Major Diplomatic Victory For India And A Setback For Pakistan: In A First,
India To Be ‘Guest Of Honour’ At Islamic Nations' Conclave
With the Indian Elections: How Jamaat-e-Islami, J&K Is the Face of the
Fight Is Against Terror, Not Kashmir or Kashmiris: PM Modi
U-Turn, Pak Says Bahawalpur Seminary Not Linked To Jaish
Taliban Political Chief to Miss Upcoming Peace Talks With US Envoys
Chemical 'Bomb' Found In Devastation of Dhaka Fire
Group Tells PAS-Led States To Toe Federal Line On Underage Marriage
Sources: US Transferring ISIL Terrorists to Western Iraq in Pursuit of New
News Anchor Defends Anti-Occupation Comments Despite Death Threats
military planned Pulwama terror attack alleges MQM founder leader Altaf Hussain
averts ‘lone-wolf’ attack by ISIS, arrests Hyderabad youth
man behind December 2017 Lethpora attack being probed for aiding bomber
investment start-up aims for Malaysia, India expansion
Political Conclave on March 6 to submit ‘People’s Charter of Demands’
10-day custody for men held for alleged Jaish links
reminds Imran of promise to fight poverty with India
Writes To UN Rights Chief Over Alleged Violations In Kashmir
Pakistan's eyewash: After govt ban, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed appears in a video,
says 'all work going well'
teaches Muslims to help the needy through donation: President
backs Imran Khan in fight against corruption
appoints administrator for JeM-linked seminary
hints at launching anti-govt campaign
working to float new organisation
arrives in Nimroz as first Afghan shipment to leave for Chabahar port today
militants killed, 6 wounded in Afghan Air Force airstrikes in Takhar province
commander, involved in high profile attacks killed in Uruzgan airstrike
U.S. and Russian envoys discuss travel barriers imposed on Taliban peace
To States Whether Zakir Naik Can Speak, Says Mujahid
to minister: Philippine Muslim rebel's new 'struggle'
as ‘mastermind’, Anwar tells PAS not to harm Islam’s image with lies
now ‘more affordable’ for Muslim Filipinos
Extradition Raises Fear among Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Exiles
Sends New Military Equipment to Allied Militants in Northern Syria
Hezbollah punishes official over parliament spat
Arab-European summit kick starts Sunday in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh
seeks death sentence for two monks over bishop’s murder
King Salman orders release of Egyptian prisoners in Kingdom
of Saudi culture proves popular with visitors in Philippines
Hezbollah suspends official over Parliament spat
Clashes With Yemeni Tribes Leave 45 Dead In Hajjah
arrests senior Muslim official in Jerusalem
tells US not to leave power vacuum in Syria withdrawal
warns US-planned Syria safe zone must be under Turkey’s control
are our only enemy’ says Yemeni army chief
President Erdogan lashes out at El-Sisi over Egypt executions
coalition targets Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen
Boko Haram Clash, NAF Destroys ISWAP Camp
arrested in protests against fifth term for Algerian president
editor detained after comment on emergency
soldier killed on presidential Election Day
Haram ‘stops Yobe governor from voting’
Ambassador for Religious Freedom Visits Pakistan
war against Daesh was cover to undermine Syrian government: Analyst
troops in Syria to help create safe zone: Pentagon
defense minister meets with US counterpart
Hails Progress In Fight Against Jihadists In Sahel
chief makes secret Israel visit to discuss Iran nuclear program: Report
Armenians miss 'home' while living in Yerevan
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'Jihadi Jack' says he misses his mum, pasties and TV
by New Age Islam News Bureau
a major diplomatic victory for India and a setback for Pakistan, the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) has invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to
attend the Foreign Ministers’ meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC), set to take place in Abu Dhabi on March 1-2. It is the first such invite
by OIC to India in five decades. Sushma will be the “Guest of Honour” at the
inaugural plenary session of the 46th meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here on Saturday Foreign Minister of
United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan invited Sushma as the
‘Guest of Honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to
accept the invitation.
move is seen as a major blow to Pakistan that has consistently opposed India’s
entry into the grouping despite its
having the third-largest Muslim population in the world and strong relationship
with West Asian and Muslim majority nations.
the past few decades, New Delhi has had, at best, a prickly relationship with
the OIC, largely because Pakistan frequently used the platform to target India
on the Kashmir issue. Pakistan and its allies in the Arab world have also
blocked attempts to give “Observer” status to India. The OIC has usually been supportive of
Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue. The OIC is a
57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations.
invitation to India by the OIC comes at a time when India has been mounting
diplomatic offensive against Pakistan to isolate it internationally following
the Pulwama terror attack in which 44 CRPF personnel were martyred. Pakistan
based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the Pulwama attack.
MEA termed the OIC invite a “welcome recognition” of the presence of 185
million Muslims in India and their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and
of India’s contribution to the Muslim world.
see this invitation as the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to
go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true
multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level,” the MEA
said in a release.
see this invitation as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership
with the UAE.
the Congress has expressed surprise that the Modi Government was celebrating
the invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the OIC’s
inaugural plenary, dubbing it a “misplaced euphoria” and a “futile exercise” to
mislead the people of India. Senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma asked Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and Sushma to respect the past position of India of not
attending meetings of the OIC till it is accepted as a full member, given its
large Muslim population.
am surprised at the Government celebrating the invitation to External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj to address the OIC meeting in the UAE. The euphoria is
misplaced and it is a futile exercise to mislead the public opinion in India,”
was Qatar that first proposed “Observer” status for India at the OIC Foreign
Ministers’ meet in 2002 in recognition of India’s significant Muslim
population, but Pakistan had consistently blocked the move. Last year,
Bangladesh proposed restructuring of the charter of the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation to pave way for the inclusion of non-Muslim countries having
significant Muslim population like India as an “Observer State” of the 50-year
With the Indian Elections: How Jamaat-e-Islami, J&K Is The Face Of The
Feb 24: The Jamaat-e-Islami has come under the radar in Jammu and Kashmir and
nearly 150 of its members, including its president and spokesperson were taken
into police custody.
is the first major crackdown on the Jamaat, which has been termed as the parent
political party of the Hizbul Mujahideen. The crackdown on the outfit is a
significant one and it may be recalled that the National Investigation Agency
had recently learnt that there was a major plot being hatched to carry out a
wave of terror attacks in India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
plot was unearthed after the NIA busted an Islamic State inspired module that
went by the name Harkat-ul-Harb e Islam. The NIA learnt that two calls made by
the alleged kingpin of the module were to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The NIA said
that the module was being headed by Mufti Suhail, a resident of Amroha in Uttar
the course of the investigation the NIA learnt that Suhail was being handled by
a Pakistani. The chat transcripts with the agent, Abu Malik unearthed clearly
suggested that the instructions were coming from across the border.
a call that was made by Suhail in October 2018 to a member of the
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh has made the case even more curious. The call was
made in October from the United Kingdom in which Suhail is told to start
preparing to launch operations. He was told that the operations would be
launched and from January onwards there would be a series of attacks running up
to the elections.
revelation comes in the wake of various reports suggesting that the ISI was
trying to meddle in the recently concluded Bangladesh elections. Both the ISI
and the Jamaat have opposed India's support to the Awami League. The operative
who called Suhail tries to indicate that India's support to the Awami League
must be avenged and hence a series of attacks need to be launched.
faces a very crucial election this year. The intelligence agencies are
reporting extensive activity by ISI moles and agents to disrupt the polls and
create havoc ahead of the polls.
recently busted module by the NIA was one part of that operation, officials
Pakistan wants the deniability factor and hence uses the name of the Islamic
State to launch new operations in India. Intelligence agencies in India have
always maintained that the operations of the so called ISIS inspired modules in
India are not being handled from Iraq or Syria. In the busting of every module,
we have come across clear instances of the events being staged by Pakistan.
ISIS problem in India have been two-fold. One is the setting up of modules,
while the other is regarding recruitments for the mainland. Be it modules in
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi or Uttar Pradesh, they have all been staged by
Pakistan. In each case, the Pakistan link has cropped up and the handler has
always been traced to that country.
fight is against terror, not Kashmir or Kashmiris: PM Modi
(RAJASTHAN): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday deplored incidents of
harassment of Kashmiris outside Jammu & Kashmir after the Pulwama terror
attack and said India’s fight is not against Kashmir or its residents but
terrorism and enemies of humanity.
concerns over Kashmiris, particularly students, being threatened and, in some
cases, assaulted, the PM said the issue is not the scale of such incidents but
that they had occurred at all. “Incidents were reported and the issue is not
what happened and on what scale but that it should not have happened. Children
of Kashmir are also suffering because of these terrorists and they are standing
in our support to eliminate terrorists and we need their support,” Modi said at
also referred to a conversation he had with Pakistan PM Imran Khan to say the
onus of taking action against terrorist organisations lies with Islamabad. He
said he had urged Khan that India and Pakistan wage war against poverty and
illiteracy and the leader promised that as a Pathan, he believed in
truthfulness. “Today is the time to see if he lives by his words or not,” said
the PM. Though he said he wants to see if Khan acted on his words, Modi made it
clear that he was intent on action.
baar sabka hisab hoga (Perpetrators will be held to account),” Modi said.
“Peace can’t be restored until these factories of terrorism are shut. If it is
the case that I was destined to seal such factories of terrorism, then it will
certainly happen.” On the harassment of Kashmiris, he said such actions play
into the hands of secessionists.
out against incidents of harassment of Kashmiris in the wake of the Pulwama
attack, PM Modi, addressing a rally, said: “The way Indian soldiers have laid
down their lives, sons of the Kashmiri soil have also fallen victim to the
bullets of terrorists but for a handful who offer blessings to tukde, tukde
gangs. No citizen of this country will encourage people who shout slogans like
‘Bharat tere tukde honge, insha Allah’.”
PM reminded the crowd that Kashmiris have welcomed Amarnath pilgrims and had
queued up to donate blood when an attack took place on the yatris. “The safety
of each Kashmiri settled anywhere in the country is the responsibility of every
Indian and I exhort people here to raise their hands and promise to ensure the
safety of Kashmiris,” he said.
his interaction with Khan, he said, “I had told him on the phone that India and
Pakistan have fought several battles and that Pakistan gained nothing as we won
all the battles and this will continue in future too... He had promised that he
is a Pathan and believes in truthfulness. Today is the time to see if he lives
by his words or not.”
PM said over 200 former panchayat representatives had met him after the
panchayat polls in J&K and had urged them to stop incidents of terrorists
burning schools. “Today I can proudly say they have resisted terrorists and no
incident or school burning has been reported since then.”
request certain people not to support terrorists even by mistake. People of
Kashmir want to be rid of terrorism but their dreams remain unfulfilled due to
the policies of previous governments,” he said.
U-turn, Pak says Bahawalpur seminary not linked to Jaish
Taking a complete U-turn, the Pakistan government on Saturday dismissed its own
claim of taking over the control of the Jaish-eMohammad (JeM) headquarters in
Bahawalpur and said the complex has no link with the terror outfit, which
claimed responsibility for the deadly Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40
CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.
a video message on social media, Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry
said the Punjab government took administrative control of Madrassatul Sabir and
Jamia-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur in line with the decisions taken
during the National Security Council meeting held on Thursday and as part of
the National Action Plan.
his earlier announcement that the complex was JeM headquarters, Chaudhry said,
"This is the madrassah (seminary) and India is doing propaganda that it is
the JeM headquarters."
Friday, the minister had told PTI that the Punjab government has "taken
over the control of the JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur", about 400 km from
government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising
Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, allegedly the
headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and appointed an administrator to manage its affairs,"
was the first time in years that the campus, about 430 km from Lahore, had been
acknowledged by Pakistan to be the headquarters of the terror outfit JeM led by
statement issued by the interior ministry on Friday also said the crackdown on
Jaish "has been taken in line with the decision of the National Security
Committee meeting held on Thursday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister
Islamic seminaries in the campus has a faculty of 70 teachers and currently 600
students were studying in it, the statement said, adding that Punjab police is
providing security and protection to the campus.
the Pakistani government on Saturday took a group of local journalists to the
campus in Bahawalpur and claimed that it is a "routine seminary having no
link with JeM".
deputy commissioner Shahzaib Saeed accompanied a group of journalists to the
campus showing "business as usual" there.
commissioner denied association of the seminary and the mosque with Masood
600 students are studying here and none of them is associated with any banned
organisation or involved in any terror activity," he said.
local journalist, who visited the seminary and spoke to some students and
teachers there, said, "When asked about the JeM and Masood Azhar, they
showed complete ignorance about them. Perhaps they were briefed before our
Taliban political chief to miss upcoming peace talks with US envoys
Taliban leaders said on Thursday that their new political chief will not be
attending peace talks with US envoys due to take place in Qatar this week.
officials had been keen to negotiate with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, hoping
the Taliban’s co-founder and military veteran would add momentum and have the
clout to discuss tough issues surrounding the end of America’s longest war.
senior Taliban leaders said Baradar would not be travelling to Qatar, citing
different reasons including problems obtaining travel documents as well as
difference among the leadership over his precise role in the talks.
was released from a Pakistani jail in October and his appointment was widely
seen as marking a new push by the Taliban to emerge from the political and
who earlier led the insurgent group’s military operations in southern
Afghanistan, was arrested in 2010 by a team from Pakistan and US intelligence
agencies. A co-founder of the movement, he was a close friend of the reclusive
late Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who gave him his nom de guerre,
“Baradar” or “brother”.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar wanted to go to Qatar and personally head the peace
talks but due to a host of reasons, he would not be able to travel to Qatar and
participate in talks,” one leader told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
spokesman Sohail Shahin said earlier this week that he was unable to say
whether Baradar would be attending.
last round of talks ended in Qatar in January with both the hardline Islamist
movement and US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad hailing progress after a
longer-than-expected six-day session.
officials familiar with discussions said they were hoping to get more details
over fresh assurances from the Taliban that they would not allow Afghanistan to
be used by groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS to attack the United States and its
allies - a key demand by Washington.
timing of a ceasefire and the withdrawal of foreign forces remain sticking
points, while Washington is also pushing the Taliban to talk to the Afghan
movement has so far boycotted the government, saying it is a puppet of the
United States - a position that has alarmed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Taliban official said they were not expecting breakthroughs in the coming
talks, adding that they also wanted to discuss the exchange of prisoners and
lifting bans on the movement of Taliban leaders.
