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Islamic World News ( 3 Jul 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Palestinian Media Reveal S. Arabia, UAE's Attempts to Open State Office in Jerusalem

New Age Islam News Bureau

3 Jul 2018

The remarkably well-preserved remains of the Caliphate city of Medina Azahara, a medieval Arab Muslim town near the Spanish city of Cordoba, was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites on Sunday.



 Palestinian Media Reveal S. Arabia, UAE's Attempts to Open State Office in Jerusalem

 Muslim Spain's Forgotten City Is Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

 Religious Tourism Back On Agenda as India, Pakistan Focus on Positives

 Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek Fields 14 Women Candidates in Elections

 What Turkey’s New Islamist-Nationalist Alliance Means for the World


Arab World

 Palestinian Media Reveal S. Arabia, UAE's Attempts to Open State Office in Jerusalem

 How Egypt’s Salafi TV Shows Are Preaching Islam through Ronaldo and Messi

 Ankara Attempting to Annex Occupied Lands in Northern Syria

 Islamic State’s Baghdadi returns to Iraq, likely to be in western desert: Source

 Muslim World League chief wins international award

 Islamic State member, who recruits militants, others arrested in Nineveh

 Three Islamic State members killed in airstrike, west of Anbar

 Syrian Army Repels another Heavy Offensive of Terrorists in Northern Hama

 Almost Sixty Percent of Dara'a Province under Syrian Army's Control



 Muslim Spain's Forgotten City Is Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

 How Muslim Immigrants Are Treated As the ‘Ghetto’ Population In Denmark

 Concern Mounting As France Prepares To Release Jailed Islamist, Mentor To ‘Hypercacher’ Killer



 Religious Tourism Back On Agenda as India, Pakistan Focus on Positives

 UP Muslim Businessman to Donate Land, Cash for 51 Temples

 'Afghanistan, India Are Victims of Terror from Same Source', Says Afghan Envoy To India

 Lok Virsa to Organise Muzakra Regarding Sufism in the 21st Century

 Narendra Modi Directs Security Agencies and State Govts to Step up Countermeasures against Extremism, Growing Radicalisation



 Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek Fields 14 Women Candidates in Elections

 Pakistan Polls: Islamic Hard-Line Party Vows to Bring ‘Surprising Results’

 JUP secures Milli Muslim League's support for its chief

 Khaqan Abbasi condemns arrest of Qamar-ul-Islam by NAB

 Pakistan election: Islamic hardline party vows to bring 'surprising results'

 13 women among 260 MML candidates

 Six security personnel martyred in Awaran rocket attack



 What Turkey’s New Islamist-Nationalist Alliance Means for the World

 Qatar Stresses Crucial Role of Palestinian Cause to Islamic World

 Yemen’s Joint Meeting Parties Welcomes Malaysia’s Withdrawal From Saudi-Led Coalition

 Trump Administration Considering Labelling Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps A Terrorist


South Asia

 Afghan Air Force Target Large Taliban Gathering in Faryab Leaving Several Dead

 Taliban Has No Excuse for The Continuation Of War, Says President Ghani

 Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Sikhs, Hindus in Jalalabad

 Commander Qaisari’s arrest could spark chaos, warns Gen. Dostum

 Civilians suffer casualties in Logar suicide car bomb attack


Southeast Asia

 Malaysia's Opposition to Seek Coalition with Islamic Party

 Indonesian forces to blame for Papua killings: Amnesty

 Indonesia ends search for dozens of victims of ferry sinking



 Jihadists on Rampage in Mali Force Schools to Close in Boko Haram-Style Campaign

 African leaders pledge to defeat Islamic extremism as Macron visits

 Mali: Al-Qaida Affiliate Claims Responsibility for Mali Attack


North America

 US: Immigrant children face steep fees to reach their parents

 The Muslim Plot To Murder Children At A 4th Of July Parade

 Trump administration: 'We will not hesitate' to punish offenders; Initial sanctions on Iran will effect

 Imam who subjected pupils to over 100 physical assaults at a mosque in Rochdale has been jailed

 Supreme Court’s Decision Affirms Trump’s Animus Toward Muslims

 Legal immigration to US from all Muslim-majority countries on track to fall

 Arab Democracy Depends on Normalizing Islamist Parties

 By any other name: Why the ‘travel ban’ really is a Muslim ban

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Palestinian Media Reveal S. Arabia, UAE's Attempts to Open State Office in Jerusalem

Jul 3, 2018

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Palestinian media outlet disclosed joint efforts by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to inaugurate a joint state office in Jerusalem al-Quds near the al-Aqsa mosque.

"Information shows UAE's attempts to purchase the building near al-Aqsa mosque was aimed at inauguration of a joint Saudi-UAE office in al-Quds city," Palestine Today newspaper quoted informed sources as saying on Monday.

t added that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are attempting to increase presence in occupied Quds city to rival Jordan that is in charge of the guardianship of al-Aqsa mosque and other holy Islamic places in Quds city.

Earlier reports also said that an Emirati businessman close to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed, is trying to buy Palestinian houses and properties in Jerusalem (al-Quds), specially those which are close to al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to the report by the Middle East Monitor, it is said that he is doing this through a businessman from Jerusalem who’s affiliated with exiled former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan.

Kamal Khatib, a former deputy leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, warned in a statement on June 6 that the businessman offered $5 million to a local Palestinian to buy his house adjacent to Al-Aqsa.

The house owner, apparently, declined, even when the initial offer was raised to $20m. Khatib warned that such efforts are similar to those in 2014, when “Mohammed Bin Zayed’s regime” bought houses in Silwan and Wadi Hilwa in occupied East Jerusalem in order to sell them to Israeli settler organizations.



Muslim Spain's forgotten city is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Jul 03, 2018

The new World Heritage sites, in order of inscription, are:

Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century (Italy) – The industrial city of Ivrea is located in the Piedmont region and developed as the testing ground for Olivetti, manufacturer of typewriters, mechanical calculators and office computers. It comprises a large factory and buildings designed to serve the administration and social services, as well as residential units. Designed by leading Italian urban planners and architects, mostly between 1930 and the 1960s, this architectural ensemble reflects the ideas of the Community Movement (Movimento Comunità). A model social project, Ivrea expresses a modern vision of the relationship between industrial production and architecture.

Caliphate City of Medina Azahara (Spain) – The Caliphate city of Medina Azahara is an archaeological site of a city built in the mid-10th century CE by the Umayyad dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba. After prospering for several years, it was laid to waste during the civil war that put an end to the Caliphate in 1009-10. The remains of the city were forgotten for almost 1,000 years until their rediscovery in the early 20th century. This complete urban ensemble features infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water systems, buildings, decorative elements and everyday objects. It provides in-depth knowledge of the now vanished Western Islamic civilization of Al-Andalus, at the height of its splendour.



Religious Tourism Back On Agenda as India, Pakistan Focus on Positives

Sachin Parashar

Jul 3, 2018

NEW DELHI: Over 160 Pakistan pilgrims are likely to arrive in India on Tuesday for the urs (death anniversary) of Amir Khusro in a sign of religious tourism being back on India's agenda with Islamabad.

The government had in the recent past said no to similar visits by Pakistan zaireens (pilgrims) mainly because of the dispute over alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav who continues to be in Pakistan's custody.

Official sources here confirmed that visas have been issued to the pilgrims. The decision to promote religious tourism was an important takeaway from PM Narendra Modi's meeting with his then counterpart Nawaz Sharif in a bilateral meeting in Russia's Ufa in 2015.

India had in March this year denied visas to more than 500 Pakistani pilgrims, who wanted to visit the shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, saying that such visits could not take place "in view of the prevailing circumstances". Visits from pilgrims from either side take place under the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visit to Religious Shrines.

Despite recurring diplomatic hostility, as evident from incidents of harassment reported from both Delhi and Islamabad, the two countries have maintained enough contact, even if unobtrusively, to ensure there's no breakdown of ties altogether.

India only last week hosted a Pakistan delegation in Mumbai for a multilateral event. The delegation was headed by Secretary of Pakistan's Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Syed Abbas Jilani.

The most significant engagement though continues to be on humanitarian issues resulting in attempts by both sides to facilitate early release and repatriation of prisoners and fishermen in custody.

While foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had suggested to Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood that India and Pakistan work for the release and repatriation of prisoners over 70 years of age and also women prisoners, Islamabad has proposed, sources here said, that prisoners below 18 and those in the age group of 60-70 also be released. India, which released six Pakistani prisoners last month, is considering the proposal.

Significantly, despite frequently reporting alleged cases of harassment of diplomats, both Indian and Pakistani missions have made sincere attempts to ensure progress on humanitarian issues. "The relationship is passing through a difficult phase and while there is no possibility soon of any formal resumption of dialogue, it's important to ensure that we don't lose contact," said a source here.

Another diplomatic source recalled how the list of engagements in the past few months included reaffirmation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding on the LoC by the two DGMOs on May 29, and also the talks between Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan Maritime Security agency. The two sides also allowed the resumption of track II Neemrana Dialogue which saw an Indian delegation visiting Pakistan.

The two countries had in March, agreed to resume the visits of the Joint Judicial Committee which looks into the issues of fishermen and prisoners in each other’s custody. The last visit by the Committee to India was in October 2013.

India had said in a statement on July 1, while exchanging the lists of prisoners with Pakistan, that it had already shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical experts team to visit Pakistan to meet the mentally unsound prisoners.

"Pakistan has also been requested to allow the visit of a group of fishermen representatives to facilitate the repatriation of Indian fishing boats, presently held in Pakistan's custody, at the earliest," it said.



Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek fields 14 women candidates in elections

Jul 3, 2018

LAHORE: Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which enjoys the backing of Milli Muslim League (MML), has fielded 14 women candidates for the 2018 general elections, according to an English daily.

The AAT was formed after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) refused to register the MML, a political face of the Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), which was put on the special list of global terrorists by the United States in April 2018.

The AAT has awarded tickets to 14 “highly educated women” to contest the upcoming elections from different constituencies. Some of these women were formerly associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Of these 14 candidates, three have been nominated for reserved seats and one for minority seats, according to the party sources.

One of the candidates, Advocate Iffat Tahira Soomro, had been the covering candidate for PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen in NA-161 (Lodhran) in the 2013 elections. She had also led the women’s wing for the election campaign of Tareen.

Advocate Iffat, who holds a master’s degree in law, was one of the founding members of PTI’s South Punjab chapter. She has actively been involved in politics since 2007. She is also the in-charge of Punjab Commission for Women and has a grip on women’s issues.

The AAT has nominated Benazir Fatima Qureshi, a former PPP politician, for NA-181 (Muzaffargarh). Besides being an active PPP political worker, Qureshi has also served as coordinator for Benazir Income Support Program in Muzaffargarh district. Benezir, who belongs to the influential Qureshi family, enjoys the support of several other communities and families in her constituency.

Similarly, Dr Sanam Laghari, from the Golarachi area of Badin district of Sindh, will also be contesting the election from the AAT platform. Dr Sanam Laghari is expected to face stiff opposition from Sindhi nationalist parties, but she is determined to face them in the elections.

Party sources have confirmed that the AAT has nominated Iqra Muzammil for NA-251 (Karachi), Rabia Mukhtar for NA-107 (Faisalabad), Iffat Tahira Soomro for NA-161 (Lodharan) and Benazir Fatima Qureshi for NA-181 (Muzaffargarh). And for provincial seats, Shazia Saeed has been nominated for PP-14, Shazia Kausar for PP-83, Saira Bano for PP-149, Syeda Tahira Sheerazi for PP-151, Begum Abida Nazeer for PP-229, and Dr Sanam Laghari for PS-74.

Saira Bano is said to be a paternal cousin of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the ailing wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. She hails from a notable Pehlwaan family of Lahore and enjoys widespread support.

Similarly, the politico-religious party, which has been allotted Chair as election symbol, has nominated Humera Nausheen and Farhat Naeem for seats reserved for women in the Punjab Assembly, while Samuel Masih has been named for a minority seat.



What Turkey’s New Islamist-Nationalist Alliance Means for the World

avatar by Burak Bekdil

Jul 3, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters from the balcony of his ruling AK Party headquarters in Ankara, June 25, 2018. Photo: Kayhan Ozer / Presidential Palace /  Handout via Reuters.

Four decades after they emerged as marginal parties in the 1970s, Turkey’s militant Islamists and ultra-nationalists won a combined 53.6% of the national vote and 57% of parliamentary seats in last week’s election. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said in the past that he would make foreign policy “in line with what my nation demands,” highlighting the Islamist sensitivities of his voter base. He will now add nationalist sensitivities to that foreign policy calculus. This will likely mean confrontations with nations both inside and outside Turkey’s sphere of influence.

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 sent messages on many wavelengths. But the election also marked the official birth of an Islamist-nationalist alliance that will recalibrate Turkey’s foreign policy calculus, in line with the strong wave of religious and nativist nationalism that brought this alliance to power.

Erdoğan easily won the presidential race with 53.6% of the national vote in the first round (any number beyond the 50% mark would have sufficed). But his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won only 42.5% of the parliamentary vote, down seven percentage points from its result in the elections of November 2015. The AKP won 293 seats in Turkey’s 600-seat house, falling short of a simple majority of 301.

