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Islamic World News (30 Jun 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



‘I Represent Inclusive India Which Is Beyond the Barriers of Caste, Creed and Religion’: Nusrat Jahan, Member of Parliament, On Fatwa Over Attire







‘I Represent Inclusive India Which Is Beyond the Barriers Of Caste, Creed And Religion’: Nusrat Jahan, Member Of Parliament, On Fatwa Over Attire

Nusrat Jahan's Marriage Not Valid Under Islam, Jainism, Says Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid

Inter-Faith Harmony, Peaceful Coexistence Basic Traits Of Islamic Society: Speakers At Seminar ‘Pakistan Towards Peaceful Coexistence’

Int’ Law Necessary for Peace In Palestine: UN Official

Prayer Room Targeted In Anti-Muslim Attack In Sweden

Turkey Helping Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorists to Attack Syrian Army Positions in Hama

 

India

‘I Represent Inclusive India Which Is Beyond the Barriers Of Caste, Creed And Religion’: Nusrat Jahan, Member Of Parliament, On Fatwa Over Attire

Nusrat Jahan's Marriage Not Valid Under Islam, Jainism, Says Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid

16-Year-Old Muslim Boy Thrashed In Kanpur For Refusing To Chant 'Jai Shri Ram'

Muslim community organises protest in Pune against mob lynching

Militant killed in J-K’s Budgam encounter

Kartarpur corridor: India proposes meeting with Pakistan in second week of July

I represent inclusive India: Nusrat Jahan slams trolls for sindoor remarks

Religious freedom in India is a fundamental right: VP Naidu

The rise of radical Wahhabism should worry India

Pak Hindu lawmaker puts cross-border trade ahead of faith tourism

Record 200,000 Indian Muslims to perform Haj this year

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Pakistan

Inter-Faith Harmony, Peaceful Coexistence Basic Traits Of Islamic Society: Speakers At Seminar ‘Pakistan Towards Peaceful Coexistence’

Pakistan allowed Afghanistan to use land route for trade with India: Ghani

Pakistan Hindu Council presents work plan for reviving Sharda Peeth

Imran takes opp to task for calling him ‘selected’

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North America

Int’ Law Necessary for Peace In Palestine: UN Official

US And Taliban To Start 'Make Or Break' Round Of Peace Talks

Islamberg: Three plead guilty to plot against NY Muslim community

US Army to equip 1st contingent of Afghanistan-bound troops with mini drones

US deploys advanced F-22 warplanes to Qatar for 1st time amid Iran tensions

I brought up Khashoggi murder with Saudi crown prince: Trump

Trump: S400-F35 tension Obama's fault, not Turkey's

Erdogan hails 'strategic partnership' with US

Family of Syrian toddler washed ashore horrified at new film

Erdogan says Trump promised no sanctions over Russian missiles

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Europe

Prayer Room Targeted In Anti-Muslim Attack In Sweden

Germany: Sports festival fights Islamophobia, xenophobia

Qatari charity head gives millions to European Muslim Brotherhood-linked bodies

British-Iranian ends 15-day hunger strike in Tehran jail

Swedish mosque vandalized in racist attack

Mystery surrounds shooting of imam in France

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Arab World

Turkey Helping Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorists to Attack Syrian Army Positions in Hama

Saudi Arabia intercepts two Yemen rebel drones: coalition

Aleppo: Several Turkish Army Soldiers Killed in Kurdish Attacks

Syrian Army Preparing to Reopen Crucial Road in Hama

Alleged Italian ISIS member handed to Rome: SDF

Syrian crisis topped talks between Saudi Crown Prince, Egyptian president at G20

Bahrain FM’ call for normalization with Israel 'reckless, unprecedented impudence': Wefaq

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Mideast

Palestinian Government Says Bahrain Confab Was ‘Stunning Failure’ For Trump

Turkey says observation post in Syria’s Idlib attacked, no casualties

Arab Coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting civilians in Asir

Arab Coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Jazan

Yemen’s K2 Qassif drones launch fresh attack on Saudi airports

US claims Saudi pipeline attack originated from Iraq, not Yemen: Report

Yemen vows ‘strong response’ to Saudi crime in Ta'izz

Killing of Palestinian triggers protests in East Jerusalem

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Africa

Sudan Troika Says It Supports Ongoing African Union-Ethiopian Mediation

Medical Team Voices Dire Concern about Sheikh Zakzaky's Health Conditions

Sudan security forces raid opposition group’s office ahead of protest

Sudan army chief: Ruling council ‘ready to hand over control to an elected body’

Sudan general warns against vandalism ahead of mass protest

Libya coastguard says rescues nearly 400 migrants

Libya’s Haftar orders forces to attack Turkish ships, bans flights to Turkey

African states adopt 'ECO' as name for new currency

Sudan braces for mass protest as demonstrators fear violence

Muslim scholars condemn Tunisia twin bombings

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South Asia

Taliban Kill 26 Pro-Government Militia Members In Afghanistan

Most Wanted ISIS Funder Family Plots Jihadist Attacks

27 civilians, killed in Taliban attack in Baghlan: MoI

Special Forces inflict heavy casualties on Taliban militants in Sarobi of Kabul

Taliban’s IED expert blown up by own bomb in Jawzjan province

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Southeast Asia

Mega PAS-Umno Rally To Unite Muslims, Say Leaders

Umno No Longer ‘Kafir’? Dr M Asks PAS

Philippine army says attack on base likely a suicide bombing

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/‘i-represent-inclusive-india-which-is-beyond-the-barriers-of-caste,-creed-and-religion’--nusrat-jahan,-member-of-parliament,-on-fatwa-over-attire/d/119032

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‘I Represent Inclusive India Which Is Beyond The Barriers Of Caste, Creed And Religion’: Nusrat Jahan, Member Of Parliament, On Fatwa Over Attire

Jun 30, 2019

After being criticised for sporting vermilion and bangles and not wearing a ‘burqa’ in Parliament, actor-turned-politician Nusrat Jahan on Saturday said that she represents an “inclusive India”.

“I represent an inclusive India which is beyond the barriers of caste, creed and religion,” Jahan said in a statement that she later shared on Twitter.

She also wrote that she “respects all religions”.

“I still remain a Muslim and none should comment on what I choose to wear. Faith is beyond attire and is more about believing and practicing the invaluable doctrines of all religions,” Jahan said.

Criticising her “un-Islamic” post-marriage appearance at her oath-taking ceremony in Parliament on June 25, a group of Muslim clerics had issued a ‘fatwa’ against the newly-married Member of Parliament.

Jahan tied the knot with businessman Nikhil Jain on June 19.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/i-represent-inclusive-india-nusrat-jahan-on-fatwa/story-5CVZ57ZLuxUWxrpn22ELmK.html

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Nusrat Jahan's Marriage Not Valid Under Islam, Jainism, Says Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid

June 30, 2019

Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid on Sunday said TMC MP Nusrat Jahan's marriage with a Jain businessman is not valid as per Islamic norms.

This comes after a fatwa was issued to Jahan after she appeared in Parliament wearing 'sindoor'.

Speaking to ANI, Mukarram said, "I don't know what is mentioned in the fatwa, but Islam does not allow 'Sindoor'. It's not Muslim culture... It's not a marriage. It looks more like a relation to show off. Both Muslims and Jains won't consider it a marriage. She is no more a Jain or a Muslim. She has done a big crime and she should not have done it."

The newly-elected TMC MP's marriage with a Jain businessman and her wearing a sindoor and bangles became a subject matter of controversy on Saturday, with a Muslim cleric calling out Jahan over "un-Islamic" practices.

"Islam says a Muslim can marry only a Muslim. I have got to know that Nusrat is a film actor and people in the cinema do not care about religious practices. They do what they have to," said Mufti Asad Quasmi of Madrasa Jamia Sheikh-ul-Hind.

However, BJP leader Shazia Ilmi came out in support of the actor-turned-politician and said, "Every woman has the right to wear clothes and to follow the ritual of her choice irrespective of any religion. Whether Nusrat Jahan wants to wear sindoor or not is her choice."

Sadhvi Prachi also slammed the cleric for his statement and welcomed the lawmaker into her "community".

"This is a good thing. A woman like Nusrat coming into our community is because their future is secure in our religion. She understands that the Hindu religion respects women," she told media in Muzaffarnagar.

Calling the cleric "cut piece", she said: "These are cut pieces. Their thoughts are dirty. They only talk to make headlines."

Jahan was seen sporting 'sindoor' - traditionally worn by Hindu and Jain women -and a pink and white saree during her oath-taking ceremony in Parliament on June 25.

She also wore bangles and had her hands covered in beautiful curls and swirls of henna designs. The TMC lawmaker had touched the feet of Speaker Om Birla and sought his blessings.

She had skipped oath-taking for Lok Sabha members on June 17 and 18 owing to her wedding festivities in Turkey.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/nusrat-jahan-s-marriage-not-valid-under-islam-jainism-says-cleric-119063000156_1.html

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Inter-Faith Harmony, Peaceful Coexistence Basic Traits Of Islamic Society: Speakers At Seminar ‘Pakistan Towards Peaceful Coexistence’

Jun 30, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a conference on Saturday maintained that inter-faith harmony and peaceful coexistence are the basic traits of an Islamic society, adding that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve issues.

The seminar titled ‘Pakistan Towards Peaceful Coexistence’ was organised by the Pakistan Peace Collective, a project of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in collaboration with the Council of Islamic Ideology and Paigham-e-Pakistan here at the Information Service Academy.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan underlined the need for national unity to confront the challenges being faced by the country. She said ministries of religious affairs, law and justice and information and broadcasting need to sit together and prepare a roadmap for encouraging dialogue in the society.

“Instead of talking about differences, we all need to highlight the commonalities that bring us closer,” she added.

Dr Firdous said confrontation can never be solution to any issue. “When a nation gets united to overcome challenges, it emerges successful,” she maintained, adding that Pakistan’s foundations were laid on an ideology.

She said Islam stands for peace and it has no link with hatred and extremism. She said a handful of individuals and some groups have held hostage the entire society in the name of religion, whereas in reality they have no link whatsoever with Islam. She said that state’s intervention has become imperative to stop these groups and individuals in the better of interest of the people.

About hate speech issue, she said Islam does not allow anyone to impose his personal thoughts on others forcibly. “Our religion gives all the right of freedom of expression. But neither our religion nor our law allows anyone to impose his thought or ideology upon others by force. The extremist attitudes and thoughts are negations of basic philosophy of Islam,” she said, adding that Islam has given a code of conduct to its followers and provided them the best charter of human rights through the Holy Quran, which, she said, was also incorporated by the United Nations in its charter.

She said religious scholars, being the custodians of Islamic teachings, can play a pivotal role in promoting rule of law and tolerance in the society. She said interfaith harmony is the first roadmap for tolerance.

Other who spoke on the occasion included Dr Farkhanda Zia from International Islamic University Islamabad, Federal Judicial Academy Director Huma Chughtai, Pakistan National Council of the Arts Chairman Jamal Shah, Dawah Academy Dean Riffat Hashmi and Allama Iqbal Open University Vice Chancellor Dr Ziaul Qayyum.

Separately, a Paigham-e-Pakistan Conference was organised at the GIFT University in Gujranwala in collaboration with the Islamic Research Institute (IRI). Renowned scholars, intellectuals, faculty members and civil society activists participated in the event.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were IRI Director General Dr Ziaul Haq, University of Gujrat Head of Department Dr Arshad, Centre of Islamic Studies Director Dr Saeed ur Rehman, University of Punjab Dean Dr Hammad Lakhvi and GIFT University Rector Dr Faheem ul Islam.

In their speeches, the eminent speakers said the issues of hate speech and extremist mindset need to be tackled with a moderate and progressive vision, linking it with true Islamic philosophy.

They asked the religious scholars to develop consensus on important issues after holding dialogue. They said the nation will have to defeat the extremist mindset for country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, overall national interest and recognition at the international front. The also urged the government to fulfill its responsibility to provide citizens their rights in accordance with the country’s constitution and Islamic principles.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/29/inter-faith-harmony-peaceful-coexistence-basic-traits-of-islamic-society-speakers/

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Int’ law necessary for peace in Palestine: UN official

Bayram Altug  

29.06.2019

GENEVA

The international community should make a proposal to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine within the scope of international law, a UN official said on Saturday.

“Without the framework of international law, any peace plan, including the forthcoming proposal from the United States, will crash upon the shoals of political realism,” said UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk in a statement after a two-day workshop in Bahrain.

The the U.S.-led economic conference, which wrapped up late on Wednesday in Bahrain's capital Manama, demonstrated the economic aspect of the plan, known as the so-called "deal of the century".

“Prior plans for Middle East peace over the past five decades have all failed, in large part because they did not seriously insist upon a rights-based approach to peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Lynk added.

According to the statement, six principles were particularly central to the peace process including human rights, self-determination, annexation, settlements, Palestinian refugees and security.

"The present international consensus supports a two-state solution, which requires a viable, contiguous and fully sovereign Palestinian state, based on the June 1967 boundaries, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a meaningful transportation link between the West Bank and Gaza," Lynk said.

He termed the 240 Israeli settlements across East Jerusalem and the West Bank as a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law and said they would have to be removed, both to comply with international law and to enable a viable and sovereign Palestinian state to emerge.

“If the peace plan fails to integrate these principles, it will inevitably suffer the same fate as its predecessors and leave the conflict more entrenched and more bereft of hope than ever,” he said.

Last week, the White House called $50 billion in investments for Palestine and neighboring Arab states as part of the plan, which involved increased infrastructure projects between Gaza Strip and West Bank. The White House has described the plan, as goal to "empower" the Palestinian people.

Palestinian-Israeli negotiations collapsed in April 2014, after Israel refused to stop settlement activity and to accept the two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders. Israel has also reneged on the promise to release Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/-int-law-necessary-for-peace-in-palestine-un-official/1519192

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Prayer room targeted in anti-Muslim attack in Sweden

29.06.2019

A Muslim prayer room in a hospital in Sweden's Gothenberg city has been targeted in an Islamophobic attack, reports said Saturday.

The attack took place in Mölndal Hospital, where the perpetrator(s) ripped the Holy Qur'an and spilled drinks on the carpets, a statement by the Gothenberg Mosque Association said.

"Muslims feel offended and hurt in the aftermath of this attack," the statement read, adding that the prayer room allowed Muslims receiving medical treatment at the hospital to receive psychological support and pray.

"The fact that the perpetrators damaged a room where patients receive psychological support shows how much hatred these people have," the statement said.

Prayer room targeted in anti-Muslim attack in Sweden

Police reportedly launched an investigation into the matter and have started to examine security footage.

