New Age Islam
Sun Mar 03 2024, 05:51 PM

Islamic World News ( 7 Sept 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Religious Authorities in Malaysia Denounced Shiite Islam and Asked Mosques To Be Vigilant Over the Spread of Their ‘Deviant Teachings’

New Age Islam News Bureau

7 Sept 2019

An Imam performs Friday prayers on Skalitzer Strasse (street) in Berlin September 19, 2014.

(photo credit: REUTERS)


 Religious Authorities in Malaysia Denounced Shiite Islam and Asked Mosques To Be Vigilant Over the Spread of Their ‘Deviant Teachings’

 Pro-Iran Militia In Iraq Announces Formation Of 'Air Force'

 Bahraini Regime Has Begun Summoning Shia Clerics To Supposedly Interrogate Them Ahead Of Ashura Rituals

 Child Marriage Nullified After Social Media Outrage in Iran

 A Saudi Prince Claims Riyadh Can Destroy Iran In 'Eight Hours' In Case Of War

 London Mosque Officials Failed To Halt ISIS Child Recruiter

 Be It Ganesha Chaturthi or Muharram, These Villagers from a Village on the Outskirts of Hubballi, Celebrate Both with Pomp

 Imran Khan's Ex-Wife Reham Mocks Him over 'Failed' Kashmir Solidarity Call

 How the Rohingya Are Applying For Bangladesh Passports


Southeast Asia

 Religious Authorities in a Malaysia Denounced Shiite Islam and Asked Mosques To Be Vigilant Over the Spread of Their ‘Deviant Teachings’

 60pc of Halal Product Manufacturers Are Non-Muslims, Says Mujahid

 Selangor Islamic Religious Department Raids Shia Muslim Event at Gombak, Arrests 23

 Decision not to prosecute Perlis preacher a letdown, says group

 Maria Chin accused of making wild attack on shariah system

 Blast wounds 7 people at public market in southern Philippines


Arab World

 Pro-Iran Militia In Iraq Announces Formation Of 'Air Force'

 Bahraini Regime Has Begun Summoning Shia Clerics To Supposedly Interrogate Them Ahead Of Ashura Rituals

 Iraqi youth killed by suspected ISIS members in Syrian displacement camp

 Iraqi forces kill 5 IS militants in Salahudin province

 Security Media Cell announce seizing 3 car bombs in Nineveh

 Hezbollah and Israel have stepped back from the brink this time but the trajectory is deeply troubling

 Pompeo Asks Lebanon to Dismantle Hezbollah’s Missile Factory

 Six suspected militants killed in Egypt

 ISIL's Senior Portuguese Commander Captured in Northern Syria

 Any aggression against Lebanon will be met with legitimate self-defense, President Aoun says

 Saudi court acquits defendants in deadly Grand Mosque’s crane fall case



 Child Marriage Nullified After Social Media Outrage in Iran

 A Saudi Prince Claims Riyadh Can Destroy Iran In 'Eight Hours' In Case Of War

 Iran Executes 38 People In August - Report

 Report: Top US Official in Talks With Houthi Rebels in Bid to End Yemen War Report

 Iran 'inching' toward place where talks could be held: Pentagon chief

 ‘End charade, dismantle Iran nuclear deal completely,’ says Sen.Ted Cruz

 Nuclear watchdog chief to meet top Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday

 Turkish-US land patrols in Syria to start on September 8

 Iran takes further step to scale back nuclear commitments

 Saudi air defenses destroy ballistic missile fired fom Yemen: Arab Coalition

 Israeli forces kill two Palestinian teens in Gaza

 Saudi Arabia says UAE-backed separatists in Yemen threaten kingdom



 London Mosque Officials Failed To Halt ISIS Child Recruiter

 Half of Terror Arrests Are White For First Time Amid Rise In Far-Right Extremist Threat

 Persecuted Yazidis Find Sanctuary in Australia

 EU Sets Up Tool for Easier Conviction of Jihadist Fighters As Hundreds May Return

 Germany needs to ban Hezbollah, US Ambassador Grenell says

 Britain must repatriate Isis fighters, warns US defence secretary

 Britain will support US in Iran talks if deal can be made: UK Defense minister

 Turkish court sentences opposition figure to nearly 10 years in jail

 EU urges Iran to reverse inconsistency on nuclear deal



 Be It Ganesha Chaturthi or Muharram, These Villagers from a Village on the Outskirts of Hubballi, Celebrate Both with Pomp

 Sedition Case Against, J&K People's Movement Functionary Shehla Rashid For Tweets About Kashmir Situation

 Concerned Over J&K Detentions… Govt Should Hold Polls at Earliest: US

 Kashmir on agenda during President Kovind’s visit, says Swiss government

 Baby girl among four injured in terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla

 Child among four injured in terrorist attack in J&K's Baramulla

 Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in J&K's Poonch

 Ayodhya Case in Supreme Court: How Sunni Waqf Board Has Left Many Confused

 J&K: At least 4 injured, including a child, after militants open fire at civilians in Sopore

 Shehla Rashid booked for sedition over tweets on Kashmir situation

 2001 hate speech case: Gujarat Police arrests SIMI ex-chief in Azamgarh



 Imran Khan's Ex-Wife Reham Mocks Him over 'Failed' Kashmir Solidarity Call

 Pakistan: New Attacks Raise Fears of a Taliban Return

 Pak may introduce two categories for Sikh pilgrims seeking visas to visit Kartarpur: Media report

 US tells Muslim bodies it backs direct Indo-Pak dialogue

 Islamic Body Concerned About Polio Cases in Pakistan, Afghanistan

 6 'IS militants' killed in security operation in Quetta: police

 Kashmiri leader booked for ‘maligning’ Indian army

 Govt to add religious tourism category to e-visa system for Kartarpur visitors

 Saudi, Pakistani officials discuss energy, mining ties in Islamabad


South Asia

 How the Rohingya Are Applying For Bangladesh Passports

 Taliban’s most dangerous shadow governor killed in Badakhshan

 Hajj and Religious Affairs acting minister assaulted in Presidential Palace Mosque

 Taliban kills US service member, others in Kabul bombing as US-Taliban talks resume

 Afghan president postpones US trip to discuss Taliban deal

 Sri Lanka: 293 suspects arrested in connection with Easter Sunday attacks

 Bangladesh Takes Steps to Control Movements of Rohingya

 Taliban commander Sher Lala killed in an airstrike in Kunduz province

 Taliban attack third Afghan provincial capital in a week

 US fighting Afghan war without clear political agenda: Commentator



 South African Riots over ‘Xenophobia’ Prompt Backlash across Africa

 Nigeria: Islam Frowns at Sexual Harassment, Says Onike

 Sudan invites Jews back to country to enjoy citizenship in new climate

 Ghana President Urges African Countries: Let's Fight Growing Terrorism Threat Together

 US-Backed Syrian Forces Hand Over 3 Children of IS Fighters to Nigeria

 Cameroon Sends Military to Troubled CAR

 Saudi troops return home as Eager Lion military exercise concludes in Jordan


North America

 Trump's Envoy Clashes with Afghan Government over Proposed Taliban Deal

 No, San Francisco. The NRA is not a ‘domestic terrorist organization.’

 Pompeo Says US To Rally Support For Uighurs At UN

 Putin warned Bush of imminent threat 2 days before 9/11: Ex-CIA analyst

 White House: US will not drop Iran sanctions, Trump tells Macron

 US welcomes Denmark's military assistance in Syria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Religious Authorities in Malaysia Denounced Shiite Islam and Asked Mosques To Be Vigilant Over the Spread of Their ‘Deviant Teachings’

September 6, 2019

Religious authorities in a Malaysian state denounced Shi'ite Islam on Friday and asked mosques to call in sermons on their congregations to be vigilant over the spread of the "deviant teachings" of the Shi'ite sect.

The minority Shi'ite community in Sunni Muslim-majority Malaysia has been subject to discrimination and persecution by authorities, human rights groups have said.

State religious departments have raided the community's places of worship and made arrests.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department, or JAIS as it is known by its Malay-language acronym, said in a weekly sermon that Muslims should not be influenced by practices of the Shi'ite sect.

Sermons in Malaysia are standardised, and Islamic leaders typically deliver their Friday sermon in mosques based on the weekly sermon issued by the state religious department.

"I implore upon the Muslim ummah (community) to always remain vigilant upon the spread of Shee'ah deviant teachings in this nation," the department said, according to a copy of the sermon posted on its website.

JAIS is the Islamic religious authority in Selangor, Malaysia's richest state. It is funded by the state government.

The Shi'ite ideology "ensnares its victims" through educational institutions, children's books, novels, comics, among others, the department said in the sermon said.

"The Muslim ummah must become the eyes and the ears for the religious authorities when stumbling upon activities that are suspicious, disguising under the pretext of Islam," it said.

The department described Shi'ite practices as "extremist" and "nauseating".

Reuters could not establish if the sermon criticising Shi'ites was delivered at all mosques in the state. But religious experts said mosques typically follow the sermon issued by the state religious authority.

Isham Pawan Ahmad, an associate professor at the International Islamic University near Kuala Lumpur, said the sermon delivered at a mosque he went to in Selangor on Friday was similar to the one issued by JAIS.

"This is the most vehement comment on Shi'ites in Malaysia. It makes them a target," Isham said.

Shi'ites are a minority is Malaysia, with some estimating their numbers in only the tens of thousands.

Shi'ite community leaders were not immediately available for comment.

In 1996, a Malaysian Islamic body issued a fatwa, an Islamic ruling, recognising Sunni Islam as the faith of Malaysian Muslims.

Malaysian Shi'ite Muslims have complained about their inability to worship freely, and that they may face obstacles in carrying out rituals which are both cultural and religious, the U.N. special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights said in a preliminary report in 2017.



Pro-Iran Militia In Iraq Announces Formation Of 'Air Force'

September 06, 2019

The Iraqi militia group Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), announced the formation of their own air force on Thursday, September 5.

A statement by the PMF, a close ally of Iran, circulated through Iraqi news outlets said PMF's deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes ordered the formation of the air force directorate, appointing Salah Mahdi Hantoush as its caretaker.

The decision comes a few weeks after a series of suspicious air raids targeted PMF locations in Baghdad and other provinces of Iraq.

PMF leadership blames Israeli drones and U.S. forces operating in Iraq.

Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the raids, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday, August 22, that his country's forces had attacked Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

Echoing his earlier statements, Netanyahu disclosed, "We're acting in many theaters against a state (Iran) that seeks to annihilate Israel."

Speaking to the Israeli Channel 9 network, broadcasting for Jewish-Russian immigrants, Netanyahu stressed, "I don't grant Iran immunity anywhere," adding, "Iran is a state, a power that has sworn to annihilate Israel. It's trying to establish bases against us everywhere; in Iran itself, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen."

Meanwhile, unnamed American officials confirmed that Israel has been behind the mysterious attacks targeting Iran-backed militias in Iraq, according to The New York Times and the Associated Press.

The PMF was formed from mainly Shia militias in 2014 as per a decree from Iraq's top Shi'ite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to counter Islamic State militants, and later granted recognition as a "national force."

There are no independent reports on how PMF forces were trained and armed. Nonetheless, it is generally believed that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force is behind training and arming the group.

The outspoken commander of Qods Force, IRGC Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani, admitted on July 11, 2017, "The commander of PMF has succeeded to gain a key to all Iranian weaponry depots."



Bahraini Regime Has Begun Summoning Shia Clerics To Supposedly Interrogate Them Ahead Of Ashura Rituals

Sep 6, 2019

The Bahraini regime has begun summoning Shia clerics to supposedly interrogate them amid the arrival of the lunar month of Muharram, when Shia Muslims commonly engage in mourning rituals to commemorate the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein.

Bahraini regime officials have summoned a number of clerics, including Seyed Jaber al-Shahrakani, Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Mahfuz, Sheikh Mohammad A’ashur, and Sheikh Zoheir al-Khal for questioning, local sources disclosed on Friday.

Authorities have also arrested other preachers, such as Sheikh Menbar al-Ma’atouq and Sheikh Mohammad al-A’ajimi.

Moreover, regime forces have further engaged in blocking local residents in some areas —including the town of al-Mosalla — from putting up customary mourning flags and placards for the upcoming Ashura processions.

The development came just over two weeks after hundreds of Bahraini political prisoners went on hunger strike to protest harsh conditions at the Persian Gulf country’s notorious Jaw Prison.

Over 400 inmates started an open-ended hunger strike on August 18, joining 196 others who had begun refusing food a short while earlier.

The Manama regime has been cracking down on pro-democracy demonstrations since 2011. Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held protest rallies in Bahrain on an almost daily basis since then.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.



Child Marriage Nullified After Social Media Outrage In Iran

September 6, 2019

Persian-language Twitter users were outraged after a video surfaced online of a child marriage in a small Iranian border town. Shortly after the video appeared, the local authorities nullified the marriage and pressed charges against the groom and the father of the girl.

Iranian journalist Javad Heydarian first posted the video, which quickly went viral. Many of those who shared it quickly apologized and deleted their posts because the young girl’s face was not censored. Still, the image of the 11-year-girl with what can be described as a confused smile sitting next to the 22-year-old man struck a nerve.

Hassan Neghin Taji, prosecutor for Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province, reportedly concluded that the girl had a “low awareness” of her predicament and therefore decided to nullify the marriage.

After the annulment was announced and charges were filed against the father, the groom and the officiant, Iran's Vice President of Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar tweeted, “The response of public opinion and the efforts of officials have yielded results. Reforming culture along with the laws in confronting child marriage is a path that must be taken.”

Under Iranian law, girls under the age of 13 and boys under the age 15 cannot be married without court approval. Children and women’s rights activists have long worked to raise the age of marriage to 16 for girls and 18 for boys.

Iranian Reformist newspapers gave the issue considerable coverage. Ebtekar reported that while child marriage remains relatively rare in the country, such videos could “normalize” the practice. Its headline suggested the girl’s smile could have an “infectious” impact on societal norms. Etemad addressed the controversy over the video, quoting social media users who called both the wedding and the publishing of the girl's face online “violations of children’s rights.”

Conservative Jahan took the opportunity to engage in classic partisan whataboutism. Its headline called those commenting on the issue “noise-makers on the margins” and asked why Reformists have not taken issue with the fact that 11 million young adults in Iran are unmarried and Iran is currently experiencing a decline in birth rates stemming from economic difficulties and rising attendance by women in universities. The Iranian authorities have been encouraging young adults to marry and have children.



A Saudi Prince Claims Riyadh Can Destroy Iran In 'Eight Hours' In Case Of War

Sep 6, 2019

A Saudi prince has claimed that his country maintains military supremacy over Iran and would completely destroy the Islamic Republic in a matter of hours if a war broke out.  

"Saudi Arabia can destroy Iran in eight hours," Saudi prince Abdullah bin Sultan bin Nasser al-Saud tweeted in Arabic Thursday, posting a quotation from a video interview with a Saudi analyst.

Originally aired on Saudi Arabia’s Channel 24 in 2016, the video shows Saudi F-15 warplanes and Iran’s F-4 Phantom jets, saying the kingdom is in possession of advanced jets and weaponry while those of Iran are all old and outdated.

In his Thursday tweet, the prince said, “Of course, this is a segment of two years, before buying and developing air defense systems, naval forces, land, and air with advanced missiles.”

"What is hidden is greater. There is no force in the world that can stand up to our unity, our resolve, our renaissance and thank God.” 

Under King Salman, Saudi Arabia has been following a confrontational approach. Riyadh severed diplomatic relations with Tehran over angry protests in Iran following the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia in January 2016.

The kingdom has been waging a massive war against Yemen - the most impoverished country in the Arab world - since 2015, but four years on, it remains stuck in a "quagmire", the New York Times wrote in July.

Pentagon officials "have concluded on their own that the war has degenerated into an unwinnable quagmire and have urged the Saudis for months to try to negotiate an end to the fighting," the newspaper said.

The Saudis which started the war in their own "shock and awe" style, with the alleged "coalition" of nine countries, have seen the tide of the conflict turn against them.

Yemen's Houthi fighters and their allies in the army are now using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missiles to offset the coalition’s overwhelming military advantage.

A hasty withdrawal of Saudi Arabia's closest ally in the war, the United Arab Emirates, in June has prompted the frustrated Saudis to turn to additional US support in hopes of achieving a breakthrough, the New York Times said.

Any US assistance, however, has not come without humiliation.

In 2018, US Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News that Saudi Arabia's military "can't fight out of a paper bag" when confronted with Mideast challenges including Iran.

“Let me put it this way -- I want to be very blunt with you. If it weren't for the United States they’d be speaking Farsi in about a week in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

In October 2018, Iran extended an offer of cooperation in the face of “humiliation” by US President Donald Trump, who said Saudi Arabia would fall within two weeks without protection from the US.

“We again extend our hand to our neighbors: let's build a 'strong region', and stop this conceit,” Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted just after Trump's recount of a phone conversation with King Salman.

Trump, which has signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi leaders, made the remarks as he urged Riyadh and the rest of the "rich" Arab countries in the Persian Gulf to cough up cash for American support.

“I love the King, King Salman. But I said ‘King, we’re protecting you, you might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military,’” Trump said at a Mississippi rally in undiplomatic remarks, without specifying when the comments to the monarch had been made.



London mosque officials failed to halt ISIS child recruiter

Paul Peachey

Sep 6, 2019

Five senior mosque officials have been banned from office after management failures gave an extremist the opportunity to recruit a ‘children’s army’ of terrorists.

Umar Haque was jailed for life last year after using his position as a school administrator to show beheading videos to children as young as 11 as he tried to groom recruit them into a mini militia.

Haque, 25, worked at an Islamic private school and a mosque in east London, where he staged training exercises during Islamic studies classes to prepare children for ISIS-inspired attacks in London.

An inquiry into the charity that runs Ripple Road mosque in Barking, east London, found that the trustees failed to carry out proper background checks on Haque and then obstructed an inquiry by investigators.

Haque was taken on as an administrator but eventually led classes during his three years at the mosque - posting students as lookouts while he showed them the most extreme violence. He told his students that they should follow ISIS because one day the group would rule Europe.

Some 35 children have required long-term supervision as a result of the attempted indoctrination by Haque at the school and mosque, according to police. It emerged that he was working daily with children aged five to 15.

The grooming only came to light after Haque’s passport was revoked after he attempted to board a flight to Istanbul, with the apparent aim of joining ISIS. After his failure to fly to Syria, he turned his attentions to targets in the UK, including Heathrow Airport and mowing down pedestrians outside the UK parliament.

“We are a death squad sent by Allah and his messengers to avenge my brothers’ blood,” he told an accomplice during a conversation secretly recorded by police.

Michelle Russell, the director of investigators at the UK’s charity regulator, said it was the worst case of exposure to terrorist material that it had seen because of the trustees’ failure to supervise and manage Haque.

They initially claimed to have references for Haque, had done no due diligence on his background, and had not signed a contract – despite claims that they had done.

