offer namaz at a public space in Gurugram. (Express Photo by Manoj Kumar)
Mary, And the Significance of Palm Tree In Islam
less a Muslim in Giving Festive Greetings to Christians: DAP Adviser Lim Kit
Hold Firms Liable If Staff Offer Namaz in Public: Noida Police
Await Christmas in the Birthplace of Pakistan Taliban Founder, South Waziristan
Terrorist Group Warns Gazans: Celebrating Christmas Is Evil
Church Welcomes Its Special Muslim Visitors from a Nearby Mosque on Christmas
Buddhists Block Rohingya Muslims from Blood Supplies, Report Says
Lights Up Its Biggest Christmas Tree
Hussein’s daughter sends message to Iraqi people on his death anniversary
celebrate Christmas with mixed feelings
of Civilians Fleeing Eastern Syrian
Regional Government hands over 1,400 ISIS detainees to Iraqi govt
Kurdish Syrian Democratic Council delegations reach Moscow
summons Iraqi diplomat over statements by ex-PM Maliki
Christmas Trees Light Up Malaysian Malls, Children Line Up To Meet Santa Claus
Permaisuri: Christmas joy doesn’t make me forget Islam
leaders urge national unity on Christmas eve
Pradesh Chief Minister Meets AIMLB Members, Assures Support on Triple Talaq
are completely secure in India: Maulana Kalbe Jawwad
mulling to cap flow of pilgrims via Kartarpur corridor
Hear Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Title Dispute on January 4
Musa’s outfit hasn’t “killed any of our men: Hizb
killings in Jammu and Kashmir this year rose 70%; a steady network of informers
Warns Afghan Interior Minister against Belittling ISIS Threat
Revenue Dept Told To Retrieve Grabbed Properties Of Minorities
reiterates resolve to revive MQM of 1986
CM orders foolproof security on Christmas
142nd birthday commemorated with ceremony at mausoleum
leaders seek meeting with COAS over missing persons
PM extend Christmas greetings
mark Christmas amid Israeli restrictions
dissolves parliament, to hold snap elections in April
army seizes Houthi arms warehouse in Saada, advances in Lahij
Houthis continue to breach Sweden agreement on Hodeidah
forces injure dozens of Palestinians in Gaza naval march
reinforces border with Syria as US troops poised to leave
and Sikh Volunteers Help Spread Christmas Cheer To Some Of Britain's Most
continues to violate UN resolutions on Syria, says Russian FM
one should be excluded, Russia says after report Gaddafi’s son sought its help
in Libya election
Jamaat Back to Electoral Race In Bangladesh
Andolan: AL men threatening polling agents
commander among 7 killed in Farah airstrikes
group member joins peace process in Achin district of Nangarhar
Special Forces release dramatic airstrikes video against militant leaders
to seal off Rohingya camps during election
Authorities Recover 34 Bodies of Christians from ISIS Mass Grave
Kill 17 in North Nigeria Village Attack
Christians Live In Fear of Minority Muslims on Quest for Conversions
President al-Bashir vows to carry out broad economic reforms
authorities say they recover 34 bodies from Daesh mass grave
Shabab bomber executed in Somalia
York Muslims Have a New Security Patrol Group
Saudi Arabia to pay for rebuilding Syria
curse them as traitors: Syrian Kurds slam US withdrawal, look for new allies
government helped accused killer flee the US: Report
Arabia gets armoured vehicles despite Canada's pledge to halt deal
open to meeting with Erdogan: White House
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Mary, And The Significance Of Palm Tree In Islam
who visits Bani Umayya al-Kabir Mosque, or the “Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus, as
it is known, can also visit the tomb of St. John the Baptist inside the mosque.
premises contain two monuments of the church, which suggest that the mosque was
built on its remnants. These two monuments are the Baptism premises – once used
to baptize the babies – and a Greek engraving on the wall praising the Christ.
prominent presence of the tomb of St. John the Baptist in one of the oldest
mosques in the Islamic world indicates the position he has for Muslims and
is a prophet in Islam and a saint for Christians. It is believed that, the
Messenger of Islam, as last of all the prophets, was preceded spiritually by
the other prophets.
were the Christian kings who fought Muslims, then became friends of Islam?
his era, Christ established a path for the Muslims’ relationship with the
sanctity of the prophets of the Jewish and Christian faiths. This was confirmed
and documented by the Prophets’ lives as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and
Hadeeth or the words, deeds and silent approvals of the Prophet.
of Christ’s birth
No. 19 in the Holy Quran – named Surah Maryam – tells the story of the birth of
Jesus Christ. This is the only Surah named after a woman, which shows Mary’s
place in Islam. This incident is repeated in a number of verses in the Qur’an.
praising and honoring Maryam, it becomes most evident in Verse 42 where angels
address Mary and tell her about her status for Allah.
Islam considers Christ a prophet, while Christians consider him the Son of God,
what combines Islam and Christianity about him are the three miracles – the
story of Virgin Mary, the miracle of his birth, and the miracle that he spoke
in the cradle.
16-40 in Surah Maryam mentions him. It begins by mentioning the worship of
Mary, her ascension and her retirement to worship under the guardianship of
Zakaria, until God sent her a “spirit” in the form of man, reassuring her and
preparing her that she will have a “good” son. Thus, it is believed, that with
God’s miracle Maryam became pregnant.
trees also hold a scared meaning in Islamic teachings and it is narrated that
Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus under a date palm.
the eve of Christmas, we recall mentions of the miraculous Birth of Jesus in
the Holy Quran, where the narrative of Virgin Mary’s childbirth appears on
Mary is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran, more than she was mentioned in The
New Testament. The Quran narrates that Virgin Mary was experiencing childbirth
pains and then saw a palm tree nearby and held on to it.
she was holding on to the tree, Mary heard a voice telling her: “Shake the
trunk of the palm-tree toward thyself and It will drop its fresh ripe dates
references gives the palm tree a sacred connotation as an “ammunition”
associated with Christianity and Mary in particular in Islamic culture.
medieval geographer, Abu Ishaq al-Istakhri is said to have located the palm
tree in Beit Lehem under which Mary gave birth to Jesus.
Andalusian Muslim scholar Ibn Arabi, who lived during the Golden Age of Islam,
says that when he visited Jerusalem he found that there was no trace of the
palm tree from which Mary ate.
recalls that pilgrims to the holy lands would seek its location to take a part
of it and to be blessed by Mary. This suggests that the palm tree, Virgin Mary
and the Childbirth of Jesus, all find mention in Islamic culture.
at the site in Beit Lehem during the time of the Umayyads revealed a
mosaic-made floor of a church depicting three palm trees, which are believed to
be references to the story of Mary.
Less A Muslim In Giving Festive Greetings To Christians: DAP Adviser Lim Kit
LUMPUR, Dec 25 — DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang today said discouraging Muslims from
wishing Christmas greetings went against the teachings of Islam.
calling upon Malaysians to turn the country into one of the world's foremost
nations for interfaith dialogue, understanding and tolerance, he criticised the
view of PAS Youth leader Mohamad Khalil Abdul Hadi who yesterday warned Muslims
not to celebrate Christmas.
is a primitive view which is alien to the Constitution, the Rukunegara and all
the precepts to unite multiracial, multilingual, multi religious and
multicultural Malaysia,” Lim said in a statement.
said when notable figures such as Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar,
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan
Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim extended their
Christmas greetings to the rakyat, it did not make them become less of a Muslim
as a result of such greetings to Christians.
is clear Mohamad Khalil has a long way to go to become a fully acceptable
political leader,” he said.
even cited Turkish President Recep Erdoğan's Christmas message posted on
Sunday, which stressed Turkey's cultural diversity.
week, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, together with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas, took part in Christmas celebrations with Christians in Amman.
Erdogan, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
become less of a Muslim because of such Christmas greetings and celebrations?”
Sinar Harian reported Muhammad Khalil as reminding Muslims not to be part of
the Christmas celebration because it was an acknowledgement of the Christian
has an element of syirik (idoltary) which is against Islam’s teaching. They
claim that God had a child, which is against our beliefs as Muslims.
celebrate Christmas with such elements and claim that Prophet Isa (Jesus) is
the son of God,” he reportedly said during a lecture in Kuala Terrengganu on
reportedly said any non-Muslim celebration should not be celebrated by Muslims
as it involves the belief of a wrong religion.
he said if it involves culture of a certain religion it was fine for Muslims to
be part of the celebration.
hold firms liable if staff offer namaz in public: Noida police
a move that has triggered concern in Noida’s industrial hub, the Uttar Pradesh
Police has ordered offices and establishments to direct their Muslim employees
to stop offering Friday prayers in open areas such as parks.
to a notice issued last week by police stations in Noida, including at the
Sector 58 industrial hub, companies will be held liable if their employees are
found violating the directive.
is learnt that companies in the area have sought a meeting with senior Noida
police officers for clarification on the matter, particularly on the clause
that threatens to hold them liable for violations of the order by employees.
of some of the companies who have been served the notices said there is
widespread concern among units in sectors other than where the notices have
already been served. It has also sparked worries that the ambit of the
directive could be widened to include other areas in the National Capital
Region township. Sector 58 is predominantly an IT and services hub.
Noida Police has defended the move citing concerns that communal harmony could
be disturbed, especially in the run-up to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in
we have sent notices to many companies in our area after several complaints
regarding a large number of people offering Namaz in the afternoon especially
on Fridays. Since most people offering prayers are employees in companies
nearby, we have sent notices to those companies to ask their employees to
either offer Namaz in a Masjid, Eidgah or within the office compound on the
roof etc,” said Pankaj Rai, SHO of the Sector 58 police station, from where the
initial round of notices were issued.
SSP, Ajay Pal Sharma, did not respond to text messages. The police notice
states: “We want to inform you that there is no permission from the
administration to conduct any kind of religious activity including Namaz
offered on Friday in the Authority park in Sector 58. It has been often seen
that the Muslim workers of your company assemble in the park to offer Namaz and
I, the SHO, have told the group to not hold prayers in the park. Also, their
plea to the city magistrate has not received any permission to do so.”
it is expected from you that you at your level inform your Muslim employees to
not come to the park to offer Namaz. If employees of your company come to the
park, it will be assumed that you have not informed your employees and your
company will be held liable.”
to Rai, an increasing number of people offering payers had triggered the notices.
“Earlier only around 10-15 people assembled in the parks to offer Friday
prayers and there were no complaints regarding that. However, over the last few
weeks, the numbers have risen significantly. Over the last couple of weeks,
around 500-600 people assembled in the afternoon to offer Namaz and we got
several complaints regarding such assembly of people in the public park,” he
we spoke to some of the attendees, we found that many of them were not even
working in the companies in the area. So, what is happening is that seeing
people assembling for Namaz, others are also assembling,” he said.
elections are approaching and there is some concern on that front too, as it
may lead to some disharmony,” he said, adding that companies need not worry
about the notices. “While companies can’t do anything about private matters, we
expect the companies to inform their employees that the company has received a
notice regarding the issue and they need to offer Namaz either in Masjids,
Eidgahs or within their office premises,” he said.
over 20,316 hectares, Noida has about 15,280 hectares notified for urban use.
Of this, around 1,270 hectares have been developed for commercial and
industrial activities. The companies that have offices in Noida include HCL
Technologies, Alstom Systems, Xansa, Interra, Polaris, R Systems, RMSI,
Cadence, Adobe international, TCS, ST Microelectronics, Samsung and Minda Huf.
Nazar Ul Islam
was December 2009, when Baitullah Mehsud revolted against the state of Pakistan
and formed a notorious movement, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan [TTP], in the tribal
district of South Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan.
the 9/11 attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan and hundreds of Taliban and
al-Qaeda militants rushed to Pakistan’s tribal areas for refuge. Being an old
companion, Mehsud welcomed them in his constituency, which led to disturbance
in the region.
was warned several times by the government but he did not dissociate his group
from the al-Qaeda and foreign militants, which prompted the military to launch
operation Raah-e-Nijaat (Path to Salvation) in June 2009.
of the Church
was fear and panic all over the region. Thousands of people fled the area, but
interestingly the community of Christians preferred to stay back and prayed
inside the church for safety.
Masih lives in South Waziristan’s security forces headquarters in the Wana
region. He is a tailor by profession and these days with Christmas around the
corner, it’s difficult for him to manage the orders.
wants new clothes for the special occasion. We are excited for the upcoming
Eve,” says Masih. He was raised and born here and says, “We feel no difference
living among Muslims. In fact, we take part in the happiness and sorrows of
each other,” says Masih. He adds that our Muslim friends even exchange gifts
26-year-old says it’s not only the local people who are nice to them but the
Pakistan military also takes care of them. The church and community have been
fenced inside the military base where they can do their businesses and roam
father works as a janitor in a government department. He has six brothers and
sisters. All could not get education, as Masih’s father couldn’t afford their
is always a special occasion for us. We have white-washed our homes and
streets, lit up the Christmas tree and are buying food items to prepare it on
the Eve,” say Masih. It’s not only Christians, but even Muslims like his work.
