A still image taken from a video posted to a
social media website by the Islamic State-affiliated Amaq News Agency on March
26, 2017, shows men, said to be Islamic State fighters, firing their weapons,
said to be in Western Mosul, Iraq. Social Media Website via Reuters TV
to SC: Declaring Triple Talaq Illegal Akin To Rewriting Quran
Extremism, Discrimination Anti-Human Ideologies: Speakers
Won’t Sit Quietly After Israeli Murder of Fuqaha: Meshaal
Motion Shows World What Canadians Stand For
Court Asks Centre, J&K to Sit and Decide Muslim Minority Status
Ban Represents US' Darkest Era: Indian-American Philanthropist
Assembly Session of Telangana to Clear Muslim Bill
Muslim Who Became Adityanath's Gurubhai
Encounter underway between security forces and terrorists in Budgam
arrests seven Hizbul men tasked to disrupt bypolls in Kashmir
Led Alliance to Boost Muslim Unity: Nasser
Jew in Pakistan' Allowed To Profess His Religion
underway to ensure Christians are counted accurately’
terrorists linked with Daesh arrested in Sialkot
Network neither Pakistan's friend nor proxy: Aizaz
returning to country as terrorists’ backbone broken
on schools are destroying the education system’
vows to continue fight against terrorism and sectarian violence
seeks reply in Hafiz Saeed’s detention case
Jets Bomb North-western Yemen with Banned Munitions
State releases video threatening Iran
president refuses to pardon jailed former PM
weighing deeper involvement in Yemen war
ties positive for regional, global stability, security: Rouhani
dismisses Bahraini 'lies' against Tehran
children paying ‘heaviest price’ as Saudi war turns 2: UNICEF
PM thanks Trump administration for supporting Tel Aviv regime
Brits Take Down US Alt-Right Host over 'Muslim Queen'
Steak Houses Courting Muslim Diners with Halal Options
backs off Muslim Brotherhood’s designation as terrorist organization
gets terror charge over black man's murder
Say 'No Evidence' British Attacker Had Ties to Islamic State Group, Al-Qaida
Converts Revitalize Europe’s Fading Christian Churches
the eve of Brexit, Qatar pledges over $6 billion in investment in Britain
FM calls for UNSC briefing over deadly US airstrike on Mosul
a Russian storm over Trump's struggling presidency
Insurgent Admits Beheading Of Civilians After Joining Peace
Commando Shootout Kills Four Militants
has no objection to Pak-Afghan border fencing
militancy: Turkey wants to work with Bangladesh
raised about defence deal with India
car bombing plot foiled by Afghan forces in Wardak
confirms arrest of senior Afghan army general over corruption
Bill To End Unilateral Child Conversion Void, Against Islam
Agrees To Advise Muslim NGO, Says ‘Anything For Islam’
body accuses Jokowi of promoting secularism
risks, spiked by extremism, rise in Indonesia
Muslims in Netherlands to get Mosque
or not: The times Malaysians jumped the gun and sparked a food war
Factories, Village Command Posts: ISIS Rural Fight
Fighters Battle IS Around Syria Town
forces launch renewed attack on Mosul's Old City
Over 250 Gunmen Leave Key District in Homs City
ISIL Military Vehicles Sustain Major Damage in Syrian Army Attacks
Army Continues to March on ISIL Positions in Eastern Aleppo
Syrian Army Restores Security to Strategic Road to Homs
Armed Forces Intensify Attacks on ISIL's Positions near Deir Ezzur City
Soldiers Fend off Terrorists' Heavy Attack in Dara'a
opposition demands Assad’s immediate exit from power
forces launch renewed attack on Mosul’s Old City
Troops Kill 31 Shabab Militants in Somalia's Jubbaland
Haram Kills Three Civilians in NE Nigeria For Collaborating With Military
Students from Africa Disturbed by New US Visa Rule
Journalist Testifies He Is Not a Boko Haram Accomplice
President Al-Bashir Affirms Importance for Islamic and Arab Unity to Overcome
and South Africa sign memorandum-of-understanding for defence cooperation
by New Age Islam News Bureau
to SC: Declaring triple talaq illegal akin to rewriting Quran
DELHI: Taking a hardline religious stand, the All India Muslim Personal Law
Board (AIMPLB ) told the Supreme Court on Monday that if triple talaq mode of
divorce was declared illegal, it would amount to disregarding Allah's
directions and rewriting of the Holy Quran to force Muslims into committing
that personal law provisions enjoyed sanctity under the Constitution's Article
25 (right to profess and practice a religion of choice), the AIMPLB said,
"If such casual denunciation of the verses of the holy book is permitted,
then soon Islam would cease to exist. Though triple talaq in one sitting is an
unusual mode of divorce in Islam, it cannot be declared to be invalid in the
light of the direct verses of Holy Quran and categorical command of the
Messenger of Allah."
that triple talaq was mandated by the Holy Quran, AIMPLB in its written
submission three days before the final hearing on the matter, said the holy
book ordained that "once three pronouncements of talaq are made, the wife
becomes unlawful or 'haram' to her former husband, unless the process of
'halala' takes place in its natural course". "The pronouncement of
the third talaq and its irrevocability is explicitly given in Quran. In such
circumstances, it is forbidden for the former husband to take the wife back in
marriage again, unless she marries another person of her choice and such
marriage comes to an end owing to death or by divorce... The objective is to
enable a divorcee woman to remarry out of her own free will and choice,"
the AIMPLB said through advocate Ejaz Maqbool.
the SC that it had no power to scrutinise the legality of personal law
provisions, the board said, "Any deviation from such Quranic injunction
(validity of triple talaq) would go against the mandate of the Almighty himself
and such an act would be going against the very integral practice of Islam and
would be disregarding the precise directions of Allah and also his Messenger,
which is nothing but a sin and as per the Holy Quran, such an action would show
that the believer has strayed away from the religion in manifest error.
as ordained by the Holy Quran, all Muslims are bound to accept the command of
the Messenger and are bound to avoid whatever the Messenger forbids and when
the Prophet has categorically directed separation of parties after triple talaq
in one go and has ruled that if the former husband takes the woman back into
marriage, he will be committing a sin, then no believer has a choice to take
the woman back into marriage after pronouncing triple talaq and such an act is
nothing but a sin."
of serious consequences of disobeying the Quran, the AIMPLB said, "The
consequences of committing such a sin would be far more adverse as children
born out of such relationship would be illegitimate and their rights of
inheritance in their putative father's estate would be questionable."
view of this, if the Supreme Court holds that triple talaq in one sitting is
not a valid form of effecting divorce, then that would amount to rewriting of
the Holy Quran itself, which is nothing but the ipissima verba (the precise
words) of the Almighty himself and is the entire genesis of Islam. Such an
alteration of the specific verses of the Holy Quran would actually amount to
altering the very essence of the religion of Islam."
extremism, discrimination anti-human ideologies: Speakers
- The concept of living together is very
important for human race to exist peacefully on the earth and extremism,
hatred, and discrimination on the basis of religion are anti-human ideologies.
were the remarks given by scholars, academicians and diplomats associated with
US-Pakistan Interreligious Consortium (UPIC) during a three-day conference on
the theme of ‘Building Bridges: Discovering the Foundations for Interreligious
Harmony, hosted by University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore.
speakers further said that responsible citizens are now looking into ways and
means to interact with one another for finding meaning in human life and
securing the future of humanity. Religion is a source, which connects human
beings and brings them together under the sunshade of humanity. The current
extremist rhetoric pronounced by the US leadership and the circumstances
followed by Brexit are predicting a bleak and uncertain future. Extremism,
hatred, and discrimination on the basis of religion are anti-human ideologies.
Extremists are interpreting religion in their own way and they are deceiving
the world. Islamphobia is a rising issue in the western world and the political
leadership needs to ponder over it finding new solution. Similarly, xenophobia,
which is fear and hatred of foreigners in the western world, is hindering peace
post 9/11 scenario changed the course of history causing disastrous
consequences and now the leaders must come out with an alternative strategy to
promote peace and harmony. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of love who
guaranteed the rights of followers of Christianity and Judaism. The Pact of
Madina introduced by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the first ever charter of
humanity granting recognition to human rights. It is time to eradicate all
anti-human ideologies especially the one, which is taking its roots from
religion. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are Abrahamic religions that could
save the drowning boat of the humanity and convince their followers to
understand one another, and live peacefully. Think-tanks, scholars and the
political leadership of Pakistan and the United States need to make collective
endeavors to end tensions escalated out of political fissures.
interpretation of Islam must not be allowed.
said that despite improvements in security and economy in Pakistan, tensions
continue to grow between the governments of Pakistan and the United States,
which is not good for the people longing for an egalitarian society.
Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States, Britain, France, Australia
and other Western countries. They said that violence against minorities in
Pakistan is hinting at uncertain future. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism need
to find similarities rather than difference. Their followers should be
convinced at the intersection of faith and reconciliation so that all sorts of
stereotypes are wiped out paving way for real democracy and goodwill.
said that indigenous society in the United States is the beauty of American
society, which must set an example for rest of the world to follow.
the conference, US Council General Mr Yuriy Fedkiw said that the US government
believed in interfaith dialogue to take place among the followers of all
faiths. He said extremist narrative was putting the future in danger.
his views, Mr. Robert Chase, the founding Director Intersections International
welcomed the participants and said that US-Pakistan Interreligious Consortium
was connecting people bringing them closer to each other.
notable Muslim scholar, Imam Malik Mujahid said that interfaith movement should
address all social, cultural and political issues.
the occasion, Rector UMT, Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad said that US-Pakistan
Interreligious Consortium was promoting dialogue between Islam, Christianity
and Judaism. He said Islam is the religion of peace and the religion of
humanity. He said UMT was committed to learn and do research on the interfaith
as it was useful for the faculty as well as students. “Faith helped us in finding
meaning in our beings that where we came from and where we are to return. Faith
brought accountability and excellence to us”.
Chase said, “We are bringing people together; build relationship between the
Minister for Higher Education Mr. Syed Raza Ali said that no faith allowed
hatred, intolerance and malice against followers of other religions. He said
the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed the rights of minorities and no one
could deprive any individual of these rights on the basis of religion.
Hans Kochler said that interfaith harmony faced many challenges that needed to
be addressed by adopting a realistic approach. He said extremists interpreted
the religion in their own way and they were ignorant and thus deceiving others.
He put forward the suggestion that the only way to coexist peacefully was
possible if people give up arrogant behavior.
diplomat Shamshad Ahmad said Pakistan had played a key role in engaging
composite dialogue, which was a way forward to reject extremist narrative. He
said there was misconception in the world that Muslims were extremists and that
perception needed to be changed. He said Muslims had been subject to regime
change where they had been deprived of welfare and freedom. He said for Pakistan
terrorism was the biggest challenge, which Pakistan was eradicating. He said
Pakistan had paid a heavy price that no any country had done. He said Pakistan
had survived crisis. “The day we were born, we have been experiencing the
threat of survival,” he concluded.
won’t sit quietly after Israeli murder of Fuqaha: Meshaal
lost a top member to what it denounces as another targeted killing by Israel,
the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas vows it will not “sit quietly” in the
face of the “new challenge” thrown down by the regime.
leader Khaled Meshaal was reacting to the assassination of the Gaza-based
movement’s senior commander Mazen Fuqaha in a speech broadcast from Qatar on
killing Fuqaha, the enemy told us: ‘I’ve scored a point against you and I can
take away one of your heroes even in the heart of Gaza’,” Meshaal said.
military and political leadership of Hamas is ready to meet the occupier’s
challenge… The Zionist occupier took from us a great hero and for this we will
not sit quietly,” he added.
who used to direct some of the Palestinian resistance movement’s activities in
the Israel-occupied West Bank, was shot dead by assailants at the entrance of
his home in Gaza City on Friday night with four bullets to the head.
a statement issued following the murder, Hamas blamed Israel and its
“collaborators” for the “despicable crime.”
further said by choosing to stage the attack within the Palestinian territory
run by Hamas, Tel Aviv had “decided to change the rules of the game.”
will is stronger than their weapons and we will defeat them in the end,” said
the Hamas’ leader. “It’s a new blood debt that adds itself to all those
38, had been in Israeli jail since 2003 before he was released nine years later
as part of a prisoner swap between Hamas and Tel Aviv.
has assassinated many Hamas figures, including the group’s leaders, officials
Aviv has launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which
began in early July 2014. The Israeli military aggression, which ended on
August 26 the same year, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others
were also wounded in the war.
world is watching, Canada.
global circumstances, Canada has been uniquely placed to capture the world's
attention and admiration. While Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and
the United States grapple with a political climate that has become more hostile
to Islam, Canada has had the opportunity to affirm itself as a beacon of
inclusivity and diversity. Canada has been positioned to send a symbolic
message not only to its global allies, but more importantly, to the thousands
of Muslim-Canadian families at home.
has not been immune from the cultural fanaticism transpiring across the world
and the United States. Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada have significantly
increased yearly. Fourteen Muslims were shot by a Canadian while peacefully
praying in a mosque in Quebec City. A group of Canadians protested outside a
mosque, holding signs saying "Muslims are terrorists," while Muslims
were praying inside. Just the other week, Concordia University and McGill
University received a bomb threat citing specifically the presence of Muslims
on campus as motivation. This is on top of the mosques that have been
vandalized and individuals subjugated based on how they look or what they
is not to reduce the prevalence of many other hate crimes against Jews,
Christians, Hindus and people of all faith. However, it is calling on the
Canadian government to address and act as a leader on a particularly salient
issue in the global political climate.
the House's recently passed motion condemning Islamophobia, was a necessary
have continued to argue that because the motion specifically mentions
Islamophobia, it inherently preferences Islam over other religions. In fact,
however, the government has passed motions like this historically: the House
(indeed, under Conservative leadership) has denounced hatred against other
groups, including Jews, Yazidis and Egyptian Coptic Christians in the past.
Further, the motion itself explicitly "condemn[s] Islamophobia and all
forms of systemic racism and religion discrimination" (emphasis added).
Therefore, it is not even exclusive to Muslims, but includes other forms of
discrimination as well.
have also argued that M-103 impedes on free speech because criticism of Islam
or Shariah law could be construed as Islamophobia. M-103 is a non-binding
motion; therefore, it does not have the force of law like a bill. Canada has a
unique history of being able to balance the protection of freedom of speech
while criminalizing hate speech. M-103 is completely consistent with the
Canadian legal tradition.
critics have pointed to the fact that, according to a survey published by the
Angus Reid Institute last week, only one in 10 (12 per cent) Canadians believe
that this motion will have a tangible impact on how Canadians view the Muslim
community. This argument fundamentally misses the point.
or not this motion has a tangible impact on the Muslim community is not the
issue; the importance of M-103 is rooted in the symbolic message attached to
it. The very fact that this motion has been subject to public outcry,
nationwide protests, and was opposed by 91 members of Parliament has sent a
signal to Muslim communities in Canada and elsewhere that perhaps Canada is not
as welcoming and inclusive as its citizens believe.
a world where Muslims are facing heightened criticism and violence, simply
based on their belief system, Canada has sent a powerful message that
reverberates across all factions: Canada stands with Muslims. This is what
M-103 accomplishes. And this is the kind of religious tolerance and
inclusiveness that make Canada a model for diversity around the world.
