Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), vowed to 'wipe
Holland off the face of the earth' with a nuclear attack
Me an Atom Bomb and I’ll Wipe Holland off the Face of the Earth,' Vows Leader
of Pakistani Islamist Group in Response to Prophet Muhammad Cartoon Competition
Powerless To Nullify Child Marriage As It Is Valid Under Islamic Laws'
Scholars Call For End to ‘Evil’ Afghan Fighting
Proposes To Introduce Islam and International Relations Paper in MA
Pakistani Clerics Turn Down Saudi Invitation to Conference on Afghan Peace,
on Declaration of ‘True Faith’ To Be Challenged, Says Minister
Fighting Against Forces Inimical To Islam: Fazal-ur-Rehman
Khan, Hafiz Saeed's Son among Others in Terror Hit-List Ahead Of Pakistan
Political Parties in Pakistan Pledge To Combat Terrorism, Radicalisation If
Voted To Power
Leader Haroon Bilour among 20 Killed In Peshawar Blast
should be asked to disclose religious belief while seeking employment’
safe because of army’s sacrifices: ISPR
promulgated to remove vestiges of political vendetta: Musharraf
of Govt Mosques in Jakarta Promote Radicalism
Divorce Rates at 5-Year Low
a double life: Indonesia's atheists fear jail or worse
Underage marriages in Selangor must have Shariah judge’s consent
Zakir Naik: I am indebted to Malaysia, won’t break any laws
Youth chief hails Dr M for letting Zakir Naik stay in Malaysia
Arab states agree to enhance cooperation under new strategic partnership
Kill 27 Regime Fighters in Northwest Syria
Syria suicide car bomb claimed by ISIS kills 8
Terrorists Retreat from Border with Jordan
Army Liberates Key District in Dara'a City
Militants Engage in Fresh Clashes Again in Northern Syria
in More Dara'a Regions End Battle with Syrian Army
forces bomb villages in northwest
Intelligence Infiltrated Islamic State Ring to Track, Arrest Afghan Suicide
Bomber Sent To Hit Delhi
To See Muslims Being Targeted In the Country: Mulk Actor Taapsee Pannu
(M) To Take On Islamic Radical Organisations in Kerala
Reports on Setting up Of Shariah Courts Fake, Says Muslim Board
Islamist lobbied with author of UN report on Kashmir
demand review of SC order restricting Namaz at Taj Mahal
377, Islam Form a Double Bind for Queer Muslims’
NIA Steps Up Quizzing Of Hurriyat Leaders, Others in Terror-Funding Case
Frees 183 Children, Clears Ties to Boko Haram
Kill 15 Boko Haram Terrorists In Borno
Shabaab militants raid police post, officer missing
Army Command Announces Fresh Offensive against Al-Shabab
President Slams Bill That Could Lead To Jewish-Only Communities
Rejects So-Called Trump's Deal Of The Century
police launch raids to detain Islamic figure, followers
forces fire missile at Jazan Economic City in Saudi Arabia
seizes boat from Gaza seeking to break blockade
army cuts Houthi supply routes within Hodeidah
air defence forces intercept Houthi missile launched at Jizan
court sentences seven to hard labour over spying for Israel
resolved to make progress in EU membership process: Cavusoglu
Iran, China, Pakistan Intelligence Chiefs Discuss Daesh Threat in Afghanistan'
15 Killed In 2 Attacks in Afghanistan as Islamic Scholars Debate Taliban War
leaders to discuss extension of Afghan forces funding beyond 2020
deputy assistant secretary of state met with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Taliban commander blown up by own explosives in Kunduz province
Discouraging Year, US Officials Expect Review of Afghan Strategy
Ambassador Urges Germany to Block Iran Cash Withdrawal
American rapper converts to Islam
talks tough on Iran while visiting the Emirates
to press European allies over Iran on NATO summit sidelines
Muslim and Jewish Groups Join Together For '21 for 21' Interfaith Collaboration
a Foiled Plot to Execute Muslims Reveals About Islamophobia in France
aide plans to deliver message to Russia's Putin in Moscow: Qassemi
applauds Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement
by New Age Islam News Bureau
leader of a Pakistani Islamist group vowed to 'wipe Holland off the face of the
earth' with a nuclear attack in response to a Prophet Muhammad cartoon
competition being held in the country.
Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), issued the warning
at an event organised by the Karachi Press Club last week.
they give me the atom bomb, I would remove Holland from the face of the earth
before they can hold a competition of caricatures,' he said, according to the
Times of India.
will wipe them off the face of this earth.'
was referencing a competition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad
announced by The Freedom Party of Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders
party said the plan to hold the competition in the party's secure offices in
Dutch Parliament had been approved by the Dutch Counter-terrorism Agency NCTV.
Freedom Party is the leading opposition party in parliament after coming in
second place in elections last March.
has called for the Koran to be banned, and says Islam is a totalitarian faith.
of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics,' Wilders said in a
should never accept that. Freedom of speech is our most important freedom.'
cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, winner of a similar contest in Garland, Texas, in May
2015, has been asked to judge the Dutch contest, which will be held later this
in 2015, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the Paris offices of the French secularist
satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had printed cartoons of the Prophet.
2005, the publication in a Danish newspaper of a dozen cartoons depicting the
Prophet led to violent protests across the Muslim world.
the TLP is a political party known for its vehement opposition to changes in
Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
November, more than 2,000 TLP members staged a three-week long sit in at
Faizabad – the intersection of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi –
protesting a small change to the oath taken by parliamentary candidates.
would have seen them say 'I believe' instead of 'I solemnly swear' that Prophet
Muhammad is the final prophet.
government ultimately rolled back the change in the Election Act, claiming it
had been a clerical error.
powerless to nullify child marriage as it is valid under Islamic laws'
JAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the
marriage between a 41-year-old man and his 11-year-old child bride remains
valid under Islam despite the fine imposed on the man.
Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister,
explained that under Kelantanese Islamic laws, children under 16 are allowed to
get married with the permission of a Syariah Court judge and that Putrajaya is
powerless to nullify it.
it is not valid but under the Islamic laws it is," she told reporters
after a function at the National Welfare Foundation in Putrajaya.
added that the government is 'working' with the National Fatwa Council to push
the age limit for marriage to 18.
Aid Organisation communication officer Tan Heang-Lee told theSun that the fine
imposed by the Gua Musang Shariah Court on the 41-year-old rubber tapper was a
mere slap on the wrist.
end child marriage, it is important that we raise the minimum age of marriage
to 18, without exception.
then can we send a clear message to everyone that Malaysia does not tolerate
child marriage and child abuse in the society," Tan said when contacted.
with the NGO's stand, Sisters in Islam communication manager Majidah Hashim
claimed that the fine does little to punish the man considering the severity of
his offence, and to serve as a deterrent against child marriages in the future.
are disappointed that maximum fines for the charges were not doled out and that
the punishment does not appreciate the severity of implications that child
marriage has on the 11-year-old girl.
subjectivity of the fines as well as the discretion enjoyed by the judge in
deciding the punishment only goes to demonstrate that no exceptions can be
allowed in laws that intend to end child marriages once and for all in
Malaysia," Majidah said.
added that allowing judges the liberty to decide based on circumstances can
clearly be abused resulting in injustice to vulnerable child brides.
scholars call for end to ‘evil’ Afghan fighting
The International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan has
called for an end to the violence in the country, saying fighting between
Muslims was strictly prohibited in Islam.
the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, senior ulema, or Islamic
scholars, from Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world said it was important the
crisis in the country has “a supporting religious reference.”
present at the conference, which began on Tuesday, were the Saudi minister of
Islamic affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh; Imam of the Grand
Mosque, Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid; and senior ulema member and member of the Ifta
permanent committee and adviser at the Saudi royal court, Abdullah Al-Mutlaq.
to Arab News, the special envoy to the Afghani president, Mohammed Akram
Khpalwak, said: “The gathering of these Muslim scholars is of great importance
to us as they agreed that fighting is among Muslims is strictly prohibited in
King Salman and the crown prince, Khpalwak said that such meetings could offer
a way out of the Afghani predicament, “the thing that all Afghani people are
spokesman for the Afghan Ulema Council, Mohammad Qasim Halimi, said the
conference was backed by prominent Islamic scholars from different parts of the
scholars have a word to say and all Muslims will consider and obey them — and I
hope their call will find acceptance from the Taliban, especially after both
parties of the Afghani conflict listened to the Friday sermons delivered by the
imams of the two holy mosques a few weeks ago,” Halimi told Arab News.
said that that about 40,000 people have died in the Afghanistan conflict since
reason behind such atrocities is the ideology of terrorists who accept nothing
but their views and opinions. They are, in fact, using religion to reach their
political or economic goals. Otherwise, they are just infiltrators for external
hands,” he said.
adviser to the Afghani president Painda Mohammad Hikmat said: “We expect that
the Muslims scholars will come up with a fatwa that forbids the war in
are many plots against Afghanistan for political, economic and even ideological
interests,” he said.
deputy education minister and member of the executive board of the Ulema
Council, Shafiq Samim, said the war had forced more than 1,000 schools out of
the 18,000 countrywide to close.
schools are in the areas where Taliban and Daesh militias are found,” he told
hope the declaration of this conference will help convince the Taliban to share
a dialogue table with the government,” Samim said.
his opening speech, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen called on the Afghan
government and “all components of Afghan society” to respond to work toward
peace in the country.
conference today is a reflection of the gravity of the strife and division in
Afghanistan that have denied Afghan people the grace of security and stability,
hindered development, frustrated society and killed hope,” he said. “Worse
still, killing the innocent in the name of Islam has aggravated the situation.”
He said that this conference comes at a critical time in Afghanistan’s history.
“Great store is set by this event to meet the aspirations and hopes of the
people who have been torn apart by the fighting and want to see their country
return to security, stability and prosperity,” he said.
has long been on our agenda at the OIC. The organization has always come out in
full support of this country, engaging in countless initiatives and actions,
both regional and international.
is a matter of huge responsibility for you to live up to what the people of
Afghanistan expect. We are confident this conference will be of great benefit
not only to Afghanistan but also to the broader Muslim world. The entire Muslim
community is looking forward to you correcting the misguided and distorted
interpretations of the Islamic teachings, and stand in the way of evildoers
mortgaging Islam, stirring up destruction and acting wrongly in the name of
Islam,” he said.
Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the brief truce had raised the
prospects for peace in Afghanistan.
Proposes To Introduce Islam And International Relations Paper In Ma
Political Science department of Delhi University (DU) has proposed to introduce
a paper named “Islam and International Relations” in its masters course. If
introduced the students will study “Islam and the question of transnational
terrorism” as a topic in their syllabus.
paper will also cover sub-topics like “Islam and the west after 9/11”, “Iraq
war and making of ISIS”, “the Afghanistan war and making of Al-Qaeda”, “The
United States, the military industrial complex and Islamic extremism”,
“Wahhabism, petrodollar Islam and the globalization of transnational jihad”
times when world is struggling with religious fundamentalists and terrorists
who are compromising the peace and tranquility of the nations across the world,
the course tends to “explain as to how in recent times, the genealogy and
archeology of the religious and political thought in Islam and its connection
with the systemic contours of societies and political institutions has emerged
to be one of the most contested subjects in humanities and social sciences,”
stated the course objective.
The course then lays out “as to how such an
interest has been the product of the radicalization of political Islam and the growing
unhealthy interface that has developed between Islam and violence, as a result
of the globalization of Jihad that has brought in the medieval notions of a
contest between adobe of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and land of unbelievers (Dar
al-harb). Owing to this, Islam has become a prominent element in the sphere of
security studies. On this count, the study of Islam becomes very crucial for
the students of International Relations”.
teacher of political science at a DU college, on condition of anonymity said
that the work on the plan of introducing the course was going on since last
more than one year but “in-silos”, fearing the strong opposition from the left
faction. The department has uploaded the course on its website and has invited
suggestions from all stakeholders. If introduced, it will be offered as an
elective paper for semester III and IV students.
is being proposed as one of the optional paper and moreover it is under the
proposal stage. Suggestions from different stakeholders including students,
teachers are invited. The course is being restructured as per Choice Based
Credit System (CBCS). The paper Islam and International relations is under the
broad umbrella of topic of international relations,” said Professor Navnita
Chadha Behera, Head , Department of Political Science, Delhi University .
sub-topics that paper proposes to cover includes “Orientalism and the western
interpretation of Islam”, “Islam's encounter with colonialism and modernity”,
“Islam : From Prophethood to Imperialism” etc.
Pakistani clerics turn down Saudi invitation to conference on Afghan peace,
Several Pakistani clerics have turned down invitations to attend a two-day
international conference on Afghanistan that started in the Saudi city of
Jeddah on Tuesday and is expected to end with the issuance of a communiqué
against the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan.
International Conference of Muslim Scholars on Peace and Stability in
Afghanistan, hosted by Saudi Arabia in collaboration of the Organisation of the
Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will conclude in the holy city of Makkah on Wednesday
(today) with a declaration to condemn violence in Afghanistan, according to
of the Pakistani invitees have told Daily Times that they disagreed with the
contents of the invitation letter, in which all groups operating in Afghanistan
have been declared terrorists. “We had serious reservations over the agenda.
The organisers had not consulted us ahead of the conference and our concern is
the conference will adopt a declaration without our input,” an invitee told
Daily Times, preferring to stay anonymous.
Times has further learnt that most of the Pakistani scholars invited for the
event were those who had participated in a similar conference held in Indonesia
in May this year. The conference ended with a declaration terming suicide attacks
in Afghanistan against Islam and also backing President Ashraf Ghani’s dialogue
offer to the Taliban.
Taliban have also issued a statement defending their activities against the
US-led foreign forces and saying that the conflict in the country is ‘not an
inter-Afghan battle or battle among the Muslims. It started 17-years ago when
Americans invaded Afghanistan using aerial and ground force’. The statement
said Afghans do not expect the Saudi Arabian authorities and scholars side the
‘American invaders in this fight between Islam and disbelief’.
Times has learnt that Pakistani scholars also declined Saudi invitations
include those considered very close to the Kingdom, like Fazlur Rehman Khalil,
who led a Difa-i-Harmain Sharifain movement when Saudi Arabia and its allies
launched a military campaign against Shi’ite Houthis in Yemen, the outfit
fighting the Saudi-backed government in the country. Khalil changed his mind
when he read the invitation, said a source close to him. Mufti Abdul Rahim, who
heads Jamiatur Rasheed Karachi, a major seminary of the Deobandi schools of
thought, also refused the invitation.
Anwarul Haq, the deputy chief of Madrassa Haqqania, and Maulana Idrees, a
senior teacher at Haqqania, who had attended the Indonesian conference, also
preferred to stay away from the Saudi meeting.
official of the seminary told Daily Times that Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his
own faction of JUI, had stopped the two from traveling to the Kingdom.
a recent statement, Samiul Haq, who publicly supports Afghan Taliban, launched
an appeal to the ulema not to participate in the conferences, holding that such
events ‘stop jihad against the American imperialists in Afghanistan and the
whole Islamic world’. He said the top American commander in Afghanistan General
Nicolson had stated in March this year that the US will use religious scholars
against the Taliban.
reports suggest that the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, Qibla
Ayaz, has also gone to Saudi Arabia to attend the conference. Some other
renowned scholars Dr Abdul Razaq, the president of the Wafaqul Madaris
al-Arabiya; Allama Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, the chairman of the Markazi Ulema
Council; Allama Shah Owais Noorani of JUP; and Maulana Azizur Rehman Hazarvi
have reportedly also declined invitations, which were delivered through
Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Ministry.
Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Dr. Yousef bin
Ahmed Al-Othaimeen has expressed the hope that the conference will lead to
national reconciliation in Afghanistan and the cessation of all acts of
terrorism and violent extremism that are contrary to the teachings of the
pointed out that 105 prominent Muslim scholars are participating in the conference
from a number of countries including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia Indonesia,
Egypt, Sudan and Morocco. Daily Times sent queries to the Saudi embassy’s
officials to seek their comments but they avoided response.
on declaration of ‘true faith’ to be challenged, says minister
The caretaker Minister for Information and Law, Syed Ali Zafar, has said that
making declaration of faith compulsory before joining the judiciary and
civilian and military services is discriminatory and will be challenged.
government cannot discriminate in service laws in matters of employment. I believe
that our judges are… learned and very aware of human rights. They know their
obligations to protect these rights but this judgement is contrary to that and
so must be challenged,” said Mr Zafar while speaking as the chief guest at a
consultation session on minority rights, freedom of religion or belief, titled
“Faith for Rights”, on Tuesday.
event was organised by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) and
Potohar Organisation for Development Advocacy (PODA) in collaboration with the
European Union (EU).
minister was talking about the judgement of the Islamabad High Court that made
it mandatory for every citizen, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, to declare their
“true faith”, failing which they would be guilty of betraying the state and exploiting
judgement or no court judgement, I disagree. I am also in charge of law
[ministry] and we will challenge this judgement. It is nobody’s business to
know what somebody’s belief is. Why should somebody be so intrusive? We do not
need to disclose that. It is enough if you are a citizen of this country,” said
argued that citizens were entitled to protection as the government deemed all
citizens equal. “We cannot allow any sort of discrimination on the basis of
belief and religion towards any citizen of Pakistan.”
Representative in Pakistan Anne Marchal said the EU would support every effort
aimed at ensuring provision of human rights in Pakistan. She said the GSP plus
status was linked with ensuring the implementation of 27 human rights
fighting against forces inimical to Islam: Fazal-ur-Rehman
a Eid Milan Party arranged by Hafiz Safi Ullah here, he said that the unison of
religious parties would end the politics of PTI who is the harbinger of polices
that are repugnant with Pakistan ideology.
said that religion Islam should be a priority of every voter while selecting
their leaders in election.
name has not been part of any NRO, off Shore Company and terrorist
should judiciously use their right of franchise to sift right from the right
and elect those whose priority is to end corruption and promote religion
Islam”, he said.
Chief said that we are fighting against those who are intends to end Islamic
identity of Pakistan adding scenes that were witnessed in protests of D Chowk
Islamabad should be eye opener for everyone. He urged voters to revisit their
options and priorities on July 25.
rejected criticism of political opponents saying how a party that is of
insignificant stature can target a political force that from the beginning
struggled to uphold norms of religion Islam.
said that it is very easy to blame opponents for putting country under debt but
conversely PTI who ruled KP for five years has overburdened the province by
exponential debt of 350 billion rupees that was only 80 billion in tenure of
also criticized PTI saying not a single university has been established by them
while nine universities were being set up in the province by MMA government.
claimed that PTI provincial government that boasted to construct 300 dams has
failed to setup a single mega power generation station in KP.
Khan, Hafiz Saeed's son among others in terror hit-list ahead of Pakistan
National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) of Pakistan has said that some top
politicians of the country, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran
Khan, can be attacked by terrorists during the campaign for Pakistan general
elections, scheduled for July 25.
authority informed about the threat to the leaders to a Senate panel. Among
those facing the threat are PTI chief Imran Khan, Awami National Party
president Afsandyar Wali, Qaumi Watan Party’s Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal leader Akram Durrani and ANP leader Ameer Haider Hoti,
reported Pakistani media.
from these, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed’s son, Talha Saeed, who is
contesting the elections on Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek party ticket, is also likely
to be targeted by terrorists. The agency further said that some senior leaders
of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were
also in the hitlist of the terrorists.
has apprised the Interior Ministry, provincial home departments, and other
agencies about the imminent threat to the top politicians of Pakistan, said a
report in The Nation.
Dawn News reported that the panel chief, Rehman Malik, had asked the Interior
Ministry to ensure fool-proof security to all those facing the threat. He also
called for providing security to the heads of all major political parties.
further raised the issue of incidents of violence reported during the
high-stake election campaign in the country. Malik cited the incident of a
group of people pelting stones on the convoy of PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari while he was on his way to address a poll rally in Lyari area of
political parties in Pakistan pledge to combat terrorism, radicalisation if
voted to power
that terrorism and radicalisation have isolated Pakistan globally, the
country's major political parties have pledged to combat the scourges if they
are voted to power in the July 25 general election. In their manifestos, the
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have identified terrorism, radicalisation
and extremism as the bane of the country.
also promised to reform the education in thousands of madrassas (Islamic
seminaries) spread across the Muslim-majority nation.
United States, India and Afghanistan have been pressing Islamabad to stop
providing safe havens to terror groups operating in the country.
Khan-led PTI in its manifesto released yesterday said it recognises the scourge
of terrorism and its devastating effect on Pakistan and its citizens not only
in terms of the massive loss of Pakistani lives but also in a once tolerant
society becoming polarised into intolerance, fear and hate.
PTI stands committed to restoring the spirit of tolerance and acceptance
amongst all the citizens of Pakistan," it said.
cricketer-turned-politician's party, which seems to have the backing of the
powerful military, says it will try to educate the population through
developing a counter-ideological narrative by co-opting religious scholars.
a counter-narrative is critical because militants need social space for their
existence and growth. In their minds, they see themselves as law enforcers,
administrators, teachers and justice providers.
gained social space, they seek out physical space and as governance weakens
they become stronger. So it is critical for the state to reclaim social space
along with physical space," it says.
PTI will also focus on restructuring syllabi and main-streaming the madrassas
by providing them with proper educational facilities.
ensure the success of the party's counter-terrorism strategy, immediate steps
will be taken to reform the criminal justice system and revise the anti-terror
laws so that it is precise and focused on terrorism, the manifesto says.
it says the party will not allow Pakistan's territory or people, including its
armed forces, to be used by any other nation for the promotion of its political
ideology or hegemony, for promoting terrorism or for the destabilisation of any
PPP in its manifesto released last week noted that despite all its sacrifices
in the struggle against terrorism, Pakistan remains isolated in the global
community, unable to project a positive image.
our losses and sacrifices in the war against terror, we are often seen as a
problem," the manifesto says.
drift must stop. We must get the government on a track that is modelled on
serving the people," the party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari says.
says that if returned to power, the party will ensure that the large swathes of
territory that have been wrested from the control of terrorists in the unruly
tribal areas will not backslide into ungoverned spaces.
a PPP government, the manifesto says, there will be no accommodation for
terrorist groups, their backers and financiers, or sympathisers.
will implement a comprehensive security strategy to prevent attacks on major
urban centres in tandem with targeted military operations against all militant
and terrorist outfits that challenge the writ of the state," the party
manifesto of the PML-N of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the party
would ensure proper registration of the madrassas through a system mutually
agreed by all.
subjects like mathematics, computers, physics, chemistry, economics, phycology
etc. need to be made part of curricula of the madrassas in consultation with
central authorities of various denominations.
party noted that when the PML-N government took office in 2013, the security
situation of the country was in "serious jeopardy", marred with
terrorism, sectarian violence and crime.
sharp surge in the number and severity of militant attacks was witnessed,
causing the loss of more than 2,000 precious lives and rendering more than
3,500 individuals injured," the manifesto points out.
the past five years, the PML-N-led government has been successful in steering
Pakistan to combat terrorism, weed out militancy and contain the threat of radicalism,
voted back to power in the July 25 election, the party said it hopes to adopt a
multi-dimensional and holistic approach towards security.
leader Haroon Bilour among 20 killed in Peshawar blast
least 20 persons, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour,
were killed in a suspected suicide blast which targeted an election gathering
of ANP in Yakatoot area of Peshawar on Tuesday night, DawnNewsTV reported.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jameel said that more than 30 people
were injured in the explosion, who have been shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.
blast took place when Haroon Bilour, the son of ANP's slain leader Bashir Ahmed
Bilour and a PK-78 candidate, arrived at the site where the ANP workers had
gathered for a corner meeting. Bilour suffered serious injuries and was shifted
to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
police officer did not confirm the nature of the blast. A local ANP leader,
however, told DawnNewsTV said that a suicide bomber blew himself when Bilour
entered the compound where the meeting was being held.
to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour... was
the target,” said AIG Shafqat Malik.
death toll was initially reported at 13 but it rose to 20 overnight, according
to Lady Reading Hospital's spokesperson, Zulfiqar Ali Baba Khel.
rescue teams and law enforcement agencies reached the site of the blast. Police
and bomb disposal officials collected evidence from the site of the blast and
initiated an investigation into the incident.
body of Haroon Bilour was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers
gathered in great numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader. ANP leader
Iftikhar Hussain said the funeral prayers of Haroon Bilour will be offered on
Wednesday at 5pm at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar.
2012, Haroon Bilour's father Bashir Ahmed Bilour was also killed when a
Pakistani Taliban bomber blew himself up in a party meeting in Peshawar.
following year in 2013, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility
for an attack at an ANP rally in Peshawar, in which 15 people were killed. The
TTP spokesperson at the time, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had told journalists that
Haroon was the target, but "unfortunately Ghulam Ahmed Bilour got
ANP, which governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 to 2013, has been
a continual target of militant groups operating in the northwest. The militants
killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013
this month, seven people including a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal
were injured in an explosion during an election rally near Takhtikhel canal.
Taliban have time and again threatened to target secular parties for what they
call supporting the military action in tribal areas and the “war on terror”.
there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the city of
Peshawar has for decades been a victim of militancy due to its status as a
frontline for the ongoing war against terrorism as well as its proximity to the
restless tribal areas and the Pak-Afghan border.
under threat from terrorists
National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) on Monday had revealed the names
of six personalities, including Imran Khan and Hafiz Saeed’s son, who could be
targeted by terrorists during the ongoing election campaign.
people include Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Awami National
Party leaders Asfandyar Wali and Ameer Haider Hoti, Qaumi Watan Party head
Aftab Sherpao, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Akram Khan Durrani and Hafiz
Saeed’s son Talha Saeed. Moreover, there are threats to senior leadership of
the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz,” Nacta director
Obaid Farooq said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.
Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Barrister Syed Ali Zafar on
Tuesday said that the government should challenge the judgment that ordered
that civil servants must mention their religion on a form, as nobody should be
asked to disclose religious beliefs while seeking employment.
should be asked to disclose religious beliefs while seeking employment and the
government should not be so intrusive and nobody should be discriminated
against in the matter of employment,” he said while speaking here at a
consultative session on the minority rights, freedom of religion or belief and
faith for rights.
caretaker minister said that growing poverty, lack of education and galloping
population were causes of extremism and religious intolerance, and everybody
should come together to resolve the issues. He said that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad
Ali Jinnah had personified the vision of Pakistan.
said that extremism of any kind was a curse and religious intolerance that led
to violence was its worst form. However, it was an issue not only in Pakistan
but a worldwide phenomenon also, he said. In many cases, the reasons for
extremism and violence against minorities were personal vendetta or political
and territorial ones, he said, adding that the extremism should not be
associated with religion.
religion that I have studied talks about committing violence against other
religions. No religion teaches intolerance and every religion teaches love,” he
said. “Our people are peace loving just like others elsewhere in the world. In
Pakistan, we just don’t shake hands, we embrace one another so that the spirit
of love is transmitted,” he pointed out.
minister said that the government, which was open and transparent, would want a
powerful National Commission for Human Rights, which should be given funds and
made self-sufficient. If the commission were not given funds, it would be
subservient to the government, he emphasised.
have to make every institution independent. Every institution, whether it is an
investigation agency, court or security agency, should be powerful in its own
right.” He said that no one had right to interfere in the choice of other
people about their religious beliefs.
is the fundamental right of everybody to live according to their own
conscience. It is a responsibility of the government to ensure that no citizen
imposes his will on others. The only way we progress is by eliminating
extremism, whether by physical action against terrorism or by educating the
citizens,” he said.
Zafar said that Pakistan was made a scapegoat after the war in Afghanistan and
the West then abandoned the country. Yet Pakistanis have single-handedly fought
against the terrorists and succeeded, he said, adding that now there was a need
to ensure that such elements never raise their head again and this too can only
be achieved through learning.
- The military has “no direct role” in nationwide elections due July 25, the
army spokesman said Tuesday, after widespread allegations it is pressuring
media and the ruling party in a bid to manipulate the polls.
the military will deploy more than 370,000 soldiers on polling day to help
ensure the vote goes smoothly, ISPR Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor
Pakistan armed forces have no direct role,” he told a packed press conference
at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, adding: “Let me make it clear, that we
have no direct role.”
also said that the political personalities are facing more safe today due to
the sacrifices of the security forces.
further denied involvement in the political process by either the army or its
Ghafoor maintained that the armed forces will only have a role to facilitate
the ECP. The ISPR chief said the armed forces would remain neutral and not
interfere in the electoral process.
categorically stated that in case of any irregularity, the personnel of armed
forces would only observe and point out to the election commission and would
not take any corrective measure on their own.
the ECP in its notification said that the deployment of armed forces shall be
made for the provision of a secure environment in the conduct of the election
in a free, fair and transparent manner.
military troops will be deployed inside and outside all the polling stations
from July 23 to July 27 for the provision of the secure environment in the
conduct of the election in free, fair and transparent manner, said the ECP
said that the armed forces have been given the responsibility to make foolproof
security arrangements during the printing, stocking and storage of ballot
said that the armed forces shall provide security during the transportation of
ballot papers and other materials from printing presses to respective polling
stations and back to district treasuries or ECP’s strong rooms.
notification said that the armed forces shall also deploy a sufficient number
of mobile vigilance teams, Quick Reaction Force (DRF) and reserves in all
constituencies to provide the secure environment.
notification said that the security staffs deployed on polling stations were
supposed to first report to the presiding officer, then officer-in-charge, and
returning officers respectively if they found any irregularity or malpractice
during the election process.
the other hand, the ISPR director-general made it clear that the armed forces
would provide necessary support to the ECP in the conduct of the general
election in a free, fair and transparent manner.
ISPR chief in his media briefing said that two personnel would be deployed
inside and two outside sensitive polling stations while there would be normal
deployment on other polling stations.
said as per the mandate given by the ECP, they were also responsible for the
security of printing presses during the printing of ballot papers.
would also be provided for the transportation of the ballot papers to polling
stations and dispatch of ballot boxes to the ECP’s strong rooms,” he said.
Ghafoor pointed out that the armed forces would provide only security and the
handling of the election material would remain the exclusive domain of the ECP.
said that the Army has set up an election support centre in Rawalpindi for
coordination with the ECP.
to a question about allegations of rigging and political engineering, he said
that allegations of rigging have always been levelled before and after
elections in the past.
said that the armed forces have been waging the war of survival of Pakistan for
the last 15 years and they cannot deflect attention from the core issues of
security and defence.
a question regarding the election symbol of jeep allotted to various people, he
said it was the ECP, which allotted election symbols to candidates and the
armed forces had nothing to do with the specific case.
another question, he said “Our response is in place regarding any cyber threat.
