Sofi said that his son has joined the militant ranks against the will of his
parents tantamount to their disobedience which is strictly forbidden by Islam.
minister calls govt-TLP agreement ‘firefighting, not cure’
Surround Toronto Synagogues With Protective ‘Rings Of Peace’
should work together to build a better future'
mercy on us; send him home': Sharda University student's parents appeal to ISIS
one of the worst forms of human rights violation, but global response
Curfew relaxed in Kishtwar, lifted in Doda; locals fear bid to revive terror
dad pleads with son to leave the path of Islamic State
to confirm if missing Kashmir student has turned rogue
Sami-ul Haq Was Always Targeted by Enemies of Islam And Pakistan, Claims Hafiz
govt express dissatisfaction over agreement to end protests
prominent Sikh right activist fled to Lahore after security threats in Peshawar
community of Lahore chalks out three day Diwali celebrations and Diwali milan
Rizvi, 500 others booked for rioting, disrupting peace
Bibi's husband calls for her protection, criticises govt deal with protesters
to fortify security of political, religious leaders
corruption, poverty alleviation top priorities, PM Khan says in China
ordered on ‘miscreants’ who damaged properties
in LHC seeks compensation for damage during TLP protest
Samiul Haq laid to rest in Akora Khattak, no clue of murderers yet
issue threat alert to Fazlur Rehman
add new edge to American politics
share that pain': Muslims form rings of peace at GTA synagogues in wake of U.S.
US sanctions will target Iran’s regime, not people
mayor identified as service member killed in Afghan 'insider attack'
commander blasts Trump's anti-Iran sanctions meme with one of his own
satisfying his own ego, not after Iran deal: Scholar
Arabia denies link to death of two sisters in US
FM Dismisses Allegations, Reminds Denmark of Responsibility to Fight Terrorism
says he discussed US measures against Turkish bank with Trump
renews threats to Lebanon by striking Hezbollah rocket factories
army backed by coalition fighter jets controls Maran triangle in Saada
demand for Yemen ceasefire, launch of political talks ‘total farce’: Ansarullah
teenage boy dies of injuries sustained in 2014 Israeli airstrike
to host talks with Afghan leaders, Taliban delegation
suffer heavy casualties in Jawzjan explosion
Ghani calls on Taliban to participate in intra-Afghan talks
U.S. soldier killed, another wounded in Kabul insider attack
SCR praises Afghan journalists for their brave work
Shiite militia battles Taliban, raising sectarian fears
US soldier killed in ‘apparent insider attack’ in Kabul
State Finding a Safe Haven in the Southern Philippines
earn more, says Najib on new minimum salary for PTPTN repayment
US-led airstrikes kill 15 Syrian civilians in Dayr al-Zawr
Helmets are branch of Jabhat al-Nusra: Russia
Forces Continue Attacking Kurds Irrespective of US Forces' Deployment at
Continue Reinvigoration of Positions in Demilitarized Zone in Northwestern
Syria: Terrorists in Panic after Details of Transferring Chemical Cargos
Army Tightens Noose on ISIL in Sweida Desert
coalition strikes in east Syria kill 14 civilians: monitor
fighter plane crashes in Egypt
kills three Iraq village chiefs in a week in restive north
Arabia hails UN’s efforts, calls for strengthening Peacekeeping Forces
lambasts US for statement on relations with Iran
Houthis ‘greatest threat on planet now,’ says UK arms sales board chief
envoy grills UK daily over Saudi-linked TV station
says Afghan pres. agrees to sent officials for Taliban talks
public schools are teaching Islam to students not sure if they belong
to lift sanctions on Eritrea after US shift
Nigeria 'being Shiite is being persecuted'
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The family of Ehtesham Bilal Sofi, the 17-year-old student of Sharda University
in Greater Noida who has reportedly joined the ranks of Islamic State Jammu
Kashmir (ISJK), an outfit influenced by the ISIS ideology, on Saturday appealed
him to shun the gun and return home.
father Bilal Ahmad Sofi with folded hands made a fervent appeal to the outfit
to allow his son to return home. “He is young and naive and should be allowed
to return to his parents. The entire family has been devastated after learning
about him having turned to the gun,” he told reporters at his residence in
Srinagar’s Khanyar area.
said that his son has joined the militant ranks against the will of his parents
tantamount to their disobedience which is strictly forbidden by Islam.
“According to Islam, the heaven lies under the feet of mother and the father is
the door to it (heaven),” he sought to remind his son in a bid to persuade him
to return home. He added, “Also your mother has fallen ill as she is in a state
of shock and disbelief and has not eaten anything since you went missing.”
a first-year student at Sharda University, went missing on October 28 after he
left the campus with official permission to go to Delhi.
on October 4, he was mistakenly roughed up during a scuffle between Indian and
Afghan students in the campus. A missing complaint was registered in the case
at the Knowledge Park police station in Greater Noida as well as at Khanyar
police station in Srinagar.
Friday, social media posts carrying purported pictures of Ehtesham claimed that
he has joined the ISJK. The pictures on social media showed him dressed in a
black outfit and standing close to the ISIS flag and announced he had joined
chief minister and vice president of National Conference, Omar Abdullah, termed
Ehtesham’s joining the radical militant outfit as “hugely worrying”. He
tweeted, “If this is genuine it’s hugely worrying. Sometimes seemingly small
actions have huge consequences.”
added that it was more tragic if the assault at Sharda University led him to
choose the path of militants. “If what happened to him at #ShardaUniversity has
lead him to choose such a destructive path it’s even more tragic. One more life
on the path to ruin and one more family in turmoil,” Abdullah wrote on
micro-blogging site Twitter.com.
police officials here said that they have taken cognizance of Ehtesham’s
joining the JKIS and begun investigations into the case. Earlier the UP
Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had said it has been tracking the case since October
28 and has taken cognisance of the photos.
are in touch with Jammu and Kashmir police. We are tracking the footprints of
the boy from Greater Noida to Kashmir," Inspector General, ATS, Asim Arun
family said in an appeal to the militants said. “For Allah’s sake send him
home. Have mercy on us”.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday called the agreement
between the federal government and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)
“firefighting”, admitting that it is “not a cure to malady of extremism”.
an interview with the BBC, Chaudhry said, “Right now this is not a cure. This
is firefighting, what we are doing. The cure is the real thing and our
government is committed to the cure.”
had two options: either to use force, and when you use force, people can be
killed. That is not something a state should do… We tried negotiations and (in)
negotiations you take something and you leave something,” he added.
government’s spokesperson argued that use of force against protesters was not
the preferred method for the government to deal with the demonstrations.
asked whether the PM Imran Khan-led government had bowed down to the far-right
political groups, the info minister defended the agreement. “Our government was
committed to coming up with a permanent solution to tackle violent protests in
the country,” he said.
admitted that the government would be working on a long-term strategy to deal
with such incidents in the future.
need to take steps against extremism, we need to take steps against such kind
of violent protesters and we need to come up with a permanent solution,” he
minister’s remarks came a day after the government reached a written agreement
with leaders of the nationwide sit-ins.
protests had erupted in the major cities after the Supreme Court on Wednesday
acquitted Aasiya Bibi, a Christian woman on death row since 2010 when she was
convicted on blasphemy charges. The protests paralysed routine life in parts of
the country and caused severe road blockages in major cities, resulting in
severe mobility issues for citizens.
PM Khan’s stern warning to agitators against challenging the state earlier in
the week, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government reached a five-point
agreement with the TLP late Friday night to end the protests.
to the five-point agreement, the government would not object to the review
petition filed against Aasiya Bibi’s acquittal by the top court and the legal
process to place her name on the Exit Control List (ECL) would be initiated
immediately. Also, the deaths (if any) which took place during the course of
protests, would be investigated as per law and the government would release all
protestors arrested since October 30. Moreover, TLP also apologised for the
inconveniences caused because of the protests.
from various faiths came together in a moving act of solidarity for the victims
of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, as well as a
show of strength and protection for Jewish people across Canada.
"Rings of Peace" were formed around Toronto synagogues on Friday
night and Saturday morning, made up of multi-faith worshippers standing
shoulder-to-shoulder and joining hands. The events were organized by the
National Council of Canadian Muslims in partnership with mosques across the
Khadim, one of the founding directors of the Islamic Institute of Toronto (IIT)
and its current director of education, said that the gesture of solidarity
extends beyond the protection of faith.
about the sanctity of life," Khadim told HuffPost Canada by phone.
"For everyone on earth, whether you are part of a certain religion or do
not practice religion at all, a right to safety is paramount.
could be a mosque or a synagogue or a nightclub. It doesn't matter. Life is
joined members of his mosque at Beth Sholom in York, Ont. early this morning.
He recalled how he was hesitant to attend prayers at his mosque in the direct
aftermath of the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting, which claimed the lives of
six worshippers and sent shockwaves throughout Canada's Muslim community.
members of synagogues and churches from across the country showed up to form
protective circles around Khadim's mosque and many others — a gesture that gave
him the peace and confidence to go on worshipping as usual. He said that this
demonstration is just one way to return the favour.
is especially sympathetic to survivors of terrorist attacks: his brother-in-law
was killed in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City. The trauma
from such a horrific event will no doubt endure, he said, but it helps
survivors to feel supported by the community.
want them to know that we will always be there for them," Khadim said.
"We stand with them, shoulder to shoulder. None of us is as strong as all
Kala of Embrace Islamic Society said he showed up at North York's Temple
Emanuel because it's important for religious leaders to set a positive example.
by religious leaders easily encourage radical people to act negatively,"
he told HuffPost Canada in an email. "People from all level of life should
.. act against hate speech and any kind of violence. Keeping silent is not an
people, specifically while they are praying, not only kills innocent
people," he said. "It also kills our hope of future to live in peace
and harmony in multi-faith & multicultural society."
of Imdadul Islamic Jama'at, International Muslim Organization (IMO) and TARIC
Islamic Centre also joined hands at Holy Blossom Temple on Saturday morning.
One of the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting, Joyce Fienberg, was a member
was married at the temple, which has over 6,500 members and is one of Canada's
oldest Jewish congregations, and her confirmation photo is on its wall of
mosques arranged for buses to transport members to Holy Blossom. Over 300
people showed up, according to member Osman Khan. They were joined by members
of several Christian houses of worship.
were equipped with umbrellas in case of inclement weather, Khan said, but were
pleasantly surprised when the overcast skies cleared unexpectedly.
sun came out as soon as we stepped off the buses," he said. "We felt
it was a blessing."
Yael Splansky, the senior rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple, invited Khan to speak
inside the synagogue. He considered it one of the great honours of his life.
was a very emotional moment for me," Khan said. "This temple was
formed in 1856. Being asked to address the crowd in such a place, at such a
moment, was incredibly powerful."
was especially moved by the number of children and teenagers in the crowd. He
said his 15-year-old daughter, who is not usually an early riser, insisted that
her father wake her up so she could join him at the synagogue. She also
addressed Holy Blossom Temple worshippers.
are Muslim by faith but [my daughter] attends a Catholic school and now has
been welcomed into a synagogue," Khan said. "We told the youth there
today: 'We have started the process, but it's up to you to continue the work
for generations to come.'"
must work together to build a better future through "a realistic,
constructive and holistic approach and a persuasive way", head of Turkey’s
Religious Affairs Directorate said on Saturday.
at the General Assembly of Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars
(IUMS) in Istanbul, Ali Erbas said Muslims across the globe are going through a
difficult and uneasy process due to the wars, poverty, and terrorism.
should work together to build a better future through a realistic, constructive
and holistic approach and a persuasive way by addressing the problems in our
geography," Erbas said.
his remarks, Erbas also touched upon the importance of bringing the Muslim
scholars together to support each other and cooperate in areas such as
religious education, dissemination of religious knowledge, religious services
for women, family and youth. He also said the terrorist organizations such as
Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), PKK, Daesh, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram
are "damaging Muslims, our unity and future."
the chairman of the IUMS, Yousef al-Qaradawi, said: "We pray for Turkey to
be the administrative center of the Islamic world again."
General Assembly will end on Thursday.
terrorism “the worst form of violation of human rights”, India has decried
attempts by some countries to prevent a unified international response to the
has emerged as one of the worst forms of violation of human rights... My
country has had to face repeated terrorist attacks on innocent people,
emanating from beyond our borders,” India’s Deputy Permanent Representative
Tanmaya Lal said in United Nations on Friday.
terrorism being acknowledged as one of the foremost global challenges, any
meaningful collective response to address this menace continues to be thwarted
remarks during a General Assembly session on the Human Rights Council report
were aimed at the failure of the world body to adopt the Comprehensive
Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) proposed by India in 1996.
draft of the convention has failed to make headway in the 22 years because of
the failure of countries to agree even on who is a terrorist, with some
claiming exemptions for whom they would label “freedom-fighters”.
did not directly mention the CCIT or the report of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights on Kashmir, which also came in for implied criticism.
said that human rights “mechanisms operating on their own without any mandate
and producing clearly biased documents only further harm the credibility of
of the grounds for India’s criticism of the Kashmir report is that it was
prepared without any mandate from the Human Rights Council or any UN body.
also said that it was biased and “based on unverified sources of information”.
procedures have largely been counter-productive,” he added.