“In this case, the children who were in their care, and the people that trusted them to do so, were let down.

“These individuals proved themselves to be wholly unsuitable; what happened on their watch is deeply alarming and troubling, running counter to everything people expect of charity.”

A second man, Abuthaher Mamun, 19, helped Haque with his classes and was jailed for 12 years for his role in the terrorist plot. Charity regulators only found about Mamun’s role because of the trial and the charity trustees never told them about the role of Mamun at the school.

“It is not known why the former trustees failed to disclose this information to the inquiry,” it said.

The five trustees from the charity the Essex Islamic Acdemy, which runs the mosque, have been barred from holding any senior management positions in England and Wales for ten years. They have not been named.

The case highlighted the lack of effective scrutiny that allowed extremists to operate inside UK schools and mosques. The east London private school where Haque also worked was rated “outstanding” during the height of his activity in 2015.

The last inspection report in January this year downgraded the school to “inadequate” after discovering a book in its library that advocated death for anyone who committed adultery.



Be It Ganesha Chaturthi or Muharram, These Villagers from a Village on the Outskirts of Hubballi, Celebrate Both with Pomp

By Kiran Balannanavar

07th September 2019

HUBBALLI: Bidnal, a village on the outskirts of Hubballi, is known for communal harmony, with people from the Hindu and Muslim communities celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram together for the past 35 years.

The village has no separate committee for holding these festivals, as the Shri Ganjanana and the Moharram Utsav Samiti takes care of every aspect of the two festivals. Both communities are equal in terms of population, and people from both communities celebrate these festivals with equal devotion.

Basavaraj Mugad, a resident, told TNIE that for the past 35 years, they have been installing idols of Lord Ganesha and performing Muharram activities in the same pandal erected in the centre of the village. “In 1982, 1983 and 1984 both Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram fell in the same month. It repeated again in 2018 and this year. Every year, both communities hold events in a grand manner. Muslim women also come to pray and perform ‘arti.’ This time, the immersion of the idols also falls on the same day,” he added.

Dhaval Sab Nadaf, a community leader, said, “There is no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. Everyone lives here like brothers and sisters, not only during the time of festivals. During other functions as well the two communities join hands. That is the beauty of this village.”



Imran Khan's ex-wife Reham mocks him over 'failed' Kashmir solidarity call

Sep 7, 2019

Islamabad [Pakistan], Sep 7 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ex-wife Reham Khan mocked and deemed former's so-called 'Kashmir solidarity hour' call as a 'failure'.

Reham posted a tweet in Urdu on Friday, which read, "Woh jinhonay Kashmiriyon kay saath izhar-e-yakjaheeti kay liye har Jumma 30 minutes khada hona tha, unn ki himmat ek he haftey mein jawaab dey gayi. Shayad selected mausam behtar honay ka intezar kar rahay hain, phir karengey izhar-e-yagjahiti"

The tweet roughly stated that those who pledged to stand by the Kashmiris for 30 minutes every Friday failed to comply with their promise.

In the aftermath of the Indian government's move to abrogate Article 370, Khan had announced that Pakistan would observe Kashmir Hour "every Friday." While the first week itself was a damp squib, barely drawing people despite desperate attempts made by the authorities in the country, no sign of the continuation of the shallow moment was witnessed this Friday.

The failure of the movement left Pakistan red-faced, as it continues its pursuit of raking up the Kashmir issue in international forums. The country has found itself completely isolated on the international front, after being snubbed at the United Nations Security Council, as well as by countries like Russia, France, and the US.

India also repeatedly maintained that its decision on Kashmir is strictly an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

Instead of addressing pressing issues like struggling economy, rising inflation, and poverty, Pakistanis have been concentrating more on Kashmir, vowing to stand in "solidarity" with the Kashmiris till the region attains "freedom".

Apart from spewing venom against India, Pakistan has not learnt its lessons and continues its nefarious and diabolic propaganda by openly supporting 'jihad' against the neighboring country, despite facing massive international pressure over tackling terrorism. (ANI)



How the Rohingya are applying for Bangladesh passports

06 Sep 2019

He submitted the application online with a birth registration certificate and Bangladeshi National Identity or NID card.

But his fingerprints matched with those of a Rohingya man in the database of the Myanmar refugees’ biometric data stored by Bangladesh. That means he is a Rohingya.

The incident came to light on Aug 22.

Another person named Shafiqul Hye was arrested at the Chattogram Divisional Passport Office on Thursday.

He also submitted a nationality certificate and NID card to the passport office. But Shafiqul confessed to his Rohingya identity after the passport officials doubted him.

This is how the Rohingya refugees with false certificates are coming to make passports, according to officials.

They are obtaining the certificates from the city corporations or union council offices.

As a result, it is difficult to identify them in the crowd of passport applicants.

The fake passport applications can now be detected through cross-match with the Rohingya database if suspicion arises.

From April to August, about 100 people have been arrested on suspicion of being Rohingya at two passport offices at Panchlaish and Mansurabad in Chattogram.

Abu Saeed, a director of the Chattogram Divisional Passport and Visa Office, told that the Rohingya are submitting their birth registration, national certificates and NID card with their passport applications.

These papers cannot be called fake because these are certified by real people with jurisdiction, the official said.

“But if the applicant's attitude and conversations give rise to suspicion, we hand them to police after being certain that they are Rohingya,” he said.

According to papers submitted by Faisal, he took the birth certificate from Lalkhan Bazar ward under Chattogram City Corporation and the nationality certificate from Salimpur union council under Sitakunda Upazila.

Faisal also submitted NIDs of his ‘parents’, identified as Md Nasim and Shamjida Begum, passport department official Abu Saeed said.

The Rohingya man had travelled to Bangladesh from Myanmar with his father Sona Mia and mother Anwara Begum when he was 4 years old. The family had first taken shelter at a refugee camp at Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar but later moved to Naikkhyanchharhi in Bandarban.

Shafiqul, who was detained on Thursday, mentioned Fatikchharhi of Chattogram as his address in the NID card and nationality certificate.

The Rohingya man has been residing in the area since 2014 when his family of five, including his parents and siblings, crossed the border into Bangladesh.

A Rohingya woman identified as Sumaiya Akter was detained on Aug 22 while she was applying for a passport in Chattogram.

She obtained a birth certificate from Pathantooli ward in the port city.

Many Rohingya are living in Muslim-majority countries allegedly using Bangladeshi passports.

After a recent investigation revealed that a Rohingya man, Nazir Ahmed, had been residing in Saudi Arabia with Bangladeshi passport, police said they suspected a syndicate was working in Bangladesh to give the refugees Bangladeshi passports with funds from Rohingya living in Saudi Arabia.

Nazir was detained at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka while he was trying to travel back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Once arrested in Bangladesh on charges of trafficking in drugs, Nazir has businesses in the Gulf kingdom as well.

His detention at the airport followed the arrest of one of his wives, Ramzan Bibi alias 'Lake', a Rohingya woman, with a fake NID card on her in Chattogram on Aug 28.

“Field-level officers must be alert so that no Rohingya can collect birth certificate, nationality certificate or NID card. It will be difficult for the Rohingya to apply for Bangladeshi passports if the public representatives check the applicant information first,” advises Al Amin Mridha, in-charge of the passport office at Panchlaish. 

Abdul Warish, Deputy Commissioner of Chattogram Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch, said they were watchful to stop the Rohingya from applying for Bangladeshi passports.

“Many Rohingya refugees are able to collect different certificates due to wilful or inadvertent mistakes of councillors or officials at union councils,” he said.



Southeast Asia


60pc of halal product manufacturers are non-Muslims, says Mujahid

06 September 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Data from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) showed that more than 60 per cent of halal product manufacturers were multinational companies owned by non-Muslims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof said this was because non-Muslim producers realise the importance of halal certification for their products to be marketed both domestically and internationally.

On the other hand, many Bumiputera entrepreneurs have yet to apply for halal certification from us why they have not perplexes me,” he said in his speech at the 2019 Jakim Halfest held at the Mines International Exhibition Convention Centre (MIECC) in Seri Kembangan, here today.

Mujahid said with Jakim halal certification, a product is not only instantly recognised as using halal ingredients but also was hygienic regardless if it was Muslim or non-Muslim produced.

As such, he urged Bumiputera and Muslim producers who have yet to apply for the Jakim halal certification to immediately do so.

“With halal certification, Bumiputera companies will be able to compete with multinationals, not only domestically, but in the foreign markets as well, giving their products more access and consumer confidence,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Mujahid said Islam never taught its followers to choose products according to race, but stressed on the importance of them being halal and hygienic.

“We have to focus on two important basics — Confidence in Halal Malaysia and Buy Malaysian Products First... we use halal as our benchmark.

“As a Muslim, when I travel abroad, I look for halal food. I will ask if the food is halal or not, regardless of whom I am buying it from,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who launched the event, Jakim director-general Datuk Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) chairman Datuk Seri Syed Hussein Al Habshee and National Halal Council Secretariat director Datuk Seri Sirajuddin Suhaimee. — Bernama



Selangor Islamic Religious Department Raids Shia Muslim Event At Gombak, Arrests 23

September 7, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Twenty-three people, including women and children, were arrested by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officers at a Shia centre at Gombak last night.

The 25 officers went to the centre at about 9.45pm and arrested the 23, who included four boys aged 13 to 17, sources said.

Those arrested were brought to the Islamic complex at Gombak and were told that they were being investigated under shariah law for opposing the fatwa on the practice of Shi’ism, the sources told FMT.

They were released at 5am after being told that they could be summoned again any time, the sources added.

Shia, with a substantial following in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, is the second largest branch of Islam.

Fatwas have been issued in most states in Malaysia declaring Shia teachings as “deviant”, and Islamic authorities have in the past raided private religious events held by its adherents.

Yesterday, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, distanced himself from a Friday sermon prepared by Jais that supposedly attacked Shia Muslims.

FMT reported that mosques in Selangor had been instructed to deliver the sermon in what critics have slammed as a fresh round of hate speech by authorities targeting religious minorities.

Full report at:



Decision not to prosecute Perlis preacher a letdown, says group

Vinodh Pillai and Nurul Azwa Aris

September 6, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Hindu activist Arun Dorasamy has urged the Attorney-General’s Chambers to review its decision not to act against Perlis preacher Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu, saying it affects the AGC’s integrity.

Describing the decision as disappointing, Arun said arrangements can be made to replace the DPP with lawyers, if needed, to prosecute the preacher for allegedly insulting other religions.

In a letter to the Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia group dated July 5, then Solicitor-General III Hanafiah Zakaria said the investigation paper on Zamri had been referred to the AGC and it was decided not to pursue the matter.

Arun, who is the association’s adviser, said his group was shocked with the decision and also questioned why the letter was only handed to them two months later.

“The letter was only given to me yesterday during a memorandum handing over event at the AGC,” he told FMT. “We have reason to believe it was held back until they (AGC) were pushed to a corner.”

He said the decision could give the wrong impression on the AGC’s stance on preaching methods that demean other religions.

Arun said his group had sent a letter to seek clarification from the AGC. It was also deciding whether to file a lawsuit against Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, involve the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the inspector-general of police, and as a last resort, stage a picket at the AGC.

Meanwhile, Zamri told FMT he was grateful with the AGC’s decision not to charge him, saying this proved his innocence.

He said Hindu groups “which insulted me as if I am insulting their religion” should retract their statements against him.

Zamri found himself in the spotlight after he gave a talk last December in which he was alleged to have referred to a Hindu belief in 330 million gods.

In a video which went viral, he said he became a Muslim because he could not accept idol worship, and expressed regret at being unable to convert the rest of his family and close friends to Islam.

Zamri was arrested under Section 298A of the Penal Code, which deals with causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will on grounds of religion, and also misusing internet services, under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

He said the number of reports lodged against someone did not determine if a person was guilty or not.

“If there are one million reports lodged against an individual, he is still innocent as long as he does not violate any law,” he said.

Full report at:



Maria Chin accused of making wild attack on shariah system

Vinodh Pillai

September 7, 2019

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has challenged Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah to explain her allegation that the shariah legal system discriminates against women.

“If the MP is talking about shariah enactments or acts, she should tell the public which are the provisions that are discriminatory,” said Hamid Ismail, who practises as a criminal and shariah lawyer.

He said Maria could use her position as an MP to ask Parliament to repeal or amend the allegedly discriminatory provisions if she could identify them.

He accused her of making generalised and baseless statements against the shariah legal system.

“I think that is very unfair,” he said, adding that she could be perceived as trying to degrade the system.

Maria said last Thursday that she was disappointed with the Kuala Lumpur Shariah Court’s decision to impose a seven-day jail sentence on Emilia Hanafi, the former wife of Naza World Group chairman SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin.

Emilia and Faisal divorced in 2016 and she has full custody of their three children. The court on Wednesday found her guilty of violating its ruling on visitation rights.

Marina noted that Emilia had rescheduled a visitation and had asked for a replacement date. She said the sentencing highlighted “the discrimination in our shariah legal system against Muslim women that still exists today”.

Faisal is set to take contempt proceedings against her for allegedly insulting the shariah court.

Hamid said the jail sentence should be respected because a shariah court was bound by provisions of the law when deciding on a case.

He said that Maria should be helping Emilia to appeal against the sentence if she was concerned by it.

He noted that her statement also made reference to cases of divorced fathers who did not pay for child support. He asked her to explain which shariah provision she was complaining against.

“I hope the MP can differentiate between an order of a shariah court and provisions in shariah enactments or acts,” he said.

According to another shariah lawyer, Nizam Bashir, some shariah judges believe a high degree of temperateness in the use of language is required when a person criticises court judgments.

A criticism failing to meet this standard could amount to contempt, he said.

Full report at:



Blast wounds 7 people at public market in southern Philippines

7 September 2019

An explosion at a public market in the southern Philippines wounded at least seven people early on Saturday, the fourth blast in that area in 13 months, the military said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but a militant group operating in the mostly Christian city of Isulan in the province of Sultan Kudarat was among the suspects, military said.

The latest blast comes at a time of heightened tensions in the volatile southern Philippines after three incidents in the past year authorities said were suicide bombings by militants linked to ISIS.

Twitter users shared a video purportedly showing the explosion when it happened.



Calling out DILG and LGU Isulan, this incident has been the 3rd time (if I'm not mistaken) that your municipality was bombed. Enforce full military presence! Wake up! #prayforisulan #Isulan

Embedded video


6:17 AM - Sep 7, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

See REG's other Tweets

Video footage showed Saturday's blast occurred in a parking space for motorcycles. A suspected improvised explosive device was placed beside a parked motorcycle, Major Arvin Encinas, a regional military spokesman, told reporters.

In April, a bombing by suspected members of a pro-ISIS militant group injured at least 18 people in a restaurant in Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao region.

Mindanao is troubled by banditry and armed rebellions that keep large parts of the region mired in poverty and instability.

Full report at:



Arab World


Iraqi youth killed by suspected ISIS members in Syrian displacement camp

September 05-2019 

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A young Iraqi male living in Syria's al-Hol Camp has died from injuries sustained while being beaten in his sleep by two alleged Islamic State members also residing at the massive displacement facility.

"Two people disguised as women struck him on the head with a sharp object while he was sleeping in his tent last night," said a media source close to local officials in charge of the camp.

The youth, Mohammad Shehadeh Hamada, was critically injured in the initial attack and then taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Hasakah, where he died Thursday morning of his wounds.

According to comments made by officials in the camp administration, Hamada was killed for not accepting the extremist ideology adopted by the Islamic State, thought to be shared by a large portion of the camp's inhabitants.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that a 14-year-old girl at al-Hol Camp was killed after her neck was broken while being beaten and strangled. Shortly before the attack, the girl, who had previously lived under Islamic State rule, had apparently angered other camp residents because "she suggested dispensing with her black niqab, the face covering worn by ultraconservative Muslim women."

There are also other suspected such killings, including the recent death of a pregnant Indonesian national. The Post wrote that she "was murdered, medical officials say, apparently after speaking to a Western media organization. Images of her body suggest she might have been whipped."

The was built to house 40,000 individuals but currently holds over 72,000, mostly women and children. Among them are roughly 30,000 Iraqis. It witnessed a sharp increase in numbers of residents as the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an offensive to defeat the Islamic State in its last bastion of Baghouz, which ended in March.

There is little agreement on what to do with the camp's residents. Many nations, notably European Union member states, have shown great reluctance to take back their own nationals now at the camp because of fears that they would pose a security threat.

The local self-administration has called on countries to take back their citizens and said that it is ready to facilitate the transit of women and children to their home countries.

"The administration and the Syrian people demand of the states from which these ISIS fighters belong, more than 50 nationalities in all, to judge them according to their constitutions," one official told Kurdistan 24 in April.



Iraqi forces kill 5 IS militants in Salahudin province

Sep 5, 2019

BAGHDAD, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi forces on Thursday killed five Islamic State (IS) militants in an operation and an airstrike in the central province of Salahudin, a military statement and a police source said.

Acting on intelligence reports, the ninth brigade of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, backed by the Iraq army's helicopter gunships, carried out an operation near the town of al-Dour in southeast of the provincial capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, the Hashd Shaabi said in a statement.

The Hashd Shaabi force clashed with IS extremist militants and killed three of them, while a helicopter gunship pounded an IS hideout and killed two more inside, the statement added.

Mohammed al-Bazi from Salahudin's provincial police said that Thursday's operation came hours after the Hashd Shaabi's ninth brigade came under heavy gunfire on Wednesday evening, while they were conducting a search operation near the town of al-Dour.

The heavy gunfire forced the Hashd Shaabi force to call off their evening operation and withdrew from the scene after two of the brigade's members were wounded and another went missing, al-Bazi told Xinhua.

Early on Thursday, a joint force from Hashd Shaabi's ninth brigade and the Iraqi army cordoned off the area and launched a search campaign looking for the missing Hashd Shaabi member, al-Bazi added.

The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.

Full report at:



Security Media Cell announce seizing 3 car bombs in Nineveh

by Loaa Adel

Sep 5, 2019

Nineveh (IraqiNews) The security media cell announced on Thursday, seizing three car bombs in different areas of Nineveh, while pointed out that the car bombs were detonated on site.

In a press statement, the Cell reported that based on accurate intelligence information, joint forces from the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division and al-Hashd al-Ashaeri, managed to seize three booby-trapped vehicles, southwest of Lake Sinisla and southeast of Munayef Mount.

“It was treated and detonated without inflicting any losses,” the cell further added.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Full report at:



Hezbollah and Israel have stepped back from the brink this time but the trajectory is deeply troubling

Elizabeth Tsurkov

Sep 5, 2019

After a week of violence between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, tensions have simmered down. The situation was quite different last Sunday, when hundreds of cars packed with terrified civilians fleeing southern Lebanon created traffic jams as they fled north after a volley of tit-for-tat strikes. After being hit by a series of drone and airstrikes, which killed two fighters and damaged its media centre, Hezbollah launched a retaliatory strike from southern Lebanon against Israeli army targets in the village of Avivim. Israel responded with artillery strikes on southern Lebanon. Yet despite the prospect of an all-out war between these two well-armed adversaries increasing in recent months, the balance of mutual fear and aggression inflicted by both sides has reduced the immediate likelihood of real conflict.

