certifired_img

Books and Documents

Islamic World News (09 Aug 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Dalai Lama Calls for Shunning Shia-Sunni Conflicts, Asserts Islam a Religion of Peace
















Sayyed Mohammad Anjavinejad reportedly took the stage of a mosque in south-central Iran and launched into a scathing criticism of the regime's authoritarian leaders

-----

 

Dalai Lama Calls for Shunning Shia-Sunni Conflicts, Asserts Islam a Religion of Peace

Iranian Cleric Launches Tirade against Islamic Regime as Protesters Shout 'Death to Khamenei

Belittled By Burqa Row, British Muslims Fear Rise In Hate Crime

South Africa: Arsonists Target Constantia Muslim Shrine

Combating Terrorism Is an Islamic Community’s Collective Wish: Shanghai Mosque’s Imam

 

India

Dalai Lama Calls for Shunning Shia-Sunni Conflicts, Asserts Islam a Religion of Peace

Majlis, Sharia Courts to Help Prevent Cases of Triple Talaq

Four terrorists killed, commando injured in Baramulla gunfight

Islamic State on NIA radar again: Eight youths from Hyderabad held for questioning

NIA on the lookout for wife, relatives of JUM terror

--------

Mideast

Iranian Cleric Launches Tirade against Islamic Regime as Protesters Shout 'Death to Khamenei

Colombia Recognizes Palestine as Independent State

Iraq’s pro-Iranian militias threaten to break Iran’s blockade

Houthi commander, militiamen killed in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Yemeni forces target Saudi Arabia's Jizan Industrial City with ballistic missile

Three Palestinians, including pregnant mother and toddler, killed in Israeli strikes

Israeli minister says Iran should 'disappear' from world

--------

Europe

Belittled By Burqa Row, British Muslims Fear Rise In Hate Crime

Johnson’s Burqa Remarks Caused Offence: British Prime Minister

Germany says US re-imposition of Iran bans ‘mistake,’ vows to fight for JCPOA survival

How British Muslims Make It to Makkah

Australia strips five of citizenship over Islamic State links

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leaders Meet With Russian Officials in Moscow, Drawing Israeli Concern

--------

Africa

South Africa: Arsonists Target Constantia Muslim Shrine

Shabab Militants ‘Kill 5 Soldiers’ In Kenya's North

Jordan warns of catastrophic consequences of UNRWA budget crisis

--------

South Asia

Combating Terrorism Is An Islamic Community’s Collective Wish: Shanghai Mosque’s Imam

Consensus Reached On Peace with Taliban, Elections: Junbish Party

Ghani Emphasizes On Proper Management Of Likely Ceasefire With Taliban

Key Taliban commander killed in car bomb explosion in Ghazni city

13 civilians killed, wounded in roadside mine explosion in Balkh

Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka gets six years’ jail in contempt case

UN calls on Myanmar to improve conditions for Rohingya repatriation

--------

North America

Anti-Islam Rally to Be Held In Front Of Toronto City Hall Draws Outrage

Palestinian-American to Become First Muslim Congresswoman in US

Florida County Commissioner promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories

Afghanistan says surrendered Islamic State fighters are war prisoners: U.S. general

Man who supported Islamic State online to be deported

--------

Pakistan

Imran Wants To Build Trust-Based Relationship with US

JI to Give PTI Chance to Fulfil Promises: Siraj

Alleged polls rigging: MMA activists block Swabi Interchange for hours

Pakistan running $2bn deficit a month, says Asad

SC suspends LHC order, paves way for Imran’s poll notification

Imran Khan’s speech leaves party MPAs guessing

Pakistan, US must cooperate to achieve common goals: report

Accountability Court II to hear pending references against Sharif family

--------

Southeast Asia

Non-State Actors Are Main Violators of Religious Freedom in Indonesia

Activist Marina Mahathir Tells Organisers of Penang Exhibit to Remove Her Portrait

Another earthquake hits Indonesia, death toll from previous quake rises to 164

Govt Islamic charity agency under embezzlement probe, minister says

Jailing of Teen Sparks Calls for Reform of Indonesia Abortion Laws

Police Build New Detention Center for Terrorists

--------

Arab World

Another Mass Grave Unearthed in Northeastern Syria

Cost of Syria War Destruction at $388 Bln: UN

Pakistan Scholars Council Slams Foreign Interference In Saudi Internal Affairs

Saudi Arabia Beheads and Crucifies Myanmar National

Enhanced Arab News Hajj App Launched In Partnership with Muslim World League

Terrorists' Supply Lines in Hama Province Cut off in Syrian Army Attack

Syrian Army Advancing Rapidly against ISIL in Badiyeh of Sweida

Terrorists Concerned about Growing Wave of Pro-Peace Activities in Northwestern Syria

Saudi Attaché in US forms committee to move Saudi students from Canada to US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/dalai-lama-calls-for-shunning-shia-sunni-conflicts,-asserts-islam-a-religion-of-peace/d/116085


--------

 

Dalai Lama calls for shunning Shia-Sunni conflicts, asserts Islam a religion of peace

Aug 8 2018

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today appealed to Muslims in India to make efforts to reduce Shia-Sunni conflicts that are prevalent in some other countries and asserted that Islam is a religion of peace.

He lamented the bloodshed over denominational differences, which he said should be avoided as Islam teaches compassion and harmony.

Addressing an event at the Goa Institute of Management, the 14th Dalai Lama stressed the need for international brotherhood and harmony.

"We are part of the world of seven billion human beings. Sometimes, I suggested that the Indian community in America, England and different European countries should invite some Europeans during Diwali and New Year, and talk about 'ahimsa' (non-violence) which is the basis of religious tolerance," he said.

"Muslims across the globe follow the same Quran and also pray five times a day. However, they are killing each other owing to differences between the sects like Shia and Sunni," he said.

The Dalai Lama said, "I was in Ladakh. I suggested to Ladakhi Muslims that Indian Muslims should make some efforts to reduce the conflict between Shias and Sunnis".

He told the audience that a national conference of Muslims would be organised in the coming months, which will be followed by a similar convention at the international level.

He said the modern India has remained by and large peaceful due to over 1000-year-old history of religious harmony.

"The modern and independent India is peaceful despite being a hugely populated and democratic nation," the 83-year-old spiritual leader said.

He appealed to educationists to combine the modern education with ancient knowledge and introduce the same in educational curriculum, first within the country and then at the international level.

"We should show that if problems happen we can solve them through a dialogue. It is more important to have inner disarmament through knowledge," he added.

https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/india/dalai-lama-calls-for-shunning-shia-sunni-conflicts-asserts-islam-a-religion-of-peace/292931.html

--------

 

Iranian Cleric Launches Tirade against Islamic Regime as Protesters Shout 'Death to Khamenei

08-08-2018

An Islamic cleric in Iran has taken a bold step to oppose the hardline Islamic regime of his country.

Sayyed Mohammad Anjavinejad reportedly took the stage of a mosque in south-central Iran and launched into a scathing criticism of the regime's authoritarian leaders, accusing them and their families of ruining his country with decades of corruption and theft.

"There is no doubt that 99% of our officials and their families do not face any economic, social, welfare, or educational problem," Anjavinejad reportedly told the small crowd that had gathered at a mosque in Shiraz in July. "They robbed you and me. We have no idea...how many billions each of those families conceals."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, obtained a video of his speech. According to the group's website, Anjavinejad's sermon "was posted on the Iranian Aparat website on July 7, 2018, and circulated on other social media sites."

MEMRI says Anjavinejad is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and holds the religious title of Hujjat Al-Islam, which in Arabic means "authority on Islam."

An initial search showed several social media accounts bearing Anjavinejad's name, though CBN News is unable to verify whether the accounts in question belong to the cleric.

Anjavinejad's comments come as Iranians grow more frustrated and angry by the day over their government's handling of a failing economy.

"Our country is beyond repair," said an exasperated Anjavinejad.

Since December 2016, tens of thousands of Iranians in more than 80 cities across the country have staged demonstrations protesting the weak economy, strict Islamic rules, water shortages, high inflation and skyrocketing prices.

"At this point, they are facing what many call one of the worst economic crises this country has ever seen," journalist Reza Sayah told France 24. "Everything from real estate, groceries, and electronic goods has almost doubled in price."

Many like Anjavinejad put the blame squarely on 40 years of dictatorial rule by Iran's Islamic clerics.

"They sit in their pavilions, enjoying good food. They fly first class, and talk in seminars all day. Forget it! I am sick and tired of them," Anjavinejad said during his speech. "This has been the case throughout the 40 years of the revolution. There is no doubt about this."

For weeks, the country's currency has been in a free fall, plummeting to historic lows against the dollar. This has put tremendous pressure on average citizens who are struggling to make ends meet.

"So what hope is left for us?" asked Anjavinejad. "I'm sitting here, complaining and shouting, but what's the use? There is none.

On Monday, the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran, turning its back on the 2015 nuclear deal.

"These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed," Trump said in a tweet, adding, "anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States."

Experts say Trump's strategy is already having an effect.

"The currency, since the president announced our withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, the Iranian currency has decreased by nearly half," John Bolton, the White House national security advisor, told Fox News. "We've seen millions and millions of dollars in currency leaving Iran as the elites move their assets out of the country and we've seen a continuation of demonstrations and even riots in towns and cities across Iran as the economy has gone into a tailspin."

As in the past, social media continues to play a vital role in fueling anti-government sentiments in Iran. Videos uploaded to various social media platforms reportedly show crowds of angry demonstrators chanting, "Death to the dictator! Death to Khamenei! Death to Rouhani!" and "Islamic regime must get lost!" 

"We had protests in 2009 but these are different because people are calling for the death of the President and the Supreme Leader. They have broken a lot of taboos," Hanif Jazayeri, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told the Daily Mail. "The demonstrations are not just over economic issues but very quickly turned political due to the regime's repression of the Iranian people with regard to women's rights, freedom of speech and other basic freedoms."

"The chants are directed at the entirety of the regime and protesters are demanding regime change," Jazayeri added.

According to a transcript provided by MEMRI, Anjavinejad ended his speech by denouncing the regime's lack of empathy for those suffering tremendous economic hardship. 

"They and their families have become accustomed to forbidden money," Anjavinejad said of the ruling class. "They have never suffered from the cold or the heat. They have never suffered from a water shortage. They have never been unable to enjoy life."

"We did not have a revolution only so that they could eat from our pockets and be our masters. In most cases, their families study abroad. For how long are we supposed to protect their interests?"

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/national-security/2018/august/why-the-man-responsible-for-protecting-americas-power-grid-from-a-cyber-attack-says-he-has-good-news

--------

 

Iranian Cleric Launches Tirade Against Islamic Regime as Protesters Shout 'Death to Khamenei!'

08-08-2018

An Islamic cleric in Iran has taken a bold step to oppose the hardline Islamic regime of his country.

Sayyed Mohammad Anjavinejad reportedly took the stage of a mosque in south-central Iran and launched into a scathing criticism of the regime's authoritarian leaders, accusing them and their families of ruining his country with decades of corruption and theft.

"There is no doubt that 99% of our officials and their families do not face any economic, social, welfare, or educational problem," Anjavinejad reportedly told the small crowd that had gathered at a mosque in Shiraz in July. "They robbed you and me. We have no idea...how many billions each of those families conceals."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, obtained a video of his speech. According to the group's website, Anjavinejad's sermon "was posted on the Iranian Aparat website on July 7, 2018, and circulated on other social media sites."

MEMRI says Anjavinejad is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and holds the religious title of Hujjat Al-Islam, which in Arabic means "authority on Islam."

An initial search showed several social media accounts bearing Anjavinejad's name, though CBN News is unable to verify whether the accounts in question belong to the cleric.

Anjavinejad's comments come as Iranians grow more frustrated and angry by the day over their government's handling of a failing economy.

"Our country is beyond repair," said an exasperated Anjavinejad.

Since December 2016, tens of thousands of Iranians in more than 80 cities across the country have staged demonstrations protesting the weak economy, strict Islamic rules, water shortages, high inflation and skyrocketing prices.

"At this point, they are facing what many call one of the worst economic crises this country has ever seen," journalist Reza Sayah told France 24. "Everything from real estate, groceries, and electronic goods has almost doubled in price."

Many like Anjavinejad put the blame squarely on 40 years of dictatorial rule by Iran's Islamic clerics.

"They sit in their pavilions, enjoying good food. They fly first class, and talk in seminars all day. Forget it! I am sick and tired of them," Anjavinejad said during his speech. "This has been the case throughout the 40 years of the revolution. There is no doubt about this."

For weeks, the country's currency has been in a free fall, plummeting to historic lows against the dollar. This has put tremendous pressure on average citizens who are struggling to make ends meet.

"So what hope is left for us?" asked Anjavinejad. "I'm sitting here, complaining and shouting, but what's the use? There is none.

On Monday, the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran, turning its back on the 2015 nuclear deal.

"These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed," Trump said in a tweet, adding, "anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States."

Experts say Trump's strategy is already having an effect.

"The currency, since the president announced our withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, the Iranian currency has decreased by nearly half," John Bolton, the White House national security advisor, told Fox News. "We've seen millions and millions of dollars in currency leaving Iran as the elites move their assets out of the country and we've seen a continuation of demonstrations and even riots in towns and cities across Iran as the economy has gone into a tailspin."

As in the past, social media continues to play a vital role in fueling anti-government sentiments in Iran. Videos uploaded to various social media platforms reportedly show crowds of angry demonstrators chanting, "Death to the dictator! Death to Khamenei! Death to Rouhani!" and "Islamic regime must get lost!" 

"We had protests in 2009 but these are different because people are calling for the death of the President and the Supreme Leader. They have broken a lot of taboos," Hanif Jazayeri, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, told the Daily Mail. "The demonstrations are not just over economic issues but very quickly turned political due to the regime's repression of the Iranian people with regard to women's rights, freedom of speech and other basic freedoms."

"The chants are directed at the entirety of the regime and protesters are demanding regime change," Jazayeri added.

According to a transcript provided by MEMRI, Anjavinejad ended his speech by denouncing the regime's lack of empathy for those suffering tremendous economic hardship. 

"They and their families have become accustomed to forbidden money," Anjavinejad said of the ruling class. "They have never suffered from the cold or the heat. They have never suffered from a water shortage. They have never been unable to enjoy life."

"We did not have a revolution only so that they could eat from our pockets and be our masters. In most cases, their families study abroad. For how long are we supposed to protect their interests?"

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/national-security/2018/august/why-the-man-responsible-for-protecting-americas-power-grid-from-a-cyber-attack-says-he-has-good-news

--------

 

Belittled by burqa row, British Muslims fear rise in hate crime

8 Aug 2018

“I mean just what is his problem? He comes out with disgraceful stuff like this all the time. It’s not funny, it’s dangerous. He is peddling this rightwing rhetoric and shrouding it in humour.” Waqas Siddiqui is exasperated and fears yet another rise in hate crime in his home town of Blackburn after Boris Johnson’s controversial remarks about the burqa.