Lal said, “India’s approach to human rights continues to evolve as more rights
become justiciable and through the process of progressive interpretation of
laws by the judiciary”.
Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision to decriminalise gay sex is an example
of the judiciary extending civil rights through its interpretation of the
days after BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit were shot dead
by suspected militants in Kishtwar town, the district in Jammu and Kashmir
appeared to be limping back to normalcy, with the administration on Saturday
relaxing curfew for an hour in different areas of the town.
was relaxed for an hour from 2.30 pm in some areas, and from 3.30 pm in others,
Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said. No untoward incident was
reported from anywhere.
the district administration having arranged vehicles to pick up and drop
students, examinations also went off smoothly in Kishtwar town, officials said.
that was clamped on Friday in Doda and Bhaderwah towns, anticipating trouble,
was lifted on Saturday morning.
the eerie calm, some local residents and police officials said the Parihar
brothers’ killing could be a sign of terror outfits trying to spread militancy
in Kishtwar and Doda districts, near the Valley. An officer said efforts have
been on for some time to revive terror in the two districts in view of their
proximity to Kashmir Valley and similarities in several other aspects,
including a sizeable Kashmiri-speaking population.
officer pointed out that there have been multiple incidents of terror modules
being busted, alleged overground workers (OGWs) of militant outfits being held,
and arms and ammunition seizure from time to time – especially in the past few
months. All this, the officer added, may point to attempts by terror outfits to
revive militancy in the area.
Kishtwar SSP Rajinder Gupta did not comment on the development in the
investigations, police sources said the gunmen who killed the Parihar brothers
in Tapal mohalla of Kishtwar town on Thursday evening when they were returning
home appear to be serving a twin-purpose. First, to kill a liberal voice in BJP
in the district, where militancy was wiped out in 2011, and to engineer
communal clashes in the volatile area.
Anil Parihar had, warned the administration against the deteriorating situation
in the hilly district of Jammu region. In August, addressing protestors outside
District Courts Complex, located just opposite Tapal mohalla, where they were
shot, over alleged harassment of Machail mata pilgrims by some anti-social
elements, Parihar had said that “some unidentified people” were surfacing in
the town. “We have repeatedly urged the administration not to allow situation
deteriorate but our requests are ignored,’’ he had said.
local residents alleged that there have been no police patrolling in Tapal
mohalla, which is near the District Courts Complex and has many government
offices, for long.
recovery of an empty shell of an AK-47 rifle from the crime site has puzzled
the special investigation team (SIT) formed to track the killers of Anil and
Ajit Parihar. The entry and exit points of bullet in the bodies are too small,
and the police are still working on the theory that a pistol was used to shoot
them, sources said. that they are even getting drains passing through the area
cleaned in search of its empties.
Kashmiri boy who was beaten up in a Noida university and his father have been
locked in a social media debate over the essence of Islam after the student
disappeared and claimed to have joined the Islamic State.
son Ehtisham, violent jihad is the gateway to heaven. For father Bilal Ahmed,
Islam preaches that “paradise lies at the feet of your mother” and none who
disobeys his parents shall enter it.
worst fears of Bilal, a shopkeeper from Srinagar’s Khanyar locality, had come
true on Friday when the missing Ehtisham purportedly released a picture
accompanied by audio, announcing he had joined the Islamic State.
a BSc student of medical imaging technology at Noida’s Sharda University, had
disappeared last week, days after being thrashed by fellow students on the
campus. He had apparently been mistaken for an Afghan during a clash between
Afghan and Indian students on October 4.
audio refers to the October 4 incident, alleging the attackers had pounced on
Ehtisham for defending the Afghan students. It says he decided to join jihad
that day, while claiming he had been ideologically influenced by jihad before
chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Sometimes seemingly small actions have
huge consequences. If what happened to him at #ShardaUniversity has led him to
choose such a destructive path, it’s even more tragic.”
Saturday, Ethisham’s father Bilal uploaded a video where he is seen suggesting
his son has not understood Islam properly. Ehtisham’s mother and sisters too
are seen crying in the video.
parents had earlier made a similar plea on social media, but their sons largely
ignored them and only their bodies returned.
the video, Bilal is heard saying: “I heard your audio and was surprised and
saddened that you were talking about Islam and faith, forgetting that Islam
preaches that paradise lies at the feet of your mother while the father is
described as the door to heaven. Islam has linked paradise to submission to
parents, and it is strictly insisted not to disobey one’s parents.”
then makes a fervent appeal to his son. “I order you — no, I appeal to you — to
return. I appeal to those with whom my son is staying, for God’s sake let him
return. Have mercy on us; God will have mercy on you,” he says as he breaks
audio was accompanied by a picture of Ehtisham in a black outfit, weapons
strapped to his body and an Islamic State flag in the background.
director-general of police Munir Khan said the authenticity of the audio and
the picture were being verified.
J&K police on Saturday said they are yet to verify the veracity of an audio
clip that plays to a photograph of reportedly a 19-year-old student of a
private university in Greater Noida who has been untraceable since October 28
but the photo of allegedly Ehtisham Bilal Sofi wearing black, flouting an AK
47, with grenades strapped to his body, and posing in front of a typically Islamic
State flag, has taken by surprise and rattled family and friends. They on
Saturday appealed for him to return to the family fold, taking the clip at face
law and order and security Munir Khan said “we are investigating the issue and
the veracity of the clip”, adding it was possible Ehtisham may have joined the
Jammu & Kashmir unit of terror group Islamic State (JKIS). UP DGP O P Singh
said the ATS had contacted J&K Police. “It is not yet clear whether he has
joined any terror group. Our probe has just begun. His stay at the university
and people he was friendly with will be questioned by UP ATS sleuths,” he said.
five-minute audio has a soft male voice pledging allegiance to the cause of
jihad, promising death and terror from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and looking to
give up his life in the effort.
Saturday, his mother Irfana Begum appealed to Zakir Musa, JKIS head to return
their only son. She prayed to separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
and Yasin Malik to help her bring back her son. "Please send back my
for the sake of Allah return him to us,” Irfana Begum said.
went missing on October 28 after he left the varsity with official permission
to go to Delhi, days after he was mistakenly roughed up during a scuffle
between Indian and Afghan students in the campus. In the audio, the voice
allegedly Ehtisham’s says: “I was looking into the kaffir’s (non-Muslims) eyes
when they attacked me in groups like dogs; I felt I had delayed becoming a part
of jihad for long. Not anymore.”
left the university’s campus last Sunday morning. He had told his father he was
going to Delhi with friends. However, on October 26, Ehtisham had booked a
GoAir flight to Srinagar. He boarded the 1.30 pm flight on October 28 that
landed in Srinagar around 3 pm. In his last call to father Bilal Ahmed, made at
4.29 pm, Ehtisham told him he was taking a metro to return to Greater Noida.
His mobile locations that night showed him in Pulwama and then Shopian.
‘missing’ complaint was later registered at Knowledge Park police station in
Greater Noida and at Khanyar police station in Srinagar, officials said.
was one of two Kashmiri students attacked on the Sharda campus on October 4, in
the middle of clashes in the university between Indian and Afghan students.
Some outsiders and students subsequently targeted Kashmiri students, believing
they were Afghans. On October 4, during an agitation against Afghan students
led by right-wing activists Deepak Sharma and Ved Nagar, a mob turned on
Ehtisham and a fellow student in the presence of police. Videos of the violence
were later widely circulated. Ehtisham suffered injuries on his right elbow and
head. He had then told TOI that at least he could identify at least three of
his attackers. “I can identify them. They were using abuses and anti-Muslim
language,” he had said.
friends in Sharda described him as an introvert who largely kept to himself. A
fellow student from J&K said Bilal had refused to give a statement to the
police after the October 4 attack on him and another student on the Sharda
campus, saying he did not want help from “Indians”. “Maybe he had decided he
will go,” added the friend.
University, in its first official statement on Saturday since Ehtisham went
missing from campus a week ago, said it was “deeply concerned that a first-year
student, who had joined the university and commenced his academics only
mid-September 2018, has allegedly joined hands with anti-national elements.”
The university said he enrolled, his attendance had been around 75% and that he
would mostly hang around with students from his state of J&K.
Arun, IG of UP-ATS, said on Saturday, “We’ve been tracking him the past week.
We’ve been in touch with his family and friends but no one seems to have
expected he would join a radical group.”
Delhi: Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and
Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Saturday strongly
condemned the assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq, a former Pakistani Senator
widely known as the ‘Father of Taliban’.
Saeed claimed that Haq was always targeted by enemies of Islam and
Pakistan and there were always conspiracies being hatched against him.
a video message, Saeed can be heard saying,”Maulana Sami ul Haq served Islam
and he served Pakistan. His role in the country has been significant and always
raised his voice for the right. There were always conspiracies being hatched
against him because he was always targeted by enemies of Islam and Pakistan.
His death raises a lot of questions.”
across Pakistan, Afghanistan and even India are people of Sami ul Haq. Whenever
he heard of any atrocities being committed against Muslims anywhere, he was
always hurt. May God deal with the killers and grant peace to Sami ul Haq,” he
Friday evening, Haq was stabbed to death while he was taking rest at his home.
Earlier in the day, on the complaint of Maulana Hamidul Haq, son of the
deceased, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered at the Airport Police
Station in Rawalpindi, ARY News reported. As per the details shared in the FIR,
Maulana Samiul Haq was stabbed 12 times and succumbed to his injuries at his
Rawalpindi residence. He was killed at around 6.30 pm on November 2.
details of the murder, his son told ARY News that JUI-S chief was unwell and
taking rest at home when he was attacked.
Samiul Haq’s driver and the gunman were away when he was stabbed and when one
of his servants returned he saw him (Samiul Haq) lying in a pool of blood. He
was shifted to the Safari Hospital in Rawalpindi for medico-legal formalities,”
Maulana Hamidul Haq said.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said that only the higher court
can order an individual’s name to be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), a
local media outlet reported on Saturday.
explained that only those who are currently involved in cases or review
petitions could have their names placed on the ECL, adding that Aasia Bibi’s
name could only be placed on the list upon court directives.
Pakistan (TLP) leader Farooqul Hassan Qadri expressed dissatisfaction with the
matter, saying that the government had promised to put Aasia Bibi’s name on the
ECL when the agreement was reached.
Following threats to his and his family’s life from fundamentalists, Pakistan’s
prominent Sikh human right defender, Radesh Singh Tony has fled from Peshawar
city of restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan leaving behind his business
has now taken shelter in Lahore along with his wife and three children and has
applied for a peon’s job to keep the hearth burning.
talking to TOI on Saturday, Tony who is also chairman Khalsa peace and justice
foundation claimed that he had survived three attacks on his life in Peshawar
after the death of Peshawar’s prominent religious leader Charanjit Singh in May
had raised the voice protesting killing of Charanjit Singh through the platform
of foundation and had staged demonstrations demanding arrest of assassins of
Charanjit Singh but after that I started receiving threats from unknown
persons" he said.
said in one of the attacks he barely survived after the bullet had hit his
turban. "This was the closest one which left me completely shaken and I
decided to immediately shift to Lahore along with my wife and three
children" he said.
said due to constant threats he had almost lost his electronic business in
Peshawar and went to Lahore with whatever money he had.
I have taken a house on rent and have asked my three sons to find jobs for
themselves and I have also applied for a peon’s post and salesman job in a shop
since I require money for day to day expenses."
informed that he had won the municipal councilor seat and had also contested
the last general elections from PK 75 constituency.
asked why didn’t he approached Pakistan Sikh gurdwara prabandhak committee for
support, he replied "They have refused to extend any help and I am also of
view that they wouldn’t help since they had their personal interests" he
community of Lahore has chalked out a three day Diwali celebration functions
which will be followed by ‘Diwali Milan Party’ and an interfaith prayer.
talking to TOI over phone from Lahore on Saturday Manwar Chand, chairman,
Pakistan Hindu welfare council informed that three day function would begin
from November 7 at Krishna temple situated at Batti Chowk area of Lahore.
