New Age Islam
Sat Dec 05 2020, 09:35 AM

Loading..

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

Rampage Driver ‘Rambled about Muslims, Allah and Australia’s Top Security Agency after Mowing down 17 People on Flinders Street













Photo: Detectives were not able to interview him due to his injuries from the crash and a struggle with an off-duty police sergeant who heroically wrestled him from the car before other officers arrested him

 

Won’t West Use Muslim Nations for Final Attack on Saudi Arabia?

Kerala Cleric to Doctors: Don’t Use ‘Un-Islamic’ Red Cross Symbol

Palestine to Remain Top Issue of Islamic World until Liberation: Iran

Worries about M'sia's 'Arabisation' Grow As Saudi Ties Strengthen

A Muslim’s Christmas Gift to His Christian Brothers and Sisters

---------

Australia

Rampage Driver ‘Rambled about Muslims, Allah and Australia’s Top Security Agency after Mowing down 17 People on Flinders Street

--------

Arab World

Won’t West Use Muslim Nations for Final Attack on Saudi Arabia?

Fresh Wave of Infighting Erupts among Terrorist Groups in Northwestern Syria

Al-Nusra Terrorists Flee South-western Damascus to Occupied Golan as Army Approaches

16 die waiting for evacuation in besieged Syrian town

Terrorist Groups Resume Heavy Infighting in Eastern Damascus

Syrian Army Dispatches More Troops, Equipment to Idlib

Terrorists Flee Southwestern Damascus amid Army Advances

---------

India

Kerala Cleric to Doctors: Don’t Use ‘Un-Islamic’ Red Cross Symbol

India Hits Out At China, Pakistan For Not Clearly Understanding Threat Of Terrorism

Manipur Chief Minister MN Biren Singh raises concern over Rohingya Muslims sneaking into state

We'll talk peace with Pakistan only when it stops supporting terror: Army chief General Bipin Rawat

No immediate execution for KulbhushanJadhav, says Pakistan

---------

Mideast

Palestine to Remain Top Issue of Islamic World until Liberation: Iran

Israel 'Will Never Be Driven From Jerusalem,' Envoy Tells UN

Israel Rejects as Preposterous Vote against Jerusalem at UN General Assembly

Netanyahu hails 'growing' support despite UN Jerusalem vote

Turkey summons UAE diplomat over tweet that angered Erdogan

Iran Hails UN Thursday Vote as Global No to Trump's Regime

Kurdish Forces Deliver Control of Several Points in Aleppo to Syrian Gov't

Jerusalem bishop: Catholic youth concerned about rising Islamic fundamentalism

---------

Southeast Asia

Worries about M'sia's 'Arabisation' Grow As Saudi Ties Strengthen

ISESCO Chief: Illiteracy Widespread In Islamic World

Najib urges Muslim solidarity on Jerusalem ahead of election

IlhamAliyev: Azerbaijan to continue contributing to solidarity among Muslim states

President IlhamAliyev receives Islamic religious figures from North Caucasian republics of Russia

--------

Europe

A Muslim’s Christmas Gift to His Christian Brothers and Sisters

Leader's Top Advisor: Muslims Not to Tolerate Balfour II Declaration

Finsbury Park mosque incident: Man accused of terror attack pleads not guilty to murder and attempted murder

Russian-Syrian Representatives to Hold Meeting with Gunmen over Peace in Eastern Qalamoun

---------

North America

US May Slap Terrorist Designation on Milli Muslim League

US Isolated As 128 Nations at UN Condemn Jerusalem Decision

Mosque plans to open Saturday in Keene without permit from city

Pence visits Afghanistan, reiterates US stance on terror safe havens in Pakistan

'Trump has put Pakistan on notice,' US VP Pence warns in surprise Kabul visit

---------

Pakistan

LHC Orders Police, Intelligence Agencies to Recover Missing Activist Raza Khan

Four 'Terrorists' Killed In Balochistan Sanitisation Operations

3 Hazaras injured in Quetta gun attack

3 FC soldiers martyred, 5 terrorists killed in cross-border attack in Mohmand Agency

Federal govt 'pressuring' Sindh Wildlife Dept to allow Bahraini royal to illegally hunt in Thar

‘People-to-people contacts to cement Pak-Afghan ties’

Pakistan’s view on terror list accepted in new Heart of Asia declaration: FO

---------

South Asia

Suicide Car Bomb Attack in Kandahar Leaves 6 Dead, 5 Wounded

Airstrikes on Heroin Labs and Clashes Leave 12 Dead, Wounded In Helmand

US drone strikes leave 3 Taliban militants dead in Nangarhar province

---------

Africa

A Liberal/Reform Rabbi Learns from Prophet Muhammad

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/rampage-driver-‘rambled-about-muslims,-allah-and-australia’s-top-security-agency-after-mowing-down-17-people-on-flinders-street/d/113661

-----------

 

Rampage Driver ‘Rambled about Muslims, Allah and Australia’s Top Security Agency after Mowing down 17 People on Flinders Street

22 December 2017

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Saeed Noori made comments while at St Vincent's under police guard, only hours after the horrific rampage on Thursday afternoon.

'I don't know the exact detail, to do with Allah and some ramblings about ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation),' Mr Patton said according to The Herald Sun.

Read more: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5205473/Driver-rambled-Muslim-Flinders-Street-attack.html#ixzz51zSEcDcg

Mr Patton told The Project Noori made utterances about voices, dreams and about why he drove the Suzuki SUV through the busy crowds.

'Others are about that he did this act because of perceived harms committed on Muslims around the world,' he said.

'There's a range of issues there.'

Noori has since been transferred from hospital to a holding centre to be interrogated by police.

The 32-year-old tried to hide his face with his cuffed hands while sitting between two detectives as he left Melbourne Police Station heading for the Custody Centre below the Magistrates Court.

he Afghan immigrant spent the previous 24 hours under police guard in hospital after crashing the white Suzuki Vitara into a tram stop bollard at the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets.

Detectives were not able to interview him due to his injuries from the crash and a struggle with an off-duty police sergeant who heroically wrestled him from the car before other officers arrested him.

Mr Patton said there were no signs in Noori's online activity that he planned the attack in advance, and that counter-terrorism specialists did not believe it was a terrorist attack.

'We haven't excluded [him being motivated by terrorism]. We haven't seen any warning signs that there was any threat of violence,' he said.

He said Noori had a history of drug use and mental illness, stressing that investigators had not yet found any extremist or terrorist links to the horror rampage.

Investigators were still searching for a motive for Noori's alleged 'evil act' and it was hoped a formal interview, likely followed by criminal charges, would shed some light on them.

Police said it did not appear to be a terrorist attack but raided two homes in Heidelberg West - where Noori lives - and Oak Park in Melbourne's north on Thursday night, hours after the terrifying incident.

The family members present were reportedly cooperatives as forensics teams seized electronic items from the homes that police will comb through for clues about Noori's motives.

'At this stage nothing has been found to indicate a linkage to extremism, a terrorist organisation or anything of a terrorist nature,' police told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

Noori arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2004 through a resettlement program, and had several run-ins with the law between 2008 and earlier this year.

'He came to Australia as a refugee. He did not come with a people smuggler, he came through the appropriate refugee, the normal refugee programs,' Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

'At this stage, because investigations are continuing, apart from that statement, there are no known links to any political issues or any, certainly any links to extremist groups.

'Therefore, the position I am advised off at the moment is that no terrorism link has been identified at this stage. I want to stress, there is a mass of material that is being investigated and nothing should be ruled out, nothing should be ruled out.

'Now, whatever the motivation, this was a despicable and cowardly act, but I want to reassure all Australians that this is an isolated incident.'

Noori's legal issues started with a minor assault charge in 2010 that was dropped after he pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and was fined $800.

Then in June this year he was convicted and fined $1000 after pleading guilty to driving while unlicensed, using a mobile phone while driving, and failing to answer bail.

The missing bail charges was from when he missed a court date for the driving offences, which occurred either early this year or late last year, and which he also faced court for in February.

Nineteen people were injured in the incident, including the driver and an off-duty policeman who heroic wrestled him from the car where other officers arrested him.

Many more could have been injured or killed if the car hadn't crashed into a tram stop bollard on Flinders Street and the intersection of Elizabeth Street.

By midday on Friday 12 people were still in hospital with only three, including an 83-year-old man, still in critical condition.

Five men, aged 25, 40, 43, 45 and 83 and six women, aged 25, 30, 35, 47 and 58, were among the victims and along with another three men and two women of unknown age.

Many were from overseas including citizens of South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland and New Zealand.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5205473/Driver-rambled-Muslim-Flinders-Street-attack.html

---------

 

Won’t West use Muslim nations for final attack on Saudi Arabia?

December 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia gave birth to the final Prophet Muhammad (SAS) as well as Islam which He introduced along with the Holy Qu’ran on behalf of God. It would be naive on its side if Saudi Arabia does not visualize the anti-Islamic agenda of enemies of Islam to destroy Saudi Arabia and the Holy Mosques   just as historic Babri Mosque was destroyed by anti-Islami fanatics who operate under the garb of Hindutva targeting Islam and Muslims for Hindu votes.

However, instead of launching a strong Islamic front to protect Islam and shield Muslim nations from any attack from enemies of Islam, Saudi Arabia and its allies are engaged in wars against Yemen and proxy war against Iran.

That is foolish on the part of Riyadh, to say the least.

Saudi Arabia-Yemen war

A coalition of Arab states under a caption “Storm of Resolve” have launched air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have forced the country’s president to flee. The Iranian-backed rebels from the north of Yemen seized the capital last year and have been expanding their control ever since.

Operation “Storm of Resolve” is being led by Saudi Arabia, and includes countries from across the region, and is backed by the UK, the US, Turkey and Pakistan. On 21 April 2015, the Saudi-led military coalition announced an end to Operation Decisive Storm, saying the intervention’s focus would “shift from military operations to the political process”. The kingdom and its coalition partners said they would be launching political and peace efforts, which they called ‘Operation Restoring Hope.

On the night of 15 February 2017, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a funeral reception near Sanaa. Initial reports suggest the bombing killed nine women and one child with ten more women reported wounded. “People heard the sound of planes and started running from the house but then the bombs hit the house directly. The roof collapsed and there was blood was everywhere,” a resident of the village told a Reuters news agency cameraman.

A loud boom was heard in Riyadh and a column of white smoke could be seen briefly from a distance before the coalition announced it had intercepted the missile. No injuries were reported, according to Sky News Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index declined as much as 0.4 percent before recovering the loss.

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Academi mercenaries also took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters and military bases available to the coalition.

The palace that was targeted is the site of official meetings, including cabinet sessions last held there on Dec. 12. The cabinet met to approve the biggest ever 2018 budget, which officials said would focus on bolstering an economy battered by the drop in oil prices, austerity measures and regional instability.

The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, allegedly supported by Iran in response to a request from the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.  The perception that Iran is directly controlling the Houthis is contradicted due to statement made on April 2015, by National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan: “It remains our assessment that Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen”

The Iranian-backed Houthi militants said they had targeted a meeting of top Saudi officials at the al-Yamamah palace, the official residence of King Salman and headquarters of the royal court. “You are hitting the republican palace in Sana’a and we are hitting Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a speech. “You are attacking and our ballistic missiles reach al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh. You are targeting our vital installations and we will do that.” A separate Houthi statement said Saudi military and oil installations were also “within our missiles’ reach.”

Earlier, in February 2016, the Saudis bombed the ancient citadel of Kawkaban, killing seven civilians. On 8 October 2016, Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a hall in Sana’a where a funeral was taking place. At least 140 people were killed and about 600 were wounded. One rescuer said: “The place has been turned into a lake of blood.” After initially denying it was behind the attack, the Coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that it had bombed the hall but claimed that this attack had been a mistake caused by bad information.

Saudi attack on Yemen was very serious. The counter terror attack by Yemen on select targets in Saudi Arabia on December 19, 2017, signals something like that.  Saudi Arabia said its air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen rebels at the royal palace in the capital, Riyadh, an attack that threatens to edge the kingdom and its chief nemesis, Iran, closer to confrontation. The “Storm of Resolve” coalition did not rule out using force, saying it would respond to threats and prevent Houthi militants from operating within Yemen.

On 1 July UN declared for Yemen a “level-three” emergency – the highest UN emergency level – for a period of six months. Human rights groups repeatedly blamed the Saudi-led military coalition for killing civilians and destroying health centers and other infrastructure with airstrikes. The de facto blockade left 78% (20 million) of the Yemeni population in urgent need of food, water and medical aid. Aid ships are allowed, but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the country relies, is blocked. In one occasion, coalition jets prevented an Iranian Red Crescent plane from landing by bombing Sana’a International Airport’s runway, which blocked aid delivery via air.

Genocides of Muslims

Now for quite some time, Saudi kingdom is leading a military campaign against Yemen targeting the Houthis, and shortly after the missile launch, alliance aircraft struck Houthi positions south of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

The fighting has killed well over 5,000 civilians and contributed to one of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters, according to the United Nations. Nearly 1 million people have contracted cholera, and 3 million, out of a population of 28 million, are internally displaced, according to the UN.

As of 10 December, more than 2,500,000 people had been internally displaced by the fighting. Many countries evacuated more than 23,000 foreign citizens from Yemen. More than 1,000,000 people fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Oman. The war has caused a humanitarian crisis, including a famine which has threatened over 17 million people, as well as an outbreak of cholera which has infected thousands.

The missile attack, aimed at the very heart of Saudi power, is the most audacious challenge to Saudi Arabia by Iran’s proxy in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Iran already support opposing sides in conflicts across the Middle East, and after the rebels fired a missile at the international airport in Riyadh last month, the coalition warned that the failed attack could be considered “an act of war” against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki again pointed the finger at Iran. “This aggressive and arbitrary act by the armed Houthi Iranian group proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthis with qualitative capabilities,” he said. The Saudi royal air defense forces spotted the launch of the missile from Yemen, he added.

The United Arab Emirates’ state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that “with every Iranian missile launched by the Houthi militia against civilian targets, it becomes clear that the storm is necessary.”

Yemen’s civil war, nearing the end of its third year, has become part of the broader struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional influence. The coalition is fighting the rebels, who are members of the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam, to restore the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President AbdRabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Sunni.

Iran in the past has denied providing the Houthis with missiles to attack Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have said their military experts have the capability to develop Scud-type missiles. The Burkan 2-H launched Tuesday is such a weapon.

Push for war

Several anti-Islamic specialists seeking to force a Saudi-Iran war with devastating consequences predicted “a concerted effort by the Saudi government to push for action against Iran.” “We have clearly entered a period where there is a direct threat to Saudi population centers, even with their air defense systems in place. This will have a “depressing impact on the local capital markets and on economic activity in general.”

Saudi Arabia last week hosted unprecedented talks between the head of Yemen’s Islah Party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, which classifies the Islamist group as terrorists. The talks — held after the Houthis assassinated their onetime battlefield ally, former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh — aimed to “unite efforts to defeat Iran and its Houthi militias.”