Had this been a previous election, the AKP would have been unable to form a single-party government. But legislative changes that followed Erdoğan’s April 2017 referendum now allow political parties to enter the parliamentary race in alliance with other parties. Erdoğan chose as his ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has its ideological roots in the militantly ultra-nationalist, pan-Turkic ideology of the 1970s. On June 24, the MHP won 11.1% of the national vote and 50 seats, bringing up the “allied” (i.e., the governing) seats to 343 — which gives the AKP-MHP alliance a comfortable parliamentary majority.

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Turkey’s new ruling ideology will, first of all, make it practically impossible for the government to return to the negotiating table for peace with the Kurds. This is an MHP red line that Erdoğan will prefer not to cross. MHP’s militaristic posture will also boost Ankara’s desire to show more muscle in Kurdish-related disputes in northern Syria and northern Iraq. (MHP’s only solution to the Kurdish dispute is military action.)

The ramifications of this new alliance will also be felt far outside Turkey.

Turkey’s decades-long, obsessive foreign policy goals include making Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state, asserting an ideological kinship with Hamas, stoking sectarian hostilities against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and making threats about drilling off the shores of the divided island of Cyprus. To these will probably be added an “Uighur cause,” a subject about which the MHP is particularly sensitive.

The AKP’s election manifesto stated an intention to “overcome problems and improve bilateral relations with the United States.” But the manifesto also said Turkey would make an effort to “improve bilateral relations with Russia.” It said, “We will continue our close coordination with Russia on regional subjects, especially on Syria.”

In practice, Erdogan’s balancing act between Russia and the US resembles Brazilian dictator Getulio Vargas’s “pendulum policy” during World War II. Vargas offered support to Hitler and Mussolini at times, but ended up siding with the Allies.

MHP’s involvement in government policy will be totally irrelevant when it comes to operating the modern-day Turkish pendulum.

Erdoğan’s relations with the US are ideologically hostile but de facto transactional. They will remain so. His relations with Russia are largely transactional and will probably gain further ground, politically as well as militarily, as the discrepancy between Turkish and Western democratic cultures widens. Erdoğan ideologically belong to the strongmen’s club.

As Turkey’s gross democratic deficit, largely created under Erdoğan’s governance, is blended with MHP’s notoriously isolationist, xenophobic ideology, Turkey’s theoretical goal of accession into the European Union (EU) will gradually become null and void. Erdoğan will likely soon announce plans to shut down the ministry dealing with accession negotiations with the EU and turn it into “a department of the Foreign Ministry.” And this should not surprise anyone.

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based columnist. He regularly writes for the Gatestone Institute and Defense News and is a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is also a founder of, and associate editor at, the Ankara-based think tank Sigma.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers, such as this one, are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family.



Arab World


How Egypt’s Salafi TV Shows Are Preaching Islam through Ronaldo and Messi

3 July 2018

A series of TV shows airing on Egypt-based religious channels have recently linked the success of certain footballers to Islam, using their coverage of the sport to promote religion.

One of these channels, Al Daeya, broadcasted a program named Remontada, which featured Salafi advocate and media presenter Hazem Shoman using matches and players, including international stars Messi and Ronaldo, to explain a number of Islamic issues.

In one of the episodes, Shoman celebrated Egypt's World Cup qualification as part of his discussion on Islam’s interpretations of the Day of Judgement.

In another episode, Shoman said: “Harry Kane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, is valued at 194.7 million euros. Messi, the Barcelona star, is worth 202.4 million euros. England’s Liverpool club values Mohammed Salah at 222 million euros, competing with Neymar as the world’s most expensive striker,” implying Salah’s success because he is Muslim.

Among the program’s controversial episodes, Shoman used the term “scorer,” to explain to the audience the opportunities of being “scorers” in Islam.

The presenter’s predecessor, Sameh Abdel Hamid Hamouda, has praised the program. He sees it as a serious effort to reach youth and speak their language in order to bring them closer to God and “prevent them from walking the path of the devil.”

Meanwhile, another religious TV show on the Salafi-themed Al Rahma channel in Egypt used football to preach Islam, despite a large number of Salafi sheikhs who have previously forbid the clash of faith and football.

The owner of the channel, Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, described footballs in an old fatwa (religious edict) as “silly pieces of leather that the Jews glorified across many nations.”

Hassan added that he believed people waste their time while watching football, saying: “You do not worry about religion when your only concern is football.”



Ankara Attempting to Annex Occupied Lands in Northern Syria

Jul 03, 2018


The sources said that the Ankara-backed forces were making industrious efforts to issue Turkish identity cards for the residents of the occupied town of Afrin.

The sources further said that residents of Afrin were referred as refugees in these identity cards, adding that the residents of Afrin were not allowed to use their Syrian identity cards for now.

The sources went on to say that the Ankara forces embarked on erecting checkpoint at the entrances of Afrin to register identity details of Arabs and Kurds to issue new Turkish identity cards for them.

The Ankara forces threatened to burn the houses of all those who refuse to cooperate with them in this new ID plan.

In the meantime, Spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry Hami Aksoy claimed that the Turkish forces would continue their presence in Afrin on a temporary basis.


The Syrian Army resumed its massive assault in the Southern province of Dara'a and managed to take control over more points on Monday after a Syrian-Russian reconciliation offer to the terrorists failed to end up in success.

The army men engaged in a tough battle with terrorists West of Dara'a city and managed to impose control over several neighborhoods.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded the positions and movements of the terrorists in the small towns of Seida and al-Tayebeh in Eastern Dara'a, inflicting major losses on the militants.

Heavy fighting was reported between the army soldiers and terrorists in al-Tayebeh, a local source reported.

The source further said that other units of the army stormed terrorists' bases after the latter refused to join the peace agreement with the army in Tafas settlement and decided to join ISIL terrorists.

In the meantime, the Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Ali Maqsoud, a Syrian military expert, as reporting that the army seized back the Old Customs and Tal Sakar regions between Jabib and Um Walad settlements in the Southern countryside of Dara'a city, and deployed forces only 1,200 meters away from the main border-crossing with Jordan.

Sputnik further said that other units of the army managed to take control of the strategic Tal al-Zamitiyeh and al-Jamileh regions West of the town of Ibta North of Dara'a city and a key military road, adding that terrorists in the towns of al-Tayibah, Sour, Seida and Um Mayadhin as well as Nasib township laid down arms and surrendered.

Maqsoud further said that 99 percent of the people in Southern Syria supported the army and called for expulsion of the terrorists from their region, adding that the terrorists' military power has drastically decreased after the US forces left the militants alone in the war against the Syrian government forces.

Meanwhile, the Arabic Sputnik quoted Syrian military expert Colonel Ali Maqsoud as saying that the army plans to launch a major attack in Western and Southwestern Dara'a after government forces managed to liberate over 1,800 sq-km of land in Dara'a province in recent days.

The Eastern borders of Bravo Line that is a buffer region between the Syrian army and Israeli forces are in Western Dara'a.

The report went on to say that the army is planning to free Hawz Yarmouk, Hith, Tasil, Azwan, Nafe'eh, al-Shajara, al-Harra regions and the strategic town of Kafr Shams that links Southern Quneitra to Northwestern Dara'a in its upcoming operation.

Sputnik further said that 99 percent of the people in Dara'a, Sweida and Golan are calling for the expulsion of the terrorists from their regions, and quoted local sources as reporting that residents of the town of Nawa and Kafr Shams are expecting the army's arrival and exit of militants any time soon.

Also on Monday, commanders of the terrorist groups left the new round of reconciliation talks with the Russian-Syrian delegation and kept gunmen on alert.

In the meantime, the army men, backed up by artillery units, stormed terrorists' positions in the town of Tafas in Western Dara'a and captured several strategic regions.

Also, other artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at terrorists' movements and positions near the Old Customs area and the town of al-Na'eimeh and its nearby regions, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The army was tightening siege on the terrorists from the direction of al-Tabelin road East of Tafas, and from Tal al-Saman in the North.

Local sources, meantime, reported that the army cut off the main supply line of the terrorists connecting Western and Eastern Dara'a.

Well-informed sources said on Monday that a Russian delegation, representing the Damascus government, entered Dara'a city to start a fresh round of reconciliation talks with militant commanders.

Sources in the provincial capital informed that the militants may hand over their regions between the towns of al-Tayibeh and Busra al-Sham near the border with Jordan to the Syrian army without a fight.

"And then, Nasib, Seida and the entire regions near the International Highway between the Nasib border-crossing and Khirbet al-Qazaleh will later join the peace plan," they added.

The talks are underway amid the army's rapid advances against the terrorists in Dara'a and towards border with Jordan in the South.

The last round of Russian-Syrian delegation talks with the militants failed to end up in success on Saturday.

The AMN reported on Monday that Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi will be traveling to Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Southwest Syria, a media outlet reported.

Safadi will be traveling to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov about the current situation in Southwest Syria.

“I look forward to a frank discussion to discuss how to arrive at a ceasefire as soon as possible,” Safadi said.


Several members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed or wounded after unidentified assailants opened fire at an SDF base in Eastern Raqqa on Monday.

Two SDF militias were killed and several more were wounded in the attack on their checkpoint in Karama township in Eastern Raqqa.

The SDF has put all its gunmen on alert and declared curfew after the attack.

In the meantime, the SDF broke into the villages of Ratla, Kasrah Faraj and Kasrah Joma'ah in the Southern countryside of Raqqa city and arrested tens of residents.

Infighting among members of the SDF and also between the US-backed militias and civilians has recently increased in Northeastern Syria.


An Arab media outlet reported on Monday that Kurdish militia groups were showing strong signs in their talks with Damascus authorities of their desire to give up their quest for autonomy and surrender the Kurdish-ruled territories to the Central government in return for insignificant demands.

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported that several meetings have been held between senior officials of Damascus government and the Kurdish militias in the town of Qamishli in Northern Syria and also in Damascus.

"Under an agreement held by the two sides, the Kurdish groups have agreed to take a number of actions that also include collecting the entire images of Abdullah Ocalan, one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, as well as the Kurdish militias' official signs and flags from all their terroritories," the report continued.

It went on to say that retreat of all Kurdish militias to Hasaka province and erecting joint checkpoints to be run by the Kurds and the government forces across Hasaka province are also among other terms of the agreement.

Other sources said that the agreement endorsed by the Kurds and the army entails several more paragraphs that include the presence of the Kurdish militias among the ranks of the Syrian army, surrender of Tal Kojar and Simalka border-crossing with Iraq and al-Darbasiyeh and Ra'as al-Ein border-crossing with Turkey to the Damascus army and delivering control over oil and gas fields to the Syrian Oil Ministry.

The sources further said that, in return, the Kurds have asked for the start of Kurdish-language courses in the educational program in Kurdish regions and appointment of a Kurdish official to a high post in the Syrian oil ministry.

Al-Watan went on to say that the Kurdish units have already embarked on collecting PYD flags and the photos of its leader from streets in Qamishli and Hasaka city.

In the meantime, other Syrian media outlets said that the Syrian Democratic forces' decision to hand over Raqqa city to the army will be the first confidence-building measure between the two sides.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had earlier warned that the Kurdish militias would face the tough option if they prove to be unwilling to resolve their differences with Damascus through talks.

In a relevant development but in Aleppo province in March, the Kurdish combatants were to hand over the villages of Kimar, al-Ziyarah, Borj al-Qas, Bashmara, Basoufan, Deir al-Jamal, Tal Raf'at, Kafr Naya, Ming airport and the village of Ming in Northern Aleppo to the Syrian Army troops after an agreement with Damascus government.

Other sources said that the Kurdish-held villages were handed over to the army.


A coordinator of the Turkish mission in Afrin said on Monday that the Turkish military commenced the transition of order control functions in the Northern Syrian town of Afrin to the local police backed by Ankara.

"As of now, 2,000 local police officers are working in Afrin and 2,000 more are undergoing the training. So, the process of the transition of these functions to the local police has already begun. Within a week the military will begin the transition of order control in Afrin to the local police," the coordinator told Sputnik.

On January 20, Turkey and the Free Syrian Army militants launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.

The goal of the operation was to clear Turkey's Syrian border of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey believes to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Both YPG and PKK are considered terrorist organizations by Ankara. In late March, Ankara announced that the district was under complete Turkish control.


A media outlet reported on Monday that the first group of Syrian refugees returned from Lebanon to the suburbs of Syrian capital of Damascus.

Within a month, the second group of 173 refugees will get back from Lebanon and then one more group of over thousand people will return their homeland, Sputnik reported.

Since the beginning of the Syrian military conflict in 2011, millions of Syrians have fled the country to other states, including neighboring Lebanon.

The situation around Syrian refugees in Lebanon has recently escalated in a wake of the authorities' claims that the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR had been discouraging those displaced by the Syrian war from returning to their home country.


The Syrian Army repelled terrorists' heavy offensive in the Northern countryside of Aleppo city on Monday, inflicting major losses on the militants.