But another thing that Siddiqui predicts is the rise in sales of the full veil over the next few weeks. The Siddiqui family own the Hijab Centre in Whalley Range – an area with a large Muslim population. For 17 years, they have sold every kind of Muslim headscarf conceivable. Rows of mannequin heads line shelves. They are adorned in intricately embroidered scarves of fuchsia and turquoise. Nadeem Siddiqui and his wife, Amna, make regular trips to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan to bring back luxurious cloths and silks.

To the front of the brightly lit store in a corner, there is a much smaller section. A few pieces of thin black cloth with a slit in the upper section hang from a hook. These are niqabs. They cover everything on a face apart from the eyes. The store now sells roughly one a day, having seen a steady growth in recent years.

Mariam, one of the shop assistants, demonstrates. She places the niqab on her face and there is a bit of giggling – she doesn’t normally wear one, but says she sells many and appreciates why women want to wear them. In a mix of Gujarati and English she explains that women feel protected by the covering – “they don’t want men looking at them”.

Siddiqui, 27, says Blackburn has experienced a rise in women wearing the niqab. He believes it is a reaction to the criticism of his faith. His wife chooses to wear a veil but his mother and sister don’t.

“There has been an increase – it is mostly the younger girls who are buying them rather than the elderly. I think we see more girls wearing them now in places like Blackburn because when people criticise your religion, you hold on to it a bit more. You retreat back into what you’re comfortable with,” he says.

The last time there was an increase in sales of the niqab at the shop was in 2006. The area’s local MP, Jack Straw, wrote a controversial column in a local newspaper requesting that Muslim women lift their veil at his surgeries in his constituency. Straw sparked a national debate, saying he was worried about the “implications of separateness” and the development of “parallel communities”.

“We saw a rise in sales during that time,” says Siddiqui. “When people attack you, you feel like the only thing you have to cling on to is your religion – like a safety blanket. It makes you go inwards. When we had all the Jack Straw stuff, women felt unsafe, they felt they would be targeted in the streets and the same will happen now.”

Siddiqui says the “irresponsible” comments made by politicians will once again fuel hate crime in his area.

“He [Johnson] has a hidden agenda, trying to gain support of certain types of people who have certain views on Muslims. You already feel like you’re a minority in the country and then if you wear the niqab, you are in an even smaller minority.

“There are certain individuals who will use this, those individuals that do not view Muslims in a positive light already and seeing someone in a position of power making comments like this gives them the green light to take it a step further.”

Fazal Hassan, the Muslim chaplain at Royal Blackburn hospital said he felt “deeply hurt” by the comments and joined calls for Johnson to resign.

He said “The Muslim community feels belittled.

“Britain is a democratic and free country, therefore the right to clothing is a matter of personal choice and freedom. It is absolutely unacceptable that a choice of a person’s dress is equated to that of a criminal.

“Worryingly, his actions and choice of words indicate that Islamophobia is becoming mainstream in the UK and is on the rise. Furthermore, if the Conservative party fails to take any action it will signal that Islamophobia is acceptable within the Conservative party.”

Meanwhile, back to a street near the shop, Saika, 28, says she has worn the veil since she was a teenager. She cannot understand the overwhelming interest in her clothing. Asked why she wears the veil, she replies bluntly: “Because I feel like it.”

Six years ago when she arrived in Britain and completed the Life in the UK citizenship test she said she was told that people in the UK were free to wear whatever they wanted.

“I was never forced to wear it. I like it. If I haven’t got it on I don’t feel comfortable. Nobody is telling me to do anything. I don’t go around telling other people what to wear – so why do they think they can tell me? This is my choice.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/08/belittled-by-burqa-row-british-muslims-fear-rise-in-hate

--------

 

South Africa: Arsonists Target Constantia Muslim Shrine

7 AUGUST 2018

A part of Cape Town's Sayed Mahmud Mazaar in Constantia was set alight by arsonists on Tuesday morning, the chairperson of the shrine's trust said.

"It's terrible," said Fadiel Essop.

The shrine is under the control of the Shahmahomed Trust of which Essop is a trustee.

"It was established by my late great-grandfather, Hajee Sullaiman Shahmahomed, to preserve the historical legacy of the pioneers of the Muslim community in the Cape," explained Essop.

He said that the caretaker let two people who arrived in a car for prayers in at about 6:10, and went to shower.

He heard footsteps running and he quickly went to check what was going on.

"Basically they tried to set the place alight," said Essop.

Site accessible to all visitors

The caretaker put the fire out quickly so the damage was contained.

But Essop was shocked that someone could target the shrine, considering all the work that had been put into making it a peaceful retreat for visitors.

"The site has always been accessible to all visitors, irrespective of their beliefs and visitors [are] expected to act in a dignified manner as indicated on the notice boards at the kramat (shrine)," he added.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) explained that the mazaar, otherwise known as a kramat, is among other graves of influential Muslims who spread Islam "under the yoke of oppression and torture".

"The blatant disrespect shown toward Muslim burial sites - especially those that we revere - and to the dead is a cause of great concern," said head of the Muslim Cemetery Board and second deputy president of the MJC, Shaykh Riad Fataar.

"In the past, there seemed to have been attempts at the same thing, and it stopped. We hope this is not a resurgence of the same."

Circle of shrines

The MJC asked that anybody with information on who was behind the fire report it to the police, or the Cape Mazaar Society.

The society explained on its web page that the mazaars it oversees honour the Muslim slaves - who included religious thinkers - who were brought to the Cape to work on the garrison being established by Jan van Riebeeck.

The mazaars form a circle, comprising the tombs of Auliyah (friends of Allah) who were brought as slaves to the Cape.

"It starts at the old cemetery on the slopes of Signal Hill, just above the quarry in Strand Street, where two saintly men lie buried, the circle continues to two graves on top of Signal Hill. The circle then continues at a grave much revered, situated above Oudekraal beyond Camps Bay, and sweeps around the mountain to a kramat at Constantia, on Tokai Road.

The circle proceeds to the most important and widely known of all tombs, the kramat of Sheikh Yusuf at Faure, on the farm Zandvleit. The circle is completed by an old tomb on Robben Island.

The society says modern pilgrims can visit all, except the Island Tomb, in a single day.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201808080278.html

--------

 

Combating terrorism is an Islamic community’s collective wish: Shanghai Mosque’s Imam

August 8, 2018

“In addition to daily life, Muslims also need indoctrination of moral principles. They should be more familiar with Islam. They should also get acquainted with the challenges of the Islamic world” he added.

Imam of the congregation of Shanghai Xiaotaoyuan Mosque went on: “the Islamic association of Shanghai has proposed that the Imams act in the direction of Muslim unification. This association cares about relations with other countries and is also related to other religions in Shanghai. ”

Referring to a visit of a delegation from the Islamic association of Shanghai to Iran, he said: “Last year, a delegation from the Islamic association of Shanghai visited Iran and discussed with Muslims in various Iranian cities.”

“Some Chinese media, including China Daily and China's National Television, cover the Muslim situation in China and their related news” Musa stated.

Pointing out to a media delegation from Mehr News Agency and Tehran Times newspaper trip to China and their visit of the Islamic association of Shanghai, in which they suggested bilateral cooperation, he underlined: “We support the media cooperation between Iran and China."

He remarked: “The Islamic association of Shanghai has its own special journals and is also active in the new media."

“Activities in the new media ease the way for the association to inform the Muslim news at high speed about them,” he highlighted.

Speaking on other activities of the Islamic association, he underscored: “Muslims in China have their own proper education and different classes of the Islamic community get the essential education about Islam. This association prepares the clerics by learning them for the imamate of the mosques.”

He added: “We educate Islamic teachings during Ramadan and holidays. The mosques are active in Shanghai during the daytime and the clergy promote the Islamic education.”

Alluding to terrorism, he stressed: “combating terrorism is an Islamic community’s collective wish. Peace and stability are important to the world. China has made serious efforts in combating terrorism. The goal is that people live in peace and stability.”

“The Iranian government has played an important role in creating peace and stability” Musa emphasized.

Hinting at the Silk Road revival and the cultural program of the Islamic association Shanghai for cultural relations with Muslims of the countries on the direction of the Silk Road, he said: “We support the silk road project. We have plans for cultural exchanges. We are trying to make a positive contribution to this project and its cultural exchanges.”

It should be noted that the conversation took place at the site of the Islamic association of Shanghai, following a meeting of the media delegation of the Tehran Times and the Mehr News Agency.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/426306/Combating-terrorism-is-an-Islamic-community-s-collective-wish

--------

 

India

 

Majlis, sharia courts to help prevent cases of triple talaq

Aug 8, 2018

MUMBAI: Women advocacy group Majlis has joined hands with a group of city-based Darul Qazas or Shariah courts to help resolve Muslims’ matrimonial disputes and prevent triple talaq. Activists from Majlis and several qazis (judges) from Darul Qazas decided to co-ordinate and help each other to provide relief to women victims, at a brainstorming session at Islam Gymkhana on Wednesday.

“There is a wrong impression that Majlis is hostile to Muslims. We work among women victims, many of them Muslims, and want to help Darul Qazas, and get their help in reconciliation and counselling process so that women don’t have to knock at doors of courts often,” said Majlis founder head Flavia Agnes. She agreed that Darul Qazas are not parallel courts but function as counselling and reconciliation centres and help reduce the burden of courts.

All-India Muslim Personal Law Board member Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi said only practising Muslims visit Darul Qazas and qazis cannot deviate from Quranic commandments and Sharia rules while resolving disputes. Senior advocate Yusuf Muchhala, who also heads Muslim Personal Law Board’s legal cell, suggested that Darul Qazas should not confine themselves to passing judgements but also work for social reforms within Muslim society. He agreed that the term ‘Shariah court’ gives the impression that they are parallel courts, but they are not courts as their rulings are not binding, and if a party is unhappy with its ruling, they can always approach secular courts.

Mufti Faiyaz Alam Qasmi, who heads a Darul Qaza at Nagpada, asked what Majlis would do if a man/woman does not appear for a hearing despite intimation. “If it is a case of domestic violence, the best thing is to ask the party to go to a court which will provide relief under Domestic Violence (DV) Act,” said Majlis programme director Audrey D’Mello.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/majlis-sharia-courts-to-help-prevent-cases-of-triple-talaq/articleshow/65329279.cms

--------

 

Four terrorists killed, commando injured in Baramulla gunfight

Aug 8, 2018

SRINAGAR: Four terrorists were killed and an Army commando suffered injuries in an encounter in the forests of Rafiabad, in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, on Wednesday.

Reports said a joint team of the Army's 32 RR and commandos from 9 Para launched a cordon-and-search operation in the dense woods of the upper reaches of Rafiabad early Wednesday morning.

A police officer confirmed the cordon operation in the woods of Naldagi, a mountainous area that connects Uri sector, and said the joint team and a group of militants were engaged in an early morning stand-off.

The police officer said a commando of the Army's 9 Para, Naresh Chander Bhutt, was injured in the initial gunfight and immediately evacuated to a nearby MI Room and then airlifted to the 92 Base military hospital here. He said four militants were killed in the operation. "Their identities and group affiliation were yet to be ascertained," he said.

The militants were believed to have recently infiltrated through Uri sector, he said.

The Army's Srinagar-based defence spokesperson, Col Rajesh Kalia, said in a statement issued here four terrorists were killed in the operation which was ongoing.

"Lt Gen AK Bhatt, GOC, Chinar Corps, compliments Kilo Force, Special Forces (SF) and 32 RR soldiers for killing four militants in the ongoing operations in the forests of Rafiabad. The SF team was specially inserted in the area of operations and have done an excellent job by neutralising these militants and thwarting their nefarious designs," the spokesman said.

Earlier, DGP S P Vaid said five militants were trapped in the gunfight. "Encounter going on in Dooniwari forest area of police station Dangiwacha Sopore, reports of presence of 5 terrorists. Wish success to our boys," the DGP said on Twitter.

Separately, the Jammu & Kashmir police arrested on Wednesday an overground worker of the militant outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ulHind in Sheeri area of north Kashmir's Baramulla district.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/four-terrorists-killed-commando-injured-in-baramulla-gunfight/articleshow/65328976.cms

--------

 

Islamic State on NIA radar again: Eight youths from Hyderabad held for questioning

by Deeptiman Tiwary

August 9, 2018

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is questioning eight young men from Hyderabad who were allegedly planning acts of “terror” on instructions from suspected Islamic State (IS) handlers. After a lull of at least ten months, IS is on the radar of security agencies again despite suffering crushing setbacks in the Middle East.

The NIA Monday had conducted raids at seven locations in Hyderabad and seized laptops and mobile phones of eight young men suspected to be part of this ring. “The mobile phones and the laptops have been sent for forensic examination while the youths are being questioned. They have been apprehended because it was suspected they were going to execute some terror act. They will be arrested if any evidence is found against them,” said a senior NIA officer.

Sources said the eight young men being questioned are associated with a group of three youth who were arrested from the Nagpur airport in 2015 while attempting to fly to Srinagar from where they allegedly planned to go to Syria and join IS. Two of the three had tried to leave for Syria from West Bengal in 2014 as well but were apprehended in Malda.

“These eight youth were put under surveillance since that time as they had been in touch with the arrested IS recruits and had been participating in online activity associated with Islamic State. However, their online activity recently suggested they were probably in touch with someone outside and were planning to execute some attack. That is why they have been detained and are being examined,” said a security establishment officer.

This is the first time the NIA has questioned suspects allegedly part of an IS ring after the Kerala Police booked five men in October 2017. The NIA had taken over that case in December 2017. While the NIA has arrested 78 youth for alleged association with the IS, no arrests have been made this year for links to the terror outfit.

The security establishment is looking at the Hyderabad case as a testament to the attraction of IS despite the fall of the Caliphate in the Middle East. “Now, there is no place to go to for IS recruits in India. But, the online activity of some youths suggests its ideology continues to attract people from India, albeit in small numbers. These youth had no plans to go anywhere,” a source said.

The agency’s raids Monday were at Shaheennagar, Balapur and Wadiaumar colonies in Hyderabad in connection with a 2016 case related to the IS. This case relates to the deportation of a key IS recruit from Karnataka, Adnan Hassan Damudi. In January 2016, Damudi along with J&K-born Azhar Al Islam and Mumbai-born Farhan Sheikh were deported from Dubai for allegedly propagating IS ideology and recruiting for the outfit.