The latest escalation followed a wave of attacks attributed to Israel against Iran’s non-state allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Israeli’s increasingly aggressive posture against the network of Iran-aligned militias is trying to reverse, or at least stymie, some of the gains made by Tehran and its proxies in recent years. While the popularity of Iran and Hezbollah suffered from their involvement in the Syrian war on the side of the Assad regime, Iran’s influence in the Levant has grown significantly since 2011. International negotiations with Iran during the Obama administration focused on curbing its nuclear programme, with its regional ambitions largely going unchecked. The Trump administration, for all its belligerent statements, has not done much to counter Iran’s growing clout in the region.

Israel’s more confrontational approach and the fiery war of words between officials and Hezbollah raised concerns about the prospect of renewed conflict. Following an Israeli attack on Hezbollah foreign fighters in Syria, the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah made an unusually frenzied speech a fortnight ago, threatening that from then on, Israel’s drone flights over Lebanese airspace would no longer be tolerated and that the devices would be shot down by Hezbollah. Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant responded by threatening to “return Lebanon to the stone age”, echoing previous rhetoric from other Israeli officials.

The bellicose exchanges have fuelled fear among Lebanese and Israelis of a repeat of the trauma of the last war in 2006, which was enormously devastating to Lebanon, particularly in the south. Most of the 1,000-plus people killed in Lebanon were civilians. Israel suffered significantly fewer losses. However, the low public tolerance for casualties and inability to definitively defeat Hezbollah on the battlefield left Israelis aggrieved and contributed to the downfall of then prime minister Ehud Olmert, who led Israel into the conflict.

Despite the recent fiery rhetoric, officials from both Hezbollah and Israel have been at pains to calm down tensions. In an August 31 speech, Mr Nasrallah walked back his vow a week earlier to shoot down Israeli drones, which continue to hover over Lebanon. Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem, said the group would retaliate against an attack from Israel but not aim to start a wider conflagration. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned his ministers from passing judgment on the exchange of fire after Mr Galant’s comment.

Other signs point to efforts on both sides to avoid war. Hezbollah’s retaliation against the Israeli strikes on its fighters in Syria, in the form of a cross-border attack against military targets and not civilians, is one such indication. Israel’s decision to significantly reduce the presence of soldiers along the border with Lebanon and replace them with mannequins in uniform was intended primarily as a deterrent and to avoid loss of civilian lives. However, by using this tactic, which appeared to ensure no soldiers were harmed in the Hezbollah attack, the Israeli Defence Forces also guaranteed there would be no pressure on government from the Israeli public to retaliate further. The Israeli counter-shelling following the Hezbollah attack largely pounded empty fields near Maroun Al Ras in southern Lebanon, to the bemusement of anchors on Hezbollah’s TV station.

Both sides are trying to avoid conflict because they know another war would be devastating. Hezbollah now holds an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets and missiles that could hit any point inside Israel. This means that a strategy employed in previous conflicts to reduce the number of casualties in Israel, namely mass flight from the north to the south, would be less effective. In addition, Hezbollah now has dozens of precision-guided missiles that could hit strategic targets. Hezbollah fighters have also gained significant combat experience from the battlefields of Syria.

On the other side of the balance of power is the IDF, which has vowed that in the next war with Hezbollah, it would pursue the 2006 “Dahiya doctrine” of indiscriminate destruction of infrastructure and disproportionate force against communities thought to be supporting Hezbollah across the country. The IDF’s chief of staff said under the doctrine, nowhere would be considered safe and every village and neighbourhood would be treated as a military base.

A future war could also entangle war-weary Syrians, as Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been increasing their presence and military recruitment across the country since 2012. Tehran is unlikely to be paying the salaries of tens of thousands of Syrian fighters to then let them simply sit out the next war.

More immediate concerns on both sides are limiting the prospect of war in the short-term. Hezbollah is still occupied in Syria, where its forces are stationed across the country, recruiting locals, establishing new bases and manning frontlines in the southern and western Aleppo countryside.

In Israel, this month’s election, the second this year, also reduces the likelihood of war. Israeli officials have long vowed to destroy Hamas and Hezbollah militarily, and the Israeli public hopes and expects that they would follow through with that threat in the next conflict. The 2014 ceasefire in Gaza and 2006 end of hostilities in Lebanon were unpopular in Israel as the fighting ended before that goal was achieved. Israeli officials, however, know that destroying both Iranian proxies cannot be achieved without an immense cost and would most likely entail a bid to occupy Lebanon and Gaza and maintain a continuous military presence there, amid a hostile population that would undoubtedly rebel in an insurgency. It is therefore in Israel’s interests to delay any combat with the two militias.

Warfare would be damaging to whoever is in power in Israel. It will result in large-scale destruction while failing to achieve that goal with limited civilian and military casualties. Mr Netanyahu has no reason to rattle the cage. He is currently projected to win the election and continue as prime minister, whether he forms a right-wing government or is forced into a unity government with his former ally Avigdor Liberman.

All these factors decrease the likelihood of war in the short and medium term but the overall trajectory is troubling. Israel and Iran are diametrically opposed to one another and perceive the actions of their adversary as aggressive, while regarding their own as defensive. Iran is determined to continue expanding its influence in the region. Israel, for its part, is resolute in stopping this expansion. We should expect future skirmishes between the two sides, increasing the likelihood of unwanted deterioration to an all-out war.

Full report at:



Pompeo Asks Lebanon to Dismantle Hezbollah’s Missile Factory

6 September, 2019

Despite exchanges of reassurances by Hezbollah and the Israeli government that they were not seeking war, the Israeli army announced the transfer of Patriot missile batteries to bolster its air defenses and maintained a partial state of alert. Its former chief of staff, Dan Halutz, said the situation was tense on the border and could explode at every moment.

The biggest problem is the intransigence on both sides, according to Halutz, who led the Israeli army during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. He noted that Israel would not allow Hezbollah to develop and modernize old Iranian missiles in its possession, while Hezbollah – backed by Iran - insisted on possessing deterrent weapons against Israel.

“This insistence could certainly lead to war, unless one of the parties concedes, sooner or later,” he warned.

Israeli sources revealed on Thursday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a warning letter to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, urging him to dismantle a second factory set up by Hezbollah in the Bekaa to develop and modernize the missiles before Israel attacks it.

The US message was not conveyed by regular diplomatic means through the US Embassy in Beirut, but was transferred directly to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who is known for his close ties to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Pompeo told Bassil that Israel had intelligence information about a second missile production plant set up by Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. “Lebanon should immediately dismantle the second factory, otherwise Israel will attack and destroy it in the coming days,” he said, clearly admitting that the US would support the Israeli attack on Lebanon.

The sources said that this issue was raised during Netanyahu’s meetings in London on Thursday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper. They revealed that the Israeli premier was accompanied by the air force commander, who informed the British and US officials of the Israeli plans for the coming days in Lebanon.

On Wednesday evening, the Israeli army announced the deployment of air defense systems in several centers in northern Israel, including the US-made Patriot system, the Iron Dome, and others.

Full report at:



Six suspected militants killed in Egypt

September 05, 2019

CAIRO: Six suspected extremists were killed on Thursday in a shootout with police near the Bahariya oasis southwest of the Egyptian capital, the interior ministry said.

Police carried out a dawn raid against “terrorist elements” in a desert area near Bahariya, roughly 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of Cairo, the ministry said in a statement.

A shootout led to the death of six suspects, the ministry said, adding that a number of hunting rifles and four assault rifles were found at the site.

Militants have launched several attacks in the vast desert area west of the Nile.

In November 2018, a Daesh attack killed six Copts and an Anglican after they left the Saint Samuel monastery west of the Nile in Minya province.

Daesh carried out another attack nearby in May 2017, killing 29 Coptic pilgrims, many of them children.

Tourists have also been killed in attacks, but the violence has mostly targeted police and soldiers.

Hundreds of security personnel have died in an escalation of attacks since the military overthrow of president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.

The ouster was led by then-army-chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who became president following 2014 polls before securing an official 97 percent of the vote in elections last year.

Full report at:



ISIL's Senior Portuguese Commander Captured in Northern Syria

Sep 06, 2019

Xeber 24 news website reported that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have found and arrested Niru Sariva who was ISIL's Portuguese commander in the city of Baghouz in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

It noted that Sariva was the commander of ISIL's foreign militants battalion and was in charge of abducting and executing Westerners in Syria.

The 33-year-old Sariva who had been residing in London before joining the ISIL was also one of the most important elements of the ISIL in exercising the terrorist group's forced recruitment plans.

In a relevant development last week, a notorious Belgian member of the ISIL terrorist group who had executed over 100 people in the city of Raqqa was captured in the same city on Saturday.

The Arabic-language website of Russia Today cited Belgian De Morgen newspaper as reporting that the SDF arrested Anwar Hadoushi nom de guerre Abu Soleiman al-Belgiki and known as ISIL's executioner was captured in Raqqa.

The newspaper said 35-year-old Abu Soleiman has decapitated over 100 people in Raqqa.

Full report at:



Any aggression against Lebanon will be met with legitimate self-defense, President Aoun says

Sep 6, 2019

President Michel Aoun says Lebanon has a legitimate right to fight off any act of aggression threatening its territorial integrity, warning that the Israeli regime will bear all the consequences in such a case.

“Any aggression against Lebanon and the safety of its territories will be met with legitimate self-defense and Israel will bear all its consequences,” Aoun told United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Baabda on Friday.

Aoun also emphasized Lebanon’s adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the war of aggression Israel launched against Lebanon in the summer 2006.

The Lebanese president pointed to the recent Israeli drone strikes on Beirut’s southern suburbs, saying the "rules of engagement" had been violated. He said the strikes flouted Resolution 1701.

Aoun later hailed the efforts made by Kubis and the UN secretary general in addition to “brotherly and friendly countries for extending the mandate of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) forces operating in South Lebanon without modification in their tasks.”

The Lebanese army, he said, is fully carrying out its duties regarding decisions made by the Beirut government and the Higher Defense Council.

Kubis, for his part, briefed Aoun on the deliberations concerning the extension of UNIFIL's term and the positions of the Security Council members, plus the role that UNIFIL played to maintain stability in the aftermath of recent events on the border between southern Lebanon and the Israeli occupied territories.

Separately, the UN official held a meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Kubis briefed him on the situation in southern Lebanon in light of recent field developments.

Berri stated that Israel is the only party that should be asked about violations of Resolution 1701, emphasizing that Lebanon stands committed to the deal.

On Sunday, Hezbollah fired a number of anti-tank missiles at an Israeli army base and vehicles near the border in response to an Israeli air raid last week that killed two of its fighters in Syria, as well as an Israeli drone attack on southern Beirut.

According to the Lebanese resistance movement, the missiles launched from Lebanon destroyed an armored personnel carrier in Avivim in northern Israel, killing or wounding those on board. The Israeli military, however, alleged the attack did not lead to any casualties. It said it fired 100 shells inside Lebanon in return.

Israel denied that the Hezbollah operation had caused casualties, but photos of Israeli soldiers transporting injured people later spread on social media.

The Arabic-language al-Manar satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah later aired footage of the attack, documenting its operation.

On August 26, Hezbollah said Israel had sent two drones into Lebanon on a bombing mission.

According to the resistance movement, the first drone had fallen on a building housing Hezbollah’s media office in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahieh. The second drone, which appeared to have been sent by Israel to search for the first one, had crashed in an empty plot nearby after being detonated in the air, it added.

Full report at:



Saudi court acquits defendants in deadly Grand Mosque’s crane fall case

Sep 6, 2019

A court in Saudi Arabia has dropped all charges against defendants being persecuted over a crane collapse onto the Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque) in Mecca nearly four years ago, where more than a hundred worshippers were killed.

On Thursday, the Criminal Court in Mecca ordered the dismissal of the case against construction conglomerate Saudi Binladin Group, asserting that the trawler crane had been installed in a correct and safe position, and that none of the defendants were found to be negligent, Arabic-language al-Madina newspaper reported.

The court further claimed that the defendants had taken all the necessary precautions, holding stormy winds solely responsible for the collapse of the crane.

The judge alleged that the findings have been corroborated by meteorological reports, Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company Saudi Aramco, a relevant government committee, the public prosecution as well as technical and engineering reports compiled by specialized international centers.

On September 11, 2015, at least 111 people lost their lives and 394 others sustained injuries when a huge crane collapsed into a part of the Grand Mosque in the lead-up to the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The site was filled with worshippers for Friday prayers at the time.

General Suleiman al-Amr, director general of Saudi Arabia's Civil Defense Authority, told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television news network at the time that strong winds and heavy rains had caused the collapse.

Saudi Binladin Group is run by the Bin Laden family, which has close ties with Saudi Arabia's ruling family. Known as the second largest construction company in the world after French firm Vinci Construction, the Jeddah-based conglomerate was founded in 1931 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Laden, the father of al-Qaeda’s slain leader Osama bin Laden. In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden was purportedly disowned by the family.

Full report at:





Iran Executes 38 People In August - Report

September 06, 2019

A Norway-based Iranian human rights organization reports that 38 people were executed in Iran in August, double the rate in the same period last year.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) says based on information it has collected 32 of those executed were convicted of first-degree murder, six were hanged for major narcotics and drug trafficking convictions.

Two prisoners were executed on charges of “Moharebeh”, which in Islamic law means “waging war against God”. The Islamic Republic uses this serious accusation against those who question the basis of the Islamic political system or the legitimacy of clerical rule in Iran.

Two executions took place in public while the rest were carried out in various prisons around the country.

Official figures released by the Islamic Republic acknowledge only 13 execution, while human rights monitors reported an additional 25 cases.

Meanwhile, IHR reports that a juvenile offender may be executed soon, according to his family. Mehdi Khazaeian has been convicted of an alleged murder he committed when he was 16 years old. He is now 20.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has ratified, clearly bans execution and life imprisonment of juveniles. Iran and China have the highest rate of executions in the world.

According to IHR, since the beginning of 2019 at least two Juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran.



Report: Top US Official in Talks With Houthi Rebels in Bid to End Yemen War Report

September 5, 2019

A senior U.S. diplomatic official reportedly said Thursday the U.S. is negotiating with the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels an in effort to end the Yemeni Civil War.

"We are narrowly focused on trying to end the war in Yemen," David Schenker, assistant secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, told reporters during a visit to Saudi Arabia, according to Agence France-Presse. "We are also having talks to the extent possible with the Houthis to try and find a mutually accepted negotiated solution to the conflict."

A U.S. State Department official told VOA Thursday the U.S. is engaged in talks with "all Yemenis to further U.S. objectives in the country."

The official said the United States is continuing "to work with our international partners to bring peace, prosperity and security to a unified Yemen" and is "focused on supporting a comprehensive political agreement that will end the conflict and the dire humanitarian situation."

The Houthis launched an offensive against the Yemeni government in 2015, followed by a Saudi-led military intervention against the rebels, leading to a more complex conflict.

Three months after the beginning of the Saudi military campaign, former U.S. President Barack Obama's administration held brief talks with Houthi leaders to convince them to attend U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

The Geneva talks and subsequent rounds of negotiations were unsuccessful, pushing the impoverished country to the brink of famine.

Full report at:



Iran 'inching' toward place where talks could be held: Pentagon chief

Idrees Ali


LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that it appeared Iran was inching toward a place where talks could be held, days after U.S. President Donald Trump left the door open to a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Friction between the two countries has deepened since Trump last year withdrew from a 2015 international accord under which Iran had agreed to rein in its atomic program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Washington has renewed and intensified its sanctions, slashing Iran’s crude oil sales by more than 80%.

“It seems in some ways that Iran is inching toward that place where we could have talks and hopefully it’ll play out that way,” Esper said at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank in London.

Asked at a press conference later what he was basing his comments on, Esper said it was “in light of some of the comments made by the Iranians in the wake of the G7.”

He added: “‘Inching’ is subtle movements and I think that’s a good thing.”

Iran’s foreign minister visited France briefly for side talks during the G7 summit of industrialized nations last month, although he did not meet Trump.

There was no sign of any softening in Iran’s position on Friday, with Revolutionary Guards chief Hossein Salami saying “Iran will never negotiate with America, which is our enemy’s (U.S.) main goal and no one will help the enemy to achieve its goal”, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.


However Rouhani on Sept 3 said that while Iran would never hold bilateral talks with Washington, it could join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to the accord if Washington lifted all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran.

The following day Rouhani gave European powers two more months to try to save the multilateral pact.

At the same time Washington has rebuffed, but not ruled out, a French plan to give Tehran a $15 billion credit line.

Trump on Wednesday left open the possibility of a meeting with Rouhani at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Asked about the prospect, Trump told White House reporters anything was possible. “Sure, anything’s possible. They would like to be able to solve their problem,” he said, referring to inflation in Iran. “We could solve it in 24 hours.”

The moves have suggested Iran, the United States and European powers may be leaving the door open for diplomacy to resolve a dispute over Iran’s nuclear work, which the West has suspected was aimed at developing a nuclear weapon, even as they largely stuck to entrenched positions.

Iran denies ever having sought a nuclear bomb.

At the press conference with Esper, British defense minister Ben Wallace said Britain will always help the United States along a path to talks with Iran if a deal can be made, but Iran should be judged by its actions rather than words.

A senior U.S. defense official said Esper and his French counterpart will discuss on Saturday how France’s navy could coordinate with Washington to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran said on Friday it had taken a step to further downgrade its commitments to the 2015 deal with the world’s most powerful nations, according to Iranian media, in retaliation for U.S. sanctions reimposed on Tehran.

“We continue to believe that we need to be enforcing our sanctions to the maximum extent possible,” the U.S. official said when asked about Iran’s decision to start developing centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment.

Full report at:



‘End charade, dismantle Iran nuclear deal completely,’ says Sen.Ted Cruz

6 September 2019

Ted Cruz, Republican Senator from Texas, said that “it’s time to end the charade and dismantle the Iran nuclear deal completely.”

Senator Cruz issued the statement on Friday in response to reports that Iran will expand violation of the Obama-era nuclear deal by building prohibited centrifuges in which he noted: “Unfortunately, the international community seems loathe to respond. The deal was built to enable undetected Iranian cheating while incentivizing Europe to ignore whatever violations were found, and that’s exactly what happened.”

“The Nuclear Archives seized by Israel show that the Ayatollahs have always been cheating by secretly maintaining a warehouse filled with nuclear equipment and radioactive material. Just this week we learned Iran is refusing to answer the United Nation’s questions about that warehouse,” he added.