Taliban side will continue to be headed by lead negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas
Stanikzai, a figure who has been increasingly active diplomatically and who
recently met Afghan opposition politicians in Moscow.
movement earlier announced that its team would meet US negotiators this week in
the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, as well as holding talks with Pakistani Prime
Minister Imran Khan. The meetings did not take place for reasons that remain
near daily attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its
security forces, the Taliban contest or control nearly half of Afghanistan and
are widely seen as more powerful than at any time since being toppled from
power in the 2001 US-led invasion.
United States has nearly 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO
mission to train, assist and advise Afghan defense and security forces as well
as a separate counter-terrorism effort.
chemical 'bomb' found in devastation of Dhaka fire
funerals were held Friday for victims of a devastating fire in Dhaka – fuelled
by illegally stored chemicals – that killed nearly 70 people, as investigators
revealed that an even bigger disaster was narrowly avoided.
of chemical drums were found in the basement of one of five blocks engulfed by
the inferno in the Bangladesh capital's historic Chawkbazar district.
huge bomb" would have gone off had the fire spread to the basement,
according to Mehedi Hasan Ansary, a professor at an elite engineering
university who is a member of an official probe committee.
impact would have been devastating," he told AFP.
authorities said 46 bodies from a disaster that saw victims burned alive by
fireballs in the street have been identified and handed over to families for
were from Noakhali district in southwest Bangladesh, where funerals were
quickly organised in line with Muslim tradition.
prayers were also said at Friday prayers in mosques across the country.
forensic experts were brought in to carry out DNA tests on at least 21 other
bodies burned beyond recognition.
discovery of the huge consignment of drums raised new fears about the extent of
the deadly danger in storerooms across the labyrinthine Chawkbazar district.
were just lucky," said national fire chief Ali Ahmed.
whole neighbourhood would have been engulfed if the fire had reached the
chemicals in the basement. It would have been like a bomb and the building
would have collapsed," Ahmed told AFP.
fire is believed to have been started late on Wednesday by a gas cylinder
explosion which quickly spread to at least five buildings.
were burned alive by exploding canisters that sent fireballs into the streets,
smothering people in flames as they walked, rode in rickshaws or ate in local
restaurants. Dozens were injured, including nine listed in critical condition.
disaster was a repeat of a June 2010 fire in the nearby neighbourhood of
Nimtoli in which 123 people were killed. Again a blaze ripped through
residential buildings that doubled as chemical warehouses.
a criminal inquiry has been launched, authorities faced difficult questions
over why action promised after the Nimtoli disaster was not carried out.
Mayor Sayeed Khokon vowed to launch a new crackdown and move chemical
warehouses from residential buildings to an industrial area outside the
will sit with law enforcement agencies, do our homework and then launch the
drive," he told AFP, promising to start the crackdown by next month.
building would be sealed off if one of 29 types of highly inflammable chemicals
were found, he added.
however, said city authorities faced a near-impossible task as a 2015 survey
found that most of the residential buildings in old Dhaka were being used as
conducted the survey in 1 300 buildings in one ward and found that 70% are used
as godowns (storage warehouses). Of these, 80% are chemical warehouses,"
said chemical storage is a lucrative business in Old Dhaka where building
owners allegedly bribe authorities to turn a blind eye to the stores.
have sent letters of warning many times. But nothing happened. If these
buildings continued to be used as chemical warehouses, there will be repeat of
this tragedy," said Zulfiker Rahman, a fire department director.
also said the five buildings devastated this time did not have basic fire
did not have fire extinguishers, the exit and entry passages of the buildings
are very narrow," he said.
fire prompted angry reactions in newspapers.
Daily Star highlighted how action to move the chemicals had been promised after
the "Nimtoli fiasco".
we have just found out, nothing much has happened and hundreds of families have
lost their loved ones because the Nimtoli fire has disappeared from collective
group tells PAS-led states to toe federal line on underage marriage
JAYA: Muslim women empowerment group Sisters In Islam (SIS) has criticised
state governments who snub Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call to raise
the minimum legal age for marriage to 18 years.
took aim at the PAS-led Kelantan and Terengganu state governments, following a
revelation that shariah courts in Kelantan had approved 10 underage marriages
between January 2018 and January 2019
averaged, this indicates that at least one underaged marriage took place almost
every month in the state.
are disappointed that Kelantan and Terengganu have opted to retain child
marriage in the states, with Kelantan citing last November that the practice is
regarded as a ‘necessity’ in the state,” it said.
marriages have been widely debated in the media since June last year after a
41-year-old Kelantan man took an 11-year-old girl as his bride.
following month, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the
government would amend the laws to raise the age that girls could marry from 16
to 18 years.
had reportedly urged state governments during a meeting of menteris besar and
chief ministers in October to raise the legal minimum age for marriage to 18
years for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
said while Penang, Selangor and Sabah had taken steps towards implementing the
directive, there was still a long way to go.
and state governments and elected representatives including MPs and state assemblymen
have the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable amongst us, including
children,” it said.
early October, Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah decreed that the
marriageable age for Muslim males and females in the state be raised from 16 to
said state authorities would review the relevant laws and make the amendments
al-Baldawi, the representative of al-Bana coalition in the Iraqi parliament,
told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website that the US forces have
transferred all terrorists and their family members, who have recently
surrendered at the Syrian borders, to the US bases in Iraq.
referred to collaboration between the US and the ISIL terrorists, and warned
that the terrorist group will be reorganized for operations against Iraq's
Qusai al-Anbari, the head of Badr organization's office, said that the ISIL
militants have been sheltered in the US military bases and the desert areas
near these bases, adding that all terrorist operations in al-Anbar are
conducted with Americans' direct supervision.
added that the US forces stationed in al-Anbar want to pave the ground for the
ISIL to occupy certain cities and areas in the region.
relevant remarks earlier this month, Iraq's security experts disclosed that the
US Army was training ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province after relocating them
from Syria to Iraq to prepare them for creating insecurity in the country.
US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and
Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out
terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq," al-Ma'aloumeh quoted
Kazim al-Haaj, an Iraqi security expert, as saying.
noted that according to the intel obtained from Iraqi security forces in
Al-Anbar province, the US had transferred the ISIL terrorists on Apache and
Chinook helicopters to Iraq.
to the occupation of several regions in Western Iraq, including Wadi al-Houran
and al-Qadaf, al-Haaj reiterated that the US Army was using this opportunity to
deploy the ISIL terrorists after training them in areas where it plans to make
news anchor defends anti-occupation comments despite death threats
Israeli news anchor who has blamed the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands
for turning regime troops into “animals” has defended her comments despite
having received death threats from “thousands.”
Channel 13 TV anchor Oshrat Kotler had last week denounced the mistreatment of
Palestinians in Israeli custody following a piece aired on the channel about
five Israeli soldiers indicted for beating two handcuffed and blindfolded
Palestinians — a father and his 15-year-old son.
to the indictment, the father was hospitalized for three days after sustaining
multiple broken ribs, a “severely” broken nose, and subdermal bleeding around
his stomach. The son also suffered a number of wounds to his head and “significant
swelling” on his face.
the report was aired, Kotler said, “We send children to the army, to the
[occupied] territories, and get back animals. That is the result of the
remarks infuriated extremist Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, both demanding that
the TV host apologize.
Saturday, however, Kotler said she stood by her comments despite having been
flooded with death threats, according to The Times of Isreal.
accused Israeli politicians of taking “cynical” advantage of her comments and
taking them out of context in the midst of an election campaign.
am sorry if I hurt anyone with my words, but I cannot see the price we pay
through our children for the reality of controlling another nation,” she said,
appearing to fight back tears and referring to Palestinians. “We have lived
this reality for 52 years. I do not have a magic solution; I am not a
of death threats’
said her comments, “spoken with great pain,” had been “directed only at the
soldiers who violated the law” and not all Israeli troopers.
threatened my life and the life of my family, and I am afraid, but I hope to
find the strength to continue and express my opinion as a reporter,” she said.
NGO Peace Now backed Kotler, saying, “It is permissible and even desirable to
look into the mirror from time to time and honestly admit to the damage [caused
by] the occupation. Those whose children’s futures are important to them should
work to end the conflict rather than maintain it, because the price is high.”
Zandberg, the leader of left-wing Meretz Party, called the attacks on Kotler
“pathetic and yet predictable… shutting your eyes [to the problem] and then
assailing the messenger is not a solution.”
forces have on numerous occasions been caught on camera brutally beating or
killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking
Israeli troops shoot deaf Palestinian woman
shooter: I don't regret killing injured Palestinian
regime officials, including mainly Netanyahu and Bennett, are strong opponents
of a Palestinian state and have advocated a regime policy of building Israeli
settlements deep into the territories that Palestinians want as part of a
future state of their own.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder leader Altaf Hussain has called the
Pulwama terror attack a product of the ghoulish Pakistani military
usual, the demons in the military junta, through the Pulwama attack, had
conspired against the oppressed nationals in Pakistan, the Pashtuns, Balouchs
and Mohajirs. Through that Pulwama terror attack, Pakistan's demonic military
wanted to divert the attention of the world from demands of the oppressed
nations in Pakistan for the right of self-determination.
the Pulwama terror attack, the ghoulish Pakistani military establishment is now
pushing the people of Pakistan on the path of religious extremism and war mania,"
said, "Even India failed to apprehend before-time the real objectives of
the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 men of India's armed force had embraced
martyrdom. The attack was planned by the demonic military of Pakistan and was
executed by one of the world's top Pakistan-based terrorist organisations, the
Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM)."
fact, the military establishment of Pakistan has always created a new situation
to manipulate the one they had previously created.
recent days, a strong wave of freedom was aroused in minds and hearts of
Pashtuns, Balouchs and Mohajirs and it had bewildered the military of Pakistan
which planned for a situation to divert attention and hence they executed the
Pulwama terror attack, he argued.
said that the people of Pakistan including Pashtuns, Balouchs, Mohajirs and
even People of Punjab had started realising that the military was dividing them
to rule and hence, they all had started chanting slogans against the military
of Pakistan, saying, the military was involved in every single act of
terrorism. Even the military chief General Jawed Qamar Bajwa had also been
vehemently slammed over nefarious military plans against the people of
further claimed that at a stage, the military corps commanders devised a plan
for diverting the attention, so they prepared a terror attack plan in India and
successfully executed it in Pulwama.
they are extensively talking about war with India and trying to bring the
people of Pakistan on one platform that would be in support of the ghoulish
military, he said, adding that military is exploiting the people with their
said, "Pakistan is saying that India would attack the country. It is
claiming that not only their country but also Islam would also be in jeopardy.
By this manipulation, the military is seeking the backing of Pashtuns, Balouchs
and Mohajirs against India."
said that the military of Pakistan has once again re-strengthened the extremist
gangs and organisations in Pakistan including Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ), LeJ,
Jamat Ud Dawa (JuD), Sipah-e Sahaba among others.
said that the same was done in 1971 when the people of Pakistan were befooled.
fact, the demonic military can go to any extent for keeping its tyrant occupation
over the country. Islam was never in jeopardy in Bangladesh in 1971. Mosques
and shrines are still present and the people there are still Muslim and they go
for Hajj pilgrimage more than Pakistanis. It proved the military's propaganda
was a fraud," he added.
MQM founder leader said that the closure of a seminary (JuD headquarters) in
Punjab is a tricky business of the military because the JuD chief Hafiz Saeed
was brought on TV through an interview, which was nothing but a cheap tactic to
dupe the world.
the JuD HQ was not in Pakistan then why the demonic military said they have
taken control of that JuD HQ", he asked.
further told that the military is bringing forward their puppets, which are
traitors of Mohajir nation, on the streets to condemn India on the pattern of
extremist organisations on the military's payroll. "For this, the PSP gang
of traitors and Bahadurabad gang are being asked by the military to take to the
street in India's condemnation," he divulged.
asked the PSP and Bahadurabad traitors to tell if India imposed the quota
system that deprived Mohajirs of their due legal rights for jobs and admissions
in academic institutions.