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorists that tried to prevail over the government forces' positions in Jam'iyat al-Zahra district North-West of Aleppo city and managed to ward off the militants' heavy attack.

In the meantime, the terrorists opened heavy fire at residential areas in Anadan, Bayanoun, Jam'iyat al-Zahra districts and regions and the small towns of Nubl and al-Zahra.

The army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists' movements and positions near Anadan, Bayanoun and Nasibeen, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

Also, local sources reported that other artillery and missile units shelled heavily terrorists' positions and movements in Khan Touman and Jam'iyat al-Mohandeseen in the Southwestern countryside of Aleppo city, killing and wounding several militants and destroying their equipment.

A large number of Ankara-backed militants from Uzbekistan, Chechnya and China's Turkistan are fighting in Northern Aleppo.


Two more US army convoys arrived in the town of Manbij in Northeastern Syria on Monday.

Two convoys of the US army, including 12 military vehicles, arrived in the outskirts of the town of Manbij and deployed in the two villages of al-Sa'eidah and Awn al-Dadat West and North of the town, respectively.

The US convoys went through the regions ruled by the Syrian Democratic Forces on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River and in Raqqa and arrived in Manbij on Monday.

Full report at:



Islamic State’s Baghdadi returns to Iraq, likely to be in western desert: Source

by  Nehal Mostafa

Jul 2, 2018

Baghdad ( Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has returned back to Iraq, an informed security source said adding that he is likely to be in the western desert.

Speaking to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, the source said “Baghdadi moved to Syria before end of the liberation battles in Nineveh. He settled to Raqqa in Syria, before moving to Qaim in Iraq.”

The Iraqi intelligence, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, “receives information about places to which Baghdadi heads. However, his exact location is not identified.”

Baghdadi “moved to Syria once again before liberating Qaim then returned back to western Iraq in the wake of heated battles in Syria and losing most of the cities that the group was controling.”

The source also added that “Baghdadi cannot move freely between the two countries like he used to.”

Both Iraqi and U.S.-led Coalition jets “tried to target him more than once, without locating his place well,” the source said. “The Iraqi intelligence located the house, where Baghdadi supposedly existed in Mosul, and carried out an airstrike but it was revealed later that the house was for camouflage.”

Full report at:



Muslim World League chief wins international award

03 July 2018


JEDDAH: Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa has won the Galileo International Award 2018 in Florence, Italy.

The Galileo Foundation said Al-Issa received the award for his excellence in Islamic works and international achievements, praising his leading roles in promoting civilizational peace and harmony.

In his speech at the awards ceremony, Al-Issa said it had been his pleasure to meet a distinguished elite of clergy, politicians and intellectuals in Florence, the birthplace of the European Renaissance, pointing to the importance of adhering to the common denominators that unite people despite the diversity among nations.

The MWL chief highlighted the negative effects of private ambitions and political and material interests on overall peace and harmony, and the threat they pose to the fence that protects rights and freedoms and the resulting brutal conflict. He stressed the real victory for each cause lies in its soft power and moral logic.

Al-Issa noted that those who have a just cause are eligible to conquer, provided their victory is civilized, because materialism does not recognize the logic of ethics and values. Al-Issa said that human barbarism should not be overlooked by the international community, spiritual leaders, or the general opinion leaders of different groups, pointing to the seriousness of religious, sectarian and political extremism.

He called for investment in awareness by educating future generations about common values starting from the early stages of life.

He thanked Alfonso de Vergils, Marco Giorgetta and all the other members of the award committee for the award which, he said, puts more responsibilities on his shoulders.

The Galileo Award is named after the Italian reformist, mathematician, and physicist Galileo Galilei, who was sentenced to death by the Inquisition in 1616 for religious heresy. In March 2008, the Vatican went some way to amending its mistakes toward Galileo by placing a statue of him inside the Vatican walls. The award is granted this year for leadership in thought.

Full report at:



Islamic State member, who recruits militants, others arrested in Nineveh

by  Nehal Mostafa

Jul 3, 2018

Baghdad ( An Islamic State member, who recruits other militants, west of Mosul, as well as two other militants, have been arrested, Iraqi authorities announced on Monday.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said counter-terrorism troops in Tal Afar arrested an IS member, against whom an arrest warrant was issued.”

Troops, according to the statement, “arrested the terrorist, possessing a recruitment form for the new members who joined the group, while it was controlling Mosul.”

Moreover, the Security Media Center announced arresting two militants and seizing two tunnels in Nineveh.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasool, spokesperson for the center, said in a statement that “Nineveh Operations Command managed to arrest a terrorist in Shuqaira region. Two tunnels were found in al-Zarka village.”

Troops, according to Rasool, “arrested an IS member, depending on accurate intelligence information, in al-Aamel al-Oula district.”

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014. Many suspects were arrested over links with Islamic State, since the city was recaptured from the group in July 2017.

Full report at:



Three Islamic State members killed in airstrike, west of Anbar

by  Nehal Mostafa

Jul 3, 2018

Anbar ( Three Islamic State members were killed in an airstrike by the Iraqi fighter jets, a source was quoted saying on Monday.

“Army jets shelled a vehicle for Islamic State while trying to reach to Kubaisa region in Heet town, leaving three militants killed,” the source told Almaalomah website.

Intelligence information, according to the source, “enabled the jets to target the vehicle after military units noticed it.”

Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

On Friday, a soldier was killed, while two others were profoundly injured as a bomb, from remnants of war against Islamic State, went off, west of Anbar, as army forces were carrying out an operation at regions at Rutba, near the borders between Iraq and Syria.

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Full report at:



Syrian Army Repels another Heavy Offensive of Terrorists in Northern Hama

Jul 03, 2018

The army men engaged in fierce clashes with the non-Syrian terrorists of Horas al-Din and Tahrir al-Sham that had attacked Tal Bazam region North of the town of Souran in Northern Hama and repelled their offensive.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists' movements in Souran and near the town of Morek in Northern Hama and in Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The terrorists used suicide attackers in their offensive against the army in Northern Hama, but the army killed a large number of terrorists and forced the remaining of them to retreat.

The terrorists' attack on the army in Northern Hama was aimed at disturbing the army's concentration on its operation in Southern Syria.

Last week, the army's artillery and missile units launched a heavy shelling on Tahrir al-Sham's positions and movements in al-Latamina, Kafr Zita and al-Zakah regions in Northern Hama, killing and wounding a number of terrorists and destroying several strongholds and a large volume of their military hardware.

Local sources said that the terrorists tried to open new fronts against the army in Northern regions to decrease the army's military pressure on their comrades in Southern Syria but the army opened heavy fire and preempted the offensive.

In the meantime, the terrorists launched artillery attack on the army in Halfaya, Zalaqiyat, Zalin and al-Masaseneh region.

Full report at:



Almost Sixty Percent of Dara'a Province under Syrian Army's Control

Jul 03, 2018

The source said the army men continued to storm terrorists' positions in Western Dara'a and arrived at the entrance of Tafas township.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at terrorists' movements in Seida and al-Tayibah townships, inflicting major losses on the militants, the source added.

In the meantime, other units of the army restored security to al-Moseirefeh township in Eastern Dara'a, the source further said.

The source went on to say that the army has tightened noose on the terrorists West of Dara'a, adding that the army has gained control over 58 percent of territory in Dara'a province.

Commander of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in Dara'a Abu Jaber al-Shami announced that his fighters will never quit battle with the army in the Southern province. 

On Monday, commanders of the terrorist groups left the new round of reconciliation talks with the Russian-Syrian delegation and kept gunmen on alert.

In the meantime, the army men, backed up by artillery units, stormed terrorists' positions in the town of Tafas in Western Dara'a and captured several strategic regions.

Also, other artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at terrorists' movements and positions near the Old Customs area and the town of al-Na'eimeh and its nearby regions, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The army is tightening siege on the terrorists from the direction of al-Tabelin road East of Tafas, and from Tal al-Saman in the North.

Full report at:





How Muslim immigrants are treated as the ‘ghetto’ population in Denmark

JUL 02, 2018

Low-income immigrant neighborhoods in Copenhagen and other cities in Denmark are considered “ghettos” by the government and kids as young as 1 there are forced to take “Danish values” classes away from their parents.

The “ghetto parents” and “ghetto children” who live in these areas are overwhelmingly Muslim migrants, according to The New York Times. And by the time these children turn 1-year-old, their “assimilation” into Danish culture begins.

The government is currently pushing to add a new series of laws labeled the “ghetto package” to be imposed on this group – which lives in some 25 areas across the country. The Danes believe that if those families don’t integrate on their own volition, they should be forced under the law.

At 12-months-old, kids are detached from their parents’ sides for 25 hours a week when they’re expected to attend “Danish values” classes on the national language and religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. If the parents refuse, they face the possibility of being kicked off social welfare benefits.

To compare, the average Danish child living outside the “ghetto” doesn’t necessarily have to enroll in school until the age of six.

This contrast is in line with the Danish government’s increasingly sub-human vernacular used to describe Muslim immigrants.

In January, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen suggested that those living in the ghettos might “reach out their tentacles onto the streets” and spread violence. In the same speech, he blamed them for the supposed “cracks” that “have appeared on the map of Denmark” thanks to the ghettos.

The “package” of new rules consists of 22 in total, The Times reported, which were first unveiled in March. Some still need to come to a vote but the majority of them passed.

A rejected proposal, deemed too radical, suggested that all “ghetto children” should have to stay in their homes after 8 p.m. – a law that would be enforced via ankle bracelets around the leg of each child.

But others currently under consideration include the banning of “re-education trips.” This would prevent immigrant parents from having their kids return to their country of origin for long periods of time, effectively hindering the kids’ new “schooling, language and well-being,” according to the Danish government. The punishment for any rule-breaking parent could carry a four-year prison sentence.

Authorities are also trying to win the ability to fine and imprison immigrants at double the standard rate for common crimes if the offense is committed by someone who lives in one of the 25 ghettos, if the person has no or low-income, or if he or she is uneducated or considered someone of a “non-Western background.”

“Some will wail and say, ‘We’re not equal before the law in this country,’ and ‘Certain groups are punished harder,’” justice minister Soren Pape Poulsen said at a political gathering, according to The Times, “but that’s nonsense.

“To me this is about, no matter who lives in these areas and who they believe in, they have to profess to the values required to have a good life in Denmark.”

But not everyone in the Danish government is on-board with this othering rhetoric. A Social Democrat whose electorate includes a neighborhood called Tingbjerg – a ghetto in the eyes of her colleagues – sees the anesthetized attitude towards this community as dangerous and echoing Nazi sentiments.

“We call them ‘ghetto children, ghetto parents,’ it’s so crazy,” parliament member Yildiz Akdogan told The Times. “It is becoming a mainstream word, which is so dangerous. People who know a little about history, our European not-so-nice period, we know what the word ‘ghetto’ is associated with.”



Concern Mounting as France Prepares to Release Jailed Islamist, Mentor to ‘Hypercacher’ Killer

avatar by Ben Cohen

Jul 3, 2018

As the French government prepares for the imminent release of a leading Al Qaeda terror strategist and ideologue, concern is mounting over where he will be located once out of jail.

Djamel Beghal, 52, is set to be released from Vezin prison in northwestern France by August 5. The Algerian national — whose terrorist connections included Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who shot dead four Jewish hostages during an armed siege at a Hypercacher supermarket in Paris on Jan, 9, 2015 — has been active in Islamist circles in Europe since the 1990s.

Beghal is coming to the end of a prison sentence that began in 2005, with a ten-year conviction for plotting bomb attacks against targets including the US Embassy in Paris. In 2013, Beghal received an additional ten years for his part in the attempted escape from prison of Smaïn Aït Ali Belkacem, a leader of Algeria’s notoriously brutal Armed Islamic Group (GIA) who is serving a life sentence in France.

During his time in the Fleury-Mérogis prison near Paris, Beghal mentored Chérif Kouachi, the terrorist who went on to carry out, with his brother Said, the deadly terrorist attack against the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on Jan. 5, 2015. Through Chérif Kouachi, Beghal came into contact with Amedy Coulibaly, whose armed siege at the Hypercacher market completed the week of terror around the French capital launched by the Kouachi brothers.

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Coulibaly, who was killed by French armed police following a siege that lasted several hours, had been known to the French authorities for some time. Arrested in 2010, he told interrogators on that occasion that he knew and respected Beghal, describing the Algerian as someone who had made a deep impression on him during an earlier term in prison. In the days after the January 2015 attacks, Beghal’s role as principal guide and adviser to the Kouachis and Coulibaly was extensively highlighted by a stunned French media.

Beghal is regarded as among the most dangerous of the 450 Islamist terrorists who will be released from French prisons by the end of 2019. Beghal is also banned from entering the United Kingdom, where his wife and four children still live after the family moved there in 1997. It was during his residency in the English city of Leicester that Beghal emerged as a key Al Qaeda recruiter in Europe, at one point traveling to Afghanistan for a meeting with the late Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The French Justice Ministry plans to deport Beghal to Algeria, although it has yet to secure the agreement of the North African country’s government. Last month, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said that Beghal would remain under house arrest in France if Algeria refuses to take him. “What’s important is that these people are under constant surveillance,” Belloubet said.