Some forces are active on the social media against Pakistan’s political
stability. Action will be taken if any act is taken repugnant to the security
urged the media to play its role in creating awareness for free, fair, and
invisible forces, he said that anybody to be elected by the people of Pakistan
will be acceptable to the armed forces. “We are the creature of God and not the
aliens. We are serving the people of Pakistan,” he said. He also denied the
role of the ISI in allotting election symbols to the contesting candidates. He
also rejected the ISI’s involvement in the Multan episode where a PML-N
candidate was roughed up allegedly by security personnel asking him to change
his loyalty and return the PML-N’s ticket.
donations for a fund established for the construction of dams, the ISPR chief
said that the army chief has also donated his one-month salary for this
the outset of Maj-Gen Ghafoor’s briefing, a 20-minute training movie was
screened which has basically been produced for the awareness of the troops to
be deployed for the election duty.
In a reply submitted to the Supreme Court, former president retired Gen Pervez
Musharraf has claimed that he promulgated the National Reconciliation Ordinance
(NRO) 2007 without having any mala fide or vested interests and to end acrimony
between different political parties and (improve) political conditions
Musharraf pleaded that the NRO 2007 was promulgated by him as then president on
the advice of the government, which was later declared by the apex court void
ab initio through its judgement in December 2009.
reply was submitted by his counsel Akhtar Shah in response to earlier
directives of an SC bench seized with a petition of Feroz Shah Gilani,
president of the Lawyers Foundation for Justice, in which he has named Mr
Musharraf, former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, former president Asif
Ali Zardari and the National Accountability Bureau as respondents.
Musharraf said the promulgation of the NRO was aimed at fostering mutual trust
and confidence amongst the holders of public office, removing vestiges of
political vendetta and victimisation, making the election process more
transparent and amending certain laws, in addition to ancillary-related
reply insisted that all actions taken by the then president were in accordance
with the laws as existed at that time.
Musharraf requested the court to dismiss the petition to the extent of his
Mr Zardari had filed a reply pleading that no case of causing losses to the
public exchequer or looting and plundering national wealth had ever been proved
against him in Pakistan or abroad.
said he had no role in the promulgation of the NRO because he was in jail when
it was introduced, adding that the cases against him were reopened when the NRO
was set aside by the Supreme Court in 2010 and all cases were tried de novo which
resulted in his acquittal on merit.
the last hearing on July 4, the Supreme Court had asked for details of assets
of Gen Musharraf, Mr Zardari and Malik Qayyum.
court had ordered the respondents to furnish details of their bank accounts and
assets both inside and outside the country as well as investments made in
of govt mosques in Jakarta promote radicalism
of mosques located at Indonesian government buildings in Jakarta have been
promoting radical Islamic teachings, according to the results of a study
released by a local NGO on July 8.
the government should look a bit closer to home in its fight against
radicalism, the Association of Islamic Boarding School and Society Development
and Rumah Kebangsaan — a social organization — said 41 out of 100 mosques
located at government offices in the capital have promoted radicalism during
include espousing the creation of caliphate and conducting hate speech,
according to the study findings.
study took place between Sept. 29 and Oct. 21 last year by analyzing hundreds
of video and audio recordings.
results "show that the government seems not to be paying much attention to
their own mosques," association chairman Agus Muhammad told ucanews.com
called for the government to up its game and take a closer look in its own
backyard and for moderate Islamic organizations "to take a more active
part in delivering sermons at state-owned mosques."
Antonius Suyadi, who heads Jakarta Archdiocese's Commission for Ecumenical and
Interreligious Affairs, expressed alarm at the study findings, saying they
"illustrate how strong the threat of increasing intolerance is."
called on the government to immediately address the issue.
must manage their mosques in a better way so that national unity can be
nurtured," he said, adding that the archdiocese "is always open to a
dialogue with any party to promote this."
study results came as little surprise to Helmy Faishal Zaini, secretary-general
of the country's largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, who said his
organization has warned both local and central governments about this in the
boils down to how the authorities manage their own mosques. Make a list of
preachers who often deliver provocative sermons and ban them," he said.
Anwar Abbas, secretary-general of the Indonesian Ulema Council, expressed
doubts over the study findings.
it's true 41 out of 100 mosques are like that, this nation would no longer
exist. The fact is the nation is still solid. Even love for the nation is
stronger," he said.
divorce rates at 5-year low
number of Muslim divorces fell to a five-year low last year, thanks to recent
initiatives to bolster marriages within the community, although some experts
warned it is too early to celebrate.
were 1,637 divorces among Muslim couples last year, down 3.8 per cent from
2016's figure of 1,702.
year's figure was the lowest since 2012 when 1,587 Muslim couples split up,
according to the 2017 marriages and divorces statistics released by the
Department of Statistics yesterday.
attributed the dip to new initiatives aimed at strengthening marriages in the
are now also required to go through a marriage counselling programme before
they file for divorce, which may have contributed to a reduction in divorce
rates, as couples are given the opportunity to reflect and really assess their
decision to get a divorce," said Madam Zaleha Ahmad, centre director of
the Association of Muslim Professionals' Marriage Hub.
possible contributing factor to the fall is the Government's increased focus on
supporting couples in their marriages, said a representative from the Singapore
Muslim Women's Association, which conducts marriage preparation courses as well
as marriage counselling sessions.
the top reason for divorce was infidelity, with 23.5 per cent of Muslim couples
splitting up because of a cheating spouse. This was up from 18.8 per cent in
observers cautioned that the fall in divorces should not be a cause for
As a university student, Luna Atmowijoyo prayed five times a day, refused to
shake hands with men who weren't relatives and was "more
fundamentalist" than her pious Muslim parents.
a decade later, Atmowijoyo has turned her back on Islam and is among a small
number of atheists in Indonesia who live in fear of jail or violent reprisals
from religious hardliners.
a double life - devout Muslim on the outside, non-believer on the inside - is
often the only choice for atheists in the world's biggest Muslim majority
who lives with her parents, still wears an Islamic headscarf to escape the
wrath of an abusive father who knows nothing of his daughter's change of heart,
which started when she was told to avoid friendships with non-Muslims.
lot of simple things started to bother me," said the 30-year-old, who
asked not to use her real name.
I couldn't say Merry Christmas or Happy Waisak to people of other
religions," she added, referring to a Buddhist holiday also known as Vesak
or Buddha's Birthday in other parts of Asia.
gay people as abnormal was another problem and it soon became impossible for
Atmowijoyo - once a conservative Islamic party member - to square the Koran's
teachings with science.
the unthinkable crept into her mind: God does not exist.
sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago is officially pluralist with six major
religions recognised, including Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism, while freedom
of expression is supposed to be guaranteed by law.
criticising religion - particularly Islam, which is followed by nearly 90 per
cent of Indonesia's 260 million citizens - can land you in jail.
year, a university student was charged for a Facebook post that compared Allah
to the Greek gods and said the Koran was no more scientific than the Lord of
the Rings. He faces up to five years in prison.
Aan was jailed for 30 months in 2012 for posting explicit material about the
Prophet Mohammed online and declaring himself an atheist.
prosecutions fit a wider trend of discrimination against the archipelago's
sizeable population of minorities, observers said.
however, insist atheist beliefs are not illegal - as long as they're not aired
somebody disseminates that idea, or the concept of atheism, that will be
problematic," said Abdurrahman Mas'ud, head of the research and
development agency at the Ministry of Religion.
FOR MY LIFE"
decades after the fall of dictator Suharto - who kept the country running along
secular lines - conservative Islam has exploded into Indonesia's public life in
lockstep with the rise of hardliners and religiously motivated violence.
country has grappled with Islamist militancy for years, including the 2002 Bali
bombing that killed more than 200 in Indonesia's worst-ever terror attack.
attacks followed and this year, 13 people were killed in a wave of suicide
bombings claimed by the Islamic State group that targeted Christian
temples have also been attacked, while this year an angry mob rampaged through
a small community of the Ahmadiyya Islamic minority on the island of Lombok,
destroying homes and forcing dozens of members to flee.
who were interviewed said they worried that hardliners, encouraged by populist
politicians, could turn their attention to them next.
worst thing that can happen in Indonesia is we can be killed," said one
35-year-old graphic designer who was raised as a Catholic.
genuinely fear for my life."
apostates - particularly those from conservative Muslim backgrounds - assume
two identities, like Atmowijoyo.
long as they keep quiet there is not much risk," said Timo Duile, a
researcher at the University of Bonn who has studied atheism in Indonesia.
is the reason that most atheists I talked to prefer to stay incognito."
one knows how many atheists there are in Indonesia.
small groups hold regular meetings in large cities, most have sought out
like-minded individuals online.
"You Ask, Atheists Answer" open forum on Facebook has nearly 60,000
members, and there are more like it online.
based in Singapore, said when she found a private Facebook page for fellow atheists
in her native Indonesia she finally felt she was "not alone".
who were interviewed said they worried about doxxing - publishing private
information to identify users - by radical Islamist cyber groups, which
regularly make death threats.
is not the only Muslim-majority nation where non-believers face danger.
and atheist bloggers have been killed in Bangladesh, atheists have been
threatened by government officials in Malaysia and jailed in Egypt.
by contrast, is often praised for its moderate, inclusive brand of Islam - but
that is something many atheists say is no longer a reality.
said she was concerned about friends back home. "I?m quite worried about
even in Singapore, she felt she needed to watch her back.
ALAM, July 10 — Underaged marriages in Selangor can only be performed with the
written consent and approval of the shariah judge in the state.
of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi
said Selangor had fixed the minimum age for marriage for men at 18 years while
for women, it is 16 years.
application for consent for underaged marriages must be filed by the parents or
guardian, as well as by the child itself.
the application is heard, the shariah court will order the child to undergo
counselling sessions conducted by the district Welfare Services Department,” he
said in a statement here today.
added that Muslim parents and guardians who want their underaged children to
get married must make sure that they are physically and mentally ready.
LUMPUR, July 11 — Controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik expressed his
gratitude to the Malaysian government for not deporting him home to India where
he is wanted to facilitate investigations into terror activities there.
a statement through an aide, the Mumbai-born who is a Malaysian permanent
resident also gave a commitment that he will not break any laws during his stay
thank the Malaysian government for examining the issue from an unbiased
perspective, and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his decision to
allow me to stay here, as long as I continue to abide by the law and support
the peace and harmony of this country,” he said.
then expressed disappointment over some local media reports, which he claimed
had tarnished his image by linking him to terror-related activities, and
accused him of delivering hate speeches.
sections of the media have attacked me for my supposed ‘incitement to terror’,
and it would be naive not to assume that this was done with a broader objective
of demonising Islam and Muslims. Unable to find any evidence against me, they
resorted to doctored video clips, out-of-context quotations and a host of
dishonest schemes to accuse me of terrorism, hate speech and even money
Zakir reiterated his assertions that none of his speeches was objected to by
non-Muslims in India, his homeland, until 2012, during which he claimed “a
group of religious fanatics” had then sought to tarnish his image.
insisted that he has never promoted terror using Islam in 25 years of
Zakir also praised Malaysia’s unity and diversity and expressed gratitude for
being allowed to be a part of the community.
am humbled to be a part of this diversity, and I also acknowledge the
sensitivities it entails. I would never wish to disrupt or jeopardise this
balance in any way, or to break the rule of law of this country, because it is
my primary concern to foster the social harmony currently enjoyed by its
while I hope that justice and peace return to my homeland, India, I remain
indebted to Malaysia — not just as one seeking fair treatment, but as an
individual with a love of humanity,” he added.
Mahathir has said that Malaysia will not deport Dr Zakir back to India, as long
as he does not create problems here.
Mumbai-born Islamic televangelist is wanted by the Indian government for
alleged money laundering and terrorism.
LUMPUR, July 11 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki praised Prime
Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for allowing Mumbai-born Islamic preacher Dr
Zakir Naik to remain in the country.
a tweet, Asyraf commended Dr Mahathir for defending the rights and position of
will not be sent back to India on baseless charges which will only frame him as
an individual who has contributed much to religion and to the promotion of
yesterday during an anti-corruption programme in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said
the government will not give in to pressure from groups to deport the
controversial preacher, but instead consider all factors in deciding what is to
be done with Dr Zakir.
The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum began its eighth ministerial meeting in
Beijing on Tuesday to discuss ways to strengthen Arab-Chinese relations.
Saudi delegation was led by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who is chairman of
the current session.
a speech at the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his
intention to hold an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and expressed his support for the two-state solution and the Arab
and Arab countries have agreed to establish a “future-oriented strategic
partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development,” Xi said.
Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said: “We believe that boosting
mechanisms of cooperation between us will contribute to achieving the supreme
interests of our Arab nation and our friends, and to enhancing historical
relations between the two sides, which we are keen to develop and promote in
League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the ministerial session
reflects the two sides’ keenness to deepen Arab-Chinese ties.
urged China to continue its support for Arab issues, foremost among them the
the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Al-Jubeir delivered a lecture to the
Middle East Studies Association.
said: “Saudi-Chinese relations have been deepened by both countries’ belief in
key principles, notably respecting the sovereignty of states and
non-interference in their affairs.”
Arabia launched its Vision 2030 reform plan to bolster the economy by reducing
dependence on oil, attracting investors, and improving the transparency and
performance of government institutions,” he said.
2030 also aims to create a climate of tolerance and moderation, confront
extremism, and enable Saudi women to be partners in moving the Kingdom forward,
Arabia considers itself an essential partner in China’s Belt and Road
Initiative (BRI), which will have a great economic and social impact on the
world, and will contribute to regional security and stability, Al-Jubeir said.
is consulting with Beijing on cooperation regarding the BRI, and on encouraging
the Middle East to play a key role in the project, he added.
pointed to both sides’ keenness to intensify scientific exchanges, as the
Kingdom has sent students to China for education and to become bridges between
the two countries.
kill 27 regime fighters in northwest Syria
and militants killed more than two dozen pro-government fighters in a joint
attack in a northwestern stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s
regime, a monitor said Tuesday.
retaliation, the government and its ally Russia pounded rebel-held areas in the
coastal province of Latakia and neighboring Idlib on Tuesday.
government’s attack resulted in the death of four civilians, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
was the bloodiest opposition assault on the area in three years, according to
the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside the
surprise offensive late Monday targeted a pair of villages and observation
points in Latakia, near the Turkish border.
least 27 regime forces and allied fighters, including eight officers, were
killed in fierce clashes and shelling in the village of Al-Ateira,” said
Observatory Head Rami Abdulrahman.
said, “They took Al-Ateira and kicked out regime forces from several
observation points after killing or wounding them.”
40 government loyalists were wounded and six rebels were killed, he said.
Observatory said the opposition fighters included local rebels from Latakia as
well as more hardline forces.
is the heartland of Assad’s regime on the Mediterranean coast, and is home to
the Hmeymim airbase where Russian troops and warplanes have been based since
opposed to Assad have repeatedly attacked the province since the uprising broke
out in March 2011. They hold a northeastern sliver of territory bordering the
neighboring province of Idlib.
regime and Russia also bombarded that strip of land and parts of western Idlib
with air strikes and artillery fire on Tuesday, killing four civilians, the
area falls under a de-escalation deal agreed last year between Russia, fellow
regime backer Iran, and rebel ally Turkey.
suicide car bombing on Tuesday killed eight newly reconciled fighters from
pro-government and rebel ranks in an attack on a south Syrian village claimed
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion hit
Zaizun, a village in the western countryside of Daraa province which rebels
agreed in recent days to hand over to regime control.
regime and opposition fighters who recently reconciled were killed in a suicide
car bomb attack targeting a military position in Zaizun,” said Observatory head
Rami Abdel Rahman.
claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on the Telegram
messaging app, saying the car driven by a suicide bomber had been packed with
lies near a sliver of southern territory controlled by Jaish Khaled bin Walid,
a faction that has pledged allegiance to ISIS, which is not bound by the deal
between the rebels and the government.