According to NIA investigations, Damudi was alleged to have recruited close to a dozen Indians for the outfit since his stay in Dubai beginning 2012 and had helped send many to Syria. He was among the few who were in direct touch with chief IS recruiter for India, Yousuf-al-Hindi — later identified as former Indian Mujahideen operative from Bhatkal, Shafi Armar.

In June 2017, the US put him on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists and imposed financial sanctions against him. His brother Sultan Armar was, earlier in 2015, reported by IS-related websites to have died fighting in Kobane.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/islamic-state-on-nia-radar-again-eight-youths-from-hyderabad-held-for-questioning-5298515/

--------

 

NIA on the lookout for wife, relatives of JUM terror

August 08, 2018

After the arrest of 38-year-old terror suspect Mohammed Jahidul Islam of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths are now on the lookout for his wife and relatives, who absconded soon after Islam’s arrest.

Sources revealed that Islam’s brother-in-law and father-in-law, along with their families, who were living in Ramanagaram, Karnataka, too absconded soon after the arrest.

NIA sources revealed that Islam’s brother-in-law Hasan had left Bangladesh and arrived in Ramanagara two months before Islam set up his residence.

“Four months ago, Hasan, his wife and children arrived in Ramanagara and rented a house from a man named Ayal Imran in Tipu Nagar. Two months later, Mohammed Jaidul Islam and his family too arrived and rented a house in Troop Lane. Later, Islam managed to bring his mother-in-law and father-in-law, who were also staying in Tipu Nagar,” source said.

Soon after Islam’s arrest, his wife is said to have rushed to Hasan’s house to informed him.

By the time NIA teams reached Hasan’s house, he had absconded along with his family members, Islam’s in-laws and wife.

“Hasan used to sell artificial jewellery. They have two children with them and Islam’s wife is also missing,” source said.

Mohammed Jaidul Islam apparently used different aliases - Muneer, Kausar, Mizan and Booma Mayan. A native of Jamnagar in Bangladesh, he is a suspect in the Bodh Gaya in Bihar and Burdwan blasts in 2014. Islam has been on the run ever since.

On August 2, 2014, a two-storey building belonging to a leader of the Trinamool Congress Noor-ul-Hasan had collapsed after a blast in Burdwan. Two men who had rented this building, Suban Mandal and Shakeel Ahmed, had died during the blast. They were connected to the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen.

The NIA had suspected the role of JUM in the blasts and a chargesheet was filed against 21 people, of which 17 are in prison. The remaining, including Islam, had absconded.

The NIA also suspects Islam’s involvement in the Bodh Gaya blasts.

Islam, who was later apprehended by the Bangladesh police, had escaped police custody and fled to West Bengal. He then made his way to Kerala and then Ramanagara two months ago.

Full report at:

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/nia-lookout-wife-relatives-jum-terror-suspect-86193

--------

 

Mideast

 

Colombia recognizes Palestine as independent state

Aug 9, 2018

The Colombian government has formally recognized Palestine as a sovereign state in a new diplomatic blow for the regime in Israel.

According to a letter from the Colombian Foreign Ministry made public on Wednesday, the government of former president Juan Manuel Santos had recognized the Palestinian state on August 3, days before being replaced by Ivan Duque.

“I would like to inform you that in the name of the government of Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos has decided to recognize Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign state,” read the letter addressed to Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

It further noted that the Palestinian people “have a right to constitute an independent state.”

Duque’s administration said it would review Santos’ decision on Palestine, but acknowledged that it was legal.

The new Colombian government “will cautiously examine” the “implications” of the decision and “will act according to international law,” Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian embassy in Bogota praised Colombia’s move.

“We appreciate the Colombian government for this decision and we are sure it will contribute significantly to create the necessary conditions in the search for peace in the Middle East,” the diplomatic mission said in a communiqué.

The decision makes Colombia the last South American country to recognize the state of Palestine.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled at the last minute a trip to Bogota due to the situation around the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state in the territories of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem al-Quds, with the latter as its capital.

In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.

The Palestinian national flag was also hoisted for the first time at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2015.

However, Palestinian efforts for statehood have been hampered due to Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied lands and Washington’s latest anti-Palestinian measures, among them US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/09/570629/Palestine-Colombia-Israel

--------

 

Iraq’s pro-Iranian militias threaten to break Iran’s blockade

8 August 2018

Following the United States’ sanctions going into effect against the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, Iraq’s pro-Iranian militias threatened to break Iran’s blockade at all cost.

In a statement, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, an Iraqi Shiite militia, said that work is in progress to break the blockade.

The militia statement criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi’s stance, describing it as disappointing and a failure compared to what Iran has given to Iraq, according to the statement.

The statement added that without Iran, al-Abadi would not have been in power, pointing out that the duty of the Iraqi government was to stand by Iran in order to break the US economic blockade.

In a press conference on Tuesday evening, Iraqi Haydar al-Abadi said that Iraq is committed to the US sanctions against Iran, pointing to the Iraqi interests.

In the same context of the positions of other Iraqi pro-Iranian militias, Hassan Salem, the head of the parliamentary bloc Sadikun, representing the political front of the Shiite militia As’aib Ahl al-haq, said in a statement that it was time for the Iraqi government to return the favors to Iran, in reference to Iran’s financial and military support for its militias.

For his part, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki received on Wednesday, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Irj Muasjidi. During the meeting, they discussed the latest political and security developments in the region.

Maliki called on the Iraqi government not to be part of the US policy to impose economic sanctions on Iran.

For its part, Doa’at al-Islam Shiite militia said in a statement on Wednesday that the actions of imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran by the United States and its president Donald Trump was a violation of all human values and international norms.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/08/Iraq-s-pro-Iranian-militias-threaten-to-break-Iran-s-blockade.html

--------

 

Houthi commander, militiamen killed in Yemen’s Hodeidah

9 August 2018

A top Houthi commander and several militiamen were killed in a battle in the city of Hodeidah during clashes with the Yemeni army in the al-Duraihmi governorate.

A military source said that the commander was Mansour al-Soudi, also known as Abu Hmeid, who leads what the source called “quick operations” by Houthi militias in al-Duraihmi. He was killed along with several Houthi militiamen.

Meanwhile, over 330 sheikhs and dignitaries from the Hajjah province held their first conference on Wednesday, announcing their rejection of Houthi violations and Iranian interference in their country.

They reaffirmed their support of the Yemeni army, and called on the province’s residents to stand with the legitimate army and kick out the militias from their neighborhoods.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/08/09/Houthi-commander-militiamen-killed-in-Yemen-s-Hodeidah.html

--------

 

Yemeni forces target Saudi Arabia's Jizan Industrial City with ballistic missile

Aug 8, 2018

Yemeni army forces have targeted the Jizan Industrial City in southern Saudi Arabia with domestically-manufactured Badr-1 ballistic missile.

Yemen's Arabic-language al-Masirah television network made the announcement on Wednesday.

Following the announcement, Saudi state news channel al-Ekhbariya claimed that the kingdom's air defenses had intercepted the projectile.

Earlier in the day, Yemeni army forces targeted Saudi border posts in the kingdom’s southern provinces of Jizan and Najran with a salvo of Katyusha rockets and artillery rounds, leaving a number of Saudi soldiers dead and injured.  

Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees also attacked al-Hajlah and al-Muthalath bases in Najran.

Separately, Yemeni army forces and their allies fired a domestically-designed short-range missile at a position of Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf.

An unnamed Yemeni military official said the Zelzal-1 (Quake-1) missile hit the designated target in the al-Maslub district of the province.

Meanwhile, Saudi warplanes have carried out raids on residential areas in Yemen's Amran and Hajjah provinces killing at least 18 people.

At least 12 civilians were killed when Saudi warplanes bombed Amran province.

Elsewhere in Hajjah province, Saudi jets targeted a residential area and killed at least six people.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen in March 2015.

The United Nations says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

A high-ranking UN aid official has warned against the “catastrophic” living conditions in Yemen, stating that there is a growing risk of famine and cholera there.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570608/yemen-saudi-missile-jizan

--------

 

Three Palestinians, including pregnant mother and toddler, killed in Israeli strikes

Aug 8, 2018

At least three Palestinian people have been killed and several others injured in Israeli airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip.

Smoke plumes could be seen rising from Gaza City following the Israeli raids that began on Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning.

Gaza's Health Ministry announced that a Palestinian was killed in northern Gaza, while at least six others were injured in airstrikes across the coastal sliver.

It added that Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month daughter Bayan were also killed in an airstrike in Jafarawi in central Gaza, while her husband was injured. The ministry said Enas was also pregnant.

Israeli media claimed the airstrikes were a response to a barrage of rockets that had hit various parts of the occupied Palestinian lands earlier on Wednesday.

According to reports, an Israeli man was slightly injured when two rockets from Gaza landed in the southern town of Sderot.

Rocket alert sirens went off in other parts of the occupied territories on Wednesday as at least six more rockets hit various targets. Israeli officials said they had been able to shoot down two of the rockets using the Iron Dome missile system.

Israeli tanks fired shells at Palestinian resistance movement Hamas' posts in northern Gaza after shots were reportedly fired from the other sides of the border.

Meanwhile, Palestinian incendiary balloons caused at least 11 blaze near Israeli facilities.

On Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes killed two Hamas members in Gaza.

Israel carries out regular attacks on Palestinians in Gaza under the pretext of hitting Hamas targets.

The Gaza Strip has been under an inhumane Israeli siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.

Tensions have been running high near the Gaza border since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570602/Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Beit-Lahiya-attack

--------

 

Israeli minister says Iran should 'disappear' from world

Aug 8, 2018

Iran should entirely "disappear" from the world, that's what Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan had to say when asked about US President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to re-impose anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under a historic nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

Speaking to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Erdan welcomed Trump's decision in May to abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and his push to persuade the remaining signatories of the 2015 deal -- the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany -- to do the same through sanctions and economic incentives.

“It would be better if the Iranian regime would disappear entirely from this world, but it would also be a blessing to see [former US President Barack] Obama’s bad nuclear agreement replaced with a better one,” Erdan said.

The blatant statement by Erdan bears special significance given that Israel has long justified its animosity towards Iran by displaying a victim mentality.

While Israel remains the only known possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, the regime has always criticized Iran's will to maintain a peaceful nuclear energy program, accusing Tehran of seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

Israeli officials, along with their Saudi counterparts, have also sought to undermine the JCPOA ever since it was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first official to support Trump's May 8 decision to quit the deal and on Monday, he became the first official to congratulate the American leader for re-imposing all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.

The Israeli regime continues to chastise the European Union -- the UK, France and Germany in particular -- for standing by the deal and trying to ensure that economic benefits that it guarantees will flow to Iran.

Tel Aviv's frustration with the EU was best reflected in Erdan's words, who went as far as calling the bloc "morally bankrupt."

“The EU is morally bankrupt, and we need to remember that next time they try to lecture us,” he said.

“The only hammer available right now is economic, and using that, there is a good chance Iran will fall to its knees,” he further claimed.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570582/Iran-disappear-Israeli-minister-Erdan-JCPOA-Trump-sanctions

--------

 

Europe

 

Johnson’s burqa remarks caused offence: British prime minister

Aug 8, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May has scolded former foreign minister and senior member of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson for comments he made about Muslim women wearing burqa.

May said on Wednesday that Johnson’s descriptions about women wearing burqa, a full-body veil donned by Muslim women to conform to their religion, were clearly offensive.

“I think Boris Johnson used language in describing people’s appearance that has obviously caused offence. It was the wrong language to use. He should not have used it,” May said, insisting that women should be free to wear the burqa if they chose to do so.

In an article written for the Daily Telegraph on Monday, Johnson said he was against a ban by Denmark on the use of burqa and niqab, but he said the cloth was oppressive and women who wore it looked like letter boxes and bank robbers.

The comments caused huge outrage among the British politicians and Muslims. Senior members of the Conservative Party, including its chairman Brandon Lewis, called on Johnson on Tuesday to apologize. Others in the party even said there was a need for removing Johnson’s status as an active member of the party if he refused to say sorry for his Islamophobic words.

Johnson has yet to comment on the issue. The former mayor of London, who is known for his colorful and controversial language, resigned as foreign minister last month after May unveiled a plan for final phases of negotiations with the European Union on Britain’s exit from the bloc.

Many say Johnson’s article in the Daily Telegraph was a deliberate attempt to appease the far-right in Britain as he seeks to ascend to the top post of the Conservative Party and to replace May as prime minister in the next election.

The article also comes amid reports that Johnson has been in contacts with senior members of the alt-right camp in the United States. Some say he is influenced by Steve Bannon, a former top advisor to US President Donald Trump.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570566/Johnson-comments-burqa-May-apology

--------

 

Germany says US re-imposition of Iran bans ‘mistake,’ vows to fight for JCPOA survival

Aug 8, 2018

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has criticized Washington’s re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran, pledging to work to guarantee the survival of the Iran nuclear agreement abandoned by the US in defiance of opposition from other parties to the deal.

The top diplomat said in an interview with German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran in contravention of the deal was a “mistake.”

“We still consider it a mistake to pull out of the nuclear agreement with Iran,” Maas added.

The agreement with Iran was signed in 2015 by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the US, plus Germany under then US president Barack Obama.

Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May, and said that he plans to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic. 

On Monday, Trump signed an executive order re-imposing sanctions on Iran to levy "maximum economic pressure" on the Islamic Republic.

Maas said in his interview that Germany and the EU would fight to keep the deal alive, even without the US.

“We will fight for it because it is in our interest in terms of security that there is security and transparency in the (Middle East),” he said.

The US withdrawal from the deal and its re-imposition of sanctions come as other signatories to the agreement have pledged to protest the JCPOA.

The European Union has said the international community has an obligation to maintain economic relations with Iran.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said during a trip to Wellington, New Zealand, on Tuesday that Iran was in compliance with its obligations under the agreement, which warranted reciprocal commitment.

“So the deal has two parts: Iran gives up their nuclear program and the international community opens up trade and economic relations with Iran. This second pillar has to be maintained if we want the first pillar to be maintained,” Mogherini said. “So far, Iran has been compliant fully with their nuclear commitments.”

Russia and China, the non-EU parties to the deal, have also repudiated new US sanctions on Iran, pledging to maintain trade ties with Tehran.

UN expresses 'continued support' for JCPOA

Meanwhile, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also threw the world body’s weight behind the landmark deal.

"The secretary general has, himself, repeatedly discussed the importance of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as one of the key diplomatic achievements of recent years. He believes that it deserves continued support and that all of the parties to that agreement need to abide by its terms," Farhan Haq said early on Wednesday.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570581/Germany-FM-Iran-nuclear-deal-US-sanctions-Donald-Trump

--------

 

How British Muslims make it to Makkah

August 09, 2018

LONDON: With the approach of Hajj, it is all systems go at the El-Sawy travel agency in London.