India carry out a genocide military crackdown against Mohajirs or was it the
military of Pakistan? Who, India or Pakistan, filled the graves with bodies of
Mohajirs? Who, Indian forces or Pakistani military killed Aftab Ahmed and other
22, 000 Mohajir youth extrajudicially and who, Indian forces or Pakistani
military raided the houses of Mohajirs and manhandled Mohajirs women? If India
did not do all those atrocities then why the PSP and Bahadurabad gangs of
traitors are taking to street against India?" he questioned.
said that the PSP and Bahadurabad gangs of traitors once used to call themselves
secular but today, as they too have become a mere puppet of the demonic
Pakistan army, have turned extremists, right-wingers, too.
asked Mohajirs to completely boycott these gangs of traitors known as PSP gang
and Bahadurabad gang.
asked the military of Pakistan to accept the demand of Mohajirs for a right of
self-determination. He said he would never cease to expose the demonic military
If the National Investigation Agency had not arrested Abdullah Basith, a
Hyderabad youth, for his alleged links with ISIS modules in August 2018, he
would have carried out a ‘lone-wolf attack’, similar to the one on CRPF convoy
that a week ago at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, according to sources.
after Basith informed his handler Hufaiza Bakistani of carrying out lone
attacks targeting security agencies and members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,
the latter assured him funds to purchase a huge vehicle to carry out the
attack. The direction to administer the attack came to Basith after he refused
to migrate -- or do ‘hijrat’ -- found investigators.
is known for its lone wolf attacks in the Western countries. As of yet,
militant groups have used vehicles to carry out attacks 11 times in India.
While Pulwama was the latest, the previous one was at Srinagar in 2009 when a
police vehicle was blown up using a car bomb.
November 2017, Basith came into contact with Hufaiza Bakistani through US-based
teenager Matin Azizi Yarand, who was arrested by the FBI in May 2018.
Reportedly, when Hufaiza asked Basith what he could do for Islam, Basith
responded that he could not migrate to Syria as he had been arrested twice in
2014 and 2015 while attempting to do so.
handler later advised him to get weapons. Basith assured him that he would
build contacts and procure weapons from Delhi, Punjab, and Bihar. Hufaiza also
advised Basith to either carry out the lone wolf attack or stab people using
knives. The latter was reportedly willing to target government employees,
security forces, agencies, and RSS members. Hufaiza also instructed Basith to
arrange money to fund ISIS cadre in India.
in July 2018, Hufaiza directed Basith to a person with the Telegram ID ‘C’ and
asked him to pay Rs 50,000 for procuring a weapon. However, the weapon did not
reach Basith, as three boys from Delhi who were entrusted to collect the weapon
from ‘C’ and hand the same over to Basith were nabbed by Special Cell of Delhi
Delhi boys were also asked to administer a deal of purchasing two AK47s worth
Rs 4 lakh and send them to ISJK (Islamic State of Jammu & Kashmir) in
Kashmir. After their detention, Basith was worried about his impending arrest
and asked Hufaiza to redirect him to members of the group in Kashmir so that he
could join ISJK. However, Hufaiza rejected the idea and directed Basith to
travel to Delhi instead. He was arrested soon afterwards.
Jaish –e- Mohammed (JeM) terrorist suspected of involvement in a December 2017
attack on the Lethpora CRPF Group Centre that left five troopers dead is
emerging as a key suspect in the February 14 suicide car bombing that killed 40
men of the Central Reserve Police Force in Pulwama, a senior official in the
security establishment said.
forces killed three JeM terrorists in the Lethpora attack. They were later
identified as Fardeen Ahmed Khandey, Manzoor Baba and Abdul Shakoor.
Investigations later revealed that Shakoor was a Pakistani national.
Investigations had pointed to a fourth JeM terrorist who was involved in
providing logistics. “We have strong reason to believe that there is a link
between the Lethpora attack and the suicide bombing of 14 February,” the
official cited above said, declining to reveal details.
agencies initially did intercept communication from the suspected fourth
terrorist, but the communication suddenly stopped.”
in the first week of February 2019, the NIA arrested Fayaz Ahmad Magray, a
resident of Avantipora, for helping the three JeM terrorist who took part in
the Lethpora attack. An NIA statement after the arrest said Magray was an
“overground worker” of JeM who had provided the three terrorists shelter and
had even reconnoitered the CRPF camp before the December 2017 attack.
investigators of the NIA and local police are following a bewildering maze of
clues, efforts to trace the vehicle used for the suicide bombing hasn’t met
are 172 million Muslims in India — roughly equivalent to 10 per cent of the
world’s entire Muslim population — and yet there isn’t one Islamic bank.
Wahedna thought that was strange.
when Wahedna was 22, he started his own Sharia-compliant finance company with
$30,000 (Dh110,175). Three years later, Wahed Invest is now valued at $100
million, according to Wahedna, the firm’s chief executive.
Wahed Invest says it is looking to launch in several new markets, including the
UAE, and roll out new services to the millions of unbanked Muslims around the
get 20 emails every single day from India asking us when we’re going to be
opening there,” Wahedna said. “There’s a crazy demand for what we’re doing.”
company offers a number of Islamic finance instruments, including
Sharia-compliant robo-advisory investment services, sukuks, and index-tracking
funds which follow indices that are screened by Standard & Poor’s.
part of the company’s compliance with Sharia, it cannot invest in
interest-bearing instruments, or industries such as alcohol, tobacco, arms, and
said he had identified Malaysia, India, and Nigeria as Wahed Invest’s three
most important growth markets.
mined through a lot of data, such as the number of Muslims, how many of them
have access to the internet, GDP per capita and quite a few others,” he said,
“[and] we find that these countries are really optimal for what we want to do.”
how does an Islamic investment service make money from the thousands of new
customers it acquires?
don’t have Islamic banks in these countries, you don’t have investment
products, you don’t have transparency or efficiency. We’re coming with the tech
for that specific purpose.
Junaid Wahedna, chief executive of Wahed Invest, a Sharia-compliant finance
charge a wrap fee,” Wahedna said. “Our cost per client is really tiny, so even
if we charge 0.5 per cent on all assets under management, we make money. It’s a
it’s not the most profitable business in the world, but we genuinely feel like
we’re doing a good thing.”
company has yet to turn a profit, but Wahedna said that growth was being
prioritised over profitability.
who grew up in the UAE but is originally from India, initially set the company
up in New York, where he was working as a banker.
was quite obvious to me [when working in finance] that there was nowhere for
retail Muslims to invest their money,” he said.
would keep their money in cash, he added, consulting their local Imam for
advice. Many would simply invest in property for its simplicity, Wahedna said.
we decided to take this existing robo-advisory concept, and apply these simple
filters to make it Sharia-compliant, so that every practicing Muslim is happy
and has somewhere to keep their money.”
it wasn’t that simple, he said.
was way harder than we thought it would be. It was a whole different world.”
sharia-compliant securities that Wahed Invest needed to access were global in
nature, Wahedna said, making them hard to access. Sukuks, he said, were also
difficult to invest in because they are typically traded in $200,000 blocks.
this infrastructure took a really long time,” the chief executive said.
first year and a half of the company’s life went in to infrastructure building
and licensing, with the support of a number of angel investors, he added.
the company was regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in
the United States.
was a really competitive market, but the service just took off…and most of our
investors were first-time investors,” he said.
included lots of women, Wahedna added, who finally had a place to put their
many Muslims have been reticent to deposit their money in to banks, since banks
typically offer loans which are interest-based. Instead, Islamic banks invest
deposits and pay out a portion of the profits.
problems abound, too.
to Wahedna, many associate Wahed Invest with the Islamic banking industry,
which he said has a bad reputation. A number of halal banks have been accused
of simply window dressing, adhering to the basic minimum of Sharia requirements
while misleading customers about potentially haram, or forbidden, practices.
a result of this, Wahed Invest has a full-time Sharia board to consult on
Islamic matters, ensuring its full compliance.
banking and investment products have been rapidly growing around the world: The
industry is now said to be worth $2.4 trillion, according to the Global Islamic
Finance Report (GIFR) 2018, and enjoyed several years of double-digit
many cases, Islamic banks in the Gulf have enjoyed stronger growth than
traditional banks, and experts say that unmet demand may fuel further adoption
in the coming years.
Wahed Invest’s launch in the US, Wahedna said he realised that “the real market
was the rest of the world”.
has five million Muslims, Europe has ten times that amount, and around the
world there’s 1.5 billion Muslims. It’s crazy numbers,” he said.
if the number of practising Muslims is only 10 per cent of that, he added,
“that’s still a massive addressable market.”
don’t have Islamic banks in these countries, you don’t have investment
products, you don’t have transparency or efficiency. We’re coming with the tech
for that specific purpose.”
August 2018, Wahed Invest launched in the UK.
same year, the company raised $8 million in capital. It is backed by Middle
East investors and venture capital firms including Dubai-based BECO Capital.
February 23: In the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Popular
Front of India, (PFI), will convene a “Muslim Political Conclave” in the national
capital on 6th March 2019 to submit a “People’s Charter of Demands” on behalf
of the minority community before the contesting political parties.
scholars, activists and leaders have been invited from different states, which
will discuss the current national and state situations and prepare a charter
reflecting the concerns of the community for the interested political parties
to include in their election manifesto. This decision was taken in the National
Executive Council meeting of PFI held at Malappuram in Kerala.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, General Secretary PFI, in a statement said that the
meeting observed that, though 2019 Lok Sabha election is being viewed as of
paramount importance in the history of the country, the existential and developmental
issues of minorities have been largely sidelined in the political discourse of
the major political parties who have traditionally used the community as their
vote banks. The present Central government is characterised by its extreme
anti-minority nature and the resultant rise of violence against Muslims in
particular. In lynching incidents, mostly Muslims were killed in the name of
beef consumption and the cattle trade.
to one survey, it is found that hate speeches by elected leaders increased by
five times since BJP came to power in 2014. A report of Human Rights Watch says
that in most of the mob lynching cases culprits remain unpunished.
sad that in Babri Masjid case, the Central government is opposed to justice for
the illegally demolished Masjid, rather they are doing everything to prevent
justice and ensure Ram Mandir construction on the Babri land. The non-BJP
Opposition has relegated Babri Masjid case into a non-issue and has forgotten
the promise of reconstruction, made to the nation when it was demolished in
1992. Through the introduction of 10 per cent quota in government jobs on
economic grounds, when the Central government tried to destroy the
constitutional foundation of reservation, both Congress and Left parties supported
this upper caste agenda. And they keep silence over the recommendation of
Justice Ranganath Misra Commission to provide 15 per cent reservation for
pointed out it is to be remembered that it was UPA government which introduced
the draconian UAPA, now widely being misused by the Modi Government against
minorities and for silencing voices of dissent. The constitution of NIA,
another agency which is misused against Muslims, is also a Congress government
contribution. No previous secular government at the Centre bothered to remove
the oppressive sedition clause from our penal laws.
is a visible reluctance on the part of major parties even to address Muslims in
these changed political circumstances. They often distance themselves from core
questions of Muslims and backward minority sections and at times even compete
with BJP by championing Hindutva politics even openly. In short, these parties
have proved them incapable of standing by the aspirations of the minorities and
marginalized sections of this country. The situation demands realistic
evaluation of the present situation in the country and effective strategizing
on the part of the Muslim community for its own future and the future of the
country as a secular democratic nation. The proposed Muslim Political Conclave
is an attempt at enabling the opposition parties to address the Lok Sabha
election on the basis of core secular values enshrined in the Indian
local court here sent two Kashmiris, arrested by UP’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS)
from a hostel in Deoband late Thursday night for suspected links with terror
outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, to 10-day police custody on Saturday.
youths – Shahnawaz Teli (26) and Aqib Ahmad Malik (28) – were brought to
Lucknow on a transit remand Saturday.
they were taken to the court, a group of lawyers protested. Police said that
the protestors reportedly attempted to drag the youths outside the vehicle.
Later, additional police force was called in and the two were produced before
the court. “Shahnawaz and Aqib have been sent to police custody for 10 days,”
said IG, ATS, Asim Kumar Arun.
DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had greeted his Pakistan counterpart
on winning the election. On Saturday, he recalled the promising conversation
and urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to keep his word as a Pathan and fight
poverty and illiteracy together with India instead of fighting each other.
Modi, who was speaking at a public meeting in Tonk in Rajasthan where his party
lost the state assembly to the Congress party recently, denounced the attacks
on Kashmiri citizens in different parts of India. His comforting comments came
four days after the Supreme Court directed state chief secretaries to stop the
mobs from attacking Kashmiri citizens.
got its new prime minister, who everyone knew as a cricketer. I called him to
greet him as a matter of protocol. I said to him, Mr Prime Minister India and
Pakistan have fought several times. It hasn’t done your country any good. Why
don’t we fight poverty and illiteracy together. The prime minister agreed and
assured me: ‘I am the son of a Pathan and I speak the truth…will always be true
to my words.’ The time has come to see if Mr Khan will stand by his words.”
the attacks on Kashmiris, Mr Modi said the fight was for Kashmir, not against
mai dekh raha hu, ki in dino social media par jaise veer ras ki baadh ayi hai.