Last September, a mosque in the southern Swedish city of Orebro was burned to the ground in an arson attack. In December, an Islamic Cultural Center in the southern city of Saffle was the target of a homemade bomb attack.

Sweden is a strong draw for many migrants and about 15 percent of its population was born abroad. An estimated 100,000 Turks live in the Nordic country.

https://www.dailysabah.com/islamophobia/2019/06/29/prayer-room-targeted-in-anti-muslim-attack-in-sweden

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Turkey Helping Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorists to Attack Syrian Army Positions in Hama

Jun 29, 2019

The Arabic-language website of Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian Army source as saying that the Syrian Army's military positions came under the Turkish Army's artillery attacks while the government forces were thwarting the terrorist groups' attacks on their positions in Northwestern Hama.

The source pointed to the military and logistic supports from the Ankara-controlled areas for terrorists in Northern Syria, and said that the terrorist group, specially Tahrir al-Sham and Turkistani Party, have set up new military positions near Ankara-controlled areas; while the terrorist groups in their recent attack had deployed their militants in the surrounding areas of Ankara-controlled areas in Shir al-Magar in Hama and provided support for them.

Meantime, the Syrian Army units pounded the terrorists' movements near the Ankara-controlled region in al-Hawija and Shahr Naz near the Turkey-controlled region in Shir al-Magar in Northern Hama.

The source noted that the terrorist groups have pounded the Turkish military spots in Hama and Idlib to provide Ankara with an excuse to attack the Syrian Army.

In a relevant development earlier on Saturday, the Syrian Army was preparing to take full control of strategic points to reopen the key Saqilbieh-Mahradeh road in Northern Hama as government forces have intensified their military operations in the region. The Syrian Army's missile and artillery units targeted and heavily pounded the military positions and movements of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at and Jeizh al-Izza terrorist groups in the towns of al-Jobin and Tal Malh in Northern Hama, destroying several of their military positions and hardware and killing a number of them.

Meantime, a military source noted that the Syrian Army troops destroyed the defense lines of the terrorists in Northern Hama, and said that the Syrian Army intends to reopen the strategic Saqilbieh-Mahradeh Road by taking full control of strategic town of Tal Malh.

He also said that the Syrian Army's artillery units destroyed the terrorists' logistical convoys in Abu Raideh, al-Zuka, Hasraya, al-Latamineh in Northern Hama.

Meantime, the Turkish Army sent fresh military convoys comprising armored personnel carriers and a large number of its elite forces to the border towns of Reyhanli and Qirq Khan behind borders with Syria.

In a relevant development last Monday, the Syrian Army dispatched massive military convoys to Northern Hama to resume military operations in the region, the Arabic-language media outlets reported.

Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian Army military commander as saying that the army has recently sent its special forces known as 'Tiger Force' together with massive military equipment to the battlefronts in Northwestern Hama and Southern Idlib, including the newly- liberated towns from the terrorist groups.

It pointed to the arrival of elite forces of the Syrian Army in Northern Syria and their participation in upcoming operations, and said that the Syrian Army will most probably launch its military operation in the region.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported the Syrian Army air force and artillery units pounded the military positions and movements of terrorists in the surrounding areas of Jisr al-Shoghour, North of Mahradeh, al-Latamineh, Kafar Zita, al-Mouzereh in Northern Hama and Kafar Nubl, Safhoun, Jouzef, Tal'as, al-Naqir and Sheikh Mustafa in Southern Idlib, killing and injuring a large number of militants and destroying their military equipment.

Meantime, a military source reiterated that the Syrian Army's artillery and missile units destroyed the communication lines, key centers and arms-ammunition depots of terrorists in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib while foiling terrorists' attempts to penetrate into Syrian Army's military positions.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980408000304

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India

 

16-Year-Old Muslim Boy Thrashed In Kanpur For Refusing To Chant 'Jai Shri Ram'

29 JUNE 2019

A 16-year-old Muslim boy was allegedly beaten by unidentified men here for wearing a traditional skull cap and refusing to chant "Jai Shri Ram", police said on Saturday.

The incident occurred on Friday when Mohammad Taj, a resident of Barra, was returning home after offering namaz in Kidwai Nagar, the Uttar Pradesh police said.

Three or four unidentified motorcyclists stopped Taj a few hundred metres from his house for overtaking them and objected to him wearing the skull cap, Station House Officer (Barra) Satish Kumar Singh said.

Singh said the attackers asked the teenager to chant "Jai Shri Ram", and kicked and punched him badly after he refused to do so.

"They removed my cap, pinned me down and beat me black and blue while asking me to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'," Taj told PTI.

The 16-year-old alleged that the men told him that wearing the skull cap was "not allowed" in the area.

The teenager said he cried for help and begged a couple of shopkeepers to rescue him. Later, he added, some passersby rushed to help him, following which the attackers fled.

An FIR has been registered under the Indian Penal Code, including Section 153A (causing enmity between people of different religions), the officer said.

A medical examination of the victim has been done and efforts are on to identify the accused, Singh added.

Over the past few weeks, several such instances have come to fore where Muslim men have beaten up by hooligans for refusing to chant "Jai Shri Ram"

Three Muslim men were allegedly pushed off a moving train by a group of people in West Bengal's South Parganas district after they refused to chant "Jai Shri Ram" on Tuesday.

In another such case, a Muslim cab driver in Thane was allegedly beaten up by a group of four men and asked to chant "Jai Shri Ram," last Saturday.

Incidentally, the attacks come in the wake of a US State Department report which alleged that mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.

India rejected the US report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens' constitutionally protected rights.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-16-year-old-muslim-boy-thrashed-in-kanpur-for-refusing-to-chant-jai-shri-ram/333236

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Muslim community organises protest in Pune against mob lynching

Jun 29, 2019

At least 1,000 protesters from the Muslim community in the city held a protest at the district collectorate on Friday and demanded action against the recent mob lynching incident in Jharkhand.

Tabrez Ansari, 24, who hailed from Jharkhand and worked in Pune, was victim of a mob lynching incident that took place in his hometown on June 17. He was allegedly tied to a pole and thrashed with sticks by a mob on suspicion of theft. Ansari succumbed to injuries on June 22.

The deceased had gone to his hometown when the incident took place. “Strict action should be taken against those who take part in mob lynching crimes,” said Anjum Inamdar, social activist, adding that the Muslim community should be protected under the Atrocity Act.

“I feel that the Modi government has failed in stopping mob lynching incidents across the country and especially against Muslims. The government should accept their failure and step down from power,” Inamdar said.

The protest rally was organised by Inamdar with the support of secular organisations like Mulniwasi Muslim Manch, Bhim Army, Vanchit Aghadi, Lok Shashan Andolan, AIMIM, Sambhaji Brigade and Republican Yuva Morcha.

A letter stating their demands and signed by 942 protesters was handed over to Jayashree Katare, resident deputy collector, at the collectorate.

Another protester Iqbal Khan (29) said, “There have been more than 250 cases of lynching against minorities. We are living in a democratic country, so why are we targeted? We demand immediate action.”

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/muslim-community-organises-protest-in-pune-against-mob-lynching/story-GLV01YNn8oCBS4er5pjaQL.html

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Militant killed in J-K’s Budgam encounter

Jun 30, 2019

A militant was Sunday killed in an encounter with security forces in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Bugam area of Budgam district in central Kashmir Sunday morning following specific inputs about the presence of militants there, a police official said.

He said as the forces were conducting searches, the militants fired upon them..

The forces retaliated, ensuing an encounter in which one militant was killed, the official said.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/militant-killed-in-j-k-s-badgam-encounter/story-n3IZorndLwBIi0dL3K7svI.html

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Kartarpur corridor: India proposes meeting with Pakistan in second week of July

Jun 29, 2019

Rezaul H Laskar

India has proposed July 11-14 to Pakistan as dates for a meeting of officials on the Pakistani side of the Attari-Wagah border to finalise modalities to open the Kartarpur corridor for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.

The first meeting of officials of the two sides on modalities for the corridor, which will link Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan, was held at Attari on March 14.

India called off the second meeting, which was to be held on the Pakistani side on April 2, over the inclusion of pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh in a Pakistani committee to facilitate Sikh pilgrims.

In an apparent indication that India’s concerns in this regard had been addressed, the people cited above said New Delhi had proposed the dates for the second meeting that will discuss a draft agreement on modalities for the movement of pilgrims along the corridor and resolve outstanding technical issues related to the corridor’s alignment and infrastructure.

However, the people made it clear that the move by India on the Kartarpur corridor should not in any way be linked to the resumption of engagement between the two sides. India has clearly linked any possible bilateral talks to the ending of terrorism from Pakistani soil, they said.

Technical experts of the two sides have so far held three rounds of discussions at the border to try and finalise the corridor’s alignment, crossing point and infrastructure.

Following the decision made by the cabinet on November 22 last year to open the corridor as part of measures to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, India has been building the infrastructure for the corridor, including a four-lane highway and a passenger terminal.

“More than 45 % of the work on the Indian side has been completed. It is targeted to complete the road by September and the passenger terminal by October,” a person said. India has asked Pakistan to permit the organising of “Nagar Kirtan” at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in July and again in October-November to mark the year-long celebrations for the birth anniversay of Guru Nanak.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kartarpur-corridor-india-proposes-meeting-with-pakistan-in-second-week-of-july/story-LjRLwUpCTrVYtE2ZCYxxCO.html

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I represent inclusive India: Nusrat Jahan slams trolls for sindoor remarks

June 30, 2019

Nusrat Jahan, newly elected Trinamool Congress MP, on Saturday, slammed those who trolled her for wearing sindoor (vermilion) at her oath-taking ceremony in Parliament on June 25.

In a tweet, Nusrat Jahan said that she represents and "inclusive India" and would not pay heed to the comments made by "hardliners as it only breeds hatred and violence".

Nusrat Jahan was trolled for sporting sindoor (worn by Hindu women) at her oath-taking ceremony as an MP on Tuesday (June 25). She married Kolkata-based entrepreneur Nikhil Jain in Turkey on June 19.

Reacting to those who trolled her for sporting sindoor and wearing a saree, Nusrat Jahan said, "I represent an inclusive India which is beyond the barriers of caste, creed and religion."

Nusrat Jahan further said that she respects all the religions and "still remain a Muslim". "None should comment on what I chose to wear. Faith is beyond attire and is more about believing and practising the invaluable doctrines of all the religions," Nusrat Jahan tweeted.

TMC MP Mimi Chakraborty extended support to Nusrat Jahan, saying that being Indians is their only identification. "We are Indian and that's our only identification, proud Indian and will be," she tweeted, reacting to Nusrat Jahan's tweet.

On Saturday, a Saharanpur-based Muslim cleric criticised Nusrat Jahan for wearing sindoor, calling the practices un-Islamic. He also questioned the parliamentarian's decision to marry a man belonging to Jainism.

"Islam says a Muslim can marry only a Muslim. I have got to know that Nusrat is a film actor and people in the cinema do not care about religious practices. They do what they have to," said Mufti Asad Quasmi of Madrasa Jamia Sheikh-ul-Hind.

On the other hand, VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi slammed the cleric for his statement and hailed the lawmaker, welcoming her into "her community".

"This is a good thing. A woman like Nusrat shall come into our community because their future is secure in our religion. She understands that the Hindu religion respects women," Sadhvi Prachi said.

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/i-represent-inclusive-india-nusrat-jahan-slams-trolls-for-sindoor-remarks-1558813-2019-06-29

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Religious freedom in India is a fundamental right: VP Naidu

June 29, 2019

Speaking at the Graduation Day Ceremony of the Muffakham Jah College of Engineering and Technology, the Vice President said India believes in inclusivity wherein every citizen has the same entitlements irrespective of his or her religious leanings.

"Please remember that culture is a way of life and religion is a way of worship. India is a country built on the foundations of a civilisation that is fundamentally tolerant. In India, religious freedom is a fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 25 to 28 of our Constitution," he said.

Naidu said the preamble of the Constitution declares India as a secular nation so as to guarantee every citizen of equality without any discrimination based on religion, though India is predominantly Hindu.

"This Constitutional prescription is nothing but a natural culmination of the core values of Indian civilisation that has evolved over the last 5000 years," he said.

Naidu said that the motto of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas" has its roots in the core principles of Indian civilization.

Naidu's remarks came days after US State Department's report on International Religious Freedom criticised the Indian government, saying mob attacks, led by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018.

The report alleged that some senior officials of the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities.

In an apparent rejection of the US report, the Vice President said that all through the ages, Indian philosophers, rulers and the modern political leadership have expounded and upheld the principles of equality and tolerance.

"The world can be rest assured that India celebrates its religious diversity by upholding religious freedoms. No other country matches India in respect of such diversity and the commitment to preserve such a colourful mosaic," he said.

Asserting that India was the birthplace of four major religions of the world - namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, Naidu said that a significant population of three other religions of the world namely Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism live in India.

"Such cohabitation of the people of seven major religions of the world was a testimony to the values of fraternity, equality, assimilation and accommodation that were integral to Indian way of thought and living," he said.

Naidu said that equality of religions observed in all walks of public life in India enabled leaders from minority religions to rise to hold the offices of President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Governors, Chief Justices, Chief Ministers, Ministers, Chief Election Commissioners, Attorney Generals and Army Chief's besides making major contributions in other walks of public life like music, culture, sports, films etc.

He said that certain aberrations like looking at minorities as vote banks might have had some undesirable socio-political ramifications and added that the situation was changing as a new, young and aspirational India was emerging fast.

Naidu said that India was on the threshold of emerging as a major economic power and added that the vision of higher education must be to realize the country's human resource potential to its fullest with equity and inclusion.

Full report at:

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/religious-freedom-in-india-is-a-fundamental-right-vp-naidu-119062900549_1.html

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The rise of radical Wahhabism should worry India

June 29, 2019

New Delhi, June 29: The announcement of an Indian wing called the Wilayah of Hind, the appointment of a new emir for Bengal are some of the recent developments relating to the Islamic State in India.

If one tracks the growth of the ISIS ideology in India, it would not be wrong to say that it is linked directly to the rise of Wahhabism. The Wahhabis who preach radical Islamic thought feel that Muslims should have have faith only in the Caliph and also promote the Caliphate.

Now coming to the problem of the Islamic State in India, it is deep-rooted in the states of Kerala, Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally Wahhabi preachers have had a free run in all these states, which led to the rise of the concept in the first place.