"There are around 500 Hindu families living in Lahore, members of every
family participates in the three day puja’s of lord Rama, goddess Laxshmi and
lord Krishna", he said.
informed that Krishna temple was being decorated and new clothes and ornaments
had been purchased to adorn the deities. "Even our Muslims friends and
neighbourer joins us in the celebrations" he said.
informed that interior city of Lahore had 12 gates and there were 12 Hindu
temples in the interior city but they were not maintained by evacuee trust
property board (ETPB).
temples are managed by local Hindu’s who have formed small committees to take
care of the temple and ensure that daily prayers are held and other rituals are
performed" said Ramesh Kumar another Hindu resident of Lahore. The main function
would be held at Krishan temple but other temples have also made their own
to the media reports that Hindu’s and Sikh’s were persecuted in various parts
of Pakistan, Ramesh claimed that Hindu’s faced no discrimination. He said ETPB
was carrying out several development woks at the crematorium of Hindus, Aggarwal
Ashram, Ganga Ram Samadhi etc.
informed that on November 11, the Council would organize a Diwali Milan Party
on the lines of Eid Milan Party at a star category hotel in Lahore which would
be attended by representatives of all faith and discussions would be held on
interfaith harmony and prayers would be held.
A day after normalcy returned to the country as Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan
(TLP) “suspended” its nationwide protests against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal
following an agreement with the government, TLP chief Khadim Rizvi, senior
leader Pir Afzal Qadri were among 500 others who have been booked on Saturday
on charges of rioting and disrupting peace.
per the details, at least 500 TLP leaders and supporters, including firebrand
cleric Khadim Rizvi and Afzal Qadri, have been booked in 11 different cases
under charges of causing agitation among the masses, blocking roads and
vandalism in Lahore.
cases have also been lodged in the federal capital on charges of damaging
public and private properties as well as violating section 144.
development came after the Interior Ministry announced taking action against
all those “miscreants, who under the guise of peaceful protests, caused
destruction to public and private properties and harmed helpless citizens”
during the three-day protests.
are being taken to identify these miscreants,” a statement issued by the
ministry of interior said.
the Interior Ministry also said the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA)
cybercrime wing and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have been
directed to investigate “propaganda” circulated on social media to incite hate.
the chairpersons of the cybercrime wing and PTA have been instructed to obtain
the forensic data of the miscreants,” it said in a separate statement.
Interior Ministry will also initiate criminal proceedings against all those who
spread extremist and hateful propaganda on social media, the statement added.
the country welcomed a tentative return to normalcy following the agreement
between TLP and the government after three days of violent protests that choked
various cities and throttled economic activities.
Islamabad and Karachi, traffic returned to normal after protesters ended
sit-ins and road blockages were removed over the night.
returned to normalcy in Lahore as well, after the largest group of TLP
supporters wrapped up their protests late Friday night. Road blockages that had
crippled the city have been removed and traffic has now begun to flow
unimpeded. Public schools also re-opened, though attendance remained thin on
the first day.
to reports, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA), a faction of the TLP, is
still holding out and has continued its sit-in at Data Darbar.
in Peshawar had ended soon after the deal between the TLP and the government
was finalised on Friday night. Road blockages around the city have also been
Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had headed a rally in
Peshawar on Friday, but ended it after his address. He was scheduled to join
the TLP camp later but was advised by police not to follow through due to
Quetta, though religio-political parties had held rallies, no sit-ins had been
countrywide demonstrations by TLP and other religiopolitical parties, which
erupted on Wednesday after the Supreme Court announced acquitting Aasiya Bibi,
had left major highways — including the motorway connecting Lahore and
Islamabad — blocked and routine life paralysed in major cities.
services in major cities had also been suspended.
protests had come after Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a forceful rebuke to
the TLP in a nationally-televised address in the ruling’s wake, saying the
government would not tolerate violent protests.
Friday, the government and the TLP had signed a deal to conclude the latter’s
nationwide protest. One of the major concessions the government agreed to was
to “initiate the legal process” to place Aasiya Bibi’s name on the ECL [Exit
state had also assured the party that it would not oppose a review petition
filed against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aasiya Bibi blasphemy case.
government further promised to take appropriate legal action to redress any
deaths that may have occurred during the protests against the Aasiya Bibi
verdict and to release all people picked up in connection with the protests
starting October 30.
husband of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted after eight years on death
row for blasphemy, on Saturday criticised the government deal with protesters
of religious groups that left her in legal limbo, and called on authorities to
conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court on Wednesday and she was ordered
to be set free, triggering protests by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and
other religiopolitical groups that lasted three days.
government and TLP reached a deal on Friday to conclude the latter's protests.
One of the major concessions the government agreed to was to "initiate the
legal process" to place Bibi's name on the exit control list (ECL).
government had also assured the party it would not oppose a review petition
filed against the Supreme Court's judgement in the Asia Bibi blasphemy case. A
review petition has been filed with the top court.
is wrong to set a precedent in which you pile pressure onto the judiciary,”
Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih told German Deutsche Welle radio.
said the government should never have yielded to pressure from protesters.
said the court had been “very courageous” to acquit his wife, an illiterate
mother in her 50s whose case started in 2009 when she was accused of having
uttered blasphemous remarks after an argument with two Muslim women.
current situation is very dangerous for us. We have no security and are hiding
here and there, frequently changing our location,” Masih said.
lawyer fled Pakistan on Saturday, fearing for his life.
demanded the government reinforce Bibi's protection in prison, worrying that
she may be attacked. He cited the case of two Christian men who were shot dead
after a court acquitted them in another blasphemy case.
The Punjab Home Department has decided to enhance security arrangements for
important political figures and religious leaders across province, The News has
in the Home Department said the department had advised the Inspector General of
Police (IGP) Punjab to enhance security arrangements for politicians and
religious scholars and warned that there were reports of possible attacks on
advice was given after the assassination of chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami
group (JUI-S), Maulana Samiul Haq. Sources said the interior ministry was
considering to increase security of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) supremo,
Mian Nawaz Sharif and other members of the Sharif family, former prime minister
Yusuf Raza Gilani, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) ameer Senator Sirajul Haq, president of
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others. A spokesperson for
the IGP Punjab said that if the police would receive any letter from the
authorities concerned regarding security of people, police were bound to
provide them with security. The Punjab police had raised a new force to protect
persons on high risk (PHR).
Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that uprooting corruption and bringing
people out of poverty are the top priorities of his government.
Khan while delivering a speech at the Central Party School in Beijing hailed
the bilateral cooperation between the countries.
about his political journey, the premier said that he began his career as a
cricketer before he entered politics.
at one point was an example for the developing world. In the 1960s we had
quality universities. We had the highest growth rate. Our first five-year plan
was emulated by South Korea and Malaysia," he said, adding that
unfortunately the nation lost its way due to corruption of the ruling elite.
said that countries are poor not because of a lack of resources but due to the
corruption of the elite, because it destroys state institutions.
Khan came down hard on money laundering and termed it the worst kind of
corruption. "In my opinion, one of the biggest problem the world faces
today is money laundering," he added.
unfortunately, after the mid-80s started suffering from corruption," he
said, adding that at that time, he was playing cricket.
said that after he retired from cricket, he decided to join politics and the
main agenda of his party was to combat corruption.
prime minister maintained that initially his party was ignored by masses and it
was after his 2011 visit to China when the party started gaining popularity.
he said, his main concern was strengthening institutions. "The stronger
the state institutions, the lesser the corruption," PM Khan said.
A day after reaching an agreement with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)
leadership for ending their sit-ins, the federal government on Saturday ordered
a “crackdown” against “miscreants” involved in damaging public and private
properties and vehicles during the protests.
directives for action against the miscreants were issued by Minister of State
for Interior Shehryar Afridi after he received a briefing from different
agencies about the damage suffered by the government and people during the
three-day protests by religio-political groups over the Oct 31 Supreme Court
verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi of a blasphemy charge, says an official
says that cases will be registered against “all those miscreants who under the
guise of peaceful protests caused destruction to property and harmed unarmed
the statement, the ministry has welcomed the stance taken by the Ulema that
they were not involved in any violence and some “miscreants” were involved in
the destruction caused to properties. It says that efforts are being made to
identify the miscreants with the help of video footage.
will be registered and legal action will be taken against all the miscreant
elements to be identified,” says the statement.
further says that the Cybercrime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have been directed to
monitor and investigate provocative material being circulated on social media
to incite hate. The head of the Cybercrime Wing and the PTA chairman have been
instructed to obtain “forensic data of the miscreants.”
interior ministry will initiate criminal proceedings against all those
spreading extremist and hateful propaganda on social media,” it says.
government took the decision to take action against the troublemakers amid
criticism against it for striking a deal with the protesters in which there has
been no mention of the damage caused to the properties of innocent people.
the government is facing criticism for not taking any action against those
leaders of the protest who had threatened the judges and used seditious
language against state institutions.
to Dawn, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said it would be wrong to
say that the government had surrendered before the protesters through the
to speak further on the matter, he said presently they were only doing
firefighting and a prolonged strategy would be prepared to meet any such
situation in the future and to establish the writ of the state in a more
in the day, Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed had said that the
government had decided to take action against those miscreants who destroyed
state property along motorways and highways during the protests.
said that it was the “time to establish that calls for protest shouldn’t be taken
as a licence to destruction”.
minister said that videos and images of the protests over the apex court’s
decision would be scrutinised to identify the perpetrators who caused damage to
Constitution permits peaceful protests, but under no circumstances damaging
public and private property under the garb of protests,” the minister remarked.
said the property along national highways was damaged all over the country and
now billions would have to be spent on repair works.
said it was commendable that the protest leadership had distanced itself from
those who created havoc in the garb of protests.
Lahore, police have registered 11 FIRs in different police stations against
1,500 people under various charges, including terrorism. Similarly, Islamabad
police have booked nearly 250 protesters for injuring policemen and damaging
police have also reportedly decided to register cases against the organisers of
sit-ins over charges of riots and damaging property on behalf of the state or
on the complaint of aggrieved persons whose properties were damaged.
police officer pointed out that Korangi police station has already registered a
case on the complaint of the watchman of a factory in the area, as around 15 to
16 protesters tried to ‘forcibly’ shut the industrial unit and resorted to
riots on Friday.
A writ petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court seeking compensation
for the damage caused to public and private properties during the countrywide
protest by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) against release of Aasia Bibi
in a blasphemy case.
Malik of the Civil Society Network arrayed federal and provincial governments
as party in his petition. He pleads that protection of people’s life and
property is a responsibility of the government and a great damage has been done
to the public and private property during the TLP protests.
says the government is duty-bound to compensate the losses of the citizens.
petitioner asks the court to order both the federal and provincial governments
to determine the losses and pay compensation to the citizens.
A petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court seeking a direction for the
government authorities to take immediate steps to control smog in Punjab.
citizen, Munir Ahmad, contends through his counsel that Lahore is among the 10
most polluted cities in the world in terms of air quality. He states that air
pollution causes serious health problems, including respiratory issues, lung
and heart diseases. He pleads that the smog has become a perennial problem for
the residents of Lahore.
petitioner claims that data released by the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative
shows the provincial capital recorded only two days of good air quality in
asks the court to direct the government to implement the statutory laws as well
as mandatory rules in letter and spirit for the purpose of protecting
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) chief and ‘Father of Taliban’ Maulana Samiul Haq
was laid to rest in Akora Khattak inside Darul Uloom Haqqania on Saturday, a
day after he was brutally killed in a knife attack at his residence in
prayers of Haq, a two-time senator and an ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan,
were held at Khushal Khan College Ground and attended by several prominent
political leaders, including CM Mehmood Khattak and Governor Shah Farman.
police have registered an FIR against unknown assailants and reportedly
interrogated slain cleric’s personal secretary Ahmed Shah and guard for three
hours in connection with the murder.
detainees in their initial statement said, “The two men [suspected of murder]
had visited Maulana Haq on several occasions before as well and wanted to meet
JUI-S chief sent us to the market to bring food and drinks,” they further said.
“When we returned after 15 minutes, we found Haq lying in a pool of blood,” the
staff workers added. However, the police agreed to release them on Haq’s son
request so that they could attend the funeral. But they can be taken into
custody again for further questioning, police added.
to the FIR registered at Airport Police Station, Ahmed Shah had informed
Hamidul Haq over the phone that someone had stabbed his father. It stated that
Sami, who had received a total of 12 wounds on his stomach, heart, forehead and
ears, was shifted to the Safari Hospital but could not be resuscitated.
son commented on the post-mortem, saying said he did not want to have a
post-mortem examination conducted on the body of his father as it was “against
forensic experts and investigation officers gathered evidence from his
residence in Rawalpindi. The investigation officers also carried out
fingerprint scans on the phone, glasses and other personal items of the JUI-S
chief. A CCTV footage of the housing society where the JUI-S chief resided is
also being obtained to identify the suspects.