Rahman said it was likely that this faction was responsible for the attack,
adding it was the first suicide bombing targeting regime forces since they
launched an offensive on Daraa.
by Russia, Syrian troops began a bombing blitz of Daraa province on June 19
that killed dozens of civilians and displaced more than 320,000 people.
onslaught came to an end on Friday, when Moscow brokered a deal with rebels for
them to surrender their weapons and hand over towns to government troops.
agreement also provides for safe passage for thousands of opposition fighters
and civilians to rebel territory further north, although those transfers have
not yet begun.
regime is now in control of around 80 percent of Daraa province, while rebels
hold around 15 percent, according to the Observatory.
a regime attack, thousands of people have fled the ISIS-held zone in the past
two days heading toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
200,000 displaced people have already sought refuge along that frontier, which
remains sealed, according to the United Nations.
finishing off rebel forces in the south, the regime is expected to attack the
last pocket held by the ISIS affiliate there,” said Abdel Rahman.
forces have not yet begun their assault but rebels nearby hit the ISIS-held
area with artillery and mortars late Monday.
army men staged a rapid march on terrorists and freed the entire border region
between the Southern province of Dara'a and Jordan after imposing control over
Zeizoun region West of Dara'a.
only area in Dara'a still under terrorists' control is a few-kilometer-long
chunk of the border taken by the ISIL.
the meantime, field sources said that the army has arrived at the ISIL-held
region in Hawz al-Yarmouk.
army has now cut off the link between the remaining pockets of terrorists
trapped in Dara'a city and the operation room in Jordan that is run by the army
and security services of a number of Arab and western states, known as the
Al-Mouk Operation Room.
said earlier today that the army troops captured more bordering checkpoints and
managed to lay siege on the Southern city of Dara'a after terrorists insisted
on battle with the government forces in the Western parts of the province.
army men drove terrorists out of 7 bordering checkpoints (No 29 up to 35) at
the country's border with Jordan.
army soldiers further advanced towards the Western direction of the hills near
al-Katibah al-Mahjourah Air Defense Base in Western Dara'a and managed to lay
full siege on Dara'a city.
the meantime, local sources said that the army has purged terrorists from a
vast region from Nasib border-crossing to Zeizoun township and from Sout of
Tisiya to Southeast of Dara'a city and Zeizoun.
army men launched fresh attacks on terrorists' positions in the Southeastern
part of Dara'a city that is under a full siege of the government forces.
army soldiers further managed to seize control over Qaraz district.
the meantime, other units of the army hunted the remaining pockets of
terrorists in Southwestern neighborhoods of Dara'a city and imposed complete
control over the Old Customs area and al-Hajana Battalion Base.
sources reported that the army has further tightened noose on the terrorists
trapped in Dara'a city after its advances on Tuesday.
units of Firqa Sultan Morad, affiliated to the Turkish army, engaged in fierce
clashes in the town of Jarabulus in Northern Aleppo, inflicting several
casualties on both sides.
local sources said that residents in Northern Aleppo are showing anger over
continued infighting among the terrorist groups in the region through several
demonstrations against militants, calling for their expulsion from their towns
the meantime, Ankara-backed Jarabulus Local Council warned civilians that had
sought shelter in a school to leave there immediately.
sources reported that the Turkish army is planning to establish a university
affiliated to the Turkish university of Gaziantep at the school in Jarabulus.
on the latest reports from Jarabulus, people at the school have protested at
the council's order to leave the school.
Kurdish-language Hawar news reported last week that the Turkish soldiers exchanged
heavy fire with the militants of al-Hamza Brigade at the entrance of the
occupied town of Afrin along al-Fil Street in Northwestern Aleppo.
news further said that the Turkish army's heavy artillery fire at one of the
positions of al-Hamza Brigade near Deir Sam Hospital and also near the village
of Tarandeh has frightened residents in the region.
clashes came after the Turkish troops urged al-Hamza members to leave Afrin and
deployed in the town's outskirts that was opposed by the Brigade, Hawar news
group of militants in al-Matiyeh township in Southern Dara'a endorsed peace
the meantime, other terrorists in Tafas township in Western Dara'a handed over
their military and armored vehicles to the army in line with the implementation
of the peace agreement in the region.
army helicopters dropped thousands of surrender-now leaflets over the villages
of al-Harra, Kafr Shams, Zamrin and Salmin in Death Trianble in Northern
Dara'a, calling on the militants to surrender to the government forces.
Russian Defense Ministry announced in its latest report on Monday that
militants in more regions in Dara'a and Sweida provinces handed over their
weapons to relevant officials and ended fight with the Syrian army.
Center reported that 15 towns in Dara'a and a town in Sweida province have
joined the peace plan.
added that totally 75 regions in Dara'a province joined the peace plan,
increasing the number of such regions in Southwestern Syria to 90.
Syrian regime forces have bombed villages and towns in the northwest after a
surprise attack by insurgents, say activists
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday’s bombardment targeted
half-a-dozen opposition-held villages in the northwestern Idlib province,
killing at least five civilians. The activist-operated Idlib Media Center put
the death toll at four.
regime assault came hours after opposition groups in Idlib seized the village
of Ateera near the border with Turkey in a surprise attack. It was a rare
advance for the armed opposition.
regime is waging a wide-scale offensive in southern Syria, where it recently
retook a major crossing on the border with Jordan.
Observatory and other activist-operated platforms reported that over 24
soldiers were killed, including a number of officers.
province, the last major opposition stronghold, is included in a
“de-escalation” agreement negotiated by Russia and Iran, which support the
regime, and Turkey, which backs the opposition and has deployed a dozen
observation points in the province.
agreements elsewhere in the country have collapsed in the face of regime
offensives, and the regime is expected to advance on Idlib province once it has
secured other areas.
Monday, regime forces extended their control all the way along Daraa province’s
border with Jordan up to a pocket of territory held by Daesh-affiliated
militants, severing a once vital opposition lifeline to Jordan.
helicopters reportedly dropped leaflets on the opposition-held town of Al-Haara
saying “there is no place for militants.”
was the scene of the first anti-Assad protests that spiraled into a war now
estimated to have killed half a million people. The conflict has driven over 11
million people from their homes, with some 5.6 million Syrian refugees in
neighboring states alone and many more in Europe.
forces began thrusting into Daraa province last month. Heavily outgunned rebels
surrendered quickly in some places as the US, which once armed them, told
opposition forces not to expect its intervention.
regime offensive is expected to turn next to nearby rebel-held areas of
Quneitra province, at the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
UN said on Monday it would immediately start providing humanitarian assistance
to thousands of civilian families affected by the fighting in the Daraa, Sweida
and Quneitra areas of southern Syria.
intelligence infiltrated Islamic State ring to track, arrest Afghan suicide
bomber sent to hit Delhi
an audacious counter-intelligence operation, unprecedented in its scale and
scope, Indian security agencies infiltrated an Islamic State ring to thwart a
bid by an IS Afghan suicide bomber to strike New Delhi.
operation included the Indian “plant” supplying the IS operative with
explosives — without triggers — and even arranging for his accommodation in the
arrest by Indian agencies happened in New Delhi around September 2017 but it’s
only now that top diplomatic and intelligence sources have confirmed details to
The Indian Express.
IS operative, who lived in New Delhi in the guise of an engineering student,
was flown to Afghanistan days after he was arrested and is, at present,
understood to be in custody at a key US military base in Afghanistan.
fact, so “high value” is this Afghan bomber that his confessions and
interrogations are seen as one of the possible reasons behind the string of
successes achieved recently by US forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan,
have told The Indian Express that an 18-month-long surveillance operation in
Afghanistan, Dubai and New Delhi yielded intelligence that a group of 12 IS
operatives were being sent after training in Pakistan to carry out bomb attacks
in the region. One of them, an Afghan national in his mid-twenties and the “son
of a wealthy businessman,” was given New Delhi as his target for a suicide
said that as part of his undercover “mission,” he got himself admitted to a
private engineering college on the outskirts of the capital, along the
Delhi-Faridabad highway. Initially, he lived in the college hostel but, sources
said, he subsequently rented a ground-floor apartment in Lajpat Nagar,
many as 80 Indian investigators and security personnel had to be deployed for
“physical surveillance” during the peak one-month period of the operation to
ensure that the target was never out of sight and did not slip away, sources
is an indication, from his questioning, that the suicide bomb attack in the
Manchester arena in UK on May 22, 2017, killing 23 people, could have been
triggered by a member of the same IS group which included the Afghan picked up
from New Delhi.
said that the type of explosives he demanded in New Delhi were similar to the
ones used in the Manchester blast.
is information that the IS operation began with sleuths of the Research &
Analysis Wing (R&AW) tracking a suspicious transfer of $50,000 by
individuals under their watch from Dubai to a location in Afghanistan and then
linking the dots with intelligence shared by US about New Delhi being a
possible target in the near future for an IS strike.
was at this stage that a decision was taken to infiltrate the IS circuit. With
a flow of telephone intercepts giving away details of the arrival of the bomber
in New Delhi, a suitable candidate was picked for befriending the Afghan.
said that the Indian operative was the one who located the Lajpat Nagar
safehouse for the Afghan, though initially a third-floor place was arranged,
this was later changed to a ground-floor apartment.
Indian agent was finally tasked by the IS to arrange for explosives for the New
Delhi strike at which stage, a multi-agency surveillance ring was thrown around
the Lajpat Nagar house, sources said.
is now known that the IS saboteur visited the Delhi Airport, Ansal Plaza mall,
a Vasant Kunj mall as well as the South Extension market, may be among other
places in New Delhi, as reconnaissance for the strike.
feedback was being given by him to his handlers in Afghanistan.
twist to the dramatic early-morning swoop was the fact that the consignment of
explosives and improvised devices was delivered to the Afghan by the Indian
without any triggers as the ultimate subterfuge.
in the know of the ensuing interrogation of the IS bomber picked up from New
Delhi say that besides Indian counter-intelligence experts, US agents also
joined the interrogation. Sources said his confessions have helped US forces
strike at many Taliban targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
to see Muslims being targeted in the country: Mulk actor Taapsee Pannu
in on the increased prejudice against Muslims in the country, Taapsee Pannu
says it is very disturbing that a particular religion is being targeted.
made the comment at the trailer launch of her upcoming film Mulk, which is the
story of a Muslim family caught in a terror plot.
asked about the community being targeted, Taapsee told reporters, “It’s very
disturbing. I’ll give you an example from my own life. My manager is a Muslim,
my driver, my house help are Muslims.
I were to feel disturbed in their presence then I would be disturbed whole day
and night because my life is run by them. It’s very disturbing to realise that
a particular religion is being targeted. These people are inseparable to me. So
this was a big reason for me to do the film. I thought if someone has to stand
up then I would like to take that responsibility. This fear and this
disturbance in my mind, I vented it all out through this film,” she said.
director Anubhav Sinha, who was present at the trailer launch, added, “When we
started the film it looked against the tide but the kind of comments we are
receiving I am happy that I made it. It’s not about Hindu-Muslims, we have had
these clashes before. It’s such a diverse country, everybody has fought
everybody. Hindus have fought Muslims, Sikhs have fought Hindus, Shias have
fought Sunnis, Brahmins have fought Thakurs. So it goes on in our country.”
Party of India (Marxist) and its government in Kerala led by Pinarayi Vijayan
have stepped up its political offensive against Islamic radical organisations
operating in the state.
CPI (M) state leadership has decided to identify leaders in the Social
Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and its affiliates who sponsor Islamic radical
groups including and seek their support.
Kerala Police was directed to take firm action against SDPI and Popular Front
of India (PFI) activists who allegedly plotted the killing of tribal student
and Student Federation of India leader Abimanyu.
19, was brutally killed inside Maharaja's College campus in Ernakulam on July
CPI (M) launched a political campaign in 200 centres across the state against
the SDPI and its terror tactics. The campaign is followed by house visits
alerting families to keep vigil against PFI and its terror designs.
PFI and its wings such as National Women's Front and Campus Front of India are
notorious for using terror to spread their social messages.
SDPI is affiliated to the PFI and is a terror outfit engaged in divisive
tactics and is a threat to Kerala's secular society. We will fight them
politically," CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told India
Elamaram Kareem, Rajya Sabha member and central committee member of the CPI
(M), had listed out the brutal killings engineered by PFI and its affiliated
his article titled "PFI -- an enemy of Muslims", Kareem alleged that
PFI had killed 39 persons between 1995 and 2018, including nine RSS workers in
CPI (M) offensive against PFI and its affiliated organisations have shaken the
radical groups in Kerala which thrived on government's patronage in the past.
ruling governments had taken a lenient view of PFI due to vote bank politics.
CPI (M) offensive against PFI is a bit late in the day. It is hypocritical as
the CPI (M) colluded with the PFI in Malappuram district to defeat Indian Union
Muslim League," MK Muneer of IUML told India Today.
a senior CPI (M) leader told India Today that the party has always taken a firm
stand against PFI and its affiliates from the very beginning. "They [PFI]
has infiltrated all parties with a mission and executed their agendas. Now we
are scrutinising their presence in our party at various levels and have warned
all party members that their association with radical sponsors will be
monitored and treated as an anti-party activity," the CPI (M) leader said.
has been operating in the state by sponsoring criminal mafia and had
infiltrated into various political parties including CPI (M), Congress and IUML
for political cover.
brutal killing of Abimanyu inside a college campus exposed their operation
Police has detained around 500 people involved in various criminal activities
after the murder and raided around 400 premises. The raids and arrests revealed
that the radical groups under the shelter of SDPI were involved in money
laundering, hawala operations, real estate mafia and blackmail.
CPI (M) offensive against PFI-affiliated organisations is going to put them in
serious problem; PFI has offered to give up a few people involved in the
Abimanyu murder and is negotiating for truce.
reports on setting up of shariah courts fake, says Muslim board
All India Muslim Perosnal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday hit out at a section of
the media for spreading fake news regarding its plan to set up ‘shariah courts’
in each district of the country.
never demanded a parallel court system. It has been and will be running Darul
Qazas under the arbitration act. Our Darul Qazas are only arbitration centers
that are helping the society. Please ignore fake news,” it tweeted.
secretary Zafaryab Jilani said there was no proposal for setting up new ‘darul
qazas’ on the agenda of the board’s meeting in New Delhi on July 15. “We had
set up our first centre in 1993 and more centres have come up since. Their
progress report is presented to the board from time to time,” he said.
do not call them ‘shariah courts’ as is being made out by a section of the
media. A similar attempt to stoke a controversy and challenge the legality of
these centres was made earlier too, and a petition was filed in the Supreme
Court, which upheld their validity in 2014.”
Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli, a member of the board’s executive council, said
it was precisely to counter these propaganda and misinformation that the body
had decided to constitute a special panel of its own to present the “true
case in point was also the heat generated on the instant triple divorce bill,
board is very happy with the way its women members led a countrywide protest
and played an active role in the passing of triple talaq bill.”
said the campaign not only created awareness but also helped in removing
misconceptions among both Muslims and non-Muslims that instant triple divorce
was one of the most deplorable practices and should be shunned by the
In a sensational revelation, a Pakistani Islamist, based in Canada has admitted
that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad
al-Hussein, was in constant touch with him while preparing the Human Rights
report on Kashmir+ and which has been rejected by India.
in Toronto, Zafar Bangash is an Islamic movement journalist and an Imam at the
Islamic Society of York Region's Mosque.
speaking at a conference on Kashmir in Mississauga, Bangesh revealed, "I
can say it to you, and I say it with all humility, but with great pride that we
'The Friends of Kashmir' also have a role in the production of this report. In
fact, I had personal correspondence with the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, e-mail correspondence in which he responded to my personal letter and
e-mail saying that he would like to have access to both sides of Line of
Control". Confessing about lobbying and consultation with officials in
Islamabad, Bangesh added, "I responded to him (Zeid Ra'ad alHussein) after
speaking to the Foreign Office spokesperson in Pakistan, Mr. Nafees Zakaria,
who used to be the Consul General in Toronto and he assured that Pakistan would
welcome the UN High Commissioner and their representatives to Pakistan and they
will facilitate their visit."
event was also attended by President of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Sardar
threatening India to not engage in nuclear war with Pakistan, Masood said,
"We must take steps towards averting a war between India and Pakistan on
the issue of Jammu and Kashmir which has been called a long-festering problem.
We should avoid the war, because if there is a nuclear war in South Asia, if
would be end of civilization".
June 14, the UN released its first ever human rights report on Kashmir accusing
security forces of gross human rights violations on both sides of the border.
report demanded Pakistan stop using its anti-terror legislation to crack down
on activists. On the other hand, it accused India of using excessive force on
said that the Constitution allows every Indian the freedom of practicing their
religion. Supreme Court should also take that into consideration before passing
orders on such matters.
said that the mosque in the Taj Mahal was constructed for Muslims to offer
Namaz, but the Supreme Court plans to usurp that right of the Muslims.
Bar Council former secretary Amir Ahmed advocate said that the order has been
issued in the interest of the security of the Taj Mahal and should be honoured.
He said that there were plenty of mosques around the Taj Mahal where Namaz
could be offered and there was no rule that the Namaz has to be offered in the
Taj Mahal only.
Jameeluddin, former principal of the Shobia Inter College said that the Supreme
Court's order violates the Constitutional freedom given to every Indian Muslim
and the Muslim community will vehemently oppose this decision. He appealed to
the local Muslims of Agra to go and offer Namaz in huge numbers at the Taj
Mahal so that the Archaeological Survey of India does not get a chance to take
away the mosque from the Muslims.
a teenager growing up in a lower middle-class Muslim home in Meghalaya, I
remember, once, asking a friendly Maulana if my desire for people of the
same-sex was a sin. Taking me to a corner, he advised me that I should fast,
pray and atone for my unnatural behaviour by taking cold showers each time a
thought crossed my mind. With no knowledge of sexual rights or alternative
Islamic interpretations around homosexuality, it was extremely difficult for me
to reconcile my faith and sexuality as I grew up.
377 carried a peculiar charge — it was far removed from my lawful life, but it
was part of it in other ways. I feared the stigma of being discovered and
ridiculed. For a large part of my school and college life, I had to resort to
silence: I was careful not to expose a side of me that was so integral to my
existence. Moving to Delhi to study at university enabled me to explore my
sexuality and access resources around LGBTQ rights. However, a deep sense of
religious guilt continued to haunt me. There was a time when I distanced myself
from Islam. However, it did not take me long to realise that my Muslim identity
was something that I could not escape, as I would be invariably become the
target of Islamophobic jokes and comments on terrorism or Muslim patriarchy.
LGBTQ and Muslim communities continue to be stigmatised in different ways. For
queer Muslims like me, it’s a double bind. We are disproportionately affected
by conventional expectations of religious and gender and sexuality norms, along
with a host of other discriminations that Muslims in general face, like finding
a house to rent, for example. We are also ostracised within our homes and
communities, which pushes us towards self-denial, depression and suicide.
Transgender and gender-diverse Muslims have a hard time even finding a safe
space to offer prayers.
NIA steps up quizzing of Hurriyat leaders, others in terror-funding case
after the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir fell, after the BJP withdrew
support, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has begun its crackdown on separatists
and has called, among others, a Hurriyat faction member related to a PDP
legislator for questioning in connection with a case of terror funding.
said the agency last week called for questioning 10 people from the Valley,
including Hurriyat leaders. They were questioned on suspicion that they played
a role in funding anti-India agitations.
is learnt that among those called is Mohammad Shafi Reshi, an advocate
affiliated to Hurriyat’s S A S Geelani faction and is uncle of Yasir Reshi, an MLC
of the PDP.
person called is Hurriyat leader Ghulam Nabi Sumji, sources said. A former MLA
of Muslim United Front, Sumji had resigned from the Assembly in 1989 to join
the Hurriyat to represent Muslim Conference. Last month, the then Mehbooba Mufti
government had approved Sumji’s pension application in what was seen as an
attempt to make peace with the Hurriyat.
said that barring one, none of those summoned have turned up for questioning —
they are understood to have sought more time. “Most of them have said they are
not well. They will be called for questioning again,” said an official privy to
week, the NIA had questioned Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, an accountant working with
Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, who has been arrested by the NIA in the
case and is presently in jail. Bhat had been questioned earlier as well in the
registering a case in May last year against Hurriyat leaders for fomenting
trouble in the Valley with funds from Pakistan-backed terror groups such as LeT
and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the NIA had raided 12 locations across Kashmir. These
included houses and offices of several Hurriyat leaders and people associated
of Bhat, Reshi and Sumji were among those searched. Sources said the other
people called for questioning are also among those whose premises have been
either searched or are connected to such people.
development comes close on the heels of the NIA’s arrest of Dukhtaran-e-Millat
chief Asia Andrabi, along with two associates, on Friday in connection with a
frees 183 children, clears ties to Boko Haram
Nigerian army on Monday freed 183 children from custody after they were cleared
of alleged links with Boko Haram, according to UNICEF.
children, aged between 7-18 years, comprise eight girls and 175 boys.
(children) are first and foremost victims of the ongoing conflict and their
release is an important step on their long road to recovery,” a statement by
the UNICEF quoted its Nigeria representative Mohamed Fall as saying.
will be working with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social
Development and partners to provide the children with all the assistance they
need. I also want to commend the action taken by the military and the
authorities, it demonstrates a clear commitment to better protect children
affected by the conflict.”
statement said the children will receive medical attention and psychosocial
support before the process of reuniting them with their families and
reintegrating them into society begins.
2017, UNICEF has supported the social and economic reintegration of more than
8,700 children released from armed groups, helping trace their families,
returning them to their communities, and offering them psychosocial support,
education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities
to improve livelihoods, the statement added.
of suspects are reportedly being held across military facilities in Nigeria for
alleged ties with the militants. Some of the detainees are being tried in
kill 15 Boko Haram terrorists in Borno
of 7 Brigade, Sector 3 of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) have
killed 15 Boko Haram terrorists during a clearance operation at Arege, Borno
MNJTF comprises forces from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger. The mission of
the military formation is to rid Lake Chad Basin and Islands of the remnants of
Boko Haram insurgents.
Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen. Texas Chukwu, in a statement
yesterday in Maiduguri, said the exercise, which lasted for over three hours,
forced some insurgents to flee with gunshot wounds.
to him, efforts are being intensified to arrest the fleeing suspects, adding
that his men recovered five AK-47 rifles, an anti-aircraft gun and a light
machine gun during the military expedition.
one soldier was injured and is currently receiving attention at a military
medical facility,” he added.
spokesman urged the public to always report any suspicious movement within
their localities to law enforcement agencies for prompt action.
Governor Simon Lalong has said the relevant laws to try the perpetrators of the
recent attacks on the Plateau will soon be signed into law.
made the disclosure yesterday while receiving former Head of State and National
Chairman of Nigeria Prays, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), in Jos.
words: “We have reviewed adequate laws to prosecute offenders in Jos.
will ensure the enthronement of sustainable peace on the Plateau.”
commended Gowon for standing by the state as a father, assuring him that
efforts were being made to restore the state to its pride of glory.
erstwhile Nigerian leader, who was on a condolence visit to the Government
House, decried the practice where arrested suspects are taken to Abuja and
released almost immediately.
said: “People arrested should be investigated and prosecuted in Jos where the
crime was committed.”
condemned the flaying of President Muhammadu Buhari on the social media,
noting: “The Buhari I know will not be involved, certainly no leader will
encourage his people to be killed.”
Al-Shabaab militants attacked a police post in Garissa on Tuesday, county
police boss David Kerina said.
militants attacked Hamey Police Post which is located near the Kenya-Somalia
border at 2am.
raided the post from different corners and had a heavy exchange of fire with
officers based at the station.
Kerina said an Administration Police officer remained unaccounted for on
Tuesday afternoon following the attack.
added that four officers sustained minor injuries and are out of danger.
officers only got bruises. They fought hard and repulse the enemies,” he said.
police boss said search is underway for the missing officer.
to a police source, the officers at the station had prior intelligence of an
impending attack and were ready to fight back.
Somali-based militants have in the recent past staged attacks targeting
security officials in areas around the Kenya-Somalia border.
Thursday last week, five police officers were injured when suspected Al-Shabab
militants planted Improvise Explosive Devices on the road.
Army Command Announces Fresh Offensive Against Al-Shabab
commander-in-chief of Somali national army [SNA] General Abdiweli Hussein Jama
Gorod has announced a new anti-al Shabaab push. During a meeting with military
officers, Gorod said they have readied an offensive aimed at flushing out
Al-Shabaab from the remaining areas still under its control.
Ali Anod, the Somali National Army Commander has urged the young military officers
to serve the nation honestly and take part the war on Al-Shabaab. General Gorod
called on the SNA leading officials to prepare for a final push against Al
Shabaab which is expected to be unleashed in the coming weeks.
president slams bill that could lead to Jewish-only communities
President Reuven Rivlin criticized a proposed law Tuesday that would open the
door to the establishment of Jewish-only communities in the country.
comments marked a rare intervention in politics by the country's president,
whose role is mainly symbolic.
voiced his concerns in an open letter, pointing to a clause in the proposed
legislation that defined Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people.”
so-called nation-state law, which the government hopes to have approved by the
end of the month, could become part of the country's basic laws which serve as
a de facto constitution.
clause Rivlin criticized would allow the state to “authorize a community
composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the
exclusive character of that community.”
was seen as allowing towns to exclude Arab citizens, who account for some 17.5
percent of Israel's population, or even other Jewish communities.
said that the legislation “could harm the Jewish people worldwide and in
Israel, and could even be used as a weapon by our enemies.”
we want to support the discrimination and exclusion of men and women based on
their ethnic origin?” he wrote.
said that the bill could allow the establishment of towns that would, for
example, exclude Jews of Middle Eastern origin, ultra-Orthodox Jews or
General Avichai Mandelblit has also said that he is opposed to the law in its
Dichter, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and
the bill's sponsor, said the clause was aimed at “allowing a Zionist population
to live without having a population at its side that is not ready to defend the
Arabs largely support the Palestinian cause, and right-wing Jews often accuse
them of disloyalty. Netanyahu supports the bill but has not commented on the
clause in question.
government is hoping to win approval for the bill during the current
parliamentary session, which finishes at the end of July. Negotiations on
potential amendments are ongoing.
separate part of the legislation that would designate Hebrew as Israel's only
official language, granting only “special status” to Arabic, has also raised
says the law aims to defend Israel's “status as a Jewish and democratic state.”
rejects so-called Trump's deal of the century
Resistance movement Hamas has announced that it will not support Washington's
so-called deal of the century and will continue to resist Israel's occupation.
released a statement on Tuesday in which it said that US President Donald
Trump's plan "constitutes a violation of the Palestinian people's
indications show that the deal violates our legitimate rights, mainly the right
of return, liberating our land and establishing our independent state with
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital," added the statement.
also referred to the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the al-Quds
as a deadly plot, while calling on all Palestinian factions and parties to
unite in the face of the Israel-US measures.
believes the current circumstance is the best to achieve internal
reconciliation and real Palestinian unity," noted the statement.
so-called deal, a backchannel plan to allegedly reach a peace settlement
between Israel and the Palestinians, was proposed by the US administration late
last year. Although the plan has not been released, leaks signal it will
consist of the same tried and failed ideas.
believe that the deal suggests building their own Jerusalem al-Quds from areas
surrounding the existing city and forget about the historic place. They also
believe that the US-drafted plan calls for keeping borders and security under
Israeli control, while it keeps Israeli settlements’ final borders to be
discussed in later negotiations.
Turkish police launched an operation on Wednesday to detain 235 people
associated with Muslim author and televangelist Adnan Oktar over accusations
including forming a criminal gang, fraud and sexual abuse, Istanbul police
said in a statement the raids were carried out by its financial crimes section
in an operation state-run Anadolu news agency described as having been spread
across five provinces and that searches of properties were continuing.
launched one raid in the early hours on Oktar’s house at Cengelkoy on the Asian
side of Istanbul and detained him and his guards, the Sabah newspaper said.
February, Turkey's television watchdog suspended a television program hosted by
Oktar that blended theological discussion and dancing, saying it violated
gender equality and women's rights.
hosts talk show program on his television channel, A9, on which he has
discussed Islamic values and sometimes danced with young women he calls
“kittens” and sang with young men, his “lions”.
army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have fired a
domestically-designed and -developed ballistic missile at a strategic economic
target in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Jizan in retaliation to
the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression against their impoverished
Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
short-range Badr-1 missile struck Jazan Economic City, located 967 kilometers
southwest of the capital Riyadh, with great precision on Tuesday afternoon,
Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.
in the day, Yemeni army soldiers and Popular Committees fighters had fired a
ballistic missile at the supply depots of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to
Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the country’s western
coastal province of Hudaydah.
military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the short-range
missile struck the designated target with great precision.
source, however, did not provide further information about possible casualties
and the extent of damage caused.
on Tuesday, Saudi military aircraft bombarded a number of residential areas
across Yemen, leaving several civilians dead and injured.
least five civilians lost their lives and eight others sustained injuries when
Saudi warplanes targeted two vehicles as they were traveling along a road in
Zabid town of Hudaydah province.
fighter jets also pounded an area in the Kitaf wa al-Boqe'e district of Yemen’s
mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada, leaving three people dead.
civilians were also killed and a woman and a child suffered injuries when Saudi
aircraft hit a house in an area of Baqim district in the same Yemeni province.
Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the
Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured since March 2015.
United Nations says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid,
including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living
conditions in Yemen, stating that there was a growing risk of famine and
navy seized a boat on Tuesday that had left from a Gaza port with wounded
Palestinians aboard in a bid to challenge the blockade of the Hamas-run
of people had gathered to see off the boat carrying nine passengers, including
four people said to have been wounded by Israeli soldiers along with students.
passengers “with specific needs are prevented from travelling, receiving care
and finishing their studies,” said organiser Raed Abu Dair.
are determined to break the blockade.”
Abu Ataya, 25, who recently suffered a leg wound east of Gaza City, said: “I am
leaving to be cared for abroad.”
the boat was seized by Israel’s navy a short time after setting off.
the boat and the Palestinians on board are searched, the boat will be towed to
the Israeli navy base in Ashdod,” Israel’s military said in a statement.
(military) assigned medical personnel to treat Palestinians on board requiring
similar attempt was made in May and also resulted in Israeli forces seizing the
main protest boat several kilometers (miles) out to sea.
blockade restricts Gazan boats to up to six nautical miles off the enclave.
and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars
officials and rights activists have repeatedly called for Israel to lift the
blockade, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
says it is necessary to stop Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza from
obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.
