Dismissed a Threatening Video Message by Al-Qaida Chief Ayman Al Zawahiri on
Half of Britons Atheist, Only 38% Christian, Islam on the Rise
Revenge, Taliban Target Afghan Soldiers’ Families
Leaders Should Only Be Muslims, Says Cleric
Continues To Pursue Extradition Request Of Zakir Naik With Malaysia: MEA
Accuses Iran of Secret Nuclear Enrichment, Threatens To Increase Sanctions
Yusuf May Be the Token Muslim Trump’s Administration Needs
Nawaz's Interview 'Stopped Forcefully' Shortly After Being Aired: Show Host
To Attach Properties Of More Kashmiri Separatists
alleges Muslim parties ''delaying'' Ayodhya dispute resolution
Pakistan resorts to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Rajouri, Poonch sectors
hurl bombs near Indo-Bangladesh border, BSF man loses hand
ban a message to Pakistan days before Kartarpur talks
Court Orders Return Of ISIS Members Detained In Syrian Camp
Navy Thwarts Iranian Attempt to Block BP Tanker
European fighters who battled Isis – and were abandoned by their governments
Council chairman: Iran’s ‘great victories’ have ‘angered’ Europe
commander says Britain will ‘regret’ detaining Iranian tanker
will not escort every British-flagged ship through Strait of Hormuz: Source
Opposition Urges Europe To Reinstate Nuclear Sanctions On Tehran
Three mosques receive bomb threats
marks 24th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide
Suicide Bomber, 13, Kills Five and Injures 40 More after Blowing Himself up At
a Wedding in Afghanistan
not safe for Rohingya to return: Amnesty
talks inch America closer to withdrawing from Afghanistan
forces kill 7 militants in S. Afghanistan
meeting in Beijing discusses Afghan peace
tourism has huge potential: Bangladesh premier
of child rape spreads alarm in Bangladesh
cannot bear Rohingya crisis long: ex-UN head
backbone is broken: Ghazni governor
kill 9 Taliban militants in Wardak and Ghazni provinces
forces conduct 116 joint, special ops and 32 airstrikes in past 24 hours: MoD
to Afghanistan says US not ‘cutting and running’
our model for 'happy' Xinjiang, China tells West
Continued Use Of Sedition Law Draws Flak After Preacher Jailed
Group behind Bali Bombings Use Palm Oil Plantations to Fund Terrorist Activity
Troubled By Rise In Houthi Attacks On Saudi Arabia
allies planning naval escort for Gulf tankers: Pentagon
won’t sanction Iran's foreign minister: Sources
officials push for sanctions on China over buying Iranian oil: Report
US will seriously regret tanker seizure: IRGC commander
OKs measure to bar aid for Saudi's Yemen campaign
the Headlines: The Minnesota model for fighting ISIS in the US
Session Boycotted At London Press Conference
says Senate chairman forfeited moral right to cling to seat, should bow out
'prejudge' ICJ's decision in Kulbhushan Jadhav's case: Pakistan
from India, Pakistan to meet on July 14 to discuss modalities of Kartarpur
corridor: Foreign office
to give Irish nun honourary citizenship of Pakistan
general calls for maintaining military ties with Pakistan
Forces Target ISIS Bomb Factories in Sweeping Operation
ISIL, Children Try To Catch Up With School In Mosul
of Islamic Cooperation provides financial assistance to member states
kill more than 80 fighters in Syria
official says international court solution to foreign ISIS problem
fallout: Saudi holidaymakers urged to shun Turkey
of Casualties Reported in Strong Blast at Ankara-Backed Militants' Base in
bomb hits near church in northeast Syria
kills at least eight in Syria’s rebel-held Afrin
of displaced Syrians return home from neighboring Lebanon
killed, over 30 injured in car bomb explosion in Syria's Afrin
Envoy: Economic Plan Will Not Happen Without Palestinian-Israeli Agreement
calls on UN to prevent Houthis from executing 30 activists
kills Hamas member in Gaza; Palestinians vow revenge
forces evict Palestinian family from West Bank home
won’t allow uprooting of settlements under any deal with Palestine: Netanyahu
Palestinian family, tunnel under Israel barrier leads home
Somali Troops Retake Small Villages from Al-Shabaab Militants
ruling military council says coup attempt foiled
use live ammunition to disperse Zakzaky supporters in Nigeria capital
count hits 68 since migrant boat sinking off Tunisia
military says it foiled fresh coup attempt
kill 3 Libyans in Benghazi funeral ceremony
Tripoli gov't blames Haftar for tribal clashes
by New Age Islam News Bureau
on Thursday dismissed a threatening video message by al-Qaida chief Ayman Al
Zawahiri on Kashmir. Questioned about Zawahiri’s message where he purportedly
called for India’s destruction, the MEA spokesperson said, “We have been
listening to such threats for years. al-Qaida is a UN-proscribed organisation
and so are its leaders. Our security forces are capable of taking on such
threats. There are a lot of things which are said... we would not want to
dignify it with an answer.”