The Jerusalem Post had an interesting article titled, " The Wahhabi threat that India is ignoring." The article points out that India is facing a grave threat of Wahhabi Islam and its spread. Several madrasas in Kerala are reported to be preaching Wahhabi Islam to kids. It was in the year 2014 that the Indian Intelligence had sounded a high alert regarding the Wahhabis, who were trying to impose their rigid ideology. It was also said that they had begun funding the Mosques in Kerala and over Rs 1,000 crore had been spent for the same. Radical elements, be it in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra or Kashmir first try to gain control over the Mosques. They feel that once they gain control over the administration over the Mosques, they can easily impose the radical school of thought. Mosques can be a huge influence on many, officers say. Take the case of Kashmir, where the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith began taking over the Mosques. The first state to see the rise of Wahhabism was Kashmir and in the run up, the Wahhabis managed to take control over at least 400 Mosques in the state.

Full report at:

https://www.oneindia.com/india/the-rise-of-radical-wahhabism-should-worry-india-2911454.html

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Pak Hindu lawmaker puts cross-border trade ahead of faith tourism

Jun 29, 2019

AMRITSAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s Hindu Member of National Assembly (MNA), Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has called for rehabilitation of temples and gurdwaras in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). But he has stopped a short of demanding a passage on the lines of Kartarpur corridor, for Indian Hindu pilgrims, even as Pakistan government has reportedly announced to establish the Sharda Peeth corridor.

“Corridor is not an issue, when time will come it will happen but now the most important issue is resumption of trade and travel. Once it happens then we will proceed ahead” saidVankwani, while talking to TOI after visiting Neelum Valley on Saturday.

Vankwani, who is also patron in chief of Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) said they were in talks with the PoK government to rehabilitate temples and gurdwaras in PoK .

“But for now, the most important thing is the completion of Kartarpur corridor, there should be a corridor for Sharda Peeth but I am of the view that trade and travel between two countries should begin first and faith tourism is the third step “ he said .

/2019 Pak Hindu lawmaker puts cross-border trade ahead of faith tourism - Times of India

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pak-hindu-lawmaker-puts-cross-border-trade-ahead-of-faith-tourism/articleshowprint/70003790.cms 2/2

In Hinduism, Sharda Mata is the goddess of knowledge, wisdom and learning. The Peeth was built two thousand years ago during the era of emperor Ashoka. Sharda Peeth is on Line of Control in Neelum Valley in PoK.

in March 2019, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan had approved a proposal to establish a corridor to Shard Peeth which would have been second religious tract after Kartarpur corridor.

“We are opening Kartarpur corridor with respect to faith tourism but India is not yet positive on that “ said he while adding that presently the rehabilitation of temples and gurdwaras was on priority PHC.

Vankwani informed that he had led a delegation to Neelum Valley on the invitation of PoK’s prime minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan to extend cooperation of PHC to PoK government for revival of the ancient holy site of Sharda Peeth.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pak-hindu-lawmaker-puts-cross-border-trade-ahead-of-faith-tourism/articleshow/70003790.cms

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Record 200,000 Indian Muslims to perform Haj this year

Jun 29, 2019

Mumbai: A record 200,000 Indian Muslims are expected to perform the Haj pilgrimage this year, including 160,000 through the Haj Committee of India and the rest through Haj Group Organisers, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here on Saturday.

He said that the HGOs would take 10,000 pilgrims at the rates finalized by the Haj Committee. The pilgrims will leave by more than 500 flights from 21 embarkation points all over India.

Naqvi also said that the number of women Haj pilgrims going without ‘Mehram’ (male escort) will be 2,340, or double of last year’s 1,180 who went for the most important pilgrimage in the life of a Muslim.

“This year too, the ministry has made arrangement to send these women for Haj without the lottery system. Of the 200,000 total pilgrims, women would be around 48 percent,” Naqvi said at the inaugural of the newly-renovated hall of the Haj House here.

The main date for Haj pilgrimage this year is August 9, in the Dhul Hijjah month, 1440, as per the Islamic calendar, and it will continue for five days.

The flights from India for Haj 2019 will start in from next Thursday (July 4) from New Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Srinagar and other cities in phases.

In the first phase, pilgrims will start flying from Bengaluru and Calicut on July 7, Goa on July 13, Kochi on July 14, and from Mangaluru on July 17.

Mumbai and Srinagar pilgrims will start departing in two phases: July 4 (Srinagar) and July 14 (Mumbai) and from July 21 (both cities).

In the second phase, flights will start departing from Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Jaipur on July 20, Ranchi and Bhopal on July 21, Aurangabad on July 22, Kolkata and Nagpur on July 25, Hyderabad on July 26, Varanasi on July 29, and Chennai on July 31.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/news/record-200000-indian-muslims-perform-haj-year-1530654/

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan allowed Afghanistan to use land route for trade with India: Ghani

Tahir Khan

JUNE 30, 2019

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday he had sought assurance from Pakistani leaders to allow his landlocked country to use Pakistani land route for exporting goods to India.

Afghanistan had long been demanding Pakistan to allow its land route for trade with India, but Islamabad rejected the facility in view of disputes with India.

The Afghan president’s office has posted on its website parts of Ghani’s speech at a gathering of refugees, traders and students in Islamabad about Pakistan’s agreement to allow Afghan trucks cross the Wagah Border and reach Attari in India. However, Pakistani officials have not yet officially confirmed it.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistani officials agreed during meetings that Afghan trucks would be allowed to cross the Wagah-Attari border and delivered goods in India. Similarly Pakistan will be connected with Central Asia via Afghanistan,” he said, according to the website.

A Pakistani official said on Saturday that there had been no final decision.

“He (President Ghani) requested. But still there is no agreement,” the official, who was privy to several meetings, told Daily Times. Ghani said Afghanistan had not shut Torkham crossing but “they (Pakistan) would create problems for Pakistan and goods of Afghan traders would get stuck, but we found alternate routes and now Pakistan will itself solve the problems at the Karachi port and other routes,” according to Ghani’s office.

He had told Punjab businessmen and investors in Lahore on Friday that mistrust between the two countries and violation of trade and transit agreements had led to trade and transit problems.

“The time is ripe to end blame game and focus on agenda of trade and regional connectivity and joint committees of the two countries explore ways to find out solution to the challenges.”

He invited Punjab traders and investors to visit Kabul and discuss trade and economic problems with Afghan businessmen, asking them to consider Afghanistan as a platform for international markets and not as a national market as Afghanistan was connected with Central Asia and European markets via land routes, railways lines and air corridors.

No joint statement was issued at the conclusion of Ghani’s visit, but the visit was a major development as it marks the revival of high-level exchanges.

Ghani said he had refused to visit Pakistan over the past two years, but had paid the visit after a ‘Loya Jirga’ or grand assembly asked him to do so.

Ghani sees “strong inter-dependencies” between Pakistan and Taliban

President Ghani called for the need to recognise strong inter-dependencies between the Taliban and Pakistan to help end decades of hostilities in his country.

The statement by the Afghan leader marks a significant departure from Kabul’s traditional stance that Islamabad severe ties with the Taliban and to expel them from Pakistan.

Speaking at a seminar in Islamabad on Thursday, President Ghani had indirectly recognised that Pakistan was moving away from that policies of the past to good policies.

“Pakistan has an important role and that there are strong inter-dependencies between Taliban and Pakistan. We need to recognize this and to arrive at programmatic approaches to move from conflict to cooperation,” the Afghan president told a gathering at the state-owned Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad ((ISSI) on Thursday.

It was President Ghani’s third visit to Pakistan since he assumed office in 2014 during which both countries agreed to open a new chapter in relations, according to the Pakistani foreign office.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/420954/pakistan-allowed-afghanistan-to-use-land-route-for-trade-with-india-ghani/

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Pakistan Hindu Council presents work plan for reviving Sharda Peeth

JUNE 30, 2019

Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council and Member of National Assembly Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has emphasized India to ensure opening of historical religious sites for Muslims.

While talking to the media on Saturday, he informed that Pakistan Hindu Council, during its historical visit of Neelum Valley on the special invitation of Prime Minister AJK Raja Farooq Haider Khan, has presented a comprehensive work plan for the revival of Sharda Peeth.

The PHC delegation was comprised of Advisor Raja Asser Mal Manglani, President Gopal Khamuani, Secretary General Parshotam Ramani, and Prem Kumar Talreja. He told.

Dr Ramesh Vankwani, sharing details of recent visit, said that the ancient holy site of Sharda Peeth is attributed to Hindu Goddess of wisdom and knowledge.

The holy site of Sharda is equally respectable for all people, he said, adding that once people around the region used to travel here for learning various skills and arts. “I am highly obliged to PM Raja Farooq, who along with his cabinet and speaker of the AJK Assembly, welcomed us warmly to discuss revival of ancient holy site,” he said, assuring to extend fully cooperation with the AJK government in this regard.

Dr Ramesh Vankwani, answering a question, said that Pakistan Hindu Council has recommended opening the Sharda Peeth initially for Pakistani nationals and all visits must be arranged via Islamabad-Kohala route. “The access for those in Indian-occupied Kashmir may be considered in the next phase, depending upon the trade and travel opening, “he said.

Dr Ramesh Vankwani, while commenting on recently-launched report by the US on religious freedom, urged India to take solid steps for the protection of minorities’ rights.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/420869/pakistan-hindu-council-presents-work-plan-for-reviving-sharda-peeth/

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Imran takes opp to task for calling him ‘selected’

JUNE 30, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday took the opposition to task for using the word ‘selected’ for him, adding that the people manufactured in the nursery of military dictatorship are calling him ‘selected’ now.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, the prime minister referred to Murad Saeed’s speech citing former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s book in which she had revealed the American role to get the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) signed between Musharraf and Zardari to protect the United States interests. “How they (Zardari) and those who had been nurtured in the military dictator’s nursery (PML-N), could use such words,” he questioned.

Referring to the money laundering cases involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, Imran Khan said when the ruling class is involved in money laundering, how the common people can be stopped from doing so. Criticizing Shehbaz Sharif’s speech in the parliament, the prime minister said how a person facing serious charges of money laundering can address the parliament and chair the Public Accounts Committee mandated for the government’s accountability.

The prime minister announced that the government will soon launch a full-fledged crackdown against the money laundering by plugging the loopholes in the system left by the previous governments. “Today, money laundering is the biggest curse in the country. Because you cannot keep it (money) in Pakistan, so you launder it abroad to conceal it. You inflict double loss to country – first by looting and then by sending it through Havala or Hundi in dollars,” he said, adding that the money laundering is the real reason behind the dollar appreciation.

“Amazingly, those who left behind a record deficit of $19.5 billion are blaming the incumbent government for rupee devaluation. Such a people should have also told the people the real reason behind it,” the prime minister said, adding that according to the data collected by the government, even the resident Pakistanis have stashed around $10 billion abroad.

The prime minister said his government inherited economic challenges and a fiscal deficit worth $19 billion. “The opposition is misleading public on the devaluation of the rupee. Shehbaz Sharif delivered a charged address in which he blamed us for the rupee devaluation and economic situation. He did not say why we are here: this government had the largest fiscal deficit. Imports were high, exports very low,” he said. “This [Shehbaz Sharif] opposition leader’s family was responsible for this mess – how can they accuse us? In western democracies, the parliament protects public interest. Here, people who faced massive corruption charges are in the parliament lecturing us,” he added.

The prime minister congratulated his economic team for getting the annual budget sail through the National Assembly and the parliamentary party for debating the Finance Bill through quality speeches, particularly by Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, and Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Hammad Azhar. He said Azhar has emerged as a young leader and has earned the federal ministry due to his composure and hard work. He also thanked National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, PTI’s Chief Whip Amir Dogar and the allied parties for their support to get the budget passed, putting the opposition’s threats and rumours at rest.

The prime minister said the biggest challenge is to balance the current account deficit, though the government has already managed to bring it down by 30 per cent. He said under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the government will be starting different new schemes by next week to support another 40 industries allied with the construction industry. He said the government has enhanced allocation for its anti-poverty initiative ‘Ehsas’ to Rs 190 billion, besides allocating another Rs 100 billion for youth loans.

The prime minister said under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the government will bring Chinese agriculture technology to Pakistan to enhance the yield and to boost the dairy sector. Reiterating his government’s resolve to support the industrialisation, he said after 1960s, it will be the first government to prove itself as the most-business friendly government.

The prime minister said discouraging the trend of lop-sided development, the government has made special budgetary allocations to uplift the neglected areas like Balochistan and erstwhile FATA. He also thanked Pakistan Army for deciding to freeze their budget to help uplift Balochistan and tribal areas.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/421041/imran-takes-opp-to-task-for-calling-him-selected/

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North America

 

US and Taliban to start 'make or break' round of peace talks

June 29, 2019

Negotiators for the United States and Taliban militants will start a seventh round of peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan on Saturday, offering what one US official called a “make-or-break moment” to halt 18 years of fighting.

US and Taliban officials privy to the talks said they will seek to finalise a schedule to withdraw foreign troops in return for a Taliban commitment to keep militant groups from using the country as a base to attack the United States and its allies.

Saturday's talks will be led by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US peace envoy for Afghanistan, who has held six rounds of talks with the Taliban in Qatar's capital of Doha since October.

“There is a genuine sense of expectation on both sides,” said a senior US official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to media. "It's a make-or-break moment.”

The pace of talks between the US and Taliban has sped up as Afghanistan heads for presidential elections on September 28.

"This is one of the crucial meetings," a senior Taliban leader in Qatar said, on condition of anonymity.

"If we fail to find any solution to the Afghan conflict then we would like to negotiate with the elected representatives of the American people."

On a trip to Kabul this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America was close to finishing a draft agreement with the militants on counter-terrorism assurances, and he hoped a peace pact could be reached by September 1.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.

The Taliban, who control or contest half the country, more than at any time since they were ousted by the US invasion in 2001, do not support the election process.

They want to form an interim government, but Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and leaders of opposition political parties have rejected the demand.

Mr Ghani, who has been sidelined from the talks, hopes the seventh round will open the door for an intra-Afghan meeting.

Germany, a key ally of the United States in Afghanistan, is trying to organise a meeting of the Taliban and civilian representatives.

Some Afghan officials fear the United States and the Taliban will strike a deal allowing America to exit the country, leaving government forces to battle on alone.

On Friday, the Afghan Defence Ministry said a senior Taliban governor was killed in an airstrike in the eastern province of Logar, and a commander was killed in clashes with Afghan security forces in northern Balkh province.

The Taliban dismissed the report about the death of the Logar governor as government propaganda, however.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/us-and-taliban-to-start-make-or-break-round-of-peace-talks-1.880467

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Islamberg: Three plead guilty to plot against NY Muslim community

June 30, 2019

Three young men accused of plotting to attack a Muslim community in upstate New York with homemade explosives have pleaded guilty.