French President Emmanuel Macron famously declared in an August 2017 policy speech that combating Islamist terrorism remained his country’s chief international concern.

Full report at:





UP Muslim Businessman To Donate Land, Cash For 51 Temples

Jul 3, 2018

Lucknow: A Muslim businessman in Lucknow has announced that he would donate land and money needed for construction of 51 temples at different locations in UP and Bihar.

The businessman is Rashid Naseem, director of Shine group of companies, and he said that his announcement is aimed at preserving secular beliefs in society and preserving communal harmony.

“Being a Muslim does not stop me from working towards betterment of other religions. I think this is a step towards communal harmony and an attempt to convey the message of brotherhood and peace to the society. It is simply an example of the Ganga-Jamuni’ culture of the region”,  he told reporters.

Mr Rashid Naseem said that the first temple built by him is nearing completion on the Allahabad-Varanasi highway and will be inaugurated in the Hindu month of “Saawan”.

“We plan to complete the construction of 21 temples by the end of this year. And will complete our target of 51 temples by the end of 2019”, he said.

The realtor who considers PM Narendra Modi as his inspiration, claims that he travels approximately 50,000 km every month to check on his different business ventures.

Rashid Naseem belongs to Allahabad and launched his business in 2013. He has now ventured into travel and tourism and water purifiers.



'Afghanistan, India Are Victims Of Terror From Same Source', Says Afghan Envoy To India

Jul 3, 2018

NEW DELHI: 'Afghanistan and India are victims of terror from the same source...across the border', said Afghan envoy to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali, leaving no doubt that he was referring to Pakistan.

Abdali was referring to Sunday's horrific suicide bombing in Afghanistan's Jalalabad, which targeted, and killed, mostly Sikhs and Hindus.

Daish claimed the attack, but other credible news agencies said it was the Pakistani Taliban with the complicity of Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The Afghan envoy is pretty certain it was an attack orchestrated by elements from Pakistan - specifically the Pakistani Taliban. To be sure, the raison d'etre of some other Pakistani terror groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed, is terror attacks on India.

That's what Afghanistan's Abdali emphasized.

Attack has been claimed by Daish but fact is terrorism in Afghanistan is mostly coming from across border....Afghanistan and India are victims of terrorism from the same sources and that's why they have to stand together with rest of the world to fight terrorism in order for the two of us to be freed from menace of terrorism attacking both nations," he said.

Afghanistan is set for elections in October and among those killed in Jalalabad yesterday was Avtar Singh Khalsa, who had planned to stand in in the parliamentary elections. Of the 19 killed, 17 were Sikhs and Hindus.

17 Sikhs and Hindus killed in Afghanistan terror attack01:2317 Sikhs and Hindus killed in Afghanistan terror attack

"Extremely shocking... It is an attack on Afghan democracy, attack on Afghan values, freedom of religion, faith and attack on our diversity," said Abdali about the targeted killing.

Just yesterday, a top Donald Trump aide rapped Pakistan, again, for not bringing the Taliban within its borders to heel.

"Right now, it's the Taliban leaders…who aren't residing in Afghanistan, who are the obstacle to a negotiated political settlement," said Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, to reporters in Kabul, reported AP.

Islamabad, she said, has taken no action.

Full report at:



Lok Virsa to organise muzakra regarding Sufism in the 21st century

Jul 3, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) has decided to organise a muzakra on July 4 regarding “the Sufi Route in the 21st Century”.

The discussion will also be followed by a Mehfil-E-Samaa.

A Lok Virsa official said, “We resume the Muzakra series with an effort to look at Sufism in 21st Century.”



Narendra Modi Directs Security Agencies and State Govts to Step up Countermeasures against Extremism, Growing Radicalisation

Yatish Yadav

Jul 03, 2018

New Delhi: With growing concerns over indoctrination through social media, end-to-end encrypted apps and audio-video clips on the dark web, the government is laying the groundwork with the help of states to mount a grand offensive against multifaceted radicalisation threats, in a bid to neutralise potential sources advocating violent extremism.

Top sources in the government said the move to involve various agencies as well as state governments to counter violent extremist ideologies and to promote a message of peace came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concerns over 'sermons' being spread through multimedia platforms and suggested that security agencies map the areas to identify the locations as well as mediums involved in spreading indoctrination materials.

Modi in a meeting told the top security brass to use advance technology to detect the origin of the content so that it can be suitably addressed. Countering violent extremism has not been an easy task for many countries and it requires careful planning at various levels, while engaging and empowering the community facing such threats.

End-to-end encryption in messenger apps has always been a serious challenge with law enforcement agencies seeking back door access for a very long time. Modi is learnt to have also suggested that the officials take initiative for training people and production of inspirational films for the purpose of de-radicalisation.

"All the concerned stakeholders have been asked to initiate action in a time bound manner and communicate the progress to the Centre. The focus is cultivating community collaboration for counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation. The state's police and intelligence unit's role is essential in identifying potential threats and developing level of trusts with people by engaging community elders. The idea is to prevent the youngsters from embracing extremist ideologies and to ensure they don't feel alienated," sources in the know said.

A senior intelligence officer claimed police forces in several states have successfully pre-empted plans of radicalised youths indoctrinated through materials available on websites and prevented terror actions. He, however, cautioned that the fight against such elements would need to continue in view of the prevailing circumstances.

"There is no doubt serious concern on the increasing role of social media and internet in spreading hatred, rumour mongering and radicalising youths and a larger network with investment in modern technology would be required to counter the emerging multi-pronged challenges. There is also a suggestion that state police could set up district level social media laboratories with the assistance of the National Technical Research Organisation, which could improve policing on the ground," the intelligence officer said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has recently started a separate division for counter-terrorism and counter radicalisation. Besides monitoring of activities of fundamentalist organisations, the division housed at North Block also focuses on launching policies and strategies to combat radicalisation and to generate short-term as well as long-term measures for de-radicalisation.

The security and intelligence agencies have emphasised the need to keep a watch over Wahhabi-Salafi linked broadcast on internet and social media as well as activities of fringe Hindu elements.

Despite the efforts mounted by the government, Islamic preacher Zakir Naik continues to release sermons through his Peace TV and podcasts on social media platforms. Naik was granted permanent resident status by Malaysia since he fled India in 2016 after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for funding terrorist activities and indoctrinating gullible youths to take up jihad.

Naik's Peace TV has recently released a video on the issue of conversion, suggesting measures to convince non-Muslims to accept Islam. The propaganda arms of Naik is being operated through a maze of a companies floated in Britain with Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited handling the media venture with help of other companies such as Lord Production Inc Limited, Club TV Limited and Islamic Research Foundation International.

Naik has resigned as director of Universal Broadcasting in May 2018, however, he remains on the board of Lord Production and Islamic Research Foundation International – both the companies operate from Birmingham. Islamic Research Foundation is banned in India after the government had argued that Naik was using the platform to radicalise youths and was also responsible for influencing and indoctrinating impressionable minds of youths to convert to Islam.

The NIA had suggested that 24 youths migrated from Kerala to Afghanistan to join the Islamic State (IS) were regular visitor of Islamic Research Foundation office at Dongri and attended meetings with its functionaries. An office bearer was tasked to process the documents of conversion to Islam and agencies had seized 78 such affidavits in a search operation at Mumbai.

The security agencies are also keeping a watch over massive propaganda launched for several Sikh organisations based in Britain, Canada and the US for Khalistan referendum 2020 and materials being circulated for 12 August London Declaration at Trafalgar square.

An intelligence note reviewed by Firstpost suggests that Pakistan backed elements operating from West Asia are involved in the radicalisation of vulnerable segments and on the eastern frontier, Bangladesh based elements like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is indoctrinating and mobilising youths.

The note further said that there has been significant growth of South India based elements linked to West Asia and immense increase has been detected in membership of certain organisations, particularly vocal in espousal of Jihad. It said there was ample cross-border movement of radical groups looking to expand their networks, talent spotting, recruitment, brainwashing and undertaking reconnaissance for identification of suitable targets.

An officer coordinating with the states on the issue said continued efforts by central and state security agencies on the front of radicalisation would be imperative to counter support from Pakistan.

Full report at:





Pakistan Polls: Islamic Hard-Line Party Vows to Bring ‘Surprising Results’

JULY 02, 2018

Sitting in a wheelchair, Mr. Rizvi, whose legs are paralysed, said his party’s manifesto is same as that of Islam’s teachings to create a truly Islamic welfare state in Pakistan.

As Pakistan is all set to go to polls on July 25, a newly-launched Islamic hardline party led by a radical cleric has expressed confidence to bring “surprising results” as it aimed at making inroads into the existing power matrix by stirring up the religious sentiments of the voters. The Tehreek-i-Labbaik (TLP) Pakistan chief, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who launched the election campaign from Karachi yesterday night said he saw no competition to his party candidates in the elections.

Sitting in a wheelchair, Mr. Rizvi, whose legs are paralysed, said his party’s manifesto is same as that of Islam’s teachings to create a truly Islamic welfare state in Pakistan.

We are confident that those who believe in Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (the finality of the prophethood) would vote for us and you will see surprising results in the elections, Mr. Rizvi said.

The party has fielded candidates on all the national assembly and provincial assembly seats from the city.

Massive traffic jams were witnessed in and around the airport area as the TLP leader travelled in a convoy surrounded by thousands of supporters from the airport to the city.

The little known TLP came into prominence in November last year when its followers led by Mr. Rizvi converged at Islamabad and Rawalpindi and staged a sit-in demanding sacking of the then Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017.

The amendment had changed the wordings of a clause relating to a candidate’s belief in the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad, which is submitted at the time of election by candidates, turning it into a declaration form instead of an affidavit, which puts a candidate under oath.

Mr. Hamid resigned after violent clashes broke out between the TLP supporters and security forces which had left several people dead and hundreds injured in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The amendment was later deemed a ‘clerical error’ and was rectified by the PML-N government which restored the Khatm-e-Nabuwat declaration to its original form.



JUP secures Milli Muslim League's support for its chief

July 3, 2018

HYDERABAD: After making a seat adjustment with the Pakistan Peoples Party for a National Assembly constituency in Hyderabad, the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) – Noorani has also won the support of the Milli Muslim League (MML) in the constituency.

During a press conference in Hyderabad, JUP chief Sahibzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair and MML provincial leader Faisal Nadeem announced that the two parties have agreed to the seat adjustment.

The MML, which is a political wing of Jamaatud Dawa, is registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan as Allah-0-Akbar Tehreek.

Under the agreement, the MML will support the JUP in Hyderabad city-based NA-227 from where the latter’s chief is contesting the elections. In exchange, the JUP will support the MML candidate, Nadeem, in Latifabad-based NA-226. Nadeem had filed his nominations for both NA-226 and 227.

Earlier, the PPP also withdrew its candidate Irfan Gul Magsi from NA-227 in favour of the JUP chief on June 28.

Division in nationalist camp may benefit PPP in Qasimabad

The JUP will also support MML’s Sheeraz Ahmed Shoro in PS-63, which comprises rural areas of Hyderabad district and Latifabad-based PS-64.

“Together we will fight the elements who want to provoke sectarian and ethnic strife in Pakistan,” Zubair said, adding that the JUP’s seat adjustment with the PPP was a part of his efforts to curb the element of ethnic racism in politics. The JUP chief contended that enemies of Pakistan wanted to exploit both the sectarian and ethnic sentiments during the elections.

Full report at:



Khaqan Abbasi condemns arrest of Qamar-ul-Islam by NAB

Jul 3, 2018

Rawalpindi - Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested PML-N candidate Engineer Qamar Ul Islam Raja despite the fact he is innocent and there is no case registered against him in the country.

He said that NAB is interrogating Qamar Ul Islam without having any solid evidence against him that could prove his involvement in corruption scam.

 “If PML-N candidate from NA-59 and PP-10 Engineer Qamar Ul Islam Raja faces defeat in general elections 2018, he will still be considered a winner morally from the constituency,” ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said.

He expressed these views while addressing a mammoth public gathering held at Election Office of Engineer Qamar Ul Islam Raja at Chowk Pindori in Kallar Syedan. Earlier, former premier inaugurated Election Office of the detained candidate.

Besides, Uswa Islam Raja and Muhammad Salaar Islam Raja (siblings of detained political leader), PML-N local leaders, public elected representatives and a large numbers of voters and supporters of N league were also present on the occasion.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi , while addressing the public rally, said former military dictator General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf created NAB to eliminate PML-N from Pakistan. He added that the anti-corruption body has no substantial evidence to prove Qamar guilty. He said NAB had not contacted Qamar Ul Islam earlier but handcuffed him after the party fielded him in NA-59 and PP-10. “All the NAB cases are bogus as all the politicians are being unfairly targeted” he said. He said a politician had been arrested by NAB from Balochistan with recovery of Rs 1 billion from his possession but action was not taken against him.

He claimed that unknown quarters are harassing the candidates of PML-N in a bid to change their loyalties and contest upcoming general elections as independent candidates. “Such negative tactics and shameful incidents are making upcoming elections 2018 controversial,” he said asking NAB, Election Commission of Pakistan, caretaker government and Supreme Court of Pakistan to play their vital role for holding free and fair elections.