Friday, Haq was assassinated at his Bahria Town residence when his staff were
out. Haq’s servant said he had gone outside to buy groceries, only to return to
his employer lying in pool of blood. Sami shortly died after that. The Counter
Terrorism Department (CTD) immediately reached the spot and initiated a probe
into the murder.
death was condemned by many, including the prime minister and the army chief.
PM had expressed grief and sorrow at his ally’s death and ordered a swift
investigation besides seeking an inquiry report at the earliest.
Bajwa had condemned assassination through ISPR twitter handle, while President
Dr Arif Alvi, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen
Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur
Rehman, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly
Shehbaz Sharif, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman
Buzdar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul
Haq Qadri, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi and others condemned the
incident and expressed grief over the assassination of Haq.
police issued a threat alert to Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) leader Maulana Fazlur
Rehman on Saturday.
to the letter penned by the Peshawar senior superintendent of police (SSP),
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is facing security threats.”
letter further advised the JUI-F chief to not visit Peshawar owing to the
leader Rashid Soomro demanded that Fazl be granted foolproof security following
the assassination of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq
Muslims are coming!
some Americans — those who support a travel ban, a wall along the Mexican
border and increased restrictions on refugees, all while holding on to the
ridiculous belief that the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims hate America, despite
the fact that it’s home to nearly 3.5 million of us — that statement probably
it’s true: Nearly 100 Muslim political hopefuls have filed to run for elected
office this year in America. Only a dozen or so had run in 2016.
July, the Associated Press had interviewed Muslim candidates about this record
number. The reporting revealed that it’s precisely the bigotry and hate that
has been directed toward Islam — including in remarks and tweets by United
States President Donald Trump — that has motivated so many Muslims to enter the
political arena, where they now stand poised to advance policies that directly
reflect their faith and also benefit all of their constituents.
Tlaib of Detroit, a former state representative and a daughter of Palestinian
immigrants, would be the nation’s first Muslim woman in Congress. Ilhan Omar, a
Somali-American and refugee from Kenya, is predicted to win in November,
replacing Rep. Keith Ellison in Minnesota.
majority of Muslim candidates are not running with their religion on their
sleeves, but instead as Democrats promoting unabashedly progressive platforms.
is important that people recognise I am someone who is a public servant working
to create a better society, who just happens to be a Muslim refugee,” Omar told
me in a phone interview. While she represents a district that is mostly
Christian and white, she believes her constituents don’t care about her
religion or identity as much as they do about whether she’ll champion their
causes in Washington.
Muslim political veterans and upstarts certainly aren’t the first to
demonstrate that deeply held religious beliefs can inspire a commitment to
social justice. But at a time when the hypocrisy of many who claim to represent
the Christian religious right is especially glaring, they provide the latest
reminder that being devout doesn’t have to — and shouldn’t — go hand in hand
with attacks on women, minorities and poor people.
not about just being out there and flaunting your faith,” Tlaib told CNN in an
August interview. “I always tell people that I’m exposing Islam in such a
pivotal way, an impactful way, through public service.” Omar beat her closest
Democratic rival by more than 20,000 votes while calling for the cancelling of
student debt, raising the minimum wage and increasing the number of refugees
admitted to this country.
is part of my Islamic teaching to make sure we are charitable,” Omar told me.
“A huge part of the Islamic faith is that you can’t sleep with a full belly if
your neighbours and those around you aren’t sleeping with a full belly.”
Al Sayed — who recently lost his race for the Michigan governor’s nomination,
but started a Political Action Committee to support liberal candidates — echoed
the sentiment. Al Sayed calls himself “openly, honestly and unapologetically
Muslim” and told me he believes “privilege begets responsibility”. That Islamic
value inform his progressive politics.
both Omar and Al Sayed said critics have tried to use their religion against
them. “Islamophobia comes with the territory,” Al Sayed said. They’ve each been
hounded by the far-right activist Laura Loomer, who has been travelling the
country “investigating” Muslim candidates running for office. This includes
disrupting their talks and asking whether they support Hamas.
refuses to be intimidated. “We say what we want to say,” she said. “They cannot
continue to instil fear in us and stop us from achieving critical
many Christian Republican voters are still encouraged to fear Muslims. “Running
on Hate 2018,” a report by the non-profit organisation Muslim Advocates,
examined 80 campaigns using anti-Muslim messages leading up to the midterm
elections and found that almost all of the candidates engaged in these tactics
are Republican. The evangelical leader Franklin Graham has said Islam is an
Al Sayed lost his race, a message appeared on the Twitter page of Corey
Stewart, a Republican Senate candidate from Virginia, that read: “Michigan
almost elected a far left ISIS [Daesh] commie.” It was quickly deleted and
Stewart said that it was sent by someone with access to his account.
Hunter, a California Republican who has been indicted on a charge of campaign
finance violations, said his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, was a national
security risk because of his Palestinian Muslim roots and because his
grandfather was involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attack.
(Campa-Najjar is a Christian and his grandfather died 16 years before he was
born, but who needs facts? Certainly not Trump, who warned last week, without
any proof, that “unknown Middle Easterns” were among the “caravan” of Central
American migrants walking toward the United States to seek asylum.)
are reminiscent of the attitudes behind the anti-Catholic hazing of the 1950s
that forced John Kennedy to assuage fears that he was “not the Catholic
candidate for president” but instead the “Democratic Party’s candidate for
president who happens also to be a Catholic”. But Kennedy won the presidency,
and now a quarter of US senators and six Supreme Court justices are Catholic.
Ali, seeking a seat in the Tennessee legislature, is taking a cue from Kennedy.
She told me she’s running as a Democratic, a proud Tennessean and an American
who also happens to be Muslim.
Tennessee, she has seen firsthand the damage of the opioid crisis and the dire
consequences of her state’s failure to expand Medicaid. She doesn’t have the
built-in progressive network of a liberal Detroit or New York or the luxury to
ignore Trump supporters. Instead, Ali, a physician, health care executive and
proud immigrant, is knocking on doors trying to win voters over with a
Democratic platform, one smile and hug at a time.
or lose, she told me, she wants her campaign to inspire her children and the
next generation. “If this woman who lives in the middle of Tennessee can run
for office as a Democratic candidate, then it opens up a lot of doors for a lot
of Muslim women, future generations and communities who are watching from a
distance,” she said.
are here, they’re running for office, and a few are going to Washington, where
they’ll do something many members of Congress have failed to do for a long
time: serve God by serving people.
New York Times News Service
Ali is a playwright, lawyer and contributing opinion writer.
the wake of a deadly attack on a U.S. synagogue last week, people of faith from
across the Greater Toronto Area gathered at Jewish places of worship throughout
the city Saturday in an act of defiant solidarity.
than 200 attendees from various religious backgrounds formed "rings of
peace" around 10 synagogues throughout the region on the Sabbath, a weekly
day of observance in the Jewish faith.
events were organized by several Muslim community groups and included prayers,
hymns, statements of support and an opportunity to meet neighbours.
is our faith that keeps us together. When one person is hurt in our community,
through our moral and religious obligation, we are supposed to help," said
Osman Khan, spokesperson for the Imdadul Islamic Centre, one of the groups
behind the show of solidarity.
Saturday, a gunman opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh,
killing 11 Jewish people, many of them elderly.
people were also injured in the attack, including four police officers.
accused shooter, Robert Bowers, allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks during the
attack, according to police.
was just the latest of a series of a high-profile shootings at places of
worship on both sides of the border.
said it only made sense for his community to express its condolences and
support for Toronto's Jewry. In February 2017, some 300 Jewish people from
across the GTA, along with many from other faiths, formed rings of peace around
local mosques in the wake of a deadly attack inside a Quebec City mosque.
gave consolation to us in that difficult time, and now are doing the
same," Khan said.
because we feel we have to reciprocate, but because we feel a need to be with
our brothers and sisters to ease the pain that they feel, because we share that
Sadowski, a member of the Holy Blossom Temple on Bathurst Street in York, said
the public display of compassion was deeply emotional for her.
was very moving and very, very beautiful. I think I felt a little bit
overwhelmed by the support of all the people who came out to show their
solidarity," she said.
think the message is that people want to feel safe in prayer and in community,
no matter your religion, no matter your background. That's a value that we
share as Canadians, as Torontonians — that we care and respect each other's
Denaburg, also a congregate at Holy Blossom, took part in the circles of peace
around GTA mosques last year. She said that beyond offering support, the events
help connect people who might otherwise not have a chance to meet.
definitely a message of solidarity and that we aren't alone. It's a shame that
these things still continue to happen, because it's not something new. But it
does warm our hearts," she said.
Blossom Temple's rabbi, Yael Splansky, has said that Toronto native Joyce
Fienberg, who was killed in the Pittsburgh shooting, was a member of Holy
spent most of her career as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh,
retiring in 2008 from her job studying learning in the classroom and in
museums. Before that she was a member of the Holy Blossom Temple community,
which is one of Toronto's oldest Jewish congregations.
said Fienberg was a "very special person" who was married at the
temple and whose confirmation photo is on its wall of honour.
States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that upcoming economic sanctions
against Tehran is focused on targeting the Iranian regime, not its people.
November 5, we will place tough sanctions on #Iran’s ruling regime. Our aim is
to compel Iran to abandon its destructive activities. The sanctions will target
the regime—not the people, who have suffered the pain of their government’s
mismanagement, theft, and brutality,” he tweeted.
will on Monday reintroduce far-reaching sanctions on Iran’s vital oil sales and
banking sectors to try to force the Islamic Republic into negotiations to scrap
its nuclear energy and ballistic missile programs and end its support for
proxies in conflicts across the Middle East.
statement on Saturday echoed that of UAE’s minister of state for foreign
affairs, Anwar Gargash, who said on Saturday that Iran’s “aggressive policies”
were “largely responsible” for the reimposition of US sanctions on Tehran.
mayor of a small city in the US state of Utah has been identified as the US
service member killed Saturday in an “insider attack” in Afghanistan, according
Taylor, a married father of seven children who was deployed to Afghanistan in
January, was a mayor of North Ogden. He was elected to the city council in 2009
and became mayor in 2013, according to the city council website.
death was confirmed by North Ogden City Councilman Phil Swanson.
are devastated by the loss of our Mayor and friend, Brent Taylor," the
city said on its Facebook page.
had a profound influence on this community. He was the best of men with the
ability to see potential and possibility in everything around him."
had temporarily stepped down as mayor to deploy to Afghanistan with the Utah
Army National Guard, according to his biography on North Ogden's website.
served as an officer in the US Army National Guard for 12 years, including
seven years on active duty. Taylor had been deployed to Iraq twice and was on
his second tour to Afghanistan when he was killed.
indicated the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces, who was immediately killed by Afghan soldiers.
deadly incident was the latest in a series of “green-on-blue” attacks in which
members of the Afghan army have killed American or coalition advisers since
month, a NATO-led Czech soldier was killed in the western province of Herat.
US, along with a number of fellow-NATO members, invaded Afghanistan in 2001,
toppling a Taliban regime in control of most of the country at the time, but it
has failed to restore security in the country plagued by militancy and
Major General Qassem Soleimani has fired back at US President Donald Trump’s
use of a meme imitated from popular American drama series "Game of
Thrones" with one of his own, vowing to “stand against” American
commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)
posted on Friday an Instagram photo inspired by the book series-turned-HBO hit
show, which reads, “I will stand against you” in the show’s signature font, as
used in Trump’s tweet earlier in the day threatening Tehran with more
photo was widely viewed as a direct response to the US president's own
Westeros-inspired tweet that read, "Sanctions are coming November 5."
post came shortly after the Trump administration announced plans to reinstate
the last set of sanctions lifted on Iran under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal early
next week. Trump announced in May that he was withdrawing the US from the
US-based cable network HBO also slammed Trump for his use of the show’s slogan
– ‘Winter is coming’ – to promote his administration’s foreign policy agenda,
saying it would prefer the American president not “misappropriate” their
were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be
misappropriated for political purposes," said an HBO spokeswoman.
network further took to Twitter – Trump’s favorite communication channel -- and
asked how to say “trademark misuse” in Dothraki, one of the show’s fictional
Saturday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
responded to persisting US political and economic hostilities against Iran for
the past 40 years, insisting that the United States has always been defeated in
its face-off with the Islamic Republic.
in a public address a day after the Trump administration decided to re-impose
all US sanctions against Iran lifted under the 2015 agreement, the Leader said,
"For 40 years, the challenge between America and Iran has continued and a
variety of movements have taken place from the enemy's side - from the military
and economic warfare to the media war launched by America.
goal of the United States in all this was to regain the domination it had in
the era of the tyranny, but it could not," the Leader added, referring to
the period prior to the Islamic Revolution when the Shah of Iran was the top US
ally in the region. Iran’s foreign ministry has accused Washington of seeking
to wage an extensive “psychological war” against Tehran by imposing a new round
of sanctions, insisting that such US measures are not worthy of much concern.
is no room for any concern. We should wait and see that the US will not be able
to carry out any measure against the great and brave Iranian nation,"
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday. "It seems
that the US has no more capability to put countries and global economic
enterprises under pressure."