The three men and a 16-year-old high school student from the Rochester area were arrested in January and accused of planning to attack the community of Islamberg, near Binghamton. Police have said the defendants had access to 23 rifles and shotguns and three homemade explosives. Investigators uncovered the plot after a student reported a suspicious comment in a lunchroom.

On Friday, Vincent Vetromile, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He faces seven to 12 years in prison.

Brian Colaneri, 20, and Andrew Crysel, 19, also pleaded guilty to "terrorism-related conspiracy". Each faces four to 12 years in prison.

"Mr Colaneri and Mr Crysel both admitted to conspiracy, they both admitted to agreeing to ... essentially kill members of the Islamic community in Islamberg," assistant district attorney Matthew Schwartz told reporters outside the court.

"And Mr Vetromile, he admitted to his role as it related to the acquiring, if you will, the various explosive devices."

Lawyers for Vetromile and Colaneri said the plea deals were contingent on no federal charges being filed against their clients.

The case of the 16-year-old high school suspect was being handled in a youth criminal court.

Islamberg is a rural community of about 200 residents. Police and community members have dismissed accusations that the Muslims of America enclave is a "terrorist" training ground. But the claims have persisted, often on right-wing websites and through social media.

Full report at:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/islamberg-plead-guilty-bomb-plot-ny-muslim-community-190629060457307.html

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US Army to equip 1st contingent of Afghanistan-bound troops with mini drones

Jun 30, 2019

American forces in Afghanistan tied to the 82nd US Airborne Division will become the first infantry Army battalion to employ pocket-sized drones on their impending deployment to the war-torn country.

Soldiers with the Division's 3rd Brigade Combat team were issued Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance System in the spring and received training on how to use the small drones that resemble miniature helicopters, US-based pro-military news outlet Stars and Stripes reported Friday.

"This kind of technology will be a life-saver for us because it takes us out of harm's way while enhancing our ability to execute whatever combat mission we're on," said Sgt. Ryan Subers, who received the training, as quoted in an Army statement. "I'm very grateful for technology like this and to be a part of the first unit to use it."

The Army initially purchased Black Hornets, made by Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc., for testing with its Special Forces units in 2016. The company’s website describes the drones as extremely light, nearly silent and with a flight time of up to 25 minutes. According to a FLIR official who spoke at a demonstration during a NATO military drill in Norway last fall, the drone -- which weighs less than two ounces -- can be deployed in less than one minute and has a range of over a mile.

The tiny device is intended to eliminate battlefield blind spots with the aim of saving troop's lives and avoiding unintentional damage or deaths.

"With this system, you can [positively identify] enemies, you can look for [improvised explosive devices] on your route," said an FLIR supervisor and operator, Kristian Molander, as quoted in the report. "If you're taking fire from areas you can't see, you can use this system to identify stuff before you move into the line of fire."

The basic configuration of a Black Hornet system includes one drone for day and one for night, a base station that connects to a handheld controller, and a display about the size of a tablet computer, but it varies from customer to customer, said FLIR spokesman Joe Ailinger, adding: "The configuration is flexible and can be customized as needed," he said.

According to an Army statement issued last May, Wireless commands and data sent between the drone and its controller are encrypted to protect it against hacking.

In addition to a $2.6 million contract awarded to FLIR last spring, the report adds, the US Army awarded the company nearly $40 million in January of this year to provide Black Hornets for the Army's Soldier Borne Sensor program.

The deal would provide the Army with 9,000 systems, each with two drones, it noted.

The 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, is planning to employ the drones next month in Afghanistan, while other elements of the brigade wait to see how best to employ the system, said a brigade spokesman cited in the report.

The hand-held devices are expected to become standard kit for units across the Army, providing near-real time video that will allow soldiers to better survey their surroundings and detect enemies in combat.

Elements of the US Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team – based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina -- including the drone-equipped battalion, will be deploying to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan next month, according to the report.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599765/US-Army-mini-drones-Afghanistan-black-hornet-personal-reconnaissance-system

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US deploys advanced F-22 warplanes to Qatar for 1st time amid Iran tensions

Jun 30, 2019

The US Air Force has deployed its F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters to its military base the Persian Gulf state of Qatar amid a continued show-of-force effort in the strategic region following Washington’s recent provocations against Tehran and Iran’s shot-down of an intruding US spy drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on Friday that the warplanes have arrived in Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base for the first time to “defend American forces and interests,” US-based news outlet Military.com reported without specifying the number of the deployed aircraft. It further noted that nearly a dozen F-22s are already based in the region.

Al-Udeid serves as one of US military’s most important air bases in the region with operations launched from there throughout the Middle East. The base plays host to nearly 11,000 American and US-led coalition forces and more than 100 operational war planes.

In the aftermath of the US-initiated Persian Gulf War in 1991, Washington and Doha signed a military cooperation pact after which the US regional air force moved to Qatar in 2003, evacuating the Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia.

According to Qatari officials cited in press reports, nearly 80 percent of US-led aerial refueling in the region is being carried out from al-Udeid air base.

Costing about $150m apiece, the F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine fighter jet, designed primarily as an air superiority fighter. It also has ground attack and signal intelligence capabilities.

Lockheed Martin, the prime manufacturer, built most of the F-22's airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.

The F-22 jet fighters were previously stationed at al-Dhafra Air Base in nearby United Arab Emirates (UAE) and used in purported operations against foreign-backed Daesh (ISIL) terrorists across Iraq and Syria since 2014. However, they were returned to the US last fall and replace by F-15C Eagle war planes.

The development came after tensions between Washington and Tehran spiked last week after the shot down of a US navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone by an Iranian anti-air missile battery on June 19, which followed false US allegations that blamed Iran – without verifiable evidence -- for attacking two commercial oil tankers in the Sea of Oman earlier in the month.

Following the drone shot-down, Iranian military officials announced that they had exercised restraint by not shooting down a P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft flying nearby in the region. CENTCOM officials, meanwhile, maintained that US spy planes routinely operate in the region along Iranian territorial waters.

The Trump administration then resorted to making military action threats against Tehran, followed by announcing useless new sanctions against Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

Last month, the US Air Force deployed several nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress bombers as well as an aircraft carrier task force to the region in response to what the Pentagon claimed as a possible plan by Iran to attack American forces in the Persian Gulf.

Moreover, US Air Force's top officer also insisted last week that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights will continue despite Iran's shot down of the spy drone.

"Yes, we're continuing to fly," said Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein during a breakfast hosted by the Mitchell Institute in Washington, DC on Wednesday. "We continue to fly where we need to, when we need to be there and as we do in all scenarios."

This is while Iranian authorities have persistently maintained that while they are not looking for a confrontation with the US or any other state, the country will never shy away from defending its territorial rights and regional interests on its own turf.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599760/US-F22-jet-fighters-Qatar-alUdeid-air-base-Iran-tensions-CENTCOM-Persian-Gulf

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I brought up Khashoggi murder with Saudi crown prince: Trump

Jun 29, 2019

US President Donald Trump says he raised the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I did mention it to him very strongly,” Trump was quoted on Saturday by media as saying.

Khashoggi, who was a critic of bin Salman, was hacked to death and his body was dismembered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018.

Last week, a UN report found that there was "sufficient credible evidence" to pin the murder on bin Salman and he should be investigated for it.

“That was a bad event,” Trump reportedly told bin Salman in the meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Japan.

“I asked him what was happening,” Trump claimed.

Trump's comments came after the president told reporters on Friday that he was "extremely angry and very unhappy" about Khashoggi's murder, but claimed that "nobody has directly pointed a finger" at bin Salman.

Asked about CIA’s conclusion that bin Salman ordered the Khashoggi’s murdering, Trump said he “cannot comment on intelligence.”

“The truth is, I don’t want to talk about intelligence,” Trump said dodging further discussion about the Khashoggi murder.

Trump has played down the Khashoggi murder case, and instead, repeatedly cited the profits that the US economy reaps from maintaining good business relations with the Saudis, particularly the Crown Prince bin Slaman.

Trump has described the Saudi crown prince as a "friend”. “It's an honor to be with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine, a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/29/599735/US-Trump-Bin-Salman-Khashoggi

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Trump: S400-F35 tension Obama's fault, not Turkey's

29.06.2019

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday gave strong messages on a wide array of global issues in his closing speech at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

In the Q&A session of his speech, in response to a question about the S400-F35 tension between the U.S. and Turkey, Trump said he puts America first in all matters but cannot turn a blind eye to Turkey's unfair treatment by former US administration, referring to Barack Obama's handling of Turkey's request to purchase U.S. defense systems.

Despite their longstanding strategic alliance as members of NATO, since 2017 Turkey and the U.S. have been at odds over Turkey's decision to buy the S-400, a Russian-made missile defense system, and U.S. threats to break its contract to sell Turkey F-35 jets over the dispute.To defend itself, Turkey first sought to purchase U.S.-made Patriot missiles, but even as the U.S. was sending weapons and ammunition to Turkey’s avowed enemies, the terror group YPG/PYD in northern Syria, Washington chose to ignore its ally's needs and national interests and rebuffed Turkey’s overtures.

Despite growing calls from the U.S. for Turkey to abandon its deal with Russia, Turkish officials describe their transaction with Russia as a "done deal."

"Obama administration said no, no, no to Turkey when they wanted to purchase Patriots and they [Turkey] bought S400," Trump said and called Obama administration's reluctance and failure to sell Patriots to Turkey a 'mess'.

Blaming the Obama administration for the ongoing S400-F35 tension between the two countries, Trump said it is not Turkey's or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fault.

"Erdogan is a tough guy but I get along with him," Trump said, thanking the Turkish president for freeing American Pastor Andrew Brunson who was detained in a Turkish jail over his alleged involvement in a 2016 coup against the Turkish government.

He was released in October, a move hailed by the U.S. administration.

Following the meeting of the two leaders in Osaka, a statement from the White House said Trump voiced concern over Turkey's "potential purchase" of Russian S-400 during the U.S.-Turkey meeting in the sidelines of G20 summit in Japan.

"The President [Donald Trump] expressed concern about Turkey's potential purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, and encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defense cooperation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance," the White House said.

On Khashoggi, China, Venezuela

Trump has dodged the Khashoggi question during his meeting with Erdogan earlier but when asked again during the closing speech, he said he is 'extremely angry about that whole thing', referring to the 'horrific' murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Istanbul consulate of Saudi Arabia in October by Saudi operatives, widely believed to be acting on orders of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS).

Trump, however, continued his "Saudi Arabia is a great ally" rhetoric and hinted no action against MBS or the kingdom.

On the much awaited China trade talks, he said they had a "great meeting" with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump said U.S. companies will continue to sell products to Chinese telecom company Huawei, a source of extreme tension between the two powers ever since the arrest of Huawei's CFO in Canada last year at the request of U.S. authorities.

He said the negotiations continue and the meetings were "better than expected".

Trump added that there won't be any lifting of the existing tariffs or adding new tariffs for the time being.

On Venezuela, he said the U.S. has "5 different alternatives", yet did not cite any.

He said the regime change takes time.

When asked why Palestinians were not included in the committee of the so-called "deal of the century", he said Palestinians said "nasty" things about the U.S. last year, did not sound like they were asking for peace.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/trump-s400-f35-tension-obamas-fault-not-turkeys/1519042

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Erdogan hails 'strategic partnership' with US

Ali Murat Alhas  

29.06.2019

The strategic partnership shared by Turkey and the U.S. encouraged further cooperation on various fields, the Turkish president said on Saturday following his meeting with the U.S. counterpart.

“… Above all, we have a strategic partnership, which promotes our cooperation in various fields,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding he believed this cooperation would continue in the same manner in the coming period.

President Erdogan met Donald Trump in line with G20 Leaders' Summit held in Osaka, Japan, and two leaders discussed for more than half an hour.

In his brief statement following the meeting, Erdogan said countries’ trade volume goal was $75 billion and both countries had steps to be taken in the direction of the defense industry.

Later on, the Turkish presidency issued a statement saying both leaders discussed bilateral ties, economic goals, regional issues including the recent developments in Syria.

It was stated that Erdogan expressed Turkey's determination to fulfill requirements of national security to U.S. president, and shared his concerns on the efforts that might harm countries' strategic partnership.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/erdogan-hails-strategic-partnership-with-us/1518740

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Family of Syrian toddler washed ashore horrified at new film

June 30, 2019

Family members have sharply denounced a new film about the young Syrian boy who became a symbol of Europe's migration crisis after photos emerged of his lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach.

"I'm really heartbroken right now," Tima Kurdi, an aunt of Alan Kurdi, told the CBC network. She lives in Port Coquitlam, near Vancouver in western Canada. "It's unacceptable."

The boy perished in 2015 along with several other family members fleeing Syria as they tried to reach Greece by boat.

The heartbreaking photo of Alan's body, face down on a beach, sparked a deep emotional reaction in Europe, pushing the European Union to temporarily open its borders to Syrian refugees.

Tima Kurdi told the CBC in an article posted on Friday that no one had asked the family's permission to make the new movie about her nephew. She said she had learned about it only from the boy's father, Abdullah Kurdi, who is now living in Iraq.

"He called me and he was crying, too," she said.

"He said, 'I can't believe somebody is already making a movie.' He said, 'I cannot even imagine that my dead son – two years old who can't even talk – I cannot imagine him coming alive'" on film.

The movie, titled Aylan Baby (Sea of Death), is being filmed in Turkey, with a cast including American action film star Steven Seagal, the CBC said (initial reporting gave Aylan as the spelling of the boy's name).

Its Turkish writer/director, Omer Sarikaya, has posted photos of the film's poster on social media. He hopes to sell the movie to Netflix.

According to Tima Kurdi, who has published a book about her nephew titled The Boy on the Beach, the family has turned down several proposals for a film.

Mr Sarikaya, for his part, told CBC that while the theme of his film resembled the story of the Kurdi family, it was much broader in scope, dealing with the overall refugee crisis.

"This will be 'Aylan Baby,' it will not be 'Aylan Kurdi,'" he said, adding that it was now too late to change the title.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/family-of-syrian-toddler-washed-ashore-horrified-at-new-film-1.880753

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Erdogan says Trump promised no sanctions over Russian missiles

June 29, 2019

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that President Donald Trump had assured him there would be no US sanctions over Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system, contrary to the stance taken by Washington so far.

"We have heard from him personally that this would not happen," Mr Erdogan said after bilateral talks with Mr Trump at the G20 summit in Japan. "We are strategic partners with the United States. As strategic partners, nobody has the right to meddle in Turkey's sovereign rights. Everyone should know this."

The Nato allies have been at odds over Turkey's decision to procure the S-400 system, with the United States saying the it was not compatible with alliance's defence network and could compromise its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping to build and planning to buy.