Lekin bhaiyo aur beheno, hamari ladai, atankbad ke khilaf hai, manavta ke
dushmano ke khilaf hai, hamari ladai, Kashmir ke liye hai, Kahsmir ke khilaf
nahi hai, Kashmirion ke khilaf nahi hai. (I am seeing that these days, social
media is flooded with bravado. But brothers and sisters, our fight is against
terrorism, against the enemies of humanity. Our fight is for Kashmir, not
against it, not against Kashmiris).
Modi broke his silence on the issue a day after the Supreme Court directed the
chief secretaries and police chiefs of all states and union territories to take
“prompt action” to prevent incidents of “assault, threat, social boycott and
such other egregious acts” against Kashmiris, including students, and other
further said that children of Kashmir are troubled by terrorists. “Kashmir ka
bachcha bachcha, wo bhi in atankawadioyin se pareshan hai, wo bhi atankawad ko
khatam karne ke liye hamare sath ane ke liye taiyar hai, haemin usko sath
rakhna hai,” Mr Modi said. (Every child of Kashmir is troubled by terrorists,
he also is ready to come with us to end terrorism, we need to keep him with
Indian PM said that when Hindu devotees going to Amarnath cave shrine in
Kashmir were attacked, Muslims of Kashmiri and the valley’s people had
enthusiastically stood in queues to donate blood to them. He added that it is
the duty of every citizen in India to protect Kashmiris living in any corner of
his condolences to the families of the Pulwama attack, the prime minister said,
“Not just India, the entire world is with you.”
Modi praised the security forces for killing alleged militants India claims
were the mastermind of the Pulwama attack.
also targeted the Congress for its attack on the government over the Pulwama
suicide bombing. “It is sad to see a few people speaking in the language of
Pakistan while residing in India. These are the same people who will visit
Pakistan and request them to do anything to overthrow the Modi government,” he
said. “These are the same people who failed to take any concrete steps to curb
terrorism after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”
after his speech, former chief minister of India-held Kashmir Omar Abdullah
expressed the hope that the attack on Kashmiri students will now stop. Taking
to Twitter, the National Conference leader said: “It’s been more than a week
since the terrible attack in Pulwama and more than a week that Kashmiris have
been bearing the brunt of the public anger. Perhaps finally after PM Modi has
spoken, these forces targeting Kashmiris will stop in their tracks.”
Friday, the apex court had issued notices to the Centre and 10 states and
sought their reply.
writes to UN rights chief over alleged violations in Kashmir
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has written a letter to the UN
rights chief over alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.
said his letter to UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights, Michelle
Bachelet, on Friday was a follow up on his letter dated December 16, 2018 over
"the deteriorating human rights situation" in Kashmir.
said India blamed Pakistan after the Pulwama attack to divert global attention
from the issue.
remarks came amidst fresh India-Pakistan tensions over the attack in Pulwama on
February 14 that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.
issue of Jammu and Kashmir remains an outstanding item on the agenda of UN
Security Council," Qureshi said.
said that the troubling situation in Jammu and Kashmir also warrants attention
from the international humanitarian law perspective, especially the four Geneva
maintains that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the
country and Pakistan is in illegal occupation of a part of the state's
territory. It says that the country's democracy has all that is required to
address legitimate grievances.
has been maintaining that people in Jammu and Kashmir were victims of
cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which was training and arming
militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control.
Hours after Pakistan re-imposed the ban on two charities linked to Hafiz Saeed,
the JuD chief and the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba advised his followers to
stay calm. Appearing in a video, Saeed said that all our work is going well and
spoke at length about the war and the glory of Islam.
new video establishes the fact that Pakistan’s action against the fugitive
terrorist leader is nothing but eyewash. The ban comes at a time when Pakistan
is facing immense international pressure to act against terror groups
responsible for the dastardly Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans
lost their lives when explosives-laden SUV rammed into their convoy while they
were travelling to Srinagar from Jammu.
ties between nuclear-armed neighbours took a nosedive following the suicide
bomb attack in Kashmir valley. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.
decision to ban the charities linked to Saeed was taken at the National
Security Council meeting chaired by PM Imran Khan. According to a report by
Dawn, the decision was also taken to expedite anti-terrorism operations in the
country to re-establish the rule of law.
was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organisations,"
Pakistan's interior ministry said in a statement.
President Dr. Arif Alvi on Saturday said Islam teaches the Muslims to help the
needy people by donating money and Allah Almighty has also said in the holy
Quran to donate from what He has given us.
said this while addressing a ceremony during his visit to the head office of
Saylani Welfare Trust at Bahadurabad here.
President expressed gratitude to Saylani Welfare Trust for its welfare
activities to extend help to needy sections of the society.
to the welfare activities of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Maulana Abdul Sattar
Edhi and famous singer Shahzad Roy, the President said that all of them felt
the sufferings of the down-trodden people and served them.
said that Saylani Welfare Trust was providing help to the needy in different
fields, which was highly commendable.
President said that only resources were not enough for bringing prosperity and
improvement but vision was equally important to utilize the available
to his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, he said that the
Saudi Crown Prince was very hopeful about the bright future of Pakistan.
said that Mohammad Bin Salman has shown confidence into the present leadership
of Pakistan and said the leadership will sail Pakistan to the right direction
of prosperity and development.
on the occasion, Chairman Saylani Welfare Trust, Maulana Bashir Ahmed Farooqi
assured full cooperation on behalf of the Trust to the government with regard
to welfare and relief activities, whenever needed in case of any natural
3000 devoted employees of the Saylani Trust serve the needy people, he added.
IT Saylani Welfare Trust, Zia Khan briefed the gathering about IT Training
project which is being executed by the Saylani Welfare Trust to impart IT
training to the youths.
said that a mass entry test for admission to free IT Training program of the
Trust was taken by around 17500 candidates, out of them 13400 had successfully
cleared, who were selected purely on merit.
his welcome speech, the Board Member of Saylani Welfare Trust, Afzal expressed
gratitude to the President for visiting the head office of the Trust.
said that the Saylani Welfare Trust extends assistance to the needy people
throughout the country as well as all over the world.
a short documentary film about the life and achievements of Dr. Arif Alvi was
screened to pay tribute to the President.
short documentary film was also screened about the welfare, relief and rescue
operations of Saylani Welfare Trust.
was speaking at a Press conference to announce the reorganisation of his
political party All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).
is capable of carrying out a surgical strike in Kashmir but Pakistan is
prepared to reply back, said former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in
Dubai on Friday.
about the ongoing tense situation between Pakistan and India after the Pulwama
incident, Musharraf said: "We cannot talk about atomic bomb attacks
because if you hit one, then you'll bring trouble to yourself. So the hit has
to be greater but then both countries be ready for the consequences."
said Pakistan is not a small, but a strong Muslim country. "The current
tension is almost the same as the one that was in 2002 when both the countries
brought all their forces to the border," he said.
also said the world now has become multipolar. "We have China and Russia
and we have to make our name too," he said.
said the aim of relaunching his party was to support the present government
against the two corrupt parties of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. He also said
that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have always been friends of Pakistan except until
recently when Nawaz created a war-like situation between the Gulf countries and
see a better relation with the Gulf countries under Imran Khan's
leadership," he said.
Imran Khan's performance as Prime Minister of Pakistan, Musharraf said that he
was learning. "Leadership is not easy."
about his return to Pakistan, Musharraf said that the political scenario looked
more or so in his favour. "There are two options for me. I can never go
back. But then Pakistan is my home, and all my family and friends are there. So
how will I not go back?"
In pursuance of the federal government’s announcement following a decision made
by the National Security Committee, the Bahawalpur district administration,
after taking over the control of a seminary and a mosque said to be associated
with the leadership of the proscribed organisation Jaish-i-Mohammad (JeM),
appointed administrators on Saturday to look after the two institutions.
to the district administration, Mohammad Ali, district Auqaf administrator, and
Ghulam Abbas, regional Auqaf administrator, have been assigned the duty to
supervise the administrative affairs of Jamia Masjid Subhan Allah and Madressah
Masjid Subhan Allah is located in the thickly populated area of the industrial
area in Model Town-B of Bahawalpur while Madressah Al-Sabir is situated on
Bahawalpur-Ahmed East highway on the outskirts of the city.
Commissioner of Bahawalpur Shozeb Saeed, accompanied by other government
officials, on Friday night visited the two institutions linked with Maulana
Masood Azhar, who led the JeM which was banned by the government in 2002.
then, special branch of police, Counter-Terrorism Department and other law
enforcement agencies have regularly been monitoring the mosque and the
madressah, particularly after introduction of the National Action Plan (NAP)
against terrorism in 2015. Maulana Azhar hit the headlines when he was released
from an Indian jail in exchange of the passengers of a hijacked plane of the
Indian Airlines in 1999.
district administration on Saturday arranged a visit to Madressah Al-Sabir by
an electronic media team which found no evidence that the seminary was involved
in terrorist activities, as claimed by Indian media. The media team was told
that over 600 students were being imparted religious education by about 70
teachers at the seminary.
contingent of personnel of law-enforcement agencies has been deployed at the
Chief of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has hinted at
launching a protest campaign from Islamabad against the Pakistan
to journalists here on Saturday, the Maulana said he would consult other
partners of the MMA to finalise the protest plan against the government which
he claimed was leading the country to a “disastrous future” both economically
can hold a protest in Islamabad and we are consulting other parties in the MMA
to finalise our plan,” he said.
a look: Fazlur Rehman: a man for all seasons
six months have passed and each and every Pakistani is convinced that this
government is nothing but a failure. The economy is on the verge of collapse
and our friends like China, Afghanistan and Iran are not happy with the
country’s foreign policy.”
warned that the recognising Israel as an independent nation would be the
biggest mistake of Pakistan as it would make the country surrender its claim on
Fazlur Rehman, who is also chief of his own faction of the Jamiat
Ulema-i-Islam, criticised the National Accountability Bureau and said NAB,
which needed immense reforms, was taking up cases against politicians in
violation of human rights and decency.
said the actions taken by NAB had put the work of the bureaucracy at a
standstill as senior officers were not ready to take initiatives even for
in fact is being used as an instrument of revenge against the politicians,” the
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami is working to float a new organisation amid
intra-party conflict over its reform and offering apology to the nation for
opposing Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.
infighting surfaced following resignation and expulsion of some important
central executive committee at a meeting on January 14 decided to form a new
organisation and a five-member committee headed by Jamaat secretary general
started working to for the implementation of the decision, said a circular the
party issued following the resignation of its assistant secretary general Abdur
decision was made based on observations made by Jamaat majlis-e-shura, read the
about progress in the establishment of the new organisation, Jamaat
nayeb-e-amir Mia Golam Parwar told New Age on Saturday that it was their organisational
matter and they would inform media at a proper time.
if Jamaat will exist or be dissolved after the formation of the new
organisation, he declined to reply.
has been facing internal clash for several years on two issues — apologising to
the nation for its role in the 1971 Liberation War and reforming the party
changing its core principle of establishing shariah and Islamic Republic, party
leaders said. They said that reformist leaders, mainly the young leaders,
argued that Jammat must apologise to the nation for its role in the Liberation
War to get rid of stigma attached to it.
of the senior leaders, however, argued that the party did nothing wrong taking
‘political stand’ against the Liberation War and the proposed apology to the
nation would boomerang against the party, the party leaders said.
central executive committee member Syed Abdullah Mohammad Taher said that he
did not want to comment right now about the proposed reform.
majlish-e-shura member Mojibur Rahman Manju said that many Jamaat leaders
believed that Jamaat’s core policy should be reformed as most of the people got
irritated with the name of Jamaat because of negative perceptions.
said that the core principles should be replaced by ‘religious values, good
governance, rule of law and human rights.’
amir Maqbul Ahmed and secretary general Shafiqur Rahman continued maintaining
their firm stand against the reformists, party leaders said.
February 15, Jamaat expelled Mojibur, also former president of Jamaat’s student
body Islami Chhatra Shibir, accusing him of violating party discipline and
involvement in anti-organisation activities.
said that he wanted to engage in a new political party with an ideology of
welfare state, adding that major political parties including Awami League,
Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat failed to fulfil people’s aspirations.
said that majority of the young force in Jamaat were demanding reforms.
defence lawyer for Jamaat leaders in war crimes trial Abdur Razzaq, who
resigned as Jamaat assistant secretary general on February 15, in his
resignation letter said that the young generation of Bangladesh were educated
and enlightened and they were patriots and capable of playing an active role in
his resignation letter sent to Jamaat amir from London, Razzaq cited Jamaat’s
failure to apologise to the nation for its ‘role in opposing the historic
struggle for liberation in 1971’ and to reform the party in light of the
realities of the 21st century and the developments in the Muslim majority
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani arrived in Zaranj city, the provincial capital of western
Nimroz province earlier today accompanying a delegation of high level
is expected to participate in a ceremony for the departure of the first
shipment from Afghanistan to Chabahar Port.
Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said President Ghani will
also meet with the local elders, religious scholars, youths, women, and traders
of the province.
statement further added that President Ghani will also participate in a
ceremony for the departure of the first shipment of goods from Afghanistan to
least four Taliban militants were killed and six others were wounded during the
airstrikes of the Afghan Air Force in northeastern Takhar province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
airstrikes were carried out late on Friday night in the vicinity of
statement further added that the hideouts of the Taliban militants were
targeted in the airstrikes at at around 11:40pm local time leaving 4 militants
dead and six others wounded.
least three hideouts and three fighting positions of the group were also
destroyed during the same airstrikes.
top Taliban commander who was involved in high profile attacks in southern
Uruzgan province was killed in an airstrike in southern Uruzgan province.
military source said Friday that “Taliban commanders Mullah Qudas and Abdual
Hai were killed in an air strike in Tarin Kot district, Uruzgan province February
sources further added that “Abdual Hai was responsible for planning high
profile attacks in Kandahar province and was known for developing sophisticated
IEDs that killed civilians and Afghan security forces.”
security forces have increased operations in Uruzgan province, killing 69
fighters this month,” the sources added.
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
and Russia’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Zamir Kabullov discussed
UN travel barriers the Taliban peace negotiators face to participate in peace
met my Russian counterpart Amb Kabulov. We agreed that all-inclusive
intra-Afghan dialogue is essential to advance peace efforts. To move forward,
Afghans should name a unified, inclusive & national negotiating team that
includes the Afghan government and other Afghans,” Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad
said in a Twitter post.
said “Amb Kabulov and I also discussed travel barriers to talks. We will
explore options for securing UN travel waivers for Taliban negotiators to
participate in peace talks.”
to states whether Zakir Naik can speak, says Mujahid
LUMPUR: Putrajaya today said it is leaving it to the state religious
authorities to decide on giving controversial Indian Muslim preacher Dr Zakir
Naik the required credentials (tauliah) to give speeches on Islam.
in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa told FMT the federal
government would not intervene, saying the state religious authorities should
be trusted to make their own decisions.
they say ‘yes’, then it’s a ‘yes’. If it’s a ‘no’, then it’s a ‘no’.
is no order to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ from Putrajaya. So, we leave it to them,” the
minister in charge of Islamic affairs said after an event here.
Parit Buntar MP from Amanah said Putrajaya’s stance on this matter had not
changed, pointing out that the federal government’s policy is that all
religious speeches should not “deteriorate our multiculturality”.
have said it earlier. Malaysia is a multicultural society and everyone is
living peacefully here.
must preserve that multiculturality without trying to deteriorate that in any
way,” Mujahid said.
if Putrajaya planned to ban the controversial speaker, Mujahid said the
government had made it crystal clear that it would not be doing that anytime soon,
passing the buck to the state authorities again.
comes in the wake of the Penang Islamic Department (JAIPP) confirming that the
preacher will not be allowed to give a public speech on Islam in Penang this
June because he did not have the necessary “tauliah” or teaching credentials.
director Zulkifli Long said a person must apply for the permit from religious
authorities before he is allowed to speak on Islam. He said Naik could apply
for the credentials for a small fee.
explanation comes after the Penang Island City Council reportedly refused to
allow a public talk by Naik, planned for June 14 at the City Stadium. The talk
has since been postponed by its organisers.
is accused of giving provocative speeches. These were cited by Bangladesh as a
reason for an attack in Dhaka in 2016 which left 22 people dead. He is also
being investigated for money laundering in his home country.
previously said Putrajaya would not stop any religious preachers from holding
talks so long as they comply with the set guidelines and do not touch on issues
that can cause religious tensions.
today, Penang Mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said Naik should be given the
opportunity to give ceramahs in the state but that he should strictly follow
certain set guidelines so as not to create “problems”.
was earlier speaking at a forum at the “Stand with Yemen” symposium and photo
exhibition at the International Institute of Islamic Civilisation & Malay
World (Istac) in Taman Duta, Kuala Lumpur.
for greater transparency
afternoon, a group of civil society organisations called for Putrajaya to be
more transparent in any decisions made regarding the participation of the armed
forces in overseas military campaigns.
spokesperson Brig-Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji, from the National Patriots
Association, also called for Parliament to ratify the UN 1951 Refugee
Convention and sign the convention’s 1967 protocol.
follows criticism over the Barisan Nasional administration’s decision to join
the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in 2015 to prop up the Yemeni government,
despite saying its role was non-military in nature.
declaration was also made to urge Putrajaya to call for an end to the conflict,
to take a more active role in ensuring more safe zones are created in Yemen and
for pressure to be applied on the UN to put an end to the conflict.
2015, the Saudis have been backing Yemeni government forces against the Houthi
rebels, a predominantly Shia Muslim group.
troops were deployed in 2015 but were recalled after the new government
informed Riyadh that Malaysia would no longer be involved in the war.
had warned that Malaysia could be guilty of the mass deaths caused by aerial
bombardments of Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition.
event was organised by Patriot, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia,
moderates group G25, and vocal Muslim groups like Sisters in Islam and the
Islamic Renaissance Front and others.
Murad Ebrahim's life as the Philippines' top Muslim rebel led him into fierce
jungle combat and to meet with Osama bin Laden, but a very different challenge
now awaits him: governing.
has been tapped to lead the majority-Catholic nation's brand new territory in
the restive south where Muslims have won new powers and an influx of cash in a
push for peace.
decades as a rebel, Murad will need to become a bureaucrat and complete complex
projects as chief minister of the body that will steer the new Bangsamoro
region until elections in 2022.
also see the difficult challenge we will be facing ahead. To us, the struggle
is not yet over," the 70-year-old Murad told AFP.
is only another level of the struggle."
a feared commander, Murad is chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) which signed a landmark pact with the government in 2014 to end a
separatist insurgency that killed some 150,000 people since the 1970s.
deal led to the creation of the Bangsamoro, which is based on the southern
island of Mindanao and was overwhelmingly approved in a January vote.
MILF is the largest of several rebel groups fighting for independence or
autonomy in Mindanao, the ancestral homeland of the nation's roughly six
million-strong Muslim minority.
and the government hope the new region, which is getting an influx of cash,
will be able to bring sorely needed development to the violence-plagued area.
son of an Islamic preacher, Murad was orphaned early on as he lost his mother
when he was only one and his father at 13.
studied civil engineering at the Catholic-run Notre Dame University in southern
Cotabato city, where he learned fluent English.
in his senior year, he dropped out to join an underground movement that he said
defended Muslims targeted by Christian paramilitary groups and security forces
under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
joined the armed struggle first with the rebel group Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) but internal differences led him and Cairo-trained scholar Salamat
Hashim to split and form the MILF.
the 1980s Murad said he was in Afghanistan to visit Filipino rebels who joined
anti-Soviet forces but he denied fighting alongside them. It was there where he
met future Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
bin Laden was very soft spoken. I did not think he would eventually be declared
a world enemy because he was a very refined person," Murad told AFP.
became MILF's military chief, known as a calm but sharp tactician. He led a
difficult life in jungles and marshlands, with his two sons born at the height
of the fighting.
his years as commander, Murad led battles not from afar but joined his men at
the frontlines, said presidential peace adviser and former military chief
did not see him committing any abuses," Galvez told AFP. "He fought
not because of an urge to kill. He saw that fighting is not between people but
between ideologies, to correct an injustice."
Salamat's death in 2003, Murad took over as leader and earned the respect of
colleagues for building consensus, observers said.
is the best, if not the only real choice (for Bangsamoro chief minister),"
former presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles told AFP. "He has never
been one to think power is all his."
experts say Murad and the MILF will be hard-pressed to govern for the first time
while facing threats from pro-Islamic State groups in Mindanao.
will also have to deal with resentment from families of civilians and soldiers
killed or affected by previous battles, according to Julkipli Wadi, a professor
of Islamic studies at the University of the Philippines.
should extend a hand of reconciliation even to (non-Muslims) so he would be
able to extract himself from the ghosts of the past," Wadi told AFP.
is walking a tightrope where he has to juggle a lot of sensitive issues."
LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Leaders from Islamist party PAS should not lie as it would
only hurt Islam’s reputation, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said
gave the advice as a Muslim himself to PAS, after a leader from the political
party alluded to him allegedly being the “mastermind” of a plot to initiate a
vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
want to advise that Muslims cannot slander.
they use politics for the arena of slander and lies, don’t use the name of
Islam, it damages the image of Islam under the name of a Muslim party,” he told
reporters today at an event, with the recording of his remarks made available
to Malay Mail.
said lies by Muslims would hurt the image of Islam among non-Muslims.
want to advise as a Muslim that we can engage in politics. Stop the politics of
slander and lies,” he added.
suggested that PAS was seeking to shift attention away from its own problems of
having allegedly taken RM90 million from Umno.
today, PAS Youth chief Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi had posted a Facebook post
that seemed to link Anwar to an alleged plan for a vote of no confidence
against Dr Mahathir.
secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had also recently alleged that two PH
parties were planning to move a vote of no-confidence against Dr Mahathir, but
did not provide evidence to back the claim.
The annual Hajj pilgrimage is now “more affordable” for Muslim Filipinos thanks
to reforms instituted by the Philippines’ National Commission on Muslim
Filipinos (NCMF) and successful talks with Saudi Arabia, said NCMF Secretary
taken by the Philippine government have resulted in an “unprecedented”
reduction in Hajj fees and better accommodation for Filipino pilgrims, he
an advisory released earlier this month, the NCMF announced that starting this
year, “there will be changes for the benefit of all intending pilgrims in the
annual Hajj or pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.”
these changes is the assurance that Filipino pilgrims will only be accommodated
in four- and five-star hotels in Madinah and Makkah, with adequate shuttle
services to and from the places of Hajj rituals.
is assured that the past experience of substandard hotel accommodations for
Filipinos will never be experienced again,” said Pangarungan, who will serve as
official head of the Philippine pilgrims’ delegation this year.
reduced fees come with the entry of a third airline that will transport
Filipino Hajj pilgrims, after the Kingdom agreed to waive its two-airline
policy for the Philippines.
only … Saudia Airlines and Philippine Airlines (PAL) were allowed as
transportation of Filipino pilgrims,” said Pangarungan.
January, he and other NCMF officials traveled to Saudi Arabia and met with
Deputy Minister for Hajj and Umrah Dr. Sharief Housnie.
the meeting, Pangarungan explained the financial limitations of Muslim
Filipinos, and negotiated for the landing rights of another airline that will
shuttle pilgrims from the Philippines. The Saudi government heeded the request.
said the airfare rates of the third airline, Oman Air, is significantly lower
than both Saudia and PAL.
if a pilgrim chooses to fly with Oman Air, the total Hajj fee will be 166,786
Philippine pesos ($3,204), compared with 197,000 pesos last year. Should a
pilgrim choose Saudia, the total fee will be 185,336 pesos.
at the meeting, the NCMF got assurances that Filipino pilgrims would only be
accommodated in four- or five-star hotels. This year, Saudi Arabia has
allocated a quota of 8,000 Hajj visas for Filipino pilgrims.
Moxsir, president of the Imam Council of the Philippines (ICP), welcomed the
changes, saying they will allow more Filipino Muslims to perform Hajj.
can’t expect everyone to be satisfied with these changes, but it’s still good
news,” Moxsir told Arab News. “If you’re a Muslim who has the financial
capability, it’s mandatory to perform Hajj even once in your life.”
Ali Macabalang, who has gone to Makkah twice to cover Hajj, said in the past,
due to schemes by “some unscrupulous officials and individuals,” Filipino
pilgrims had to pay more.
collected funds were enough to put them in good hotels, our pilgrims would end
up in crowded dormitories … One room that could accommodate four people would
have eight to 12 occupants,” Macabalang said.
of the pilgrims paid for separate rooms … but they end up in cramped
dormitories … So it’s really a welcome development what the present leadership
is introducing this year.”
Ahmad, who was among Filipino pilgrims last year, said the reduced fees are
“good news for those who’ll join the Hajj this year. Hopefully it’ll be a
success for all pilgrims.”
the estimated 10 million Muslims in the Philippines, on average 7,000 join the
pilgrimage each year. Macabalang said the new changes will enable more fellow
Muslim Filipinos to perform Hajj.
Filipino pilgrims even sell their property to raise funds to perform the
pilgrimage, he added.
unfortunate that some unscrupulous individuals were using it (Hajj) to take
advantage of the pilgrims,” he said.
pilgrims were almost barred from this year’s pilgrimage due to an NCMF debt of
11 million pesos owed to a Saudi tourism company that handled Hajj-related
activities for Filipino pilgrims in 2017 and 2018.
