Minister Jacinda Ardern led an estimated 5,000 people standing quietly at
Hagley Park in front of the Al Noor mosque, where most of the victims died.
for World Leaders’: Imam Thanks New Zealand PM after Prayers
Weighs Designating Pakistani Militant a Terrorist
Mosque Warned Over 'Kill Ahmadis' Leaflets
Govt to Not Send Representative to Pakistan National Day in Delhi
Groups Join To Fight Hate Ahead Of Indian Election
Faso Forces, Militants Execute Dozens of Civilians: HRW
Says US Recognises Israeli Control of Golan Heights
North Iraq’s Minority Mosaic Blown Apart By Trauma
And OIC Urged To Curb Islamophobia
of Christchurch mosque attacks recount moments of terror
Mosques Vandalized In Central England
police to continue protection of London mosques
funding for Syrian war crimes investigators
militants killed in encounter with Army personnel in J-K’s Baramulla
New Zealand shooting, visitors from India nearly doubled in four years
killed in South Kashmir’s Shopian, search operation underway
Least 30 Migrants Believed Missing After Boat Sinking Off Libya
cities rocked by fresh wave of protest
farmers killed in Boko Haram attack in Nigeria: Witnesses
hopes that pressure on Iran will return Houthis to the political table
Israel, Pompeo Resorts to Iranophobia to Boost Netanyahu’s Reelection Bid
years into US invasion, Iraq carries war traces
soldiers should remain in Iraq: US delegation
envoy Brian Hook: Sanctions are hurting Iran’s $700m support for Hezbollah
calls Hezbollah risk to Middle East stability
says it’s determined to recover Israeli-occupied Golan, slams Trump
killed, mostly women and children, after ferry capsizes on the Tigris river
near Mosul, Iraq
killed in Egypt chemical plant blast, say security sources
force denies report of final ISIS defeat
Dhabi crown prince proposed killing Taliban leaders: Report
Chairman for Mechanism to Implement ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’
& Pakistan Join Forces to Combat Islamophobia
calls on JUI-F chief for one-on-one meeting
convicts two over Mashal Khan blasphemy lynching case
police succeed again, five terrorists with heavy munitions arrested
Killed, 23 Injured in Several Explosions during New Year Festival in Afghan’s
in BD Town Face Fines for ‘Foreign’ Cuts
shooting: NZ sports minister hopes Bangladesh cricket team returns to country
Khurasan militants killed in Nangarhar drone strike: 201st Silab Corps
Special Forces thwart ISIS plot to carry out suicide attacks in Kabul city
in Afghan capital kill 6 during New Year festival
US service members killed in Afghanistan
and Religion Persist In ‘New Malaysia’, Says Suhakam Commissioner
Weak laws behind religious discrimination in Malaysia
minister to attend emergency OIC meeting on NZ mosque attacks
treads tricky path with China's Muslim minorities
Will Boost Defence Capabilities despite US Pressure, Says Khamenei
Heads for Lebanon to Step up Pressure On Iran, Hezbollah
gunfire kills Palestinian in West Bank
FM heads to Istanbul to attend emergency OIC session on NZ massacre
killed in West Bank by Israeli gunfire
blames Houthis for stalling Yemen peace deal
foreign minister arrives in Turkey for Muslim summit
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim call to prayer rang out over Christchurch and around New Zealand on
Friday, as thousands gathered to remember the 50 people killed by a lone gunman
at two mosques a week ago.
Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led an estimated 5,000 people standing
quietly at Hagley Park in front of the Al Noor mosque, where most of the
Zealand mourns with you. We are one," she said in a short speech, followed
by two minutes of silence.
victims of New Zealand's worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from
countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia,
Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
are broken-hearted, but we are not broken. We are alive, we are together, we
are determined to not let anyone divide us," Imam Gamal Fouda told the
gathered crowd, many wearing headscarves in support of the grieving Muslim
the families of the victims, your loved ones did not die in vain. Their blood
has watered the seeds of hope," he said in prayers broadcast nationally.
who swiftly denounced the attack as terrorism, announced a ban on
military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws on
Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one
murder following the Christchurch attack and was remanded without a plea.
is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more
surrounded by ministers and security officials, wore a black headscarf and a
black suit. Female police at the park also wore headscarfs, with a red rose on
their body suit.
a powerful speech that lasted about 20 minutes, Imam Gamal said through its
love and compassion, New Zealand is unbreakable. He thanked Ardern for her
has been a lesson for world leaders," the Imam said about the prime
you for holding our families close and honouring us with a simple scarf,"
said Islamophobia dehumanises Muslims, and called on the world to end hate
speech and the politics of fear.
week's event is proof and evidence to entire world that terrorism has no
colour, race or religion. The rise of white supremacy is a great global threat
to humanity and this must end now," he said.
of people gathered at mosques in Wellington, Auckland and other cities for the
prayers, with many non-Muslims wearing headscarves.
are wearing headscarves showing our support, love and solidarity, and hope that
by everybody doing this it will demonstrate to Muslim women ... that they are
one with us," said Robyn Molony, 65, with a group of friend wearing
headscarves at Hagley Park, where they walked daily.
#headscarfforharmony movement was trending on Twitter.
account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population, most of whom were
not moving on. This grieving is going to take a long time," said
52-year-old Christchurch resident Bell Sibly, who wore a headscarf to show her
what he's done, he was hoping to divide us, and instead, he's brought us all
together in one big hug."
of the victims begun on Wednesday, with a final mass burial expected after
prayers on Friday.
of Christchurch are still recovering from a devastating earthquake that hit in
2011, killing 185 and injured thousands.
the earthquakes, we've gone through a lot as a city and we're a lot more caring
and looking out for one another," said James Sheehan, 62.
European Union is reportedly contemplating designating the leader of Pakistan-based
militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) a terrorist.
EU's decision comes nearly a week after a push by France and India to declare
JeM leader Masood Azhar a terrorist and freeze his assets.
is already a U.S.- and U.N.-designated terror group.
is an Islamist extremist who wants to end Indian control of a portion of the
disputed Kashmir area and merge it with Pakistan. He was born in 1968 in
Pakistan's Punjab province in a Deobandi (Sunni sect) Muslim family.
received his early education in Bahawalpur, Punjab, and later enrolled in
Jamia-ul-Uloom, an Islamic seminary in Karachi, where he became a teacher.
founded Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000 and maintained his affiliation with several
terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hurkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and
Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), all U.S.-designated terror groups.
is believed to be based in the Peshawar region of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
province and in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
received his militant training in Afghanistan in the 1980s and fought Soviet
by jihad decree
reportedly traveled to Afghanistan in 1988 with his brother, Ibrahim Azhar, who
according to analysts played a key role in shaping Masood's religious ideology.
himself mentioned in one of the articles that his inclination towards jihad
started when Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, head of the Karachi Jamia-ul-Uloom at
that time, issued an Islamic decree for students to go and participate in
Afghan jihad," Mujahid Hussain, an author and expert on terror outfits,
was during his time in Afghanistan that Azhar developed a relationship with
al-Qaida and its leadership, and later worked closely with the terror group.
traveled to several countries, including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, India
and Bangladesh, to raise funds and recruit youth toward jihad.
has written over 20 books on Islamic history and the importance of jihad.
current whereabouts are unknown. Some experts in Pakistan believe he is living
in Bahawalpur, a city in southern Punjab.
personally know many people who have met Azhar in Bahawalpur. Azhar reportedly
goes to the mosques, gives sermons and greets people. And he continues to write
for JeM's magazine," Hussain said.
Feb. 5, when various religious parties throughout Pakistan marked Kashmir Day,
an audio clip of Azhar was played during a JeM rally in Karachi. In the audio,
Azhar invited people toward jihad.
determined," he said. "And instead of going one by one, if you all go
out there together as a group, India won't be able to stand us for even one
mosque warned over 'kill Ahmadis' leaflets
mosque has received an official warning after leaflets calling for the killing
of a sect of Muslims were found on display.
of the flyers, which say Ahmadis should face death if they refuse to convert to
mainstream Islam, were found in Stockwell Green mosque.
Charity Commission found the mosque had failed in its duties, and had no
control over literature on display.
mosque in south London has been approached for comment.
BBC investigation found the leaflets were authored by an ex-head of Khatme
Nabuwwat, a group based in Pakistan which lists the mosque as its
a mosque trustee said he had never seen the leaflets before and suggested they
were fakes or had been left there maliciously.
missionary group Khatme Nabuwwat believes Ahmadis are apostates, commonly
defined as people who have abandoned their religion.
leaflets said those who refuse to convert to mainstream Islam within three days
should face a "capital sentence" - or death penalty.
Green mosque claims there is no connection with Khatme Nabuwwat, despite
sharing the same name and evidence suggesting the Pakistani organisation had
control over its Imam.
mosque was unable to disprove its links to the Pakistani organisation,
according to the Charity Commission.
Charity Commission was unable to establish who left the literature at the
mosque, or "whether the literature referred to by the BBC was ever available
from the charity's premises".
also concluded the mosque had no controls over who could leave literature or
host speakers at events.
official warning was issued over the mosque's "failure to ensure that they
comply with charity law".
the warning trustees must take all reasonable steps to ensure that future
statutory accounts and annual returns are submitted on time.
several interventions by the Charity Commission, new rules have since been put
govt to not send representative to Pakistan National Day in Delhi
Indian government will not send any official representative to the Pakistan
National Day event at the Pakistan Mission in New Delhi on Friday.
is learnt that the government decided against sending any representative to the
reception because Pakistan had invited the representatives of the Hurriyat
Conference to the event.
Pakistan National Day is observed every year on March 23, though the Pakistan
high commission had decided to organise the reception this year on March 22.
Indian minister usually represents the government at the event.
downturn in bilateral ties following the Pulwama terror attack last month,
India had formally complained to the Pakistan government about instances of its
diplomats and officials in Islamabad being harassed by security personnel.
a note verbale – an unsigned diplomatic correspondence – submitted to
Pakistan’s foreign ministry on March 18, the Indian high commission in
Islamabad detailed the incidents that occurred last week and sought an
investigation, people familiar with developments said.
of Indians including Christians are on a campaign to popularize a “manifesto
against hate" aiming to block political efforts to garner votes by
dividing citizens on religious lines though hate speeches.
are set to elect members to their 543-seat national parliament in a seven-phase
election from April 11 to May 19. The world’s largest democratic exercise has
almost 900 million eligible voters, an estimated 80 percent of them Hindus.
Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the 2014
election primarily on a plank of pro-Hindu promises, is seeking a second term
covertly campaigning for majority Hindu votes.
election is not about a minority or majority. It is about ensuring the basic
rights of every Indian irrespective of religion,” said Christian leader A.C.
Michael, who has joined the campaign. “We need to ensure secular democratic
rights, working beyond caste, creed and religion.”
a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, represented the United
Christian Forum at a March 18 meeting of 100 civil rights leaders in New Delhi
to discuss ways to popularize the manifesto against hate.
manifesto was prepared by United Against Hate, a confederation of rights group
formed in 2017 after a series of incidents of mob lynchings and violence
targeting religious minorities, tribal and Dalit people.
manifesto demands the revocation of certain laws enacted by the Modi government
that target and discriminate against religious minorities such as Christians
and Muslims. The new government should make a law to prevent violence targeting
particular communities, it says.
and Muslim leaders complain that BJP governments in New Delhi and several
northern states tacitly approve of Hindu groups targeting Christians, Muslims
and socially poor Dalit and tribal people.
atmosphere of intolerance spread across the nation after pro-Hindu groups began
to push for establishing a nation of Hindu hegemony after they took the BJP’s
election victory as a mandate to step up their actions, critics say.
Shaheen, a rights activist and Muslim leader, said his Quill Foundation has recorded
759 hate crimes during the BJP’s five-year rule.
of this proportion are a national crisis … it is being perpetuated in a planned
manner” targeting religious minorities. Hate speeches are “a prominent
constituent of such violence,” he said at the New Delhi meeting.
