach a consulate in the country to address Turks living there, leading to a diplomatic crisis.

Erdogan compared the ban on ministers to "Nazi practices" and called Dutch authorities "Nazi remnants".

Germany backs cutting funds

Since the post-coup attempt purges and arrests started, EU member states have discussed sanctions on Turkey, including cutting EU aid.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has led the calls to reduce the funds to Turkey in the recent months.

"Not only are Germans being arrested, but the entire rule of law in Turkey is moving in the wrong direction. We are very worried about this. And I will back a reduction in pre-accession funds," Merkel said last month.

The chancellor also threatened to restrict her country's economic ties with NATO ally Turkey to pressure Ankara to release several German citizens arrested after the coup attempt. They include journalists Deniz Yucel and Mesale Tolu.

In September, in a televised debate before Germany's parliamentary elections, Merkel said that Turkey "should not become a member of the EU".

Germany at various times also advised its citizens not to go to Turkey over what the government in Berlin called risk of "arbitrary" arrest.

Turkey's membership talks with the EU have been practically frozen, with no progress made in recent years. However, no official decision has been taken by the EU to suspend the talks.

EU expert Can Baydarol, the deputy chairman of the Ankara-based European Union and Global Research Association, told Al Jazeera that the European Commission's annual progress report on the membership talks, expected to be released in November, is likely to sharply criticise Turkey and might pave the way to more serious measures against Ankara.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Don’t question Islam’s status as Sabah’s official religion, PAS warns

November 20, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Sabah PAS has cautioned the public today against questioning the status of Islam as the official religion of the state, stating the issue is a “sensitive” one.

The chapter of the Islamist party said the religion’s status is enshrined in Article 5(A) of the state constitution.

“Sabah PAS feels that the issue of religion is final. Let there be no party who bring back such matter,” the chapter’s commissioner Mohd Aminuddin Aling said in a statement.

“If the issue of official religion continues to be a political capital, Sabah PAS is fully confident that it will cause conflicts and dispute.”

Sabah did not have an official religion in line with what was agreed to in the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63).

It was only in 1976 when the now defunct United Sabah National Organisation’s government had changed the situation by amending the Sabah State Constitution by including a new article — Article 5A — which provided that Islam was the official religion of the state.

Last week, Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia challenged those claiming to champion the rights of Sabah to prove their sincerity, among others by amending the Article 5A.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the federal government has no intention and right to take anything that rightfully belongs to Sabah and its people as provided for in the MA63.



Cops: IS needs social media, not base, to recruit

November 21, 2017

IPOH: Islamic State (IS) militants do not need a base to spread their ideology as it can rage through social media with a view to recruit Malaysians.

Bukit Aman Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division principle assistant director Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay warns the threat of terrorism in the country is still serious despite IS losing its main “government” in Raqqa, Syria.

“The influence of the Internet is still widespread as reflected by the arrests of three IS members in Kelantan recently.

“Although the concept of the caliphate is long gone, IS is currently exploiting the social media to recruit, disseminate ideology and incite new members to launch attacks in their respective countries.

“As in the recent arrests in Kelantan, the suspects had never come face-to-face or in contact (with IS militants) but merely via the Internet. They were influenced by IS ideology, and then learned to make a bomb through the IS website.

“The IS ideology is getting more active without the need to go to Syria and without having to recruit people physically any more. We are worried because if we fail to obtain intelligence, we certainly cannot detect and defeat IS attacks,” he said when met at the Fourth World Conference on Islamic Thought and Civilisation (WCIT 2017) here.

Themed “Global Peace”, the two-day conference which began today, was organised by Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah, and attended by participants from more than 15 countries.

At a media conference on Oct 17, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said police had detained three people, including a Form Six student, at a restaurant in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, on suspicion involvement in terrorism.

They were picked up at 8.17pm on Oct 10 by the Bukit Aman Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division on suspicion of planning to conduct an attack on the 2017 Better Beer Festival, entertainment centres and houses of worships in the Klang Valley, using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Fuzi said the suspects were believed to have tested the IED at an open area on Sept 28 and investigations found the explosive had a 30-metre range.

