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Islamic World News (01 Jul 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Egypt’s Ministry Of Endowment Describes Muslim Brotherhood As ‘Khawarij’







Egypt’s Ministry Of Endowment Describes Muslim Brotherhood As ‘Khawarij’

Fighters throughout the Khorasan Renew Allegiance To Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Muslim Community Gifts Silver Chariot To Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad

‘I Am Aurangabad MP, Not Muslim MP’: Imtiaz Jaleel

Pakistani-Origin English Actor Riz Ahmed On Islamophobia: ‘Its Super Scary To Be Muslim In America'

Britain's Ruling Party Has an Islamophobia Problem, Independent Study Reveals

Mujahid’s Office Denies Adopting China’s Position on Xinjiang during Speech in Beijing

Seven Sudanese Protesters Killed, 181 Wounded In Sunday Demonstrations

 

Arab World

Egypt’s Ministry Of Endowment Describes Muslim Brotherhood As ‘Khawarij’

Fighters throughout the Khorasan Renew Allegiance To Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Official Reveals New US-Israeli Scenario to Turn Iraq into 2nd Libya

Ankara Fears Leaking Reports about Extensive Insecurities in Occupied Areas in Aleppo

Syria says four killed in Israeli missile strikes

Two aides of Lebanese minister shot dead as convoy hit by gunfire

Bahrain gives back citizenship of 92 Shia dissidents, upholds their jail terms

Japan-Islam ties in focus as Saudi Crown Prince Tours G20 host country

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India

Muslim Community Gifts Silver Chariot To Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad

‘I Am Aurangabad MP, Not Muslim MP’: Imtiaz Jaleel

Tabrez Ansari 18th Mob Violence Victim in Jharkhand In Three Years

‘Amarnath Yatra Takes Place with Their Support’: J&K Governor Lauds Role Of Muslims

Centre mute spectator to mob lynching incidents: Delhi’s Jama Masjid Shahi Imam

‘VHP Only Against Love Jihad, Not Opposed To Interfaith Marriages’

Post-Pulwama, over 12-fold rise in donations for martyrs

Dialogue only way forward for peace in J&K: Farooq Abdullah

Hizbul militant gunned down in Kashmir encounter

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North America

Pakistani-Origin English Actor Riz Ahmed On Islamophobia: ‘Its Super Scary To Be Muslim In America'

Muslim Children Return To Swimming Pool One Year after Being Forced To Leave Because Of Their Clothing

US Officials Criticised For Attending Opening of West Bank Israeli Settler Archaeology Site

U.S. Army War College disinvites speaker critical of Islam

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Europe

Britain's Ruling Party Has an Islamophobia Problem, Independent Study Reveals

'Turkey backs North Macedonia's NATO bid'

Unidentified object crashes in Cyprus, officials suggest it was a missile

Iran’s attrition strategy pays off in Europe

UK leader Theresa May faces demands for Libya terrorism fund

Just 22 Mosques Given Funding For Hate Crime Security Last Year

Sweden: Mosque vandalized in Islamophobic attack

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Southeast Asia

Mujahid’s Office Denies Adopting China’s Position on Xinjiang during Speech in Beijing

Mujahid says under PH, cost of managing Haj pilgrims reduced by RM58m

PAS claims Islam does not allow asset declarations

After garden leave, Zahid Hamidi announces return as Umno president

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Africa

Seven Sudanese Protesters Killed, 181 Wounded In Sunday Demonstrations

Haftar's forces down Turkish drone, arrest Turks

Turkey vows ‘heavy price’ in case of any aggression by Libya’s Haftar

Libya's GNA forces seize US missiles at captured Haftar base

Turkish spox slams Haftar forces over illegal detention

Mombasa man denies being Al Shabaab member

Nigeria protesters demand end to anti-Boko Haram militia

Why we’re falsely accused of supporting Boko Haram – Red Cross

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South Asia

Taliban Bombers Kill 19, Including Afghan Election Workers

Special Forces Kill 13 Taliban Militants; Destroy Weapons Cache In Paktika Province

10 Taliban militants killed, detained in Special Forces raids in Wardak, Balkh and Logar

Special Forces kill 13 militants; detain 9 more in Wardak operations

Powerful explosion heard in diplomatic district of Kabul, at least 53 wounded

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Mideast

Palestinians: 15 Injured In Clashes with Israeli Police

US Envoys Lend A Hand As Israel Digs Down In East Jerusalem

One child, several others killed in Israeli missile attack on Syria

Israel frees Palestinian minister after brief arrest

Israel to endorse 2,000 unauthorized settler homes in occupied West Bank

Attempts aimed at liquidating Palestinian cause will not succeed: Top Hamas official

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Pakistan

Siraj Says JI Won’t Become Part of Opposition PPP, PML-N Politics

Pakistan authorities say 3 Taliban killed in shootout

PML-N warns ‘turncoats’ as two MPAs admit meeting PM

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/egypt’s-ministry-of-endowment-describes-muslim-brotherhood-as-‘khawarij’/d/119046

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Egypt’s Ministry Of Endowment Describes Muslim Brotherhood As ‘Khawarij’

Jun. 30, 2019

CAIRO – 30 June 2019: Under the title “Contemporary Khawarij in Demise, Home survives,” Egypt’s Ministry of Endowment has released a video-graphic on the sixth anniversary of June 30 Revolution, resembling the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to the first group of political dissenters announced their disobedience and killed their leader in the Islamic history.

At the beginning of the Islamic history and after the murder of the third Caliph of the Islamic Empire Omar Bin Khattab in 657 A.C, the first political dispute in Islam had occurred between Ali Bin Abi Taleb – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s son-in-law- and Muawiyah I – the first caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate. When Ali accepted a political arbitration following a battle between the supporters of each side, a group of Ali’s supporters announced their dissent against the arbitration, which came at the end in favor of Muawiyah I after a deception plotted by his Umpire Amr Bin Aas. Later, a member of Khawarij killed Ali in Iraq.

The ministry’s video shows the names of banned books that disseminate the MB ideology, and animated graphics of the group's militia while bombing the state’s vital institutions like a metro station.

Egypt witnesses on Sunday the sixth anniversary of June 30 revolution, or the epic civil uprising against extremism represented in the then-ruling outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and their tactics to solely rule the state.

The popular uprising prevented numerous dark scenarios that could affect Egypt and the region, the least of them was the outlawed group’s call to declare Jihad in Syria without any understanding for the consequences of such a dangerous call.

https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/72278/Egypt%E2%80%99s-Ministry-of-Endowment-describes-MB-as-%E2%80%98Khawarij%E2%80%99

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Fighters throughout the Khorasan renew allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

BY THOMAS JOSCELYN

June 30, 2019

The Islamic State’s Khorasan province has released a 12-minute, 28-second video reaffirming its fighters’ allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The production is part of the self-declared caliphate’s “And the Best Outcome is for the Righteous” series, which previously featured jihadists in West Africa, the Sinai, the Caucasus and the Philippines renewing their fealty to Baghdadi.

As in those videos, the Khorasan province’s clips are introduced with on-screen text emphasizing that the jihadists remain committed to the cause. They will continue to fight the Islamic State’s enemies, even though they claim to have defeated the caliphate.

The Khorasan is an expansive area covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and at least parts of several other surrounding countries. Although only a small number of fighters are shown on screen at any one time, they are supposed to represent much of the region.

Indeed, if the video’s subheadings accurately reflect the Islamic State’s internal organizational structure, then the production identifies key figures throughout the Khorasan.

Six geographic regions, with seven different local leaders, are featured. They are: Abu Zubayr al-Khorasani (Afghanistan), Abu Hafs al-Khorasani (western Afghanistan), Abu Mujahid al-Farisi (Iran), Abu Talha al-Hindi (India), Abu Abdallah al-Kashmiri (Kashmir), Saad al-Bakistani or al-Pakistani (Pakistan), and Abu Khalid al-Bakistani (Pakistan).

Although these seven men address the camera in more than one language (including Pashto, Dari and Farsi), their remarks are transcribed in Arabic at the bottom of the screen. Collectively, they emphasize that the Islamic State is attempting to wage war against the rest of the world.

The Islamic State recently began marketing new so-called provinces in Kashmir (Wilayah Hind) and Pakistan (Wilayah Pakistan). These entities appeared to be outgrowths of the Khorasan mother organization. But editors of the new Wilayah Khorasan video include fighters from these areas, and more.

Abu Zubayr al-Khorasani speaks for several minutes, criticizing world leaders, the Afghan government and the Taliban. Images of President Trump and Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad are included in a montage that plays as he speaks.

Much of Abu Zubayr’s invective is directed at the Taliban, as he claims that his rival jihadists are apostates. He calls on Taliban fighters to defect, highlighting the group’s willingness to engage in diplomacy with the U.S. and Russia. Photos of the Taliban attending meetings in Russia are flashed across the screen to emphasize the jihadists’ alleged weakness in the face of an infidel power. In reality, the Taliban has used diplomacy to build international legitimacy for its own Islamic Emirate, often at the expense of the Western-backed government. For Baghdadi’s enterprise, however, such shrewd political efforts are religiously impermissible.

U.S. officials have openly worried about the possibility that more Taliban members will defect to the Islamic State’s Khorasan province if a peace deal is struck. Thus far, the Taliban has shown no willingness to engage in a real peace accord and has instead used the talks to extract various concessions from the U.S. as it looks to withdraw. But if the Taliban agrees to any sort of deal, even a figleaf one, the Islamic State will clearly look to capitalize. Abu Zubayr’s speech is intended to further that poaching effort.

Abu Hafs al-Khorasani builds on his comrade’s critique, adding others around the world to the group’s litany of enemies.

The identification of Abu Mujahid al-Farisi as a key figure inside Iran is intriguing. In June 2017, a team of Islamic State terrorists attacked the Iranian Parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. And in Sept. 2018, another team of jihadists assaulted a military parade in Ahvaz, Iran. Therefore, Baghdadi’s network clearly has some operational capability inside Iran. But the extent of this footprint isn’t clear.

Abu Mujahid’s precise location isn’t given. It is possible that he and his men are based inside Iran proper, or along the border region with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unsurprisingly, Abu Mujahid verbally blasts the Iranian regime, saying that it is at war with Sunni Muslims throughout the Middle East.

Similarly, the speakers based in Kashmir, India (which may mean another part of Indian-controlled Kashmir) and Pakistan make their hostility for all of the regional governments clear.

After all of the leadership figures are finished delivering their monologues, small bands of fighters are shown clasping hands as they express their undying fealty to Baghdadi.

Despite a prolific targeting campaign, the Islamic State has obviously maintained a prolific media apparatus. The new series, “And the Best Outcome is for the Righteous,” is just one example of the group’s frequent media output.

Abu Zubayr al-Khorasani addresses the camera from inside Afghanistan:

Abu Hafs al-Khorasani (seen standing on the left) delivers his speech from somewhere in western Afghanistan:

Abu Mujahid al-Farisi reads a prepared text from somewhere inside Iran:

Abu Talha al-Hindi (center) is identified as a leadership figure for the group in India, or a part of Indian-controlled Kashmir:

Abu Abdallah al-Kashmiri speaks from somewhere inside Kashmir:

Saad al-Bakistani is one of the two Islamic State leaders in Pakistan who is featured in the video:

Abu Khalid al-Bakistani is also based somewhere in Pakistan:

Islamic State fighters throughout the Khorasan region renew their allegiance to Baghdadi:

Abu Zubayr al-Khorasani speaks first in the video. He criticizes the Taliban at length, as images of the Taliban engaging Russian and other officials appear on screen. Pictures of President Trump and U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad are also included:

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2019/06/fighters-throughout-the-khorasan-renew-allegiance-to-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LongWarJournalSiteWide+%28FDD%27s+Long+War+Journal+Update%29

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Muslim community gifts silver chariot to Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad

Jun 30, 2019

AHMEDABAD: In a bid to spread a message of communal harmony, the Muslim community in Jamalpur city has been gifting a silver chariot to the Lord Jagannath temple of Ahmedabad for the past 20 years.

This year too, a silver chariot was gifted to the priest of the temple, ahead of the 142nd Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, which will commence on July 4 in Ahmedabad.

Rauf Bangali, the man who gifted the silver chariot to the temple told ANI, "We have been gifting a silver chariot since Godhra incident to spread communal harmony. We have been doing this for the past 20 years. We have given the silver chariot to Dilipdasji Maharaj."

After receiving the silver chariot from Muslim community, the head priest of the Ahmedabad Jagannath temple, Dilipdasji Maharaj told media, "Since ages, Rauf Bangali has been offering a silver chariot to the temple. I would like to thank the Muslim community for their efforts to spread communal harmony. I pray to God that communal harmony stays like this."

As part of Rath Yatra, the deities of Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Subhadra are taken out in a procession. Amidst religious rituals, dance and music, splendidly decorated rath or chariot with their idols are drawn by the devotees using ropes to the palace gate and then brought back to its starting point.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/muslim-community-gifts-silver-chariot-to-jagannath-temple-in-ahmedabad/articleshow/70015333.cms

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‘I am Aurangabad MP, not Muslim MP’: Imtiaz Jaleel

Deepanjana Pal

Jul 01, 2019

A week before the 17th Lok Sabha began, first-time parliamentarian Imtiaz Jaleel’s home was overrun with bouquets, and he was running on four hours of sleep. This isn’t unusual. Winning members of Parliament (MPs) tend to be local heroes, and Jaleel has been popular since he wrested the Aurangabad Central seat from the Shiv Sena during the Assembly elections of 2014. Five years later, however, Jaleel has noticed a difference in the people congratulating him. “In 2014, if 100 people came to visit me, then all 100 would be Muslims. Today, it’s across the caste and religious spectrum,” he said.

Twenty-eight days before the general elections were scheduled for Aurangabad, journalist-turned-politician Jaleel was nominated as a parliamentary candidate for the seat, representing an alliance between the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Founded in March 2018 by the grandson of BR Ambedkar, Prakash, the VBA emerged as a serious contender because of its sway over Dalit, adivasi and other backward classes (OBC) communities. Accused by the Congress of being the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “B-team” (because the VBA split the anti-BJP vote), the VBA quickly distinguished itself by its decision to field educated candidates and declaring their caste names. In the Lok Sabha polls, the VBA-AIMIM alliance secured 4.11 million votes, which was 7.63% of the total votes polled in Maharashtra.

Remarkable win

Aurangabad has been a Shiv Sena stronghold and is known for its divisive politics. Jaleel, the first Muslim MP from Maharashtra in 15 years, has managed something remarkable with his win. “For the first time in at least 20 years, Muslims and Dalits came together. Jaleel showed that minority communities coming together can change the narrative,” said Dr HN Sonkamble from the department of political science at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU).