Alonto Datu Ramos Jr., director of the NCMF bureau of external relations, said:
“This debt, if it remained unpaid, would’ve been enough grounds to block all
Philippine pilgrims from joining the Hajj.”
who became NCMF secretary in July last year, immediately called for an
investigation upon learning of the issue, said Ramos Jr.
added that Pangarungan ordered that the amount be settled so it would not
affect those joining the pilgrimage in August.
the final report will prove that there’s sufficient evidence of corruption, a
case will be filed at the ombudsman,” Ramos Jr. said, adding that initial
reports from the investigation indicate that funds were mismanaged by some NCMF
extradition raises fear among Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood exiles
- Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members in exile in Turkey are reconsidering
their status after it was revealed that authorities extradited a Brotherhood
member wanted in connection with an assassination.
national Mohamed Abdel Hafiz Hussein, 25, a known Muslim Brotherhood member
sought by Egyptian authorities arrived at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport on
January 16, from Mogadishu, Somalia. Hussein was reportedly seeking asylum in a
country that had previously welcomed high-profile Muslim Brotherhood members
since the ouster of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi in 2013.
Hussein was flown to Cairo, where he had been sentenced to death in absentia
for his involvement in the June 2015 assassination of public prosecutor Hisham
photograph of Hussein on an airplane bound for Cairo with his hands handcuffed
behind his back went viral and Brotherhood figures in Turkey reportedly were
considering their situations.
expect all Egyptians in Turkey to be killed, me being the first one,” said
Saber Mashhour, a Muslim Brotherhood journalist. “Our information has been
given to Egyptian intelligence,” he added in a video posted February 8 on
was one of several postings by Muslim Brotherhood members who fled Egypt for
Turkey. Egypt and other Arab countries have outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and
designated it as a terrorist organisation.
Hussein incident was a few weeks before nine Muslim Brotherhood members were
executed for their roles in the Barakat assassination. Although Hussein has
been convicted and sentenced to death in absentia, he is to be retried.
fear among the members of the Brotherhood in Turkey is quite clear,” said Sameh
Eid, a former member of the Brotherhood and a specialist in Islamist movements.
“Most of these escaped members do not know what the future holds for them.”
was among several countries, including Malaysia, Sudan and Qatar, that
Brotherhood figures escaped following Morsi’s downfall.
between Egypt and Turkey remain strained over the issue. Cairo had requested
the extradition of hundreds of figures convicted in court. Turkey is home to
several Brotherhood television channels that often criticise the Egyptian
sought to play down the incident, including investigating airport officers
responsible for the decision to return Hussein to Egypt.
senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to calm fears in
a February 6 opinion article for the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper.
“During the leadership of (Egyptian President Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi, Turkey has
not and does not hand over anyone facing the death penalty or any other
charges,” Yasin Aktay wrote.
Turkish media confirmed that Hussein explicitly asked for asylum and was
refused. Many wonder whether this indicates a change in Ankara’s position on
accepting Muslim Brotherhood exiles.
Farghaly, an Egyptian expert on Islamist groups, said Turkey was no longer a
safe refuge for the Brotherhood.
are appearing among Brotherhood leaders and members in Turkey,” Farghaly said.
“There is also a possible change of heart in Ankara as far as the Brotherhood
the leverage it enjoys in Syria and the close connections it is developing with
Qatar, Turkey has become increasingly isolated in the broader Middle East,
view among political observers in Cairo is that the Muslim Brotherhood could be
the first sacrifice if Turkey seeks a return to the regional fold.
remains gripped by an economic crisis, with Ankara missing out on potentially
lucrative plans to use major Mediterranean natural gas discoveries to set up a
regional gas market. Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan and the
Palestinian Authority announced the establishment of the East Mediterranean Gas
Forum in January, a grouping that Turkey was pointedly not invited to join.
regional alterations will eventually force Istanbul to change its regional
policies,” said Bashir Abdel Fattah, a researcher at Egypt’s Al-Ahram Centre
for Political and Strategic Studies. “If this happens, Turkey will view the
Brotherhood as a group that it no longer needs.”
military equipment comprising weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles and
logistical supports arrived in Syria from Iraq through Simalka passage,"
XBER 24 news website reported on Saturday.
website further said that the military equipment was headed for the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) in Ain Issa in Northern Raqqa and Kabani in Northern
went on to say that the US military convoy arrived only several hours after
Washington said that it will keep between 200-400 troops in Syria.
a high-ranking US military official also declared that 200 US troops will be
kept in areas under their control in al-Tanf and 200 others in a safe region in
a relevant development earlier on Saturday, the Reuters News Agency quoted an
anonymous US administration official as saying that the US will keep around 200
troops at the al-Tanf base and around 200 more soldiers in Northeastern Syria
400 American troops will be part of a total force of 800-1,500 Western soldiers
in Syria, with the rest provided by Washington's European allies.
official also noted that both the US and its European allies are still engaged
in talks on the creation and participation in maintaining a safe zone in
claims its military deployment, which is not mandated by the UN Security
Council and is also opposed by the Syrian government, was necessary to fight
the terror group Daesh.
Al-Tanf base is a constant subject of complaints by Russia, which accused the
US military of turning a blind eye on militant groups using the territory under
their control to regroup and launch attacks against Syrian government troops.
Moscow also said the Rakban refugee camp, which is located near Al-Tanf, serves
as a recruiting ground for militants.
President Donald Trump announced the pull-out from Syria in December 2018,
promising to bring around 3,000 American soldiers home. The reason for the
move, according to him, was the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab
US appears to be continuing to move the goalpost from the initial promise, made
by the American leader, of full withdrawal of ground troops from Syria. Last
month he declared Daesh defeated, but the actual removal of the US troops has
been repeatedly postponed. This week the White House said some of its troops
will remain in Syria, inaccurately calling them “peacekeepers” – a status
reserved for troops acting on a UN mandate.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that a small
"peacekeeping group" of about 200 soldiers will stay in Syria
"for [a] period of time" after the US military withdrawal from the
Lebanese politician says Hezbollah’s top commanding body has decided to suspend
the political activities of a leading legislator because of his spat with rival
politicians in Parliament last week.
Sami Gemayel, who heads the Christian Phalange party, said last week that
Hezbollah’s wide influence was seen when it got its ally elected president in
legislator Nawaf Musawi responded saying “it’s an honor” for the Lebanese that
President Michel Aoun came to his post alongside “the rifle of the resistance,”
a reference to the Islamic militant group, and “not on an Israeli tank.”
last reference was to late President-elect Bashir Gemayel who was assassinated
in 1982 days after being elected during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
will host the first joint summit of Arab League and European Union leaders
starting on Sunday.
two-day summit at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is billed as a starting
point for the two regional bodies to boost cooperation on shared strategic
priorities including migration, security and climate change.
development, the Palestinian question, and the conflicts in Libya, Syria and
Yemen are also up for discussion.
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has traveled on Saturday accompanied by a
high-level delegation to participate in the joint summit, SPA reported.
Egyptian court on Saturday recommended the death penalty for two monks after
they were convicted of murdering a bishop at a monastery last year.
judge referred the case of Wael Saad and Ramon Rasmi Mansour to the grand
mufti, Egypt’s top Muslim religious authority, who must review all death
sentences and usually approves them. Mansour wept after the ruling, a witness
known by his monastic name Isaiah al-Makari and Mansour, known as Faltaous
al-Makari, were convicted over the July killing of Bishop Epiphanius, 64, the
abbot of Saint Macarius Monastery, some 110 km (70 miles) northwest of Cairo.
defendants were led by the devil to the path of evil and vice, and committing
the greatest of the greatest sins and the greatest of crimes which the heavenly
religions forbade,” Judge Gamal Toson of the Damanhour court said in his
review by Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, the defendants will be sentenced on April
24. They will remain in custody.
struck the bishop three times in the back of the head with a 90 cm (35 inch)
steel pipe while Mansour stood guard outside, prosecutors said during the
had long had differences with his superiors, who on one occasion investigated
him for breaking monastic rules and traditions, prosecutors said. Trial
witnesses had said violations included seeking to buy and sell land.
was defrocked in August over what church officials called violations of
monastic life and then detained.
said he tried to commit suicide with poison after he was defrocked.
sources said Saad had confessed when questioned about the killing.
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egypt’s President Abdelfattah el-Sisi
held a bilateral meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday before the first joint
summit of Arab League and European Union leaders set to start on Sunday.
the meeting, they reviewed the close relations between the two brotherly
countries. They also discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation between
the Kingdom and Egypt in various fields, as well as means of enhancing and
Salman and the Egyptian president then held a session of expanded, official
talks in the presence of the delegations from the two countries.
the meeting, they stressed the importance of establishing the Council of the
Arab and African Coastal States of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Salman also ordered the release of a number of Egyptian citizens detained and
imprisoned in the Kingdom in a number of different cases. Some were reportedly
in violation of residency laws, where they were unable to pay fines in order to
be able to legally return to their country.
to SPA, the Egyptian embassy in the Kingdom will follow up with the concerned
authorities to ensure their speedy return to Egypt.
The Exhibition of the History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is proving to be a
popular attraction at the Philippines Cultural Center in Manila.
five-day event, organized by the King Abdul Aziz Foundation in collaboration
with the Ministry of Media and the Saudi Embassy, has attracted hundreds of
visitors each day since it opened on Feb. 19.
exhibition aims to shed light on Saudi culture, the history of the Kingdom and
how it is adapting and flourishing in the modern era. The foundation has
produced booklets, in English and Tagalog, that explain the Kingdom’s role at
the heart of the Islamic world, as a hub connecting Asia, Africa and Europe
with the land of ancient civilizations.
can also learn about the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy and
open up the country culturally, along with the history of relations between the
can also enjoy traditional Saudi entertainment at the event, including
folkloric and musical performances from across the Kingdom, presented by the
Arts and Heritage Department of the International Cultural Relations Agency of
the Ministry of Media.
Hezbollah's top commanding body suspended the political activities of a leading
legislator because of his spat with rival politicians in Parliament last week,
a Lebanese politician said Saturday.
Sami Gemayel, who heads the Christian Phalange party, said last week that
Hezbollah's wide influence was seen when it got its ally elected president in
legislator Nawaf Musawi responded saying "it's an honor" for the
Lebanese that President Michel Aoun came to his post alongside "the rifle
of the resistance," a reference to the militant group, and "not on an
last reference was to late President-elect Bashir Gemayel who was assassinated
in 1982 days after being elected during Israel's invasion of Lebanon.
son, Nadim, an MP, called Musawi's statements "unacceptable."
days later, the head of Hezbollah's 13-member bloc in parliament, Mohammed
Raad, apologized during a meeting of the legislature saying that Musawi
politician who is familiar with Hezbollah's internal affairs spoke on condition
of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hezbollah, said Musawi will be suspended
from taking part in parliamentarian and the group's internal meetings for one
year. He will also not be permitted to speak to the media, it said. The paper
added that Musawi's comments violated a Hezbollah policy to avoid internal
arguments with other groups.
clashes with Yemeni tribes leave 45 dead in Hajjah
between the Houthi militias and Yemeni tribes intensified on Saturday in
Hajjah, sources to Al Arabiya reported.
sources confirmed that fierce battles led to the killing of at least 45 Houthi
coalition jets targeted a gathering of militias in a school, killing and
wounding dozens and destroying a weapons store.
between the tribesmen and Houthis have been ongoing since January, sources say.
— Israeli police have arrested the head of the Islamic authority that oversees
Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem following recent protests.
Abdelazeem Salhab, a cleric appointed by neighboring Jordan, was arrested early
Sunday. Mahdi Abdelhadi, a senior member of the Islamic Waqf, confirmed the
Friday, Palestinian protesters streamed into a part of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound
that Israel had sealed off in 2003 because it was home to a heritage
organization allegedly connected with a militant Islamic group. Israeli police
accused the Waqf of attempting to change the status quo at the sensitive site
by convening in the closed area last week.
defense minister told Pentagon officials there must not be a vacuum of power
during the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, state-owned Anadolu news agency
reported on Saturday.
senior US administration official said on Friday Washington would leave about
400 US troops split between two Syrian regions, a reversal by President Donald
Trump that could pave the way for US allies to keep troops in Syria.
reminded our partners that there should be no vacuum of power in any way during
the withdrawal,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Anadolu, describing his
talks in the United States with acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
had ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops Syria in December after
saying they had defeated ISIS militants in Syria. The abrupt decision sparked
an outcry from allies and US lawmakers.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the United States and allies
operating along the Syria border that any safe zone planned for the area should
be under Ankara’s control.
said in an interview aired late on Saturday that plans by the US and European
military forces to set up a safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey should
be coordinated with Ankara, reiterating that the Turkish military should have
control over such initiatives.
there is to be a safe zone along our border then it must be under our control.
Because that is my border,” Erdogan told broadcaster CNN Turk.
warnings came as Washington revised plans for a total pull-out of troops from
Syria by saying that it will form part of the contingent of 800 to 1,500 troops
meant to police northeastern Syria in the near future.
400 US troops will remain in Syria to contribute to the safe zone and other
plans, according to a Friday statement by a US administration official, which
was seen as a reversal of promises by President Donald Trump to withdraw all
2,000 US troops from the Arab country once Washington's alleged fight against
Turkey suspects the US and allies are helping the Kurdish YPG forces operating
east of the Euphrates river to establish a permanent foothold in the region.
Ankara views the armed Kurds in northeastern Syria as an extension of its
outlawed Kurdish militants.
is important for us that the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria does not lead
to developments against the interests of our countries and Syria's political
unity and territorial integrity,” said Erdogan.