In this regard, Ayob Khan said WCIT 2017 would explain the approach to be taken to tackle the issue of terrorism which was becoming more worrisome.

In addition, he said the country was now fighting with ideology, not fighting in the physical sense, and if the issue of the Salafi Jihadi ideology of the IS could not be tackled, it was feared that more would be influenced.

“Indeed, the police can arrest and charge the suspects in court but the main issue is how are we to tackle the spread of the IS’ Salafi Jihadi ideology quickly,” he said.

In the meantime, Ayob Khan also narrated how he had received a death threat from Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, 27, a IS militant member killed in a drone attack in May. He said the latest threat he received was during the month of Ramadan before Muslims celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“Members of IS in Indonesia instigated those in Malaysia and Indonesia to kill me.

Full report at:



Philippines Muslim region marks 28th anniversary

20 November 2017

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) commemorates its 28th founding anniversary on Monday.

Governor Mujiv Hataman will deliver the State of the Region Address (SORA).

Expressing optimism that Congress will approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) soon, Hataman said his second SORA is possibly his last as the region eyes the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) which will replace the existing ARMM. 

“I believe that will take place soon,” Hataman said referring to the impending passage of the BBL into law as quoted by state-run Philippine News Agency.

The BBL, which is a fulfillment of a 2014 peace deal between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was presented by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to President Rodrigo Duterte in July and was transmitted by Duterte to Senate and Congress the following month.

Duterte again last month called on the lawmakers to expedite the passage of the proposed BBL since he committed to both the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front to pass it. “If we do not act on it expeditiously, I think that we are headed for trouble.

We must continue to talk and I will urge Congress to fast-track it because they are getting impatient,” said Duterte.

“That is a commitment. Not even a promise but a commitment to the Moro people,” he added. Hataman said everything is set for the anniversary commemoration however Monday’s celebration will show respect to the thousands of Muslim brothers who were affected by the five-month crisis in Marawi.

Full report at:



Muslim countries must relentlessly fight terrorism, Najib says

November 21, 2017

KUCHING, Nov 21 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it is timely for efforts to be stepped up by three countries, namely Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia to enhance collaboration in promoting green economy, including green technology and wildlife conservation.

He said that Malaysia would help to facilitate further discussions on this proposal within the framework of an appropriate forum involving the countries concerned.

“I am confident that our collective efforts would be applauded domestically and by the international community,” he said in his keynote address at the official opening of the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) here today.

Najib said Malaysia strongly supported the notion of green economy being integral to the country’s development, and at the same time, recognising the need to preserve the sustainability of the environment for future generations.       

“Disruptive change is coming and the countries cannot avoid it but instead embrace it,” he said.

The prime minister said Malaysia had formulated its own digital policy, aiming it would help contribute 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2020, if not earlier.

“That is why we have recently become the first country in the world outside China to establish a Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

“This will provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate small and medium enterprises to capitalise on the exponential growth that we are seeing in the Internet economy and cross-border e-commerce,” he said.

Malaysia, he said, had risen to become one of the leading e-commerce markets, generating revenues of US$2.3 billion last year alone.

Najib expressed hope that Malaysia’s ultimate aim was for the DFTZ to help transform the country into a regional e-commerce hub.

Najib, who had just returned from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) and Asean summits, said that leaders during the meetings had discussed the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“I can’t help but think of how the term ‘disruptive change’ applies to what has been happening in many parts of the Muslim world and I am firm in my view that we must be relentless in dealing with these challenges,” he said.

Najib quoted a report by Thomson Reuters titled, “State of the Global Islamic Economy 2016/2017” that the Islamic economy was projected to reach a massive US$3 trillion by 2021.

“The report also says the Islamic finance assets are projected to have a market size of US$3.5 trillion by the same year.

“Here, in Malaysia, as recognised by the report, we have made a deliberate and strategic effort to capitalise on these opportunities,” he said.

In the report under its Global Islamic Economy Indicator, which measures a total of 73 countries, Malaysia was ranked in first place with a score of 50 per cent higher than the second placed country, the United Arab Emirates.