Monday, Israel also closed its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip in
response to weeks of fires at farms caused by kites and balloons carrying
firebombs from the Palestinian enclave.
spokesman for Israel’s fire service says 750 fires have burned 2,600 hectares,
putting the damage at millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros).
began launching the kites as part of protests along the border calling for
Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes now inside Israel.
protests and clashes broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, at least 139
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and more than 4,000 have been
wounded by gunfire.
Yemeni army cut the Houthi militia supply routes between At Tuhayta, Zabid and
Bayt al-Faqih districts in Hodeidah, a military source said.
source also said that violent battles are ongoing in east of At Tuhayta towards
Zabid, adding that the army forces seized control of the At Tuhayta-Zabid
Houthis’ random and heavy shelling of At Tuhayta killed 12 civilians and
Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who established a committee headed by Prime Minister
Ahmed bin Daghr to crystallize ideas before direct negotiations with the
Houthis and to study the proposals submitted by UN Special Envoy for Yemen
Martin Griffiths, said on Tuesday while meeting with the latter in Aden that the
Houthis do not understand the concept of peace.
added that the Houthis only look like they’re seeking peace when they feel
they’re retreating in order to gain more time.
Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted a missile launched towards the
kingdom’s southwestern Jizan region by Yemen’s armed Houthi militias.
Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said earlier that a Badr 1 missile had targeted Jizan
Economic City, where Saudi Aramco is building a refinery that is expected to
become fully operational in 2019.
were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
Iran-aligned Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital Sanaa, have fired dozens of
missiles into the kingdom in recent months. Most of the missiles have been
intercepted by the Saudi military.
military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened
in Yemen’s war in 2015 to unseat the Houthis and restore the
internationally-recognized legitimate government.
Military Tribunal has sentenced seven Lebanese nationals in absentia to hard
labor on charges of espionage for Israel's Mossad spy agency and collaboration
with Israeli authorities.
tribunal, chaired by Brigadier General Hussein Abdallah, issued the verdicts
against Fadi Hashem, Charbel Hashem, Maroun Hashem and Lina Aanid on Tuesday
after they were found guilty of crossing into occupied Palestinian territories,
working with Israeli officials and receiving permits to live there.
court also stripped them of their rights as Lebanese citizens.
other defendants, identified as Salam Fakhoury, Assad Saqr and Antoinette
al-Nadaf, were each sentenced in absentia to 15 years of hard labor for
collaborating with Israel.
military tribunal also revoked the nationality of the trio.
in January last year, Lebanese security forces arrested five people over
working for Mossad.
media office of Lebanon’s General Security Directorate announced in a statement
that the quintet had confessed to passing information to Mossad via Israeli
embassies in Turkey, Jordan, Britain and Nepal.
statement stressed that the individuals were arrested following intensive
monitoring of Israeli intelligence operations in the country as part of
Lebanon’s activities aimed at dismantling similar networks.
added that the two spies from Nepal were also engaged in recruiting other
Nepalese workers in Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has underlined the country’s determination to
make progress in its EU membership process.
to members of his ministry on Tuesday, Cavusoglu also said the foreign ministry
will be merged with Turkey's EU Affairs Ministry to follow up the work
"under one roof."
Turkish foreign minister made the statements a day after President Tayyip
Erdogan was sworn in as president with new executive powers, keeping Cavusoglu
in his position in the cabinet.
late June, the EU said talks with Turkey to potentially accept Ankara’s
accession to the bloc have reached a deadlock over alleged Turkish rights
violations and judicial failures, including mass arrests and dismissals and
targeting journalists, academics, politicians, rights defenders and social
EU, however, noted that Ankara remained a “key partner” for the Western bloc on
matters such as aiding to block the persisting stream of refugees and asylum
seekers into Europe.
ties with Ankara have steadily deteriorated particularly since an attempted
coup in 2016, after which Ankara started a wide-scale crackdown on suspected
than 150,000 people have been detained or dismissed over their alleged backing
for the putsch. Much to the anger of Ankara, Western countries see the
crackdown as an attempt to crush all dissent.
accession talks were part of a deal struck between Turkey and the EU in March
2016 to limit the flow of refugees to Europe. Under the agreement, Turkey vowed
to take back rejected asylum seekers and patrol borders. In return, the EU
pledged financial aid, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals and progress in
Turkey’s long-stalled EU membership talks.
has accused the EU of showing "double standards" and criticized the
bloc for its failure to help Turkey enough with the 3.5 million Syrian refugees
the country is hosting.
Iran, China, Pakistan intelligence chiefs discuss Daesh threat in Afghanistan'
says the heads of intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan
have sat down in Islamabad for talks on the threat of increasing Daesh
activities in Afghanistan after the Takfiri terrorist group lost its
strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Ivanov, the chief of the press bureau of the Russian Foreign Intelligence
Service, told the TASS news agency on Tuesday that the officials had stressed
“coordinated” measures against the Daesh’s relocation to Afghanistan.
quadripartite discussions in Islamabad “focused on the dangers arising from a
buildup of Daesh on the Afghan territory,” he said.
conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to
prevent the trickling of IS (Daesh) terrorists from Syria and Iraq to
Afghanistan where from they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he
also noted that the intelligence chiefs, among them Director of the Russian
Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin, had underlined the need for more
active regional cooperation to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.
US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of the war on terror.
Some 17 years on, the Taliban militant group has only boosted its campaign of
violence across the country, targeting both civilians and security forces in
recently, Daesh has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a
foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.
Takfiri group has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn state despite
the presence of thousands of foreign troops on Afghan soil.
reports say the US military is allowing Daesh elements to infiltrate into
Afghanistan after their defeats in Syria and Iraq.
February, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said
that by transferring Daesh to Afghanistan, Washington seeks “to justify the
continuation of its presence in the region and to create security for the
started a campaign of terror in Iraq and Syria in 2014, occupying territory in
the two Arab countries and establishing a self-proclaimed “caliphate” there.
the Iraqi and Syrian armies galvanized to retake Daesh-held territory and the
terror outfit was gradually stripped of all the land it had occupied in the two
Middle Eastern states.
least 15 killed in 2 attacks in Afghanistan as Islamic scholars debate Taliban
— At least 15 people were killed on Tuesday in two separate attacks by
militants in Afghanistan as Islamic scholars gathered in Saudi Arabia to
discuss the legitimacy of the Taliban’s war against the U.S.-backed government
of President Ashraf Ghani. One of the attacks, by a suicide bomber, happened
near a government security checkpoint on the outskirts of the eastern city of
Jalalabad, where 12 people, including security forces and civilians, were
killed, provincial officials said.
second strike targeted government civil servants in Ghazni province, southwest
of Kabul, a bastion for the Taliban insurgents. Several people, including a
district chief, lost their lives in that incident, officials said.
Taliban said it was behind the raid in Ghazni.
its website, the Islamic State said its local affiliates carried out the
Jalalabad attack, the latest of several strikes by the network in Kabul and
Jalalabad in recent months.
also asserted responsibility for a wave of deadly strikes in the city,
including last week, when 19 people, many of them from the minority Sikh and
Hindu groups, were killed in a convoy heading for a meeting with Ghani in a
secure part of the city.
said the Taliban unleashed a number of attacks elsewhere in the country in the
past 24 hours ahead of a two-day meeting of international Islamic scholars that
began Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.
Afghan government expects the gathering to term the Taliban insurgency and use
of suicide attacks in Afghanistan as unlawful, as similar meetings have done
recently in Kabul and Jakarta.
gathering comes amid shows of repeated optimism by Afghan government officials
in recent days about holding direct talks with Taliban leadership after last
month’s brief and unexpected truce during the Eid holiday ending the fasting
month of Ramadan.
Taliban refused to reciprocate an extension to Ghani’s unilateral cease-fire
and has conducted bloody attacks against government forces, drawing harsh
criticism against Ghani for his move from his political rivals.
militants have repeatedly since said the group will not engage in talks with
the “powerless” Kabul government until foreign troops leave the country.
during a conference with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ghani on
Monday said the brief truce had opened an opportunity for peace in Afghanistan
and that its 40 years of war cannot come to an end in one night or day.
on the Saudi gathering, the Taliban urged the kingdom and the clerics to back
the group in its war against U.S.-led troops in the country, pledging to
continue its insurgency until all foreign troops leave.
Afghan Mujahid nation does not expect authorities of Saudi Arabia and scholars
to side with American invaders in this fight between Islam and disbelievers,”
the Taliban said in a statement.
NATO leaders meeting will kick off in Brussels today to hold talks regarding
the deterrence and defence, stepping up the fight against terrorism, and and
achieving fairer burden-sharing.
NATO leaders will also hold talks regarding the extension of the Afghan forces
funding beyond 2020.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday “We will close the
Summit with a meeting on Afghanistan, joined by our Resolute Support partners.”
said “Our presence in Afghanistan is vital to ensuring the country never again
becomes a safe haven for international terrorism.”
to Stoltenberg “And Allies are increasing their commitment, both in forces and
have added around 3,000 more trainers to our mission,” he said, adding that “At
the Summit, I expect we will also agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces
US deputy secretary of state Alice Wells met with the leader of Hezb-e-Islami
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to hold talks regarding the ongoing efforts on Afghan-led
close to Hezb-e-Islami have said Mr. Hekmatyar met with the deputy US secretary
of state Alice Wells in his office on Tuesday.
to the sources, the two sides held talks regarding the ongoing efforts to end
the war, peace process, upcoming elections, role of the political parties, and
efforts to revive peace talks.
sources further added that Hezb-e-Islami’s political affairs chief Bakhtar Aminzai,
political delegation chief Dr. Ghairat Baheer, Dr. Farooq Wardak, Eng. Mohammad
Amin Karim, and Eng. Habibur Rehman Hekmatyar.
to reports, this is the first time a top US official is meeting with the leader
of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar after almost two decades.
key local commander of the Taliban group has been killed in an explosion
triggered by own explosives in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said the incident has
taken place in Zarkharid area in the capital of Kunduz province.
source further added that the Taliban commander killed in the explosion has
been identified as Hanzala.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not
commented regarding the incident so far.
anti-government armed militant groups frequently use explosives materials for
the roadside bombings and car bombings to target the government staff and
in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted besides such
bombings incur casualties to the security personnel and in some cases the
Taliban militants themselves are killed or wounded.
total of 10,453 civilian casualties – 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured –
were documented in the 2017 Annual Report released last month by the UN
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office.
discouraging year, US officials expect review of Afghan strategy
United States is preparing to undertake a review of its strategy in
Afghanistan, US officials told Reuters, a year after President Donald Trump
begrudgingly agreed to extend America’s involvement in the 17-year-old war
after the announcement of his South Asia strategy.
said Trump has shown signs of frustration over the lack of progress since he
unveiled a strategy last August that committed to an open-ended deployment of
US military advisers, trainers, and special forces and increased air support
for Afghan security forces. The goal was to force the Taliban militants to open
peace talks with the Kabul government.
was opposed to remaining in America’s longest war but was convinced by his
advisers to give it more time. Last year, he authorized the deployment of an
additional 3,000 US troops, bringing the total to around 15,000.
a year later, the current situation is in a stalemate in which Afghan civilians
are paying a heavy toll, the Taliban are expanding in rural areas but are
unable to capture major urban centres, and the capability of Afghan security
forces remains in doubt.
current US officials and other former officials and advisers with direct
knowledge said the White House had not yet formally ordered the review but they
were preparing for a government-wide appraisal in the next few months.
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
publicly discuss the issue.
received some indications from the White House that Trump could ask for a
review in the next few months. So we’re preparing for what it would look
like," said a senior US official.
review would examine all facets of the current strategy, including what progress
had been made, the US troops presence, and the prospect of negotiations with
the Taliban. It also would include US relations with Pakistan, which US
officials accuse of supporting the insurgents, the senior official said.
however, denies the charge, with several Pakistani officials as well the Army
irked at the Trump administration's request to "do more".
White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban government for
then, nearly 1,900 US troops have been killed in the war, even as corruption
remains endemic in the country and security remains precarious. A recent US
government watchdog report found that the Afghan government controlled or
influenced only 56 percent of the country.
has vented over the lack of progress in Afghanistan, other officials told
Reuters, also on the condition of anonymity.
president has asked repeatedly what progress we’ve made in Afghanistan since he
made his decision, and how much we’ve invested there since 2001," said one
senior official with first-hand knowledge of the ongoing debate over Afghan
voiced his frustration about the lack of progress many, many times, basically
asking ‘What have we got for all that money?"
Kugelman, a South Asia specialist at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said that if
there had meaningful progress in Afghanistan, a review would be unlikely.
administration could essentially say (after the review) that the conditions
have not improved on the ground, so what is the reason to stay," Kugelman
is not unprecedented for the White House to request such an internal review.
Officials said a similar review was carried out after President Barack Obama
unveiled an Afghanistan strategy in 2009.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Monday,
promised support for President Ashraf Ghani’s bid to start peace talks with the
Taliban and repeated the United States would be willing to take part.
said the strategy announced last year was working and would reassure Afghans
'that we will support them as they continue fighting to liberate their country
and their people'.
ambassador urges Germany to block Iran cash withdrawal
US ambassador to Germany urged Berlin on Tuesday to stop Iran withdrawing large
sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of new US
sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.
Grenell, a longtime critic of the accord, told the mass-circulation daily Bild
that the US government was extremely concerned about Tehran’s plans to transfer
hundreds of millions of euros in cash to Iran.
encourage the highest levels of the German government to intervene and stop the
plan,” Grenell said.
curbed its nuclear activity under the deal and won relief from international
sanctions. The other signatories including US allies Germany, France and
Britain have reaffirmed the deal, seeing it as crucial to preventing an Iranian
nuclear weapon. Trump denounced it as badly flawed in Iran’s favor.
comment drew a rebuke from Johann Wadephul, deputy leader of Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, who said the transaction should not be
blocked on political grounds if it passed legal muster.
statement of the US ambassador is once again unsettling and difficult to
reconcile with his diplomatic role,” Wadephul told Reuters.
