Supreme Court of India
of Madhya Pradesh Plans To Form a Ministry Of Spirituality To Nurture
Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi Case: The Matter Will Be Listed Before a Newly
Declares Panj Tirath Hindu Religious Site as National Heritage
— Where Sikhs and Muslims Live In Harmony
Muslims and Christians Unite In Appeal to Save Church From Demolition
Reading Test for Presidential Candidates? Jokowi Says Yes, Prabowo Says No
Such Thing As European Islam - Turkey’s Top Muslim Official
Secretary All India Milli Council Slams NIA for Declaring Daily Use Items as
Weapons of Terrorism
Hizbul terrorists killed in J&K encounter
Raids: Arms Supplier to Key Accused Mufti Sohail Arrested From Western UP
Trump takes dig at PM Modi over Afghan library, but Delhi not sure which one
deports second group of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar
Says Parliaments of Muslim Countries Should Be On One Page To Tackle Challenges
facing unannounced ban on bank accounts, transactions
hails Trump’s desire for 'great ties'
asks Turkish traders to invest in Pakistan
asks govt to mend ways or be ready to face the music
hopes post-election B’desh will work towards improving bilateral ties: FO
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round of Taliban-US talks in Qatar
Muslims and Christians Unite In Appeal To Save Church From Demolition
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court holds initial hearing for the 11 accused in Khashoggi murder
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Harmony: Sarawak Church Wedding with Muslim Bridesmaids
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believe rumours that Malaysian King is abdicating, says Kelantan leader
seats, one vision for UN Security Council
issue ‘yellow alert’ on tolerance
convert planned UK terror attack after losing passport
a 'German' Islam: The agenda behind the 'mosque tax'
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parliamentary poll results announced for Baghlan, Sikhs and Hindus community
National Security Advisor leaves for India on an official visit
threat looms over oil reservoirs in Afghan province
UAE, Saudi Arabia say Houthis fail to abide by ceasefire deal
warns Iran on space launches, Tehran rejects concerns
asked to open airspace to more Israeli-bound flights
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Muslim Community Grows Into Its New Mosque
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endorses Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
in Afghanistan following Trump's flawed lesson
by New Age Islam News Bureau
newly installed state government in central India plans to form a ministry of
spirituality to nurture inter-religious harmony and combat rampant violence by
hard-line Hindus against Christians and Muslims.
minority leaders have welcomed the initiative of Congress Party-led government
of Madhya Pradesh that took power on Dec.17, after it defeated the pro-Hindu
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an election in November.
state, governed by the BJP for the past 15 years, reported hundreds of violent
incidents against religious minorities such as Christian and Muslims.
Congress Party government communique Dec. 29 said the state's new chief
minister, Kamal Nath, had decided to form a ministry and department to
strengthen inter-communal harmony and religious amity.
communique noted that many countries — including the United States, England,
Argentina, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Myanmar, Tunisia,
Indonesia and Denmark — had done likewise.
leaders such as Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal told ucanews.com on Jan. 2
the special new ministry would be worthwhile as Madhya Pradesh had been
fractured by hate.
ethnically and culturally diverse countries such as India could not advance
unless their various communities collaborated, the prelate said.
noted that in India there was often false propaganda against Christians and
are reduced to objects of hate," Archbishop Cornelio said.
ministry can help heal such misgivings against religious communities and ensure
peace and respect to all."
leaders accused the former BJP-led government in the state of tacitly
supporting violence orchestrated by Hindu hardliners against Christians and
Muslims in a push for Hindu dominance.
BJP, despite winning the past three consecutive state elections, could manage
only 107 seats in the 230-seat legislative house this time.
emerged as the single largest party with 114 seats, only two short of a simple
majority, and formed government with the support of smaller parties and
Abraham, state president of the communal harmony division of the Congress
Party, said that under the BJP the state became a hotbed of religious violence,
described the new Madhya Pradesh government initiative as an attempt to apply a
balm to wounds inflicted by the BJP.
added that the BJP tried to create divisions among religious communities for
state reported the highest number of anti-Christian incidents in the past three
years, according to a report by Persecution Relief, an Indian ecumenical forum.
against Christians, who constitute less than one percent of the state's 73
million people, almost doubled in 2017.
Pradesh witnessed 52 reported attacks against Christians in 2017, up from 28 in
Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief, said that in 2018, there were at least
24 major incidents against Christians.
Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that further orders in the
Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute would be passed by an appropriate
bench on 10 January. Accordingly, on that day, the matter will be listed before
a newly constituted three-judge bench which will decide the way forward.
attempts for an early hearing in the case, it has been on the back burner for a
while. The issue could potentially become central to 2019 Lok Sabha elections,
thereby further polarizing voter preferences.
apex court had on 27 September refused to refer to a larger bench its 1994
judgement holding that a mosque was not integral to the practice of Islam. The
issue had arisen from a judgement in the Ismail Faruqui vs Union of Indiacase
where the court considered the acquisition of a religious place and held that a
mosque was not integral to the practice of Islam.
7 February, the court had said that the matter would be heard as a “pure land
dispute”, directed the registry to complete all procedural requirements and asked
the parties to bring on record all documents, exhibits, translations etc. for
court is hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the
Allahabad high court in four civil suits. They challenge the high court verdict
that mandated a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre site.
Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court had ruled in favour of partitioning the
land equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and ‘Ram
Lalla’ (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.
civil suit for deciding the title of the property on which the Babri Masjid
stood before it was demolished on 6 December 1992 had been filed before the
high court. The apex court stayed this decision in 2011.
Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court in August that
it was amenable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area, at a
reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
declares Panj Tirath Hindu religious site as national heritage
The provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in northwest Pakistan has declared
the ancient Hindu religious site of Panj Tirath in Peshawar as national
Tirath, which got its name from the five pools of water present there, also
contains a temple and a lawn with date palm trees. The five pools of the
heritage site now come under the ambit of Chacha Yunus Park and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
KP Directorate of Arcahaeology and Museums issued a notification under the KP
Antiquities Act 2016 declaring the land in the Panj Tirath park as a heritage
is believed that Pandu, a mythical king in the Mahabharata, belonged to this
area and Hindus used to come to these pools for bathing during the month of
Karteek and worship for two days under the trees.
site was damaged during the reign of the Afghan Durrani dynasty in 1747,
however it was restored by local Hindus during the period of Sikh rule in 1834
and worship started again.
government also announced a fine of up to Rs 2 million and five years'
imprisonment for anyone found guilty of damaging the historic site.
archaeology directorate asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to clear the
site of encroachment and allow archaeologists to carry out much needed
preservation work. It also asked for the construction of a boundary wall around
— where Sikhs and Muslims live in harmony
far-flung district of Buner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is an oasis of interfaith
years, Muslims in the area have been trusting Sikh businessmen and shopkeepers
living in the area with their money and valuables.
are like mini banks for Muslim brothers with no interest or profit and no
service charges”, said 50-year-old Santh Singh who has been dealing in fabrics
for the last three decades in the middle of a bustling street of Peer Baba
Bazaar. “Muslim brothers travel from villages of Buner to deposit cash with
us,” he continued.
explained, "We, Muslims and Sikhs trust each other and that is the finest
form of interfaith harmony."
ancestors were also businessmen and spent their entire lives in the area.
Reminiscing about the past, Singh shared that when he was younger, Muslims
would deposit money and other valuables with his Uncle Tirath Ram. When his
uncle passed away and the closets where he kept the valuables were opened,
people were surprised to find several rolls of money tied with colorful threads
banks first established in the district, people were reluctant to keep their
valuables there, worrying about interest and other issues. It was easier to
keep cash and other valuables with us,” the 50-year-old added.
Wahid, who owns a general store in the same street as Singh shared that when he
established his business he would entrust his money to Sikh shopkeepers. “There
are two reasons why we would keep our valuables with the Sikhs. One is that
they are businessmen and they keep cash handy and the second is that they are
honest,” Wahid said.
added that the custom of depositing money with Sikhs in Buner still exists
today, with little changes since the practice started. Those who live abroad,
send money to their families by transferring them into the bank accounts of
who has spent this entire life in Peer Baba, recalled that throughout his life
there has only been one incident which shocked the entire district. In the
aftermath of the Babri Masjid incident, some unknown people burnt a Gurdwara in
Peer Baba. "But during that crucial time, the villagers provided shelter,
food and security for their Sikh brothers," he said.
designated their Hujras for them. Sikhs are like brothers to us and we share
everything from grief to religious events and cultural events,” Wahid
Singh a pharmacist by profession who also belongs to Buner said that interfaith
harmony is vital for a peaceful environment. "The trust created by our
forefathers is exemplary. They were very careful about these things and never
even changed currency notes and tried to keep the same ones that the owners
gave,” he said.
grandfather Sobha Ram used to keep valuables of Muslim brothers and we still
have notebooks where my grandfather had written down the names of those people
who had deposited money with him,” he added.
to a survey conducted by minority leaders in 2016, there are more than 3,000
Sikhs living in various villages of Buner. Most of them reside in Peer Baba,
Sawari, Ghurghato and Diwana Baba.
Muslims and Christians unite in appeal to save church from demolition
of Christians and Muslims have been gathering together in Baghdad to protest at
the threatened demolition of a Chaldean church.
Chaldean Catholic Church of Divine Wisdom, in the district of Adhamiya, has
been marked for demolition by the authorities, together with some surrounding
buildings, as part of a redevelopment programme in the city which suffered a
great deal of damage during and after the 2003 war.
local residents say the project is driven by commercial and political forces,
and does not take into account the significance of the church for the
say the church has been a symbol of the coexistence between the different
faiths in Iraq.
church of the Divine Wisdom was built in 1929 by British architect James
Mollison Wilson during the British Mandate on Mesopotamia, and is located on
the border of two inhabited urban areas respectively by Shiites and Sunnis.
reading test for presidential candidates? Jokowi says yes, Prabowo says no
group of Muslim clerics in Aceh has challenged Indonesian presidential
candidates to undergo a Quran reading test as a way to determine the best
figure to lead the country with the largest Muslim population.
campaign teams of the incumbent, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and his challenger,
Prabowo Subianto, have responded differently to the idea from Indonesia’s
conservative westernmost province, which implements the sharia.
team of President Jokowi said the incumbent was ready for the test.
Raban, a campaign official with the Jokowi campaign in Aceh, said the President
was willing to go to the province for the test.
have contacted the national team, which said he and [running mate cleric Ma’ruf
Amin] will take up the invitation for the test,” Ali said, as quoted by
team’s deputy chairman, Abdul Kadir Karding, said Jokowi did not mind taking
the test should the public demand it.
Quranic reading test has been initiated by ulemas and Acehnese people for the
presidential candidates. The idea comes from the people,” Karding said
the only Indonesian province to impose the sharia, as mandated by a 1999 law on
Aceh's status as a special region, is one of 10 provinces of the country's 34
where Jokowi failed to get a majority in the 2014 presidential election, which
saw him run against Prabowo.
visited the province in December and met the ulemas, promising them to move
ahead with the deliberation of a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) and
religious education bill that would allow the government to allocate more funds
to pesantren and Quran teachers.
the other hand, Prabowo’s campaign team, which is backed by two Islam-based
parties – the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the National Mandate Party
(PAN) – said such a test was not needed, or if it did happen, the organizers
should show evidence that they were experts in reading the Quran.
organizers] should prove that they’re really qualified. They must have
certifications showing that they are capable of reading the Quran,” team
official Hidayat Nur Wahid, also a PKS senior executive, said.
Party executive Andre Rosiade claimed that Prabowo, the party’s chairman, was
not refusing to take the test but was “not the type to show off his religious
group of Muslim clerics, the Aceh Clerics Council, challenged both tickets to
read the Quran in a test set to be held at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda
Aceh on Jan. 15. The group said it had sent invitations for the event to both
the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) warned that such a test should be based on
agreement between the two camps.
both camps agree to the test, we’ll support it, but if one of them doesn’t,
then we should not force it to be held,” MUI secretary-general Anwar Abbas
such thing as European Islam - Turkey’s top Muslim official
main Islamic body in Germany hosted a meeting in Cologne this week to shape the
continuing debate about the future of Muslims in Europe, Turkish pro-government
news outlets Diaspora Daily and Yeni Şafak reported.
is no such thing as German, French or European Islam,” Ali Erbaş, the head of
Turkey’s state religious authority, the Diyanet, said on Wednesday. “Islam is a
religion of peace that defends and tries to keep the same universal values
alive all over the world.”
Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, or DITIB, organised the two-day
event. Germany’s largest Muslim body, DITIB runs more than 900 mosques. The
former Diyanet branch is still largely run by Ankara, though it insists it is
independent. DITIB is based in the Cologne Central Mosque, which Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated during a visit to Germany in
week the German tabloid Bild ran an image of the mosque with a story on how
terrorist money funded Germany’s mosques. Critics said the report could spur
printed and visual media have been advocating Islamophobia under the pretext of
criticism,” Erbaş said in Cologne, while also urging the European Muslim
community to eliminate internal rifts.
Cologne gathering appeared to be DITIB’s response to the German government’s
Islam Conference held in Berlin in November. Pork dishes were served and
secular-minded Muslims were allowed to speak, as Germany pressed DITIB to cut
ties with Turkey as part of a broader effort to end foreign funding for
religious groups in Germany. Last week, the German government said it was
considering a mosque tax for the country’s Muslims, similar to the church tax
paid by its Christians.
Muslim institutions should be independent,” Fared Hafez, a political science
professor from Georgetown University, said at the Cologne gathering. “They
should not be acting like Turkish embassies. But that does not mean they should
cut ties with Turkey. They have the right to maintain ties with homeland as
Catholic community for example maintains ties with Vatican.”
Delhi: NIA and other agencies are responsible for the right investigation of
terrorist matters and other cases. It is their duty to investigate on the basis
of concrete proofs and logic and save the country from any kind of threat and
attack. But recently the way in which NIA is conducting enquiry shows that the
officers rather than fulfilling their duties are targeting a particular
community. These views were expressed by general secretary All India Milli
Council Dr Manzoor Aalam.
Aalam said NIA during the past one week has conducted several raids in Delhi
and west UP and arrested Muslim youth on the charges of terrorism. It seized
trolley bag thinking it to be a POP rocket. Similarly, a slate for grinding
spices and other useful items were seized saying that they could be used for
terror attacks. A boy named Israr Siddiqui wrote his initials IS, and NIA began
enquiring about him suspecting him to be an ISIS man.
Mohammed Manzoor Aalam claimed that this is planning to defame Muslims and
distort their image.
| Jan 4, 2019
hree Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were killed and as many soldiers were injured
in an encounter in the forest area of Gulshanpora in Tral in south Kashmir’s
Pulwama district on Thursday.
encounter started after army’s 42 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search
operation following specific inputs about the presence of a group of Hizbul
militants in a hideout in the forests. When security forces closed in on their
hideout, the terrorists opened fire from inside.
forces retaliated and destroyed the hideout by blasting it, killing the
terrorists in the process.
the three terrorists were killed on the spot, the injured soldiers were taken
to an armyhospital in Srinagar.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested Naeem from Western
Uttar Pradesh, who supplied arms to mastermind Mufti Sohail, the key accused in
the alleged ISIS-inspired module busted by the probe agency last week.
NIA which is probing the new Islamic State module ‘Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam,’ on
Wednesday took the arrested accused to Amroha to identify the people who
supplied arms and bomb-making material to them. (NIA Raids: Key Accused Mufti
Sohail Was Upset With Discrimination Against Muslims, Was Planning ‘Jihadi
Activities’ Since 2009, Says Report)
senior NIA official, who requested anonymity, said the arrested accused were
taken to several parts of a western Uttar Pradesh city to identify the people
who supplied material for making the pipe bombs.
official also said the agency carried out fresh searches at two places in
Amroha to identify more suspects and took two persons for questioning.
counter-terror probe agency also questioned two general store shopkeepers from
Amroha, from whom the alleged mastermind Mufti Mohammad Suhail bought potassium
to make bombs. However, they were released after questioning.
December 26, the NIA arrested 10 people, including the group leader, who were
allegedly planning to attack some political personalities, security
establishments as well as crowded places in Delhi and the National Capital
arrests were made after the NIA carried out searches at 17 places — six in East
Delhi’s Jafarabad area, six in Amroha, two each in Lucknow and Hapur and one
place in Meerut, leading it to seize a country-made rocket launcher, 12
pistols, 112 alarm clocks, 100 mobile phones, 135 SIM cards, several laptops
and various electronic gadgets, besides 150 rounds of ammunition.
PRESIDENT Donald Trump on Thursday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi
for funding a “library” in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn
country, as he criticised India and others for not doing enough for the
in Delhi said no standalone library has been built as a development project,
but there is a library in Afghanistan’s Parliament building which has been
built with Indian support. And there could be some libraries in schools that
have been built, sources said.
his first Cabinet meeting of the year on Wednesday, Trump said: “I could give
you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi.
But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That’s
like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan).”
he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, oh thank you for
the library. Don’t know who’s using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it’s
one of those things. I don’t like being taken advantage of,” said Trump. “I say
this, India. (I have) great relationship with Prime Minister Modi. He is a
great gentleman and a great man and he’s done a fantastic job. He has brought
the country together,” he said.
in Delhi pointed out that India has been actively involved in reconstruction
efforts in war-ravaged Afghanistan. It has committed about $3 billion in
assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime after
the September 11, 2001 attacks. India is the largest donor in the region, said
is not just boots on the ground. It also means that through projects, one can
give economic security, health security, water security etc. Security needs to
be seen through the development lens as well,” said a source. India firmly
believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in
transforming human lives, said sources. “India does not send its armed forces
abroad except under the specific mandate of UN peacekeeping operations,” the source
Afghanistan, India plays a significant role as a development partner. This
partnership is built on the “specific needs and requirements worked out with
the Government of Afghanistan”, sources said.
is aimed at the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and for tangible
improvement in the lives of its people. India seeks to build capacities and
capabilities of Afghan nationals and its institutions for governance and
delivery of public service, develop socio-economic infrastructure, secure lives
and promote livelihood,” they said.
pointed out that the developmental partnership is premised on five pillars —
infrastructure projects, capacity building, humanitarian assistance, economic
development and connectivity.
218-km road from Zaranj to Delaram for facilitating movement of goods and
services to the Iranian border. The highway will connect Iran with the Garland
Highway, which links Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif Herat and Kunduz.
220 KV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20 KV
sub-station at Chimtala.
India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam (Salma Dam), which has an installed capacity
of 42 MW and supplies water for irrigating 75,000 hectares of land.
The new Parliament, built with Indian support, is a symbol of the democratic
traditions that India and Afghanistan share.
More than 3,500 Afghans are undergoing various training programmes in India.
special scholarship scheme of 1,000 scholarships per annum to Afghan nationals
India offers 500 Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) slots to
Afghanistan annually. The ITEC training is expected to address Afghanistan’s
need to strengthen its administration and governance at the national, provincial
and district levels. Humanitarian assistance:
Supply of 1.1 million MT of wheat.
The 400-bed Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health is the main children’s
hospital in Afghanistan. Annually, approximately 3 lakh children (2.5 lakh OPD
and 50,000 IPD) are treated at IGICH.
India encourages private investments in Afghanistan, like through the India
Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show, 2017.
116 new ‘high impact community development projects’ in 31 provinces of Afghanistan,
including in education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water,
renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure,
Small Development Projects scheme in agriculture, rural development, education,
health, vocational training, etc.
Chabahar Port development.
Direct air freight corridor between India and Afghanistan established in 2017.
on Thursday deported a second small group of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar after
ordering the expulsion of members of the Myanmar minority group and others who
entered the country illegally.
police officer Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said the five members of a family — three
men and two women — were handed over to Myanmar authorities at a border
crossing at Moreh in Manipur state.
five had been in detention since 2014, when they were found in India's
northeast without valid travel documents.
October, India deported a first group of seven Rohingya Muslims for entering
the country illegally in 2012.
700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape a brutal
campaign of violence by Myanmar's military. An estimated 40,000 other Rohingya
have taken refuge in parts of India. Less than 15,000 are registered with the
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
have settled in areas of India with large Muslim populations, including the
southern city of Hyderabad, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and
the Himalayan region of Jammu-Kashmir. Some have taken refuge in northeast
India bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.
says parliaments of Muslim countries should be on one page to tackle challenges
Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani said on Thursday that historic,
cultural, social and parliamentary linkages between Pakistan and Bahrain should
be translated into economic ties for mutual benefits of both the countries.
said this while talking to Bahrain Ambassador Muhammad Ebraheem Muhammad, who
called on him at the Parliament House.
congratulated the Bahrain leadership for holding new elections and especially
to the first ever elected woman Speaker of the Council of Representatives
Fauzia Abdullah Yousaf Zainal.
said that was a dire need to put our heads together and overcome the challenges
which are posing threats to stability of Muslim Ummah.
said that this is an era of parliamentary diplomacy as it is the most
appropriate and viable option for furthering the ties between the nations and
resolving the issues.
said that Pakistan enjoys cordial relations with Bahrain and other Gulf
countries and there is a need to further boost these brotherly relations into
extended economic ties to benefit from the huge trade potential among these
senate chairman said that the cooperation between the parliaments of Muslim
countries is direly needed. He said that it is important for Muslim parliaments
to interact and find solution to the problems and emerging challenges.
said that there is a huge potential for improving the economic ties and
Pakistan especially its private sector should benefit from these opportunities
as Bahrain could serve as a gateway for Pakistani products for trade with the
Jordan Ambassador Major General (r) Ibrahim Yali Moh’d, called on the senate
chairman at Parliament House.
talking to the Jordanian ambassador, the senate chairman said that parliaments
of the Muslim countries must come forward and interact to evolve a mechanism
for making concrete efforts to resolve the issues being faced by the Muslim
brotherly relations among Muslim states need to be translated into economic
Sadiq Sanjrani reiterated the need to further strengthen existing bilateral
relations between Pakistan and Jordan through enhancing parliamentary ties and
cooperation in various areas of mutual interest. The senate chairman also
underscored the need for enhanced parliamentary linkages between the
parliaments of the two sides.
said that bilateral relations could be further cemented by increasing
With the government coming under pressure from the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) to streamline its financial systems to avoid being included in the
latter’s black list, some 20,000 seminaries have had to contend with an
unannounced ban on transactions made through banks.
seminaries cannot even open new bank accounts. The situation is so bad that
they have been left with no option but to receive cash donations, and
ironically, contribute to grey economy.
Mansoor Ahmed, the administrator of Madressah Taleem-ul-Quran Humamorah, in
Bagh district, told Dawn that the bank account of his seminary had been seized
about six months ago.
manager of the bank informed me that the account had been seized on an order
from the head office and he was trying to make it operational again. Since then
I have visited the bank many times, but have not been allowed to draw the
deposited amount, which is over Rs200,000,” said Maulana Ahmed.
have never received any foreign funding or donation. And the bank is not giving
me the reason for seizing the account,” he said.
the past we preferred to get donations through bank accounts and even if
someone gave us cash we used to deposit it in the bank and provide a receipt to
him/her. However, we have now started receiving donations in cash. I have tried
to open a new account but unfortunately no bank is willing to open an account
in the name of a seminary,” he said.
Ahmed is not the only person who has been facing difficulties due to the
spokesman for Wifaq-ul-Madaris (WuM), Abdul Quddus, said that almost every
seminary was facing a similar situation.
are 20,000 seminaries registered with the WuM, and a large number of them have
lodged complaints with us that their bank accounts have been closed. A number
of seminaries have been trying for the last over one year to open new accounts.
the banks dutifully receive the applications, they never open the accounts. I
also faced the same problem and after one and a half years requested the bank
to give me in writing that the account could not be opened. But the manger refused
to give me anything in writing,” he said.
Quddus said the matter was taken up with Nawaz Sharif, when he was prime
minister. The interior ministers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
government, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan and Ahsan Iqbal, were also approached but
to no avail.
few months back Prime Minister Imran Khan called us for a meeting. Though the
religious circles were against the meeting, we decided to meet him. During the
meeting we took up the matter of banks with the premier, but even then it could
not be resolved,” he said.
contacted, the media coordinator for the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Imran
Siddiqui, said the interior ministry should be requested to look into the
matter because his ministry dealt only with Haj, interfaith harmony and other
Iqbal | Baqir Sajjad Syed
The Foreign Office on Thursday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s remarks on
ties with Pakistan and said the government was keenly waiting for the
engagement at the highest level.
look forward to positive engagement with the US at the leadership level,” FO
spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing. He was giving
his reaction to President Trump’s comments about Pakistan during a cabinet
Trump repeated the allegation of Pakistan being duplicitous in its dealings
with America. He, nevertheless, expressed his desire for better ties with
we give money to Pakistan, $1.3 billion, I ended that. A lot of people don’t
know it, because they haven’t been fair to us. We want to have a great
relationship with Pakistan, but they house the enemy, they take care of the
enemy. We just can’t do that,” President Trump had said.
engaging with the Pakistani leadership, he said: “So, I look forward to meeting
with the folks from — and the new leadership in Pakistan, we’ll be doing that
in the not-too-distant future. I ended the $1.3 billion we paid, it’s like
water, we just do it.”