A military intervention was launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine African and Middle East countries, to influence the outcome of the Yemeni Civil War in favor of the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Code-named ‘Operation Decisive Storm (Arabic: Amaliyyat ‘Āifat al-azm), the intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign on Houthi Rebels and later saw a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.

Dozens of civilians have died this month in an intensified coalition campaign following Saleh’s assassination, which took place after the Houthis accused him of defecting to the Saudi side. The attack could be a reminder that the Houthis are still there and can keep the Saudis on their toes.

Pakistan was called on by Saudi Arabia to join the coalition, but its parliament voted to maintain neutrality.

The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on the humanitarian situation, which reached the level of a “humanitarian disaster”or “humanitarian catastrophe”.  After the Saudi-led coalition declared the entire Saada Governorate a military target, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen and Human Rights Watch said that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Saada city in Yemen were in breach of international law.

The USA provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots. It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states. The USA and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets.

Possibly, seeking to show to the USA that it is also a great power and can attack and overpower any nation in the region, Saudi Arabia has been trying to control the Arab nations and removed Qatar from Gulf States club and slapped sanctions on it which many Muslim nations including Truly condemned . .

USA and its western allies and anti-Islamic companions want the war to continue until Iran also gets directly involved in the war.  Obviously, the war would kill many more millions in the region.

After this attack, US national security spokesperson said that the US government was “deeply disturbed” by the bombing and added that US support for the Saudi-led coalition was “not a blank cheque”.  USA has initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition.  The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said he was “shocked and outraged” by the “horrific” bombing. “This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop”.

Qatar was suspended from the coalition due to the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Russia and Iran have condemned the air strikes

Observation

When Islam and entire Islamic world is under enemy target and attacks, t is laughable that Arab nations also keep attacking each other.  Mutual hatred is good for Islamic nations while Saudi-Iran and related tensions can be very disastrous for themselves and Islamic world at large.  In fact, even non-Muslim specialists insist on cooperation between Saudi and Iran, on the one hand, and Turkey and entire Islamic world on the other for better future for Islamic world.

Why can’t the intelligence wings of Saudi Arabia and Iran refuse comprehend the danger ahead for them and the Islamic world if they continue to antagonize with each other?

We all expect that the USA, Israel and their common allies against Islam would later than sooner attack Saudi Arabi only when Saudi kingdom would madly antagonize most of the Muslim countries on some issues or without any.

Instead of fighting Israel which serves as poison in  Arab waters, Saudi Arabia and Yemen on the one hand and Saudi and Qatar on the other  antagonize each other for nothing in not for self destructions.

It seems the US led Western powers would use a strong Muslim nation to attack and destabilize Saudi Arabia and USA and Israel do the “needful l” at the appropriate time to attack the Holy Mosques as well.  However, both would pretend to be critical supporters of Saudi Arabia against Iran.

The USA used Iraqis to kill their President Saddam Hussein and propagated all filth about him before and after he was assassinated. He was called a dictator, the usual phrase Americans us to describe those leaders who refuse to fall in line with US line of thinking and who refuse to help USA advance its national interest.

The split within the Gulf Cooperation Council that pits regional powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar has proven surprisingly durable. That threatens even the unity of GCC. The intra-Gulf rupture has spilled over to the region’s external relations, making it harder for security partners to insist on maintaining even and equal relations with all GCC members. Kuwaiti efforts to mediate the six-month-long dispute have failed, most recently and notably when Kuwait’s emir convened the annual GCC summit on Dec. 5 and was forced to end the proceedings early. Saudi Arabia and its neighbors have now imposed an approach that Bush Jr. used following the Sept-11 hoax “you’re either with us or against us” on its outside interactions. .

It appears the intelligence of Saudi and Iran provides wrong information to the respective government about each other to sustain the tensed relations between them.

When entire anti-Islamic world led by USA, Germany, Israel, India (a candidate) etc have forged a indirect coalition to defame Islam and terrorize global Muslims and destabilize Islamic nations, Iran, Turkey and Arab world joint action is highly imperative.

In fact, Islamic nations need to feel happy about insulting and attacking each other and shy of supporting each other when USA and Europe and Israel cooperate against Islam.

kashmirwatch.com/wont-west-use-muslim-nations-final-attack-saudi-arabia/

---------

 

Kerala cleric to doctors: Don’t use ‘un-Islamic’ Red Cross symbol

M P Prashanth | TNN | Updated: Dec 22, 2017, 09:43 IST

OZHIKODE: Controversial Salafi preacher Abdul MuhsinAydeed has come up with a suggestion that Muslim doctors should not use the Red Cross emblem or the Rod of Asclepius symbol (representing Greek God of healing), as they are against the monotheism in Islam.

In a post titled 'Some Islamic Advise to Doctors' which appeared on Alaswala Facebook page, Aydeed also advised the doctors not to touch women patients as far as possible and not to encourage 'male-female mixing' in hospitals and consulting rooms.

"Certain symbols related to idol worship are widely seen in the houses, vehicles, consulting rooms and on the prescription pads of doctors. An example is the cross in red colour, which signifies the belief in Trinity by the Christians. Trinity is the worst form of the shirk (polytheism), and is the most detested sin in Islam," he said.

Similarly, the Rod of Asclepius, denotes the Greco-Roman Gods of life and health, he said. "The beliefs that destroysThouheed (monotheism), the cardinal principle in Islam, should be kept at arm's length. These kinds of wrong beliefs may unknowingly sneak into the belief system of Muslims and they may distance themselves from Islam. A Muslim doctor should keep away from all the signs and slogans that are against Islam," he said.

The Salafi preacher said a Muslim woman can approach a male Muslim doctor if she fails to find a Muslim female doctor. "The male doctor should look at or touch the female patient only in an unavoidable situation. He should use hand gloves if he decides to touch the female patient," Muhsin said adding touching without gloves is allowed only in extreme situations.

The woman patient should be asked to cover all other parts of her body which do not need examination. The Islamic principle that a male should not be alone with an unknown female is applicable in the case of doctors too. "The presence of husband or 'mahrams' is mandatory while being examined by the male doctor, "Muhsin said. (Mahrams are the persons who are allowed to escort a Muslim woman when she travels) "At least a woman from the family of the patient should be present at the time of examination. If all these are not available, the male doctor should examine the patient after the keeping open the door and standing on the other side of a veil," suggests Muhsin.

In his opinion, cosmetic or plastic surgery is not allowed in Islam as it amounts to intervening in Allah's creation. "Undergoing plastic surgery for beautification of the body or to rejuvenate is not allowed. For example, treatment to set right the shapes of nose, abdomen or ear," he said.

Muhsin is a member of the extreme Salafi group that came into being in Kerala after numerous splits in Kerala NadvathulMujahideen (KNM), the parent Salafi organisation in the state. He had earlier exhorted Muslims not to send their kids to public schools and had stated that the concept of nationalism is alien to Islam.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/kerala-cleric-to-doctors-dont-use-un-islamic-red-cross-symbol/articleshow/62202395.cms

---------

 

Worries about M'sia's 'Arabisation' grow as Saudi ties strengthen

Published: Today 11:20 am     Modified: Today 6:43 pm

Malaysia's growing ties to Saudi Arabia - and its puritan Salafi-Wahhabi Islamic doctrines - are coming under new scrutiny as concerns grow over an

erosion of traditional religious practices and culture in the multi-ethnic nation.

A string of recent events has fuelled the concern. Hostility toward atheists, non-believers and the gay community has risen.

Two annual beer festivals were cancelled after Islamic leaders objected. A hardline preacher, accused of spreading hatred in India, has received official patronage.

The government has backed a parliamentary bill that would allow the shariah court wider criminal jurisdiction over Muslims in the state of Kelantan. And after religious officials supported a Muslim-only laundromat, Malaysia's mostly ceremonial royalty made a rare public intervention, calling for religious

harmony.

Marina Mahathir, the daughter of Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, publicly lashed out at the government for allowing the "Arabisation" of Malaysia.

Marina, who heads the civil rights group Sisters in Islam, told Reuters Saudi influence on Islam in Malaysia "has come at the expense of traditional Malay culture". Her father, 93, now heads the opposition alliance.

Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Wahhabi beliefs have strongly influenced Malaysia – and neighbouring Indonesia - for decades, but have strengthened considerably since Najib became prime minister in 2009 and began cosying up to the kingdom.

The relationship came under a harsh spotlight when nearly US$700 million wound up in Najib's bank account in 2013. Najib said it was a donation from the Saudi Royal family, rebutting allegations it was money siphoned from the 1MDB state investment fund he had founded and overseen. Malaysia's attorney-general cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The trend toward a politicised brand of Islam in Malaysia, a middle-income emerging market, has alarmed Malaysia’s non-Muslims, including ethnic Chinese who comprise a quarter of the population and dominate private sector commerce. It is also a concern for foreign investors, who account for nearly half the local bond market and have invested US$8.95 billion in project

investments in the first nine months of this year.

The government denies actively promoting Wahhabi-style Islamic conservatism.

Najib has been largely silent about the recent religious controversies. Critics have accused the prime minister, whose governing coalition lost the popular vote in the last general election but retained a simple majority in parliament, of

playing on fears that Islam and Malay political power will be eroded should the opposition win. An election is due by mid-2018.

Election calculations

Militancy has also been on the rise in Malaysia, which from 2013 to 2016 had arrested more than 250 people with alleged ties to Islamic State, many of whom were indoctrinated with hardline interpretations of Islam.

After the visit of the Saudi monarch this year, Malaysia announced plans to build the King Salman Centre for International Peace to bring together Islamic scholars and intelligence agencies in an effort to counter extremist interpretations of Islam.

The centre, which is being built on a 16-hectare (40-acre) plot in Putrajaya, will draw on the resources of the Saudi-financed Islamic Science University of Malaysia, and the Muslim World League, a Wahhabi Saudi religious body.

Saudi Arabia has long been funding mosques and schools in Malaysia, while providing scholarships for Malaysians to study in the kingdom. Many of them find employment in Malaysia's multitude of Islamic agencies, said Farouk Musa, chairman and director of the moderate think-tank, Islamic Renaissance Front.

One of the most worrisome doctrines they preach in multi-cultural Malaysia is 'al-w ala' wa-al-bara' or "allegiance and disavowal", Farouk said. "This doctrine basically means do not befriend the non-believers (al-kuffar), even if they are among the closest relatives.

"We have never heard of Islamic scholars forbidding Muslims to wish Merry Christmas before, for example. Now, this is a common phenomenon,” he said.

The adoption of Arab culture and interpretations of Islam is a result of greater exposure to Middle Eastern people and universities, said Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, a member of the Supreme Council of Najib’s party, Umno.

"The extensive use of social media also accelerated the external influence on the locals," he told Reuters.

The government is not promoting Wahhabism but rather the doctrine of "wasatiyyah", or moderation and balance, to accommodate Malaysia's multi-cultural society, said Aziz, who is also a deputy minister.

Crown prince's reforms?

KarimaBennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for cultural rights, expressed concern in a report after her September visit to Malaysia about the deepening involvement of religious authorities in policy decisions. She said this was influenced by “a hegemonic version of Islam imported from the Arabian Peninsula” that was “at odds with local forms of practice.”

She also expressed concern about "the banning of books, including some about moderate and progressive Islam, in the country when the government extols these very concepts abroad".

Marina Mahathir said religious departments, staffed with Saudi graduates, "are now consulted on absolutely everything, from movies to health and medicine to insurance, all sorts of things that they do not necessarily have any expertise in".

The kingdom also exerts leverage over Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia through the quotas it gives to countries for the number of pilgrims they can send on the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam that all capable Muslims must perform at least once in their lives.

This could all start to change if Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman succeeds in returning the Saudi kingdom to “a moderate Islam,” which he says was practised before 1979.

He has already scaled back the role of religious police, permitted public concerts and announced women will be allowed to drive.

The kingdom has also set up an authority to scrutinize uses of the “hadith” – accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet – to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism.

malaysiakini.com/news/406287

---------

 

A Muslim’s Christmas Gift To His Christian Brothers and Sisters

December 22, 2017

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All thanks and praise are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds.

Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness there is no god but Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“Oyou who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Brothers and Sisters! Christians and Muslims have differed for centuries over the nature and status of Jesus Christ. Both religions revere him and both believe him to be of virgin-birth. Both religions claim to know his true nature and purpose. Muslims believe that Christian leaders of old altered the scriptures in order to redefine the status of this Noble and virtuous Prophet of Almighty Allah. In fact, eminent Christian theologians readily admit that the Bible has been altered throughout the ages, so in that respect, there is no disagreement. The renowned Biblical scholar from the USA, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, formerly the president of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature stated that:

“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes.. They find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture, they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered.” [See: Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible and Why We Don’t Know About Them]

opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2017/12/22/a-muslims-christmas-gift-to-his-christian-brothers-and-sisters-by-murtadha-gusau/

---------

Australia

Rampage Driver ‘Rambled about Muslims, Allah and Australia’s Top Security Agency after Mowing down 17 People on Flinders Street

22 December 2017

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Saeed Noori made comments while at St Vincent's under police guard, only hours after the horrific rampage on Thursday afternoon.

'I don't know the exact detail, to do with Allah and some ramblings about ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation),' Mr Patton said according to The Herald Sun.

Read more: dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5205473/Driver-rambled-Muslim-Flinders-Street-attack.html#ixzz51zSEcDcg

Mr Patton told The Project Noori made utterances about voices, dreams and about why he drove the Suzuki SUV through the busy crowds.

'Others are about that he did this act because of perceived harms committed on Muslims around the world,' he said.

'There's a range of issues there.'

Noori has since been transferred from hospital to a holding centre to be interrogated by police.

The 32-year-old tried to hide his face with his cuffed hands while sitting between two detectives as he left Melbourne Police Station heading for the Custody Centre below the Magistrates Court.

he Afghan immigrant spent the previous 24 hours under police guard in hospital after crashing the white Suzuki Vitara into a tram stop bollard at the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets.

Detectives were not able to interview him due to his injuries from the crash and a struggle with an off-duty police sergeant who heroically wrestled him from the car before other officers arrested him.

Mr Patton said there were no signs in Noori's online activity that he planned the attack in advance, and that counter-terrorism specialists did not believe it was a terrorist attack.

'We haven't excluded [him being motivated by terrorism]. We haven't seen any warning signs that there was any threat of violence,' he said.

He said Noori had a history of drug use and mental illness, stressing that investigators had not yet found any extremist or terrorist links to the horror rampage.

Investigators were still searching for a motive for Noori's alleged 'evil act' and it was hoped a formal interview, likely followed by criminal charges, would shed some light on them.

Police said it did not appear to be a terrorist attack but raided two homes in Heidelberg West - where Noori lives - and Oak Park in Melbourne's north on Thursday night, hours after the terrifying incident.

The family members present were reportedly cooperatives as forensics teams seized electronic items from the homes that police will comb through for clues about Noori's motives.

'At this stage nothing has been found to indicate a linkage to extremism, a terrorist organisation or anything of a terrorist nature,' police told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

Noori arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2004 through a resettlement program, and had several run-ins with the law between 2008 and earlier this year.