Fittingly, it was the state of Indian politics that drove Jaleel to quit journalism after 23 years. “I’ve seen divisive politics make its inroads,” he said. “I would cover Bal Thackeray’s rallies, where he would call Muslims names and I would see all these people cheering. They would be enjoying those terms. It used to hurt me.” Increasingly, Jaleel found himself getting frustrated by how advertising was impacting news and how limited his influence was as a journalist.

The final straw proved to be waiting for BJP’s Amit Shah and Pankaja Munde to show up at a rally in Beed in 2014. “The programme was delayed by four hours,” Jaleel recalled.

“And I thought, ‘Yaar mein kya kar raha hoon? [What am I doing?] There are guys sitting next to me who have joined journalism just a few years ago. I’ve been covering this for 23 years and I’m still doing the same thing’.” At the time, he was working for NDTV in Pune. He came home and submitted his resignation. “I didn’t even serve my notice period. I’d had enough,” Jaleel said. His original plan was to return to Aurangabad, spend some time with his family, and then teach at Pune’s Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication. “Sharad Pawar at the time said he’d give tickets to Muslims,” Jaleel said, “and the Muslim candidates were all shady characters.”

Political plunge

One night, while ruing how badly Muslims are represented in politics, a friend of Jaleel’s turned to him. “‘Why don’t you stand from Aurangabad? It’s not like you have a job,’ he said to me and I thought, ‘it’s true’.” Jaleel said.

As surprising as the decision to join politics was, Jaleel opting for AIMIM was the bigger shock to those who know him. “When I said I was joining them, there was silence in the house,” Jaleel recalled with a grin.The Hyderabad-based party is known for being stridently Muslim and leaning towards conservatism, which felt these parties had done nothing to stop protect innocent Muslims who had been falsely accused of terrorism..

For instance, in his recent parliament speech AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi argued that criminalising triple talaq is “anti-Muslim” and does “great injustice to Muslim women”.

For Jaleel, however, it mattered that he knew Owaisi personally and that there would be less competition from within than if he joined a bigger player like the Congress or the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). As an AIMIM candidate, he knew he would be small fry, but he’d be able to run his campaign as he wanted. He also knew there was deep-rooted frustration and anger at the Congress and the NCP within the Muslim community.

Jaleel is proud of the way he steered his campaign and supporters clear of partisan politics. “Now when workers know it’s my programme, they won’t raise those us-versus-them kind of slogans. The kind of support I get, particularly from the youth, because I won’t go that way is really what gives me hope,” he said. He keeps emphasising that infrastructure benefits everyone.

Among Jaleel’s plans for Aurangabad are setting up a skill development university and increasing the city’s flight connectivity. At present, Aurangabad airport’s facilities include a carrom board and limited air conditioning, but Jaleel hopes to accommodate private airlines and even international players.

While campaigning in 2019, four-time sitting MP from Aurangabad, Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Khaire raised the slogan “Baan pahije ki Khan pahije? [Do you want the bow and arrow — Shiv Sena’s party symbol — or the Khan?]” Jaleel, on the other hand, talked about local issues and development, and it resonated with many in the city.

When Jaleel emerged as a frontrunner against Khaire, it was a surprise to most people, but not to Jaleel. “If I hadn’t been sure of winning, I wouldn’t have stood for election,” he said.

His confidence came from knowing the electoral mathematics favoured him since the Maratha vote was divided between independent candidate Harshvardhan Jadhav and the Shiv Sena. He also knew there was disgruntlement at Khaire, even among Sena loyalists.

“That Khaire and I got almost the same number of votes shows the mentality of the people,” said Jaleel, who won by a slim margin of 4,492 votes.

“Yes, the reality is that I happen to be a Muslim, but my work as an MLA has proved itself. In the 2019 general elections, Brahmins voted for me, Marathas voted for me, Dalits came out openly and voted for me,” he said.

Beyond Muslim votes

Even among those who haven’t voted for Jaleel, there’s grudging admiration. Sunil Gaikwad, a driver who works for a taxi service and is a Sena supporter, said, “Jaleel is a Muslim leader so of course he’s done things for Muslim areas in the city, but he doesn’t only help Muslims.”

Jaleel is keenly aware that Muslims need better representation in India. According to the Pew Research Centre, the share of Muslims in the Lok Sabha was at a 50-year low after the general elections of 2014, when 23 out of 545 MPs were Muslim. The number has risen to 27 in the 17th Lok Sabha, marking a decade high. “There’s a desperate need to improve the quality of our political leaders, especially in the Muslim community. Rather than tokenism, we need leaders we can look up to and traditionally, we’ve got the opposite,” said Dr Hameed Khan, a professor at BAMU.

As a progressive Muslim who has despaired at the leaders claiming to represent his community, Jaleel understands his success is a beacon of hope for particularly the underprivileged who feel ghettoised and vilified.

“There is no harm in Muslims projecting a Muslim, dreaming of having a Muslim MP in the Parliament,” said Jaleel. “But the important thing is, push for candidates from within communities who are good, have a clean image, and are educated. We’ve got to look beyond parties.” The label of ‘Muslim leader’ sits uncomfortably on Jaleel’s shoulders. “I would like to be seen as MP of Aurangabad, not as a Muslim MP. And that I will do with the work,” he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/i-am-aurangabad-mp-not-muslim-mp-imtiaz-jaleel/story-lMjp03U9CwSEeZEbHEwBnI.html

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Pakistani-Origin English Actor Riz Ahmed On Islamophobia: ‘Its Super Scary To Be Muslim In America'

June 30, 2019

Pakistani-origin English actor Riz Ahmed has opened up about Muslim representation in Hollywood, Islamophobia and the discrimination he faces because of his race, saying the current times are “super scary”.

During Creative Artists Agency’s Amplify leadership summit focusing on diversity and multicultural issues across entertainment, sports, tech and politics, Ahmed headed a panel where he revealed that he has been constantly stopped and searched at airports. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ahmed said that a similar incident recently happened when he was travelling to Chicago for the Star Wars convention and was stopped by Homeland Security “from boarding the plane”.

“(Hasan Minhaj) can win a Peabody, I can win an Emmy, Ibtihaj Muhammad can go to the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systemic and we can’t really face them alone, we need your help.

“I’m basically here to ask for your help, because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now. Super scary. I’ve often wondered, is this going to be the year when they round us up, if this is going to be the year they put Trump’s registry into action. If this is going to be the year they ship us all off,” he said.

Ahmed, who won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy for his starring role in HBO’s The Night Of, becoming the first South-Asian man to win the award, added that the easiest way to win elections today is through “Islamophobia”.

“How I do what I do is because like all of you here, I’m a code-switcher. We all know how to change the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we walk as we enter one room or another. We all know how to navigate terrain that isn’t of our own making. That’s how I can do it, but that’s not why I do what I do. The why is because I don’t want to have to code-switch anymore,” he said.

In May, Ahmed had shared an account highlighting the racism his brother, Kamran Ahmed, a psychiatrist, faced on a recent trip to Australia.

https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/hollywood/its-really-scary-to-be-muslim-right-now-riz-ahmed-5807476/

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Britain's ruling party has an Islamophobia problem, independent study reveals

Manu Kaushik

Jul 01, 2019

The United Kingdom’s (UK’s) ruling Conservative Party to which the acting Prime Minister Theresa May and the front runner PM-candidate Boris Johnson belong, has an Islamophobia problem, an independent study found.

A poll of Tory members found out that nearly half its members would not prefer to have a prime minister from the Muslim community. The poll conducted by YouGov, an independent public opinion and data company, for an anti-racism group ‘Hope Not Hate’, found out that more than two-thirds of party members believe the myth that some parts of the UK are under the Sharia law and 45% think that parts of the country are not safe for non-Muslims.

The survey also found that while half the Tory members believe Islamophobia is a real issue, only 8% believed that Islamophobia is an issue in the party.

The recent findings of the YouGov survey only seem to lend credence to the numerous allegations and journalistic inquiries into the handling of such issues by UK’s ruling party.

“From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths, with almost half unwilling to have a Muslim prime minister – and only 8% [saying they would be] proud to have one – and most denying there’s even an issue to confront,” Matthew McGregor, Hope Not Hate’s campaigns director said.

String of accusations: a leaked dossier

A month ago, the Guardian, quoting a report said that the party was dealing with 100 alleged cases of Islamophobia in its ranks including several that previously went unreported. “More than 100 accusations of Islamophobia and other forms of racism were made against people claiming to be Conservative party members in a leaked dossier,” the newspaper said quoting an ITV report.

The leaked dossier included allegations that Tories called Islam a “cult” which is being allowed to “take over the country” and described the Muslim population of the country as “infestation” which causes “mayhem wherever they invade”. The ITV said quotes in the dossier referred to Muslims as “radicals” who “plan to turn the UK into an Islamic state”.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) urged the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the country's human rights watchdog, to initiate an inquiry into the alleged Islamophobia in the party. The request by the Muslim body was made on a day when the EHRC launched a formal investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.

During the same month, EHRC wrote to the party after receiving the complaints.

Matthew McGregor, campaigns director at ‘Hope Not Hate’ group which commissioned the YouGov survey responding to the accusations told the Guardian that “these revelations have become depressingly familiar because the Conservative party has failed to tackle this crisis of Islamophobia in its ranks.”

Defining Islamophobia? No thanks, we’re Tories

The debate on the issue got ever fiercer after Theresa May-led Conservative Party government in May this year rejected a definition of Islamophobia proposed by the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims. The definition was accepted by all other parties in the UK including the Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Conservatives but not the Conservatives.

The definition adopted by MPs cutting across party lines in December 2018 stated that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

The UK government replied that the definition needed further consideration.

The insider job

Conservative party leader and UK’s current Foreign Secretary Sajid Javid challenged Boris Johnson, who is the front runner for country’s highest office, to initiate an independent investigation into the allegations during a recent debate on the BBC. After initially agreeing to it, Jhonson went back on his commitment saying he favours a “general investigation” into all forms of prejudice instead.

Later on the Conservative Party website, Johnson said: “What we’ve committed to is a general investigation into all types of prejudice and discrimination including anti-Semitism”.

“Well, I took it up with Saj (Sajid Javid) afterwards and he said that actually, if I understand it correctly, what we've committed to is a general investigation into all types of prejudice an investigation into all types of prejudice and discrimination, including anti-semitism,” he said.  

Johnson also failed to retract earlier comments comparing women in burqas to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in a column he wrote for The Daily Telegraph. He was accused and later cleared of breaching Conservative Party’s code of conduct by using the language. Tell MAMA, an organisation that monitors anti-Muslim hate crimes later said there was “direct link” between the former Foreign Secretary’s comments and an uptick in incidents targeting burqa-clad women.

A prominent Tory and former party co-chair Sayeeda Warsi had in the past described the problem in the party as “institutional”.

Hope springs eternal in Torylandia

The YouGov poll in the online survey of 864 Conservative members found out 76 per cent of the respondents think that the party is doing “all it reasonably can” to fight anti-Muslim prejudice and racism and only 15 per cent thought more is needed to be done by the party.

https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/britains-ruling-party-has-an-islamophobia-problem/446294

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Mujahid’s office denies adopting China’s position on Xinjiang during speech in Beijing

01 July 2019

BY JULIA CHAN

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Rawa’s office is disputing an article portraying him as saying reports on China’s policies against Muslims in Xinjiang could be false.

In a statement today, his office challenged the Free Malaysia Today article titled “In Beijing speech, Mujahid speaks of 'false news' on Xinjiang” published on June 28 that was based on Mujahid’s speech, calling it confusing, inaccurate and taken out of context.

“In the minister’s speech, he did not say the word Xinjiang or the ethnic Uyghur. The word ‘false news’ was used to paint the scenario where false news could adversely affect the relationship between countries and the people.

“The Muslim community in China does not consist only of Uighurs but come from other ethnicities as well such as the Hui, Kazakh, Uzbeks and Tajik. Therefore, the FMT report is very inaccurate and irresponsible,” the statement said.

The portal reported that Mujahid was referring to Xinjiang when he said false news about Muslims in China being oppressed could trigger a wave of sympathy to the oppressed and affect relationships, making comparison to claims of Hindus in Malaysia being mistreated that which could trigger hatred towards the Muslim minority in India.

The report came after another controversy when he referred to an Uighur detention or “re-education” camp as a “training and vocational institution”.

Rights groups and advocates have described these as concentration camps based on the testimony of former inmates.

The department said that Mujahid had visited China between June 23 and 30 to strengthen diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China by exchanging opinions and information on issues regarding peace, religion and socio economics, and not just to visit the ethnic Uighurs.

Among others, Mujahid met with United Front Work Department deputy minister HE Wang Zuoan, where he spoke of opportunities to expand on the halal industry in Malaysia, issues on handling the haj pilgrimage and imams in China.

“The minister spoke about how Malaysia could help the imams better play their role in China,” said the statement, explaining that China has around 20 million Muslims from all ethnicities, around 30,000 mosques and tens of thousands of imams.

Mujahid was accompanied by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) director general as well as officers from the Foreign Ministry for guidance and advice.

“While he was in China, the minister did not act against any guidelines given,” said the statement.

“He had in his meetings, emphasised on the freedom of religion and respecting the individual’s rights to worship. This is the first time a minister from Malaysia has spoken about religious issues to a China representative, and the feedback has been very positive,” it added.

In his speech at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Muhajid had spoke on basic human rights regardless of race or religion and how inter religious dialogue helped to solve some issues, adding that Malaysia rejected any kind of violence or discrimination.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/01/mujahids-office-denies-adopting-chinas-position-on-xinjiang-during-speech-i/1767056

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Seven Sudanese protesters killed, 181 wounded in Sunday demonstrations

1 July 2019

Seven people were killed and 181 others were wounded in Sudan during Sunday mass demonstrations, the state news agency (SUNA) reported citing the health ministry.

Earlier, a doctors committee linked to the protest movement said that five protesters were killed during mass demonstrations that rocked the country as tens of thousands of people protested against the ruling generals.

“The death of four martyrs in the city of Omdurman on the road of our victorious revolution brings the number of martyrs to five” in Sunday’s protests, the committee said, after it reported earlier that a protester was shot dead in the town of Atbara.

“There are several seriously wounded by the bullets of the military council militias in hospitals of the capital and the provinces,” it added.

Earlier, witnesses said that the Sudanese police fired tear gas at protesters in three districts of Khartoum on Sunday.

The deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has called for “an urgent and comprehensive agreement” with the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition coalition.

“We seek a comprehensive peace in Sudan that does not exclude anyone. The mission of the transitional council is to protect the Sudanese revolution,” Daglo, known as Hemedti, said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/01/Five-Sudanese-protesters-killed-at-Sunday-demos-Medics-.html

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Arab World

 

Official Reveals New US-Israeli Scenario to Turn Iraq into 2nd Libya

Jun 30, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Secretary-General of Asa'eb al-Haq Sheikh Qais al-Khaz'ali as saying on Saturday that Washington and Tel Aviv seek to overthrow the Iraqi government and turn the country into a second Libya.

He added that the US wants to use the peaceful protests in Basra to decompose Iraq, warning that if their goal is materialized, the situation in Iraq will be the worst in the world and all of its cities will be separated from the country.

Meantime, the commander of Basra police announced in a statement on Saturday that mercenaries of foreign spy agencies want to turn the peaceful protests held to demand better government services in the region violent by attacking the public and private properties.

A number of people were injured in clashes with the local police amid protests against lack of basic services that recently took place in the Southeastern city of Basra, local media reported on Saturday, citing a source in the country's security forces.

The Iraqi Al-Sumaria broadcaster reported that the local police dispersed protesters in the center of the city using tear gas and detained several people.

Police officers stopped protesters from getting closer to a house of a governor, according to the broadcaster.

Previous protests in Basra broke out in early September when people took to the streets to express their discontent over shortages of drinking water and electricity. Military troops were called in after demonstrations turned violent.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980409000340

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Ankara Fears Leaking Reports about Extensive Insecurities in Occupied Areas in Aleppo

Jun 30, 2019

Syria's Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources in the towns of A'azaz, Afrin, Jarabulus and al-Bab which have been occupied by the Turkish army as saying that these regions witness bomb blasts, explosion of bomb-laden vehicles, shootings, infighting among terrorist groups, robbery, killing and plundering of people's properties on a daily basis.

They added that establishment of security in these regions is impossible due to the deployment of the  Turkish occupying forces and lack of government and judiciary bodies, saying that a large number of young people have fled these areas to the Syrian army-controlled regions.

These sources also revealed that the Turkish army which has lost a large number of its affiliated militants and is facing the young people's unwillingness to join the Ankara-backed militants has ordered its fighters to avoid releasing reports of blasts, assassinations and infightings.

Meantime, intensified insecurities in A'azaz and al-Bab have made the foreign exchange and gold shops to go on a general strike.

Relevant reports said earlier this month that over 2,800 civilians were arrested by the Turkish Army and its allied militants in line with the crackdown on the local population by occupying forces in Northern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorists detained at least 31 civilians on different charges, including cooperation with Kurdish units by attacking their houses in the towns of Kafar Zit, lower and upper Kafar Daleh as well as Kazieh in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo.

It noted that 2,038 civilians, out of 2,800 arrested since the occupation of Afrin, are still in custody of the Turkish Army and its allied militants.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980409000849

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Syria says four killed in Israeli missile strikes

1 July 2019

Four civilians, including a toddler, were killed and 21 injured in Israeli missile strikes near Damascus late Sunday, Syria’s state news agency SANA reported.

An AFP correspondent in Damascus reported hearing loud explosions during the night.

The Syrian news agency said the missiles struck near Damascus and in Homs province.

“Our air defences confronted enemy missiles launched by Israeli warplanes (...) towards some of our positions in Homs and in the vicinity of Damascus,” SANA said, quoting a Syrian military source.

No details were given on the positions.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the strikes hit several Iranian positions near Damascus and targeted a research center and a military airport west of the city of Homs where Hezbollah and Iranians are deployed.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the observatory chief, said the strikes injured some of these forces.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/01/Syria-says-four-killed-in-Israeli-missile-strikes.html

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Two aides of Lebanese minister shot dead as convoy hit by gunfire

30 June 2019

Two people who were accompanying Lebanon’s Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib have been killed when gunmen opened fire on their convoy in the governorate of Mount Lebanon, sources said.

The area where the incident took place near Aley is loyal to anti-Damascus Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, whose Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) denied any involvement in the incident.

In an interview with Lebanon’s al-Jadeed TV, Gharib said that “what happened was an armed ambush and a clear assassination attempt.”

Initial reports said that gunmen fired at the minister convoy, during which three of his bodyguards were injured, two died later of their wounds.

Roads to towns and villages in Mount Lebanon were blocked by supporters of Jumblatt who opposed a visit by Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement Chief, to the area.

The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) added that the minster’s bodyguards fired on the protesters despite their attempts to open the road and remove the blockades.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/30/Two-bodyguards-accompanying-Lebanese-minister-for-refugees-killed-sources.html

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Bahrain gives back citizenship of 92 Shia dissidents, upholds their jail terms

Jun 30, 2019

Bahrain’s top court of appeal has reversed a decision to revoke the citizenship of 92 jailed Shia nationals who have been convicted of allegedly forming a “terrorist group,” but has upheld their original prison terms.

On Sunday, the Court of Cassation, Bahrain’s highest court, “overturned the decision to strip the 92 people of their citizenship,” AFP quoted an unnamed judicial source as saying.

In April, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court sentenced 138 people to prison terms of various lengths and stripped them of their Bahraini citizenship over the charges of purportedly forming a “terror cell.”

Back then, the court sentenced 69 defendants to life imprisonment, 39 to 10 years, 23 to seven years, one to five years, and six to three years.

The Bahraini opposition lambasted the verdict at the time, and Amnesty International decried it as a “mockery of justice” and an instance of “mass arbitrary denaturalization.”

The 92 defendants who regained their citizenship on Sunday were among the 138 individuals, and according to the source, only the decision on revoking their citizenship has been overturned “but their prison terms remain the same.”

The source further said that 96 of the defendants were also fined 100,000 Bahraini dinars (265,000 dollars) each, adding that the Court of Cassation would issue a final verdict. But the timing of that decision was not clear.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in the tiny Persian Gulf country on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began there in mid-February 2011.

People have been demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599814/Bahrain-court-citizenship

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Japan-Islam ties in focus as Saudi Crown Prince tours G20 host country

HALA TASHKANDI

July 01, 2019

TOKYO: Furat Bantan is a Saudi translator who has been working in Japan for the past 13 years. He says his life’s goal is simple: To become one of the best Arab translators of the Japanese language and eventually to become a bridge between the Arab world and Japan.

Bantan is currently a translator for the embassy of Lebanon, having earlier worked for the Arab Islamic Institute of Tokyo. The institute, which is an affiliate of the Al-Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, was a gift to Japan from the Saudi government with the hope it would help to build cultural ties and foster understanding of Arabic culture.

“I want to deepen my understanding of Japanese culture and religion so that I can relate to their way of thinking and become able to convey Islamic teaching in a way that they accept and understand,” Bantan told Arab News.

Islam is one of the most practiced religions in the world, with the Pew Research Center putting the number of Muslims at about 1.6 billion worldwide. Islam also has one of the highest growth rates of all the world’s faiths, with the Pew survey projecting that the number will rise to 2.8 billion in 2050.

However, the Japanese Muslim community is very small compared to the Muslim populations of many other East Asian countries. Although the exact size remains a matter of speculation, official studies have put it at 100,000-185,000, which for a country of 126.8 million people does seem tiny. Put differently, Muslims make up less than 0.1 percent of Japan’s population.

What Muslims in Japan lack in numbers, however, they make up for with spirit. A number of organizations are dedicated to preserving Islamic traditions and providing religious services. Among the more prominent ones are the Japan Islamic Trust, the Islamic Center of Japan, and the Nippon Asia Halal Association.

There are more than 200 mosques scattered across the country, ranging in size from large, elaborate structures such as the Tokyo Camii in the Shibuya district of the city to small prayer rooms in universities and public-transport facilities.

In recent years, Indonesian Muslims in Japan have been organizing donations and collecting funds to build small mosques in apartment buildings and offices in rural areas for the benefit of Muslims who live outside the larger metropolitan centers.

The Arab Islamic Institute of Tokyo, where Bantan used to work, provides free Arabic classes to Japanese citizens interested in learning the language. More people are interested in taking the classes than one might imagine, he told Arab News, adding that “Japanese people are a lot more curious about Islam in today’s political climate.”

Bantan said he has seen many Japanese embrace Islam after being exposed to the lessons and cultural guidance of the local Islamic organizations. “In my time with the Arab Islamic Institute, I would see two to three people a week coming in to take their shahadah,” he said, refering to the Muslim profession of faith.

“We even have Japanese Islamic preachers now, experts on Islam who are having an impact on bringing their own people into the fold.”

The reason Japan’s Muslims form a small demographic today has a lot to do with the way Islam reached the country. The religious history of Japan is very different from that of most other East Asian countries, notably China, where Islam has been practiced for more than 1,400 years as a result of efforts by Prophet Muhammad’s Companions to visit China for trade and to spread the message of Islam. Ibn Khordadbeh, a Persian geographer, is believed to have been the first person to bring Islam to Japan as early as the 9th century. However, the Muslim population gained significance only after the Bolshevik Revolution, when Turko-Tatar Muslims fleeing Russia were given asylum in Japan. These refugees later came into contact with the local population, resulting in a number of Japanese choosing to convert to Islam.

An important event in the history of Islam in Japan was the completion of the translation of the Holy Qur’an in 1968 by Umar Mita, a Japanese Muslim whose original name was Ryoichi Mita. With the approval of the Muslim World League in Makkah, the Japanese Qur’an was first published in 1972.

Modern Japan has extensive business relations with the Islamic world. The volume of annual trade between Japan and Saudi Arabia alone is currently worth $26.67 billion. For Saudi Arabia, Japan is the top global export destination, the second-largest source of foreign capital and the third-biggest trading partner.

But how easy or difficult is life for a Muslim in Japan today? As a Saudi immigrant who has lived in Japan for almost 12 years now, Abdulaziz Alforieh knows the pros and cons well. He received a master’s degree from the Nippon Institute of Technology and elected to live on in Japan. He runs a company with local partners.

Alforieh said he has had no bad experience due to his faith, which he thinks is because Japanese are not the kind to openly discuss topics such as religion with strangers or casual acquaintances.

“If they are aware that you observe a certain type of religion, they are very respectful of it, whether they approve of it internally or not. If I’m out in public and I need to find a corner to pray in, no one minds,” Alforieh told Arab News.

It is rather difficult to find halal food, he said, although speaking Japanese can make a big difference. “It is difficult to find English-language speakers outside of tourist areas,” he said. “But as long as you can communicate with the locals, finding Muslim-friendly food is that much easier.”

One thing that Alforieh has noticed is that Japanese media outlets tend to focus on the more misunderstood aspects of Islam. These topics stir a lot of interest but do nothing to educate the audience, he said, referring to the taboo against eating pork or drinking alcohol (two staples of Japanese cuisine) and the idea that every Saudi man has four wives.

“But we all do our part to correct those misconceptions, and hope we can make an impact,” he said.

Regarding observing Ramadan in Japan, Alforieh saidd he finds it easier to fast there than back in Saudi Arabia. “Every company I’ve worked for has been Muslim-friendly,” he said. “Colleagues became interested in fasting after seeing me do it and tried it out for themselves. Being busy at work makes time fly. I hardly even notice it.

“I miss the atmosphere of celebrating Eid with my family, though. Despite the best efforts of the Islamic community, it just doesn’t feel the same here as it does back home.”

As Muslims, Alforieh and Bantan, the translator, each have a message for the people of Japan. “Everything you do pays off. Keep trying to put good out into the world,” Alforieh said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1518656/saudi-arabia

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India

 

Tabrez Ansari 18th mob violence victim in Jharkhand in three years

by Abhishek Angad

July 1, 2019

Tabrez Ansari (22), who died after being assaulted by a mob on the suspicion of theft, was the 18th victim of mob violence in Jharkhand in the past three years.

These incidents were triggered by a variety of factors, ranging from suspicion of cattle slaughter and theft, and child-lifting rumours.

A total of eight cases were registered pertaining to these deaths. Most of these cases are pending trial. Convictions have been secured in only two cases — of these, life term sentence was suspended in one.

On March 18, 2016, Mazlum Ansari and Imteyaz Khan were beaten to death and their bodies hung from a tree in Jhabar village. The perpetrators were allegedly members of one Gau Rakshak Samiti, who attacked the duo when they were taking eight oxen to a local market for sale.

A sessions court in December 19, 2018, convicted eight accused for murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. In the order, the Additional Sessions Judge said, “The convicts deserve no sympathy either of the society or of this court, therefore, the maximum sentence may be awarded to all the eight convicts so that message may go to the society and none can think to repeat such type crime in future.”

Ramgarh

On June 29, 2017, Alimuddin, alias Asgar Ansari, was intercepted by a mob on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his van. The mob allegedly assaulted him and set the car on fire. Ansari later succumbed to the injuries. In March 2018, a fast-track court convicted and sentenced 11 accused, including BJP leader Nityanand Mahto, to life imprisonment for the murder. Another accused is a juvenile and the case is on in the Juvenile Justice Board.

Three months later, Jharkhand High Court granted bail to 10 out of 11 accused and suspended their life-term during the pendency of the appeal in view of “lack of evidence on specific assault”. Ansari’s family will appeal against the order in Supreme Court.

Seraikela Kharsawan

On May 18, 2017, four people, Haleem, Nayeem, Sajjad and Siraj Khan, were lynched in Shobhapur and Padnamsai over rumours of child lifting. The mob also attacked the policemen who went to rescue the victims. Two cases were registered — one for the lynchings and another for obstructing public servant on duty. The first case is pending trial. In the second case, a fast-track court in July 2018 convicted 12 people and sentenced them to four years of imprisonment for “obstructing and assaulting government officials on duty, attacking with deadly weapons, trespassing into other’s house, disturbing law and order, breaking public peace’’.

East Singhbhum

On May 18, 2017, brothers Vikas Verma and Gautam Verma, their grandmother Ram Chandra Devi and their friend Gangesh Gupta were attacked by a mob following child-lifting rumours. Uttam, the brother of Vikas and Gautam, had said he went with his brother to look for a land for building toilets when the villagers demanded to see their IDs.

They also asked their 70-year-old grandmother to provide proof that they were not child-lifters. They were allegedly beaten to death. A case under charges of murder and other sections was registered at Baghbera Police Station against 17 accused. The trial is on in the court of Additional Sessions Judge.