Trump’s comments show that his view of Pakistan has not changed even though he
may have expediently changed his strategy on dealing with it.
of his closest allies in Congress, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, even
offered a free trade deal to Pakistan if Islamabad persuades the Taliban to
participate in the US-backed Afghan peace process. Senator Graham, known in
Washington as a Trump ally who often floats ideas that the Trump administration
wants debated, made this offer in a CNN interview on Wednesday.
after that, President Trump outlined his new Afghan strategy in the cabinet
meeting, seeking greater roles for India, Russia and Pakistan in fighting the
Trump’s views reflect those of two prominent think tank experts who also
underlined the need to persuade Pakistan, India, China and Russia to fight the
Taliban in articles published in The New York Times and The American
Conservative magazine on Wednesday.
US president had last month written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan,
seeking Pakistan’s help for Afghan peace process. Islamabad later facilitated a
meeting between the United States and Taliban in Abu Dhabi that was also
attended by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Another meeting has been
planned in Saudi Arabia, but its dates have not been made public as yet.
are aware that on the request of the US and the Afghan government, Pakistan is
facilitating peace talks between the United States and the Taliban,” the FO
the accusation of housing the enemy, Dr Faisal looked on the bright side and
said: “President Trump’s remarks are indeed a departure from his tweet of
January 1, 2018.”
Trump had on the New Year Day in 2018 tweeted: “The United States has foolishly
given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and
they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as
fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with
little help. No more!”
FO spokesman underscored that Pakistan wanted peace to return to Afghanistan so
that Afghan refugees in Pakistan could return home and there could be
“beginning of an era of prosperity and normalcy in the region”.
to a question about the death of Baloch separatist Aslam Baloch alias Achhu in
a suicide attack in Kandahar, he said the Afghan government had so far not
shared any details with Pakistan.
expect that the Afghan government undertakes a comprehensive investigation to
find out and clarify how a terrorist commander from a banned terrorist outfit
was residing in an Afghan city and who were providing him refuge in
Afghanistan,” he said, adding: “It is important that Afghanistan does not let
any country, terrorist group or individual to use its territory against
on elections in Bangladesh, Dr Faisal welcomed Awami League’s success and
expressed the hope that the party would during its tenure in office adopt a
forward-looking approach in ties with Pakistan.
want Pakistan-Bangladesh relations to move forward in line with the 1974
tripartite agreement. We welcome the newly elected government in Bangladesh and
hope and expect that it would help take the bilateral relationship away from
the irritants that it has faced in the recent times,” the spokesman said.
Awami League-led coalition won the violence-hit elections held last Sunday to
get a consecutive third term in office. Opposition parties in Bangladesh have
rejected the polls as “farcical”.
ties have remained tense since the Awami League came to power in 2009 and
restarted the trial of people accused of ‘war crimes’ during the 1971
separation. This has been a major irritant in the bilateral relationship. Since
the inception of ‘War Crimes Tribunal’ in 2010, a total of 52 accused have been
sentenced to death. Six of them have been executed so far.
has consistently called for adherence to the Tripartite Agreement of April 1974
under which Bangladesh’s founding father Mujibur Rehman had ended prosecution
of the elements his government had accused of ‘war crimes’ during the 1971
1974 agreement signed in Delhi by the then foreign ministers of Bangladesh,
India and Pakistan had included a commitment from Dhaka that “the Government of
Bangladesh had decided not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday invited Turkish businessmen and investors
to invest in various fields and industries in Pakistan, including construction,
tourism and exploration of natural resources.
the Turkish business fraternity at the Türkiye Odalar ve Borsalar Birligi in
Ankara, the prime minister said the Belt and Road Initiative of China would
bridge communication gap between Pakistan and Turkey and help increase trade
between the two countries.
Minister Khan, accompanied by his economic team, is on his first official
two-day visit to Turkey.
his late-night address, the prime minister said that trade between Pakistan and
Turkey remained quite low in the past and they could not get benefit of trade
due to lack of road and rail routes.
said that with a population of 210 million people, including 120m below the age
of 35 years, Pakistan was a big market for foreign investors.
Minister Khan said that Pakistan had ample tourism attraction due to its
fascinating hilly ranges, plains, sea and rivers. “Out of 12 highest peaks in
the world, half of them are in Pakistan,” he added.
said that his government had streamlined the governance system and removed
red-tapism and hurdles in Pakistan to facilitate foreign investors. “We want to
provide ease of doing business to the businessmen and investors for wealth and
jobs creation,” he said.
prime minister invited Turkish investors and construction firms to invest in
his government’s five-year plan of building five million houses.
the prime minister and his delegation arrived in Konya.
pay homage to Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, the prime minister and his delegation
visited the great Sufi saint’s mausoleum. He also visited the symbolic grave of
Allama Iqbal located in the graveyard where Maulana Rumi’s mausoleum stands.
prime minister was accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood
Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and
Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce, Textile,
Industry and Production Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to the PM on
Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari.
the visit, the prime minister will also meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Accusing the government of playing havoc with the economy and pursuing a policy
of witch-hunt and rejecting what it described as the government’s plan to
introduce a mini-budget, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday asked the
government to mend its ways or be ready to face the music.
do not want confrontation, but want to see political and economic stability in
the country. But if the government continues to push us against the wall, we
will definitely bounce back,” PPP leader Dr Nafeesa Shah said at a press
conference. Former PPP MNA Palwasha Khan was also present on the occasion.
said the opposition would stage a strong protest at an appropriate time if the
government continued to paralyse the economy and the country through its unwise
policies. She said the government had no direction, roadmap and solution to the
problems the country was faced with.
accused the government of using accountability as a smokescreen to hide its
incompetence and poor governance. She said the Sindh government was being
victimised and referred to the Supreme Court proceedings during which the chief
justice of Pakistan questioned the reason for placing 172 individuals —
including the Sindh chief minister — on the Exit Control List (ECL), noting
that the joint investigation team (JIT) report was a tentative document that
had yet to undergo judicial scrutiny.
said the CJP had also wondered how a province could be paralysed and asked the
government to review its decision. Ms Shah was of the view that review meant a
corrective action, but regretted that the government merely formed a review
committee which, according to her, was contempt of the court order.
the government’s plans to levy massive taxes to add insult to the injury of the
people bearing the brunt of price hike and loadshedding of gas and electricity,
she said the government had devalued the rupee twice in four months. She
claimed that inflation would jump to double digit this year as a result of the
government’s imprudent policies.
PPP leader said that the PTI used to criticise previous governments for foreign
loans, but it had obtained a commercial loan from China at a high interest
FO spokesman on Thursday strongly condemned recent intrusion of Pakistani
territory by Indian spy drones and confirmed that two Indian spy drones have
been shot down by Pakistan army.
is ready to give befitting response to any Indian adventure,” he said while
denying Indian claims that surgical strikes were carried out inside Pakistan.
his press briefing, the spokesman said Pakistan is sincere in promotion of
peace in the region, however, Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be
construed as its weakness.
to a question on Kashmir, the spokesperson said Kashmir is a disputed territory
and its resolution lies in a plebiscite in accordance with the UN Security
spokesman took a strong exception to the prevailing situation in Indian held
Kashmir, and urged the international community to press India to stop its gross
human rights violations in occupied valley.
spokesman asked India to immediately allow the UN observer mission to visit the
areas close to LoC to monitor ceasefire violations committed by Indian security
spokesman regretted a report carried by times of India about Kulbushan Yadav
case under litigation in the International Court of Justice, and said the
report is based on a leak and Pakistan would not comment on it as the matter is
sub judice before the ICJ. Responding to number of questions about German
Ambassador’s frequent travelling in various cities in Pakistan, the spokesman
said as per diplomatic rules, all foreign ambassadors in Islamabad are free to
move around Pakistan.
to a question about elections in Bangladesh, the spokesperson said Pakistan
desires to improve its relations with Bangladesh.
welcome the newly elected government and hope it will take bilateral relations
away from the irritants of the past,” he remarked.
his attention was drawn towards a report carried by New York Times claiming
that Pakistani troops are fighting in Yemen, the spokesperson strongly
dismissed the report.
questions about financial corruption at various Pakistani diplomatic missions,
the spokesman said there was a report of embezzlement in the mission in
Bulgaria, and a special fact-finding officer was sent to investigate the issue.
spokesman said accountant concerned has accepted responsibility for the
embezzlement and upon his return to Islamabad, his case has been referred to
NAB adding that the Auditor General has just completed the special audit of the
action is being taken based on the observations raised by the Audit”, the
spokesman remarked. The spokesman said regarding our High Commissioner in South
Africa, the case is subjudice and his travel to Pakistan is in line with
relevant rules. Regarding the query about the case in Portugal, the spokesman
said misinformation was circulated about Ambassador Leena Moazzam however an
inquiry was undertaken which exonerated her, after which she was sent to
Belarus as Ambassador by the previous government.
the case of alleged harassment against Pakistani Ambassador in Rome, an enquiry
has been undertaken by the Ministry of Commerce and MOFA and its report has
been shared with the Ombudsperson.
driver of Jamiat Ulema Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, who was
brutally murdered at his residence in Rawalpindi last year, lied during a
polygraph test conducted to ascertain facts about the high-profile
assassination, sources said Thursday.
an influential religious scholar and former senator, was stabbed to death at
his residence in Rawalpindi on November 2, 2018. His son had said that the
JUI-S chief’s “driver-cum-guard went out for 15 minutes” and returned to find
sources said Haq’s driver, Ahmed Shah, underwent a polygraph test at Punjab
Forensic Science Agency, during which he kept lying.
was asked two questions: Whether he knows the murderers of Maulana Samiul Haq
and was he part of the murder plot?
sources said the driver kept changing his statements during the test.
further said the agency also conducted DNA and polygraph tests of nine other
individuals, of whom, DNA samples of three individuals matched with the samples
collected from the Haq’s room.
next round of talks between the US officials and the Taliban will be held in
Qatar this month, Taliban sources said on Wednesday.
United Arab Emirates, which hosted the Taliban and the US officials in Abu
Dhabi on Dec 17-18, had stated that a new round of talks would be held in Abu
Dhabi ‘to complete the Afghanistan reconciliation process’.
Taliban sources confided to Daily Times that the talks are planned in Doha,
where the Taliban have a political office. They also disputed claim by the
Afghan officials that Saudi Arabia will soon host Afghan talks.
and the US officials have not reached any agreement despite having at least
four rounds of talks started in July. A Taliban source, privy to the talks, is
hopeful some progress in the next round.
political negotiators travelled to Iran this week ahead of their new round of
talks and discussed “post-invasion and regional peace” with Iranian officials,
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says.
the Iranian foreign ministry said Taliban have held ‘intensive talks’ with
Iranian officials in Tehran that were aimed at ‘facilitating dialogues between
the Afghan groups and Kabul administration to advance peace process in the
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told his weekly briefing on Monday
that Iran is “quite willing to play a pivotal role in establishing peace and
tranquility in its neighbouring state especially now, after Shamkhani’s meeting
with the Afghan government,” Iranian state IRNA news agency reported.
Taliban statement said their delegations pay visits to regional countries to
seek countries’ political and moral support and cooperation to end the invasion
political negotiators visited Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Indonesia over the past
few months. A Taliban official told Daily Times that talks could be held in
other countries if they formally make request and the US also agrees with other
visit to Iran is seen as part of the Afghan insurgents’ move to strengthen
relations with countries.
have visited Tehran several times and their chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was
killed in a US drone strike shortly after he returned from Iran on May 21,
who had tense relationship with Iran during their rule since 1996 until they
were ousted in late 2001 as the result of the US military operation, later
established relations with Iran and some sources have confided to Daily Times
that Taliban have their special envoy for Iran like several other countries.
US sanctions and the emergence of Daesh brought the Taliban and Iran closer.