He claimed he had released funds of billion of rupees for development projects during his presence in Office of PM in 10 months. Lashing out at PPP and Mush-led PML-Q, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said both the parties did nothing for betterment of people of Pakistan.

He said N league had put Pakistan on track of development and prosperity by building roads, motorways, CPEC and other projects. He said N league is enjoying support of youth and would win general elections 2018 with great majority.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also predicted Qamar Ul Islam’s win from the both constituencies on July 25.

Earlier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was accorded a rosy welcome by the supporters of N league upon his arrival in Kalar Syedan who waved party flags, and held portraits of Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, and Maryam Nawaz and detained Qamar Ul Islam.

Addressing the participants, Uswa Raja and Muhammad Salaar Raja thanked Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and others for attending inaugural ceremony of the election office.

Full report at:



Pakistan election: Islamic hardline party vows to bring 'surprising results'

Jul 3, 2018

KARACHI: As Pakistan is all set to go to polls on July 25, a newly-launched Islamic hardline party led by a radical cleric has expressed confidence to bring "surprising results" as it aimed at making inroads into the existing power matrix by stirring up the religious sentiments of the voters.

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik (TLP) Pakistan chief, Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who launched the election campaign from Karachi yesterday night said he saw no competition to his party candidates in the elections.

Sitting in a wheelchair, Rizvi, whose legs are paralysed, said his party's manifesto is same as that of Islam's teachings to create a truly Islamic welfare state in Pakistan.

"We are confident that those who believe in Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (the finality of the prophethood) would vote for us and you will see surprising results in the elections," Rizvi said.

The party has fielded candidates on all the national assembly and provincial assembly seats from the city.

Massive traffic jams were witnessed in and around the airport area as the TLP leader travelled in a convoy surrounded by thousands of supporters from the airport to the city.

The little known TLP came into prominence in November last year when its followers led by Rizvi converged at Islamabad and Rawalpindi and staged a sit-in demanding sacking of the then Law Minister Zahid Hamid and strict action against those behind the amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017.

The amendment had changed the wordings of a clause relating to a candidate's belief in the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad, which is submitted at the time of election by candidates, turning it into a declaration form instead of an affidavit, which puts a candidate under oath.

Hamid resigned after violent clashes broke out between the TLP supporters and security forces which had left several people dead and hundreds injured in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Full report at:



13 women among 260 MML candidates

Jul 3, 2018

LAHORE: The Milli Muslim League (MML), political branch of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), on Monday fielded 260 candidates under the umbrella of Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek.

The final list has 79 candidates for the National Assembly and 181 for four provincial assemblies. It includes the names of Hafiz Talha Saeed, son of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, (for NA-91). Hafiz Saeed’s son-in-law, Khalid Waleed, is a candidate in PP-167. These candidates are contesting under the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek banner because the ECP denied registration to the MML.

Interestingly, the list has 10 female candidates for general seats along with three for reserved seats.

Party spokesman, Ahmed Nadeem Awan, explains that apart from 5 per cent quota for female candidates made mandatory by the Election Act, the party has given tickets to women out of conviction, not compulsion.

“The party could have granted tickets to housewives and satisfied the ECP condition,” Awan said in a talk with Dawn.

“Bu we have given tickets to candidates considering their political background and fighting spirit. They include lawyers, doctors and professionals from other fields who have been office-bearers in other parties and have recently joined the MML.”

The party has fielded 36 National Assembly candidates from the Punjab, 29 from Sindh, 28 from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 from Balochistan and eight from Fata. It has put up five candidates in Karachi and four in Lahore.

The MML seems to have carefully chosen constituencies for female candidates – all of them have been fielded in major cities (Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad) – in order to dilute its far-right image and make it attractive to the urban middle class.

According to the list, Shazia Saeed will contest from PP-14 (Rawalpindi), Shazia Kauser is fielded in PP-83 (Khushab), Saira Bano in PP-149 (Lahore), Syeda Tahira Shirazi in PP-151 (Lahore), Begum Abida Nazir PP-229 (Vehari), Dr. Saman Leghari in PS-74 (Badin), Iqra Muzamil in NA-251 (Karachi), Rabia Mukhtar in NA-107 (Faisalabad), Advocate Iffat Tahira Somroo in NA-161 (Lodhran) and Benazir Fatima in NA-181 (Muzaffarghar). No female candidate is put up in KP, Fata and Balochistan.

Three candidates for the reserved seats include Humaira Nosheen, Humaira Khaled and Farhat Naeem.

According to the party spokesman, the women wing of the party would be in the forefront of the election campaign because they have access to homes. “Soon, a series of women conventions will be held at the district, town and UC levels to ensure female mobilisation at grassroots levels.”

One of the candidates, Iffat Tahira Somroo for NA-161 from Lodhran evokes particular interest as she says she was the covering candidate for Jehangir Khan Tareen of the PTI in 2015 by-elections and claims to have helped him win. An old member, she says she “was a sure bet for the PT ticket but the party preferred paratroopers over old workers.”

Full report at:



Six security personnel martyred in Awaran rocket attack

By Mohammad Zafar

July 3, 2018

At least six security personnel were martyred and two others injured on Monday evening in a rocket attack by unidentified armed men in Awaran district.

Official sources told The Express Tribune that a bomb disposal team

was searching the Kure area, located 30 kilometres from Tehsil Mashkay area of Awaran, when unidentified armed men fired a rocket from the nearby mountains that landed and exploded near the team.

FC soldier martyred in Army helicopter crash near Quetta

As result of the explosion, six security personnel died on the spot and two others sustained injuries. Security forces rushed to the

site of the attack and threw a cordon around the area.

Bodies and the injured personnel were later shifted to a nearby health facility.

The six martyred security personnel have been identified as Hawaldar Shabbir, Sepoy Sheraz, Sepoy Bashir, Sepoy Sharaj, Sepoy

Allah Nawaz and Sepoy Abid. Two injured include Sepoy Ehsan and


Sources said security forces have launched a search operation to trace the men involved in targeting the bomb disposal team in Awaran district. No further details were provided.

Two civilians, Levies personnel martyred in Quetta gun attack

Full report at:





Qatar stresses crucial role of Palestinian cause to Islamic world

July 03 2018

The State of Qatar has stressed the importance for the Israeli entity to understand that the Palestinian cause is central not only for the Arab and Islamic worlds, but for all free people in the world, adding that the cause and the rights of the Palestinian people shall not be waived for any biased deals which serve Israel solely, instead of promoting the efforts for reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution.

This message came yesterday in the statement of the State of Qatar delivered by HE the Qatar’s Permanent Representative of the State to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Ali Khalfan al-Mansouri, in the general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and in other occupied Arab territories within the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council, being held in Geneva from June 18 to July 6.

HE al-Mansouri expressed Qatar’s dissatisfaction with the attempts at marginalising or abolishing item 7 on the Council’s agenda as a major item on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, stressing that such attempts have encouraged Israel to continue committing crimes against the Palestinians.

He strongly deplored continued activities of Israeli settlers, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the collective punishment of Palestinians, and attacks on Muslim worshippers that has led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The ambassador also voiced Qatar’s condemnation of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people, which included the indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, degrading treatment and the construction of the separation.

In conclusion, al-Mansouri welcomed the UN General Assembly adoption of the Arab-Islamic draft resolution on the protection of the Palestinian civilians, calling for its full implementation.

He reiterated Qatar’s full solidarity with the Palestinian people and its support for international efforts aimed at achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.



Yemen’s Joint Meeting Parties welcomes Malaysia’s withdrawal from Saudi-led coalition

July 3, 2018

Yemen’s Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) on Tuesday appreciated the Malaysian government’s decision to withdraw its troops from the Saudi-led aggression coalition on Yemen.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Yemen’s Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) on Tuesday appreciated the Malaysian government’s decision to withdraw its troops from the Saudi-led aggression coalition on Yemen.

The statement said that the decision would enhance the strength and depth of the historical relations between the Yemeni and Malaysian peoples.

“We extend our hands for a peace and support a comprehensive peaceful political solution to end the coalition war and lift the siege on the Yemeni people.” The statement added.’s-joint-meeting-parties-welcomes-malaysia’s-withdrawal-from-saudi-led-coalition_900190.html



Trump Administration Considering Labelling Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps A Terrorist

by Diana Stancy Correll

Jul 3, 2018

The Trump administration is considering designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s military, as a foreign terrorist organization, according to a new report.

The move is controversial among senior Cabinet officials, as some caution it could jeopardize U.S. personnel and installations overseas, CNN reports. For example, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned that the new label could present challenges to U.S. forces.

Additionally, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out against dubbing the group as a terrorist organization during a press briefing in October.

"There are particular risks and complexities to designating an entire army, so to speak, of a country where that then puts in place certain requirements ... that then triggers certain actions that we think are not appropriate and not necessarily in the best interests of our military," he said.

Others claim the new designation would mean the White House could then freeze the group's assets, implement travel bans, and collect criminal penalties.

The decision falls officially under the State Department, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who replaced Tillerson, has backed the new label, sources told CNN.

“There’s lots of things that are being discussed, things that will prove, we believe, very effective at the end goal, which is at the end of the day what matters, right?” Pompeo recently told CNN. “The end goal is to convince the Islamic Republic of Iran to be a normal country.”

The report comes as the Trump administration has sought to exert additional pressure on Tehran, and after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which put restraints on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling sanctions.

Full report at:



South Asia


Afghan Air Force target large Taliban gathering in Faryab leaving several dead

Jul 02 2018

The Afghan Air Force carried out airstrikes on a large gathering of the Taliban insurgents in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan, inflicting heavy casualties on the group’s fighters.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said the airstrikes were carried out in the vicinity of Pashtun Kot district.

Shaheen Corps further added that the airstrikes left at least 24 Taliban militants dead while at least 31 others sustained injuries.

According to Shaheen Corps, the military commission chief of the Taliban group Makhdoom Alam is also among those wounded during the airstrikes.

At least three vehicles, including two Fielder type SUVs and thirteen motorcycles were also destroyed during the airstrikes, Shaheen Corps added.

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

This comes as the Afghan national defense and security forces have resumed operations against the militant groups after the extended ceasefire period ended on Friday night.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said that the Afghan forces are authorized to target the militant groups acrosss the country.



Taliban has no excuse for the continuation of war, says President Ghani

Jul 03 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani says the Taliban group has no excuse to offer for the continuation of war and to refrain from peace talks.

Speaking with the religious scholars in Laghman province, President Ghani said he is prepared to hold talks with the Taliban group in any place they want.

He said if the declaration of ceasefire for three days has no issue from a religious point of view then why it cannot be extended and what is the reason for the continuation of war.

President Ghani said the religious scholars are his envoys and must ask Taliban regarding the reasons to continue the war.

He also promised to pave the way for work opportunities and training opportunities for the religious scholars and urged them to offer support in the fight against corruption and other misdeeds.

This comes as the Taliban group has so far refrained to respond positively to the ongoing peace efforts despite the Afghan government extended the ceasefire originally declared from 27th of Ramadan to 5th day of Eid.

In the meantime, President Ghani says that certain developments have been made in the ongoing peace efforts with the Taliban group.

Speaking to a gathering of people in Nangarhar province on Sunday, President Ghani said developments have been made in peace sector as he expressed hopes regarding the return of a lasting peace in the country.

He did not disclose further information in this regard but emphasized that one of his main duties is to ensure the end of war in Afghanistan.

Full report at:



Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Sikhs, Hindus in Jalalabad

Jul 3, 2018

The Islamic State(IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack which killed 19 people mostly Sikhs and Hindus in Jalalabad on Sunday.

The IS was not part of the Afghanistan government's 18-day ceasefire with the Taliban that expired last Friday.

At least 17 Sikhs were among those killed in the suicide attack in Afghanistan's eastern city. On Monday, mourners carried out the funeral for all those who had passed away in the attack, among those killed was Avtar Singh, an Afghan Sikh politician.

"This attack has killed many of our elders, those who loved their country more than anything else," Narendar Singh told AFP as he took the body of his father, Avtar Singh, from the hospital.

The group of Sikhs and Hindus were attacked as they were preparing to meet President Ashraf Ghani who was in the city as part of a two-day visit to the province.

Full report at:



Commander Qaisari’s arrest could spark chaos, warns Gen. Dostum

Jul 3, 2018

The First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum has warned of dire consequences over the arrest of a top commander of Junbish Milli party.

In a statement posted online, Gen. Dostum claimed that Commander Nizamuddin Qaisari has been arrested based on incorrect tip off.

Gen. Dostum further added that Commander Qaisari has become a victim of conspiracies and warned that his arrest would result into the collapse of the frontline against the enemies of the country in Faryab.

Urging the government to take immediate steps for the release of Commander Qaisari, Gen. Dostum said the situation in Faryab province would fall into chaos and all government plans including peace efforts would be disrupted if Commander Qaisari is not released.

The local government and military officials confirmed that Commander Nizamuddin Qaisari was arrested following a scuffle in a military compound on Monday evening.