US plans to impose a second round of sanctions against Iran on Sunday, months
after Washington scrapped the 2015 multilateral deal, officially known as the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the P5+1
group of countries.
first round of the bans – which had been lifted under the nuclear deal -- was
re-imposed in August.
Iranian general has previously reacted to other anti-Iran threats by the
American president, warning Trump back in June against insulting the Iranian
nation and president.
You must not threaten our nation and must not insult our president… You must
know what you are talking about; ask your predecessors and try to benefit from their
experiences,” said General Soleimani on July 26.
President Donald Trump’s only interest is feeding his ego, while pro-Israeli
neoconservatives in his administration reject the Iran nuclear deal, according
to American scholar Kevin Barrett.
reiterated on Friday an offer to renegotiate the landmark Iran nuclear deal
known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
JCPOA, which Trump pulled the US out of in May, had been signed after lengthy
negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council, plus Germany (P5+1).
claimed he had left the "horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal" in
order to pressure the Iranian government to end its "malign actions"
in the Middle East.
an American author, journalist and radio host with a PhD in Islamic and Arabic
Studies, told Press TV in a phone interview on Friday that Trump’s repeated
offers just served to feed his own ego.
Trump is apparently reiterating his ego as well as his supposed willingness to
negotiate a new deal with Iran to replace the JCPOA. It is kind of amusing
because Trump doesn’t seem to know anything about the JCPOA," he said.
only thing he knows is that [former US President Barack] Obama negotiated it.
And therefore, Trump hates it and wants to replace it with a deal with his name
on it … perhaps Trump would be satisfied with it,” Barrett said.
however, noted that Trump would never act in defiance to the Neocons in his
administration, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US National
Security Adviser John Bolton.
Bolton, Mike Pompeo and their paymaster [Benjamin] "Bibi" Netanyahu
and his gangster friends -- like Sheldon Adelson -- would not be happy with
this; therefore, it is unlikely, that Trump would have enough initiative of his
own to actually do this," he said.
Barrett suggested that the Trump's exit form JCPOA had been under the influence
added he believed Trump lacked “the faintest desire or knowledge to try to push
through any particular Iran deal.Trump is just a creature of narcissism and
ego," the American scholar said.
Arabia has denied any link to the death of two Saudi sisters studying the
Farea, 16, and her sister Rotana, 22, were found dead duct-taped together in
the Hudson River. U.S. media said the two sisters had applied for political
asylum in the U.S.
reports claimed that relatives of the dead girls told police that a Saudi
embassy official had telephoned them on Aug. 23 ordering them to return to
an embassy spokeswoman vehemently denied the claim.
we ordered anyone related to the Saudi sisters to leave the U.S. for seeking
asylum are absolutely false,” Fatimah Baeshen said on Twitter on Saturday.
are still under investigation and will be shared in due course," she
week, the Saudi Consulate in New York said it has appointed a lawyer to follow
up the legal process of the case, pointing out that the girls were studying in
Arabia has been facing world outcry since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive paperwork he needed to get married.
the phone conversation on Friday night, Zarif referred to the clear attempts by
Israel to distort relations between Iran and the European states, and
underlined Tehran's preparedness to cooperate with the Danish security
officials to clarify different aspects of the plot and the reality.
also reminded the Danish government of its responsibility to prosecute and
arrest members of Ahwaziyeh terrorist group which has admitted the
responsibility for a terrorist attack in Southwestern Iran in September,
describing Copenhagen's support for the group as "unacceptable".
for his part, reiterated his country's support for the 2015 nuclear deal and
companionship with Europe in using financial mechanisms to continue economic
cooperation with Iran.
providing any evidence, the Danish police on Tuesday linked so-called Iranian
intelligence officers to attacking a person in the country. Denmark's foreign
ministry then announced in a statement that it had summoned Iran's Ambassador
to Copenhagen Morteza Moradian to Denmark's foreign ministry in that
relevant remarks on Wednesday Zarif blamed the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, for
masterminding false-flag operations against Tehran.
perverse and stubborn planting of false flags (more on this later) only
strengthens our resolve to engage constructively with the world," Zarif
wrote on his Twitter page.
on Wednesday, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Danish ambassador to
Tehran over his country's allegations.
people were killed and 69 others were wounded in an attack by al-Ahwaziya
terrorist group during the nationwide military parades in Ahwaz on September
terrorists attacked the bystanders watching the annual Armed Forces' parades,
marking the start of the Sacred Defense Week, commemorating Iranians'
sacrifices during the 8 years of the Iraqi imposed war on Iran in 1980s, in
disguise of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij (volunteer)
forces, killing and wounding several people, including innocent women and
of the officials participating in the military parades in Ahwaz city in
Khuzestan province was injured in the attack.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said US President Donald Trump had
promised to look into possible US measures against a Turkish bank for evading
sanctions on Iran.
during a news conference with visiting Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko,
Erdogan gave details about a phone conversation he had with Trump on Thursday.
call came as strained relations between the two countries ease following
Turkey’s release of an American pastor.
said he raised the issue of the state-owned Halkbank, which had an executive
charged in New York for taking part in a scheme to evade US sanctions on Iran.
maintains Halkbank did not violate the sanctions.
said Trump “said he would immediately instruct his ministers about this”.
was not clear what the US president could do, however.
also said he expected to meet Trump in France next weekend, on the sidelines of
a ceremony marking the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
renewed on Friday its threat and warning to Lebanon during a meeting with a
French envoy touring the region.
Arabiya news channel correspondent in Palestine said on Friday that Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had passed a threat message through Oman
meant for Iran, to spare Lebanon a new war and to stop trying to build
precision rockets on its territory.
also sent another threat a few days ago, which was delivered by the French
National Security Adviser Orléan la-Chevalier, who is said to be one of
Macron’s closest confidants, who met with Israeli deputy national security
adviser Eitan Ben-David, on Monday to convey to Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad
Hariri that the Lebanese government must put an end to Hezbollah’s missile
factories, otherwise, “Israel will solve it” , in reference to a possible
said that Israel has a time limit to end this file, and is ready to wait
diligently to develop diplomatic solutions to this matter, stressing at the
same time that “Israel is not ready to accept this reality.”
Yemeni national army, backed by Arab fighter jets, gained control over the
Maran region and other villages that were under the control of the Houthi
militias in Saada.
Orouba Brigade’s Commander Major General Abdulkarim al-Sadi told Al Arabiya correspondent
that his forces advanced successfully toward positions in Maran and neighboring
villages, where they gained control over the region.
added that his forces advanced deeply into the region after they liberated more
than 40 kilometers of mountainous areas and terrains.
coalitions backed the Yemeni army during its military advances following
the targeting of Houthi reinforcements
coming from Maran to support its military fronts.
spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has described a demand by US
President Donald Trump’s administration for a ceasefire and the launch of
UN-led political talks to end the ongoing war in Yemen as “nothing but
United States continues to support the Saudi-led military aggression against
Yemen at all levels. Washington, prior to the recent call for cessation of
hostilities in Yemen, had completed an elaborate military preparation for an
onslaught on Hudaydah. The US call for a new round of negotiations is, in fact,
an attempt to get away from global pressure in the face of the sufferings of
the Yemeni people,” Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network
quoted Mohammed Abdul-Salam as saying on Saturday.
added that no national Yemeni delegation had so far received a call or
invitation from the United Nations or international parties for a new round of
negotiations, stressing that the UN was not effective and its decisions were in
the hands of other parties.
rising military escalation in Hudaydah points to the fact that the Saudi-led
coalition has failed to achieve anything and that Yemeni people should put
their trust in the Yemeni army and Popular Committees. Today, the Yemeni nation
is reaping the fruit of its steadfastness against aggressors,” Abdul-Salam
stressed that the Ansarullah movement welcomed any initiative for inclusive
peace in Yemen, which would safeguard the country's freedom and independence.
Tuesday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called for a ceasefire in Yemen
and for all parties to come to the negotiating table within the next 30 days.
have got to move toward a peace effort here, and we can't say we are going to
do it sometime in the future,” he said during a discussion at the United States
Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington.
need to be doing this in the next 30 days,” Mattis added.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government
of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the
country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
Gazan teenage boy has died more than four years after being injured in an
Israeli aerial attack that targeted his family home in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Hospital for Rehabilitation and Specialized Surgery announced that 14-year-old
Muhammad al-Rifi died on Saturday morning at the hospital, where he had been
taken for medical treatment.
hospital pointed out that Rifi was suffering from a critical injury in his
cervical vertebrae, which had left him quadriplegic and on ventilators for over
Gazan teenager was critically injured in an Israeli airstrike on his family
home in the eastern al-Tuffah neighborhood of the Gaza City during the Israeli
onslaught against the Gaza Strip in 2014.
father, brother and four of his cousins were killed in that aerial assault.
early July 2014, Israel waged a war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day military
aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians,
including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088
women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
have been running high near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the
occupied territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the
coastal enclave on March 30. At least 214 Palestinians have been killed by
Israeli forces. Over 22,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US
embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by
Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
said on Saturday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had agreed to send a group
of senior politicians to peace talks in Moscow, at which a delegation
representing the Taliban would be present.
in August proposed holding multilateral peace talks in Moscow, and invited 12
countries and the Taliban to attend a summit the following month. But the
meeting was postponed after Ghani rejected the invitation on the grounds that
talks with the Taliban should be led by the Afghan government.
a statement on Saturday, Russia’s foreign ministry said the talks were now
confirmed to be held on Nov. 9.
will be the first time that a delegation from the Taliban’s political office in
Doha will attend such a high-level international meeting,” the foreign ministry
ministry has invited several other countries to send representatives, including
India, Iran, Pakistan, China and the United States.
least sixteen militants were killed or wounded in an explosion in northern
Jawzjan province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military said Saturday.
to a statement released by 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the
North, the anti-government armed militants launched a coordinated attack on
Qosh Tapa district late on Friday night.
statement further added that the attack was launched in Jardoq village but the
militants faced a quick reaction from the national defense and security forces.
to 209th Shaheen Corps, at least six militants were killed and ten others were
wounded during the exchange fire and an explosion which was triggered by own explosives
of the militants.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the incident so far.
was among the relatively calm provinces in North of Afghanistan but the
security situation of the province has deteriorated during the recent years.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has once again called on Taliban group to participate in
intra-Afghan peace talks, emphasizing that a consensus exists for peace and the
Islamic world and region is prepared for reconciliation.
made the remarks during a meeting with religious scholars, influential figures,
and tribal elders of Paktika province on Saturday.
Ghani further added that Afghanistan also wants peace with Pakistan, insisting
that the country must understand that a peaceful Afghanistan is in their
on the Taliban group to get ready for intra-Afghan talks, President Ghani said
Afghanistan will not hand over the authority of reconciliation efforts to
his speech during another gathering in Paktika province, President Ghani said
the Taliban should bid farewell with the weapons, halt ties with the
foreigners, and return back to their country.
U.S. soldier was killed and another soldier was wounded in an apparent insider
attack in capital Kabul.
U.S. service member was killed and another was wounded in an apparent insider
attack in Kabul, Nov. 3,” the Resolute Support Mission said in a statement.
statement further added that “Initial reports indicate the attacker was a
member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Initial reports also indicate the attacker
was immediately killed by other Afghan Forces.”
two U.S. service members were medically evacuated to Bagram Airfield. The wounded service member is undergoing
medical treatment and is in stable condition,” the statement added.
NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Ambassador Cornelius
Zimmermann has hailed the Afghan journalists for their brave work.
Zimmermann issued a short statement online to commend the Afghan journalists on
the eve of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
glad to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against
Journalists. I commend the brave work carried out every day by Afghan
journalists. Independent & vibrant media is indispensable for lasting
security and peace in #Afghanistan,” Ambassador Zimmermann said in a statement
posted in Twitter.