Iran would definitely pay back to the US in Afghanistan for its hostile
policies towards the Islamic Republic and Taliban need support to fight the
Americans and its Western allies. Iran is among the few regional countries,
which demand end to the US invasion of Afghanistan.
a series of background interviews it was found that Taliban mostly believe
Saudi Arabia had almost broken contacts with them for years. A Taliban official
insists many countries including permanent members of the UN Security
Countries, European Union, neighbours and Asian countries are in contact with
the Taliban political representatives but Saudi Arabia did not.
and Saudi officials met for the first time in UAE in December after a long time
and Afghan officials say that the Kingdom has planned peace talks that will be
attended by the Taliban and the Afghan government.
are also trying to create a balanced relationship with countries like Iran and
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, but a Taliban official says it depends on the
Saudi officials if they establish contacts with the Taliban like other
Rights Commission attends first trial on Khashoggi murder
Saudi Human Rights Commission attended the first session held by the criminal
court to sue the indicted by the general prosecution in the murder of late
citizen Jamal Khashoggi.
first session was held in Riyadh on Thursday, January 3, 2019.
public prosecution accused eleven persons to have taken part in the crime.
commission pointed out that arraigning the accused comes as yet a confirmation
to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's previous announcement that justice will take
its course and that whoever has taken part in this crime will receive his the
commission added that the court’s procedures went smooth under the assurances
of the Kingdom’s regulations and systems for all parties of the criminal
least seven ISIL commanders were killed in Iraqi air raids on the terrorists'
military positions in Eastern Deir Ezzur," the Arabic-language al-Maloumeh
news website quoted a Hashd al-Sha'abi (popular forces) commander as saying on
al-Sha'abi commander Qatari al-Abidi said that a number of ISIL terrorists were
also wounded in the Iraqi airstrikes on their positions in al-Souseh region in
Eastern Deir Ezzur along Iraq-Syria border.
meantime, said that the ISIL's arms cache was also destroyed in Eastern Deir
a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian Army forwarded more troops and
military equipment to the Eastern deserts of Deir Ezzur, preparing for a
large-scale operation to hunt down the remaining pockets of the ISIL
army dispatched the 4th Division and a part of Presidential Guard Forces to the
Eastern desert of Syria from the small town of al-Dowayer up to the town of
al-Hari near border with Iraq in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.
army's growing military buildup in the Eastern desert of Deir Ezzur indicates
that the government forces are preparing for a major operation to purge the
entire region of the ISIL terrorists and put an end to any movement of the
terrorists between Syria's Deir Ezzur desert and Iraq's Anbar.
army's main objective is restoring sustainable security to the borders with
on Monday, the army forwarded a large number of troops, including the 5th
Division, more tanks and armored vehicles to the small towns of al-Sukariyah
and Huweija al-Moshahedah near the town of Albu Kamal near the border with
the meantime, tens of army men, a number of Russian forces, several cannons and
heavy weapons arrived at Deir Ezzur military airport and were further sent to
regions near the small town of al-Dowayer.
public prosecutor stated that further to the statements issued on 19/10/2018,
25/10/2018 and on 15/11/2018, the initial hearing for the 11 individuals
indicted by the Public Prosecution in the case of the murder of citizen Jamal
Khashoggi was held Thursday 3/1/2019 in the Criminal Court of Riyadh. The
defendants’ attorneys were present under Article (4) of the Law of Criminal
public prosecutor demanded imposing proper punishments against the defendants
and is seeking capital punishment for (5) of the defendants for their direct
involvement in the murder. (More).
the initial hearing of the case, the defendants requested a copy of the
indictment and additional time to respond. The defendants' request was approved
according to Article (136) of the Law of Criminal Procedures. Meanwhile, the
Public Prosecutor continues to investigate the case with the rest of the
individuals in custody in relation to this crime.
years ago – around 10 months after the outbreak of militancy in Syria –
President Bashar al-Assad made a solemn assertion, which is today proving to be
true. He said in an address to a group of Syrian youths, “Soon after the
crisis, you will see the same Arab countries that are now hatching plots
against us return to Damascus to apologize.”
Syrian leader was responding to a question about the hostile stance certain Arab
states had taken against his country back then. “This is nothing new to us. We
Syrians are noble Arabs and will not back off from our position.”
he added, “is destined to suffer from more unrest due to their conspiracies. No
one should expect peace to prevail as long as we say no to the US, not even
after we emerge victorious from this war.”
2011, when the crisis hit, the Arab countries closed down their diplomatic
missions in Damascus in protest at what they described as the Assad government’s
crackdown on protests.
now that the national Syrian army has dealt stinging blows to the
foreign-backed terrorists operating against the government and liberated almost
all of the country’s soil from the mercenaries, those Arab countries appear to
be in a race to reopen their embassies in Damascus.
states knocking on Syria's door'
month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir – who has, over the past years, built
good relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- became the
first Arab head of state to pay an official visit to Damascus and sit down for
talks with his Syrian opposite number since the start of the conflict. Reports
say Mauritania is also mulling over such a trip to the Middle Eastern country.
on Bashir’s surprise visit to the Syrian capital, al-Sudan al-Youm daily wrote:
The Sudanese leader paid the visit once he made sure Syria had won the war and
was now back on its path forward. He could have come to the conclusion that the
resistance front had foiled all anti-Syria plots. The visit may have also been
a response to recent reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was
due in Sudan soon. (Khartoum has formally rejected those reports.)
that regard, Dr. Ing. Muhammad Khair al-Akam, an expert on political and
international affairs, told Russia’s Sputnik agency that Bashir’s visit “has a
clear message that the Arabs are knocking on the door of the Syrian Republic.”
week later, the United Arab Emirates officially resumed diplomatic work in
Syria. Bahrain was also quick to follow suit.
Gargash, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs – once a staunch
advocate of the terrorists fighting to topple President Assad -- took to his
twitter page to justify Abu Dhabi’s move. “The UAE decision...came after a
conviction that the next stage requires the Arab presence and communication in
the Syrian file,” he said.
Emirati Foreign Ministry, in turn, said in a statement that “the step confirms
that the UAE government is keen to restore relations between the two brotherly
countries back to normal,” and that the move is “to activate the Arab role in
supporting Syria’s independence, sovereignty, unity and safety and prevent the
dangers of regional intervention in Syria’s Arab affairs.”
Dhabi’s dramatic U-turn comes about seven years after the UAE – along with
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Bahrain – suspended Syria’s membership in the
years of Syrian resistance proved to the Emirates and other regional states
that Syria is capable of thwarting all Western-Arab plots against it and keep
standing strong. That is why they are speeding past one another to fix their
ties with Damascus.
Sudan, the UAE and Bahrain, Jordan is also reported to be considering normalizing
with Syria. It seems the first state that came out in support of anti-Damascus
militants has now changed course and is seeking to become the first state to
send an ambassador to Syria.
relations with Syria will be restored to where they were in the past,” said
King Abdullah II on 23 December.
the Saudi regime – a major sponsor of the Takfiri terrorists wreaking havoc on
Syria – is apparently determined not to fall behind its allies. Lebanese MP
Abdul Rahim Mrad, who acts as a mediator between Damascus and Riyadh, said
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman showed no negative reaction to the idea
of reviewing ties with Syria.
further said he would continue efforts to arrange a meeting between Saudi
officials and Ali Mamlouk, Assad’s security advisor.
seems 2018 could not have had a better ending for President Assad of Syria.
Deutsche Welle wrote, “Syria enters 2019 with all signs pointing to it being
re-accepted into the Arab fold. The diplomatic shift is a recognition that the
war has been won and Arab states need to exert influence in a post-conflict
German broadcaster highlighted Tunisia’s efforts to get President Assad to
attend an Arab League summit it is slated to chair later this year.
journalist Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, recently
described 2019 as the year of victories for the Syrian nation. The new year, he
believes, will see the defeat of American plots in the region and the
restoration of dignity to its people.
highlighted US failures in the region and said US President Donald Trump
admitted that his country had vainly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. He
visited a base hosting American troops in Iraq as quietly as a mouse, while
trembling with fear, the journalist added.
he went on to say, "emerged triumphant because it put up resistance. The
Arab countries are now rushing back to their embassies in Syria. The
interesting point is that they seek to justify the move as an attempt to
distance Syria from Iran. Prior to the crisis, these Arab states had offered
Syria tens of billions of dollars in return for staying away from Iran. Syria,
however, rejected that demand, reaffirming that Iran was a powerful ally."
have entered a new phase: the axis of resistance's victory in the region.
Israel is currently in a state of fear. The Arab states that are moving towards
normalization with Israel will regret their move. Hezbollah is a growing power
of the region, possessing over 150,000 high-precision missiles. The Arabs need
to admit their mistakes, join the resistance front and stand against the
Israeli enemy," the journalist said.
pours cold water on allies
the meantime, 2019 came to an end with yet another Trumpian surprise. The US
president's announcement of a plan to pull American troops out of the Middle
East's hotspot shocked the allied players on the Syria scene, including the
Arab regimes, Israel and the foreign-backed terrorists, pushing them to the
verge of crisis.
some criticism at home, Trump said US military forces are no longer needed in
Syria since the Daesh Takfiri terror group has been defeated there.
however, cast doubt on Trump's statement and said the retreat is more
indicative of the defeat of the US and its allies in Syria than that of Daesh.
Trump's policy shift affected, more than anything, the Arab regimes and the
proxy terrorists, promoting them to make a U-turn and retreat.
the US military preparing to pull out, the fate of the US-backed terror groups
active near Washington's al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria is now hanging in
media reports say the withdrawal plan has already created a rift in the ranks
of the terrorist outfits operating in the vicinity of the al-Tanf base. Several
of those militants are getting ready to surrender to the Syrian army, while
others have joined other terror groups.
in Israel's face
the American plan has most angered the Zionist regime, Washington's main ally
in the region which has been providing all-out support to the anti-Damascus
terrorists since the start of the crisis.
hours into Trump's announcement, Israel's Channel 10 described the plan as a
slap in the face of the Tel Aviv regime. An expert in military affairs told the
news channel that Washington's withdrawal would kill the only bargaining chip
to secure Iran's exit from Syria and hamper Israel's attempts to confront
regime recently carried out airstrikes against targets near the Syrian capital,
in what could be a sign of stepped-up support for the terrorists in the absence
of the US, but given the latest developments in Syria, Israel's belligerent
policies seem to be doomed to fail.
Defense Ministry says tens of thousands of foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists
were killed during its military’s counter-terrorism airstrikes against militant
redoubts in Syria last year.
ministry, in a statement released on
Thursday, announced that more than 23,000 militants were eliminated over the
course of the offensives.
total of 159 battle tanks, 57 armored vehicles, more than 900 cannons and
nearly 3,000 pickup trucks with machine guns mounted on them were destroyed as
statement further noted that Russian aerial attacks had killed over 87,000
terrorists and militant commanders, including 4,500 extremists from Caucasian
countries, ever since Moscow started its operations in Syria more than three
about 1,000 militant camps, 10 thousand arms and fuel depots besides 650 battle
tanks were destroyed during the mentioned period.
jets have been carrying out air raids against targets belonging to the Daesh
Takfiri terrorist group and those of other terror outfits inside Syria at the
Damascus government’s formal request since September 2015.
airstrikes have helped Syrian forces advance against anti-Damascus militants,
who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since March 2011.
in August 2018, Russia’s Defense Ministry stated that Moscow had dispatched
63,012 troops to Syria over the course of its military involvement in the
conflict-plagued Arab country.
ministry said 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349
artillery and rocket specialists were among the troops sent to Syria.
added that the Russian personnel had "received combat experience" in
the war-torn country.
Arabia says it has held an initial hearing into the murder case of dissident
journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with the public prosecutor requesting the death
penalty for five of the suspects.
state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that at the court session, which
was held in Riyadh on Thursday, the prosecutor demanded that “proper
punishments” be imposed against the 11 defendants and that “capital punishment”
sentences be handed to five of them over their direct involvement in the
the initial hearing of the case, the defendants requested a copy of the
indictment and additional time to respond. The defendants’ request was approved
according to the Law of Criminal Procedures. Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor
continues to investigate the case with the rest of the individuals in custody
in relation to this crime,” the public prosecutor said in a statement.
suspects’ lawyers were also present at the trial, it added.
also noted that Riyadh had sent two letters to the Turkish public prosecutor
demanding further evidence in the case, but had so far received no response.
Turkish government has earlier said that it shared graphic audio recordings,
purporting to indicate that Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi
consulate, with the US, as well as France, Britain and Germany.