Passports need to be taken to the Saudi embassy to be stamped with visas and there are myriad phone calls and emails to be made to suppliers in Saudi Arabia. Those going on their first pilgrimage — perhaps even their first long trip anywhere — will need reassurance while others who applied a little too late and missed out on a place will need placating. But from the start, one thing is obvious: You don’t get to be Britain’s oldest-established Hajj and Umrah travel agency without good people skills.

“I have also been very blessed with luck,” said the Egyptian-born travel agency owner Hamdy El-Sawy.

He organized his first Hajj in 1981 for 37 people. They each paid £325 and stayed in university accommodation. A lot has changed since then: This year he will accompany 150 pilgrims who have each paid £6,450 and will be based at the five-star Al-Safwah Royal Orchid Hotel. “It’s the nearest to the Haram [mosque], right next to it,” he said, pointing to a poster.

Sometimes his work involves performing quite extraordinary feats. Three years ago, an 84-year-old British publisher and convert to Islam, contacted El-Sawy a week before the group was due to leave for Hajj.

Although he was without a booking or visa, El-Sawy suggested he come along anyway to the briefing held before every Hajj.

“An official from the Saudi embassy was present. He arranged the gentleman’s visa right away, out of respect for his age. The package that year cost £4,000 but the publisher had only £2,500. By chance I got a call from another client, a well-known neurologist and convert who had been on Hajj with us. I told her the story and without hesitation she said she would cover the difference.”

Back in 1994 a woman arrived at his agency in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce at 7pm on a Friday. Pulling a huge wad of banknotes from her handbag, she uttered just one word: “Hajj.”

El-Sawy explained: “It was the day before we were due to leave. The Saudi embassy was closed and all the flights were full, but I couldn’t tell her any of this because the lady was from Senegal and spoke only French.”

But by chance — a phrase that crops up a lot in El-Sawy’s stories — a French-speaking client was in the office at the time. “I asked him to tell the lady ‘come tomorrow’ which, as any Egyptian will tell you, actually means ‘don’t come.’ I was fobbing her off, to be honest. But when I came to work next day, she was there again, this time in a Mercedes.

“I didn’t know what else to do so I told her driver to go to Belgrave Square [location of the Saudi embassy] and drive round it seven times and shout ‘Allahu akbar’ every time they passed the Saudi embassy. At least, she would see it was closed. I sent my office boy with her.”

She did as instructed and while she was there the security guard at the Saudi embassy noticed the circling Mercedes and came out to investigate.

“When he heard the story, he gave my office boy the number of the duty officer at the consulate. The duty officer said to bring the lady’s passport at 5pm. He did, she got her visa and went straight to the airport. But the Saudia flight, the last of the day, was full with 10 people on standby. The lady from Senegal was number 11.

“One seat came free in business class and because she was alone and everyone else ahead of her was in couples or groups, she got it, with 10 minutes to go before the flight left. The cost that year was £1,300. She gave me £2,000 in cash and gave the £700 change to the office boy.”

Another client who spoke little or no English was the Senegalese ambassador to London. In his case, El-Sawy decided to contact a client from Gambia who spoke the same African language as the ambassador and soon all the arrangements were made. On arrival in Jeddah, the ambassador received VIP treatment. “The next time we met was at a meeting of the British-Egyptian Society and he embraced me in front of everyone and said what a wonderful time he’d had.” El-Sawy would no doubt say that he came to the travel business too “by chance.” Born “in the oldest street in Cairo,” he studied commerce and law and came to the UK in 1975 and worked in accountancy, as an Arabic tour guide and translator and even, briefly, as a silver service waiter.

In 1980 he organized a day trip to Brighton on the south coast of England, to welcome the new imam at Regent’s Park mosque (El-Sawy’s local place of worship), and introduce him to his congregation.

People on the coach trip brought snacks and drinks, visited a mosque and played football on the beach and a good time was had by all. Over the next weeks, he organized more days out. On the way back from the fourth of these, to Manchester, someone asked him when he was going to do “the big one.”

And so his career as a Hajj tour operator and travel agent began. On the first pilgrimage in 1981, following another chance encounter, his group were guests of the president of King Abudulaziz University. The following year, they were accommodated at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah. The third year, a major-general in the Saudi police hosted a group of more than 40 people at his home because El-Sawy had helped him track down a Egyptian doctor in London who had previously treated the policeman’s aged mother.

So quickly did his reputation grow that in 1989 the Swedish ambassador to Morocco, a convert to Islam, asked to join El-Sawy’s group. He didn’t want to be treated as a VIP, as he would have been if he had applied in Rabat.

“That year we stayed in military barracks and he was very happy. That gave me confidence. I realized that high-up people can be humble.”

He has frequently witnessed how the spirit of Hajj brings out the best in people, he said. In 2014, a Bangladeshi couple from London were distraught when they realized they had miscalculated and did not have enough money to pay for their 10-year-old daughter.

“I told the mother to call again. She did and by chance there was a Saudi friend of mine in the office. He heard the story and paid the difference. All he asked in return was that she say a prayer for his father.

“The same year, a woman came in and told me she would pay for two strangers to go on Hajj. I had to choose them. Her conditions were that they should be first-timers, one must be an older woman and the other a man and if possible, a new convert. Thanks to that lady an elderly Moroccan woman I knew from mosque was able to fulfill the desire which she could never afford.” Even after 37 years, El-Sawy’s services are as much in demand as ever. He insists on meeting every client face-to-face and holds a get-together a week before every departure “so people can get to know each other and not feel like they are travelling with strangers.” He shows a video of last year’s briefing, and it is clear he knows everyone’s name, job and where they come from.

“His memory is incredible,” said Mustafa, 27, the younger of his two sons. “Ten minutes on the phone with him and he ends up knowing more about you than you do.”

Now 74 and with his two sons working with him, El-Sawy shows no sign of slowing down. He has mastered new technology, has an iPhoneX and continues to work all hours.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1353331/world

--------

 

 

Australia strips five of citizenship over Islamic State links

August 9, 2018

Five people have been stripped of their Australian citizenship for fighting alongside the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, with officials saying Thursday the country was a better place without them.

They join notorious Islamic State fighter Khaled Sharrouf -- who made headlines when he posted a Twitter image of his young son holding a severed head -- as the only nationals to be kicked out under tougher anti-terror laws.

"I can confirm that five more individuals have ceased to be Australian citizens because of their involvement with Islamic State offshore," home affairs minister Peter Dutton said in a statement.

"Fundamentally, citizenship requires allegiance to this country... these five dual-nationals have been acting against Australia's interests by engaging with terrorism and have effectively chosen to leave the Australian community."

The five are all aged in their 20s and 30s. Dutton provided no further details on their identities but welcomed their exclusion.

"Australia is a safer place for not having them return," he said.

Canberra has become increasingly concerned about Australian nationals returning home after fighting alongside Islamic State abroad and has passed a series of tougher national security laws in recent years.

That includes legislation where people can forfeit their citizenship if they also hold a passport from another country, and therefore are not left stateless.

Sharrouf, the first Australian national stripped of his passport for Islamic State links, was also a Lebanese citizen.

He left Australia for Syria in 2013 with his family.

His Australian wife Tara Nettleton, who went with him, has since died and Sharrouf was believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Iraq in 2015.

Later media reports cast doubt on whether he was dead. The fate of their five children remains unknown.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/09/australia-strips-five-of-citizenship-over-islamic-state-links.html

--------

 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leaders Meet With Russian Officials in Moscow, Drawing Israeli Concern

by Shiri Moshe

AUGUST 7, 2018

Officials from Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) met on Tuesday with Russian officials in Moscow, drawing concern from Israel.

A delegation led by PIJ Deputy Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhla and other senior leaders, including Mohammed al-Hindi and Anwar Abu Taha, first arrived in the Russian capital on Monday.

During an “in-depth and lengthy” meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov the following day, PIJ officials emphasized the importance of Palestinian national reconciliation and their opposition to the Trump administration’s efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, the Islamist group shared in a statement.

Bogdanov — who also serves as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa — said in turn that Palestinian factions need to unify under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to establish an independent state, according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and more than 30 other countries, PIJ has previously expressed opposition to peace negotiations with Israel and called for its replacement with an Islamic Arab state. It regularly frames its mission as a religious struggle against Jews.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry told The Algemeiner following PIJ’s talks in Russia that Israel was “opposed to any meetings with people or organizations advocating Israel’s destruction.”

“This does not serve the cause of peace, on the contrary,” Emmanuel Nahshon said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

PIJ receives arms, funds, and other support from Iran, a strategic ally of Moscow in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The group carried out what has been described as the first Palestinian suicide operation in 1989, which it followed with multiple rocket attacks, shootings, and bombings — including two attacks at a Tel Aviv restaurant that killed and injured more than 110 people in 2006. It is considered to be the second-largest armed faction in Gaza after Hamas, which has ruled the coastal enclave since ousting Fatah in 2007.

Full report at:

https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/08/07/palestinian-islamic-jihad-leaders-meet-with-russian-officials-in-moscow-drawing-israeli-concern/

--------

 

Africa

 

Shabab militants ‘kill 5 soldiers’ in Kenya's north

Aug 9, 2018

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants in Kenya have killed at least five soldiers in a roadside bomb attack in the country’s north, a senior government official says.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) were killed on Wednesday when their truck ran over an improvised explosive device (IED) in the coastal Lamu County.

KDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna, however, told Reuters that six soldiers were injured, three critically, in the explosion but that no one was killed.

“There was an IED, which injured six of our soldiers. Three of them are in critical condition but they have been airlifted for specialized treatment. The injured are stabilizing,” he said.

It was not immediately clear why the accounts of the KDF and the government official differed.

A spokesman for al-Shabab militants said the group was behind the attack on the KDF convoy and claimed nine soldiers had been killed.

The Somalia-based al-Shabab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops across the border to Somalia in 2011 to fight the group.

Al-Shabab has seen its power diminished since the beginning of the Kenyan army operations; however, the militant group continues to carry out terrorist attacks.

Kenyan security officials say the militants have used the Boni forest, straddling the Kenya-Somalia border, as a hideout and launching pad for attacks.

The terror group has escalated its attacks in the past months, using homemade explosive devices.

In neighboring Somalia, al-Shabab has been pushed out of all major urban strongholds and ports but continues to stage attacks on targets in smaller, more remote areas.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/09/570635/Shabab-Kenya-soldiers-IED

--------

 

Jordan warns of catastrophic consequences of UNRWA budget crisis

Aug 9, 2018

Jordan has warned that a severe cash crisis facing the UN agency for Palestinian refugees could have a “catastrophic” impact on the lives of millions of Palestinian refugees in the region.

Following talks with visiting the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on Wednesday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the financial shortfall facing the UN agency could deprive refugees of core education, healthcare and food security service

Such a situation would only “deepen their humanitarian plight,” he said.

“UNRWA faces a dangerous financial deficit that threatens catastrophic consequences on refugees if it is not covered before its financial allocations run out,” Safadi was quoted as saying in a Foreign Ministry statement.

UNRWA has faced a financial shortfall since the United States, traditionally the largest donor to UNRWA, cut its annual grant from $360 million to just $60 million.

The funding crisis came in January after US President Donald Trump alleged that the Palestinian Authority was no longer willing to engage in the so-called peace talks with Israel.

The US-Palestine ties deteriorated last December, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and announced plans to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The contentious move led President Mahmoud Abbas to formally declare that Palestinians would no longer accept the US as a mediator to resolve the conflict because Washington was  “completely biased” towards Tel Aviv.

The US embassy relocation took place on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), sparking deadly clashes in Gaza.

According to UNRWA, over 1.5 million Palestinians - almost a third of the registered Palestinian refugees - live in 58 recognized refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the besieged Gaza Strip and West Bank.

UNRWA is tasked with providing assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees.

According to UN officials, the reduction in UNRWA’s funding could even affect the opening of schools at the start of the next academic year.

The Jordanian foreign minister further said that his country, which hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East outside Palestinian territories, was engaged in intensive lobbying with donors.

“Jordan warns of the danger of touching the role of the UNRWA that should continue to provide its services under its international mandate,” the foreign ministry statement said.

Safadi called on the international community to shoulder its political and moral responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees under UN Security Council resolutions that maintain their right of return and compensation.

‘Munity’ at UNRWA

Meanwhile, workers at UNRWA in Gaza on Wednesday expressed outrage over a decision by the agency to lay off hundreds of its employees, seizing partial control of the headquarters of the agency.

Matthias Schmale, the head of the UNRWA Operations in Gaza said the workers, who accused their union of “mutiny” over job cuts, “have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are.”

Schmale said the UNRWA does not have full control over the site in Gaza City , nd that he has not been able to reach his own office for more than two weeks.

“I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” he told AFP, referring to the number of staff in Gaza.

The UNRWA announced last month it had been forced to lay off more than 250 staff in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank after the US slashed funding to the agency. The redundancies have sparked daily protests by the agency's labor union in the coastal enclave.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/09/570637/UNRWA-Palestinian-refugees-Gaza

--------

 

South Asia

 

Consensus reached on peace with Taliban, elections: Junbish Party

Aug 09 2018

The Junbish Milli Party says some of the key political parties and movements held talks regarding the peace process with the Taliban and upcoming elections during their last meeting over the past one week.

A spokesman of Junbish Party Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj said a consensus was reached during the talks between leaders of the political parties and movements in this regard.

He did not disclose further information in this regard but added that the details of the meetings would be shared with the people during a large gathering.

This comes as the Chief Executive of Jamiat Islami and member of the Grand National Coalition Ata Mohammad Noor had earlier said that important decision have been taken regarding the key national issues during a meeting with the former President Hamid Karzai and other political leaders.

Without disclosing further information, Noor said Sunday that the members of the leadership council of Grand National Coalition met with Hamid Karzai and other political leaders belonging to the Council for Protection and Stability in Afghanistan.

He said the meeting was organized in the office of the former President Hamid Karzai where important decisions were taken regarding the key national issues.

https://www.khaama.com/consensus-reached-on-peace-with-taliban-elections-junbish-party-05750/

--------

 

Ghani emphasizes on proper management of likely ceasefire with Taliban

Aug 08 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with the provincial military and civilian officials during his visit to Kapisa province and emphasized on proper management of the likely ceasefire with the Taliban.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said President Ghani instructed the provincial civilian and military officials to increase coordination among the national defense and security forces to ensure security of the people as he emphasized on proper management of the likely ceasefire.

No further details have been given in this regard but President Ghani had earlier said the government is working on ceasefire with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

Speaking during a meeting with the representatives of the registered political parties in Kabul on Monday, President Ghani pointed towards the successful experience of the ceasefire with the Taliban during Eid Al-Fitr and said the government is working on a similar ceasefire during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha, according to the Office of the President, ARG Palace.