Relief, an ecumenical Christian forum, claims it recorded 600 incidents in 2017
of violence against Christians, including destruction of churches, threats and
harassment, social boycotts, hate campaigns, abductions, murder, physical
violence and attempted murder.
Sori, a tribal rights activist from Chhattisgarh, told the meeting that they
will work in the villages to help people understand “the time has come to use
votes to choose a person who will fight for our rights and safeguard our
Yadav of Rihai Manch, which fights hate crimes in Uttar Pradesh, pointed out
the need to organize more people to work in villages to counter the hate
propaganda of pro-Hindu groups.
party leader Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India stressed the need to safeguard
India’s composite culture through progressive and secular forces. People need
to stand together against fanatical forces, he said.
(self-rule) was the slogan and movement when Indians, forgetting their
differences of religion, language, caste and culture, stood together against
Faso forces, militants execute dozens of civilians: HRW
Burkina Faso security forces have summarily executed more than 115 civilians
since mid-last year during operations against militants who themselves have
killed over a third of that number, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.
Faso has seen a sharp rise in extremist attacks in the past three months, as
militant groups seek to increase their influence across the Sahel.
Burkinabe government spokesman declined to comment, but said authorities would
issue a statement shortly. None of the multiple militant groups operating in
Burkina Faso could be reached for comment.
documented “the execution by Burkinabe security forces of over 115 men accused
of supporting or harboring the armed Islamists,” as well as 42 killings carried
out by militants of suspected government collaborators.
the violence occurred near the northern borders with Mali and Niger, between
April 2018 and January 2019.
of people have been murdered,” Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights
Watch, said. “Villagers are living in fear as both armed Islamists and
government forces have demonstrated utter disregard for human life.”
Faso has become the latest focal point for a determined regional militant
campaign, seven years after well-armed extremists took over northern Mali in
2012, prompting the French to intervene the following year to push them back.
any evidence of reprisals would present an uncomfortable dilemma for Western
allies such as France and the United States: backing security forces in
countries such as Burkina Faso is key to containing the militant threat, but
that support is meant to be conditional on respect for human rights.
declared a state of emergency in several provinces in December following an
attack by an Al-Qaeda-linked group. The state of emergency was extended by six
months in January after an dozens died in ethnic violence triggered by the
suspected militant killing of a traditional ruler.
of people have fled their homes as a result of militant attacks and reprisals
by Burkinabe forces.
to the HRW report, in the village of Gasseliki, about 230 km north of the
capital Ouagadougou, militants killed 12 people.
kicked the door in, went room to room and found us hiding,” the report quoted a
witness as saying. Reprisals by security forces were mostly carried out by a
detachment of about 100 gendarmes, or military police, based in the town of
Arbinda, since late August, it said.
were from the Fulani ethnic group, whom the militants have targeted heavily for
this month, Burkina Faso acknowledged accusations of abuse, saying the army was
committed to human rights and that it “investigations are ongoing into the
says US recognises Israeli control of Golan Heights
Donald Trump said on Thursday that it's time for the United States to recognize
Israel's control over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals
a shift in US policy and comes ahead of the Israeli prime minister's planned
visit next week to the White House.
administration has been considering recognising Israel's sovereignty over the
Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Last week, in its annual human
rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase “Israeli-occupied” from
the Golan Heights section, instead calling it “Israeli-controlled.”
52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognise Israel's
Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security
importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Trump tweeted.
later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation. “At
a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President
Trump boldly recognises Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you
addition to its policies toward the Palestinians, the US has taken a hard line
toward Iran, much to Netanyahu's delight.
announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Jerusalem, lauding
warm ties with Israel and promising to step up pressure on Iran. Pompeo's words
gave a public boost to the Israeli leader at the height of a tight re-election
campaign. Netanyahu is to be in Washington for two days next week two weeks
before Israel's April 9 ballot.
together in Jerusalem Thursday, neither Netanyahu nor Pompeo mentioned the
heated Israeli election campaign. But Netanyahu, facing a tough challenge from
a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption
allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy
record and strong ties with Trump.
has said his trip has nothing to do with politics.
thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration's strong stance against Iran, which
Israel regards as an existential threat.
Welcome to Golan Heights, where Al Qaeda is helped out by Israeli troops
has accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel
from the Golan Heights, using the incident to repeat his goal of international
recognition for Israel's claim on the area.
could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan,” he
said. “You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.”
paid a solemn visit Thursday to Jerusalem's Western Wall along with Netanyahu
in an apparent sign of support for Israel's control of the contested city.
is the highest-ranking American official to tour the holy site with any Israeli
leader. His visit was likely to further infuriate the Palestinians, who already
have severed ties with the US over its Jerusalem policies.
and Netanyahu prayed at the wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, before
depositing written prayers in its crevices and then touring nearby tunnels and
synagogue. Neither made any public comment at the site.
secretary said he thought it was important to visit the wall with the Israeli leader
as a show of support for Israel.
think it's symbolic that a senior American official go there with a prime
minister of Israel,” he said before making the trip. “It's a place that's
important to many faiths and I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be very
next: US votes against UN censure of Israel over Golan
captured east Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war, and for
decades, US officials refrained from visiting the Western Wall with Israeli
leaders to avoid the appearance of recognising Israeli sovereignty over the
city's most sensitive holy sites. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the
capital of a future state.
the Trump administration has upended the longstanding policy, moving the US
Embassy to Jerusalem last year after recognising the city as Israel's capital.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital.
US officials, including Trump and numerous predecessors, have visited the wall
privately in the past, but never with an Israeli leader.
Old City is home to Jerusalem's most sensitive holy sites, including the
Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus
was entombed and resurrected. Pompeo, a devout Christian, also stopped at the
to the Western Wall is a hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount
and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The spot, which once housed the biblical
Temples, is the holiest site in Judaism and today is home to the Al Aqsa
Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
competing claims to the site are a frequent source of tension and lie at the
heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he said it did not determine
the city's final borders. But the gesture was perceived as unfairly siding with
Israel and prompted the Palestinians to sever ties with the US. The
Palestinians already have rejected a planned Mideast peace initiative by the
Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Pompeo's
visit added additional obstacles to peace hopes. “While they are claiming to be
trying to solve the conflict, such acts only make it more difficult to
resolve,” he said.
previous secretaries of state have traditionally met with the Palestinians when
visiting the region, Pompeo has no such talks planned.
Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side. We need to help them figure out
how to do that,” Pompeo said. “It's a fact, and this administration wishes well
for the Palestinian people.”
addition to the Jerusalem recognition, the administration also has cut hundreds
of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, helping fuel a financial
crisis for Abbas' Palestinian Authority.
a meeting with Pompeo, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin expressed his deep
concern about the Palestinians, both in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and under
the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
the Palestinian Authority will collapse, we will have to take care about what
is going on,” he said.
north Iraq’s minority mosaic blown apart by trauma
For decades, his land was his life. Now, like other Sunni Arab farmers in
Iraq’s diverse north, Mahdi Abu Enad is cut off from his fields, fearing
hails from the mountainous region of Sinjar, which borders Syria and is home to
an array of communities — Shiite and Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and Yazidis.
patchwork was ripped apart when Daesh rampaged across the area in 2014, and has
not reconciled even long after Iraqi forces ousted IS in 2017.
whose men Daesh killed en masse and whose women and girls were enslaved by the
group, say they have suffered the most.
accuse their Sunni Arab neighbors of granting the extremists of Daesh a
foothold in Sinjar.
Sunni Arabs, on the other hand, slam the sweeping accusation as unfair and say
looting and the threat of retaliatory violence have kept them from coming home.
stand accused of belonging to IS (Daesh) because they settled in Sunni areas,
but IS doesn’t represent Sunnis,” said Abu Enad, displaced from his hometown to
Al-Baaj since 2014.
all lost our livelihoods. It’s been four years since we cultivated our land
because we fear for our lives,” he said.
2017, Human Rights Watch said Yazidi armed groups reportedly abducted and
executed 52 Sunni Arab civilians in retaliation for Daesh abuses.
similar abuses, Abu Enad still lives about 10 km from his farm, and was only
able to tend to it during planting season with a paramilitary escort.
had to leave at 4:00 p.m. every day because the situation was not safe enough.
So how could you come back with your family to resume farming and living here?”
Iraq, around a third of the population relies on farming to survive, and the
ratio was even higher in Sinjar.
centuries, the region’s diverse farmers jointly sold their fig and wheat
harvests in the provincial capital of Mosul, 120 km to the east.
in the wake of Daesh, farming equipment was stolen, orchards burned, and rubble
stuffed into irrigation wells.
the area’s once-lush farming hamlets have been reduced to ruined ghost towns,
with most Arab villages including Abu Enad’s left flattened.
few kilometers to the north, the main town of Sinjar is also still rubble, with
little power, water, or health services available.
few thousand Yazidi families have come back, but tens of thousands more are
still stuck in displacement camps elsewhere in Iraq and Syria, while others
fled to Europe.
more than 3,000 Yazidis remain missing, many of them believed to be women and
girls taken as sex slaves.
has made it difficult for the community to forgive or forget the mass crimes
Arabs of Sinjar were involved in the abduction of our women,” said Yazidi
cleric Sheikh Fakher Khalaf.
betrayed the co-existence we had, so they can no longer live among us,” said
Khalaf, who returned home to Sinjar after three years of displacement.
who have done nothing, we respect them. But those who have blood on their
hands, they must face justice. Sinjar is not a place for them.”
local initiatives have made minimal progress on reconciliation, but efforts
have not gone far enough, said the Norwegian Refugee Council.
are seeing plans to rebuild and rehabilitate some parts, but we’re not seeing
any concrete process toward reconciliations,” said spokesman Tom Peyre-Costa.
called for more dialogue between communities, transparent and fair trials, and
accountability for all perpetrators of crimes.
courts have tried hundreds for belonging to Daesh, handing down at least 300
who used to be able to live together are not able to do so anymore because of
the tension between communities, so this is why reconciliation must be
prioritized,” he said.
the communal fissures in Sinjar are particularly deep, the challenge of
rebuilding trust after Daesh is one faced across Iraqi society.
Sunnis with perceived ties to Daesh undergo tough screening processes to return
to their hometowns, where they sometimes face harassment.
Enad, the displaced farmer, still hopes that Sinjar can return to its
Sunnis have been hurt by Daesh like Yazidis were hurt,” he said.
want to come back to our land so we can farm and live off the fruits of our
labor alongside them.”
and OIC urged to curb Islamophobia
moot held on Thursday by a non-government organisation, demanded the
international community and the UN to unequivocally condemn the rise in
round-table discussion titled, “Islamophobia: prevailing trends and measures”
highlighted prevailing trends of Islamophobia and aimed to suggest possible
remedial measures. Islamophobia was defined as an increasing prejudice against
Islam and Muslims. Distinguished speakers present on the occasion included
Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq, renowned expert on international laws, Ahmer Bilal
Soofi, former law minister, Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, Muslim Institute
Chairman, Sahibzada Ameer Sultan, Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Prof Dr
Tughral Yamin, Dr Sarwat Rauf from National University of Modern Languages
(NUML), former ambassador, Amir Anwar Shadani, South Asian Strategic Stability
Institute (SASI) Director General, Dr Maria Sultan, Dr Bakare Najimdeen and Prof
Dr Muhammad Khan from International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).
can be categorized into two broad categories: private and structural. While
private Islamophobia relates to prejudice manifested against individual
Muslims, which was inspired by right-wing ideologies, structural Islamophobia
represents the fear of Muslims exhibited by foreign governments. Such fears are
manifested through the enactment of laws as well as strict actions against
Islam. Governments facilitate actions through state-sponsored policies or at
least under government directives. Hence, hampering the process of peace across
has emerged as one of the most unfortunate realities of the 21st century.