Malaysia also took the top spot for Islamic finance and second place for halal travel and halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Full report at:



Fourteen tahfiz schools in Perak not registered


November 21, 2017

IPOH, Nov 21 — Fourteen of the state's 102 tahfiz schools, where Quran memorisation are taught, are not registered with the state’s religious department, the state legislative assembly was told today.

State Islamic Religious Affairs, Islamic Education and Personality Development Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria said of the total, 24 of them are in the process of being registered.

“The majority of the state's tahfiz schools are privately run and only five are operated by the state,” said the Barisan Nasional’s Belanja assemblyman.

Replying to an oral question from Abdul Yunus Jamhari (PKR — Kuala Kurau), Nizar said the state had organised several meetings with operators of tahfiz schools since August.

“Among them a briefing on safety and fire procedure on August 14 and management course for tahfiz schools held between November 6 and 9,” he added.

He also told Abdul Yunus that the state has yet to take actions against operators of tahfiz schools that fail to follow the safety procedures.

“We will give them opportunities by helping them and giving them advice so that they follow the safety regulations set,” he added.

He said the schools will only be closed down after the school management refused to follow safety regulations set by the authorities.

To a supplementary question from Datuk Siti Salmah Mat Jusak (BN - Lubuk Merbau), Nizar said any tahfiz schools that are more than one-storey high needed to have two escape routes.

“The material used to construct the building should not be highly flammable," he said.

Full report at:





Pakistani government given three days to clear Islamist rally

20 November 2017

A Pakistani court has granted the government three more days to find a way to clear an Islamist rally near the capital, Islamabad.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that he pleaded with the court, saying that any use of force could cause “instability” in the country.

Two previous deadlines given to the rally organizers - the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah party - have expired.

The rally began two weeks ago. The Islamists demand the removal of Law Minister Zahid Hamid over a recently omitted reference to the Prophet Muhammad in a constitutional bill.

The protesters have camped out at a main intersection outside Islamabad, disrupting life in the city.

The court has issued notices to administration for Thursday on non-compliance of earlier order for clearance of the intersection.



JUIF will continue to play its role in international, national politics: Fazl

November 21, 2017

JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that JUIF was a party that had a reputation at international and national levels adding no government at the federal level could be formed without its support and assistance.

Addressing an Ulema Conference here at Mewa Khel, the JUI-F leader said his party always adopted similar stances on every issue both with the parliament and outside it. ‘The JUI-F confronted scores of problems in the parliament however today we are being accused to be very soft to the present government in the centre’, he added. However, he said that it was crystal clear that we were taking every matter seriously.

He said the JUI got approved the Women Rights Bill from the Punjab Assembly despite having only one member in the house. He recalled that some people in the country wanted to enact legislation in the name of Halal food but we made them the difference between the ‘Halal and Haram’. The Haram things would have been declared legal in the country had there been no Ulema.

He said that fate of the FATA should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the tribal people by taking them on board with reference to bringing any change in the administrative setup of the tribal areas. ‘FATA belongs to tribesmen’, he added. He called for legislation for FATA.

The consent of the tribal people must be sought while taking any decision viz a viz its merger with KP or making it a separate province, he added. We restored the oath in original shape by incorporating Khatme Nabuwwat in it.

Full report at:



Nawaz means ‘corruption, not ideology’: PPP

November 21, 2017

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party believes ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s only ideology was corruption and betrayal.

Over the weekend, Nawaz Sharif had claimed he was an ideology within himself and vowed to bring a revolution.

Sharif, while addressing a political rally in Abbottabad, said: “Some elements do not know that Nawaz Sharif is the name of an ideology . This ideology will bring a revolution.”

PPP Secretary-General Nayyar Bokhari, while speaking to The Nation here said Nawaz Sharif was trying to compare himself with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but was not ready to sacrifice anything.

“The only reputation he has earned after decades of staying in power is corruption . Nawaz Sharif means corruption and corruption means Nawaz Sharif.”