Presidential spokesperson, Haroon Chakhansuri had earlier said that there are chances of another ceasefire announcement with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/ghani-emphasizes-on-proper-management-of-likely-ceasefire-with-taliban-05748/

--------

 

Key Taliban commander killed in car bomb explosion in Ghazni city

Aug 08 2018

A key Taliban commander was killed with his comrades in a car bomb explosion in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

The provincial security commandment in a statement said the incident took place at around 12:30 pm local time in Ghazni city.

The statement further added that five Taliban militants including their commander were attempting to move a vehicle packed with explosives to an unknown location in Ghazni city when the incident took place.

Provincial Security Chief Gen. Farid Ahmad confirmed that the incident took place in the vicinity of the 3rd police district of the city and a number of the houses have also been damaged.

In the meantime, the provincial security commandment said the Taliban commander killed in the explosion has been identified as Rahimullah, also famous as Mullah Zakir.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the incident so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/key-taliban-commander-killed-in-car-bomb-explosion-in-ghazni-city-05747/

--------

 

13 civilians killed, wounded in roadside mine explosion in Balkh

Aug 08 2018

At least thirteen civilians were killed or wounded an explosion triggered by improvised explosive device in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the 209th Shaheen Corps, Mohammad Hanif Rezaye , said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of Shulgar district and as a result at least six civilians, all members of a single family, have lost their lives.

He said the incident took place after a civilian vehicle struck an improvised explosive device planted on a roadside.

At least seven civilians also sustained injuries in the explosion, the 209th Shaheen Corps spokesman added.

The district administrative chief Arif Agha had earlier also confirmed that at least 6 civilians have been killed and 7 others have sustained injuries.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Taliban and other militants often use IED as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government but in majority of such attacks ordinary civilians are targeted, besides such attacks often claims the lives of the militants as well.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in its latest report stated that 1,692 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018.

According to UNAMA, the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in attacks by Anti-Government Elements remained the leading cause of civilian casualties.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/13-civilians-killed-wounded-in-roadside-mine-explosion-in-balkh-05746/

--------

 

Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka gets six years’ jail in contempt case

August 8, 2018

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court on Wednesday handed a six-year jail term to a Buddhist monk accused of inciting violence against Muslims, holding him guilty of contempt just months after he was convicted of intimidating the wife of a missing journalist.

The monk, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, leads the hardline Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or “Buddhist Power Force”, which government ministers and Muslims have accused of stirring up violence against Muslims and Christians, allegations he has denied.

The court sentenced him to six years’ rigorous imprisonment over a 2016 incident when Gnanasara interrupted a court hearing on the abduction of the journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, in which military intelligence officials were accused.

He shouted at the judge and lawyers because the military officials had not been given bail, and threatened Eknaligoda’s wife.

“The convict intentionally committed the offence to undermine the judiciary,” Preethi Padman Surasena, the president of the court of appeal, said in delivering Wednesday’s judgment, adding, “Found guilty of all charges beyond reasonable doubt.”

The monk was convicted on four counts of contempt of court, receiving terms of four years each on the first and the second counts, six years on the third and five for the fourth, all to run concurrently.

A BBS official told Reuters the group would appeal against Wednesday’s ruling.

“We feel there is an attempt by interested parties to have judicial process targeting Gnanasara, therefore, though we do not agree with the judgment, we accept the sentence, and we will appeal,” said Dilantha Vithanage, the group’s chief executive.

Gnanasara, who is being treated in hospital for an ailment, was not in court for the ruling. He has been on bail since filing an appeal against a conviction in a separate case on June 14.

In that case, he received two concurrent jail terms of six months, a fine of 1,500 rupees (US$9.39), and a compensation payment of 50,000 rupees (US$313) for having threatened the journalist’s wife, Sandhya Eknaligoda.

Since 2014, the monk has faced accusations in cases regarding anti-Muslim violence, hate speech, and defaming the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2018/08/08/buddhist-monk-in-sri-lanka-gets-six-years-jail-in-contempt-case/

--------

 

UN calls on Myanmar to improve conditions for Rohingya repatriation

Aug 8, 2018

The United Nations has urged Myanmar to improve conditions in Rakhine to pave the way for the safe return of Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in the western state into Bangladesh, and to ensure clear procedures to grant citizenship to those eligible.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UN Development Program (UNDP) said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they needed full access to Rakhine, where horrific atrocities were committed against Rohingya Muslims.

The statement noted that the Myanmar’s authorities have not granted permission for international staff to be based in the town of Maungdaw in Rakhine after about three months of waiting.

In June, the UNDP signed an agreement with Myanmar's government to return some of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled persecution in their villages in Rakhine and who are now living in crowded makeshift camps in Bangladesh.

The deal has, however, disconcerted the refugees, who say they won’t return unless they are given safety guarantees and citizenship by Myanmar's government.

The UN aid agencies called for substantial progress in three key areas: "granting effective access in Rakhine State; ensuring freedom of movement for all communities; and addressing the root causes of the crisis".

According to the UN, Rohingya Muslims remaining in Rakhine are subject to local orders that severely restrict their freedom of movement, banning them from reaching jobs, school and health care.

The Rohingya Muslims based in Rakhine have been subjected to a campaign of killings, rape and arson attacks by the military backed by the country’s majority Buddhist extremists in what the UN has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

The brutal campaign has forced some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homeland since August 2017 and seek refuge in Bangladesh.

Human Rights Watch on Monday warned against the threat of natural disasters facing the Rohingya Muslim refugees living in an overcrowded mega camp in Bangladesh’s border region near Myanmar, calling on Dhaka to relocate the hapless refugees to safer places.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570574/un-myanmar-rakhine-rohingya

--------

 

North America

 

Anti-Islam rally to be held in front of Toronto City Hall draws outrage

AUG 8, 2018

A Jewish organization says it’s outraged that the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam is planning to hold a rally in Toronto on Saturday.

Members of several far-right, nationalist and anti-immigration groups are expected to attend the rally at Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall on the anniversary of the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

Noah Shack of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs says reports indicate it’s unlikely the rally will attract more than a small gathering of followers but he says hatred against Muslims or any other minority is an assault on Canada’s core values.

Shack adds groups like the coalition crave publicity and would welcome a high-profile confrontation and the centre has reached out to city officials and police to share its concerns about the event.

On Tuesday, B’nai Brith Canada also expressed concerns about the rally in a letter sent to the city’s leaders.

“This rally is intended to promote hatred and possibly violence on city property, which is in violation of the city’s own Hate Activity Policy and Procedures,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We condemn the rally’s organizers and requested that the city prevent such rallies from taking place on public property, both this week and in the future.”

But according to B’nai Brith, the City of Toronto says it will allow the event to take place.

In a release, B’nai Brith said Omo Akintan, Acting Director of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights for Toronto, informed them that the rally will go on as planned.

The organization says Akintan noted their concerns and says the city “will not tolerate, ignore, or condone illegal discrimination or harassment including any rally that incites hatred and/or violence against groups or persons,” in accordance with it’s Hate Activity Police.

“To that end, the City has already taken actions to address this matter which includes the preparation of an event plan with the Toronto Police Service that has the life safety of everyone as the primary concern.” Akintan added.

B’nai Brith says it will says it will closely monitor Saturday’s rally and has also raised concerns with “Canadian law-enforcement agencies and those responsible for threats to national security.”

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/08/08/anti-islam-rally-held-toronto/

--------

 

Palestinian-American to become first Muslim Congresswoman in US

Aug 8, 2018

WASHINGTON: A Palestinian-American woman is going to become the first Muslim female lawmaker in the US House of Representatives after she came through a Democratic primary in Michigan overcoming five other candidates.

Rashida Tlaib, 42, won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for Michigan's 13th district House seat covering Detroit and surrounding areas, which have a significant Muslim and Arab population. The heavily-Democratic seat was held since 1965 by Congressman John Conyers, who was forced to retire following a sexual harassment scandal after serving more than half a century in the House.

Because no Republicans and third-party candidates ran in Tuesday's District 13 primary race, Tlaib is set to win the seat in November's election with a walkover and begin serving a full two-year term in January.

There are two other Muslim men in the House - Keith Ellison, who is elected from Minnesota but is originally from Detroit and was raised Catholic before he converted to Islam, and Andre Carson from Indiana, who also converted to Islam after reading the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi.

Tlaib, the eldest of 14 siblings, would be the first Muslim of Middle-Eastern origin. Born in Detroit after her parents emigrated from Palestine, Tlaib began her political career only in 2004 as a staffer to a state lawmaker before taking his seat in the State legislature in 2008, serving three terms before making her way to Washington.

Michigan voters were not as considerate to another Muslim candidate who was seeking a Democratic nomination for the gubernatorial rate. Establishment candidate Gretchen Whitmer comfortably won the primary defeating Abdul El-Sayed, a distinguished public health expert who was backed by Bernie Sanders, in a race that also involved Indian-American scientistentrepreneur Shri Thanedar.

A three-cornered contest within the Democratic Party pitting an establishment candidate against two immigrant-origin contestants, one of Muslim faith and another of Hindu faith was a first for the US, but Whitmer sailed through with 51 per cent votes to El-Sayed's 31 per cent, and Thanedar's 16 per cent, despite the latter spending $ 10 million of his own money.

However, the most watched race on the day of several primaries was for a House seat from Ohio, a bellwether state, where a Trump-backed Republican candidate appeared to have narrowly clinched a GOP-held seat in the face of a tremendous Democratic challenge.

Republic Troy Balderson was ahead by only about 1800 votes in Ohio's 12th district with some 8000 absentee ballots and provisional ballots remaining to be counted when the President and his minions declared a victory even though Democrat Danny O'Connor was yet to concede defeat.

Trump boasted that Balderson had won because he had canvassed for him, but Democrats took heart in the fact that they have come so close to snatching a seat that has been a Republican pocketborough, and one that Trump had won by more than ten per cent in 2016. The fact that Democrats are within a per cent over turning over the seat is widely seen as a possible windfall in the midterm elections in November, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be up for grabs.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/palestinian-american-to-become-first-muslim-congresswoman-in-us/articleshow/65328387.cms

--------

 

Florida County Commissioner promotes anti-Muslim conspiracy theories

August 08, 2018

Okaloosa County, Florida, Commissioner Graham Fountain has made numerous social media posts promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including the belief that American Muslims currently running for elected office in the United States intend to replace our current system of laws with “sharia law.”

Fountain, who was elected to the Okaloosa County Commission District 1 seat on November 8, 2016, has referred on Facebook to “the colonization of Islam and sharia law take over of America” and promoted the idea that Muslims immigrating to the United States hate its political system and are opposed to the U.S. Constitution.

Fountain’s comments on Facebook were posted as more American Muslims are running for public office. The idea that American Muslims are part of a secret plot to advance Islamic religious law, or sharia, in America is a staple of the radical right. Anti-sharia bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. Critics contend the main purpose of this legislation is to spread fear about American Muslims.

When challenged by fellow Facebook users to provide evidence of an Islamic conspiracy to spread sharia law across America, Fountain provides no proof to support these claims.

Hatewatch contacted Fountain with several questions for this story. Although he refused to be interviewed over the phone, he did provide written responses to several questions. Fountain re-affirmed his belief about American Muslims running for office, saying that “Having actually read the Koran many times it is clear they must fight to convert, or enslave or kill non-believers and also establish Sharia as that is the number one goal of their Political Based Religion.”

Fountain, who retired after holding a variety of state and local law enforcement positions, has also used rhetoric commonly found in the anti-government Patriot movement, including “fighting the corrupt FBI, Justice, and the IRS.” Fountain restated that conviction in his emailed response, writing, “The upper leadership of the FBI and Justice Department is filled with President Obama’s Cronies and folks who lie to congress, impede lawful inquiries of congress and the executive branch.”

Fountain has also promoted the idea that state authorities can ignore federal courts. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2015 to guarantee the right to same-sex marriage, Fountain decried the decision, stating, “It’s a sad day in the USA. The Supremes have lost their minds and have done the best to destroy the souls of God-fearing Americans.” He later went on to say, “The States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ ‘reasoned judgment.’’’

When asked by Hatewatch if he believed states have the right to ignore federal law, Fountain replied, “Generally speaking no. I wish the government would get out of the marriage business, Period. The license fees are just taxes on the people. Let’s churches and whatnots deal with the holy ordinance of marriage. But states should be able to weigh in legally when citizen’s free speech and practicing of faith are being challenged.”

Khurrum Wahid, a partner at Wahid Vizcaino LLP in Miami, Florida, and National Chairperson of Emgage Pac, was saddened but not surprised by the Facebook comments made by Fountain. He told Hatewatch, “You can tell where he is coming from. These are the same folks who have been pushing these ‘sharia bills’ for years and who refer to American Muslims as a bunch of ‘sleeper-cell jihadis’. He views himself as a protector of America.”

Wahid has seen this anti-Muslim hysteria grow significantly since 2008: “The election of President Obama raised their engagement ten-fold. And the peak of it was during the rise of the Tea Party and the election of Allen West in 2010.” [Allen West was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s 22nd Congressional district but was defeated in his re-election bid in 2012.]

Full report at:

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/08/florida-county-commissioner-promotes-anti-muslim-conspiracy-theories

--------

 

Afghanistan says surrendered Islamic State fighters are war prisoners: U.S. general

AUGUST 8, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Afghanistan told the United States that Islamic State fighters who surrendered last week will be treated as prisoners of war, and not honored guests, despite the warm welcome they had initially received, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

While pressure has been building for peace talks between the Western-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban insurgency, U.S. officials say Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan is not part of any reconciliation push and instead must be wiped out.

Even by the bloody standards of the Afghan war, Islamic State has gained an unmatched reputation for brutality, routinely beheading opponents or forcing them to sit on explosives.

But last week, an Afghan governor’s office floated the possibility of amnesty for a large group of Islamic State fighters, including two senior commanders, who gave themselves up after being driven from their strongholds by Taliban insurgents.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, said the Afghans acknowledged the surrender, the largest of its kind so far by Islamic State, “could have been handled better.”

“The government of Afghanistan has assured us that these ISIS-K fighters will be treated as war prisoners,” Votel told a news briefing at the Pentagon, using an acronym for the Afghan affiliate of the group.

Votel said that the fighters would be investigated and held to account for any war crimes they committed.

Civilians who fled the last clashes have accused Islamic State fighters of atrocities, giving detailed accounts of women and young girls being taken from their families, raped and, in some cases, murdered.

“They have essentially waged a pretty vicious campaign against the people without regard to civilian casualties,” Votel said.

In another example of Islamic State’s tactics, the group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in eastern Afghanistan that killed 39 people and wounded at least 80 others.