Senator Cruz said President Trump should order his administration “to stop issuing civil nuclear waivers, which allow Iran to build up its nuclear program, including at their Fordow nuclear bunker, which they dug out of the side of a mountain to build nuclear weapons.”

Senator Cruz also urged Washington to go to the United Nations and “invoke our unilateral right to snap back from the deal and re-impose United Nations sanctions.”

Full report at:



Nuclear watchdog chief to meet top Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday

6 September 2019

The acting chief of the UN nuclear watchdog policing Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, Cornel Feruta, will meet senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday.

“The visit is part of ongoing interactions between the IAEA and Iran,” the spokesman said.

The trip comes before a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors next week and after an IAEA report suggested Iran’s cooperation with the agency was less than ideal, saying: “Ongoing interactions between the Agency and Iran ... require full and timely cooperation by Iran. The Agency continues to pursue this objective with Iran.”



Turkish-US land patrols in Syria to start on September 8

6 September 2019

Joint military land patrols by Turkish and US forces in northeast Syria are planned to start on September 8, state-owned Anadolu news agency quoted Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying on Friday.

The two NATO allies are working to establish what Turkey says will be a “safe zone” along the border in northeast Syria - a region mainly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces - and have conducted multiple joint helicopter patrols over the area.



Iran takes further step to scale back nuclear commitments

6 September 2019

Iran said on Friday it had taken a step to further downgrade its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with the world’s most powerful nations, according to Iranian media, in retaliation to US sanctions reimposed on Tehran.

Iran said on Wednesday it would begin developing centrifuges to speed up the enrichment of uranium, which can produce fuel for power plants or for atomic bombs. Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

“Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, in a letter to EU (European Union) policy chief (Federica Mogherini) announced that Iran has lifted all limitations on its (nuclear) Research and Development (R&D) activities,” Iran’s Students News Agency ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

Under the deal, Iran is allowed limited research and development on advanced centrifuges, which accelerate the production of fissile material that can be used to make a nuclear bomb. Iran also agreed to limitations on specific research and development activities for eight years.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal last year, arguing it did not go far enough, and reimposed sanctions that has slashed Iran’s crude oil sales by more than 80%.

Iran has responded by scaling back its nuclear commitments since May and has threatened to continue removing restraints on its nuclear program unless European parties to the pact did more to shield Iran’s economy from the US penalties.

Britain and France, both parties to the pact, have called on Iran to refrain from any concrete action that does not comply with the agreement.

State TV said Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization would unveil on Saturday details of Tehran’s new step, which President Hassan Rouhani will accelerate Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has said that it still aims to save the agreement and on Wednesday gave Europe a new 60-day deadline to salvage the pact, reached under former US President Barack Obama, which curbed Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of most sanctions in 2016.

Full report at:



Saudi air defenses destroy ballistic missile fired fom Yemen: Arab Coalition

6 September 2019

Saudi air defenses destroyed on Friday a ballistic missile fired by militias from Yemen towards Najran, according to the Arab Coalition.

“The Houthi terrorist militia fired a ballistic missile from the Harf Sufyan district in Amran province which fell inside Saada province,” the Arab Coalition said in a statement.

The attack comes the day after a similar Houthi missile attack was intercepted and destroyed by the Royal Saudi Air Defense on.

Saudi Arabia rejected on Thursday the recent escalation in Yemen and repeated its call for dialogue.

In a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Kingdom called for the conflicting parties in Yemen to take part in the ongoing dialogue in Jeddah immediately.

The Saudi city of Jeddah is currently hosting indirect talks between Yemen’s government officials and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) to end fighting in Aden and other southern provinces.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the Houthi militia captured the capital Sanaa and much of the country in 2014.

Full report at:



Israeli forces kill two Palestinian teens in Gaza

Sep 6, 2019

At least two Palestinians have been killed and scores of others injured by Israeli forces during protests against the occupation of Palestinian territories in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Gazan Health Ministry said that a 17-year-old boy identified as Ali Sami Ali al-Ashqar was killed in the northern part of Gaza on Friday.

According to the report, another boy, 14, was killed east of Gaza City. His identity was not immediately known.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the ministry, added that Israeli forces injured 76 others, noting that 46 of them were wounded by live ammunition.

Palestinians have been holding weekly rallies in Gaza since last year to protest the siege on the enclave and stress the right to return of the Palestinians who have been externally displaced by Israeli aggression since 1948.

At least 307 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since the anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 18,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

In March, a United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission found that Israeli forces committed rights violations during their crackdown against the Palestinian protesters in Gaza that may amount to war crimes.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.

Full report at:



Saudi Arabia says UAE-backed separatists in Yemen threaten kingdom

Sep 6, 2019

Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly-worded warning to separatists in southern Yemen, saying that any “destabilizing” move by the UAE-backed militants in Aden amounts to a threat to the kingdom’s security.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday that Riyadh had issued the stern warning to its allied militants in south of Yemen as a rift in the Saudi-led coalition waging a war on the impoverished Arab country continues to deepen.

"The kingdom stresses that any attempt to destabilize Yemen is a threat to its security and stability... and will be dealt with decisively," the statement said.

It further urged the southern separatists to return all captured facilities to forces loyal to Saudi-allied ex-Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

“The Kingdom stresses the necessity of handing over military bases as well as government and civilian buildings to the legitimate government,” it said.

Riyadh has called for a summit meeting in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to heal the rift. 

Hadi's side has said it would not participate in a summit unless the separatist Southern Transitional Council hands back Aden.

“We will not sit with the so-called STC at the table,” the self-proclaimed interior minister of the former government, Ahmed al-Mayssari, said on Wednesday.

“If there must be dialogue it should be with the UAE ... it is the main party behind this conflict between us and the STC is only a political tool in their hands," he said.

Last week, Emirati warplanes pounded the positions of pro-Hadi forces in support of southern separatists, killing and injuring more than 300 troops in Aden and nearby Abyan province.

Both the UAE-sponsored separatists and the Saudi-backed pro-Hadi militants serve the Riyadh-led coalition and have been engaged, since 2015, in a bloody war on Yemen aimed at reinstating Hadi and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.

The former president resigned in 2014 and later fled to the Saudi capital.

Ties between the two sides have soured over a number of issues, including what the Yemenis view as Abu Dhabi’s intention to occupy Yemen’s strategic Socotra Island and gain dominance over the major waterways in the region.

The coalition has been struggling to defeat the popular Houthi movement since 2015 but has so far failed to do so.

According to reports, the United States has reached out to the Houthis to work out a way to the ongoing conflict in the Arab country, where the popular movement has managed to push back against the deadly aggression for over four years.

David Schenker, the Assistant US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that Washington had contacted the Houthis for the first time since the beginning of the war.

Full report at:





Half of terror arrests are white for first time amid rise in far-right extremist threat

Charles Hymas


Almost half of the suspected terrorists arrested last year were white amid an increasing threat from right-wing extremism.

Home Office figures showed the number of white ethnics arrested for terrorist activity was 118, compared with 92 of those with an Asian ethnic appearance.

The proportion of whites rose to 45 per cent of all terrorist-related arrests for the year ending June 2019, up from 38 per cent in the previous year. The proportion of Asians fell below 35 per cent.

Experts said some of the white suspects would be Muslim converts though the majority would be far right extremists with the increased number also reflecting counter-terror commanders’ growing focus on the threat.



Persecuted Yazidis Find Sanctuary in Australia

By Phil Mercer

September 6, 2019

WAGGA WAGGA, Australia — After the horrors of fleeing to Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq to escape Islamic State fighters in 2014, several hundred Yazidi refugees are starting new lives in the Australian outback.

Members of the minority religious group have been resettled in a handful of regional centers, like Wagga Wagga, to relieve pressure on refugee services in Australia’s main cities.

Wagga Wagga is proud of its country roots. It is a farming and transport hub halfway between Sydney and Melbourne.

Yazidis settling in

Several hundred Yazidis are joining others here who fled persecution in Africa, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Layla explains how she fled to Sinjar Mountain.

“In Iraq, ISIS kill lots of men and kill the children. Very, very hard story for Yazidi in Iraq. The ISIS came. We go to the mountain. With my whole family we lived in [the] mountain. Not eat, not have any water, not eating. After five days by walk[ing] we go to Kurdistan,” she said.

Layla came to Australia with her husband and young child. Earlier this year, she was reunited with relatives she had to leave behind in Iraq.

“After my family all come to here, now it is easier for me here. I am very happy in Australia because my whole family [is] here. We [are] all safe in Australia. I love Australia,” she said.

The refugees have hope for the future.

“I am Shahab and I am here about three months. [I] come from Iraq, directly from Iraq to Australia,” she said.

Shahab is a former university teacher who spent more than five years in a camp after fleeing Islamic militants.

“We are eight people and we live in the one tent, and also the tent was made by like nylon. So if it is a winter, it was very, very cold. If it is summer it is very hot," she said. "I want to be a university teacher, a good university teacher maybe in the future. My sister wants to be a doctor.”

A new life in the outback

Starting a new life in the suburbs of an outback city is not easy. Language is a problem, but there is a healthy dose of neighborly goodwill from Ian Lockwood, who lives nearby.

“Iraqi people moved in two doors from me and I went up and introduced myself because I noticed no people were going there, and I help and do whatever I can,” he said.

“People do not realize what these people have been through,” he continued. “If you spent a couple of weeks with them you’d find out. Very, very hard. Harsh. Because I didn’t realize all this stuff was going on.”

Belinda Crane is the head of the local Multicultural Council. She says refugees are mostly welcomed in Wagga Wagga, although there is occasional racism.

“I sort of say to families, you know, they said, you know, occasionally they might have someone yell out something to them in the car. But they don’t feel unsafe about that. They say it is few and far between but they have experienced people sort of going, you know, go back to where you come from or whatever,” Crane said.

Helping relatives back home

Several thousand refugees have helped to revitalize Wagga, a city of about 70,000 people.

Yazidis held a rally in Wagga urging Australia to help relatives stuck in camps back home. Haji Gundor, a 21-year-old refugee, is pleading for justice.

“Yazidi people had everything; money, food, house, family, so they want to live in Iraq but they want justice to stop what is happening to them,” Gundor said.

Life in Australia for Yazidis does come at a cost. For Adlan Osman and her 14-year-old son Aeham, there is guilt that they are safe, while others are not.

Osman said that Australia is good, but they worry about the people in Iraq a lot. “It makes it very difficult for us,” she said.

Full report at:



EU sets up tool for easier conviction of jihadist fighters as hundreds may return


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has set up a common counter-terrorism register, hoping to facilitate prosecutions and convictions of suspected militants and people returning home from fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, EU officials said on Thursday.

The move is partly aimed at addressing concerns about the fate of hundreds of EU citizens who fought for Islamic State and are now detained in Iraq and Syria. Many of them could return to Europe and not face trial because of a lack of evidence against them, a factor that has contributed to unease in several EU countries over returning fighters.

The new database will put together information from all the 28 EU countries on ongoing investigations, prosecutions and convictions of militants, facilitating cooperation among national prosecutors.

This is expected to help convict war criminals and other militants, who might otherwise face trials for a lesser crime or no trial at all because national investigations have failed to gather enough evidence against them.

Because of parallel investigations in different EU states, militants could face lighter punishments if probes are not coordinated as “nobody can be prosecuted for the same crime twice,” noted Ladislav Hamran, who chairs Eurojust, the EU agency that will manage the database and is in charge of coordinating judicial investigations among EU states.

The new tool could also help prevent new attacks in Europe, as prosecutors will have access to more information on suspects, Hamran told a news conference.

The continent was hit by several attacks in recent years, including two major ones in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels a few months later which killed dozens of people.

The register will gather information on jihadists, political extremists and all sorts of radical militants. But its immediate use is likely to concern returning foreign fighters.

The EU security commissioner Julian King told Reuters that at least 1,300 EU citizens, of which more than half are children, are held in Syria and Iraq.

National authorities have for years been reluctant to share information about prosecutions, although cross-border cooperation has increased after the Paris attacks, Eurojust data shows.

The EU anti-terrorist chief, Gilles de Kerchove, said the bloc was also trying to facilitate trials of suspects directly in Iraq.

The new register is open only to EU states. Britain is due to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 and King said that if it left without a withdrawal agreement, it would not be able to access information in that database.

Full report at:



Germany needs to ban Hezbollah, US Ambassador Grenell says

Sep 7, 2019

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Friday demanded the German government ban Hezbollah in its entirety, saying that the Lebanese paramilitary organization sponsors terrorism and anti-Semitism.

In an op-ed published in the German daily Die Welt, Grenell called Hezbollah Iran's "most-violent terrorist representatives," who have "murdered innocent people" for 37 years. It is not the first time Grenell has asked Germany to ban the organization.

The op-ed comes ahead of a scheduled visit by the mayor of Tehran, Pirouz Hanachi, to the German capital on Friday.

In 2013, the EU banned the military arm of Hezbollah. But in many EU countries, including Germany, the political section is recognized.

Great Britain and the Netherlands have banned Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, in line with the United States and Canada. Grenell emphasized that Hezbollah does not consider itself as being two separate entities.

"The EU maintains an artificial differentiation between the military and political arm of Hezbollah," he said.

Why recognize Hezbollah?

The German government has argued that recognizing Hezbollah as a legitimate part of Lebanon's government is necessary for political engagement with the Middle Eastern country.

Grenell has rejected this assertion and said the US, Great Britain and the Netherlands all have strong ties with Lebanon, despite having banned Hezbollah.

"Lebanon receives more development aid than any other country in the world. But at the same time, we remain true to our principles and classify Hezbollah as what it is: a terror organization."

It was unclear how Grenell established the value of US development aid since several countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Jordan, received more economic aid from the United States than Lebanon, according to 2017 figures from USAID.

The German Interior Ministry could ban Hezbollah domestically under similar measures used to ban foreign entities like the "Islamic State" or Al Qaeda, said Grenell.

Anti-Semitism in Germany

Grenell also argued that the group's tolerated presence in Germany allows it to recruit new members and solicit donations.

According to German government figures, there are currently an estimated 1,000 Hezbollah members in Germany. Groups affiliated with Hezbollah in Berlin are seen as a leading force behind annual anti-Israel Al-Quds demonstrations.

Read more: Germany's anti-Semitism debate raises its head at pro-Palestinian march in Berlin

Full report at:



Britain must repatriate Isis fighters, warns US defence secretary

6 Sep 2019

Britain and other European nations that are refusing to repatriate Islamic State fighters and put them on trial in their country of origin are creating a risk to regional security, the US defence secretary warned at the start of his visit to London.

Mark Esper said there were around 2,000 foreign fighters, many from Europe, held in north-east Syria, but asking the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to keep them in makeshift jails was an increasing risk to the fragile security of the region.

“It’s an untenable situation,” Esper said in a briefing on the first day of a two-day visit to London. “How long can this last? Our view has been they should repatriated and dealt with appropriately … otherwise that’s a risk to the region.”

Around 250 to 300 foreign fighters who are still in Syria are estimated to have come from the UK, but Britain is increasingly unwilling to allow any to return and stand trial following Isis’s defeat in Syria and Iraq.

Several have been stripped of their British citizenship, such as Jack Letts, who was raised in Oxfordshire by British and Canadian parents. He left home to join Isis five years ago, but has been held a prisoner in Syria for the past two years.

Esper, who is due to meet defence secretary Ben Wallace on Friday, said he was relaying a message from the US administration. “We are asking a lot of the folks that are holding them, the Kurds,” Esper added.

Two of the most notorious Isis fighters still being held in north East Syria, Londoners El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, are subject of an ongoing legal battle as to where they will be put on trial for murdering western hostages in Syria.

Wallace, in his previous role as security minister, said in 2018 that it was not possible to try them under UK law, and that they must instead be sent to the US. However, Washington is refusing to assure the UK that they would not face the death penalty there.

Elsheikh’s mother has brought a case to the supreme court asking that they be put on trial in the UK. Her lawyers argued in front of Britain’s highest court that there was enough evidence to bring them to the UK for trial.

The subject is a running sore between the United States, the UK and other European countries. Last month, president Donald Trump even bizarrely threatened to release Isis fighters “into the countries from which they came. Which is Germany and France and other places.”

Concerns have also been raised by the US that the conditions in which foreign fighters are held could radicalise them further, with some officials raising the prospect there could be a repeat of what happened in Iraq a decade ago.

Many of the men who ended up leading Isis, including its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, were detained at Camp Bucca, a US detention facility in Iraq, and are thought to have met there.

A total of 850 Britons are estimated to have travelled to join Isis in Syria and Iraq, joining the self-styled caliphate known for the brutal killing of hostages. A third of the combatants are estimated to have been killed, while another third are thought to have independently made it back home in the earlier stages of the conflict, where they remain under some degree of monitoring.

Esper is due to give a speech in London on Friday where he is expected to warn that “the rules-based order is increasingly under challenge from Russia and China”.

Full report at:



Britain will support US in Iran talks if deal can be made: UK Defense minister

6 September 2019

Britain will always help the United States along a path to talks with Iran if a deal can be made, British defense minister Ben Wallace said on Friday, although he cautioned that Iran should be judged by its actions rather than words.

“Actions speak louder than words, so I think we’ll take them [Iran] at their actions rather than their words,” Wallace said at a news conference in London with his US counterpart Mark Esper, who earlier said Iran was “inching” towards a place where talks could be held.

“But if there is a deal to be made, we will of course always help the United States along that path, because I think peace and stability in that region is the most important thing,” Wallace added.



Turkish court sentences opposition figure to nearly 10 years in jail

6 September 2019

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced a prominent opposition official to nine years and eight months in prison over several crimes including insulting the president and spreading terrorist propaganda, a lawmaker from the main opposition party said.

The Republican People's Party (CHP) said Canan Kaftancioglu, the head of its leadership in Istanbul, would not immediately go to jail pending the appeals process. The indictment against Kaftancioglu cited several tweets she shared between 2012 and 2017.

Kaftancioglu has derided the trial as political. In March the CHP won Ankara and Istanbul mayors’ offices in local elections in a setback for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

Erdogan has received backlash from human rights groups who criticize the arrests of those who oppose him.

In June Turkey ordered the arrest of 128 military personnel over alleged links to the network accused by Ankara of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016.

Full report at:



EU urges Iran to reverse inconsistency on nuclear deal

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet  


EU urged Iran on Friday to reverse inconsistencies with its commitments on the nuclear deal.

In a press briefing, EU's Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said they consider the recent announcement of Iran regarding reducing commitments under nuclear deal with "great concern".

EU's commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran, she added.

"We urge Iran to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with its commitments," Kocijancic stressed.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country would soon take a third step in reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal.

The nuclear deal agreed on by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. and the EU gave Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange of limiting its nuclear program.

Full report at:





Sedition Case Against, J&K People's Movement Functionary Shehla Rashid For Tweets About Kashmir Situation

Sep 7, 2019

NEW DELHI: Delhi Police's anti-terror unit has booked Jammu & Kashmir People's Movement party functionary Shehla Rashid for sedition in connection with her tweets allegedly spreading fake news about the situation in Kashmir.