Bokhari, the former Senate chairman, said Nawaz Sharif had no future and was making “false claims” to remain relevant. “Nawaz Sharif cannot become an ‘ideology’ by organising rallies. He has been disqualified by the court and only a court can clear him. Public slogans cannot give him a new life,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif, disqualified as prime minister in July, was later re-elected unopposed as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president for four years in the intra-party elections. Sharif was earlier removed as the party chief by the Election Commission of Pakistan after his disqualification as the premier by the Supreme Court. The PML-N bulldozed the Election Bill 2017 in the parliament to ensure Sharif’s election as the party chief. The opposition parties, led by the PPP , are all set to table Elections (Amendment) Bill 2017 in National Assembly on November 21 (today). The bill bars a disqualified person from becoming party’s chairperson. The Senate adopted the bill with 49 votes in favour and 18 votes against, last month.

The opposition parties have been condemning Sharif’s election as the PML-N chief, saying a disqualified person should not lead a party, especially the ruling party. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has threatened to challenge the new law in the Supreme Court as it contradicted the articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.

PPP Information Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said Sharif had become an “ideology” under the “doctrine of necessity”.

“Nawaz Sharif has no other option but to become an ideology . He is invoking the doctrine of necessity. Nawaz Sharif wants to remain relevant and he is struggling to achieve this goal. The people are not ready to accept him as a clean person,” he told The Nation.

Ahmed said the ousted premier had lost the public support and was hoodwinking the people. “He is not touching the real issues. He has been disqualified for hiding his assets. He has corruption cases against him and he is trying to defend it in public rallies. The best option for him is to get [a] clean chit from the courts,” he added.

Meanwhile, PPP Women’s Wing President Faryal Talpur said that the PPP Founding Day public gathering in Islamabad on December 5 will prove that the PPP was a big political force in the past and continues to be the biggest political force today.

Speaking to the office bearers of PPP Women’s Wing Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa here at a meeting, she said Benazir Bhutto suffered hardships, incarceration, and torture for democracy and constitution. Talpur said former president Asif Ali Zardari gave identity to the people of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

She said the PPP was striving for a Pakistan free of poverty and ignorance. “PPP will create a society where women will be emancipated and will participate in every field. Civilised societies have important role for women and [the] PPP desires to give representation to women in every field,” Talpur added.

She said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had “once again emerged in the shape of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.”

Full report at:





Six farmers killed in Boko Haram attack in NE Nigeria

Nov 20, 2017

Boko Haram militants have launched an attack on a village outside the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, killing at least six farmers.

Locals and the civilian militia said the fatalities took place on Sunday, when the Takfiri extremist group raided Lawanti village in the Jere area of Borno state.

"Our people went to the farm to work. Seven Boko Haram on two motorbikes met them and slaughtered two, then killed the other four. They killed six people in all," said Mohammed Asheik, from the Civilian Joint Task Force assisting the Nigerian military with security in the northeast.

Jidda Ahmed, a local resident, also confirmed the report and said his elder brother, Musa Jidda, had been "shot and beheaded" as he tried to flee.

Over the past months, attacks on isolated rural communities in the remote state of Borno have been a feature of Boko Haram's militancy.

Boko Haram has been largely pushed out of its main strongholds in northern Nigeria, according to the country’s military and government. The group, however, is still active in its Sambisa Forest enclave in Borno and launches sporadic attacks on civilians and security forces from there.

The Nigerian military launched renewed counter-terrorism offensives after the end of the rainy season in northeastern Nigeria in September. Those offensives have diminished Boko Haram’s capacity to launch attacks, but the government warns that the group can still attack civilians at “soft” targets such as mosques, markets, and camps for displaced people.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million others displaced as a result of eight years of Boko Haram militancy, which has also affected Nigeria’s neighbors, including Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.

2 dead in bomb attack in northern Cameroon

Separately on Monday, at least two civilians lost their lives and 20 others sustained injuries in a suspected Boko Haram bomb attack at a market in the northern town of Kolofata in Cameroon.

A source close to the Cameroonian security services said the attacker had concealed the bomb inside a bag of beans and detonated it in the middle of the crowd.

A police source in the region also confirmed the report of the deadly attack.



Suicide attack kills 3 children in northern Cameroon

20 November 2017

Three children were killed and several others injured in a suicide bomb attack in northern Cameroon.

The attack occurred Monday morning in the town of Kolofata, in Cameroon’s Far North Region near the Nigerian border.

"The suicide bomber hid the explosive device in a bag of beans which he was carrying," said Gen. Bouba Dobekreo, commander of a joint military operation.