'He came to Australia as a refugee. He did not come with a people smuggler, he came through the appropriate refugee, the normal refugee programs,' Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

'At this stage, because investigations are continuing, apart from that statement, there are no known links to any political issues or any, certainly any links to extremist groups.

'Therefore, the position I am advised off at the moment is that no terrorism link has been identified at this stage. I want to stress, there is a mass of material that is being investigated and nothing should be ruled out, nothing should be ruled out.

'Now, whatever the motivation, this was a despicable and cowardly act, but I want to reassure all Australians that this is an isolated incident.'

Noori's legal issues started with a minor assault charge in 2010 that was dropped after he pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and was fined $800.

Then in June this year he was convicted and fined $1000 after pleading guilty to driving while unlicensed, using a mobile phone while driving, and failing to answer bail.

The missing bail charges was from when he missed a court date for the driving offences, which occurred either early this year or late last year, and which he also faced court for in February.

Nineteen people were injured in the incident, including the driver and an off-duty policeman who heroic wrestled him from the car where other officers arrested him.

Many more could have been injured or killed if the car hadn't crashed into a tram stop bollard on Flinders Street and the intersection of Elizabeth Street.

By midday on Friday 12 people were still in hospital with only three, including an 83-year-old man, still in critical condition.

Five men, aged 25, 40, 43, 45 and 83 and six women, aged 25, 30, 35, 47 and 58, were among the victims and along with another three men and two women of unknown age.

Many were from overseas including citizens of South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland and New Zealand.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5205473/Driver-rambled-Muslim-Flinders-Street-attack.html

---------

Arab World

Won’t West use Muslim nations for final attack on Saudi Arabia?

December 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia gave birth to the final Prophet Muhammad (SAS) as well as Islam which He introduced along with the Holy Qu’ran on behalf of God. It would be naive on its side if Saudi Arabia does not visualize the anti-Islamic agenda of enemies of Islam to destroy Saudi Arabia and the Holy Mosques   just as historic Babri Mosque was destroyed by anti-Islami fanatics who operate under the garb of Hindutva targeting Islam and Muslims for Hindu votes.

However, instead of launching a strong Islamic front to protect Islam and shield Muslim nations from any attack from enemies of Islam, Saudi Arabia and its allies are engaged in wars against Yemen and proxy war against Iran.

That is foolish on the part of Riyadh, to say the least.

Saudi Arabia-Yemen war

A coalition of Arab states under a caption “Storm of Resolve” have launched air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have forced the country’s president to flee. The Iranian-backed rebels from the north of Yemen seized the capital last year and have been expanding their control ever since.

Operation “Storm of Resolve” is being led by Saudi Arabia, and includes countries from across the region, and is backed by the UK, the US, Turkey and Pakistan. On 21 April 2015, the Saudi-led military coalition announced an end to Operation Decisive Storm, saying the intervention’s focus would “shift from military operations to the political process”. The kingdom and its coalition partners said they would be launching political and peace efforts, which they called ‘Operation Restoring Hope.

On the night of 15 February 2017, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a funeral reception near Sanaa. Initial reports suggest the bombing killed nine women and one child with ten more women reported wounded. “People heard the sound of planes and started running from the house but then the bombs hit the house directly. The roof collapsed and there was blood was everywhere,” a resident of the village told a Reuters news agency cameraman.

A loud boom was heard in Riyadh and a column of white smoke could be seen briefly from a distance before the coalition announced it had intercepted the missile. No injuries were reported, according to Sky News Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index declined as much as 0.4 percent before recovering the loss.

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Academi mercenaries also took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters and military bases available to the coalition.

The palace that was targeted is the site of official meetings, including cabinet sessions last held there on Dec. 12. The cabinet met to approve the biggest ever 2018 budget, which officials said would focus on bolstering an economy battered by the drop in oil prices, austerity measures and regional instability.

The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, allegedly supported by Iran in response to a request from the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.  The perception that Iran is directly controlling the Houthis is contradicted due to statement made on April 2015, by National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan: “It remains our assessment that Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen”

The Iranian-backed Houthi militants said they had targeted a meeting of top Saudi officials at the al-Yamamah palace, the official residence of King Salman and headquarters of the royal court. “You are hitting the republican palace in Sana’a and we are hitting Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a speech. “You are attacking and our ballistic missiles reach al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh. You are targeting our vital installations and we will do that.” A separate Houthi statement said Saudi military and oil installations were also “within our missiles’ reach.”

Earlier, in February 2016, the Saudis bombed the ancient citadel of Kawkaban, killing seven civilians. On 8 October 2016, Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a hall in Sana’a where a funeral was taking place. At least 140 people were killed and about 600 were wounded. One rescuer said: “The place has been turned into a lake of blood.” After initially denying it was behind the attack, the Coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that it had bombed the hall but claimed that this attack had been a mistake caused by bad information.

Saudi attack on Yemen was very serious. The counter terror attack by Yemen on select targets in Saudi Arabia on December 19, 2017, signals something like that.  Saudi Arabia said its air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen rebels at the royal palace in the capital, Riyadh, an attack that threatens to edge the kingdom and its chief nemesis, Iran, closer to confrontation. The “Storm of Resolve” coalition did not rule out using force, saying it would respond to threats and prevent Houthi militants from operating within Yemen.

On 1 July UN declared for Yemen a “level-three” emergency – the highest UN emergency level – for a period of six months. Human rights groups repeatedly blamed the Saudi-led military coalition for killing civilians and destroying health centers and other infrastructure with airstrikes. The de facto blockade left 78% (20 million) of the Yemeni population in urgent need of food, water and medical aid. Aid ships are allowed, but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the country relies, is blocked. In one occasion, coalition jets prevented an Iranian Red Crescent plane from landing by bombing Sana’a International Airport’s runway, which blocked aid delivery via air.

Genocides of Muslims

Now for quite some time, Saudi kingdom is leading a military campaign against Yemen targeting the Houthis, and shortly after the missile launch, alliance aircraft struck Houthi positions south of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

The fighting has killed well over 5,000 civilians and contributed to one of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters, according to the United Nations. Nearly 1 million people have contracted cholera, and 3 million, out of a population of 28 million, are internally displaced, according to the UN.

As of 10 December, more than 2,500,000 people had been internally displaced by the fighting. Many countries evacuated more than 23,000 foreign citizens from Yemen. More than 1,000,000 people fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Oman. The war has caused a humanitarian crisis, including a famine which has threatened over 17 million people, as well as an outbreak of cholera which has infected thousands.

The missile attack, aimed at the very heart of Saudi power, is the most audacious challenge to Saudi Arabia by Iran’s proxy in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Iran already support opposing sides in conflicts across the Middle East, and after the rebels fired a missile at the international airport in Riyadh last month, the coalition warned that the failed attack could be considered “an act of war” against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki again pointed the finger at Iran. “This aggressive and arbitrary act by the armed Houthi Iranian group proves the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthis with qualitative capabilities,” he said. The Saudi royal air defense forces spotted the launch of the missile from Yemen, he added.

The United Arab Emirates’ state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that “with every Iranian missile launched by the Houthi militia against civilian targets, it becomes clear that the storm is necessary.”

Yemen’s civil war, nearing the end of its third year, has become part of the broader struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional influence. The coalition is fighting the rebels, who are members of the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam, to restore the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President AbdRabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Sunni.

Iran in the past has denied providing the Houthis with missiles to attack Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have said their military experts have the capability to develop Scud-type missiles. The Burkan 2-H launched Tuesday is such a weapon.

Push for war

Several anti-Islamic specialists seeking to force a Saudi-Iran war with devastating consequences predicted “a concerted effort by the Saudi government to push for action against Iran.” “We have clearly entered a period where there is a direct threat to Saudi population centers, even with their air defense systems in place. This will have a “depressing impact on the local capital markets and on economic activity in general.”

Saudi Arabia last week hosted unprecedented talks between the head of Yemen’s Islah Party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the crown prince of the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, which classifies the Islamist group as terrorists. The talks — held after the Houthis assassinated their onetime battlefield ally, former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh — aimed to “unite efforts to defeat Iran and its Houthi militias.”

A military intervention was launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine African and Middle East countries, to influence the outcome of the Yemeni Civil War in favor of the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Code-named ‘Operation Decisive Storm (Arabic: Amaliyyat ‘Āifat al-azm), the intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign on Houthi Rebels and later saw a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.

Dozens of civilians have died this month in an intensified coalition campaign following Saleh’s assassination, which took place after the Houthis accused him of defecting to the Saudi side. The attack could be a reminder that the Houthis are still there and can keep the Saudis on their toes.

Pakistan was called on by Saudi Arabia to join the coalition, but its parliament voted to maintain neutrality.

The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on the humanitarian situation, which reached the level of a “humanitarian disaster”or “humanitarian catastrophe”.  After the Saudi-led coalition declared the entire Saada Governorate a military target, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen and Human Rights Watch said that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Saada city in Yemen were in breach of international law.

The USA provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots. It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states. The USA and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets.

Possibly, seeking to show to the USA that it is also a great power and can attack and overpower any nation in the region, Saudi Arabia has been trying to control the Arab nations and removed Qatar from Gulf States club and slapped sanctions on it which many Muslim nations including Truly condemned . .

USA and its western allies and anti-Islamic companions want the war to continue until Iran also gets directly involved in the war.  Obviously, the war would kill many more millions in the region.

After this attack, US national security spokesperson said that the US government was “deeply disturbed” by the bombing and added that US support for the Saudi-led coalition was “not a blank cheque”.  USA has initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition.  The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said he was “shocked and outraged” by the “horrific” bombing. “This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop”.

Qatar was suspended from the coalition due to the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis.

Russia and Iran have condemned the air strikes

Observation

When Islam and entire Islamic world is under enemy target and attacks, t is laughable that Arab nations also keep attacking each other.  Mutual hatred is good for Islamic nations while Saudi-Iran and related tensions can be very disastrous for themselves and Islamic world at large.  In fact, even non-Muslim specialists insist on cooperation between Saudi and Iran, on the one hand, and Turkey and entire Islamic world on the other for better future for Islamic world.

Why can’t the intelligence wings of Saudi Arabia and Iran refuse comprehend the danger ahead for them and the Islamic world if they continue to antagonize with each other?

We all expect that the USA, Israel and their common allies against Islam would later than sooner attack Saudi Arabi only when Saudi kingdom would madly antagonize most of the Muslim countries on some issues or without any.

Instead of fighting Israel which serves as poison in  Arab waters, Saudi Arabia and Yemen on the one hand and Saudi and Qatar on the other  antagonize each other for nothing in not for self destructions.

It seems the US led Western powers would use a strong Muslim nation to attack and destabilize Saudi Arabia and USA and Israel do the “needful l” at the appropriate time to attack the Holy Mosques as well.  However, both would pretend to be critical supporters of Saudi Arabia against Iran.

The USA used Iraqis to kill their President Saddam Hussein and propagated all filth about him before and after he was assassinated. He was called a dictator, the usual phrase Americans us to describe those leaders who refuse to fall in line with US line of thinking and who refuse to help USA advance its national interest.

The split within the Gulf Cooperation Council that pits regional powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar has proven surprisingly durable. That threatens even the unity of GCC. The intra-Gulf rupture has spilled over to the region’s external relations, making it harder for security partners to insist on maintaining even and equal relations with all GCC members. Kuwaiti efforts to mediate the six-month-long dispute have failed, most recently and notably when Kuwait’s emir convened the annual GCC summit on Dec. 5 and was forced to end the proceedings early. Saudi Arabia and its neighbors have now imposed an approach that Bush Jr. used following the Sept-11 hoax “you’re either with us or against us” on its outside interactions. .

It appears the intelligence of Saudi and Iran provides wrong information to the respective government about each other to sustain the tensed relations between them.

When entire anti-Islamic world led by USA, Germany, Israel, India (a candidate) etc have forged a indirect coalition to defame Islam and terrorize global Muslims and destabilize Islamic nations, Iran, Turkey and Arab world joint action is highly imperative.

In fact, Islamic nations need to feel happy about insulting and attacking each other and shy of supporting each other when USA and Europe and Israel cooperate against Islam.

kashmirwatch.com/wont-west-use-muslim-nations-final-attack-saudi-arabia/

---------

 

Fresh Wave of Infighting Erupts among Terrorist Groups in Northwestern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) stormed the command centers of other terrorist groups in Idlib province, forcing them to leave their positions, local sources reported on Friday.

The sources said that the Al-Nusra stormed the command centers of other rival groups in the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman and closed the terrorist groups' headquarters in the town.

The Al-Nusra had given 72 hours to the terrorist groups in Ma'arat al-Nu'aman to leave their command centers and headquarters, the sources said.

They added that the Al-Nusra arrested a number of rival terrorists, including Deputy Interious Minister of Terrorist Groups Ahmad Qassoum in their assault .

A field source said in October that the Southern Idlib was the scene of fierce clashes between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa, adding that scores of militants from both sides were killed or wounded in the clashes.

"Ahrar al-Sham fighters arrested a number of Jund al-Aqsa near Saraqib and stormed the house of Ali al-Issa, one of the commanders of Ahrar al-Sham that resulted in the escalation of fighting between the rival terrorist groups," the sources said.

"In Khan Sheikhoun, Jund al-Aqsa captured Ahrar al-Sham positions and then the town," the sources added.

In the meantime, Syrian fighter jets bombed heavily a base of the terrorists in the Eastern side of al-Dana, leaving scores of militants dead.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000312

---------

 

Fresh Wave of Infighting Erupts among Terrorist Groups in Northwestern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) stormed the command centers of other terrorist groups in Idlib province, forcing them to leave their positions, local sources reported on Friday.

The sources said that the Al-Nusra stormed the command centers of other rival groups in the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman and closed the terrorist groups' headquarters in the town.

The Al-Nusra had given 72 hours to the terrorist groups in Ma'arat al-Nu'aman to leave their command centers and headquarters, the sources said.

They added that the Al-Nusra arrested a number of rival terrorists, including Deputy Interious Minister of Terrorist Groups Ahmad Qassoum in their assault .

A field source said in October that the Southern Idlib was the scene of fierce clashes between Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa, adding that scores of militants from both sides were killed or wounded in the clashes.

"Ahrar al-Sham fighters arrested a number of Jund al-Aqsa near Saraqib and stormed the house of Ali al-Issa, one of the commanders of Ahrar al-Sham that resulted in the escalation of fighting between the rival terrorist groups," the sources said.

"In Khan Sheikhoun, Jund al-Aqsa captured Ahrar al-Sham positions and then the town," the sources added.

In the meantime, Syrian fighter jets bombed heavily a base of the terrorists in the Eastern side of al-Dana, leaving scores of militants dead.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000312

---------

 

Al-Nusra Terrorists Flee Southwestern Damascus to Occupied Golan as Army Approaches

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) terrorists escaped the Southwestern areas of Damascus to occupied Golan as the Syrian army has gained military control over the militant-held regions.

A field source confirmed on Thursday that the army has intensified its missile and artillery fire against al-Nusra bases and moves in Tal Za'arta and Mughur al-Mir in the Eastern parts of Beit Jinn farms, stressing that a large number of terrorists have been killed and tens of others have fled the battleground towards Beit Jinn farms.