As the U.S.-backed Afghan army presses Afghan insurgents, the central government in Kabul is also pursuing peace with their main enemy, the Taliban, even declaring a three-day ceasefire in June that saw unarmed Taliban fighters mingling with soldiers on the streets.

Perhaps in that context, local Afghan officials had initially hoped that treating this batch of Islamic State fighters well would entice more of them to surrender.

That, however, was not the approach of the United States or of the central government in Kabul, Votel said.

Although Washington ultimately seeks an Afghan-led peace agreement with the Taliban, Votel said the U.S. and Afghan position on Islamic State was clear: “We’ve all agreed (it’s) an organization that just needs to be destroyed.”

The back-and-forth over Islamic State speaks volumes about confusion as Kabul and the West are trying to find a way to end 17 years of war against insurgents.

U.S. President Donald Trump a year ago reluctantly agreed to an open-ended deployment of U.S. military advisers, trainers and special forces and increased air support for Afghan forces. Roughly 14,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Afghanistan along with 8,000 other coalition forces, according to Pentagon data.

But Trump has proven capable of reversing himself and U.S. officials privately acknowledge a sense of urgency to show that America’s longest war can still bring a degree of stability to Afghanistan. A senior U.S. diplomat met with a Taliban representatives in Doha in July.

Votel acknowledged that the incoming U.S. commander, Army General Scott Miller, would do his own review but predicted no major changes to the war plan approved by Trump last year.

Full report at:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-afghanistan/afghanistan-says-surrendered-islamic-state-fighters-are-war-prisoners-us-general-idUSKBN1KT29G

--------

 

Man who supported Islamic State online to be deported

August 8, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who declared support for Islamic State online will spend two years in prison and be deported.

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced Houcine Ghoul to 24 months in prison for immigration fraud and false statements on his tax returns. After his sentence, the Tunisian national will be deported.

Ghoul entered the country on a visa in 2001 and married a U.S. citizen to obtain permanent legal resident status. He later was divorced.

Prosecutors said Ghoul first attracted attention from federal authorities in 2014 after posting a photo online expressing support for the Islamic State.

Full report at:

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/man-who-supported-islamic-state-online-to-be-deported/

--------

 

Pakistan

 

Imran wants to build trust-based relationship with US

August 09, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said that his party wants to build relationship with the United States based on trust and mutual respect.

Talking to US acting Ambassador to Pakistan John F. Hoover who called on him at his Banigala residence on Wednesday, the prime minister-in-waiting said Pakistan and the US had witnessed many ups and downs in their relationship, which were the outcome of trust deficit between the two countries.

Take a look: Modi phones Imran Khan, says 'ready to enter new era of ties with Pakistan': PTI

He said: “Our government will engage with the US to make this relationship more balanced and trustworthy. We count trade and economic relations with the US extremely important.”

He stressed the need for revitalisation of diplomatic ties between the two countries and transforming the relationship for the benefit of both Pakistan and the US.

According to PTI’s media cell, the US delegation and PTI chief discussed issues of mutual interest, including Pak-US relations, bilateral trade, and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr Khan said: “I am glad that people in the US have ultimately started acknowledging significance of political solution as conflict and use of force can add to the damages instead of breeding a sustainable solution to the crisis.”

He said stability in Afghanistan was in the larger interest of Pakistan, America and the region which could be achieved through viable political engagements.

Mr Hoover felicitated Mr Khan over his party’s victory in the July 25 general election.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani telephoned Mr Khan and invited him for a formal visit to his country — an offer which the PTI chief gladly accepted.

The Iranian president congratulated Mr Khan over his party’s victory in the recent elections.

They discussed issues of mutual interest, including Pak-Iran relations and bilateral trade.

President Rouhani was quoted as saying: “Pakistan and Iran are not merely neighbouring countries but also bonded by religious and cultural values.”

He said Iran wished to strengthen trade and diplomatic relations with Pakistan.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1425861/imran-wants-to-build-trust-based-relationship-with-us

--------

 

JI to Give PTI Chance to Fulfil Promises: Siraj

August 9, 2018

LAHORE: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) ameer Senator Sirajul Haq has said his party does not believe in negative politics and will give opportunity to the PTI to fulfill its promises.

JI is keenly awaiting the steps Imran Khan has in mind for building Pakistan an Islamic state on the model of Madina State and liberating the country’s economy from IMF control, Siraj said while addressing a meeting of the party’s delegations at Mansoora on Wednesday. Sirajul Haq said it was the JI that had suggested the other parties to join the parliament in the wake of elections and they accepted the idea. Besides, he said, some people were in favour of a strong agitation movement but JI tried to save the country from the 1977 like situation to prevent martial law. He said the country could be put on the path to development only through real supremacy of the parliament and rule of the law.

“We want the decisions should be taken in broad daylight and not in darkness of night”, he added. If we trust collective wisdom of the masses, the country would march forward, the JI ameer said.

He said even after spending Rs20 billion on the elections, the Election Commission failed to hold fair, transparent and reliable elections. He said even the Chief Justice of Pakistan had made an adverse comment about the Chief Election Commissioner. He said when the state institutions interfered in politics, their own image suffered.

Sirajul Haq said Pakistan’s politics was not free and it was slave to international establishment while international colonialism could not see the advance of Islam in any country. He said JI was trying its best to unite religious forces in the country.

He said religious parties had secured 5.5 million votes and added if these votes had been united, the religious parties would have much larger representatives in the parliament. Sirajul Haq said JI did not accept the west’s view of restricting Islam to the mosque. Instead, it wanted to see Islam active and dominant in every part of human life. He said the time would soon come when Pakistan would become a true Islamic state.

Meanwhile, addressing a meeting of MMA Punjab office bearers, Secretary General of JI and the MMA, Liaquat Baloch said July 25 elections were the worst exercise of rigging. He alleged that at the beginning, state institutions made their efforts for desired results. However, when they were not sure about that, they overtook the powers of the Election Commission and did their game, he further alleged.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/352517-ji-to-give-pti-chance-to-fulfill-promises-siraj

--------

 

Alleged polls rigging: MMA activists block Swabi Interchange for hours

Muhammad Farooq

August 9, 2018

SWABI: The activists of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), a conglomerate of the religious parties, on Wednesday blocked Motorway for traffic at Swabi Interchange to protest the alleged

polls rigging in the recent elections. The MMA workers and leaders gathered at district headquarters and marched to Swabi interchange, covering a distance of about six kilometers. Those who belong to Chota Lahor Tehsil and Zaida regions joined the big protest procession at the motorway.

The blockade of the motorway crippled the flow of the traffic and badly disturbed the poor commuters who were forced to wait for ending the protest. Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Fazal Ali, central deputy head of JUI-F, said that they rejected the result of the July 25 elections and demanded fresh polls. The fraudulent election was not acceptable to the MMA leaders and they had made it clear once again, he added.

BATKHELA: On the call of the Jamiat Ulemma-e-Islam-Fazl, the leaders and activists of various political parties took out protest rally against the alleged rigging in the recently held elections. Led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, leaders including Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan, former provincial minister Qari Mehmood, Maulana Javed, Qaimus Khan, Habib Ali Shah, Shamsul Qamar, Mufti Kifayatullah, Ishaq Zahid and others, the protesters were carrying banners and placard inscribed slogans like 'rigged polls unaccepted.' The protesters, hailing from all the districts of Malakand division, marched through various and gathered at Pul Chowki where they blocked the Peshawar-Batkhela Highway to traffic for four hours.

JAMRUD: Activists of the JUI-F in Jamrud tehsil of the Khyber district took out protest rally against the alleged rigging in the recently held polls. The protesters, led by JUI-F NA-43 aspirant, Mufti Muhammad Ijaz Shinwari, Qari Jihad Shah, Maulana Ghufranullah Khyberi, Said Kabir and others, were carrying banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the ECP.

They said that the ECP and other state institutions had rigged the elections and made PTI victorious in the elections.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/352516-alleged-polls-rigging-mma-activists-block-swabi-interchange-for-hours

--------

 

Pakistan running $2bn deficit a month, says Asad

Anwar Iqbal

August 09, 2018

WASHINGTON: Asad Umar, a Pakisan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader who is expected to be next finance minister, said on Wednesday that Pakistan had been running a current account deficit of $2 billion a month for the last three months.

Addressing a US think-tank from Islamabad, Mr Umar suggested resolving the Afghan dispute to improve Pakistan’s economic prospects and disagreed with those who say that political governments cannot make decisions about Afghanistan.

Take a look: Pakistan needs infusion of $12 billion in loans immediately: Asad Umar

The PTI leader, who came straight to Skype from Imran Khan’s meeting with the acting US ambassador, said that Washington agrees with PTI’s observation that Afghanistan was moving closer to a permanent peace.

PPP’s Naveed Qamar and PML-N’s Tariq Fatemi also spoke at the think-tank — the US Institute of Peace — and agreed with the observation that Pakistan was facing a major financial crisis, perhaps the worst ever.

“We are facing a significant current account crisis, it’s well-known, well-document,” said Mr Umar. “From the time when the PML-N came in five years back, current account deficit of $2bn a year, to a situation where in the last three months we have been running a current account deficit of $2bn a month.”

Noting that this was a 12-fold increase, the future finance minister added: “This is not sustainable. Given that, the most urgent action required of the government will be to deal with this crisis.”

The PTI government, he said, would explore all available opportunities available to us. “But the decision has been left so late that you will have to look at all options … including discussions with bilateral and multilateral organisations. It is the most immediate crisis that is being faced.”

Mr Umar then talked about an option that has been considered a taboo in Pakistan, changing foreign policies for economic gains. As a member of the audience later pointed out, the conventional wisdom in Pakistan is, a political government has little control over issues like Pakistan’s relations with the US, India and Afghanistan. When a political government tries that, it runs into trouble.

“My sense is, at least some of this narrative is used by political governments to find excuses for their failures,” the PTI leader said.

“Imran Khan will stand by the decisions we take. We will not come and say we wanted to do this but did not have control. If Imran Khan does not (have control), he would like to go home.”

Mr Umar, however, acknowledged that the military was the strongest institution in Pakistan, which continued to grow in strength while the civilian capacity eroded. “So, it makes sense for a Pakistani government to make use of that capacity,” he said, noting that US President Donald Trump had also pledged to withdraw from Afghanistan during his campaign but the US military establishment persuaded him not to.

The PTI leader said that he saw “a potential opportunity” for economic prosperity in Pakistan in restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan. He pointed out that in his first speech after the election, Imran Khan too talked about the importance of peace in Afghanistan for Pakistan,

“In the messages that came in the last 10 days, there seems to be a widespread hope for a breakthrough in Afghanistan … all factors are coming together, and there’s a possibility of Afghanistan moving towards a permanent peace and reconciliation,” he said. “And the two issues are linked because Pakistan’s economic prospects are weighed down by what’s happening in Afghanistan.”

The future finance minister also pointed out that Pakistan’s relationship with the world, in particular with the US, were seen — if not entirely, to a great extent – through the prism of Afghanistan.

“So, obviously it is a vital issue for Pakistan, both in the immediate future as well as in a longer term,” he said while explaining why he believed there’s room for optimism, at least on that front.

Noting that this sense of optimism was also felt in Imran Khan’s meeting with the acting US ambassador, the PTI leader said: “So, in that context, it’s a bit unfortunate that (US Secretary of State Michael) Pompeo decided to make the statement that he did even before we had the opportunity to go into a discussion on the IMF programme.”

The PTI government, he said, would follow a foreign policy of friendship with Pakistan’s neighbours, both east and west of the border. It would also like to rebuild Pakistan’s relationship with the United States, which was not just a superpower but also an old ally.

Similarly, he said, the next government would also like to further strengthen Pakistan’s relations with China.

China was the foremost on Imran Khan’s mind, as “he keeps talking about, how they lifted such a large number of people out of poverty”, Mr Umar said.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1425863/pakistan-running-2bn-deficit-a-month-says-asad

--------

 

SC suspends LHC order, paves way for Imran’s poll notification

Nasir Iqbal

August 09, 2018

ISLAMABAD: On an appeal filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan against recount of votes, the Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended the Lahore High Court order and issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan, returning officer of the NA-131 constituency and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Saad Rafique.

The LHC earlier on Aug 4 had ordered recounting of votes in the Lahore-IX constituency, where Mr Khan had defeated the former railways minister with a narrow margin of 680 votes.

In his appeal filed before a three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, the PM-in-waiting argued that the LHC order of votes recount was against constitutional provision and the Elections Act, 2017. Senior counsel Babar Awan pleaded the case on behalf of Mr Khan.

The counsel for Mr Rafique, Sardar Aslam, argued that votes could be recounted in any constituency where the margin of success was less than five per cent of the total votes polled. He recalled how the PTI chief in his first speech after the July 25 polls had announced that his party would facilitate reopening of constituencies for vote recount to remove his opponents’ doubts over results.

However, the CJP observed political leaders could make ‘political’ statements and the lawyer should address the matter at political forums. The SC later issued notices to the respondents in the petition namely the ECP, the RO of NA-131 constituency and the PML-N candidate.

How the court could allow any constituency to go unrepresented after the elections, the bench observed, adding the LHC could not intervene after the compilation of the results of any constituency.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, a member of the SC bench, observed that any candidate could approach the election tribunal for the redressal of his grievance.

In his petition, Mr Khan argued that his opponent’s application for recount of votes was allowed and after ‘recount of entire rejected votes’ he (Khan) was again declared successful. Yet the PML-N leader requested for the ‘recount of entire valid votes’ of the constituency. The returning officer turned down the request, with an observation that a second recount was barred under the Elections Act 2017.

Mr Rafique then filed an application against the July 28 order of the RO before the ECP in terms of Section 95(6) of the Elections Act, 2017, the petitioner stated. But instead of pursuing or waiting for the ECP order, Mr Rafique instituted the petition before the LHC that decided in favour of recount of votes, , the petitioner added.

Mr Khan regretted that Mr Rafique filed the writ petition before the LHC without impleading the necessary party, which was against the principle of equity and fair play.

The petitioner contended that it was the mandate of the law that the writ petition was only maintainable under Article 199 of the Constitution if the aggrieved person had no other alternative efficacious remedy in accordance with the law.

Thus, a person after choosing a statutory remedy could not abandon it and rush to file a writ before the high court, the petitioner argued, adding that the process of consolidation of the elections result could not be reversed under the writ jurisdiction while adversely affecting the process of democratic transition.

While hearing the case of PTI’s Abida Raja against rejection of her nomination papers on a reserved seat, the CJP had recently expressed concern over the mess created by the ECP during the July 25 general election. Recalling that he had called Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza thrice on elections day but the latter did not pick up his phone, maybe because he was sleeping, the CJP had remarked. The CJP had also expressed his concern over the failure of the Result Transmission System (RTS).