He says, he makes approximately Rs20, 000 [$ 150] a month.
Muhammad Din has been running a restaurant in Wana since 1972. He says the
Christian community enjoys free life here. “They (Christians) are part of us.
We live in peace, love and tolerance,” says Muhammad Din.
added that they are part of every kind of gathering and there is hardly any
event without their presence in the area. He says, it was the Mehsud tribe that
revolted against the state and not them. For this reason, they didn’t fear
anything in the region. Muhammad Din belongs to the Wazir tribe of South
US drones were a matter of concern for everyone here. It has created a lot of
issues like fear, anxiety and tensions. But most of the time they take down
their targets accurately,” says Muhammad Din.
the Christian community hasn’t faced any trouble in the area, Muhammad Din lost
his only son in 2015 clashes. “I don’t know who killed him but that incident
ruined my entire life,” he says.
over blasphemy laws
this month the US added Pakistan to its list of countries, which it says
violates religious freedom. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he has
designated Pakistan among countries of particular concern, in a congressionally
mandated annual report.
cleric, Zeeshan Alam, partially agrees with the US move to put Islamabad among
blacklisted countries. Alam is a pastor at the South Waziristan Church who
succeeded his father, Nazir Alam, in 2013.
government of Pakistan is always taking care of its minorities. But there are
some people in the Punjab province who always exploit the law and order
situation for personal gains,” he said, referring to the case of a Christian
woman (Aisa Bibi) who was accused of blasphemy.
Bibi was released by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after having overturned her
conviction in November. Huge protests erupted following her release across the
country and the hardliners even called for the death of the judges. Although
understandable, Alam still termed the US assessment of the problem in Pakistan
‘a bit exaggerated’.
has ensured complete security of churches and the worship places of minorities
in the country. The state can’t be held responsible for the acts of some
individuals,” added Alam.
Church has been in the region, since before the partition. It was reconstructed
in 2001 by security forces for the Christian population. It has a big hall
where people come for worship on Sundays and other religious events.
Church is inside a camp. People are safe here. They conduct their businesses
without any hindrance,” says Pastor Alam. He said, there are around 500
Christians living in the area and have no issues, living along side Muslims.
“It’s one of the finest examples of inter-faith harmony,” he said.
it’s the Christmas season and the bazaar of Wana is packed with people
belonging to the Christian community. They are busy buying various goods for
the upcoming event. Guests are visiting them from other parts of the country to
witness Christmas and New Year eve in the beautiful weather of Waziristan.
terrorist group warns Gazans: Celebrating Christmas is Evil
ethnic cleansing of Christians in areas of the Middle East controlled by
Gaza strip, under the control of Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups like
Islamic Jihad, has seen its Christian population dwindle under relentless
discrimination. We wrote about the plight of Gaza Christians in August 2014,
Gaza ethnic cleansing of Christians:
ethnic cleansing of Christians in Gaza by Hamas and other Islamists is a story
rarely told in Western media.
doesn’t fit the dishonest media narrative of Hamas and its supporters being
report by Israeli channel i24 … is from
covered the topic again in 2015, Falsely blaming Israel for Christianity’s
collapse in Gaza and West Bank:
a peculiar tradition. As Christians
prepare to celebrate Christmas, the media churns out articles blaming Israel
for Christian struggles in the Holy Land….
reality is Christian populations are cratering across the Arab and Muslim world
because they are being persecuted by a slew of recognized Islamist terror
organizations, not because of Israel.
anti-Israel propaganda machine, including from Qatari-owned propaganda outlet
AJ+, also complains that Gaza Christians are unable to celebrate Christmas in
Bethlehem. But never will they admit or cover the persecution of Christians
throughout not only Gaza but also the areas under control of the Palestinian
year is no exception. Other than a report (below) in the Jerusalem Post, you
will find no major media coverage of threats by Islamic terrorist groups in
Gaza against Christians.
Jerusalem Post reports, GAZA TERRORISTS WARN LOCALS: ‘CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IS
flyer featuring a burning Christmas tree and threats in Arabic forbidding the
celebration of Christmas was published by the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades,
also known as the Specialty Brigade, in Gaza ahead of the Christian holiday.
verse from the Quran, quoted on the left side of the flyer, warns Muslims “not
to go the way of the Jews and the Christians, indeed God is not for the evil
people.” The brigades added that it is “absolutely forbidden” to celebrate the
holidays in any capacity.
to a government source, the flyer was aimed not only at Muslims, but also Arab
Christians living in the Strip. The non-governmental organization Freedom House
has regularly reported that the political rights and civil liberties of Gaza
residents are severely constrained by multiple layers of interference.
Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades is the military wing of the Popular Resistance
Committees, a coalition of armed Palestinian groups considered a terrorist
organization by Israel and the United States, and believed to be the third
largest faction in Gaza after Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The PRC is
responsible for a number of terrorist attacks against Israel and has a close
relationship with Hezbollah.
flyer is in contrast to Israel’s efforts to ensure that Christians in Gaza are
able to celebrate the holiday.
a meeting with Christian leaders on December 19, Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun,
head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT),
outlined measures the unit will be taking to allow freedom of worship,
according to its website. Measures include allowing entrance into Gaza for
those wishing to visit their families and permitting more flexible travel, as
well as flights abroad via Ben-Gurion Airport. The measures have been in effect
since the week prior to Christmas.
are approximately 1,000 Christians living in the Gaza Strip. Some 600
individuals received special permits for the holidays, a source told The
Christmas Eve, churches all over the country will welcome into their midnight
mass services people who rarely take part in acts of Christian worship but find
candlelit carols irresistible.
the pews of St Alban’s in North Harrow there will be a special group of
visitors: about three dozen Muslims from a nearby mosque.
the past 10 years, worshippers at the Shia Ithna’ashari Community of Middlesex
have been attending midnight mass at St Alban’s as a way of meeting their
neighbours and taking part in Christmas festivities.
us, attending midnight mass is a great chance to participate in an important
part of Christmas celebrations and meet people from our local church, many of
whom have become our friends,” said Miqdaad Versi, an executive committee
member of SICM.
years ago, this was one of the first times we met, and now it has flourished
into a much stronger and long-lasting relationship as we meet regularly, work
together and organise joint events.”
Christmas visits were initiated by young members of the mosque. The executive
committee checked with the church that they would be welcome, and every year
since up to 50 Muslims have attended the midnight service.
said that most Muslims enjoyed Christmas celebrations and the focus on family.
“There are differences in belief, of course, but in the Islamic faith Jesus is
revered as a major prophet.”
year, the group from the mosque includes some people who have never been inside
a church before. “We prepare them before the service, so they know what to
expect. It’s up to individuals whether they want to sing carols or go up to the
altar to be blessed. Some do, some don’t.”
mosque also provides volunteers to local churches that provide shelter for
homeless people on a rota basis over the festive period.
work with churches throughout the year,” said Versi. “They come to us during
Ramadan for iftar [the meal that breaks the daily fast], and church leaders
have spoken at the mosque.”
Tuckett, the vicar of St Alban’s, said the attendance at midnight mass by
members of the mosque was a “really positive sign of friendship”.
added: “We’re delighted to welcome them. They come in a spirit of respect and
their presence reinforces the strong links that have developed between our
faith communities. Given the world we live in, anything we can do to foster
dialogue and understanding will always be a good thing.”
Buddhists block Rohingya Muslims from blood supplies, report says
Timothy McLaughlin and
Myanmar — One day earlier this month, a businessman turned social worker was
going about a familiar and urgent task: looking for blood donors in camps
crowded with Rohingya Muslims driven from their homes.
time, Nu Maung needed three pints — one of O-positive, two of B-positive. Among
those in need was a woman who had suffered complications during childbirth.
military-led purges and abuses carried out against Myanmar’s Muslim minority
Rohingya over the past year continue to yield new hardships. The blood hunt, as
described by aid groups and others, offers another look at the extreme
segregation Rohingya Muslims face in their country.
are effectively blocked from accessing the blood bank in the main medical
facility in the western Rakhine state, where most Rohingya live in Buddhist-majority
Myanmar, according to two internal reports by a consortium of six major
international aid groups.
insist that their blood go only to other Buddhists, and the hospitals oblige,
the groups say.
men such as 48-year-old Nu Maung have to persuade fellow Muslims in these
squalid camps to offer their own blood for about $10 per donation. He said he
has been a donor 44 times so far.
Navy personnel escort a group of Rohingya Muslims back to their camp in Rakhine
state in November after they were caught trying to flee aboard a boat.
making their [blood] donation, sometimes they can’t work for the next few
days,” Nu Maung told The Washington Post by telephone from Sittwe, the Rakhine
state capital. “So we need to support them [financially].”
the exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya in August 2017 in a crackdown led by
the Myanmar military — labeled as genocidal by some U.S. lawmakers and a U.N.
fact-finding mission — the Myanmar government has been under relentless
international pressure to improve conditions for the Rohingya who remain.
one of the two reports prepared by the aid group consortium operating in
Rakhine concluded that little has been done by the Myanmar government despite
its claims of “significant progress” on improving conditions. A copy of the
171-page document was seen by The Post. The six aid organizations allowed
access to the report on the condition that the names of the agencies not be
report, prepared in late September, even questions whether international relief
groups are indirectly complicit in “continued rights violations” by maintaining
their work with authorities in Rakhine and with Myanmar’s leaders, including
now-tarnished Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
groups must “consider whether they should continue working with the government
in Rakhine and . . . how to reduce the harm they themselves
cause by remaining,” the report said.
dilemma is real,” said Charles Petrie, the top U.N. diplomat in Myanmar, also
known as Burma, from 2003 to 2007, who is now a U.N. adviser on peace efforts.
“However, it is too easy to walk away and hold the moral high ground. . . .
There would be no one around to provide services for these extremely vulnerable
Aung, Myanmar’s deputy minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement,
said he met with the U.N. and international aid groups recently to discuss
improving conditions for the Rohingya.
didn’t receive any complaints [from the groups] about restrictions or
segregations in the meeting,” he said. Rohingya Muslims, he said, are able to
travel outside Myanmar for medical treatment and education “according to the
law” and if they get necessary documentation.
declined to comment on the issue of blood donations and said there was no
specific government order to restrict them to those in the same ethnic group.
the August crackdown — which Myanmar authorities claim was a response to
attacks by Rohingya militants — increased restrictions have been imposed on the
estimated 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Myanmar. This has complicated the
minority’s already limited access to basic health care, education and their
ability to continue their former livelihoods.
aid group assessment notes that the government also has refused to address the
matter of citizenship for Rohingya, who consider themselves native to the
country but are seen by most in Myanmar as illegal interlopers from neighboring
groups say they have been left without a “comprehensive understanding” of the
humanitarian needs, the assessment said, and find themselves working within a
system that many Rohingya are resisting.
conundrum is clear in Sittwe General Hospital, the main medical complex in
Rohingya are treated in segregated wards, are denied access to their phones and
often have to bribe hospital guards and doctors for better treatment, according
to a separate report on health care by the six-group consortium. The report was
first published in August 2017 and updated in April. The report was not made
public but was viewed by The Post.
month, a Rohingya man who was outside the camp perimeters after dark was hacked
in the face by a police officer after an altercation, a Rohingya witness in the
camp told The Post. He had a bad gash near his eye, according to a camp
resident, but refused to be transferred to Sittwe General Hospital. He sought
care from a pharmacist in the camp, but his wound became infected.
doctors and nurses [at Sittwe General Hospital] are not only unkind to the
patients, they neglect the patients,” said one Rohingya man in a phone
interview from his camp, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of
his safety. “We are scared to go there.”
report, as well as aid workers, also detailed the heavy financial costs for
Muslim patients treated at the hospital: payments to guards and drivers to
safely transport them and additional bribes to nurses and doctors for better
care. A Muslim patient, the report estimated, would pay 61 percent more than a
Buddhist person admitted to the hospital for five days for the same condition.
situation is “not ideal,” said Andrew Kirkwood, director of the U.N. Office for
Project Services (UNOPS) in Myanmar. The government, he said, agreed to provide
equal care to all patients as a condition for a U.N.-directed project to
upgrade and expand the Sittwe medical facility.
said the United Nations would “continuously assess the government’s
commitment.” But he added: “We may be forced to stop our support if it benefits
only one community.”
northern Rakhine state, where destruction is widespread, access by aid groups
remains severely limited. The U.N. Development Program, the U.N. refugee
agency and the government signed a pact in early June to help improve
conditions there to allow those who fled to return.
statements from the United Nations touted the year-long agreement, which has
not been made public, as granting the agencies “effective access.”
after six months, they have been allowed to carry out assessments in only 50
villages, according to Haoliang Xu, director of the regional bureau for Asia
and the Pacific at the U.N. Development Program. Approximately 392 towns and
villages out of a total of 993 in northern Rakhine were destroyed or damaged,
according to U.N. estimates. Xu defended the deal as an important “confidence-building”
measure that could open more opportunities to expand the work of aid groups.