Turkish military has launched several operations to push back the Kurds from
west of the Euphrates while authorities have repeatedly warned that they would
continue the battle into the other bank of the river where the US and European
allies plan to set up the safe zone.
said Turkey’s border regions would be the first to be affected by the heavy
gunfire from Syria if the safe zone is violated.
Yemen’s army chief of staff said on Saturday that liberating the rest of the
country from the Iran-backed Houthi militia would be the beginning of a new era
in building a federal Yemen based on justice and equality.
Abdullah Al-Nakhai said the greatest victory will be in celebrating the
complete liberation of Yemen and raising the Republican flag at the foot of
Mount Maran in the capital Sanaa, Yemen news agency SABA reported.
called for a united front in the fight against the Hothis.
only enemy we have are the Houthis, and we refuse to accept peace deals. Our
aim is to achieve complete liberty,” he added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized his Egyptian
counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after the recent execution of nine people in
Egypt, saying he refused to talk to “someone like him.”
killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept,”
Erdogan said Saturday in an interview with Turkish TV channels CNN-Turk and
Kanal D, referring to the execution Wednesday of nine men sentenced for the
murder of the Egyptian prosecutor general in 2015.
course, we are going to be told that it is a decision of the judiciary, but
there, justice, elections, all that, are codswallop. There is an authoritarian
system, even totalitarian,” Erdogan added.
I am answering those who wonder why Tayyip Erdogan does not speak to El-Sisi,
because there are mediators who come here sometimes, but I will never talk to
someone like him,” he said.
between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian
military, then led by El-Sisi, in 2013 ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi,
a close ally of Erdogan.
Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt but members of the group have sought
refuge in Turkey.
who denounced Morsi’s ouster, sometimes draws a parallel with the failed coup
against himself in 2016.
Turkish president also called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners
of all, he should release all those imprisoned with a general amnesty. As long
as these people have not been released, we will not be able to talk with
El-Sisi,” he said.
also attacked Western countries which, according to him, “roll out the red
carpet” for El-Sisi and turn a blind eye to the latest executions in Egypt.
are the Westerners? Have you heard their voices?” he said.
the other hand, when it comes to people imprisoned in our country (Turkey),
they scream bloody murder.”
The Arab coalition targeted Saturday Al-Qaeda positions in the southeastern
province of Abyan in Yemen, Al Arabiya sources reported.
coalition has been carrying out raids over the past week to combat terrorist
groups, the report said.
Al-Qaeda field commander was caught during a previous operation that took place
on Jan. 7, while another operation in February found Iranian manufactured
weapons, ammunition, drugs and counterfeit money.
Boko Haram clash, NAF destroys ISWAP camp
Nigerian Army on Saturday confirmed an attack on a military outpost by
suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Geidam area of Yobe State during the presidential and National Assembly
said there was no casualty,
adding that the development did not affect
the polls in the area.
a statement, the acting Director, Army
Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, who
insisted Boko Haram did not attack Maiduguri, said a large number of voters in Geidam
“turned out to cast their votes without any hindrance”.
said, “There is no report of attack on Maiduguri or its neighbouring
gunfire was not targeted at the public but was for security calculations.”
added, “Similarly, a futile attack on a security outpost in Geidam general area
in Yobe State has been recorded. We don’t have any casualty.”
the Nigerian Air Force says the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has
destroyed an Islamic State in West
Africa Province terrorists’ camp at Zanari,
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola,
stated that air strikes were carried out following intelligence reports that the terrorists were using
the settlement as a staging area to
launch attacks against the army.
said, “A NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform conducted a surveillance over the area and observed a
considerable terrorist activities in the settlement.
therefore called for the scrambling of two Alpha Jets to attack the camp in
successive strikes resulting in the destruction of several structures as well
as the neutralisation of the ISWAP
forces arrested 41 people during angry protests that rocked Algeria’s capital
against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fifth term, authorities
fired tear gas on Friday to block a protest march on the presidential palace,
prompting demonstrators to respond with stone-throwing.
Directorate General for National Security (DGSN) said Saturday it had detained
41 people over “public disorder, vandalism, damage to property, violence and assault”.
the arrests, protests around the country were largely tolerated by authorities,
even in the capital, where demonstrations have been strictly banned since 2001.
police did not give an estimate of the number of protesters, but a security
official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP some 20,000 people had
demonstrated nationwide, around a quarter of them in Algiers.
official said 38 of the arrests were in the capital, and that no security
personnel had been wounded.
demonstrators in Algiers scaled the outside of a building and tore down a
poster bearing the portrait of Bouteflika, the country’s 81-year-old president.
daily El Watan said crowds also gathered in the city of Ouargla where
“thousands of demonstrators chanted ‘the people want the fall of the regime’,”
the slogan of the Arab Spring revolts of 2011.
had used social media to call for nationwide protests against Bouteflika after
Friday’s weekly Muslim prayers.
on Saturday played up the scope of the demonstrations in several cities as
unprecedented as well as the absence of any serious incidents.
security agents have detained a prominent newspaper editor after he made
televised comments on President Omar al-Bashir’s decision to impose a state of
emergency and dissolve the government, his brother said Saturday.
Mirghani, editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Tayar, was taken away by
security agents from his office late on Friday, Ali Mirghani told AFP.
said security agents detained his brother soon after his comments on Bashir’s
latest measures to quell weeks of protests against his three-decade-old rule.
after the president announced the emergency, my brother was speaking about it
on an Arab channel,” he said.
that he was taken away from his office. We don’t know his whereabouts until
from the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) also
confiscated the entire print run of Saturday’s edition of Al-Tayar, he said.
and security officials were unavailable for comment.
News Arabia screened an interview with Mirghani on Friday evening in which he
was asked whether Bashir’s new measures would extinguish public anger.
responded that they would instead “spark a new wave” of protests and send a
message that the public “can exert more pressure to achieve its goal of
removing this regime”.
a US-educated engineer turned journalist, has often been targeted by security
agents, who have detained him several times, confiscated copies of his newspaper
or barred its publication without giving any reason.
NISS regularly seizes entire print runs of newspapers over articles it deems
inappropriate, especially those criticizing the authorities or government’s
authorities have launched a sweeping crackdown against protests that broke out
in December, jailing protesters, opposition leaders, activists and journalists.
watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says at least 79 journalists have been
arrested since the protests erupted on December 19.
is ranked at 174 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
on Friday, Bashir declared a state of emergency across the country in an
attempt to quell the demonstrations.
also dissolved the cabinet and provincial governments of all 18 provinces.
erupted in Sudan after a government decision to triple the price of bread. They
swiftly escalated into anti-government demonstrations with protesters calling
for Bashir to resign.
say 31 people have died in protest-related violence. Human Rights Watch says at
least 51 people have been killed.
soldier killed on presidential election day
soldier was killed and 20 others wounded in a militant attack in northeastern
Nigeria, hours before the presidential election on Saturday.
sources reported they heard gunfire and more than a dozen blasts throughout
Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno state, at dawn, hours before voting booths
Haram terrorists attempted to enter the city but were intercepted," a
security source said, adding, "One soldier was killed and 20 were injured."
to the security source, there were other explosions at Maimalari barracks but
there was no casualty.
resorted to firing RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) on the city," the
Haram terrorists Saturday prevented the Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam,
from voting, Channels TV has reported.
situation followed reports of attacks on two communities in the early hours of
first attack occurred in Gaidam town early in the day, which has already been
brought under control and voting is now underway there.
report said the security agencies would seek to reinforce and increase security
around the governor for him to travel to cast his vote.
increased security around the governor will mean that vital security resources
that are needed elsewhere in the state would have to be diverted and allocated
to the governor.
of Nigerians are today voting to elect a president that will lead West Africa’s
most populous country for another four years.
voters will also elect 468 members of the National Assembly: the Senate and the
House of Representatives.
total of 73 presidential candidates are participating in today’s election.
ambassador for religious freedom visits Pakistan
United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam
Brownback visited Islamabad to discuss how the United States and Pakistan can
work together to advance religious freedom and promote interfaith dialogue and
respect both in Pakistan and internationally.
Brownback during his two-day visit from 22 and February 23 met with Foreign
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith
Harmony Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, and Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen
these meetings, Ambassador Brownback emphasized the importance the United
States places on religious freedom, the protection of religious minorities, and
Brownback discussed ways the United States could partner with Pakistan in
promoting international religious freedom and inter-faith dialogue, seeking
opportunities to protect persecuted Muslims, Christians, and people of other
faiths in South and Central Asia and throughout the world.
Brownback also met religious and civil society leaders, including a visit to
the Eidgah Shrine in Rawalpindi where he met with Pir Muhammad Naqib-ur-Rehman,
Custodian of Eidgah Sharif.
highlighted the United States’ respect for Islam and Pakistan’s religious
diversity and commitment to continue to engage with faith leaders in Pakistan
and throughout the world.
US military intervention in Syria to fight the Daesh terrorist group was a
cover for removing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, an American
analyst in Virginia says.
way that the United States got involved in Syria was simply by sending troops
to Syria ostensibly under the guise of fighting the Daesh, or ISIS as they’re
called here,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
reality the objective was to undermine the regime of President Assad,” Preston
told Press TV on Tuesday.
Americans were not trying to defeat the Daesh per say; they may have been
interested in controlling the spread of the Daesh to certain regions; for
example they didn’t want the Daesh to spread to Israel or to states that were
aligned with the United States,” he added.
US general in charge of special operations forces has cautioned against talk of
"winning" against the Daesh terrorist group in Syria, contradicting
President Donald Trump’s claim that the group had been defeated.
Raymond Thomas, who heads US Special Operations Command, made the comments
earlier this month during a US Senate hearing after lawmakers asked him what
winning in Syria would look like.
be hesitant to use the term winning, as opposed to the objective," Thomas
told the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.
declared victory over Daesh in December, saying the US had "beaten them
badly" and "won". He also announced he would withdraw the 2,000
or so American troops -- most of them special forces commandos -- from Syria.
Trump's announcement, US officials have rejected the idea of a clear victory
over Daesh, stressing the group will remain indefinitely as an insurgency after
they have lost control of the area they once claimed.
announcement resulted in the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis,
Washington’s anti-Daesh coalition envoy Brett McGurk and Pentagon chief of
staff Rear Admiral Kevin Sweeney, who disapproved of the president's decision.
US deployed troops and equipment to Syria in 2014 as part of a Washington-led
coalition purportedly fighting Daesh without authorization from the Damascus
terror group is widely reported to be financed by Saudi Arabia and partially
trained and protected by American forces in Syria to support the terror
campaign against the Syrian government and ordinary citizens.
couple hundred American troops will remain in Syria after the U.S. pullout as
part of a multinational force to establish a safe zone in the region, the
Pentagon said Friday.
forces numbering a couple hundred will remain in northeast Syria as part of a
multinational force," Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson said.
zone is the terminology," he said.
said the U.S. is looking at the "safe zone along the Turkish border".
multinational observing and monitoring force will be made up primarily of NATO
allies, who along with U.S. forces will maintain stability and prevent an ISIS
resurgence in Syria," Robertson added, using another term for Daesh.
defense official who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity said
Turkish and SDF forces would not be involved in the planned safe zone.
Thursday, the White House said 200 troops will remain in Syria as part of a
peacekeeping effort. However, a report published by The Washington Post said
400 troops will remain, with 200 in northeast Syria and another 200 at the
al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria.
