Islamic World News(25 Jan 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)
Amnesty Slams Sisi's Egypt as ‘Open-Air Prison’ For Critics, Urges End to Crackdown on Dissent

A measure adopted by the 47-nation international organisation raised concerns about the role of sharia councils in family, inheritance and commercial law ( AFP/Getty )



Amnesty Slams Sisi's Egypt as ‘Open-Air Prison’ For Critics, Urges End to Crackdown on Dissent

Council of Europe Calls for Muslim Couples in UK to Legally Have To Register Marriage before or During Islamic Ceremony

Ahok, Jakarta's Former Governor, Released After Jail Term for Blasphemy

No Cultural, Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang: Pakistan Diplomat

A Co-Founder of the Taliban Mullah Baradar to Lead Taliban in Talks with US

Tiranga Yatra Triggers Row At Aligarh Muslim University

Turkey’s Islamist Push into South Asia Aided by American Proxies


Arab World

Amnesty Slams Sisi's Egypt as ‘Open-Air Prison’ For Critics, Urges End to Crackdown on Dissent

Filmmaker Helps Bring Heroic True Story of Saudi Royal, Teenager Faisal, To Silver Screen

Mass-Grave of Syrian Army Forces Slain by Ankara-Backed FSA Found in Raqqa

'Syria’s Assad revokes multiple entry visas for European Union diplomats'

People of Raqqa Set Fire at US-Backed Forces' Bases

Dozens killed in failed ISIS counterattack in east Syria: Monitor

3 killed, dozens injured as bombing spree hits militant-held towns in northwest Syria



Council of Europe Calls for Muslim Couples in UK to Legally Have To Register Marriage before or During Islamic Ceremony

UN Expert to Lead International Inquiry Into Khashoggi Murder

Bosnian Muslims anger Serbs with name change plan, EU calls for calm

US, UK say Venezuela’s Maduro ‘illegitimate’, Russia and Turkey express support

Barclays was basically dead without Qatari cash, London court told


Southeast Asia

Ahok, Jakarta's Former Governor, Released After Jail Term for Blasphemy

How Political Islam Is Shifting Indonesia's Relations with Australians

Najib aiming for comeback as PM like Dr M, says Malaysian MP

Indonesia’s president toys with releasing a terrorist ideologue

Malaysian royals elect new king after surprise abdication



No Cultural, Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang: Pakistan Diplomat

Pakistani Jew Flying To Israel Echoes In Senate

Sahiwal incident can’t be equated with Model Town’s, says Qadri

Pakistan SC to Hear Review Petition in Aasia Bibi Blasphemy Case Next Week

Nawaz Sharif uses Ghalib’s poetry to explain his condition in jail

Cabinet approves merger of all media regulatory bodies

‘SOS’ call from Chinese embassy keeps law enforcers on their toes

Taliban-US talks ‘making headway’


South Asia

A Co-Founder of the Taliban Mullah Baradar to Lead Taliban in Talks with US

Coalition Forces kill prominent Taliban leader in Helmand province

5 senior Taliban leaders killed in Faryab operations

UN says new Myanmar curbs threatening 50,000 Rohingya

UN expert visits Bangladesh Rohingya 'relocation' island

3 suicide bombers including two Pakistanis arrested in Nangarhar

Scores of militants killed in Afghan, Coalition Forces operations



Tiranga Yatra Triggers Row At Aligarh Muslim University

I Did Not Cry When I Heard He Is No More: Wife of Ashoka Chakra Awardee Nazir Wani

Sabarimala Protests: Renaissance Panel to Include Muslim, Christian Outfits

Hindu leader asks pope to help Indian nuns in rape case

Sheikh Hasina greets Narendra Modi on Republic Day

Mumbai ATS accuses Muslim youth of planning a chemical attack

Kozhikode twin blasts case: NIA arrests absconding accused on his return from Saudi Arabia

NIA arrests 2006 Kozhikode blasts accused from Delhi airport



Turkey’s Islamist Push into South Asia Aided by American Proxies

Israeli Court Freezes Arafat Property in East Jerusalem

Israel deploys 'Iron Dome' after Syria warns of retaliatory strike on Ben Gurion airport

Israeli settler charged with manslaughter for killing Palestinian mother

Arab Coalition: Houthis blocking passage of four aid ships since 34 days

Turkey’s Erdogan offers support for Venezuela’s Maduro

UN envoy to travel to Turkey for probe into Khashoggi murder

Yemeni nation determined to withstand Saudi-led oppression: Houthi

Hamas turns down Qatari funds over Israel’s change of conditions

Russia, Turkey vow to continue joint anti-terror fight in militant-held Idlib

Turkey says it has capacity to create ‘safe zone’ in Syria alone



Member of Sudan intelligence service killed in clash with army troops - statement