Court asks Centre, J&K to sit and decide Muslim minority status
DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir
government to "sit together" and decide contentious issues including
the question whether Muslims can be treated as minority in the state.
bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K
Kaul asked both the governments to resolve the issue and submit a report to it
within four weeks.
is a very very important issue. You both sit together and take a stand on
it," the bench said.
month, the apex court had imposed a cost of Rs 30,000 on it for not filing its
reply to a PIL alleging that minority benefits are being enjoyed by majority
Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.
had accorded a last opportunity to the Centre to file its reply, saying the
matter is very important.
court had, however, allowed the counsel for the Centre to file the response
after depositing the cost and had also noted that a fine of Rs 15,000 was also
imposed last time also for the same reason.
the court had issued notice to the Centre, the state government and the
National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based
advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being
taken away by Muslims, who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir.
plea also alleged that rights of religious and linguistic 'minorities' in the
state were being "siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily" due to extension
of benefits to "unqualified sections" of the population.
has been settled that the identification of minority communities has to be
decided as per the population data of the state in question, Sharma had said.
apex court, however, had refused to restrain authorities from disbursing
benefits to any community in the state.
PIL has also sought the setting up of State Minority Commission for
identification of minorities.
population of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir according to the 2011 Census is
68.31 per cent. Communities which are eligible to be notified as minorities,
were not awarded their due share of scholarship owing to their
non-identification as minorities, thereby jeopardising their constitutionally
guaranteed rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution of India.
clearly reflects the unfairness and discrimination of the State towards the
communities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which are eligible to be notified
as minorities," the petition alleged.
ban represents US' darkest era: Indian-American philanthropist
DELHI: As a teenager when Fakhrul Islam, now Frank F. Islam, crossed the
Atlantic in 1970 to realise his American dream, the "shining city upon a
hill" opened all its doors for him, helping him become one of the
mostcelebrated IndianAmerican businessmen in the US.
today Islam, 53, fears that the country may be heading to its
"darkest" era with President Donald Trump's alleged discriminatory
ban on immigrants and travellers from six Muslimmajority countries to protect
the US from terrorist attacks.
man from Azamgarh the Uttar Pradesh district with a large Muslim population
that had once earned the the disreputable moniker of "Aatankgarh",
the hub of terror in India still feels that America continues to be an
inclusive society despite President Trump's efforts to stop immigrants from
entering the US.
ban was a wrong, shameful and unconstitutional move. This is not who we are.
These are not the values of America. And this kind of ban represents (the)
darkest and ugliest past of America. We don't want to go back to that past. We
have entered into a dark chapter of America," Islam told in a wideranging
interview during a recent visit to India.
said Trump has to realise that "35 per cent of the business in America,
especially in the Silicon Valley, is from immigrants" who not only create
wealth and also generate jobs for others. "I still look at the brighter
horizon. I have the sense of optimism and hope. We have to make sure that we
can still create hopes, inspirations, and dreams in people, not anxiety, anger,
and fear," the businessmanturnedphilanthropist said, quoting English
Puritan lawyer John Winthrop, who described the America he imagined as a
"shining city upon a hill" when he founded the Massachusetts Bay
Colony in New England.
the efforts of Trump, "who doesn't represent what America stands
for", Islam said India needed to
learn from the US how to give "opportunity to all to succeed".
are lots of tools and mechanisms available in America for entrepreneurs to
succeed, realise their dreams. That is something India needs to (do) and
incubate the new generation of entrepreneurs," he said, speaking about
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Start Up India,
Up India" scheme to boost entrepreneurship and encourage startups with
is an inspiring ragstoriches story. A son of a peasant family, he got his
education at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) before he moved to the US where he
built a multimillion dollar IT empire. But he has not forgotten his
always wanted to be an entrepreneur, a business owner. Entrepreneurs are made
not born. Look at me, my own personal journey of humble beginning, from humble
roots in Azamgarh, I became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the US.
started my own business, the QSS Group, in 1994. I was able to build the group
from one employee to 3,000 employees with revenue of $300 million in 12
years," said Islam, who serves on a number boards and advisory councils,
including the John F. Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, the US Institute of
Peace, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Brookings Institution.
also serves on various boards at more than half a dozen universities including
Johns Hopkins, University, American University, and George Mason University.
sold his business in 2007 for $700 million to start with his American wife The
Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation that provides targeted financial
assistance to civic, educational and artistic causes and groups.
In a political masterstroke to derive the maximum mileage out of granting
reservations to Muslims, the TRS government on Monday decided to hold a special
session of the assembly in order to pass the proposed quota bill for the
minority community. To facilitate the same, the budget session which concluded
on Monday, was adjourned sine die and not prorogued as is the practice.
special session will be held next week and depending on the number of speakers,
it will be held either for a day or two. Sources said the TRS go vernment wants
to net the minority vote by bringing pressure on NDA government to include the
expanded quota in the ninth schedule of the Constitution.
will convene the assembly to pass the reservation bill on the next convenient
date, probably next week. We are not giving reservations on the basis of
religion, but backwardness. Muslim reservations are already in place and we are
only going to increase the same by four of five per cent based on the BC
Commission recommendation," chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said in the
acknowledging the opposition to the reservations, the TRS has decided to use
this as its main weapon against the BJP which is trying to expand its reach in
Muslim who became Adityanath's gurubhai
Aditya Nath Yogi, recently appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has a
close Gujarat connection apart from his ties with PM Narendra Modi. The
erstwhile mahant of a math (ashram) of Nath sampradaya in Visnagar, Mahant
Gulabnath Bapu, who was born as a Muslim with the name Gul Mohammad Pathan, was
the 'gurubhai' of today's UP CM, considered a Hindu hardliner.
Avaidyanath, the guru of Aditya Nath, was also the guru of Gulabnath Bapu.
Their relation was so strong that when Gulabnath, 86, breathed his last, Aditya
Nath came to Visnagar, Gujarat, to perform his last rites on December 6, 2016,
and he also appointed the new mahant of the math, Sankarnath. The math runs
temples and annakshetra (place providing free meals) in Visnagar and Vadgam.
had taken diksha at the age of 18 from Mahant Balaknath at Vadgam.
was the sixth generation in guru-shishya lineage. His association with Mahant
Avaidyanath of Gorakhpur math and guru of Aditya Nath Yogi was very old due to
the dynamics of Nath sampradaya." said Sankarnath, the newly appointed
mahant of the Visnagar math.
also considered Avaidyanath his guru and thus he considered Aditya Nath as his
gurubhai," Sankarnath said.
was invited to Gorakhpur for every major event. When he went there last year,
Aditya Nath had him felicitated by PM Narendra Modi," said Shankarnath.
Nath visits the math at Visnagar at least 2-3 times annually, said Shankarnath,
adding that any Gujarat visit by the yogi starts from Visnagar.
used to phone regularly to get updates on Bapu's health. It is not just about
the Nath sampradaya connection as there are other places in Gujarat with
presence of the sampradaya, but he feels connected to this place,"
Sankarnath has high hopes about the UP CM.
know him for the past 25 years. He is energetic, has new ideas and is a just
person. He will not tolerate anything against tradition," said Sankarnath.
Bapu was born in a Muslim family that traces its roots to Jhalod. The family,
associated with farming and labour activities, first settled in Dehvasan
village and later shifted to nearby Vadgam in Banaskantha district.
came across Mahant Balaknath at the age of 18 years. After witnessing the
mahant's activities, young Gul got attracted towards him and the sect, and
decided to take diksha.
Khan Pathan, Balaknath's nephew, said that the roots of his transformation can
be found in Bapu's upbringing.
encounter broke out between the security forces and terrorists in Chadora area
of Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district on Tuesday morning, reports PTI. The
encounter is currently underway. There are no reports of fatalities or injuries
as of now.
on Monday claimed to have busted a module of the Hizbul Mujahideen by arresting
seven suspected militants in Kashmir who were allegedly tasked to disrupt the
upcoming Lok Sabha bypolls. The arrests were made in south Kashmir’s Kulgam
district, 70 kms off here, ahead of bypolls in Anantnag and Srinagar due in
have busted a module of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen militant organisation by
arresting seven militants,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Kulgam,
Shridhar Patil told reporters on Monday. He said the district police received a
specific intelligence input on March 21 that the militant outfit has
constituted a module to carry out attacks on security forces and disrupt the
self-styled district commander of the outfit Altaf Dar alias Al-Kachroo and
Towseef Sheikh alias Mossad had constituted the module for allegedly disrupting
registered a case on the basis of this information and during investigation it
was found that Zubar Ahmad Badar, a resident of Nai-Basti in Qaimoh area of the
district, was the king-pin of this module. He was subsequently arrested,” Patil
said. The SSP said a pistol, three bullets and two AK-47 magazines were
recovered from Badar’s possession. “During his questioning, we came to know
about his associates and among them till now six have been arrested and we
expect more arrests,” he added.
police officer said the main aim of the module was to target security forces
during the elections and they had even made a failed attempt in Bijbehara area
of Anantnag on March 19. “The arrest of these persons and recoveries made is a
big achievement for us especially because of the elections,” the official said.
He also claimed that Hizbul Mujahideen was trying to recruit new people”
National Security Advisor (NSA) Nasser Janjua said that former Chief of Army
Staff (COAS) General (retd) Raheel Sharif leading the Saudi led military
alliance will bring unity to the Muslim world.
to media here on Monday at one-day conference on security challenges in the
Indian Ocean, he said that with the experience General (retd) Sharif will
remove misunderstandings among Muslim countries. “Iran and other countries
opposed of the alliance will also benefit from this.”
former Army Chief Raheel Sharif who retired in November 2016, was allowed to
lead the 34-nation Islamic military alliance.
defence Minister earlier on January 6 last had said the former chief of army
staff had been appointed as chief of Islamic military alliance and posted in
Saudi Arabia which was highly criticized that how can a ex-army chief can taken
the charge with No-Objection-Certificate (NOC). Khawja Asif said that the
government was taken into confidence about the ex-army chief’s new role.
Sharif will likely to take charge of his new appointment as the first
commander-in-chief of the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT),
a proposed coalition of 39 countries that will have its headquarters in the
Saudi capital, Riyadh in next month.
in late 2015, Pakistan declined to join military operations against Shia Houthi
rebels in Yemen despite relentless pressure from Saudi Arabia, which has led
the intervention in its impoverished neighbour.
Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua also said that Pakistan will play a better
role to serve the peace and economic growth of the world with its strategic
added that Pakistan is on its way to become a hub of trade, economy and
industry with China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Adviser said achievement of
lasting peace in Afghanistan will pave way to gain benefits from CPEC by
Central Asian Republics as well as other states in the region.
said Pakistan sees a great future along with Afghanistan which will come around
with reconciliation, peace and stability in that country.
9/11 when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centre in New York securing sea
routes for countries became essential, National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua
United States and India have become major strategic partners in the region, he
said and added that apart from India 300,000 military personnel from the United
States are currently stationed in the Indian ocean.
Jew In Pakistan' Allowed To Profess His Religion
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has allowed a 29-year-old Jewish
activist to change his religion from Islam to Judaism, an unusual move by
authorities in the country. In normal circumstances, it would have been a
normal practice to let Fishel Benkhald get religion of his choice in the column
of religion for the forms filled to get national identity card and passport.
it was a task for Benkhaled as he was registered as a Muslim, and it could be
interpreted as apostasy. The ministry of interior in Pakistan has recently
given the green light in response to Benkhaled's application where he had
sought 'conversion/correction' of his religion from Islam to Judaism in his
national identity documents, the Express Tribune reported.
the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Benkhald is
registered as a Muslim. Faisal, as he is known in his current identity
documents, was born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother in Karachi in 1987.
He was registered as a Muslim due to his father's religion.
he made an appeal to the NADRA to allow him to return to the religion of his
choice, Judaism, by correcting it in a smart ID card he had applied for last
which was in a fix over the issue, had asked for the interior ministry's
opinion to correct the religion of a former Muslim, a ministry source was
quoted as saying by the daily.
its response, the ministry said in writing that "the applicant may be
allowed to practice religion of (his) choosing and preference".
usually turns down such requests, especially from Muslims to any other faith,
due to the sensitive religious atmosphere in the country. Although the interior
ministry has given the green signal, NADRA has yet to issue a smart card after
correcting Benkhald's religion.
document available with daily suggests that correspondence between the ministry
of interior and NADRA over the issue had taken place in February-March 2017.
thanked the authorities, especially the interior ministry and NADRA, for
granting him the right to profess religion of his choice, the report said.
studied Islam in childhood. But I never practiced it as a religion,"
Benkhald said adding that he would consider that a positive development in his
case as a treat from Pakistani authorities for upcoming Passover - a religious
event of Jews to commemorate their liberation from Egyptian slavery celebrated
Jews, a few in numbers, usually hide their identity from public. According to a
top NADRA official, their identity details, such as house addresses, in the
authority's records are treated as top secret.
The Pakistan United Christian Movement (PUCM) chairman, Albert David, on Monday
said efforts were under way to ensure that members of his community were
counted accurately in the population census.
was talking to journalists during his visit to U.P. Church in Attock on Monday.
Pastor Javed Johnson was also present on the occasion.
the results of the 1998 census “flawed”, Mr David said Christian leaders had
realised the importance of reliable statistics of the community.
census will not only help Christians know their accurate number but also help
them socially and politically,” he added.
said political leaders from minorities, especially Christians, had long been
demanding an increase in their seats in the National Assembly and provincial
legislatures. He was of the view that in 1970 the NA’s seats were 145, which
were increased to 210 in 2008 and 342 in 2013. But the seats for non-Muslim
communities have not been from 10.
David said that the Christians’ population in the country was more than eight
million but their representation was very little in the parliament. Albert said
that he had meetings with election commission officials and even they were not aware
of the situation being faced by the Christians.
demanded that political parties must own them as political workers and must not
confine them to minority wings and said that political parties must include
them in their central executive bodies.
Sialkot Counter-Terrorism Department arrested two alleged terrorists linked
with Daesh. The terrorists had planned to attack personnel of law enforcement
agencies in Sialkot.
to reports, the Sialkot CTD got information that two terrorists belonging to
the proscribed organisation Daesh were present in the area near Dharm Kot
Pasroor Road. The terrorists were reportedly planning to attack sensitive
installations in the city.
arrested terrorists were identified as Gulfam Khan, alias Abu Akasha, and Usman
Ansar. LEAs recoved 450 grammes of explosives, two detonators, and a 2.5 feet
primacord from them.
ambassador to US, Aizaz Chaudhary said the Haqqani Network is neither a friend
nor a proxy of Pakistan, reported Waqt News.
ambassador further said that calling Pakistan a sponsor of terrorism is the
"thinking of just a few minds".
talking about Pakistan-India dialogues, Chaudhary pointed out that India is
avoiding talks with Pakistan constantly.
to this approach of India, terrorists are gaining strongholds for their
activities, because there is lack of communication between two states,” he
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday announced the establishment of a
university, launch of his healthcare insurance scheme, an international airport
and metro bus service for Hyderabad city.
a jam-packed gathering of workers at a party convention here, the Prime
Minister also announced Rs 500 million for the development and upgradation of
said Hyderabad would be linked soon to the rest of the country with a network
of a six-lane motorway, providing speedy access.
an initial grant of Rs 1,000 million for the university, the Prime Minister
also directed the PASSCO to increase its purchase of wheat crop from Sindh from
previous 80,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes.
Prime Minister accepted the party leaders' demand of providing electricity to
as many villages as needed, besides providing supply of Sui gas to the area.
assured the residents of Hyderabad that survey teams would soon visit the city
for data collection and then he along with programme in-charge Maryam Nawaz
would come there to hand over health cards to the needy.
urged the people to question the previous rulers for their apathy towards
projects like extension of motorway from Lahore to Karachi and launching of
more power projects to cope with growing electricity needs. He apologised to
the workers who had to return without hearing him owing to the shortage of
space at the venue and assured them that he would again visit them keeping in
view their enthusiasm and passion.
is changing. A new Pakistan is in the making," the Prime Minister said, and
added that the government had broken the back of terrorists and peace was
returning in Karachi with business activity reviving and labourers working in a
said Hyderabad had also been purged of terrorists, who were now on the run.