Jamshed Dasti’s plea rejected

The apex court also rejected a request of Pakistan Awami Raj (PAR) leader Jamshed Dasti for recounting of votes in the NA-182 (Muzaffargarh) constituency from where PPP candidate Mehr Irshad Ahmed was declared successful.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1425866/sc-suspends-lhc-order-paves-way-for-imrans-poll-notification

--------

 

Imran Khan’s speech leaves party MPAs guessing

Mansoor Malik

August 09, 2018

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has apparently ruled out Aleem Khan for the job of Punjab chief minister because of ongoing National Accountability Bureau inquiries against him.

A hint was dropped by party chairman Imran Khan during his address to the Punjab parliamentary party meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, where he said he would give Punjab a clean and honest leader. The new chief minister will be over and above petty groupings.

Until a few days ago, Aleem Khan was considered the strongest candidate for the job. Since he is facing NAB probe for his off-shore company and assets beyond his known sources of income and will be appearing before the bureau on Friday (tomorrow), it is learnt that Mr Khan is making frantic efforts to get himself cleared of off-shore company and other allegations from the bureau.

While ruling out Aleem Khan, the party’s MPAs and senior leaders Dawn spoke to are wondering who could be Imran Khan’s choice for the most important job in Punjab and consider Khan’s appeal very significant wherein he said everybody in the party should trust him and support his nominee for the job. “Trust me, I will give Punjab a clean and honest chief minister, who will be following party’s ideology instead of any petty groupings or personal interests,” Mr Khan told party’s MPAs-elect.

As they came out of the Punjab parliamentary party meeting at a hotel in Islamabad, most of the MPAs were trying to find answer to a million dollar question that “who will be the next chief minister of Punjab?”.

A party leader said Imran Khan’s assertion that “you will have to trust me” about his choice of “clean and honest” Punjab chief minister has baffled all candidates. Another leader said Imran Khan’s choice for Punjab was not visible enough and everybody was guessing about the new chief minister.

Referring to Imran Khan’s speech that the new chief minister would be young, a party leader said there was a need to explain the criteria of `young’ by Imran Khan himself.

While spirits in Aleem Khan’s camp were low, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry, Sibtain Khan and Raja Yassir Humayun were still in the race for the top job in Punjab. They believe that they still fit in the picture being drawn by party chairman for chief minister.

A source said that the new chief minister would be replacing Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab and the candidate must be mature and active enough to handle the complex issues in Punjab besides handling a strong opposition.

PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi told media persons that the people of Pakistan had given a clear message in the July 25 general elections that they did not want to see any person as chief minister whose credentials could be questioned within the party and by the opposition.Pouring his heart out, Mr Khan also told Punjab MPAs to keep in mind that they would only be serving masses and any wrongdoing would cost them a lot.

While others are keeping mum, MPA-elect Raja Yassir Humayun from PP-21(Chakwal-I) says he has learnt about his candidature for chief ministership through social media and was ready to accept the challenge. He rejected all allegations being levelled against him and termed them mere propaganda.

Answering a question, he said Shahbaz Sharif was also inexperienced when he had taken over as chief minister for his first term.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1425834/imran-khans-speech-leaves-party-mpas-guessing

--------

 

Pakistan, US must cooperate to achieve common goals: report

AUGUST 9, 2018

WASHINGTON: The United States needs to support Pakistan in fighting off terrorism and preserve its fledgeling democracy as Washington needs Islamabad’s support to ensure sacrifices rendered by the Americans, achieve the goal of peace and prosperity that extends to the US.

A report in the online news magazine, International Policy Digest, referred to the devastating terrorist attacks that targeted political rallies, a government convoy and an election office during the recent elections and claimed by the Islamic State.

“To say that Pakistan is not at the front lines of the fight against extremism is patently absurd. But this is the position of some in Washington who would deny Pakistan the tools it needs in terms of military hardware, financial support, and political encouragement to bring terrorists to heel,” says the author of the report, who recently visited the Pakistan embassy and met Ambassador Ali Siddiqui.

“With Imran Khan claiming victory in the country’s second successful democratic transition, Pakistan is set on a new trajectory with new premier promising changes in a country that has been marred by corruption and violence.” The report said that it is both sad and counterproductive for the US to cut-off billions in aid to Pakistan, which is critical to the success of its own fight against terrorism.

Ambassador Siddiqui told the magazine that the future of Pakistan was linked to quelling the threat of terrorism and in meetings with US officials, he would underline grave problems that Pakistan is facing in the fight against terrorism and its seriousness to wipe out this global menace.

The magazine quoted Ambassador Siddiqui as saying that improving the US-Pakistan security relations was his number one priority. He also said that terrorism was posing threat to Pakistan’s ability to grow economically and thrive democratically.

Moreover, the report also suggested that the US itself has a deep interest in helping Pakistan fight the menace of terrorism as the country shares a long border with Afghanistan where American troops are fighting terrorists for the past 17 years, and where terrorists who attack Americans and other innocents abroad had taken refuge.

“The US has lost more than 2,000 lives and spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and we need Pakistan’s access, influence, and firepower to destroy terrorist havens and bring Taliban to heel,” the report added. The report highlighted that since 9/11, the US-Pakistan collaboration played a critical role in dismantling al-Qaeda and led to the arrest and killing of many terrorists. The cooperation between the two countries also resulted in the seizure of more than 200 tons of IED explosives.

But, Pakistan had to pay a heavy price for achieving these successes as more than 60,000 of its people were killed in terrorist attacks and the country’s economy suffered accumulative losses of $120 billion.

Referring to President Trump’s statements against Pakistan and the subsequent snapping of all security aid, the report said that Pakistan must feel “abandoned, their sacrifices in vain”.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/280426/pakistan-us-must-cooperate-to-achieve-common-goals-report/

--------

 

Accountability Court II to hear pending references against Sharif family

AUGUST 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Accountability Court II will hear the two pending references against the Sharif family today.

The Al-Azizia and Flagship investment references will be heard by Judge Arshad Malik. The references were transferred by a two-member bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) to the accountability court on August 7.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel had submitted an appeal requesting the references to another accountability court.

On July 6, an accountability court sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and imposed a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference, while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was also given a one-year sentence without any fine.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/280682/accountability-court-ii-to-hear-pending-references-against-sharif-family/

--------

 

Southeast Asia

 

Non-State Actors Are Main Violators of Religious Freedom in Indonesia

August 08, 2018

Jakarta. More than 200 cases of religious freedom violations were recorded in 2017, and most of them were carried out by non-state actors, human rights group Wahid Foundation revealed on Wednesday (08/08).

In its annual report, Wahid Foundation said the 213 cases recorded last year show a 4 percent increase from 2016. However, the increase is smaller than in previous years. For comparison, there were 190 cases recorded in 2015, a 20 percent increase from 2014.

Last year, most violations, 64 percent, were committed by non-state actors such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). In previous years, the abuse came mostly from government-affiliated institutions.

FPI has been the most notorious abuser, according to the report. And too little has been done by law enforcers to curb it.

"As a result, this organization has not been deterred ... Quite contrary, this shows that FPI's actions are not fully noticed by the law," the report said.

The main victims have been Ahmadis, Shias and members of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) — an Islamist organization which was recently banned by the government.

The highest number of violations was recorded in Jakarta — 50 incidents — followed by West Java (44), East Java (27) and Central Java (15). Religious freedom violations were recorded in 27 provinces.

According to Wahid Foundation, this is the first time Jakarta tops the list, which according to Alamsyah M. Dja'far, a senior researcher at the foundation, was mostly due to the controversial gubernatorial election last year, which was marred by hate speech and politicization of religious sentiments.

Politicization of Religion

The report highlights 28 cases of politicization of religion — in Jakarta, West Java and Banten. Most of them were related to the use of hate speech against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Generally, politicization of religion assumes two main forms — the use of religious symbols in public spaces and for political advantage.

"First, [it is] the excessive and inappropriate use of religious symbols and idioms in political spaces. Second, some groups are using feelings of hatred, dislike and threats against different groups to gain political support," said Yenny Wahid, the foundation's executive director.

She warned that precautions must be taken ahead of next year's elections.

"Intolerance and politicization of religion leave scars and bad memories, this is something that must be healed, or it can blow up," Yenny said, adding that the government should consider early warning systems to prevent religiously charged negative incidents from escalating.

She also expressed hope that the 2019 elections will be a healthy electoral process.

"[I hope] we will choose our leaders not because we feel threatened, or on the basis of their religion, but for their programs."

Positive Initiatives

Wahid Foundation observed that there have been more and more efforts by the state and civil society to promote diversity, religious freedom and tolerance.

Efforts by the state are led by the police, while non-state initiatives have been driven by interfaith communities, Ansor (the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama), and civil society organizations.

The foundation recorded 398 positive initiatives in 2017, a 64 percent increase from 2016.

One of the most prominent examples last year was the Constitutional Court's ruling allowing followers of indigenous faiths to have their beliefs recognized in their national identity cards.

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/more-than-200-violations-of-religious-freedom-in-2017-mostly-by-non-state-actors/

--------

 

Activist Marina Mahathir Tells Organisers of Penang Exhibit To Remove Her Portrait

Robin Augustin

August 8, 2018

PETALING JAYA: After portraits of LGBT activists were removed from an exhibition to showcase Malaysian patriotism, activist Marina Mahathir said she was standing in solidarity with them, and instructed organisers to also remove her portrait.

“I am asking for my photos to be taken down in solidarity with Pang and Nisha,” she told FMT today, referring to Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik, whose pictures were removed at a photography exhibition titled “Stripes and Strokes”, which forms part of the George Town Festival.

“I am personally very sad about this. When people say they are not treating LGBT Malaysians as second-class citizens, this is exact proof that discrimination exists,” Marina added.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa defended the removal of the portraits, saying it was justified in line with Putrajaya’s policy not to promote the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle.

Meanwhile, author Faisal Tehrani criticised Mujahid, saying the minister in charge of Islamic affairs should focus on more important matters.

“For instance, corruption within Islamic institutions or human rights violations against minorities within Islam. These are urgent issues,” he told FMT.

Faisal questioned the removal of the pictures, saying symbolic expressionisms of LGBT was not under a ban, such as that impose on the Islamic State symbol.

“To many LGBTs, rainbow is part of their identity, and there is nothing wrong to express the very basic of their identity,” he said.

He said notwithstanding Islam’s strong position against homosexuality, Muslim reformists have different approaches on the LGBT community, one of which is to ensure they are treated equally.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/08/08/marina-tells-organisers-of-penang-exhibit-to-remove-her-portrait/

--------

 

Another earthquake hits Indonesia, death toll from previous quake rises to 164

9 August 2018

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 hit Indonesia’s Lombok Island on Thursday, causing some buildings to collapse, according to witnesses and the Southeast Asian nation’s meteorology and geophysics agency.

The latest quake was felt strongly on the island and followed a 6.9 quake on Sunday that killed at least 131 people and damaged thousands of houses.

A Reuters witness said the latest quake sent people into the streets in panic and caused buildings to collapse.

Meanwhile, the death toll from a previous devastating earthquake also in Lombok, has risen above 160, an official said Thursday, as authorities urgently appealed for medicine, food and clean water for some 156,000 people displaced by the disaster.

Many frightened villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields, and makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured.

Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the powerful quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.

“The death toll rose to 164 people with at least 1,400 people seriously injured and 156,000 displaced,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP.

Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island.

Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organizing aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.

“We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday’s earthquake was exceptionally destructive,” Christopher Rassi, the head of a Red Cross assessment team on Lombok, said in a statement.

He estimated 75 percent of houses are damaged in some villages in east and north Lombok.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/08/09/Another-earthquake-hits-Indonesia-where-death-toll-rises-to-164.html

--------

 

Govt Islamic charity agency under embezzlement probe, minister says

09 August 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — It has been three years since the corruption allegations surfaced, but the authorities are combing its books to check for signs of misappropriation in the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim), Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs promised that action will be taken against the agency within his overview if there was evidence to support the corruption allegations first raised by anti-graft group National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) in 2015.

“Now everything is in the files for us to see where problems arise and I guarantee that if we find any misappropriation, we will not leave it alone,” he was quoted by national news agency Bernama as telling reporters in Kota Baru, Kelantan last night.

Yapeim, a federal Islamic charity agency, also manages dozens of ar-Rahnu outlets offering Islamic gold pawn scheme nationwide.

In November 2015, the PKR-linked NOW claimed that Yapeim paid RM290,000 to hold two marriage courses in Paris, France that same year as well as in 2014, and questioned its purpose.

NOW further claimed that Mujahid’s predecessor Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and his entourage spent over RM400,000 of Yapeim funds meant for orphans on an eight-day trip to the US where they went on a shopping spree and played golf when they were supposed to attend an official charity programme organised by the state-linked charity agency.

Jamil and Yapeim denied the allegations. The former Islamic affairs minister also filed a RM10 million defamation suit against NOW director Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir.

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who was inspector-general of police, confirmed federal police were investigating the allegations, but left power abuse claims to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1660644/govt-islamic-charity-agency-under-embezzlement-probe-minister-says

--------

 

Jailing of Teen Sparks Calls for Reform of Indonesia Abortion Laws

August 08, 2018

JAKARTA —

Activists have welcomed the release of a 15-year-old girl from jail on the Indonesian island of Sumatra on “humanitarian grounds” following her arrest for a home abortion after being repeatedly raped by her older brother.

They worry, however, that proposed changes to the nation’s criminal code will reinforce the criminalization of abortion, target sexual minorities and even outlaw disseminating information about contraception.

The victim, identified by authorities by her initials WA, was initially given a six-month jail sentence by the Muara Bulian district court in the province of Jambi for aborting a fetus eight months into her pregnancy. Her mother is also facing charges for allegedly assisting her daughter with the abortion.

WA was charged with violating Indonesia’s Child Protection Law after local residents found a fetus in a palm oil plantation. Her 18-year-old brother who raped her nine times and threatened to harm her if she resisted was meanwhile sentenced to two years in jail for sexual assault of a minor.

The case has received widespread media coverage and scandalized many in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation, leading to renewed calls from rights groups for the legalization of abortion and other guarantees for women’s reproductive rights.

The rare decision to suspend WA’s sentence came after legal aid and women’s organizations launched a coordinated campaign for her release, including gaining more than 15,000 signatures on a Change.org petition.

A coalition of 12 NGOs calling themselves the Justice Alliance for Rape Victims said in a statement that there were “serious violations” in the way the case was prosecuted including “indications of torture” during questioning by investigators.