United Nations will soon begin 35 “quick impact projects” such as building
roads and repairing dikes used for agricultural irrigation, Xu said in an
the U.N. official, led an internal review in 2012 into the global body’s
failings in Sri Lanka, where U.N. agencies were found to be reluctant “to stand
up for the rights of the people they were mandated to assist.”
said he sees the possibility of the United Nations making similar mistakes in
U.N. is not working as a whole,” Petrie said. “If what the U.N. is doing now is
all it is, then they should be severely condemned.”
reported from Hong Kong. Cape Diamond in Yangon, Myanmar, contributed to this
lights up its biggest Christmas tree
Damascus on Saturday night lit up its tallest Christmas tree in Abbasid Square
amid joyous celebrations.
Christmas scout band paraded through a number of the capital’s neighborhoods,
ending in the square, which was repeatedly shelled by Daesh before the Syrian
Army seized the terrorist group’s last stronghold in southern Damascus.
band played Christmas music, and the accompanying parade gave presents to
children and passersby.
of people from across Damascus gathered in Abbasid Square to watch the
30-meter-tall Christmas tree being lit up.
daughter was born in 2010 and has never seen Christmas in Damascus before,”
Rita Shalhoub, who came with her family from the Jaramana district to witness
the event, told Arab News.
continued to celebrate the occasion at home during the past seven years, but
our celebrations were overshadowed by the pain of war and the fear of death, in
addition to long, depressing power outages,” she added.
made sure they shelled Damascus during holidays, and joy was often stolen by
the horror and deaths of civilians. The streets would be empty by the end of
December as most of us feared leaving our homes during the holidays.”
early December, streets, squares, shops and homes in the cities of Homs,
Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia, Tartus and Hama were decorated with Christmas lights
and ornaments in preparation for Syria’s first safe holiday season since 2011.
Christians and Muslims look forward to celebrating the occasion, and many
Muslim families decorated trees in their homes, prompting jokes on social media
about Christians taking photos next to Muslims’ Christmas trees.
Muslim neighbors set up better decorations than we did,” said Meray, a Christian
school teacher who lives in Al-Muhajirin district in Damascus.
supply has improved so unlike previous years, people can now enjoy Christmas
lights, she added.
Ahmed, an electrical engineer whose son was killed three years ago in a mortar
attack on Abbasid Square, said he did not think he would ever see open-air
Christmas celebrations in any part of Damascus, let alone in this square, which
was once one of the most dangerous parts of the city.
Youssef, a Damascus-based architect, said: “What makes this year special is the
safety we’re enjoying in Damascus, especially in the neighborhoods known for
their Christmas celebrations and decorations before the war. This year’s
celebrations remind me of Christmas before the war.”
added: “Like Christians, Muslims in Syria anticipate this occasion and its
atmosphere, and head to markets in December to shop in preparation to attend
Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties in restaurants across the city.”
said: “I believe this atmosphere reflects the safety and security that has
begun to gradually return to Syria. We hope the country will soon return to its
state before the war.”
Saddam Hussein, the eldest daughter of the former Iraqi president, recorded a
voice message on the 12- year anniversary of her father’s execution last
Saturday, directed to the Iraqi people.
wish you Iraqis that our vision for Iraq to be more secure and stable than what
it is now,” she said.
humanitarian and moral values have been lost, and strange ideas have
disseminated here and there. Extremism has reached the extent of exploiting
religion as a cover to achieve sick objectives for many parties,” she added.
also condemned terrorist organizations, stating that they have carried out
“inhumane and non-religious practices” in Iraq, and “undermined the Iraqi
identity, destroyed civilization and tarnished a whole phase.”
As Lebanese prepare to celebrate Christmas, this year’s festivities are mixed
with disappointment and fear that 2018 will pass without the formation of a
Maronite Patriarchate’s media spokesman Walid Ghayyad told Arab News that
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi has urged Lebanese politicians in his sermons
to avoid further delays to the formation of a government.
Nawal told Arab News: “We usually dedicate a big budget to buy presents during
the festive season, but this year we agreed to buy gifts only for the children.
The economic and political situation makes us reluctant to spend money, and
we’ve decided to save our money for a rainy day.”
Eid, chairman of the Beirut Traders Association, told Arab News: “The political
crisis in Lebanon has had a negative impact on the economic situation. Crises
aren’t new to Lebanon, but this is the first time that Lebanese feel this much
said: “There’s a general feeling that this is a serious crisis. People are
waiting for solutions, and no decisions are being made for the future. People’s
spending has decreased.”
added: “One of the indicators of economic decline is offering sales in excess
of 50 percent. This doesn’t usually happen during the festive season.”
said: “The middle class has declined, while the rich have maintained their
place and the poor have become poorer.”
reporter Danielle Daher said she noticed during her tours of markets a decline
in consumer spending.
shops that sell expensive brands are almost empty,” she told Arab News, adding
that families are buying “clothes instead of toys for children because the
latter are expensive.”
said in his Sunday sermon: “Human dignity requires the existence of social
conditions that enable people to secure a dignified life. Unfortunately,
political officials fail to realize this duty. They’ve been stalling the
formation of the government for seven months, creating new problems every time
a solution is found. In doing so, they inflict great damage on the state,
causing serious financial losses and violating the dignity of the people by
condemning them to more poverty, deprivation and anxiety. Do they realize that
they’re committing a great crime against the state and the people? Aren’t they
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that tens of
vehicles have started relocating the fleeing people from Eastern Deir Ezzur
that is under the US-backed militias' control.
further said that this is the largest mass relocation of civilians from regions
that are near ISIL's positions on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
went on to say that the vehicles have thus far transferred almost 4,000
the meantime, people in the border town of Qamishli in Northern Hasaka poured
into the streets and demanded the Syrian Army to enter their town, local
sources in Deir Ezzur reported that the Damascus forces are preparing to kick
off major operation against ISIL.
week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the operation in
Northern Syria would continue until the last of the terrorists cleared, adding
that US President Donald Trump had given a positive response to Ankara's
operation East of the Euphrates.
would launch a military operation East of the Euphrates River "any moment
now", Erdogan stated at the mass opening ceremony at Mevlana Square in
central Konya province on Monday, Middle East News reported.
said the army completed preparations for the planned operation, adding that
Turkey will do "what is necessary" regarding terror corridors East of
the Euphrates River.
talked to [US President Donald] Trump. These terrorists have to leave areas
East of the Euphrates. If they do not leave, we will dispatch them. Because
they are disturbing us," he stressed.
announced that Trump gave a positive response to Turkey's operation.
US intelligence and diplomatic officials have urged the Free Syrian Army (FSA)
and National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK)
not to support the planned Turkish military operation against the Kurdish
People's Protection Units (YPG) East of the Euphrates River.
days ago Erdogan and Trump discussed over the phone the future military
operation in the East of Syria and agreed to coordinate military actions on the
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Washington was considering
pulling its troops out of Syria. Washington is yet to comment on the statement.
forming a joint judicial committee, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
handed over about 1,400 detainees belonging to ISIS to the federal government
in preparation for the extradition of more.
Zebari, the KRG coordinator for international advocacy said in a press release
that Erbil has begun handing over detainees to Baghdad, adding that they were
mostly from the governorates of Anbar, Saladin, Diyala and al-Hawija.
stated that the joint committee was formed with the federal government to
tackle this issue, adding that all the detained individuals were investigated,
but no court ruling was carried out against them by the KRG’s judiciary.
said that the KRG’s processes with the arrests are clear, indicating that the
investigations are based on evidence, in addition to confessions by the
accused, unlike what the Human Rights Watch reported, which is that the arrests
are based on forced confessions, not hard evidence.
a report published on Sunday, the Human Rights Watch said that Arab detainees
serving their sentences in the Kurdistan region for their connection to ISIS
face the risk of re-arrest after their release if they try to reunite with
their families in areas controlled by Baghdad.
response to the report that stated that the problem stems from a lack of
coordination between the separate judicial systems of the KRG and the Iraqi
government, Zebari said: “A joint committee of the highest judicial authorities
has been formed, headed by the heads of three appeals courts in order to
delegations from the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) arrived in the Russian
capital and are expected to meet with Russian officials on Monday, official
sources in Moscow told Al Arabiya English.
are two Kurdish delegations that arrived in Moscow, one of them is scheduled to
meet with officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday afternoon,” one
of the sources said.
Kamal Akef, the spokesman of the Diplomatic Relations Center of the Democratic
Society Movement, did not provide any details about the visit, he confirmed to
Al Arabiya that there is an SDC delegation in Moscow, adding that “both parties
did not reach an agreement yet.”
sources from the joint presidency of the SDC pointed out that the delegation,
which arrived in Moscow “days ago” is headed by Dr. Abdul Karim Omar, the
co-chair of the Foreign Relations Commission in north Syria.
is the second capital after Paris, which served as a meeting point for SDC
representatives since the White House last week announced the withdrawal of its
military forces from Syria in a period of 60 to 100 days.
sources said that another SDC delegation is headed to the Russian Khmeimim
source from Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had also confirmed that “a
meeting between SDC forces and Russian authorities will happen in the coming
hours in Moscow.”
core of these meetings is to discuss the future of the area east of the
Euphrates River which poses a threat to Ankara,” he added.
to the observatory, Russia made an offer to the SDC that guarantees the spread
of border guards loyal to the Assad regime along the border with Turkey in areas
under its control.
SDC has not yet agreed to this offer.
to sources, the SDC rejects posting more regime forces, and wants official
border guards under Russian auspices.
Foreign Ministry summoned the deputy charge d’affaires of the embassy of Iraq on
Monday to denounce footage of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s
making statements that Bahrain said are a clear and rejected interference in
the country’s internal affairs.
who now heads an Iraqi coalition called “the State of Law”, attended a meeting
last week organized by the February 14 movement, a Bahraini activist group
which Manama designated a terrorist group in 2014.
described Maliki’s statements as “blatant and unacceptable interference in the
internal affairs of Bahrain”, state news agency (BNA) reported.
Bahraini official) described Maliki’s attitude as a clear solidarity with those
who seek to spread chaos, violence and terrorism and exhibit hatred,” BNA said.
Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment but it was
expected to issue a statement.
Undersecretary of Regional & GCC Affairs, Waheed Mubarak Sayyar expressed
to the Iraqi diplomat Bahrain’s strong dismissal and disapproval of the
statements issued by Maliki.
told the Iraqi diplomat that such irresponsible statements represent a clear
violation of the international conventions and principles of non-interference
in the internal affairs of other states, BNA reported.
JAYA: Giant Christmas trees light up Malaysian malls, children line up to meet
Santa Claus in his snowy grotto and marvel at the snowmen and reindeer.
a way of brightening the dreary, dark and freezing north European winter and
driving the gloom away, mid-winter festivals have cheered people for centuries.
Malaysia, not known for its snowy winters, enjoys Christmas as much as the
shivering northern tribes and the rest of the world do. Not as a religious
festival but as a time to celebrate the promise of better weather with friends
and family. And some time off work never goes amiss. Religion is really just an
optional extra nowadays.
fact the passing of midwinter, marked by the shortest day (December 22, this
year), was a cause for celebration long before Christianity usurped it for its
festival, sometimes called Yuletide, marks the German feast of the winter
solstice, the coldest, darkest time of the year.
that remained green at this time were very significant to pre-Christian people.
The Christmas tree remains a focal point for modern family celebrations.
is an increasingly secular holiday around the world enjoyed by billions, with
the emphasis being on delighting children at family get-togethers. For some it
remains a Christian religious festival.
is of course a prophet of Islam, so celebrating his notional birth date ought
not to be frowned upon by the faithful.
its Christian origins, many adherents of other religions including these Muslim
converts believe that a change of religion shouldn’t stop people from
celebrating the joyous occasion with their family.
executive Melinda Wong, 30, who converted to Islam in January 2017, believes
that Christmas is about bonding with family members normally separated across
the world due to work and other commitments.
Islam for eight years before marrying her husband, Wong told FMT that Christmas
should be celebrated by all races and religions in Malaysia, not from a
religious perspective but as a festival of harmony.
may be celebrated by Christians worldwide, but it is also about family and
friends gathering and spending time together. Muslims celebrate Hari Raya, or
Eid, and invite people of all religions to celebrate together, so why would
Christmas be any different?” she said.
said her family’s tradition at Christmas has always been simple. They gather
together and enjoy good food before exchanging presents as a sign of
appreciation for one another.
parents live in Perak and my younger sister works in Singapore so we don’t see
each other much. Christmas is one of the holidays when we’re able to get
together as a whole family,” she said.
Farid Abdullah who embraced Islam 44 years ago, said he still looks forward to
spending Christmas every year with his family and his non-Muslim siblings.