Prime Minister reiterated his resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism in
total. He said peace was also restoring in Balochistan where a vast network of
roads were being developed under CPEC. The Prime Minister said the country
would soon get rid of unemployment, poverty and illiteracy, and medical
treatment facilities would be made affordably available for everyone owing to
massive development going on under CPEC.
said Hyderabad would also benefit from that development as the city had earlier
been deprived of clean drinking water with its road infrastructure in shambles.
He said economic zones would also be developed throughout the country, besides
establishing colleges and universities.
Attacks by the Taliban and other militant groups are having a devastating
impact on education in Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said in a new report
released a day before the Second International Conference on Safe Schools in
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
faces significant education challenges, with an estimated 25 million children
out of school. The report includes testimonies on how militant violence has
disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of children, particularly
Taliban and other militants have repeatedly committed horrific attacks on
schools, depriving students of their lives as well as their education,"
said Bede Sheppard, child rights deputy director at the Human Rights Watch.
"These audacious attacks often occur because, too often, authorities have
protected militants or failed to properly prosecute them, and this needs to
change." The Pakistani government should take urgent steps to make schools
safer, and fairly prosecute those responsible for attacks against schools,
students, and teachers, the Human Rights Watch said.
71-page report, 'Dreams Turned into Nightmares: Attacks on Students, Teachers
and Schools in Pakistan', is based on 48 interviews with teachers, students,
parents and school administrators in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
(KP). It documents attacks by militants from January 2007 to October 2016 that
have destroyed school buildings, targeted teachers and students and terrorised
parents into keeping their children out of schools. These attacks have often
been directed at female students and their teachers and schools, blocking
girls' access to education. The report also examines occupation of educational
institutions by political groups and criminal gangs.
groups in the country, including the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and their
affiliates, use attacks on schools and universities to foster intolerance and
exclusion, to target symbols of the government and particularly to drive girls
out of schools. A Taliban commander claiming the attack on Bacha Khan
University in KP in January 2016 said, "We will continue to attack
schools, colleges, and universities across Pakistan, as these are the
foundations that produce apostates."
the Taliban took over large parts of Swat Valley in KP in 2007, they began a
violent campaign against education for girls. More than 900 girls schools were
forced to close and over 120,000 girls stopped attending schools. About 8,000
female teachers were driven out of work. For many girls, the loss was permanent
and they did not return to school even after the Pakistan Army had cleansed the
areas of the Taliban.
government does not collect specific data on the number of attacks on schools
and universities, or the number of deaths and injuries from such attacks.
However, according to the Global Terrorism Database, there were 867 attacks on
educational institutions in Pakistan from 2007 to 2015, resulting in 392
fatalities and 724 injuries.
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack recorded at least 838 attacks
on schools in Pakistan between 2009 and 2012, leaving hundreds of schools
damaged. In December 2015, the Ministry for States and Frontier Regions
(SAFRON) reported that in 2015, 360 schools were destroyed in three of the
seven regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
government's failure to keep consistent and transparent national data on such
attacks raises serious concerns about its ability to track repairs of damaged
schools, identify trends that could inform protective measures or investigate
and prosecute the responsible individuals, the Human Rights Watch said.
to education in Pakistan were spotlighted by the attacks on Malala Yousufzai on
October 9, 2012, and the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014.
After the Peshawar attack, which killed 135 children, Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif announced a 20-point National Action Plan to comprehensively deal with
terrorism, but none of the 20 points pertained to students or education,
according to the report.
Human Rights Watch said that Pakistan should develop a comprehensive policy for
protecting students - especially girls - and teachers, schools, and
universities from attacks and engage all ministry staff concerned at the
central and local levels in implementing the strategy.
schools has been largely left to the provincial governments and these efforts
have been sporadic and vary across provinces, with little attention to the
specific need to protect girls' education, the report said. "In most
cases, responsibility for enhancing and maintaining security has been passed to
school authorities. This has led to increased hardship and chaos."
According to the report, criminal cases had sometimes been filed against
teachers and principals for not taking security measures.
hundreds of attacks on teachers, students and educational institutions, the
Pakistani government has not successfully prosecuted the perpetrators in most
instances, the Human Rights Watch said. This failure was highlighted in June
2015, when it was reported that eight out of the 10 individuals arrested and
charged for the attack on Malala were acquitted, even after they all confessed
to their role before a court.
Second World Message of Islam Conference will be held on April 12 at the
Convention Centre, Islamabad, said Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Tahir
Ashrafi on Monday.
a press conference, he said the event will be held by the religious and
political leadership of Pakistan and notables of the Islamic world and
diplomats of Muslim countries in Pakistan. He vowed that PUC would continue its
struggle for eradication of terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence from
Pakistan and all over the Muslim world.
representatives from different divisions and districts also accompanied him.
said PUC has decided to consult experts of information technology on the
blasphemous content issue on social media, said Ashrafi, adding that Interior
Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was coordinating with ambassadors of Muslim
countries; however practical steps should be taken against this grave issue to
remove sacrilegious content from social media and coordination should be made on
permanent grounds with authorities of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to block
and remove the blasphemous content.
basic objectives of the conference, Ashrafi said that it will prove as a forum
to unite the leadership of Muslims to make an ideological alliance against
terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence. He also stated that political and
religious leadership of the country should endorse Operation Raddul Fasaad and
also praised endeavors on part of General (r) Nasir Janjua to devise a unanimous
narrative on elimination of extremism and terrorism from the country with the
coordination of clerics. Ashrafi also resolved that PUC will put forward a
national narrative in its practical form for the elimination of terrorism,
extremism and sectarian violence from the country in its conference. He added
that a consultative meeting will be devised on this national narrative against
elimination of terrorism and extremism which will be held on April 6 at Jamia
Masjid Al Fateh, in which all the anomalies on the national narrative against
terrorism and extremism will be finalised.
- The Lahore High Court yesterday directed Punjab government to argue whether
it has powers to detain someone or it is the subject of the federal government.
division bench headed by Justice Kazim Raza Shamsi passed the order after AK
Dogar, the counsel of Hafiz Saeed, concluded his arguments in a petition
challenging detention of the Jamat-ud-Dawa chief and his four aides.
number of workers of the organisation were also present in the court during the
the detainees, AK Dogar said that the government does not have any evidence to
detain his clients. Hafiz Saeed’s house in Johar Town was declared as sub-jail
while four of his aides had been detained in Masjid Al-Qadsia.
resolution does not say that any citizen of the country be detained,” the
counsel contended. It was simple mala fide intention of the government
authorities to put them under detention despite that Hafiz Saeed had never been
involved in any wrong or illegal activity, he argued.
Shamsi observed that the government authorities should see if there were people
involved in hatching conspiracies against citizens of Pakistan. “I personally
watched an Indian movie made on Hafiz Saeed in which the Indian tried to prove
him a negative man,” Justice Shamsi observed.
the judge observed that ‘big people don’t go to the crime scene,’ and he quoted
the case of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto saying that he was booked under
judge also remarked that Hafiz Saeed, however, had never been tested and it was
international pressure pouring on the Muslim world. “Trump is asserting
pressure against Muslims around the world,” the bench observed.
the JuD chief’s counsel argued that there were several judgments of the SC
which proved that imprisonment of any person without holding his trial was
unlawful. In Hafiz Saeed case, it was an open reality that he had never been a
risk to the state as alleged by the government, said the counsel. Only the
federal government can include names of anybody in 4th schedule and not the
provincial government, he maintained.
said that the Punjab government has issued notification for inclusion of names
of his clients in 4th schedule which is illegal and unconstitutional. “Authorities
have detained Hafiz Saeed and others only to please India and US which is
tantamount to compromising out sovereignty.”
the Punjab government through its law officer told the court that Hafiz Saeed
and his aides were detained for being a risk to the state. “They are involved
in certain activities which could be prejudicial to peace and security and in
violation of Pakistan’s obligation to the UN security resolution passed against
these organisations,” the law officer addded.
warplanes have pounded Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada with at least
two cluster bombs despite a global outcry against the use of such
internationally-banned weapons by Saudi Arabia.
to Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network, the airstrikes were
carried out against al-Malahit area in Az Zahir district on Monday afternoon,
but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
Saudi war machine has already used cluster bombs across Yemen on multiple
occasions despite the inherently indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions.
Various rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,
have on many occasions reported and criticized the use of cluster bombs by
Riyadh’s military in Yemen.
March 9, the Amnesty International rights group said in a statement that Saudi
Arabia had used cluster bombs on three residential districts and agricultural
land in Sa’ada back in mid-February.
December, Human Rights Watch also said Saudi Arabia had fired cluster bombs
near two schools in Sa’ada, killing two civilians and wounding six others,
including a child.
bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an
international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and
unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical
prohibition and a framework for action. The weapons can contain dozens of
smaller bomblets, dispersing over vast areas, often killing and maiming
civilians long after they are dropped.
Yemeni snipers managed to kill at least two Saudi soldiers during a retaliatory
attack on a Saudi military base in the kingdom's southern province of Najran.
Since March, dozens of Saudi troops and Saudi mercenaries have been killed by
Yemeni snipers in Najran and Jizan, another southwestern Saudi province.
another development on Monday afternoon, terrorists suspected of belonging to
the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terror group detonated an
explosive-laden car at the gates of a building, used as a temporary
headquarters by militia loyal to Yemen’s resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur
Hadi, in the city of Hawtah in Yemen’s southwestern province of Lahij.
after the deafening blast, AQAP militants, dressed as the militia, attacked the
headquarters but faced fierce resistance from the guards. The explosion and the
ensuing gunfire have so far killed at least eight people and wounded dozens
more, mostly from the militia.
March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia, backed by a number of African and Persian Gulf
Arab states, began launching airstrikes on different areas across Yemen, its
southern neighbor, in an attempt to reinstate Hadi, who is a close Riyadh ally,
and to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, the
Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000
in a report released on February 23, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and
Development, an independent monitoring group, put the civilian death toll in
the war-torn Arab country at 12,041. The fatalities, it said, comprise 2,568
children and 1,870 women. The rights body said the bombings have also wounded
20,001 civilians, including 2,354 children and 1,960 women, while more than
four million others have been displaced.
Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and
infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools and factories.
Islamic State group threatened Iran for its role in the region’s conflicts, in
a rare Farsi-language propaganda video released on Monday. The 36-minute video,
entitled “The Farsi Land: from Yesterday till Today”, was issued through IS’s
social media channels from Diyala province in neighbouring Iraq. A masked man
directs his message to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei, you cursed person who controls the so-called Islamic Iranian regime,
rest assured that soon we will destroy your house like this,” he says, pointing
to ruins behind him. Several captured soldiers are decapitated in the video,
one of whom is wearing a “Ya Hossein” badge, indicating that he is a Shiite
Iran has been a key backer of the Syrian and Iraqi governments as they seek to
root out IS and other Sunni rebels, sending thousands of fighters and military
advisers. IS and other extremists consider Shiites to be apostates, and the
video accuses Iranians of persecuting Sunnis over the centuries and into modern
- Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday rejected a request for clemency by
jailed ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is serving a 27-month prison sentence
for corruption, his office said.
who was premier between 2006-2009, was convicted of graft and entered prison in
president noted that the grounds for the request - including Olmert's
contributions to Israel over the years - were known to the court when it
sentenced the former prime minister.
also said in a statement that Olmert was due to face a parole committee, which
would discuss his request to have his sentence shortened by a third.
the parole board shortens Olmert's sentence, Rivlin said he could consider a
pardon that would allow the 71-year-old to avoid being considered a convict
after he is released.
is Israel's first former premier to serve jail time.
resigned as prime minister in September 2008 after police recommended he be
indicted for graft, but remained in office until March 2009, when Likud leader
Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in to the post, which he has held ever since.
- US Defence Secretary James Mattis is reported to be pushing for the White
House to remove all restrictions, placed during the waning months of President
Barack Obama’s presidency, on US military support for the Saudi invasion of
Yemen, seeking deeper direct US involvement in fighting the Yemeni Shias.
recent memo from Mattis to National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, cited in a
report by The Washington Post, said that “limited support” for Yemen operations
being conducted by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - including a
planned Emirati offensive to retake a key Red Sea port - would help combat a
of the request would mark a significant policy shift, the report said, pointing
out that US military activity in Yemen until now has been confined mainly to
counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda’s affiliate there, with limited
indirect backing for Persian gulf states’ efforts in a two-year-old war that
has yielded significant civilian casualties.
would also be a clear signal of the administration’s intention to move more
aggressively against Iran, the Post said. The Trump White House, in far
stronger terms than its predecessor, has echoed Saudi and Emirati charges that
Iran is training, arming and directing the Houthis in a proxy war to increase
its regional clout against the Persian Gulf’s Sunni monarchies. The
administration is in the midst of a larger review of overall Yemen policy that
is not expected to be completed until next month, it said.
the immediate question, addressed by Mattis’s memo and tentatively slated to
come before the principals committee of senior national security aides this
week, is whether to provide support for a proposed UAE-led operation to push
the Houthis from the port of Hodeida, through which humanitarian aid and rebel
supplies pass, according to the report.
Pentagon memo does not recommend agreeing to every element of the Emirati
request, it was pointed out. A proposal to provide American Special Operations
forces on the ground on the Red Sea coast “was not part of the request [Mattis]
is making,” an unnamed senior administration official was quoted as saying.
official and several others said that Mattis and his advisers have asked for
removal of President Barack Obama’s prohibitions, which would enable the
military to support Emirati operations against the Houthis with surveillance
and intelligence, refuelling, and operational planning assistance without
asking for case-by-case White House approval.
similar Emirati proposal for help in attacking Hodeida was rejected late last
year by the Obama administration, on the grounds that Emirati ships and
warplanes, US Special Operations forces and Yemeni government troops were
unlikely to succeed in dislodging the entrenched, well-armed rebels and could
worsen the humanitarian situation. The effort was seen as sure to escalate a
war that the United States and the United Nations have been trying to stop.
advisers to President Trump share those same concerns, the senior official was
quoted as saying. “There has been no decision yet as to whether [the
restrictions] will be lifted. There is certainly broad disagreement across our
acknowledging that some might see ending the limits as “a green light for
direct involvement in a major war. .?.?. We can’t judge yet what the [review]
results will be,” the official said, adding that the limits could be modified,
removed or left in place. Advisers are considering whether direct support for
the anti-Houthi coalition would take too many resources away from the
counterterrorism fight against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a nascent
Islamic State network in Yemen, the US priority there. At the same time, what is
described as a bare-bones UAE plan has given rise to worry that the Emiratis
may not be capable of such a large operation, including holding and stabilizing
any reclaimed area, without sucking in US forces, the Post said.
knowing whether the Houthis will give in or fight back - including with
Iranian-supplied missiles - there is also concern among US officials that the
offensive would further undermine stalemated efforts to negotiate an end to the
war and make an already dire humanitarian situation worse, it said. Yemen’s
population centres have been decimated by the conflict, in which indiscriminate
Saudi airstrikes and fighting on the ground have killed an estimated 10,000
the Houthis, who hold the capital, Sanaa, Hodeida and other cities, and Saudi
Arabia, which controls the sea perimeter around Hodeida, have restricted
delivery of aid and other goods flowing through the port to other population
Wednesday, UN humanitarian officials said that millions of Yemenis were on the
verge of starvation. Yves Daccord, director general of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, warned that an extended battle for the port city
would “put even more pressure on the population” and could tip the country into
greater humanitarian crisis.
the warring parties have taken part in UN-brokered peace talks, negotiations
are stalled and all parties remain in practice most interested in battlefield
victory, Daccord told The Washington Post. “That’s the problem in Yemen,” he
said. “They all still think they can win militarily.”