Garhwa

On August 19, 2017, a tribal Christian, Ramesh Minz, and others were attacked by a group of cow vigilantes in Barkol area of Garhwa over the suspicion that they had killed an ox. Minz died while he was in judicial custody and it was alleged that doctors didn’t treat him properly. A case was registered and is currently at evidence stage pending trial. A case was also registered against the victims under the Jharkhand Bovine Animal Prohibition of Slaughter Act.

Palamu

On September 5, 2018, three persons were beaten up by residents of Tisibar village on the suspicion that they were thieves. Police said the three went to the village to meet the family of a girl in connection with a marriage proposal. They were were rushed to hospital where one Bablu Mushar died. Police had said a burglary occurred in the area the night before and rumour spread that these three played a role in it. A case was registered against the villagers. The case is pending trial at evidence stage.

Godda

On June 13, 2018, Chiraguddin and Murtaza Ansari were caught by villagers for allegedly stealing buffaloes and were beaten to death by a mob in Bankatti village. Police arrested four persons and later registered two cases — one for the murder of Ansari and Chiraguddin and another against people with Ansari for allegedly stealing buffaloes. A chargesheet was filed and the matter is at evidence stage pending trial.

Gumla

On April 10, 2019, a mob attacked four men in a field between Jhurmo and Jairagi villages. Police rushed the four — all tribal Christians — to a community health centre where one Prakash Lakra was declared dead. The others, identified as Peter Phuljans, Belasus Tirkey and Janriush Minz were sent to Ranchi for treatment. A case of murder was registered against seven people of Jairagi village. A case was also registered against the victims under the law against cow slaughter. Both cases are under investigation and the chargesheet has not been filed.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/tabrez-ansari-18th-mob-violence-victim-in-jharkhand-in-three-years-5808122/

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‘Amarnath yatra takes place with their support’: J&K governor lauds role of Muslims

June 30, 2019

A day before the beginning of the 46-day Amarnath yatra, Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday lauded the role of local Muslims in ensuring the smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage over the years.

Malik said while the government oversees the security aspect of the pilgrimage, it is conducted with the support of the locals.

“The security for the yatra is our responsibility and we are taking care of it. But police or Army do not conduct the yatra. For many years, the Amarnath Yatra is being conducted by the people of Kashmir, especially our Muslim brothers. The yatra takes place with their support,” Malik told reporters here.

The 46-day annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva in south Kashmir Himalayas will commence on Monday and conclude on August 15. “If all of us work together, it will be successful,” Malik added.

The statement comes days after Home Minister Amit Shah visited the state and reviewed the security arrangements for the annual pilgrimage in the Himalayas. Shah laid emphasis on securing the twin routes to the Himalayan cave shrine and preparations to deal with “any natural calamity”.

To ensure a smooth passage of the yatra convoys on the national highway, extra security measures have been put in place by the government, with state police, Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and the army providing protection. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags have been affixed in all the vehicles so as to have real-time information about their position.

The first batch of 2,234 Amarnath pilgrims comprising men, women, children and sadhus left for the valley from Jammu Sunday. The pilgrims will travel to the holy shrine of Amarnath located 3,888 Mts above sea level in the Himalayas beginning Monday morning.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/amarnath-yatra-j-k-guv-satya-pal-malik-lauds-muslims-in-smooth-conduct-of-pilgrimage-5807855/

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Centre mute spectator to mob lynching incidents: Delhi’s Jama Masjid Shahi Imam

Jul 01, 2019

The Shahi Imam of Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari has attacked the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre over rising incidents of mob lynching and the alleged killing of Muslims in the name of cow protection.

Referring to the chargesheet filed by the Congress government in Rajasthan against 2017 Alwar mob lynching victim Pehlu Khan and his two sons on charges of cattle smuggling, the Shahi Imam said that the government has become a mute spectator to such incidents.

In a press release issued by his office, the Shahi Imam said, ‘’people are making a mockery of the law and the government is doing nothing to stop such elements.’’

Imam Bukhari said that Muslims in India were suffering due to the discriminatory attitude of the government. An Indian Muslim is fighting a war every day for his survival. He is being threatened, suppressed and terrorised every day.

The Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid warned that Muslims are now running out of patience. ‘’Several years since the country gained Independence, Muslims in India are yet to get justice,’’ he said. 

The Shahi Imam also attacked the Rajasthan government for filing the chargesheet against Pehlu Khan, who was killed by a violent mob of cow vigilantes in Alwar in 2017 on suspicion of cow smuggling.

He also condemned the recent mob lynching incident in Jharkhand.

Imam Bukhari had in past written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking stern action against mob lynching and alleged atrocities on minorities, including Dalits and Muslims in India.

In his letter, Imam Bukhari alleged that the Modi government has failed to deliver its poll promise ‘sabka sath sabka vikas’.

Full report at:

http://www.nagalandpost.com/centre-mute-spectator-to-mob-lynching-incidents-jama-masjid-s-shahi-imam/199023.html

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‘VHP only against love jihad, not opposed to interfaith marriages’

JUNE 30, 2019

“The VHP is not against interfaith marriages but a conspiracy is on under which a Muslim youth in a pre-planned manner traps a Hindu girl and then converts her to his religion by taking undue advantage of her innocence,” VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal told PTI in Jammu on June 30.

Speaking to PTI after the conclusion of the VHP’s two-day central managing committee meeting in Jammu, Mr. Bansal said the issue of “love jihad” was also discussed in the meeting, chaired by its national president Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje and attended by 225 senior office-bearers.

“We never opposed marriage of couples belonging to different religions. We are against ‘love jihad’. If there is no mala fide intention, we have no issue (with interfaith marriage),” said Mr. Bansal.

The VHP meeting also demanded tough action against cow slaughter and advocated a separate Ministry for the protection of the animal, revered by Hindus.

He said the meeting, which concluded on June 30, demanded a separate cow protection Ministry to oversee an end of the cow slaughter in the country and an early construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “The meeting expressed hope that the Central government will take necessary steps for the construction of Ram Temple. The people of the country will render full cooperation to the government in this regard,” he said.

“We want government to act tough against cow slaughter,” said Mr. Bansal, claiming that incidents of mob lynching is being blown out of proportion as only a few incidents had taken place and the reason later turned out to be something else.

The Hindus have a sentiment attached with the cow and the people of other religions should respect it even as the cow is equally beneficial for all.

“We condemn all incidents of violence against anyone including cow vigilantes who often come on roads after they feel nothing is done to protect the revered animal. Nobody is speaking against the atrocities committed against them,” he said.

Cow vigilantes are protecting animals and cannot imagine taking away human lives, claimed Mr. Bansal. Referring to the killing of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand, Mr. Bansal said though his death looks suspicious, an incident of crime should be seen through the criminal angle only.

Mr. Bansal said the meeting also discussed the alleged practice of having Christian missionaries in management committees of some temples in parts of south India and being given money out of the temples’ offerings. “The money should be spent for the welfare of Hindus alone,” the VHP spokesperson said.

The meeting was also apprised of the organisation’s oversees activities and the steps being taken by it to promote Indian customs, traditions, nationalism and selfless service among the new generation of countrymen living in different parts of the world, he said.

Full report at:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/vhp-only-against-love-jihad-not-opposed-to-interfaith-marriages/article28235695.ece

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Post-Pulwama, over 12-fold rise in donations for martyrs

Jul 1, 2019

NEW DELHI: The martyrdom of 40 CRPF personnel in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 led to a deluge of donations from citizens to ‘Bharat ke Veer’ fund, a corpus set up by the home ministry in mid-2017 to financially aid families of central paramilitary personnel killed in the line of duty. The corpus has received donations worth Rs 242.15 crore till June 18 this year, a massive jump from the Rs 19.43 crore contributed in 2018 and Rs 6.40 crore in 2017.

Funds were also donated directly to the next-of-kin of martyred personnel, with Rs 14.20 crore contributed until June 18 this year as compared to Rs 6.58 crore in 2018 and Rs 11 crore in 2017.

Citizens can make voluntary contributions through the ‘Bharat ke Veer’ portal either directly to the next-of-kin of martyred personnel whose details are put up for public viewing, or by sending payments to the corpus fund. The donations can be made by way of unified payment interface (UPI), online transfer or other modes.

As per data quoted by minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha last week, funds contributed directly to the next-of-kin of martyrs over two years since the launch of the initiative totalled Rs 31.78 crore.

However, donated by common people from across the nation, keen to financially help families of the 40 CRPF personnel who were killed when a Jaish fidayeen ramm-ed his explosives-laden car into their convoy vehicle in Pulwama, really swelled up ‘Bharat ke Veer’ corpus. Donations that poured in after February 14 ensured that the total corpus sits at a neat Rs 267.98 crore since it was set up.

Reddy also informed the Elders last week that Rs 16.27 crore was distributed to the next of kin of 267 CAPF personnel whose details were uploaded on the portal. Of this, disbursements to CRPF martyrs stood at Rs 11.11 crore, BSF at Rs 3.30 crore, Assam Rifles at Rs 1.69 crore and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at Rs 17.76 lakh.

The surge in hits on the portal by citizens even led the website to temporarily slow down in the days following the Pulwama attack.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/post-pulwama-over-12-fold-rise-in-donations-for-martyrs/articleshow/70017149.cms

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Dialogue only way forward for peace in J&K: Farooq Abdullah

Jun 30, 2019

JAMMU: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said talks were the only way forward to herald peace in Jammu and Kashmir and hoped that the Centre would soon take an initiative to start a dialogue in this regard with Pakistan and all the other stakeholders.

Abdullah also wished a blissful pilgrimage to those visiting the holy cave shrine of Amarnath at a height of 3,880 metres in the south Kashmir Himalayas.

"The process of dialogue should be initiated with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir, as also with Pakistan to achieve the larger objective of peace in the state," he said on the sidelines of a function at Lakhanpur in Kathua district.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said history stood testimony to the fact that all contentious issues were sorted out by sitting around the table and hoped that the process of dialogue would be initiated by India and Pakistan, "sooner the better".

He recalled that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated talks with Pakistan even after hostilities between the two neighbouring countries in a bid to improve the relations.

"The beneficiaries of the dialogue will be the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been bearing the brunt of the hostilities," Abdullah said while exuding confidence that the Indo-Pak talks would lead to the culmination of violence in the state.

He reiterated that a dialogue with all the stakeholders with an avowed objective of addressing the internal and external dimensions of the Jammu and Kashmir imbroglio, which he described as "political" in character, would be a major initiative towards lasting peace in the region.

"The NC has constantly been maintaining that Indo-Pak bonhomie will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in our state.

Animosity can achieve nothing but destruction," the former Union minister said.

On the commencement of the 46-day-long Amarnath Yatra from here, he said the pilgrimage was a symbol of communal harmony and hoped that it would further foster the bonds of amity and brotherhood.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/dialogue-only-way-forward-for-peace-in-jk-farooq-abdullah/articleshow/70015306.cms

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Hizbul militant gunned down in Kashmir encounter

Jun 30, 2019

A Hizbul Mujahideen militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in central Kashmir on Sunday, police and army officials said.

The gun fight was triggered after a cordon and search operation was launched by a joint party of forces including police and army at Bugam in Chadoora area of Budgam district.

Police spokesman Manoj Kumar said militants fired on the search party forcing them to retaliate. “In the ensuing encounter, a terrorist was killed,” he said.

“The slain terrorist has been identified as Hilal Bhat from Armulla Pulwama. Affiliated with proscribed terror outfit HM. Involved in several terror crime cases,” Kashmir police said in a tweet later.

The police recovered arms and ammunition from the site of encounter. Earlier on Friday, a Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant was killed in a gun battle with security forces in the Budgam district.

Civilian shot at by ‘militants’

Suspected militants shot at a 25-year-old man in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Sunday, police said. Sameer Ahmad Ahanger was critically injured after he was fired upon by the militants at Old Town area of the north Kashmir district, an officer said on condition of anonymity

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hizbul-militant-gunned-down-in-kashmir-encounter/story-TTZEw8X8mfowWcMuQ6N1WI.html

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North America

 

Muslim children return to swimming pool one year after being forced to leave because of their clothing

Zamira Rahim

Jul 01, 2019

A group of Muslim schoolchildren have returned to a public swimming pool, a year after officials forced them to leave it because of their clothing.

Primary school students from the Darul-Amaanah Academy were asked to leave the Foster Brown pool in Delaware in June 2018.

The children, who were participating in a summer Arabic enrichment camp, were dressed in cotton shirts and shorts along with hijabs or headscarves.

The manager who asked them to leave claimed that it was against city policy to wear cotton in public pools.

Tahsiyn A. Ismaa’eel, the academy’s principal, said she had been taking students to the pool for three years before the incident.

“There’s nothing posted that says you can’t swim in cotton,” she said in 2018, according to The News Journal.

“At the same time, there are other kids with cotton on … I asked, ‘Why are my kids being treated differently?’”

The manager later “had a police officer come over and ask what time [the group] were leaving,” Ms Ismaa’eel said.

The incident made national and international headlines and led to a discrimination lawsuit filed by the group against the city of Wilmington.

Mike Purzycki, the city’s mayor, initially defended the pool manager and said the policy was due to cotton posing a safety risk.

Mr Purzycki later apologised, following the media attention.

“I apologise to the children who were directed to leave a city pool because of the religious-required clothing they were wearing,” he said.

“We also referred to vaguely worded pool policies to assess and then justify our poor judgment, and that was also wrong.”

Wilmington has since agreed to pay $50,000 (£39,000), to the group. The amount includes $4,285 (£3,375) payments to each of the seven affected children.

The city has also agreed to revise its policies and train employees to be more sensitive.

Ms Ismaa’eel returned with her students to the pool a year after the incident, as it re-opened for the season, and said “it felt like home again.”

“We had a wonderful time,” she said.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/muslim-children-wilmington-swimming-pool-delaware-hijabs-islam-a8981541.html

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US officials criticised for attending opening of West Bank Israeli settler archaeology site

Miriam Berger

June 30, 2019

Two top American officials – United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Mideast Envoy Jacob Greenblatt – attended the inauguration on Sunday of a new archaeological site run by the City of David Foundation (Elad), an Israeli settler group in the heart of disputed and occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinians criticised their presence, saying it reflected US support of Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem, which would be a significant break with previous US policy that has left Jerusalem’s status up to final negotiations. Israeli settlements in occupied east Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

Mr Friedman, in remarks at the event, denied the charge that his attendance was political or reflected a policy shift, saying that only "the pursuit of truth" was driving the excavations.

One protester was arrested at a demonstration organised by Jewish anti-occupation groups Peace Now and All That’s Left outside the event.