German finance ministry spokeswoman said German authorities were examining the
Iranian request according to clearly prescribed guidelines aimed at averting
risks linked to money laundering or possible financing of extremist groups.
it’s clear that part of the German government review will also look at whether
there could be a violation of a sanctions regime,” a foreign ministry spokesman
first reported on Monday that German authorities were considering a request by
Iran to withdraw 300 million euros ($350 million) from bank accounts held in
Germany and to transfer the cash to Tehran.
has sparked controversy by adopting a far more outspoken role than his predecessor
since arriving in Berlin in May, including a posting on Twitter in which he
said German firms should wind down their business in Iran after Trump’s
decision to pull the United States out of the nuclear accord.
a former American rapper has converted to Islam saying that there are many
beautiful things in this religion, the most significant of which being prayer.
an interview with Rahyafteha website she highlighted, “ever since I reverted
and started wearing hijab, I have been treated with much more respect by men
than before I was a practicing Muslimah."
is the full text of her interview with Rahyafteha (affiliated to Edoardo
Agnelli Islamic Association):
you so much for your time and cooperation. Please introduce yourself.
born name was Kristin but after reverting to Islam, I now go by the name of
Abedah. I come from a Republican Christian family. I live in Texas, USA. My
birthday is May 6, 1986. I took Shahada on April 5, 2012.
reverting to Islam, I was a famous rapper by the name of MC Router. I produced
albums and toured all over the US and Europe. My last show as MC Router was in
Amsterdam with the biggest audience in my career, topping out at over a
was also featured in a documentary on Netflix (an American entertainment
company) and appeared on many shows, magazines and newspapers all throughout
the US and Europe.
gave up my music career at the peak of my music career after reverting to
Islam, because I knew I had a new path to follow. Allah (SWT) blessed me with
an audience and a gift to be able to have a following and they listen to me, so
I used my ability to perform in front of crowds and changed it into Dawah.
did you get familiar with Islam?
used to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) to foreign students in the
university. A group of Muslims from KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) came into my
life and introduced Islam to me and continued to teach me and challenge me
every day to learn about Islam until I understood it and accepted it.
drove you to convert to Islam?
was raised Southern Baptist and my grandfathers were both Southern Baptist
preachers who both had their own churches in which they lead. As a Christian,
you are taught and almost even brainwashed to believe and accept that Jesus is
the only way to salvation and when you pray, you pray to Jesus. However, I
never felt this was right and I was always seeking a relationship with mighty
God. Christianity isn’t really set up for its followers to seek out
understanding and closeness to Allah (SWT) rather than Jesus. The more I
learned about Islam and that there is none worthy of worship but Him, it really
was the turning point to lead to me to Shahada because this was more logical
and Islam is more structured and focused on the worshipper and his true God.
was your family’s reaction after you became a Muslim? Did you have any problem
with people who knew you? Are you married?
fathers’ side of my family did not accept and they called the FBI (the Federal
Bureau of Investigation) and homeland security on me; claiming I was involved
with terrorist activities. I had agents at my door day-and-night, following me
everywhere. They went on investigating every small part of my life. Though I
have tried tirelessly to keep my ties with that side of the family, they have
threatened me and warned me to stay away and made it clear they will never
accept me as one of their family.
mother, at first did not take the news of my reversion well. We were featured
on the TV show; Dr. Phil because she thought I needed an intervention and I
needed to go back to Christianity and also feared I would join ISIL. However
after a few years, I moved in with my mother and now she has accepted it, but
she still is not comfortable with it.
watches me closely and if I make any mistake she tells me I am a bad Muslim or
a hypocrite just to have a reason to tell me I made the wrong choice. Most of
the people who knew me before Islam abandoned me, just like my family did. None
of them wanted to associate with me at all and to this day, six years later, I
have not had their acceptance.
am not married, I am divorced. I met my ex-husband years after becoming a
do you see the spread of Islam in the US?
spread of Islam in the USA is growing slightly, but not as rapidly as in other
countries like Europe for example. I believe this is because there are too many
people in America who are against Islam and especially our current president
who encourages hateful attitude towards Muslims. I get attacked and yelled at
and harassed every single day by people in my city. I can’t get hired anywhere
because of my hijab and other Muslims constantly encourage me to take it off,
but if I trust in Allah I know I will be given something better by His will
is the most beautiful Ayah of the Quran in your opinion? And why?
are many beautiful Ayahs in the holy Quran, but the most beautiful one to me is
in Surah Duhaa 93:7;
He (Allah) found you lost and guided you.” (93:7) .I think this is or should be
special for reverts because we were lost, a lot of Muslims forget we are all
born Muslim, (Fitra ), but depending on how our parents raise us, we end up
following and believing in other religions. As a revert, I was completely lost,
and not all people who are lost are guided to Islam, Allah (SWT) chooses whom
He wills to guide and I was guided. There is nothing more beautiful or amazing
to know and remember that I didn’t choose Islam, Allah (SWT) chose me and
guided me! SubhanAllah!
your opinion about hijab? Did wearing hijab have any effect on your private
life? Do you think it is only dedicated to women?
started wearing hijab on the first week I took Shahada. It was such an easy
transition for me and even though some of my friends and my mother especially,
didn’t approve or didn’t understand, I am a strong-willed person and I always
do what I want to do without giving regard to anyone else, and that can be a
bad thing or a good thing, but it’s my character.
I want to do something, I don’t let anyone around me tell me I can’t or let
their opinions influence me. My ambition drives me.
day I hear Muslim women, new and old, talking about their struggles of wearing
hijab, how they are scared of it being dangerous for them or because they are
scared of what others think, but in my opinion, I only care what Allah (SWT)
thinks and I fear Allah (SWT) not the people.
don’t understand how it can be hard for someone because it was never hard for
me and it’s a part of Islam. I never struggled with. I just knew it was my duty
as a Muslim and that was enough for me.
definitely think hijab is for both men and women. Hijab is not just a scarf on
the head, it’s modesty and a mindset and a piece of our character. It’s how we
talk to people, how we act towards people and how we present ourselves and
interact with each other. For men, it’s less talked about, but I think it is
important to discuss hijab for men because it’s not only the women’s obligation
for men is a long discussion and takes some knowledge and understand to process
but in short, the opinion that Muslim men must cover themselves between the
navel and the knees is predominant, and most Muslims believe that a man who
fails to observe this requirement during Salat must perform the prayer again, properly
covered, in order for it to be valid.
of the four madhabs, or schools of law, require that the knees be covered; the
Maliki school recommends but does not require knee covering. According to some
hadith, Muslim men are asked not to wear gold jewelry and to lower his gaze,
just to give a few examples.
think the biggest link between men and hijab is lowering the gaze because the
main purpose of hijab is modesty and a man lowering his gaze is a great way to
do you analyze the family institution according to Christianity and Islam?
raised a Christian, I went to church on Sundays and that was the end of my
spiritual growth. Some Christian families are more involved with the Bible
studies and praying together as a family such as before a meal or at bedtime,
but the Christians I knew never really had a structured spiritual environment
in which they were daily reflecting and practicing the religion or daily
setting time apart for worshipping Allah (SWT).
Islam, it is much more common that parents teach Quran to their children along
with prayer and Sunnah’s of the Prophet (PBUH). You see more young Muslim kids
praying and active in the mosques than you see Christian kids active in praying
and the churched. You also see how the teachings of Islam affect the children
and how the Muslim children are more adept to respect their parents and take
care of them when they are older.
gives a structure and a guideline for Muslim families on how to approach
parents in old age, approaching marriage and staying connected to the Deen by
praying and seeking knowledge. Many Christian kids don’t seek out knowledge
about Christianity as they get older and don’t memorize the Bible…some do of
course but it’s more probable in Muslim families because Christianity lacks in
spiritual family structure as compared to Muslims families.
specifically attracted you to Islam?
things specifically attracted me to Islam equally:
close relationship a Muslim can have with Allah (SWT). Without going through a
preacher, priest, saint, angels, or other Prophets.
structure of Islam is set up so brilliantly. Everything you need for every
situation in life has a solution and approach in Quran. This sets Quran apart
from other religions. Men wrote the Bible but Quran is the direct word of Allah
was your religion before converting to Islam?
Baptist – Christianity.
was your feeling when you prayed for the first time? Wasn’t it hard for you to
pray 5 times a day?
reverts will tell you a candy-coated story about how praying their first time
was the most amazing and powerful experience, but the reality for a lot of us
is that it’s not all sunshine and smiles.
I prayed for the first time I was scared, because I wanted to pray correctly, I
was frustrated because I had to read notes on a piece of paper on the ground to
follow each step. I didn’t have anyone to show me so I was learning literally
from a printed out paper with step by step instructions. After I finished my
first prayer, I felt hopeful and excited but it was mostly stressful because it
was new and I knew the importance of it and I wanted to learn it in the right
you want to say some words about the beauty of Islam, the peace, the calmness you
have found in this religion what do you say?
are many beautiful things in Islam. One of the most beautiful things about
Islam is prayer. It’s a chance to connect to Allah (SWT) all throughout the day
and the evening. To talk to Allah (SWT) and to be thankful and to ask for
forgiveness and knowing that if you pray to seek His forgiveness with a sincere
intention, that by His will, you will be forgiven.
intention is another beautiful thing about Islam because everything in Islam is
based on intention. If you intend to do something good, with a sincere
intention, even if you didn’t get to do it, it is counted as a good deed for
you. Also, it keeps Muslims in a reality check which is healthy for our
we make a bad intention for something we know the results are not going to be
good and that there is no Barakah in that thing. Yet again, if we make a bad
intention and we don’t do it, it is not counted against us! SubhanAllah, that
is so beautiful!
have found so much peace and calmness in Islam, because when we pray or when we
are alone with Allah (SWT) it is a time when everything around us stops and we
know Allah (SWT) is right there, listening to us and knowing that Allah (SWT)
is all Seeing and all Knowing and all Hearing, it makes us calm and peaceful
because Allah (SWT) knows what is in our hearts even if we don’t know it for
ourselves and know that Allah (SWT) in control, there is nothing more peaceful
than that, if we have total faith in Allah (SWT) to guide us and keep us on the
do you analyze women’s right in Islam compared to what the West has propagated?
have such twisted views about women’s rights in Islam because they have a lack
of knowledge and understanding. They take what they see in the media or the
movies and take it for the fact.
mother thought I would marry a Muslim man and get beaten up or abused. However,
my mother has met many Muslim men and their families and she has changed her
views because it takes knowledge and it takes immersion or an experience to see
the high status that women have in Islam. Ever since I reverted and started
wearing hijab, I have been treated with much more respect by men than before I
was a practicing Muslimah.
feature in Islam attracted you?
Quran and the structure of Islam attracted me the most, along with the oneness
of Allah (SWT).
what influenced your conversion to Islam?
I mentioned earlier, it was a group of students from KSA who introduced Islam
to me, gave me a Quran translated into English and taught me about Islam and
answered all the questions I had. Also, before reverting, I had many Islamic
dreams in which were clear signs from Allah SWT that He was guiding me, it
wasn’t that I was choosing Islam it was that Allah SWT was guiding me and
through these dreams, I knew this was the right religion.
a convert, what way of inviting to Islam you believe is more effective on
has a different approach to Dawah. I actively do Dawah and by the will of Allah
(SWT) have brought people to Islam or re-energized born Muslims to get back to
me, I think the best method is being relatable. This is why Reverts play such
an amazing role in DAWAH because many times we were in the shoes of the people
we are giving Dawah too. We were a Christian or a Jew or an Atheist. So we know
how they are feeling and what they are thinking.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Tuesday that America and its Gulf Arab
allies want to show Iran that its actions have “a real high cost” after Tehran
threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies. Pompeo's comments came during a
short trip to the United Arab Emirates.
deny Iran the financial capacity to continue this bad behavior,” Pompeo said,
“so it's a broad range, a series of sanctions aimed not at the Iranian people,
but rather aimed at the single mission of convincing the Iranian regime that
its malign behavior is unacceptable and has a real high cost for them.”
discussed the recent threats by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the
Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of all oil traded by sea passes. While
in Europe last week, Rouhani said any disruption to Iran's oil exports would
result in the whole region's exports being disrupted.
“should know that America is committed to keeping sea lines open, keeping the
transit of oil available for the entire world,” Pompeo said. “That's the
commitment we have had for decades. We continue under that commitment.”
oil prices rose following expectations that the US would push its allies to
stop importing Iranian crude oil, further tightening the world energy supplies.
While allies like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait said they were willing to
increase their own production as necessary, additional output may not be enough
to satiate demand.
gasoline prices have increased earlier this year in the US from $2.26 to $2.86
a gallon, according to AAA. Trump himself has been tweeting that oil suppliers
must do more to lower prices ahead of midterm elections this fall. US benchmark
crude traded near $75 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude traded near $80.
State Department officials acknowledged earlier that some allies will get
waivers to continue importing Iranian oil, Pompeo added that such imports
largely would be “sanctionable activity and we will enforce those sanctions.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly set to meet with senior British,
French and German officials on the sidelines of a NATO summit in an attempt to
persuade them to join Washington in pressuring Iran.
arrived for the summit in Brussels on Tuesday, and will meet with the three
countries’ political directors on Wednesday or Thursday, Reuters reported,
citing an unnamed senior official with the US State Department.
would be trying to assure Paris, London and Berlin of “alternative oil
supplies” in case of a boycott of Iranian oil sales, according to the report.
US has warned third countries against buying Iranian crude as of November 4
amid a rise in Washington’s attempts to choke the Islamic Republic oil revenue.
the US is seeking to ensure anti-Iran pressure from its allies on the Persian
in the month, a statement released by the Saudi cabinet after a meeting chaired
by Saudi King Salman said that the kingdom, which is one of the US’s strongest
regional allies, would be increasing its output to make up for the Iranian
recently, senior US State Department officials completed three days of talks on
Iran in Saudi Arabia, and “discussed new ways to deprive the regime of
revenues,” Reuters cited a State Department official as saying to reporters
while traveling on Pompeo’s plane.
our meeting with the Saudi energy minister, we discussed maintaining a
well-stocked oil market to guard against volatility,” he said, adding, “We
talked about minimizing market disruptions and helping partners find
alternatives to Iran oil.”
heading to Brussles, Pompeo, himself, was in Abu Dhabi, where he likewise tried
to rally more support against Tehran.
in May, the US pulled out of a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran, and
said it would be reinstating its sanctions against Tehran.
has threatened the countries potentially maintaining business with Iran despite
the US’s bans with “secondary sanctions.”
other signatories to the accord, which include Russia, China, the UK, France
and Germany, however, have strongly objected to the US’s withdrawal, and vowed
to try to preserve the deal.
has said the European parties to the nuclear deal, which are close US allies,
need to provide Iran with practical guarantees that its economic dividends from
the agreement would remain intact with the return of American sanctions.
to Press TV, author and political scientist Kaveh Afrasiabi, however, played
down Pompeo’s drive, saying his efforts will likely fail to produce any result.
US…has isolated itself by unilaterally exiting the JCPOA and the Europeans have
made a resolute effort to preserve the JCPOA,” he added, referring to the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear agreement.
said “the American course of diplomacy and trying to bully the allies into
something that they don’t want to” are “against their national interest,”
adding that such a policy “is simply uncivilized and a barbarian way of
conducting global diplomacy.”
Muslim and Jewish groups have joined together to celebrate the way young people
are promoting interfaith collaboration.
a world first, three media outlets serving the three Abrahamic faiths have
joined forces to set up the 21 for 21 project, which is aimed at finding “21
leaders for the 21st century".
project is looking for 21 young people who have made a significant difference
to understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths.
is a widely held perception that faith communities in this country and
elsewhere are in constant conflict. I think that’s actually not the case,”
Justin Cohen, the news editor at Jewish News who set up the project, told The
said although there were examples of spikes in community tension, “particularly
at times of conflict in the Middle East”, overall relations between communities
in the UK are “a bit of a beacon, a bit of an example, for other communities in
project, he said, was “an example and a way of highlighting that as well as
celebrating young people who are the future of interfaith understanding and
cooperation in the UK.”