A provincial council member of Faryab Tahir Rahmani confirmed that Commander Qaisari has been arrested by the Special Forces of the Afghan Military.

He said Commander Qaisari started verbal clash with the participants of a security meeting in Maimana city which resulted into a armed clash.

Full report at:



Civilians suffer casualties in Logar suicide car bomb attack

Tue Jul 03

At least five civilians were killed or wounded in a suicide car bomb attack in central Logar province of Afghanistan, the local security officials said.

The incident took place on Monday evening in the vicinity of Puli Alam district, the provincial capital of Logar province.

Officials in Logar’s security commandment said at least two civilians including a woman and a child were killed and three others were wounded in the attack.

The officials further added that the target of the attack apparently was the convoy of the foreign who were leaving an Afghan army compound.

The Taliban group has claimed responsibility behind the attack.

Logar is among the relatively volatile provinces in Central parts of Afghanistan where security related incidents occasionally take place.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Malaysia's opposition to seek coalition with Islamic party

CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer

July 03, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR -- Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the newly elected leader of Malaysia's biggest opposition party, is expected to seek an alliance with the country's main Islamic party ahead of a new parliament session.

The former deputy prime minister was elected president of the United Malays National Organization on Saturday, after incumbent Najib Razak declined to contest. Najib is under investigation for alleged corruption linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

UMNO was until recently the country's main political force, having governed since independence in 1957 through the Barisan Nasional, or National Front, coalition. The alliance consistently promoted the rights of the majority-Malay population through government policy. In the May 9 election, it won 79 out of 222 parliament seats, handing power to the Mahathir Mohamad-led Alliance of Hope.

The Barisan Nasional has since been deserted by a number of parties, leaving UMNO with 51 seats. With the new parliamentary session set to begin on July 16, it has been forced to turn to former rival the Malaysian Islamic party in the hope of bringing its 18 lawmakers into an opposition alliance.

Zahid told the local press that the first issue to negotiate with the PAS would be the appointment of a parliamentary leader. Conventionally, this would be the president of the largest party, but Zahid is himself under investigation for alleged mismanagement of funds in a private welfare foundation and the corruption scandals linked to 1MDB.

The authorities have so far frozen 408 bank accounts containing an estimated 1.1 billion ringgit ($273 million) belonging to 81 individuals and 55 companies for receiving funds from 1MDB. Accounts belonging to UMNO and several political parties have also been barred from transaction pending investigation.

Zahid has not been named as one of the account holders, but was questioned by the anti-graft body on Monday regarding the transfer of $681 million to an account held by Najib.

The former prime minister claims the money was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family, who was also known to Zahid. Investigators in Malaysia and several other countries allege that it was part of billions of dollars that were misappropriated from 1MDB.

But these allegations seemed of little concern to the roughly three million UMNO members. Zahid was backed by 93 of UMNO's 191 divisions, comfortably beating two challengers who had campaigned for reforms to rid the party of money politics.

His victory represents the "old politics of money, warlord pressure, insularity, entitlement, racial rhetoric and unquestioned loyalty to the leader" that UMNO is known for, said Bridget Welsh, a political scientist at John Cabot University in Italy.

In a pre-election poll by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, 83% of UMNO members agreed that the party had to dispel its culture of patronage. In the same survey, 77% said UMNO should collaborate with the PAS rather than its traditional partners, the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress.

If an agreement can be reached with the PAS, the UMNO-led opposition would likely pursue a conservative Islamic line under Zahid, potentially alienating itself from the majority who voted for change on May 9.

"This sort of approach will only undermine UMNO further, as it cannot attest to any moral high ground with its current leaders," said Welsh.



Indonesian forces to blame for Papua killings: Amnesty

Jul 3, 2018

JAKARTA: Indonesian security forces are behind the unlawful killing of at least 95 people in Papua since 2010, with most perpetrators never held to account, Amnesty International said in a new report on Monday.

Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, has been the scene of a simmering independence insurgency since it was annexed by Indonesia in the late 1960s.

Political activists and demonstrators peacefully protesting the government were among those killed in recent violence, as well as residents involved in non-political gatherings in Indonesia's easternmost province, the rights group said.

Not one case has been subject to an independent criminal investigation, according to Amnesty, which said it spent two years interviewing victims' families, witnesses, rights organisations, political activists and church-based community groups.

"Papua is one of Indonesia's black holes for human rights. This is a region where security forces have for years been allowed to kill women, men and children, with no prospects of being held to account," Amnesty Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said in a statement.

"This culture of impunity within the security forces must change, and those responsible for past deaths held to account."

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Amnesty said 39 deaths were linked to peaceful political activities including raising the Morning Star, Papua's banned flag.

Another 56 killings involved excessive use of force by the army or police and were unrelated to calls for independence.

Some of the violence has been centred on protests against a huge gold and copper mine owned by US-based firm Freeport McMoRan — a frequent flashpoint in the local struggle for independence and a bigger share of the region's rich resources.

President Joko Widodo promised to improve human rights in Papua after taking office in 2014, but Amnesty says he has not lived up to his pledge.

Full report at:



Indonesia ends search for dozens of victims of ferry sinking

Jul 3, 2018

JAKARTA,INDONESIA: Indonesia on Tuesday stopped searching in one of the world's deepest lakes for the bodies of dozens of victims of a ferry sinking two weeks ago.

Officials said after "intense" discussions with the families of victims, the end of the search effort was marked with prayers, the scattering of flowers on Lake Toba and a groundbreaking ceremony for a monument.

The wooden ferry, five times above its passenger limit and also carrying dozens of motorcycles, sank in the volcanic crater lake on Sumatra in rough weather on June 18.

The full scale of the tragedy took days to unfold as the boat didn't have a passenger manifest. Officials at one point said more than 190 people were missing. Their official toll Tuesday was 21 survivors including the boat's captain, 3 bodies found and 164 people missing, presumed drowned.

Sonar has pinpointed the ferry at a depth of 450 meters (1,476 feet). A remotely operated underwater vehicle last week captured images of bodies and motorcycles on the lake bed.

Police in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, said they're finalizing criminal charges against five people including the captain and 4 transportation officials.

"They knew the capacity of the ferry Sinar Bangun was only about 40," North Sumatra police chief Paulus Waterpau said Monday. `"Moreover, as a wooden boat it should not have been allowed to carry motorcycles," he said.

Full report at:





Jihadists on rampage in Mali force schools to close in Boko Haram-style campaign

July 3, 2018

When the men on motorbikes arrived, Sekou, a teacher at the village school, was preparing for the next day’s lessons. He hid as they took down the national flag and then opened fire on the school walls, spraying them with bullets. “They shouted if we wanted to live we should get out,” he recalls. “They said there should be no education but Islam.”

It is five years since French troops turned back the march of the jihadists that captured the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu and imposed Islamic law there before turning their sights south towards the capital.

Now Mali’s jihadists are back, threatening to carve out a new terrorist sanctuary in the Sahel, the southern shore of the Sahara, where drug traffickers and people…



African leaders pledge to defeat Islamic extremism as Macron visits

3 July 2018

Nouakchott, Mauritania: African heads of state have pledged to coordinate efforts to improve the continent's security and defeat jihadist groups, particularly in Nigeria and the Sahel region, during talks at the 31st African Union summit held in Mauritania's capital.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Nouakchott on Monday to talk battle against Islamic extremism and ways to finance counter-terrorism and peacekeeping operations with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

From left : Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel aziz, France's Emmanuel Macron, Tchad's Idriss Deby, Burkina Faso's Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou and Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita meet in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on Monday.

From left : Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel aziz, France's Emmanuel Macron, Tchad's Idriss Deby, Burkina Faso's Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou and Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita meet in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on Monday.

The meeting comes as al-Qaeda's Mali branch claimed responsibility for three attacks in three days in Mali. The first was on Friday at the G5 Sahel military headquarters. Then on Saturday Malian soldiers were attacked by land mines, and on Sunday a suicide bomb aimed at French soldiers, killed four civilians. Both presidents condemned the attacks.

Aziz said that relations between Mauritania and France have made "significant progress in several vital areas such as defense and security, energy and health in particular."

A member of the Army stand guard at the entrance of the headquarters of a new five-nation West African counter-terror force, in Mali.

A member of the Army stand guard at the entrance of the headquarters of a new five-nation West African counter-terror force, in Mali.

He said Macron has supported the newly formed G5 Sahel regional force that has become an important framework for coordinating efforts to promote development and to fight against extremism, organized crime and illicit trafficking.

Macron was to meet with the presidents of the G5 Sahel group formed last year, which includes Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso.

"This exchange will be an opportunity for me to mark my commitment to renew the link between France and the African continent, between Africa and Europe but also to rethink this link in a concrete way, as we are doing between others on issues of security, counter-terrorism and education," said Macron.

He said that concrete decisions would be made during Monday's meetings about the redeployment of forces and their positioning for the comings months.

Aziz on Sunday said that Africa urgently needs a comprehensive approach to deal with extremist attacks that takes into account the cultural and economic issues that are the root causes of the violence.

The African Union summit, on Sunday and Monday, was set up to address the issue of corruption and to discuss a mechanism to return stolen money, which is largely placed in tax havens abroad. The AU says approximately 70 per cent of income from Africa's resources are squandered or diverted.

Full report at:



Mali: Al-Qaida Affiliate Claims Responsibility for Mali Attack

3 JULY 2018

Terrorist group al-Qaida's affiliate in Mali claimed responsibility Monday for an attack that left four civilians dead a day earlier, according to U.S.-based intelligence group SITE.

Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, known by the acronym JNIM, said it carried out the attack Sunday in Gao, declaring it a message to French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the African Union summit in Mauritania.

Sunday's attack targeted a French and Malian patrol in Gao, leaving four civilians dead and over a dozen others, including four French soldiers, wounded.

A spokesman for the French military said there were no deaths among French troops when a car bomb was detonated in the northern city of Gao.

"I confirm that it was a car bomb that drove into a joint Barkhane/Malian army patrol," Mali Defense Ministry spokesman Boubacar Diallo said, referring to Operation Barkhane, the nearly 4,000 French troops stationed in its former colonies in the Sahel region.

Full report at:



North America


US: Immigrant children face steep fees to reach their parents

July 3, 2018

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The US government is refusing to release children who have been separated from their parents as part of President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration unless the families pay steep transport fees, according to a report.

Parents and relatives have been forced to pay hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars to cover transportation after children were separated at the US border with Mexico and sent to detention facilities around the country, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

The fees include a one-way plane ticket for the child and a return ticket for an adult escort.

The Times report describes a Guatemalan immigrant paying $2,500 to fly two teenage relatives from Texas to New York, a California man paying $1,400 to transport his nephew from Texas to Los Angeles, and a Salvadoran woman being asked to pay $4,000 to fly her niece and nephew and an escort from Texas to California.

The recent separation of migrant families has meant that parents themselves are often in detention. The cost is therefore being shifted to relatives to use their savings or rely on donations to have the children released into their custody.

Facing a massive backlash, Trump signed an executive order last week to end the separation practice, but that has not ended the suffering of the more than 2,000 children who have been ripped from their parents in recent months.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw issued a ruling on Tuesday barring the administration from separating more families and ordering immigration authorities to reunite the families within 30 days.

The administration is arguing that the court order preventing family separation gives it the legal power to detain immigrant families indefinably.

In federal court on Friday night, the Justice Department filed an announcement that it would keep border crossers in detention while their cases are processed. That could mean months of detention for some asylum seekers, experts say.

Thousands of Americans have staged demonstrations across the country to protest against Trump’s policy on immigration and separation of families at the US-Mexico border.



The Muslim Plot To Murder Children At A 4th Of July Parade

July 3, 2018 

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

“The wicked Catholics, Jews all of them,” Abdur Raheem Rafeeq ranted, as he scouted downtown Cleveland.

Abdur had a worthless degree from a culinary school that had gone out of business, a criminal record encompassing everything from domestic violence to aggravated robbery, and a deep love of Allah.

Living on disability in what news reports describe as a Dayton, Ohio Job Corps facility, Abdur, who had formerly been known as Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts and would soon demand to be called Saladin Osama Waleed, after the two famous Muslim leaders he worshiped, loved Allah and hated America.

St. John’s Cathedral, whose bells can be heard throughout downtown, drew the Muslim's ire. On the video, which would later be recovered from the terrorist's phone, he spoke of taking it “off the map.”

But Abdur didn’t limit the scope of his plots to Catholics and Jews. He also considered hitting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Other targets included the Coast Guard Station, the Anthony J. Celebreeze Federal Building, and Cleveland Harbor. The Muslim terrorist was having a good time narrating his terror plots in the traditional Al Qaeda style that had almost gone out of fashion. After years of impotently railing against America, he had finally found a helpful collaborator to help realize his terror dreams.

The plan for removing St. John’s or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from Cleveland’s map was detonating a bomb in a van. That plan, like the rest of Abdur’s horrific plotting, never came to fruition.

Unfortunately for Abdur, his new Muslim terrorist friend was actually an FBI informant.

Abdur’s first message, which helped begin the FBI investigation, was sent to a San Diego business show whose title, The American Dream, may have caught his attention. "USA Will Be Destroy. Allahu Akbar."