Palestinians call these neighborhoods Wadi Hilweh and Silwan, while the Israeli government refers to it as the City of David, as the biblical King David is said to have lived here.

Mr Friedman and Mr Greenblatt's attendance raised controversy after the Palestinian Authority and Israeli NGO Emek Shaveh, which is focused on the politicisation of archaeology, condemned the move.

“Senior American presence at the event, alongside ministers of the Israeli government, is a political act which is the closest the US will have come to recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Old City basin of Jerusalem,” Emek Shaveh said in a statement. “This is a further step in American support for the pro-settlement policy in Jerusalem, and particularly the touristic-settlement projects.”

Mr Greenblatt in turn tweeted out that claims the event was part of the "Judaisation" of Jerusalem were "ludicrous. We can’t “Judaise” what history/archeology show."

Prior to the ceremony Mr Friedman told The Jerusalem Post that “I do not believe that Israel would ever consider" giving up Silwan in a peace deal as “the City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the state of Israel. It would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.”

Tensions between American and Palestinian officials are already high after last week's controversial "Peace for Prosperity" conference in Bahrain that Palestinians boycotted. On Thursday, Mr Greenblatt added fuel to the fire by saying that he preferred to call Israeli settlements “neighbourhoods” and rejected claims that they are an impediment to peace.

“We might get there if people stop pretending settlements, or what I prefer to call ‘neighbourhoods and cities’, are the reason for the lack of peace,” he said at forum for US-Israel relations in Jerusalem.

The new site, called the Path of the Pilgrims, has been under evacuation for six years through a partnership between Elad and Israeli antiquities and nature and parks authorities. The path follows streets used by pilgrims from the time of the second Jewish temple, according to Elad. The path also connects the City of David National Park, Elad’s signature tourist attraction, to the Pool of Siloam near the entrance to the Jewish Western Wall.

Emek Shaveh, however, said that in the rush to add the new path and narrative, “the horizontal excavation method and the paucity of scientific publications does not enable us to establish with certainty when the road was built and how it fit into the layout of the city of Jerusalem.”

Two top officials in the Israeli Antiquities Authority Israeli also criticised the evacuation as “bad archaeology” and something the authority “could not be proud of” in internal correspondence viewed by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Palestinian activists and groups like Emek Shaveh, moreover, have condemned Israel’s politicisation of archeological sites and tourism in the area in order to push out Palestinian residents and strengthen Israel’s claims and presence. Elad has additionally been behind efforts to settle Jews in Palestinian parts of Jerusalem by claiming through the legal system that the properties were originally Jewish or by pressuring local residents to sell, sometimes unknowingly through middlemen.

Palestinian residents in Wadi Hilweh claim that the tunnel digging under their homes has caused structural damage to their properties. While there has been no formal study, activist Jawad Siam, who heads the Wadi Silweh Information Centre, told The National earlier this year that cracks in question only started to appear in the last few years alongside the excavations.

Mr Siam himself is fighting many legal cases and challenging fines against him spanning years of activism. He most recently started a crowdfunding page online to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in fines and legal costs related to settlers successfully acquiring part of his family home.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-officials-criticised-for-attending-opening-of-west-bank-israeli-settler-archaeology-site-1.881149

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U.S. Army War College disinvites speaker critical of Islam

JULY 1, 2019

Leaders of the United States Army War College recently disinvited a scholar and critic of Islam from a speaking event at the Pennsylvania-based school that trains senior military officers and civilians.

A school spokesperson claims the event is postponed while officials look to find another expert who can counterbalance the talk planned by Raymond Ibrahim, but critics contend the school has essentially disinvited the scholar, a coptic Christian from Egypt whose family has faced persecution.

The decision to shelve the talk was made after the Center on American Islamic Relations applied pressure to the college to disinvite Ibrahim, who was originally invited to give a lecture on June 19 on his latest book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.

CAIR, a controversial group in its own right, contacted the college’s Commandant Gen. John Kem and Provost James Breckenridge, urging them to cancel the event because “Raymond Ibrahim’s book … advance[s] a simplistic, inaccurate and often prejudicial view of the long history of Muslim-West relations which we find deeply troubling.”

CAIR also published a news release on June 6 stating that, if college officials invited Ibrahim, “it is also poised to exacerbate long-standing problems such as racism and human rights violations that exist within the US military.”

Meanwhile, a petition by Linda Sarsour’s MPower Change group on June 6 also called Ibrahim an “Islamophobe” and advocated for his disinvitation.

“Ibrahim’s rhetoric—characterizing Muslims as inherently angry, hostile, and prone to terrorism against ‘the West’—normalizes and justifies violence against Muslims, which is already a burgeoning problem for the military,” the petition stated.

In response, Ibrahim emphasized on his blog that “not once does CAIR highlight a certain passage or excerpt in its lengthy complaints to support its accusation that the book ‘is based on poor research.’”

And academics such as historian Victor Davis Hanson, Professor Paul Crawford, and Professor James Lindsay have praised Ibrahim’s new book and his research.

While calling Ibrahim extreme, CAIR is suspected of having terrorist links.

Ibrahim tells The College Fix that CAIR is “an aggressive Islamist organization which has repeatedly been linked to terrorist and subversive activities—so much so that the FBI has cut off all ties with it, and U.S. allies such as the U.A.E designate CAIR, by name, as a ‘terrorist organization’—right up there with ISIS, al-Qaeda, etc.”

The U.S. government does not accuse CAIR of being a terrorist organization; however, CAIR did have board members and staff accused of terrorism, has been an “unindicted co-conspirator and/or joint venturer” of Hamas, and repeatedly does not denounce the sponsors of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Nevertheless, on June 10, the war college decided to cancel Ibrahim’s event and claimed to “postpone” the event, according to a statement its officials gave to PennLive.

Army War College spokeswoman Carol Kerr wrote: “(The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center) sponsors Perspectives in Military History: an evening public education program which draws a community audience that can include USAWC students. The presentation of Mr. Raymond Ibrahim’s book is postponed so USAHEC can pair Mr. Ibrahim’s military history insights in close proximity with another historical perspective, at a time when the USAWC curriculum has addressed historical analysis of influences on conflict.” The National Association of Scholars notes that, despite claims of a postponement, it is “in effect” a rescission and an “indefinite postponement” of Ibrahim’s ability to host a lecture at the college.

NAS has since promoted an open letter addressed to President Donald Trump urging him “to use the ‘bully pulpit’… to restore Raymond Ibrahim’s lecture.” It is also calling for “the Department of Defense to set up new procedures to ensure that such pressures do not in the future prevent speakers from addressing audiences at military educational institutions.”

Glenn Ricketts, the public affairs director of the National Association of Scholars, told The College Fix in an email that, “For me, the disinvitation illustrates the depth to which political correctness and the outrage/grievance industry have saturated American educational and corporate institutions, with no apparent thought of the injustice done, the negative influence on the morale of the institution or, in this case, to the training of future defenders and military strategists. Good PR in the short term seems to me the paramount consideration.”

“NAS will be following this closely,” he added, “and we certainly hope that the Army War College will reconsider this monumentally bad decision. Perhaps it will recall that its mission is to train warriors, not social activists.”

Full report at:

https://www.thecollegefix.com/u-s-army-war-college-disinvites-speaker-critical-of-islam/

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Europe

 

'Turkey backs North Macedonia's NATO bid'

Dzihat Aliju 

30.06.2019

Turkey's Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop has said North Macedonia's NATO membership protocol would be approved by the General Assembly of the Parliament by the end of July.

Sentop's remarks came during his visit to Bitola, southern city of North Macedonia.

Speaking to the reporters, Sentop said that each of the NATO member states should adopt a protocol on the entry of North Macedonia into NATO.

"This has legal processes. However, as Turkey's parliament speaker I've referred to our foreign affairs. I hope it will be discussed during Foreign Commission's meeting next week. It will then be approved by our General Assembly, possibly within a month," said Sentop.

Sentop added that Turkey and North Macedonia are two friendly and brotherly countries and Turkey is one of the first to recognize North Macedonia's independence.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-backs-north-macedonias-nato-bid/1519670

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Unidentified object crashes in Cyprus, officials suggest it was a missile

July 1, 2019

A suspected stray missile crashed north of the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, early on Monday, but no one was hurt, Turkish Cypriot officials said.

The explosion occurred around 1 am in the region of Tashkent, also known as Vouno, some 20 kilometres northeast of Nicosia, with the impact setting hills ablaze and heard for miles around.

Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish Cypriot leader, linked the incident to military operations in the Middle East but said further investigations were underway by the military to establish what it was.

"It is evident it is not something stemming from our soil... It is one of the bad sides of the war in the region falling into our country," he said.

Cyprus is close to Syria. Israeli warplanes fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts overnight in an attack that killed at least four civilians and wounded another 21.

If verified, it would be the first time that Cyprus has been caught in the crosshairs of military operations in the Middle East despite its proximity to the region.

Officials were studying debris at the crash site in the Tashkent area, said Kudret Ozersay, foreign minister of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognised only by Turkey.

"Initial findings indicate the object that caused the explosion was either an aircraft carrying explosives or a direct explosive [missile]. The writings and signs on the debris will allow us to understand exactly what happened soon," Mr Ozersay said.

A Greek Cypriot military analyst, Andreas Pentaras, said the debris suggested it was a Russian-made S-200 missile.

"An assessment from the pictures made public shows the base of its wings. It has Russian writing on it, so it suggests it is Russian made. Syria uses Russian-made missiles, so a not-so-safe assessment would be it was .. an S-200" missile, Mr Pentaras, a retired army general, told Sigma TV in Cyprus.

Jamming technology could have diverted the missile, he said.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/unidentified-object-crashes-in-cyprus-officials-suggest-it-was-a-missile-1.881221

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Iran’s attrition strategy pays off in Europe

June 30, 2019

Iran’s strategy of waiting for the other side to blink claimed a familiar target when the EU delivered last week on technical help for Tehran to overcome US sanctions, despite public misgivings about Iran’s declared readiness to breach limits of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Capitalising on divisions between Washington and its allies, Iran renewed its push for further concessions from Europe at a major meeting in Vienna on Friday, demanding EU loopholes to make large oil sales. The meeting was to discus the status of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, from which the United States pulled out last year.

Washington said Iran lost tens of billions in oil revenue as a result of the sanctions, affecting Tehran's backing for sectarian Shiite militias across the region. But the EU's help to Iran so far centres on a barter mechanism called Instex, mainly to make possible Iranian imports of medicine and basic commodities from Europe.

A research note published last week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said Iran gained leverage through two recently applied “instruments”: reactivation of aspects of the nuclear programme and the capability to disrupt oil supplies passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

“Whereas two months ago the narrative centred on Washington’s unexpected success at imposing real pain on Iran’s economy, today’s focus is on how dangerous and volatile the region has become, with many world leaders now pushing for compromise,” wrote Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji.

In a sign of market gratification that could bolster the architects of Tehran's strategy, the Iranian rial improved slightly after the activation of Instex, reversing a fraction of the huge losses it had suffered since last year. The rial was trading on the black market at 129,500 to the dollar on Sunday compared to 132,000 on Friday, according to currency monitors Bonbast.

But Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said progress made on helping Iran in Vienna was not enough and he did not rule out continuation of Iranian uranium enrichment beyond the limits set in the nuclear deal.

Mr Araqchi’s slightly ambiguous language has been the hallmark of Tehran's policy throughout the latest tensions: assuming a hardline posture while preserving a diplomatic opening for those in Europe who would argue for accommodating Iran.

The deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme was signed with the five permanent UN Security Council members and the EU. Iran had said it was prepared to break the deal's limits on uranium stockpiles and on enrichment as part of its response to the reimposition of US sanctions.

Tehran appears to have taken advanced steps in this regard but so far does not seem to have actually breached the limits. A European official said progress had been made in Vienna on the uranium issue but did not give details.

Washington has intensified sanctions on Tehran since pulling out of the deal, citing sunset clauses they say could allow a major relaunch of its nuclear programme, the deal’s failure to halt its development of ballistic missiles and what US officials term as the spread of Iran’s Shiite proxy militias as a core element behind regional instability. In a move seen by Tehran as a major escalation, the US last week targeted individuals and entities that deal with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or officials serving under him.

Iran’s political position had strengthened since attacks on oil tankers in Gulf in the last two months raised the possibility of an open conflict. France and Germany did not directly back US accusations that Iran was behind the attacks and led Europe in resisting US efforts to support Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy toward Tehran.

Core support within Europe for accommodating Iran – as long as it does not breach the nuclear deal in a major way – lies in Berlin and Paris, as well as within EU institutions. On Saturday Iranian state television said Tehran’s compliance with its nuclear commitments depended on Europe’s ability to shield Iran from sanctions, raising pressure on the EU to preserve the relationship.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/iran-s-attrition-strategy-pays-off-in-europe-1.881126

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UK leader Theresa May faces demands for Libya terrorism fund

Paul Peachey

June 30, 2019

Departing British Prime Minister Theresa May should use her final days in power to exploit Libyan assets frozen in Britain to pay victims of Irish republican terrorism, an influential MP said on Sunday.

The UK government confirmed last week that it secured £17 million in tax over the past three years from £12 billion of funds frozen since 2011, when ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was killed.

The money should be used in a compensation scheme for victims of the Irish Republican Army, said Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of a small Northern Irish party that has propped up Mrs May’s government.

The IRA fought a three-decade campaign in which hundreds of people were killed from the late 1960s to have the UK leave Ireland.

Qaddafi's Libyan regime supplied millions of pounds of arms and explosives to the IRA for its campaign against the British government.

“In the final days of her premiership, the prime minister should take decisive action and begin righting this terrible wrong,” Mr Dodds wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

“The UK taxpayer should not be out of pocket for the actions of an evil dictator like Qaddafi.

"But if we wait until there is a political settlement with Libya then I fear many of the victims who suffered as a result of Libyan Semtex and guns will never see a single penny.”

The Libyan regime’s supply of Semtex explosive in the mid-1980s led to a deadly campaign of bombings across the UK.

High-profile targets included the Harrods store in London in 1983, in which six people were killed, and London Docklands in 1996 where two people died and tens of millions of pounds of damage was done.

British MPs in April called on the government to enter into direct talks with Libya to secure compensation for Qaddafi-sponsored terrorism.

The request was rebuffed as the government said the compensation issue would be better resolved when a divided Libya had a stable government.

“The Government has a longstanding position of not pursuing government-to-government negotiations with Libya on behalf of victims of Qaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism,” it said last week.

“A stable Libyan government would be more able to deliver effectively on these legacy issues.”