Muslims across the world have been subject to worst forms of discrimination and
terrorism because of their religion. The menace of Islamophobia is widening the
gap between the Muslim communities and the West. This grave issue cannot be
merely addressed by condemnation, but additionally requires a thorough analysis
to helps chalk out remedial measures.
Islamophobia has unfortunately existed since long, the post-9/11 misinformation
campaign played a significant role in the exacerbation of prejudice against
activists, media, publishing industry and politicians have all cast Islam as a
University of Huddersfield, UK’s Dr Leonie Jackson wrote in her 2017 book,
‘Islamophobia in Britain: The Making of a Muslim Enemy’,
2001, Muslims in Britain have been constructed as the nation’s
significant’other’ – an internal and external enemy that threatened both social
cohesion and national security.” Spreading of Islamophobic content by media and
publishing industry is adding fuel to the fire due to constant exposure of
non-Muslims to years of news coverage, TV shows, movies as well as books and
journal articles filled with political rhetoric and misrepresentation of
Muslims and Islam as “bad” and “evil.”
reason behind the increased hostility was the language used by political
leaders against Muslims. Following the end of the discussion, speakers
highlighted remedial measures.
emphasised that digital and social media, as well as the publishing industry,
should be held accountable for the dissemination of non-factual and
discriminatory content and information. The true image of Islam should be
brought forward, which remained the values of peace, tolerance and harmony as
advocated by Sufis for centuries. Civil groups should also play an active role
in spreading this true image of Islam.
international legal framework should be introduced in this regard to address
not just Islamophobia but all types of religious discrimination. Muslim
leadership needs to be galvanized in countering Islamophobia via political and
diplomatic channels. Scholars and academia should make a conscious effort to
tackle and counter the right-wing ideologies, including the notorious Clash of
and research studies should also be presented to international organizations
like the OIC and UN for further consideration and action.
survivors of the Christchurch terror attacks spoke about their close encounter
with the terrorist who targeted two mosques on Friday morning, and their
Arabiya spoke with the survivors of the attacks which killed at least 50 people
and injured dozens others.
al-Saleh, a resident of Christchurch, said that he arrived at the mosque while
the imam was delivering the Friday sermon but he had to go to the toilet to
perform ‘wudu’ (ritual washing performed by Muslims before prayer) when he
heard the gunshots. He first thought they were firecrackers.
then heard heavy gunfire and realized it was a terror attack. I tried calling
the police but the lines were busy,” al-Saleh said, adding that he called the
ambulance for help.
ambulance department told him to remain calm and keep his cellular phone silent
and not speak with anyone until the police arrives at the scene. The police
arrived around 20 minutes later, said al-Saleh.
wife had called him to check on him as he waited for the police. While
policemen escorted him out of the toilet to take him to a secure place outside
the mosque, he saw around six bodies on the floor.
thanked God that he survived the attack and said what happened was tragic and
shocking. He also thanked New Zealand authorities for all their help and
Mohammed, another survivor of the attack at Al-Noor Mosque, told Al-Arabiya.net
that there were around 500 people inside the mosque when the attack happened.
from Afghanistan, said he saw the gunman enter from the mosque’s main door and
open fire on everyone, adding that he saw people get shot so he tried to escape
from another door but was shot in his leg.
mosques vandalized in central England
officers in central England are investigating attacks on five mosques in which
windows were apparently shattered by a sledgehammer.
attacks in Birmingham are being treated as linked. No motive has been
incidents in Birmingham come just days after an attacker killed 50 worshippers
in two mosques in New Zealand. The attack last week prompted many leaders in
the UK to reach out to Muslims and offer support and reassurance.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid says that the Birmingham attacks are “deeply
a tweet, Javid stressed that “hateful behavior has absolutely no place in our
society & will never be accepted.”
police will continue to protect mosques in London during Friday prayers and
keep a communicative approach with faith leaders, a Metropolitan Police
commander said Thursday.
thoughts throughout the week have been with all those affected by the attacks
in New Zealand and I’m proud that the reaction of Londoners has once again been
to stand together in the face of this display of extremism, hate and
terrorism,” Commander Marc McEwan said in a statement.
underlined that “since the terror attack in New Zealand last week the Met
Police has been working closely with local Muslim communities, faith leaders
and with partners to provide reassurance via increased patrols, regular
engagement, and providing security advice.”
teams in London protected mosques last week during Friday prayers after mayor
Sadiq Khan’s order following the deadly terror attack in two mosques in New
approach will continue tomorrow as well as over the week ahead with policing
tailored in response to local community concerns and needs,” McEwan said.
has specifically taken into account Friday prayers and vigils in response to
the attack in New Zealand,” he said, adding: “There continues to be no
intelligence linking the appalling events in Christchurch with the U.K.,
however we understand how some people will be feeling concerned and
Met’s absolute priority is to keep the public safe,” he said.
mosques have been vandalised as their windows were broken overnight and
Thursday morning, according to a statement from British police.
British government boosted its support on Thursday for United Nations-backed
investigators that collect evidence of human rights violations committed during
Syria’s devastating eight-year civil war.
Braithwaite, the UK’s ambassador to the UN, signed an agreement with the head
of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) pledging to
fund and work with the organisation.
IIIM is key to the efforts to hold those responsible for the crimes committed
in Syria to account,” Mr Braithwaite wrote on Twitter.
does the IIIM do?
in 2016, the IIIM has a mandate to “to collect, consolidate, preserve and
analyse evidence” of human rights violations in the war-torn country, a
statement on its website reads.
IIIM cannot as a body bring criminal proceedings against suspected war
criminals itself, it has been set up to co-operate with prosecutors in
national, regional and international courts.
head Catherine Marchi-Uhel told Reuters earlier this month that her office had
received 15 requests for assistance from prosecution authorities in five
is estimated that between 370,000 and 400,000 people have been killed because
of the conflict, which began in 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for
Human Rights and UN agencies. Exact figures are difficult to establish because
the Syrian government have restricted access to many areas of the country.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory estimates that 112,000 civilians have died,
some of whom were caught up in air strikes, bombardment of their homes and
chemical weapons attacks. The UN has publicly accused the Syrian government of
using chemical weapons against its own people on multiple occasions.
attempts to hold the Syrian regime to account for its crimes have been
challenging because Syria is not a signatory to the International Criminal
it is possible for the ICC to investigate international crimes in other
countries if requested by a member of the UN Security Council, US efforts to
bring Syria before the court in 2014 were vetoed by Bashar Al Assad’s allies,
Russia and China.
in March, victims of the Syrian government’s brutality were offered a glimmer
of hope as British lawyers used a previous ICC ruling regarding Rohingya refugees
who had fled to Bangladesh to file the first cases against President Assad.
court found in September that it had jurisdiction over the case even though
Myanmar is not a signatory of the ICC because the crime happened in Bangladesh,
which is a member.
lawyers are representing 28 Syrian refugees who claim to have been forced to
flee to Jordan by Assad’s forces.
militants were killed and three Army personnel, including an officer, were
injured in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s in Baramulla district on
Thursday, a defence spokesman said.
terrorists have been eliminated in Nambalnar operation in Kalantara area of
Baramulla,” Srinagar-based Defence Spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said. He said
the encounter was in progress.
Kalia said an officer and two soldiers were injured in the operation.
injured personnel have been sent to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital at Badamibagh
Cantonment in Srinagar.
forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area earlier in the day
based on information on the presence of terrorists here.
terrorists had opened fire on the security forces, who retaliated, triggering a
gun battle, he said.
by Shubhajit Roy
deaths of five Indian nationals among the 50 killed in the Christchurch
terrorist attack has brought into focus another set of numbers that reveals how
New Zealand is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for visitors
from India — they add up to a 93 per cent hike in the last four years.
for its beautiful locales, quality of higher education, low corruption and
clean air, New Zealand has a population of 47 lakh of which around 2 lakh are
Indians and those of Indian origin. But it’s the number of Indians visiting the
country that’s telling.
to data available with the New Zealand government, 34,672 Indian nationals
visited New Zealand between September 2013-October 2014. This number has since
increased steadily and now stands at 67,072 between September 2017 and October
70 to 80 per cent visit New Zealand for vacationing, and visiting family and
friends, the remaining 20 per cent is linked to business, education and
data also show that India is the second largest source of students to the
country — after China — with over 30,000 Indian students. And in 2018, India was
ranked ninth among the top 10 countries in terms of visitors to New Zealand,
which includes all nationalities. Australia, China and the US were the top
three “source countries”.
Zealand is a hot destination for Indians. Students go there for high-quality
global education,” says Deepali Patel, a licensed immigration advisor for New
I have to use the word comparatively after the latest incident in Christchurch,
it is a very safe and peaceful place. For girls who travel alone, it is very
safe. There is no racial discrimination there,” she says.
number of students, however, has dropped in the last few years, particularly in
the second half of 2016 and in 2018, due to tighter rules and monitoring of
student visa applications from India.
to Patel, New Zealand “wants high quality students”, and it is offering a good
deal for those who want to do their Masters and PhDs. “The spouse gets work
visa, and a child above 5 years is treated as a domestic student, which means
that its education is almost free,” says Patel, who was earlier with the New
Zealand High Commission’s visa section.
Garg, another New Zealand government-licensed immigration advisor, says that
before the year 2000, New Zealand was not high on the radar. “The Bollywood
movie, ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hai’, which was shot in New Zealand, changed that. After
that, tourists started going there,” Garg said.
is clean air, no crowds, only sheep and cows if one drives for miles, so there
is solitude. And it is very immigrant-friendly. I recently came across a
well-off Delhi-based businessman, who wants to migrate since his children are
suffering due to air pollution,” says Garg, who was also with the High
Commission’s visa section.
2016, New Zealand was ranked second in the Ease of Doing business index, and in
2018 was ranked the second least corrupt country in the world according to
Transparency International. It also ranks first in political freedoms,
according to international rankings.
militant was killed on Friday in an encounter between militants and security
forces in South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Shopian’s Imam Sahib area is still under Cordon and search operation is
tweet from Kashmir police range this morning read: “Exchange of fire at
#ImamSahib #Shopian. Area under Cordon. Details will follow. @JmuKmrPolice.”
a separate incident, an encounter between militants and security forces has
started in Warpora area of Sopore in North Kashmir. A cordon and search
operation was going on in Warpora area, said police.
Thursday, two separate encounters broke out between militants and security
forces in Baramulla and Bandipora district of north Kashmir. Two civilians were
held hostage by militants in the Bandipora encounter of which one of was
are on to rescue the other civilian, reportedly a minor, who is held hostage by
militants,” police said.
least 30 migrants believed missing after boat sinking off Libya
least 30 migrants are believed to be missing after their boat sank off the
western Libyan city of Sabratha this week, a coastguard spokesperson said on
to a survivor, the boat was carrying almost 50 migrants, coastguard
spokesperson Ayoub Qassem said. The body of one child was recovered, and 16
migrants were rescued, he added.
officials had said that at least 10 migrants were thought to have died in the
western coast is one of the main departure point for migrants trying to reach
Europe, though numbers have dropped since an Italian-led effort to disrupt
smuggling networks and support Libya’s coast guard.
demonstrations resumed Thursday in Khartoum and in several other Sudanese
cities, the Sudanese Professional Association, a major trade union that has led
the protests for the last three months, said in statement.
to witnesses, protests erupted Thursday in more than 20 districts of the
capital, with demonstrators chanting slogans against President Omar al-Bashir
and his ruling National Congress Party.
of people took to the streets of Khartoum in the Burri, Sahafa, Shambat, Oshara
and Shagara neighborhoods, among others,” one witness told Anadolu Agency.
to the same witness, who spoke anonymously due to security concerns, similar
demonstrations also occurred in Omdurman’s Old City district.
witness in Khartoum’s Burri district, also insisting on anonymity, said police
had used “excessive force” to disperse protesters, including the use of teargas
parliament, meanwhile, censured calls by some opposition groups to boycott
talks with the government.
a statement, the assembly accused the “Sudan Call” -- an umbrella grouping of
opposition movements -- of “jeopardizing the country’s peace and stability”.