Christmas Day, I take my family to my sister’s house in Damansara to celebrate
with them. This has been our annual routine ever since I got married and had
kids. Even now, my grandchildren are part of the tradition too.
love seeing my grandchildren happy, especially when they help their aunt
decorate the tree and put the presents underneath. This is not religious, just
a wonderful family tradition,” he told FMT.
back, the 79-year old retiree said that there was never any hostility or
resistance from his Christian family when he converted. He admitted however
that there were a few awkward moments during the process, especially concerning
got better year by year especially when we had our kids. My advice to new
converts is to always stay positive. It might not be easy at first, but the
love and understanding of your family will always carry you through in the
end,” he said.
Loh, 31, said his decision to embrace Islam didn’t encounter much resistance
from his family.
Sabahan, who converted in 2017, nine months before he married his Muslim wife,
said that he faced more challenges from the wider society than his family.
the second child of four siblings, was the second to convert to Islam,
following his younger sister. This year he will be flying off to Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, with his wife to spend his second Christmas as a Muslim with the entire
said he always looks forward to the reunion. Following a feast of fresh Sabahan
seafood, the family usually shares coffee in the garden.
Malaysians tend to be judgmental, especially if it involves the colour of your
skin. Some even ask if I am a Malay now that I’ve converted. They are always
curious and tend to ask me why I have never changed my name since embracing
treasure my name as it was the first gift from my parents, who nurtured and
raised me to be who I am today. We may change our religion but it does not
change our roots,” he said.
most places, a name is treated simply as cultural lineage and has nothing to do
with a person’s religion. We should understand that race does not dictate
converts all agree that Christmas is about forgiveness, giving and love for all
humanity. All Muslims, whether born or converted, should be able to relate to
even the most irreligious of us joyfully sing at this time of year: Goodwill to
BARU, Dec 24 — In a unique Christmas message, the Permaisuri of Johor Raja
Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah reminded Malaysians today that everyone has a
right to celebrate their own festive holidays.
of seeing shadows when there are none, I feel — as do my husband and our family
— that everyone has a right to celebrate their festive holidays,” she said,
referring to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar.
queen consort’s Christmas message, posted on the Johor royal family’s official
website yesterday, was based on her current view and also fondly recalled her
years spent in a boarding school in England.
shared her experience as a teenage student where she celebrated Christmas along
with her Christian schoolmates while not neglecting her faith as a Muslim.
memories have little to do with the Christian religion but more with
friendships forged with English girls who welcomed me without questioning my
race or faith.
also remember being in charge of decorating the Christmas tree in our boarding
house not because our housemistress wanted me to stray away from my Muslim
faith but because she considered me as one of the more artistic and creative
girls under her care. “She knew about the tasbih I kept under my pillow, and
the Quran I had brought with me. Both were constant reminders of home and my
faith,” she narrated.
59-year-old, who now visits the United Kingdom as a tourist, said that people
of different faiths can respect the celebration of another faith’s festive
holiday without losing their own.
I forgotten about Allah and being a Muslim because I am in London during the
days before Christmas? The answer is a simple ‘no’.
I walk along the streets of London thronged with shoppers buying Christmas
gifts for their families, or tourists like me who are enjoying the cold weather
and looking at London landmarks, I think how wonderful it is for everyone to
share in looking at beautiful lights and hearing melodious Christmas songs
being sung by choirs almost at every corner we turn.
compare myself here with tourists in Malaysia before Hari Raya when shopping
malls are filled with Muslims busy buying Raya clothes. It is really not that
different,” she added.
the end of her message, Raja Zarith Sofiah said the Sultan of Johor, her family
and herself would like to wish everyone celebrating Christmas a happy and
memorable time with their families and friends.
2016, Raja Zarith Sofiah had expressed her views that such a simple Christmas
greeting — one which she grew up with and had never regarded as something that
would compromise or devalue her own faith — is now regarded as something so
religiously incorrect for Malaysian-Muslims.
LUMPUR: Malaysian leaders have called for national unity and religious
tolerance on Christmas eve.
comes after racial divisions were laid bare following the recent riots at a
Hindu temple in Selangor, as well as an anti-International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally in downtown
IS A PEACEFUL COUNTRY: PM MAHATHIR MOHAMAD
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday (Dec 24) that "Malaysia is
a peaceful country where people from all races and religions come together to
celebrate each other’s holiday festivities".
hope this mutual regard will continue, and passed on to the younger generation.
This is what made Malaysia unique, united and strong," Mahathir said.
Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that Malaysians should continue to
cherish the respect, understanding and love among the different groups in
we stand, divided we fall. Instead of focusing on the negative, let us all look
at all the positive that far outweigh the former,” she said.
noted that in Islam, it is compulsory to be tolerant towards one another.
eight and nine in the Surah al-Mumtahanah (the 60th chapter of the Quran)
encourage Muslims to be just and kind to non-Muslims who are not the enemies of
Muslims, she added.
this my personal Christmas card to every single one of you celebrating
Christmas this year. May you have a wonderful and joyous celebration. Happy
holidays,’ she said.
AND REJECT EXTREMISM: FINANCE MINISTER LIM GUAN ENG
the same vein, finance minister Lim Guan Eng said that the country’s economy
can only be strong if Malaysians unite and reject extremism.
new Pakatan Harapan federal government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir
Mohamad is committed towards representing all Malaysians regardless of
demography or geography,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.
also accused the opposition of “abandoning the political centre and adopting a
racist line or extremist position based on religion”.
only do non-Muslims and non-Malays not be given the right to serve as
ministers, but their rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution will be
further undermined and diminished to the extent that Christmas celebrations is
unacceptable,” the minister claimed.
AND RELIGIOUS TENSION
of racial and religious tension have grown after riots at a Hindu temple in
Subang Jaya last month.
temple administration committee and the developer, One City Development, are in
dispute over the piece of the land on which the temple stands.
firefighter suffered serious injuries while he was part of a team responding to
a fire in front of the temple. Rioters allegedly pulled him out of his vehicle
and attacked him. He died last week.
have been growing calls for Minister of National Unity and Social Well-being
Waytha Moorthy to be sacked, as he was among a group of ministers who publicly
blamed the police for failing to keep order, just before the attack on the
than 300,000 people have signed an online petition calling for his removal.
organisations, however, submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office
on Monday, in support of Mr Moorthy.
Dec 8, the opposition organised a huge rally in Kuala Lumpur against ICERD, a
United Nations Convention that condemns discrimination and calls upon states to
pursue a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms.
September, Mahathir told the United Nations General Assembly that Malaysia
would ratify the convention. However, Putrajaya backpedaled on its decision in
November, as ratifying ICERD would require a two-thirds majority in parliament
to amend the Federal Constitution.
Parti Islam Se-Malaysia’s (PAS) youth chief was quoted as saying by Sinar
Harian daily that Christmas has elements of “syirik” (idolatry).
Muslims are forbidden from celebrating it, including extending Christmas
greetings on social media, said Mr Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi.
drew a stern rebuke from Democratic Action Party veteran Lim Kit Siang.
a statement on Monday, he said this is not the first time PAS has propagated
“toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion”.
Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday met a delegation of All
India Muslim Law Board (AIMLB) members and assured them all support in their
fight against the proposed Muslim Women Bill (Triple Talaq) 2018 in the
Muslim delegation complained that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra
Modi is trying to get political mileage by changing the Muslim marriage system
which has been in practice for the past 1400 years.
delegation members claimed that a majority of political parties are opposing
the proposed Muslim Women Bill 2018. They said that the proposed Bill, which
paves the way for punishing Muslim husbands in case of triple talaq, is a
violation of human rights and is also against the principles of the
delegation comprised of Moulana Khalid Saifullah, Jaffer Jilani, Umrain
Mahepuj, women’s wing chief organiser Dr Asma Jahera, Moulana Abdul Basit,
Moulana Asif Nadvi, Muft Md Farooqi Khasmi and Saida Ayesha. They urged Naidu
to protect the interests of Indian Muslims by opposing the proposed Muslim
Women Bill 2018 coming before Parliament on December 27.
Muslims are completely secure in India. The remarks made by film actor
Naseeruddin Shah and other Muslim actors are irresponsible. Though some
incidents have occurred but compared to the situation across the globe, Muslims
are completely secure in India. These views were expressed by Maulana Kalbe
Jawwad on Sunday.
to journalists, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said Muslims are living a far better life
in India than Islamic countries, like Syria, Palestine, Pakistan and other
countries where Muslims are killed.
DELHI: Indian news reports say that New Delhi is not only planning to cap the
number of visitors per day but also fix a time limit in which pilgrims must
finish the pilgrimage.
month, Pakistan and India opened the Kartarpur corridor — a border corridor
that connects the Sikh shrine of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib, located on the Indian
side of Punjab province, with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartar on the Pakistani
side of the border.
major part of the over 4-km-long border is in Pakistan where both Islamabad and
New Delhi are building the visa-free corridor on their respective sides. The
corridor will facilitate the easy movement of Sikh pilgrims from India to the
resting place of Guru Nanak in Kartarpur.
attempt to reach out to the Indian Foreign Ministry and the Home Ministry was
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, says that India must be “doubly
cautious that such places of religious significance are not used by vested
interests to launch their own propaganda that seeks to foment trouble in
have already seen that those championing Khalistan separatist movement in
Punjab find favor in the Pakistani establishment,” said Sudesh Verma, the
national spokesperson of the BJP.
has to protect its legitimate self-interest,” Verma said to justify the
proposed restriction on pilgrims going to the other side of the border.
to Arab News, Verma said: “Vested interests have often tried to use religion to
justify militancy and terrorism. India knows this since it suffered due to terrorist
activities in Punjab in the 1980s.”
Sikhs in India have rejected terrorism and decided to march ahead in peace and
harmony with other communities,” added Verma.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a
Punjab-based regional party and one of the oldest BJP allies, said: “Too many
restrictions should not be put on pilgrims.”
concerns need to be appreciated no doubt, but efforts should also be made so
that too many restrictions are not imposed on the pilgrims and they are able to
visit comfortably,” said Dr. Daljit Cheema, spokesperson of the SAD.
Congress Party, which rules Punjab, said that “too many restrictions will
discourage tourists and pilgrims.”
feel that if you put a cap on the number of visitors per day, people will be
discouraged. Their sentiments would be hurt,” said Sukhjinder Randhawa, a
senior leader of the Congress Party.
government should not limit the pilgrim flow. If Pakistan does not have any
problem, then we should also not have any problem. There would be a corridor
from one side and a return way from the other side,” Randhawa told Arab News.
is just a mirage. People in Punjab don’t support Khalistan separatism. There
might be some people supported by agencies who talk about Khalistan but they
don’t enjoy popular support. Those who are sitting in a foreign land can say
anything but no Sikh in Punjab wants Khalistan,” added the Congress leader.
of political analysis Ronki Ram of Punjab University underlines that Pakistan
understands the implications of instigating Khalistan separatism. "It
knows such acts will further undermine its status in the international
community. I don’t think Islamabad will
indulge openly in divisive politics,” he said.
this moment the issue of regulating the movement through the corridor is a part
of the larger political calculations borne out of mistrust that afflicts both
India and Pakistan. In that situation, it would not be easy to allow people's
free movement," Ram added.
senior journalist Ravinder Singh Robin said: “Both the countries are now riding
on a tiger so far as the Kartarpur corridor is concerned."
to hear Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid title dispute on January 4
are listed before a Bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul
volatile Ayodhya dispute appeals have been listed before a Bench led by Chief
Justice of India on January 4, 2019.
Supreme Court’s main cause list for January 4 shows that an application for
early hearing and the appeals are listed before a Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan
Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul. On October 29, a three-judge Bench led by Justice
Gogoi had ordered the appeals to be listed in January 2019 before an
appropriate Bench to fix a date for hearing.
October order had come when the parties had sought an early hearing. At the
time, Justice Gogoi had orally told them that the decision when to start
hearing the appeals would be in the realm of discretion of the “appropriate
Bench” before which the matter would come up in January.
have our own priorities... whether hearing would take place in January, March
or April would be decided by an appropriate Bench,” the Chief Justice had
September 27, the apex court, in a majority opinion, had declined the plea made
by Islamic bodies and individuals to refer the question as to whether prayer in
a mosque is an essential part of Islam to a seven-judge Constitution Bench.
majority verdict, in its last paragraph, had further directed the Supreme Court
to start hearing the pending cases from October 29. This direction had
triggered questions whether the court intended to deliver a judgment in the
appeals before the May 2019 elections.
2017, when the court had started to hear the appeals after a hiatus of over
seven years, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had suggested it to adjourn the
hearings to after the general elections in May 2019.
Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Riyaz Naikoo, has released an audio where he can
be heard saying that Hizb is not against Zakir Musa’s Ansar Gazwatul Hind
is viral on social media, Naikoo can be heard saying that Musa hasn’t “killed
any of our men, as militants are not aware of the location of other militants.”
is circulating videos claiming that Musa-led Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) is
responsible for killing of Hizb’s militants is ‘an Indian agent’,” he can be
are not against Zakir Musa, He has not got any of our men killed, as none of
the Militants are aware of the location of other Militants. The video being
circulated against Zakir Musa and claiming that he is responsible for getting
the Hizb ul Mujahideen men killed has no association with us, whosoever is
spreading the messages against Musa is an Indian agent,” Naikoo is heard saying
in this fresh audio.
is heard saying that someone had issued an audio few months back saying that,
“We are from the Musa group and we will ensure every other group is
eliminated,” Naikoo ridiculed the audios and videos and said it is a plan of
Indian agencies to divide Militants.
the released audio, the commander of Hizb also adds that militants cannot be
divided by these tactics. “We might have issues with some militants, but that
does not mean we are at loggerheads with each other,” he says.
the three decades of insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, never has the unrest been
so personal and so dangerously fought as it is today. In the bouts of violence
that erupt every now and then in the Valley, only a blurry distinction remains
between militants, government forces and protesters. This year, militants were
slaughtered like sheep, one after another, and at regular intervals, taking the
toll to the highest in a decade.
of the militants died in lopsided gunbattles. In 95 percent of the encounters,
they failed to inflict any casualty on the security forces. Since June, hardly
a week has gone by without a militant casualty. Till 23 December, at least 247
militants were killed — a 70 percent jump from the figure at this time last
year — most of them from Kashmir and nearly all of them too poorly trained to
understand the intricacies of guerrilla warfare.
between security forces and protesters also worsened in recent months, pushing
the region into a vortex of violence. Sympathisers try hard to give the trapped
militants a chance at survival by pelting stones at security forces. Union
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir had said in Parliament that as
many as 759 incidents of stone-pelting were reported over the year. These
clashes have proved deadly as this year alone, 59 civilians were killed in
firing by security forces near encounter sites.
the civilian casualties has angered people, the killing of militants has become
easier over time. For instance, in one case in Shopian, a counterinsurgency
police officer climbed up a wooden staircase without any protective gear,
pushed his AK-47 through the window of the house and moved his gun around with
his finger on the trigger. He continued to fire till the three armed militants
inside were killed. Most of these one-sided firefights don't last even an hour.
it would be a mistake to believe that a militancy-free Kashmir would be
possible in 2019. In fact, there are fears that the situation may go from bad
to worse. As repression grows and a political solution evades this raging
conflict, positions have hardened, and more boys are adopting the path of
violence. According to officials, 176 Kashmiri youngsters crossed over to
insurgency this year.
against the claims of officials, Kashmiri youngsters continue to be recruited
into militant ranks, which is a cause for worry for the security establishment.
In the absence of a political outreach, the sense of alienation among people in
Kashmir has only increased. The killings, as a top officer of the Jammu and
Kashmir Police, told this reporter, are "not the answer".
are showing their presence whether by getting killed in encounters or attacking
security forces," he said. "The answer is in somehow getting these
boys out of the woods and making them understand that violence is not the
answer... A proper rehabilitation policy accompanied by political engagement
can help in the long run."
was seen in the early 1990s, a unique phenomenon took place last year, wherein
all militant groups — including the Hizbul Mujahideen — designated a commander
for nearly every district in Kashmir. Security forces have killed nearly all
but three of these commanders: Reyaz Naikoo, the operational chief of the
Hizbul Mujahideen, Zeenat ul Islam, another top Hizbul commander, and Zakir
Musa, the head of the Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
is a major achievement for security forces, which became possible because of a
strong network of human intelligence. Despite informers being killed, the
inflow of intelligence has not stopped at all," the police officer said.
Saturday, six militants were killed in an orchard in Pulwama's Tral area. The
police said this would have been impossible without the facilitation of local
informers. "Make no mistake, while there is overwhelming support for
militancy, there are also those who are ready to put their neck out and provide
intelligence about militants in South Kashmir," the officer emphasised.
policeman, an army soldier or a paramilitary trooper can only kill a militant
if the intelligence provided is reliable, accurate and comes at a suitable
time. The staggeringly high number of militants killed would have been
impossible if local informers had not provided the information that led to
one case, an army officer based in South Kashmir said a teenage boy who works
as an informer had called to say he had seen a stranger in a lane going to his
house. When the forces arrived 15 minutes later, they had killed two boys in a
graveyard. Militants killed the teenage informer a few days later.
fight has become so close that an informer knows an overground worker and vice
versa. On the streets of South Kashmir, people know who was responsible for
whose killing. They also know who is likely to become a militant and why. But
the continuing killings have not become a deterrent. Instead, there is a debate
on whether militants are killed for the sake of rewards.
former state finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu, who has a close perspective on
the conflict economy, wrote in a stinging article for The Indian Express,
militant killing has become "key axiom on which the state paradigm of
tackling militants is built".
warns Afghan interior minister against belittling ISIS threat
Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday warned the newly appointed interior minister
of Afghanistan against trivialising the threat from the Daesh militant group,
saying the minister needed a reality check.
a Twitter post, Chaudhry said it was time for the minister to “get real” and
decide whether he wanted Pakistan as a partner or as a scapegoat for Afghan
the threat of ISIS is to live in [cuckooland], the new Afghan interior minister
needs a reality check. Decide if you want Pakistan as a partner or as a
scapegoat for your own govt’s failures. Mr. Minister! Time to get real and give
up phantom thoughts from a paranoid mind,” the info minister wrote.
Saleh, who served as National Directorate for Security (NDS) chief until 2008,
was appointed acting interior minister of Afghanistan on Sunday, in a step that
could affect both next year’s presidential election and moves toward peace with
President Ashraf Ghani also named Asadullah Khalid, who suffered horrific
injuries in a Taliban suicide attack shortly after taking over the NDS in 2012,
as acting defense minister.
men, veterans of decades of conflict in Afghanistan, have been uncompromising
opponents of the Taliban and of Pakistan.
appointments come at a critical time, with elections due in April and talks
between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives over a
possible peace deal expected to continue in January following three meetings
in the day, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met Ghani during a
visit to Kabul. His visit is part of the first leg of a four-nation tour as
part of the government’s policy of outreach in the neighbourhood.
also held delegation-level talks with his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin
revenue dept told to retrieve grabbed properties of minorities
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Monday ordered the Sindh revenue department to
immediately retrieve encroached properties belonging to Hindu or any other
chief justice was hearing a suo motu matter at the Lahore registry relating to
encroachment of properties owned by the Hindu community.
the community, MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar appeared before a two-judge bench and
submitted a report about encroached land in different areas of Sindh including
Mithi, Larkana, Kashmore and Sukkur.
law officer of Sindh told the bench that there were cases pending before
different civil courts regarding the ownership of the properties in question.
this, the CJP directed the tehsildars concerned to take possession of the
properties with undisputed titles and directed the civil courts to decide the
pending cases within six months.
Estranged Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar
has said that he would soon start contacting political and non-political
figures for the establishment of a new entity — Muttahida Qaumi Council/Forum —
to restore the MQM of 1986 which comprised Afaq Ahmed Khan, Anis Qaimkhani and
move is aimed at resolving issues of urban Sindh with the same unity that was
MQM’s hallmark,” he added.
Sattar was speaking to the media after condoling the recent death of noted academician
Prof Idris Khan, in Latifabad on Monday.
Khan, who studied in Govt College Kali Mori and was appointed as a lecturer in
1970, died on Thursday. Considered by the local teaching community as ‘teacher
of teachers’, he had also served as director of colleges, Hyderabad, and
retired in 2001.
Farooq Sattar spoke to the media at length about the issues relating to the
MQM-P and on political situation in the country.
reiterated his determination to reunite the MQM-P and “make it corruption-free”
ensuring that its leaders submit their assets in the ‘court of workers’.
said that current performance of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf proved that it was
no longer the ‘third option’ for people as was being projected by the party. He
believed that like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan
Peoples Party (PPP), PTI would also carry a similar baggage of allegations
being carried by the two major parties.
observed that PTI’s way of governance was not much different from its
predecessors. He called for across the board accountability in which justice
should be seen to have been done.
Sattar said that plunder could be eradicated from Pakistan if dynastic politics
and politics of electables was put to an end. Unfortunately, he said, PTI was
not doing this as electables, and feudal lords were still being inducted in
said that the ORC (organisation restoration committee) he had founded after his
expulsion from the party wanted intra party election. He stressed that until
and unless parties introduced a check and balance, corruption could not be
labelled MQM-P leaders as ‘usurpers’, and said that in collusion with the
coordination committee members, they sabotaged his attempt to ensure such
accountability. He said everyone must face accountability be it he himself,
Amir Khan or Kanwar Naveed. “They will have to disclose their assets before
workers,” he added.
Sattar said he would move court against termination of his basic membership as
well as against judgement on his party position but nobody could stop him from
voting for the MQM or raising its slogan. “MQM’s soul is with me and the body
is [with] Bahadurabad,” he said.
said the way PTI lost LG by-poll on Sunday in an area falling within the NA-245
constituency, showed that its win in the July 25 elections was facilitated.
observed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) kept sleeping for eight
years and become active only in the last two years. He asked why didn’t the
PML-N and PPP make NAB autonomous and independent and its law law effective.
Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has directed to ensure foolproof security
arrangements for the celebrations planned on birth anniversary of Founder of
the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Christmas.
a statement issued here on Monday, he said that full opportunities will be
provided to the Christian community so that they could celebrate their
Christmas festival in a peaceful and conducive manner. Every possible step
should be taken for the protection of life and property of the people and
complete implementation of the plan devised for the security of 25th December
should be ensured, he added. Nothing is more important than the protection of
life and property of the people. Special attention should be paid on the
security of churches, bazaars and public parks and additional force should be
deployed wherever needed.
change of guard ceremony was held on Tuesday at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi to commemorate his 142nd birthday.
Military Academy Kakul cadets took over guard duties from the Pakistan Air
Force, Radio Pakistan reported.
Chief Minister Murad Shah and Governor Imran Ismail will also visit the
mausoleum to pay homage to the nation's founder, the report added.
ceremonies will be held by government departments, social organisations and
academic institutions to commemorate the occasion. It is a public holiday today
and the national flag will be hoisted atop all public and private buildings.
nation is also observing Jinnah's birthday with zeal and enthusiasm.
prime minister pay tribute to the Quaid
Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi also issued special messages to the
nation on the occasion.
president, in his statement, paid tribute to Jinnah's efforts to create a
separate homeland for Muslims "where they could spend their lives in accordance
with their own custom and their traditions".
urged the nation to "work tirelessly — individually as well as
collectively — in the service of our great country, in line with the Quaid’s
steered the Muslims of the sub-continent during the most tumultuous times and
enabled them to withstand heavy odds and to achieve independence through a
democratic struggle," President Alvi said in his statement.
vision and thoughts are as relevant today as they were seven decades ago... By
the grace of Allah Almighty our country has embarked upon the path to progress
and development as envisioned by Father of the Nation. Today, we are not only
paying homage to the memory of our great leader but also reaffirm our faith in
also asked the nation to vow that the "mistakes of past shall never be
all will work as one nation to transform vision of the Quaid into reality and
take the country to its rightful place among the comity of nations."
Minister Imran Khan in his statement congratulated the nation on the occasion.
He said that the nation should "reflect as to how far we have succeeded in
adhering to the path outlined by our leader" and "rededicate"
itself to live up to his vision.
paid tribute to the founder of the nation and said that he was "one of the
great leaders of 20th century who altered the course of history by his vision
and relentless struggle for the rights of the Muslims".
Quaid had envisioned a state where we could live and breathe as free men, where
we could enjoy freedom from fear and want; where we could fashion their lives
according to our religious and cultural values, and where the principles of the
state of Madina could be followed to create a just and prosperous society,"
Prime Minister Khan said.
Quaid had wanted a society where every citizen enjoys the privileges of equal
rights; where rule of law reigns supreme and establishment of a state which
provides its umbrella to marginalised and vulnerable and also facilitates
growth of every individual to his or her full capabilities," the premier
Leaders of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) on Monday called on
Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking him to fix their meeting with Chief of the
Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on the issue of missing persons.
have asked the prime minister to fix our meeting with the army chief so that we
could present our concerns to him on missing persons,” Nawab Akhtar Mengal told
Dawn when contacted after the meeting.
said Prime Minister Khan had assured him in a previous meeting that he [PM]
would arrange a meeting of the BNP leaders with the army chief. “Today, we
asked the prime minister to fulfil his commitment,” he added.
Baloch leader said that in the meeting Mr Khan reassured that he would talk to
the army chief soon and would communicate the date and time of the meeting to
Nov 29, Mr Mengal in a press conference had sought a political solution to the
issue of missing persons and said that the problems of the province would not
be resolved by building dams or the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
had criticised the government for not addressing the issue of missing persons,
regretting that nothing was being done for their recovery.
to a question, Mr Mengal said that the issue of development of Balochistan also
came under discussion during the meeting with the prime minister. The premier
ordered the ministries concerned to update him about the efforts being made to
mitigate problems of the people and development of the province.