The Indian Army had rebutted her tweets alleging torture of Kashmiris by security forces. Rashid is set to be questioned in the coming days and faces arrest if she can't provide evidence backing her claims, a senior police officer said on Friday.

Police have invoked Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC in the FIR, which was filed on September 3.

Rashid described the case against her as "frivolous", "politically motivated" and a "pathetic attempt" to silence her for speaking out on the clampdown in Kashmir.

Complainant says Shehla tried to incite violence

The case was registered on a complaint by a Supreme Court lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastav, who had submitted a compilation of her tweets and the subsequent denial by the Army.

Rashid had courted controversy with her claims that the armed forces "tortured" civilians and "ransacked" houses in the Valley after J&K's special status was revoked. In a series of tweets on August 17, Rashid had alleged that the armed forces entered houses in Kashmir at night and "ransacked" them.

She had also alleged that four men were called to an Army camp in Shopian and "interrogated (tortured)". She had claimed a mic was kept close to these men so that "the entire area could hear them scream, and be terrorised".

Later, Srivastav had filed a complaint with Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik, saying the allegations levelled by the former JNU student leader were "absolutely false and concocted". In his complaint, Srivastav had said Rashid's allegations were baseless as she had not produced any "voice recording" of the alleged torture or date and time of the incidents.

He also accused Rashid of "deliberately spreading fake news with the intention to incite violence in the country" and maligning the image of the Indian Army.

Her action is "prima facie an offence of sedition" since she intended to "excite disaffection towards the Government of India", Srivastav said in his complaint.

After Srivastav's complaint was received, it was handed over to Delhi Police's special cell for inquiry.



Concerned over J&K detentions… govt should hold polls at earliest: US

by Shubhajit Roy

September 7, 2019

A month after political leaders were detained and communication restrictions put in place in Jammu and Kashmir, the United States Friday expressed concern over the “widespread detentions” and “urged” Indian authorities to “respect human rights”.

Washington has also asked Indian authorities to “resume political engagement with local leaders” and hold “elections at the earliest”. This is the strongest statement by the Trump administration so far on the Centre’s move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. It comes after US President Donald Trump had said on August 26 that he had discussed the issue on August 25 over dinner and had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “really feels he has it under control”.

There was no official statement from New Delhi in response to the US State Department’s comments.

Responding to questions, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said: “We continue to be very concerned by widespread detentions, including of local political and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of the region. We are also concerned about reports that Internet and mobile phone access continues to be blocked in certain regions.”

“We urge authorities to respect human rights and restore access to services such as the Internet and mobile networks. We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of promised elections at the earliest opportunity.”

This is a clear evolution of the US administration’s position, especially weeks before the Prime Minister is scheduled to travel to the US for the UN General Assembly in New York.

Friday’s comments – released by the US embassy in Delhi – indicate that this approach is very different from the US position on August 6, when it had said that they “take note” that the Indian government has described these actions as strictly an internal matter. They had said that they were concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities.

Last month, on the sidelines of the G-7 meeting in Biarritz in France, Modi had said that all issues with Pakistan are bilateral and India doesn’t bother any other country about them. “India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and I’m confident that we can discuss our problems and solve them, together,” he said.

Trump had said: “We spoke last night about Kashmir, the Prime Minister really feels he has it under control. They speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good… I have a very good relationship with both the gentlemen (Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan) and I’m here. I think they can do it (resolve the issue) themselves.”

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said there was no discussion on J&K at the meeting between Modi and Trump that followed — their second in 2019, two months after they last met in Osaka on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Japan.

The discussions on Kashmir appear to have taken place at a dinner Sunday attended by the two leaders and hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Hotel du Palais.

Since August 5, when the Centre moved to scrap the special status granted to J&K under Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories, the US administration’s statements have been carefully crafted.

On August 5, Ortagus said, “We are concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities.” She also called on “all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control”. On August 8, the US said that it is “closely following” the situation and noted the broader implications of these developments, including the potential for increased instability in the region. The US said it supported “direct dialogue between India and Pakistan” and called “for calm and restraint”.

On August 19, three days after the UNSC informal consultations, Trump spoke with Modi and conveyed the importance of reducing tension in the region.

On August 20, US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper spoke to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and “appreciated India’s position that the recent developments in J&K are an internal matter of India”.

Full report at:



Kashmir on agenda during President Kovind’s visit, says Swiss government

Sep 07, 2019

President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia from Monday during which he is expected to brief the top leadership in those countries on India’s “national concerns”, especially in view of terror incidents this year, including the Pulwama attack.

Asked if President Kovind during his talks with the leaders there will also brief them on Kashmir, ministry of external affairs secretary (west) A Gitesh Sarma did not give a direct reply and said “when leaders meet, there is a structure in which regional, international, global, multilateral and issues of national concern” are discussed.

Ahead of the presidential visit, the Swiss government in a release said the situation in Kashmir will be among the issues that will be on the agenda during the meetings between the top leadership and Kovind.

Briefing reporters on the nine-day visit, Sarma said, “We always use these opportunities to brief each other. Just as we have issues, each of these countries have their own concerns. So this is a very good setting to hear it at the highest level what our perspective is and what is theirs. So, we will certainly use these opportunities as we can to acquaint them of our concerns.”

On J&K, these countries are very sympathetic to India with respect to the terror incidents earlier in this year, he said and added that they all understand that we all need to work together.

“This year also in the context of the Pulwama attack, their sympathies have been with India. Even though they have themselves not faced such challenges as we continue to face, they are nevertheless aware that they need to work closely with india,” he said. There is a very good understanding on most of these issues, he said.

Full report at:



Baby girl among four injured in terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla

Sep 07, 2019

A baby girl was among four members of a family injured on Saturday when terrorists attacked a house in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, police said.

“Terrorists fired and injured four persons including a baby girl ( Usma jan) at #Dangerpora #Sopore. All injured shifted to the hospital and stated to be stable. Police on spot and investigation in progress,” Kashmir police tweeted.

The Valley has been under a security lockdown since August 5, when the government announced the scrapping of Article 370 and divided that state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Though no major militant violence has been reported since, sporadic incidents have been taking place in some areas. On August 28, two members of a nomadic community were killed by terrorists in the higher reaches of Tral in south Kashmir after they were abducted from their temporary shelter earlier. Abdul Qadir Kohli from Jammu region’s Rajouri district, and his cousin Manzoor Ahmad Kohli were abducted on the intervening night of August 18 and 19 from Pulwama district’s Tral area by terrorists believed to be from the Jaish-e-Mohammed, police said.

Kashmir Zone Police


Terrorists fired and injured four persons including a baby girl ( Usma jan) at #Dangerpora #Sopore. All injured shifted to the hospital and stated to be stable. Police on spot and investigation in progress . @JmuKmrPolice @diprjk


8:27 AM - Sep 7, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

195 people are talking about this

While the bullet-riddled body of Abdul Qadir was found at Litchinag in the higher reaches of Tral on Monday, the body of Manzoor Kohli, who had set up his shelter at Sangri Khanmoh, was recovered from Tral’s Lachi Top Behak forest area on Tuesday, the officials said.

Full report at:



Child among four injured in terrorist attack in J&K's Baramulla

Sep 7, 2019

SRINAGAR: Four members of a family including a baby girl were injured on Saturday when terrorists attacked a house in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, police said.

"In a merciless act of terrorism, terrorists fired and injured four persons including a baby girl, Usma Jan, at Dangerpora village of Sopore," a police spokesman said.

The injured have been hospitalised and their condition is stated to be stable, he said.

"Police is on the spot and further investigation is in progress," the spokesman said.



Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in J&K's Poonch

Sep 7, 2019

JAMMU: The Pakistan army on Saturday targeted forward posts and villages in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district with firing from small arms and mortar shelling, ending nearly a week-long lull along the Line of Control (LoC) , a defence spokesman said.

The small arms firing and mortar shelling from across the border started in Krishna Ghati sector around 7.45 am, the spokesman said.

He said the Indian Army is retaliating and the cross-border shelling between the two sides was going on when last reports were received.

However, there was no report of any casualty on the Indian side in the firing, the spokesman said.

Full report at:



Ayodhya case in Supreme Court: How Sunni Waqf Board has left many confused

Prabhash K Dutta

September 6, 2019

There is a break today from the day-to-day hearing of the Ayodhya title suit in the Supreme Court as the Sunni Waqf Board had sought time to prepare its arguments better. The Supreme Court then closes for the weekend and for a "local holiday" on Monday and Muharram on Tuesday.

This means that hearing in the Ayodhya case will now resume on Wednesday next week after a gap of five days.

The break has come at a time when the counsel for the Sunni Waqf Board and M Siddiq, one of the original litigants, Rajeev Dhavan has left many confused about the arguments that he made in the Supreme Court for three days this week. We try here to break down his arguments under possible subheads.

Namaz at Babri Masjid

On Tuesday, Dhavan began his arguments in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suit and told the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the Muslims were not allowed to offer namaz at the mosque by the Hindus since 1934.

When Justice S Bobde asked Dhavan if any action was taken by the Muslim side over them being not allowed by the Hindu side to offer prayer, he said the Muslims had been offering prayer at the mosque on every Friday but not on other days.

Dhavan said the keys of the mosque were with the Muslims but the police did not let them offer namaz on other days. He said the mosque was locked after attachment in 1950 and thereafter police did not let Muslims enter it except on Fridays.

Deity as claimant

The same day, Rajeev Dhavan questioned the deity being a claimant in the Ayodhya title suit. He said the claim of deity as "swayambhoo" (sovereign) cannot be accepted. He went on to support the claim of the Nirmohi Akhara "to the extent" it opposes the claim of the deity.

Responding to Dhavan's arguments, Justice DY Chandrachud asked, "When a place assumes the character of a juridical person by virtue of birth of a deity or marriage of a deity, then wouldn't areas abutting the spot where the garlands were exchanged also become part of it?"

Dhavan said the juridical person of the deity is limited in nature. The extent of limit remained undefined.

Shebait right

On Wednesday, Dhavan told the Supreme Court that the Sunni Waqf Board agreed to "shebait" right of the Nirmohi Akhara. Shebait, literally meaning a devotee, refers to an entity - which could be a person, group or another body - entrusted with the management of affairs of the deity.

The stand left the bench a bit perplexed. "You do not dispute their shebaiti rights," the bench asked Dhavan, who replied saying, "No. I do not."

The bench then told Dhavan, "If you accept that Akahara as 'shebiat' then do you also accept that it was in possession of the outer courtyard." Dhavan contested saying Akhara's claim as shebait over the area known as Ram Chabutara may be fine but not as title holder of the land.

The Supreme Court bench remarked that by accepting Akahara's right as shebait, "you (the Muslim side) are necessarily giving up your claim over Ram Chabutara and Sita Rasoi of outer courtyardTherefore, the outer courtyard cannot be a mosque."

Dhavan replied saying, "Technically, your lordships can say that some portion may be given" to the Hindu side.

The bench reminded Dhavan that the Sunni Waqf Board in its pleadings in the lawsuit has claimed title over the entire disputed land.

Masjid-Mandir co-existence

As the arguments by Dhavan appeared to be adding to the existing confusion in the Ayodhya title dispute case, the bench asked him if a mosque and other place of worship coexist under the Quranic law.

Appearing for the Ram Janmbhoomi Punruddhar Samiti - a Hindu party, senior lawyer PN Mishra had earlier argued that under mosque and other religious place of worship cannot co-exist on the same plot under Quranic law.

Dhawan told the court that "the Quranic law as accepted by Indian law" will apply. He termed the disputed site of Ayodhya as "a composite site of worship" and cited the example of the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem to back his argument.

"Coexistence is fine, we may coexist. But I claim title of the whole mosque. If someone wishes to pray there, we have no problem with that, but what we claim is title," Dhavan told the Supreme Court.

Questioning witness

On Thursday, Dhavan questioned credibility of witnesses who supported the claim of the Nirmohi Akhara in the Allahabad High Court, which ruled to partition the disputed land among three parties - deity Ram Lalla and the Sunni Waqf Board being the other two - in 2010.

The bench saw contradiction in his stand and asked, "[Do] you still maintain that they (Nirmohi Akhara) have established their shebaiti (management) rights?"

If the shebaitship of the Nirmohi Akhara is accepted, then their evidence/witnesses will also be accepted, the bench remarked.

Belong and ownership

A little later, Dhavan extensively dealt with the terms, "belong", "belonging to" and "ownership" while referring to pleadings of Nirmohi Akhara. He said the Nirmohi Akhara by using terms -- belong and belonging to -- has sought ownership of the entire disputed site and idols there.

He cited dictionary and judgments to assert that there is a "contrast" between terms "belonging to" and "ownership". He said they ('belong' and 'belonging to' connote ownership with some flexibility.

At this point, the bench asked Dhavan as to why he was stressing on these terms if they were not part of law.

The bench surmised that if the Nirmohi Akhara says that it is a shebait, which is the manager and in service of the deity, to whom the land belongs then it may be construed that the land is owned by the deity and managed by the shebait.

The Supreme Court remarked that the Nirmohi Akhara's right as shebait does not exist without the deity and in that case, the shebait has the right to serve and protect the interest of the deity.

Full report at:



J&K: At least 4 injured, including a child, after militants open fire at civilians in Sopore

September 7, 2019

At least four persons, including a minor, were injured after militants opened fire at civilians in Dangerpora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore Saturday. The Jammu and Kashmir police, in a statement, said, “In a merciless act of terrorism. Terrorists fired and injured four persons including a baby girl (Usma Jan) at Dangerpora Sopore. All injured shifted to the hospital and stated to be stable. Police on spot and investigation in progress.”

In another incident, Pakistan violated ceasefire in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district, even as the Indian Army retaliated. Pakistan initiated firing and mortar shelling at 7:45 am on Saturday.

J&K Police


Merciless act of terrorism. …

Kashmir Zone Police


Terrorists fired and injured four persons including a baby girl ( Usma jan) at #Dangerpora #Sopore. All injured shifted to the hospital and stated to be stable. Police on spot and investigation in progress . @JmuKmrPolice @diprjk


9:09 AM - Sep 7, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

84 people are talking about this

This is a developing story. More details are awaited.



Shehla Rashid booked for sedition over tweets on Kashmir situation

September 7, 2019

Activist Shehla Rashid has been booked under sedition and other criminal charges for allegedly spreading misinformation about armed forces in Kashmir. The FIR has been registered on the basis of a complaint by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava.

On August 18, Rashid posted a series of tweets, out of which two have been mentioned by the complainant. The tweets alleged excesses by the forces against children and youths in the Valley.

In his complaint, Srivastava has said, “The allegations made by her are false, baseless and concocted. She has not provided any evidence of the torture…She is deliberately and intentionally spreading fake news with the intention to incite violence in the country and create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.” Srivastava said, “Shehla has maligned the image of the Indian Army. What I did was not out of politics.”

Police said the case has been transferred to the Special Cell. “We have received a complaint against the accused for spreading misinformation against the Army. We have registered a case and are probing the matter,” said Manishi Chandra, DCP (Special Cell). In a statement, Rashid said the FIR is “frivolous”, “politically motivated” and “an attempt to silence” her.

Full report at:



2001 hate speech case: Gujarat Police arrests SIMI ex-chief in Azamgarh

September 7, 2019

A TEAM of Gujarat Police arrested 49-year-old Dr Shahid Badr Falahi, former president of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), from his residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district Thursday, in connection with a case of alleged hate speech registered against him in Kutch district in 2001.

The Gujarat police produced Shahid Badr before a local court of Azamgarh that granted him interim bail and also directed him to appear before a court in Kutch by September 13. Falahi was released Friday evening after he completed legal formalities by depositing two sureties as directed by the court.

In 2001, the case against Shahid Badr was lodged at Bhuj police station in Kutch under IPC sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 143 (unlawful assembly), said the in-charge of Bhuj police station M N Chauhan, adding that a local court in 2002 had issued a warrant against him.

“A team of Gujarat Police had gone to Azamgarh to arrest Shahid Badr,” said Chauhan.

Station House Officer, City Kotwali police station, Anil Singh said the team reached Azamgarh on Thursday and arrested Shahid Badr from his residence in the evening. He was brought to the police station and on Friday morning produced before a local court, added Singh.

Shahid Badr’s lawyer Abdul Khaliq said, “Gujarat police had sought transit remand of my client and we objected on ground that charges levelled against Shahid Badr is a bailable offence. Shahid Badr was not aware about the case and why they did not execute the court for the past seven years.”

Shahid Badr, a unani doctor, is a resident of Manchuba locality in Azamgarh and used to run a clinic in the city.

“Shahid Badr’s lawyer raised an objection stating that charges on which he was booked was bailable offence. The court granted him interim bail and asked to deposit two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each. The court also directed him appear before a court in Gujrat by August 13. Till then, he would be under the watch of district police,” said government counsel, Azamgarh, Ved Prakash Verma.

“Shahid Badr has been asked to report to the police station daily till he has to go to Gujarat for appearance before a local court in the case,” said Abdul Khaliq.

When contacted, Shahid Badr Falahi told The Indian Express, “I had gone to Kutch in 2001 to address a meeting. I was not aware that a case was then filed against me. I got to know about it when police team reached my house Thursday.”

Full report at:





Pakistan: New Attacks Raise Fears Of A Taliban Return

September 05, 2019

Monawar Shah

Recent bomb attacks in a northwestern Pakistani district have raised fears about the possible return of the Taliban.

Residents of Bajaur are worried that two recent fatal bomb attacks might herald the reappearance of the Taliban, whose violence wreaked havoc in the region bordering Afghanistan more than a decade ago.

Since the beginning of the month, two prominent locals have been killed in attacks using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which was a signature tactic of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that controlled large swathes of Bajaur between 2006 and 2009.

Fazal Aleem Jan and Malik Gul Dad Khan were killed in IED attacks in different parts of Bajaur on September 3 and September 1, respectively. Both were members of the peace committees or anti-Taliban volunteer groups that played a prominent role in pushing the Taliban out of Bajaur.

Nisar Baaz, a local activist, says a string of attacks in recent months has worried residents.

“People are deeply concerned,” he told Radio Mashaal. “They are looking toward the security forces who have established pickets and check posts everywhere but appear unable to stop these attacks.”

Bilal Yasir, a local journalist, however, says the situation has improved markedly compared with a decade ago when the insurgency was at its peak.

“The IED attacks have caused fear among people, prompting tribal leaders to talk to the security forces,” he told Radio Mashaal. “The situation will hopefully improve soon.”

On September 5, Ghulam Muhammad Malik, a senior army commander in the region, told leaders of Bajaur’s Uthmankhel and Tarkhani Pashtun tribes that the security forces are determined to keep terrorists out of the district.

“A handful of anti-state elements are out to disturb the peace once again, but we would not let them enter the district,” he was quoted as saying by Pakistan’s English-language daily The News.