International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is observed
annually on 2nd of November and is a UN-recognized day.
day is also observed in Afghanistan every year amid growing violence against
Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish admitted that Afghanistan remains
a dangerous country for the journalists.
week of fighting between Taliban militants and fighters loyal to a commander
from the mainly Shiite Hazara minority has heightened fears of a dangerous new
phase of sectarian violence in Afghanistan.
clashes in the central province of Uruzgan, which have killed at least 21
people, have highlighted concerns that Hazaras, members of a mainly Shiite
Persian-speaking minority targeted by ISIS terrorist group attacks over recent
years, may take up arms in frustration at a lack of action by the government.
the Taliban, made up mainly of ethnic Pashtun Sunni Muslims, has not explicitly
targeted Hazaras in the past, officials fear the violence could escalate into
an ethnic battle.
fighting is very intense and is now becoming an issue of ethnic violence
between Hazara and Pashtun,” said Amir Mohammad Barekzai, the provincial
council chief. “The government must arrange a truce between them or there will
be a massacre.”
violence had until recent years been relatively uncommon in Afghanistan but
suicide bombings at Shiite mosques and cultural centers by ISIS terrorist group
as well as attacks on Hazaras travelling on provincial highways have fuelled
growing anger. Many Hazaras blame Sunni Pashtuns for the attacks.
and Western security officials, fearing the kind of sectarian violence that has
devastated Iraq, have been deeply concerned that Hazaras who fought in
Iranian-backed militias in Syria could hit Sunni targets.
row sparks violence
recent violence started when Taliban fighters attacked a remote cluster of
Hazara villages in Uruzgan province after they refused to pay tax to the
insurgents, provincial officials said.
Hazara commander, Abdul Hakim Shujaee, a former leader in the US-funded Afghan
Local Police, has been accused of serious human rights abuses and faces an
arrest order from the central government, which has struggled to impose its
authority on remote parts of the country.
commands hundreds of Hazara fighters and remains free because of his
connections with powerful political figures in Kabul, local officials say.
squeezed between the Taliban heartlands of Kandahar and Helmand and the
Hazara-dominated province of Daikondi, is home to both Pashtuns and Hazara
families and the two groups have long had an uneasy co-existence.
Sayed, the governor of Uruzgan, said fighting broke out between two armed
groups in three villages of Khas Uruzgan district last week and government
forces have been deployed to end the conflict.
put the number of dead at 21 but a government security official said 43 people
had been killed so far on both sides, many more wounded and some 300 families
have fled the area.
Taliban normally collect taxes from local residents in areas under their
control to fund their insurgency but Hazara families defied them, setting off a
fierce gun battle, he said.
US soldier was killed and another wounded in an “apparent insider attack” in
Kabul on Saturday, NATO said, in the latest such assault on international
forces in Afghanistan.
reports indicate the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and
Security Forces,” NATO's Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
attacker was killed by “other Afghan forces,” it added.
wounded soldier was flown to Bagram Airfield north of the Afghan capital where
he was receiving medical treatment. He was in a “stable condition.”
investigation into the incident was under way, the statement said. The identity of the dead soldier was not
– Despite Islamic State’s failure last year to establish a caliphate in the
southern Philippine city of Marawi, foreign militants continue to flock to the
island of Mindanao, waiting in the wings to strike anew.
analysts and military officials say at least 100 foreign terrorist fighters are
now holed up with a range of local armed groups that have pledged their
allegiance to Islamic State.
troops needed five months to flush out Islamic State-allied Maute and Abu
Sayyaf fighters from their positions in Marawi, which one year later has yet to
rise from the ashes of the urban war that left its core in ruins.
Banlaoi, chair of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism
Research, claims in an interview with Asia Times that Islamic State foreign fighters
are now streaming into Mindanao and that the situation is “getting worse.”
claim is based on information he collected over several months from state
security agencies. “The entry of FTFs (foreign terrorist fighters) to the
Philippines continues despite the liberation of Marawi,” Banlaoi told the Asia
Times on October 30.
also says that at least 60 have been identified by state agents through their
aliases, while nearly 30 others are unidentified.
figure is significantly higher than the 48 foreign fighters that the Armed
Forces of the Philippines’ intelligence unit said were operating in Mindanao as
of January 2018.
repeat of last year’s months-long siege would be disastrous for the Philippines
and the wider region. The urban war left some 1,100 individuals dead, mostly
Islamist gunmen, including 32 foreign fighters, according to the Philippine
350,000 civilians were displaced by the war that began on May 23 last year,
prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to place all of Mindanao under
rights-curbing martial law. The order will remain in effect until the end of
the country’s first president from Mindanao who claims to have meranaw (Marawi
residents refer to themselves as such) roots, declared the liberation of Marawi
on October 17, 2017.
than one year on, though, some 70,000 civilians have yet to return to Marawi’s
250-hectare ground zero, a restriction that has fed local anger and resentment
in evacuation centers that have emerged as militant recruitment grounds.
Islamic State fighters often pose as tourists, students overstaying their
visas, foreign workers or economic migrants, and at least 10 of them have been
arrested since the start of this year, Banlaoi said.
Islamic State fighters have recently arrived in Mindanao from Saudi Arabia,
Turkey, Morocco, Spain, France, Tunisia, Iraq, Somali, Egypt, Yemen, Libya,
Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, he says, based on government monitoring of the
are coming from neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia, using Mindanao’s maritime
backdoor through the seas of Sulu and Celebes, known as the Sulawesi Sea in
Malaysian terror suspects usually enter the southern Philippines through the
province of Tawi-Tawi from the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo Island, while
the Indonesians tend to come through the provinces of Davao Occidental and
Sarangani from North Sulawesi.
three neighboring nations share broad maritime borders in what is considered
the second busiest shipping trade route in the 10-member Association of
Southeast Asian Nations.
FTFs regard Mindanao as the new land of jihad, safe haven and alternative home
base,” Banlaoi said. “They join local groups to wage jihad in the Philippines
on behalf of the Islamic State.”
foreign Islamic State fighters are luring local militants with the promise of
an East Asian Wilaya, or Islamic province, after the failure to establish one
in Mindanao after their defeat in Marawi, Banlaoi said.
Abu Sayyaf Group based in Basilan and Sulu, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters based in Maguindanao, the Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines based in
Sarangani, and the Abu Dar Group in Lanao del Sur, a remnant of the Maute
Group, are all coddling the foreign fighters, he said.
Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’
Western Mindanao Command, said Islamic State continues to inspire local Muslim
armed groups despite their military defeat last year at Marawi.
also said that foreigners who pledge allegiance to the Islamic State continue
to join local Islamic militant groups, confirming Banlaoi’s assessment.
of these foreign terrorists are coming in through our porous borders,” Besana
said, referring to the Sulu and Sulawesi seas that the Philippines shares with
Malaysia and Indonesia.
military official said the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia have intensified
joint navy patrols in border waters in a multilateral cooperation to fight
acknowledging that security forces alone can not detect foreign terrorist
fighters because of the nation’s long coastlines and rugged jungles in
Mindanao, the official called on the public to report suspicious foreigners to
authorities for verification of their identities.
militant groups have instead provided sanctuary to foreign terrorists in the
past. That includes well-known Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias
“Marwan,” a bomb-making expert who was killed in Maguindanao province’s
Mamasapano town in January 2015.
was given safe haven by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a Islamic
militant group which has recently declared its allegiance to Islamic State and
is accused of orchestrating recent bombings in the region.
said foreign terrorist fighters are arriving in Mindanao because of Islamic
State’s “waning influence in the Middle East and in other parts of the world.”
foreign terrorist fighters from entering the country is difficult for the
military and other law enforcement agencies because they often disguise their
identities. And while Islamic State aligned groups were defeated at Marawi,
it’s not clear where or how they intend to strike next, Besana says.
LUMPUR: Former prime minister Najib Razak continued to pour scorn on the 2019
Budget tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday, zeroing in on the
move to force the government’s study loan borrowers who earn at least RM1,000
to pay back their loans.
today questioned if there were graduates who borrowed from the National Higher
Education Fund Corporation (PTPTPN) earning below RM1,000.
said he had eagerly waited for an announcement in the budget on the PTPTN,
saying Pakatan Harapan (PH) had promised young voters to ease repayment rules
on the study loan.
what came out was that those who earned at least RM1,000 need to pay back their
higher studies loan.
the Bangladeshi workers get more than RM1,000. The ‘mat bangla’ who mows the
grass at the golf course also earns more than RM1,000. Which graduate earns
below RM1,000?” he asked during a dialogue session at the Putra World Trade
Centre (PWTC) today, where some 1,000 attended.
was announced yesterday that borrowers with a monthly income of at least
RM1,000 must repay their loans at a rate of between 2% and 15% of their
who employ fresh graduates and settle their PTPTN debts through salary
deduction would also be given tax exemptions.
in its election manifesto had said that it would allow borrowers who earn less
than RM4,000 a month to defer repayment of the study loan.
was in contrast to the previous government’s policy to allow a grace period of
12 months after completing their tertiary education to pay back their loans.
today said that if BN were still in power, the situation for PTPTN borrowers
would be different.
Islam, if you borrow you must pay back. But in the past, BN did not force the
borrowers. If they had RM100, they can pay. If they had RM50, they can also pay
– as long as you paid, even if it was just a little bit,” he said.
at the dialogue today fielded some 30 questions, mostly on the promises that PH
had failed to fulfil.
also touched on the issue of fuel subsidies, criticising PH for not keeping its
promise of bringing down petrol price to RM1.50.
has instead said it would bring back the Automatic Price Mechanism (APM), where
fuel prices are fixed for a specified period despite global crude oil price
said many Malaysians regretted voting for PH.
read the comments on my Facebook. Some were sorry for voting PH and, now that
they know the truth, they regret having voted for them.
are many here who are not happy with PH. Even my social media postings have
received extraordinary reception. The voters have been fooled – the young, the
taxi drivers, even the government servants,” he said.
said Umno and BN lost in the May general election due to slander and false
it had been an open field, we would have won,” he said.
former Umno president said he had no plans to start a new party, adding that he
would remain loyal to Umno and BN.
and BN are my flesh and blood.”.
also criticised Umno MPs who left the party.
least 15 civilians have lost their lives after the US-led warplanes lunched
airstrikes against a town in Syria’s troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr,
media reports say.
official news agency SANA, citing local and media sources, reported on Saturday
that the so-called military coalition’s fighter jets had pounded a residential
neighborhood in Hajin earlier in day, killing 15 people, mostly women and
children, and wounding an unspecified number of others.
last month, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari
confirmed at a UN Security Council meeting that the US-led coalition had once
again used white phosphorus bombs against Hajin, some 110 kilometers east of
Dayr al-Zawr city.
October 13, SANA also reported that the US-led coalition, purportedly fighting
the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, dropped internationally-banned white
phosphorus bombs on Hajin.
September 8, two F-15 warplanes of the US Air Force targeted the same Syrian
city with white phosphorous bombs.
June last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that the US-led coalition was
deploying white phosphorous bombs in both Iraq and Syria.
US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against what are said to be
Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from
the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
the military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing
civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on October 23 that as
many as 3,222 Syrian civilians had been killed ever since onset of aerial
aggression by the US-led coalition.
were 768 people under the age of 18 among the fatalities in addition to 562
has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government
says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri
terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
has shown the Western-backed White Helmets "aid" group is a branch of
the Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militant group, also known as the al-Nusra
Front, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
statement released on Friday pointed out the group’s insistence on fleeing
areas that have fallen under government control as a sign of its overt militant
is no secret that this agency was active only in areas not controlled by the
[Syrian] government and did not avoid contacts with terrorists and extremists.
Moreover, there are numerous witness reports saying that the White Helmets
actually are a branch of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization blacklisted by the
United Nations Security Council," read the statement.
ministry reiterated previous warnings of an upcoming chemical “provocation”
being prepared by the White Helmets, describing the group as desperately
seeking “to make a statement in Syria” in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
like before, they are preparing a sensational show aimed at giving a free hand
to those opposing the legitimate Syrian government, who are reluctant to
abandon their aggressive plans - these include, first and foremost, some
Western states led by Washington."
recent statement comes after earlier reports released by the Russian Defense
Ministry and Syrian media revealed specific details of chemical agents being
transferred in militant-held territory and warned of upcoming attacks being
staged in Aleppo and Idlib.
residents reported to the Russian Reconciliation Center that this group of
White Helmets searched for residents who would like to take part in staged
video footage in exchange for food," said Russian Defense Ministry
Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov in a media briefing last week.
reports surfaced last month detailing an incident where chemicals under Jabhat
al-Nusra's control had fallen into the hands of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist
so-called White Helmets group, projected by the West as “civil defense
workers,” was founded by former British Army officer James Le Mesurier in 2014.