As protests rage, Bashir welcomes support from South Sudan

Sudan police clash with anti-govt. protesters amid calls for Bashir's resignation

Cameroon Mobilizes Military Following Boko Haram, Separatist Attacks


North America

Muslim group targeted by terror plot calls for suspects to face full weight of law

Iran, Turkey, Russia warn US against meddling in domestic affairs of Venezuela

2 US terror militia members admit role in attack on Minnesota mosque

US and Britain plan talks on Yemen with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Washington's Syria envoy due in Turkey for talks on secure zone

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Amnesty Slams Sisi's Egypt as ‘Open-Air Prison’ For Critics, Urges End to Crackdown on Dissent

Jan 24, 2019

Amnesty International warns that Egyptians are facing an unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration, saying the North African state has today turned into an "open-air prison" for dissidents.

Under the Sisi administration, "Egypt has been converted into an open-air prison for critics," Amnesty said in a statement on Thursday, on the eve of the country's National Police Day, adding, "The space for dissent "is being crushed out of existence."

January 25 also marks the start of the 2011 revolution, which led to the ouster of former dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

"Today, it is more dangerous to openly criticize the government in Egypt than at any other time in the country's recent history," Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa Campaigns director said.

Amnesty further said Egyptian authorities had arrested at least 113 people in the course of 2018 for "peacefully expressing their views."

As army chief, Sisi led a military coup against the country’s first-ever democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi -- which had come to power following Mubarak's ouster -- and overthrew him on July 3, 2013.

Human rights groups have regularly criticized Sisi's government for cracking down on opposition activists and supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has been banned in the country.

They say the army’s crackdown on the Brotherhood and its supporters has resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people. About 22,000 others have been arrested, including more than 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

Amnesty further said, “Over the past year, people who dared to criticize the government have been arrested and sent to prison, often held in solitary confinement or subjected to enforced disappearances simply for posting their opinions on social media, giving media interviews, denouncing sexual harassment and even for supporting certain football clubs. In some cases, those arrested had done nothing at all."

It also launched an online campaign dubbed "Egypt: Open air prison for critics" in an effort to pile pressure on the Cairo administration to end the crackdown on dissent.

Sisi -- who was re-elected in March 2018 for a second four-year term in the absence of any serious competition -- recently denied in an interview with CBS that the country held any political prisoners.


Council of Europe calls for Muslim couples in UK to legally have to register marriage before or during Islamic ceremony

Jan 24, 2019

Muslim couples getting married in the UK should be legally required to civilly register their union before or during the Islamic ceremony, the Council of Europe has said.

Raising concerns about the role of sharia councils in family, inheritance and commercial law, the human rights organisation made up of 47 member states, called for obstacles stopping Muslim women from accessing justice to be removed.

A resolution called on British authorities step up measures to provide protection and assistance to those who are in a vulnerable position and run awareness campaigns which teach Muslim women about their rights.

“Although they are not considered part of the British legal system, Sharia councils attempt to provide a form of alternative dispute resolution,” it says.

It adds: “Whereby members of the Muslim community, sometimes voluntarily, often under considerable social pressure, accept their religious jurisdiction mainly in marital and Islamic divorce issues, but also in matters relating to inheritance and Islamic commercial contracts.

“The assembly is concerned that the rulings of the Sharia councils clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases.”

The Council also called on member states to protect human rights regardless of religious practices and voiced concern about the “judicial” activities of “Sharia councils” in the UK.

Specialist lawyers say many Muslim couples do not follow Islamic ceremonies with civil marriages – a requirement under by the 1949 Marriage Act.

Last February, a Home Office commissioned experts review into the application of sharia law concluded that Muslims in the UK should undergo a civil marriage as well as a religious ceremony to make sure women are protected under the law.

The measure was needed to lessen “discriminatory practices” in the councils, the report said. However, it added that abolishing Sharia councils was “not viable” and they were “fulfilling a need in some Muslim communities”.

The review found that the vast majority of people using sharia councils were women seeking an Islamic divorce but very few council members were women.

Citing a number of examples of “bad practice”, the report said some had been inappropriately questioned on personal relationship matters. Women had also been invited to make concessions to their husbands in order to secure a divorce.

In one instance a forced marriage victim was asked to attend a council at the same time as her family, it said. Evidence indicated the proportion of Muslim couples who do not have a civil marriage was “high and increasing”, it added.

However, in a landmark ruling at the High Court in August, the Honourable Mr Justice Williams found a woman was entitled to maintenance from her husband after they split, even though they had only undergone a “nikah” ceremony and had not formally registered their marriage.

The Council of Europe’s new resolution welcomed the recommendations put forward in last year’s Home Office review. 

It also called on the UK to ensure councils operate within the law “especially as it relates to the prohibition of discrimination against women, and respect all procedural rights”.

British authorities should work with Muslim communities, womens organisations and other non-governmental organisations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, it said.