Wednesday evening, the Sudan Call announced plans to halt all talks with the
government until it was prepared to hand over the reins of power.
has witnessed more than three months of nationwide protests, with demonstrators
demanding al-Bashir’s resignation.
farmers were killed in an attack by Boko Haram insurgents in northeast
Nigeria's Borno state, witnesses said here.
attack came a day after the jihadists killed three people in a raid in
neighbouring Adamawa state.
in trucks on Tuesday opened fire on the farmers as they worked in their fields
outside Lassa village on the fringes of the group's Sambisa forest enclave.
lost four of our kinsmen to Boko Haram who came around 2:00 pm (1300 GMT)
yesterday and shot them dead in their farm outside the village," Adamu
Galadima, a militia leader assisting the military to fight the Islamists, said
(Boko Haram) tried to enter the village but our vigilantes mobilised and chased
them away," he said.
Danjuma Ijaduwa who gave a similar account, told AFP the attack was a reprisal
after the jihadis incurred heavy losses the previous day.
Tuesday, vigilantes in Lassa laid an ambush on Boko Haram fighters as they fled
a military pursuit.
insurgents were retreating to Sambisa forest after an attack on Michika town in
Adamawa state where they killed three and robbed a bank.
said the jihadists lost men and equipment in the attack by vigilantes and
Lassa area which lies near Sambisa forest has been repeatedly attacked.
Haram militants have repeatedly targeted farmers, loggers and herders, accusing
them of passing information to the military and the pro-government militia
Haram's decade-long uprising to establish a hardline Islamic state in remote
northeast Nigeria has killed more than 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran provides not only resources
but also missiles to Houthis, adding that he hopes pressure on Iran will
convince Houthis to return to the political table, in an exclusive interview
with Al Arabiya on Thursday.
his time in Jerusalem, Pompeo told Al Arabiya: “We’re very hopeful that this
pressure will convince the Houthis that they need to return to the political
table, they need to have a discussion, they cannot win this militarily, and
we’re determined to ensure that order is restored in Yemen.”
on whether he believes that Iran instructed the Houthis from the Stockholm
Agreement, Pompeo said that he believes that there’s very little that Houthis
do without directions from Khomeini and Soleimani.
part of Pompeo’s tour was a visit to Lebanon, where Hezbollah, enlisted by the
US as a terrorist group, is part of the government.
want good things for the people of Lebanon. It’s a once truly proud successful
economic powerhouse. It can be that again. It can’t do so with terrorists as
part of their government,” he said.
also spoke of a plan that will soon be presented by the US for a solution
between Palestinians and Israelis, saying that the US wants a better life for
Palestinians and that soon “the whole world will see how America is thinking
Israel, Pompeo resorts to Iranophobia to boost Netanyahu’s reelection bid
a trip to the occupied Palestinian territories ahead of Israeli general
elections, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has vowed to step up pressure
against Iran in an apparent bid to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
retain his position.
and Netanyahu said during a joint press conference on Wednesday that they were
going to use all in their power to counter what they referred to as the Iranian
such threats a daily reality of Israeli life, we maintain our unparalleled
commitment to Israel's security and firmly support your right to defend
yourself," said the top US diplomat.
claimed that the US-led anti-Iran conference in the Polish capital of Warsaw
last month, which was attended by Israel and some Arab nations, was focused
mainly on exploring possible options "to stop Iran's regional
meeting turned into an embarrassing failure for Washington as many countries
either refused to attend or decided to send low-level officials to show their
discontent with Trump's Iran policy.
and the US have been desperately looking for ways to end Iran’s influence in
the Middle East region, where it has helped the Iraqi and Syrian governments
purge foreign-backed terrorists from most of their territories.
US President Donald Trump has chosen to drop out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal
and impose more economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic to force Tehran to
leave Syria and Iraq, Tel Aviv has chosen a more direct path by mounting
numerous attacks against Syrian government positions that it claims are being
used by Iranian military advisers.
Pompeo, Netanyahu reiterated his pledge to prevent Iranian advisers’ presence
in Syria and thanked the Trump administration for its support.
is no limitation to our freedom of action, and we appreciate very much the fact
that the United States backs up our actions as we do them," Netanyahu
regional tour is focused largely on Iran, but his meeting with Netanyahu has
been viewed as a move to help Netanyahu with his re-election fight, especially
since he has turned down requests to meet with the Israeli premier’s political
a stiff competition from a centrist alliance in April 9 polls while under
threat of indictment for corruption, Netanyahu is slated to arrive in
Washington next week, where he will meet Trump twice.
said before touching down in Tel Aviv that his trip to Israel was not related
to politics, arguing that the "relationship matters, no matter who the
NATO’ alliance against Iran
who planned to travel to Lebanon next, began his regional tour in Kuwait where
he met Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to discuss the Middle East Strategic
Alliance (MESA), a NATO-style bloc aimed at uniting Washington's Arab allies
in Mideast to corner Iran but Tehran not cowed
has called on Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both members of MESA, to end their
ongoing political dispute, where Riyadh and some of its regional allies –
including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—have boycotted Doha since
2017 for funding terrorism and maintaining close ties to Iran.
denies the allegations and says the rival states aim to incite regime change in
Israeli parliamentary elections also start the countdown to the presentation of
an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that Trump has long been referring to as the
“deal of the century.”
product of a Whit House team led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the deal
is said to be strongly pro-Israeli.
had announced ahead of the trip that he would not meet with representatives of
the Palestinian Authority to discuss peace talks.
PA has cut all ties with Washington in the wake of several hostile moves by the
Trump administration, including cutting most of the US aid to the UN agency for
Palestinian refugees and the American president’s decision in December 2017 to
recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.
decision caused uproar among Palestinians, who say the eastern part of the city
will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
would also make a stop at the new US embassy in al-Quds during the two-day
trip is also overshadowed by a controversial decision by the White House to
change the wording it uses to refer to Golan Heights, Syrian territories that
have fallen under Israeli control in 1967.
the UN refuses to recognize the area as Israeli territory, Washington has
announced that it will refer to the Golan Heights as
"Israeli-occupied" and calls the territory seized from Syria
"controlled" by Israel.
move has been viewed by observers as a prelude to full recognition of the
strategic plateau as Israeli land.
16 years have passed since a coalition led by the U.S. and the U.K. invaded
Iraq on the pretext Saddam Hussein's had biological weapons, the traces of war
are still fresh in the war-ravished country.
Iraqi people, who were fed up with 13- year-long sanctions prior to the
invasion, were promised "democracy" and "stability", hence
the operation was titled "Operation Iraqi Freedom".
sectarian conflicts and acts of terrorism that emerged after the invasion led
to the death of tens of thousands of civilians, and the spending of billions of
dollars. It also triggered an environment in which the terror group Daesh
a view to getting the support of other countries to invade Iraq, Washington and
London claimed Saddam developed nuclear weapons that could be used as weapons
of mass destruction.
can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability
to rapidly produce more, many more," former U.S. State Secretary Colin
Powell said Feb. 5, 2003, at the UN Security Council (UNSC).
President George W. Bush, between 2001-2003, sought to justify the invasion by
preparing reports regarding Baghdad's possession of weapons of mass
to the allegations, UN investigators in Iraq did not find any traces of
biological weapons. Then, the U.K and the U.S. invaded without the approval of
the UNSC, violating the international laws.
March 17, 2003, Bush gave 48 hours to Saddam and his family to leave Iraq and
said he would take military action if they did not exit the county. On March
19, coalition forces announced the commencement of the operation.
forces in Iraq gained control Baghdad on April 9 and toppled the statue of
Saddam located in Firdos Square. Meanwhile, Saddam had reportedly escaped
Baghdad. On May 1, Bush stated the majority of the warfare in Iraq was
the operations were ongoing, the UNSC adopted a resolution recognizing the
invasion right of the U.S and the U.K on May 22. Hussein was captured Dec. 13,
2003, while hiding underground in Tikrit, northwest of Baghdad. Meanwhile, many
of Hussein's family and high-profile members of the Baath regime fled to
April 2004, prisoners tortured by the U.S. forces in Abu Ghraib prison in
Baghdad were covered by the global media, unveiling the truth about the damage
and chaos Iraqis suffered.
Jun. 28, 2004, the U.S. abolished the temporary administration and Paul Bremer,
who led the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), left Iraq.
first general elections were held Jan. 30, 2005, which was boycotted by the
Sunni Arabs of Iraq. Shia Arabs in the country captured the government and
Jalal Talabani became the first Kurdish president of Iraq.
2005, the federal structure was adopted in Iraq and Kurds were given
"Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government" (KRG).
which was triggered following the invasion, soon transformed into a civil war.
The turning point of the sectarian civil war began Jan. 22, 2006, when the
Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra -- one of the holiest sites for Shia sect -- was
Nouri al-Maliki, who is known for his sectarian policies, announced he formed
the government May 20, 2006.
being tried for some three years, Hussein was executed Dec. 30, 2006.
Jan 10, 2007, Washington announced it would send an additional 20,000 troops to
Iraq where the violence continued with momentum. On Feb. 27, 2009, President
Barrack Obama said U.S. troops would withdraw from Iraq by late 2011.
troops left Iraq May 22, 2011 and U.S. troops left Dec. 18 same year.
Maliki's eight-year term, the country turned into a bloodbath with terror
attacks and sectarian conflicts. Therefore, war-weary Iraqis fled to other
to "Iraqcountybody", an independent organization studying Iraqi
Health Ministry's data, more than 100,000 civilians were killed between
2003-2011 due to conflict-related reasons. The same organization said the
civilian death toll reached 200,000 in 2018.
driver Abdulwahed Ebrahim, 67, who was living in Baghdad when the sectarian
tension peaked, said: "Sectarianism and sectarian war occurred with the
arrival of the U.S. Haifa street [in Baghdad] was called 'death street' back
then. I lost my son Omar to the sectarian war."
said Iraqis could only enjoy relief after the U.S. troops left the country. But
he added, "there is no stability in the country."
of "invasion" and "liberation"
Mohammed Hashem, an Iraqi living in Baghdad, said: "March 20 is equal to
the date of destruction and invasion. I lost many people I knew to the
sectarian war. Our social and economic life was disrupted,” he said. “The
invasion brought nothing but war, sectarianism and damage."
political analysist Ali Suhayl said the U.S. claimed it would bring democracy
and freedom to Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein regime.
that never happened. There is no such thing as freedom in Iraq now. The U.S.
brought a false democracy. Dominant parties of Iraq [referring to Shia] can
easily manipulate the election," he stated.
and collapsed system"
Zeya, 40, an interpreter living in Turkey, said: "I was in Iraq on April
14, 2003, a short while after the fall of Baghdad. There was literally no
system in the country, it was total chaos with no policemen or any state
officials around to provide security."
15th, when I entered Kirkuk, there was this nice April rain and lovely trees
around. But I could see some buildings burning as a result of plundering around
in the city."
Zeya, 36, Murad's wife, said the instability in the country peaked following
the U.S. invasion. "Men would wait on the streets and women would protect
their houses against any possible plundering, which was the result of the fall
of central administration."
terror and 5 million internally displaced Iraqis
May 2014, the second Shia administration assumed power. Haider al-Abadi, known
for his moderate views compared to Maliki, was elected prime minister.
occupation" and "financial crisis" were among the most
challenging troubles the fresh premier faced.
groups in Iraq thrived due to the chaos, corruption and sectarian policies in
the country. Daesh terror group quickly spread in the regions where Sunni
Muslims were the majority. Daesh seized Mosul, Iraq's second largest province,
without encountering any resistance Jun. 10, 2014.
gained dominance in one-third of Iraq, having a superior presence in Mosul,
Anbar, Saladin and some parts of Diyala and Kirkuk.
by the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi forces recaptured Tikrit. In 2016, Iraqi
forces gained control in Anbar's Fallujah.
battle in Mosul was more challenging, it took nine months for the Iraqi
authorities to take it back from Daesh terrorists. However, Mosul turned into a
"ghost city" following intense clashes.