Turkish army targeted the positions of al-Sanadid fighters, affiliated to the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Northern Hasaka including the village of Tal
Jahan, injuring a gunmen.
the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Ankara forces
targeted Tal Abyadh's countryside in Raqqa province, injuring several people
including two media activists.
the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the
US army has deployed along the borderline between Syria and Turkey in a large
region between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and also in the town of Ein
al-Arab (Kobani) in Northeastern Aleppo to prevent any military movement by the
the meantime, the Kurdish militias claimed that they carried out monitoring
patrol across a region between Ein al-Arab in Northeastern Aleppo and the town
of Tal Abyadh in Northern Raqqa after continued attacks of the Turkish forces
at the Syrian towns and villages on the Eastern banks of the Euphrates
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the National
Liberation Front (NFL) terrorist group as saying on Monday that while
implementation of the Sochi agreement to create a demilitarized zone in
Northern Syria has come to a halt, Ankara ordered its allied militants in Idlib
and Northern and Western Aleppo to get ready for a major assault on the Kurds
in Northern Syria.
added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan grew disappointed at
Washington's promises on the Manbij agreement, and Ankara decided to engage in
clashes with the Kurds in Eastern Euphrates.
local and Kurdish sources in Ein al-Arab (Kobani) in Eastern Euphrates reported
that Turkey intends to gain full control over the region to later advance to
other regions controlled by the Kurds in Eastern Euphrates.
groups dispatched more arms and ammunition to Skeik, al-Taah and Jarjanaz in
Southeastern Idlib to boost their defense-combat capabilities.
terrorists' move came after their attack on the Syrian Army near Abu al-Dhohour
that caused the army's artillery units to shell terrorists' positions in the
the meantime, a filed commander said that the terrorists' attacks on the army
prove that Turkey has failed to expel terrorists from the demilitarized zone.
commander warned that the Sochi Agreement will not survive if the terrorists
continue such attacks.
senior Syrian military source revealed on Tuesday that the country's army was
likely to start military operations against the terrorists in the weapons-free
zone as the latter continued deployment in the region.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying that
given Turkey's failure to implement its undertakings based on the Sochi
agreement with Russia, the Syrian army will kick off military operations
against the terrorists in the demilitarized zone if they continue attacks
against the army positions.
added that Northern Hama has in recent days witnessed attacks by the terrorist
groups, specially Horras al-Din, against the Syrian army near the region under
the supervision of Turkey near the town of Morek, noting that Jeish al-Izzah
militants have also sent military equipment from Southern Idlib to al-Latamina
front in Northern Hama.
source said that the Syrian army has responded to the terrorists' offensives in
demilitarized zone so far, adding that the army will launch massive military
operations in the region if they continue.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted the source as disclosing that Tahrir
al-Sham and Jeish al-Izzah terrorists have launched vast investigations to fine
sources behind leaking information about the transfer of the chemical material
cargos to different regions in Idlib province.
further said that Tahrir al-Sham's move came after terrorist groups held a
meeting in Khan Sheikhoun in Southwestern Idlib to set up an investigation
Arabic Sputnik went on to say that the committee is responsible for questioning
the terrorists and members of the pro-militant White Helmets Organization over
the leaked information.
Arab media outlets have released reports about chemical activities of the
terrorist groups in Idlib in recent months.
the meantime, informed sources reported in late October that Jeish al-Izzah
transferred 2 cylinders of Sarin and Chlorine gases from al-Latamina to Qala
Maziq in Northwestern Hama to hand over them to allied militants of Ansar
Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier today that Moscow has
evidence proving that the White Helmets are directly linked to Al-Nusra terror
group (outlawed in Russia).
is no secret that this agency was active only in areas not controlled by the
[Syrian] government and did not avoid contacts with terrorists and extremists.
Moreover, there are numerous witness reports saying that the White Helmet
actually are a branch of Al-Nusra
organization blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council," the
statement reads, TASS reported.
this regard, the ministry pointed out that White Helmets members had chosen to
flee abroad after the government forces had liberated southwestern Syria from
terrorists. The Russian Foreign Ministry once again warned that the White
Helmets were getting ready to stage a new provocation in the Idlib province.
"According to available information, the notorious White Helmet
organization, established with the support of western intelligence agencies,
desperately seeks to make a statement in Syria, particularly in the Idlib
de-escalation zone. Just like before, they are preparing a sensational show
aimed at giving a free hand to those opposing the legitimate Syrian government,
who are reluctant to abandon their aggressive plans - these include, first and
foremost, some Western states led by Washington," the statement said.
are confident that everyone will sooner or later see the true face of the White
Helmets. We call on their western sponsors to try to understand the true
situation and stop protecting extremists," the ministry concluded.
army soldiers, backed up by artillery and missile units, resumed offensive
operation in Toloul al-Safa and Qabr Sheikh Hossein in the Eastern desert of
Sweida, and advanced almost one kilometer against ISIL in the depth of Toloul
army further started fortifying the newly-captured positions, field sources
said, adding that as Tolou al-Safa includes the rugged terrains, the government
forces' advance in the region has slowed down.
army's fresh operation came after the ISIL refused to surrender to the army and
free the kidnapped people.
month, the army, led by their elite 4th Armored Division and 5th Corps, began
their push up the steep cliffs of Toloul al-Safa region, striking several sites
controlled by the ISIL terrorists.
long after launching their large-scale assault, the Syrian Army found
themselves involved in a tough battle with the ISIL terrorists at one of
several rocky cliffs in Toloul al-Safa region.
to a military source in the provincial capital of Sweida, the Syrian army
managed to advance up one of the highest peak in Toloul al-Safa region, leaving
them only a short distance from imposing fire control over much of the area.
military source said that the Syrian army did suffer over ten casualties trying
to make this advance; they would also inflict heavy losses in the ISIL ranks.
least 14 civilians were killed Saturday in US-led coalition air strikes on
ISIS’ last holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said.
civilians, including five children under the age of 18” were killed in the
coalition air raids on the villages of Hajin, Sousa and Al-Shaafa in eastern
Deir Ezzor province, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman
Russian-made MiG-29 fighter plane crashed during a training flight in Egypt on
Saturday, Russia’s state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation was quoted by
RIA news agency as saying.
plane was supplied by Russia to Egypt as part of a commercial contract in 2018,
Russia’s Kommersant newspaper said, adding that the Egyptian pilot managed to
are in possession of the latest information about the crash of a MiG-29M
belonging to the Egyptian army. Our technical experts will travel to Egypt very
soon to help in the investigation,” the Russian aircraft corporation said.
corporation, which unites state-owned military and civilian aircraft
construction companies, did not provide possible reasons for the crash. It
could not immediately be reached for comment.
militants have killed three village chiefs in less than a week in Iraq's
restive north, local officials said Saturday, as the targeting of state
declared victory against ISIS last year, but small jihadist cells still wage
attacks, especially in mountainous areas like the northern province of Kirkuk.
ISIS has attacked state infrastructure and government officials, especially
targeting local administrative heads known as "mukhtars."
latest victim, on Friday night, was mukhtar of the village of Mahmudiya near
the town of Hawija.
town has long been a bastion of radical Sunni Muslim groups and was one of the
last IS holdouts retaken by government troops last year.
mukhtar "Abdallah al-Wasmi was executed by Daesh members who attacked his
home," a local security official told AFP, using the Arabic acronym for
death followed the similar killing of the mukhtar of a nearby village,
Hanutiya, late Wednesday.
on Monday, a provincial official told AFP that "IS fighters attacked the
home of Mohammad Jumaa, the mukhtar of the village of Jassemiya", also
took him out of his house and executed him in front of it before fleeing,"
the official said.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extended on Friday its appreciation to the efforts
being exerted by the United Nations, represented by the operations of
peacekeeping (PK) forces, in maintaining international peace and security.
kingdom stressed that the serious challenges and dangers being faced by all the
countries of the world due to international armed conflicts and civil wars, in
addition to the large proliferation of terrorist groups to gain a foothold in
those areas, calls for the need for concerted international efforts to
strengthen the role of PK forces and develop their mandates.
came in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s speech delivered on Friday by the First
Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majid Ali Al-Zawimal, in front of
the Special Policy and Decolonization Committee on the item on the
comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations.
also explained in the Kingdom’s speech that within its efforts to support the
UN peacekeeping (PK) operations, the Kingdom welcomed the proposals of United
Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on reforms related to PK operations
to make them more efficient and effective for achieving sustainable peace, and
supported the Secretary-General’s (Action for Peace A4P) and signed the
Secretary-General’s Declaration on Common Commitments to Improve the
Functioning and Safety of Peacekeepers.
added that the Kingdom has worked to rally support for United Nations resolutions
within regional and international organizations such as the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States and have made successful
efforts on some of the regional issues from which the Middle East suffers.
Iraqi Foreign Ministry has issued a statement criticizing the United States for
dictating how the country should deal with neighboring Iran, saying the move
was a form of interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
a tweet late on Saturday, the Ministry said a US statement earlier in the week
in which it had called on Iran to allow the demobilization of militia forces in
Iraq was an act of interference in Iraq’s internal issues.
refuses to interfere in the internal issues, especially the issues of internal
security reform and the status of Iraqi security forces under the authority of
the PM and general commander of the armed forces,” read a post on Ministry’s
US embassy in Baghdad said on Tuesday that one of the requirements for Iran to
avoid unilateral US sanctions was to “respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi
government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration” of
popular militia forces that have been battling terrorists across Iraq over the
past years. The statement was in line with previous US allegations that Iran
was controlling some of the militia forces in Iraq. Both Iran and Iraq have
denied the accusations, saying the forces enjoy huge public support as they
have been formed based on decrees by religious leaders.
Iraqi foreign ministry reiterated the US embassy statement went well beyond
diplomatic norms, adding that Baghdad expected the embassy to remove the post
from its Twitter page.
looks forward to erase the statement by the US Embassy and to avoid issuing
such statements in the future and to observe the rules of international law
governing the embassy work in Iraq,” said the ministry.
chairman of a committee scrutinizing British arms sales has pointed the finger
at the Iranian-backed Houthi militia for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Labour’s Graham Jones said that
aside from environmental issues, the well-armed Houthi group “represent the
greatest threat on the planet now.”
who chairs the Commons Committees on Arms Exports Controls, likened Houthi
missile attacks on Saudi targets to Nazi attacks on Britain during WWII.
remarks cited by the Independent, Jones said: “You talk about the humanitarian
disaster of course. This is caused by Ansar Allah,” he said, using another name
for the Houthi militia.
added: “If you read the ambassadors at the UN and the unanimous decision to
back the [Yemeni President Abdrabbo Mansour] Hadi government, it’s not hard to
come to the conclusion that the way we find peace and security is to stop the
Ansar Allah advance into other tribal areas and the oppression that goes with
said the Saudis were themselves under attack by rebels with “hi-tech missiles.”
Iran-backed rebels, with hi-tech missiles. Ansar Allah, in my view, represent
the greatest threat on the planet now in the way that they are trying to take
over the Yemeni government … apart from environmental issues.
had, what, 1,300 V2 rockets fired into the UK during World War Two? The Saudis
have now faced over 200 long-range ballistic missiles, Iranian-made missiles.
That is a very serious issue.”
added: “It just happens to be that every other nation has decided not to send a
military element to Yemen and the Arab coalition have.
doesn’t mean we support the Arab coalition but what we do support though is
international law and that was a unanimous decision at the UN and that’s the
position that we hold.”
ambassador to the United Kingdom has called on a leading newspaper to be more
informative in its investigation into the funding of a newly-established
anti-Iran TV station.
Baeidinejad said in a tweet early on Sunday that the Guardian was expected to
shed more light on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s financial support
for Iran International, a TV station that began operation in London last year
with a clear agenda of creating propaganda against Iran.
hinted that the informed source who revealed Saudi links to the anti-Iran TV
could be Jamal Khashoggi, the prominent dissident journalist whose
assassination in Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul last month
sparked massive international outrage.
its (Guardian’s) recent further revelations, it raises question of whether
source was Khashoggi. With controversy surrounding it, ethics &
professionalism dictate that Guardian should confirm if so,” said the
ambassador, making reference to a Guardian report which came exactly on the day
that Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
British newspaper, however, ran a second article on Saudi support for Iran
International on October 31 which gave more details about how the Saudi royal
court provided finances up to $250m to the TV station for a five-year period.
author of both articles were the same person who said he himself received a
guest fee after appearing in one of the shows on Iran International, implicitly
suggesting that he decided not to continue cooperation with the TV channel
after knowing its real agenda and sources of financing.
some media experts say the Guardian might have had ulterior motives in pursuing
the case of Iran International and its Saudi links, arguing that the reports
could be an attempt by the newspaper to receive hush money from the
Saudi-backed TV to keep quiet about its suspicious and unhealthy agenda,
especially at a time of heightened international concerns about Saudi Arabia’s
says Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has agreed to send a group of senior
officials to a long-awaited summit in Moscow, where they will sit down with a
delegation of the Taliban.
foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday that Kabul agreed to hold
talks on November 9.
will be the first time that a delegation from the Taliban's political office in
Doha will attend such a high-level international meeting," said the
ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters at a briefing on Thursday
that the date and list of participants were being finalized, but that Moscow
wanted to be absolutely sure before any public announcement.
also said she hoped to be able to announce details of the conference “in the
foreign ministry also invited representatives from 12 countries, including
India, Pakistan, China and the United States to attend the summit in Moscow.
meeting was once postponed in September after President Ghani rejected the
invitation. He argued that any talks with the militant group should be led by
his government. The United States had also declined to attend.
requested Russia to cancel the summit because talking to the Taliban at
multiple forums will further complicate the peace process backed by the US, but
they rejected the request,” a senior Afghan official who had been holding
discussions with Russia said formerly.
the Afghan diplomats invited to the summit were former Afghan President Hamid
Karzai, their aides, and other leading politicians with ties to the Afghan
will travel to Moscow because any opportunity for peace talks with the Taliban
must not be ignored,” said Mohammad Yusuf Saha, a spokesman for the former
president, who ran the country for 13 years following the overthrow of the
Taliban in 2001.