He added that Beit Jinn has been fully surrounded after all roads linking the terrorists in Beit Jinn from the Northeastern and Southeastern front were cut and the army regained military control over Nahr al-Awaj- the only road linking terrorists in Beit Jinn to Tal Marwan and Mughur al-Mir.

Also, based on the field reports, a number of al-Nusra terrorists have made attempts to flee to occupied Golan from Jabal al-Sheikh passageway following the army's advance in the region and imposing heavy defeats on the terrorists.

The Syrian army troops made rapid advances against the Al-Nusra Front on Wednesday and managed to seize military control over terrorist-held regions in Southwestern Damascus.

The army's artillery and missile units pounded the Al-Nusra's positions hard in the regions of Mughur al-Mir and Beit Jinn.

Also, a field source said that the army inflicted tens of casualties on the Al-Nusra and managed to advance towards Tal (hill) Za'arafta located on the Eastern direction of Beit Jinn Farm.

The source further added that the army has cut off all the supply lines of the Al-Nusra from Beit Jinn Farm to the village of Mughur al-Mir and Mughur al-Mir hill, imposing military control over the entire regions out of its control in Jabal al-Sheikh region.

Another military source said the army made a series of crucial advances against the Al-Nusra Front in Beit Jinn valley region, capturing a number of key hilltops and gaining full fire control over the entire Beit Jinn pocket within which militants are now hopelessly trapped.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960930000849

---------

 

16 die waiting for evacuation in besieged Syrian town

December 22, 2017

GENEVA/MOSCOW: At least 16 people have died while waiting for medical evacuation from Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta region, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Jan Egeland, head of the UN’s humanitarian taskforce for Syria, said a list put together several months ago of nearly 500 civilians in desperate need of evacuation was rapidly shrinking.

“That number is going down, not because we are evacuating people, but because they are dying,” he told reporters in Geneva.

“We have confirmation of 16 having died on these lists since they were resubmitted in November, and it is probably higher,” he said, highlighting the case of a baby who died on Dec 14, as the latest round of Syria peace talks in Geneva ended in failure.

“I fear there will be many more. During this Christmas and holiday season, there will be more deaths unless we get evacuation going,” he said.

The Eastern Ghouta region, near the Syrian capital Damascus, is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Egeland said evacuations and efforts to bring aid into the region had been blocked by a lack of authorisations from the Syrian authorities. “This has to end,” he said.

“How can we take Christmas and holidays in safety and in peace... while the most innocent in this conflict... are dying?” They are dying, he said, “not because there was not relief, not because there were not people willing to go there... but because they were part of a power play between mostly well-fed men with power and with guns.” His comments came as a new round of Syria peace talks backed by powerbrokers Russia, Iran and Turkey began on Thursday in the Kazakh capital Astana.

“I hope that out of the Astana meetings in the next couple of days, we will have some kind of impulse for a change on the humanitarian said,” Egeland said.

“I hope there will be a cessation of hostilities in and for Eastern Ghouta, (which) would also certainly help us in bringing in supplies, before hunger grips the whole population, and also get wounded and medical cases out,” he said.

UN special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday he would take part in the latest round of Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana on Friday, with a month to go before he hopes to break the deadlock in political talks in Geneva.

De Mistura’s Geneva peace process reached deadlock this month, missing what said was a “golden opportunity” to close out almost seven years of war.

Blaming intransigence on both sides, he told the UN Security Council he would start 2018 with a proposal to involve a wider constituency in constitutional and electoral reform, since the warring sides were stuck.

He said on Thursday he planned to hold the next round in Geneva in the second half of January.

“I am planning to go to Astana just after this meeting,” de Mistura said in Moscow at the start of Syrian talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

dawn.com/news/1378101/16-die-waiting-for-evacuation-in-besieged-syrian-town

---------

 

Terrorist Groups Resume Heavy Infighting in Eastern Damascus

Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:9

The sources said that the Al-Nusra stormed the positions of Faylaq in the town of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta, adding that the attack was aimed at arresting the defected members of Al-Nusra that had joined Faylaq.

They added that Faylaq al-Rahman has put its militants on alert and set up checkpoints in Arbin after the Al-Nusra's attack. 

Militant-affiliated websites reported on Monday that Jeish al-Islam terrorist group executed 45 members of Al-Nusra Front in Eastern Ghouta near capital Damascus.

The news websites reported that Jeish al-Islam executed 45 A-Nusra terrorists, including 7 non-Syrians, captured by the former in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus province.

The websites further said that Mull Abu Bakr, one of the Al-Nusra's bomb-making experts trained in Afghanistan's al-Zarqawi base, was among the executed terrorists.

They went on to say that the executions happened two months ago when Jeish al-Islam attacked the Al-Nusra positions in al-Ash'ari region.

Jeish al-Islam and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at reached an agreement on Saturday. According to the deal, Jeish al-Islam should release Al-Nusra's captured members to give them a chance to leave Eastern Ghouta for Idlib along with their comrades.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000231

---------

 

Syrian Army Dispatches More Troops, Equipment to Idlib

Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:7

The sources reported that the army has sent a large number of forces and a large volume of military hardware to three flanks to join their comrades' liberation operation at Abu al-Dhohour airbase in SoutheasternIdlib.

The sources said that the army is to accelerate its advances towards Abu al-Dhohour airbase following the arrival of the fresh forces.

In the meantime, the army's fresh convoy of forces and equipment arrived in the small town of al-Safireh in Eastern Aleppo, other sources reported.

Also, the Syrian Air Force carried out a number of combat flights over terrorists' strongholds in al-Rahjan, Abu Dali, Mosheirefeh, Atshan and al-Latamina regions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, killing tens of militants and destroying their equipment. 

Military sources disclosed on Wednesday that the army troops were preparing for breaking the siege imposed by terrorists on the Shiite towns of Fua'a and Kafraya in the Northeastern countryside of Idlib city within the framework of their operation to free the Abu al-Dhohour airbase.

The sources pointed to the army's ongoing operations to reach Abu al-Dhohour airbase in SoutheasternIdlib and added that the army's control over the base would pave the way for the easier advances and ultimately lift of the siege imposed by militants on Fua'a and Kafraya.

The army's plan for Fua'a and Kafraya comes after the terrorist groups' violation of their commitment to the agreement for the exit of residents of Fua'a and Kafraya and indifferences of international relief and rescue bodies to the besieged towns' population.

The Syrian army is currently advancing towards Abu al-Dhohour from two fronts in Northern and Northeastern Hama and a front in Southern Aleppo. 

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000224

---------

 

Terrorists Flee Southwestern Damascus amid Army Advances

Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:2

The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) terrorists sustained heavy casualties and losses during fierce clashes with the Syrian army over taking control of different areas in Southwestern Damascus.

The Syrian army also continued its advances in other key provinces across Syria.

Damascus

The al-Nusra Front terrorists escaped the Southwestern areas of Damascus to occupied Golan as the Syrian army has gained military control over the militant-held regions.

A field source confirmed on Thursday that the army has intensified its missile and artillery fire against al-Nusra bases and moves in Tal Za'arta and Mughur al-Mir in the Eastern parts of Beit Jinn farms, stressing that a large number of terrorists have been killed and tens of others have fled the battleground towards Beit Jinn farms.

He added that Beit Jinn has been fully surrounded after all roads linking the terrorists in Beit Jinn from the Northeastern and Southeastern front were cut and the army regained military control over Nahr al-Awaj- the only road linking terrorists in Beit Jinn to Tal Marwan and Mughur al-Mir.

Also, based on the field reports, a number of al-Nusra terrorists have made attempts to flee to occupied Golan from Jabal al-Sheikh passageway following the army's advance in the region and imposing heavy defeats on the terrorists.

The Syrian army troops made rapid advances against the Al-Nusra Front on Wednesday and managed to seize military control over terrorist-held regions in Southwestern Damascus.

The army's artillery and missile units pounded the Al-Nusra's positions hard in the regions of Mughur al-Mir and Beit Jinn.

Also, a field source said that the army inflicted tens of casualties on the Al-Nusra and managed to advance towards Tal (hill) Za'arafta located on the Eastern direction of Beit Jinn Farm.

The source further added that the army has cut off all the supply lines of the Al-Nusra from Beit Jinn Farm to the village of Mughur al-Mir and Mughur al-Mir hill, imposing military control over the entire regions out of its control in Jabal al-Sheikh region.

Another military source said the army made a series of crucial advances against the Al-Nusra Front in Beit Jinn valley region, capturing a number of key hilltops and gaining full fire control over the entire Beit Jinn pocket within which militants are now hopelessly trapped.

Homs

Field sources confirmed on Thursday that over 120 gunmen that had laid down their weapons and joined peace with the Syrian army in Homs province have received government amnesty.

The sources reported that the militants in the towns of al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Palmyra, al-Qasir, Talklakh and al-Hasan and a number of districts in Homs city and the nearby areas had handed over their arms to the army soldiers and were pardoned by the Damascus government.

The gunmen received amnesty and returned to normal life, the sources said.

Hama

The Syrian army has sent a large number of reinforcements and military equipment to Northern Hama to regain control over the important bases occupied by al-Nusra Front, local sources reported on Thursday.

The sources reported that the army has dispatched a military convoy to the towns of Taybat al-Imam and Halfaya in Northern Hama.

They added that the army will start a massive operation from this region to purge al-Nusra terrorists from their important stronghold in al-Latamina.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the al-Nusra militants' positions in the region, inflicting heavy damages and tolls on the terrorists.

Tartus

Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) ratified the agreement with Syria on expanding the Russian naval supply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the document to the Duma on December 13, and according to the agreement, Russia has the right to have up to 11 warships deployed to the facility at the same time. Besides, the agreement stipulates that Russia will operate the naval facility, TASS reported.

"Russia has the right to send the necessary number of troops to maintain the naval facility," the document said.

Besides, the naval facility will have full immunity from Syria’s civil and administrative jurisdiction. Its movable and immovable property is immune from search, seizure and other proceedings. The troops deployed to the naval facility, as well as their family members, will enjoy immunity and privileges similar to those provided to diplomats.

Syri will be responsible for the protection of the naval facility, while Russia will ensure the security of the maritime borders and missile security.

The duration of the agreement is 49 years but it can be automatically prolonged for a period of 25 years in case none of the parties sends a written notification to the other at least one year before the period expires notifying about its plans to terminate the agreement.

"The ratification of the agreement is of strategic importance," Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky said addressing the Duma’s plenary meeting.

"The presence of a Russian naval facility on Syria’s territory is totally in line with the objectives of ensuring regional peace and stability, it is purely defensive and is not aimed against other countries," he added.

Aleppo

A number of militants backed by the Turkish army were killed and wounded in clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin region in Northern Aleppo, the Kurdish media outlets reported.

Hawar news reported on Thursday that the Turkish army and its affiliated militants launched offensives against the village of Burjak Suleiman and Badr Khan, Bashour and Barfin hills near the town of Afrin and attacked the two villages of Ain Daqneh and Mara'anaz in al-Shahba region with mortar fire.

Meantime, clashes between the two sides in the villages of Burjak Suleiman and TalatBarfin killed one of the snipers affiliated to the Turkish army and wounded another one.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000338

---------

India

Kerala cleric to doctors: Don’t use ‘un-Islamic’ Red Cross symbol

M P Prashanth | TNN | Updated: Dec 22, 2017, 09:43 IST

OZHIKODE: Controversial Salafi preacher Abdul MuhsinAydeed has come up with a suggestion that Muslim doctors should not use the Red Cross emblem or the Rod of Asclepius symbol (representing Greek God of healing), as they are against the monotheism in Islam.

In a post titled 'Some Islamic Advise to Doctors' which appeared on Alaswala Facebook page, Aydeed also advised the doctors not to touch women patients as far as possible and not to encourage 'male-female mixing' in hospitals and consulting rooms.

"Certain symbols related to idol worship are widely seen in the houses, vehicles, consulting rooms and on the prescription pads of doctors. An example is the cross in red colour, which signifies the belief in Trinity by the Christians. Trinity is the worst form of the shirk (polytheism), and is the most detested sin in Islam," he said.

Similarly, the Rod of Asclepius, denotes the Greco-Roman Gods of life and health, he said. "The beliefs that destroysThouheed (monotheism), the cardinal principle in Islam, should be kept at arm's length. These kinds of wrong beliefs may unknowingly sneak into the belief system of Muslims and they may distance themselves from Islam. A Muslim doctor should keep away from all the signs and slogans that are against Islam," he said.

The Salafi preacher said a Muslim woman can approach a male Muslim doctor if she fails to find a Muslim female doctor. "The male doctor should look at or touch the female patient only in an unavoidable situation. He should use hand gloves if he decides to touch the female patient," Muhsin said adding touching without gloves is allowed only in extreme situations.

The woman patient should be asked to cover all other parts of her body which do not need examination. The Islamic principle that a male should not be alone with an unknown female is applicable in the case of doctors too. "The presence of husband or 'mahrams' is mandatory while being examined by the male doctor, "Muhsin said. (Mahrams are the persons who are allowed to escort a Muslim woman when she travels) "At least a woman from the family of the patient should be present at the time of examination. If all these are not available, the male doctor should examine the patient after the keeping open the door and standing on the other side of a veil," suggests Muhsin.

In his opinion, cosmetic or plastic surgery is not allowed in Islam as it amounts to intervening in Allah's creation. "Undergoing plastic surgery for beautification of the body or to rejuvenate is not allowed. For example, treatment to set right the shapes of nose, abdomen or ear," he said.

Muhsin is a member of the extreme Salafi group that came into being in Kerala after numerous splits in Kerala NadvathulMujahideen (KNM), the parent Salafi organisation in the state. He had earlier exhorted Muslims not to send their kids to public schools and had stated that the concept of nationalism is alien to Islam.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/kerala-cleric-to-doctors-dont-use-un-islamic-red-cross-symbol/articleshow/62202395.cms

---------

 

India hits out at China, Pakistan for not clearly understanding threat of terrorism

PTI | Updated: Dec 21, 2017

Terrorism is a common challenge which requires greater focus by UNSC, said Indian representative.

Referring to Pakistan and China, he said, "narrow political and strategic concerns" are not letting the Council to address the concern.

Syed Akbaruddin, Indian Foreign Service officer serving as India's permanent representative at the United NationsSyedAkbaruddin, Indian Foreign Service officer serving as India's permanent representative at the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS: India has hit out at some UN members for failing to "clearly understand" the common threat of terrorism due to their "narrow political and strategic concerns", apparently referring to Pakistan and China.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said terror networks operate across borders in terms of propagation of hateful ideologies, sometimes based in deep-rooted perceived grievances, raise finances, procure arms, and recruit operatives.

"This is a common challenge which requires greater focus by this Council, one where closer international cooperation needs to be, can be and should be expanded for our common interest," Akbaruddin told the Security Council during an open debate on 'Addressing complex contemporary challenges to International Peace and Security' on Wednesday.

"It appears that this common threat to states and societies is not clearly understood here. Even on counter-terrorism, cooperation continues to elude the Council," he said.

Akbaruddin was apparently referring to China's decision to repeatedly block a move by India to designate Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group, as a global terrorist.