In January 2006, a reported U.S. air strike against Ayman Al-Zawahiri, then Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, in a remote Bajaur village brought the region to the fore as a militant hideout. By 2007, the Taliban had established control in parts of Bajaur.

A large military operation that began in August 2008 ultimately ousted the Taliban by the spring of 2009. Operation Sherdil, however, displaced more than 300,000 Pashtun civilians in Bajaur. Civilians also formed a large part of the estimated 4,000 casualties in the region.



Pak may introduce two categories for Sikh pilgrims seeking visas to visit Kartarpur: Media report

Sep 6, 2019

ISLAMBAD: Pakistan has decided to categorise Sikh pilgrims, seeking to visit Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur, into devotees from India and from the rest of the world, a media report said on Friday.

The Ministry of foreign affairs has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system for the Sikh pilgrims, applying to visit Kartarpur, the Dawn newspaper reported.

"The Ministry of foreign affairs has decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be entertained by the ministry; one would be for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world, while the other would be for Sikh pilgrims based in India," the report said.

An amendment in the policy to make room for the proposed steps will be sought by the foreign ministry from the Cabinet, it said.

However, all religious tourism visa requests for the Kartarpur pilgrimage will be processed within seven to 10 working days, the report said.

India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed on visa-free travel by Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib using the proposed Kartarpur Corridor but stopped short of finalising an agreement on the cross-border route.

Earlier, the two sides had agreed that Pakistan will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims to visit the gurdwara every day using the planned corridor, and the numbers could be more on special occasions.

But the two neighbours on Wednesday could not finalise the draft agreement on the corridor, with Pakistan insisting on charging a service fee from Indian pilgrims and not allowing protocol officials to accompany them.

Pakistan has suggested a fee of $20 per pilgrim for visiting the gurdwara. India said the amount was not an issue, but on auspicious occasions, no fee is charged for visiting any gurdwara in the world.

Full report at:



US tells Muslim bodies it backs direct Indo-Pak dialogue

September 07, 2019

A delegation of US Council of Muslim Organisations (USMCO) that met a senior State Department official dealing with Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue has been told that Washington backs direct talks between New Delhi and Islamabad on Kashmir.

"The US continues to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern -- a message stressed in Deputy Assistant Secretary Massinga's recent meeting with @USCMO leadership," the Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice G. Wells, tweeted on Friday. Erwin Massinga is in-charge of Pakistan Affairs within the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.



Islamic body concerned about polio cases in Pakistan, Afghanistan

Amin Ahmed

September 07, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamic Advisory Group (IAG) for Polio Eradication, at its meeting in Cairo, has expressed concern over the persistence of poliovirus circulation in pockets of missed children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting, the IAG says: “The persistence of polio cases in the two countries raises our concern for the children of those countries who have the right to be protected from this crippling disease just like other children around the world.”

The group called upon all parents to immunise their children against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases for the health of their community as guided by the teachings of Islam.

The meeting reaffirmed its commitment to global polio eradication efforts and reiterated its trust in the safety and effectiveness of the polio vaccine as a preventative and life-saving tool that protects children.

A senior official of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Mohammad Al-Austa, announced during the meeting that the bank had endorsed a new $100 million fund to support the polio programme in Pakistan, bringing the financial support provided by the bank and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to $427 million.

The IAG is an Islamic consortium that was established in 2013 between Al Azhar Al Sharif, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and IsDB, along with other religious scholars and technical experts.

The meeting was hosted by Dr Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, and co-chaired by Sheikh Dr Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid, President of the IIFA. Both reiterated the group’s ongoing support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and discussed progress and challenges faced by polio-endemic and at-risk countries in 2019.

Secretary General of the Islamic Research Institute, Dr Nazeer Mohamed Ayyad, said that polio eradication was one of the critical health issues on which the future of communities and countries was based. “Its importance is attributed to the fact that it shows the deep relationship between religion and science. Religious scholars realised early on the link between Shariah teachings and medicine, as both aim to serve humanity, fight disease and enhance the well-being of all people. Taking care of children, protecting them and enhancing their potential are among the main purposes of Islamic Shariah,” he said.

OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen praised the efforts of governments to address the continuing emergence of polio cases in endemic countries.

“Despite the achievements registered by the IAG, it is saddening to note that the refusal of parents to allow their children to receive the polio vaccine is still reported in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I wish to commend the Pakistan government for launching an emergency polio vaccination campaign to tackle polio resurgence. I also note with appreciation the efforts of the government to eradicate polio.”

Grand Mufti of Egypt Dr Shawky Allam emphasised the importance of solidarity among Islamic partners for the benefit of humanity.

“This IAG meeting, the harmony and cooperation between Islamic institutions prove that we are moving in the right direction to remove the obstacles that hinder the development of the Islamic nation; enabling it to be an active nation that contributes to human civilisation in a peaceful, civilised and positive way in the interest of all human beings, regardless of gender, race or religion,” he said.

Delivering a message from Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Rana Hajjeh, Director of Programme Manage­ment, said: “We stand at a historically critical juncture. Only for the second time, humankind is poised to completely eradicate a disease off the face of the Earth after smallpox.”

Full report at:



6 'IS militants' killed in security operation in Quetta: police

Syed Ali Shah

September 04, 2019

At least six militants were killed by security forces on Wednesday in an intelligence-based operation in Quetta's Eastern Bypass area.

Balochistan Inspector General of Police Mohsin Hassan Butt while confirming the development said that the suspects belonged to the militant Islamic State group.

During the operation, one official of the Balochistan Constabulary was martyred and eight others from the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) were injured, one of whom is said to be critical, the police chief said.

According to a Counter-terrorism Department (CTD) official, intelligence agencies along with ATF and CTD personnel conducted a raid early in the morning today during which an exchange of fire between the militants and security officials took place.

As a result of the operation that lasted nearly six hours, CTD recovered a large quantity of weapons and explosives from the militants.

According to IGP Butt, a female was among the militants killed. He said that their bodies have been shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for post-mortem examination.

Another security official, who declined to be named, said the dead militants were involved in a series of targeted killings and bomb explosions in Balochistan.

Following the operation, a large contingent of police and other security personnel was deployed to the compound where the raid took place.

Full report at:



Kashmiri leader booked for ‘maligning’ Indian army

Sep 7, 2019

Indian police registered a First Information Report (FIR) on Friday against Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) leader Shehla Rashid for encouraging people to rise against the Indian Army.

Shehla Rashid, since early August, has been raising her voice against the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces in the occupied valley and abrogation of section 370 by the Indian government.

She is very active on social media platforms and shares fresh picture, videos and stories received from Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).

In these pieces and visuals, one can clearly see the abuse of human rights and brutalities being committed by the Indian army in the valley.

As per her stories, Indian forces are kidnapping men, raiding their houses and torturing them.

“All these human rights abuses are being carried out to serve the agenda of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian PM Modi,” she said.

The FIR against Rashid comes when several other Kashmiri leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehmooba Mufti, are under house arrest. Srinagar mayor Junaid Mattu is under detention too.

Shehla Rashid شہلا رشید


In which I highlight the grave humanitarian crisis that we're faced with - undocumented arrests of thousands of people. I also highlight the need to stop blaming Pakistan for a homegrown mess. Let's not blame Imran Khan for a mess created by Modi-Shah-Doval trio. …

Tehseen Poonawalla


One of the most upright journalists @PJkanojia interviews @Shehla_Rashid on the #KashmirIssue and the problems our #Kashmiri fellow citizens face today


23:19 - 2 Sep 2019

Twitter Ads information and privacy



Govt to add religious tourism category to e-visa system for Kartarpur visitors

Sep 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As the government intensifies its efforts to promote the tourism sector, the Interior Ministry has decided to add a religious tourism category to the online visa system designed for Sikh pilgrims looking to visit Kartarpur Dera Sahib.

According to details, a meeting of the ministry decided that two separate categories of visa applications will be offered by the home ministry on wards – one for Sikh pilgrims of Indian origin living elsewhere in the world while the other for dual nationality holder Sikh pilgrims holding a residence permit from another country along with an Indian passport.

“All visa requests from both categories for Kartarpur pilgrimages will be processed within 7 to 10 working days,” the meeting concluded.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) will collaborate with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to constitute a standard operating procedure for visitors issued visas under the religious tourism category.

Reportedly, an amendment in the policy to make room for the aforementioned steps will be sought from the cabinet next week.

The development comes as talks between Pakistan and India pertaining to the purposed Kartarpur Corridor enters finals stage and Pakistan, on Wednesday, agreed to allow 5,000 Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on a daily basis.

Earlier, the government had assured the Sikh community that the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistan side will be opened near the 550th birthday of Baba Guru Nanak in November this year.

Full report at:



Saudi, Pakistani officials discuss energy, mining ties in Islamabad

September 06, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A high-level Saudi delegation held talks with Pakistani officials in Islamabad to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially in the fields of refining, mining and renewable energy.

The Pakistani side was represented in the talks by Minister for Power and Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan, while the Kingdom's delegation was led by the deputy minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer.

Ayub welcomed the Saudi delegation, stressing that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the Kingdom.

He said that Pakistan considers its relations with the Kingdom as long-standing fraternal relations that are rooted in the depth of history with multiple economic, political and strategic dimensions and cannot be compared with relations with any other country.

On Thursday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan held talks with Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa in Rawalpindi.

Full report at:



South Asia


Taliban’s most dangerous shadow governor killed in Badakhshan

06 Sep 2019

The security forces have killed the most dangerous shadow governor of the Taliban group in Badakhshan province.

Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the security forces have killed Qari Fasiuddin, the shadow governor of Taliban for Badakhshan.

Rahimi further added that Qari Fasiuddin was the most dangerous shadow governor of Taliban.

The Taliban group has not commented in this regard so far.

The security situation in Badakhshan province has deteriorated during the recent months.

Taliban militants are active in some remote districts of Badakhshan and often conduct terrorist related activities.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces routinely conduct counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in this province.

The U.S. forces also conduct regular airstrikes in restive parts of the country to suppress Taliban and other anti-government militants.



Hajj and Religious Affairs acting minister assaulted in Presidential Palace Mosque

07 Sep 2019

The Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs has confirmed that certain influential individuals including former lawmaker Mullah Tarakhel have assaulted the acting minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs.

According to a statement released by Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Mullah Tarakhel and some other individuals including lawmakers Shah Wazir and Haji Khan Tarakhel, their brothers and some other members of their family attacked the acting minister in ARG Presidential Palace mosque on Friday.

The statement further added that the attack on Mawlavi Abdul Hakim Muneeb is an assault and desecration of the mosque, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, the religious scholars and the whole system of the government.

Full report at:



Taliban kills US service member, others in Kabul bombing as US-Taliban talks resume

Sep 5, 2019

The Taliban killed 10 civilians and two NATO service members -- including one American -- in a deadly blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, even as the chief U.S. negotiator was returning to Qatar to resume talks with the militant group.

While the U.S. is closing in on an agreement with the Taliban, the attack marks the group's second major bombing this week and the 16th American service member killed in combat in the country this year. These signs of increased violence have had the country on edge about what a deal with the militant group will mean for its future and have raised questions about whether the Taliban can be trusted to make peace.

The Taliban and U.S. officials said the increased violence is a negotiating tactic, with the militants seeking to project strength and use violence as a point of leverage in the talks. But it has outraged the Afghan public, many of whom are already skeptical that an agreement with the U.S. will bring an end to the violence and concerned that it will instead further empower the Taliban.

But it's because of that death toll, U.S. officials said, that the Trump administration is doubling down on diplomatic efforts to end the conflict there, nearly 18 years after U.S. troops arrived to expel al-Qaeda operatives and toppled the Taliban government.

The clock seems to be ticking on any U.S.-Taliban deal, with Afghan national elections still scheduled for Sept. 28.

There is also growing concern in Congress about what the deal will actually look like. The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., wrote another letter to U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday requesting that he testify before Congress about the peace process, but this time, Engel seemed to threaten to compel Khalilzad's testimony, perhaps with a subpoena.

"I do not consider your testimony at this hearing optional," he wrote. "If this letter is insufficient to secure your attendance, I will consider other options that would ensure this hearing takes place in a timely manner."

Khalilzad presented a draft agreement to the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani on Monday after a ninth round of Taliban negotiations, prompting public skepticism from Afghan officials. Khalilzad is now back in Doha, Qatar, where he has been meeting with Taliban leaders, a State Department official told ABC News, as the two sides seek to close the gaps and finalize an agreement.

The Taliban took responsibility for the blast Thursday in a busy neighborhood of diplomatic facilities in Kabul, which in addition to the American, killed a Romanian soldier, a U.S. official told ABC News. The militant group said they were targeting a "convoy of foreign invaders," but the majority of victims were Afghan civilians: Ten were killed and another 42 were wounded, according to Afghanistan's Interior Minister.

On Monday, the Taliban also bombed an international compound, killing 16 people and wounding 119, almost all local civilians who lived in the surrounding neighborhood, according to the Associated Press.

Nineteen U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year, 16 of them in combat-related incidents -- the highest number recorded by the Defense Department since 2014.

For the U.S., any agreement must include Taliban commitments to eliminate terror safe havens in Afghanistan for groups like al-Qaeda or the Islamic State; a nationwide ceasefire and the start of Afghan national peace talks; and a U.S. withdrawal of the approximately 14,000 troops in the country.

Khalilzad presented a draft agreement to Ghani and other Afghan leaders this week, telling local TOLO News that the two sides had an agreement "in principle" that still required President Donald Trump's sign-off. It would include the withdrawal of 5,000 U.S. troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days, Khalilzad said.

But negotiations have been stuck over the U.S. leaving a counter terrorism force in the country, according to sources briefed on the talks. Trump and top advisers, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have said repeatedly that preventing future terror attacks on the U.S. homeland is a key priority and hinted that a residual U.S. military presence is how the U.S. intends to accomplish that. But to the Taliban, U.S. withdrawal must mean zero.

Afghan officials are more concerned about what position the agreement will leave the government, which the Taliban has refused to meet and disparaged as a U.S. puppet. While U.S. officials say that they are pursuing a nationwide ceasefire and that any deal will lead to intra-Afghan peace talks, it's unclear whether the Taliban would follow through on those.

Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and others were shown the draft on Monday, according to Waheed Omer, an Afghan government spokesperson.

Full report at:



Afghan president postpones US trip to discuss Taliban deal

Sep 7, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s president has postponed a planned visit to Washington early next week where he was to discuss the U.S.-Taliban talks on ending America’s longest war, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday.

The development emerged after the U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, abruptly returned to Qatar for unexpected talks with the insurgents on the deal that he had described as complete just days ago. The agreement “in principle” to begin a U.S. troop withdrawal only needed President Donald Trump’s approval, Khalilzad said Monday.

It was not immediately clear why President Ashraf Ghani’s visit was postponed. The person who spoke to The Associated Press was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Since Khalilzad’s announcement, two horrific Taliban car bombings in the Afghan capital, Kabul — one of which killed a U.S. service member — and objections to the deal from the Afghan government and several former U.S. ambassadors to Afghanistan have put pressure on Khalilzad as many wonder whether a deal will truly bring peace.

The Taliban have explained their surge in deadly attacks — including on the capitals of northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces last weekend — as necessary to give them a stronger negotiating position in talks with the U.S., a stance that has appalled Afghans and others as scores of civilians are killed.

On Friday, Khalilzad met with Taliban lead negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, with Qatar’s foreign minister present, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a tweet late in the evening. Both Thursday’s and Friday’s meetings were “positive,” he said.

The Afghan president has been shut out of the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, and during Khalilzad’s visit to Kabul this week Ghani was shown the agreement but not allowed to keep it. The Taliban have rejected negotiations with the Afghan government, seeing it as a puppet of the U.S., though it has expressed willingness to meet with Afghan officials in their personal capacity.

Ghani’s government this week raised objections to the deal, echoing the former U.S. ambassadors’ concerns that a full U.S. troop withdrawal that moves too quickly and without requiring the Taliban to meet certain conditions, such as reducing violence, could lead to “total civil war” such as the one that engulfed the country in the 1990s after a rapid Soviet pullout and before the Taliban swept into power.

“Afghans have been bitten by this snake before,” presidential adviser Waheed Omer said Thursday, recalling past agreements from which the Afghan government has been sidelined.

The U.S. hopes its deal with the Taliban will bring the militant group to the table for intra-Afghan talks to begin ahead of Afghanistan’s presidential election on Sept. 28 — a vote that Ghani insisted must be held on time and not be swept aside by any kind of interim government.

Few details have emerged from the nine rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks over nearly a year. Khalilzad has said the first 5,000 U.S. troops would withdraw from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of a final deal. Between 14,000 and 13,000 troops are currently in the country.

But the Taliban, at their strongest since their defeat in 2001 after a U.S.-led invasion, want all of the approximately 20,000 U.S. and NATO troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.

The U.S. for its part seeks Taliban guarantees that they will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven from which extremist groups such as al-Qaida and the local affiliate of the Islamic State group can launch global attacks.

In addition, “we want to make sure that we’ve got our resources deployed most appropriately to deliver security for the American people,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told News Radio KMAN when asked about the deal. “We think we can accomplish both of those things,” he added. “We hope that all the elements of Afghanistan, including the Taliban, want to be part of that, and we’re working to achieve it.”

But the violence continued. On Friday the Taliban attacked a third provincial capital in Afghanistan in less than a week, killing at least two civilians, an official said.

Full report at:



Sri Lanka: 293 suspects arrested in connection with Easter Sunday attacks

Sep 6, 2019

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan police on Thursday said that 293 suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings in the island country in April.

Giving out details, police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said that 115 suspects are in remand custody while 178 others are detained for questioning, Anadolu News Agency reported. "Moves were also underway to freeze 6 billion Sri Lankan rupees worth of assets belonging to the suspects," the police spokesman said.

Gunasekara said that the Criminal Investigations Department had collected data about these assets and steps would be taken to freeze them in due course. He informed that over 100 bank accounts of at least 41 suspects had already been frozen.

Multiple blasts ripped through Sri Lanka on April 21, when the Christian community was celebrating Easter Sunday. The explosions rattled churches and high-end hotels across the country, killing 258 people and injuring over 500.

Full report at:



Bangladesh Takes Steps to Control Movements of Rohingya

Sep 7, 2019

Bangladesh is taking tough measures to contain an increase in violence in Rohingya refugee camps after the crisis over the mass exodus of the persecuted group from Myanmar entered its third year.

Describing the violence in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps as a security threat, officials have banned cell phone use and restricted internet access, and are considering erecting barbed wire around the settlements to regulate the movement of their 1.2 million inhabitants.

In the absence of any immediate repatriation of refugees back to Myanmar, the authorities are also giving serious attention to a previously announced plan to move some of the refugee population to a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, despite objections from international aid groups.

Officials are reacting to incidents of violence involving Rohingya and an Aug. 25 rally that drew thousands of the refugees who marked the second anniversary of attacks by the Myanmar government that forced them to flee from the Rakhine state.