-- an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- was killed
by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul on October 2.
media have already released gruesome details of the recordings and also
published images of 15 Saudi agents whom it says entered Istanbul on the same
day to carry out the mission.
has called on Saudi Arabia to extradite the suspects for them to stand trial in
Istanbul, a request rejected by Riyadh. Turkish officials have on several
occasions complained about the lack of cooperation on the part of Riyadh in the
investigation. Turkey has also said that it may seek a formal United Nations
inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder case if its dealings with Riyadh come to an
weeks of denials of any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Riyadh
regime eventually acknowledged the “premeditated” murder, but has vehemently
sought to distance the heir to the throne from the case.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday called for a global initiative to combat the
recruitment of child soldiers.
to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said the Arab coalition fighting in Yemen
to support the internationally recognised government, regularly encountered
children who had been recruited by the Houthi militia.
a series of heartfelt tweets, Prince Khalid said the international community
and media had ignored the Houthis’ daily violation of children’s rights.
recruitment of children by the Iran backed Houthis is a heinous crime that we
can no longer tolerate,” he said.
force recruitment from schools and playgrounds, threaten/terrorize families who
refuse, and proceed to use them as cannon fodder.”
calls for a serious sustained global initiative to combat the recruitment of
children in battles; especially in Yemen. It must end once and for all.”
Iran backed Houthis, who sparked the Yemen conflict when they seized the
capital Sanaa in 2014, have routinely used child soldiers during the war.
militia have inducted 18,000 children into their ranks since the conflict
began, a senior Al Houthi military official told AP recently.
King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre has run a series of initiatives
to help rehabilitate the children and return them to school.
harmony: Sarawak church wedding with Muslim bridesmaids
JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Sarawak recently saw the concept of unity
in diversity come to life in a church wedding with Muslim bridesmaids.
of the wedding on Dec 29 showed Sarawakian couple Sylvester Voon and Esther
Joseph Kim getting married at St Joseph's Cathedral in Kuching, Sarawak.
Kim had six Muslim bridesmaids who wore dark red baju kurung and pink hijab.
photographer Ariffin Husain, who took the photos at the cathedral and a nearby
courthouse, said on his Facebook page that it is "the most unique wedding
won't get to see this every day... It's a church wedding, but all the
bridesmaids are Muslims.
headscarves, it is very rare," he wrote.
Ariffin added that while Ms Kim is from Sarawak, most of the bridesmaids are
from the peninsula.
is what we call 1Malaysia... even though they are different in race and
religion, this did not stop these good friends from celebrating one of the
happiest days of their friend," he wrote.
said it was very rare and sweet to see friends from various races respecting each
other, expressing hope to see more multicultural ceremonies in the near future.
Ariffin told The Star that while he has been in this line of work since 2012,
this wedding is the most special and beautiful for him.
hope that with the racial issues which happened lately, we can learn to put
aside our differences, embrace each other with open arms and live together in
harmony," he added.
post received over 800 likes and shared over 250 times at the time of writing.
congratulated the couple and liked the photographs taken by Mr Ariffin.
the end of last year, mStar reported a heart-warming story of an Indian doctor
who chose nine of his close Malay friends to be groomsmen for his wedding.
KINABALU: PPBM has yet to receive the 19,000 membership applications said to be
from members of an NGO in Sabah and their friends.
senior PPBM leader told FMT the party is also undecided on whether to enter
Sabah, despite growing support from the grassroots in the state.
Perkida Sabah president Datu Muhammad Akjan Datu Ali Muhammad claimed the NGO
had managed to get 19,000 people, including 12,000 of its members, to register
as members of PPBM.
said all 150,000 members of Perkida Sabah were expected to sign up with PPBM in
the next six months.
NGO is one of at least three groups attempting to bring the national-based
party into Sabah.
not everyone wants PPBM in the state, with the ruling Warisan party – an ally
of Pakatan Harapan (PH) – saying it had agreed with PH that Sabah would be
handled by Warisan.
Akjan said he and his group had decided to join PPBM instead of Warisan because
they were attracted to the ideology and aims of the party, which were based on
the five pillars of the Rukun Negara promoting a just and harmonious society.
believe that PPBM, spearheaded by our prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and
Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, will be in a better position to unite and
strengthen the position of the Muslim natives in Sabah,” he said.
party will be better at safeguarding our interests and championing our plight
will also promote greater rapport and co-existence with fellow Malaysians of
other races and religions, and help build a harmonious and progressive nation.”
on the criticism by some groups of PPBM’s possible expansion into Sabah, Akjan
said it was their right to express their views, just as it was the right of
citizens to choose the party they felt best suited their ideals and
said these individuals and parties or groups should not feel insecure or
threatened by PPBM.
also urged detractors not to blame the PPBM leadership for accepting their
said they were prepared to sit down with them to explore the possibility of
future cooperation for the common good of the state and its people.
added that despite talk about multiracial political parties, there was still a
need for a strong Muslim-based party to take root in Sabah.
to him, this was because there are certain things a multiracial party cannot do
as they go against party principles.
BARU - Kelantan's Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah on Thursday (Jan
3) asked the public not to believe in speculation that the Malaysian King will
be stepping down from the throne.
Amar told reporters that the state government has not received any information
about this, Malaysiakini news site reported.
was responding to questions from the media in Kota Baru, Kelantan's state
capital, about rumours on social media that Sultan Muhammad V will abdicate
soon from his role as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as the country's king is
officially called. The 49-year old ruler is from Kelantan.
state government has no knowledge. If it's a rumour, don't believe it."
shouldn't be surprised because people say many things in rumours, not only
about the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but also the government. So don't believe the
rumours," Mr Amar was quoted as saying by the news site.
Kelantan ruler is currently on leave.
Amar, a vice-president of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) that controls the
Kelantan state legislature, said the Attorney-General should step in to stop
the circulation of "fake news", New Straits Times (NST) online quoted
him as saying.
is the duty of the Attorney-General to ensure that incorrect information does
not spread among the people," he said.
are talking about an institution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an institution,
the Sultan is an institution," he added.
Muhammad V went on leave from Nov 2 to rest "following treatment",
Bernama news agency had reported.
late November, media reports said he had married a beauty queen from Russia, Ms
Oksana Voevodina, in Moscow.
asked about this at the time, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he had no
don't know. I don't have any official confirmation so I can't say
anything," he said.
the King's absence, his duties as Malaysia's constitutional monarch were taken
up by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, 62.
Nazrin left the national palace Istana Negara on Dec 31 at the end of his
tenure as acting King, according to media reports.
Malaysia's unique rotational system among the nine Malay royal houses, the
sultans take turns to be appointed the Agong every five years.
Muhammad V was proclaimed Malaysia's 15th King in December 2016.
about the abdication appeared to have heated up soon after this week's regular
meeting of the Conference of Rulers. Conference members are the titular heads
of Malaysia's 13 states - the nine sultans and four state governors (Penang,
Melaka, Sabah, Sarawak).
to the speculation, Tun Dr Mahathir in a cryptic post on Wednesday in his blog
titled "Rule of Law", said that every Malaysian, including the
sultans, must follow the law.
Rule of Law applies to everyone from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and
Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens," he said.
is no provision which exempts anyone from the Rule of Law. For the Rulers,
there is a special court but the laws are the same as the laws applicable to
ordinary citizens. The Rulers too must respect the laws."
Havas Oegroseno And Norbert Röttgen
both countries join the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as nonpermanent
members, we outline a vision of what practicing multilateralism from an
Indo-German perspective should entail.
first glance one might think what an unusual pair: Indonesia and Germany,
located on different continents, each with neighborhood problems of their own.
country shaped by a Christian-Jewish cultural heritage, the other with a long
multicultural and religious tradition as well as the tradition of Islam
wasathiyah (moderate Islam).
encounters: The grave of F. Sriyati at the Segadoeng Cemetery had its cross
damaged on Sunday in Tidar Krajan village, Magelang, Central Java. (JP/Bambang
Muryanto)Tolerance in Indonesia has been put to the test once again with at
least 19 cross-shaped grave markers wrecked in three cemeteries in Magelang,
Central Java, along with the graves of three Muslims.
of the wooden crosses were damaged and partially pulled out of the ground,
while some marble gravestones were smashed to pieces.
42, a guard at the Giriloyo Public Cemetery, one of the three graveyards
affected, said this was the first such incident in the area.
convert plotted to kill dozens of people in a crowded shopping district in
London after his passport was seized thwarting his plans to travel to the
Philippines to join an extremist group and get married.
Ludlow, 27, had turned up at Heathrow Airport in February last year to fly to
the Philippines only to be met by police who turned him back. His passport was
revoked the following month and an enraged Ludlow later told an acquaintance
that he hoped officers and their children would “die of cancer”.
subsequently made a pledge of allegiance to ISIS saying that he felt only
“animosity and hate” towards non-Muslims as he prepared plans to kill around
100 people by using a van to ram shoppers on London’s Oxford Street, a London
court was told.
spit on your citizenship, your passport, you can go to hell with that,” he said
in his pledge of allegiance in which he signed off as “The Eagle”.
attack plan unravelled after police discovered pictures of ISIS executions on
seized phones and pieced together his attack strategy from pieces of paper he
had ripped up and discarded.
had also been watched by police as he turned up at an internet café where he
printed off the black flag of ISIS - but then forgot it as he left in a hurry,
London’s Old Bailey court was told.
had been put under surveillance after it emerged that he had been in contact
via an encrypted messaging service with a foreign fighter in Syria and told him
he would look into using his job at a mail sorting depot to send “something
lethal” through the post.
discussions with a Philippines-based extremist via an encrypted messaging were
infiltrated by an undercover officer who the pair sought to recruit with his
from Rochester, 25 miles southeast of London, had been on the radar of
authorities for a decade after his former college raised concerns about his
was arrested in 2015 after he was identified on videos with senior leaders of
the UK’s most notorious extremist organisation but no action was taken against
him at the time, the court heard
was pictured with Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the proscribed extremist
group Al Muhajiroun who was released from prison last year after serving a
sentence for supporting ISIS.
government’s deradicalisation programme, Prevent, had been in contact with
Ludlow since 2008. He had cancelled appointments or tried to dupe officials
that he was engaging with the programme when he was planning a terrorist
of his meetings was on the same day that he scouted targets around the capital
and took photographs on his mobile phone of Oxford Street and waxwork museum
Madame Tussauds, another potential target.
in August last year admitted plotting an attack in the UK and funding ISIS in
the Philippines. He was in court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing that was
expected to last up to three days.
Germany is discussing the issue of collecting a "mosque tax" from
Muslims in the country to finance Muslim foundations and mosques. This new tax
plan is thought to be similar to the German church tax, and the main aim behind
the introduction of it is to fund expenses for mosques and the salaries of
imams working in the mosques through Muslim citizens.
church tax is collected in Germany to finance the expenditures of religious and
ideological communities. It is collected by the tax offices of the related
state. According to the 140th article of the German Constitution, in connection
with the 137th article of the Weimar Constitution, public entities of religious
and ideological communities can be taxed.
discussions for the application of the church tax model for mosques in Germany
continue to be a significantly important matter. The church tax, which is
collected from the members of religious communities that are deemed public
entities, is collected by tax offices proportionately to salaries of citizens
on an accrual basis. A certain amount of this money is taken by the state as a
fee, and the remaining amount is transferred to the related religious
in Germany, none of the Muslim communities, generally consisting of people of
Turkish descent and the Turkish community, are public entities. Public entities
possess superior and privileged authorization, have different statutes for
properties, income and staff and are established based on the provisions
provided by a specific law. Consequently, it is impossible for the existing
Muslim communities and foundations to collect a "mosque tax."
what is the real reason behind the increasing popularity of this issue among
the political elites in Germany?
from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) who are sent to
Germany by Turkey have been deemed a problem, especially following the crisis
between the two countries. Most recently, Horst Seehofer, the interior minister
of Germany, stated that the financing of the Muslim people in Germany needs to
be carried out independently of foreign countries and stressed that he believes
the imams working in Germany should be trained in Germany without the
intervention of foreign countries. With its 900 mosques, the DİTİB is the
biggest Muslim nongovernmental organization in the country and receives
financial support from Turkey.
Germany is looking to cut the financial support flowing into the Muslim
foundations and mosques of foreign countries. Clearly, the German government
wants to replace the financing provided by the Gulf countries led by Saudi
Arabia with independent financing for ending the foreign-source dependency of
mosque communities. Plenty of Muslim foundations and communities are financed
either by Turkey or a Gulf state. As a result, these foundations and
communities have been accused of transferring politically questionable values
to citizens and creating parallel societies in Germany.
discussion of a "mosque tax" in Germany is not a problem by itself.
But the fact that this issue is voiced by politicians is a clear sign that it
is not based on the needs of the Muslim community. This is a clear indication
that this issue is voiced by the politicians with a political agenda. It is not
a request centered on the worries and needs of the Muslim people; yet it is a
solely political strategy.