Turkey refused to back down on the purchase, with delivery scheduled to start in July, despite the possibility of expulsion from the F-35 programme. Washington has already halted training of Turkish pilots on the aircraft in the US.

But sitting alongside Mr Erdogan before their talks, Mr Trump told reporters Turkey had been treated unfairly over its decision to buy the S-400s and blamed the "mess" on the administration of former president Barack Obama. However, he did not explicitly not rule out sanctions, saying the issue was being discussed, but it was a "two-way street" and both sides were evaluating "different solutions".

“They wouldn’t let him buy the missile he wanted to buy, which was the Patriot,” he said. “You have to treat people fairly. And I don’t think he was treated fairly.”

The US has sought to sell Ankara the Patriot air defence missile since at least 2013, but Mr Erdogan has insisted it come with a transfer of technology so that Turkey can develop and build its own missiles. The Obama administration refused. Turkey's earlier quest for a Chinese missile system instead of the Patriot also fell through over technology-transfer conditions.

Russia's Interfax agency on Saturday quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov as saying the S-400 deal with Turkey envisaged a partial handover of technology.

Mr Trump said Mr Erdogan had paid "a tremendous amount of money upfront" for the F-35 to aircraft maker Lockheed, “and now he wants delivery”.

"And now they’re saying he’s using the S-400 system, which is incompatible with our system, and if you use the S-400 system, Russia and other people can gain access to the genius of the F-35.”

“So it’s a mess,” he said. “And honestly, it’s not really Erdogan’s fault.”

Mr Erdogan's remarks after their talks echoed Mr Trump's argument.

"We have a payment so far of $1.4 billion to the United States," he said. "As joint producers, until now four F-35 jets have been delivered to us, but we will still receive... a total of 116 jets. We are expecting these," he added.

"What some people in lower ranks are saying absolutely do not align with Mr Trump's approach. I believe these will not harm our bilateral ties, and that is the commitment we are going on with."

Turkey had put its hopes on the relationship between Mr Erdogan and Mr Trump to protect it from repercussions over the S-400 deal. Their meeting in Osaka was seen as a last push to avoid US sanctions that could significantly damage Turkey's already ailing economy.

However, Mr Erdogan's account of their exchanges appeared to go beyond statements made by the Turkish presidency and the White House after the talks, which lasted around 40 minutes.

The White House said Mr Trump "expressed concern" over the S-400 deal and "encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defence co-operation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance", while the Turkish presidency said only that Mr Trump had voiced a desire to resolve the dispute without harming bilateral ties.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/erdogan-says-trump-promised-no-sanctions-over-russian-missiles-1.880698

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Europe

 

Germany: Sports festival fights Islamophobia, xenophobia

Ali Murat Alhas  

29.06.2019

Head of Turkey's Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) on Saturday said festivals were a great way to combat Islamophobia and xenophobia which have recently grown stronger in Europe.

Abdullah Eren’s remarks came at the European Sports and Culture Festival (ASKFEST) in Germany’s Northwestern city of Hamm, which aims to boost ties between Germany and Turkey by bringing people of both countries together.

Eren said Turkish workers’ arrival at the European countries, which will mark its 60th anniversary in two years, especially Germany, helped them achieve significant development in the fields of culture and economics and festivals like ASKFEST would contribute to their integration to both local communities and national identity.

He said Islamophobia and xenophobia have recently grown stronger in some European countries and festivals would contribute to fighting such “diseases”, adding it was important that ASKFEST was organized with the cooperation of German authorities.

Turkish official went on to say that Turks’ integration into foreign communities abroad was a priority for the YTB, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly called on Turkish people living abroad to learn languages and get citizenships so that they could easily integrate into communities.

“Turkey and Germany are two friends and allies… Therefore, this festival has demonstrated that the authorities of these countries set a nice example in the fields of culture, sport and arts, in a professional manner,” Eren said.

Underlining that ASKFEST contributed to the unity and harmony of German and Turkish people, he went on to say that such festivals were of “crucial” importance to prevent racism from growing strong in the European continent.

The festival is being held under the theme "Do Sports Together! Have fun Together! Live Together!", and it includes a wide range of sports, cultural and entertainment activities.

Competitions in football and basketball matches, athletics, bowling, cycling, skateboarding and table tennis will also be held.

In addition to these modern sports, competitions in Turkish traditional sports such as archery and oil wrestling will be organized.The attendees can also taste Turkish and German cuisine and enjoy concerts.

Turkish and German celebrities, athletes and government officials such as Turkish Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu, Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, YTB Chairman Abdullah Eren and Mayor of Hamm Thomas Hunsteger Petermann will attend the festival.

Anadolu Agency, national Turkish broadcaster TRT and Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines are among the contributors of the festival.

Hamm is located in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia state, which is densely populated by Turkish people.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germanysports-festival-fights-islamophobia-xenophobia/1519118

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Qatari charity head gives millions to European Muslim Brotherhood-linked bodies

Nicky Harley

June 29, 2019

The head of a Qatari charity that founded a website instructing Muslims to hate Jews and Christians is behind more than £28.2 million (Dh131.4 m) in donations given to a UK benevolent fund.

Some of the money has recently been given to a group with links to hate preacher Yusuf Al Qaradawi, who is banned in the UK and is believed to be the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Millions have also been used to build a mosque whose trustee is a former president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which began in Egypt in 1928, has been outlawed in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE and is shortly due to be added to the US’s list of banned organisations.

The organisation is not banned in the UK but a 2015 report for the British government made a series of damning assessments of its activities in the country.

The Nectar Trust has given the Institute European des Sciences Humanitarian (IESH), a France based Islamic education institution, almost £1m in the last three years. A sum of £86,196 was spent by the Nectar Trust last year to benefit the IESH, which publishes fatwas following the guidance of the European Council on Fatwa and Research (ECFR).

The former president of the council is Al Qaradawi who recently courted controversy for creating an app in which he made derogatory references to Jews. The ECFR has promoted a controversial fatwa guidance App on Apple Store and other sales platforms. Despite demands for it to be pulled, the platform remains available. Apple has said it is conducting a review.

Al Qaradawi, who lives in Qatar, is banned from the US, UK and France for his extremist views.

The Qatar Charity in Doha (also known as QC), which has also been connected with the Muslim Brotherhood and designated a proscribed organisation within the Arab Quartet for its links to terrorism, handed British charity the Nectar Trust £28.2m between 2017-2018.

The CEO of QC, Yousef Al Kuwari, is also the former chief executive of the Nectar Trust, the British arm of the Qatari body, which is behind a number of projects to build some of the largest multi-million-pound mosques across Europe.

He previously founded Islamweb, a website that issued edicts stating that it is “forbidden” to swear an oath to gain British citizenship and warned of Jews and Christians: “It is incumbent to hate them for the sake of Allah.”

Just a month prior to his links being made public in October 2017, the charity changed its name from the Qatar Charity UK to the Nectar Trust.

Despite Al Kuwari’s resignation, the Nectar Trust’s latest accounts reveal that during the period of the revelations the multi-million-pound funds were being pumped into the charity from Qatar Charity – which Al Kuwari ran at the same time.

In the last few years, the Trust has given £2.2m to the Emaan Trust in Sheffield to build one of the UK’s largest mosques. The project has also been steeped in controversy after it was revealed the construction was being overseen by a Kuwaiti official who claimed Jews orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks and that board members of the group had criminal records.

A trustee of the Emaan Trust, Ahmed Al-Rawi, is the former president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations, believed to be the European arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has previously signed a statement supporting attacks on coalition troops in Iraq.

His brother Kharum was the director of the European Institute of Human Sciences and ran the school in Wales attended by terrorist Michael Adebowale who killed British soldier Lee Rigby.

The school’s curriculum was linked to Al Qaradawi, whose books were found in its library. It led to the University of Wales severing ties with the institute.

The accounts also show the Nectar Trust gave almost £15m to build two mosques in France – one in Mulhouse is believed to be the largest in Europe and can accommodate 800 students and 50,000 worshippers.

In April, an investigation alleged that the lavish funding was actually tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The book, Qatar Papers - How the emirate finances Islam in France and Europe, written by two French journalists, publishes evidence that cheques and money transfers from Qatar have been used to underwrite more than 140 projects around Europe, where the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to expand its influence.

Qatar Charity did not respond to comment but told The Telegraph that during Al Kuwari’s time as Islamweb chairman “he was not involved in the development or moderation of the website’s content or in its daily management.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/qatari-charity-head-gives-millions-to-european-muslim-brotherhood-linked-bodies-1.880660

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British-Iranian ends 15-day hunger strike in Tehran jail

29 June 2019

A British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran since 2016 on sedition charges she denies has ended her hunger strike after 15 days, her husband said Saturday.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, told BBC Radio that his wife had eaten some porridge with apple and banana.

“I’m relieved because I wouldn’t have wanted her to push it much longer,” said Ratcliffe, who also went without food for 15 days in solidarity with his wife.

Ratcliffe had spent much of that time picketing Iran’s embassy in London, urging whoever is to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May to make his wife’s case a priority.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, began refusing food to mark her daughter Gabriella’s fifth birthday.

She was arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking then 22-month-old Gabriella to visit her family.

She was sentenced to five years for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.

A project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the media group’s philanthropic arm, said she denies all charges.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/29/British-Iranian-ends-15-day-hunger-strike-in-Tehran-jail-.html

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Swedish mosque vandalized in racist attack

30.06.2019

By Atila Altuntas

STOCKHOLM

A mosque inside a hospital in western Sweden was vandalized on Saturday in a racist attack.

The attackers at Molndal Hospital in Gothenburg city desecrated the holy Quran and spilled soft drinks on the shelfs and carpets of the mosque, the mosque association said in a statement on social media.

The association condemned the attack saying it had offended and hurt Muslims.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/swedish-mosque-vandalized-in-racist-attack/1519317

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Mystery surrounds shooting of imam in France

Colin Randall

June 29, 2019

Investigators are examining the troubled background of a man believed to have shot a French imam who had received threats from both ISIS and ultra-right extremists.

Rachid Eljay, 39, was seriously wounded in the abdomen and legs when shot four times in the port of Brest, in the western region of Brittany, on Thursday.

His life and that of a 26-year-old worshipper who was also shot are not in danger. The killer had approached them outside the mosque in the Pontanezen district on the pretext of wanting a “selfie” with the imam.

A 21-year-old French man believed to have carried out the attack was later found dead 500 metres from his car in another part of Brest. He had apparently shot himself in the head.

Named in French reports and on social media as Karl Foyer, he had sent a rambling two-page letter to another imam, also posting its contents on Facebook, claiming to have been ordered to murder Mr Eljay by three masked men who forced him into a van. Foyer wrote that the men warned him they would kill his parents and sister if he did not obey their instructions.

After early speculation that the killer may have had extreme right-wing connections, a police source told media he was unknown to the security services and was not linked to any right-wing or Islamist group.

His letter also mentioned a retired French intelligence chief who, according to him, had been in contact with one of the three men who accosted him.

But prosecutors and police are more inclined to believe he was a deranged individual acting on his own initiative.

Mr Eljay has been a controversial figure for several years.

Previously known for adopting “non-jihadist Salafism”, he took over at the mosque in place of an imam whose radical preachings led to his expulsion to his native Algeria.

The religious newspaper La Croix recalled a 2015 video showing the self-taught preacher, then calling himself Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, telling children music was a “creature of the devil” and that listening to it would turn them into monkeys or pigs.

In one sermon, Mr Eljay said the hijab was a “woman’s honour”. If she “goes out without honour”, he added, “do not be surprised that men abuse this woman".

More recently, however, he has shown a fundamental change in his outlook and a desire to teach Islam in a secular French context. He obtained a diploma qualifying him to “provide civic and citizenship training”.

The French Muslim Council said the imam’s public comments, espousing French republican values, had brought him a death threat from ISIS in 2016.

Romain Caillet, a specialist in contemporary Salafism, said Mr Eljay was detested as fiercely by ultra-right elements.

Mr Caillet posted a tweet at the end of 2017 with a series of photographs tracing Mr Eljay’s conversion to a more moderate stance by reference to his appearance. In the last, from his graduation, he wears western-style clothing indistinguishable from that of other students

"Today, he advocates a practice of Islam that is not out at odds with his environment, his beard is becoming shorter and his style of clothing has changed," Mr Caillet told the newspaper 20 Minutes.

In a tweet, he strongly criticised sections of the media that continued to associate the preacher with views he no longer held, “helping to make him a target”.

Sur ces 4 photos on peut voir l'évolution de l'Imam de Brest Rachid Eljay, anciennement appelé Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, d'abord partisan du courant salafiste, puis d'un islam malékite et enfin la dernière étape de son parcours avec la remise de son diplôme "laïcité". pic.twitter.com/gOQj1Th8pI

— Romain Caillet (@RomainCaillet) December 21, 2017

The suspected killer was Paris-born but had been living in the eastern city of Lyon for three years and drifted from one lowly job to another, according to his letter. The council of mosques covering that area of France has deplored what it sees as a relative political and media silence over the imam’s shooting.

In fact, French news media, print and broadcast, have reported fully on the attack while pointing out that the public prosecutor has ruled out, on the facts as known, any terrorist connection.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/mystery-surrounds-shooting-of-imam-in-france-1.880680

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia intercepts two Yemen rebel drones: coalition

June 30, 2019

Two Yemeni rebel drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia were intercepted on Saturday, a Riyadh-led military coalition said, the latest in a series of assaults on the kingdom.

The first drone targeted the province of Jizan and the second was aimed at a residential area in Asir province, the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The coalition did not report any damage or casualties.

The rebels earlier claimed drone attacks on the airports in Jizan and Abha, the capital of Asir, according to the group's Al-Masirah TV.

The Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, who have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 which has exacted a heavy civilian death toll, have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks.

On June 12, a rebel missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians, drawing promises of "stern action" from the coalition.

On June 23, another rebel attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians, according to the coalition.

The raids come amid heightened regional tensions after Washington — a key ally of Riyadh — accused Iran of shooting down a US drone over international waters and of carrying out attacks on oil tankers in the strategic Gulf of Oman.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to Houthi rebels, a charge Tehran denies.

Following recent attacks, Saudi state media have reported an intensification of coalition air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah and the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.

The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around the second city Aden.

Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced and in need of aid.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1491286/saudi-arabia-intercepts-two-yemen-rebel-drones-coalition

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Aleppo: Several Turkish Army Soldiers Killed in Kurdish Attacks

Jun 29, 2019

The Kurdish-language Hawar News website reported that Afrin Liberation Forces in an ambush operation against the Turkish Army in Afrin-Bastouleh road in Shirawa region killed one Turkish Army soldier and severely wounded seven others.