"We must kill all Kafiruns (non-Muslims) destroy, annihilate them," he later declared in his pledge video.

Abdur thought that his pledge videos, in which the criminal murderously boasts about his plots, would be circulated by Al Qaeda or ISIS around the world. Instead the only place they’re going, like the culinary school graduate who in reality never seems to have gotten past food service, is a court of law.

In the middle of June, the culinary terrorist formerly known as Demetrius was boasting about chopping up Marines and President Trump.

"You take the head," Abdur fantasized. “You send it straight to ‘em. The person’s head and his two hands."

It was a style of mutilation favored in Islam. Apologists may insist that beheading, like all the other forms of Islamic terrorism, had nothing to do with Islam, but Mohammed’s prized sword, Zulfiqar, meaning, ‘Spine-Splitter’ and the popularity of the practice in Islamic law to this day, testify otherwise.

“That’s how I would send Donald Trump back. Head, hand, hand,” Abdur went on ranting.

Scimitars aren’t that easy to come by in Cleveland, so Abdur rhapsodized over machetes, the current favorite blade of devout Muslim and MS-13 killers. “I can’t wait ‘til I get me the right machete cause the first day I, how I’m gonna clean it is cutting a person’s head off,” he boasted.

Abdur proposed beheading a Marine by distracting him and asking him to point out a place on a map. But his first and final love was still the bomb. Driving past a Marine Corps flag on a house, Abdur urged planting explosives in the house. Then he suggested bombing a bar outside a base.

But the final plot he would settle on was murdering children at a Fourth of July parade.

The Muslim terrorist detoured to Philly to check out the possibility of bombing the city he called his hometown. “We gonna hit the Bicentennial city, Philadephia, now that’ll really open their eyes.”

He pondered ‘hitting’ Philly’s toweringly baroque City Hall whose clocks put Big Ben to shame, encrusted below with sculpted representatives of all the races of man and topped at the height of what had briefly been the world’s tallest building with a 37 foot statue of William Penn. Abdur might have dreamed of toppling William Penn for Allah, but his murderous heart lay back in the state he had already terrorized.

Abdur/Demetrius had built up his criminal record in Ohio and had built his terror plots around Cleveland targets.  The final climax of his terror was to be in downtown Cleveland on the Fourth of July.

"What would hit in the core?" he asked. "Have a bomb to blow up the 4th of July parade."

As the Marines were marching through the front gate and all the bands were playing, that's when the bombs were meant to go off. "That's when you wanna take them bastards out."

"You gotta wait 'til the parade starts, where it gets into motion,” Abdur sketched out his plans.

He settled on remote control cars with C-4 explosive and BBs inside. Inside, the Muslim terrorist wanted to add shrapnel. "if BB’s hit you, you can still live, but if shrapnel hits you— it will tear you up.”

The cars would have little American flags on them. “Ain’t nobody gonna pay attention ‘cause it’s got the little flags on it and everything. Everybody gonna be like aw, aw….BOOM!”

Then the deranged monster managed to top his horrific visions with a new level of evil. He wanted to give remote controlled toy cars to the children of military personnel as gifts. Some would blow up at the parade. Others would be brought home to kill their parents.

And at that point, the FBI had enough.

Abdur was arrested. And though he never got to kill anybody, at least one of his wishes did come true.

"I want it to make the news," the Muslim terrorist had insisted to the informant. And now he has. He’s on the local news in Philly, in Dayton and across the two states where he plotted his wicked slaughter.

But another of his wishes never will.

"I just wanna leave my name. Marked on this earth so they never forget it,” he had vowed.

No atrocity will mark Abdur’s name. He will not be remembered as Abdur, as Demetrius or as Saladin. There will be no mourning families who will recall, decades from now, a terrible day or night of terror. Not even the Al Qaeda terrorists whom he worshiped and sought to emulate will remember him.

Abdur proved to be as much a failure at killing Americans as he was at tossing salads and searing steaks. While he languishes in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, St. John’s Cathedral and Philadelphia City Hall will remain where they are taunting the Jihadist with his failure.

An Islamic evil lurked in Cleveland. Its monstrous plot was aimed at innocence and freedom. It failed.

Children who might have been maimed for life will run laughing home on the Fourth; never knowing the horror that nearly touched them. Their parents will look up as the sky fills with the lights of freedom.

Time will pass and as he rots in jail, the failed chef and failed terrorist will be forgotten. But the children whom he nearly killed will not. They will grow up. Some will become the Marines whom Abdur hated.

Full report at:



Trump administration: 'We will not hesitate' to punish offenders; Initial sanctions on Iran will effect

July 3, 2018

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - United States Department of State announced on Monday initial round of sanctions against Iran would come back into effect on Aug. 4, targeting the Iranian automotive sector as well as trade in gold and other key metals.

On Nov. 4, further sanctions will snap back, including those hammering Iran’s energy sector and the Iranian central bank.

The Trump administration has said more than 50 international companies have indicated they will withdraw from Iran, as Washington attempts to maximise global pressure on Tehran.

The Trump administration "will not hesitate” to punish foreign companies that don't comply with sanctions set to be reimposed on Iran in the coming months, a senior State Department official said Monday.

Full report at:



Imam who subjected pupils to over 100 physical assaults at a mosque in Rochdale has been jailed

Jul 3, 2018

BySophie Halle-Richards

An imam who subjected his young pupils to over 100 physical assaults at a mosque in Rochdale has been jailed for 17 months.

Abdul Rauf, 51, was said to have displayed ‘Dickensian’ methods of teaching at a mosque on Crawford Street, where he bullied and tormented children.

Rauf, of Sussex Street, Rochdale, was sentenced at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court on Monday after earlier pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and 20 offences of common assault.

The court heard that the father-of-five would slap, kick and push the boys he was teaching.

The scale of the imam’s offending was not revealed until one of the victims told a teacher at his school that he and another boy had been assaulted at his local mosque.

Over 40 hours of CCTV was reviewed by Greater Manchester Police officers and the footage revealed 109 assaults perpetrated by Rauf.

One of the victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed the imam had called him a ‘gay boy’ before taking off his sock and slapping him round the head with it.

The boy said that on another occasion, the imam kicked and slapped him - causing him to fall against a pillar.

CCTV footage showed Rauf assaulting a number of pupils at the mosque - but only two ever pressed charges against him. The exact number of victims is not known, police said after the case.

Judge Michael Duck described the imam’s offending as ‘humiliating’ and ‘degrading’ as he sentenced Rauf to immediate custody.

He said: “These young men were expecting to be nurtured in the ways of Islam and the way in which you behaved is in no way acceptable to the ethics of your faith.

“You were given a high level of respect and trust by your community and those children came to that mosque to be taught by you.

“There is an element of you believing that you were untouchable within that environment.

(Image: Mark Waugh)

“You subjected these children to petulance and violence, smacking or hitting a child if they did not comply with your will.

“That - if it ever belonged to an era - belonged to a very different one.”

Rauf’s defence lawyer, Ahmed Nadim, said his client had since been ostracised by the local community after the extent of his offending became clear.

He said: “The defendant displayed Dickensian attitudes towards teaching and feels a level of corporal punishment is appropriate.

“It is to do with his understanding of how appropriate teaching may be engaged in.

“It is not to do with the victims’ young age or vulnerability, but a failure on his part about what appropriate teaching methods may be employed.”

Rauf must serve half of his sentence before being considered for release.

Following the sentencing hearing, Inspector Phil Key from GMP’s Rochdale borough said: “Abdul Rauf is a nasty, bully of a man who beat the children in his classes until it became normalised.

“The children were left cowering and holding onto their ears, their arms and their legs after he repeatedly used violence as a punishment.

“The parents of the children had no idea that they were leaving their children in the care of a man who would leave them writhing in pain and covered in marks and bruises.

Minshull Street Crown Court

“Rauf left the children intimidated and afraid to tell their parents about his bullying tactics.

“I dread to think how many children’s lives he has affected over the years, we are doing all we can to support those children and their families that we know about.

“We are working with Rochdale Council, the Council of Mosques and other partners to ensure that this type of behaviour is never repeated and our children are safe with those that we put our children in the care of.

“I would like to commend the bravery of those who came forward and spoke to police, I understand how difficult that must have been. Rauf will never be able to hurt another child in his care, and that is all thanks to those who spoke out against him.

“Anyone who has been affected, should contact police with any concerns.”

Following the hearing, an NSPCC spokesman said: “This was a complete betrayal of trust by Rauf and it is right that he has been sentenced for his wickedness against children in a place of worship.

“These poor children had every right to the proper care expected from their religious leader but instead were met with violence and brutality.

Full report at:



Supreme Court’s Decision Affirms Trump’s Animus Toward Muslims

Jul 3, 2018

by Emile Nakhleh

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision this past Tuesday to uphold President Trump’s proclamation banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States yet again affirms Trump’s animus toward Muslims. But for millions of Muslims, who have already seen and heard Donald Trump as a candidate and as president vilify their faith and their countries, the Court’s decision does not plough new ground. It only adds insult to injury.

The legal “vindication” the Court gave Trump regarding Islam and Muslim countries will in the long run harm America’s interests and threaten the safety of American personnel in many Muslim countries. It also signals a foreboding sense of Islamophobia in the Trump world, especially toward Muslim Americans, and deepens the belief among Islamic radicals and mainstream Muslim peoples alike overseas that Trump’s America is an “enemy” of Islam and must be confronted.

Islamic extremism and Trumpism are now two sides of the same coin. They both abhor a dialogue with the “other” and view engagement as an existential and a civilizational threat.

Like previous administrations, President Trump has taken for granted the supportive attitudes of “friendly” Muslim leaders—most of whom are unbridled dictators—and views them as a genuine expression of Islamic views toward the United States. Dictators’ claims that they represent their peoples in no way reflect the worldview of Muslim youth in the “Muslim-Arab Street.” The recent “anti-terrorist” draconian laws that regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have promulgated restricting their people’s access to the social media reveal the huge schism between Arab regimes and their peoples.

As long as Arab Muslim autocrats are excluded from the list of banned countries, and as long as they remain in Trump’s good graces, they’ll keep silent about his frequent anti-Muslim harangues. Nor is it surprising that they have not criticized the latest Court decision banning potentially millions of Muslims from entering the United States.

Let’s be clear, the third iteration of Trump’s three bans, which the Court approved, is nothing more than an attack on selected Muslim countries and a license to prevent adherents of a particular faith (Islam) from coming to America. It codifies an inhumane policy to prevent some of the most vulnerable and destitute Muslims from ever reaching American shores, whether as refugees or asylum seekers. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the Court decision “erodes the principles of religious tolerance.” Venezuela and North Korea were included in the proclamation, which the Court ruled to be within the “scope of Presidential authority,” as a ruse to hide Trump’s truly dark intentions to target Muslims and demean them as human beings.

Of the five Muslim majority countries in the ban—Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia—four have Sunni majorities. By including Iran, the largest Shia country in the world, Trump has once more shown, after his abandoning the P5+1 nuclear deal, a visceral hatred for that country and a determination to destroy it and its regime. He, his National Security Advisor John Bolton, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, and his hardline Israeli government supporters, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have already called for regime change in Iran.

Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia are mostly failed states whose citizens are in dire need of a better life in the West. Syria is under the thumb of its butcher Bashar al-Assad. Yemen is witnessing a horrific human tragedy created largely by the Saudi-led and American-supported war. Libya is a territory of armed militias with regional governments, some of them also armed by the United States. Somalia is a conglomeration of armed camps fighting for power and control with no regard for innocent civilians. Some of these camps are also supported by the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of desperate citizens from these four countries are in refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Djibouti, other parts of the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere. They are waiting for an opportunity to seek better opportunities in other countries, including Europe and America. The Court’s decision, with Trump’s blessing, has dashed their hopes and condemned them to a life of continued misery.

Muslim World Engagement As Antidote to Terrorism

Unlike the two previous administrations, President Trump does not view engaging the millions of mainstream Muslims across the globe as a useful strategy to undermine radicalism and extremism and to drain the swamp of terrorism. Whereas Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama believed that reaching out to mainstream Muslims would undercut the radical message and protect American national security, President Trump came into office brandishing Islamophobia and demonizing Muslims. He seemed to encourage painting all Muslims with a broad brush of terrorism and anti-Americanism.

By invoking the names of radical Salafi clerics and thinkers to justify their campaign against Shia Iran, Trump and other Iranophobes are throwing a lifeline—inadvertently or otherwise—to radical Sunni Islam, which definitely benefits al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). Such a dangerous and ill-guided policy is upending the entire American counterterrorism policy since 9/11. By informing the Arab Sunni potentates of the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, that America stands on their side against Shia Iran, Trump in effect has become a partisan in the wars within Islam. If recent history is any guide, he is bound to lose this sectarian war, and American security is bound to suffer.

Following the horrible attacks on 9/11, my government colleagues and I focused heavily on trying to understand the drivers of terrorism and the root causes of radicalization. Among other things, we assessed that generally four broad factors contributed to radicalization and terrorism:

Radical Sunni Salaf-Wahhabi ideology that goes back to the fourteenth-century Sunni activist Ibn Taymiyya and the eighteenth-century Arabian Peninsula religious thinker Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

Repression, corruption, and poor economic policies, which autocratic regimes use to maintain their hold on power.