"German Islam" project that has come up over the past few months is
directly linked to the debates about the so-called mosque tax. The concept of
"German Islam," a part of the European Islam Project, consists of
imams trained parallel to the paradigm determined by Germany and aims to create
a "liberal or secular Islamic discipline."
opposing imams coming from Turkey and requesting they be trained in Germany aim
to break the cultural and religious bonds between Turkey and Turkish people
living in Germany. The plan to train imams in Germany is perceived by the
Muslim community as the first step toward the German Islam project, thus
leading to concern among Muslims in the country.
a religion can be practiced differently in every country, but this should only
be rooted in sociocultural differences, not due to boundaries drawn by a state.
Intervention of a state in this process is both unlawful and unacceptable.
Where imams are trained is not important, but instead whether the imams are
trained parallel to the basic principles of Islam.
Muslim convert has told how he rebuffed MI5 advances but played along with
authorities trying to deradicalise him as he plotted a terror attack on Oxford
Ludlow, 27, of Rochester, Kent, a former Royal Mail worker, said he was filled
with “animosity and hatred” when he swore allegiance to Islamic State, the Old
Bailey heard. All the while, he appeared to engage with the Prevent
deradicalisation programme, having had 16 meetings and a phonecall with
officers over the six months before his arrest last April.
of the meetings was on the same day that Ludlow had carried out reconnaissance
of targets around the capital, taking photographs of Oxford Street and Madame
had planned to kill up to 100 people in a “ram attack” after being stopped by
police at Heathrow airport in February 2018 as he attempted to board a flight
to the Philippines.
defendant, who called himself “the Eagle” and “the Ghost”, had bought a phone
under a false name and wrote down his attack plans, which were later found
ripped up in a bin in his home.
pleaded guilty last year to plotting an attack in the UK and giving money to
Isis in the Philippines and appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday to be
prosecutor Mark Heywood QC set out Ludlow’s past association with extremists in
Britain and abroad. He said the Prevent programme had attempted to engage with
Ludlow since November 2008, when his college had raised concerns about his
religious beliefs and his habit of carrying a knife.
evidence, Ludlow, who has autism, said he dropped out of school at 14 because
of bullying and converted to Islam at the age of 16. In 2010, Ludlow attended a
demonstration led by the radical preacher Anjem Choudary and his banned group
al-Muhajiroun. But his relationship with the extremist Islamic group soured
after he was suspected of being a spy, he said.
2015, he talked to British jihadist Junaid Hussain about “sending something
lethal” in the post while doing seasonal work in a Royal Mail warehouse.
Ludlow told the court he only said it because he was in “awe” of Hussain, who
was killed in a drone strike in Syria soon afterwards.
year, he was arrested and Isis material was recovered from Ludlow’s phone but
no further action was taken. In March 2017, Ludlow claimed MI5 had approached
him to be a “spy” and “entrap” young people online as an “agent provocateur”.
he said: “I didn’t want to be involved in that, ruining their lives. I felt it
was wrong. They kept saying they wanted to meet me. They would not leave me
had cut off contact with Prevent two years before, but resumed meetings with
officers in November 2017, while concealing his true feelings. The defendant
said he felt he was “picked on” for being a white Islamic convert and felt
under pressure from his Prevent mentor.
January 2018, he bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines on 3 February but
was stopped at the airport and had his passport seized. In March, having set up
a PayPal account and a Facebook site devoted to antique collection, he sent
money to an alleged extremist called Abu Yaqeen in an area of the Philippines
with a significant Isis presence.
went on to recover torn-up scraps of paper from Ludlow’s bin detailing
potential attack sites in Britain.
Oxford Street, he planned to use a van to mount the pavement, noting the lack
of safety barriers.
said: “Wolf should either use a ram attack or use … on the truck to maximise
death … It is a busy street it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly
100 could be killed in the attack.”
said there was evidence the defendant wanted to recruit a second attacker as he
did not have a driving licence and was “scared” of crashing.
mitigation, Rebecca Trowler QC said Ludlow was directed by the extremist in the
Philippines and his plans were “embryonic”.
DIEGO: A decorated Navy SEAL is facing charges of premediated murder and other
offenses in connection with the fatal stabbing of a teenage Daesh prisoner
under his care in Iraq in 2017 and the shooting of unarmed Iraqi civilians.
Operations Chief Edward Gallagher is also accused of posing with the teen’s
corpse at his re-enlistment ceremony. His attorney, Phil Stackhouse, says
Gallagher will plead not guilty to all of the charges.
case stands out because of the seriousness of the allegations against an elite
special warfare operator and the fact that the prosecution’s case includes the
accounts of fellow Navy SEALs, an extremely tight-knit group even by military
Weeks of fighting between ethnic Rakhine rebels and Myanmar’s military has
driven thousands of civilians from their homes, the UN said, as conflict
intensifies in a state already ravaged by violence against the Rohingya Muslim
army led a crackdown against the Rohingya in western Rakhine state in 2017,
justifying the violence as necessary to flush out militants from the stateless
operations prompted a mass exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh.
that conflict largely overshadowed the army’s simmering fight with the Arakan
Army (AA), who want greater autonomy for Rakhine’s Buddhist population in one
of Myanmar’s poorest states.
UN’s humanitarian agency on January 1 said it was “concerned” by the recent
surge in violence which has displaced around 2,500 people “who are sheltering
in monasteries and other communal spaces”.
sanctions top Myanmar military over Rohingya abuses
rebels accuse the military, known in Myanmar as the Tatmadaw, of deploying
heavy artillery against villagers.
are trapped by the fighting,” a spokesperson for the Arakan Army Khine Thukha
told AFP, accusing the army of commandeering churches, schools and monasteries.
have been a flurry of murky, unclaimed attacks and murders in the past two
weeks in northern Rakhine, which remains deeply fractured along ethnic and
policeman was murdered in an ambush by unknown assailants near the Bangladesh
border, while two ethnic Rakhine were found with their throats slit, prompting
the army to launch localised “clearance operations”.
week a remote-controlled mine attack hit a convoy carrying the western
territory’s chief minister, who escaped unharmed.
slaps sanctions on Myanmar military commanders over Rohingya abuses
state was notably sidelined in an unexpected unilateral ceasefire announced by
the military in December that only covered conflicts in the northeast of the
AA said the army was using the truce elsewhere to focus efforts on Rakhine, a
theory Min Zaw Oo from the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security dismissed
as “not very plausible”.
troop redeployments had yet taken place, he said, adding that the aim of the
military offensive was to prevent the militants gaining a foothold in Rakhine.
Tatmadaw’s strategy is very similar to other parts of the country,” he told
they see militant bases, they put them under siege and bombard them with heavy
Opposition members of Bangladesh's parliament boycotted a swearing-in ceremony
on Thursday, after rejecting results of a general election that they said was
rigged to give Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina her third straight term.
ruling alliance won more than 90 per cent of the seats contested in Sunday's
(December 30, 2018) election, which was marred by accusations of ballot
stuffing, voter intimidation and violence that killed at least 17 people.
and her ruling Awami League party have dismissed the accusations.
all 291 newly elected members of parliament, including Hasina, from the ruling
bloc were sworn in, the seven opposition members stayed away.
must take their oath within three months or forfeit their seats.
of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) could not immediately
be reached for comment.
BNP sent a letter to the government on Wednesday seeking permission to meet
their leader, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who has been in jail since
February on what they call trumped up charges.
Thursday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said the run-up to the vote was
characterised by "violence and intimidation against the opposition ... and
the misuse of laws to limit free speech".
called for an independent and impartial investigation of the accusations of
of ballot stuffing, intimidation of voters, and ruling party control of voting
locations on election day mean that an independent and impartial commission
should be formed to determine the extent of the violations," Brad Adams,
Asia director at the rights group, said in a statement.
government, including the United State and the European Union, have condemned
the election-day violence and called for investigation of a range of
said after the results came out that the vote was largely peaceful and voters
had taken part enthusiastically.
BNP has said its workers were being attacked across the country by Awami League
activists. The ruling party has denied the charges.
whose father, state founder Mujibur Rahman, was assassinated in a coup in 1975,
has alternated in and out of power for nearly three decades with her main
rival, BNP leader Khaleda.
members of Bangladesh’s Parliament boycotted a swearing-in ceremony on
Thursday, after rejecting results of an election that they said was rigged to
give Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina her third straight term.
newly elected Members of Parliament from the ruling bloc, including Ms. Hasina,
were sworn in, the seven Opposition members stayed away. “Why should we take
the oath when we’ve rejected this election?” Mirza Fakhrul Islam, secretary
general of the main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party , told reporters.
Mr. Islam is one of the seven Opposition members who won a seat.
Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) announced the initial
parliamentary poll results in respect of Baghlan province, Sikhs and Hindus
to a statement released by Independent Election Commission, eight individuals
including Alhaj Asadullah Shahbaz, Mohammad Azim Mohsin, Atiqullah Ramin, Alhaj
Mamor Ahmadzai, Dr. Mohammad Nasim Mudabir, Alhaj Ustad Abdul Razaq Hashim,
Shukria Eisa Khel, and Nooria Hamidi have secured seats in the Lower House of
the Parliament (Wolesi Jirga).
statement further added that Narender Singh Khalsa has secured a seat on behalf
of Sikhs and Hindus community of the country based on initial election results.
parliamentary elections were conducted on 20th of October last year but the
Independent Election Commission has so far failed to fully announce the poll
National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah on Thursday left for India on an official
visit to meet with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) confirmed that Dr. Mohib has
left for India on an official invitation from his Indian counterpart.
to a statement released by Office of the National Security Council, Dr. Mohib
will hold talks with his Indian counterpart regarding bilateral cooperation.
Indian media outlets had earlier reported that Ajit Doval, the National
Security Advisor of India would meet his Afghan counterpart Dr. Hamdullah Mohib
to hold talks on bilateral security cooperation.
Afghan NSA is likely to hold parleys with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval
along with other senior military and political leadership,” sources privy of
the development have told local media outlets in India.
has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of
the Taliban regime and has invested over $2 billion in various reconstruction
and infrastructure projects.
government of India pledged a fresh aid package of $1 billion to support the
reconstruction projects in Afghanistan during a visit by President Mohammad
Ashraf Ghani in late 2016.
Clashes between Taliban militants and government forces have somewhat come to a
halt near oil reservoirs in Afghanistan’s northern Sar-e-Pul province.
Taliban still poses a threat in the area, provincial officials said on
Thursday. More than 20 government security forces lost their lives when scores
of heavily armed Taliban fighters staged a series of attacks on two oil wells
in the province.
government reinforcements have arrived despite promises by Kabul to flush out
Taliban combatants entrenched near the area, local officials said.
vehicles and equipment worth millions of dollars are under threat,” Zabihullah
Amani, a spokesman for the province’s governor, told Arab News. “The reservoirs
remain with us, but the Taliban are able to launch more attacks.”
Mohammad Noor Rahmani, provincial chief council, and Amani said they did not
know the reason for the government’s inaction against the Taliban’s growing
presence in the province.
there has been no fighting since the Taliban attack, they can come at any
moment and pose a continuous threat to oil facilities and resources in the
area,” Rahmani told Arab News.
Afghan and Chinese firm used to exploit oil reserves in the wells until six
months ago, but stopped after the government objected.
officials in Kabul could not be reached for comment about the security
situation and the concerns that have been expressed by provincial officials.
Sar-e-Pul is a considerable distance away from the Taliban’s main bastion of
support south and east of the country, the group has managed to make some
in-road gains in northern areas in recent years and hundreds of locals have
joined the group for different reasons.
armed groups have also joined Taliban ranks and infiltrate areas rich in
minerals, such as lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone, and gold.
Yemeni legitimate government, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have
sent a letter to the UN Security Council accusing the Houthi militias of
failing to abide by the ceasefire agreement in Hodeidah, which is witnessing
letter accused the Houthi militias of failing to comply with the UN brokered
ceasefire agreement reached in Sweden last month.
letter - which was written on December 31 - was sent to outgoing UN Security
Council head Kacou Houajda Leon Adom - accused the pro-Iranian Houthi militias
of violating the ceasefire in Hodeidah port city, where they erected barricades
and dug trenches.
letter also accused the Houthis of launching attacks including sniper fire and
medium-range ballistic missiles in Hodeida.
comes even as the UN team oversees the implementation of the truce, led by
retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert continues meeting with all concerned
its meeting on Wednesday, and for the second consecutive day, the team
discussed a ceasefire monitoring mechanism, which has been subjected to daily
violations by militias.