President Hassan Rouhani says relations between the Islamic Republic and Russia
are “growing,” stressing that their mutual ties will play an effective role in
promoting regional and international stability and security.
cooperation between the two countries will have positive effects on the
regional and international stability and security,” Rouhani said in a meeting
with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Monday.
added that Iran welcomes the expansion of relations with its neighboring
countries in the region, particularly Russia.
Iranian chief executive expressed hope that his visit to Moscow would lead to
new developments in Tehran-Moscow cooperation in political, economic and
cultural areas and on international issues.
Russian premier, for his part, said his country was resolved to bolster
relations with Iran in all sectors.
pointed to the favorable relations between Tehran and Moscow and expressed
confidence that President Rouhani’s trip would help both sides further deepen
a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, the Iranian president arrived in
Moscow Monday evening for a two-day official visit at the invitation of his
Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
president in Russia for key talks
Russian president is scheduled to officially welcome his Iranian counterpart at
the Kremlin on Tuesday. Rouhani and Putin will then hold talks on regional and
international issues and matters of mutual interest.
says Bahrain had better stop suppressing freedom within its own border instead
of throwing groundless accusations against the Islamic Republic.
Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the remarks on Monday after Manama
claimed to have uncovered a “terrorist” group linked to Tehran.
spokesman called the accusation “a baseless and fruitless lie” saying it was a
source of wonder that Bahraini authorities still insisted on repeating such
claims against Iran.
of [playing] fruitless and repetitive blame games, Bahrain had better direct
its efforts towards observing the rights of Bahraini citizens, ending crackdown
and detention of intellectuals, and according freedom of speech to all the
ranks within the Bahraini society,” he said.
official advised Manama to work toward managing its domestic affairs in a
“wiser, more tactful, and rational manner” and observe the principle of good
neighborliness with the Islamic Republic.
United Nations children’s fund has voiced alarm over the plight of the Yemeni
children amid the Saudi aggression, saying they are hit hardest by the war with
many of them teetering between life and death.
UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) highlighted the suffering
of the Yemeni kids in a report titled “Falling through the Cracks,” which was
released on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the deadly Saudi offensive
on the impoverished country.
the war in Yemen completes two years, children continue to pay the heaviest
price while families’ coping mechanisms are stretched to their limit,” the
10 million Yemeni children are currently in need of humanitarian assistance
while some 2.2 million of them are acutely malnourished, it further said,
adding that quite half a million kids suffer from severe acute malnutrition, up
by 200 percent since 2014.
children across Yemen are teetering between life and death…. Cemeteries are
filling up with small unmarked graves, the deaths of children unreported to
authorities, their suffering invisible to the world,” the UNICEF report said.
also warned that over 17 million people, which equals to 65 percent of all
Yemeni households, are food insecure, meaning that they cannot afford feeding
themselves and their children adequately.
80 percent of Yemeni families are in debt or are borrowing money just to feed
their kids, it added.
poorest country in the Middle East, Yemen is now the largest food security
emergency in the world,” the report warned, estimating that at least 7.3
million Yemenis need emergency food assistance to survive.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked the government of US President
Donald Trump for its support of the Tel Aviv regime.
also thanked the new US administration over its choice for Washington’s new
ambassador to Israel, while addressing the annual American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention via video link on Monday.
taking office in January, Trump’s increased support for Israel has emboldened
the Tel Aviv regime to intensify anti-Palestinian activities such as settlement
expansions. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama often clashed with the Israeli
week, the US Senate confirmed Trump’s controversial pick of David Friedman to
be America’s ambassador to Israel.
is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the
Palestinians and with all our neighbors,” Netanyahu said, noting that Palestine
must recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
also thanked Trump over a recent US budget request that “leaves military aid to
Israel fully funded.”
Brits take down US alt-right host over 'Muslim Queen'
host Alex Jones is well known in America for shocking people with his
conspiracy theories and "alt right" political views.
he got more than he bargained for when he took on the Queen.
played a clip purportedly featuring British Muslims saying they wanted to turn
Buckingham Palace into a mosque.
British Twitter users were quick to spring into action with some - always
polite - put downs.
43-year-old recently apologised for his involvement in advocating the fake
is the tweet, following the London attack, that activated angry, sarcastic
steak houses courting Muslim diners with halal options
Barberian’s Steak House in Toronto, the Canada Prime steaks are butchered and
aged in-house. Hungry beef lovers can tuck into a rib steak or prime rib cooked
just the way they like it – and that includes Muslim diners, because for the
past year the 58-year-old restaurant has catered to customers looking for a
halal 24-ounce porterhouse.
halal steaks are available for the same price as their non-halal counterparts,
said Bob Bermann, the restaurant’s projects manager, who added: “Now suppliers
are providing larger primary cuts of halal meat, so we are doing the aging and
were more than a million Muslims in Canada in 2011, according to the National
Household Survey, double the number of the 2001 survey. That growing population
has meant good things for our culinary landscape, as the cuisine of such
countries as Turkey, Lebanon and Iran has become increasingly available. More
recently, non-Muslim restaurateurs have begun courting this burgeoning customer
base, with even traditional establishments such as Barberian’s adding halal
items to their menus.
halal steaks make up less than 1 per cent of sales at the restaurant – about 10
to 12 steaks a week – Barberian’s is happy to accommodate customers when it
can, especially now that halal options are up to the standards people have come
to expect from the restaurant.
are getting hand-selected Canadian Prime – the highest grade,” Bermann said.
“We can have butchery which allows us the flexibility for people who drop in.
[People who want halal] don’t have to just order the fish.”
means “permissible” in Arabic, and the restrictions cover not just food but
things such as finance and travel as well. A halal hotel, for example, does not
serve alcohol and has separate pools or spa facilities for men and women.
Salima Jivraj, the founder of Toronto’s Halal Food Festival, explains that the
list of foods that are not halal is pretty simple: pork, pork byproducts,
alcohol and meat that has not been slaughtered in the halal method.
it comes to the halal method of slaughter, it is very similar to kosher, but
the difference is that you don’t need a spiritual leader to do the slaughter.
You have a slaughterman who is a practising Muslim,” said Jivraj, who is also
the editor-in-chief of Halal Foodie, an online directory of halal restaurants
in Toronto. “They pray before the slaughter, which involves saying that we’re
sacrificing the animal in God’s name, and the animal has to be cut a certain
way. There has to be the least amount of stress for the animal as possible.”
than half of Canadian Muslims live in Ontario, with the majority in the Greater
Toronto Area. But restaurants in other parts of Canada are responding to the
increasing demand for halal options, too.
the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Calgary, diners can get a halal meal
with 24 hours’ notice. General manager Sabrina Raaymaker says only about 1 per
cent of all meat orders are for halal steaks, but she believes that will rise
as word spreads through Muslim communities.
says the halal meat options are all up to Ruth’s Chris standards. “We
specialize in Alberta Prime and USDA Prime, and the halal options are all
Alberta Prime, raised on grain, specifically barley,” she said. “There’s really
no discernible difference. I’ve tasted both – they taste the exact same, in my
least one Canadian restaurateur serves halal meat simply because of its
quality, regardless of who’s eating it. When Toronto chef Cory Vitiello was
sourcing chicken for his chain of fast-casual restaurants, Flock, the
best-tasting meat turned out to be halal.
chose this chicken based on its quality – the way it tastes, the integrity with
which the farmers produce and raise it,” he said. “We chose our chicken before
learning it was halal.” While the fried chicken at his Harbord Street location
is not halal, all the birds used for Flock’s rotisserie chicken are
Jivraj won’t be adding Flock to the Halal Foodie database. The website takes a
conservative approach because many devout Muslims may not feel comfortable
dining at an establishment that also serves alcohol or pork and where staff may
not be trained properly in the preparation of halal food.
Omar Subedar, a spokesman for the Halal Monitoring Authority, said Canada’s
largest certification organization wouldn’t certify a restaurant like
Barberian’s. “We don’t certify restaurants with a mix of halal and non-halal
meat. There are too many variables for us to insure,” Subedar said. “Instead,
we focus on 100-per-cent halal restaurants where they are catering to Muslim
customers or they themselves are Muslim owners.” That said, HMA has helped
mainstream restaurants understand halal requirements by providing guidelines.
that are interested in halal come from great intentions, born out of the
inclusiveness that Canada is known for and that I love,” Jivraj said. “But how
do you know that all the staff and servers are aware of the halal requirements?
Suppliers could change, and if the server isn’t aware, they may think they’re
serving halal but they’re not.”
the flip side, I personally think it’s great that restaurants and people who
are not Muslim are so interested,” she said. “In the long run, it is better for
the community to have access to different options.”
Trump has — for the time being — put on the back burner an executive order
designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, according to U.S.
officials close to a heated debate inside the administration over the status of
the global Islamist movement.
the White House has declined to comment publicly, officials speaking on
condition of anonymity say the administration backed down from a plan to
designate the Brotherhood last month after an internal State Department memo
advised against it because of the movement’s loose-knit structure and far-flung
political ties across the Middle East.
memo “explained that there’s not one monolithic Muslim Brotherhood,” according
to one of the officials, who told The Washington Times that while the movement
may well be tied to such bona fide terrorist groups as Hamas, its more
legitimate political activities would complicate the terrorist designation
Brotherhood has prominent political factions engaged — at least perfunctorily —
in democracy in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and several other Muslim-majority
nations, and the State Department memo coincided with high-level pressure
placed on the Trump administration from at least one of them.
white US Army veteran faced terror and racism charges Monday as he was indicted
for fatally stabbing a 66-year-old black man.
Jackson, 28, "prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of
a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism
against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate," Manhattan
District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
week, with total presence of mind, he acted on his plan, randomly selecting a
beloved New Yorker solely on the basis of his skin color, and stabbing him
repeatedly and publicly on a Midtown street corner."
was formally charged in New York State Supreme Court with one count each of
murder in the first and second degrees as an act of terrorism, murder in the
second degree as a hate crime, as well as three counts of criminal possession
of a weapon.
March 20 attack comes as several major US cities including New York grapple
with an increase in hate crimes.
say Jackson admitted stabbing Timothy Caughman multiple times near the low-rent
shelter where the victim lived. Caughman managed to walk two blocks to a police
station but was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
-- who served in the US Army from 2009 to 2012, a stint that included a tour of
duty in Afghanistan -- turned himself in to police in Times Square on
Wednesday, according to local media reports.
told police he considered the killing to be "practice prior to going to
Times Square to kill additional black men," according to the complaint.
said he was "angered by black men mixing with white women."
- 'I hate black men' -
The ex-serviceman told police he had traveled
to the city on a bus from his home in Baltimore, about 170 miles (275
kilometers) to the south.
attended a prestigious secondary school in Baltimore, and in 2009 joined the
Army in intelligence. In addition to the Afghanistan tour, he was stationed for
some time in Baumholder, Germany, according to US media.
arrived in New York Friday and took a hotel room under a false name. Then he
said he would start the first of many murders of black men that he planned.
questioned by police after his surrender, there was no indication where the
law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity since the
investigation is continuing, told the Times that: "He told the cops, 'I've
hated black men since I was a kid. I've had these feelings since I was a young
person. I hate black men.'"
former landlord told the Times that Jackson was months behind on his rent, and
a filthy tenant.
say 'no evidence' British attacker had ties to Islamic State group, al-Qaida
have found no evidence that the man who killed four people in London last week
was associated with the Islamic State group or al-Qaida, a senior British
counterterrorism officer said Monday.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said Westminster
attacker Khalid Masood clearly had "an interest in jihad," but police
have no indication he discussed his attack plans with others.
OUR PARTNERS: The Many Roles Held by Jared Kushner
who also serves as Britain's senior national coordinator for counterterrorism
policing, said Wednesday's attack — in which Masood ran down pedestrians on
London's Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a policeman guarding
Parliament — "appears to be based on low-sophistication, low-tech,
low-cost techniques copied from other attacks."
was shot dead by police after his deadly rampage, which police have revealed
lasted just 82 seconds.
believe Masood — a 52-year-old Briton with convictions for violence who had
spent several years in Saudi Arabia — acted alone, but are trying to determine
whether others helped inspire or direct his actions.
on Monday continued to question a 30-year-old man arrested Sunday and a
58-year-old man arrested shortly after Wednesday's attack. Both were detained
in the central England city of Birmingham, where Masood had recently lived.
Minister Theresa May said last week that Masood was "a peripheral
figure" in an investigation into violent extremism some years ago. But
Basu said he was not a "subject of interest" for counterterrorism
police or the intelligence services before last week's attack.
was born Adrian Elms, but changed his name in 2005, suggesting a conversion to
mother, Janet Ajao, said Monday she was "deeply shocked, saddened and
numbed" by his murderous actions.
a statement released through the police, Ajao said that "since discovering
that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people
caught up in this horrendous incident."
said there was no sign Masood was radicalized during one of his stints in
prison, the last of which was in 2003.
know when, where and how Masood committed his atrocities, but now I need to
know why," Basu said. "Most importantly, so do the victims and
Basu appealed for anyone who spoke to Masood on the day of the attack to come
forward, the British government repeated calls for tech companies to give
police and intelligence services access to encrypted messages exchanged by
used the messaging service WhatsApp just before he began his attack. Home
Secretary Amber Rudd said Sunday that such services must not "provide a
secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other."
companies have strongly resisted previous calls to create back-doors into
encrypted messaging, arguing that to do so would compromise the secure
communications underpinning everything from shopping to tax returns to online
is due to hold a previously scheduled meeting with internet companies on
Minister Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, said tech firms "should be
helping us more" to prevent terrorism.
ball is now in their court," he said.
said that if agreement was not reached with the companies, the government
"rules nothing out," including legislation.
the families of the dead and injured set about the difficult task of going on
with their lives.
family of an American victim expressed gratitude Monday for the kindness of
strangers as they insisted some good would come from the tragedy. A dozen
members of Kurt W. Cochran's family gathered to face the media, sharing their
shock and sense of loss.
from Utah, was on the last day of a European trip celebrating his 25th wedding
anniversary when he was killed on Westminster Bridge. Cochran's wife, Melissa,
suffered a broken leg and rib and a cut head, but is steadily improving.
family offered profuse thanks to first responders, British and American
authorities and people who had sent notes, prayer and donations.
night we were speaking as a family about all this, and it was unanimous that
none of us harbor any ill will or harsh feelings towards this," said Sarah
McFarland, Melissa Cochran's sister. "So we love our brother. We love what
he brought to the world, and we feel like that this situation is going to bring
many good things to the world."
to Muslim conversions, faith leaders indicate Christianity now is making a
comeback in Europe.
parts of Europe reportedly are becoming more secular, and worship houses are
losing congregants in noticeable amounts. An increasing number of Muslims, many
of them refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are converting to
Christianity in Europe. Local experts said the converts are embracing various
Christian denominations, including Protestants, evangelical or Catholic.
churches have struggled for decades to share the gospel with modern secular
Europeans," Matthew Kaemingk, a professor at the Fuller Theological
Seminary in Seattle, told Fox News. "They have found Muslim immigrants to
be much more open to the message of Christianity."
has researched Christian responses to Muslim immigration in the Netherlands,
and has written a book titled "Christian Hospitality and Muslim
Immigration in an Age of Fear" that will be published this fall. He said secular
Europeans rarely sense a deep need for the type of healing and salvation the
are wealthy, comfortable, healthy, and powerful," Kaemingk said. "In
short, they don't think they need God."
he said Muslim immigrants are intensely spiritual and are leaving their former
religion for a variety of reasons.