“Two years have elapsed since the Rohingya entered Bangladesh. Allowing the Rohingya to remain would create security threats in Bangladesh and beyond,” Faruk Khan, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs, told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

Earlier this week, a parliamentary defense panel termed the Muslim-minority Rohingya refugees as a security threat and asked the government to restrict their movement.

Khan, a retired military colonel, said the defense panel, of which he is also a member, had recommended erecting a barbed wire fence around refugee camps in Ukhia and Teknaf, sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar.

“Many of the Rohingya have been fleeing the camps. So, we recommended to confine them,” he said.

The latest violence in Cox’s Bazar broke out on Aug. 22, when gunmen, suspected to be Rohingya men, gunned down a youth wing official of the ruling Awami League party.

The killing of Omar Faruk near his residence in Teknaf, the southernmost sub-district of Bangladesh, triggered protests the next day, with participants blocking the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf highway for three hours, and vandalizing shops and houses inside a Rohingya camp, local media reported.

In a follow up operation, police shot and killed two Rohingya suspects in what they described as a “shootout” near a refugee camp in Teknaf, according to Pradip Kumar Das, officer-in-charge of Teknaf police station.

Md Iqbal Hossain, the additional superintendent of police in Cox’s Bazar, said violence in the area had increased since the influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing a brutal crackdown, which began in August 2017 in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Many of the Rohingya have been involved in the smuggling of drugs, especially yaba, a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, he said.

“The personal enmity among the Rohingya is very high. Very often they lock in internecine conflicts. The Rohingya criminals killed ruling party leader Faruk. This killing angered the local people about the Rohingya refugees,” he said.

As part of its crackdown, the government suspended the operation of 41 NGOs working at the refugee camps and the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission asked telecom companies to cut back on internet services near the camps.

Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told reporters that some NGOs had been provoking the Rohingya to not go back to Myanmar.

Several repatriation attempts by Myanmar and Bangladesh governments have failed.  The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said that none of those interviewed among the 3,450 people cleared for repatriation in the most recent attempt were willing to go back to Myanmar because they were concerned over their security.

Myanmar considers Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, denies them citizenship and subjects them to systematic discrimination including a failure to recognize their ethnicity.

Momen said the NGOs that were suspended had also played a role in a mammoth protest rally on Aug. 25. It marked the second anniversary of the Myanmar military crackdown that included killings, torture, rape and village burning and forced more than 720,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

“The NGOs provided banners, t-shirts and other logistics to hold the rally. Any NGOs and agency proved to have campaigned against repatriation would face actions,” he said.

In addition, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Jahurul Haque told BenarNews the Rohingya were not entitled to mobile phones or the internet.

“So, we have asked the companies to stop the sale of SIM cards to the Rohingya and snap internet service at night,” he said.

Rally surprise

Bangladesh officials were also caught by surprise over the turnout at the Aug. 25 Rohingya rally attended by tens of thousands who made various demands for their return to Myanmar.

The intelligence failure has also led to a shakeup in security measures at the camps.

“The RRRC (refugee relief and repatriation commissioner) knew about the rally, but neither the disaster management ministry nor the ministry of foreign affairs was informed,” Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management, told BenarNews. “The government is embarrassed by the rally.”

The inter-ministry National Task Force on Rohingya met on Aug. 28 to discuss it and asked for a review of refugee camp operations in Ukhia and Teknaf.

Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Muhammad Abul Kalam and three camp officers have since been reassigned. The government did not release details of their new roles.

“The government can withdraw anyone. This is an ongoing process,” Kalam said on Thursday, his last day at his office in Cox’s Bazar.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister said Bangladesh was prepared to move 100,000 Rohingya to Bhashan Char, a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal. The government constructed housing and infrastructure as well as a retaining wall to protect it from flooding.

In an exclusive interview with Deutsche Welle media, Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said the move was being considered because the U.N. had not stepped up efforts to push Myanmar to allow the Rohingya to repatriate.

“They [U.N. officials] should go to Myanmar, especially to Rakhine state, to create conditions that could help these refugees to go back to their country. The U.N. is not doing the job that we expect them to do,” Momen said in the interview.

He also said Bangladesh officials were hoping that 100,000 Rohingya would relocate to Bhashan Char voluntarily.

Full report at:



Taliban commander Sher Lala killed in an airstrike in Kunduz province

07 Sep 2019

An airstrike killed a Taliban commander and his comrades in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan, the Afghan military said.

The 217th Pamir Corps said in a statement that the security forces conducted the airstrike in Chawk-e Khanabad on Friday.

The statement further added that the airstrike killed Taliban commander Sher Lala and his five comrades.

The security forces have killed numerous Taliban militants and their commanders in the outskirts of Kunduz city and other parts of the province over the past few days.

Full report at:



Taliban attack third Afghan provincial capital in a week

6 September 2019

The Taliban have attacked a third provincial capital in Afghanistan in less than a week, with an overnight assault on the western city of Farah, a provincial governor said Friday as a US envoy was back in Qatar for further talks on a US-Taliban deal to end America's longest war.

Mohammad Shoaib Sabet told The Associated Press there was no immediate word of casualties and that airstrikes had been carried out against the militant group.

This week's spike in violence, including two shattering Taliban car bombings in the capital, Kabul, comes as US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says he and the insurgents have reached a deal “in principle” that would begin a US troop pullout in exchange for Taliban counterterror guarantees.

Khalilzad abruptly returned to Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, from Kabul for more talks on Thursday evening, even though earlier in the week he said the deal only needed President Donald Trump's approval to be final.

Objections to the agreement raised by the Afghan government and several former US ambassadors to Afghanistan, and the death of a US service member in the latest Kabul bombing on Thursday, have increased pressure on Khalilzad in recent days.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel has demanded that the envoy testify before the House committee about the negotiations, saying that “I do not consider your testimony at this hearing optional.”

Few details have emerged from the nine rounds of US-Taliban talks that ended last weekend. Khalilzad has said the first 5,000 US troops would withdraw from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days of a final deal. Between 14,000 and 13,000 troops are currently in the country.

However, the Taliban want all of the approximately 20,000 US and NATO troops out of Afghanistan immediately.

The US for its part seeks Taliban guarantees that they will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven from which extremist groups such as al-Qaida and the local affiliate of the Islamic State group can launch global attacks.

The Taliban have explained their surge in deadly attacks as necessary to give them a stronger negotiating position in talks with the US, a stance that has appalled Afghans and others as scores of civilians are killed.

The Taliban last weekend launched deadly attacks on the capitals of Kunduz and Baghlan provinces.

Full report at:



US fighting Afghan war without clear political agenda: Commentator

Sep 6, 2019

A former US intelligence officer says the United States is fighting the war in Afghanistan without a clear political agenda to follow in parallel.

Bob Ayers said in an interview with Press TV on Thursday that it was easy for the Americans to start the war but it was “very difficult to get out, especially when you have not defined what constitutes your military objective.”

“The Americans seem to pursue the military intervention simply for the sake of military intervention. They have no political goal that’s clear,” he said.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple a Taliban regime. Eighteen years on, America is seeking a truce with the group, which was unseated but has since been waging militancy.

Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist and the other guest on the talk show on Press TV, attributed the length of the war in Afghanistan to the “tremendous” profits the war industry has earned as a result of it.

On Monday, the US special envoy to the talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Washington and the militants had reached an agreement to end the war in principle.

But the Afghan government, which has been deliberately left out of the talks all along, said it had serious doubts about the draft agreement.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has formerly said only Afghans are to decide their fate not outside powers. He has said peace is only possible with an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

‘The likely scenario’

Ayers ruled out the possibility of an enduring settlement without the involvement of the Afghan government.

Referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal as of yet to approve the Afghan agreement until President Donald Trump approves it, Ayers said, “Popmeo is not sure what the president’s position is, and until the president signs the treaty, Pompeo is not going to stick his neck out.”

“The position of the American president is variable from day to day,” Ayers said, describing Trump as “not consistent.”

He said that the Taliban wanted “total, complete” governance of Afghanistan and that the militant group wouldn’t sign any deal until that demand was met.

However, an interim deal could be struck between the US and the Taliban that allows Washington to save face and withdraw its troops, Ayers said. “That’s probably the likely scenario.”

Full report at:





South African Riots Over ‘Xenophobia’ Prompt Backlash Across Africa

By Julie Turkewitz

Sept. 5, 2019

DAKAR, Senegal — Pop stars have announced a boycott. Air Tanzania has suspended flights to Johannesburg. Madagascar and Zambia are refusing to send their soccer teams. Nigeria has recalled its ambassador and pulled out of a major economic forum.

South Africa is facing a backlash after rioters in and around Johannesburg targeted immigrants from other African countries this week, torching their shops and leading to at least 10 deaths. Now, angry citizens and governments across the continent are lashing out at South Africa and its businesses, denouncing what they call “xenophobia.”

Africans across the continent once rallied behind South Africans in their struggle to defeat the apartheid government, which was finally replaced in elections held 25 years ago. Now, some Africans find themselves in the unfamiliar position of protesting the actions of the same communities in South Africa that they once stood with in solidarity.

“The only time we’ve seen this type of cooperation of African countries in terms of backlash,” said Tunde Leye, a partner at the Nigerian political research firm SBM Intelligence, “was in terms of support of the anti-apartheid movement.”

The current level of political solidarity on the continent, he said, was “almost unprecedented.”

The riots, and the retaliatory measures, could not come at a more inopportune time for regional cooperation. This week, African leaders are meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss the African Continental Free Trade Area, an agreement made this year that sets the stage for the creation of the largest free-trade area in the world. It would join Africa’s more than one billion consumers into a single market.

The conflict, while not likely to imperil the free trade agreement, could at least slow its implementation, which is expected to take years, African analysts said.

Nigeria’s government, angry that its citizens have been victimized in the South African riots, has pulled out of the Cape Town meeting.

Nigeria is the continent’s largest economy, and South Africa is the second-largest. Both countries were already reluctant participants in the accord, which is supposed to help knock down the many barriers to trade among African countries.

Anti-immigrant sentiment is a longstanding issue in South Africa, where the legacies of colonialism and apartheid run deep, and a political shift has not delivered meaningful change to many poor South Africans. Immigrants from countries like Nigeria, Mozambique, Somalia and Zimbabwe are often regarded by South Africans as competitors for jobs and social services.

In South Africa, attacks on foreigners have become common, and they surged beginning Sunday when rioters stormed neighborhoods in and around Johannesburg, lighting fires and breaking into shops.

At least 10 people have died in the riots, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a video address on Thursday, in which he also condemned the violence.

“There can be no excuse for the attacks on the homes and businesses of foreign nationals,” he said. “Equally, there is no justification for the looting and destruction of businesses owned by South Africans.”

In Gauteng, the province that includes Johannesburg, authorities have arrested at least 423 people, said Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, a police spokesman. On Thursday, he said that many shops owned by foreigners remained closed and that more shopping centers in the eastern part of the province “are being targeted.”

Police seized guns, he said, not just from South Africans, but also from at least two foreign nationals.

The rolling backlash has united broad swaths of the continent. Two popular Nigerian musicians, Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage, said they were boycotting South Africa. Burna Boy was set to headline the Afropunk festival in Johannesburg in December, alongside artists like Solange Knowles. Tiwa Savage had an appearance in South Africa scheduled for mid-September.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, protesters rushed and sometimes looted South African-owned businesses in Nigeria and Zambia, including Shoprite supermarkets. The company closed stores. The South African telecommunications giant MTN did the same.

On Thursday, the protests spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where demonstrators outside of the South African Embassy in Kinshasa held signs that read “Don’t kill our brothers” and “No xenophobia.” In Lubumbashi, they broke windows at the South African Consulate.

Nigeria recalled its ambassador to South Africa. South Africa has shuttered its diplomatic missions in Nigeria, citing threats.

The clashes cast a cloud over the World Economic Forum in Africa, which began in Cape Town on Wednesday. Leaders were set to discuss the free trade pact, an agreement signed by 54 countries that supporters have said could reshape economic relationships on the continent.

The accord has the potential to bolster intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022, according to the United Nations. Right now, intra-African trade accounts for just 16 percent of the continent’s trade volume. It can be cheaper to ship something from Nigeria to Europe, and then to Senegal, rather than directly from Nigeria to Senegal. This is a major barrier to regional development, economists say.

Still, a host of challenges await before the pact is put in place.

African analysts differed on whether Nigeria’s decision to skip the Cape Town meeting would have any effect in the long term.

Gilbert Khadiagala, a Kenyan professor of international relations at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said Nigeria’s move was little more than “grandstanding,” and that would not impede the trade agreement.

But Mr. Leye, of SBM Intelligence in Nigeria, said that in his view, Nigeria’s boycott of the Forum “will have an impact in terms of the pace of implementation.”



Nigeria: Islam Frowns At Sexual Harassment, Says Onike


Lagos — The Chief Missioner, Nasrullahi-l Fatih Society (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Morufu Onike, has said that religious and faith leaders have a vital role to play in ending the scourge of rape and sexual harassment, and must also be above board.

He spoke at an event organised by the Office of the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos tagged "#Mee too, What next".

He stressed the need for Nigerians to be educated on the red signals to look out for which could lead to rape as well as the position of the religion on sexual harrasment, gender-based violence.

Onike emphasized that parts of what have been found out by researchers to be pre-rape warning are unwanted attention, touching, persistence and verbal threats among others.

He lauded the courage of a victim, who was also one of the panelists, who was bold to speak out by ignoring the cultural inhibitions.

He said that Islam frowns at sexual harassment and that one of the Islamic legal maxims is "harm must be eliminated" in line with the saying of Prophet Muhammad.

He added that protection of honour and dignity are key objectives of Islam and Shariah.

Full report at:



Sudan invites Jews back to country to enjoy citizenship in new climate

September 07, 2019

JEDDAH: Members of Sudan’s Jewish community who had left the country in previous years were free to return and “enjoy citizenship” like other ethnic groups, Minister of Religious Affairs Nasr-Eddin Mofarah said on Friday.

Speaking to Al Arabiya TV, the newly appointed minister said Sudan was welcoming of diverse ideas, values, cultures and “intellectual persuasions.”

He even added that the Muslim-majority country was welcoming of other religions, citing the number of Christians and Jews who still lived in the country and those who might have left.

“I urge them (Jews) from this platform to return to Sudan and recover their right to naturalization and citizenship because Sudan is a civil state where citizenship is the source of all rights and duties. We also have other religions and faiths embraced by different people,” he said.

The announcement came after Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his Cabinet on Thursday, the first since former President Omar Bashir was ousted in April.

The Cabinet includes Asmaa Abdalla, Sudan’s first woman foreign minister, and a former World Bank economist. Hamdok also picked women to lead the Sports and Youth Ministry, the High Education Ministry, and the Labor and Social Development Ministry.

The new Cabinet has come about as part of a power-sharing agreement between the military and pro-democracy demonstrators, following pressure from the US and its Arab allies amid growing concerns the political crisis could ignite a new civil war.

Mofarah said Islam had been a peaceful part of Sudanese life for centuries, and had not been introduced through violence or conflict.

He also stressed the importance of religious tolerance in the post-Bashir era.

“Religious tolerance has also been given a significant importance in the Holy Qur’an, in which Muslims have been urged to accept and respect other religions and live in peace with them,” Mofarah said.

“This constitutes a clear call for the Sudanese to live according to the saying ‘you have your religion and I have mine,’ as long as there is no infighting, sedition or wars and as long as people interact,” the minister added.

“The issue of peace, tolerance, loyalty and resilience is one of the indicators that will allow us to build this nation on new foundations, centered around freedom, justice, equality and noble moral values,” he said.

Full report at:



Ghana President Urges African Countries: Let's Fight Growing Terrorism Threat Together


President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed the need for countries in Africa to coordinate their approaches and strategies in the fight against the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in the region.

He said the growth of breakaway global terror groups, coupled with the porous nature of African borders, called for regional and continental approaches to contain the growing threats of terrorist and extremist activities.

The President made the call in Accra yesterday when he addressed the opening of a forum aimed at immortalising the contribution of Kofi Annan, Ghana's iconic diplomat, to global peace and security.

The forum, an initiative of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC), one of the legacies of the former United Nations Secretary General who passed away last year, attracted top-level political leaders, diplomats and security experts

The participants dialogued on the most critical and evolving peace and security trends on the African continent. The Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum will be an annual platform to hatch ideas that will continually champion and ensure Mr Annan's cause for policies and programmes on peace, security and development.

This year's events, on the theme: "Peace operations in the context of violent extremism in Africa," was attended by some past African heads of state including John Dramani Mahama of Ghana, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, Prof. Amos Sawyer of Liberia, as well as Mrs Nane Annan, legislators, service chiefs and the diplomatic corps.

President Akufo-Addo said the coordination of activities between the armed forces and intelligence agencies on the continent "is absolutely essential to successful battle against terrorism," adding that it was unacceptable that poor countries spent high proportions of their national budgets on defence and security matters to the detriment of necessary expenditures on social concerns.

He indicated that though the sub-region's security management initiatives had helped to mitigate extremism and instability, there was a need to tackle issues of endemic poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and bad governance, as well as the adoption of appropriate technology to achieve peace, security and economic transformation of West Africa.

He pointed out that the endemic poverty and widespread disillusionment amongst the youth in Africa were providing fertile breeding grounds for dangerous migration across the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats in the hope of finding a better future in Europe.

Poverty, he added, had provided an impetus to breed a new generation of terrorists and violent extremists.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the two most active terrorist groups in West Africa- the Al Qaeda and the Boko Haram- had exploited the levels of poverty in the areas they operated in to recruit and indoctrinate the youth.

Notwithstanding the growing security challenges in the sub-region, the President said it was important that the principles of democratic accountability, individual liberties and human rights and the rule of law were promoted to address the vulnerability of adopting violence to address issues.

According to him, when people are covered in the quarters of the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights and the principles of democratic accountability, they see their responsibilities and allegiance to the wider public interest not just of the conveniences of the government but to the collective good of the country.

President Akufo-Addo said despite the peace and stability in Ghana, the country was not immune to terror attacks.

"Over the years, we have learnt most often through bitter experience that terrorism and violent extremism are not restricted to particular geographic locations or jurisdictions as impact of a single terrorist incident one part of the world resonates throughout the world," he said.

President Akufo-Addo recalled how in 2015, agents of Islamic State succeeded in recruiting a few adherents from Ghana's university campuses to join the ranks of the group's fighters in Libya and Syria, who were later known to have died in combat.

He said in aid of the global call to end terror activities, Ghana had signed and ratified a number of international instruments aimed at the prevention and suppression of international terrorism.

"Ghana has adopted the world coordinated interagency approach which encourages the timely sharing of information and intelligence operational coordination and join strategy formulation and has proved essential towards ensuring the efficient execution of the country's counterterrorism policy," President Akufo-Addo said.