Taliban members in Afghanistan also confirmed that they would send a delegation
to the Russian capital, because, they said, the meeting would give them an
opportunity to engage with neighboring countries who are also invited to the
Taliban have so far been insisting on negotiating only with the United States,
saying they will not enter talks if US troops leave the country; otherwise,
they will make Afghanistan "another graveyard" for foreign forces.
peace process gained a momentum last month when the US sent Zalmay Khalilzad,
Washington's special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, to Qatar where he held
talks with Taliban leaders.
the Qatar meeting, Khalilzad met with Ghani in Kabul. He also held talks with
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, as well as representatives of a variety of
political groups, key civil society organizations including the High Peace
Council, and Afghan media, the US embassy in Kabul said back then.
Mohammad Noor, former governor of the strategic Balkh province, who is a
powerful figure among Afghanistan’s ethnic Tajiks said he would also attend the
said many Afghans have now realized that “a single fixed formula prescribed by
one foreign power will not help Afghans attain peace.”
Germany — It was the second week of Islam class, and the teacher, Mansur
Seddiqzai, stood in front of a roomful of Muslim teens and pointed to the
sentence on the chalkboard behind him: "Islam does not belong to
scanned the room and asked, "Who said this?"
shot up. "The AfD?" one student with a navy blue headscarf said,
referring to Germany's far-right anti-refugee party. "No," Seddiqzai
shook his head. "Seehofer," tried another. "Yes, and who is
that?" "A minister," said a third.
someone put it all together, identifying Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria's
conservative Christian Social Union and Chancellor Angela Merkel's interior
minister and coalition partner, who has on multiple occasions threatened to
torpedo her government over the issue of immigration.
that's right," Seddiqzai said, turning to the others. "And what do
you think? Is he correct?"
a country where the debate over "who belongs?" has deeply divided
Merkel's government, fueled massive demonstrations and propelled the rise of
anti-immigrant populism, these 16- and 17-year-olds confront versions of that
question every day, in the headlines and in their personal lives: Do I belong,
too? Can I be German and a Muslim?
schools in some of Germany's most populous cities are helping such students
come up with answers in a counterintuitive setting: Islam class.
classes, taught by Muslims and intended for Muslim students, were first
launched in the early 2000s and now are offered as electives in nine of
Germany's 16 states, by more than 800 public primary and secondary schools,
according to the research network Mediendienst Integration. They include
lessons on the Koran, the history of Islam, comparative religion and ethics. Often,
discussions shift to the students' identity struggles or feelings of
a German asks me which country I'm from, I tell them Turkey," said
Gulendam Velibasoglu, 17, who is taking Seddiqzai's 10th-grade Islam class this
year. She was born and raised in this western German city. Still, she says,
"If I said 'German,' they wouldn't accept the answer. They will see me as
a foreigner, even though I'm a German citizen."
has the European Union's second-largest Muslim population after France,
according to estimates by Pew Research. In 2016, 4.95 million people, or 6.1
percent of the German population, were Muslim. But less than half of those pray
regularly, and even fewer regularly attend a mosque, according to the latest
country's leaders have expressed an ambivalent view of Islam, at best.
Seehofer's statement that "Islam does not belong to Germany" came
just months after the Islam-bashing AfD, or Alternative for Germany, entered
parliament. Merkel denounced the statement and ruled out sharing power with the
AfD. Nevertheless, the AfD has steadily gained support over the past two years:
On Oct. 14, it scored the biggest electoral gains of any party in Bavaria,
Germany's most populous state.
year, the AfD hung campaign posters in Dortmund featuring women in burqas and
the slogan "Stop Islamization." This year's poster bore the words
"Islam-free schools!" under an image of five beaming, light-skinned
who was born to Afghan parents in the German city of Bochum and who wears a
full beard and Nikes to school, said he worries about the effect on his
students. "These posters tell them, 'We don't want you here,' " he
are not accepted in Germany, they are not accepted in the countries of their
parents, and that produces this craving for a group to belong to," he
continued. "And then an Islamist comes to you and says, 'Yeah, you don't
belong to anyone. Therefore just be Muslim.' They offer them a third way."
sees it as part of his job to make his students more informed in their
consumption of such appeals.
this year, when local politicians were discussing a ban on headscarves, a group
calling itself Reality Islam launched a social media campaign to protest the
proposal and recruit students. Seddiqzai showed his students how to trace
Reality's Islam's links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group banned in Germany
since 2003. He also encouraged them to question the group's stance on the
headscarf, which it claimed the Koran mandates for women.
show them the Koranic verses about the headscarf, and we discuss it and we see
there is no clear rule that a woman or girl has to wear a headscarf," he
said. "Most of them think the Koran itself has no contradictions, and even
that is wrong. There are many contradictions in the Koran."
German politicians are pushing for an expansion of Islam classes in public
schools as a way to encourage the cultural integration of Muslim students and
to promote an interpretation of Islam that highlights German values.
need more religious education," Kerstin Griese, a lawmaker from the
governing center-left Social Democratic Party, wrote in an op-ed, "because
it's the only way to start a dialogue about our own traditions and values and
to understand those of others."
advocates generally don't envision non-Muslim students taking these classes to
gain a better appreciation of Islam. While a few German school systems offer
religion classes that include multiple faiths or ethics classes that touch on
religion, religion as taught in public high schools and supported by Germany's
Basic Law is generally targeted at specific denominations.
further rationale for Islam classes is to "immunize" Muslim students
from fundamentalism, as Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm put it.
particular concern is radicalization that might lead to violence. Since 2013,
more than 1,000 people have left Germany to fight with or support the Islamic
State and other terrorist organizations, most of them under 30.
some educators and politicians resist the notion that Islam has a place in
German public schools.
the fact that we have much more important problems in schools, it can't be true
that a German bishop is promoting Islam," Alexander Gauland, a leader of
the far-right Alternative for Germany party, said after Bedford-Strohm voiced
studies have examined the effectiveness of Islam classes in preventing
radicalization, according to Harry Harun Behr, a professor of Islam studies and
pedagogy at Frankfurt's Goethe University.
he said, the classes are valuable because they show students their faith is as
important as others taught in their schools and because they show Islam as a
religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism.
Seddiqzai's school, where almost 95 percent of students are first- or
second-generation immigrants, Islam class is highly popular. When he crosses
the schoolyard, he can barely walk five steps without being stopped by a
student wanting to tell him about grades, romances or plans for the future.
Mr. Seddiqzai is teaching me is not really something you learn at mosque,"
said 17-year-old Yusuf Akar. "How to interact with non-Muslims who may not
be sure how to interact with us. Or who are scared of us."
UN Security Council is preparing to lift sanctions on Eritrea after the United
States dropped its insistence on prolonging the measures despite a peace deal
with Ethiopia, diplomats said on Friday.
circulated a draft resolution to the council on Thursday that calls for lifting
the arms embargo and all travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions on
Eritrea, according to the text seen by AFP.
council is to vote on the proposed resolution on November 14. Diplomats said
they expected the measure to be adopted after the US change in position.
and Ethiopia signed a peace deal in July, but the United States, backed by
France and Britain, insisted that Eritrea would first have to show progress on
respect for human rights before sanctions could be lifted.
position however recently changed - a shift some diplomats said was decided by
US national security adviser John Bolton, who dealt with the Eritrea-Ethiopia
conflict when he served as UN ambassador.
council slapped sanctions on Eritrea in 2009 for its alleged support to
Al-Shabaab jihadists in Somalia but the draft resolution acknowledged that UN
monitors had "not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supports
Eritrean government had long denied backing the group and Foreign Minister
Osman Mohammed Saleh slammed the sanctions as "unwarranted" in his
address to the General Assembly in September.
sanctions and arms embargo will end on the day of the adoption of the
resolution, according to the text.
Horn of Africa
peace declaration signed in July by the prime ministers of Eritrea and Ethiopia
ended two decades of hostility and triggered a thaw in relations with Djibouti
and Somalia that shored up stability in the Horn of Africa.
his UN address, Eritrea's foreign minister said it was "astounding"
that some countries at the Security Council wanted to prolong sanctions
"in light of the widely acclaimed peace."
sanctions caused "considerable economic damage" to Eritrea and
"unnecessary hardships," said the foreign minister, who called for
their immediate end.
and Somalia had backed Eritrea's call to end sanctions.
draft resolution calls on Eritrea and Djibouti to continue to improve relations
after the leaders met in Saudi Arabia in September to resolve a border dispute.
urges Eritrea to make available information on the whereabouts of Djiboutian
soldiers missing since clashes in 2008, which has been a sore point in ties.
draft resolution would maintain the arms embargo on Somalia, imposed in 1992.
gained its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, and war broke out
later that decade over a border dispute.
2002 UN-backed boundary demarcation was meant to settle the dispute for good,
but Ethiopia refused to abide by it.
turnaround began in June when Ethiopia announced it would hand back to Eritrea
disputed areas including the flashpoint town of Badme where the first shots of
the border war were fired.
bloody crackdown on Shiite protesters this week in Nigeria has highlighted the
oppression of a religious minority that experts say is driven by a Sunni Muslim
elite backed by Saudi Arabia.
a Shiite under this current Buhari administration is... being persecuted,"
said Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) spokesperson Ibrahim Musa to AFP.
have suffered more discrimination under this administration than with any other
in the past," said Musa. "We are not allowed to worship our god
according to our convictions."
three separate occasions in less than a week, the Nigerian military and police
shot live bullets on Shiites marching near and in the capital city of Abuja to
celebrate a religious holiday and demand the release of their imprisoned
death toll depends on the source: while the military says that six people died,
the IMN says 49, a figure backed up by Amnesty International, which said on
Wednesday that at least 45 people were killed in an "unconscionable use of
deadly force by soldiers and police."
US embassy in Nigeria said it was "concerned" about the deaths and
called for a "thorough investigation of the events".
to justify opening fire on the Shiite group, the Nigerian army on Friday posted
a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot Central
American migrants throwing stones.
only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and
knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed," said Nigeria's defence
spokesperson John Agim.
Riyadh and Tehran
violence has happened before. It reignited the tumult of December 2015 when an
army crackdown in Zaria, IMN's stronghold in Nigeria's north, killed 300
supporters, according to rights groups.
Ibrahim Zakzaky, who was arrested and imprisoned after the clashes, lost an eye
and several family members in the violence.
has been challenging Abuja's authorities for years with his goal of
establishing a Shiite Islamic regime in Nigeria, Africa's largest economy.
late 2016, a court ruled that his continued detention without charge was
illegal and ordered his release yet the decision was never executed.
then, Zakzaky has been charged with culpable homicide in connection with the
IMN, which emerged as a student movement in the late 70's, is still close to
by the Islamic revolution in Iran, the sect is met with hostility in Nigeria,
where the Sunni elite are allied with Saudi Arabia.
Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, the leader of the opposition contesting
the 2019 presidential polls, are Sunni and have both said nothing about the
violence this week.
is this belief that Shiites are not proper Muslims," said Nigerian
political analyst Chris Ngwodo.
fundamental disagreement over ideology could explain the ferocity used by the
security forces against the protestors."
Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north, the IMN is vastly outnumbered by the
Salafist movement Izala, which was founded around the same time as the IMN.
is close to both Riyadh and Abuja and its satellite television channel Manara
often broadcasts anti-Shiite rhetoric.
members have also clashed with IMN supporters several times during Shiite
is funded by Saudi Arabia, which has enabled the construction of mosques and
schools across the country.
number of people in the (federal) government are Izala members and have close
ties to Saudi Arabia," said a source speaking to AFP on condition of
within the establishment are using the government resources for a religious
battle, against what they consider as apostasy."
worst case scenario would see the Shiites become radicalised in the face of
oppression, an outcome that would replicate the trajectory of Boko Haram
jihadists in the northeast who took up arms against the government in 2009.
is a very charismatic leader, the movement was kept alive despite his detention
and his supporters are ready to die for him," said Cheta Nwanze, research
head at SBM Intelligence in Lagos.
repression can only contribute to radicalise them."
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