The Kurdish forces also attacked the Turkish Army's military point in Kabashin Hill in Shirawa region from two directions, killing and wounding five Ankara-backed militants in fierce clashes.

Meantime, two militants of the so-called  'Military Police' were killed in a bomb explosion carried out by Kurdish fighters at their headquarters in Tarandeh district.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, a number of Turkish Army soldiers were killed and wounded in military operations by the Kurdish fighters in Ankara-controlled areas in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo, the Kurdish-language media sources said.

The Hawar News website reported that the Kurdish Afrin Liberation forces pounded two areas under the control of the Turkish Army in the town of Jalbareh in Shirawa region in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo, killing one Turkish soldier and injuring three others as well as destroying their military positions.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980408000264

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Syrian Army Preparing to Reopen Crucial Road in Hama

Jun 29, 2019

The Syrian Army's missile and artillery units targeted and heavily pounded the military positions and movements of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and Jeizh al-Izza terrorist groups in the towns of al-Jobin and Tal Malh in Northern Hama, destroying several of their military positions and hardware and killing a number of them.

Meantime, a military source noted that the Syrian Army troops destroyed the defense lines of the terrorists in Northern Hama, and said that the Syrian Army intends to reopen the strategic Saqilbieh-Mahradeh Road by taking full control of strategic town of Tal Malh.

He also said that the Syrian Army's artillery units destroyed the terrorists' logistical convoys in Abu Raideh, al-Zuka, Hasraya, al-Latamineh in Northern Hama.

Meantime, the Turkish Army sent fresh military convoys comprising armored personnel carriers and a large number of its elite forces to the border towns of Reyhanli and Qirq Khan behind borders with Syria.

In a relevant development last Monday, the Syrian Army dispatched massive military convoys to Northern Hama to resume military operations in the region, the Arabic-language media outlets reported.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a Syrian Army military commander as saying that the army has recently sent its special forces known as 'Tiger Force' together with massive military equipment to the battlefronts in Northwestern Hama and Southern Idlib, including the newly- liberated towns from the terrorist groups.

It pointed to the arrival of elite forces of the Syrian Army in Northern Syria and their participation in upcoming operations, and said that the Syrian Army will most probably launch its military operation in the region.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported the Syrian Army air force and artillery units pounded the military positions and movements of terrorists in the surrounding areas of Jisr al-Shoghour, North of Mahradeh, al-Latamineh, Kafar Zita, al-Mouzereh in Northern Hama and Kafar Nubl, Safhoun, Jouzef, Tal'as, al-Naqir and Sheikh Mustafa in Southern Idlib, killing and injuring a large number of militants and destroying their military equipment.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980408000169

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Alleged Italian ISIS member handed to Rome: SDF

29 June 2019

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria have handed to Italy one of its citizens accused of belonging to ISIS, a spokesman said on Saturday.

“Italian jihadist Samir Bougana (aka Abu Abdullah) who had been captured fleeing ISIS and had been imprisoned since then, was handed over to Italian government,” said Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

He said the transfer had been made on Rome’s request.

He did not specify when it took place or whether or not the suspected extremist had already left the country.

Bougana - also known as Abu Hureyre al-Muhajir or Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir - was first captured by Kurdish fighters in Syria in August 2018 as he tried to flee into Turkey.

He had allegedly been involved in weapons shipments to ISIS.

His transfer is part of a wider effort by the Kurdish administration to rid itself of the dregs of the ISIS proto-state.

Following the collapse of the group’s “caliphate” in March, alleged ISIS fighters from nearly 50 countries have been detained in Syria and Iraq.

Over 11,000 of their family members are being held in Syria’s al-Hol camp alone.

But repatriation is a sensitive issue for Western nations such as France and Britain, which have experienced attacks by homegrown extremists and have little interest in seeing more return.

There are also worries that it could prove difficult to successfully prosecute fighters in European courts for crimes committed in Iraq or Syria.

Britain has gone so far as stripping ISIS members of citizenship, while France has said it will repatriate only orphans.

The United States, however, has urged Western countries to take their nationals back and has repatriated some of its own, including three ISIS group fighters and several American women and children.

On Thursday, it warned European countries they were making a “bad decision” by leaving their nationals in Syria instead of repatriating them to face justice.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Alleged-Italian-ISIS-member-handed-to-Rome-SDF-.html

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Syrian crisis topped talks between Saudi Crown Prince, Egyptian president at G20

29 June 2019

The Syrian crisis topped talks held between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Egypt’s state TV said on Saturday, citing the presidency.

The presidency also said the talks between the two showed matching views regarding the latest developments in the Gulf region, state TV reported.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Syrian-crisis-topped-talks-between-Saudi-Crown-Prince-Egyptian-president.html

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Bahrain FM’ call for normalization with Israel 'reckless, unprecedented impudence': Wefaq

Jun 29, 2019

Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has condemned the country’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah for urging open communication with the Tel Aviv regime, dismissing his remarks as “reckless.”

“This hysteric rush towards the Zionists reflects the (Manama) regime’s tendency to throw itself into the Israeli lap,” Wefaq said in a statement, adding that Al Khalifah’s remarks were “totally rejected."

The statement added that such comments “are unprecedented impudence” by the Bahraini regime, as they reflect the gap between the “oppressive” ruling dynasty and Bahraini people.

Wefaq further highlighted that the Bahraini nation views Israel as an occupying regime, stressing that ordinary Bahrainis can’t be complicit in giving the Tel Aviv regime a chance to woo Bahrain.

“Israelis who were allowed to tour Bahrain were backed by the regime’s security forces,” the Bahraini opposition group added, noting that any protest against the Israelis’ visit to the kingdom was banned by force.

Meanwhile, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said in a statement that Al Khalifah’s remarks and his allegation that Israel was part of the Middle East region's heritage constituted "clear treachery," and proved that the Bahraini regime was deeply involved in supporting plans to wipe out the Palestinian cause.

“This position contradicts the position of the brotherly people of Bahrain," the PFLP said, adding that Bahraini people were "one of the strongest advocates of the Palestinian cause and Arab rights."

The PFLP also hailed the Bahraini people's rejection of their country hosting a US-sponsored economic workshop on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Speaking in an interview with English-language The Times of Israel daily newspaper on the sidelines of the US-led economic workshop in Manama on June 26, the top Bahraini diplomat recognized Israel’s “right to existence,” saying the regime was “there to stay, of course.”

“Who did we offer peace to [with] the [Arab] Peace Initiative? We offered it to … Israel…. We want better relations with it, and we want peace with it,” Khalifah added.

He pointed to the Arab Peace Initiative as the blueprint for normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel, terming the Tel Aviv regime’s rejection of the plan as a “missed opportunity.”

The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, calls on Israel to agree to a two-state solution along the 1967 lines and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue. The initiative has been repeatedly endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, 2007, and 2017.

The Bahraini foreign minister further encouraged Israel to approach Arab leaders about issues of concern regarding the proposal.

“Come and talk to us. Talk to us about it. Say, guys, you have a good initiative, but we have one thing that worries us,” he said.

The so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop opened in Bahrain on June 25 and ran through June 26.

It apparently sought to advance the economic aspects of President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/29/599722/Bahrain-FM-call-for-normalization-with-Israel-reckless-unprecedented-impudence-Wefaq

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Mideast

 

Palestinian government says Bahrain confab was ‘stunning failure’ for Trump

Jun 30, 2019

The Palestinian government says a recent US-sponsored conference in Bahrain meant to promote a “deal” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a “stunning failure” for the administration of US President Donald Trump.

In a statement released on Saturday, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the failure of the meeting, which was held in Manama on June 25-26 despite a Palestinian boycott, must have sent a message to Washington.

“The stunning failure of the Manama workshop... should constitute a clear message to Mr. Trump and his administration that the policy of dictates, threats, and coercion is no longer effective with our steadfast people and its legitimate leadership headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, which rejected all suspicious deals aimed at the liquidation of our national cause,” Abu Rudeineh said.

He also accused the Trump administration of pursuing a “policy of punishment and intimidation... against everyone.”

Abu Rudeineh further complained that the US team behind the proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “totally biased toward Israel."

“This biased team cannot offer solutions that can lead to a lasting and just peace,” he said.

The official also expressed Palestine’s resolve to achieve “a just and lasting peace” based on United Nations (UN) resolutions and the preservation of Palestinian rights, with the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The Bahrain workshop focused on the economic aspects of Trump’s proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which Trump himself calls the “deal of the century” but which all Palestinian factions have rejected before it has become fully public.

While Palestinian public opinion, as well as the Arab street in general, is fiercely opposed to the plan, certain Arab governments back the initiative, ignoring the demands of the Palestinian government and people.

Name of street in West Bank city changed to remove ‘Bahrain’

In another development on Saturday, a street called “Bahrain” in the West Bank city of Yatta, situated in al-Khalil (Hebron) Governorate, was renamed “Marzouq al-Ghanim,” after the Kuwaiti parliament speaker.

According to a statement issued by Yatta’s municipality, Mayor Ibrahim Abu Zahra decided to change the name of the street after requests by locals and in an attempt to hail Kuwait’s support for the Palestinian cause.

Kuwait did not participate in the Manama conference.

On Monday, Ghanim stressed his country’s support for Palestinians’ rights, saying, “Kuwait is a supporter of occupied Palestine and rejects normalizing ties with Israel.”

Other Arab governments, such as Bahrain itself, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, are widely believed to be moving toward the normalization of ties with the Israeli regime.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599771/Palestine-Bahrain-conference-stunning-failure-Trump

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Turkey says observation post in Syria’s Idlib attacked, no casualties

30 June 2019

A Turkish observation post in the Idlib region of northern Syria was attacked by mortar fire launched from territory controlled by Syrian government forces, Turkey’s defence ministry said on Saturday, adding that there were no casualties.

The ministry said a Russian representative in the region had “immediately intervened” to stop the attacks but warned that it had completed preparations to “give the necessary response” if the attacks continued.

There have been similar attacks on Turkish observation posts in the region recently. One Turkish soldier was killed and three others were wounded in an attack on Thursday, which the ministry judged to have been deliberate.

Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey, long a backer of those rebelling against Assad, co-sponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area that has been in place since last year.

The accord has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee. Idlib is the last remaining bastion for anti-government rebels after eight years of civil war.

Earlier on Saturday, President Tayyip Erdogan said he had discussed the attacks on Turkey’s observation posts in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan.

“We hope these attacks won’t happen anymore. There is a calm right now. We never want these, it shouldn’t happen again. We discussed these,” Erdogan told a news conference at the summit.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/30/Turkey-says-observation-post-in-Syria-s-Idlib-attacked-no-casualties.html

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Arab Coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting civilians in Asir

30 June 2019

The Arab Coalition said it has intercepted and destroyed a bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthi militia toward a populated residential area in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region.

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the Arab Coalition spokesperson, said that forces managed to intercept the drone launched by the Houthi militia toward Asir 11:45 pm local time.

The destroyed Houthi missile in Asir was the second of the night after another Houthi drone targeting the southern border city of Jazan was intercepted and shot down hours earlier.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/06/30/Arab-Coalition-says-it-has-destroyed-a-Houthi-drone-targeting-Asir.html

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Arab Coalition intercepts, destroys Houthi drone targeting Jazan

30 June 2019

The Arab Coalition said forces were able to intercept and destroy a bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthi militia towards the southern Saudi city of Jazan.

The Arab Coalition spokesman, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said that the interception of the missile took place at 10:45 pm local time and that the Houthis fired the missile from Sanaa.

“The Houthi terrorists continue to launch drones to carry out hostile and terrorist acts by targeting civilians and public facilities, and that none of their targets have been achieved,” al-Maliki said in a statement.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/06/30/Arab-Coalition-intercepts-destroys-Houthi-drone-targeting-Jazan.html

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Yemen’s K2 Qassif drones launch fresh attack on Saudi airports

Jun 30, 2019

Drones operated by Yemen’s ruling Houthi Ansarullah movement have launched a fresh attack on airports south of Saudi Arabia, inflicting losses on the facilities and causing a suspension of the air traffic system.

The Houthi-run al-Massirah TV said late on Saturday that the attacks launched by Qassif K2 drones targeted planes and military equipment in airports in Jizan and Abha.

It cited a spokesman of Yemeni armed forces as saying that the attacks had been carried out with high degree of precision and caused the air navigation system in the facilities to disrupt.

Brigadier Yahya Sari’ said that the attacks were a response to Saudi Arabia’s relentless bombardment of civilians in Yemen, a country that has suffered badly as a result of the war for the past three years.

Sari’ said Saudi airports servicing fighter jets and helicopters that are used in attacks against Yemen will continue to remain a “legitimate target” of drone attacks by Yemen’s army.

Saudis have yet to comment on the Saturday attacks which come amid a surge in flight of drones from Yemen to retaliate Riyadh’s war on its impoverished southern neighbor.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since Saudis launched the illegal campaign in March 2015 to drive Houthis out of the capital Sana’a and to restore power to a fugitive president.

The Saudi war which is propped up by a number of Arab allies and enjoy support from Western governments have also left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599761/Saudi-airport-Jizan-Abha-Yemen-drone-attack

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US claims Saudi pipeline attack originated from Iraq, not Yemen: Report

Jun 29, 2019

A US report says American officials claimed that the drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil pipeline in May originated from Iraq, not Yemen.

The US has conveyed the assessment to Iraqi officials, with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo calling Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to raise the matter earlier this month, reported The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Friday.

The report said that American officials came short of providing any further details or reasons for the assessment, other than the drone attacks being "more sophisticated than previous ones launched by Houthi forces in Yemen".

Yemeni forces have in the past two months launched an array of advanced retaliatory missile and drone attacks on vital Saudi facilities, including oil installations, airports and air defense batteries in response to incessant Saudi strikes on the country. The specific drone attacks, singled out by US authorities, hit two Saudi oil pumping stations deep inside the oil-rich kingdom on May 14, leading to a temporary shutdown of the country's vital 1200 km long East-West oil pipeline.

The American assessment comes despite the attack being officially claimed by Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement, a claim confirmed by Saudi officials.

The report prompted Baghdad's rebuttal, with Iraqi officials asking Washington for more information supporting the claim.

Baghdad has so far not received any conclusive evidence, according to the WSJ.

At a weekly news conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told reporters that Baghdad had been contacted on the matter by US officials.

The prime minister, however, rejected the claims, saying that Iraqi intelligence and military services monitor the country's airspace and that "there was no movement on that day on this subject".

"As far as we are concerned, we have no proof and we have no evidence in this matter," Mahdi added.