BNP delegation comprised MNAs Muhammad Akhtar Mengal, Agha Hassan Baloch,
Muhammad Hashim, Prof Shahnaz Baloch and MPAs Mir Hamal and Sanaullah Baloch.
Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Ambassador Maleeha
Lodhi also met Prime Minister Khan at PM Office.
President Dr Arif Alvi said that the government of Pakistan held sacrosanct the
principle of equal rights and freedom for all citizens irrespective of belief,
creed or religion.
are committed to building a society that respects difference and finds strength
in diversity; a nation that is tolerant and cohesive; and a state that provides
equal rights and opportunities to all citizens,” the president said in his
message to the nation on Christmas festival.
said the government’s commitment to the fundamental principles was firmly based
on the teachings of Islam, vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and
inviolable guarantees of our constitution.
president extended his greetings to the Christian brethren all over the world
particularly Pakistan on the joyous occasion of Christmas.
said Jesus Christ brought and preached the message of peace, brotherhood and
love for the whole humanity. He (Jesus Christ) guided people towards virtuous
living and urged them to seek divine mercy. As a divine messenger, Jesus Christ
was venerable to adherents of all religions especially Islam.
president also commended the sincere efforts of the Christian community of
Pakistan for the socio-economic development of their country. He also paid rich
tribute to the sacrifices made by the Christians in Pakistan’s fight against
Minister Imran Khan also extended his greetings to the Christians. “Wishing all
our Christian citizens a happy and peaceful Christmas,” he said.
has also directed to lift all scheduled load management across Pakistan on the
eve of Christmas to enable the Christian community to celebrate its religious
festival with comfort.
Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri have extended their warm
felicitations to the Christian Members of the Parliament and the Christian
community on the auspicious occasion of Christmas.
president Asif Ali Zardari Monday on PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also
greeted the Christian community on the eve of Christmas falling on December 25.
his message on the auspicious day of Xmas, Bilawal said the occasion spreads
the message of love, forgiveness and brotherhood, adding, “We need to imbibe
these teachings to make our tomorrow better than our today.”
governors of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) also congratulated the
Christian community on eve of Christmas celebrations.
Palestinian Christians celebrated Christmas despite Israeli restrictions. The
city of Bethlehem adorned a Christmas tree in Manger Square, where the Church
of the Nativity is located.
square hosted a number of activities, including the establishment of Santa’s
Village and celebrations for children and families.
city’s markets are usually bustling over Christmas, with thousands of foreign
tourists attending religious celebrations and midnight mass, but this year
traders complained that business was down.
the last fortnight, the Israeli military imposed roadblocks in the West Bank
and stormed several Palestinian towns and villages in search of Palestinians
who opened fire on its forces.
Salibi, a salesman at an antiques shop in Bethlehem, told Arab News: “We rely
on the holiday period mainly, but this year we’re witnessing weak business
activity. Insecurity is one of the important reasons.”
this time of year, the city is visited by Christians from elsewhere in
Palestine. “We visit Bethlehem every year, once or twice,” Sally Awwad, from
the village of Zababdeh near the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank, told
used to visit with my family, but now I’m with my friends from different
cities. We buy souvenirs and pray in the Church of the Nativity,” she said.
always hope that Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born, becomes a free
place to be visited by Christians from all over Palestine and the world. This
doesn’t happen because we live under occupation.”
the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the YMCA on Saturday lit up a Christmas tree
for the first time in years at a ceremony attended by Christians and Muslims.
years of not lighting the Christmas tree in Gaza, we decided this year to
celebrate with the Palestinians in Gaza in a small ceremony,” said Hani Farah,
director of the YMCA.
year, Israel issues permits for some Christians in Gaza to travel to Bethlehem,
but hundreds are prevented from attending midnight mass in the city. There are
an estimated 1,000 Christians living in Gaza.
early December, the city of Ramallah lit up a Christmas tree in a joyous
atmosphere in Yasser Arafat Square.
wonderful to meet all of our great Palestinian people, to celebrate one of our
national holidays in which we shine the glorious Christmas tree, to affirm our
love for each other and that we’re people of peace in Palestine and Jerusalem,
which includes Christian and Islamic holy sites,” said Archimandrite Elias
Awad, patron of the Greek Orthodox Church in Ramallah.
want to send a message to the world that we’re a people who want peace, we have
our rights, we look forward to the independence of our state, we salute our
national and religious days without barriers and occupation.”
YMCA lit up a Christmas tree in Jerusalem in early December, marking the start
President Mahmoud Abbas said in a message to the world on the occasion of
Christmas: “We want (Jerusalem) to be an open city for worship for all
believers and followers of all religions… and for our people to exercise their
right to freedom of worship in their Christian and Islamic holy places.”
will hold an early general election in April, a spokesman for Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, after members of his governing coalition met
to discuss differences over legislation.
leaders of the coalition decided unanimously to dissolve parliament and go to a
new election in early April,” the spokesman wrote on Twitter, quoting from a
statement issued by Netanyahu’s political partners.
coalition crisis over a military conscription bill affecting exemptions from
compulsory service for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men led to the decision.
now in his fourth term as prime minister, has been governing with a razor-thin
majority of 61 seats in the 120-member parliament. He heads the right-wing
Israeli law, a national election had to be held by November 2019. Netanyahu’s
government would remain in place until a new one is sworn in, after the April
series of corruption probes against Netanyahu and pending decisions by Israel’s
attorney general on whether to follow police recommendations to indict him had
raised speculation he would opt to seek a public show of confidence at the
has denied any wrongdoing in the cases and has given no indication he will step
down if charged.
69-year-old Israeli leader made no immediate comment after his meeting with the
coalition leaders. Recent opinion polls have shown his popularity remains
strong among Israelis.
likelihood of an early election increased in November after Netanyahu’s defense
minister, Avigdor Lieberman, quit the government, leaving the ruling coalition
with its one-seat majority.
one in Netanyahu’s Likud has made a public challenge against him, and the party
is expected to close ranks around him in the coming election.
Likud, Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid opposition party, is seen as
the strongest candidate to succeed Netanyahu in any upset. Lapid’s party is
second to Likud in opinion polls.
former army chief, Benny Gantz, is seen as a dovish potential candidate who
could tip the balance in favor of a center-left bloc, but has not yet thrown
his hat in the ring.
the right, Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, could
both seek to lead a right-wing bloc if Likud emerges in a weaker position in an
legitimate Yemeni government revealed that a warehouse used to store Houthi
weapons was found on Monday, which the militias left behind after being
defeated in one of their positions in their major stronghold Saada north of
sources said the warehouse is located in Wadi Al Bou Jabara which was recently
liberated and which is close to Kitaf wa Al Boqe’e District northeast of Saada.
It contains medium and heavy weapons and advanced guided missiles.
to the sources, the national army forces continue to advance towards the
district of Kitaf, and are close to fully liberating it.
the Arab Coalition’s air force destroyed missile-launching platforms, which the
Houthis used in Saada to target the army, and civilian houses and towns.
had earlier shelled the Houthi militias’ posts in other areas in Majz and Sahar
on Monday, the Yemeni army forces liberated other posts where the Houthis had
been stationed in Al Qabbaytah District north of the Lahij Governorate.
Yemeni armed forces’ media center quoted a military source as saying that a
number of locations in the eastern front of Al Qabbaytah were liberated adding
that the army continues to advance towards Diyyash.
spokesperson for the Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen confirmed
that the Houthis have continued until Sunday to breach the Sweden agreement on
a ceasefire in Hodeidah a total of 138 times.
Turki al-Maliki said on Monday that Houthis used a number of weapons in clashes
against the Yemeni army and the Popular Resistance fighters.
spokesman affirmed the coalition’s continued granting of permits through land,
sea and air ports for the transport of passengers, foodstuffs, oil derivatives,
medicines and others into Yemen. He said that the number of vessels still
waiting to dock on Yemeni ports have reached 22 vessels.
a press conference on Monday, the coalition spokesperson also referred to the
efforts of distributing books to students in the humanitarian relief programs
for the Yemeni people.
forces have wounded at least 27 Palestinian protesters who were staging a rally
along the northern coast of the besieged Gaza Strip against the nearly
12-year-long Israeli-imposed blockade on the impoverished sliver.
to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency on Monday, at least 14 protesters were
struck with live bullets, while 13 others suffered wounds after being hit with
navy forces fired live rounds and teargas canisters at both marchers and boats
in an attempt to disperse them.
of demonstrators suffered teargas inhalation as well, and were transferred to
hospitals for treatment.
demonstration on Monday was the 21st weekly naval march setting off from the
Gaza seaport, with the participation of dozens of Gazans’ fishing boats,
against the crippling blockade of the sliver.
fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles under the Oslo Accords.
The Oslo Accords were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s to resolve the
imposed a limit of three nautical miles on fishing in the waters off the Gaza
shore until August 2014, when Palestinian fishermen were allowed to go out six
miles under a ceasefire agreement reached between the Israelis and Palestinians
following a deadly 50-day Israeli war in the same month.
May 2017, Israeli authorities increased the fishing area for Gazan fishermen to
nine nautical miles.
the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks
on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip
on March 30.
December 21, at least three Palestinians, including a teenage, were shot dead
by Israeli fire and over 100 others sustained injuries during anti-occupation
protests along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and the
than 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Over 23,000
Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US
embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Turkish military has sent new reinforcements to frontline areas with US-backed
People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, in what appears to be
preparations for an anticipated campaign against the Kurdish militants after
Washington announced a plan to withdraw its troops from the Arab country.
official Anadolu news agency reported that a Turkish military convoy with
howitzers and artillery batteries as well as different units of armed forces
has been deployed to the border district of Elbeyli in the south-central
Turkish province of Kilis on Monday.
private Ihlas News Agency reported that the military reinforcements would take
place “gradually,” and that parts of the convoy had already entered Syria.
Hurriyet daily newspaper said the deployment commenced over the weekend with
around 100 vehicles, and the troops had crossed into the al-Bab region of
Syria’s northern province of Aleppo.
then headed towards Jarabulus and Manbij districts, which are controlled by YPG
considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous region
inside Turkey since 1984.
reinforcements have also been sent to Akcakale town and Ceylanpinar border
district, which are both located in Turkey’s southeastern province of
Turkish buildup comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision last
week to withdraw American troops from Syria.
commanders in the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has YPG as
its backbone, have described the Washington’s move as “a stab in the back.”
town of Manbij, which lies in mainly Arab territory west of the Euphrates, has
been a major bone of contention between Ankara and Washington.
has complained over the slow implementation of a deal reached with the United
States in June, which would see the YPG ousted from the town and moved back to
the eastern bank of the river.
tweeted on Sunday that he had a “long and productive” call with his Turkish
counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which they discussed “the slow &
highly coordinated” pullout of US troops from the area.
Turkish presidency said in a statement that the two leaders had agreed to
coordinate militarily and diplomatically to ensure the US pullout from Syria
would not lead to an “authority vacuum.”
and Sikh volunteers help spread Christmas cheer to some of Britain's most
Christmas Day approaches, many people across the country will find themselves
in a difficult situation and unable to celebrate with friends or family.
non-Christian faith-based charities from across the country will be spending
their Christmas doing what they can to help those who are most vulnerable
during the festive period.
from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) UK will be spending
Christmas Day at several residential homes across the country offering free
taxi services, serving Christmas dinners and presenting festive gifts.
Ahmed, regional youth leader for Yorkshire, explained: “It was such an honour
to extend a helping hand and to bring a smile to the faces of so many people.
felt like a family with the people we helped and that is how they felt too.
People may wonder why we take time out to help when we don’t celebrate
Christmas, but we enjoy doing the voluntary work we do because it is our
encourages us to help alleviate hardships and respect and honour our elders.”
Almanaar Muslim cultural heritage centre in Kensington will be opening their
doors at 9am on Christmas Day and will be offering breakfast, lunch and dinner
to anyone who attends.
have said there will be a "bakery and cereals selection" and
"vegetarian and meat" options, to ensure everyone is catered for.