It also set a deadline of June 2020 for the UK to report back on reviewing the Marriage Act, which would make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to undergo civil marriages – which is currently required for Christian and Jewish marriages. 

Responding to the resolution, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Sharia law does not form any part of the law in England and Wales. Regardless of religious belief, we are all equal before the law. Where Sharia councils exist, they must abide by the law.

“Laws are in place to protect the rights of women and prevent discrimination, and we will work with the appropriate authorities to ensure these laws are being enforced fully and effectively.”



Ahok, Jakarta's Former Governor, Released After Jail Term for Blasphemy

24 Jan 2019

Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, best known as “Ahok”, has been released from prison after serving out his controversial two-year sentence for insulting Islam.

The Indonesian politician was controversially jailed in May 2017 after a court found him guilty of blasphemy for a comment he made while campaigning for re-election.

Last year a movie documenting his life, “A Man Called Ahok” was released in Indonesian cinemas, igniting rumours he plans to resume his political career upon his release.

He walked free from the high-security Mako Brimob detention facility in Depok, West Java, early Thursday morning after receiving more than three months’ in remissions.

Ahok – who in a recent letter from prison asked his supporters to refer to him by his initials “BTP” rather than his Chinese nickname – was met by outside the prison by supporters clad in red, blue and white shirts, chanting “BTP, BTP, BTP”.

The jailing of the former governor – who an anomaly in Indonesian politics as a minority Christian and Chinese – was widely condemned by rights groups, with critics saying the sentence was a blow to religious tolerance and free speech, while others suggested the Indonesian judiciary had succumbed to mob rule.

Doctored footage of Ahok’s comments – which made it appear he had directly insulted the Qur’an rather than the conservative Islamic clerics citing it – spread quickly in 2017, sparking huge Islamist-inspired political protests that have had a lasting impact on the politics of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

The straight-talking politician did not appeal against his sentence, but strangely state prosecutors did – saying it was harsher than the sentence they had recommended.

But in a recent letter posted on his official Instagram account, Ahok said he would serve his time all over again.

“If we could go back in time and someone asked which would you choose [Going to prison or winning the election] I would say I choose to be imprisoned at Mako to study for two years, so that I could maintain self-discipline for the rest of my life,” he wrote, “If I were re-elected, I would have become more arrogant, rough, and I would have hurt people.”

Ahok became Jakarta’s governor in April 2014, inheriting it as then-deputy governor after Joko Widodo was elected president. He lost the gubernatorial race three years later.

Figures close to Ahok say he has voiced support for the re-election of Widodo in the upcoming April vote, even though the incumbent’s running mate Ma’ruf Amin, an elderly Islamic cleric, testified against him in the 2017 blasphemy trial.

To his fans Ahok was a politician who worked hard to improve the capital, tackling corruption, revamping public space, and reducing chronic floods and traffic, but his policy of forced evictions also angered many.

Often considered abrasive, in an interview with the Guardian he once jokingly referred to himself as the “Godfather of Jakarta”. During his time in prison Ahok has kept a low profile.



No Cultural, Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang: Pakistan Diplomat

Jan 24, 2019

BEIJING: A senior Pakistani diplomat on Thursday put up a staunch defence of the controversial education camps in China's volatile Xinjiang province where thousands of Uighur Muslims have been reportedly detained, saying there is no forced labour or cultural and religious repression in the region.

China recently took diplomats from 12 countries with large Muslim populations, including India and Pakistan, to its Xinjiang province where tens of thousands of members of the minority Uighur Muslims have been interned in education camps.

"During this visit, I did not find any instance of forced labour or cultural and religious repression," Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Charge d'affaires, Pakistan's Embassy in China, told the state-run Global Times on Thursday.

"The imams we met at the mosques and the students and teachers at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute told us that they enjoy freedom in practicing Islam and that the Chinese government extends support for maintenance of mosques all over Xinjiang," said Baloch, who visited Xinjiang as part of delegation of diplomats.

"Similarly, I did not see any sign of cultural repression. The Uighur culture as demonstrated by their language, music and dance is very much part of the life of the people of Xinjiang," she said.

Asked about the security situation in Xinjiang, which has been "beset by terrorism", Baloch said, "We learned that the recent measures have resulted in improvement of the security situation in Xinjiang and there have been no incidents of terrorism in recent months."

"The counter-terrorism measures being taken are multidimensional and do not simply focus on law enforcement aspects.

Education, poverty alleviation and development are key to the counter-terrorism strategy of the Chinese government," she said.

Xinjiang's regional government invited diplomatic envoys as well as representatives from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Kuwait following reports about detention of thousands of Uighur and other Muslims in massive education camps.

The UN's Geneva-based Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last year said that it was alarmed by "numerous reports of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities" being detained in Xinjiang region and called for their immediate releas