Washington's drive against Iraqi resistance forces

The report claimed that Washington's assessment comes as the US is growing increasingly wary of "Iran-allied militias" in Iraq, a common label used by Washington to identify forces operating as Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

The US has also blamed a series of recently unclaimed rocket attacks targeting US facilities in Iraq on "Iran-allied" elements, further pressuring Baghdad to counter its PMU-aligned resistance forces.

PMU forces, which are currently officially funded by the Iraqi government and integrated into the Iraqi military, played a major role in fighting against the foreign-backed terror groups and liberating the country from the Daesh terrorist group. The forces have, nonetheless, been targeted by American forces on numerous occasions.

Washington's pressure against Baghdad comes as Iraqi officials have voiced concern over American interference and troop presence in the country.

Earlier this week, Iraqi President Barham Salih said that Iraq would under no circumstances allow the US military to use its bases in Iraq for an act of aggression against neighboring Iran.

The drive to pressure Baghdad against Iraq's resistance forces comes as the US has been long seeking to counter the emergence of a united front of regional forces, usually known as the "Resistance Axis", which gradually spanned the region countering US and its allies' interventions in the Middle East.

The US has since imposed numerous sanctions against state and non-state actors in the region. Washington has also insisted on keeping its troops stationed in Syria and Iraq to "counter Iran", despite originally deploying them on the pretext of fighting Daesh. 

The US has also recently ratcheted up its rhetoric against Iran, announcing additional troop deployments, including an aircraft carrier strike group, to the Persian Gulf region in order to counter an unspecified "threat" from Iran in early May.

A week later, four oil tankers were sabotaged in the UAE sea-port of Fujairah. In early June, two other oil tankers were damaged by explosions in the Gulf of Oman.

Amid the increased tension and US military presence in the region, Iran shot down a multi-million dollar US spy drone last week after it violated its airspace on June 20.

The US and Saudi Arabia have been quick to blame Iran and its allies for the tensions and the oil tanker attacks despite failing to produce any conclusive evidence.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/29/599692/Saudi-pipeline-Iraq-Yemen

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Yemen vows ‘strong response’ to Saudi crime in Ta'izz

Jun 29, 2019

Yemen’s Foreign Ministry has condemned Saudi Arabia’s bombing of the southwestern province of Ta'izz, vowing a “strong response”.

A ministry official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, told Saba news agency that the fresh Saudi killing was yet another flagrant violation of international law and human values.

It also warned that the crime would be met with a “strong response and retaliation.”

Saudi warplanes targeted two houses in the Khadir district of Ta'izz on Friday, killing at least eight members of a family.

The airstrike also left five Yemeni civilians wounded, reports said.

The spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement denounced the Ta'izz killing, stressing that it would only increase the Yemeni people's resolve to confront the Saudi aggression.

"Killing and injuring a number of citizens is considered a continuation of the aggressive bloody approach in targeting civilian houses," Mohammed Abdul-Salam said.

He further expressed regret that the bodies of innocent Yemeni women and children do not lead international parties to stop lucrative arms sales to aggressor regimes.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been waging a brutal war on Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the country's Riyadh-allied former regime and crush the Houthis -- objectives that have failed to materialize due to Yemenis’ stiff resistance.

The Western-backed military aggression, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/29/599688/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-Taizz

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Killing of Palestinian triggers protests in East Jerusalem

DAOUD KUTTAB

June 29, 2019

JERUSALEM: Palestinians in Issawiya, East Jerusalem have continued protests for the third day running after Israeli soldiers killed 20-year-old Mohammad Obeid on Thursday.

Witnesses said that the soldiers killed Obeid even though their lives were not in danger. Israeli officials admitted that Obeid was shot by Israeli soldiers but claimed that they were at risk after fireworks were launched at them at close range. Israeli forces later retrieved Obeid’s body from a car heading to the nearby Maqassed hospital.

An Israeli court refused to immediately return the body but said that police must do so within 24 hours.

Ahmad Budeiri, a reporter following the events, told Arab News that the court ordered the body be given back on condition the family agreed that only four people would attend the funeral or they would be fined 20,000 shekels ($5,000). The family has refused.

“If the issue of the return of the body is not reached this could quickly escalate,” Buderi said.

Talal Abu Afifeh, head of the Jerusalem Intellectual Forum, told Arab News that the protests that led to Obeid’s killing were in opposition to the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” plan.

“Protests in Issawiya were against the Bahrain economic workshop and have escalated since,” he said. Abu Afifeh, who lives in the nearby Shufat refugee camp, said: “People in the Shufat refugee camp, Sur Baher and Qalandia have protested continuously since Thursday,” he said.

Obeid’s mother said that her son had been arrested a number of times by Israeli police.

Residents of Issawiya have been subjected to regular raids and arrests by the Israeli army and police for years, with homes in the town often demolished.

The main entrance to the town was historically near the HebrewUniversity, but it was shut by Israeli authorities during the Second Intifada of 2000-2005. Now, only pedestrians can enter through the route.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1518136/middle-east

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Africa

 

Sudan Troika says it supports ongoing African Union-Ethiopian mediation

29 June 2019

The UK, US, and Norway have issued a Troika statement on Saturday calling on Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to respect the Sudanese people’s right to freedom of expression and avoid any use of violence.

The statement comes as the country prepares to hold a mass rally on Sunday, the first attempt to mobilize protesters after the June 3 crackdown on the protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

“The Troika continues to support the demand of the Sudanese people for a peaceful, agreed transition towards democracy in Sudan, the statement read.

“We also support the ongoing African Union-Ethiopian mediation. We call on the Transitional Military Council and the Forces for Freedom and Change to engage constructively with the African Union-Ethiopian proposal to achieve a peaceful democratic transition through the formation of a civilian-led transitional government,” the statement added.

Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Transitional Military Council, said the ruling council was ready to hand over control to “any authority elected by the Sudanese people.”

“It is our responsibility to listen to the demands of the Sudanese people. We are with the Sudanese people to complete the revolution and build the future of the country,” he said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Sudan-Troika-says-it-supports-ongoing-African-Union-Ethiopian-mediation.html

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Medical Team Voices Dire Concern about Sheikh Zakzaky's Health Conditions

Jun 29, 2019

The leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), who has been held in detention since December 2015 following a deadly raid by the Nigerian army troops on his residence in the country’s Northern Kaduna State is unwell, the medical team warned.

"Lead and cadmium levels are high in his blood which is fatal," the doctors said, adding "His liver is also damaged."

A team of medics examining Zakzaky in prison have renewed pleas for him to be released, saying levels of the chemical toxic substances are so dangerously high in his blood that requires an immediate medical treatment.

A medical team sent by International Healthcare Research Center (IHRC) to Nigeria in April said that the imprisoned cleric was in urgent need of medical care that could only be fully accessed outside Nigeria.

Sheikh Zakzaky, who is in his mid-sixties, lost his left eyesight in a 2015 raid by security forces, that left more than 300 of his followers and three of his sons dead. His wife also sustained serious wounds.

He has been kept in custody along his wife and a large number of his followers ever since.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980408000269

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Sudan security forces raid opposition group’s office ahead of protest

29 June 2019

Sudanese security forces raided the head office of a leading opposition group on Saturday, a day before a huge protest march was planned to demand a transition to civilian rule, witnesses and a spokesman for the group said.

Sudan’s ruling military council and the opposition movement have been wrangling for weeks over how to manage a transition to elections since the military ousted long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

Security forces raided the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) office, where the group had been due to hold a news conference.

“This represents a violation of liberties that is even worse than the regime of the former president (Bashir),” Ahmed al-Rabie, an SPA spokesman, told Reuters. “This is a bad sign for the atmosphere of mediation between the two parties.”

The military council did not immediately comment. The SPA made no mention of arrests.

The news conference was planned ahead of a march called on Sunday by an opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), that the SPA is a part of. The opposition groups are hoping as many as a million people will join the march, which they want to use to press the military council to hand power over to civilians.

Earlier on Saturday, the military council said FFC would bear the responsibility for any loss of life or damage resulting from the planned march.

“We ... hold the Forces for Freedom and Change fully responsible for any spirit that is lost in this march, or any damage or harm to citizens or state institutions,” the council said in a statement carried by state news agency SUNA.

The deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, warned of “vandals” and a “concealed agenda” that he suggested might seek to take advantage of the march.

Direct talks between the council and the FFC stalled and then collapsed altogether when security forces stormed a protest sit-in in central Khartoum on June 3, killing dozens.

The sit-in had become the focal point of protests against Bashir and the military council.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Sudan-security-forces-raid-opposition-group-s-office-ahead-of-protest.html

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Sudan army chief: Ruling council ‘ready to hand over control to an elected body’

29 June 2019

Sudan’s military ruler said the country’s Transitional Military Council is ready to hand over control to “any authority elected by the Sudanese people.”

“We pledge to build the new Sudan and are open to negotiations with everyone,” said Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Transitional Military Council.

“It is our responsibility to listen to the demands of the Sudanese people. We are with the Sudanese people to complete the revolution and build the future of the country,” he added.

In a separate statement, the military council said the protest movement would be held responsible for any violence on Sunday.

“The country is going through a serious crisis, and we will hold the Alliance for Freedom and Change entirely responsible if any soul is lost in the march” on Sunday, the council said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Sudan-army-chief-Ruling-council-ready-to-hand-over-control-to-an-elected-body-.html

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Sudan general warns against vandalism ahead of mass protest

29 June 2019

A top Sudanese general on Saturday warned he will not tolerate any vandalism at a planned mass protest, but insisted the ruling generals would hand power to a civilian administration.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo’s warning came as the country’s umbrella protest movement called for a “million-man” march in Khartoum on Sunday against the generals who have seized power since ousting longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

“There are vandals, there are people who have an agenda, a hidden agenda, we don’t want problems,”

Dagalo, the deputy chief of the ruling military council, told a rally in comments broadcast by state television and apparently directed at organizers of the protest.

Dagalo commands the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which have been heavily deployed in Khartoum since a deadly crackdown on a protest camp on June 3 left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.

Dagalo, widely known by his nickname Himeidti, justified the heavy presence of security forces in the capital.

“The military forces who are deployed in Khartoum are there for the security of the people, not to disturb them,” he said.

Sunday’s mass rally will be the first attempt to mobilize protesters after the June 3 crackdown on the protest camp outside the military headquarters in Khartoum.

The violent dispersal of the sit-in came after talks between the generals and protest leaders collapsed over who should lead a new governing body - a civilian or soldier.

The generals have resisted to transfer power to a civilian administration as demanded by protesters, rights groups and Western nations.

Ethiopia and the African Union have mediated between the two sides and proposed the creation of a 15-member civilian-majority body to govern the country during a three-year transition period.

The generals said on Friday that the proposal could be a base to resume talks with protesters, although they expressed “some observations,” a spokesman said.

About 130 people have been killed since the June 3 crackdown, according to doctors close to the protest movement.

Officials say 61 people died nationwide on June 3.

On Saturday, Dagalo insisted the generals had no intention of holding on to power.

“The military council is just a guarantor,” he said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/29/Sudan-general-warns-against-vandalism-ahead-of-mass-protest.html

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Libya coastguard says rescues nearly 400 migrants

29 June 2019

Libya’s coastguard said on Friday it had rescued almost 400 migrants in four separate operations this week.

“Coastguard patrols rescued 391 clandestine migrants” from inflatable boats in operations on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem said in a statement.

He said Monday’s mission saw 117 migrants rescued off the coastal town of Zliten, some 140 kilometers east of Tripoli and a key departure point for sub-Saharan migrants launching desperate bids to reach Europe.

A further 45 were rescued on Tuesday off the port of Khoms while 97 and 132 were respectively rescued in two operations off the same town on Thursday, he said.

Most of the migrants, from sub-Saharan African countries and Asia, were placed in facilities in Khoms, Zliten and Soug el-Khamis.

Libya, wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising against dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has become a major conduit for migrants seeking to reach Europe.

Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in the North African country.

Oxfam France has said many are mistreated and “sold to armed groups or as slaves.”

European countries have however adopted a tough line on migrants attempting to reach their shores.

Italian hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has launched a crackdown against charities who seek to rescue migrants making the treacherous crossing from Libya.

The North African country remains prey to a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

The plight of migrants has worsened since Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli -- the seat of an internationally recognized unity government -- in early April.

Since then, fighting has killed more than 700 and wounded 4,000, while nearly 100,000 have been displaced, according to UN agencies.

The UN’s mission in Libya has said around 3,500 migrants and refugees held in detention centers near the combat zone are at risk.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/06/29/Libya-coastguard-says-rescues-nearly-400-migrants.html

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Libya’s Haftar orders forces to attack Turkish ships, bans flights to Turkey

29 June 2019

Head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar has ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country, his spokesman said on Friday, accusing Turkey of being actively involved in battles.

“Orders have been given to the air force to target Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters,” said General Ahmad al-Mesmari, adding that “Turkey provided air cover using drones during the militia invasion of Gharyan city.”

The spokesman accused Turkey of helping Haftar’s rivals- the Government of National Accord (GNA)- seize the town of Gharyan, around 100 kilometers (around 60 miles) southwest of Tripoli.

Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces.”

Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country’s south, launched an offensive to take the capital in early April.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Haftar, a retired general who had taken part in the revolt against Qaddafi, unleashed an offensive in May 2014 to purge Libya of Islamists he branded “terrorists.”

Mesmari added “all Turkish nationals on Libyan territory will be arrested” and “all flights to and from Turkey will be banned.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/06/29/Libya-s-Haftar-orders-forces-to-attack-Turkish-ships-interests.html

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African states adopt 'ECO' as name for new currency

Jun 30, 2019

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has formally agreed on a name for a planned common currency set to be launched in 2020.

"ECO was adopted as the name of the ECOWAS single currency," representatives of the 15-member group agreed in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Saturday.

"Afri" and "Kola" had been other names suggested that were rejected by the members.

An ECOWAS statement said the aim was a "gradual approach to the single currency starting with countries that meet the convergent criteria."

Currently, eight ECOWAS countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo - jointly use the West African CFA franc, while the seven others, including Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, have their own separate currencies.

The idea of a common currency for the West African region was first mooted almost 30 years ago in the hope of boosting cross border trade and economic development.

The ECOWAS statement said the currency would be based on a flexible exchange rate regime, coupled with a monetary policy framework focused on inflation targeting.

Member states should pursue appropriate policies and structural reforms that will sustain accelerated growth and the structural transformation of their economies, it added.

The new "ECO" currency for West Africa has been compared to the European Union's "Euro" currency.

Nigeria, which accounts for most of the region's economic output, is the powerhouse of West Africa with over 190 population and the vastest economy.