Perceived anti-Islamic policies—including wars on Muslim countries, Islamophobia, and discrimination against Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries.

Local grievances and ensuing radicalization and revenge—whether in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, or the Caucuses.

The Pew and Gallup polls in dozens of Muslim countries in the decade following 9/11 have confirmed several of the four broad factors that drove terrorism during that period. These factors in part gave rise to al-Qaeda and IS. Presidents Bush and Obama for the most part accepted the results of these polls and the concurring briefings by government analysts. They both declared that the war on terror was not a war on Islam and put in place robust programs for Muslim world engagement.

Instead of engagement and inclusion, President Trump preached demonization and exclusion. He often declared in policy pronouncements and tweets that democracy, political participation, ideological moderation, and human and civil rights are not worthy goals to pursue in Muslim lands. He deliberately torpedoed his predecessors’ policies of trying to undermine the radical paradigm. He intentionally ignored the ugly historical truth that the Sunni Salafi-Wahhabi radical ideology that spread across the Middle East, East and West Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Balkans, the Caucuses, and elsewhere emanated from Saudi Arabia and was funded by many wealthy Sunni individuals, groups, and businesses in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and other Gulf Sunni states.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. How did they come to the United States and who provided them with assistance and funding? More recently, where did thousands of al-Qaeda and IS “jihadists” come from? If there is any logic to the insanity of the travel ban, Saudi Arabia should have topped the list of banned Muslim countries.

In addition to ignoring these questions, Trump officials and their Israeli friends are invoking the same radical Sunni thinkers, especially Ibn Taymiyya, to justify their campaign against Shia Iran. They will soon discover that Salafi-Wahhabi radical ideology is ineffective in their crusade against Iran. Apart from supporting the radical ideology, Trump has also embraced the repressive and corrupt policies of Arab dictators and has ignored the demands of their peoples. Furthermore, his hateful rhetoric against Muslims during the presidential campaign and since assuming office has alienated Muslim peoples worldwide. The favorability of Trump’s America in most Muslim countries last year was noticeably lower than in previous years, according to the Pew poll of selected Muslim countries. Nor has the Trump administration addressed the simmering conflicts that have given rise to locally radicalized youth—for example, in Palestine, Afghanistan, East Africa, the Sahel countries, and elsewhere.

The Way Forward

The long-term security of the United States and the safety of American diplomatic and military personnel in Muslim countries cannot be achieved by anti-Muslim rhetoric. Relying on pliant Islamic dictators and potentates, kings, and emirs is not a long-term solution. The factors that have contributed to the rise and resilience of terrorism are not difficult to discern. They have been well documented. Trump’s decision to ignore these factors has negative consequences for the United States and could be sowing the seeds for another terrorist organization or a rebranded al-Qaeda or IS.

Full report at:



Legal immigration to US from all Muslim-majority countries on track to fall

July 3, 201886

WASHINGTON, July 3 (APP):”Legal immigration from all Muslim-majority countries is on track to fall by nearly a third, a latest news report said on Monday, while Pakistan and India are among the countries which have posted decline in grant of immigrant visas.

Immigration is among the top most issues that have divided the US in recent months, but the Trump administration has also made “inroad” into reducing even legal immigration, an analysis by the Washington Post showed.

The number of those receiving visas to permanently move to the United States is on track to fall 12 percent in the first two years of President Trump, with the Muslim-majority countries on the President’s travel ban list being the most affected.

The Supreme Court last month handed over the President one of his major victories by upholding his executive order that sought to ban travel of citizens from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Libya and Somalia. According to the report arrivals from these countries was heading toward an 81 percent drop by Sept. 30.

Overall, the report said legal immigration from all Muslim-majority countries was on track to fall by nearly a third.

The report quoted unnamed public officials and immigration experts as expressing concerns that the administration’s approach targets certain nationalities, discriminating against those from poorer and nonwhite countries.

But, it was not only the countries targeted by the Trump’s travel ban that had been affected as nearly half of the countries that typically receive the largest number of immigrant visas from the United States have also posted decline.

“The number of immigrant visas granted to people from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, China, India, Vietnam, Haiti, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Pakistan and Afghanistan has also declined,” the report said.

As against it, the flow of legal immigrants from Europe has increased slightly, though the total number of visas is much smaller than that from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

It was not clear whether the drop in immigrant visas was in part due to the declining interest in immigrating to the United States as the US State Department did not release visa application data, saying it doesn’t publish that information.

“The shift in legal immigration is a reversal of the trend under President Barack Obama. During Obama’s time in office, immigrant visas increased by 33 percent, surging to 617,752 in fiscal 2016, the highest level in decades,” the report said.

Full report at:



Arab Democracy Depends on Normalizing Islamist Parties


Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Ennahda party, casts his vote at a polling station for the municipal election in Tunis, Tunisia, May 6, 2018. ZOUBEIR SOUISSI / REUTERS

The perennial question of whether democracy can work in the Middle East isn’t always easy to answer. Generally, it hasn’t worked. But amid civil war in Yemen, Libya, and Syria, authoritarian resurgence in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and economic instability in Jordan, there are at least three cases that challenge the notion that it can’t happen here. Tunisia, which held its first post-revolution municipal elections in May, continues to be a (relative) bright spot. Then there are the more unlikely cases of Iraq as well as Lebanon—probably the world’s most successful failed state. All three share two related features: Largely without controversy, they include Islamist parties in their democratic processes; and, second, they feature some degree of power-sharing.

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In Lebanon, these arrangements are deeply flawed, chaotic, and responsible for entrenching sectarianism. Parliamentary seats are still apportioned by religious affiliation. At the same time, as the Carnegie Endowment’s Joseph Bahout has noted: “There are typically no winners and no vanquished [entities] emerging from crises in Lebanon … Many Lebanese seem to believe their system is the least bad option compared with neighbors.” The Lebanese writer Michael Young has argued that while each sectarian grouping is illiberal and insular, by interacting, “they tend to cancel each other out, creating spaces that allow individuals to function with relative freedom.”

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in tribute to late Auschwitz survivor and French health minister Simone Veil and her late husband Antoine Veil during a national tribute.

Iraq, like Lebanon, saw lower turnout in its recent election. But as the Brookings Institution’s Tamara Wittes testified to Congress, both polls offered an important lesson. “If Lebanon and Iraq can pull off free elections,” she wrote, “it’s harder for strongmen in other Arab states to argue that they can’t afford the risk to stability of allowing their own peoples a choice in who governs them.”

The very presence of Islamist parties can be inherently polarizing, particularly when they represent large, powerful, and conservative constituencies. Through successive administrations, the United States has regarded too much Islamist representation—or any Islamist representation—as a risky prospect. Yet it was the George W. Bush administration that, despite its discomfort with Islamism, ironically paved the way for Islamists to take power through democratic elections in Lebanon—a first in the Arab world. After its January 2005 elections, Ibrahim al-Jaafari of the Shia Islamist Dawa party assumed the prime ministership. Interestingly, Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood members served in various cabinet positions, including as ministers of higher education and planning. In Lebanon, Hezbollah—however much the United States and Saudi Arabia oppose it—has become a fixture of coalition governments. The point here isn’t that these groups are good (Hezbollah is a designated terrorist organization as well as an active participant in the Syrian regime’s mass killing of civilians), but rather that Arab democracy, in practice, often coincides with the normalization of Islamist parties.

Even in Tunisia, where Islamists aren’t yet normalized since the democratic experience is still young, there are similar takeaways. The country’s transition since the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 offers a reminder that democracy can not only survive but thrive—but only if Islamist parties are incorporated into the process. From 2011 to 2014, the Islamist Ennahda-led government and constituent assembly, in partnership with two secular parties, ushered in what the Project on Middle East Democracy called “the most progressive and democratic legal framework for civil society in the Arab World.” These included some of the strongest associational freedoms and human-rights protections in the region. Surprisingly—or perhaps unsurprisingly, depending on your perspective—these gains are in danger of being undermined under the current secular-led government.

Some, like analyst Ibrahim al-Assil, might argue that Tunisia is exceptional because Ennahda is exceptional—an Islamist party that has diluted its Islamism, shed the “Islamist” label, and reconciled itself to a secular state. In my book Islamic Exceptionalism, I argued that these shifts are more the product of an imperative to survive, a fear of repression, and a determined pragmatism than they are the result of some deep ideological epiphany.

In the case of Tunisia, the irony is that Islamists’ willingness to play nice—something that would generally seem quite positive—has contributed to a troubling trend of democratic backsliding on things like police reform, an overly securitized counterterrorism strategy, and the lack of accountability for the crimes and corruption of old regime figures. As the largest party in parliament, Ennahda potentially has considerable power to challenge Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and President Beji Caid Essebsi Essebsi’s priorities. Instead, they have emphasized caution, consensus, and stability, fearing that doing otherwise might summon the old days of polarization and repression. Embracing their role as junior partner in the government, they have, in effect, gained protected status. But this also means that Tunisia is deprived of a cohesive bloc that could serve as an effective lobby for strengthening the democratic transition. The desire for compromise, unchecked, can come at a cost.

Full report at:



By any other name: Why the ‘travel ban’ really is a Muslim ban

July 2, 2018

(RNS) — Before the Supreme Court ruled last week that President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. by citizens from majority-Muslim nations was not discriminatorily aimed at Muslims, the argument had already been won in an unlikely place: the mainstream media.

Since becoming president, Trump has gone out of his way to fulfill a central campaign promise: to bar Muslim immigrants and refugees from entering the country. To improve the chances of this policy passing legal muster, the Trump administration has insisted on framing the executive order as a “travel ban” rather than a “Muslim ban.”

Trump and his supporters have had plenty of help in this endeavor from journalists who continue to describe Trump’s policy of barring various Muslim populations from the U.S. as a “travel ban.” A common assumption at work is that this language is an impartial way to describe Trump’s immigration policy on select Muslim-majority countries.

But let’s be clear: The phrase “travel ban” is neither neutral nor objective. It’s a euphemism, meant to distract the nation from the underlying anti-Muslim bigotry driving the ban. When journalists repeat this language, they become potentially complicit in amplifying Trump’s propaganda and in inscribing anti-Muslim prejudice into federal immigration policy. Neither of these tasks is befitting of the journalistic profession.

It doesn’t help that the Supreme Court, in upholding the ban, has now effectively encouraged both the White House and the media to double down on this language. In what will go down as one of the most troubling decisions in the modern history of the Supreme Court, a majority of justices determined in Trump v. Hawaii that the ban reflects a neutral policy.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts argued that Trump’s campaign call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country,” along with Trump’s many anti-Muslim statements and tweets, were of no consequence in determining whether the ban itself violates the principles of religious liberty enshrined in the First Amendment.

As long as the president says he is acting out of national security concerns and doesn’t explicitly call out Muslims in his executive order, he gets a pass on accusations that he is violating the Constitution, not to mention prejudicial statements he’s made in the past. Intent doesn’t matter.

It was left to Justice Sonia Sotomayor to call out Roberts and her other colleagues on the hypocrisy in justifying this policy as neutral or as a mere travel ban. She noted how these same justices had no qualms about focusing on intent in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, the court ruled in favor of a Christian owner of a bakery who refused to serve a same-sex couple.

The court’s majority insisted that the civil rights commission that handled the couple’s complaint had demonstrated bias toward the religious beliefs of the owner. But when it came to a case involving Muslims, the question of bias seemingly became irrelevant.

Sotomayor gave a thorough account of the many anti-Muslim statements that Trump made during his campaign, in addition to his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” She pointed to his insistence that “Islam hates us” and that “(w)e’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country.”

She noted that Trump asked one of his advisers, Rudy Giuliani, to find a legal way to enact the ban on Muslims. And when Trump was given opportunities as president to disavow these past statements, Sotomayor pointed out that Trump refused.

Sotomayor’s observations about Trump’s intent arose from the administration’s efforts to adjust the ban each time the federal courts raised roadblocks. To take one example, neither North Korea nor Venezuela was listed in the first two executive orders. The administration added them to the last iteration only to circumvent the legal obstacles presented by the courts, particularly in regards to First Amendment concerns. The addition of two non-Muslim-majority countries to the third ban was arguably window dressing.

“Taking all the relevant evidence together,” wrote Sotomayor, “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than the Government’s asserted national-security justifications.” In other words, by ignoring the obvious intent behind the ban, the court abandoned both reason and the Constitution in order to put the stamp of neutrality onto a bigoted policy.

Intent matters, as do the words journalists use to describe policies emanating from the White House. When journalists repeat the language of “travel ban” without raising critical questions about where this language comes from and how it sanitizes a policy with clear origins in bigotry, they risk serving as a mouthpiece for White House propaganda and repeating the mistakes made by the Supreme Court majority in Trump v. Hawaii.

The time has come to raise the bar for how the ban is discussed and debated. Measured by intent, this is a Muslim ban. If some journalists decide to push back and scrutinize this designation, I think that’s fair. They will find many of us are willing and ready to have this debate.

Full report at:




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