Dec. 18, 2017, Abadi announced Daesh presence in Iraq was eradicated. Some five
million Iraqis became internally displaced people. The cost of destruction in Mosul,
Anbar and Saladin amounted to some $80 billion. Furthermore, tens of thousands
of civilians lost their lives due to Daesh atrocities.
on the verge of division
Iraq was ravaged by terrorism, Masoud Barzani, the former president of Kurdish
Regional Government, sought to draw apart from the central administration via
"independence referendum" held Sept. 25, 2017.
government shifted military forces to Kirkuk and controversial territories,
then the peshmerga presence in Kirkuk ceased to exist after 14 years.
following the political developments, Barzani announced he was stepping down
from the presidency of KRG on Oct. 29.
US troops in Iraq
Obama’s withdrawal decision in late 2011, the U.S. army returned to Iraq in 2014
as Iraqi forces and peshmerga struggled to fight Daesh.
U.S. troops in Iraq should stay as the part of the international coalition
fight against the Daesh terror group, an American delegation said Wednesday.
U.S. delegation led by congressman John Garamendi met top Iraqi officials,
including premier Adil Abdul-Mahdi, parliament speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi and
Kurdish leader Nechirvan Barzani on Wednesday, according to statement.
military servicemen give support for Iraqi security forces by the request of
Iraqi government, and they should remain in Iraq as the part of international
coalition in order to completely remove Daesh,” the statement said.
a meeting with Garamendi Tuesday, the head of Iraqi Kurdish Regional
Government, Barzani, emphasized the importance of the U.S. military presence to
prevent the threat of terrorism.
U.S. military presence has been a hot issue in Iraq. Some parties want the U.S.
removed from the country and 55 Iraqi lawmakers tabled a motion to the
parliament for a decision.
U.S. occupied Iraq in 2003 with 165,000 troops until December 2011, after which
then-U.S. President Barack Obama ordered all troops withdrawn from Iraq.
Trump administration told The National that it is seeing an impact from its
sanctions on Iran in constraining its estimated annual $700 million budget for the
Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making his first visit to Lebanon on Friday,
the US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, told The National in an
exclusive interview from the State Department, that Washington is determined to
keep up the pressure on Hezbollah.
Hook said the message to the Lebanese government is that Hezbollah is a
“terrorist organisation [designated by the US in 1997] that is holding back the
lives and creating a safety risk for the Lebanese people in its dedication to a
war with Israel”.
said that Washington “is not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers” when
it comes to the energy sanctions enforced on Iran since November. Instead he
pointed to momentum following the recent Warsaw conference in setting up
working groups with Arab states, Europeans and Israel to counter the Iranian
threat on several levels.
Hook did not comment on President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israeli
sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.
said that Hezbollah had enjoyed a huge inflow of funding from Iran but this was
now strained. “We know historically that Iran has given Hezbollah an average of
$700 million a year; that money we believe is better spent on Iranian people,”
average Hezbollah fighter makes more money than an Iranian firefighter,” the US
official added, accusing Iran of trying to create “Shiite corridor” through a
web of paramilitary organisations it funds and controls from Baghdad to Beirut.
have seen evidence of the impact [of the sanctions] when the leader of
Hezbollah [Hassan Nasrallah] makes a public appeal for charity.
speaks for itself. This is the kind of impact that we want,” he added.
his most recent public speech this month, Mr Nasrallah urged his support base
to donate money for the group to reverse the tightening grip of sanctions. But
the US is believed to be preparing for more sanctions on the party, and will be
warning the Lebanese government on funds going to Hezbollah's budget through
the three government ministries that it controls.
about Iran’s continued expansion and deep influence in the region despite the
sanctions, Mr Hook said it “has only been 11 months” and pointed to a current
“radically different approach from what previous administrations have taken.”
know that we have denied the [Iranian] regime even in the short amount of time
many billions of dollars in revenue,” he said. “Getting out of the [nuclear]
deal gives us enormous leverage over the regime to change its behaviour.”
when asked about oil smuggling between Iraq and Iran, Mr Hook said the Trump
administration was “in talks with any government where we see sanctions
violations or even potential sanctions violations”.
are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers from our campaign,” the
Hook said there is no change in the US mission to Syria, despite questions
about how the US can counter Iran’s influence and presence there while also
planning to withdraw from the country and leave a only small force of 400
personnel in the country. “We have a change in tactics. Troop levels go up and
down as circumstances dictate,” he said. At the moment, he added, the US “is
looking for others to help, and we will complete the mission using different
added that Iran’s presence will affect US decisions on where and how many
troops it leaves in Syria. “We do take into account Iran’s role in Syria when
we discuss US presence … we are also committed to ensuring that troops under
Iranian command are out of Syria is part of an irreversible political process,”
he said, calling it an “incentive for both the Russians and the Syrians to want
the same goal.” Mr Hook warned that “as long as Iran is using Syria as a
platform for war against Israel, Syria will not be stable.”
US envoy said the strategy against Iran was helping to unite countries in the
region. “It is also the case that Iran’s foreign policy is doing an excellent
job of bringing Arabs and Israelis closer together … we saw that in Warsaw.”
the post-Warsaw phase, Mr Hook spoke of working groups being set up “at the
expert level to include the Gulf states and all those who were invited to
Poland", including Israel. He said they would be tasked to “counter Iran’s
maritime aggression, cyber attacks, terrorism finance, missile testing and
the Senate vote to end a US combat role in the Yemen conflict, Mr Hook did not
comment on what would happen if that legislation becomes a law. “That day may
or may not come. I don’t comment on legislations.” The bill is expected to pass
a House vote in the next two weeks, but Mr Trump’s advisers said he would veto
US envoy also warned of Iran’s “vastly under-reported role in Yemen”.
have given the Houthis hundreds of millions of dollars” since the war began in
2015, he said.
has no legitimate interest in Yemen. The Houthis are being used. The same
Shiite fighters’ sect [Zaidi] that [Iran] is funding in Yemen, they
discriminate against them in Iran.”
the US, he stressed that “we will not allow Iran to do in Yemen what it has
done in Lebanon by becoming a power broker and having a paramilitary
organisation that threatens the Gulf region”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described Hezbollah on Wednesday as a risk to
Middle East stability and conferred with Israel about the heavily armed,
Iranian-backed Lebanese group ahead of a trip to Beirut.
who has been on a regional tour to promote the Trump administration’s hard tack
against Iran, received a warning from Israel which worries it may again be in
the sights of Hezbollah forces winding down their intervention in Syria’s war.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, Pompeo listed Hezbollah,
Palestinian Hamas and Yemen’s Houthis — all recipients of Iranian support — as
“entities that present risks to Middle East stability and to Israel.”
are determined to wipe this country off the face of the planet and we have a
moral obligation and a political one to prevent that from happening. You should
know that the United States is prepared to do that,” Pompeo said in public
remarks at the meeting.
its part, Israel has carried out repeated airstrikes on Hezbollah in Syria,
where the Shiite militia — along with Russian air power — helped President
Bashar Assad turn the tables against rebels and militants.
a speech broadcast on the Persian new year on Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Islamic Republic had successfully resisted
“unprecedented, strong” US sanctions.
has faced economic hardship since US President Donald Trump withdrew last year
from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed
visit to Jerusalem was widely seen in Israel as a boost for Netanyahu, who
enjoys a close relationship with Trump, just three weeks before closely
contested Israeli election.
a further signal of solidarity with Israel, Pompeo was later scheduled,
accompanied by Netanyahu, to visit Judaism’s Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old
May 2017, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the wall, but
did not ask Netanyahu to join him.
months later, Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy and recognised Jerusalem
as Israel's capital, incensing Palestinians who claim the city's eastern sector
as the capital of a future state they seek.
May, Washington moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Pompeo also
visited the embassy on Thursday.
The Syrian government condemned on Friday US President Donald Trump’s statement
that it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and
said Syria was determined to recover the area “through all available means.”
a statement published by the Syrian state news agency, a foreign ministry
source said the statement showed “the blind bias of the United States” toward
Israel. The statements did not change “the reality that the Golan was and will
remain Syrian, Arab,” it said.
Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian
national land through all available means,” the statement said.
Almost 100 people, mostly women and children, died Thursday as a ferry packed
with families celebrating Kurdish New Year sank in a swollen river in the
former Daesh stronghold of Mosul, in Iraq’s worst accident in years.
was an outpouring of grief among residents who only this year resumed the
annual festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city’s
recapture from the Daesh group.
Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi decreed three days of national mourning as he visited
the site of the tragedy. He ordered a swift investigation “to determine
vessel was crammed with men, women and children crossing the Tigris to go to a
popular picnic area to celebrate Nowruz, the Kurdish New Year and a holiday
across Iraq marking the start of spring.
accident, which struck as the overloaded vessel turned back, also coincided
with Mother’s Day in Iraq.
interior ministry, issuing a fresh toll, said 94 people had died and 55 were
rescued, after its spokesman Saad Maan said at least 19 children were among the
premier said 61 women had died in the accident.
war and extremist attacks have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq
in recent years, such accidents are relatively rare.
a disaster, no one expected that,” said a young man who had just managed to
reach the shore.
were a lot of people on the boat, especially women and children,” he told AFP.
Mosul security source said the high water levels and overcrowding on the boat,
with well over 100 people on board, had been to blame for the disaster.
boat sank because there were too many passengers on board,” another security
official based in Mosul told AFP.
justice ministry said it had ordered the arrest of nine ferry company officials
and banned the owners of the vessel and the tourist site from leaving the
authorities had warned people to be cautious after several days of heavy rains
led to water being released through the Mosul dam, causing the river level to
shared on social media showed a fast-flowing, bloated river and dozens of
people floating in the water or trying to swim around the partly submerged
operations stretched far downstream from the site where the boat sank,
according to an AFP journalist.
of people who had flocked to the forested area for the first days of spring
gathered on the river banks as the disaster unfolded.
and police vehicles transported the dead and wounded to hospitals in the city
of nearly two million people.
of victims, many of them women and children, were posted on the walls of a
morgue for families unable to enter because of the large crowd who had gathered
to identify their relatives.
man, scanning over the pictures, stopped abruptly at the image of a woman.
shock, he gasped: “It’s my wife,” before collapsing in tears.
turned Mosul into their de facto Iraqi capital after the jihadists swept across
much of the country’s north in 2014.
city spent three years under the group’s iron-fisted rule until it was
recaptured by Iraqi troops backed by a US-led coalition in 2017.
who had been aboard the craft, said it had capsized in mid-stream.
was carrying too many passengers, so the water began to rush onboard and the
ferry became heavier and overturned,” he said. “With my own eyes I saw dead
children in the water.”
ambulances shuttled back and forth to the morgue, three young girls and a boy
were huddled together in a blanket, in tears, waiting for news of their missing
we wanted was to celebrate the New Year and it turned into a catastrophe,” a
man passing the scene protested.
last major boat disaster was in March 2013 when a floating restaurant sank in
Baghdad, killing five people.
least 12 people were killed on Thursday after a gas tank exploded at an
Egyptian fertilizer factory on the Red Sea port of Ain Sokhna, according to
final numbers of the casualties in Ain Sokhna have been officially confirmed,
but medical sources told AFP 10 bodies had been received at a nearby morgue
following an incident. Egypt’s official news agency MENA said a total of 15
have been killed and wounded.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied a report on Thursday that all
of ISIS’s final enclave has been captured after a Kurdish media outlet said the
militant group had been finally defeated there.
continues in the Baghouz camp and there is no truth (to the report) about the
complete liberation of the village,” an SDF media official said, quoting the
commanders of the offensive.
Hawar News reported the SDF had “liberated all of Baghouz from the ISIS
mercenaries” and with that the campaign had “ended with the defeat of ISIS and
the victory of the SDF”, quoting its correspondents.
final defeat at Baghouz will end its territorial rule that once spanned a third
of Iraq and Syria.