The United Nation's Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel, Dr Ibn Chambas, supported President Akufo-Addo's call for collaboration in the fight against terrorism on the continent.

He stressed the need for countries on the continent to remain engaged and determined in the fight against violent extremism.

Full report at:



US-Backed Syrian Forces Hand Over 3 Children of IS Fighters to Nigeria

By Sirwan Kajjo

September 5, 2019

WASHINGTON - Three children born to Nigerian Islamic State (IS) fighters in Syria were handed over to the Nigerian government, Syrian Kurdish officials said Thursday.

The orphaned children, aged 4, 6 and 8, were handed over to a Nigerian government representative in the city of Qamishli in northeast Syria.

“We have been in talks with Nigerian officials about these cases,” said Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of foreign relations in the SDF-led administration in northeast Syria, who met with a Nigerian official on Thursday.

“They finally decided to come here and take these parentless children,” he told VOA.

This is the first time that an African country has taken back children of Africans who have traveled to Syria to join the terror group, the Kurdish official said.

Omar declined to give information about the number of Nigerians held in northeast Syria, but there are many Nigerians in custody who joined the IS terror group in recent years.

Children and women only

Musa Habib Marika, a representative of Nigeria’s government, said his country is also considering other cases.

“We have asked for a list of Nigerians who are held in camps and prisons to look into their cases,” Marika said during a press conference with Kurdish officials in Qamishli.

But Omar said that Nigeria and other countries can only repatriate children and women of IS fighters. 

U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared victory over IS in March 2019 after pushing out the group from its last stronghold in eastern Syria.

SDF officials say they are holding more than 1,200 IS militants from nearly 50 countries.

There are also about 20,000 women and 50,000 children of IS fighters who have been settled in an overcrowded camp in northeast Syria, the same sources said.

Kurdish officials say they couldn’t bear the responsibility of dealing with IS fighters alone and that a special international tribunal should be established for crimes they have committed in Syria.

“We can’t try these individuals on our own, so the international community needs to step up its efforts to help us address this international problem,” Kurdish official Omar said.

He added that some Western countries have expressed support for establishing such a court for IS foreign fighters. 

IS in Nigeria

On Thursday, IS claimed that its fighters killed 10 Nigerian soldiers and injured several others in an attack on a military base in Borno state. It is the third attack in the area over the last week.

IS said in a statement online that fighters from its West Africa Province (ISWAP) affiliate carried out the attack Wednesday, capturing six military vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

Nigerian officials have not yet commented on the attack.

ISWAP is a splinter of the Boko Haram terrorist group that pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2015.

According the International Crisis Group, ISWAP has 3,500 to 5,000 fighters across Nigeria. The group has reportedly been engaged in deadly attacks against Nigerian military personnel and civilians.

While it is unclear how many Nigerian nationals have joined IS in Syria and Iraq, experts say their potential return could be a challenge for Nigeria since it “is in the midst of a major struggle with Boko Haran and ISWAP.”

“The return of hardened Nigerian fighters, even if they’re fairly small in number, is going to raise all kinds of important policy questions,” said John Campbell, a senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. He noted that ISWAP drives a degree of prestige among Islamist radicals in Nigeria for its association with IS. 

Full report at:



Cameroon Sends Military to Troubled CAR

By Moki Edwin Kindzeka

September 5, 2019

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - Cameroon is dispatching more than a thousand troops to help bring peace to its troubled neighbor, the Central African Republic. The troops are leaving as analysts say they are already stretched handling such internal crises as piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Boko Haram insurgency and the separatist crisis that has left at least 3,000  killed in three years.

The Cameroon military band plays as the first contingent of over 300 peacekeeping troops leaves for the neighboring Central African Republic on September 4. Cameroon's defense minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, said they have been well trained to join the U.N. peacekeeping mission of more than 13,000 troops, police and civilians to restore peace to the Central African Republic while respecting the rights and dignity of the people they are protecting.

"Always determined to fulfill his regional and international commitment as concerns collective security, the head of state, commander in chief of the armed forces has provided the Central African Republic with multifaceted support in order to enable the country to get its institutions which have already been damaged back on the feet," he said.

Beti Assomo said Cameroon was deploying 1,300 troops and civilians who, by protecting the Central African Republic, will also be protecting Cameroon. Cameroon hosts about 250,000 CAR refugees, and rebels quite often cross over and hold Cameroonian farmers and cattle ranchers for ransom. They also hide across the porous border with Cameroon when challenged in the Central African Republic

The crisis began in the troubled country in 2013, when a mainly Muslim rebel movement called the Seleka overthrew President Francois Bozize, a Christian. That move triggered the rise of a predominantly Christian militia called the Anti-Balaka. Thousands have been killed and a quarter of the population of 4.5 million have fled their homes.

Counting on international help

CAR Ambassador to Cameroon Marcial Beti Marace said his country has been counting on the international community to help it out of the crisis.

He said the people and president of CAR are proud to know that they will have support to bring back badly needed peace and order to their country from well-trained Cameroonian peacekeepers.

Donatien Tchega, a visiting lecturer at the University of Yaounde, said the decision to dispatch Cameroon troops to the neighboring state may seriously undermine efforts to secure its own territory and the Gulf of Guinea, where there are regular reports of pirate attacks.

He said it is not a good decision for Cameroon, which is already facing enormous challenges fighting Boko Haram terrorists on its northern border with Nigeria, containing the spillover of the crisis in CAR with sporadic rebel attacks on its territory, and especially stopping separatists from their fight to create an English-speaking state, to send over a thousand of its troops to a foreign country.

He said the Cameroonian military is overstretched and this decision may also hamper its effort to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, separatists in the English-speaking regions, and Boko Haram terrorists.

Full report at:



Saudi troops return home as Eager Lion military exercise concludes in Jordan

September 06, 2019

AMMAN: The Eager Lion 2019 military exercise concluded in Amman on Friday in the presence of the commander of US Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, and the heads of delegations participating in the exercise from 30 other countries.

8,000 took part in the exercise at various locations across Jordan.

Personnel from the Saudi army, navy, air force and air defense partook in activities, alongside members of the security forces of the US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Japan, South Korea, Jordan and Egypt.

Brig. Gen. Jaafar bin Hadi Al-Qahtani, commander of the Saudi forces, said that the exercise accomplished many objectives, including developing the participants’ ability to plan and execute joint operations, and exchange experiences between the Saudi armed forces and their international counterparts.

Saudi security personnel successfully completed exercises aimed at improving their skills in combating terror, and received training in fighting in cities, freeing hostages, planning and responding to electronic warfare, implementing strategic bombing operations, sniper training and weapons of mass destruction protection training.

They also carried out joint operations and training related to international maritime security, psychological warfare and monitoring and destroying remote-controlled devices.

Full report at:



North America


Trump's envoy clashes with Afghan government over proposed Taliban deal

Sept. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Afghan government has clashed with President Donald Trump's envoy over a proposed troop withdrawal deal with the Taliban, just as Washington is preparing to unveil the agreement, foreign diplomats, Afghan officials and former U.S. officials said.

Afghan officials and U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had tense exchanges in Kabul over the past few days after the American diplomat briefed President Ashraf Ghani and his advisers on the proposed deal with the Taliban, a foreign diplomat and two former U.S. officials said.

Ghani's government responded to the briefing "badly" and the discussions were marked by "raging arguments," said one foreign diplomat familiar with the talks.

The State Department declined to comment on the discussions in Kabul or on details of the proposed U.S.-Taliban deal.

The proposed agreement "in principle" with the Taliban would see the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops in return for the Taliban agreeing to enter into peace talks with the Afghan government and pledging not to allow areas under their control to be used as a launching pad for al Qaeda, Islamic State or other terrorist groups. Khalilzad said this week that if the agreement is approved by President Trump, the United States would initially pull out about 5,000 troops in 135 days.

The Afghan government, which has long been wary of the U.S.-Taliban talks and was never invited to take part, worries that American troops could be withdrawn before a peace agreement is firmly in place and that Washington may have made too many concessions to their adversaries, foreign diplomats and Afghan officials said.

"The concerns are very high, not just for the government but also for the people of Afghanistan, because the people of Afghanistan have been bitten by this snake before," Waheed Omer, a senior adviser to the Afghan president, told a press briefing in Kabul on Thursday.

"We are still not assured of what the agreement's consequences could have for Afghanistan's future," Omer said. "Our position is that we need more debate on this agreement."

State Department officials said that on Thursday Khalilzad flew to the Qatari capital of Doha, where he has previously held talks with the Taliban. The Taliban maintain a political office in Qatar.

It was unclear if Khalilzad would attempt to secure substantial changes to the deal, which follows nearly a year of unprecedented negotiations between the Taliban and the United States.

To reassure the Afghan government, the U.S. is considering a separate joint statement or declaration that would make clear existing bilateral agreements between the two countries would remain in effect, according to a foreign diplomat and a U.S. source familiar with the matter. In addition, the Afghan government would acknowledge — but not endorse — the U.S.-Taliban deal, the sources said.

If the Taliban deal enters into force, the Taliban and the Afghan government would start peace talks in Oslo later this month.

But a major sticking point is President Ghani's vow to hold elections as scheduled on Sept. 28, which some Western governments worry could cause more political turmoil and leave Afghan negotiators divided as they try to hammer out a peace accord with the Taliban. Some of Ghani's political rivals also oppose going ahead with the polls.

The talks with the Afghan government this week coincided with a series of deadly attacks, including a suicide bombing in Kabul on Monday and a bombing Thursday near an Afghan intelligence office that killed 10 civilians and two NATO service members, a Romanian and an American.

The Trump administration has offered few details about the Taliban talks and has rarely explained its approach publicly. Khalilzad, who struck an optimistic note earlier this week, faces increasing criticism over the negotiations from both ends of the political spectrum, including from conservative commentators, former military commanders and diplomats and U.S. lawmakers.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused the State Department on Thursday of stonewalling Congress and failing to keep the public informed about negotiations aimed at ending America's longest war.

Engel, in a letter to Khalilzad, demanded the envoy testify before the committee "so that Congress and the American people will have the long-overdue opportunity to understand the contours of your negotiations with the Taliban and the potential risks and opportunities that may result."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., often an outspoken ally of President Trump, has warned against a total pullout of U.S. troops and said he plans to push for legislation that would require the administration to certify that a drawdown of American forces does not jeopardize U.S. national security.

Skeptics of the Taliban talks have charged the Trump administration with backing away from tougher positions over the past several months, including an earlier insistence on ensuring the Taliban agree to a countrywide ceasefire. Now U.S. officials say a ceasefire will be worked out between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the first stage of peace talks, according to foreign diplomats.

There are currently about 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, advising Afghan forces and carrying out counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda and ISIS militants. The U.S. military has had boots on the ground since 2001, when American forces toppled the Taliban regime for harboring the al Qaeda extremists behind the Sept. 11 attacks.



No, San Francisco. The NRA is not a ‘domestic terrorist organization.’

By Henry Olsen

Sep 5, 2019

Liberals often wonder where conservatives get the notion that they are hated and despised. Wonder no more: Just look at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ resolution labeling the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.”

Words matter, and there are few words that stigmatize a person faster than calling him or her a terrorist. A terrorist by definition is someone who engages in terrorism, and terrorism is defined as “the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.” To be a terrorist organization, therefore, the NRA would have to intentionally encourage and support the use of violent attacks on U.S. citizens with the intent of creating general fear so as to force submission to its political agenda.

The NRA clearly does not do that. It does not advocate, fund or support violence, nor does it try to create “a climate of fear” to advance its policies. It does support an expansive view of gun rights, but that is not a terrorist act — unless political disagreement is now a criminal offense.

But that is exactly what the resolution says. It contends that any use of a firearm with the “intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals” is “terrorist activity.” In other words, every murderer is a terrorist if they used a gun, regardless of whether they had any political motives behind their act. It then states that “the National Rifle Association through its advocacy has armed those individuals who would and have committed acts of terrorism.” You can’t get clearer than that: Constitutionally protected speech supporting the private ownership of guns is an act of terror.

Nor is the resolution isolated to NRA leadership. While it states that the leadership “promotes extremist positions, in defiance of the views of a majority of its membership,” it also states that “any individual or member of an organization” commits a terrorist act by giving support to a group that this person “reasonably should know” gives “material support” to any “individual [who] has committed or plans to commit a terrorist act.” It closes the noose around NRA members’ necks by stating that the NRA “promote[s] gun ownership and incite[s] gun owners to acts of violence.” Congratulations, average NRA member: Your $30 one-year membership makes you a terrorist.

This is McCarthyism, pure and simple. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy was rightly condemned for trying to stigmatize the American left in the 1950s by labeling it Communist and “un-American.” McCarthy’s witch hunts destroyed the careers of many people whose only “crime” was supporting a larger federal government and supporting a different foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. San Francisco’s policy toward the NRA commits the same sin.

This can only make our already toxic political atmosphere worse. Liberal democracy rests on the idea of the “loyal opposition.” In modern democracies, simply advocating a political position or a change in government is not, as so often was the case in the past, an act of treason. The First Amendment exists to provide citizens with a protected zone in which they can engage in heated political disagreement without fear of government suppression.

The San Francisco resolution essentially declares that people who back the NRA cannot be a loyal opposition. It then seeks to reduce NRA support by saying that the city should try to “limit those entities who do business” with the city “from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization.” That arguably sets the power of a government against a set of citizens solely on the basis of their politics. This is called “viewpoint discrimination” in First Amendment law and is unconstitutional.

The city’s rhetorical slander against millions of Americans is just as harmful. We cannot have a free republic if one large set of citizens views another large set of citizens as evil and beyond the pale. President Trump is regularly condemned for his harsh rhetoric that some say stigmatizes Americans on the basis of their race, gender or political beliefs. This resolution trumps Trump.

Full report at:



Pompeo says US to rally support for Uighurs at UN

7 September 2019

The United States will use this month’s UN General Assembly to rally support for the Uighurs, whose treatment by China is among “the worst stains on the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Pompeo said that China’s mass incarceration of the predominantly Muslim ethnicity will be a priority for the United States at the annual summit of world leaders.

“We’ll do a number of gatherings where our efforts will be to get other countries to sign up to help us call out this activity that is taking place,” Pompeo said at Kansas State University.

“As I said before, this may end up being one of the worst stains on the world of this century. It’s of that magnitude,” he said.

“This is fundamentally not about national security for them, this isn’t about Islamic extremism in western China. This is about freedom and dignity for individuals,” he said.

Responding to a student’s question about progress, Pompeo said that efforts were going “insufficiently” because the situation had not changed in China’s western region of Xinjiang.

“Our tool-set is to identify the challenge and then to rally the world, and we have done so today with some success but not nearly enough,” Pompeo said.

Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up in Xinjiang. China is accused of forcibly trying to draw them away from Islamic customs and integrate them into the majority Han culture.

Chinese officials have described the camps as providing vocational training and said that “most” people have left, without sharing figures.

With the exception of Turkey, governments in the Islamic world have been relatively reticent about criticizing a rising China, to the dismay of activists.

But US lawmakers and campaigners say that President Donald Trump can also do more, such as imposing targeted sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the Uighur incarceration.

Full report at:



Putin warned Bush of imminent threat 2 days before 9/11: Ex-CIA analyst

Sep 6, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned his US counterpart George W. Bush about an imminent terrorist threat two days before the 9/11 attacks took place, a former CIA analyst has reportedly revealed.

The warning is mentioned by George Beebee, a senior Bush-era CIA analyst, in his book titled “The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe,” which was released earlier this week, according to RT.

“Putin had telephoned President Bush two days before the attacks to warn that Russian intelligence has detected signs of an incipient terrorist campaign, ‘something long in preparation,’ coming out of Afghanistan,” reads part of the book.

Although Moscow’s warning to Washington has been public knowledge for years as top Russian intelligence officials talked about them shortly after the incident, Beebee suggested Bush had been warned by Putin personally meaning that it was not just limited to exchange between the intelligence agencies.

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

In addition to Russia, Britain’s intelligence service and that of the United States itself had also warned of such an incident, however, it remains a mystery whether the White House heeded those warnings and did anything to prevent it.

Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser and later secretary of state, also hinted at the mindset of the White House officials at the time in her memoirs.

In ‘No Higher Honor,’ Rice did say that she had ignored an earlier warning from Putin about Saudi-funded extremists in Pakistan that the Russian president then said would cause a “major catastrophe.”

Rice wrote, after dismissing the warning, she “chalked it up to Russian bitterness toward Pakistan for supporting the Afghan mujahideen” fighters during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan.

A special review commission on 9/11 has found that disagreements still persist within the FBI over whether there was a broader conspiracy in the US to carry out the 2001 attacks.

Full report at:



White House: US will not drop Iran sanctions, Trump tells Macron

Sep 6, 2019

US President Donald Trump has informed French President Emmanuel Macron that the United States will not lift economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the White House.

The two presidents also agreed it was essential to “curb Iran's actions threatening freedom of navigation and commerce in the Persian Gulf,” the White House claimed in a statement issued late Thursday.

“President Trump reiterated that dropping sanctions against Iran is not going to happen at this time,” the statement said.

Macron has sought to arrange a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in order to end the tensions between the US and Iran since Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

During a joint press conference with Trump last week, Macron said he hoped a meeting between the presidents of Iran and the United States would take place "in the next few weeks."

“I hope [the meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Trump] could take place in the next few weeks,” the French president said, adding, "Nothing is for sure, things are eminently fragile."

However, the Iranian president dashed Macron’s hopes of a Rouhani-Trump meeting, saying the United States should lift all sanctions before Iran agrees to talks.

“We will not witness any positive development unless the United States abandons its sanctions and corrects the wrong path it has chosen,” Rouhani said on August 27.

This week, Rouhani said Iran has never had any plan to enter bilateral negotiations with the US, reiterating that talks will be possible within the framework of the P5+1 group of world states if Washington agrees to lift all sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani said enemies imagined that they could bring Iran to its knees in six months by unleashing an unprecedented campaign of economic pressure and sanctions against the nation, but their calculations turned out to be wrong.

There was a plot, 16 months ago, to impose severe sanctions against Iran with the aim of weakening its economy and making the Islamic Republic surrender in six months, Rouhani said. That plan, however, failed, he added.

Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.

Full report at:



US welcomes Denmark's military assistance in Syria

Servet Günerigök 



The U.S. on Friday hailed Denmark's decision to deploy troops in Syria to assist the global coalition fight against Daesh.

"The United States welcomes the announcement by the Danish Government to make a military deployment to Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and to continue to share the burden and responsibilities of this important mission," said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

The statement was made hours after Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the country would send a 14-member medical team, combat battalion, warship and four fighter aircraft with support personnel.

"Our Danish partners will work with the residual U.S. military force in northeast Syria to support stability and security," said Hoffman.

"We look forward to working with our Danish ally to continue our shared mission of achieving ISIS's enduring defeat-in Syria and wherever else the group may operate," he said, using an alternate name for Daesh.

Full report at:




New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism