SOHAIL AHMED: The reformed extremist told of the
feelings which drove him
Values Are Muslim Values When It Comes To Treatment of Refugees
S. National Security Adviser Rejects the Term “Radical Islamic Terrorism”
Weakens Longstanding Law against Underage Marriage
I Nearly BOMBED London’ Ex-Jihadi Reveals What Drove Him to Almost Attack
Communal Mindset Exposed! Top Diplomat Does U-Turn over ‘Non-Muslim’ Oscar
Makes History by Putting Muslim In Charge Of 14,000 US Soldiers’ Spiritual
State has brought Saudi Arabia, U.S. closer
Mosque Opens Doors to Promote Understanding
Muslim Vets Vow To Defend Jewish Centers under Siege
borders were thrown into ‘confusion’ by Trump's Muslim ban, British government
Don’t Have Ability to Face Afghan Security Forces: Ashraf Ghani
Suu Kyi Breaks Silence on Killing of Top Muslim Lawyer
militants sentenced to death for killing Japanese in Bangladesh
Rohingya refugees sucked into booming Bangladesh drug trade
Hekmatyar criticizes govt of slow pace to implement peace deal
Refugees: UN envoy decries Myanmar atrocities
Afghan policemen lost their lives in Taliban insider attack in Helmand
I Nearly BOMBED London’ Ex-Jihadi Reveals What Drove Him to Almost Attack Britain
Not Pretend!' LBC Host Says Muslim Communities Are NOT Integrating In Britain
says Syria talks in Astana helped revive Geneva
Per Cent of Bulgarians Want to End Muslim Immigration
Pen Pledges to Ban Dual Israeli-French Citizenship
Finance Watchdog Puts Pakistan on Notice
Pays Tribute to 'Angel of Mercy' Abdul Sattar Edhi on Birthday
Assembly Condemns Punjab’s Harassment of Pashtuns
decide to launch Sindh-wide crackdown against ‘illegal’ immigrants
Taliban commander killed in drone strike
Arab deports 100 Pakistanis
profiling will damage counter-terrorism effort: HRCP
Share Details Of Government Response on Sharia Banking: RBI
IS Brothers Give Cops Names of 40 Operatives
plotting to divide Muslims in Kashmir: Hurriyet leaders
in Valley: Pellet guns to return to J&K, with a tweak
Bar Association Passes Resolution Not To Defend Suspected ISIS Operatives
goodwill gesture, India to release 39 Pakistan prisoners
Terrorists in Eastern Damascus Issue Distress Call to Comrades
Army Wards off Turkey-Backed Militants' Attack in Eastern Aleppo
dead in Syria govt raids, regime gains in Aleppo
anti-IS strategy may mean deeper US involvement in Syria
pledges to veto UN sanctions resolution on Syria
Syrian Soldiers Block Turkey-Backed Militants' Only Pathway to Manbij
Erupt between Syrian Army, Turkey-Backed Militants near Al-Bab
Terrorists Fail again to Break through Syrian Army Positions in Dara'a City
drone strike kills high-ranking al-Qaeda leader in Syria
To Boost Somali Military Operation against Al Shabaab
Conference to Focus on Religious Coexistence
blast heard in Somali capital, cause unknown
Muslim Africans face discrimination in Germany
religious leaders look past hate in conflicted country
Africa: Essa Moosa - the Struggle Lawyer Who Was 'Everywhere'
State Forces Philippine Nurses to Give Medical Training in Libya
King to Work with Indonesia to Combat Islamic State: Ambassador
police kill bomber, investigate for link to IS sympathisers
terrorists behead kidnapped sailor after ransom is denied
Coordinator in Yemen Accused of Siding with Rebels
art ambassadors carry message of peace, pride: Qassemi
real change in Saudi stance in support of terrorists: Iran official
groups slam Israel for denying visa to HRW staffer
jets carry out new airstrikes on Gaza Strip, injure four Palestinians
by New Age Islam News Bureau
was my first day on the job, and I didn’t know what to expect. Until then,
“refugees” were a vague phenomenon I heard about on the news. They were not
people, but a polarizing political issue.
changed when I first stepped foot into an English as a Second Language class at
my local branch of the International Rescue Committee, an organization which
resettles refugees around the world. Every morning I spent in that class, I had
the opportunity to engage with refugees from myriad countries, including those
on Donald Trump’s infamous “Muslim ban” list.
shocked me was not that they were people just like me. As a decent human being,
I expected that much. I was inspired that I was working with aspiring citizens
better than me. Harder working than me. More dedicated than me.
refugees saw my hijab and took care to greet me with “salam”, meaning “peace”.
Yet they did not limit their sphere of compassion to other Muslims. Rather, in
the true spirit of Islam, they expanded it to all people, including their
fellow non-Muslim refugees and the rest of the Americans working there.
came here seeking peace, ready to contribute to our society. The least
“we," the citizens of America, can do is to make sure our country lives up
to the standard of hospitality embodied by the words ingrained on the Statue of
Liberty. She promises a home for those “yearning to breathe free," she
promises to keep the entrance to our nation’s “golden door” lit by her
a Muslim-American, I can’t help but see a parallel between the assurances of
Lady Liberty and the treatment of refugees embodied by my religion. The Prophet
Muhammad was himself compelled to flee for his life as a refugee when
persecution of early Muslims in Mecca reached its highpoint. This violent
persecution led him and his followers to Medina in pursuit of freedom of
teachings command Muslims to be compassionate when they are on the receiving
end of a refugee inflow. The Holy Quran says, “... show kindness to parents,
and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbor that is a
kinsman and the neighbor that is a stranger, and the companion by your side,
and the wayfarer ..." (4:37).
to the Quran, the wayfarer you do not know is considered worthy of the same
kindness you show your own parents. That is what my religion teaches me. And
that is what my country’s values reflect, too.
leader of the largest unified Muslim community in the world, His Holiness the
Khalifa of Islam Mirza Masroor Ahmad, reminds us of the balance which must be
struck between the compassion espoused by Islam and national security. He said,
“All genuine refugees should be helped by governments and international
organizations. They should be allowed to settle until peace is restored in
their home countries ... However, it is also important that the authorities
remain vigilant and monitor the refugees to ensure that extremists are not
allowed to settle under the guise of asylum.”
would hope that my fellow Americans, including President Donald Trump, can
agree that we can strike a balance between welcoming those in need and
maintaining our security — without taking unprecedented measures against
members of one religious group. Until then, I invite all Americans looking for
a way to demonstrate their solidarity with Muslims to sign up as a #MuslimAlly
at TrueIslam.com. The “True Islam” campaign aims to clear misconceptions about
the religion of Islam, thereby deterring both extremists and Islamophobes. By
recognizing that Muslim values and American values are one in the same when it
comes to treatment of refugees, we can take the first step towards healing a
Humayun, a Whitfield County resident, is a student of international affairs and
modern languages at Georgia Tech.
Trump’s new national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, does not think that
“radical Islamic terrorism” is a useful term, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan
confirms, putting him at odds with the president he serves. The New York Times
first reported that he repudiated the phrase.
many conservatives, Mr. Trump has routinely suggested that the phrase is
critical to addressing the terrorist threat against the U.S. During the
presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly criticized the president and
opponent Hillary Clinton for not using the term.
President Obama going to finally mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism?’”
Mr. Trump wondered last year in a Tweet. “If he doesn’t, he should immediately
resign in disgrace.”
the Orlando nightclub massacre, Obama derided Mr. Trump over the importance he
placed on the phrase. “What exactly would using this label accomplish? What
exactly would it change?” he said in June 2016. “Would it make ISIL less
committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there
a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is -- none of the above.
Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
is seen as someone who can bring to the National Security Council adviser
position a clear-eyed assessment of foreign threats, in no small measure
because of a book he wrote years ago called “Dereliction of Duty,” which
exposed what he saw as the failure of the top U.S. military officials to tell
President Lyndon Johnson the truth about how disastrous the Vietnam war would
be for the U.S.
CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that
McMaster’s position on the issue, “gives me even greater confidence that he is
going to do what he needs to do as national security adviser and hopefully be
able to sway the thoughts and ideas and inclinations of some of the individuals
who work with him in the White House complex.”
there are questions about how much influence McMaster will have on the
president, compared to chief White House strategist Steve Bannon and others in
the White House, who share the belief that the major terrorist threats against
the U.S. are inextricably tied to Islam. The inability of White House Press
Secretary Sean Spicer to condemn anti-Muslim groups from the podium last week
speaks to that difference.
week, Brennan asked Spicer, “The Southern Poverty Law Center said that the
number of anti-Muslim groups in the U.S. has tripled between 2015 and 2016,
during the time of the campaign. Is this message, within the administration —
anti-Semitism is not allowed, xenophobia is not allowed. Anti-Muslim sentiment
within the administration: Has the president been forceful about that
did not address anti-Muslim sentiment and instead brought up the threat of
terrorism in his response.
think that the president, in terms of his desire to combat radical Islamic
terrorism, he understands that people who want to express a peaceful position
have every right under our Constitution, but if you come here or want to
express views that seek to do our country or our people harm, he is going to
fight it aggressively -- whether it is domestic acts that are going on here, or
attempts through people abroad to come into this country,” he told Brennan.
there’s a big difference between preventing attacks and making sure that we
keep this country safe so that there is no loss of life, and allowing people to
express themselves in accordance with our First Amendment. Those are two very,
very different — different, different things.”
MAHER SATTAR and ELLEN BARRY
Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s Parliament softened its landmark law against underage
marriage on Monday, a move that human rights activists say could roll back the
country’s decades-long campaign to curtail teenage pregnancy and maternal and
new provision in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which dates to 1929, allows
girls under the age of 18 to marry in some circumstances. The change was met
with praise from Islamist groups, which said it fell more in line with
traditional religious practices.
has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage, but it has been gradually
dropping under steady pressure from the government.
2000, 65 percent of girls were married before age 18, and 38 percent were
married before 15, according to Unicef. Now those rates have dropped to 52
percent and 18 percent.
Minister Sheikh Hasina and other government officials have argued that the new
loophole is necessary to save pregnant teenagers from social ostracism.
rural society is very cruel,” said Rebecca Momin, the head of the parliamentary
committee on women and children.
will point their finger at the pregnant girl,” she said. “She will be an
outcast in school and elsewhere. People will say nasty things to the girl’s
of the bill reject that reasoning, arguing that teenagers in conservative rural
Bangladesh rarely become pregnant unless they are married. A 2015 study by the
Manusher Jonno Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Dhaka, the capital, found
that fewer than 1.5 percent of underage marriages took place after the girl had
government tried to revise the law in 2014, when it introduced a draft that
would have reduced the legal age of marriage to 16 from 18. But that proposal
created a major backlash and was rescinded.
the new law, each case of underage marriage will be investigated by a committee
of local officials and approved by a court. Opponents protest that local
officials are already colluding with parents to arrange marriages for daughters
under 18, by altering girls’ birth certificates so that they appear to be older.
advocates say that existing laws have been effective at dissuading parents from
pressuring young daughters into arranged marriages. Soumya Brata Guha of Plan
International, a children’s welfare group in Dhaka, said imams often heeded
warnings from government officials.
you send the wrong message with this law, then it could be detrimental,” she
said. “That is the worry.”
some girls have used the laws themselves.
Akter, a 17-year-old student in Jamalpur in northern Bangladesh, was 13 when
her parents told her they had arranged for her to marry an older man she did
not know. She enlisted the support of a child marriage prevention committee,
consisting of local adolescents, who called in the police to intervene, and her
parents conceded, she said.
life has been a fight,” she said. “But finally I’ve won something.”
she said, her goal is to persuade her parents to allow her to continue her
say that when girls get educated, they become bad women and have trouble finding
a husband,” she said.
of the change say Ms. Hasina agreed to soften the law to attract the votes of a
conservative Islamic electorate. Indeed, the move was welcomed by Mahfuzul
Haque, the chief of the Dhaka chapter of Hefazat-e-Islam, a powerful Islamist
organization that has organized vast rallies in the capital to demand changes
to government textbooks.
the eyes of Islam, this is the correct decision,” he said. “Having a law that
you cannot get married before a certain age, this I cannot agree with.”
I nearly BOMBED London’ Ex-jihadi reveals what drove him to almost attack
Ahmed has told of growing up in hardline household which made him believe
"the West is at war with Islam".
reveals how he was exposed to the most extreme parts of Islam and became
convinced Britain and the US were looking to attack and kill Muslims.
Ahmed revealed these feelings intensified after 9/11 as he listened to
conspiracy theories which convinced him the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were
wars on the Islamic faith.
beliefs drove him to consider “revenge” on the Britain and how he “nearly
considering carrying out terror attacks in London”.
reformed extremist told his story to the Clarion Project – a not-for-profit
organisation which tackles extremism.
footage of Mr Ahmed’s incredible interview was shared by the group who aim to
tackle issues such as religious persecution, human rights, women’s rights, and
the concept of jihad on the West.
Ahmed opens up in the candid interview as he talks through what goes through
the mind of a home-grown jihadi.
up in London, I was taught I was living in enemy territory and everyone
surrounding me was the enemy and were out to get me,” he said.
was within this mentality that when 9/11 happened, and the conspiracy theories
started flying around about the Americans’ making it up and doing so they could
invade Muslim countries that I believed them.
believed them because it fitted with what I already believed and what I had
Ahmed added these feelings were compounded by the invasion of Afghanistan in
2001 and the outbreak of the Iraq War in 2003.
said: “I understood them in a way that explained that the reason why they were
attacking these Muslim countries is simply because they are Muslim and wanted
to kill Muslim people.
honestly believed that growing up as a 16-year-old, so when those wars happened
I got really angry.
was thinking ‘see, they are just doing it to kill Muslims.
I wanted to actually take revenge and carry out an attack in London."
previously spoke about his experiences of trying to "use Islam to cure his
homosexuality" to counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation.
Ahmed said he grew up “hating” himself and thought he was “something evil”.
wasn't until he attended university that his ideology began to thaw as he
became exposed to scientific theories at odds with his views of Islam.
after the Quilliam report, he said: "I had these thoughts since I was
young. But as a kid I was told what you do with gay people.
throw them off the mountain and stone them to death. So growing up I hated myself.
I thought I was something evil.”
organisations such as ISIS are known for wanting to create a world where being
a Muslim living in the West is not reconcilable in order to feed these feelings
of isolation and hate.
Orton, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, previously told Daily Star
Online: “ISIS want a situation when the security situation goes in such a way
that some Muslims are pushed out, and pushed towards their ideology.
call this destroying the Grey Zone. They want to provoke a contradiction
between being Muslim and being a Westerner.”
from jihadi extremist groups such as ISIS have been branded the “highest
threat” to Britain since the IRA.
Clarion Project spokesman said: "Our mission is to challenge radical Islam
and promote human rights.
Project is currently working in de-radicalisation programming with local
organisations in areas with high levels of terror recruitment in Africa."
what can be called a blatant expose of Pakistan’s communal mindset, it’s
diplomat to United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi was allegedly forced to delete a
tweet congratulating Oscar winning Muslim actor Mahershala Ali, an Ahmadi,
considered to be non-Muslims in Pakistan. The actor was honoured with Oscar for
his portrayal of a drug dealer in coming-of-age drama “Moonlight”, becoming the
first Muslim actor ever to win the prestigious award. Lodhi, who tweeted to
applaud Ali’s success, was criticised for promoting an “Ahmadi”. In an apparent
response to criticism, the diplomat went with deleting the Tweet. As per PTI, Ali’s birth name is
Mahershalalhashbaz and he converted to Islam in 1999. In 2001, he joined the
Ahmadiyya Community. In 1974, Pakistan’s parliament had declared Ahmadis as
non-Muslims in 1974.
have been instances the community was targeted by Islamic extremists, who view
them as heretics. Article 260-3 of Pakistan’s Constitution declares Ahmadis
“non-Muslims”. PTI reports that Ahmadi’s are banned from preaching and even from travelling to
Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. In a crackdown on Ahmadis, several of their
mosques were shut, while publications of their material are prohibited. The
minority Ahmadiyya Community members have also been taken to court on blasphemy
only Nobel laureate scientist Dr Abdus Salam, a major figure in the 20th
century theoretical physics, was also an Ahmadi. Ahmedis were prosecuted by the
fundamentalists and contribution of eminent people like Dr Salam was ignored.
makes history by putting Muslim in charge of 14,000 US soldiers’ spiritual
January, Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz received the call every Army chaplain dreams
of, the call that validates years of intense study and hard work toward keeping
the U.S. military in good spiritual health.
was offered the job of chaplain for an entire division, an honor for anyone in
his field but a milestone in his case. After a ceremony this summer, Shabazz
will become the first Muslim division-level chaplain in the history of the U.S.
military – a Muslim spiritual leader for more than 14,000 mostly Christian
who’s dedicated his life to working across religious lines, found it hard to
keep calm as he received the news at his desk on Joint Base Lewis-McChord near
on the phone saying, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it. I’ll serve honorably,’ and
then I hang up the phone and I’m jumping all around like a little kid,”
Shabazz, 48, recalled in interviews in February. “I was running around the
office saying, al hamdulillah, al hamdulillah, praise be to God!”
get a sense of what a long shot this might’ve seemed like to Shabazz, consider
the numbers: He’s one of only 10 Muslim chaplains in the entire U.S. military;
of the Army’s 1,400 or so chaplains, just five are Muslim.
you get the call saying you have been bestowed a division, the news is kind of
like, unearthly,” Shabazz said. “The list is so small and it’s such a tough
four months until the ceremony that will make him chaplain of the Army’s 7th
Infantry Division at Lewis-McChord, Shabazz has plenty of time to think about
taking on such a visible role in an age of open anti-Muslim hostility. He’d
like to think his transition will be as smooth as those of his Christian peers,
but he knows that not everyone will welcome him as warmly as the senior officers
who gave him a standing ovation when the news was announced at a meeting on
me, a regular old guy from Louisiana, I look to the heavens and say, ‘Why me?’
” Shabazz said. “As the day gets closer, I’m sure I’ll have more anxiety and
think about it more. I’m extremely proud to have been on this journey for 20
years and never would’ve imagined that I’d be chosen to be the first.”
guy in a leadership position?” he said. “If I think about it too much, it’ll
came into the world as Michael Barnes, born into a large Lutheran family in
Alexandria, Louisiana, about three hours from New Orleans.
was at the center of the household. His mother took the family to church three
times a week and recited prayers with her children each night. Shabazz, a
lifelong athlete with a 6-foot-5-inch, 255-pound frame, had to study catechism
before he could play football and basketball on Saturdays.
kids might’ve grumbled about such a rigorous worship schedule, but Shabazz said
he didn’t mind – from an early age, he was taken with the spirit of friendship
like people who have a commonality of purpose,” Shabazz said. “We loved each
other. If people had rent problems or other problems, the church pulled us
together to take care of those problems.”
high school, Shabazz headed to Jarvis Christian College, a historically black
college in the small town of Hawkins in eastern Texas. Upon graduation, he
returned to Louisiana and began teaching biology to fifth-graders at an
elementary school in his hometown. He said he wasn’t prepared for how
despondent he became at seeing so many children whose growth was stymied by
poverty or poor parenting; he struggled to accept that he couldn’t help them
just six months, he quit. At age 23, he decided to join the Army, thinking that
it would help him mature and make him a better, stronger teacher afterward.
thought, ‘I’ll do 20 years in the military and then I’ll teach and coach,’ ”
Shabazz said. “But I fell in love with the idea and the paradigm of the
stationed in Baumholder, Germany, Shabazz worked the motor pool with a Muslim
soldier who annoyed other troops with his boasts about the virtues of Islam.
Shabazz, who back then was still Christian, grew fed up and decided “to cut him
down to size.” He challenged the Muslim to a public debate on the merits of
their respective religions.
the afternoon of the showdown, Shabazz recalled, about 30 soldiers filled a
meeting room on base. Shabazz was ready to pounce, but the Muslim opponent
“kind of blindsided me with some facts,” launching into a powerful, persuasive
defense of his faith that put Islam in a whole new light.
stunned, was down for the count.
was all-out cognitive dissonance, depression and shame, honestly,” Shabazz
said, recalling his feelings at that moment. “I thought I had a stronghold on
the truth. And, for the first time, my confidence was shaken in who I was as a
human being and what I believed.”
began studying Islam on his own, determined to correct the lack of knowledge
revealed in his debate with the Muslim soldier. He’d work all day and then stay
up well past midnight paging through the Bible and the Quran. He described it
as going into a “cubbyhole.”
two years, Michael Barnes, the devout Christian reared in a Louisiana church,
decided to convert to Islam, taking the name Khallid Shabazz to complete his
transformation. He said that there had been no single tipping point in his
thinking, just a deep identification with Islamic tenets, such as the lack of a
clerical hierarchy and the emphasis on charity.
of my favorite passages in the Quran asks if the man who thinks and the man who
does are the same,” Shabazz said. “It’s the thinking component in Islam that
really intrigued me. I am in control of my grace, and I don’t have to answer to
the imam. I tell my congregation, ‘Listen, you have to do your own research.’ ”
Shabazz’s conversion did not play well with his family in Louisiana, where he’s
still known as “Michael.” He said it took years for them to accept the change,
but now they tease him about praying on time and make him a special gumbo minus
the pork sausage. Such conciliatory gestures, Shabazz said, must go both ways.
do still go to church with my family – that’s an important part of reaching
across the aisle,” he said. “It would be improper for me to disrespect
something that instilled in me so much of who I am.”
switch in faiths didn’t exactly go smoothly with the military, either. He had
to write memos for even the smallest religious accommodation, such as time to
perform the traditional Friday prayers. He’d fast during the holy month of
Ramadan, though his schedule called for grueling work in the field. Ravenous by
the end of the day, he’d come to the mess hall only to find pork chops. He’d
raise concerns with his superiors from time to time, but made little ground.
you have an unknown there, sometimes the leadership kind of treats you unfairly
because they’re not educated into what you’re doing,” Shabazz said. “In defense
of them, I didn’t explain it very well, either. I was growing. There were some
one of the toughest days, Shabazz was exhausted from a series of 12-hour shifts
and hungry because of the lack of pork-free meals. Sitting outside on an M109
howitzer, he felt his frustration spill out in tears. Nobody’s here for me, he
thought. Maybe this organization is not for me.
passing chaplain noticed Shabazz’s distress and stopped. In an hourlong
impromptu ministry session, the chaplain let Shabazz pour his heart out about
his struggle to carve a space for himself in the military. After listening,
Shabazz said, the chaplain mentioned that the Army had recently received its
first active-duty Muslim chaplain: Would that kind of path interest Shabazz?
telling you, it was like a revelation from God,” Shabazz recalled. “Once it
came out of his mouth, I said, ‘That is my calling. That is what I want to do
for the rest of my life.’ ”
chaplain Shabazz encountered that day wrote him a letter of recommendation for
the Chaplain Corps. When he was commissioned, Shabazz said, his mentor pulled
him aside for a talk.
said, ‘Promise me you will be an advocate for our corps no matter what the
faith or the background of the person is,’ ” Shabazz recalled. “It moved me to
the very essence of my core. Here you have a devout Christian who’s taken the
time to care for a young Muslim soldier and make sure I got to be a chaplain. I
don’t want to help just Muslims. I don’t want to help just Christians. I want
to help people who are in distress.”
has now been in the Army for 26 years, 18 years as a chaplain. He’s been
deployed seven times – including Iraq, Kosovo and a stint at the U.S. prison
camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was sent to advise commanders on
religious issues after a string of scandals.
also dispatched to far-flung U.S. installations to minister to Muslim soldiers
who are wrestling with some of the same issues he faced as a young Muslim in
Department of Defense counts more than 6,000 self-identified Muslims currently
serving, from a total of 1.3 million active-duty and more than 800,000 guard
and reserve members. The real number of Muslims is thought to be higher because
many troops choose not to list a religion, especially if they’re worried about
where U.S. troops fought insurgents near some of Islam’s most sacred sites, was
a particularly hard deployment for Muslim soldiers. Shabazz said he counseled
anguished soldiers to remember the centrality of intention in Islam – what were
their intentions for serving? He’d remind them that they were there because
they’d enlisted and that the Quran honors contracts. He offered reassuring
passages, words to lift the heavy weight of the war from their shoulders.
combat, it was tough. You’re trying to establish Muslim service and you’re in a
Muslim country fighting against Muslims,” Shabazz said. “The young Muslim
soldiers could come in and do jumaa (prayers) and be assured that somebody is
listening to them. You hold guys in your arms and they’re crying and saying,
‘Thank you.’ ”
concerns Shabazz hears these days are much different, but just as fraught.
bulk of his work at Joint Base Lewis-McChord isn’t even religious counseling,
he said, but hearing out soldiers suffering from alcoholism or troubled
relationships. More than sermons, Shabazz said, they want to know the secret to
his 27 years of marriage to his college sweetheart, Rhonda, with whom he has
three adult children and four grandchildren.
turn to Shabazz for advice on personal and career growth; among his most
cherished achievements is helping 61 young soldiers find the confidence to apply
for officer school.
the years, a handful of people have refused to work with Shabazz because he’s
Muslim. That doesn’t bother him – he lives by the chaplain’s motto of “perform
or provide,” so if he can’t minister himself, he’ll recommend a chaplain of a
different faith. But Christians who do agree to be seen by Shabazz are often
surprised by his fluency in the Bible’s teachings, a vestige of his many years
in the church.
I have the language from my days as a Christian, I can give them Scriptures
from the Bible, and that doesn’t violate my religion,” Shabazz said. “My job is
not to convert anybody to Islam. God guides people. My only goal is to have
people leave my office stronger than when they came in.”
though, soldiers do convert and turn to Shabazz for guidance as they enter
Islam. One of the most unusual conversions came just three months ago, Shabazz
said. A master sergeant in the Special Forces – a man who’d come to no Friday
prayers or study groups – showed up, crying, to meet with Shabazz. He told the
imam he was ready to take shahada, the modest ritual to officially accept
said, ‘I heard you’re a good chaplain. I’ve been thinking about Islam for about
three years,’ ” Shabazz recalled. “I took him down to the mosque, he took
shahada and I’ve never seen him again.”
of Shabazz’s workload involves the rejection of Islam rather than the embrace
of it. He writes a newsletter that goes to all the commanders on base and he
offers cultural awareness classes in hopes of “getting out ahead,” staving off
the anti-Muslim incidents that have made headlines at other bases. He writes
memos in support of soldiers seeking halal meals or prayer breaks, hoping to
bridge the communication gap with officers that existed when he was a young
and Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond Hough, another Muslim officer at Fort Lewis, have
known each other since 2009 and have become close friends in the past couple of
years. That coincided with a period of rising hostility toward Islam in
America. Hough said his friend’s teachings had offered solace to him and to
others hurting from the deep divisions in the country.
think what he does is extremely tough because of the times we live in, and the
fact that he still can reach everyone and be able to articulate a message of
unity, inclusion and love is exceptional,” Hough said.
acknowledges the current period of anti-Muslim hostility but declines to
discuss whether it’s worsened because of President Donald Trump. Even in his
private sessions with soldiers, he said, criticism of the White House is taboo.
of what they might think, he’s our commander in chief,” Shabazz said.
timing of Shabazz’s milestone might seem like another one of those
serendipitous moments in his life – the debate that led him to Islam, the
tearful conversation that led him to the Chaplain Corps – that put him at the
right place at the right time.
appreciates the historic aspect of his rise but views it all pragmatically: He
immersed himself in studies, devoted himself to interfaith work and completed
four master’s degrees and two doctorates. In other words, he earned it, his
ascent proof of the old line that the military is a meritocracy – after all,
where else could a Muslim get a high-profile job in a U.S. government
institution these days?
Shabazz knows, too, that there are sure to be bumps ahead, tests of how well
the military can insulate itself from the cultural battles that have cleaved
the nation in two. Two verses are at the forefront of his mind these days – one
from the Quran, one from the Bible, both about how hatred of a people has no
place among the faithful.
of the challenges will be really changing perceptions, changing mindsets,
showing that I am something other than what they see – the guy on TV, the
boogeyman,” Shabazz said. “I have a real opportunity to be an ambassador for
the Army and for my religion.”
D.C. -- A month into the presidency of Donald Trump, questions remain about
the foreign policies the United States will adopt under his leadership. What is
clear is that Trump has put defeating the Islamic State at the top of his
accomplish that goal, the United States needs to continue its close
cooperation with Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration appears to understand
that the kingdom is a crucial, perhaps indispensable, ally in the fight against
a Feb. 11 visit to the kingdom, CIA Director Mike Pompeo decorated Saudi Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz with the George Tenet Medal for
distinguished service regarding counterterrorism. This honor was just the
latest recognition by a U.S. senior official — although the first under the
Trump administration — that Saudi Arabia is a pivotal partner in the U.S.-led
global campaign against violent extremists.
was not an accident that most of the men who conducted the terrorist attacks
on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, were Saudi citizens. The leader of the
al- Qaida terrorist network at the time, Osama bin Laden, was determined to
drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the United States as part of his
the attacks strained relations in the immediate aftermath, the two countries
have cooperated very closely since then to prevent another such attack in the
United States or Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden's plan was to damage relations
between the two countries. Over the years, the reality has been the exact
two countries, under successive U.S. administrations, have demonstrated a
shared commitment to destroy al-Qaida and more recently the Islamic State.
While both countries have taken unilateral measures to safeguard their
national security, they have also acted in tandem with a much broader
coalition of countries to take the fight to al-Qaida and IS.
Arabia and the United States have cooperated very closely in intelligence
sharing to make sure that known terrorists are not allowed to operate or travel
freely. This cooperation has thwarted what could have been devastating
terrorist attacks. The most well-known came in 2010 when the Yemen-based branch
of al-Qaida tried to send bomb-laden Fedex and UPS planes to Chicago.
to American and Saudi sources, Prince Mohammed played a role in informing U.S.
authorities about details of the plot and the planes were stopped en route to the
United States and the bombs removed.
United States and Saudi Arabia have been at the forefront of cutting the
various funding channels that terrorist groups have used to support their
operations. Saudi Arabia has taken part in the U.S.-led military campaign
against IS strongholds in Syria. One of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al
Saud's sons took part in an early Saudi air mission in the military campaign
and the country's participation has helped prevent critics of the United States
from framing it as a U.S. or Western war against Muslims.
as importantly, Saudi Arabia has employed its religious institutions to
discredit al-Qaida and IS. Not only have Saudi Arabia's top religious
authorities characterized IS's brand of brutality as violations of the most
fundamental tenets of Islam, the Saudi grand mufti described IS as the number
one enemy of Muslims.
Mosque Opens Doors To Promote Understanding
February 17, worshippers attending Friday prayer services at the mosque were
greeted by protestors carrying banners and with loudspeakers, shouting
Islamophobic slogans and calling for a ban of Islam.
to the mosque, today’s open house was organized so that the Torontonians could
learn ‘more about our history, community and culture.’
just wanted to come here and show my support for the Muslim people,” said John
who came out today to show his support for the mosque. “Everyone should have
the right to worship who they want to and how they want to.”
seeing pictures of the anti-Islam protest a week ago on social media, a group
of counter-protesters showed up outside of the two mosque locations, Masjid
Toronto at Dundas and Masjid Toronto at Adelaide, with last-minute signs in
support of Muslims. The show of support for the mosque continued throughout the
week with signs and flowers being placed at the mosque’s entrance.
at the weekly Friday prayer services, dozens of people showed up with placards
carrying messages such as, ‘We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters’ and
‘Love to our neighbors.’
faith leaders came out to today’s open house and reflected on the recent
climate of fear and hate.
messages out there in the world are instructing people to fear each other and
to hate each other and to get into this us-versus-them mentality, “ mused Jenny
Issacs, Director of Heart to Heart on 680 News.
Imam of the mosque, Dr. Wael Shehab, thinks that while hate is on the rise,
love and support is also on the rise.
Muslim Vets Vow To Defend Jewish Centers Under Siege
frightening increase in bomb threats against U.S. Jewish centers and schools
and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries has triggered an outpouring of support
on Twitter from Muslim veterans offering to protect the sites any time, anywhere.
vet wrote: “If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard,
count me in.”
tweeted: “I’m a Muslim Veteran in Arizona & will readily stand guard at any
Jewish Synagogue or Cemetery at ANY hour. #WeAreOne.”
response follows yet another surge of bomb threats Monday against Jewish
centers and school across America, the fifth major wave of such intimidation
this year. There was a second flurry of threats called in Monday evening
against Jewish centers — and at least one school — in California, Washington,
Nevada and Arizona.
hate crimes, which exploded following the divisive rhetoric of the presidential
campaign, have had the unexpected outcome of uniting American Jews and Muslims.
A Muslim activist helped raise over $135,000 to repair gravestones vandalized
in a Jewish cemetery in a St. Louis suburb over a week ago. Tarek El-Messidi
said extra funds will now be used to also help restore Philadelphia’s Mount
Carmel Cemetery, which was vandalized over the weekend.
US border control and immigration system was thrown into “confusion” by Donald
Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ executive order, the British government has said.
Anelay, a Foreign Office minister, blamed US border authorities’ implementation
of the President’s policy for reports of British dual nationals being turned
away at airports.
minister explained to the House of Lords on Monday that conflicting advice to
travellers was because different US authorities had interpreted the travel ban
difficulty was that there was some confusion in the United States systems. This
was evidence from the changing nature of their travel advice online,” the
Conservative peer said.
was the urgent engagement by this country, by the FCO, and by the Prime
Minister which meant that we were able to get the earliest advice to British
passport holders that they would not be adversely affected.”
dual nationals with passports from blacklisted Muslim-majority countries were
told by the US embassy in London not to apply for visas following the
implementation of the ban.
don’t have ability to face Afghan security forces: Ashraf Ghani
“Afghanistan is not a threat to any country, Afghanistan is an independent
country and will remain so for hundreds of years to come,” President Ashraf
Ghani said today.
said this on the ceremony marking the National Day of Security Forces held at
the Kabul military airport. Senior military officials, National Security
Advisor, Haneef Atmar and other military officials attended the ceremony.
who want to change Afghanistan into a battle field, will take their wishes to
the grave with them,” Ghani said.
the ceremony, Ghani expressed his appreciation for the efforts the security
forces and said that “Mawlawi Salam, Taliban’s shadow governor for Kunduz and
his fighters were eliminated in Kunduz because of you.”
do not have the ability to face Afghan security forces,” Ghani added.
Sher Aziz Kamawal, commander of police in the 808 Spinzar zone, confirmed late
Sunday that Malwai Salam and 11 other insurgents were killed by Afghan security
forces in Khanabad district of northern Kunduz province.
Amin, Taliban’s shadow district governor for Dasht-e-Archi and Dr. Hussian,
shadow district governor for Khanabad district were also among the dead,” he
Suu Kyi breaks silence on killing of top Muslim lawyer
Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has broken a month long silence on
the daylight assassination of her advisor, calling his killing a "great
loss" for the country's democracy struggle.
Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and critic of Myanmar's powerful military, was
shot dead on 29 January outside Yangon airport in a murder that sent shockwaves
through the country's young civilian government.
taxi driver, Ne Win, was also killed trying to stop the gunman who was
arrested. Authorities say he was hired by a former military officer now on the
Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party branded the killing a
political assassination and "terrorist act" against their policies.
Suu Kyi, a close friend of Ko Ni, remained silent in the wake of the incident.
Sunday she made a rare public appearance at a memorial service organised by her
party for the two victims.
U Ko Ni is a great loss for our NLD. He worked together with us for many years
through his beliefs," she told a packed hall in Yangon, describing both he
and the taxi driver as "martyrs".
constitutional expert, Ko Ni was a prominent critic of the military's continued
political influence including their control of key security ministries and
guaranteed seats in parliament, something the NLD hopes to one day overturn.
also condemned the increasing Islamophobia that has swept through the nation in
recent years, stirred up by hardline Buddhist nationalists.
Suu Kyi said so little about the killing surprised some observers, but since
her government took power last May after years of army-led rule, her
administration has taken on something of a bunker mentality.
Kyi rarely gives policy speeches, releases statements or holds press
young administration has had to deal with both soaring expectations of the
electorate and a series of crises.
of the worst fighting in decades has broken out between the military and ethnic
rebels, hampering her dream of forging a nationwide ceasefire.
the UN says security forces "very likely" committed crimes against
humanity and ethnic cleansing towards the Muslim Rohingya minority in a
security crackdown last year.
militants from the banned JMB terror outfit were on Tuesday sentenced to death
in Bangladesh for killing a 66-year-old Japanese national in 2015.
order to hang five militants from Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) outfit
was given by a court in Rangpur, Daily Star reported.
court acquitted two accused in the case as allegations brought against them
were not proved.
Hoshi, who had come to Bangladesh in May 2015, was gunned down on October 3 in
the same year in Rangpur. He had set up a grass farm on the outskirts of
said Hoshi had converted to Islam. His murder came five days after a
50-year-old Italian aid worker was shot dead by motorbike-born militants in Dhaka’s
upmarket diplomatic area.
Bangladesh: Rohingya Muslim refugee Ali Hasan is desperately looking for a
bride for his 14-year-old son, jailed last year in Bangladesh for carrying the
popular drug ya ba. He hopes the girl's family would pay the US$620 needed for
Mohammed Hasan's bail as dowry.
arrested Mohammed with 5,000 pills of ya ba, as methamphetamine is widely known
in Asia, last June. His elder brother, Izzat Ali, was arrested a few months
later with 200 pills and sent to prison.
says the influx of Rohingya fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar is partly to
blame for soaring methamphetamine use in its cities. But many Rohingya say
their young people are being pushed into crime because they cannot legally work
or, in many cases, access aid.
Hasan fled Myanmar three decades ago and his sons grew up in an unofficial camp
in Leda, a 15-minute drive from the Naf river separating Bangladesh from
is not uncommon for Rohingya families to arrange marriages while the couple are
still in their mid-teens, and the 60-year-old does not think the fact Mohammed
is in jail awaiting trial will be an issue, so common have such brushes with
the law become among the refugees.
looking for a bride for him so that they can pay the dowry in advance," he
said. "People know that he was lured into it and he had no wrong
intentions, so I don't think getting a bride would be difficult."
Muslims have been fleeing apartheid-like conditions in northwestern Myanmar,
where they are denied citizenship, since the early 1990s, and there are now
more than 200,000 in Bangladesh. More than 70,000 have flooded across the
border since October, escaping an army crackdown.
of ya ba - Thai for "crazy medicine" - is booming in Bangladesh.
Seizures alone jumped more than 2,500 percent to 29.4 million pills last year
compared with 2011 - and the business is worth an estimated US$3 billion
and government officials say the stateless Rohingya refugees, who cannot easily
be traced, are the traffickers' preferred mules.
authorities have cited a growing drug problem as one reason for pushing ahead
with a controversial scheme to move thousands of refugees from their border
camps to an undeveloped island in the Bay of Bengal.
population, local leaders are extremely unhappy about this influx," H.T.
Imam, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's political adviser, said in Dhaka.
"They displace labourers by undercutting locals. Ya ba trade is
flourishing due to them."
did not provide any data about the refugees' involvement in the drug trade.
of Cox's Bazar, the coastal district neighbouring Myanmar where most of the
refugees live, are now holding public meetings and rallies in support of the
refugee relocation plan.
a 35-year-old Rohingya woman living in Leda, arrived from Myanmar two decades
ago. Her husband, Amanullah, is now in jail awaiting trial on charges of
carrying ya ba. She says he was "framed" by local villagers.
has given us shelter, but the local people don't want us here," she said.
"They want to harm us; they want to chase us away."
the 34,000 refugees living in two official camps are eligible for international
aid. In places such as the Leda Unregistered Rohingya Refugee Settlement, where
Ali Hasan and Sanmaraz both live, there are few means of support.
a result, many end up working as drug carriers, while some women are lured into
the sex trade, said Afruzul Haque Tutul, a senior police officer in Cox's
Begum, 35, said she was persuaded to join another Rohingya woman carrying 1,000
ya ba pills on a bus by the promise of work for her 11-year-old son.
only I had money I would never have sent my young son to work anywhere, and
this would not have happened," said Begum, who was out on bail after
spending eight months in jail.
insists the Rohingya, though undocumented, are Myanmar citizens and must
cannot allow citizens of Myanmar to work here," said Imam, the prime
minister's adviser. "There are several local committees under the district
administration to provide relief to them."
YA BA DEMAND
month Reuters was taken to a tin shed by a canal in the Leda camp, where a
19-year-old youth wearing a blue T-shirt and longyi took orders for ya ba from
two customers seated on a mat.
youth, who fled to Bangladesh three years ago, said he buys 20-50 ya ba pills
from a local villager every day after tasting one or two himself for quality.
consumes an average of 2 million such pills a day, estimated two officials at
the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) in Dhaka.
pill retails for around 300 taka (US$3.75). The same pill can be bought for
around 60 taka in Cox's Bazar. Rohingya "mules" can earn 10,000 taka
for transporting 5,000 pills to Dhaka and other urban centres, the officials
data shows that majority of the carriers are Rohingya," said police
officer Tutul, but declined to share specific numbers.
The Gulbuddin Hekmatyar-led Hizb-e-Islami group has criticized the Afghan
government over the slow pace of the implementation of the peace accord,
claiming that no real actions have been taken by the state to facilitate the
return of group’s leader to the country.
has been done so far by the government to maintain security of Hekmatyar, the
group’s spokesman Hashmat Arshad said.
accused the government of reluctance for not taking action to ensure the
release of some key figures serving jail terms in Afghan prisons.
practical steps have been taken regarding security measures, nothing has been
done so far,” said Arshad.
the removal of Hekmatyar’s name from the UN sanctions list, the Afghan
government committed to take the necessary measures for the release of
Hizb-e-Islami inmates from the jails in line with the peace accord the two
are a few individuals whose cases have been processed by the commission. In the
first step, high-profile figures of Hizb-e-Islami Jihad must be released,”
added Hashmat Arshad.
refugees who fled violence in Myanmar have told how government forces
gang-raped women, slit people's throats and threw children into burning houses,
a UN envoy has said after a mission to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Lee said the accounts given by Rohingya who had crossed into Bangladesh since a
crackdown across the border in October indicated the violence was "far
more extensive" than she had previously realised.
was not a single account I heard which was not harrowing," said the human
rights observer in a statement after her four-day visit to Bangladesh ended on
was especially affected by a mother who repeatedly expressed regret for
mistakenly thinking that her son had been brought out from their burning house.
heard him screaming for her and managed to save his life but burn scars have
been seared onto him -- scars which I saw with my own eyes."
said she heard "allegation after allegation" of horrific events,
including the slitting of throats, houses being set alight with people tied up
inside and very young children thrown into the fire.
73,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since the military unleashed a
four-month campaign of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state which the UN has
said may amount to crimes against humanity.
Rohingya are a stateless, mainly Muslim minority who have long suffered
discrimination in predominately Buddhist Myanmar, where many people consider
them illegal immigrants.
least eleven Afghan policemen lost their lives in an attack in Lashkargah city,
the provincial capital of southern Helmand province.
incident took place late on Monday night in the vicinity of 2nd police district
of the city.
local security source confirmed that the attack was carried out by a Taliban
insurgent who had infiltrated among the police forces.
is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban
insurgents are actively operating in its various districts and frequently
conduct insurgency activities.
founder of counter-extremist think tank Quilliam Foundation claimed it did not
serve British Muslims for the country to pretend there was not a problem for
fear of being labelled racist or xenophobic.
on his LBC show, the radio host underlined problems with integration could not
be ignored and cited employment, education and prison rate issues.
38-year-old said: "The problem we've had in this country is that for so
long we've been pretty paralysed from being able to speak about it.
who have spoken about integration, those who have questioned the
multiculturalism policies of the 90s have been usually tarnished, by either
being racists, or bigots, or xenophobes, and the truth is that the very
communities that those people, who are using words, who are deploying words
such as racists, bigots, and xenophobes, are the very communities they were
trying to defend, minority communities.
in this case, for this question, Britain's Muslim communities were the same
communities that were falling behind due to those policies, the
multiculturalism policies of the 90s. On every conceivable metric.
it's being disproportionately represented in prisons, whether it's being under
employed, whether it's being disproportionately represented in our country's
higher education institutions.
it is looking at the level of English language qualifications in this country,
whether it's looking at female and gender rights, whether it's looking at
opinions toward sexuality, and gay marriage in particular, or blasphemy and
it's a values based metric, or an economic success based metric, any possible
metric you could come up with, British Muslims are disproportionately falling
whether Muslim or otherwise, can come up with statistics or facts to show,
because they don't exist, to show that this country is...succeeding when it
comes to integrating my own Muslim communities.”
added other migrant communities had experienced more “success” in thriving in
Britain and referred to education statistics as a major indication of how far
behind Muslims in Britain were.
is a huge problem and it doesn't serve British Muslim communities to pretend
that there's not a problem from fear of being considered racist, or bigoted, or
xenophobic,” he said.
the true bigotry is the bigotry of low expectations that doesn't wish for the
same success within those communities that other migrant communities have
it's those who are of a Chinese British background, or an Indian non-Muslim
British background. They have succeeded in higher education where British
Muslims have fallen behind.
aren't where we need to be, and I want us to be better because I genuinely care
for my fellow British Muslims in this country. I want them to be better because
I care for them.
because I want to disparage them, or us, or make us look bad. So with that said, there's another
if you look at the issue of schools in particular. This is shocking. This is
shocking. In more than 500 schools in England, the pupils are either 100 per
cent from ethnic minority families, or 100 per cent from white families, that,
dear listeners, is a disaster. It is a tragedy.
was one of the biggest surveys of opinion among Muslims ever carried out in the
on consolidating the Syrian ceasefire held in Kazakhstan this year have helped
jumpstart the United Nations-led peace negotiations in Geneva, Russian
President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
large majority of Bulgarians would support a total ban on citizens of
Muslim-majority nations entering their country.
total of 73 per cent said they would support the policy, with just 14 per cent
opposed the idea.
survey by Gallup International for Nova TV also found that 77 per cent of
Bulgarians view immigration as a threat to the country – a dramatic increase
from 47 in 2015, before the migrant crisis fully hit Europe.
figures come despite a previous poll conducted before the U.S. election finding
most Bulgarians preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald J. Trump, albeit by a small
poll also found most Bulgarians are distinctly un-conservative on issues such
as gun rights (76 per cent want restrictive gun laws) and abortion (just 12 per
cent support a total ban), highlighting the huge impact the migrant crisis has
had on public opinion.
2013 and 2015, almost two thirds of people agreed with the statement “Refugees
are people in distress – it is humane to help them”. However, that figure has
now collapsed to just 28 per cent, with 33 per cent disagreeing.
is the European Union’s poorest member state, with many of its own citizens
emigrating to Western Europe in search of work and benefits. However, it is
fast becoming a destination for migrants entering the continent from the Middle
London reported in November how 3,000 migrants living in a camp in the country
were in lockdown after serious infectious diseases spread amongst the
imposed the quarantine following protests by nationalists who claimed the
migrants were spreading diseases and harassing locals.
Jews living in Israel or holding Israeli citizenship in France may no longer be
allowed to hold dual citizenship if Marine Le Pen wins the country’s
presidential election, slated for May 7th.
Pen, chairwoman of the National Front and daughter of its founder, Jean-Marie
Le Pen, has pledged a hardline on immigration, trade, and public expressions of
non-Christian faiths, including a pledge to ban the wearing of kippahs and
Islamic garb in public and the prohibiting of kosher and halal slaughter.
an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Le Pen expressed support for banning the
wearing of yarmulkes as part of her broader effort to outlaw religious symbols
the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who
walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid,” Le Pen
said, using the Hebrew word for yarmulke. “But I mainly think the struggle
against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say,
‘There, we are sacrificing something.’”
to French Jews, Le Pen added: “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but
it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France.”
with France 2 TV Thursday evening, the French nationalist leader stated that
she would also target dual citizenship if elected this spring.
dual citizenship would be permitted, said Le Pen, in the case of holders of
other European countries’ passports, she would move to prohibit dual
citizenship for citizens of non-European countries.
the case of Israel, where as many as 250,000 first and second generation French
immigrants reside, Le Pen said no exception would be made.
is not a European country and doesn’t consider itself as such,” she said.
asking the Israelis to choose their nationality. It doesn’t mean that if they
don’t choose French nationality they have to leave. France can certainly
accommodate foreign people on its soil long-term… as long as they respect
French laws and French values, which is often a problem on the immigration
issue. It’s really not a problem with Israel on this topic.”
finance watchdog puts Pakistan on notice
DELHI: International terror finance watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF), has virtually put Pakistan on a threemonth notice to demonstrate that
it has blocked financial routes of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Jaish-e-Mohammed and their
fallout of non-compliance will be serious for Pakistan, which runs the risk of
being placed in the category of jurisdictions with serious deficiencies in
adhering to global standards on combating terror finance and check
FATF, which held its plenary in Paris last week, has a process of issuing
public statements on countries with deficiencies, making them 'untrustworthy',
almost a virtual 'no go' in the international financial system.
has had to rally hard to even get these 90 days of breathing space at the
just-concluded FATF meet in Paris. The actions against JuD, JeM and its front
Falah-i-Insaaniyat, in January last week were a start to a series of efforts to
convince the FATF that it was serious in its actions. This culminated in
putting JuD founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed on a travel ban list and in house
arrest by January 31.
has gathered that taking note of these actions, the FATF has given Pakistan
time until June to show permanent credible action on queries raised against it.
The heat increased on Pakistan in the FATF's October meeting, where it rejected
Pakistan's claims on action against finances of these terror groups and
directed its Asia-Pacific Group (APG) to prepare a specific evaluation report
on JuD, JeM and Falah-i-Insaaniyat.
upset Pakistan made official diplomatic protests on the margins of the FATF
meet, but failed to make much headway with many European countries sharing
evidence that these groups were actively trying to raise funds in their
officials told ET that the APG report, which was ready by January, was quite
scathing and contradicted Pakistan's claims. There were specific questions
against Pakistan, which needed both answering and action.
Pakistan tried to raise diplomatic pressure, but the new Donald Trump
administration was clear that Islamabad would have to satisfy FATF queries.
set of actions it took through January resulted in the plenary deciding to
defer the Pakistan case by another three months, giving Islamabad a chance to
make good on what it claims to have started. Pakistan's defence minister
Khawaja Muhammad Asif, attending the Munich Security Conference, best
exemplified Pakistan's changed line under pressure. When asked about Saeed's
house arrest, he said: "In the last four or five moths, we have put a lot
of people, who could be potential facilitators of terrorism, under schedule 4
which is a section in our legal system that restricts the movements of the
individuals, they are monitored and cannot move out of a certain area."
specifically to JuD, he claimed: "Let me assure that such people who in
the past had some licence to move around.. continue their work, which is not
really terrorism related but they could be dangerous to our own society, we
have taken stern action... we intend to put them to test."
pays tribute to 'Angel of Mercy' Abdul Sattar Edhi on birthday
his 89th birthday Google honored 'Angel of Mercy' Abdul Sattar Edhi by a
doodle. One of the greatest humanitarian from Karachi was famous for his
charity work, network of ambulances, adopting and raising the orphans, passed
away on July 8, 2016.
was born in India but moved to Karachi shortly after Pakistan was formed. He
soon noticed that many Pakistanis lacked shelter, medicine, education, and
other essentials, and was moved to help in any way he could. He began by simply
asking others around him to contribute time or money, especially when a flu
epidemic hit Karachi. In a 2009 interview with NPR, he said, "I got
medical students to volunteer. I was penniless and begged for donations on the
street. And people gave."
Assembly condemns Punjab’s harassment of Pashtuns
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution
against the harassment of Pashtoons in Punjab and demanded that the federal and
provincial governments take practical steps against racism in the country.
resolution was moved by MPA Hafiz Sana Ullah of the Pakistan People’s Party.
resolution condemned the indiscriminate arrest of Pashtuns in Punjab, adding
that such acts would create rifts among Pakistan’s various communities.
resolution further said that a large numbers of Pashtuns were living and
working in Punjab, playing their role in the economy. Despite their
contributions, they were being harassed and arrested by the Punjab police.
Parliamentary leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) and MPA Sardar Hussain
Babak represented an adjournment motion on the issue and condemned the arrest
of Pashtuns in Punjab.
said that racism was on the peak in Punjab. Babak said that Pashtuns had been
affected the most because of terrorism and that they could not be blamed,
adding that terrorists and banned militants groups were residing in Punjab and
that despite action against the groups in Punjab, the government was
discriminating against Pashtuns. He further lamented that the government had
closed the Torkham border to affect Pashtuns on both sides of the border.
Aurakzai of the PPP said that the issue was an attempt by the Punjab government
to divert the attention of the people away from Panama Leaks. “We are all
Pakistanis and we should work for our country. No one is Punjabi or Pashtun
without first being Pakistanis,” she added.
Police authorities have decided to launch an “effective crackdown” against
“illegal immigrants” residing across Sindh and to appoint a deputy
superintendent of police (security) in each district to monitor and ensure
security arrangements at all shrines, worship places and vital installations.
decisions were taken at a meeting, which was chaired by inspector general of
police A.D. Khowaja, at his office on Monday.
meeting reviewed law and order in the province and the police chief issued
directions to the force to remain “extremely alert” to ensure security in the
wake of the recent acts of terrorism.
privy to the meeting told Dawn that the IG police, while referring to the
killing of nearly 90 people in the blast at the shrine of Sufi saint Lal
Shahbaz Qalandar, observed that such huge loss of lives could have been
prevented if some more policemen had been deployed there and they had performed
their duty with alertness.
police chief directed the SSPs to come out of their offices and monitor
security situation on the ground. IG Khowaja directed the station house
officers (SHOs) to conduct security checks in their respective areas for three
hours on a daily basis and asked the SSPs to personally monitor such security
IG warned the senior officers that if they were found involved in any
misconduct, he would be compelled to send such report of misconduct to the
higher authorities, the sources added.
police chief also directed the officers concerned that a DSP (security) be
appointed in each district to monitor security arrangements at mosques,
Imambargahs, seminaries, shrines, graveyards, important government institutions,
sensitive installations, railway stations, bus terminals and academic
institutes in their areas, according to an official statement.
proposed DSP (security) would be entitled to issuing necessary directions to
the SHOs concerned for strict monitoring of security steps.
patrolling and random spot checks, concrete and coordinated security steps must
be taken on Thursdays and Fridays to protect the life of innocent people, the
police chief said. The deployment of policemen near worship places and shrines
must be ensured, he added.
- An air strike has killed an Afghan Taliban commander who twice oversaw the
capture of a strategic northern city, officials said Monday, in a major blow to
the insurgent group.
Abdul Salam Akhund, the Taliban shadow governor in Kunduz province who had been
declared dead several times in the past, was killed on Sunday when he was
holding a meeting in the volatile Dasht-e-Archi district.
was killed with five others in the house,” provincial governor Asadullah
Amarkhil told AFP.
Taliban acknowledged the death of “the conquerer of Kunduz”, saying he was
killed in a “cowardly attack by US invaders”.
Akhund was one of three fighters killed in a weekend strike by an unmanned
aircraft, a senior Taliban official in the province told Reuters, on condition
of anonymity to ensure his safety.
was on a journey a few days ago and stopped at a house at Dashte Archi town
when drone fired missiles,” said the official.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also confirmed Akhund’s death in a statement.
Taliban commander in the eastern province of Khost said, “It’s part of our
life… We are proud to confirm that he (Akhund) was martyred for a cause.”
- Saudi Arabia has deported 100
Pakistanis for staying illegally. According to details, a special flight
SV-3380, with deported Pakistanis onboard, landed at Benazir International
officials took them under custody after verification of their documents. In
another similar incident, 89 Pakistanis, in an attempt to enter Europe
illegally, were nabbed by Iranian officials. Arrested people were handed over
to administration of Taftan.
report published by Saudi Gazette illustrates that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has
deported at least 39000 Pakistanis in last four months. Saudi newspaper stated
that deportations were carried out for violating rules of residence and work.
The report also claimed involvement of Pakistanis in terrorist activities
orchestrated by Islamic State (IS) group as well as in crimes of drug
trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assaults.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concern over
instances of ‘apparent racial profiling’ and ‘stereotyping’ as the authorities
try to clamp down on militancy and terrorism in Punjab.
a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “HRCP is aghast at the
administration in at least some districts of Punjab issuing formal or informal
orders, asking the population to keep an eye on suspicious individuals who look
like Pashtuns or are from Fata and to report any suspicious activity by them.
Such reports lead to the inescapable inference that the authorities in the
nation’s most populous province believe that terrorism and militancy have been
perpetrated by ‘outsiders’. There are many problems with such an assertion, not
least that it treats citizens with suspicion without evidence, and flies in the
face of the guarantee for equality of citizens and non-discrimination.”
grave and obvious consequence of such offensive profiling is that it treats
parts of population above suspicion because of ethnic identity markers. No
longer can we afford to live in the state of denial; why do we find it so hard
to accept that people of other ethnicity could have something to do with the
violence that has been wracking the country for years? If the dimensions of
terrorism and militancy have taught us anything, it is that domiciles do not
curb the spread of their tentacles. Only across-the-board targeting of suspects
can yield results.”
share details of government response on Sharia banking: RBI
response given by the Finance Ministry on an RBI report about the introduction
of Sharia banking in India cannot be disclosed, the central bank has said. The
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was asked to give the copy of the letter sent to it
by the ministry on the recommendation of its Inter Departmental Group (IDG)
regarding Islamic banking. The central bank had sought response from the
Department of Financial Services (DFS) under the finance minister whether their
letter can be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. “In this
regard we have been advised by the DFS, Government of India that the letter is
exempt under Section 8 (1) (c),” the RBI said in response to an RTI application
filed by PTI. The Section bars disclosure of information “which would cause a
breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislature”.
or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging
interest, which is prohibited under Islam.
RBI had earlier proposed opening of “Islamic window” in conventional banks for
gradual introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the
our considered opinion, given the complexities of Islamic finance and various
regulatory and supervisory challenges involved in the matter and also due to
the fact that Indian banks have no experience in this field, Islamic banking
may be introduced in India in a gradual manner.
a few simple products which are similar to conventional banking products may be
considered for introduction through Islamic window of the conventional banks
after necessary notification by the government,” the RBI had told the Finance
Ministry in a letter, copy of which was received in response to the RTI query.
central bank’s proposal is based on examination of legal, technical and
regulatory issues regarding feasibility of introducing Islamic banking in India
on the basis of recommendation of the IDG.
RBI had in February last year sent a copy of the IDG to the Finance Ministry.
late 2008, a committee on Financial Sector Reforms, headed by former RBI
Governor Raghuram Rajan, had opined the need for a closer look at the issue of
interest-free banking in the country.
faiths prohibit the use of financial instruments that pay interest. The
non-availability of interest-free banking products results in some Indians,
including those in the economically disadvantaged strata of society, not being
able to access banking products and services due to reasons of faith,” the
committee had said.
non-availability also denies the country access to substantial sources of
savings from other countries in the region,” it added.
IS brothers give cops names of 40 operatives
The two Islamic State terror group suspects arrested+ from Rajkot and Bhavnagar
on Sunday have confessed to their plans of planting bombs in the thickly
populated Trikon Baug and Gundawadi areas of Rajkot this week. On Monday, the
suspects Waseem Ramodiya and his brother Naeem were remanded to the custody of
the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) till March 10.
have got names of at least 40 other persons from across Gujarat, including
Ahmedabad, who were engaged with the brothers regarding IS activities across
the globe. "We are conducting verification of these persons to know the
extent of their indoctrination," an official said.
questioning, Waseem told the ATS that his wife Shahzeen used to frequently
taunt him as "impotent" for not being able to execute the
"tasks" given to him by their handlers who operated with the names
"Big Cat" and "onegoal1aim" through the username
@katakat313. The handlers, suspected to be Indians, were communicating with
Waseem through a social media platform in an end-to-end encrypted code.
February 27 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Hurriyet leaders including senior APHC
leader and President of Anjuman Sharie Shian Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi
Al-Safvi have said that India is working on a policy aimed at dividing the
Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir on sectarian, linguistic and ethnic lines.
Moosvi in a statement issued in Srinagar, today, while reacting to the reports
of the New Delhi’s policy of controlling media, mosques and madrasas in Kashmir
said that Kashmir freedom movement was not a sectarian or religious matter but
it was the issue of the entire population of Jammu and Kashmir. He said, “We want
to remind New Delhi that this freedom struggle is not a religious or sectarian
one but all people irrespective of caste, colour, sect, religion have been
supporting it,” he said.
and Kashmir National Front Chairman, Nayeem Ahmad Khan urged ulema and
preachers to uphold the religious importance of mosques. “Muslims should
identify themselves as Muslims alone. This only can help Muslim Ummah to remain
united and face all sorts of aggression aimed at diving Muslims and sabotaging
the genuine freedom struggle,” he said while condemning the arrest of APHC
leader, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori.
leader, Zafar Akbar Butt in his statement asked Indian authorities to desist
from creating fishers on cast and sectarian basis and said that the people of Kashmir
would not allow India to create disharmony in the territory.
leader Bilal Sidiqee in his statement said, instead of reading writing on the
wall and deliberating on the resolution of Kashmir dispute, Indian authorities
are seeing the issue through law and order prism. “Kashmiris will never budge
and continue their struggle till they achieve right to self-determination,” he
Hurriyet leader Muhammad Musaddiq Aadil addressing a meeting of his party
Peoples Political Front in Srinagar said that history stood witness that India
always used barbaric tactics to perpetuate its hold on Jammu and Kashmir. He
maintained that Kashmir was a separate entity and the people of Kashmir were
fighting for their freedom from Indian bondage.
use of pellet guns, which led to considerable injuries during street protests
in Kashmir last year, is set to make a comeback. Paramilitary forces have found
that the less lethal alternative PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillylamide) shells
are not really effective in scattering protesters. CRPF Director General K
Durga Prasad told reporters Monday that a modified version of the pellet gun
will be used to break up any protest before and during anti-militancy
operations. “The force has taken the decision to modify pellet guns, with the
help of BSF, to minimise injuries,” he said. Pellet guns were widely used in
the Valley during the protests that followed the killing of Hizbul militant
Burhan Wani in July last year. Hundreds were injured by the pellets, many with
serious injuries in the eyes. Following an outcry, the use of pellet guns was
stopped, replaced by the chilli-based PAVA shells.
Least 7 Killed, Over 30 Injured As Bus Falls Into Canal In Andhra Pradesh's
modified version of the pellet gun will have a “deflector”, an attachment on
the muzzle to prevent pellets from ascending. The CRPF has asked a special BSF
workshop to deploy a metal deflector on the muzzle so that shrapnels do not
strike a person above the abdomen region. CRPF troops in the Valley have been
told to fire pellets aiming at the feet of protesters and not the abdomen area.
“We have asked our men to fire at the feet now… By using a deflector, there is
only a two per cent chance that the shot fired may hit above the point of aim
as compared to the rate of 40 per cent earlier,” a CRPF officer said.
who retires Tuesday, said: “PAVA shells have a long shelf-life and they are
good in certain situations… But we have made it clear that the CRPF man on the
ground will use whatever the situation demands.” “The situation is not as
sensitive as it was last year… The intensity with which it (stone pelting)
happened is no longer there… The situation of stone-pelting on security forces
is not as bad as earlier,” he said. According to the CRPF, as many as 2,580 of
its personnel were injured, 122 of them grievously, in attacks that followed
Wani’s killing. There were 142 incidents of stone-pelting on its camps and 43
instances of attacks with petrol, acid and kerosene bombs.
Rajkot Bar Association (RBA) on Monday passed a resolution that none of its
members would defend the two suspected ISIS operatives arrested by the Gujarat
ATS, RBA secretary Manish Khakhar said. However, a Jamnagar-based lawyer
Imtiyaz Kotecha has come forward to defend the two brothers — Wasim Ramodiya
and Naeem, he said.
have passed a resolution that none of our members will defend those involved in
anti-national activities and therefore no lawyer of RBA will defend the two
suspected ISIS operatives Wasim and Naeem in the court,” Khakhar said.
RBA also praised the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) team and Rajkot City
Police Commissioner Anupamsinh Gehlot for busting the ISIS network in
Kotecha, we cannot say anything as he is not a member of Rajkot Bar Association
(RBA). He is free to defend them,” he said.
and Naeem were on Monday produced before a local court which sent them to
12-day police custody.
DELHI: In a significant sign that India is finally responding to Islamabad's
peace overtures, the government has decided to release 39 Pakistan's nationals
currently languishing in Indian jails.
included 21 prisoners who have served out their sentence in India and 18
to TOI immediately after Islamabad released Indian soldier Babulal Chavan+ ,
Pakistan high commissioner to India Abdul Basit had said that Pakistan expected
India to acknowledge the Chavan's repatriation and release 33 Pakistan
nationals who were in Indian jails despite having completed their sentence.
"We have identified these prisoners and with Pakistan confirming their
nationality, they will be released on March 1," said an official source.
India has reacted cautiously to the house arrest of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and
his subsequent listing under the Anti Terrorism Act, the government believes it
may be the right time to open channels of communication with Islamabad even if
a full-fledged diplomatic dialogue remains
has repeatedly said in the past couple of months that it won't dilute its stand
that there can be no dialogue with Pakistan without demonstrable action against
terror groups targeting India. However, there's also a feeling within the
government that India needs to reciprocate to the opening which Pakistan PM
Nawaz Sharif, according to Pakistan diplomats, has sought to provide after the
retirement of Raheel Sharif as army chief.
saw the government inviting Pakistan for a South Asia Speakers' Summit held in
Indore last week and also seeking to promote people to people contact by
ensuring and sponsoring Indian participation in the Karachi Literature
Festival. Officially though, it continued to insist these developments
shouldn't be seen as a precursor to resumption of talks.
sources said that the army soldiers have been advancing against the Al-Nusra
from the two directions of the Northeast and the Northwest towards al-Qaboun
region, taking control of several positions in al-Qaboun farms.
the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units targeted terrorists'
movements and gatherings in the towns of Harasta, Douma, al-Nashbiyeh and
Harazma in al-Marj region in Eastern Ghouta, killing and wounding a number of
terrorists, the sources said.
added that the army's missile units targeted a main command post of Al-Nusra
along the road to the town of Harasta, destroying the post and killing or
wounding tens of terrorists.
sources reported that terrorists deployed in Jobar, East of the capital,
carried out attacks on the Syrian Army to reduce the army men's pressure on
their comrades in al-Qaboun.
sources added that the terrorists' attacks on government forces' positions in
Jobar were repelled by the Syrian soldiers.
said earlier today that the Syrian government forces stormed terrorists'
positons in al-Qaboun region in Eastern Ghouta and managed to impose control
over 90 percent of the farms.
army men struck the defense lines of Al-Nusra Front in al-Qaboun and Barzeh
regions and could drive terrorists out of over 90 percent of al-Qaboun farms,
killing tens of militants.
sources in Eastern Damascus said that the army's missile and artillery units
targeted Al-Nusra's positions in al-Qaboun simultaneous with the ground forces'
advances, destroying terrorists' command posts.
sources added that terrorist groups in Harasta, al-Qaboun and Tishrin regions
in Eastern Damascus breached ceasefire and inflicted heavy damage on public and
private properties in the nearby regions, including al-Abasseen, killing also
websites said that the army soldiers repelled a heavy attack of the Turkey-led
Euphrates Shield's forces in Tadif just to the South of al-Bab town.
Turkey-backed militants failed to capture the government-controlled town of
Tadif that was captured two days ago," the opposition websites said.
websites said that the pro-government forces are currently deployed in the
Southern outskirts of Tadif and forces of the Euphrates Shield Operation are
deployed in the Northern outskirts of the town, adding that there are still
sporadic clashes between the two sides.
sources reported earlier today that clashes erupted between the Syrian Army
troops and Ankara-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield Operation in the
town of al-Bab East of Aleppo province.
times news website reported that the army soldiers have been engaged in heavy
fighting with forces of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Operation near the town
of al-Bab on Sunday night.
- Government air raids on northwest Syria killed at least 11 people overnight,
mostly civilians, a monitoring group said Monday, while the military said its
forces made advances in Aleppo province.
warplanes carried out air strikes after midnight on several areas in the town
of Ariha" in Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights'
head Rami Abdel Rahman.
preliminary toll is 11 killed, including at least seven civilians," three
of them children, he said. Others were still missing and rescue teams were
searching for anyone trapped under the rubble, Abdel Rahman added. Leith Fares,
a rescue worker in Ariha, told AFP his team had pulled at least 20 wounded
people out of the rubble. "We've been working since 3:00 am (0100 GMT) to
rescue victims still under the rubble of two four-storey buildings that totally
collapsed on the residents inside," he said.
still looking for two families, estimated at eight to 10 members each, that are
still trapped," Fares said.
deaths come two days after 10 civilians were killed in government air strikes
on Ariha, held since spring 2015 by an anti-regime coalition dominated by
province has been battered by heavy air strikes in recent weeks, with
intensifying bombing raids by regime warplanes in particular, according to the
has also been rocked by infighting between rebel and militant factions,
including Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate, Fateh al-Sham Front.
conflict began in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad's
rule but has since spiralled into a multi-front civil war pitting government
forces, rebels, militants and Kurds against each other.
loyal to Assad scored their biggest victory yet in late December when they
secured full control of Syria's second city Aleppo.
recent weeks, they have also steadily advanced on several fronts in the
province of the same name, including against the Islamic State militant group.
Syrian military source told AFP on Monday that the army had "seized 18
towns and villages, including the town of Taduf and a number of strategic
hilltops in eastern Aleppo province, totalling about 600 square kilometres (230
had been held by IS militants and lies near Al-Bab, a key town where rebel
fighters, backed by Turkish soldiers, artillery, and air power, defeated IS
on Monday also withdrew from nearly two dozen villages near the town of Manbij,
in what the Observatory called a sign of "swift collapse" of militant
is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and
new military strategy to meet President Donald Trump's demand to
"obliterate" the Islamic State group is likely to deepen U.S.
military involvement in Syria, possibly with more ground troops, even as the
current U.S. approach in Iraq appears to be working and will require fewer
are sketchy. But recommendations due at the White House on Monday are likely to
increase emphasis on nonmilitary elements of the campaign already underway,
such as efforts to squeeze IS finances, limit the group's recruiting and
counter IS propaganda that is credited with inspiring recent violence in the
U.S. and Europe. One official with knowledge of the recommendations said the
report would present a broad overview of options as a starting point for a more
detailed internal discussion. The official wasn't authorized to speak to
reporters about the contents of the document and demanded anonymity
Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday
that the emerging strategy will take aim not just at the Islamic State
militants but at al-Qaida and other extremist organizations in the Middle East
and beyond, whose goal is to attack the United States. He emphasized that it
would not rest mainly on military might.
is a political-military plan," he said. "It is not a military
comment suggests that Pentagon leaders have a more nuanced view of the IS
problem than is reflected in Trump's promise to "obliterate" the
group, as he put it on Friday. Dunford said the U.S. should be careful that in
solving the IS problem it does not create others, hinting at the sensitive
question of how to deal with Turkey, which is a NATO ally with much at stake in
neighboring Syria, and Russia, whose military action in Syria has had the
effect of propping up the Syrian regime.
Secretary Jim Mattis is giving the White House the ingredients of a strategy,
which officials say will be fleshed out once Trump has considered the options.
Officials described the Mattis report as a "framework" built on broad
concepts and based on advice from the State Department, the CIA and other
agencies. Officials have indicated the recommended approaches will echo central
elements of the Obama administration's strategy, which was based on the idea
that the U.S. military should support local forces rather than do the fighting
for them. Mattis already has signaled publicly that he sees no value in having
U.S. combat forces take over the ground war.
would just tell you that by, with and through our allies is the way this
coalition is going against Daesh," Mattis said last week in Baghdad, using
an Arabic term for the Islamic State group. "We're going to continue to go
after them until we destroy them and any kind of belief in the inevitability of
signed an executive order on Jan. 28 giving Mattis 30 days to present a
"preliminary draft" of a plan. He said it should include a
comprehensive strategy that would not only deliver a battlefield victory but
also "isolate and delegitimize" the group and its radical ideology.
if adding more U.S. troops or arming the Syrian Kurds was under discussion,
Mattis said he will "accommodate any request" from his field
owe some degree of confidentiality on exactly how we're going to do that and
the sequencing of that fight so that we don't expose to the enemy what it is we
have in mind in terms of the timing of the operations," Mattis told
reporters. But he said those are "some of the issues that we'll be dealing
with as we go forward, and we'll be addressing each one of them, from
intelligence, to tactics, to logistics as we sustain the fight going into
Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees
military operations in the Mideast, has said more American troops may be needed
to speed up the fight in Syria. The U.S. currently has about 500 special
operations forces in Syria helping to organize, advise and assist local forces.
of the thorniest problems the Trump administration will consider is whether to
change the U.S. approach to Russia's military role in Syria. Although Trump has
suggested an interest in working with Russia against IS, the Pentagon has been
reluctant to go beyond military-to-military contacts aimed at avoiding
accidents in the airspace over Syria.
military leaders, including Mattis, seem more confident in the Iraqi military
campaign, lending weight to the idea that the options will put a greater
emphasis on Syria.
pledged to veto a Western-backed UN resolution Tuesday that would impose
sanctions on 21 Syrian individuals, organizations and companies allegedly
involved in chemical weapons attacks in the war-ravaged country.
draft Security Council resolution would also ban all countries from supplying
Syria's government with helicopters, which investigators have determined were
used in chemical attacks.
resolution, initially sponsored by Britain and France, was recently joined by
the new United States administration of President Donald Trump.
UN ambassador, Francois Delattre, said Monday that his government was “very
pleased that the new American administration has confirmed it shares completely
our view” on the need for sanctions.
Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said US support was a sign that the three countries
are determined to oppose the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
“make sure that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity.”
resolution follows a joint investigation by the United Nations and the
international chemical weapons watchdog that determined the Syrian government
was behind at least three attacks involving chlorine gas and the ISIS group was
responsible for at least one involving mustard gas.
Syria's closest ally, joined the Western nations in establishing the joint
investigation, known as the JIM, to determine responsibility for chemical
Russia's deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, said Friday that Moscow
would veto the resolution, which he described as “one-sided,” “based on
insufficient evidence” and “a provocation.”
a sharp retort, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley asked: “How much longer is Russia
going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? ... People
have died by being suffocated to death. That's barbaric.”
Syrian government denies using chemical weapons in the civil war, now in its sixth
year, but the three Western countries contend there must be accountability
following the results of the JIM investigations.
call on all our colleagues in the council, all 15, to ... give a strong, clear,
message tomorrow that the international community means business on preventing
the use of these abhorrent weapons,” Rycroft said.
army forces drove ISIL out of the town of Jubb al-Khafa and expanded their
presence to the regions under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF) in the towns of Um Khazreh and Houteh.
sources said the Syrian army's control over Jubb al-Khafa has sealed off the
road to Manbij, preventing the Euphrates Shield Operation force from expanding
to the town in Northeastern Aleppo.
sources said that arrival of the Syrian army at borders with the SDF-controlled
regions will possibly open new safe corridors for transferring civilians from
East Aleppo province to Aleppo city and other regions that are controlled by
the Kurdish forces.
sources had informed earlier today that the Syrian Army troops' advances
against ISIL in Eastern Aleppo would soon end up in not just pushing the
terrorist group back from the Northern parts of the country, but laying a full
siege on the Turkish forces and the Ankara-backed militants that are operating
under the Euphrates Shield Operation.
sources who requested anonymity, said that the army soldiers' control over the
town of Tadif South of al-Bab has established another contact line with the
forces of the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield forces.
added that if the Syrian government troops continued their advances against
ISIL in Eastern Aleppo towards the SDF, the Euphrates Shield forces would be
trapped in a circle of the army men in the towns of al-Bab and Baza'a.
sources went on to say that if the Syrian army forces managed to reach the SDF
positions, the Manbij road would be cut off and the Euphrates Shield forces
would have no way out to march in Northern Syrian any further, but to engage in
clashes with the Syrian soldiers or Kurdish fighters.
times added that regions between the town of Tadif that was captured by the
Syrian army yesterday and the Southern outskirts of al-Bab have been witnessing
a second round of fierce clashes between the army soldiers and Turkey-backed
clashes came after the army men managed to take control over the key town of
Tadif South of al-Bab.
said earlier today that the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL North
of the town of Qasr al-Brij and managed to drive the terrorists out of the
towns of Nabateh al-Saqireh and Nabateh al-Kabireh.
suffered heavy casualties in the attack.
field source said that the army men kicked off their attack on ISIL positions
from the towns of Masriheh and Qasr al-Brij and from there they could hit
terrorists' defense lines and capture Nabateh al-Saqireh and Nabateh
army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Al-Nusra fighters in the
neighborhoods of al-Badou, al-Karak, Old Customs and al-Mahjoureh air defense
battalion and repelled their attack after inflicting a number of casualties on
tanks, a machinegun position and three military vehicles of Al-Nusra were
destroyed in the failed attack in al-Karak and Northwest of the Old Customs
in the same city, the army's artillery and missile units targeted the
concentration center of a group of terrorists Southwest of Dhahiyah al-Yarmouk
area in Dara'a al-Balad district, killing the entire members of the group and
destroying their arms and ammunition.
relevant developments on Sunday the Al-Nusra terrorists stormed government
forces' positions in al-Manshiyeh from multiple fronts and directions,
including the al-Mesri square, several Western neighborhoods of the city, the
West side of Old Customs and Tal (hill), but the army soldiers engaged in very
heavy fighting with them and fended off their attack.
high-ranking al-Qaeda commander has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria’s
northwestern province of Idlib, says a monitoring agency.
to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group on Monday, Abdullah Muhammad Rajab
Abdulrahman, the deputy to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed during
an attack on his car on Sunday.
Egyptian national, also known by his nom de guerre Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, was a
close associate to former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and was implicated in
the 1998 bomb attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
posted on social media showed his car with its roof destroyed after the attack.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also confirmed that a
senior al-Qaeda figure was killed in the province.
Pentagon has also confirmed carrying out a strike on the province on Sunday
without referring to its target or outcome.
to boost Somali military operation against al Shabaab
wants to expand its military in a bid to fight terror groups linked to al
Qaeda, particularly al Shabaab which is wrecking havoc in Somalia.
US Department of Defence wants to put its forces closer to the fight against al
Shabaab to avert attacks that may be planned against America.
follows concerns that many young Americans from Somali communities traveled to
training camps in Somalia therefore likely to attack the US.
Waldhauser, head of US Africa Command, in an interview with the Associated
Press described Somalia as 'the most perplexing challenge'.
US is trying to take a look at Somalia from a fresh perspective in the way ahead,"
he said as reported in the New York Post - a US media outlet.
the recommendations, US special operations forces will increase assistance to
the Somali National Army in the struggle against the militants.
will also allow the US military a greater flexibility to launch airstrikes
against the militia in the region.
officials privy to the plan said there is a proposal to have US troops
accompany local soldiers on military operations.
proposal is also to ease restrictions on when the United States can conduct air
strikes targeting al Shabaab hideouts.
militant group has been fighting for years to impose its strict interpretation
of Islam on Somalia and also wants to topple the Western-backed government in
also want to drive out soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia among
other African states deployed under Amisom.
are also concerns that the plan could be politically sensitive, following the
disastrous downing of two US helicopters over Mogadishu in 1993 that claimed 18
to the New York Post, the military will be able to launch air strikes against
militants on a more pre-emptive basis if the proposal goes through.
Secretary Jim Mattis, who approved the recommendations, is said to have sent
the plan to the White House early February.
said the US sees an opportunity to work with Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed -
Somalia’s new president, to strengthen local soldiers so that they can take on
al Shabaab on their own.
conference to focus on religious coexistence
Muslim and Christian delegates from more than 50 countries will gather Tuesday
in the Egyptian capital Cairo to discuss coexistence based on respect for
freedom and citizenship.
two-day conference, entitled “Freedom, Citizenship, Diversity and Integration”,
is co-organised by Egypt’s prestigious Islamic Centre of Al Azhar and the
Muslim Council of Elders based in the UAE.
Shaikh of Al Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyeb and Coptic Pope Tawadros II are leading
Muslim and Christian clerics and scholars at the gathering held under the
auspices of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi.
include heads of the Oriental Orthodox churches as well as Muslim and Christian
participants are looking into coexistence in the Arab world between the Muslim
majority and the Christian minority, exploring future challenges with the aim
of formulating a promising vision for humanity.
at the conference are expected to highlight the Arab Islamic-Christian
coexistence and diversity experience in its Oriental and global dimensions,
together with the current problems and challenges, organisers said.
topics on the agenda include freedom-diversity interrelation as well as state
authorities’ role in safeguarding freedoms and diversity. Another key topic
focuses on Muslim-Christian joint action to tackle fanaticism, militancy and
terrorism with a view to stopping manipulation of religion in disputes.
conference is held amid regional turbulence and radical violence. Over the past
few days, dozens of Egyptians from the country’s minority Christian community
have fled the Sinai Peninsula due to a string of deadly attacks by Islamist
extremists there. Elsewhere, Christians have been subjected to abuses by Daesh
terrorist in Syria and Iraq.
in the Cairo conference will adopt a declaration from Al Azhar emphasising
coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
pact calls on followers of Islam and Christianity to live together in harmony
and respect principles of citizenship, freedom, participation and diversity.
in July 2014 in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE)
is an independent international institution aimed at promoting peace in the
Muslim communities, eliminating sectarianism and espousing Islam’s humanitarian
values of tolerance and moderation.
car bomb went off in the Somali capital on Monday, wounding three people, a
Reuters witness said.
was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosion. In the past,
al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab has taken responsibility for blasts and gun attacks
in the capital.
Shabaab has been able to carry out increasingly deadly bombings despite losing
most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the Somali
of African descent face growing discrimination in Germany due to worrying
levels of Islamophobia, a UN monitoring group warned on Monday.
Sunga, chairman of the UN's Working Group of Experts on People of African
Descent, announced results of a fact-finding visit to Germany at a news
conference in Berlin.
of African descent are facing increasingly difficult times in the enjoyment of
their rights due to increased Islamophobia and Afrophobia,” he said.
praising Germany’s promotion of human rights and diversity, Sunga expressed
concern over widespread problems faced by Africans, and said Muslim Africans
often become victims of discrimination in the workplace or in schools.
women of African descent face further discrimination when it comes to access to
the labor market," he said, referring to discrimination against them due
their appearance or Muslim dress.
Muslim students of African descent describe their experiences in school as
traumatic as they experience not only anti-Black racism but also anti-Muslim
racism,” he also added.
UN’s expert group visited Germany this month to monitor the human rights
situation of people of African descent in Germany, whose population estimated
called on the German authorities to take stronger measures to combat all forms
of racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance.
also urged Germany to recognize its responsibility in mass killings committed
in its African colony Namibia in the early 20th century.
should recall its own share in the history of colonization, enslavement and
genocide, and use a reparatory justice approach as a way forward. The Ovaherero
and Nama people must be included in the negotiations currently ongoing between
the German and Namibian governments,” he said.
27 (UPI) -- The rise in hate groups and hate-related incidents in the United
States – and elsewhere – is stoking concerns about social peace.
Southern Poverty Law Center has described the U.S. presidential election as having
"electrified the radical right," and as recently as last week a
Missouri man was arrested on charges of fatally shooting an Indian man, and
injuring two others, in what the FBI has called a hate crime.
in other parts of the world, everyday peacemakers are intervening in the
escalation of tensions and violence that have upended villages and traumatized
girls in the wake of sexual violence – as was the case in west Africa as the
Islamic militant group Boko Haram began to launch increasingly sophisticated
attacks on villagers in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
Goto, the senior vice president of the Global Peace Foundation, told reporters
in Manila on Sunday that community leaders in Nigeria's Kaduna State are
overcoming their religious differences with peace-building workshops involving
Christian and Muslim participants.
this point we have lots of conflict and war, where [people] are killing each
other, such as Islamic, Christian believers," Goto said.
foundation launched a social program in Nigeria, with Rev. John Joseph Hayab, a
Christian, and Sheikh Khidir Maraya Abdullah, a Muslim cleric, leading an
effort to build "respect across religious divides."
workshops made progress in easing suspicion between rival Christian and Muslim
groups in religiously diverse Nigeria, and have worked to encourage dialogue
among local leaders.
Moosa, who had been diagnosed with cancer a while ago, passed away on Sunday.
He had turned 81 on February 8. RYLAND FISHER pays tribute to the celebrated
my former colleague Mansoor Jaffer and I visited judge Essa Moosa at his house
in Crawford last week, an old schoolfriend of Moosa asked us whether we were
his sons. We replied: "Yes" because in many ways we were.
had that effect on people. He was much more than a lawyer. He was also a
comrade and friend to many people all over the Western Cape and South Africa.
was evident at his funeral service on Sunday afternoon. Moosa, who had been
diagnosed with cancer a while ago, had passed away at 11:15 on Sunday. He had
turned 81 on February 8.
A Philippine nurse held by Islamic State in the Libyan city of Sirte said on
Monday (27/02) that she and her colleagues had been forced to treat militants
and give them medical training.
nurse is from a group of seven women, one man and a 10-month-old child who are
being repatriated from Libya to the Philippines. They were freed from Sirte
when local forces drove Islamic State from the city last year.
State took full control of Sirte in early 2015, turning it into their North
African stronghold and holding dozens of foreign captives. The Philippine
nationals are medical staff who were among foreign workers already in the city
when it came under the ultra-hardline group's rule.
they found out we were Muslim they released us but under a strict condition
that we will have to work as nurses in their hospital and we had to train ISIS
[Islamic State] on emergency care and nursing course," the nurse told
reporters in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
was a horrible time. Each day we lived in fear. We didn't know what was going to
happen next. And they threatened to kill us if we left Sirte."
Philippine staff worked at Sirte's main hospital, which Islamic State used to
treat their wounded fighters until they were pushed out of central Sirte in
then retreated toward their final strongholds near Sirte's seafront, taking
medical equipment and foreign captives with them.
State was defeated in Sirte in early December, after nearly seven months of
fighting. The Philippine medical staff and many of the other foreign captives
were freed in the final stages of the battle.
then they have been held in Misrata, the city that led the military campaign in
Sirte. Also held there are dozens of women from sub-Saharan Africa who were
captured while crossing Libya as migrants and used as sex slaves in Sirte.
this month an Indian doctor who had also been trapped in Sirte, Ramamurthy
Kosanam, was flown out of Libya.
king to work with Indonesia to combat Islamic State: ambassador
Arabia's King Salman is expected to sign 10 agreements during his visit to
Indonesia, with a focus on combating militant group Islamic State, the
kingdom's ambassador to Indonesia told Reuters on Tuesday.
Saudi king, who on Sunday kicked off a month-long Asian tour to build ties and
seek investment opportunities, will be in Indonesia March 1-12, envoy Osama
Mohammad Abdullah Alshuaibi said.
are a lot of MOUs (memorandum of understanding) to be signed here. The most
important is anti-terrorism because we find that we should work together to
defeat ISIS," he said, using one of the acronyms for Islamic State.
authorities in Indonesia, an officially secular state with the world's largest
Muslim population, have grown increasingly concerned after a series of attacks
over the past year blamed on supporters of Islamic State.
Arabia and Indonesia will also work together on other areas, such as oil and
gas and education, Alshuaibi said.
Indonesian police killed a militant on Monday after he detonated a small bomb
in the city of Bandung and authorities said they were investigating whether he
had links to a radical network sympathetic to Islamic State.
Philippines — Abu Sayyaf extremists in the Philippines released a video showing
the beheading of a German hostage in the first sign the brutal Filipino
militants carried out a threat to kill him after a ransom deadline lapsed over
Rodrigo Duterte’s adviser dealing with Muslim rebel groups, Jesus Dureza,
condemned the killing of Jurgen Gustav Kantner as barbaric, saying the
Philippine military and other groups “exhausted all efforts to save his life”
up to the final moment.
grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap
victim,” Dureza said in a statement. “We all tried our best. But to no avail.”
brief video circulated Monday by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors
jihadi websites, shows Kantner sitting in a grassy clearing and saying “Now he
kill me” shortly before a masked militant beheads him with a curved knife.
few gunmen mutter “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” in the video that lasts a
minute and 43 seconds.
Philippine military confirmed Kantner had been “mercilessly and inhumanly
operations in the past several days and nights using all our resources were
unrelenting. We lost some of our best men in the process, because we value the
life of Mr. Kantner and that of the others who have fallen prey to this
terrorist group,” spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
intelligence report seen by the Associated Press said an Abu Sayyaf militant,
Moammar Askali, had wanted Kantner to be killed as announced but others wanted
to wait for a ransom payment. The militants circulated a video earlier this month
in which Kantner said he would be killed if ransom was not paid by 3 p.m.
officials have said the militants were seeking a ransom of 30 million pesos
Germany, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said German experts were
evaluating the video to determine whether it was authentic, but that if it was,
it’s “deeply shocking.”
makes you question what can lead people to commit such a barbaric crime, but,
at the moment, I’m not in a position to say whether the video’s authentic,” he
would not give any details on possible negotiations with the kidnappers,
including whether there was a ransom demand, citing government policy and
saying that “public comment never helps in finding a solution” in such cases.
Sayyaf claimed in November that its gunmen had kidnapped Kantner and killed a
woman sailing with him off neighboring Malaysia’s Sabah state. Villagers later
found a dead woman on a yacht with the German flag off Laparan Island in Sulu
province in the southern Philippines, the military said.
coordinator in Yemen accused of siding with rebels
Yemeni recognized government has accused the United Nation’s humanitarian
coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, of siding with the Houthi rebels and ousted
president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
to the government, McGoldrick seems to be supporting the Houthi coup, which
does not qualify him to represent the United Nation’s efforts towards achieving
peace in Yemen.
McGoldrick rejects such accusations, the Yemeni government has said that the
envoy managed to visit the besieged city of Taiz only once since he started his
mission in the country.
similarly failed to visit the government’s temporary capital of Aden at a time
when the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are both functioning in the
coordinator is in contact with a number of institutions that are controlled by
Houthi rebels, including the ministry of education, the government adds.
Foreign Ministry spokesman has commended the Iranian prominent filmmaker,
Asghar Farhadi, and the cast and crew of his film ‘The Salesman’ for winning
the 2017 Academy Award for the Best Foreign-Language Film.
again, the great Iranian nation and society have witnessed the success of the
ambassadors of Iranian art in international art communities in conveying to the
world the voice of the noble Iranian people, which is the voice of culture,
civilization, peace and national dignity and pride,” Iranian Foreign Ministry
Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.
added that artists have a great responsibility to strengthen friendship and
unity among nations at the current juncture.
is very pleasing to see the proficient and diligent Iranian director once again
manage to deliver the Iranian nation’s message of peace and friendship to the
entire world through the means of art, the spokesperson said.
Salesman won the Oscars on Sunday for best foreign-language film; however,
Farhadi had boycotted the gala over US President Donald Trump's executive order
banning arrivals into the US from seven Muslim countries.
award was accepted by two prominent Iranian-Americans representing the Iranian
director. Anousheh Ansari, famed for being the first female space tourist, and
Firouz Naderi, a former director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA.
also hailed the “brave” decision made by Farhadi and the movie’s star actress,
Taraneh Alidoosti, to boycott the Oscars ceremony “ in respect for the wise
people of Iran and six other countries who were disrespected by the political
and inhuman travel ban order.”
showed that the voice of moderation and peace-seeking continues to reverberate
throughout the world despite the conduct of all extremists and unilateralists,
the spokesman emphasized.
while receiving the award, Ansari read a message on behalf of The Salesman’s
NASA scientist Firouz Naderi (L) and engineer/astronaut Anousheh Ansari pose
with the Best Foreign Language Film award for 'The Salesman' on behalf of
director Asghar Farhadi in the press room during the 89th Oscars on February
26, 2017, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by AFP)
absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six
nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of
immigrants to the US," the space tourist said. "Dividing the world
into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear, a deceitful justification
for aggression and war."
Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker announced in January that he has decided not to
participate in the Oscars ceremony in protest at the US president’s executive
executive order, issued on January 27, blocked entry into the United States for
90 days for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
It also suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees
District Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington, suspended the order
nationwide on February 4 after his state challenged its legality. A three-judge
panel in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Robart's ruling.
senior Iranian official has highlighted the key Saudi role in founding and
sponsoring terrorist groups, saying Riyadh has failed to truly mend its ways.
of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani made the
comments on Monday in response to a question about the Islamic Republic’s
stance on the recent visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Iraq.
course, we consider as positive any move by countries supporting terrorist
groups, particularly Saudi Arabia, to turn back from their destructive policies
in the past and make up for their mistakes,” he said.
he added, “No real change in the approach by this country [Saudi Arabia] has
made a rare visit to Baghdad on Saturday as the first by a high-ranking Saudi
official since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was welcomed by Iraqi
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
two sides “discussed cooperation in various fields, including the fight against
the Daesh gangs,” a statement from Abadi’s office said.
further said that one cannot easily disregard the role that Saudi Arabia has
played in creating and nurturing defeated terrorist groups in Iraq and “the
irreparable damage” that these Takfiris have inflicted upon regional countries,
especially Iraq and Syria.
Arabia is accused of providing material and ideological support to extremist
groups, including Daesh, which is wreaking havoc particularly in Syria and
Iraq. The Daesh terrorist group’s hallmark line of thought, namely Wahhabism,
is Saudi Arabia’s official ideology. Wahhabism is a strand of radical ideology.
the SNSC secretary brushed aside remarks by some foreign officials expressing
suspicion over the lack of major Takfiri terrorist attacks in Iran, saying,
“Terrorists can carry out bombings and terrorist measures in countries that
have been the origin of their nurturing and training and where they have bases
and support for their evil intentions.”
described the social, political and cultural conditions in Iran as being
completely at odds with terrorist ideologies and teachings.
presence of a vigilant security apparatus and wise and discerning citizens,” he
said, “prevents the presence, growth and operation of terrorist elements inside
has been providing military advisory support to both Iraq and Syria in their
campaign against terrorism at the request of the two countries’ governments.
rights groups have roundly condemned Israel’s recent decision to deny a Human
Rights Watch (HRW) investigator a work visa, calling for an end to the regime’s
crackdown on human rights activities in the occupied territories.
refusal reflects a larger policy of repression of human rights work by Israeli
authorities through movement restrictions, arbitrary arrests, travel bans, and
denial of entry,” the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)
said in a statement released on Monday.
statement further pointed to the cases of United Nations experts who have been
denied entry into Israel, noting that UN officials are faced with a “shrinking
space for human rights work” in occupied Palestinian territories.
stands in solidarity with Human Rights Watch and calls for the protection of
human rights work, the freedom of movement for human rights staff, and an
immediate end to repression and that serves to inhibit vital human rights work
in Palestine, Israel and globally,” the statement concluded.
week, Israeli authorities rejected a request from Human Rights Watch to grant a
work permit to its New York-based Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir.
to Shakir, Israeli authorities told HRW that the visa ban was not targeting him
alone, but would be applied to all foreign members of the organization.
Ramallah-based al-Haq human rights organization censured the Israeli regime’s
decision in a separate statement, saying, “Israeli officials seek an environment
devoid of criticism while disregarding their duties under international human
rights and humanitarian law.”
Interior Ministry, in a letter dated February 20, said HRW reports “have
engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda,” highlighting
that the measure was taken on a recommendation from the Foreign Ministry.
return, Deputy Executive Director of Program at Human Rights Watch Iain Levine
said “this decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned
about Israel’s commitment to basic democratic values.”
added that the Israeli regime’s “efforts to stifle the messenger signal that it
has no appetite for serious scrutiny of its human rights record.”
forces injure two Palestinian minors
developments come amid tensions between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the
occupied West Bank.
Monday, two Palestinian minors sustained gunshot wounds after Israeli military
forces raided Shuafat refugee camp in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
sources said dozens of Israeli police officers stormed the camp and ransacked
several stores, prompting young men and teenagers to engage in clashes with
forces then used excessive amounts of tear gas and indiscriminately fired
rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the crowd.
a result, a teenage schoolboy was struck in the chest with a rubber bullet.
According to locals, Israeli soldiers kept the injured boy at a checkpoint for
more than half an hour before an ambulance, followed by a military jeep,
arrived at the scene, and took him to a hospital.
least four people have sustained injuries after Israeli military aircraft
carried out a string of airstrikes on areas in the Gaza Strip in yet another act
of aggression against the besieged Palestinian coastal territory.
Health Ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra, said the four Palestinians were
moderately injured when Israeli fighter jets struck Nahda neighborhood of the
border town of Rafah on Monday afternoon, Arabic-language Quds Press news
speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israeli fighter jets had also fired
two missiles at a military site belonging to the Hamas resistance movement --
known as Shuhada (Martyrs) outpost -- west of Nuseirat refugee camp just after
1 p.m. local time (1100 GMT).
Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle fired a missile at a monitoring post east of
Rafah as well, with no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
afterward, Israeli warplanes launched three missiles at Hitteen outpost in the
city of Beit Lahia, located about five kilometers north of Gaza City.
airstrikes came shortly after the Israeli military claimed that a rocket fired
from the Gaza Strip had hit an open area in southern occupied territories, but
caused no injuries or damage.
Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip, with civilians being the main
target of such attacks.
February 9, Israeli warplanes targeted a lifeline tunnel in Rafah, leaving two
Palestinians dead and five others injured. Gazans use the tunnels to bring
basic commodities into the coastal enclave.
sources identified the deceased as 24-year-old Hessam Hamid al-Soufi and
38-year-old Mohammad Anwar al-Aqra’, both residents of Gaza City.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and
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