On an issue as serious as designation of terrorist individuals and entities, the Council-mandated Sanctions Committees fail to make concrete progress and fall victim to "narrow political and strategic concerns in some cases", he said.

Akbaruddin also referred to the fact that the UN-designated terrorist and Mumbai attack mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, was seeking to contest elections in Pakistan.

Saeed had announced that his Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) will contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan under the banner of the Milli Muslim League, which is yet to be registered with the Election Commission.

"In other cases where Sanctions Committees have designated terrorists, there are states who venture to mainstream UN designated terrorist individuals into their political process in total disregard of international law, thus putting our common security in peril," Akbaruddin said in his address to the Security Council.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/india-hits-out-at-china-pakistan-for-not-clearly-understanding-threat-of-terrorism/articleshow/62191677.cms

---------

 

Manipur Chief Minister MN Biren Singh raises concern over Rohingya Muslims sneaking into state

Dec, 22 2017 16:51:58 IST

Imphal: Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh told the state assembly on Friday that Rohingya Muslims have started sneaking into the state which has a common border with Myanmar.

Singh was replying to a calling attention motion tabled by Congress member K Meghachandra.

Singh said Police at Moreh border town has arrested one Rohingya Muslim during a routine check. It was learnt that seven of them had sneaked into Manipur and the rest were absconding. A manhunt is on."

Checking has been intensified in the border districts and the police has rounded up some 560 persons of doubtful nationality, the chief minister told the House. Of them, 105 undocumented ones were forced back.

A total of 178 undocumented persons were rounded up at Jiribam and unauthorised bamboo bridges used by the migrants were pulled down, Singh said. He appealed to one and all to be "sincere" on the issue.

"Truck drivers are bringing the outsiders and land is being allotted to them by officials. Some politicians use them as vote banks. All MLAs should conduct a survey in their respective constituencies to establish how many outsiders are there and inform me accordingly," the chief minister said.

Meghachandra, who insisted on the introduction of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Manipur, said, "Activists are threatening to start the ILP agitations again and there should be a time frame to prepare the bills."

New ILP bills would be drafted to protect the indigenous people, Singh assured the House.

The Congress MLA said that the ILP system was already in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

Underlining the need for the ILP system, Meghachandra said that in 1948 the population of outsiders in Manipur was 2,719. According to the 2001 census, their population increased to 7,40,488 which is higher than the majority community in the state.

The total population of the majority community and the Manipuri Muslims is 9,18,266, the 2001 census said.

firstpost.com/india/manipur-chief-minister-mn-biren-singh-raises-concern-over-rohingya-muslims-sneaking-into-state-4271371.html

---------

 

We'll talk peace with Pakistan only when it stops supporting terror: Army chief General BipinRawat

PTI | Updated: Dec 22, 2017

Army chief General BipinRawat said Pakistan should stop supporting terrorists.

He was in the western sector, close to the India-Pakistan border, to witness the 'HameshaVijayee' exercise conducted by the Southern Command in Thar desert.

We'll talk peace with Pakistan only when it stops supporting terror:  Army chief General BipinRawat

JAIPUR: Indian Army chief General BipinRawat on Friday said peace talks with Pakistan can take place only when it stops supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Given its actions, it doesn't appear that Pakistan really wants peace, the Army chief added.

He was in the western sector, close to the India-Pakistan border, to witness the 'HameshaVijayee' exercise conducted by the Southern Command in Thar desert.

Rawat said Pakistan should stop supporting terrorists.

"Only then can we say that peace talks should take place," he told reporters in the exercise area near Barmer.

"We also want relations should be better but given what kind of actions there are (from their side) and terrorism is spreading in Jammu and Kashmir, it doesn't appear that they really want peace," Rawat said.

The Army, paramilitary forces and Jammu and Kashmir police have been taking actions against militants in Jammu and Kashmir successfully and the action will continue, he added.

Rawat's comments come a day after Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India would like good relations with Pakistan provided Islamabad takes action against terror groups.

"It is important for Pakistan to understand our core concern, which is terrorism. We have time and again asked them to take action against terrorists who are operating from their soil. This is something they (Pakistan) will have to handle if they are serious in cultivating this friendship," Kumar said.

The assertions follow Pakistan's Army chief General Qamar JavedBajwa pledging his support for better ties.

According to media reports, Bajwa has said he will support any initiative of the civilian government to resolve issues with India through talks.

In a rare move, the Pakistan Army chief briefed the Senate - the upper house of the parliament - on security situation and regional issues on Tuesday.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/peace-talks-when-pak-stops-supporting-terror-in-jk-army-chief/articleshow/62207425.cms

---------

 

No immediate execution for KulbhushanJadhav, says Pakistan

Omer Farooq Khan | TNN | Updated: Dec 22, 2017

File photo of KulbhushanJadhavNo immediate execution for KulbhushanJadhav, says Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Asserting that detained Indian national KulbhushanJadhav was under no immediate threat of execution, Pakistan on Thursday said he will meet his mother and wife at the office of the ministry of foreign affairs.

"Pakistan is ready to permit media interaction with the wife and mother of Commander Jadhav. We await Indian decision in this regard," said foreign office spokesman Muhammad Faisal at his weekly media briefing.

Asked whether Jadhav's meeting with his family was arranged due to his possible immediate execution, the spokesperson said, "Let me assure you that the Commander is under no threat of immediate execution and his mercy petitions are still pending. The decision to allow him to meet his family members was taken in the light of Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds."

During the press briefing, the spokesperson also rejected the accusations against Pakistan in US National Security Strategy 2017.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/no-immediate-execution-for-kulhushan-jadhav-says-pakistan/articleshow/62201472.cms

---------

Mideast

Palestine to remain top issue of Islamic World until liberation: Iran

He made the remarks in reaction to statements of Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa’s who said the issue of Palestine was ancillary to the satisfaction of the American rulers and occupying regime.

“It’s regrettable that an Arab and Islamic country describes an old ulcer on the body of the Islamic world as a side issue and be unable to recognize the simplest global issues in such an unwise manner and put under hammer credibility of its country and nation with such baseless and cheap remarks,” Qasemi said.

Despite plots and complicated machinations and creation of crises and fabricated threats on behalf of the US-Zionism axis, Palestine will continue to remain the first issue of the Islamic World, as it is part Muslims' body and nobody can distract Islamic nations' attention from the significant issue, he added.

In a collective act of defiance toward Washington, the United Nations General Assembly voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, for a resolution to demand that the United States rescind its Dec. 6 declaration to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds, the contested occupied holy city.

Late on Monday US vetoed Egyptian-drafted resolution on al-Quds in a session of UN Security Council.

Egypt, a non-permanent member of the UNSC presented a draft resolution condemning any move to change status of the Holy Quds, without naming a certain country or condemning any state. Egypt also urged all countries to refrain from moving their embassies to the Holy Quds.

The draft resolution won positive votes of 14 UNSC member states but failed to be approved due to US opposition.

irna.ir/en/News/82771613

---------

 

Israel 'will never be driven from Jerusalem,' envoy tells UN

AFP | Updated: Dec 21, 2017, 22:33 IST

UNITED NATION: Israel's envoy to the United Nations vowed Thursday that his country would never be "driven" from Jerusalem as UN member states prepared to vote on rejecting Washington's recognition of the Holy City as its capital.

"No General Assembly resolution will ever drive us from Jerusalem," Ambassador Danny Danon told an emergency session of the 193-nation assembly.

A draft resolution rejecting the US move was sent to the General Assembly after it was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on Monday, although all other 14 council members voted in favor.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/israel-will-never-be-driven-from-jerusalem-envoy-tells-un/articleshow/62198756.cms

---------

 

Israel rejects as preposterous vote against Jerusalem at UN General Assembly

PTI | Dec 22, 2017

Israel has rejected as "preposterous" the vote by 127 countries at the UN General Assembly that opposed the recent decision of US President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

President Trump had threatened to withdraw US aid to countries that vote in favour of the UN resolution

The UN General Assembly on Thursday opened an emergency session to vote on a motion rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capitalThe UN General Assembly on Thursday opened an emergency session to vote on a motion rejecting US recognition o... Read More

JERUSALEM: Israel has rejected as "preposterous" the vote by 127 countries, including India, at the UN General Assembly that opposed the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

India on Thursday joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump on December 6 announced that he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, triggering protests and strong condemnation from across the world.

Israel has rejected the "preposterous" vote at the UN General Assembly, thanking the nations that supported "the truth" by not participating in "the theatre of the absurd", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"Jerusalem is our capital. Always was, always will be," Netanyahu said in a video message released immediately after the UN vote.

"But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refused to participate in this theatre of the absurd. So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to (US) President (Donald) Trump and Ambassador (Nikki) Haley, for their stalwart defence of Israel and their stalwart defence of the truth," Netanyahu said.

The United Nations General Assembly yesterday defied the US and overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.

"Let them vote against us... We don't care. But this isn't like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars," Trump had said on Wednesday threatening to withdraw US aid to countries that vote in favour of the UN resolution.

"We're not going to be taken advantage of any longer," the US President had asserted.

Israeli Jewish politicians expressed their anger against the world body but Arab parliamentarians called it a "wake up call".

Israel's hawkish Defence Minister, Avigdor Liberman, reminded Israelis of the longstanding Israeli disdain for such votes.

"Let us just remember that this is the same UN about which our first ambassador to the organisation, Abba Eban, once said: 'If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions'", Liberman said.

"There is nothing new in what just happened at the UN," he added, and praised the US as "the moral beacon shining out of the darkness".

Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Security Gilad Erdan also blasted the UN vote.

"The historic connection between Israel and Jerusalem is stronger than any vote by the 'United Nations' -- nations who are united only by their fear and their refusal to recognise the simple truth that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the Jewish people," Erdan said in a statement after the vote.

He called upon for strengthening Israel's sovereignty, security and construction in every part of Jerusalem.

However, the top Arab lawmaker in the Knesset, Arab Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, said the vote was a wake-up call for Israel.

"In the international arena, there still exists a large and definitive majority that believes that the Palestinian people, like all other nations, deserve a place in this world and the right to self-determination," he said in a statement.

"This evening's vote by the majority of the world's nations against Trump's announcement, in spite of the pressure and threats, flies in the face of Trump's and Netanyahu's diplomatic policy and is a clear statement by the international community in support of peace and the right of the Palestinians to an independent state, whose capital is East Jerusalem," Odeh added.

Noa Landau, an analyst for the daily Ha'aretz, citing diplomatic sources, said that Israel was particularly disappointed with countries like India that have enhanced bilateral relations with it recently.

"The main disappointment in Israel was with the countries that have enhanced bilateral relations in recent years, especially those that share a particularly conservative worldview with the Netanyahu government," Landau wrote.

"For example, India - whose Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited Israel in July, a tour that was memorable mainly for the pastoral photographs of him and Netanyahu embracing and wading in the waves - voted for the resolution against Israel and the United States," she said.

The Israeli prime minister will be visiting India in January 14 to 18.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/israel-rejects-as-preposterous-vote-against-jerusalem-at-un-general-assembly/articleshow/62207696.cms

---------

 

Netanyahu hails 'growing' support despite UN Jerusalem vote

December 22, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a UN vote on Thursday that rejected a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but expressed satisfaction at the number of countries that didn't vote for the measure.

“Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital, always was, always will be,” Netanyahu said in an English-language video posted online by his spokesman.

“But I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theatre of the absurd,” said the Israeli leader.

“Especially I want to again express our thanks to President (Donald) Trump and Ambassador (Nikki) Haley for their stalwart defence of Israel and their stalwart defence of the truth.”

The motion was backed by 128 countries and opposed by nine, with Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands joining Israel and the United States in voting against the measure.

But 35 countries abstained including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania and Rwanda.

Ukraine, which supported the draft resolution at the Security Council, was among 21 countries that did not turn up for the vote.

Trump had warned ahead of the vote in the 193-nation assembly that “we're watching” and threatened reprisals against countries backing the measure, which reaffirms that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.

dawn.com/news/1378061/netanyahu-hails-growing-support-despite-un-jerusalem-vote

---------

 

Turkey summons UAE diplomat over tweet that angered Erdogan

AFPUpdated December 22, 2017

ISTANBUL: Turkey summoned a senior United Arab Emirates diplomat on Thursday to complain about a tweet by an Emirati minister that infuriated Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan, state media reported.

The Emirates’ foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan this week retweeted a post on Twitter in which a user made allegations of historic misdoings by “ancestors of Erdogan”.

The tweet alleged that a former Ottoman governor pillaged and kidnapped people from the pilgrimage city of Madina in the early 20th century.

The Turkish foreign ministry summoned the Emirati charge d’affaires in Ankara on Thursday and complained about the post, state news agency Anadolu said.

The charge d’affaires was the top UAE diplomat currently present in Turkey as the ambassador was temporarily absent.

The offending tweet was posted by a user called “Ali al-Iraqi”, presenting himself as an Iraqi dentist living in Germany.

“Ali al-Iraqi” said Fahreddin Pasha — Medina governor from 1916 to 1919 — “committed a crime against the people of Medina by stealing their money, kidnapping them and putting them on trains that took them to Syria and Istanbul”.

The user added: “Those are the ancestors of Erdogan and this is the history that they have with Arab Muslims.” Fahreddin Pasha was governor during the siege of Medina (1916-1919).

Erdogan hit back on Wednesday, telling the minister to “know your place” as he railed against the twitter user’s “slanderous claims”.

“Know your place! It means you do not know this country, you do not know Erdogan, you do not know about Erdogan’s ancestors,” he retorted.

“When Fahreddin Pasha was protecting Medina... where were your ancestors?” Erdogan went on the attack again on Thursday, saying the Emirati minister was “ill-brought up” and “too spoilt by oil and money”.

Relations between the UAE and Turkey are filled with distrust as Ankara supports Qatar in a six-month crisis with its Gulf neighbours including the UAE, as well as political groups stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The UAE outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terror” group in 2014.

Turkish pro-government newspapers also routinely allude to UAE involvement in last year’s attempted coup against Erdogan.

dawn.com/news/1378099/turkey-summons-uae-diplomat-over-tweet-that-angered-erdogan

---------

 

Iran Hails UN Thursday Vote as Global No to Trump's Regime

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif hailed the Thursday vote of the UN member states in favor of a motion rejecting the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying the world showed a sobering reaction to the US president and his policies.

"A resounding global No to Trump Regime's thuggish intimidation at the UN," Zarif wrote on his twitter page on Thursday, minutes after a majority of the UN member states voted for a motion rejecting the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, after President Donald Trump threatened to cut funding to countries that back the measure.

The United Nations on Thursday delivered a stunning rebuke of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, casting an overwhelming vote condemning the move and calling on the US to withdraw the decision.

The final vote count in favor of the resolution was 128. Nine countries opposed the resolution while 35 abstained.

The resolution – essentially a formal statement of a UN opinion – is not legally binding. But it is represents a symbolic condemnation of Trump's decision and exerts political pressure on him to reverse the move.

But the Thursday vote at the UN could be as much about President Donald Trump as it is about his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

US representative to the UN Nikki Haley wrote her fellow ambassadors to say that she and Trump will be watching as ballots are cast on a General Assembly draft resolution to reject the American decision – and that he will be taking their votes personally.

"As you consider your vote, I want you to know that the President and US take this vote personally," Haley said. "The President will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue."

On Tuesday night, Haley tweeted, "At the UN we're always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names."

Then, President Trump himself stepped forward to endorse Haley's threat, and threatened on Wednesday to eliminate financial aid to UN members who would vote against his decision.

"They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we're watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care," Trump told reporters at the White House.

The Egypt-sponsored draft resolution was approved at the General Assembly after the US vetoed a similar resolution at the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960930001418

---------

 

Kurdish Forces Deliver Control of Several Points in Aleppo to Syrian Gov't

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) delivered control of several points to the Syrian government amid reports about the Turkish army's imminent military operations against Kurds in Northern Aleppo.

The Arabic-language al-Hadath news website reported on Thursday that the Syrian government flags have been hoisted over a number of schools and governmental centers in the regions under the SDF control in the Aleppo districts of Sheikh Maqsoud, al-Ashrafiyeh, al-Halak and al-Ba'eidayn.

Local sources confirmed that the SDF has delivered control of all schools, medical centers and organizations which provide different services to the governmental units to the Syrian government, adding that the government has sent aid and fuel to these districts and allowed the residents to return to their homes.

Based on the report, the development came after an agreement between the Syrian government and the SDF.

Commander of Sultan Murad Brigade, affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), Ahmad Osman announced on Tuesday that his forces are well-prepared to kick off a heavy attack on the Kurdish self-protection units in Aleppo province in Northern Syria.

The Turkish-backed FSA is on alert and waiting for the order to attack Syria's Kurdish canton of Afrin, Ahmed Osman said.

He further added that the FSA is going to focus on the fight against the Kurdish People's Protection Units while ISIL in Syria has almost been destroyed.

"There are clashes between the FSA and the YPG in Manbij from time to time," Osman said. "There are a lot of Arab and Turkmen villages in the area under the YPG control. We must liberate these territories and clean (the YPG) out from Afrin."

Osman pointed out that the FSA is preparing to launch the Afrin operation together with Turkey.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960930000755

---------

 

Jerusalem bishop: Catholic youth concerned about rising Islamic fundamentalism

December 22, 2017

The auxiliary bishop responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics in Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Israel, and Cyprus told an Italian news agency that Catholic youth are concerned about rising Muslim fundamentalism.

Bishop William Shomali, head of the youth commission for the Holy Land’s bishops, based his assessment on conversations with young people and questionnaires for the upcoming synod on youth, faith, and vocational discernment.

“The youth of the Holy Land want Church [that is] less bureaucratic, more merciful and close to the poor, credible,” he said in an interview with SIR.

Young Catholics in Jordan—a national particularly affected by conflicts in Syria and Iraq—are especially concerned about “the growing radicalization and spread of political Islam.”

The prelate made clear he was not referring to ISIS, but to “a growing fundamentalist mentality” in workplaces and universities, where “Islamic proselytism is evident.” In response, young people desire a “more profound instruction” in Catholic teaching.

Bishop Shomali said that he tells young people that all members of the Church, not simply clergy and religious, are called to “pray together, offer spiritual sacrifices, and assist in the proclamation of the Gospel. The Church is not an NGO [non-governmental organization] that deals with schools, hospitals, hospices, but it is the people of God, gathered around Jesus to pray and to exercise charity. This is a point that ought to be clear to everyone, also to our youth.”

The prelate said that other challenges facing youth include “political insecurity, unemployment, and emigration abroad.” On the positive side, he finds “the existence of a relatively young clergy, the contribution of religious congregations, and the high religiosity of the faithful.”

catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=34528&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CatholicWorldNewsFeatureStories+%28Catholic+World+News+%28on+CatholicCulture.org%29%29

---------

Southeast Asia

Worries about M'sia's 'Arabisation' grow as Saudi ties strengthen

Published: Today 11:20 am     Modified: Today 6:43 pm

Malaysia's growing ties to Saudi Arabia - and its puritan Salafi-Wahhabi Islamic doctrines - are coming under new scrutiny as concerns grow over an

erosion of traditional religious practices and culture in the multi-ethnic nation.

A string of recent events has fuelled the concern. Hostility toward atheists, non-believers and the gay community has risen.

Two annual beer festivals were cancelled after Islamic leaders objected. A hardline preacher, accused of spreading hatred in India, has received official patronage.

The government has backed a parliamentary bill that would allow the shariah court wider criminal jurisdiction over Muslims in the state of Kelantan. And after religious officials supported a Muslim-only laundromat, Malaysia's mostly ceremonial royalty made a rare public intervention, calling for religious

harmony.

Marina Mahathir, the daughter of Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, publicly lashed out at the government for allowing the "Arabisation" of Malaysia.

Marina, who heads the civil rights group Sisters in Islam, told Reuters Saudi influence on Islam in Malaysia "has come at the expense of traditional Malay culture". Her father, 93, now heads the opposition alliance.

Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Wahhabi beliefs have strongly influenced Malaysia – and neighbouring Indonesia - for decades, but have strengthened considerably since Najib became prime minister in 2009 and began cosying up to the kingdom.

The relationship came under a harsh spotlight when nearly US$700 million wound up in Najib's bank account in 2013. Najib said it was a donation from the Saudi Royal family, rebutting allegations it was money siphoned from the 1MDB state investment fund he had founded and overseen. Malaysia's attorney-general cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The trend toward a politicised brand of Islam in Malaysia, a middle-income emerging market, has alarmed Malaysia’s non-Muslims, including ethnic Chinese who comprise a quarter of the population and dominate private sector commerce. It is also a concern for foreign investors, who account for nearly half the local bond market and have invested US$8.95 billion in project

investments in the first nine months of this year.

The government denies actively promoting Wahhabi-style Islamic conservatism.

Najib has been largely silent about the recent religious controversies. Critics have accused the prime minister, whose governing coalition lost the popular vote in the last general election but retained a simple majority in parliament, of

playing on fears that Islam and Malay political power will be eroded should the opposition win. An election is due by mid-2018.

Election calculations

Militancy has also been on the rise in Malaysia, which from 2013 to 2016 had arrested more than 250 people with alleged ties to Islamic State, many of whom were indoctrinated with hardline interpretations of Islam.

After the visit of the Saudi monarch this year, Malaysia announced plans to build the King Salman Centre for International Peace to bring together Islamic scholars and intelligence agencies in an effort to counter extremist interpretations of Islam.

The centre, which is being built on a 16-hectare (40-acre) plot in Putrajaya, will draw on the resources of the Saudi-financed Islamic Science University of Malaysia, and the Muslim World League, a Wahhabi Saudi religious body.

Saudi Arabia has long been funding mosques and schools in Malaysia, while providing scholarships for Malaysians to study in the kingdom. Many of them find employment in Malaysia's multitude of Islamic agencies, said Farouk Musa, chairman and director of the moderate think-tank, Islamic Renaissance Front.

One of the most worrisome doctrines they preach in multi-cultural Malaysia is 'al-w ala' wa-al-bara' or "allegiance and disavowal", Farouk said. "This doctrine basically means do not befriend the non-believers (al-kuffar), even if they are among the closest relatives.

"We have never heard of Islamic scholars forbidding Muslims to wish Merry Christmas before, for example. Now, this is a common phenomenon,” he said.

The adoption of Arab culture and interpretations of Islam is a result of greater exposure to Middle Eastern people and universities, said Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, a member of the Supreme Council of Najib’s party, Umno.

"The extensive use of social media also accelerated the external influence on the locals," he told Reuters.

The government is not promoting Wahhabism but rather the doctrine of "wasatiyyah", or moderation and balance, to accommodate Malaysia's multi-cultural society, said Aziz, who is also a deputy minister.

Crown prince's reforms?

KarimaBennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for cultural rights, expressed concern in a report after her September visit to Malaysia about the deepening involvement of religious authorities in policy decisions. She said this was influenced by “a hegemonic version of Islam imported from the Arabian Peninsula” that was “at odds with local forms of practice.”

She also expressed concern about "the banning of books, including some about moderate and progressive Islam, in the country when the government extols these very concepts abroad".

Marina Mahathir said religious departments, staffed with Saudi graduates, "are now consulted on absolutely everything, from movies to health and medicine to insurance, all sorts of things that they do not necessarily have any expertise in".

The kingdom also exerts leverage over Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia through the quotas it gives to countries for the number of pilgrims they can send on the Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam that all capable Muslims must perform at least once in their lives.

This could all start to change if Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman succeeds in returning the Saudi kingdom to “a moderate Islam,” which he says was practised before 1979.

He has already scaled back the role of religious police, permitted public concerts and announced women will be allowed to drive.

The kingdom has also set up an authority to scrutinize uses of the “hadith” – accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet – to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism.

malaysiakini.com/news/406287

---------

 

ISESCO chief: Illiteracy widespread in Islamic world

22 December 2017 /

A delegation led by ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri visited the Baku State University on Friday.

Addressing an event held with the participation of university’s teaching staff, Rector Abel Maharramov said that Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri is one of the famous politicians and makes a great contribution to the development of science, culture and education in the modern world. 

The rector noted that ISESCO’s main goal is to strengthen solidarity in the Islamic world, improve mutual relations and promote the rich culture, science and art of Muslim countries in the world.

Recalling that Azerbaijan became a member of ISESCO in 1991, Maharramov hailed Othman Altwaijri’s just position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Khojaly genocide.

Later on, the ISESCO director general gave information about the activities of the organization and programs implemented in Azerbaijan.

He also touched upon the low literacy rate in the Islamic world.

“Illiteracy is widespread in the Islamic world. There is a great need for education in Muslim countries,” said the ISECO chief, appreciating the literacy rate in Azerbaijan.

About 45 percent of the population in some Muslim countries is illiterate, added Othman Altwaijri.

“Such countries will not be able to develop with these indicators. Therefore, we must work tirelessly to eliminate illiteracy,” he said.

The ISESCO director general underscored the need to improve police towards education, modernize educational institutions and conduct scientific researches.

In the end, Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri was awarded the title of “Friend of Baku State University” for the preservation of peace, his contribution to the strengthening of friendly ties between nations, as well as for his support for the development of science and education.

en.apa.az/azerbaijani-news/social-news/isesco-chief-illiteracy-widespread-in-islamic-world.html

---------

 

Najib urges Muslim solidarity on Jerusalem ahead of election

Malaysian prime minister dismisses US aid threats at protest rally

December 22, 2017 8:45 pm JST

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -- Prime Minister NajibRazak called on Friday for Malaysians to oppose U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, pleading for Muslim solidarity ahead of an upcoming election.

Addressing a crowd of several thousand people after Friday prayers in Putrajaya, the Malaysian government's administrative center, Najib said Muslims had an obligation to unite against the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump.

"The recognition of Jerusalem is like a sharp bamboo piercing into the heart of Muslims," Najib said in Malay. He added that the issue had affected him as a Muslim personally, and that Malaysia along with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation had demanded that East Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Palestine.

The prime minister also used a "Save Jerusalem" rally to allay criticism that he had bowed to the U.S. in a September visit to Washington, when Malaysian state funds promised to invest billions of dollars in the U.S..

"Yes, I received a warm welcome in the White House, and Trump is my good friend," said Najib, "But I would not sacrifice my principles as a Muslim, that is to safeguard Islam."

Days earlier, the government had called for Malaysian parties to put aside their differences and attend Friday's gathering in a show of unity on Jerusalem. Few heeded the call, however. The event was organized by the government, which is expected to call an election by August.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, now leader of the opposition PartiPribumiBersatu Malaysia, appeared at the Putrajaya mosque hours before Najib took the stage, avoiding a joint appearance with Najib.

More than 60% of the population of Malaysia is Muslim, but there are also significant Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities. Most Malaysians are ethnically Malay -- and legally Muslim from birth -- but the multiracial country also has large ethnic-Indian and ethnic-Chinese groups.

Political parties are largely organized around ethnic and religious divisions, including Najib's United Malays National Organization, the leading party in the governing BarisanNasional (National Front) government.

UMNO relies heavily on support from Muslim Malay voters in rural areas, and Najib is keen to underline his religious credentials ahead of the election.

asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Najib-urges-Muslim-solidarity-on-Jerusalem-ahead-of-election

---------

 

IlhamAliyev: Azerbaijan to continue contributing to solidarity among Muslim states

22 December 2017 14:46 (UTC+04:00)

Azerbaijani President IlhamAliyev has received a delegation of Islamic religious figures of the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation.

President IlhamAliyev, touching upon the “2017- Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue” international conference held in Baku, said the event contributes to further rapprochement of various religions and peoples, strengthening of international cooperation.

The Azerbaijani president expressed satisfaction with the participation of Islamic religious figures of the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation in the conference. He stressed that such meetings held on a regular basis serve to further strengthening of friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, including the North Caucasian republics.

President IlhamAliyev noted that despite completion of the year 2017, announced the Year of Islamic Solidarity, Azerbaijan will continue contributing to the solidarity of the world Muslims, cooperation among Muslim countries, and from this point of view, an upcoming coordination council will create good possibility for future joint activities.

Speaking on behalf of the guests, Ismail Berdiyev, a senior Muslim cleric of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic of the Russian Federation, said that as always, they are greatly satisfied with meeting President IlhamAliyev.

He expressed deep gratitude to the president of Azerbaijan for the support given to the organization of the international conference titled “2017- Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue” at a high level and noted with satisfaction the contribution of this event to the strengthening of friendship among the peoples.

Commemorating the great leader Heydar Aliyev with deep respect, Ismail Berdiyev said the policy pursued by Heydar Aliyev for the well-being of the Azerbaijani people is successfully continued by President IlhamAliyev. Berdiyev noted that the development processes seen by members of the delegation during their current visit to Azerbaijan, as always, made a great impression on them.

Expressing gratitude for the warm words, the Azerbaijani president stressed that stability, peaceful coexistence of representatives of different religions and peoples play an important role in improving the welfare of the people and in ensuring the rapid economic development of Azerbaijan achieved in recent years.

President IlhamAliyev noted that Muslim countries experience problems that cause concern. Strengthening of solidarity among Muslim countries is of great importance for the elimination of these problems, he said, stressing that Azerbaijan will continue to make its contribution to this.

en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/2839235.html

---------

 

President IlhamAliyev receives Islamic religious figures from North Caucasian republics of Russia

22 December 2017

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev received a delegation of Islamic religious figures of the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation on December 22.

President IlhamAliyev, touching upon the “2017- Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue” international conference held in Baku, said the event contributes to further rapprochement of various religions and peoples, strengthening of international cooperation.

The Azerbaijani president expressed satisfaction with the participation of Islamic religious figures of the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation in the conference. He stressed that such meetings held on a regular basis serve to further strengthening of friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Russia, including the North Caucasian republics.

President IlhamAliyev noted that despite completion of the year 2017, announced the Year of Islamic Solidarity, Azerbaijan will continue contributing to the solidarity of the world Muslims, cooperation among Muslim countries, and from this point of view, an upcoming coordination council will create good possibility for future joint activities.

Speaking on behalf of the guests, Ismail Berdiyev, a senior Muslim cleric of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic of the Russian Federation, said that as always, they are greatly satisfied with meeting President IlhamAliyev.

He expressed deep gratitude to the president of Azerbaijan for the support given to the organization of the international conference titled “2017- Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue” at a high level and noted with satisfaction the contribution of this event to the strengthening of friendship among the peoples.

Commemorating the great leader Heydar Aliyev with deep respect, Ismail Berdiyev said the policy pursued by Heydar Aliyev for the well-being of the Azerbaijani people is successfully continued by President IlhamAliyev. Berdiyev noted that the development processes seen by members of the delegation during their current visit to Azerbaijan, as always, made a great impression on them.

Expressing gratitude for the warm words, the Azerbaijani president stressed that stability, peaceful coexistence of representatives of different religions and peoples play an important role in improving the welfare of the people and in ensuring the rapid economic development of Azerbaijan achieved in recent years.

President IlhamAliyev noted that Muslim countries experience problems that cause concern. Strengthening of solidarity among Muslim countries is of great importance for the elimination of these problems, he said, stressing that Azerbaijan will continue to make its contribution to this.

en.apa.az/azerbaijan_religion_news/president-ilham-aliyev-receives-muslim-religious-figures-from-north-caucasian-republics-of-russia.html

---------

Europe

A Muslim’s Christmas Gift To His Christian Brothers and Sisters

December 22, 2017

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All thanks and praise are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds.

Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness there is no god but Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“Oyou who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Brothers and Sisters! Christians and Muslims have differed for centuries over the nature and status of Jesus Christ. Both religions revere him and both believe him to be of virgin-birth. Both religions claim to know his true nature and purpose. Muslims believe that Christian leaders of old altered the scriptures in order to redefine the status of this Noble and virtuous Prophet of Almighty Allah. In fact, eminent Christian theologians readily admit that the Bible has been altered throughout the ages, so in that respect, there is no disagreement. The renowned Biblical scholar from the USA, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, formerly the president of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature stated that:

“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes.. They find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture, they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered.” [See: Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible and Why We Don’t Know About Them]

opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2017/12/22/a-muslims-christmas-gift-to-his-christian-brothers-and-sisters-by-murtadha-gusau/

---------

 

Leader's Top Advisor: Muslims Not to Tolerate Balfour II Declaration

Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:18

"Given the current circumstances, the Islamic countries and Muslims will not tolerate Balfour-II Declaration," Velayati said on Thursday.

He reiterated that they should know that they are wrongly assessing the situation and at that time in 1917 when former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared Balfour Declaration to give the Palestinian territories to the Zionists; Muslims were under pressure at that time, the Ottomans had been defeated and there was no possibility to confront such plot.

The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I as a result of which the British government announced support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine in 1917, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000504

---------

 

Finsbury Park mosque incident: Man accused of terror attack pleads not guilty to murder and attempted murder

The 48-year-old pleads not guilty to murder and attempted murder following the incident near the mosque in June

ByEmilyPennink

Tom Smurthwaite

, 22 DEC 2017

A man has appeared in court to deny two charges relating to June's alleged terror attack in Finsbury Park.

Darren Osborne, from Glyn Rhosyn in Cardiff, allegedly drove into Akram Ali, 51, and nine other people on a crowded pavement in north London at just after midnight on June 19.

The area was busy with Muslim worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the time.

Mr Osborne, 48, is charged with the murder of Mr Ali and attempted murder. He denies both counts

The charges state he murdered Mr Ali on June 19 and attempted to murder "persons at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, London" on the same date.

Mr Osborne appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday (December 21) via video link from Belmarsh jail before Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb.

Wearing a red T-shirt, he spoke only to confirm his identity and enter not guilty pleas.

He was remanded into custody until his trial on January 22 next year at Woolwich Crown Court.

getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/finsbury-park-mosque-incident-man-14069495

---------

 

Russian-Syrian Representatives to Hold Meeting with Gunmen over Peace in Eastern Qalamoun

Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:14

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported that representatives of the Damascus government, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria and a delegation of militants will held a meeting on Monday to talk over the paragraphs of de-escalation agreement in Eastern Qalamoun.

Eastern Qalamoun had previously joined the de-escalation zone ceasefire.

In the meantime, dissident-affiliated websites quoted Spokesman for Ahmad al-Abdou terrorist group Saeed Seif as claiming that the meeting will be held to talk over the paragraphs of de-escalation agreement.

Syrian Member of Parliament Mohammad Khayer had previously said that Eastern Qalamoun will soon join the nationwide reconciliation plan.

Media sources close to the terrorist groups disclosed late July that Moscow gave Faylaq al-Rahman militants an ultimatum to cut its relations with Al-Nusra Front in Eastern Ghouta and expel them from areas under their control or else the Syrian Army would not be required to adhere to the ceasefire that had come into effect.

Some sources close to the Takfiri groups also reported that Faylaq al-Rahman asked Al-Nusra Front either to accept being merged in Faylaq al-Rahman or leave Eastern Ghouta for Idlib.

But, Syrian army troops re-launched their operation against the Al-Nusra Front in Eastern Ghouta after Faylaq al-Rahman militants failed to drive the Al-Nusra out of the region.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced in mid-August that the last armed opposition group in East Ghouta accepted the terms of the de-escalation agreement after successful negotiations with the Russian reconciliation committee.

“Representatives of the Defense Ministry of Russia and Faylaq Al-Rahman have signed an agreement in the city of Geneva, under which the group will join the ceasefire in the de-escalation zone of East Ghouta,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

“Faylaq Al-Rahman confirmed their readiness to conduct the irreconcilable struggle against terrorists of the ISIL and Al-Nusra, and also proposed measures for improving the humanitarian situation in the areas of the de-escalation zone controlled by this group,” the Russian defense ministry added.

Faylaq Al-Rahman controls a large portion of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus province.

Eastern Ghouta is in one of four de-escalation zones that have been established in Syria. Other safe zones include Idlib in the North, Homs in the East, and a fourth in Southern Syria.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961001000428

---------

Pakistan

LHC orders police, intelligence agencies to recover missing activist Raza Khan

December 22, 2017

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered police and intelligence agencies to recover missing activist Raza Khan and present him in court as soon as possible.

Raza, a convener of Aghaz-i-Dosti, a friendship initiative between the youth of India and Pakistan, was picked up from his residence in Model Colony earlier this month. The area falls under the ambit of the Naseerabad Police Station.

Activists belonging to various rights groups, along with friends and family, have been agitating for the activist's release. They have condemned the ‘enforced disappearance’ of activists and attempts to silence and harass those speaking up for peace and human rights.

Justice Qazi Amin Ahmed, who was hearing a petition filed by Hamid Nasir Mahmood, Raza's brother, asked Senior Superintendent of Police RizwanGondal to provide the LHC details of all missing persons cases.

International rights organisation Amnesty International is among those demanding that the Pakistani government immediately ensure Raza's recovery.

"Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan," a statement issued by the organisation said earlier.

"Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law."

dawn.com/news/1378192/lhc-orders-police-intelligence-agencies-to-recover-missing-activist-raza-khan

---------

 

Four 'terrorists' killed in Balochistan sanitisation operations

December 22, 2017

The Frontier Corps (FC) on Friday conducted a sanitisation operation in Balochistan'sSibbi area, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a press release.

The operation was conducted to cleanse the mountainous region of the presence of terrorists.

According to the ISPR, two terrorists who were involved in threatening locals, were killed in an exchange of fire during the operation.

In a different sanitisation operation, carried out in Gandimgozi Kaur, FC troops killed two terrorists in a hide out and recovered arms and ammunition from their den, the ISPR said.

The operations come days after a suicide attack on Quetta's Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in which nine people were killed and 30 others injured.

The army, along with other security agencies has been conducting operations all over Balochistan in order to curb the terrorist presence in the region.

dawn.com/news/1378185/four-terrorists-killed-in-balochistan-sanitisation-operations

---------

 

3 Hazaras injured in Quetta gun attack

HafeezullahSheraniDecember 22, 2017

Three members of the Hazara community were injured when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Quetta's Western Bypass area on Friday.

According to Deputy Inspector General Abdul Razzaq Cheema, 12 people were travelling from Quetta to Karachi in a large van when unknown assailants opened fire at their vehicle, injuring three passengers.

The injured have been shifted to the District Medical Complex Bolan, where one of the wounded is said to be in critical condition.

Balochistan has been experiencing incidents of violence and targeted killings since more than a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.

While sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted the Hazara community, easily identifiable because of their distinctive physical appearance, other Shias — especially pilgrims travelling to and from Iran — have not been spared either.

This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.

dawn.com/news/1378204/3-hazaras-injured-in-quetta-gun-attack

---------

 

3 FC soldiers martyred, 5 terrorists killed in cross-border attack in Mohmand Agency

December 22, 2017

Three Frontiers Corps personnel were martyred when suspected terrorists opened fire on their team from across the Pak-Afghan border in Mohmand Agency on Friday, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

The troops were targeted when they busy in the construction of a new border post at Shunkrai area of Mohmand tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

A protection party that was accompanying the troops responded to the attack, killing five suspected terrorists and leaving as many injured, the ISPR said.

dawn.com/news/1378215/3-fc-soldiers-martyred-5-terrorists-killed-in-cross-border-attack-in-mohmand-agency

---------

 

Federal govt 'pressuring' Sindh Wildlife Dept to allow Bahraini royal to illegally hunt in Thar

HanifSamoonDecember 22, 2017

After the Sindh Wildlife Department expelled a Qatari hunting party from Thar, officials from the department alleged on Friday that they are now being pressured by the federal government to allow a royal guest from Bahrain to hunt in the area.

Local officials claimed that the Qatari hunting party, led by Sheikh Fahad Abdullah Abdul Rehman Al Thani, reached Thar and hunted in the desert areas of Diplo and Nagarparkar districts for a few days, before being asked to leave by Wildlife Department officials in Thar.

District Game Officer (DGO) for Thar AshfaqueMemon while talking to Dawn confirmed visit of the royal entourage to the area. According to Memon, the group had not sought any permits for hunting, neither from the district authorities and nor from the provincial government.

Memon said that the group's camps were dislodged and they were asked to leave the area while a First Offence Report (FOR) was registered against Barkatullah, a local who allegedly facilitated the royal hunters.

According to the DGO, an investigation into any birds poached by the hunters is still underway. He added that only UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has hunting allotment in Thar and he has not visited the area for past seven years.

Memon added that the federal government has been trying to allow other guests to hunt in the area, which is a violation of Pakistan's wildlife laws.

The DGO told Dawn that he is currently being "pressured" by the federal government to allow Bahrain's Sheikh Ahmed Khalifa and his team to hunt rare bird species including the houbara bustard in the area.

He said that he had already informed his bosses regarding the situation so that they take the issue up with the federal government.

According to Memon, Sheikh Kalifa is expected to arrive in Thar during next two to three days.

Sources privy to the development told Dawn that royal hunters — who come to Thar under the pretence of conducting relief operations for Tharis — are given full security by police and Rangers.

dawn.com/news/1378202/federal-govt-pressuring-sindh-wildlife-dept-to-allow-bahraini-royal-to-illegally-hunt-in-thar

---------

 

‘People-to-people contacts to cement Pak-Afghan ties’

December 22, 2017

PESHAWAR: Instead of relying on governments, people-to-people contact at different levels should be developed to build trust and cement bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, said Afghan Counsel General Mohammad MoeenMrastyaal.

He was speaking at a discussion held in University of Peshawar on Thursday. The in-house discussion on the status of Pak-Afghan relations and way forward was organised by the Areas Study Centre of University of Peshawar.

The heads of various departments and scholars took part in the discussion.

The Afghan counsel general, who has taken charge of his post just three months ago, said that in presence of international forces and challenges there was need on both sides at different non-governmental levels for the civil society to meet and build friendly relations as well as initiate economic activities that could build stronger relations, forcing governments to sit and discuss way forward too.

Afghan envoy says instead of relying on govts, residents of both countries should build friendly relations

“It is not our war. It is war of powerful countries that have come to Afghanistan. We, both Pakistan and Afghanistan, are victims of war,” said Mr Mrastyaal.

He said that youth, parliamentarians, academicians and non-governmental organisations of both the countries should meet and build relations instead of relying on the governments.

About his efforts to resolve problems of Afghan refugees, Mr Mrastyaal said that Afghan Consulate was working on a survey about out of school girls at the refugee camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to support them in getting education.

He said that he had sought support of the first lady of Afghanistan to help some 20,000 Afghan women and girls and also help in getting 5,000 scholarships for out of school girls.

Other participants of the discussion said that Afghanistan was a sovereign country and Pakistan should respect it. “Both countries despite having a fence could mend their relations if the people on both sides join hands for economic, trade and social exchanges,” they added.

The participants said that current status of Pak-Afghan relations in bilateral, regional and global context was at the lowest ebb.

They said that Pakistan perceived bilateral relations with Afghanistan in the context of Pak-US and Pak-India relations, withstanding American and Indian presence in Afghanistan.

They said that Pakistan should look upon Afghanistan as a sovereign country having freedom to develop ties with other countries and work more on building trust and strong bilateral relations with Afghanistan itself.

dawn.com/news/1378163/people-to-people-contacts-to-cement-pak-afghan-ties

---------

 

Pakistan’s view on terror list accepted in new Heart of Asia declaration: FO

December 22, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A list of proscribed groups attached with the Amritsar Declaration of the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Dec 2016 has been dropped from the recent Baku Declaration, thanks to Pakistan’s successful diplomacy, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“India celebrated it as a huge diplomatic success over Pakistan and started misusing the list for political point scoring,” FO spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal told reporters at the weekly briefing.

“Pakistan had agreed to the list with positive intent... but subsequent Indian behaviour, [i.e.] trying to use the listing of these groups to malign Pakistan forced us to suggest a comprehensive list.”

He said that at the recently held Heart of Asia conference in Baku on Dec 1, 2017, “Pakistan emphasised the principle that selective listing should be avoided and all terrorist groups should be condemned,” he said, adding that member countries had agreed to drop the list from the recent declaration and had referred the matter to the Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which would come up with a comprehensive list of all terrorist groups in the Heart of Asia region.

Dr Faisal also said that the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed by 2020 while the entire project would be functional by 2030.

The FO spokesperson said that Pakistan and China regularly monitored the progress of CPEC projects, adding that the decision to include more projects and highways in the economic corridor would be taken with consensus by the two countries.

Talking about the convicted spy of Indian agency RAW, KulbhushanJadhav, he said visas had been issued to his wife and mother and their meeting would take place in Islamabad on Dec 25.

Replying to a question, he said the meeting between Jadhav and his family would be held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

There had so far been no decision on the implementation of the spy’s death sentence, he said.

Dr Faisal said Pakistan views the issues of Jadhav as the violation of the relevant resolution of the United Nation Security Council.He said Pakistan had repeatedly raised its serious concerns about the escalating presence of militant Islamic State group in Afghanistan to the Afghan government and to the United States as well.

He said most territories in Afghanistan were not under the control of the Afghan government and they were being used for carrying out attacks in Pakistan. Islamabad had conveyed its reservations to Kabul in this regard and expected that it would take some concert steps regarding the matter, he added.