SDF on Tuesday captured an encampment where the militants had been mounting a
last defense of the tiny enclave, pushing fighters onto a sliver of land at the
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a “tiny spot” of remaining ISIS
territory would be “gone by tonight”.
bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, proposed to US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo to set up a covert program to assassinate Taliban leaders, a report
made the offer on January 12 during a meeting with Pompeo in the UAE capital
amid disagreements between the two over peace talks between the Taliban and the
US, London-based Middle East Eye reported Thursday.
Zayed warned Pompeo that US pullout of troops from Afghanistan risked a
regression to 2001, prior to the US invasion, the online portal cited an
unknown source with detailed knowledge of the meeting as saying.
hopes a negotiated deal with the Taliban could allow it to start withdrawing
some of its 14,000 troops still in the war-wracked country before the end of
Zayed said the pullout risked allowing Afghanistan to fall back into the hands
of the "backward, bearded bad guys" and proposed hiring mercenaries
to kill Taliban leaders to weaken the group's negotiating position.
prince suggested that organizing and funding a “Blackwater-style” operation to
“wage an assassination campaign against the first-line leadership of the
Taliban” can give the US the upper hand in the talks, the source said.
founded in 1997, received hundreds of millions of dollars in US government
contracts during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
company found notoriety for its wanton killing of civilians in broad daylight,
including 14 unarmed people in a famous Baghdad square in 2007.
to the report, the Taliban reacted to bin Zayed's assassination proposal with a
Taliban spokesperson in Doha saying, “Any threat and blackmailing whatsoever
and from anywhere will eliminate the present chance for peace and will create
UAE government has publicly supported the US-led peace talks with the Taliban
as it hosted a two-day “reconciliation conference” in December with also Saudi
and Pakistani officials in attendance.
rounds of negotiations were moved to Qatar's capital, Doha, at the insistence
of the Taliban, which has maintained a political office there since 2013.
source said the move by the Taliban irked the UAE crown prince.
source said that US President Donald Trump’s December announcement to withdraw
all 2,000 troops from Syria also infuriated the UAE crown prince.
are leaving Syria to be under Iranian and Turkish influence and that will bring
everyone back. They will act against your acts and our interests,” he told the
US secretary of state.
crown prince had said if the US changed its mind, the United Arab Emirates
would be prepared to fund the cost of keeping US troops in Syria from its own
Monday, the Wall Street Journal, citing American officials, said Washington
plans to keep about 1,000 troops in Syria.
US Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Joseph F. Dunford, recently rejected the
journal’s report as “factually incorrect”, stressing that there has been no
change to the planned 400 troops the White House announced last month.
& Pakistan join forces to combat Islamophobia
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced Pakistan’s decision to join forces with
Turkey in investigating the underlying foundations that are breeding
Islamophobia in the West. He announced that Pakistan and Turkey have called an
emergency meeting of the OIC in Istanbul, which will be attended by the Foreign
Ministers of all member Muslim states to discuss the causes of anti-Islamic
sentiments and hatred against Muslims spreading across the West.
Minister Qureshi made this announcement while addressing a press briefing in
the capital. He revealed that this decision was made after his conversation
with the Turkish Foreign Minister in the aftermath of the New Zealand terrorist
attacks. He informed of Turkey’s decision to call an OIC meeting of the Foreign
Ministers to devise a strategy of combatting the germs of Islamophobia that are
driving violence against Muslims across the world.
said, “During the meeting, efforts will be made to unify the Ummah and devise a
strategy to know the root causes of growing Islamophobia in the West and its
implications for Muslims around the world.”
addressing the UN Commission on Status of Women last week, Pakistan’s UN
representative Dr. Maleeha Lodhi asserted Pakistan’s stance against Islamophobia.
She reminded the international community that the brutal terrorist attack on
innocent Muslim worshippers is yet another reminder that the hatred sown by
Islamophobia is manifesting its violence across the world.
Maleeha Lodhi associated the New Zealand attack with the forces of
stereotyping, and she built a strong case that misperceptions, sentiments of
violence and demonization of any religious community tends to have horrid
consequences for the society and world at large. She highlighted that it is a
“slippery slope” when Muslims all over the globe are “stereotyped and
mischaracterized” by those who utter hate slurs and promote anti-Islamic
Calls out West for Aligning Terrorism with Islam
addressing a rally in Izmir, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shed light
on the West’s contrasting principles when it comes to aligning terrorist
attacks with Muslims and Islam. He asserted that instead of labelling the
attacker as a “Christian terrorist”, they chose to highlight the tragedy as an
attack on Muslims. President Erdogan accused the western community of
exercising double standards while defining terrorism.
newspaper Daily Sabah reports that President Erdogan also condemned Australian
Senator Fraser Anning for his comments that linked the New Zealand attack with
the Muslim immigrants. Throughout his public addresses in the past week,
Erdogan has been asserting the fact that terrorism is not associated with any
religion, least of all Islam, a religion that preaches peace.
Sabah reports that President Erdogan also raised questions about Brenton
Tarrant, the New Zealand attacker, and his visit to Istanbul. “He visited
Istanbul twice, his first trip was three-day long while his second trip lasted
for 40 days. We will find out who his connections are.” Erdogan also shed light
on the manifesto published by Tarrant prior to the attack, and how it targeted
Turkey. “Erdogan quoted Tarrant’s words, “We will kill you if you cross west of
the Bosporus, we will come to Istanbul and destroy all the mosques and
more: Christchurch mosque shootings must end New Zealand’s innocence about
President also highlighted that many of the names scribbled across Tarrant’s
gun were of some of the greatest adversaries of Muslims and the Turkish people,
including the barbarians of the Crusades. Erdogan voiced his apprehension over
how Brenton Tarrant, a violent mass murderer living on the other side of the
globe be consumed with so much hatred for Turks and Muslims of this world.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari called on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam
(JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the latter’s residence here on Wednesday
informing PPP leaders and members, Mr Zardari reached the residence of the
Maulana hours after appearing before the National Accountability Bureau with
his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in connection with an investigation into fake
bank accounts case and remained there for some time.
a look: Zardari says he’s ready to face all NAB cases
contacted, PPP secretary general Farhatullah Babar initially expressed his
ignorance about the meeting, but later confirmed that the former president had
paid a visit to the JUI-F chief. Mr Babar said that since Mr Zardari was not
accompanied by any PPP leader and they had a one-on-one meeting, therefore, he
was not privy to what exactly had been discussed between the two leaders.
cadre in the dark about meeting which took place hours after former president,
Bilawal appeared before NAB
Babar, however, said it was not for the first time that the two leaders had
privately met. In the past too, he said, Mr Zardari had visited the Maulana’s
residence several times and similarly the Maulana had visited Zardari House
regularly without any aide.
more: Fazl says no more interested in Nawaz-Zardari patch-up
Babar said since the Maulana had been trying to unite the opposition parties on
one platform, it could be assumed that the two leaders would have discussed
possibilities of cooperation among the opposition parties.
at a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday, Maulana Fazl had threatened to
stage a sit-in in Islamabad against the government, saying if they came to the
capital, they would not return without achieving their objectives. The JUI-F
chief had also announced his party would stage a million march in Sargodha on
March 31 against the government’s alleged move to make the country a secular
the JUI-F chief has also declared that his party would boycott a government
briefing on the implementation of the National Action Plan to counter terrorism
on March 28.
the announcement by the Maulana, the PPP and the main opposition Pakistan
Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have also indicated that they too might stay away
from the briefing.
a series of similar meetings between Mr Zardari and the JUI-F chief in January,
the media had reported that the Maulana had tried to convince the former
president to have a meeting with PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, presently
undergoing a sentence at Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia corruption
PPP spokesman later denied such reports and claimed that the issue of “meeting
with Nawaz Sharif” did not come under discussion in the meeting.
the JUI-F chief himself admitted last month that he had tried to arrange a
meeting between Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif, but all his efforts had failed. He
announced that he was no more interested in mediating further between the two
Pakistani anti-terrorism court sentenced two men, including a local government
official, to life in prison on Thursday for their role in the brutal campus
lynching two years ago of a university student accused of blasphemy.
Khan, 23, was attacked and killed by a mob on the campus of a university in
Mardan, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, following a dormitory debate about
February last year, the court convicted 31 people, sentencing one person to
death, while acquitting 26 others.
joint investigation team had later found the blasphemy allegations against
Mashal Khan to be false.
over the killing raised concerns about the misuse of Pakistan's draconian
blasphemy laws, which stipulate the death sentence for insulting Islam or the
Thursday the court sentenced two more men to life imprisonment, while
acquitting two others.
Khan, a local government official who had been a member of Prime Minister Imran
Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was convicted for provoking and
participating in the lynch mob.
court ruling noted two videos in which Khan is seen "torturing Mashal"
and "congratulating his co-accused for committing the murder".
grave continues to be guarded by police, due to fears that it will be defaced
by religious hardliners despite his name being cleared of blasphemy.
a separate case in the eastern city of Bahawalpur, a college student was
arrested and charged on Wednesday for stabbing his English professor to death.
said the student was angered by a farewell party that the professor was
organising, believing it was un-Islamic as women would attend.
a video of his pre-interrogation released on social media, the student
confessed to stabbing his professor Khalid Hameed, saying he "spoke
against Islam" and that "it's a good thing" he died.
police party, here on Thursday, arrested five terrorists; recovering bombs,
hand grenades, explosives and weapons from their possession.
on an intelligence tip-off, police launched a crackdown in Jaggan area of
Shikarpur district. Two terrorists, Abdul Shakoor and Abdul Hakeem Banglani,
were apprehended, during the operation, with two pressure-cooker bombs, 35 hand
grenades, 20 kilogrammes of explosives and weapons.
detainees also led the police to three more accomplices. During the preliminary
investigation, the nabbed men have admitted to raising funds from Afghanistan
for terrorist activities. They also revealed having 10 trained terrorists in
the network while adding that its operations had somewhat been affected after
the killing of its chief.
killed, 23 injured in several explosions during new year festival in Afghan’s
explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday killed six people and
wounded 23 in an attack during celebrations to mark the Persian new year,
government spokesmen said.
attacks came on Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival to mark the start of spring
that is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but has also faced opposition from
some hardline Islamists, who say it is un-Islamic.
were conflicting reports about of the cause of the blasts near the Kart-e Sakhi
shrine, in a heavily Shi’ite Muslim area in the west of Kabul.
interior ministry spokesman said mortar bombs had been fired. The defence
ministry said in a post on twitter that three rockets were fired at civilian
homes and Nowruz gatherings.
armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers stormed the heavily fortified
headquarters of the Afghan interior ministry on Wednesday, battling security
forces for more than two hours in the latest attack on the capital Kabul.
State claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s news agency AMAQ said,
without providing evidence of its claim.
windows and collapsed walls were visible on homes and shops near the blast
site. Blood stained the side of the road.
was terrible,” said Sayed Samim Sadat, a shopkeeper, who said he and his family
were unhurt. “We were all sitting in our home and all the glass blew in on us.”
resident Haji Rajab Ali said he saw two explosions in front of him and later
awoke to find himself in hospital.
defence ministry said police had arrested Thursday’s attacker and secured the
attack happened two weeks after a mortar attack on a Shi’ite Muslim gathering
in Kabul that killed 11 people. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for
are a minority group in Afghanistan and they have been repeatedly attacked by
Sunni Muslim militant groups.
has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants are in talks
with U.S. officials.
latest round of talks wrapped up this month, with both sides citing progress,
but no agreement to end the 17-year war.
Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces and to oust the Western-backed
government of President Ashraf Ghani.
in BD town face fines for ‘foreign’ cuts
A barber’s association in a northern Bangladesh town has warned its members not
to give “foreign” haircuts or beard styles on pain of fines, an official said
association order has been hung up at every barber shop in the town of Bhuapur
in the conservative Muslim-majority South Asian nation of 165 million people.
stylists infringing the directive face fines of 40,000 taka ($480).
hairstyles adopted by some of the Bollywood and Hollywood movie heroes and top
cricketers have become increasingly popular among young men in Bangladesh,
where short and neat cuts used to be the norm.
head of the association Shekhar Chandra Sheel said they took the measure
following a request from the local police chief.
asked us not to cut hair and beards following the Western model. He said these
hairstyles are spoiling our young generation,” he said.
said barber shops in the neighbouring towns of Sakhipur and Basail have also
adopted similar measures.
Zealand sports minister Grant Robertson on Friday expressed hopes that Bangladesh’s
cricketers and supporters continue to feel safe to return to the country, after
their narrow escape from the Christchurch mosque terror attack. Speaking at the
New Zealand Cricket’s awards on Thursday evening in Auckland, Robertson said
that he had written a letter to the Bangladesh Minister of Youth and Sport and
the Bangladesh Cricket Board president expressing relief that the players and
the staff members all safely returned home.
said: “Violence and hatred shown by one individual must not be allowed to
destroy the friendship and respect that the New Zealand and Bangladesh cricket
teams and our nations have long shared.”
hope is that in time the players and supporters will feel safe enough to return
to New Zealand and I know that they know that they will be welcomed with open
arms,” he said.
further added that he hopes that cricket will play a crucial role in bringing
the country together. “There is hope to be found in dark days and cricket and
sport will once again play a critical role in drawing together our country at
this time.” He further expressed his grief for the families who lost their
loved ones in the attack. “We cannot know your grief but we can walk alongside
you at every stage of that grief, and we can show you the aroha and the
manaakitanga for which New Zealand is known and our resolve that we will find
light from this darkest day. We will be with you forever,” he said.
Bangladesh cricket team’s tour of New Zealand was called off on March 15 after
the players had a narrow escape from a shooting attack on a Christchurch mosque
which left 50 people dead.
BlackCaps skipper Kane Williamson, who was named the Player of the Year, after
the awards ceremony, added: “It had been a nice competitive series for a month
and for things to end the way it did, cricket as a whole became insignificant.
There was an opposition team we’d spent time with on the park who have pretty
much witnessed what went on and felt threatened in a place you want anybody to
feel comfortable. To end like that, it was such a shame and I know all the guys
becomes so much about your neighbour, and just the love and care you send for
the people that are involved and the victims and the victims’ families in
Christchurch and the Muslim community not only there in Christchurch but all
around New Zealand. I do think it comes down to the good human qualities that
are so important,” he added.
Afghan Military in the East has announced that three militants of ISIS Khurasan
were killed in a drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the
airstrike was carried out on Wednesday in Achin district.
statement further added that the militants were targeted in the vicinity of
Pekha Valley of Achin.
anti-government armed elements including ISIS Khurasan sympathizers have not
commented in this regard so far.
Special Forces of the Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security
(NDS), thwarted ISIS plot to carry out a series of suicide attacks on the eve
of the new Afghan year.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said six ISIS Khurasan
militants who were looking to carry out attacks on the eve of Nowruz, the start
of new solar year, were arrested in Kabul city.
statement further added that 44 militants were arrested during similar
operations conducted in Khost, Kandahar, Zabul, Herat, Farah, Paktika,
Badakhshan, Ghazni, Helmand, Balkh, and Sar-e-Pul provinces over the past one
National Directorate of Security also added that 11 militants were killed
during the same operations and some weapons and munitions were confiscated.
comes as back to back explosions took place in Karte Sakhi area of Kabul city
earlier today, leaving at least 30 people dead or wounded.
least six people have been killed and 23 others wounded in multiple explosions
in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul during celebrations to mark Nowruz, the start
of the Persian New Year.
blasts reportedly occurred near Kabul University and the Kart-e Sakhi shrine on
Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar announced the casualty figures,
which were confirmed by the Afghan Interior Ministry as well.
official accounts of what caused the explosions, however, were conflicting.
in Kabul said the blasts were caused by a total of three remote-controlled
explosive devices. Police spokesman Basir Mujahid said a fourth device was
defused near the university, and searches were underway for any other potential
bombs. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said mortar shells had been fired.
And the Defense Ministry said on Twitter that three rockets had been fired.
President Ashraf Ghani called the perpetrators the “coward enemy,” without
specifying who they were.
Mar 21, 2019
I have come to this beautiful city of #Mazar to wish everyone a happy #Nawruz.
When we come together in unison we proclaim to be a nation united under one
flag, free of differences, we embrace our strength in national unity,
solidarity and peace.
we celebrate this auspicious day to bind us together our fellow citizens
witnessed another devastating day in #Kabul. We lost peaceful citizens to a
coward enemy that knows no bounds. I send my heartfelt condolences to the
bereaving families & wish the wounded quick recovery.
PM - Mar 21, 2019
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Afghan Defense Ministry also said police had arrested one suspect and secured
there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, AFP said the
Taliban militant group had denied responsibly in a message to the news agency.
year on Nowruz, a bomb attack carried out by Daesh terrorists killed 33 people
celebrating near the shrine.
Two US service members were killed in Afghanistan on Friday while conducting an
operation, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
gave no further details and withheld the names of the service members until
next of kin were informed.
US military’s mission is focused on guiding and aiding Afghan forces battling
the Taliban, who were ousted from power in 2001.
has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants have held
several rounds of talks with US officials about a peace settlement.
latest talks wrapped up this month with both sides citing progress, but no
agreement to end the 17-year war.
and religion persist in ‘New Malaysia’, says Suhakam commissioner
LUMPUR, March 21 — Race and religious discrimination continues to prevail in
“New Malaysia”, a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner
as a panellist at a public forum following the launch of Pusat Komas’ 2018
Malaysia Racial Discrimination report, Prof Datuk Aishah Bidin opined that if
Malaysians were not careful in dealing with race and religious rhetoric, it
could cause the country further harm.
said this was evident after racial and religious rhetoric was used to drive the
conversation surrounding the planned but ultimately abandoned ratification of
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
recent incident in New Zealand is a lesson to learn for us. From one aspect it
talks about white supremacy, it talks about issues related to superiority and
that is something very much integrated into the preamble to ICERD.
we are not careful in dealing with remarks or statements by certain quarters
pertaining to racial and religious issues, it can lead to a very much wider
issue,’’ she said.
was referring to the recent Christchurch mosque terror attack that occurred
last March 15.
panellist, Datuk Johan Arrifin A. Samad, CEO of the Institute of Development
Studies Sabah, said many racial narratives have no basis and are merely
propagated to benefit certain parties.
you look at the narrative of Malay and Islamic right being threatened, it is
complete nonsense. Have you ever heard the news that a Muslim is prevented from
going to the mosque or that someone had disrupted a Malay wedding?
narrative is being driven by a certain group of people and especially the
media,’’ he said.
then explained that the media played a vital role in reporting the news, but
urged journalists not to focus on sensationalising stories and instead to focus
on positive news.
said he noticed that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration has considered
entertaining racial and religious politics following their loss in the recent
Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections, but urged the government to remain
firm and confident that they have the support of the people.
panellists of the forum also included Bersih 2.0 director Yap Swee Seng, while
Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph moderated the forum.
report released by Pusat Komas today compiled local media reports for cases of
religious and racial intolerance in the education, employment and political
report stated that there was saw a spike of media reports and cases of racial
discrimination following the 14th general election (GE14) and the debacle
surrounding the ratification of ICERD.
report also stated that racial politics was a major concern in 2018 as
politicians and political parties from both political divides had utilised race
and religion for political mileage.
a report by international judges and lawyers revealed.
report by the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) pointed
out that even though the right to equality and freedom from discrimination was
recognised under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, there were no laws that
specifically protected religious minorities from unequal treatment.
international law, the principle of non-discrimination applies and is integral
to the enjoyment of all human rights. Thus it applies to the right to freedom
of thought, conscience, religion or belief.
Constitution however provides no specific protections for the freedom of
‘thought and conscience’, which includes the freedom to have a theistic,
non-theistic or atheistic beliefs and the freedom from coercion to adopt a
religion or belief of one’s own choice,” said ICJ in its report titled
“Challenges to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Malaysia” released last night.
report produced with support from the International Panel of Parliamentarians
for Freedom of Religion and Belief said the State was obligated to take
necessary measures to prevent discrimination as such principles were part of
customary international laws.
effectively criminalised both communities while discriminatory rhetoric
exacerbates religious hatred,” said ICJ, referring to edicts issued by Muslim
treatment of the Shiah and Ahmadiyah minorities is directly contrary to its
obligations to guarantee the rights to freedom of religion or belief and to
equality under the law and non-discrimination of religious minorities,” it
report noted that while both communities were not the only minorities facing
persecution, their situation were seen as emblematic of the situation faced by
those in minority sects in Malaysia.
part of its recommendation, the ICJ said harassment, detention and forced
rehabilitation of religious minorities must be stopped to allow these
individuals to exercise their right to freedom of belief without the state
Shiahs and Ahmadis are barred from practising their faiths here and are also
pursued for Shariah offences, even though the latter are not recognised as
such as Selangor and Sabah have lumped Shiahs and Ahmadis together with
“liberalism” and “pluralism” as deviant teachings and extremists.
under dual legal system
report also highlighted jurisdictional disputes concerning cases of religious
freedom due to Malaysia’s dual legal system comprising common and Shariah law.
disputes affecting the adjudication of matters relating to religion and belief
— between civil courts which apply federal and state laws and Shariah courts
which apply Islamic laws — have become a main arena of contestation,” it said.
report further suggested that the dual jurisdiction has also resulted in
negative implications on the protection of the rights of children and
exacerbated child marriages in Malaysia.
the marriage between a 41-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl widely reported
in the media last year, it said that the man was instead tried under Islamic
jurisprudence for solemnising the polygamous marriage without the permission of
the Shariah Court.
the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, a marriage is void if either
party to the marriage is below 18 years of age.
marriages, however, are governed by state Shariah laws that often allow for
girls under the age of 16 to be married with the approval of a Shariah court
no clear guidelines exist for Shariah judges who have full discretion to
determine whether a child is ‘suitable’ for marriage,” the report said.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has yet to ban child marriage, although Deputy
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh reportedly said
stricter standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be put in place.
also noted that jurisdictional disputes arose in religious conversion cases, as
such cases are often ceded to the Shariah court when they are brought before a
courts have the power to deny applications submitted by Muslims to convert out
of Islam and have often ordered applicants into ‘rehabilitation’, counselling
sessions and other interventions.
criminalisation of apostasy also violates the principles of non-discrimination
and equality before the law in indiscriminately targeting those who wish to
leave the religion of Islam,” it said.
out the widening of Shariah courts’ jurisdiction in matters of renouncing
religion, ICJ said such circumstances have resulted in encouraging and
prolonging discriminatory practices by authorities, social stigmatisation, and
threats to the safety of individuals wishing to change their religion.
ICJ therefore recommends Malaysia to amend or repeal all laws that criminalise
the propagation of religious beliefs among people of all faiths.
right to freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed in international human
rights law, including in a number of core human rights instruments,” it said.
March 22 — Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah is to attend an
emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul
today on the Christchurch mosque attacks, said Wisma Putra.
will deliver Malaysia’s statement at the open-ended emergency meeting of the
OIC Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers, it said.
participation at the meeting is a testament to the importance it places on the
role of the OIC in addressing the plight of the Muslim Ummah as well as to
express Malaysia’s support and solidarity with the victims of the attack in
Christchurch and their families and the people of New Zealand,” it said.
meeting is to issue a Final Communique at the end of the session as the outcome
terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15 left
50 people dead and scores of others injured.