Singh, the global operations director from Nishkam Sikh welfare and awareness
team (SWAT), a charity based in West London, will be handing out food and
clothing on Christmas day.
will be business as usual serving humanity as we do all year round, providing a
hot meal, along with non-perishables such as crisps, biscuits, chocolates, nuts
and fruit,” Mr Singh said.
will also be giving out warm clothing, sleeping bags, gloves, hats, socks,
blankets and thermals. We will also be giving out specially made hampers which
have been specially made and consist of essential items you made need if you
have been forced to live on the street.”
group also held a Christmas street party for those who are homeless in London.
and food was handed out while an LED screen, a DJ, lighting, a smoke machine, a
choir and a steel band entertained the guests.
it’s not just faith-based charities doing their bit, Shasi and Pallu Patel, a devout
Hindu couple who own Meet and Deep Newsagents in Twickenham, will be dressing
up in festive outfits and handing out free mince pies and sweets to anyone who
drops by on Christmas day.
been being opening their doors during the Christmas period for 30 years and
have also promised to give anyone who wants one, a festive hug.
you are alone, pop in for a hug and a mince pie! You don’t have to buy
anything, we are family,” they said.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced as “illegitimate” the military
presence of American troops in Syria, stressing that the US continues to
violate the main resolutions of the UN Security Council on the war-torn Arab
country despite a troop withdrawal announcement.
made the remark in an interview with Russia's Sputnik news agency on Monday as
he was commenting on a recent announcement by US President Donald Trump on the
future of American armed forces in Syria.
solution to the illegitimate and armed presence of the US in Syria might be
difficult,” Russian foreign minister said.
continually puts new conditions that violate the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of Syria despite of [the fact] that these principles are mentioned by
the main resolutions of the Security Council,” Lavrov said, adding, “Let’s see
what the result of leaving Syria, which was announced by US President Donald
Trump will be."
week, Trump declared victory against Daesh in Syria and announced to pull out
American troops from the country, saying that US troops cannot stay in Syria
decision sparked bipartisan backlash in Washington, with US Defense Secretary
Jim Mattis announcing that he would step down at the end of February.
announcement also raised concerns among Washington's European and regional
allies, which have long been supporting a myriad of anti-Damascus militants.
have described US forces' withdrawal from Syria as a victory for Damascus and
its allies, which was made possible through resistance of the Syrian nation and
government during the foreign-sponsored militancy in the Arab country.
a leading member of the US-led coalition, purportedly fighting Daesh in Syria,
has said that it will keep troops in Syria. Turkey, which has opposed American
support for the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), viewed by Ankara as
an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has also stressed
that it will take over the fight against Daesh in the Arab country.
US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside
Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus
government or a UN mandate.
strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to
fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.
al-Islam, the son of slain Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, should have a
chance to run for the country’s top office, a senior Russian diplomat said.
Earlier Bloomberg reported he had asked Russia to support his candidacy.
report on Saif al-Islam’s contacts with the Kremlin is part of a larger story
about Russia’s role in the war-torn country, which was disintegrated after the
NATO-backed uprising toppled Gaddafi in 2011. The long-time leader was
summarily executed while his son Saif al-Islam spent years as a prisoner of
militias in the western Libyan city of Zintan. The younger Gaddafi has long
declared his intention to run for Libyan presidency.
position is that no one should be isolated and excluded from a constructive
political role,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told RIA
Novosti on Monday, in response to the report. “Saif al-Islam has the backing of
specific tribes in Libya and all this should be part of the overall political
to Bloomberg, Russian diplomats spoke to Saif al-Islam via a video link shortly
after his release by the militias in 2017. His representative also spoke to
Bogdanov in early December, explaining Gaddafi’s vision for the future of Libya
and asking for support, the agency added. Russian officials would not comment
on the claims.
said that Moscow keeps contact with various groups in the country as part of
the peace settlement process.
remains in turmoil almost a decade after the Western intervention . Its
UN-recognized government in Tripoli controls only a small portion of the
country and has to keep local militias satisfied to keep them on their side.
Another center of power in the east is in control of Libyan oil fields, but has
to negotiate terms of crude exports with the government to conduct the business
legally. There are also numerous tribal factions deeper in the south, arms
smugglers, human traffickers, jihadist fighters and other forces.
plan to hold a presidential election this year was postponed due to continued
struggling between Libya’s two rival governments and is now scheduled for next
Jamaat back to electoral race in Bangladesh
seems like Bangladesh has lost a battle in the hands of militancy-linked and
pro-Pakistan party Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh (JIB). Election Commission (EC)
on December 23, has declared the nomination of 25 JIB candidates valid.
Meaning, these anti-liberation forces will contest in the December 30 general
elections and may even win. Such a huge numbers of JIB men, if elected, may
even emerge as a decisive factor in either forming of the next general
government or the main opposition. The EC decision has tremendously shocked the
pro-liberation forces in Bangladesh. Pro-Awami League bloc are even seeing this
decision as a coup of the EC against the spirit of liberation war, Bengalis and
freedom fighters. Others are seeing this decision as a “sign of relief”
thinking this has proved, the EC is not biased towards the ruling party nor is
bowing-down to any pressure.
Election Commission on December 23rd said there is no scope now for scrapping
the candidacy of 25 Jamaat-e-Islami leaders who are contesting the
parliamentary election despite cancellation of the party’s registration.
them, 22 are in the race with BNP’s electoral symbol “sheaf of paddy” and three
as independent candidates.
a meeting of the commission, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said they have
examined the related law and “there is no scope for rejecting the Jamaat
leaders’ candidacy at this moment”.
said returning officers accepted and finalized the Jamaat leaders’ nomination
papers. But no objections were filed with the election tribunal against the
EC scrapped Jamaat’s registration following an HC verdict in 2013. On Tuesday,
the HC directed the EC to dispose of in three working days the application
filed for cancellation of the Jamaat men’s candidacy.
court also issued a rule asking the government to explain in four weeks why the
EC’s decision to allow JIB men to contest the election despite the cancellation
of their party’s registration should not be declared illegal.
the rule, the court asked the EC to show cause as to why the commission should
not be directed to cancel their candidacy.
another development, the EC on December 23rd turned down the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party’s plea for permission to field the party’s alternative
candidates or rescheduling of the polls in the constituencies where the HC
rejected candidacies of five party candidates.
a letter to Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, BNP on Thursday urged
the EC to allow them to field alternative candidates from among those who have
already submitted nomination papers.
is a provision for rescheduling election if a contestant dies … A candidate
being disqualified by the court is a sort of death,” BNP standing committee
member Nazrul Islam Khan told reporters after handing over the letter to the
EC should reschedule the election in those constituencies,” he said.
BNP leaders lost their candidacy yesterday following an HC order on Thursday.
The court disqualified them as the government did not accept their resignation
as upazila chairmen.
to the Representation of the People Order (RPO), anyone holding “an office of
profit” like that of an upazila chairman cannot run for MP. With the five, the BNP now has no contenders
in 15 of the 300 seats.
Commission’s decision of allowing the JIB candidates to run in the upcoming
general election is a matter of grave concern, as because now the anti-Awami
League bloc has managed to save these 25 seats being already gone in favour of
the ruling party candidates.
delegation from the party led by Senior Joint Secretary General ATM Hemayet
Uddin submitted a complaint in this regard with the Chief Election Commissioner
KM Nurul Huda at the secretariat in the capital
Andolon Bangladesh on Monday alleged that the ruling Awami League activists are
threatening polling agents and attacking election campaigns ahead of the 11th
delegation from the party led by Senior Joint Secretary General ATM Hemayet
Uddin submitted a complaint in this regard with the Chief Election Commissioner
KM Nurul Huda at the secretariat in the capital.
the press after the meeting with the CEC, Hemayet Uddin said Awami League
activists and its alliance partners are threatening polling agents and
attacking election campaigns while the police are also harassing their
said that police are still filing "ghost" cases against their
are categorizing our leaders as Jamaat-Shibir men and are arresting them at
different parts of the country," he said.
said the commission has failed to ensure a level playing field and there are no
signs of them doing so anytime soon when the elections are right around the
party is fielding candidates in 299 constituencies in the December 30 polls.
least seven Taliban militants have been killed in separate airstrikes conducted
in western Farah province of Afghanistan.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the security forces carried out
an airstrike in Karizbedal Village in Posht Rod district, leaving at least six
statement further added that one of the local commanders of the group
identified as Mullah Bakhtiar was among those killed.
Air Forces also carried out an airtrike targeting the vehicle of another local
Taliban commander in Bakwa district of Farah, MoI said, adding that the Taliban
commander was killed and the vehicle was destroyed in the airstrike.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the airstrikes so far.
group of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) renounced
violence and joined peace process in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
provincial government media office in a statement said the ISIS-K group member
joined peace process in Achin district.
statement further added that the reconciled militant has shown remorse
regarding the destructive activities he has committed in ISIS Khurasan ranks.
has also added that he was conducting destructive activities based on the
instructions of the strangers.
former ISIS Khurasan group member also handed over a Ak-47 assault rifle to the
security forces, the provincial government added.
Afghan Special Operations Forces (SOF) released a dramatic video purportedly
showing a combination of series of airstrikes against the Taliban militants in
various parts of the country.
video starts with an airstrike against a Taliban group member identified as
Hazrat who is being targeted on a roadside and subsequently purports to show
the airstrike which eliminated the executioner of Taliban Mohib Jan alias
video also purports to show an airstrike against Mullah Abdul Jabar, Taliban’s
chief of suicide operations in Helmand province.
other parts of the video an airstrike purportedly shows the elimination of
Mullah Ahmad, Taliban’s shadow intelligence chief in Helmand while another
airstrike purports to show a raid against Shafi, ISIS Khurasan explosives
is yet not clear if the airstrikes were exclusively carried out by the Afghan
Air Forces as both the Afghan and U.S. forces conduct regular airstrikes
against the anti-government armed militants.
BAZAR, Bangladesh: Bangladesh will seal off refugee camps housing about one
million Rohingya Muslims for three days around the country’s tense general
election this week, officials said Monday.
living in the southeastern border district of Cox’s Bazar will not be allowed
out of their settlements from Saturday.
election is Sunday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who earned international
praise for accepting the refugees who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar,
seeking a record fourth term.
Election Commission ordered authorities in Cox’s Bazar to prevent refugees
being exploited during election campaigning, Bangladesh refugee commissioner
Mohammad Abul Kalam said.
is a security measure. The embargo also applies to NGO workers. They cannot go
inside the camps unless it is an emergency,” he told AFP.
said extra roadblocks would be set up around the camps.
720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled what the UN called ethnic cleansing in Myanmar’s
Rakhine state after August 2017. There were already nearly 300,000 refugees in
the overcrowded camps.
than 450 police will be deployed in the camps alongside border guards and
community police, a spokesman said.
of troops were also put on law and order duties across the country Monday amid
escalating poll violence, said a military statement.
reports said some 30,000 soldiers were joining more than 20,000 paramilitary
forces already deployed.
least six people have been killed in the election violence while the opposition
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) says at least 152 of its candidates have
BNP meanwhile criticized Bangladesh star cricketer Mashrafe Mortaza for being a
candidate for the ruling Awami League.
international captain Mashrafe is now campaigning after leading Bangladesh to a
series win over West Indies this month. The BNP said though that Mashrafte
could not be a candidate when he earns public money as a cricketer.
welcome youngsters like him joining politics. But the law cannot be different
for a superstar and a layman,” opposition spokesman Rizvi Ahmed told AFP.
is a paid cricketer of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), a government body. So we
protest him taking part in an election when we see our people are getting
dropped for lame excuses,” he said.
authorities recover 34 bodies of Christians from ISIS mass grave
bodies of 34 Ethiopian Christians executed in Libya by ISIS in 2015 have been
exhumed from a mass grave, Libyan authorities said on Monday.
grave was unearthed on Sunday, after information was obtained during
investigations of arrested ISIS members, the interior ministry’s Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) said on its Facebook page.
video posted on social media in April 2015 appeared to show ISIS militants shooting
and beheading the Christians, who were wearing orange jumpsuits, on a beach.
CID displayed drone images of the mass grave, which appeared to be on a farm
near the coastal city of Sirte.
bodies will be repatriated to Ethiopia once “domestic and international legal
procedures are completed”, it said. Hundreds of thousands of people have
migrated from sub-Saharan Africa to Libya in recent years, many hoping to
eventually reach Europe.
took control of Sirte, the hometown of Libya’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi,
in 2015 and lost the city late in 2016 to local forces backed by US air
kill 17 in north Nigeria village attack
at the weekend killed 17 people in the latest attack on villages in northern
Nigeria's Zamfara state, witnesses and police say.
assault came just days after 25 people were killed in similar raids on two
villages in the region.
on motorcycles stormed Magami village in the Maradun district area of the state
on Saturday, shooting indiscriminately as residents fled.
the attack, we collected 17 dead bodies which we buried," Magami resident
Kasimu Bello told AFP.
gunmen entered the village on several motorcycles, shooting people as they
tried to flee," he said.
resident Umaru Bawa confirmed the attack, saying "the bandits pursued
people like chickens and shot them dead as they ran into the bush."
state police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said his operatives would arrest and
"bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act."
also vowed to end the rampant armed attacks in the state.
Wednesday, 25 people were killed when gunmen raided two villages in Birnin
Magaji district of the state.
and herding communities in Zamfara have for years been wracked by cattle
rustling and kidnapping for ransom, prompting villagers to form vigilante gangs
as a protection force.
the villagers too are accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings of
suspected bandits, leading to tit-for-tat violence.