There have been complaints that victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism had been compensated in the US, France and Germany, but not in the UK.

Qaddafi agreed to a deal in 2008 to compensate US victims but British victims were not included.

“The Government needs to ask itself whether it is content to continue profiting from frozen Libyan assets while victims receive nothing,” said Simon Hoare, an MP whose committee has pressured the government on the issue.

Mrs May will step down as prime minister on July 24 after a leadership contest between current and former foreign secretaries, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson.

Her disastrous decision to call national elections in 2017 led to her Conservative Party losing a majority in the House of Commons.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/uk-leader-theresa-may-faces-demands-for-libya-terrorism-fund-1.881044

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Just 22 mosques given funding for hate crime security last year

Ben Quinn

30 Jun 2019

Widespread distrust of the Home Office’s counter-extremism strategy by British Muslims has been cited as one of the obstacles to mosques using a government scheme to protect places of worship from hate crime, after figures showed just 22 received funding last year.

The £375,413 awarded to the mosques under the scheme is a tiny fraction of the £14m provided by a separate government fund for assisting the Jewish community. Applications by 24 mosques failed.

While Muslim representatives do not criticise government funding to Jewish counterparts, they are pressing for changes to a wider scheme funding security for mosques, churches and temples at a time when most religious hate crime – 52% of all incidents last year – is aimed at Muslims.

Obstacles to mosques taking advantage of the Home Office’s places of worship protective security scheme – which was given a boost in funding after the Christchurch attacks and reopens in July – include bureaucracy surrounding the application process and the inability of mosques in some of the country’s poorest areas to pay costs upfront before being reimbursed.

The scheme had been closed at times when mosques needed to access it, including during Ramadan and after Christchurch, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which laid out concerns in a document sent to the Home Office after carrying out consultations in April and May.

Without serious changes, the MCB briefing says, the scheme “will fail to deliver the desired outcomes of good uptake, trust and respect among Muslim and likely other faith communities in Britain today”.

Distrust of the government’s Prevent strategy has led some Muslim communities to ignore the fund, and instead fundraise to pay for their own security arrangements and training, according to the MCB.

While describing the provision of £5m over three years to support security training as “well intentioned”, the document contrasted this with the much smaller pot (£1.6m) for available for ‘physical security’ pointing out that most small to medium sized places of worship lack basic CCTV and alarms “which are most urgently needed first before training.”

Alarm was also expressed about the omission from the scheme of Northern Ireland and Scotland in light of Islamophobic attacks in both countries.

The largest number of applications for funding last year came from mosques in the north-west and West Midlands, with 10 and 8 respectively, figures obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act show. Seven came from London, where one successful applicant received £9,283.

Churches also continue to access the scheme, with nine receiving a total of £126,832.32 last year.

A member of the inter-faith advisory panel, which overseas applications for funding under the scheme, said the uptake by mosques had been improving but that there was an ongoing debate with other members about how it should be changed.

Fiyaz Mughal said: “There basically needs to be much more money provided to cover the scale of the threat. My own personal opinion is that the government cannot keep pushing the line that all of the communities are in it together. The government are playing politics on this and I don’t think that’s acceptable. They need to act on the basis of which community is most at risk.”

Mosques received 46% of the total funding available last year, followed by Sikh Gurdwaras (37%), churches (16%) and Hindu temples (1.06%).

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are proud of our Muslim communities and are absolutely committed to ensuring they, like everyone else, are able to practise their faith in safety and free from fear.

“Earlier this year the home secretary announced he had doubled funding for next year’s places of worship protective security to £1.6m. We have also streamlined the application process to make it easier to apply.”

It said more than a third of grants in previous rounds of the scheme had been awarded to mosques.

‘We have to take it seriously when someone says: “You’re next”’

Shattering a glass entrance door, the brick was thrown just minutes after a group of children had left the building last week, the third such attack on the Masjid Ibrahim mosque in east London in as many months.

According to Asim Uddin, the chair of the mosque management committee, he and fellow worshipers in Plaistow have become resigned to having to largely fend for themselves when it comes to funding the security of their 18-year-old place of worship against the threats that have accompanied growing intolerance.

“We have learned that it’s better to be self sufficient and use the resources that we have,” said Uddin.

He said the mosque had a very good relationship with the police but criticised the Home Office’s places of worship protective security scheme, saying: “When we needed to get access it was not open.”

“We’ve applied in the past but it’s quite complex. Then we were told that only 75% of the funding will be given,” he said, referring to how the mosque considered sourcing CCTV equipment. “It would have been £10,000 worth of equipment. We had to generate our own resources and then we were restricted to particular suppliers.”

Volunteers helped secure the mosque over Ramadan, but Uddin said the Home Office scheme could be better used to provide wages for security guards.

Those concerns were echoed by Mohammed Kozbar, the chairman of Finsbury Park mosque in north London, where one man was killed and nine others were injured when a van was ploughed into them by the terrorist Darren Osborne, who was jailed for life over the attack.

A short-term increase in security was also put in place over Ramadan at the mosque, which tends to be on the receiving end of threats that typically multiply after events such as Christchurch.

“We cannot afford to ignore them. You have to take it seriously when someone calls and says ‘you’re next’,” said Kozbar.

Calls are now logged and suspicious mail is opened with gloves, after previous incidents in which white powder was sent in envelopes. Despite this, the mosque remains outward looking, welcoming homeless people for meals on a regular basis, for example.

Outside hangs a large banner bearing a line from the Qur’an – “and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other” – with a smaller poster on a wall beneath advertising free self-defence training for women.

“As a small charity we have limited funds. At Ramadan, we had to find the resources we needed to hire extra security, especially for nights, but couldn’t keep it going,” said Kozbar.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/30/hate-crime-22-mosques-receive-funding-security-uk

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Sweden: Mosque vandalized in Islamophobic attack

30th Jun 2019

By Atila Altuntas

STOCKHOLM (AA): A mosque inside a hospital in western Sweden was vandalized on Saturday in a racist attack.

The attackers at Molndal Hospital in Gothenburg city desecrated the holy Qur’an and spilled soft drinks on the shelves and carpets of the mosque, the mosque association said in a statement on social media.

The association condemned the attack saying it had offended and hurt Muslims.

Full report at:

http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/islamophobia/sweden-mosque-vandalized-racist-attack/

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Southeast Asia

 

Mujahid says under PH, cost of managing Haj pilgrims reduced by RM58m

01 July 2019

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Accused of adopting 'creative accounting' in the management of Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) funds, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa today threw the accusation back at Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Dewan Rakyat.

In doing so, Mujahid also revealed the huge disparity in the cost of managing Haj pilgrims between 2018 and 2019.

“The one who manipulated is not us. We have experts. Whoever did the 'creative accounting' is also not the government today. We inherited all that from the previous government.

“I want to give assurance here. The answer to the questions posed by Ketereh. In the first quarter of 2019, the cost to manage Haj operations, which we handled, compared to the first quarter of 2018, during which the chairman at that time is also here with us (referring to Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim), is vastly different.

“In 2018, it was as much as RM262 million. When we took over, we reduced it by RM58 million to RM204 million,” Mujahid, who is in charge of religious affairs, told the Dewan Rakyat.

Mujahid was responding to a question by Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who had accused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government of employing 'creative accounting' in TH’s finance management, claiming that the management of the Muslim pilgrims’ fund was causing contributors to be worried and suspicious of the approach taken by the current government.

The Parit Buntar MP also took a swipe at Annuar, saying that it was the Opposition who were anxious and worried, and not the contributors, causing BN members and Azeez to descend into a shouting match.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/01/mujahid-says-under-ph-cost-of-managing-haj-pilgrims-reduced-by-rm58m/1767048

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PAS claims Islam does not allow asset declarations

01 July 2019

BY IDA NADIRAH IBRAHIM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Islam does not allow the declaration of wealth as this would raise security concerns, says PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

The Kubang Kerian MP cited an Islamic scripture in objection against the special motion to compel all lawmakers to declare their assets, stating that the safety of the individuals who had declared their assets have to be taken into account, as the proposed motion involves family members as well.

“In Islam, there is a hadeeth that says if God has given you wealth, do not delare it to the public as there are many observers.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/01/PAS-claims-Islam-does-not-allow-asset-declarations/1767097

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After garden leave, Zahid Hamidi announces return as Umno president

Melissa Darlyne Chow

June 30, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today announced his return from garden leave — six months after he had made the decision to do so.

Zahid made the announcement at a Hari Raya function in Sungai Sumun in Perak in conjunction with the first anniversary of him being elected as party president.

He reminded the people that he had been elected, not appointed, as party president a year ago.

“I can no longer stand seeing the people being lied to and insulted.

“So beginning today, I am officially resuming my duties as Umno president,” he said, concluding his speech with cries of Hidup Umno.

Zahid said he will continue to struggle on, even with 80 charges brought against him, “even if 870 charges are brought against me; maybe even 8,700”.

“I can no longer see Umno being insulted. I can no longer see the struggle to place Islam, as the greatest religion in Malaysia and in the whole world, being boxed in and stomped upon.

“I can no longer stand seeing Malays being sidelined. I can no longer stand seeing the people being lied to, being insulted, and being treated badly.”

Zahid told the crowd that he had previously stepped away to ensure Umno remained united.

Last night, former prime minister and Umno president Najib Razak said Zahid does not need the approval of the Umno Supreme Council to resume his duties as party president.

He said according to the party’s constitution, Zahid is still the head of the party because he was rightfully elected to the position.

“Zahid had made the decision himself to go on garden leave. It is up to him whether he wants to come back. But according to the party constitution, he has the right to lead as he was given the mandate to do so.”

Zahid went on garden leave on Dec 18 last year apparently to stem the tide of Umno elected representatives leaving the party. Since then, his deputy, Mohamad Hasan, has been acting president.

Earlier, in his speech, Zahid told the crowd that the open house was a joint programme between Umno and PAS in Bagan Datuk.

“This programme is a commitment shown by Umno and PAS, more so on the back of PAS approving the political cooperation between PAS and Umno during its recent muktamar.

“God willing, with Barisan Nasional, this political cooperation will be received consensually, as an endorsement, a recognition of the leadership of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.”

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/06/30/zahid-hamidi-announces-return-from-garden-leave-as-umno-president/

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Africa

 

Haftar's forces down Turkish drone, arrest Turks

Jul 1, 2019

A Turkish drone has been downed in Tripoli and two Turkish nationals arrested by forces loyal to Libyan renegade General Khalifa Haftar after the two sides exchanged severe warnings.

The aircraft was targeted by Haftar's eastern Libyan air force at Tripoli’s Mitiga military airbase, Haftar's war information division said on Facebook on Sunday.

Air traffic was halted on Sunday at the Libyan capital's only functioning civilian airport, also at Mitiga, after what was described as an air strike.

Authorities in Eastern Libya also announced in a statement that they have arrested two Turkish nationals over what they called Ankara's support for "militias" in Libya.

This comes as Ankara says "six" Turkish nationals are being held in Libya by Haftar’s forces. Turkey has warned that there would be consequences if they are not immediately released.

"The detention of six of our citizens by illegal militia forces linked to Haftar is an act of thuggery and piracy. We expect our citizens to be immediately released," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Should this not happen, Haftar elements will become legitimate targets," it added.

But the ministry did not give any details on where the Turks were being held or when they had been taken by the forces.

Ankara had earlier threatened to retaliate against any attack by Haftar’s loyalists on its interests in the North African country.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had warned of a very heavy price for such  actions.

Haftar accuses Ankara of backing his rivals during the ongoing conflict in Libya. He has ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) to target Turkish ships and companies, ban Turkish flights, and arrest Turkish nationals in Libya.

Turkey supports Libya’s internationally-recognized government in Tripoli, which has been under assault by Haftar’s forces trying to seize the capital for three months.

Turkey has supplied drones and trucks to the forces allied to UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, while the LNA has received support from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, according to diplomats.

Libyan government forces recently dealt a major blow to the LNA by retaking the strategic town of Gharyan, a supply line for Haftar’s forces on the Tripoli front.

Haftar’s offensive has upended UN-led plans to stabilize Libya after years of conflict that have left the oil-rich nation divided and caused living standards to plummet.

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention. His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/01/599846/Haftar-Turkey-libya-conflict-drone

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Turkey vows ‘heavy price’ in case of any aggression by Libya’s Haftar

Jun 30, 2019

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says Ankara will retaliate against any attack by militia fighting for renegade Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, who has ordered to target Turkish interests in Libya.

“There will be a very heavy price for hostile attitudes or attacks. We will retaliate in the most effective and strong way,” Turkish state news agency Anadolu quoted Akar as saying in reference to potential attacks by Haftar’s forces.

“It should be known that we have taken all kinds of measures to deal with any threat or antagonistic action against Turkey,” he added.

The minister also said Turkey’s efforts in Libya sought to “contribute to peace and stability in the region.”

Haftar has ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) to target Turkish ships and companies, ban Turkish flights, and arrest Turkish nationals in Libya.

Turkey supports Libya’s internationally-recognized government in Tripoli, which has been under assault by Haftar’s forces trying to seize the capital for three months.

Turkey has supplied drones and trucks to the forces allied to UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, while the LNA has received support from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, according to diplomats.

Libyan government forces recently dealt a major blow to the LNA by retaking the strategic town of Gharyan, a supply line for Haftar’s forces on the Tripoli front.

Haftar’s offensive has upended UN-led plans to stabilize Libya after years of conflict that have left the oil-rich nation divided and caused living standards to plummet.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599831/Turkey-Libya-Haftar-retaliate

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Libya's GNA forces seize US missiles at captured Haftar base

Jun 30, 2019

Military officials with Libya’s internationally-recognized government say they have seized sophisticated US missiles and weaponry at a base they captured from forces allied to renegade General Khalifa Haftar in the south of the capital, Tripoli.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) retook the southern strategic town of Gharyan, home to the main supply base of eastern forces attacking the capital, from Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) on Wednesday.

The GNA announced on Saturday that among the weaponry its forces had seized were four US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles packed in wooden crates marked "armed forces of the United Arab Emirates".

The GNA officials said the markings indicated that the missiles – jointly manufactured by the arms giants Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – had originally been sold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major buyer of US arms and one of Haftar's main supporters.

"The seized weapons and ammunition have been sent to the specialized experts and have been documented," Mohammed Qununu, spokesman of the GNA's military operation, told reporters in Gharyan.

"The military commanders and the political leaders are now fully aware of these weapons and ammunition to make the right decisions that will be announced."

United Nations reports have previously said that the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been arming Haftar’s forces since 2014.