21 young people - seven Christians, seven Muslims and seven Jews – will be
chosen from a range of nominees.
nominees, who will be chosen from a panel of judges, will come from a wide
variety of backgrounds, Mr Cohen said.
could be the head of organisations dealing with this kind of activity, they
could be forming their own collaborations,” he said.
could be within the field of music, art, politics or any field where they are
leading this kind of activity and innovating in this kind of activity.”
will be presented with prizes at a reception at Lambeth Palace, as well as
featured in profiles by the Church Times, Muslim TV and Jewish News.
are countless examples in this country of collaborations between people of
different faiths,” Mr Cohen said.
went on to say he hoped the list will be “a one stop shop highlighting all this
great activity that’s taking place.”
will close on Monday 16 July.
last month, France’s intelligence services announced they had uncovered an
extremist cell plotting an attack on national soil. The group, which calls
itself the Operational Forces Action, had begun testing explosives and
stockpiling weapons. Police found homemade grenades, a guide titled Homemade
Napalm, 14 handguns, 22 rifles, and thousands of ammunition cartridges. Its 10
members were immediately charged with terrorist conspiracy; some were also charged
with illegal possession of firearms and explosives manufacturing.
security forces have prevented scores of attacks since January 2015. But this
one was different. The AFO—the organization’s French acronym—is a far-right
vigilante group with the stated mission to fight the “Islamic peril,” arguing
that authorities have been too lax in combating terrorism and preventing
radicalization. Its members intended to execute veiled women and imams and
poison the food at halal grocery stores.
chilling plans drew initial media attention, but the news quickly faded. The
Interior Ministry announced it had been tracking the AFO since mid-April, and
the group’s ringleader—a former police officer, Guy Sibra—was subsequently
released with “judicial supervision.”
AFO is an offshoot of Volunteers for France, or VPF, a legal organization with
the same ideology but that claims to disavow violent tactics. The media have
referred to the AFO as the “ultra-right,” to distinguish it from far-right
political parties. That notably includes the recently renamed National
Rally—the party formerly known as the National Front, which made unprecedented
gains in the 2017 presidential elections.
Rally leader Marine Le Pen immediately condemned the AFO’s plans, though Louis
Aliot, a legislator from her party, seemed to understand where they were coming
from. “If groups are forming to defend themselves,” he told the newspaper
L’Opinion, “it is first and foremost because the state is being soft on radical
Islam,” an explanation echoed by others on the far right.
AFO’s Sibra, for his part, assisted with the National Front’s campaign efforts
during the 2015 regional elections. One National Rally spokesperson denied any
official links, but an administrative secretary, who had recruited Sibra at the
time, called him “trustworthy,” “balanced,” and “proud of his land.”
left the VPF last year, calling its leadership “too soft,” and created the AFO.
But while the VPF, as a legal entity, doesn’t promote physical violence, its
rhetoric mirrors the AFO’s aggressive diatribes against an “internal enemy.”
“We created this organization, because our French identity has been abandoned,”
Antoine Martinez, the VPF’s co-president and a retired army pilot, told me,
citing the “rapid Islamization” of France and Europe. The crisis, he said, is
the product of decades of uncontrolled immigration and the “refusal of
generations of Muslim immigrants to integrate,” notably marked by women who
wear the headscarf and the presence of halal butchers and grocery stores.
you’ve seen Paris,” he went on, laughing, “you should know the rapid
transformation that I’m talking about, and our political class isn’t doing
anything to change it.” The answer, he insisted, shouldn’t be violence: “We operate
in respect of the laws of the Republic.”
and his ilk rail against the open borders of the Schengen zone. He defends the
notion that a “Great Replacement”—a term coined by French author Renaud
Camus—is underway, imperiling Europe’s white identity. “For years some have
been warning that Muslims are the fifth column,” he told me, echoing the phrase
used by far-right figures in the UK and US that describes a threat from within.
that in mind, Martinez takes issue not only with recent arrivals “of Islamic
origin” but with the millions of French Muslims who make up an estimated 8
percent of the French population: “The first generation that came after
colonization integrated without problem—there are some among them who are our
friends, who wedded our way of life.”
he contends, has deteriorated with subsequent generations. “The proof,” he
said, is that many of the perpetrators of the attacks that killed more than 250
people in 2015 and 2016 were French nationals, or, as he put it, “quote unquote
to Stéphane François, an expert on far-right groups at the National Center for
Scientific Research, the fact that the AFO and VPF publicly diverge on the
effectiveness of violence shouldn’t distract from their shared vision of society.
“They both see the immigrant as a colonizer who must be sent back home.” Still,
the VPF’s “goal is to incite violence,” he said. “The entire ideology is based
on the notion that we are at war against a pernicious or silent Islamic
the French ultra-right has parallels in the United States and elsewhere in
Europe, Jean-Yves Camus, a specialist of the far right at the French Institute
for International Affairs, emphasizes France’s unique historical relationship
with the Muslim world, especially with its former colonies. The memory of the
Algerian war, in particular, drives the enduring assertion that Muslims from
North Africa are invading France. “All of the issues in France concerning
Islam, this idea that we’re being, or will be, invaded, are all linked to our
colonial past,” he explained.
Algerian war lasted from 1954 to 1962 and was marked by horrific violence and
torture on both sides, numerous assassination attempts on then-President
Charles de Gaulle, and, after Algeria’s independence, the massive departure of
hundreds of thousands of pieds noirs—Europeans, mostly French, who lived in
of that war played out in France. Algerian militants staged mass protests and
launched terrorist attacks, and the French state responded with a heavy hand.
In October 1961, for example, French riot police cracked down on
pro-independence demonstrations. Over 100 died, according to some estimates, as
police beat protesters and dragged others into the Seine river, which runs
through Paris. That same year, 21 police officers were killed in clashes with
National Liberation Front, or FLN, the movement that led the push for Algerian
memories of this violence frame the AFO’s approach, Camus said. Indeed, the
group’s website is full of references to the Algerian war: “The enemy has the
same origin, mentality, family upbringing and religion and the terrorists of
the FLN,” the AFO site reads. Sibra is 65—“old enough to have grown up with
reports of violence on the radio, to know what was going on,” Camus told me.
Sibra was formerly a police officer in Marseille, “a city,” according to Camus,
“where the memory of the war is omnipresent.” With that in mind, the AFO might
see itself as a contemporary iteration of the Secret Army Organization, or OAS,
a French far-right paramilitary formed to kill Algerian sympathizers. Recent
terrorism committed by the Islamic State or its adherents, Camus argued, “has
reactivated attitudes linked to the Algerian war, giving new reason to radicalize.”
AFO and VPF were born in the aftermath of recent terrorism that reenergized
decades of national debate over Islam’s visibility in the public sphere,
notably with seemingly endless rancor about the hijab. France’s particular
vision of secularism, or laïcité, has been a fixture of media coverage and
political deliberations since the 1980s, particularly pertaining to integrating
the Muslim minority.
is the outcome of the French revolutionary revolt against the Catholic Church,
which was enshrined in a 1905 law that separates religion from politics,
guarantees freedom of conscience, and assures the equal footing before the law
of different religions. Over time, the concept has been reinterpreted to
confine religion to the private sphere; in 2004, Parliament passed a law
banning religious symbols in public schools, in response to the increasing
number of middle- and high-school students who came to school wearing a hijab.
Since then, France has attempted to navigate what can seem—especially seen from
the United States, with its own notion of religious freedom—like an obsession
with the headscarf, which many here insist is a symbol of political Islam.
unlike the United States, believes that one becomes French by losing their
identity, by shedding their difference,” François explained to me. “And so the
argument goes that the Muslim—and especially the Muslim woman—with her veil,
with her practices, is not one of us.” That vision of national identity, he
added, “has created a favorable climate that resonates with the
ultra-right—that the French model of integration no longer works because
Muslims increasingly refuse to integrate.”
Muslims see the dynamics François describes as an inevitable outcome of those
decades of media coverage, exacerbated by the climate of suspicion and hysteria
that has reigned since 2015. Although the spike in hate crimes against Muslims
that followed the attacks on the staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
quickly leveled off, a national fixation with Islam endures. The resulting
narrative often blurs the line between displaying an adherence to the religion
and being a potential radical. A spate of recent controversies over women who
cover their hair—from Maryam Pougetoux, a student-union representative who wore
a hijab, to Mennel Ibtissim, a candidate on the singing competition The Voice
who wears a turban—attest to the near consensus that any woman who wears the
hijab is peddling an extremist ideology that makes her a threat to social
the outcry over Pougetoux’s hijab—the argument went that a religious Muslim
can’t defend the progressive ideals of the national student union—Interior
Minister Gérard Collomb likened her to the “youth who are attracted to the
Islamic State.” Terrorism experts overwhelmingly consider that reading out of
touch with the reality of radicalization; for many Muslims, it was another
example of political pandering to a public increasingly hostile to Islam’s
person in his right mind can be minister of the interior and say that on TV?”
Yasser Louati, a Muslim activist and cofounder of the Committee of Justice and
Freedom for All, an international anti-racism organization, asked,
incredulously. “It shouldn’t be shocking that the AFO, claiming to fight radical
Islam, selects people who look like her as targets.”
with Muslims’ presumed radicalism or complicity with Islamist ideology is a
recurrent theme in the scores of interviews I’ve conducted with Muslim teens
and in the responses to over 500 questionnaires I’ve distributed to classrooms
with large Muslim populations over the last 10 months. Karima, a high-school
senior in Vitry-sur-Seine, a suburb south of Paris, described a “reflex to do
everything possible to undermine the credibility of a woman who wears a
headscarf.” She attributes that to “the media, which constantly revolves around
Islam and the threat it poses, and that the public follows like sheep.” Inès, a
high-school student in Drancy, in the northeast suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis lamented
a “national fear in which people don’t see a religion but a violent ideology.”
That “misunderstanding means that nobody can look beyond a woman’s headscarf,
to see her ideas, or who she is, and so laïcité becomes a justification to
erase her.” For her classmate Sherine, the link is automatic and established:
“They assume that, because for personal reasons you decided to cover your hair,
you have an absolutist vision of Islam, and so you’re a terrorist.”
ultra-right—as well as the political far right—naturally advances those false
generalizations. But the sentiment transcends partisan divides. Opposition to
the hijab, for example, is prominent among the so-called republican left, which
argues that the garb undermines gender equality, is an emblem of political
Islam, and is a sign of differentiation that disrupts national unity. “Even
seemingly progressive circles have embraced the urgency to ‘normalize’ the
Muslim population,” François told me.
a statement, the Republican Spring—a movement established in 2016 that embodies
that segment of the left—condemned the AFO’s plans. But it also lashed out
against those who argued that the drone of controversies over laïcité and Islam
could have galvanized the ultra-right’s views. They say the logic is the inverse,
adding that the polemics that have arisen “have nothing to do with Islam,” the
religion, “but with Islamism,” the ideology that has inspired extremist groups.
The Republican Spring’s detractors, however, maintain that during the outrage
over Pougetoux, for example, the movement failed to differentiate between Islam
and Islamism, characterizing a student-union president protesting government
reforms to university admissions as a representative of hard-line political
Islam. The reason was her hijab; her insistence that it had no political
significance did little to budge the imposed label.
asked Martinez, the co-president of the VPF, what he thought about those
incidents, and whether he agreed with the outcry on the left. “We’ve been
talking about laïcité nonstop for some 20 years now,” he told me. “And why give
it so much attention? Because there’s an ideology—it’s not even a religion,
it’s simply an ideology, that wants to impose sharia in France, and so that’s
why everyone feels the need to talk about laïcité. The real subject isn’t
many Muslims, Sibra’s swift release was an example of the state’s indifference
to their community, especially in contrast to the response to those suspected
of collaborating with Islamist terror groups, like the Islamic State. The same
day he was released, for instance, a man received a four-year prison sentence
for having posted a picture of that group’s flag on his Facebook page. “It
sends the message that if you are part of a white terrorist organization, you
can get away with it,” Louati said.
Charef, the co-director of the French Collective Against Islamophobia, was
angry that “even after our security services showed Sibra’s intent to act, his
stockpiled weapons, his plans to make bombs—that he was being monitored—they
would let him go,” she said. “It’s extremely serious,” she added, stressing a
link between the AFO’s plans to target women in hijabs and the national
attitude toward them. “It confirms the alarm bells we’ve been sounding for years,
that in France, a women in a hijab is considered such a danger.”
AFO remains small, and both Camus and François warned against exaggerating its
capabilities. But its website has been updated daily since its members were
arrested—with regular tirades against Muslims, but also Jews—hinting that its
scope might be greater than what meets the eye.
senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali
Khamenei plans to pay a "very important" visit to Moscow to deliver a
message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
in an interview with IRIB on Tuesday, Bahram Qassemi added that Ali Akbar
Velayati, the Leader's advisor on international affairs, would embark on a trip
to Russia on Wednesday as part of efforts to make Iran's stance clear after the
US pullout from a historic nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and the P5+1
group of countries in 2015.
President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from
the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of
Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the
United Nations Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, China
and Russia -- plus Germany in 2015.
also said he plans to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose
"the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for
the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
said, "After Mr. Trump's strategic mistake to exit the multilateral and
international accord, the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to
dispatch a number of its special representatives" to other countries.
added that these special envoys "carry messages of high-ranking"
Iranian officials about the country's viewpoints and stance on the selfish US
behavior which runs counter to international regulations.
Iranian spokesperson explained that Velayati's visit to Moscow would also take
place in line with such a policy and noted that he would also travel to China.
two neighbors, Moscow and Tehran have commonalities and common interests in
regional and international arenas. So, the meeting between Velayati and Putin
at the Kremlin and conveying messages of high-ranking Iranian officials can be
very important," he pointed out.
said Velayati would also hold talks with other Russian officials on bilateral
relations in political and economic sectors as well as leading regional and
international issues, including the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.
the US president pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear deal, European
countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic
benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal. The remaining parties have vowed
to stay in the accord.
has conditioned its stay in the deal to practical European strides to make sure
Iran’s dividends from the deal would not be affected when US sanctions
"snap back" in August.
first group of sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other
industries will “snap back” on August 4. Further sanctions on oil and
transactions with the central bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.
at a press briefing in Beijing on Monday, a spokeswoman for Chinese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, said her country would continue efforts to
safeguard the achievements of the JCPOA, saying it has put forward a five-point
proposal in this regard.
the complicated and stern situation at present, China clearly put up a
five-point proposal emphasizing in particular that international rules should
be observed, major countries should show their due integrity and sense of
responsibility, unilateral sanctions can only run counter to one's desire and
should be abandoned, and dialogs and consultations should adhered to a
constructive approach in discussions about issues of common concerns," Hua
and China on Monday reiterated that they are committed to the 2015 nuclear deal
even after the United States' withdrawal.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has hailed the rapprochement between
ex-foes Eritrea and Ethiopia but has not offered to review the sanctions on the
former country after expressions of concern by a number of council members.
draft UNSC statement, initially prepared by Sweden, on Tuesday “reaffirmed that
efforts by the Government of Eritrea to engage with the international community
enable a review of measures on Eritrea.”
US, China, the UK, France, and the Ivory Coast, however, objected to tying the
betterment of ties between the two African neighbors to a review of Eritrea
sanctions and ultimately dropped that reference from the statement, according
to diplomats cited by Reuters.
which is a current UNSC member, announced its desire on Monday for the UN to
lift its own sanctions on Eritrea. Ethiopia and Eritrea had declared an end to
their state of war earlier in the day and agreed on resuming diplomatic ties,
developing ports, and renewing flights between the two nations after decades of
remains under a UN arms embargo since 2009, after UN experts monitoring
sanctions against Somalia accused Eritrea of providing political, financial,
and logistical support to armed militants, undermining peace and reconciliation
in the largely-lawless and impoverished Somalia. Eritrea, however, has rejected
15-member UNSC is due to renew its arms embargo and targeted sanctions against
Eritrea in November. The body may choose, however, to adopt a resolution before
then to remove the sanctions.
council resolution would need nine votes in favor and no vetoes by permanent
members, namely the US, China, Russia, Britain, and France.
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