Replying to another question, he said that Indian malicious designs had caused problems for the functionality of Indus Waters Treaty.

Dr Faisal emphasised that the fate of Indian-held Kashmir was not depended on the orders of Indian courts, but on resolutions passed by the United Nations on the disputed territory.

He said Indian atrocities on Kashmiris continued unabated and this week its forces had killed four more people in the held valley, besides house arrest and illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders continued. He said Pakistan condemned all such actions as they are against basic human rights and international laws.

He said Pakistan had decided to release and repatriate 291 Indian fishermen in two phases as a goodwill gesture and on humanitarian grounds.

He said that Pakistan wanted a political solution for the ongoing Yemen crisis and believed that it was necessary for ensuring regional peace and stability.

The spokesperson also condemned the recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia.

dawn.com/news/1378107/pakistans-view-on-terror-list-accepted-in-new-heart-of-asia-declaration-fo

---------

South Asia

Suicide car bomb attack in Kandahar leaves 6 dead, 5 wounded

By Khaama Press - Fri Dec 22 2017, 10:03 am

A suicide attack rocked Kandahar province in South of Afghanistan amid reports several people were killed or wounded in the attack.

The local officials are saying that a suicide bomber rammed a Humvee type vehicle packed with explosives into the police commandment of Maiwand district earlier today.

According to the local officials citing preliminary reports, at least three people lost their lives and four others were wounded in the attack.

The Maiwand district police chief Sultan Mohammad confirmed that six policemen lost their lives and five others were wounded in the attackA

nother security official had earlier said that around seven people were killed and at least nine others were wounded in the attack.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack.

The security situation in southern Kandahar province has improved during the recent years although the anti-government armed militant groups attempt to carry out terrorist related activities, including suicide attacks occasionally.

At least four people were wounded after a coordinated explosion rocked the Kandahar city earlier this week.

According to the local officials in Kandahar, the back to back explosions in Kandahar city took place late on Sunday night while the policemen were patrolling in the city when three roadside mines, improvised explosive devices, went off.

khaama.com/suicide-car-bomb-rocks-kandahar-casualties-feared-04097

---------

 

Airstrikes on heroin labs and clashes leave 12 dead, wounded in Helmand

By Khaama Press - Fri Dec 22 2017, 9:20 am

At least twelve militants were killed during the airstrikes on heroin labs and direct clashes between the Afghan force and the Taliban insurgents in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said airstrikes were carried out on heroin labs in GandomRez area of Kajaki district late on Wednesday night.

The statement further added that three heroin labs were destroyed during the airstrikes while a clash broke out between the Afghan forces and the militants in this province which left at least three militants dead and two others wounded.

In another clash in Greshk district bazaar at least four Taliban insurgents were killed and three others were wounded, the statement added.

This comes as a key Taliban leader who was involved behind the recent wave of violence in southern Helmand province was killed in an airstrike on Wednesday.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the prominent Taliban QariFida Mohammad was among several killed as fighter jets bombed the militants in Marjah district.

The statement further added that the airstrike was carried out at around noon time in the vicinity of Haji Baba roundabout.

According to Helmand provincial government, QariFida was a close aide to the shadow governor of the Taliban for Helmand Mullah Manan and was actively involved in recent violence in this province.

khaama.com/airstrikes-on-heroin-labs-and-clashes-leave-12-dead-wounded-in-helmand-04095

---------

 

US drone strikes leave 3 Taliban militants dead in Nangarhar province

By Khaama Press - Fri Dec 22 2017, 2:35 pm

At least three Taliban insurgents were kiled in US drones strikes in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, the provincial government said Friday.

According to an official statement, the latest airstrikes were carried out late on Thursday evening in the vicinity of Ghani Khel district.

The statement further added that the airstrikes left three Taliban insurgents dead whiel their weapons, ammunition, and explosives were also destroyed.

According to the provicial government, the dead body of a ISIS militant was also found during a separate operation in Khogyani district and some military kits including a communication set were also confiscated.

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

This comes as at least five ISIS militants including a shadow judge of the terror group were killed during an operation in this province on Tuesday.

The provincial government media office in a statement said Wednesday the militants were killed during the operations conducted in the past 24 hours in Khogyani district.

The statement further added that the operations are being conducted as part of the Silab-4 and 9 operations to eliminate the militants of the terror group from Nangarhar.

At least seven militants of the terror group were also wounded during the same operations, the statement said, adding that three areas including a village have been cleared from the presence of the terror group.

khaama.com/us-drone-strikes-leave-3-taliban-militants-dead-in-nangarhar-province-04098

---------

Africa

A Liberal/Reform Rabbi Learns from Prophet Muhammad

 By Morocco World News - December 21, 2017

Rabat – I first studied Islam when I was a student at UCLA almost 50 years ago. Then again while I was in Rabbinical school. Over the years I continued to study Qur’an, Ahadith, and other Islamic books. I read these books, as the Prophet taught his followers in a Hadith, “not as a believer, and not as a disbeliever”. What does that mean?  The Qur’an, of course, is sacred scripture for Muslims. A disciple of Muhammad named  Abu Huraira relates, “The people of the Book used to read the Torah in Hebrew and then explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. Allah’s Apostle said (to the Muslims). “Do not believe the people of the Book, nor disbelieve them, but say, ‘We believe in Allah, and whatever is revealed to us, and whatever is revealed to you.'”

Following Muhammad’s teaching, I too neither believe nor disbelieve in the Qur’an. If I believed in the Qur’an I would be a member of the Muslim Ummah (community). But I cannot disbelieve in the Qur’an because I believe that Muhammad was a very great prophet; and I respect the Qur’an as a kindred revelation, to a kindred people, in a kindred language. In fact, the people, the language and the theology are closer to my own people, language and theology than that of any other on earth.

I would like to begin by sharing my understanding of several Ahadith that have taught me about my own religion. My understanding is reflected in my application (gloss) of each insight from my perspective as a Liberal/Reform Rabbi.  They are all from Bukhari: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way.  So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.  (Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38).

Gloss:  The statement against becoming extremists needs to be taught in every house of prayer in the world. This applies of course, to political extremists as well as religious extremists who always prefer the stricter path to the more lenient way. For example, both Islam and Judaism teach the importance of sacred slaughter of meat, and the avoidance of certain animals for food.  In Islam the rules are simpler and fewer than in Orthodox Judaism.  Most Liberal/Reform Rabbis regard the increasingly restrictive developments in kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), especially for Passover, as a counterproductive, overburdening of the people.  The expansion of restrictions on Shabbat activities over many centuries is also seen by most Liberal/Reform Rabbis as a counterproductive, overburdening of the joy of Shabbat.   Muhammad wisely differentiates between extremism and striving to be near perfect (no one is perfect) which involves a rejection of extremism.  Just trying hard to do well will be rewarded.

Narrated ‘Aisha and Ibn’ Abbas: On his deathbed Allah’s Apostle put a sheet over his-face and when he felt hot, he would remove it from his face.  When in that state (of putting and removing the sheet) he said, “May Allah’s Curse be on Jews and Christians for they build places of worship at the graves of their prophets.”  He intended to warn (Muslims) from what they (i.e. Jews and Christians) had done.   (Volume 4, Book 56, Number 660)

Gloss: Allah’s apostle strongly opposed any diversion of reverence or worship to anyone other than God.  Christians, and even Jews, had started worshiping at the graves of holy men, saints and prophets.  Although they claimed to be only worshiping God, their feeling that prayer was better or more effective at such sites was cursed by Muhammad. In later centuries, Muslims also began worshiping at the tombs of holy men and building places of worship near their graves. Liberal/Reform Rabbis would agree that such activity at grave sites should be condemned and could be seen as a curse.  Allah’s apostle must also have realized that even the Muslim community would also produce people whose piety would lead to such errors for a Hadith on the same page says,

Narrated Abu Said: The Prophet said: “You will follow the wrong ways of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of an animal, you too will go there.”  We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Who else?”  (Volume 4, Book 56, # 662)

Gloss:   Muhammad criticized the failings of many in the Jewish and Christian communities (as did the prophets of Israel) but he realized that people are human, and most do not seem to learn from the failings of others. He hoped that Muslims would retain their original purity, but he foresaw that with  time and power; corruption, decay and falsification were inevitable.  Allah’s apostle would certainly attack the false tradition of female genital mutilation in Africa today as sharply as he attacked female infanticide in Arabia in his day.  It is a shame that many Muslim leaders in Africa today do not aggressively condemn it. But then, most Jewish leaders in the west do not aggressively condemn the Orthodox for not allowing Jewish woman to divorce their husbands. We all have to do a better job.

Abu Huraira related: Two men, a Muslim and a Jew, abused each other.  The Muslim said , “By Him Who gave superiority to Muhammad over all the people.”  At that, the Jew said, “By Him Who gave superiority to Moses over all the people.”   The Muslim became furious at that and slapped the Jew in the face.  The Jew went to Allah’s Apostle and informed him of what had happened between him and the Muslim.  Allah’s Apostle said, “Don’t give me superiority over Moses, for people will fall unconscious on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first to gain consciousness, and behold!  Moses will be there holding the side of Allah’s Throne.  I will not know whether Moses was among those people who became unconscious and then has regained consciousness before me, or was among those exempted by Allah from falling unconscious.” (Volume 8, Book 76, #524)

Gloss:  Allah’s messenger is so well known for his sense of justice that a Jew can appeal to him even in a conflict with a Muslim who has attacked a Jew.  It is only natural for Jews to think that Moses is the best, and for Muslims to think that Muhammad is the best.  Muhammad rebukes the Muslim, telling him not to claim that Muhammad is superior to Moses because even on the day of Resurrection, Muhammad himself will not know their relative merit, for although Muhammad will be the first to be revived, Moses will already be standing there holding the side of God’s throne.  Muhammad teaches us that comparisons of religious superiority are wrong, for no one in this world, and perhaps even in the world to come, will know who is the best. 

Most Americans that I have spoken are amazed to hear such liberal and flexible statements coming from a religion that they think is ridged and fanatical. But the politicized Islam that has captured so much attention in the Western world today is the outgrowth of recent factors. The primary one being the anti-western reaction and scapegoating due to the great upheavals occurring in all modernizing societies in the 20th   and  21th centuries. This reaction is inflamed as the result of several previous centuries of socio-economic decline that took place in the Middle East. The Prophet had predicted that over the centuries Muslims would also become more rigid and orthodox, just as the Jews and Christian had.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: You will tread the same path as was trodden by those before you, inch by inch and step by step, so much so that if they had entered into the hole of a lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Do you mean Jews and Christians? He said: Who else?” Muhammad was wise enough to realize that even his own ummah was subject to the circumstances of history.

Nevertheless as a Reform Rabbi, I realize that in many ways Muhammad showed seventh century Jews in Arabia how to reform Orthodox Judaism to bring it back to the simpler rules of the Torah..

Unlike Orthodox Rabbis, Liberal/Reform Rabbis accept the doctrine of nullification – which teaches that one verse in scripture can nullify another, and that rulings can be changed due to changed circumstances. Muhammad provides an excellent example of this principle in the following account. The Prophet originally told women not to visit graveyards, but toward the end of his life, he said to them: “I had told you not to visit graves; now I am telling you to visit them.” The reason was that Arabian women used to wail at graves. The Prophet wanted this practice to be stopped. Therefore, he banned women from visiting graves to start with. After sometime, when Muslim women were better aware of how Islam wants them to behave in different situations, he allowed them such visits. In fact, the Prophet encourages visiting graveyards because such a visit reminds the visitor of his or her own death and the fact that they would have to stand in front of God when their actions are reckoned to determine their reward or punishment. Scholars like Ibn Qudamah, of the Hanbalischool of law, make it clear that since this is the purpose of visiting graveyards, both men and women need such visits.

Another important teaching of the Qur’an is that God chose not to create human beings as one nation or with only one religion so that each religion could compete with the others in order to see which religion produces the highest percentage of moral and loving people. As it is written in the Qur’an [5.48] “For every one of you did We appoint a law and a way. If Allah had pleased He would have made you one people, but (He didn’t) that He might test you in what He gave you. Therefore compete with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; for all return to Allah, so He will let you know (after Judgement Day) that in which you differed.” This is a wonderful further development of the teaching of the Biblical prophet Micah (4:5) that in the end of days-the Messianic Age “All people will walk, each in the name of their own God, and we shall walk in the name of the Lord our God forever.”

There is no conflict, nor can there be any conflict, between Judaism and Islam. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a territorial dispute. There are people who would like to make this territorial dispute into a religious one in order to rally support for their side. We must resist this. I believe that the Koran itself predicts the return of the Jewish people to the Land God gave to the descendants of Abraham and his two sons. I believe the reference in the Koran to the land of Israel in Sura V, where God says to Moses and to the Jewish people: “O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has decreed for you.” More important for us today is the statement “WE SAID TO THE ISRAELITES AFTER HIM “DWELL SECURELY IN THE LAND OF PROMISE (THE PROMISED LAND) BUT WHEN THE SECOND OF THE WARNINGS COME TO PASS WE GATHER YOU TOGETHER IN A MINGLED CROWD BANI ISRAIL. This refers to the return of Jews to the Land of Israel that is part of the great upheavals that proceed the age of the final judgment. The age we live in. The mingled crowd refers to both the Palestinians and the Israelis who will share the Promised Land together.

Neither side can claim it has the only right to the land or that its view is the only true one for as we have learned from the Hadith narrated Abu Huraira:The Prophet himself taught that even in the world to come it will not be clear if Moses or Muhammad is the supreme Prophet. Each is supreme for his own faithful community.  A Muslim is one who submits to the will of Allah and believes that Allah has sent many different prophets to the many peoples of the world. As a Liberal/ Reform Rabbi I believe that Muhammad was the Prophet sent to the Arab people. I believe that the Qur’an is as true for Muslims as the Torah is true for Jews. Indeed, I love the Hadith Narrated by Abu Huraira that says, “The people of the Book used to read the Torah in Hebrew and then explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. Allah’s Apostle said (to the Muslims). “Do not believe the people of the Book, nor disbelieve them, but say, ‘We believe in Allah, and whatever is revealed to us, and whatever is revealed to you.'”

Following Muhammad’s teaching I repeat that I too neither believe nor disbelieve in the Qur’an. I do respect the Qur’an very much as a kindred revelation to a kindred people in a kindred language. In fact, the people, language and theology are closer to my own people, language and theology than that of any other on earth. The strong support that the Qur’an gives to religious pluralism is a  lesson that is sorely needed by the religious fundamentalists of all religions in the world today. As a well known Hadith says, “Prophets are brothers, sons of one father (Allah) by co-wives. Their mothers (motherland, mother tongue, etc) are different but their religion is one.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi’s Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (a collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon and Morebooks.

moroccoworldnews.com/2017/12/236933/liberalreform-rabbi-learns-prophet-muhammad/

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/rampage-driver-‘rambled-about-muslims,-allah-and-australia’s-top-security-agency-after-mowing-down-17-people-on-flinders-street/d/113661

Loading..

Loading..