Muslim refugees settling in European counties may be converting on the
assumption their odds for obtaining political asylum will improve if they are
Christian, according to the Guardian. Others may have had an earlier interest
in converting but were unable to do so while they lived in the Middle East,
where conversions are often prohibited and could make the family a target. Some
jihadist groups, including ISIS, target Christians for murder in such countries
as Syria and Iraq.
are turning to Christianity to assimilate in their new country. "The
average Muslim newcomer in Europe experiences a tremendous amount of societal
pressure. They experience racism, poverty, exclusion, discrimination, language
and cultural barriers, and a deep sense of displacement," Kaemingk said.
sense of homelessness is not only geographical, it is spiritual. Churches who
offer these Muslims real and meaningful hospitality are seeing some surprising
received nearly 900,000 asylum seekers in 2016; the majority was from Syria,
Iraq and Afghanistan, according to published reports. Churches in Berlin and
Hamburg were faced with so many asylum seekers wanting to convert, they held
baptisms in municipal swimming pools, reports Fox News.
pledged 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) of investment in Britain on Monday in a
show of support for the world's fifth-largest economy just two days before
Prime Minister Theresa May triggers formal Brexit talks.
wealthy Gulf state has 40 billion pounds of investments in the United Kingdom,
including high-profile London landmarks like the Shard skyscraper, Harrods
department store, The Savoy hotel and a stake in the Canary Wharf financial
the June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union took many investors and
chief executives by surprise, Qatar's top financial players used an investment
conference in London to pledge support for Brexit Britain.
head of the $335 billion Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) sovereign wealth fund
said he saw opportunities in Britain, adding that the fund was focused on
infrastructure, healthcare and technology.
am still looking, even after Brexit there will be opportunities QIA can really
hunt for," QIA Chief Executive Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud
al-Thani told the conference. "Whenever the (British) government would
like the QIA to step in we are ready."
prime minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, said in a statement
that Qatar expected to invest 5 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) in Britain over
the next five years.
shock Brexit vote triggered the deepest political crisis in Britain since World
War Two and the biggest ever one-day fall in sterling against the dollar,
though the economy has continued to grow.
Britain's exit from the EU -- probably in 2019 -- has raised a number of
questions about future economic growth and whether London can retain its
position as the only financial centre to challenge New York.
May is due on Wednesday to formally notify the EU of Britain's intention to
leave the club it joined in 1973.
which delivers 90 percent of Britain's imports of liquefied natural gas and is
the world's biggest producer of the fuel, could play an important role in
steeling the UK economy's against economic fallout during and after Brexit.
UK will have a new era post-Brexit ... The negotiations will start among
Europeans and nobody is extremely clear about where the negotiations will lead
to, however we can sense the possibility of the UK's manufacturing power going
higher and with that the need for energy," Qatar's Energy Minister
Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
UK's manufacturing and industrial sector thriving and going up is possible, and
for that Qatar will always be there to supply the energy required. Certainly we
can contribute to the UK's need," said Sada.
said Qatar supported a free-trade agreement which the six-nation Gulf
Cooperation Council, including Qatar and the two biggest Arab economies, Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are hoping to secure ahead of Brexit to
ensure preferential arrangements with Britain.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called for a UN Security Council briefing
over a recent US airstrike on Mosul which claimed the lives of over 200 people.
most recent tragedy happened on March 17, to be precise it is not the latest
one as there were numerous incidents that claimed civilian lives after it.
However, the March 17 [tragedy], when the bombings lasted for several hours and
an estimated 200 civilians were killed, stands out because of its scale,” said
Lavrov during a press conference on Monday.
(seen above) added that it was quite strange that the US had not realized they
were hitting the wrong targets for hours despite having advanced targeting
went to say that his country “is interested in liberating Mosul from
terrorists,” while noting that the US-led coalition should be more “cautious
and responsible” like Russia in Syria’s Aleppo.
corridor was organized for all the militants, including the members of the
terrorist groups [to leave eastern Aleppo]. Many [militants] seized this
opportunity, thus reducing the need for the use of military force for the
liberation of that part of the city,” Lavrov said.
expect that a similar regardful, cautious and responsible approach would be
used by the coalition in its further actions in Mosul,” he added.
also noted that Russia was closely monitoring the operations to liberate Mosul
and has brought the matter of the ever increasing civilian casualties before
the UNSC in the past.
week, the UN expressed “profound concern” over the increase of civilian casualties in the Iraqi city and called
on all parties engaged in anti-terror operations in the country to avoid
“indiscriminate use of firepower.”
Thursday, Iraq's Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported that 237
people had been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes on a Daesh-held
neighborhood in western Mosul.
voices concerns over civilian casualties
Amnesty International has voiced its concerns over the number of civilian
casualties in Mosul, suggesting the US-led coalition may not be doing enough to
avoid such casualties.
"points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have
destroyed whole houses with entire families inside," said a the report
released by the rights group. It added that failure to avoid civilian casualties
is "in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law."
Saturday, the US-led coalition confirmed it had launched an airstrike on the
day "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian
army soldiers and allied fighters launched an offensive to retake Mosul in
October 2016. The forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched
the battle in the west on February 19.
darkening storm over Russia is now looming over President Donald Trump's
intrigue now threatening to swamp Washington politics deepened on Monday when
Trump's son-in-law and trusted adviser, Jared Kushner, offered to testify to
senators about meetings with senior Kremlin officials -- including the head of
a bank closely linked to President Vladimir Putin's government.
more revelations about a secret trip to the White House complex by House
Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes spurred claims by Democrats that he was in
league with the President's aides to subvert his own panel's investigation into
Moscow's alleged election meddling and ties to the Trump campaign.
Senate investigators to meet
was all too much for the President. Perhaps prompted by rising speculation
about Russia, Trump launched a Twitter barrage Monday night, possibly to
distract attention from stories damaging to his White House by attacking a
isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal
that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech....money to Bill, the
Hillary Russian 'reset,' praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian
Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!" Trump wrote in a pair of
the storm isn't likely to break soon: There will be new Russia-related
headlines on Thursday, when an intelligence committee hearing offers senators
their first chance to go on the record addressing the widening controversy
embroiling Trump and Russia.
flurry of developments bore testimony to the White House's inability to shake a
controversy over Russia that repeatedly returns to besiege the new administration,
compounding the political cost of its missteps elsewhere -- most recently over
House Republicans' spectacular failure to repeal Obamacare Friday.
fresh disclosures about Russia overshadowed an attempt by Trump aides to repair
relations with House Speaker Paul Ryan that were strained in the health care
push and also threatened to snuff out an attempt by the White House to
belatedly reach out to Democrats in a bid to mitigate its precarious political
Trump, no closing this deal
developments came days after CNN reported that the FBI has information that
associates of Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly
coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the
House Intelligence Committee, called on Nunes to recuse himself from the
investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election and ties between
the Trump campaign and Kremlin officials.
reached the point, after the events of this week, where it would be very
difficult to maintain the credibility of the investigation if the chairman did
not recuse himself from matters involving either the Trump campaign or the
Trump transition team of which he was a member," Schiff told CNN.
questions are profound enough that I think we need to move past it, and ideally
that would mean the chairman ought to recuse himself, not only from the
investigation involving potential coordination or collusion between the Trump
campaign and the Russians, but also any oversight of minimization issues
affecting the Trump transition since he was a member of that Trump transition
team," Schiff said.
deepening questions about Russia are combining with a thicket of more
conventional political troubles bearing down on the White House.
include Trump's increasing unpopularity. One Gallup tracking poll Monday put
his approval ratings as low as 36% -- far lower than most presidents go across
the span of the entire terms.
the "Trump bump," the feel good spurt in stock prices on expectations
of large tax cuts and an infrastructure bill hit the buffers, amid growing
doubts following the Obamacare debacle about the administration's capacity to
enact its agenda. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for its eighth straight
day Monday, hitting its longest losing streak since 2011.
Trump stock market rally is under siege
could be more trouble when Trump's already twice-blocked travel ban on citizens
of predominantly Muslim nations faces another day in court this week -- with a
challenge in Hawaii.
of this will overshadow one area where the White House strategy is unarguably
performing well -- the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
cascade of challenges is a lesson in how tough it can be to end a White House
losing streak as Monday's revelations further complicated the political
volunteered to testify over his role in arranging meetings between top campaign
aides and Russian envoy to the US Sergey Kislyak. He met Kislyak in December
during the presidential transition and sent his deputy, Avrahm Berkowitz, to a
second sit down. Kushner also met Sergey N. Gorkov, the head of Russia's
economic development bank, at the urging of the Russian ambassador, a senior
administration official said.
has deep ties to the Russian government and was appointed by Putin. The meeting
between Kushner and Gorkov is attracting extra intrigue because
VneshEconomBank, or VEB, has been under US sanctions for three years, and
because Kushner has been trying to attract financing for a building project of
his in Manhattan. Trump also said during the campaign that he could lift some
sanctions on Russia.
a meeting between Kushner and Gorkov does not violate the US sanctions, and it
is not unusual for businesses under sanctions to meet with US officials,
White House insisted there was nothing suspicious about the meetings. But they
are just the latest revelations about contacts between Trump aides and Russian
officials, that have emerged bit-by-bit at the same time that the FBI is
investigating allegations that Russian intelligence agencies meddled in last
year's election to favor Trump. One Trump official, former national security
adviser Michael Flynn has already resigned over his conversations with Kislyak.
House spokesman Sean Spicer tried to put out the fire on Monday.
acting as though there's something nefarious about doing what he was actually
tasked to do," he told reporters of the Kushner meetings during his daily
on the media frenzy that existed around this, he ... said 'hey, we've made some
contact, I'd be glad to explain (it), let me know if you'd like to talk.' Plain
and simple," Spicer said.
confirmed the meeting with Kushner in a statement to CNN, though described
Kushner in his role as head of Kushner Companies, not as a representative of
2016 the bank's management repeatedly met with representatives of the world's
leading financial institutions in Europe, Asia and America ... including the
head of Kushner Companies, Jared Kushner," the VEB statement said.
Trump administration also had to respond Monday to questions about the Nunes
visit to the White House complex.
House Intelligence Committee chairman said Monday he went to the Eisenhower Old
Executive Office building to view information from a whistle blower in a secure
visit came the day before he went back to the White House to brief Trump that
he and his advisers may have been swept up in surveillance of other foreign
nationals. Trump later said he felt partly vindicated by what Nunes told him.
timing of Nunes' visit sparked fresh Democratic warnings that the chairman and
the White House were in league to obstruct the investigation.
cannot have the person in charge of an impartial investigation be partial to
one side," said Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer Monday.
"If Speaker Ryan wants the House to have a credible investigation he needs
to replace Chairman Nunes."
insisted he did nothing wrong.
am sure people in the West Wing had no idea I was there," Nunes told CNN's
Wolf Blitzer Monday, but refused to say if a White House official had cleared
him to enter the executive complex.
said that his visit was to view documents from a source on an issue unrelated
to Russia who was not authorized to bring documents to Capitol Hill.
latest layer of Russia revelations obscured efforts by the administration to
reset after the failure of the House Obamacare repeal bill on Friday dealt
Trump a blow that will taint his First 100 Days in office.
at least, the White House was sending signals of a course correction in
contrast to the blame game that filtered out of the White House as the health
care bill headed for the rocks last week.
learned a lot through this process. I think we're obviously looking at ways
that we can improve not only how we handled health care, but other things --
how we do everything," said Spicer.
insurgent admits beheading of civilians after joining peace
Taliban insurgent who has joined peace process in eastern Nangarhar province of
Afghanistan has confessed that they have butchered innocent civilians.
group of eighteen Taliban insurgents have joined peace renouncing violence in
eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
provincial government in a statement said the group led by commander Bakhtu
Khan joined the peace process due to the efforts of the Afghan intelligence.
statement further added that the militants also handed over some weapons as
they pledged to return to a normal life and renounce insurgency.
group was previously operating in Bati Kot and Ghani Khel districts with one of
the militants Raz Mohammad saying they were encouraged to start insurgency
against the government from certain circles in Pakistan who were providing them
with all of types weapons they needed.
confessed that he was involved in the execution of civilians by butchering them
besides conducting other insurgency activities, including attacks on military
convoys, for which he says he feels regretted.
also added that they had received instructions to destroy the Darunta dam and
tunnel which forced them to renounce violence, admitting that the insurgency
they were waging was not a holy war or Jihad.
- Bangladesh commandos shot dead four suspected extremists during a fierce
72-hour gunfight, the army said Monday, after days of bloodshed around the
militants’ hideout including blasts claimed by the Islamic State group that
killed six people.
troops found four bodies when they forced their way into the five-storey
compound in the northeastern city of Sylhet where the “well-trained” extremists
had been holed up since Friday after taking dozens of civilians hostage. “All
four were wearing suicide vests,” Brigadier General Fakhrul Ahsan told
reporters in Sylhet, adding one was a female fighter.
gun battle began Friday, when commandos laid siege to the building as they
tried to free 78 hostages. On Saturday, just as they were able to free the
civilians, two powerful bombs ripped through a crowd of onlookers near the
hideout, killing six people including two police officers and injuring about
intelligence chief of Bangladesh’s elite counter-terror unit was among those
critically injured Saturday’s bombings. He was flown to Singapore for
gunfight continued into Sunday, when two of the militants were killed after
being spotted on the ground floor and shot. One of the suicide vests exploded
during the shootout.
army did not comment on their identities but police and Bangladesh’s home
minister said they were members of a homegrown militant outfit blamed for a
wave of attacks in recent years.
took credit for Saturday’s attack but the government and police rejected this
suspect it was the work of a new faction of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a
militant outfit which has killed more than 80 people in a series of attacks
targeting mostly foreigners and religious minorities.
- The United States has no objection to
the Pak-Afghan border fencing aimed at stopping infiltration, The Nation has
officials at the foreign ministry said that Washington believed Pakistan had a
right to secure its border but wanted Islamabad to take Kabul into confidence
on the issue.
principle, the US has no objection to the border fencing. They are concerned
about Pak-Afghan ties and wants us to engage in a dialogue process to defuse tension,”
a foreign ministry official said.
said that Pakistan had told Washington and Kabul that border fencing was aimed
at ensuring peace and was not a step against Afghanistan. “This is aimed at
improving ties. When the infiltration will stop, we will definitely have better
ties,” the official elaborated.
vice spokesperson for Afghan Interior Ministry Najeeb Danish said that border
fencing was unacceptable.
the weekend, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa announced that fence-installation had
begun along Pakistan-Afghanistan border. General Bajwa said that
fence-installation was aimed at securing borders, which was mutually beneficial
for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan-Afghanistan border at Chaman and Angoor Adda was sealed over escalated
tensions. Islamabad demanded of the Afghan government to take action against
terror outfits that were using its soil against Pakistan. The demand came as a
fresh wave of terrorism hit Pakistan claiming more than 100 lives and wounding
scores of others. The cities of Lahore, Quetta, Sehwan Sharif and Peshawar were
hit by terrorists in the recent strikes.
later reopened border crossings with Afghanistan as a goodwill gesture, but
with a hope that Kabul would address its concerns about terrorists’ sanctuaries
along the border. This week, former president Asif Ali Zardari said that border
fencing with Afghanistan would help eliminate cross-border terror. He expressed
the hope that the move to begin border fencing would be welcomed by all those wanting
an end to militancy and to the counter-productive allegations of cross-border
official at the Foreign Ministry said that Afghanistan could not stop Pakistan
from fencing its side of the border.
are not going on their side, so they can’t stop us. They can protest only if we
encroach (upon) their area,” he added.
Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan had urged Afghanistan to
stop the use of its soil by terrorists against Pakistan.
said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had decided to open the borders as a
goodwill gesture. “It is expected that the Afghan government will take measures
to address the reasons that led to the closure of the border,” he added.
said the recent meeting in London – between Adviser to Prime Minister on
Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar –
also focused on the need for an institutional mechanism for counter-terrorism
cooperation, to which Afghan side agreed.
week, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had said “optional routes are
available for Afghanistan” if the “enemies” blocked the trade route to the
country. Ghani claimed that Afghanistan had become an inseparable part of the
Central Asia. He maintained that the northern Kunduz, Mazar and Herat provinces
will be connected via railway network that will eventually connect Iran and
China via Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım today phoned his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh
Hasina and expressed his country’s interest in working together to combat the
menace of militancy.
the 15-minute-long conversation this evening, the Turkish PM also expressed his
grave concern over the Sylhet militant issue, sources at the Prime Minister’s
Turkish premier also conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family members of
the civilians who have died in the three-day-long army-led joint “Operation
Twilight” at Atia Mahal located in Sylhet's Dakshin Surma upazila.
her government's zero tolerance policy against terrorism, the Bangladesh
premier said some derailed people are defaming Islam in the name of religion,
reports the state run new agency, BSS.
are destroying Islamic culture and heritage in the name of religion," she
Hasina also said Bangladesh condemned the last year's coup attempt in Turkey to
overthrow the present government there.
always uphold democracy and peace," she said.
invited the Turkish premier to visit Bangladesh at a convenient time.
the outset of the conversation, the Turkish prime minister exchanged greetings
with his Bangladesh counterpart and congratulated her on the occasion of the
47th Independence and National Day of Bangladesh.
affairs and defence experts and academics at a discussion yesterday raised
questions about defence collaboration with India and said a defence pact with
the neighbouring country was not necessary as Bangladesh would not be
defence pact with India would encourage trust deficit and might also indirectly
help spread of radicalisation, they told a roundtable on “New Dimension of
Bangladesh-India relations: Problems and Prospects.”
Bangla daily Prothom Alo organised the roundtable ahead of the much talked
about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in early April, when the
two countries are expected to strike dozens of deals, most importantly a
defence pact for collaboration between the armed forces of the two countries.
at the discussion, they said the defence deal with India came up all on a
sudden and none of the two countries disclosed anything about it. They said
India was clearly imposing the pact on Bangladesh and urged the government not
to sign the deal. They also said Bangladesh defence had developed on a certain
system which was not at all compatible with the Indian system and its hardware.
Any defence deal would create unnecessary and extra burden on our armed forces.
discussants were sceptical of any positive breakthrough in the PM's upcoming
visit and said they think India would not deliver on any promise, including the
Teesta water sharing agreement, a core issue of Bangladesh.
were also highly critical of the border killing despite assurance from the
highest level of the Indian government that it would be stopped.
of Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman moderated the roundtable.
foreign secretaries Hemayetuddin and Touhid Hossain, former ambassador to China
Ashfaqur Rahman, former high commissioner to Pakistan Shamim Ahmad, former
diplomat Mahmud Hasan, defence expert Maj Gen (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, former
ambassador Maj Gen (retd) Jamil D Ahsan, Prof Amena Mohsin and Prof Lailufar
Yasmin of International Relations Department of Dhaka University spoke on the occasion.
part in the discussion, Ashfaqur Rahman said relations between Bangladesh and
India have to be fair and equal but the problem is most Indians think
Bangladesh would not have achieved independence without the support of India.
said, “India, as our best friend and worst enemy, should ensure water flow in
the lean period and not flood us during the rainy season.”
said a tie with China was beneficial as “it provided duty-free market access of
over 4,000 items and was not a hypocrite”.
Gen Muniruzzaman said Bangladesh's relations with India had become very
imbalanced in various sectors, including trade, and that Bangladesh had not
gained any thing from India with the only exception being the Land Boundary
Agreement, in which India also benefited.
concern about the proposed defence deal, he said nobody knows anything about
the pact and said it was essential to check each and every clause of the entire
said Indian defence hardware was not up to international standards and that all
concerned must be cautious of defence purchases from India with the line of
credit it offered.
Amena Mohsin said India should know the needs of its friend and must not impose
anything like a defence deal on Bangladesh because the proposed agreement would
further increase trust deficit with India.
apprehended that this defence deal would increase anti-Indian sentiment as well
as increase radicalisation of people. “How can India be our friend if it fences
us from all sides,” she said, adding, “Bangladesh needs China for its defence
development considering Bangladesh's strategic interest.”
Ahmad said he did not see any prospect of the Teesta deal being signed during
the upcoming visit of the PM, which would upset the people of Bangladesh and
have a negative impact on their perception of India.
we are excellent friends and if our relationship is so deep, then why do we
need a defence agreement? We need detailed discussions and need to know each
and everything about the deal before it is signed. This deal is very suspicious
… ,” said Maj Gen Jamil.
diplomat Mahmud Hasan said Bangladesh needs to proceed with India very
carefully, considering its geo-political situation. “One must remember that a
Muslim country is surrounded by a non-Muslim country on three sides.”
more agreements we sign with India, the more our sovereignty will be eroded.
Bangladesh is not a threat to India, so why does it need a defence pact? … the
aim of it is to isolate Bangladesh from China absolutely,” he said, adding that
India was taking advantage of the political division in Bangladesh and weakness
as there is no visible opposition in parliament.
deadly car bombing plot was foiled by the Afghan security forces in central
Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan after a Vehicle-borne Improvised
Explosive Device (VBIED) was discovered and defused.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) said “Based on intelligence report, yesterday
morning, Afghan National Police carried out a security operation in Sayed Abad
district of Maidan Wardak province.”
further added that Afghan National Police has seized a vehicle packed with
explosives during the operations..
to MoI, Afghan National Police had prior information that a vehicle carrying
explosives would enter the city.
a separate report, Afghan National Police detected a roadside bomb placed by
enemies of peace and stability of Afghanistan in the main road of the Tokhchi
village, Bagram district of Parwan province,” MoI said, adding that the timely
discovery of the explosives has foiled terror attacks and saved the city from
an expected tragedy.
anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not
commented regarding the reports so far.
Taliban insurgents are actively operating in some of the restive districts of
Maidan Wardak province where they often carry out insurgency activities.
senior Afghan Army General and the former commander of the 215th Maiwand Corps
of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces in the South has been arrested on
charges of corruption.
Ministry of Defense (MoD) spokesman Dawlat Waziri confirmed that General
Mohammad Moein Faqir has been arrested on charges of embezzlement of funds and
misuse of the authority.
further added Gen. Faqir is in custody and his case will be forward to the
judiciary institutions in the near future.
said the Afghan army considers fight against corruption as one its main
principles besides fighting the terrorism and defending the national
sovereignty and freedom of the country.
comes as the Afghan government has stepped up efforts to counter corruption,
graft, misuse of authority, and trial of the former officials involved in major
special tribunal formed to try the officials in corruption cases jailed four
Afghan officials for 20 and 7 years each and a total fine of 1.86 billion
Afghanis on charges of embezzlement.
four officials belonging to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing
appeared before the special tribunal on Monday as their open public trial
official kicked off in Kabul.
to the court hearing, Mohammad Aminullah Qani, Head of Apartments Cohesion and
Syed Aman Sadat, Manager Finance Apartments Cohesion were jailed for 20 years
each on charges of the embezzlement and misuse of the authority.
two former officials of the Ministry of the Urban Development and Housing were
also fined 150 million Afghanis each.
Bill to end unilateral child conversion void, against Islam
JAYA: The bill that seeks to amend marriage and divorce laws to put a stop to
unilateral child conversion may be null and void as it is against Islamic
jurisprudence, says a senior lawyer.
Khatri Abdulla, who is also the legal aide to former prime minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad, said Islamic scriptures stated that when a parent converted to Islam,
his or her child would automatically be a Muslim too if the child had yet to
had earlier expressed support for former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Abdul
Halim’s interpretation of the Federal Constitution, that any law which
contradicted Islamic jurisprudence derived from the Quran and Sunnah was null
Islam there is jurisprudence dealing with issues that arise when a person
converts to Islam,” he told FMT.
include disputes over what happens to the convert’s previous union, to the
child from that union, the religion of that child, the matrimonial and
that basis, any amendment to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976
(Act 164) which does not comply with Islamic jurisprudence, in that situation,
would be null and void. That’s what I’ve been arguing for the last 12, 13
amendment bill, which aims to help resolve interfaith custody conflicts between
Muslim and non-Muslim parents, was tabled in Parliament last November. It
followed several cases of custody battles that went to the courts when one
spouse converted the child without the consent of the other, causing trauma for
all parties, especially the young children.
164, once amended and enforced, would let only the civil courts determine
matters involving civil marriages, even if one spouse converts to Islam.
amendments proposed under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment)
Bill 2016 also includes a new Section (88A) which explicitly states that “both
parties” in a civil marriage must agree to the conversion of a minor to Islam.
I would say that the proposed amendments would be null and void under Article 4
of the Federal Constitution read together with Article 3, as it goes against
though the spouse originally is a non-Muslim, and the other spouse remains
non-Muslim, it does not, on the face of it, interfere with the rights of the
non-Muslims,” he claimed.
Khatri added: “When one spouse converts to Islam, automatically the Islamic
jurisprudence applies to that person because Islam is the supreme religion for
the federation, and it is the courts’ duty to apply Islamic jurisprudence on
Haniff added that as Islamic jurisprudence was “fair and just”, it did provide
the mother with the custody of her child, even if the mother was a non-Muslim
and her former husband and her child were Muslim converts.
there is no issue of custody. The only issue is, therefore, the upbringing of
the child which must be supervised, in my opinion, by the Islamic authorities.
you can place a condition whereby the relevant state Islamic council must be
allowed access to the child at least once a month, to ensure the child has
access to the necessary teachings of Islam,” he said.
agrees to advise Muslim NGO, says ‘anything for Islam’
LUMPUR, March 28 ― A controversial ex-Chief Justice has agreed to act as an
adviser to a group of Muslim-rights NGOs in their their bid to challenge the
proposed amendment to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164).
Muslim group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) published a report on its website
saying that Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim had agreed to the request made by a
coalition of Muslim NGOs.
former judge came under attack recently after he said that the current English
Common Law should be replaced with Shariah law.
course, I am ready to do anything for Islam,” he was quoted saying in a
question and answer sessions at a forum titled 'Islam as the law of the land',
reportedly agreed to do so after being 'proposed' to by the chairman of the
Ummat secretariat, Aminuddin Yahaya, who plans to challenge the amendments in
court should if be passed in the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.
we were to bring this up in the court it is also not easy, from a technical
angle, we are not that efficient so that it why I proposed that Tun become an
advisor in this case, and PPMM become our representative to fight in court,”
Aminuddin told Ismaweb, Isma’s official mouthpiece.
is a case that is big and serious. It has forced several other cases before
this to be reviewed and all that. In fact, it revokes the rights of a Muslim.
Not only is it not right from an Islamic angle, not right Constitutionally
too,” he added.
the forum, several Muslim attendees had voiced their disagreement with the
proposed amendments to Act 164, lamenting that it disregards the interest of
three Acts set for amendments by the Attorney-General are; the Law Reform
(Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164), Administration of Islamic Law
(Federal Territories) Act 1993 (Act 505) and the Islamic Marriage Law (Federal
Territories) Act 1984 (Act 303).
— Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is facing a backlash following his
call last week to Indonesians not to mix religion and politics. In response,
critics, including the country’s influential Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI),
have dismissed Mr Widodo’s remarks as promoting Western values that they
consider anathema to the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Widodo had warned on Friday in the light of rising sectarian tensions during
the Jakarta gubernatorial election that politics and religion should be “well
separated so that people could differentiate between political and religious
should be no friction (between people of different races and religions). Don’t
insult others with racial and religious abuse,” he added.
response, the MUI said that the president was promoting Western values that
were incompatible with Indonesia.
secularism. We haven’t yet convened a meeting to respond to it, but I am sure
(all MUI members) will oppose and criticise it,” MUI’s deputy secretary-general
Tengku Zulkarnain was quoted by The Jakarta Post as saying.
MUI is Indonesia’s top Islamic authority, and it comprises all Islamic groups
in the country.
2005, the MUI issued an edict against liberalism, secularism and pluralism in
Indonesia as these were considered Western ideals that had no place in
last year, MUI issued an edict stating that Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja
Purnama had committed blasphemy when he said in a speech that his rivals were
tricking people into voting against him using a Quranic verse, which some
interpret as meaning Muslims should only choose Muslim leaders.
Purnama’s case is a high-profile example of the religious intolerance that has
become more common in Indonesia, where 90 per cent of its 255 million
inhabitants are Muslim.
Sohibul Iman, the chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), toed the MUI
line when he said that Mr Widodo’s statement last week was made without
considering Indonesia’s history and Islamic nature, the Post reported.
Iman stressed that Indonesia’s road to independence from Dutch rule was guided
by religion and that it was Islamic values underpinning the country.
suspect the statement reflects his incomprehension and his inability to manage
diversity in this country,” the PKS chairman observed, adding that Mr Widodo’s
call not to mix politics and religion could actually raise sectarian tensions
in the country.
Islamist PKS backs Mr Purnama’s rival, Mr Anies Baswedan, in the capital’s
Islamic hardliners attacked a church under construction in Jakarta’s eastern
suburb of Bekasi a few days ago, police arrived in force and were eventually
forced to fire teargas to disperse the mob. Not long ago, they would have stood
idly by and done nothing.
links to groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which have been used in
the past as a proxy stand-over force to extract protection money from
businesses, go back to the pre-democracy period under former dictator Suharto
when Islam was otherwise repressed.
difference now is police chief General Tito Karnavian, former head of the elite
Detachment 88 counter-terrorism unit and widely viewed as an incorruptible
professional. Hand-picked by President Joko Widodo last July, Karnavian will
serve until 2023, a longer period in the job than any of his predecessors.
Muslim himself, Karnavian has often warned against what he calls creeping
Islamic extremism, which targets religious minorities and is used by terrorist
groups as ideological justification for bombings and other violent acts.
democracy is being misused by certain groups to limit other people’s freedoms.
Take for instance those with Wahabi thinking,” his spokesman noted earlier this
year, referring to Saudi Arabia’s ultra-conservative strand of Islam.
has already laid down a marker by firing the previous West Java police chief
for failing to protect Christians from a Muslim mob. This month he appointed
the first Papuan, a Christian, to take charge of a district on Java.
in New Zealand and Singapore, with a doctorate in terrorism-related strategic
studies, the 52-year-old native of the Indonesian island of Sumatra has his
work cut out as religious tensions rise ahead of the April 19 Jakarta
showdown between incumbent governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, an ethnic-Chinese
Christian currently on trial for blasphemy, and former education minister Anies
Baswedan, who has the backing of a coalition of hardline and conservative
Muslim groups, combines an explosive mix of populism and Islam.
police have already told the National Movement to Support the Indonesian Ulema
(GNPF-MUI) to drop its plan to “monitor” all 13,000 polling stations, a move
Purnama’s supporters fear will intimidate voters into casting their ballots
along religious lines.
by hardline clerics, GNPF-MUI was the organizer of last year’s mass
demonstrations against Purnama over the blasphemy case, which two months later
is still dragging on in court and could deprive him of the governorship even if
he wins in April.
back at past blasphemy cases, Azyumardi Azra, director of the State Islamic
University’s graduate school, believes Purnama will be jailed for two or three
years – a sentence that would mean his running mate, Djarot Saiful Hidayat,
assumes the post.
and Hidayat need to capture more than their share of the 17% of the electorate
who voted for Agus Yudhoyono in the first round of voting on February 17, which
saw the son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono knocked from the race.
poor performance in the television debates persuaded conservatives to throw
their support behind Baswedan in the final fortnight rather than split their
vote. In the end, Purnama won the first round 42.9% to 40%.