"It is difficult to see Nigeria agree to being in a monetary union if it is not the boss," said economist Ndongo Samba Sylla from the Dakar-based Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

ECOWAS, which was set up in 1975, represents a total population of around 385 million inhabitants.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599769/ECOWAS-ECO-Currency-Nigeria

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Sudan braces for mass protest as demonstrators fear violence

June 30, 2019

KHARTOUM: Sudan braced Sunday for a mass protest in the capital against the country’s ruling generals, as calls mounted for restraint to prevent a new military crackdown on demonstrators.

The planned “million-man” march is seen as a test for protest organizers who have been hit by a June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent Internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilize support.

Dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when armed men in military fatigues stormed the sit-in outside army headquarters, shooting and beating protesters who had camped there since April 6.

The new protest comes at a time when Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) are jointly mediating between the protesters and generals.

A top general, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, warned Saturday that no vandalism would be tolerated.

“There are vandals, there are people who have an agenda, a hidden agenda, we don’t want problems,” said Dagalo, the ruling military council’s deputy head and chief of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Protesters have voiced fears of new violence.

“I expect large numbers... and it’s very possible that security forces will use force against protesters,” said Mustafa, 25, who gave only his first name for security reasons as he planned to participate.

Another protester, Talal, 29, was looking forward to Sunday’s rally, the first since the crackdown.

“Even if only a few rallies take place in Khartoum, they will break the barrier of fear and more people will take to the streets in following days,” he said.

The umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, said demonstrators will launch rallies from several areas in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman, and march to residences of some protesters killed in the June 3 raid.

About 130 people have been killed since the crackdown, the majority of them on that day, according to doctors close to the alliance.

The health ministry says 61 people died nationwide on that day.

The ruling military council insists it did not order the dispersal, but acknowledged “excesses” after orders were given to purge a nearby area notorious for drug peddling.

The council has warned it would hold the alliance responsible for any fresh violence.

“The country is going through a serious crisis, and we will hold the Alliance for Freedom and Change entirely responsible if any soul is lost in the march,” it said.

In a separate development, an RSF unit prevented protest leaders from holding a press conference to unveil plans for Sunday’s rally.

“Before we could start the press conference, three vehicles from the RSF, full of armed men, came to our building and told us not to hold the press conference,” a prominent protest leader, Ahmed Al-Rabie, told AFP.

Tension remains high between the two sides since the June 3 raid, which followed the collapse of talks over who should lead a new governing body — a civilian or soldier.

Ethiopia and the AU have now proposed a blueprint for a civilian-majority body, which the generals say could be a basis for resuming talks.

Protesters had initially gathered at the military headquarters to seek the army’s support in ousting longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir.

They kept up their sit-in to demand civilian rule after the generals seized power.

The European Union, several Western nations and rights groups have called on the generals to avoid any violence on Sunday.

“Their right to peacefully protest and express their views on 30 June, or on any other date, remains key,” the European Union said.

The council “must not allow the country to slide back into yet more repression. The world is watching,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo.

However, mobilizing protesters has become a challenge since the raid, with military rulers imposing a widespread Internet blackout.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1518296/middle-east

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Muslim scholars condemn Tunisia twin bombings

Mohamed Sabry Emam Muhammed

29.06.2019

A body of Muslim scholars on Saturday condemned twin suicide bombings that targeted security forces in Tunisia this week.

On Thursday, a bomber blew up himself at a security patrol in the center of capital Tunis, killing a police officer and wounding others, according to the interior ministry.

Another bomber detonated a device at the back door of a police building in the city, wounding four security officers, the ministry said.

The two attacks were claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.

“Assault on the innocents is a criminal act that is criminalized by all religions,” the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/muslim-scholars-condemn-tunisia-twin-bombings/1519045

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South Asia

 

Taliban kill 26 pro-government militia members in Afghanistan

29 June 2019

Local militias often work with overstretched security forces in Afghanistan.

The violence in Baghlan came as the US and the Taliban officials were due to start a new round of talks in Qatar to end the 18-year-long US presence in Afghanistan.

The talks, in its seventh round, have centered on four issues: counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue, and a permanent ceasefire.

US officials have previously said they are hoping for a deal before the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, which have already been delayed twice and are now set for September.

On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an unannounced visit to Kabul and hoped for a peace deal with the Taliban “before September 1”.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/29/Taliban-kill-26-pro-government-militia-members-in-Afghanistan.html

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Most wanted ISIS funder family plots jihadist attacks

June 29, 2019

Following the issuance of Red Notice by Interpol, Islamic State funder Md Shahid Uddin Khan and members of his family have become desperate and reportedly are plotting series of jihadist attacks in Bangladesh and India with the ulterior agenda of taking revenge.

According to a source in London, Md Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters Shehtaz Munasi Khan and Parisa Pinaz Khan also have sought assistance from London Mayor Sadiq Khan in helping them from being deported from the United Kingdom as the family faces several criminal charges including terror-financing, money laundering and dealing in arms in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Interpol already has requested the British authorities to immediately arrest and deport Md Shahid Uddin Khan his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters Shehtaz Munasi Khan and Parisa Pinaz to Bangladesh.

Sitting in London, Khan has been making numerous attempts of establishing Sharia rule in Bangladesh by ousting the democratically elected government. He already has hired several dubious journalists in the West with the agenda of running offensives against the Bangladesh government.

Khan’s sending of anonymous letters exposed

During his stay in Bangladesh, Md Shahid Uddin Khan was sending anonymous letters as well as publishing defamatory contents on the web against several officers of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. Khan was enjoying hidden patronization of few of his course-mates as well as some rogue officials in the army in continuing such notoriety. His residence in Dhaka’s Baridhara residential area had turned into a conspiracy center, where several key officials of the Bangladesh Armed Forces were secretly holding meetings with Shahid Uddin Khan during odd hours. This newspaper has already received several photographs of such secret meetings.

According to sources, Shahid Uddin Khan was sending those anonymous letters with the notorious motive of putting his targets into trouble.

It is further learnt that, ever since he and members of his family became fugitives, Khan had been secretly meeting some of the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces in Dubai while many of those cohorts of Md Shahid Uddin Khan are maintaining regular contacts with him via secured apps.

Khans seek help from ‘influential friends in Bangladesh

Sitting in London, Md Shahid Uddin Khan and his wife Farzana Anjum are regularly contacting several ‘influential friends’ in Bangladesh with the request of helping them in ousting the government. They also are sending various propaganda contents to those individuals with the request of circulating amongst some targeted individuals.

Shahid Uddin Khan contacting his men in Bangladesh

A lawyer of Shahid Uddin Khan in Dhaka told this correspondent that the fugitive terror-funder has been maintaining regular contacts with him while Khan reportedly is telling them that the “days of the current government [in Bangladesh] are numbered”.

The same source added that Khan’s confidante and abettor of most of his crimes, Nurul Islam alias Nazrul Islam and Lance Corporal Akidul Ali are maintaining regular contacts with him. It may be mentioned here that as per directives of Md Shahid Uddin Khan, his accomplices Nazrul and Akidul had gone into hiding.

Jihadist connection of Khans exposed by Bangladesh Police

In 2009, a man named Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, along with his wife Farjana Anjum and daughters Shehtaz Munasi Khan, Parisa Pinaz Khan and Zumana Fiza Khan had entered the United Kingdom with tons of dirty money and had even managed immigrant status under Visa Tier 1, vide VAF No. 511702.

On January 17, 2019, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh Police, based on secret information, raided House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is the Dhaka residence of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan.

This house was allegedly used as a warehouse for arms, explosives and propaganda materials of Islamic State (ISIS).

During the raid, a large volume of weapons, detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency notes and jihadist materials of ISIS were recovered by the CTTC unit.

Following this recovery, three separate cases against ISIS-funder Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana Anjum, daughters and other accomplices were lodged. The cases are Cantonment PS, Case no 10, Section-6(2)/7/11/12 of Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 (amendment 2013); Cantonment PS,  Case no 11, Section-25-A,  Special Power Act 1974; and Cantonment PS, Case no 12, Section-19-A of Arms Act 1878.

Full report at:

https://www.weeklyblitz.net/news/most-wanted-isis-funder-family-plots-jihadist-attacks/

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27 civilians, killed in Taliban attack in Baghlan: MoI

29 Jun 2019

The militants have killed or wounded at least 27 civilians during an attack in northern Baghlan province.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement said the Taliban militants attacked local civilians in Arakosh district on Friday night and killed 25 people.

The statement further added that the Taliban militants also wounded two others during the attack.

Local officials had earlier said the Taliban militants have killed or wounded 40 members of the public uprising forces in Nahrin district.

A senior official in Nahrin district confirmed that the Taliban militants killed 24 members of public uprising forces during the attack.

Furthermore, the Taliban militants wounded 9 other members of the public uprising forces, the official added.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/40-members-of-public-uprising-forces-killed-wounded-in-taliban-attack-in-baghlan-03764/

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Special Forces inflict heavy casualties on Taliban militants in Sarobi of Kabul

29 Jun 2019

The Afghan Special Forces inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban militants during an operation in Sarobi district of Kabul.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement said the Special Forces of the Afghan National Police killed 20 Taliban militants during the operation.

The statement further added that the Special Forces also wounded 5 Taliban militants during the same operation.

Furthermore, the interior ministry said the Special Forces conducted the operation to clear the restive areas of Sarobi of Taliban militants’ presence.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-inflict-heavy-casualties-on-taliban-militants-in-sarobi-of-kabul-03766/

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Taliban’s IED expert blown up by own bomb in Jawzjan province

29 Jun 2019

An explosion in Jawzjan province killed the a key Taliban group member who was expert in improvised explosive devices.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the incident took place in Khanqa district of Jawzjan.

The statement further added that Qari Asadullah, Taliban IED expert was placing a roadside bomb to target the security forces when the explosion took place.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far.

Taliban militants frequently use improvised explosive devices as the weapon of their choice to target the security personnel.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-ied-expert-blown-up-by-own-bomb-in-jawzjan-province-03765/

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Southeast Asia

 

Mega PAS-Umno rally to unite Muslims, say leaders

30 June 2019

BY IDA NADIRAH IBRAHIM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Umno and PAS will meet next month to discuss on the details of a planned mega rally, which will be held to celebrate the political union of the two parties, the Malaysian Insight reported today.

PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the rally would be an important event to signify the cooperation between the two Malay-Muslim parties.

“The main organising committee will have their second meeting next month.

“The message of the gathering is ‘Unity of the Ummah’ to strengthen the Malay and Islamic agenda as well as national unity,” he was quoted by The Malaysian Insight.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the significance of the upcoming rally is to create awareness on the Malay-Muslim solidarity.

“The aim is to mobilise the Malays and Muslims to a gathering to understand the importance of unity among the ummah (believers). 

“There is no other motive for the rally, it’s not to threaten (anyone or any other parties),” he told the English news portal.

Plans for the rally were announced by Umno’s organiser for the event, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, and it is said to be larger than the rally held in protest against the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) on December 8.

He said the charter on Umno-PAS’ cooperation would also be revealed at the rally.

Other Umno leaders were reported to have been in support of the upcoming rally.

Perak Umno liaison chairman Datuk Saarani Mohamad had said the rally was proof that PAS and Umno were able to set aside their rivalry to cooperate with one another, while Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Jalaluddin Alias said it was to prepare for the next general election.

PAS Youth chief Khairil Nizam Khirudin had denied the rally was not about being racist or to uphold a certain race.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/30/mega-pas-umno-rally-to-unite-muslims-say-leaders/1766802

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Umno no longer ‘kafir’? Dr M asks PAS

23 June 2019

BY G. PRAKASH

BANGKOK, June 23 — PAS should first declare Umno an Islamic party before it announces an alliance with the latter that it once branded as “infidels”, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

“My opinion is that PAS, before it starts working together with Umno, should first declare Umno as Islam.

“Previously, PAS said Umno is ‘kafir’ (infidel)... because Umno worked with ‘kafir’ people... but now they (PAS) are not calling Umno ‘kafir’,” he told Malaysian media during a press conference here.

Dr Mahathir is here for the 34th Asean Summit. Earlier today, he attended the 13th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) summit and the 12th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) summit.

PAS yesterday approved a resolution in support of a political alliance with Umno at its 65th annual congress here.

The resolution read out by PAS Ulama information chief Asri Daud comes amid some members indicating that the political cooperation should have some restrictions and conditions.

Asri said there was an urgent need to widen the “taawun” and “tahaluf siyasi” (political cooperation and understanding) approach in current politics as the foundation of strengthening Muslim unity in the nation.

Asri said “taawun” and “tahaluf siyasi” are in line with Islamic demands and the current requirements for strengthening Islamic teachings, expanding “da’wah” (proliferation) and protecting the interests of the people and the nation.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/23/umno-no-longer-kafir-dr-m-asks-pas/1764829

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Philippine army says attack on base likely a suicide bombing

29 June 2019

A bomb attack that killed eight people at a military base in the southern Philippines was likely a suicide bombing, the army said on Saturday, another blow to government efforts to rein in militants inspired by ISIS.

Prime suspects in Friday’s attack on Jolo island was the Abu Sayyaf, a militant group that President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to crush after decades of banditry and kidnapping, and countless attacks on civilian and military targets.

Radical factions of Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to ISIS, which via its Amaq news agency, claimed responsibility for the Friday attack, saying its fighters had infiltrated the base.

It posted a photograph of two young men next to a black flag and wearing vests designed to hold explosives.

“Our main suspect is Abu Sayyaf. They are the only one with motive to sow terror,” said Gerald Monfort, spokesman of Joint Task Force Sulu.

“We recovered parts like head, feet. Both of them are male. We still don’t know if they are foreign or local.”

The bombing killed three soldiers, three civilians plus the two suspected attackers, and wounded 22.

If confirmed, it would be the Philippines’ third suicide bombing in a year, marking a sinister turn in its fight against the militants, who have been joined by fighters from Malaysia

and Indonesia and have capitalized on the south’s jungles, porous borders and abundant arms.

The attacks were all in the Sulu archipelago, Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold, and included a twin bombing of a church on Jolo island in January, which killed 21 people, and a van bomb at a checkpoint on neighboring Basilan island, which killed 11.

Those attacks followed a brazen takeover of Marawi City in 2017 by an alliance of domestic and foreign fighters, who held it through months of ground offensives and air strikes before the military prevailed.

More than 1,000 people were killed, most of them insurgents, and half of the city was destroyed.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government would stop at nothing to thwart extremists.

“We will run after them until they can run no more,” he said.

“The government will harness all its might to destroy the enemies of the state.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/29/Philippine-army-says-attack-on-base-likely-a-suicide-bombing.html

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