“It’s because of the culture in our society,” says Naila Rizqi Zakiah, who heads up the child rights and LGBTIQ+ rights unit at the Jakarta-based human rights legal center LBH Masyarakat. “We still are blaming the victim. Even in the legal enforcement agencies they still have this kind of view that a victim of rape has actually had a contribution to what has happened to her and when they decided to do abortion, it is her fault.”

The presiding judges have reportedly been referred to the national Judicial Commission for alleged ethics breaches.

Indonesia has ratified most international human rights documents relating to the rights of women and children including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but abortion remains strongly stigmatized and prohibited by law except in specific circumstances.

Legal abortion

Amnesty International Indonesia said in a statement regarding WA’s case that “Indonesia has a legal obligation under international human rights law to ensure that victims of rape or incest can have timely access to safe and legal abortion.”

A 2014 revision to Indonesia’s 2009 Law on Reproductive Health allows for abortions within the first 40 days of a pregnancy if the women’s life is in danger or if a woman becomes pregnant because of rape, in line with the beliefs of the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam to which most Indonesian Muslims adhere.

According to Adriana Venny Aryani, a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), many Indonesian children and young women are inadequately educated about sexuality and reproductive health and thus are rarely able to identify that they are pregnant within the 40-day window.

“She’s still a child. She doesn’t recognize that I am pregnant … so the judge and the prosecution must also think about that,” Venny said. “They are too normative: ‘this is the sanction, I must punish you because you are in a criminal court’ … but they don’t realize she is a victim. She is still a child.”

Amnesty said that a “lack of awareness and knowledge about the law among women and girls as well as abortion-related stigma and other barriers they face in accessing legal services means that women and girls are more likely to seek clandestine, unsafe abortions, or else terminate the pregnancy on their own through unsafe means, even though they may be legally entitled to an abortion.”

The Indonesian parliament is considering changes to the criminal code, the current incarnation of which was inherited from the country’s former Dutch colonial rulers, which would ban all consensual sex outside of marriage – a provision activists fear would be used to target the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Article 481 of the code would limit the distribution of information and contraceptive supplies to government-approved health professionals, with those violating the law facing a potential penalty of 10 million Rupiah.

Conservative Muslim groups have argued that the changes are necessary to better reflect local culture in the law.

The deputy chairperson of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Zainut Tauhid Saadi said earlier this year that the reforms would bring the criminal code “in line with cultural values, religious norms and the spirit of Pancasila”, Indonesia's national ideology, and protect against “dangers of LGBT and free sex”, as quoted by Indonesia's news agency Antara.

Full report at:

https://www.voanews.com/a/indonesia-abortion-laws/4518391.html

--------

 

Police Build New Detention Center for Terrorists

August 08, 2018

Jakarta. The National Police on Tuesday (07/08) said they are building a special prison for terrorists in Cikeas, Bogor, West Java.

Until now terrorism convicts have been kept at the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) headquarters in Depok, near Jakarta, and at regular detention facilities.

"[For the time being], terrorism convicts are in district prisons ... We have instructed them to place [the convicts] in separate cells, with more security, while we are waiting for the Cikeas prison to be ready," National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said, as quoted by BeritaSatu.com.

The detention center in Cikeas will be able to accommodate 340 prisoners, Tito added. Its construction is set to begin this month, and should be complete by the end of the year.

In May, a riot broke out at the Brimob prison, claiming the lives of five police. Since then the detention center has been seen as inadequate for terrorism convicts.

Full report at:

Tito said 283 suspected terrorists have been arrested in the past two months.

http://jakartaglobe.id/news/police-build-new-detention-center-terrorists/

--------

 

Arab World

 

Arab World

 

Enhanced Arab News Hajj app launched in partnership with Muslim World League

August 09, 2018

RIYADH: Arab News has launched the 2018 version of its smartphone Hajj app for use this month during the annual Muslim pilgrimage season.

The free app — available to download from Thursday for iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play — has new and enhanced features, including live news updates and the signature “Hajj tracker,” which enables pilgrims to connect with their loved ones back home.

The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) will again be sponsoring the Hajj app. The partnership with MWL, which began last year, is part of the international Muslim body’s global outreach efforts to serve all Muslims.

The latest release of the app features several functions for use during the Hajj season, including safety features such as an emergency call number and list of embassies and important service providers during Hajj.

New features include a digital Qibla compass, a real-time currency converter and Qur’an prayer audio files.

The app also features improvements to the hugely useful “pilgrim tracker” function. The feature, which is optional, allows users who activate it to share their location and follow loved ones in real time, around the clock.

Mohammed Al-Sulami, Arab News Jeddah bureau chief and head of the paper’s Hajj coverage team, thanked MWL for its endorsement of the app and said the aim of this corporate social responsibility initiative was to provide a useful and free service for pilgrims on their unique spiritual journey.

“Our mission is to make Arab News more global and more digital, and the Hajj App — thanks to the generous support from the MWL — does just that by providing a live news service and helpful, easy-to-use functions that every pilgrim can benefit from during Hajj,” he said.

The Muslim World League commended the newspaper’s initiative of deploying technology in such an innovative and useful way for the public good.

“We are happy to renew our partnership with Arab News and our support of this app, which reinforces our position as an umbrella body seeking to serve Muslims worldwide,” the MWL said.

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for over 40 years.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1353216/media

--------

 

Cost of Syria war destruction at $388 bln: UN

8 August 2018

Seven years of relentless conflict in Syria have wreaked destruction that the United Nations said on Wednesday had cost the country close to a whopping $400 billion.

The figure was released after a two-day meeting of more than 50 Syrian and international experts in neighboring Lebanon, hosted by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

ESCWA said the “volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution” had been estimated at more than $388 billion (334 billion euros).

It said the figure did not include “human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labor due to displacement, which were considered the most important enablers of the Syrian economy.”

More than half of Syria’s pre-war population has fled the country or been displaced internally over the past seven years.

Russia’s 2015 military intervention helped a spectacular recovery by government forces, which have regained significant ground in recent months.

Extremists and rebel forces remain in some pockets, but with the military balance hugely in the regime’s favor, efforts have already been shifting toward reconstruction.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/08/Cost-of-Syria-war-destruction-at-388-bln-UN.html

--------

 

Pakistan scholars council slams foreign interference in Saudi internal affairs

8 August 2018

The head of Pakistani Association of Ulemas' Council Sheikh Mohammed Taher Al-Ashrafi denounced in Islamabad on Tuesday statements made by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Canada's Riyadh-based embassy, over the so-called civil society activists rights, considering it as irresponsible intervention into internal affairs of another sovereign nation.

In a press statement, the Ulemas (Islamic clergies) condemned interference in the Saudi internal affairs, which takes place in the name of human rights, reasserting taking the side of the Kingdom and supporting its stances.

Sheikh Al-Ashrafi "dismissed some countries and bodies' recurrent attempts to intervene in the affairs of other nations, under the cover of backing up of civic society activists' freedom as conspiracy and holding clandestine agenda, concluding by pointing out that the stance displayed by Canada constitutes a flagrant violation of the international law, which prohibits intervention of any state in the local legal measurements taken by another sovereign country," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/08/08/Pakistan-scholars-council-slams-foreign-interference-in-Saudi-internal-affairs.html

--------

 

Saudi Arabia beheads and crucifies Myanmar national

Aug 8, 2018

Saudi Arabia has beheaded and "crucified" a Myanmar national over charges of murder, theft and attempted rape.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday that Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen was executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca under the endorsement of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the appeals and supreme courts.

Jamaleddeen was charged over entering a Myanmar woman's house and discharging a firearm, then stabbing the homeowner to death and robbing the residence.

He was also charged for robbing another house, attempted rape, and the theft of firearms and ammunition.

Despite being one of the world’s top executioners, Saudi Arabia rarely crucifies convicts - a process in which the condemned is usually beheaded and then the body is put on display with outstretched arms.

In July, Saudi Arabia put to death several inmates convicted of murder and drug trafficking.

In April, the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) said that the number of beheadings in Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of 2018 rose by over 70 percent in comparison with the corresponding period last year.

According to the London-based rights group Amnesty International, many people in Saudi Arabia are sentenced to death and executed following seriously flawed court proceedings that routinely fall far short of international fair trial standards.

It added that the defendants are often convicted solely on the basis of “confessions” obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, denied legal representation in trials which are held in secret, and are not kept informed of the progress of the legal proceedings in their case.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/08/08/570607/saudi-arabia-beheading-execution

--------

 

Enhanced Arab News Hajj app launched in partnership with Muslim World League

August 09, 2018

RIYADH: Arab News has launched the 2018 version of its smartphone Hajj app for use this month during the annual Muslim pilgrimage season.

The free app — available to download from Thursday for iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play — has new and enhanced features, including live news updates and the signature “Hajj tracker,” which enables pilgrims to connect with their loved ones back home.

The Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) will again be sponsoring the Hajj app. The partnership with MWL, which began last year, is part of the international Muslim body’s global outreach efforts to serve all Muslims.

The latest release of the app features several functions for use during the Hajj season, including safety features such as an emergency call number and list of embassies and important service providers during Hajj.

New features include a digital Qibla compass, a real-time currency converter and Qur’an prayer audio files.

The app also features improvements to the hugely useful “pilgrim tracker” function. The feature, which is optional, allows users who activate it to share their location and follow loved ones in real time, around the clock.

Mohammed Al-Sulami, Arab News Jeddah bureau chief and head of the paper’s Hajj coverage team, thanked MWL for its endorsement of the app and said the aim of this corporate social responsibility initiative was to provide a useful and free service for pilgrims on their unique spiritual journey.

“Our mission is to make Arab News more global and more digital, and the Hajj App — thanks to the generous support from the MWL — does just that by providing a live news service and helpful, easy-to-use functions that every pilgrim can benefit from during Hajj,” he said.

The Muslim World League commended the newspaper’s initiative of deploying technology in such an innovative and useful way for the public good.

“We are happy to renew our partnership with Arab News and our support of this app, which reinforces our position as an umbrella body seeking to serve Muslims worldwide,” the MWL said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1353216/media

--------

 

Terrorists' Supply Lines in Hama Province Cut off in Syrian Army Attack

Aug 08, 2018

Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorists' positions in the villages and towns of Lahaya, al-Latamina, Kafr Zita and al-Zakat in Northern Hama came under heavy fire of the artillery and missile units.

Several supply lines of the militants were destroyed in the attack.

In the meantime, the army destroyed several positions used by terrorists to monitor the army's movements and to launch sniper attacks on the government forces in the Northern Hama.

On Sunday, the army men engaged in fresh fighting with Tahrir al-Sham in the small town of al-Zalaqiyat in Northern Hama, repelling their offensive.

In the meantime, the army's artillery and missile units pounded terrorists' movements and supply lines in the town of al-Latamina, destroying several vehicles that were carrying heavy military equipment.

A large number of terrorists, including Commander of Jeish al-Izzah Kheir al-Rahmoun, were killed in the failed attack.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970517000270

--------

 

Syrian Army Advancing Rapidly against ISIL in Badiyeh of Sweida

Aug 08, 2018

The army forces, backed up by artillery and missile units, advanced against ISIL in Rami Shabaki Sharihi region in Eastern Sweida, seizing control over al-Tamthouneh, Haviyeh al-Abed, Wadi al-Lahaf, Arz al-Zabiriyat, Rosoum al-Manatir, Wadi al-Sham and Ra'as al-Jamrah in Eastern, Northeastern and Southeastern Sweida.

Other units of the army engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in al-Hossan and Arz al-Kara'a regions, repelling terrorists' attacks.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties in the failed attacks and retreated from the battle field to evade more casualties.

On Tuesday, the army men struck ISIL's positions in the villages of Shenvan and al-Saqiyeh and captured several hills and valleys in Badiyeh in Northeastern Sweida.

Other units of the army managed to free Malha Cave region and Tal Sanim in al-Kara'a from ISIL.

The army soldiers further advanced and drove ISIL out of al-Hossan region.

Field sources, meantime, reported that other army units advanced against ISIL in the third flank from Souh al-Majidi and Ba'ar Shaman up to East of Tal Asfar towards Khirbet al-Ambashi and al-Habiriyeh.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970517000352

--------

 

Terrorists Concerned about Growing Wave of Pro-Peace Activities in Northwestern Syria

Aug 08, 2018

Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) declared curfew in the villages and towns of al-Tamanna, Um Jalal, Khowein, Tahtaya, al-Sarj, al-Tah, al-Haditi, Halba, al-Rafa, Abu Hoba, Kafr Basin, Baboulin, Sahyan, al-Deir al-Sharqi, al-Sarman and Jajanaz in Southeastern Idlib.

Local sources said that Tahrir al-Sham's move to declare curfew is aimed at paving the grounds for conducting arrest operations in the region to detain those people who intend to join the peace agreement with the army.

In the meantime, militants of the National Liberation Front, another main terrorist coalition, are breaking into people's houses East of the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman in Southern Idlib, arresting those who had tried to join the peace plan in the region.

A fresh wave of fear has covered the terrorist front as the army is preparing to launch a large-scale operation in Idlib and a main part of the militant front has intensified efforts to join the reconciliation plan.

Local sources reported on Monday that terrorists of the National Liberation Front captured over fifty pro-peace activists accusing them of links to Damascus government.

The sources further said that the National Liberation Front has dispatched a large number of gunmen to Western and Eastern Hama and kept them on alert as their comrades in Idlib are concerned over the endorsement of a peace plan in their regions.

The Front, meantime, set up more checkpoints in al-Ghaab Plain and Shahshabou in Western Hama.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970517000590

--------

 

Saudi Attaché in US forms committee to move Saudi students from Canada to US

8 August 2018

Saudi Cultural Attaché in the Kingdom’s Embassy in the United States, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Issa, confirmed on Wednesday that the mission is forming an emergency committee to assist Saudi students in Canada in order to secure a fast and smooth transition to the United States.

Dr. Issa added that this committee will be headed by the assistant director for Educational Affairs, Dr. Ali bin Mohammed al-Freihi,  manager of the medical programs Dr. Hadeel al-Saleh, and  manager of academic accreditation and documentation Dr. Nashme al-Rashidi.

The Saudi Cultural Attaché told the Saudi Press Agency that the difficult part relating to the issue is the students who are studying medicine as there are around 1,000 male and female medical students in Canada, and that his department is doing its best to place them in medical programs in the US.

Dr. Issa said “we started communicating with medical program managers and American hospitals to assist the Saudi doctors and we have got all the support from the American Universities.”

He said more than 20 American Universities have expressed its readiness to take in the students transferred from Canada.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/08/08/Saudi-Attach-in-US-forms-committee-to-move-Saudi-students-from-Canada-to-US.html

--------

URL:  http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/dalai-lama-calls-for-shunning-shia-sunni-conflicts,-asserts-islam-a-religion-of-peace/d/116085

 

New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-    


Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Comments
Fill the text
 
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.

Content