April 19 run-off may be even tighter. Bahana Research, a financial services and
research company, currently calls the race a tie, with Baswedan holding a 50.6%
to 49.4% edge. That translates into 62,000 votes, virtually meaningless when
1.5 million voters are reportedly undecided.
opinion polls are expected in early April, but with 70% of first-round voters
saying they are satisfied to some degree with Purnama’s work performance, it is
clear that a large number allowed religious affiliation to triumph over more
can be put down to grassroots propaganda spread by conservative clerics in
tight-knit Jakarta neighborhoods. Jakarta election officials have already
reported a rise in intimidation ahead of the run-off, including a threat by
some mosques not to pray over the dead whose families openly voted for Purnama.
one widely-documented case condemned on social media, a mosque refused to
accept the body of an elderly woman until her relatives had signed a statement
pledging to vote for the Baswedan ticket on April 19.
says such tactics are haram (forbidden), but it is an indication of the lengths
hardline clerics will go to influence the election outcome. It will also be a
test of the willingness of individual district police commanders to enforce the
appears to have received a boost with the recent meeting between Widodo, whose
Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) is Purnama’s leading political
backer, and ex-president Yudhoyono, head of the fourth-ranked Democrat Party.
between Widodo and Yudhoyono had been cool before they recently shared tea and
cakes on the palace veranda, mostly over the former president’s financial backing
for last year’s anti-Purnama rallies that Widodo suspected were also aimed at
him and his bid for re-election in 2019.
sources say what drove the former president to heal the rift was his bitter
falling-out with ex-presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, leader of the
Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) and chief sponsor of the
Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket.
sources say Yudhoyono and Prabowo had originally agreed to a joint candidate to
take on Purnama, but six hours before the deadline for candidates to register,
the ex-president and all other Democrat Party leaders turned off their phones.
then on, Prabowo is said to have directed all his energies to undermining Agus
Yudhoyono’s candidacy. Although he is not a devout Muslim himself, hailing from
a family of Christians, Prabowo has been adept at playing the Islamic card for
political effect over the years.
it was in his power struggle with then-armed forces chief Wiranto in the late
1990s and more recently as a partner-of-convenience with the Sharia-based
Justice and Prosperity (PKS) and United Development (PPP) parties in the
post-2014 parliamentary opposition.
this suggests there is now a much stronger political undercurrent to the
gubernatorial election, underlined by a slimmed-down and more energetic PDI-P
leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, who has immersed herself in the details of the
at the way Purnama was relying more on his own volunteer workers than the party
machinery, the former president has divided the sprawling city into grids and
assigned individual PDI-P lawmakers to take responsibility for each of them.
the same time, Hidayat, a 54-year-old Javanese Muslim, has been given the task
of taking the campaign to neighborhood mosques, often dressed in a sarong to
connect better with local communities.
this is a far cry from the 2014 presidential campaign when Megawati and key
loyalists, resentful that a rural upstart was preferred over her, sat on their
hands for weeks while Prabowo made up electoral ground over Widodo.
2019 presidential ambitions may explain his choice of financier Sandiaga Uno as
Baswedan’s running mate. Sandiaga was his original choice as gubernatorial
candidate, but when Baswedan was approached as a running mate, he persuaded the
Gerindra leader he was better equipped for the main role.
businessman brother, Hashim Djojohadikusumo, took the 2014 defeat much harder
than Prabowo, perhaps because he had reportedly sold most of his offshore oil
and gas assets to fund the campaign. Since then, Hashim has told friends he is
not prepared to fund another presidential bid.
(ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Muslim community in the European Muslim Youth
Union (PPME) of Al-Ikhlas, Amsterdam, has bought a building that will be
developed into the Indonesian Cultural Center at Jan van Gentstraat 140,
Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands.
building has several spaces that will be used as a mosque named Al-Ikhlas,
classrooms, offices, and workshop rooms, a member of the Indonesian Muslim
community, Hansyah Iskandar, said in a statement received by Antara here on
Al-Ikhlas mosque will be inaugurated by the Indonesian Minister of Religious
Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin.
moment had been eagerly awaited by the Indonesian community in Amsterdam and
surrounding areas who have long wanted to have their own building to hold
cultural and religious events," a founder of the European Muslim Youth
Union, Muzayyin, said.
to the chairman of the union, Rudi Kosasih, the mosque will be inaugurated by
Saifuddin on the sidelines of his visit to the Netherlands to open an
international conference on "Rethinking Indonesias Islam Nusantara"
at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, organized by the Indonesian Islamic
organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) of the Netherlands.
will be accompanied by few Indonesian ambassadors, namely Ambassador to the
Netherlands I Gusti Wesaka Puja, Ambassador to Lebanon Ahmad Chozin Chumaidy,
Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel, Ambassador to Algeria Safira
Machrusah, and Ambassador to Azerbaijan Husnan Fananie Bey.
LUMPUR, March 28 — When it comes to what is “safe” to eat or drink, Muslims in
Malaysia are pretty savvy.
late, though, there has been a greater reliance on the stamp of approval or
certification from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) which
sets the halal standards for restaurants even though the federal body has said
that food without any official halal certification is not necessarily haram.
this, there has been a number of times Malaysian Muslims have been quick to
accuse a company of selling non-halal products, only to be proven wrong later
are the seven of the most controversial examples in recent times:
would seem that many Malaysians have a love-hate relationship with this US
fast-food chain. While it remains popular, there have also been persistent
unfounded allegations against the company.
consumer groups have threatened to boycott McDonald’s because of the parent
company’s alleged “Jewish” links, which they claim is reason enough for Muslims
to stop supporting them.
have claimed some products, like the “Quarter Pounder” burger, are made from
products that are not halal.
rumours were so bad that Jakim was forced to intervene and issue a statement
last June saying McDonald’s Malaysia’s halal status should not be questioned.
McDonald’s Malaysia restricts customers from bringing cakes that are not
halal-certified into its restaurants.
chain added that although it has a policy barring outside food and drinks in
its premises, it made allowances for birthday cakes served at parties held at
it added that these must be demonstrably halal, either through certification or
how’s that for irony?
McDonald’s Corp said it has sold the franchise rights for its restaurants in Singapore
and Malaysia to Saudi Arabia’s Lionhorn Pte Ltd as part of a plan to move away
from direct ownership in Asia.
2014, the Health Ministry detected pig DNA in samples taken from Cadbury’s
Dairy Milk Hazelnut and Dairy Milk Roast Almond products.
of course, caused an uproar among Muslim groups who called for a nationwide
boycott on all Cadbury products, saying that a “jihad” needs to be waged
against the confectionary giant for allegedly attempting to “weaken” Muslims in
Jakim later said that an analysis by the Chemistry Department of samples of the
two products taken directly from Cadbury’s factory showed no traces of porcine
also pointed out that the Health Ministry’s samples were not taken directly
from Cadbury’s factory, suggesting that this resulted in possible contamination
and flawed test results.
order to prove that the Cadbury products were halal, officials with the
country’s top Islamic authority even volunteered to eat the chocolate bars.
year, Jakim cautioned Muslims against consuming Toblerone and Daim chocolates
as the two brands were not certified halal.
a posting on its Facebook, the federal Islamic authority’s halal hub division
said both the Swiss and Swedish chocolates have not received halal
certification from Jakim or other international certified bodies.
then led to Mondelēz International, the manufacturer of Toblerone and Daim
brand chocolates, clarifying that the ingredients used in the two products are
suitable for Muslims.
United States-based multinational food company said the two products do not
have a halal logo since they are produced in countries that do not require such
company also said that Jakim has clarified that a food with no halal
certification does not necessarily mean it is haram, or forbidden under the
religion, and urged customers to refer to the ingredients list printed on its
Texas Chicken kerfuffle began sometime in June 2015 when a Facebook user, Mista
Bob Faishah wrote to Texas Chicken to find out more about its “Church’s” brand
dipping sauce” claiming that Muslims cannot eat food from “church brands.”
his post on Facebook, the man had also claimed that most of Texas Chicken’s
customers are Muslims, adding that he was “worried” about eating food with a
label that says “Church’s.”
is unclear what the man meant by “church brands”, but he was likely referring
to how Muslims may not eat food from churches. There is no such prohibition in
Chicken Malaysia later responded to explain that “Church’s Chicken” was the
chain’s name in the US, and they were not related to Christianity.
further explained that some of its sauces were imported from the US, in which
case these will carry the Church’s Chicken branding.
Bob subsequently wrote an online apology to Texas Chicken, adding that he still
enjoyed their food with his favourite being its winglets.
with candy’ sweets
earlier this week, Jakim had to issue a statement refuting claims that
“Eyeglass With Candy” sweets are not safe for Muslim consumption as it
contained haram ingredients.
to Jakim’s Halal Hub Division, the sweets which are round and come in various
colours are produced by Goodfood Industries Sdn Bhd which has valid halal
misunderstanding arose when the consumer did not look clearly at the label
which has the words ‘free from pig’s products and its derivatives’,” it said in
also advised the public to be smart consumers and not spread rumours without
factories, village command posts: ISIS rural fight
State fighters have pulled out of this deserted village on the Tigris river,
which Iraqi commanders say was a crucial outpost defending their nearby
stronghold of Mosul, but signs of their presence abound.
the sounds of battle echo in the distance, the stinking corpses of dead
militants line a path from a home they used as a command post down to the river
enormous cement plant nearby still contains dozens of rockets and booby-trapped
car bombs, one of which killed sappers entering the facility on Sunday.
fighting here is different from the intense street battles raging further to
the southeast in Mosul, Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq.
The U.S.-backed offensive to drive the group out of Mosul has recaptured most
of the city.
once operations there wind down, Iraqi forces will need to capture and clear
rural centers like Badush as they move west toward the Syrian border and the next
target, the Islamic State-held flashpoint town of Tal Afar.
officers in Badush say that fight will be easier, but jihadists in the many
villages IS still controls toward Tal Afar have kept troops occupied weeks
after they seized this area, and made their presence felt.
was an important base for Daesh (Islamic State)," Lieutenant Colonel Ali
Jassem of the 9th Armoured Division said, sitting outside Badush as artillery
fired at distant targets.
the starting point for the supply route from Mosul west to Tal Afar, and on
toward Syria," where the group will soon have to defend its stronghold of
strategic importance of outposts like Badush was clear from what the jihadists
left as they withdrew.
large three-dimensional battle map of the area, made of earth, sticks and
string, takes up the entire living room of the house next to the river.
its tiny garden, a deep shaft led down to an underground tunnel a military
official said was nearly a mile (1.60 km) long and was used to ferry supplies
or fighters undetected.
Iraqi army and Shi'ite paramilitary forces recaptured Badush earlier this
month, severing supply lines and trapping militants inside the city.
toward Tal Afar should be more straightforward, Colonel Adnan Jabbar said.
"It's open ground, there are no tall buildings, no civilians to use as
cover" in villages where local populations have fled as Islamic State's
grip loosens, he said.
BOMBS, BOOBY TRAPS
fully securing the Badush area is taking weeks.
State fighters had two years to prepare their defenses in the villages west of
Mosul and are now launching suicide attacks and leaving nasty surprises behind
there are 10 car bombs driven into the area in one day," Alaa Abboudi, a
took precautions in capturing the cement factory, delaying the final assault
for more than two weeks to let demoralized militants escape or come out and
fight, so engineers could concentrate on de-mining it when they moved in,
found no fighters inside, but accidentally triggered a booby-trapped car bomb
which the militants had left, killing five soldiers, Staff Brigadier General
Waleed Khalifa, deputy commander of the 9th Armoured Division said.
they did find was several car bombs, 50 or 60 Katyusha rockets and many IEDs
(improvised explosive devices), he said.
the next village along, forces took fewer chances. A helicopter gunship fired
up to 10 missiles at a brick warehouse also used to make explosives.
around 180 militants in Badush when Iraqi forces attacked, some were killed and
some retreated to the factory before fleeing, an army media officer said. He
did not now where they had headed.
fighters battle IS around Syria town
- US-backed forces battled the Islamic State group around a key Syrian town
Monday, after the capture of an airbase brought them closer to besieging the
militants in their stronghold Raqa.
by air power from the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS since 2014, the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are laying the groundwork for an assault on the
heart of the militants' so-called "caliphate". Operations are
currently focused on the strategically important town of Tabqa on the Euphrates
River, and the adjacent dam and military airport.
Sunday, Arab and Kurdish fighters from the SDF seized Tabqa airbase and pressed
north towards the town itself. Rami
Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, said the
SDF was fighting north of the airport to reinforce its positions. "The SDF
could bring supplies to the airport in the coming days and use it as a launching
point for additional military operations," he added, reporting "heavy
strikes" in the area.
spokesman Talal Sello told AFP that the alliance would "begin
rehabilitating the airport after clearing out explosive devices" left
behind by IS and said the base's main landing strip was seriously damaged.
by air strikes and military advisers from the US-led coalition, SDF units are
approaching Tabqa from the south via the airport and via the north near the
Monday, the SDF announced it would pause fighting near the IS-held structure to
allow a technical team to work on it, after it was forced out of service the
ensure the integrity of the Tabqa dam... we have decided to stop operations for
four hours beginning at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT)... to allow a team of engineers to
enter the dam and carry out their work," said SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh
source inside the dam told AFP the teams would carry out repairs so the dam
could resume operations.
UN has warned that damage to the dam "could lead to massive scale flooding
across Raqa and as far away as Deir Ezzor" province downstream to the
issued warnings through its propaganda agency Amaq that the dam "is
threatened with collapse at any moment because of American strikes and a large
rise in water levels".
US-led coalition denied the dam had been "structurally damaged" and
said it was "taking every precaution" to ensure its integrity.
SDF launched its offensive for Raqa city in November, seizing around two thirds
of the surrounding province, according to the Britain-based Observatory.
their closest point, they are just eight kilometres (five miles) from the city,
to the northeast.
they are mostly further away, between 18 and 29 kilometres from Raqa.
Rebels quit Homs district -
conflict began with protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 but has
since morphed into a brutal war pitting government forces, militants, rebels,
and Kurds against each other.
addition to the US-led coalition's bombing campaign, Russian warplanes are
carrying out air strikes in support of Assad's government.
Monday, a spokesman for the Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham told AFP it shot
down a "Russian helicopter" over a government-held town in the
northwestern province of Latakia.
- Iraqi forces renewed their assault Monday against militants in Mosul's Old
City, after days in which the battle was overshadowed by reports of heavy
civilian casualties from air strikes.
forces began the massive operation to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State
(IS) group last month and have recaptured a series of neighbourhoods, but the
battle poses a major threat to civilians in the city.
officials and witnesses have said air strikes took a devastating toll on
civilians in the Mosul Al-Jadida area in recent days, but the number of victims
- said by some to number in the hundreds - could not be independently
confirmed. "Federal Police and Rapid Response Division units began to
advance today on the southwestern axis of the Old City," Lieutenant
General Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police, said in a
said that one of their targets is Faruq Street, which runs near the Al-Nuri
chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance at the mosque
after IS seized Mosul in 2014, calling on Muslims to obey him.
interior ministry forces have been operating in the area of the Old City for
several weeks, but they have faced tough resistance and progress in the area
has been slow. The Counter-Terrorism Service, which along with the Rapid
Response Division is one of two special forces units spearheading west Mosul
operations, has made faster progress in areas further west.
the Old City - a warren of narrow streets and closely-spaced buildings in which
the UN said 400,000 people still reside - poses unique challenges in terms of
the difficulty of advancing as well as the danger to civilians.