U.S. will maintain a presence at the al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria,"
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrived in Washington on Friday together with
Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler to discuss Syria and other issues with their
by Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Akar was welcomed with a
ceremony that included a military band and three cannons that fired off
artillery rounds in honor of his arrival.
two then entered the Pentagon, where they prepared for a meeting.
wanted to do something special, so we brought out the cannons with [Joint
Chiefs of Staff] Chairman [Gen. Joseph] Dunford’s permission,” Shanahan said to
highlighted the importance of the meeting, saying he wants to work with Ankara
to find solutions to the problems in Syria and was looking forward to making
visit is important not only for bilateral relations, but also for security and
stability in the region,” said Akar, who thanked Shanahan for his invitation.
also took the opportunity to discuss the terrorist organizations that Turkey is
would like to underline the difference between the YPG, PYD, PKK type terrorist
organizations,” he said.
have never had any problem with Kurds or other ethnicities in Turkey or outside
Turkey in Syria. But there will be fighting against terrorist organizations.”
and Shanahan discussed cooperation in defense fields, operations against Daesh
in Syria, and Turkey’s concerns over U.S. support for the YPG/PYD in Syria.
underscored the need for cooperation between the two countries to maintain
Syria’s political and territorial integrity as well as Turkey’s determination
to fight against terrorist organizations, including the PKK, YPG, PYD, Daesh
two leaders highlighted the rooted strategical partnership between the two
countries and NATO alliance especially in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq. They
said they would also discuss Turkey’s S-400 missile defense system deal with
is planning to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. pending
congressional approval. Thirty fighter jets have already been approved for
hails progress in fight against jihadists in Sahel
The fight against jihadists in Africa's Sahel region is "achieving results",
France's prime minister said in Mali on Saturday, two days after French forces
killed a top extremist leader.
anti-terrorist struggle in the Sahel requires determination, endurance and
humility. We are faced with a hard fight," Edouard Philippe told reporters.
prime minister arrived on late Friday in the capital Bamako along with Defence
minister Florence Parly, on a visit to show "support" for Mali, where
some 4,500 French troops have been deployed since 2014 to retake the north of
the country after it fell to jihadist fighters.
see that we are achieving results, we disrupt networks, I have no doubt that
this presence has an impact", he said. The French military "will
remain as long as is necessary".
he declined to comment in detail on the death in Mali on Thursday of Djamel
Okacha, an Algerian commander for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
government said Friday that French armed forces killed Okacha in an air and
ground ambush on a column of vehicles he was travelling in north of Timbuktu.
death ended a years-long hunt for a man accused of masterminding the kidnapping
of Westerners in the Sahel region.
a jihadist veteran known also as Yahya Abou El Hamame, was believed to be
second in command of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), also known
as Nusrat al-Islam.
group was formed by the merger of Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front,
Al-Mourabitoun and El Hamame's Sahel branch of AQIM.
addition to French troops in Mali, around 15,000 peacekeepers have been
deployed in the country as part of the United Nations stabilisation mission
known as MINUSMA.
followed the signing of a peace accord in 2015 between the Bamako government
and armed groups. But jihadist groups have continued operating in Mali and
by France, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have formed the
so-called G5 Sahel group to fight the jihadists.
his two-day visit Philippe is to hold talks with his Malian counterpart
Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita.
is to sign development accords with Mali worth €85 million ($96 million),
including 50 million in loans and 35 million in grants via the French
head of Britain's foreign spy agency MI6 has reportedly made a secret visit to
Tel Aviv and exchanged views with Israeli intelligence officials on Iran's
Channel 13 news reported on Friday that MI6 chief Alex Younger traveled to
Israel on Monday and met with Mossad head Yossi Cohen and other Israeli
TV report claimed that Iran has recently renewed its production of centrifuges,
“and is gearing up for the renewal of uranium enrichment” within the provisions
of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of
the report further claimed, is currently “preparing the infrastructure"
for nuclear activity “in an accelerated fashion.”
report came hours after the UN nuclear agency confirmed that the Islamic
Republic is continuing to comply with the JCPOA.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a confidential quarterly
report that Iran remained within caps on the level to which it can enrich
uranium and its stock of enriched uranium in accordance with the nuclear
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on several occasions drawn international
ridicule for his allegations about Iran’s “secret” nuclear activities.
September 2018, Netanyahu went to the UN to show pictures of an alleged Iranian
nuclear weapons storage site, which turned out to be a carpet cleaning factory,
with the IAEA ignoring the claim.
year, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA and unleashed the
“toughest ever” sanctions against Iran.
then, Washington has been trying to coerce the Europeans into following its
lead and withdrawing from the nuclear accord with Iran.
Mishoyan says the two times she escaped death in Syria were a “miracle”.
Aleppo teacher was taking her sons, Rupen and Sevak, to school when a bomb fell
on the street. The second time, a gunshot whizzed past her ear, so close that
she could hear the sound of the bullet.
was only then, three years into Syria’s civil war, that she and her family –
packing only their clothes – made the 1,400-kilometre journey to Armenia. They
joined the exodus of an estimated 22,000 Syrian Armenians who fled to their
ancestral homeland as Syria’s society unravelled.
many of the thousands of Syrian Armenians still in Yerevan, Mrs Mishoyan
thought the move would be temporary. “We were [in Syria] and we are waiting,
thinking: ‘It will finish, it will finish, it will finish,’” she tells The
National speaking from a library in downtown Yerevan. But four years later it
Mishoyan and her family are part of a community shaped by displacement. Many
Armenians in Syria, neighbouring Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries are
the descendants of those expelled from modern-day Turkey by the crumbling
traumatic legacy shaped many Syrian Armenians’ attitude to the country’s civil
war. The community – like other minorities – was afraid of hardline Islamists
among the anti-Assad rebels’ ranks and largely put its faith in Syria’s
Mishoyan also had to adjust from being part of a community renowned for its
business acumen to struggling to get by in post-Soviet Armenia. In the
landlocked republic of about 3 million people, the World Bank says the average
per capita income is just $4,000 (Dh14,700) a year.
making a new life in Armenia working at a linguistics institute and researching
a PhD, Mrs Mishoyan says she has no plans to return to Aleppo, even as her sons
forget their Arabic and pundits claim the war is winding down. Despite
describing Syria with the Armenian word “hayrenik” or homeland, she says: “It
is not easy to build and rebuild, build and rebuild. We have no ambition to go
to another place”.
the dangers, her parents – father Hrant and mother Lena, both in their 70s –
returned to Aleppo late last year. Like many of the older Syrian Armenians who
fled, they struggled to adjust and build new lives, even in the relative safety
of Armenia. Their memories of a time when Arabic-speaking Christian Armenians
lived as part of the community in Syria proved too strong.
are memories are also shared by younger Syrian Armenians. In a smoky Syrian
Armenian-owned cafe in downtown Yerevan, 25-year-old Meghurdij Dono recalls
growing up in Aleppo.
loved it so much. You never felt if someone was with another nation or another
religion ... Everyone helped each other and supported each other,” he says.
But, like Mrs Mishoyan, the economics graduate eventually fled as the fighting
got worse. Again, he thought it would be a short break until the violence
sister, who was living in Cyprus, saw a Facebook video of gunfire in Mr Dono’s
neighbourhood and bought him a ticket to Armenia. They all thought it would be
for two or three months but six years later, Mr Dono is still in Yerevan.
other Syrians who fled to Europe, many in the Syrian Armenian community either
already had Armenian citizenship or were able to take residency once in the
country due to their ancestry. But the feeling that the move would be temporary
meant many of the arrivals didn’t plan for remaining long term, exhausting
their savings and struggling to adapt to their new reality.
lack of housing for the new arrivals was a serious issue, and many neglected to
transfer their savings or property from Syria at first. Jobs which had
sustained them in Syria – such as producing gold and silver jewellery – were
not suited for Armenia’s ailing economy.
they weren't prepared,” Mr Dono says. “Seventy per cent who came to Armenia,
they weren't prepared.”
to Sophie Nersisyan, a project manager with the Mission Armenia NGO in Yerevan,
although Syrian Armenians had some advantages over other groups displaced by
the war – such as the right to stay in Armenia, knowing the local language and
having a network of community ties – many struggled to find new homes and now
face the same low wages, high unemployment and a lack of housing endured by
some cases, even supposed advantages – the right to take Armenian citizenship –
came with a caveat. Just as many displaced Syrian men of fighting age do not
want to return for fear that they will be drafted into the army, Armenian
citizens have to register with the military at a time when the country is still
locked into a long-simmering and sometimes bloody stand-off with Azerbaijan
over the Nagorno Karabakh region.
“is the only thing in Armenia that works perfectly”, says Anahit Hayrapetyan, a
representative for the United Nations refugee agency in Armenia. “They will
never opt for the Armenian passport because they will immediately be drafted to
the army and that vulnerable age is from 18.”
is safe, but the country – the third-largest recipient of Syrian refugees per
capita in Europe – has gone through political turmoil. A street revolution led
by former journalist Nikol Pashinyan swept the government of former ruler Serzh
Sargsyan from power last year. Armenians, fed up with years of autocracy and
corruption in the Caucasus’s poorest country, are optimistic that Mr Pashinyan
– now the prime minister – offers a fresh start.
Syrian Armenians are anxious about the changes that are coming. Other arrivals,
like Mrs Mishoyan, enthusiastically took part in the street protests to remove
future is one thing, but the past is another. Just as the Ottoman legacy crops
up again and again in conversation with Syrian Armenians, many local Armenians
came to Yerevan after being driven from their homes in bitter fighting with
neighbouring Azerbaijan after the Soviet Union fell apart. This collective
memory of displacement and violence runs deep.
guess every Armenian has got that in their DNA,” Mr Dono says.
a time when Christian communities in parts of the Middle East face violence or
intimidation, the dispersal of Syria’s Armenians is another blow to the
have lived in the UAE for decades, their numbers swelling with those fleeing
Lebanon’s civil war and the Iranian revolution. More than half of the Armenian
community here has roots in Syria.
of them is Sharjah resident Hrach Kalsahakian, whose father was from a historic
Armenian community in Latakia. He says many Syrian Armenians still put their
faith in the Syrian government and are optimistic about going back some day.
But he is also clear about how the conflict has taken its toll on his
lot of industrial areas of Aleppo were destroyed and looted. So everybody lost
a lot of things,” he says. “The Armenians had, let us say, 40 churches; some of
them were destroyed completely, even the famous Armenian Genocide Museum and
centre in the city of Deir Ezzor.”
Syrian Armenians in the UAE took in family fleeing the conflict, but the pain
of displacement makes life a struggle, particularly for older people. “When you
are old, this kind of thing makes you become depressed and very unhappy,” Mr
Kalsahakian says. “So some of them died, even here, out of depression,
probably, out of being uprooted.”
diaspora links remain strong – Armenian President Armen Sarkissian visited the
community in Abu Dhabi last month – and the Armenian presence in Syria,
although under threat, persists.
and European leaders began to gather on Saturday in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of
Sharm El Sheikh for an unprecedented European-Arab summit, a two-day, 50-nation
meeting that could potentially prove long in symbolism but short on concrete
two regions – represented by the European Union and the Arab League – are bound
by close ties dating back to ancient times but their Sunday-Monday meeting
comes at a time when both are plagued by internal differences over a range of
Arabia's King Salman was among the leaders who arrived on Saturday. Yemen’s
President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi is also expected. On the EU side, Germany’s
Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
have confirmed their attendance at the talks.
meeting’s agenda covers a wide range of topics, from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
and the war in Yemen to illegal migration, counterterrorism, investment and
energy. The diversity and sheer number of topics underline the significance of
the gathering as a mostly symbolic, albeit important, event.
purpose of the summit is not to issue resolutions, but rather conducting a
transparent and candid dialogue on mutual challenges and the possible fields in
which the two sides can cooperate,” Amr Ramadan, Egypt’s assistant foreign
minister for European affairs, said in comments published Saturday.
summit is the fruition of a series of ministerial-level meetings dating back to
2008. Foreign ministers from the two blocs have met five times since, with the
last meeting earlier this month held in Brussels to prepare for the summit.
of the meeting’s final communique leaked to regional media outlets lays bare
its symbolic character.
phrased in diplomatic language apparently designed to head off objections by
participants, the draft outlines in broad terms the principal positions of the
two blocs on thorny issues such as Syria and Yemen, both torn by civil war, the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. The draft communique includes a proposal that the two blocs hold a
summit every three years, with the next one in Brussels in 2022.
meeting represents an awakening in the European approach to the Arab region,
but it lacks a clear strategy,” said Mohammed Anis Salem, a senior member of
the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations, an independent group, and a retired
career UN diplomat. He pointed out the weakness of the Cairo-based Arab League,
the region’s primary grouping which has long been reduced to a little more than
a talking shop, and the differences within the EU over pressing domestic issues
such as illegal migration.
is a top domestic issue for EU member states, but also the source of friction
over what strategy is best to deal with it,” said Mr Salem, citing Hungary’s
opposition to an EU-wide quota system for absorbing migrants. “And you also
have France and Italy having a public diplomatic spat about what to do about
Libya”, with the energy-rich North African nation ruled by two competing
administrations backed by rival militias and a haven for militants.
22-member Arab League is not faring much better. An average of a half dozen
Arab heads of state normally stay away from the group’s annual summit. The
organisation is also weakened by rivalries or policy differences between its
contrast, the summit presents a significant diplomatic triumph for Egyptian
President Abdel Fatah El Sisi. The general-turned-president has cultivated deep
ties with Europe since taking office in 2014 through his seemingly tireless
travels there and a series of mega trade deals, whether to buy advanced weapon
systems, mostly from France and Germany, or give out energy contracts to the
Italians and the Germans.
what has endeared Mr El Sisi the most to the EU is his successful drive to
staunch the stream of illegal migrants leaving Egypt’s Mediterranean shores for
southern Europe and as his government’s costly efforts to fight Islamic
militants at home and in neighbouring Libya, which the president says has
become a magnet for extremists leaving Iraq and Syria.
the UK grapples over what to do with returning foreign fighters who joined
ISIS, a second national has come forward saying he wants to return home as he
misses his mother, English TV and pastry based snacks.
by British media as "Jihadi Jack," the 23-year old Jack Letts was
interviewed by the UK’s ITV news from Syria where he has been held for the last
miss people mostly, I miss my mum. Five years I haven’t seen my mum, two years
I haven’t spoken to my mum. I miss pasties. And Doctor Who,” he said of the
long-running British sci-fi series.
described living on “the Oxford Street of Raqqa” during his time in Syria and
said that while he had initially been pleased when he heard Paris terror
attacks in 2015 as he saw it as retaliation for coalition strikes on ISIS
territory he added that he had come to realise those killed “had nothing to do
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