UN arms embargo violation

The New York Times, confirming the discovery of American missiles by the GNA in a report on Saturday, said the UAE's Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba had declined to answer questions about the provenance of the missiles.

The American daily, however, said it would be in breach of both the terms of the sale and a UN arms embargo on the conflict-ridden Libya if the missiles were found to have been sold or transferred to forces under Haftar’s command.

The GNA has reportedly launched a fact-finding mission with the goal of producing a report that would be submitted to the United Nations as well as other international organizations.

Officials at the US State Department and the Pentagon also said they had opened investigations into how the weapons had ended up on the Libyan battlefield.

"We take all allegations of misuse of US origin defense articles very seriously. We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information," a State Department spokesperson said on condition of anonymity. "We expect all recipients of US origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations."

The US government's support for Haftar, however, is beyond doubt.

Libya's GNA headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has already called on US President Donald Trump to stop support for "aspiring military dictator".

The US president, in a phone call with the military strongman in April, "recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources.”

Forces loyal to Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 to capture Tripoli. Since then, fighting has killed 653 people, wounded more than 2,000 and displaced over 93,000, according to the UN.

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.

His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599776/GNA-Libya-US-missiles-Khalifa-Haftar-Gharyan

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Turkish spox slams Haftar forces over illegal detention

Jeyhun Aliyev

01.07.2019

Turkey’s presidential spokesman slammed early Monday the illegal detention of six Turkish citizens by East Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar forces.

"Detention of 6 Turkish citizens by Haftar's illegal militia in Libya is an act of banditry and piracy. We expect our citizens to be released immediately," Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.

He added that otherwise, Haftar elements will become "legitimate targets".

Earlier on Friday, Haftar's spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari announced a ban on commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country.

On Sunday, the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli on its website advised its citizens to avoid any steps that will jeopardize their security and safety in the regions under control of the illegal militia loyal to Haftar.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkish-spox-slams-haftar-forces-over-illegal-detention/1519875

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Mombasa man denies being Al Shabaab member

Kelvin Karani 

01st Jul 2019

A man who police say was in possession of video material on the August 27, 2012 assassination of radical Islamist Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohamed has been charged with 12 terrorism counts.

The charges include belonging to a terrorist group, Al Shabaab, holding material to be used to commit terror and promoting extremist religious beliefs.

The suspect denied all the charges when he was arraigned on Friday.

Rogo was killed by unknown people in Mombasa, sparking days of unrest from his youthful supporters across the coastal city.

Besides open proclamation of support for Al Shabaab, the cleric considered the Kenyan State and government as illegitimate and any Muslims recognising it as an apostate worthy of killing.

Said Chivatsi Lewa, who was arraigned before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Martin Rabera, is said to have committed the crimes in Mazeras EPZ in Kilifi County on or around June 12 this year, according to the charge sheet.

Mr Said denied being a member of Al Shabaab. The prosecution has so far listed one witness who happens to be a police officer.

The prosecution also wants Chivatsi denied bond due to an ongoing investigation against him.

Full report at:

https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001332072/mombasa-man-denies-being-al-shabaab-member

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Nigeria protesters demand end to anti-Boko Haram militia

June 30, 2019

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - More than 2,000 people protested Sunday in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, calling for a ban on the anti-Boko Haram CJTF militia they accuse of abuses after the killing of a rickshaw driver.

The protesters blocked major roads in the Suleimanti area of the city and set fires, causing chaos despite pleas from police and military officers, an AFP reporter at the scene saw.

"We want the CJTF to be banned from the city because of the abuses we suffer in their hands," said Suleimanti resident Bukar Saleh.

"They have become a law unto themselves and are treating us badly. And now they have started killing us," Saleh said.

The CJTF militia tried to stop the demonstration, attacking protesters with batons and arresting scores of them.

The protest erupted hours after a rickshaw driver was shot dead near a militia checkpoint.

"The victim was a known resident and his name was Modu but the CJTF just shot him for no reason," Saleh said.

The CJTF insisted however that the victim was shot for failing to stop at a checkpoint during nighttime curfew hours.

The militia have intensified night patrols in the area in recent days following incursions by the jihadists, he said.

"The driver's refusal to stop raised the suspicion of our men and one of them took him down, because they believed he was a Boko Haram terrorist on a mission," Babakura Abba-Ali, the CJTF head in Suleimanti area, said.

The militia man was handed over to the police for investigation, Abba-Ali added.

The CJTF emerged in 2013 as a vigilante group in response to Boko Haram's deadly attacks in Maiduguri.

Young men and women mobilised and started going door-to-door hacking to death known Boko Haram members and forcing the jihadists to flee the city.

The vigilantes were later organised into a militia force and embedded with the military to fight the jihadist group.

Late Saturday, Boko Haram jihadists killed four people and looted food supplies when they raided Gamurari village, some 90 kilometres (60 miles) from Maiduguri, militia and residents said.

The decade-long Boko Haram conflict has killed at least 27,000 people and forced some two million to flee their homes in Nigeria alone.

Full report at:

https://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-protesters-demand-end-anti-boko-haram-militia-174543018.html

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Why we’re falsely accused of supporting Boko Haram – Red Cross

July 1, 2019

Abdulkareem Haruna

The Public Relations Officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Abuja, Aliyu Dawabe, has said his organisation has no sympathy for any armed opposition group (AOG) including the dreaded Boko Haram.

The agency is one of the numerous foreign outfits carrying out humanitarian interventions in the war-ravaged North-east Nigeria.

Mr Dawabe said the majority of Nigerians, who have not acquainted themselves with the workings of the ICRC “whose operation, the world-over, is backed by the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), have misconstrued the insistence of the Red Cross’s neutrality in the ongoing counterinsurgency as some kind of sympathy for the Boko Haram.”

The IHL, otherwise known as the Law of Armed Conflict, empowers the Red Cross to provide medical and related humanitarian services to all casualties on either side of the war, he explained.

Before now, there have been allegations that the Red Cross has been ‘sympathetic’ to the Boko Haram fighters to whom, they reportedly provide medical services.

Though the ICRC officials have not been physically attacked, they have been verbally assaulted even during public functions.

Mr Dawabe, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES during a training on ‘Conflict Reporting and First Aid Administration’ for journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said such allegations “were spread out of public ignorance about the workings of the Red Cross.”

Our work

“We have heard allegations of us helping the armed opposition group and so on and so forth but I guess this is a good platform for me to mention that the ICRC, being a neutral organisation, we don’t assist people that are fighting,” he said.

“What we do is to try to get them engaged in understanding the law of armed conflict so that they should be able to respect civilians, they should be able to respect women and children and all public places as well as healthcare facilities. So in this, we have continued to get all the actors to the conflict engaged, which include even the Nigerian army.

“Of course we had perceptions of people talking about us as helping the opposition armed group (Boko Haram). But as a neutral organisation, to be very candid, we don’t do that. What we do is to try to respect the international humanitarian law; it is our job to promote the IHL, which clearly stipulates that a combatant is not assisted as long as he or she is still a combatant.

“But then, as soon as one is injured, the IHL has granted such a person privileges to have access to health, access to food and for the family to know where he or she is. So this is why we keep talking to people to understand that the ICRC is generally out to assist people affected by armed conflict or related violence and not to assist a particular group of people,” he explained.

He said one of the main challenges of the ICRC is getting all sides to understand the IHL and what it stands for.

According to him, it is not easy to get the armed opposition groups like the Boko Haram to a forum where “they could be made to understand what law of armed conflict is all about”.

“When we have access to all the actors to the conflict, we do promote this law of armed conflict by reminding them what it is all about,” he said.

“But if we don’t have access, which makes it very difficult for us to do that; then we make a general call to all the parties to the conflict to understand our neutrality and our impartiality in giving assistance.

“And we also make them understand the need for them to respect us, respect our personnel to be able to gain access and support communities that are affected; and also to respect these communities. Civilians, hospitals, schools and all public places are not supposed to be targets.

“The law says even if the conflict is going on, there are limits.”

He said that was why the selected journalists who attended the three days training were also trained to understand the working of the ICRC in relation to the Law of Armed Conflict.

“We have also talked about how the IHL protects the journalists in terms of discharging their duties as reporters in conflict zones,” he added.

“The IHL also protects the media practitioners for two reasons; the first is because journalists are civilians and two, because they are professionals reporting on humanitarian stories.”

Full report at:

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/338095-why-were-falsely-accused-of-supporting-boko-haram-red-cross.html

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South Asia

 

Taliban bombers kill 19, including Afghan election workers

30 June 2019

Taliban bombers targeting a district center in southern Afghanistan have killed at least 19 people, including eight election workers, officials said on Sunday.

The attack comes as a new round of talks between the United States and the Taliban to end the 18-year long war in Afghanistan entered a second day in Qatar.

The militants rammed four armored vehicles packed with explosives into a government compound in Maruf district late Saturday, a police spokesman in southern Kandahar province said.

“Unfortunately 11 policemen were martyred and 27 more injured,” Qasim Afghan told AFP.

Eight election workers who were stationed at the center to register voters ahead of the presidential polls in September were also killed in the attack, said Zabiullah Sadaat, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC).

Afghanistan’s twice-delayed presidential election is now slated for September 28.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with a spokesman tweeting that their fighters had captured the district center, killing 57 security forces.

Afghanistan’s interior ministry, however, rejected the claim, saying in a statement that the militants had been beaten back and 25 insurgents killed.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the “barbaric and unforgivable” attacks, which are the latest in a relentless wave of assaults by the Taliban, who now hold sway over about half of the country and regularly target government forces.

The insurgents killed at least 25 members of a pro-government militia in an attack in northern Baghlan province on Saturday.

The violence comes amid stepped-up efforts by the United States to find a negotiated end to America’s longest war, with Washington and the Taliban opening a fresh round of negotiations in Doha on Saturday.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/30/Taliban-bombers-kill-19-including-Afghan-election-workers.html

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Special Forces Kill 13 Taliban Militants; Destroy Weapons Cache In Paktika Province

30 Jun 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 13 Taliban militants during an operation in Paktika province.

The military officials said Saturday that the Special Forces conducted the operation in Ziruk district of Paktika.

Furthermore, the Special Forces destroyed a small weapons cache during the operation.

Meanwhile, the Special Forces detained 4 Taliban militants during an operation in Chak-e Wardak district of Wardak province.

The military officials also added that the Special Force destroyed 2 IEDs during a separate operation in Qara Bagh district of Ghazni.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-kill-13-taliban-militants-destroy-weapons-cache-in-paktika-province-03776/

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10 Taliban militants killed, detained in Special Forces raids in Wardak, Balkh and Logar

27 Jun 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 6 Taliban militants and detained 4 others during separate raids in three provinces.

The informed military sources said Thursday that the Special Forces killed 5 Taliban militant in Chak-e Wardak district of Wardak province.

The sources further added that the Special Forces killed 1 Taliban fighter during a separate raid in Chimtal district of Balkh.

Furthermore, the Special Forces destroyed a cache of ammunitions during the same operation.

Meanwhile, the Special Forces detained 4 Taliban fighters during an operation in Baraki Barak district of Logar.

The Special Forces also confiscated 1 vehicle and destroyed 5 motorcycles during the raid.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/10-taliban-militants-killed-detained-in-special-forces-raids-in-wardak-balkh-and-logar-03750/

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Special Forces kill 13 militants; detain 9 more in Wardak operations

30 Jun 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 13 militants during separate operations in central Maidan Wardak province.

The military officials said Sunday that the Special Forces also arrested 9 more militants during the same operations.

The officials further added that the Special Forces killed 10 of the militants in Wardak district.

Furthermore, the Special Forces also arrested four Taliban militants during the same operation.

Meanwhile, the Special Forces arrested 4 more militants during a separate operation in Chak-e Wardak district of Wardak.

In the meantime, the military officials said the Special Forces killed 3 Taliban militants during a separate operation in Chak-e Wradak.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-kill-13-militants-detain-9-more-in-wardak-operations-03778/

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Powerful explosion heard in diplomatic district of Kabul, at least 53 wounded

1 July 2019

Dozens of people were wounded with fatalities feared as a powerful car bomb rocked Kabul early Monday and gunmen battled special forces in an area housing military and government buildings, officials said.

The rush-hour explosion sent a plume of smoke into the air above the Puli Mahmood Khan neighborhood of the Afghan capital and shook buildings up to two kilometers away, with an AFP reporter saying he could hear gunshots after the blast.

“At first, a car bomb took place and then several attackers took over a building. The area is cordoned off by the police special forces and (they) are bringing down the attackers,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar tweeted that 53 wounded patients had been taken to hospital, warning that the figures could rise.

The area was quickly blocked off by Afghan forces and ambulances, while the nearby “Green Zone” diplomatic area was put on lockdown, with no one allowed in or out.

The heavily-secured neighborhood is home to some military and government buildings, including one shared by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and defense ministry, as well as the Afghan Football Federation and the Afghan Cricket Board.

Shams Amini, a football federation spokesman, told AFP that the blast occurred near the federation’s gates.

“Some of our colleagues are trapped inside, we have reports of some injuries. We don’t know if the attackers have entered the building,” he said.

Nearby Shamshad TV station, which was attacked in 2017, aired images of broken glass and damage to its offices but said it was not the target.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, and police said they did not yet know the target or nature of the blast.

Both the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State group are active in Kabul.

The explosion came two days after the Taliban and the US began their seventh round of talks in the Qatari capital of Doha as Washington eyes a breakthrough before Afghanistan’s September presidential election.

The negotiations have so far centered on four issues -- counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent ceasefire.

A potential deal would see the US agree to withdraw its troops after more than 17 years in Afghanistan, igniting deep concerns among huge swathes of Afghans who fear the militants will return to some semblance of power.

In return the Taliban would guarantee the country would never again become a safe haven for violent extremist groups, as happened with Al-Qaeda before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/01/Explosion-heard-in-diplomatic-district-of-Kabul-.html

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Mideast

 

Palestinians: 15 injured in clashes with Israeli police

Jun 30, 2019

Palestinian officials say 15 residents have been injured in overnight clashes with Israeli police in east Jerusalem.

It was the third consecutive night of violence in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya following the shooting death of a Palestinian man late Thursday.

Israeli police say 20-year-old Mohammed Obeid had hurled fireworks at officers and presented a lethal threat when he was shot. But residents accuse police of using excessive force and shooting Obeid from a very short distance.

Mohammed Abu Homus, a community leader, say the family is demanding an autopsy. The family has also asked a court to order the release of Obeid’s body.