April, troops were deployed to Zamfara to fight the gangs and police banned the
civilian militia in an attempt to curb the cycle of reprisals.
month, police claimed to have killed 104 bandits in Birnin Magaji district
during a clash in which 16 policemen were killed.
this month, an influential traditional ruler in the state called for civilian
militia members to be given assault rifles to defend themselves.
continued raids by cattle thieves in Zamfara and the resource conflict between
farmers and herders in central Nigeria have added to Nigeria's security
challenges as the military battles Boko Haram militants in the northeast.
have repelled attacks on bases in northeast Nigerian Borno state where Boko
Haram has in recent months targeted posts.
Friday, troops fought off an attempt to over-run a base in the town of Damasak
on the border with Niger after an hours-long fight in which one civilian was
Saturday, the troops also foiled militant attempts to take over two bases in
Logomani near the border with Cameroon and the town of Gajiram.
Christians live in fear of minority Muslims on quest for conversions
Uganda — Sleeping on a hospital bed at Budaka Health Center in eastern Uganda,
12-year-old Emmanuel Nyaiti writhed in pain as he explained how Muslim
extremists attacked him for refusing to convert to Islam.
is a good religion,’ they said. ‘Please convert. We’ll not kill you, and you
will go to paradise,” the boy recalled.
is one among millions of Christians in this East African nation who face
unprecedented levels of persecution from Islamist extremists.
in eastern Uganda are among those in their faith who face the most serious
dangers in the world, according to World Watch Monitor, a group that tracks
persecutions of Christians. The charity counted at least two incidents of
Muslims killing Christians as well as vandalism of at least two churches.
was walking home from his grandmother’s house when four men ambushed him and
spirited him to a cassava plantation, where they tortured him and attempted to
strangle him. One was named Ali and another was Abdul, he said. They wound up
leaving him for dead.
convinced me to convert and become a Muslim, but I declined. They started
pushing me on the ground threatening to kill me if I don’t accept Islam,” he
said. “One of the attackers hit me with a sharp object on my neck, and I became
unconscious. I remember them saying they have killed me.”
has said that its President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to carry out broad
economic reforms amid days of protests that have gripped the country.
to a statement released on Monday, al-Bashir “promises real measures to restore
confidence in the banking sector”.
statement comes a day after Sudanese police fired tear gas after hundreds of
protesters spilling out of a football match marched down a major road leading
towards the center of the capital, Khartoum, late on Sunday, demonstrating
against al-Bashir's rule, a Reuters witness said.
official Sudan News Agency said Bashir had met security aides, and quoted him
as saying the state was “continuing with economic reforms that provide citizens
with a decent life”.
The bodies of 34 Ethiopian Christians executed in Libya by Daesh in 2015 have
been exhumed from a mass grave, Libyan authorities said on Monday.
grave was unearthed on Sunday, after information was obtained during
investigations of arrested Daesh members, the interior ministry’s Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) said on its Facebook page.
video posted on social media in April 2015 appeared to show Daesh militants
shooting and beheading the Christians, who were wearing orange jumpsuits, on a
bodies will be repatriated to Ethiopia once “domestic and interntional legal
procedures are completed”, it said. Hundreds of thousands of people have
migrated from sub-Saharan Africa to Libya in recent years, many hoping to
eventually reach Europe.
mastermind of militant car bombs that killed 26 people and injured nearly 40
others in Mogadishu in 2017 was executed in Somalia on Monday, the prosecutor
of the military court said.
Bule said Al Shabab member Abdikadir Abukar was convicted of being behind a
hotel bombing that killed 10, one near the ministry of sport that killed nine,
and a car bomb near an Italian restaurant in the capital that killed seven.
Shabab wants to overthrow the weak, UN-backed Somali government and impose
strict Islamic law.
has steadily been losing territory since African Union peacekeepers arrived a
decade ago, but still carries out frequent bombings in the capital.
York Muslims have a new security patrol group
Tina Moore and Stephanie Pagones
York’s Muslim community has a new security group watching over it.
car from the new Muslim Community Patrol has been spotted around the city,
joining the Jewish enclave’s Shomrim and the Brooklyn Asian Safety Patrol among
New York’s culture-specific security groups.
white Ford Taurus bears insignia nearly identical to those of an NYPD patrol
car — with blue horizontal stripes down the sides, a shield on the front
driver’s side door and the words “Muslim Community Patrol” descending on the
rear door, where a department vehicle would say “Courtesy Professionalism
vehicle was recently spotted cruising along Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn’s Bay
Ridge, home to a burgeoning Muslim population.
to the Staten Island-based group — which, according to state records, was
incorporated last month — went unanswered Sunday.
President Donald Trump on Monday said Saudi Arabia will spend money to help
Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild
Syria, instead of the United States," Trump tweeted. "See? Isn’t it
nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than
a Great Country, the U.S., that is 5000 miles away. Thanks to Saudi A!"
made the surprise announcement last week the U.S. would withdraw troops from
Syria, following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The
two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the
suggest U.S. forces will leave within 60 to 100 days.
decision to pull out of Syria was followed by resignations from his defense
chief James Mattis and special presidential envoy for the global coalition to
defeat Daesh, Brett McGurk.
withdrawal comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in
northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group.
Syrian Kurds have expressed frustration over the United States' planned troop
withdrawal from Syria, describing it as a 'stab in the back' and considering
new allies, according to the US-based National Public Radio (NPR).
Kurdish forces in northern Syria are considering contingency plans and
partnering with new alliances in the face of an anticipated Turkish incursion
in the region, the NPR said on Monday.
this point, we are open to all options and partnerships," said Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Mustafa Bali.
report further revealed that the Syrian Kurdish officials are even considering
"on-the-ground protection deals with Iranian forces in Syria," in
addition to Syrian government protection.
Syrian regime should be protecting Syria's sovereign borders," says Bali,
adding that "on principle, we would not be against it (Syrian government
to Kurds living near US bases in northern Syria, many expressed their
resentment for what they described as US "betrayal" of the Kurds.
they will leave, we will curse them as traitors," said Hatem Hassan, a
money exchange shop owner in the Syrian town of Qamishli.
don't understand it. People are afraid that they will just sell the country to
someone," said another Kurdish local named Haji Haidar.
this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised a Turkish-led
operation against the Kurdish-controlled regions in "the next few
president, however, announced the operation’s delay last week just a few days
after US President Donald Trump called for a withdrawal of US troops from
American forces are currently deployed in the Kurdish-controlled regions of
saw the US-led military presence as an obstacle in dealing with Kurdish forces
in northern Syria it views as threat to its security.
has postponed its incursion into northern Syria until US troops leave the
decision has sparked turmoil within his administration, prompting the
resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Brett McGurk, the special envoy
to the so-called anti-Daesh coalition.
later named Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as the acting Pentagon
chief, saying he will replace Mattis starting January 1, earlier than
withdrawal plan has also sparked much controversy among other American
politicians, with many Republican and Democrat figures openly criticizing Trump
for the matter.
think when you leave an area where it's very troublesome in terms of our
national security overall, you leave a void and bad people fill it and then you
have a much bigger problem,” said Republican Senator Pat Roberts speaking to
Senator Christopher Coons also criticized Trump's decision for weakening US
influence in the region.
us to withdraw right now and abandon our Kurdish allies, paves a highway for
control of Syria for either Iran and Russia or Turkey."
report has revealed that the United States Department of Homeland Security and
Marshals Service have evidence that Saudi Arabia assisted a Saudi national,
accused of murder, to flee the US.
Sameer Noorah, who faces at least 10 years in jail for first-degree murder, was
bailed out of jail, given a fake passport and flown to Saudi Arabia using Saudi
consular assistance, according to an investigative report published by The
Oregonian on Sunday.
who killed 15-year-old Fallon Smart in a hit-and-run incident due to reckless
driving, was set to face trial on June 2017.
Saudi consulate, however, paid $100,000 of his $1 million dollar bail, which
was enough to get him released with a GPS monitoring bracelet.
trial in two weeks, the 21-year-old Portland Community College student fled the
country after being picked up by a black SUV and cutting the monitor from his
ankle, according to authorities.
past July, 13 months after Noorah's disappearance, the Saudi government
notified Homeland Security of the man's arrival in Saudi Arabia on June 17,
2017. Noorah had disposed his monitoring bracelet seven days earlier.
investigators believe Noorah couldn't have escaped without being given an
illicit passport by Saudi authorities. Given that American investigations have
found no trace of the suspect using commercial flights, Noorah is suspected of
using a private carrier to escape.
authorities have declined to comment on how Noorah, who received a monthly
$1,850 stipend from the Saudi government for a college scholarship in the US,
has returned to the Saudi Kingdom.
case of Noorah is, nonetheless, not the first case where the Saudis are
suspected to have helped Saudi convicts attempt to flee the US.
Saudi mission similarly bailed out accused rapists Ali Hussain Alhamoud in 2012
and Monsour Alshammari in 2015. Alshammari was arrested at the US-Mexico
border. Alhamoud, however, successfully returned to Saudi Arabia.
begs the question: Why isn’t the Saudi government respecting our justice
system?” says Chris Larsen, a lawyer for Smart’s mother Fawn Lengvenis. “It’s
case of Noorah comes as US-Saudi ties have come under mounting scrutiny
following the kingdom's role in the brutal murder of dissident journalist and
US resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey last October.
consignment of armored vehicles has left Canada for Saudi Arabia despite Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau's declaration that Ottawa was ready to halt a $13
billion arms deal with Riyadh.
manufacturer General Dynamic Land Systems Canada has been contracted to deliver
742 armored vehicles to the kingdom whose war on Yemen has recently come under
has been exporting arms to Saudi Arabia based on the 2014 contract won by the
Canadian unit of US weapons maker General Dynamics Corp.
Sunday, a cargo ship loaded with armored vehicles left the port of Saint John
for Saudi Arabia, a day after protesters gathered in the rain and fog to
condemn the shipment, Canada's leading daily the Globe and Mail reported.
protesters held signs and passed out pamphlets detailing concerns about the
Saudi-led war in Yemen, which the United Nations has called the world’s worst
humanitarian crisis, the paper said.
cargo was apparently delayed for a day after longshoremen refused to cross the
protest line, forfeiting their day’s wages, it added.
longshoremen, the paper said, could face repercussions from their employer for
their decision not to cross the protest, even though the combat vehicles were
shipment came even though Trudeau said in October that Canada was ready to halt
the arms deal with Saudi Arabia if it concluded the weapons had been misused.
strongly demand and expect that Canadian exports are used in a way that fully
respects human rights," Trudeau said in the parliament.
have frozen export permits before when we had concerns about their potential
misuse and we will not hesitate to do so again," he added.
remarks, however, drew a warning from General Dynamics Corp which warned Canada
against stopping the sales.
Canada to unilaterally terminate the contract, Canada would incur billions of
dollars of liability to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada," it said.
Perry, defense analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, called the
warning “unusual” at the time.
said General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada would normally keep a very low
profile. "I can't imagine they are anything other than extremely
worried," he said.
himself, had previously acknowledged that there would be “huge penalties” if
Ottawa turned its back on the deal.
Canadian premier, known for trying to portray himself as a human rights
advocate, has been under pressure to scrap the deal inked by the previous
President Donald Trump is "open to a potential meeting in the future"
with his Turkish counterpart, the White House said Monday.
in the day, Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Trump had
accepted an invitation from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit Turkey in
2019 during a phone call Sunday.
we will work on the date," Kalin said at a press conference in Ankara.
House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley noted in the statement "nothing
definite is being planned".
"long and productive" phone conversation between the two leaders
tackled the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly
coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years, they are
coming home," Trump said on Twitter, using an alternate name for Daesh.
announced plans last Wednesday to withdraw roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria
following a phone call with Erdogan on Dec. 14 in which the two leaders agreed
on the need for more effective coordination on the war-torn country.
withdrawal comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in
northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group. Since 2016, Ankara has
carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.
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is deeply rooted. When muslim scholars say happy Christmas is not allowed they
mean that since the way the Christians celebrate Christmas cannot be sanctioned
by Islam as Islam considers Allah is alone Who
has no children while Christians believe with differences among their
religionists that hazrat Jesus is the son of God. And many more such
differences keep Muslims and Christians divided on the issue of Christmas.
to say it is all the matter of intention what do you mean by Happy Christmas. From
Islamic point if you make intention that you are going to celebrate the
birthday of Hazrat Isa Jesus peace be upon him, not in the way as Christians believe
and do with regard to their faith and creed, then the question is should it be
understanding is required. What do you mean by mubarakbadi? Mubarakbadi to the Christian
faith that Hazrat Jesus is son of God or mubarakbadi to the Muslim faith that
Hazrat Jesus peace be upon him is the prophet of Islam.
of birthday is controversial among Muslims themselves. They have not yet been
free from such controversial issue, how can they think further about deep possibility
of Christmas day.