General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command, said
that interior ministry units have deployed snipers to target IS militants using
civilians as human shields.
Iraqi forces have also frequently fired mortar rounds and unguided rockets
during the battle for Mosul - weapons that pose a much greater risk to
residents of areas where fighting is taking place.
battle has already taken a heavy toll on civilians, pushing more than 200,000
to flee in addition to others who have been killed or wounded in the fighting.
AFP photographer saw civil defence personnel and volunteers digging through the
remains of houses to recover the dead in Mosul al-Jadida on Sunday.
remains of at least 12 people - among them women and children - were placed in
blue plastic body bags.
sources said that the second group of gunmen and their family members that
refused to lay down arms to receive amnesty from the Syrian government left
sources added that 254 militants and 464 of their family members left al-Wa'er.
relevant developments in the province, hundreds of militants stationed in
al-Wa'er surrendered themselves and their weapons to the Syrian authorities to
return to normal life as the soldiers of President Bashar al-Assad continue to
capture more regions across the country.
than 500 militants from al-Wa'er neighborhood in Homs city were granted amnesty
by the government within the framework of the reconciliation agreement that was
reached in the neighborhood, paving the way for the return of all state
services back into operation.
source at the reconciliation committee said that the government granted amnesty
to 545 militants from al-Wa'er so far.
artillery units shelled ISIL's positions and movements in the hills of
al-Shaheib and in Abar al-Dayaseh region, leaving more than ten militants dead
and a number of their vehicles destroyed.
this month, the army troops identified and seized a huge arms and ammunition
cargo moving towards terrorists' positions in the Eastern parts of Sweida after
army soldiers continued to attack ISIL's defense lines in Eastern Aleppo and
drove terrorists out of the villages of Rasm Jeisi and Jafirah Qaral and Abu
ISIL lost a number of forces in the army attack, military sources said.
the army soldiers and al-Baqir tribal fighters managed to impose full control
of Jafirah, Abu Maqbarah Al-Kabeera and Abu Maqbarah Saghira villages after
hours of clashes with ISIL terrorists on Sunday.
army's artillery units and aircraft pounded terrorists' concentration centers
and gatherings along a road connecting al-Salamiyah town in Southwestern Hama
to Homs city.
reports said the terrorists suffered heavy casualties in the attack and
retreated from their positions near the road.
informed local source said that tens of terrorists were killed or wounded in
the army attacks that resulted in restorating security to al-Salamiyah-Homs
reports on Monday said that the army forces engaged in heavy fighting with
terrorists in the Northern countryside of Hama city and seized several points
near the strategic town of Qomhana.
army soldiers advanced against terrorists from Qomhana Cemetery to the small
hilltop town of Tal (hill) al-Sammam, where they were confronted by the
militants that retreated from the Western flank of Qomhana after brief clashes.
a short battle, the army men took full control of Tal Sammam and its three
corresponding checkpoints, pushing further into the West of Qomhana in order to
expand the buffer-zone around the town.
army's artillery units launched heavy artillery and air assaults on ISIL's
concentration centers in areas near Deir Ezzur's airbase, al-Maqaber (cemetery)
region, 137th regiment region and other areas South-West of the city, killing a
number of terrorists and destroying two military vehicles.
warplanes, for a second day in a row, pounded ISIL's movements in al-Maqaber
region and Jonayd division region, the areas surrounding the city's military
airport, power company, Tamin Brigade area, the brick and cement block
manufacturing plants and workshops and al-Jafrah village, killing and injuring
a number of terrorists and destroying a number of their positions and
army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra in al-Manshiyeh
neighborhood and warded off terrorists' attack, killing and wounding a number
the meantime, the army's artillery units targeted the positions and movements
of Al-Nusra and destroyed an arms and munitions depot of the terrorists West of
the city's post building.
the army men attacked the position of a group of terrorists in the Northern
direction of Dara'a city and killed or wounded most of the group's
reports said that the army troops engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra Front
on Sunday and managed to liberate a part of a key neighborhood in Dara'a city.
army men attacked the positions of Al-Nusra and pushed the terrorists back from
part of al-Manshiya neighborhood in the Southern city of Dara'a, RIA Novosti
to the news agency, currently, the government forces are conducting an intense
battle against terrorists in Dara'a districts.
yet another call for President Bashar al-Assad’s departure, the Syrian
opposition said on Monday that the prerequisite was a key aspect of political
settlement in the war-ravaged country.
a meeting with UN Secretary General’s Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzi Izz
Eddin Ramzi, the chief negotiator for Syria’s opposition High Negotiations
Committee (HNC), Nasr al-Hariri, said: “Today, we continued to discuss the
political period and a constitutional declaration that will be in effect in the
of this is reflected in our documents. Today, we had detailed discussions and I
hope they will be continued in the coming days.
reiterated at the beginning of the meeting that the key aspect of political
process is stepping down of Bashar Assad and all those who took part in the
crimes against the Syrian people,” he added.
Syrian opposition rejects terrorism and is “fed up” with banned militants but
they cannot be stopped if Syria continues evicting populations of besieged
areas, opposition negotiator Basma Kodmani said on Sunday.
forces launched a renewed attack against militants in Mosul’s Old City on
Monday, a senior commander said.
United Nations has warned that 400,000 people are “trapped” in the central
Mosul area under siege-like conditions, as Iraqi forces battle ISIS for the
Police and Rapid Response Division units began to advance today on the
southwestern axis of the Old City,” Lieutenant General Raed Shakir Jawdat, the
commander of the federal police, said in a statement.
Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only known public appearance at the mosque
after ISIS seized Mosul in 2014, calling on Muslims to obey him.
forces have been operating in the area of the Old City for several weeks, but
they have faced tough resistance and progress in the area has been slow.
overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have
since retaken much of the territory they lost.
troops kill 31 Shabab militants in Somalia's Jubbaland
troops deployed in neighboring Somalia have carried out a raid on militants of
the al-Shabab Takfiri group, killing at least 31 of them.
Kenyan military said on Monday that two bases of al-Shabab militants in Somalia
had been targeted in the raid, which took place a day earlier in the southern
region of Jubbaland.
troops were supported by attack helicopters and artillery fire," the Kenya
Defense Forces (KDF) said in a statement, adding that 11 AK-47 assault rifles,
communications equipment and uniforms were captured from the militants during
has yet to comment on the Kenyan military operation in the Baadhade district of
Jubbaland. The al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group has a history of attacks on
Kenyan soil, prompting the East African country to deploy thousands of its
forces in Somalia as part of a regional mission to combat the militant group.
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which includes soldiers from Kenya,
Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, and some other African countries, has managed to curb
al-Shabab’s attacks and improve security in Somalia.
said in early March that its forces had killed some 60 suspected al-Shabab
militants during a raid in southern Somalia.
massive operation came after militants targeted a Kenyan military base in the
town of Kulbiyow, near the Kenyan border. Kenyan authorities said that nine
soldiers had lost their lives in the assault, while al-Shabab claimed it had
killed at least 66 people.
militants have been pushed out of all major urban strongholds and ports, but
they continue to stage attacks on targets in smaller, more remote areas.
Haram kills three civilians in NE Nigeria for collaborating with military
Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group has raided a village in northeast Nigeria,
killing three civilians on suspicion of collaborating with the military.
security sources said on Monday that the fatalities had occurred two days
earlier when the terrorists stormed Kalari Abdiye village, in Borno State.
singled out the four men whom they accused of collaboration with the military.
They accused the men of passing information to the military," said a
military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
gunmen took the men outside the village where they slaughtered three of the
officer said three locals had their throats cut while the fourth was left
sources said that the Takfiri terrorist group had also seized livestock from a
nearby village without leaving any civilian casualties.
has been at war with Boko Haram since the group launched militancy in Borno
State about eight years ago. More than 20,000 people have been killed while the
violence has displaced over 2.7 million others.
Students From Africa Disturbed by New US Visa Rule
Kevin J. Kelley
York — Specialists recruiting Africans and other international students for US
universities are expressing growing concern over the potentially damaging
impact of President Donald Trump’s restrictive visa policies.
of the 250 higher education institutions in the US, which recently surveyed on
their application trends, reported that the number of Africans seeking to study
in the US was holding steady or slightly increasing.
the same time, however, university admissions professionals are reporting
troubling feedback from applicants in Africa, said Melanie Gottlieb, deputy
director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions
students from Africa cite two main sources of worry about applying to attend US
universities, Ms Gottlieb noted.
involved fears of discrimination based on their Muslim faith and anxieties over
US visa issues — processing, denials and the ability to travel once admitted to
the US, she said.
US universities are citing a general concern among international students that
Mr Trump’s pending ban on travel to the US from six Muslim-majority countries
could be expanded to include additional States.
misgivings may well have intensified in the weeks since the survey was conducted.
reported on Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered US
embassies around the world to identify “populations warranting increased
scrutiny” regarding their US visa applications.
implementation of Mr Trump’s promise to conduct “extreme vetting” of visa
applicants could lead to systematic US profiling on the basis of religion or
nationality, immigration advocates warn. Applicants with no links to terrorist
organisations may be denied US visas as a result of the Trump administration’s
broad focus on “populations”.
number of Kenyans studying in the US had been dropping steadily in the decade
prior to Mr Trump’s election victory. The total may shrink even further in the
coming years due to heightened difficulties in obtaining US visas and Kenyans’
suspicions that they may not be welcome in Mr Trump’s America.
3,000 Kenyans were enrolled in US universities and graduate schools in the
2014/2015 academic year, compared to the more than 7,000 Kenyans studying in
the US in 2004/2005. Kenya was once a leading source of international students
in the US. Luminaries such as Barack Obama Snr, Wangari Maathai and Uhuru
Kenyatta earned degrees from US institutions.
Kenya now sends far fewer students to the US than does Nigeria, which has
nearly 10,000 of its nationals currently enrolled in US universities.
causes of the fall-off in the number of Kenyan students are said to include the
drop in the shilling’s exchange rate against the dollar and the emergence of
academic alternatives in Kenya.
Moki Edwin Kindzeka
court in Cameroon has again adjourned a trial for a foreign reporter accused
nearly two years ago of "complicity" with the Boko Haram terrorist
Abba of Radio France International's Hausa language service says he has done
nothing wrong, but he has been in custody for nearly five months and faces a
death sentence if convicted.
hearing Friday at the Yaounde military court was his first since November.
During cross-examination to find out how he got videos and photos purportedly
from Boko Haram, Abba said he downloaded some from YouTube and Facebook, while
others were being shared on other social media.
how he got information security services had discovered on his phone announcing
planned attacks that never came to pass, the RFI reporter said all the
information he had was shared on social media.
questioned why the court did not believe him, adding that he also was
threatened by Boko Haram, which might have gotten his telephone number from his
judicial police said they interpreted discussions allegedly conducted between
Boko Haram members and Abba speaking in the Hausa language. One of the messages
was about a planned airplane attack, and another, which Abba claimed was from a
friend, invited him to pray and fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
witness Yves Rocle, head of the Africa news section of RFI, testified that Abba
had been an objective reporter since joining the organizattion.
counsel Charles Tchoungang said the cross-examination sounded intimidating, but
he was happy the trial had at last begun. He said nobody knew the whereabouts
of Abba three months after he was arbitrarily arrested.
case was adjourned until April 6 to enable RFI to provide written documents
that Abba is its correspondent in Cameroon. The court said verbal testimony
from Rocle was not enough.
— President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omer Al-Bashir, has affirmed the
importance of Islamic an Arab unity to overcome the challenges.
came at his meeting Sunday at the Guest House with the Imam of Prophet's
Mosque, Sheikh Salah bin Mohamed Al-Budair, in the presence of Minister of
Culture, Al-Tayeb Hassan Badawi, Chairman of Sudan Scholars and the Secretary
General of Islamic Figh Complex, Dr. Isam Ahmed Al-Bashir, the Ambassador of
Saudi Arabia to Sudan and the Chairman of the Secretariat General of the
Project of Sennar the Capital of Islamic Culture, Prof. Yousef Fadl.
lauded the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the efforts he exerted to
strengthen the Islamic and Arab relations, especially his role in consoldating
the Sudanese - Saudi relations.
Minister of Culture, Al-Tayeb Hassan Badawi, said in a press statement
following the meeting that President Al-Bashir has appreciated the
distinguished relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia, welcoming the visit of
the Imam of the Prophet's Mosque to Sudan.
and South Africa signed a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) on Monday, March 27
entailing an increase in bilateral defence cooperation, especially in terms of
defence industry collaboration, training and armament procurement.
MoU – “Defence and Defence Industrial Cooperation” – was signed during an
official four-day visit to Pakistan by South Africa’s Minister of Defence and
Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. The visit will conclude on
Wednesday, March 29.
Mapisa-Nqakula met Pakistan’s Minister of Defence (MoD) Khawaja Asif, Minister
of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain, Chief of Army Staff Gen.
Qamar Javed Bajwa, and other high-level Pakistani defence officials. The South
African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Chief of Staff General Solly Zacharia
Shoke was also the chief guest at the annual Pakistan Day Parade on March 23.
per the press statement released by the Government of Pakistan, the MoU
encompasses many areas, among them a call to explore opportunities for
collaboration between Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and Pakistan Aeronautical
Complex (PAC) with Denel Land Systems and Denel Aviation, respectively. Contact
between South Africa and Pakistan’s respective state-owned vendors have already
the South African Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans, Gulf News reports
that the MoU also involves the “acquisition of defence equipment as well as
cooperation in Research and Development (R&D), Transfer of Technology,
Co-production/Joint Ventures in public as well as private sector.”
September 2016, South Africa and Pakistan officially committed to enhancing
bilateral defence ties. At the time, South Africa’s defence minister, Ms.
Mapisa-Nqakula, stated that South Africa will establish a Defence Attaché
office in Islamabad by the end of 2016.
could be a significant agreement considering it has been signed at the
intergovernmental level, which should green-light commercial exchanges and
technical collaboration between both countries moving forward. South Africa has
a strong product portfolio comprising of surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air
missiles, air-to-ground munitions, artillery, armoured vehicles and competency
in critical technology, such as dual-pulse rocket motors.
combination of modern technology and accessible pricing (especially in ZAR)
should position South Africa’s defence goods favourably against competing
Western solutions, especially in a cost-sensitive market such as Pakistan.
the MoU is a first, Pakistan had procured South African defence equipment in
the past, especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The most noteworthy of
these were the sale – with local licensed production – of Raptor-I and
Raptor-II stand-off range glide bombs. Deployed from the Mirage III/5, these
formed the nucleus of the PAF’s long-range strike capabilities, which now
include other stand-off range munitions, including the Ra’ad air-launched
cruise missile (ALCM), which analysts believe benefited greatly from South
Denel Land Systems T5-52 self-propelled wheeled howitzer and Denel Dynamics
A-Darter air-to-air missile are (or at least were) of interest to the Pakistan
Army and Pakistan Air Force (PAF), respectively. The Denel Dynamics Umkhonto
EIR could also interest the Pakistan Navy for upgrading the Zulfiqar-class
(F-22P) frigates and/or for new surface warships. The Pakistan Army’s recurring
need for light armoured vehicles, such as mine-resistant ambush-protected
(MRAP) vehicles, may also be of interest to Denel Group and Paramount Group.
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