Residents in several Palestinian neighborhoods clashed with police overnight. The Red Crescent medical service says 15 people were hurt by rubber bullets fired by police.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/palestinians-15-injured-in-clashes-with-israeli-police/story-XnxFN9HXOJlmqAHEpB7e1J.html

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US envoys lend a hand as Israel digs down in East Jerusalem

1 July 2019

US envoys wielded hammers on Sunday to break open a new tunnel at a Jewish heritage site in East Jerusalem, signaling Washington’s support for Israel’s hold over parts of the city that Palestinians seek for a future state.

Palestinians - who view the project and settlement activities in the Silwan district as moves by Israel to further cement control over areas it captured in the 1967 Middle East war - called the US presence at the event a hostile act.

Two of President Donald Trump’s top Middle East advisers - peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman - came to the opening of an excavated road that Israeli archaeologists say was used by Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem two millennia ago.

The “Pilgrims’ Road” site is part of the “City of David,” an open-air Jewish archaeological attraction built within Silwan through purchases of Palestinian-owned property that have at times been contested in court.

Israel captured Silwan and neighboring districts in the 1967 conflict, annexed and settled them, angering foreign powers that back the Palestinians’ goal of building a capital there for a future state taking in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Some people, not necessarily friends of ours, are obsessing about my being here,” Friedman said at the ceremony, adding the excavation project uncovered “the truth, whether you believe or not ... the truth is the only foundation upon which peace will come to this area.”

After his speech, Friedman, along with Greenblatt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara and donors to the project, enthusiastically hammered through a wall to open the subterranean path to the holy site revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

“This is not a US ambassador, (it) is an extremist Israeli settler, with Greenblatt also there, digging underneath Silwan, a Palestinian town,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat wrote on Twitter.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/01/US-envoys-lend-a-hand-as-Israel-digs-down-in-East-Jerusalem.html

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One child, several others killed in Israeli missile attack on Syria

Jun 30, 2019

An Israeli missile aggression against Syria's Homs and the suburbs of Damascus has killed a number of civilians, including a kid, the official news agency SANA reported.

State media put the number of victims at four. Many others have also been injured in the Israeli aggression, the report by SANA said.

The Syrian air defense earlier said its forces had shot down three missiles launched by Israeli warplanes on Sunday night from Lebanese airspace towards some Syrian sites.

SANA quoted a military source as saying that the aggression targeted military sites in Homs and the suburbs of Damascus.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also claimed that the strikes had targeted a research center and a military airport west of the city of Homs.

Following the explosions near Damascus, Israeli jet fighters reportedly flied at low altitudes in the Lebanese airspace.

The Israeli regime launches airstrikes on the Syrian territory from time to time. Such aggressive moves are usually viewed as attempts to prop up terrorist groups suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

Israel used to be very careful with its operations over Syria after Russia equipped Damascus with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles in October 2018.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599844/Syria-air-defense-shoot-down-missiles-

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Israel frees Palestinian minister after brief arrest

Jun 30, 2019

Israeli regime forces have released Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem al-Quds Affairs Fadi al-Hadami several hours after they arrested him during a raid on his home in the occupied city.

Hadami was arrested early on Sunday and was questioned, with police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirming that he had been involved in unspecified “activities in Jerusalem [al-Quds].”

His arrest was the first high-profile detention in Tel Aviv’s ongoing crackdown on the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem al-Quds, Palestine’s Wafa news agency said in a report following the incident.

According to his lawyer, Mohannad Jbara, Hadami was freed on Sunday afternoon.

He added that the arrest was due to recent activities that included accompanying Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera during a Tuesday visit to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in the Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Pinera was at the time visiting the occupied West Bank, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.

The Palestinians, however, view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Wednesday claimed that Pinera’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound with senior Palestinian officials had been in violation of “diplomatic procedures” and previous agreements.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599833/Palestine-Israel-Fadi-alHadami-arrest-Jerusalem-alQuds

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Israel to endorse 2,000 unauthorized settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jun 30, 2019

Israeli officials are going to authorize thousands of the settler homes built illegally in the occupied West Bank, as the Tel Aviv regime continues its land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied Palestinian territories irrespective of the international outcry.

The English-language Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday that District Court Judge Carmi Mossek has accepted a legal theory produced by the regime, which would pave the way for the legalization of settlement homes built on privately owned Palestinian land.

The report added that the move would provide judicial grounds for the legalization of up to 2,000 homes in the northern sector of the West Bank, including those erected in Alei Zahav settlement.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599829/Israel-to-endorse-2000-unauthorized-settler-homes-in-occupied-West-Bank

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Attempts aimed at liquidating Palestinian cause will not succeed: Top Hamas official

Jun 30, 2019

A senior official from the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says all attempts made to liquidate the Palestinian cause will not succeed, emphasizing that the Palestinian nation will never give up its land, its right of return as well as its struggle for freedom and statehood.

Speaking in an interview with the Palestinian Information Center, Mousa Abu Marzouk praised the Palestinian people for their great steadfastness in the face of conspiracies targeting their national cause.

Abu Marzouk then pointed to the US President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century,” stating that the initiative was developed in a bid to market Israeli ideas as new US proposals.

“The deal of the century is there to liquidate the Palestinian cause and not to find a just solution (to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict). In addition, the US seeks to integrate the Zionist regime (of Israel) into the region,” he said.

“The Manama economic conference took place after the Warsaw Conference, [organized by the US in the Polish capital on February 13-14]. President Trump’s administration is employing the American hegemony to impose faits accomplis … out of the dire to divest the Palestinian people of all their rights,” Abu Marzouk stated.

The so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop opened in Bahrain on June 25 and ran through June 26.

The Palestinian leadership boycotted the meeting, leading critics to question the credibility of the event.

Palestinians staged rallies across the occupied West Bank in protest against the conference and participation of Arab delegations.

Demonstrators gathered in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, al-Khlail (Hebron), Tulkarm, Salfit, Qalqilia and Ariha (Jericho), while a general strike was staged in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/06/30/599799/Attempts-aimed-at-Palestinian-cause-liquidation-will-not-succeed-Top-Hamas-official

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Pakistan

 

Siraj says JI won’t become part of opposition PPP, PML-N politics

Hasan Mansoor

July 01, 2019

KARACHI: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq on Sunday made it clear that his party would offer a ‘third option’ to the people instead of being part of politics spearheaded by the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

“We will not be a part of the politics of PPP and the PML-N, instead we’ll remain in the middle of people as a third option on our own platform,” he said while addressing people gathered at New M.A. Jinnah Road after culmination of a rally that began at Sohrab Goth.

The rally, Karachi ko izzat do, Karachi to huqooq do (Give respect and rights to Karachi), was organised by the JI as part of its campaign that the JI leadership said would vie for better amenities and civic facilities for the country’s financial hub.

Organisers said the rally was also against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government’s policies that led to unprecedented price hike, “slavery to the International Monetary Fund” and the anti-poor federal budget.

JI-Sindh chief Mohammad Hussain Mehanti and others also spoke.

The participants in the rally also passed a resolution in which they demanded that the federal and provincial governments accord due rights to the city and solve the decades-long problems that had made the country’s largest city as a place of accommodating mobs amid constantly convoluting mess.

Senator Haq said the country had become a mess of so many problems that even breathing had become a problem to tinker with.

PTI govt, MQM-P slammed

He said the PTI-led federal government had no economic vision.

“How can they improve this economy by selling eggs and goats? They have not just got their tongues that have slipped out but they have lost very understanding that is required to salvage a sinking ship,” said the JI chief.

He said a country whose economy was based on interest could not progress and prosper.

He said billions of rupees had been kept in the budget for paying interest on debts. “How the country could move forward without getting rid of the interest-based economy?”

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government had promised to build five million houses, but they conveniently forgot that promise and did not even offer five million tents to people who were in need of shelter.

He said India was Pakistan’s enemy and no friendship was possible with India until the Kashmir issue was resolved.

He said Sunday’s march was the beginning of a movement in which his party would raise voice against the issues that were directly affecting the common man.

Criticising the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, the JI chief said the party had got perks and privileges as two of its MNAs were made federal ministers and another ministry had been promised to it.

But, despite claiming that it represented Karachi, the MQM leadership did not discuss the city’s issues in the cabinet, he alleged

He said the MQM had started a campaign demanding water for the city after it realised that the present local governments were completing their tenures.

He said the city was facing all sorts of problems, which included infrastructure, water, sanitation and transport, etc.

Senator Haq claimed that the government had prepared the new budget with the assistance and at dictate of the IMF. “We are a free nation and will not accept slavery of IMF and the World Bank.”

He thanked the people of Karachi for turning in huge numbers and gave the movement a positive start. “Our movement will continue till the people of this great city and the rest of the country get their rights.”

He said the next ‘Awami March’ would be organised in Multan on July 12.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1491412/siraj-says-ji-wont-become-part-of-opposition-ppp-pml-n-politics

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Pakistan authorities say 3 Taliban killed in shootout

July 01, 2019

MULTAN, Pakistan: Authorities in Pakistan say counterterrorism forces have raided a Taliban hideout, triggering a shootout that killed three insurgents in the eastern city of Gujrat.

The provincial Counter-Terrorism Department says in a statement that the three alleged militants were killed Sunday when they had gathered near a key road in Gujrat to plan attacks on security forces. It says the slain men were linked to the 2007 bomb attack on a Pakistan Air Force bus in which several people were killed.

There was no immediate comment from the Pakistani Taliban, who have carried out scores of attacks including the 2007 assault.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1518801/world

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PML-N warns ‘turncoats’ as two MPAs admit meeting PM

Amjad Mahmood

July 01, 2019

LAHORE: As two members of the Punjab Assembly from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday confirmed having met the prime minister, the opposition party warned the ‘turncoats’ that they would have to resign before shifting loyalties while some PTI ministers claimed that more ‘defections’ would surface in near future.

Read: 15 PML-N MPAs meet Imran at Banigala: PTI

Naeemul Haq, special assistant to the prime minister, had in a tweet on Saturday evening, claimed that 15 PML-N MPAs accompanying the Punjab chief minister held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the latter’s residence in Islamabad.

He won’t disclose names of these MPAs, though the identity of some of the ‘deserters’ were doing the rounds on social media.

Mr Haque said these PML-N MPAs expressed their full confidence in the PM and Punjab CM Usman Buzdar.

Those who visited the PM say they discussed with the prime minister development projects of their constituencies.

The acknowledgement endorses the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s claim that fissures had developed in the PML-N, though some PML-N leaders admit the presence of a disgruntled group of legislators in its ranks even before the 2018 Senate polls.

PTI ministers see more ‘defections’

Other legislators named in the group who met Imran Khan, however, came up with denials on Sunday.

MPA Jaleel Sharaqpuri from PP-139, Sheikhupura district, confirmed that he had called on the prime minister to get resolved problems of his constituents.

Maulana Ghayasuddin from PP-47, Narowal district, endorsed the statement, saying no one else accompanied him and Mr Sharaqpuri during the visit. He also cited “discussing development issues of my constituency” as the purpose of his meeting with the PM.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid claimed in a media talk on Sunday that a group of nine MNAs belonging to the PML-N were ready to shift their loyalties and would soon meet Prime Minister Khan. Federal Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry endorsed the view in a tweet, saying it’s just the beginning and the next group of members to call on the PM would include senators and MNAs.

Younas Ansari, brother of MPA Ashraf Ansari who was stated to be in the group who met the PM, claimed that he (Ashraf) had led the delegation of the parliamentarians. But, Mr Ashraf denied, forcing Mr Younas to say his brother was not part of the delegation.

The rest of the delegation members also denied the meeting’s reports or deserting the party when their names appeared in the media.

MNA Riaz Pirzada, MPAs Rana Mehmoodul Haq (PP-141, Sheikhupura) and Ataur Rehman (PP-210, Khanewal) released videos to deny the meeting reports, while others did so in press statements.

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif attached MNA Pirzada’s video in her tweet and said these attempts show desperation and panic in the government camp to cover up its failures.

Political observers say it appears that either the ruling PTI has played the bluff or the ‘turncoats’ are not yet ready to take on public pressure on changing loyalties.

“Such outbursts show nothing but utter desperation & panic in the Jaali govt’s camp, won’t provide a cover-up for the glaring failures & end in a naught IA. To take criticism is not everyone’s forte. Not at all of those whose govt & office rest on STOLEN MANDATE #Selected”.

A senior PML-N official, however, admitted the presence of a group of dissidents ever since the party fell out with the powers that matter.

Requesting not to be named, the official pointed out that this group of 15 to 20 MPAs had during the Senate polls held in March 2018 voted against the party policy paving the way for PTI’s Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, now Punjab governor, to become senator. The same group, he said, had later also supported Chaudhry Pervez Elahi in the election for the office of Punjab Assembly’s speaker.

Punjab chapter president of the PML-N Rana Sanaullah Khan denies defections in the party and warns that turncoats will have to resign as MPAs for changing loyalties otherwise PML-N activists will besiege their homes.

He said those who ‘bought’ allies through funds’ offers worth Rs15 billion, a reference to the development funds given to BNP-Mengal group in Balochistan, were now seeking to buy loyalties of opposition members.

Information secretary Azma Zahid Bukhari played down the defections. She said MPAs usually don’t have concerns with larger national political issues but mostly concerned to constituency-related problems.

She doesn’t believe in numbers as in her personal opinion a small but committed quality content (cadre) is better than a large but with ‘ready to sell’ loyalties group.

She challenges PM Khan’s talk of high moral grounds the other day and then “indulging in horse-trading”, and terms it a mismatch between words and actions. She also threatens a “tit for tat” reaction, meaning making inroads into the PTI, if the ruling party doesn’t check its ‘horse-trading’ practice.

Governor’s view

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar argues that no member of parliament from the opposition parties needs to tender resignation for a meeting with the prime minister because there is no bar on the members to see the premier after developing differences with policies of their party.

Answering a question, the governor says it is true that if an MP joins another party without tendering resignation, then he can be disqualified under the Constitution but there is no bar in the law and the Constitution in meeting anyone.

Declining to comment about formation of a forward bloc in the PML-N, he says the PML-N itself knows how many of its parliamentarians have differences with the leadership over policies.

“The difference of opinion is the beauty of political parties and if PML-N MPAs are not satisfied with party policies and think policies of Imran Khan can pull the country out of crises and put it on the road to progress, then there is no harm if they call on the premier,” he explained.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1491421/pml-n-warns-turncoats-as-two-mpas-admit-meeting-pm

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/egypt’s-ministry-of-endowment-describes-muslim-brotherhood-as-‘khawarij’/d/119046

 

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