Dobekreo added that the explosion killed four people, including three children and the suicide bomber himself, a man in his forties.

"Several injured were transported by soldiers to Mora Hospital," said Bakari Midjiyawa, the region’s governor.

Cameroon’s Far North has been relatively calm for the past two weeks.

Last month several Boko Haram terrorists surrendered to Cameroonian authorities.

"The return of these former Boko Haram fighters doesn’t mean the end of the war," warned Alfred Fuller, a retired colonel, and analyst.

"It could be a strategy for the group to trick the troops and revive major attacks," he added.

Cameroon has been fighting the Nigerian insurgent group since 2014.

Boko Haram attacks have killed nearly 2,500 Cameroonians between 2014 and 2017, according to Cameroon’s Defense Ministry.

Full report at:



Sudan receives Su-35 fighter jets ahead of Bashir’s first Russia visit

20 November 2017

Sudan has become the first Arab country to acquire the fourth generation Su-35 fighter jets from Russia just ahead of President Omar Ahmed al-Bashir’s first visit to Moscow on Thursday.

The first batch of jets were delivered late last week are considered the backbone air superiority fighters for the Russian airforce. The UAE signed a similar agreement earlier this year to develop the same jets with Russia.

Sudanese deputy air force commander, Salahuddin Abdul Khaliq Saeed, announced the deal in March. He told Sputnik news agency that the aircraft will contribute to the consolidation of Sudan’s defenses and will provide it protection from any threat.

The number of fighters delivered, however, was not released.

Thursday’s visit by Bahsir to Moscow will include a number of high level agreements expected between the two countries, according to government officials.

Deals in mining, oil and advanced security industries are expected to be signed according to the vice president of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Sudanese National Assembly, Dr Fathi Madibou.

Madibou said that Sudan aspires to benefit from Russia in developing its various resources and believes that it is a real partner to support the economy and national security.

“The visit will witness the signing of important agreements in the fields of oil and mining and benefit from Russian technology and will open the way for Russia to benefit more from our diverse resources,” Madibou told Al Arabiya English.

It still remains unclear if Bashir is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin as the Kremlin only confirmed his visit but not his meetings.

Madibibou said the development of relations with Russia does not affect Sudan’s relations with other countries, especially the United States.

He added that Sudan has decided after its international isolation to build its foreign relations based on mutual interests, whether political, economic or security, and “Russia is a pivotal country in the world and the region, and how great we do not go to it”.

Former minister of state of foreign affairs, Kamal Ismail, told Al Arabiya English that Sudan seeks to promote good relations with Russia and develop them, stressing that his country “values Russia’s contribution to Sudan”.

He noted that Sudan aspires during Bashir’s visit to Moscow on Thursday to push this relationship further in the fields of industry and trade, mining and oil.

Full report at:



Health staff strike after doctor's kidnapping in southern Libya

Nov 20, 2017

Medical staffers have suspended work for 10 days in protest against poor security in the southern Libyan city of Sabha after a doctor was kidnapped there.

The staff at the Sabha Medical Center, the biggest hospital in southern Libya, and at private clinics in the city announced a 10-day strike on Sunday to demand Salem al-Selhab’s release and the provision of security for medical staff.

Selhab, who worked in the surgical department of the center, was kidnapped by an unknown group on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Osama al-Wafi, a spokesman for the center, complained of growing insecurity in the region.

"For a long time the medical staff of the Sabha Medical Center have suffered attacks, abuse and been shot at," the spokesman said, adding that Selhab's kidnapping was a serious setback.

"This doctor was very important," he said.

According to Wafi, the center receives 70 percent of its backing from international organizations in the absence of state support from rival governments in Tripoli and the east.

"We suffer greatly from a shortage of medicines, political division and lack of support," he said.

In a statement, the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the international bodies to provide the center with support, strongly denounced violence against staff in the area.

"WHO urges all to refrain from attacking health workers and facilities, as required by international humanitarian law, and calls upon parties responsible for the kidnapping of the doctor in Sabha to ensure his safety and immediate release," the statement read.

Health services across the North African country have been severely disrupted by years of conflict, with the remote south particularly affected.

Full report at:




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