United States issued a pre-emptive warning to Iran on Thursday against pursuing
three planned space rocket launches that it said would violate a UN Security
Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology.
rejected the warning, issued by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying its
space vehicle launches and missile tests were not violations.
said Iran planned to launch in the coming months three rockets, called Space
Launch Vehicles (SLV), that he said incorporate technology "virtually
identical" to what is used in intercontinental ballistic missiles.
United States will not stand by and watch the Iranian regime's destructive
policies place international stability and security at risk," Pompeo said
in a statement.
advise the regime to reconsider these provocative launches and cease all
activities related to ballistic missiles in order to avoid deeper economic and
said the rocket launches would violate UN Security Council Resolution 2231,
which endorsed a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
calls upon Iran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles
capable of delivering nuclear weapons, but does not explicitly bar such
has repeatedly rejected US accusations about its ballistic missile tests,
including the firing of space
launch of space vehicles - & missile tests - are NOT in violation of
(Resolution) 2231. The US is in material breach of same, & as such it is in
no position to lecture anyone on it," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad
Javad Zarif wrote in Twitter post on Thursday.
denies it has missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.
said Iran has launched ballistic missiles numerous times since the UN
resolution was adopted. He said it test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile
capable of carrying multiple warheads on Dec. 1.
Philippines’ national carrier has requested permission from Saudi Arabia to use
the kingdom’s airspace for Israeli-bound flights, months after Riyadh approved
a similar request from India.
Bautista, Philippine Airlines' president, told Reuters on Wednesday that the
Southeast Asian country’s Civil Aeronautics Board sent a formal letter to
Riyadh in October, asking Saudi officials for overflight rights.
allows shorter and cheaper Filipino flights to Israel, Bautista said, adding
that the airline can launch a direct line to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport in
six months should Riyadh approve its request.
was not clear whether the talks also concerned airspace access to Israeli
flights to the Philippines.
flag carrier El Al, has already appealed to the International Air Transport
Association, a trade association of the world’s airlines, to help it gain
access to Saudi airspace.
permission is critical for both the Philippines and Israel as the number of
Filipino tourists visiting the occupied Palestinian territories rose by 61
percent in 2017. Tourism in the other direction rose by 42 percent in 2016.
Department of Transportation Undersecretary Antonio Tamayo confirmed last month
that his country had gained landing rights in Israel as a result of the
Philippines president’s visit to Tel Aviv in September.
to him, Israeli-bound flights would be more than an hour longer without the
permit from Saudi Arabia.
was reported in February that Saudi Arabia had allowed Air India’s
Israeli-bound passenger jets cross its airspace. The first flight flew over
Saudi Arabia and into Israel in late March.
Riyadh regime has banned Israel-bound flights from using its airspace over the
past 70 years. However, private jets can still fly from Saudi Arabia and other
Persian Gulf countries to Israel provided they make a stop-over in Jordan's
capital Amman first.
have linked Riyadh’s willingness to let Israeli-bound flights through to the
kingdom’s gradual normalization of ties with Tel Aviv, a process accelerated by
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's ambitions.
November 2017, months after bin Salman was appointed as the heir to the crown,
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed for the first time that Tel
Aviv had covert contacts with Riyadh.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey and neighboring Iraq will deepen
their cooperation against terrorism in the region, after tensions between
Ankara and Baghdad over Turkey’s airstrikes against purported positions of
Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
Turkish leader made the comment during a joint press conference with his Iraqi
counterpart Barham Saleh in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.
know the importance of working together to be successful in our fight against
terror. God willing, in the future we will deepen our cooperation in this
area,” Erdogan said at the presser, adding that an Iraq standing on its “two
feet” was of crucial importance to regional security and stability.
also stressed that there were threats to both countries from “terrorist
organizations” such as Daesh, Kurdish militants and a group blamed by Ankara
for a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.
alleges that the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen has masterminded
and orchestrated the mid-2016 short-lived botched putsch against Erdogan and
has branded his movement as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Ankara
has arrested tens of thousands of people on charges of having links to the
Turkish president also said that Iraq had triumphed against Daesh with a heavy
cost as thousands of Iraqi people, civilians and troops lost their lives during
over three years of intense fight against terrorists. Furthermore, the terror
group inflicted significant damage on the Arab country’s infrastructure and
cultural heritage, he added.
gave firm support to Iraq for that tough fight. We are ready to contribute to
infrastructure and development projects in Iraq - reconstruction of places
harmed by conflicts being the priority,” Erdogan stressed.
Iraqi president, for his part, said his country "wants real cooperation
and strategic partnership with Turkey,” adding that this cooperation would
“serve not just the two countries but the whole region.”
am visiting brotherly country Turkey with the aim of cooperation in every
field” as Iraq is about to “enter a new phase,” Saleh said, adding that Baghdad
expected Ankara’s help in reconstructing militancy-infested regions of the Arab
also stressed that relations with Turkey would be “shoulder to shoulder, in
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh on December 9, 2017. On July 10 that year, he had formally
declared victory over the terror group in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and
the de facto capital of Daesh for some three years.
month, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad after
Turkish warplanes launched airstrikes against the purported positions of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Zap, Hakurk and Haftanin regions
of northern Iraq.
along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a
terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an
autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have also been carrying out
operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and
Palestinians have been injured during clashes with Israeli military forces, who
were escorting a group of extremist settlers as they stormed Joseph's Tomb, a
site venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Ahmad Jibril, said a Palestinian journalist,
identified as Bakr Abed al-Haq, was shot in the leg by Israeli forces during
the skirmishes near Joseph's Tomb located on the outskirts of the occupied West
Bank city of Nablus, the Ma'an news agency reported Thursday.
Palestinian paramedic also suffered wounds to his face, according to the
a Facebook post, Haq said he and his cameraman -- both with Palestine TV -- were
standing away from the scene and had their press vests on when they came under
Israeli military, he added, used live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets to
disperse the Palestinians protesting the settlers' raid of the holy site.
Tomb is situated in the West Bank's Area A, which is controlled by the
Palestinian Authority; however, the Israeli military allows the settlers to
visit the site without approval, and even escorts them into the place.
is while the regime prevents Muslims from worshiping there.
claim the site contains the tomb of a rabbi, but the site is part of an old
mosque where Muslim scholar Yousef Dweekat has been buried.
locals say the Israel is planning to reoccupy the historical site after the
regime's military left the place in 2000.
forces open live fire on school students in Nablus
another development on Thursday, Israeli soldier opened live fire on and fired
tear gas at Palestinian students, who were leaving school in the northern
occupied West Bank village of Tell in Nablus.
forces reportedly opened live fire at students of the Tell High School,
followed by a barrage of tear gas bombs as they left their school. No injuries
to a report by Maan news agency quoting Palestinian security sources, Israeli
settlers also attacked Palestinian vehicles passing through the main
Nablus-Qalqilya road near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.
announces a plan to impose severe restrictions on members of Palestinian
resistance groups held in the regime's prisons.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced the plan at a press conference
in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, saying it would likely be implemented in the coming
weeks once approved by the Israeli cabinet, The Times of Israel reported.
said the plan involved separating prisoners that belonged to the same
resistance movements. “I have decided that the Prisons Service will stop
holding the prisoners in wings based on their organizational affiliation,”
Erdan noted. Jailing Palestinians of same groups together had resulted in
strengthening of “their organization identity,” he said.
and water restrictions
prisoners would, meanwhile, no longer be able to cook for themselves. The
inmates, he alleged, “provided for themselves food that’s in some ways better than
the food given to criminal prisoners.”
will be clear limits on the amount of water a prisoner may consume each day,
the times in which they can shower will be limited and eventually the showers
will be moved out of the wings. Then we’ll be able to have better oversight and
limit their use,” the minister said.
prisoners' access to television and reducing the number of family visits were
also among the limitations.
official claimed the plan sought to pressure the Palestinian resistance
movement of Hamas into releasing two Israeli troops, which Erdan alleged it was
to official statistics, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails
has reached 5,500, including 230 children and 54 women.
army says it has killed nearly 290 militants from the Boko Haram Takfiri
terrorist group during an offensive near the country’s southeast border with
Nigerien Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday that more than
200 terrorists had been killed in airstrikes and a further 87 by ground troops
since operations began on the Island of Lake Chad and along the Komadougou Yobe
River on December 28.
Lake Chad area is a strategic region where the borders of Chad, Cameroon,
Nigeria, and Niger converge. Komadougou Yobe River serves as a natural border
between Niger and Nigeria.
army said it had lost no troops or equipment in its offensive against the
Takfiris, and had seized eight canoes and two rocket launchers as well as
assault weapons, ammunition, and vehicles.
Defense Ministry had warned in December last year that Boko Haram would launch
fresh attacks on the country’s military positions from January 2019, when the
Komadougou Yobe River’s waters begin to recede, making incursions easier.
Haram, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden,”
pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh group in 2015.
Haram’s militancy began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but has since spread
into the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, prompting a
regional military response.
from targeting soldiers and civilians, the Takfiri terrorists have also been
blamed for using kidnapping as a weapon of war, seizing thousands of women and
young girls as well as men and young boys.
Haram raids military posts in northeast Nigeria
Boko Haram militants attacked at least three military posts in the northeastern
Nigerian State of Borno on Wednesday.
sources said the “troops were outgunned and forced to retreat after heavy
fighting with the terrorists,” adding that the attacks led to “some losses,”
without providing further details.
week, the Takfiri terrorists ambushed a military convoy in northeastern
Nigeria, killing 13 soldiers and a policeman on a highway linking Maiduguri,
the capital of Borno State, with Damaturu, in neighboring Yobe State.
Haram’s nine-year militancy is estimated to have killed more than 27,000 people
and forced 1.8 million others to flee their homes, also triggering a humanitarian
crisis in the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s security record has become a campaign issue ahead
of a February election in which he is seeking a second term.
a former general, came to power in 2015 on a platform of stamping out Boko
Haram; but despite retaking swathes of territory from the group, Boko Haram
continues to stage attacks targeting both civilians and military personnel.
government maintains that the militancy is close to defeat.
The US military says it has carried out an airstrike in southwestern Somalia
that killed 10 members of the Al-Shabab extremist group.
US Africa Command statement says the airstrike occurred Wednesday near Dheerow
Sanle to “diminish Al-Shabab’s freedom of movement and to increase pressure on
the terrorist network.”
statement says no civilians were injured or killed.
is the first reported US airstrike of the year in Somalia. The US carried out
at least 47 such strikes last year in the Horn of Africa nation.
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab continues to control large parts of the country’s
southern and central regions and carry out deadly bombings against high-profile
targets in the capital, Mogadishu.
President Omar al-Bashir confirmed on Thursday that the country is being
targeted by an economic war since 21 years of imposed sanctions, warning that
“protests do not mean vandalism, burning and destruction.”
said in a news conference in Khartoum that Sudan refused to “sell its
independence and dignity in exchange for dollars,” noting that “getting out of
the current crisis will not happen in an overnight, but we know the way.”
who took power in 1989, criticized his country’s inclusion in the terrorist
lists without justification, adding that the country had “lost a lot of its
resources” and was still “targeted” by many forces.
said that many of the service projects had been carried recently.
stressed that the Sudanese people “deserve a decent life,” explaining that the
current wages are not satisfactory, and that this month will witness the start
of the implementation of a program to raise wages to the minimum required
Sudanese president also announced his government’s commitment to raise pensions
for Sudanese who sacrificed their lives for their country.
stressed that plans to “build more housing” for different social classes are
underway, saying: “We continue to pay attention to workers’ needs and to know
their problems in order to resolve them.”