When Abdulweli Ayup, a Chinese ethnic Uyghur, fled his home in 2015 after he
was jailed, he found refuge like other exiles in Istanbul where Turkey’s
government prides itself as a defender of oppressed Muslim minorities.
years of frustration, Ayup, who was imprisoned for promoting his native Uyghur
Turkic language in schools at home, says Turkey finally appears to be
fulfilling a promise to take up the banner for China’s minorities.
month Turkish authorities broke several years of silence and launched a
blistering attack on China over how it treats its Muslim population, reviving
hopes among exiles in Turkey that change had come.
was so happy when Turkey reacted,” said Ayup. “Hopefully they will do more...
they can do more.”
UN panel of experts says nearly one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking
minorities are being held in extrajudicial detention in camps in Xinjiang,
where most of China’s more than 10 million Uyghurs live.
at first denied the allegation, but later admitted running “vocational
initially championing the cause, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
government recently toned down criticism of China as Ankara deals with economic
troubles and its increasing isolation from the West after a run of diplomatic
rights groups and critics are once again bringing up the plight of Chinese
minorities, pressuring Erdogan’s government to balance the economic benefits
from closer ties with China against a rights issue that stirs passions in
officials in February had described as a “shame for humanity” the “systematic
assimilation policy” employed against ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking
minorities in China.
remarks rekindled hope in the large community of minority exiles in Istanbul
who have been divided between disappointment and anger and want Ankara to do
have never asked the government to go to war for us or to give us money. The
only thing I asked was that they make some fuss,” said Omir Bekali, an ethnic
Kazakh who fled a year ago after being released from a Chinese re-education
position contrasts with Egypt, where rights groups say hundreds of ethnic
Uyghur have been rounded up in the last few years, questioned about their
beliefs and some sent back to China.
plight of the Uyghurs has in the past provoked virulent reactions in Turkey,
from protesters burning Chinese flags in front of the Chinese embassy to South
Korean tourists getting beaten up in the street after being mistaken for
2009, Erdogan even accused Beijing of committing a “kind of genocide” against
reactions have since been more muted.
2016, when Turkey faced an attempted coup, crises with the West and worsening
economic difficulties, Ankara has been drawing closer to Beijing, says Selcuk
Colakoglu, at the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies in Ankara.
2017, Turkey promised to “eliminate” anti-Chinese forces from its territory, a
reference to pro-Uyghur activists.
December, Erdogan’s party blocked a proposal in parliament calling for the
creation of a commission to examine the situation of Uyghurs in China.
“faces a dilemma: to defend the economic interests of the country or respond to
this concern of voters,” Colakoglu said referring to the minorities.
reaction last month was triggered by the announcement in some media, denied by
Beijing, about the death of a famous Uyghur poet, Abdurehim Heyit.
Muslim world in particular had been conspicuously quiet over the issue,
possibly to avoid Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation.
officials said they had learned that Heyit died serving an eight-year prison
sentence “over one of his songs.” China rejected that, calling the Turkish
government is already aware the price could be high if it goes too far: after
that criticism last month, Beijing temporarily closed its consulate in Izmir
and called on its citizens to “strengthen their vigilance” in Turkey.
voice will be important, Ayup said, because it can influence public opinion in
other Muslim countries, which have remained silent on the issue.
is determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from
the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program, Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday.
need to take Iran to a point that enemy understands that they cannot threaten
Iran ... America’s sanctions will make Iran self-sufficient,” Khamenei said in
a speech broadcast live on state TV.
Donald Trump withdrew the United States last May from a 2015 nuclear deal
between Iran and six major powers, saying it gave too much away to Iran and
reimposed far-reaching US sanctions.
US sanctions aim to force Iran to accept tougher restrictions on its nuclear
work, drop its ballistic missile program and scale back support for militant
proxies in Middle East conflicts from Yemen to Syria.
says its missile program is purely defensive and has rejected the curbs on it
demanded by the United States. Tehran says it has missiles with a range of up
to 2,000 km, which puts Israel and US military bases in the region within
other signatories to the nuclear deal - Germany, France, Britain, the European
Union, Russia, and China - have remained committed to the agreement and have
been trying to salvage the pact by a mechanism to circumvent Trump’s sanctions.
a hardliner who has the ultimate say on all major foreign and domestic policy
in the Islamic Republic, said the European signatories of the deal had failed
to maintain Iran’s economic interests.
have always stabbed Iran in the back ... The Western countries have proved they
cannot be trusted,” he said in the speech in the city of Mashhad.
leaders have threatened to exit the nuclear deal unless the European powers
enable Tehran to receive economic benefits.
mechanism set by the Europeans is like a bitter joke,” Khamenei said, referring
to a channel opened by the European signatories of the deal for non-dollar
trade with Iran to get around the US sanctions.
heads for Lebanon to step up pressure on Iran, Hezbollah
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hopes to use his first visit to Lebanon this
week to step up pressure on Iran and its local ally, Hezbollah.
will meet Friday with President Michel Aoun and will also hold talks with
Lebanon’s parliament speaker and foreign minister - all three of whom are close
will also meet with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a close Western ally who has
been reluctant to confront Hezbollah.
spend a lot of time talking with the Lebanese government about how we can help
them disconnect from the threat that Iran and Hezbollah present to them,”
Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.
Iran-backed group has an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles.
Its battle-hardened cadres fought Israel to a stalemate in 2006, and have
fought alongside President Bashar Assad’s army since the early days of the
Syrian civil war.
and its allies today control a majority of seats in parliament and the Cabinet,
after it managed in 2016 to help Aoun, an allied Christian leader, be elected
group has three Cabinet seats, the largest number it has ever taken, including
the Health Ministry, which has one of the largest budgets.
has angered Washington, where US officials have called on Hariri’s national
unity government to ensure Hezbollah does not tap into public resources.
has long been a political battleground in the region-wide struggle between
Washington and Tehran. But tensions have risen since President Donald Trump
withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposed sanctions on
United States backs a coalition of groups opposed to Hezbollah led by Hariri’s
Sunni-led Future Movement and the right-wing Christian Lebanese Forces, but
Washington’s local allies are proceeding with caution. Memories are fresh of
the clashes that erupted in May 2008, when the Shiite Hezbollah rapidly
defeated a group of Sunni opponents on the streets of Beirut.
should be careful not to push Lebanon to the brink, as Hezbollah would
retaliate if its survival is at stake,” said Joe Macaron, a resident fellow at
the Arab Center in Washington. “In the current status quo, the most effective
way to restrain Hezbollah remains within the intricate parameters of the
Lebanese political system,” he said.
United States is a strong supporter of Lebanon’s national army, supplying it
with arms and more than $1.5 billion in aid over the past decade.
his visit to Lebanon, Pompeo is expected to reiterate Washington’s support to
the Lebanese army. In return, he is expected to demand that Lebanon’s Central
Bank act to prevent Iran from using the country’s banking sector to evade
is scheduled to visit Russia later this month for talks with President Vladimir
Putin. The two are expected to discuss a number of topics, including the return
of Syrian refugees and oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, which has
been a source of tension between Lebanon and Israel.
Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank,
Palestinian medics said, and the military announced on Thursday that a soldier
had discharged his weapon and it was reviewing the incident.
Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet
wounds at an Israeli military roadblock near the city of Bethlehem on Wednesday
and that Israeli forces had shot him.
gave no details about the circumstances of the night-time shooting. The
Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as a 26-year-old from Bethlehem
and said another Palestinian had also been shot and critically wounded. Hours
later, the Israeli military issued a statement saying that a soldier stationed
at a post near Bethlehem had “identified rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles
(and) in response, he fired his weapon.”
statement did not identify the soldier’s intended target and some Israeli media
reports said warning shots were fired in the air, suggesting the two
Palestinians may have been hit unintentionally. “A report was received
regarding injured Palestinians, details regarding the incident are being
reviewed and the incident will be examined,” the military said.
have been high in the West Bank since a Palestinian killed an Israeli soldier
and a rabbi in a stabbing and shooting attack in the territory on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif headed to Istanbul Thursday evening to attend
an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on
terrorist massacre of Muslims in New Zealand.
meeting will be held on Friday to condemn the attack on two mosques in
Christchurch, which left at least 50 worshipers dead and wounded dozens others
foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu would chair the meeting.
from the UN, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have reportedly been invited to the event.
emergency meeting comes following a phone conversation between Zarif and
Cavusoglu earlier this week, in which they censured the "heinous
soldiers have attacked a civilian vehicle near the West Bank city of Bethlehem,
killing a Palestinian man.
Palestinian health ministry said Ahmed Manasara, 26, was shot dead on Wednesday
near a checkpoint close to Bethlehem, without providing further details.
Israeli military claimed that a soldier had "opened fire after identifying
rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles."
incident will be examined," the army said in a statement early Thursday.
Palestinian news agency Wafa said Manasara was in the car when he was shot
dead, with another Palestinian in the car seriously wounded.
are high in the West Bank over ongoing Israeli aggression at the al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Sunday, the Jerusalem al-Quds Magistrate's Court announced that it had accepted
a request by Israeli officials to temporarily close Bab al-Rahma (Gate of
Mercy) prayer area at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed on February 25 upon an order by
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened the following day.
had closed the gate that leads to the prayer space in al-Aqsa Mosque since 2003
in the face of the Second Intifada (uprising) against the regime’s occupation.
February 22, however, the Waqf Council, which oversees the holy sites at the
al-Aqsa Mosque compound, decided to re-open the prayer space at the Bab
al-Rahma Gate in defiance of Israel’s 16-year-old ban. Hundreds of worshipers,
led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, entered
the area for the first time since 2003 for Friday prayers.
by the move, the Tel Aviv regime launched an arrest campaign against
Palestinians. The arrests drew criticisms from Palestinians and Jordan. The
Islamic Waqf organization and Palestinian institutions have insisted on keeping
the Bab al-Rahma prayer area open for Muslim worship.
The US ambassador to Yemen blamed the Houthis on Thursday for impeding a UN-led
peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah.
Tueller also said the Iran-backed militia’s weapons pose a threat to other
countries in the region.
Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal
for Hodeidah at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first major
breakthrough in efforts to end the four year war.
the truce has largely held, the troop withdrawal by both parties has yet to
are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the
Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great
confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing," Tueller said in the
southern port of Aden, where the internationally recognised government is
are willing to work with others in order to try to implement these (Sweden)
agreements and see whether the Houthis can in fact demonstrate a political
maturity and start to serve the interests of Yemen rather than acting on behalf
of those who seek to weaken and destroy Yemen," he said.
said he had "not given up hope" that the deal would be implemented in
Hodeidah, where thousands of Yemeni forces backed by the Arab coalition are
massed on the outskirts.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that putting pressure on Iran will force
the Houthis to abide by the Stockholm Agreement.
to Al Arabiya during a regional tour focused largely on Iran, Pompeo added that
the Houthis should know that they will not win the war in Yemen, and that the
Iran-backed militia only work under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran
Ali Khamenei and the commander of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps’ (IRGC)
Al-Quds Force Qassem Soleimani.
also added that Washington was concerned about the situation in Yemen, and
reiterated US support for the Yemeni government.
are making every possible effort to end the conflict in Yemen,” Tuellersaid,
emphasizing Washington’s interest in Yemen’s unity and stability.
said the US was working with Yemeni authorities to prevent arms smuggling from
Iran and to strengthen local security institutions. He added that the
possession of weapons should be limited to the state.
fact that there are groups that have weapons, including heavy weapons and even
weapons that can threaten neighboring countries, and those weapons are not
under the control of the institutions of the state - this is a severe danger to
the region as well as to Yemen," he said.
added that Washington hopes to reopen the US embassy in Sanaa considering that
it is the capital of Yemen.
New Zealand’s deputy prime minister is attending an emergency session of an
umbrella organization of Muslim nations in Turkey after a gunman killed 50
people in two mosques in the South Pacific nation.
Peters was in Istanbul on Friday for the 57-member Organization of Islamic
Cooperation’s executive committee meeting.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant was arrested and charged with murder. Tarrant
livestreamed the attack and released a manifesto describing his white
supremacist views and how he planned the shootings.
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