Sudanese president also spoke about his humble starts and struggle when he was
a simple worker, saying: “I was a simple worker at the beginning of my life and
during school holidays.” Adding that he doesn’t want anyone to go through the
suffering he went through during his life.
ended his conference with a tribute to the Sudanese working women, praising the
accomplishments they achieved.
militants blew themselves up on Thursday following an exchange of fire with
Tunisian security forces in the city of Jilma, 250 km (156 miles) south of the
capital Tunis, the interior ministry said.
militants killed themselves after being encircled by security forces who
stormed their hideout in the city, the ministry said in a statement.
an uprising against autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia has
been battling extremist groups operating in remote areas near the border with
estimate about 3,000 Tunisians have joined ISIS and other extremist groups in
Iraq, Syria and neighboring Libya, while high unemployment has stoked unrest in
recent years in southern and central areas
North African country saw three major attacks in 2015, including two against
tourists, one at a museum in Tunis and the second on a beach in Sousse. The
third targeted presidential guards in the capital, killing 12.
has barred all Syrians from entering the country via its southern border with
Mali and Niger to keep out members of defeated rebel groups from Syria deemed
to pose a security risk, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Kacimi, the official in charge of migrants policy at the interior ministry,
told Reuters that Syrians seeking refuge in Algeria in this way were suspected
to be extremists and were not welcome.
went through years of devastating civil war with hardcore extremist groups in
the 1990s. While violence is now greatly diminished, sporadic attacks continue
in isolated areas.
have hosted 50,000 Syrians in the past few years for humanitarian reasons,”
Kacimi said, alluding to refugees from Syria’s civil war, “but we cannot accept
members of armed groups fleeing from Syria when it comes to our security.”
said around 100 had reached the southern border with the help of local armed
escorts in recent weeks but were intercepted and expelled shortly after they
slipped into Algeria.
said these Syrians had transited Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan and Niger or Mali
using fake Sudanese passports.
this is a criminal network and we must be very vigilant not to allow them get
into Algeria,” he said.
has kept diplomatic relations with Syria throughout its own civil war, in which
President Bashar al-Assad has largely defeated rebels and extremists trying to
do not need visas to enter Algeria.
south and southeast are largely empty desert regions but it has beefed up its
security presence there after neighboring Libya and northern Mali and Niger
fell into the hands of various militant and rebel factions.
least two militants have blown themselves up during a raid by Tunisian security
forces on a hideout in the central region of Sidi Bouzid, Interior Ministry
ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the raid took place in the city
of Jilma, which is located 250 km (156 miles) south of the capital Tunis. The
militants killed themselves after being encircled by security forces who
stormed their hideout in the region.
two suspects were "among the most dangerous terrorists" wanted by
police since December 12, the ministry added. They belonged to an offshoot of
Jund al-Khilafa, an affiliate of the Daesh terrorist group.
to the statement, the militants had planned to commit "spectacular
terrorist acts targeting patrols and security posts". Five explosive
devices, three hunting rifles, mobile phones and a large sum of money were
seized in the raid.
security spokesman Walid Hkima said a police officer was wounded during a heavy
exchange of fire between the two sides.
on a tip-off, "police units raided a house in the Jelma area... and two
terrorists blew themselves up with explosive belts", he said.
existence of the cell in the troubled region shows the challenge Tunisia faces
from militants, some of whom cross the porous borders from Libya and Algeria.
Most members of the cell were arrested on Dec. 5 in an operation during which
material for making bombs was seized.
officials say they have been hunting down militants in the area for months but
have not been able to completely dislodge them from the rugged area.
has been hit by a number of deadly attacks by Takfiri terrorists in the past
October, a female bomber blew up her explosives outside a hotel in the center
of the Tunisian capital of Tunis, leaving at least nine people injured,
including police officers.
members of Tunisia's security forces were killed in July during an attack in
the west of the country close to the border with Algeria,
June 2015, an assailant armed with a rifle killed 38 people, mostly foreign
tourists, on a beach in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse.
attack came more than a month after two militants stormed the Bardo Museum in
Tunis and shot dead 21 people, mainly foreign tourists.
November 24, 2015, a bomb attack by Daesh terrorists on a bus carrying
presidential guards killed 12 people in the capital.
has been plagued by violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s
dictator, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades.
relative calm in Tunisia has been punctured by growing instability in
neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since former dictator Muammar
Gaddafi was toppled and later killed in 2011.
Muslim community grows into its new mosque
20 men pray together in the dying sunlight on a Friday afternoon in late
December. They kneel and rise in unison on a thick carpet.
pretty thick and a good looking carpet and it gives the feel of a real
mosque," said Muhammed Javed, the president of the Yukon Muslim Society.
is a real mosque, Yukon's first. It opened in September and it's a big step for
the territory's growing Muslim community Javed explained.
remember when I moved here 18 years ago when we were only two families,"
said Javed. "Now we are close to 40-plus families …. we're definitely
growing, growing by day."
now, the mosque is used for daily prayers and small meetings. Soon, Javed hopes
the Muslim community, and Whitehorse at large, will get more use out of it.
points out a section of the room that's partitioned off, with its own entrance.
He said it's for women who want privacy when they pray.
the thick carpet is a shiny marble floor. There's a sunken trough in the
entrance way, with three taps and three stools — Javed said it's for people to
wash before praying.
one corner of the main room is a small, unfinished kitchen. They don't have
appliances yet, but Javed said that once they do, early this year, the Muslim
society will lay down mats to protect the carpet and set up tables and chairs
to host community dinners.
will be it will be a different vibe in the community," Javed said,
"different communities are welcome to join us and have celebrations."
said once the kitchen is ready the centre will also be available for other
community groups to rent out.
will generate income for the Muslim Society. Right now it makes money by
collecting donations from members, and by renting out a suite attached to the
Javed said the community needs to continue to grow, so it can eventually
support a permanent Imam, a spiritual leader for the community. When they get
one, the Imam will live in the suite.
order to support a permanent Imam, the Muslim society will need to generate
between $4,000 and $5,000 a month, Javed said.
it's growing, Javed said the Muslim community in Whitehorse is still very
don't have that kind of funds so far," said Javed. "So hopefully with
the growing community and sometime in the near future probably we might be able
to support it."
hope is that as the Muslim community expands, the mosque and the services it
provides to the community will, too.
United States is speaking to Turkey to ensure it does not “slaughter” Kurds in
Syria as US troops leave, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
referenced the growing fears for US-allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria
as he defended President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw from the
importance of ensuring that the Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds, the protection
of religious minorities there in Syria. All of those things are still part of
the American mission set,” Pompeo told Newsmax, a US news and opinion site
popular with conservatives.
Secretary Jim Mattis resigned over Trump’s withdrawal order, angering the
president who nonetheless later indicated he would slow down the planned exit.
in the interview said that the withdrawal would go ahead but he would not give
a more precise timeline so as not to tip off US adversaries.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to rid Syria of the Kurdish People’s
Protection Units (YPG), which he sees as linked to the Kurdish Workers’ Party,
or PKK, which has waged a bloody insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.
Kurdish fighters formed the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who with
Washington’s backing have battled ISIS and seized about a quarter of Syria.
government said Wednesday that the YPG fighters have left Manbij, a key city
seized from ISIS near the Turkish border, in light of the planned US pullout.
who declared that US troops were no longer needed as ISIS was defeated, spoke
to Erdogan before his troop decision.
Pompeo said the United States still had “real concerns” with Erdogan, including
on detentions of US citizens.
are lots of places where we need to work with President Erdogan and the Turkish
leadership to get good outcomes for the United States,” Pompeo said.
American troops and veterans believe that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
have been going on for too long, a new poll has revealed.
survey by Smithsonian, released Wednesday, found that more than 80 percent of
current and former US service members were fatigued by the two conflicts, years
after former President George W. Bush started them.
is significant because 83 percent of the participants in the poll said they
still supported Washington’s so-called war on terror, which began after the
September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.
United States invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that former Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, an allegation later proven
US President Barack Obama announced in 2013 that he was pulling out all US
troops from the Arab country. However, the US troops returned to Iraq a year
later under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist group.
has been a more or less similar story with the US military campaign in
Afghanistan, which has turned into the longest ever war in America’s history.
US invaded the country in 2001 to allegedly eradicate the Taliban and other
terror groups. After 17 years of deadly clashes, however, the Taliban remain in
control of over half of Afghanistan while the Daesh (ISIL) terror group has
also gained a foothold in the country.
Donald Trump pledged during his election campaign to end US military presence
in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he has changed his mind since entering office and
prolonged the US military presence in both countries.
of US military women sexually harassed
wide-ranging poll also found that two-thirds of women in the US military had
been sexually harassed or assaulted.
66 percent of women partaking in the poll said they had experienced sexual
harassment or assault while 68 percent said they had been subjected to gender
discrimination in the military.
is far higher than what had been revealed in previous polls.
example, a Pentagon study in 2015 found that only around 27 percent of women
had experienced sexual assault or harassment while doing military service.
Pentagon said in a recent report that it had received over 5,000 reports of
sexual harassment or assault in fiscal year 2017—around 10 percent more than
the year before.
military officials viewed the increase as a good sign, calling it “an indicator
that Service members continue to gain confidence in the department’s sexual
assault response system.”
President Donald Trump appeared to justify Wednesday the Soviet Union's
invasion of Afghanistan, likely confusing the conflict with that in Chechnya.
reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia.
They were right to be there," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"The problem is it was a tough fight, and literally they went bankrupt.
They went into being called Russia again as opposed to being called the Soviet
invasion has been cited as one of the contributing factors to the Soviet Union's
Soviets invaded the Central Asian country in 1979 in order to install a
friendly government there.
U.S. and its allies backed anti-Soviet forces known as the Mujahideen in their
war against the Soviet Army, arming and funding the group during the Soviet
Soviet Union fully withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, and the pro-Soviet
government it had installed there collapsed in 1992 following a civil war with
further called on Russia, India and Pakistan to take up the fight against the
Taliban in Afghanistan, also slamming his former Secretary of Defense, James
Mattis, who he said did not perform well in Afghanistan.
has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. Not too good. I'm not happy with what
he's done in Afghanistan," he said. "President Obama fired him, and
essentially so did I."
resigned from his top Pentagon post in December over policy differences with
write this piece while passing through a remote region of Afghanistan. The
locals here, although extremely poor, share bread, tea, and the stories of
their lives, with a generous heart.
we gathered under the freezing cold, a news segment aired on the radio. Afghans
like their news, the way they like their tea -- hot and in constant supply.
When the newsreader started to narrate the biggest story of the day—President
Donald Trump’s press conference on Syria and Afghanistan— the men around me
stopped what they were doing to pay close attention.
watched as expressions of disappointment drew over their faces after hearing Mr
Trump applaud the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. One of the older men
sitting near me turned and said: “But the Soviets were the enemy to us and the
and many others from that village who had fought the Soviets in the 1980s, were
left confused: Why was the leader of a nation that they had viewed as a close
ally now justifying an invasion carried out by a rival?
have considered Americans not just as supporters in the country’s fight against
the Soviets, but also the main backers in the war against the Taliban’s
extremist and oppressive rule that ended when the US intervened in 2001.
remember the days immediately after the fall of the Taliban regime. I was a
young boy and was visiting Kabul with my family. I recall seeing the
destruction of roads and buildings along the way. Hardly any structure survived
Washington’s bombing campaign or the country's civil war. But we rejoiced for
the American forces nevertheless.
might sound like a simplistic view of divisive US intervention in the country,
but we cheered for American soldiers because for many of us they brought the
hope of a better Afghanistan. We knew we could now expect better things because
our friends had come to our rescue.
is also why hearing what Mr Trump had to say was so upsetting. It was
disheartening to hear President Trump refer to Afghans as people who wouldn’t
be likely to visit a library. That isn’t true. Afghanistan has a contributed
tremendously to global art and literature. I would like to remind the president
that one of the most widely read poets in the world today -- Maulana Jalaluddin
Balkhi, more famously known as Rumi – is an Afghan.
true that the literacy rate in Afghanistan isn’t very high today, owing to
decades of war, conflict and poverty. However, that’s where our allies play an
important role. Countries like India, that are developing nations themselves,
have contributed to rebuilding our nation as we attempt to end this war. Their
contributions, which include the building of libraries, have helped us develop
our human resource. Our relationships with our allies isn’t mutually exclusive
instead it reflects the diversity of the stakeholders who have invested in the
future of Afghanistan. We stand by this diversity with pride and gratitude.
are a proud people. We are fiercely protective of our history and heritage. And
so it is understandable why so many Afghans, especially those with Mujahideen
history, would feel as though their struggle against the Soviets has been
undermined by Mr Trump’s latest comments.
more, Afghans and Americans alike are victims of global terrorism. This is
reason enough for us to remain allies and strengthen the historical bond we
share. Afghan forces have sacrificed their lives, alongside American soldiers
in an effort to preserve the freedoms of both our countries. We value those
sacrifices and mourn every American life lost on our soil, just as much as we
do our own men.
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stop thinking, such things take place. The coup attempted against Gulen and he
alone should be responsible for that. If Gulen denies his involvement in this
despite repeated charges from the Trukish government, investigation should be
it is ridiculous to think that so many citizens should be arrested simply over
their alleged links to Gulen.
time to think one’s fault should not be measured for punishment for others. Even
Arabia has started thinking.
read in Arab News that Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa, former education minister of Arabia,
recently inaugurated a program that aims to improve independent thinking by
encouraging questions and creating an environment conducive to respecting
different viewpoints. The program also aims to boost student confidence.