said, “I am of the view that the mujahideen (armed terrorists) in Kashmir — at
this stage at least — should focus with single mind on inflicting unrelenting
blows on the Indian Army and government so as to bleed the Indian economy and
make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment." The
official Al Qaida news channel, As Sahab, released this message as ‘Don’t
British Social Attitudes survey has revealed that those professing a Christian
faith have fallen to a record low, while more than half of Britons profess no
faith and the number of those professing adherence to Islam is on the rise. The
BSA also revealed that acceptance of gay sex has fallen for the first time
since the height of the 1980s AIDS crisis.
by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the survey of 2,884 people
in 2018 found that there has been a “dramatic decline” in the number of people
identifying as a Christian in the past 35 years.
1983, two-thirds (66 per cent) of people said they were Christian, that number
hitting half the population in 2008, and just over a third, 38 per cent, in
2018. Only one per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds identify as belonging to the
Church of England.
survey also found that the only faiths which are notably growing in the UK are
Christian Pentecostalism — likely due to immigration from West Africa — and
Islam, which grew from one per cent in 1983, to three per cent in 2008, to six
per cent in 2018. NatCen’s 2016 saw that for the first time, half (50 per cent)
of the population claimed to have no religion, with that figure rising to 52
per cent in 2018.
survey’s authors would not commit to stating that the UK had become a ‘secular’
nation, but did say that while religion may be declining, “it is also
diversifying and deepening, as some believers, like non-believers, become more
committed to their worldviews. This means a world in which there may be
significant tension between the political and social attitudes of the religious
and non-religious, meaning faith is likely to remain an important part of our
survey also measured other aspects of British social attitudes, including sex
before marriage, where in 1983, 42 per cent said there is nothing wrong with
sex outside marriage, compared to three-quarters in 2018.
the BSA survey found that for the first time since the AIDS crisis, acceptance
of gay sex has fallen. Since 1987, acceptance had been rising steadily until
2017 to 68 per cent, dropping to 66 per cent in 2018.
liberalisation in attitudes to sexual relationships observed since first
recorded by BSA in the 1980s appears to be slowing down,” NatCen observed,
adding that “while social norms have changed, there is a significant minority
of the population who remain uncomfortable with same-sex relationships, and as
such we may have reached a point of plateau”.
statistics revealing the drop in acceptance of gay sex came as Muslim parents
have restarted protests at a Birmingham primary school over its teaching of
young children about same-sex relationships.
school announced that it had modified its “no outsiders” curriculum into “no
outsiders for a faith community”, but Muslim parents claim that the lessons still
promote homosexuality. Leading a protest outside of the school on Tuesday,
parents’ spokesman Jay Hussain said the school is “not respecting our religious
are not against anyone expressing their sexuality or being homosexual if that’s
what they want. We have no issue if Mr Moffat [the headteacher] wants to put on
a dress, or dance around like a ballet dancer, or put on a skirt, we have no
issue. We have an issue with teaching that nonsense to our kids,” Mr Hussain
Parent Ali Yassir told BirminghamLive: “They [teachers] tell us our beliefs are
wrong, that it is not good to believe what we do. This is not right. Children
are confused by being told that gay relationships are okay. It is not okay for
David Zucchino and Farooq Jan Mangal
Afghanistan — Muhammad Didar Mukhlis Afghan, a sergeant serving at a remote
Afghan Army base, was pleased when his nephew invited his wife and son to his
wedding back home in eastern Afghanistan.
sergeant pitched in almost $400 to help with the nephew’s wedding costs. But
instead of a wedding, the event became a murder scene.
nephew, Qari Aziz, was among a group of Taliban fighters who killed the
sergeant’s wife and son inside Mr. Aziz’s home in May, according to Sergeant
Afghan and government officials in Paktia Province.
attacked my wife and son because I am serving in the ranks of the Afghan
National Army,” Sergeant Afghan said. He did not know his nephew was secretly a
member of the Taliban in Paktia, he said.
I buried them,” he said the day after the killing of his wife, Najiba, and
their son Muhammad Wali Nisar, 13. “Now I just have my two daughters and son.”
killings were the latest in a series of retaliatory Taliban attacks against the
families and homes of Afghan soldiers and police officers. They have continued
even as American and Taliban negotiators have reported progress in talks aimed
at reaching a lasting peace agreement.
wedding party killings shocked many Afghans because they were a grievous
violation of a traditional code of hospitality — and because an Afghan had
killed his own relatives.
is against our culture and it is against Islam,” said Abdul Malik Zazai, head
of the provincial council in Paktia. “In our culture, we cannot kill those who
come to our homes as a guest. We have to protect them.”
added: “This is a terrible crime.”
the code of conduct practiced by ethnic Pashtuns and other Afghans in Pashtun
areas, like Paktia, obligates hosts to protect guests from harm, even if they
are enemies. It is based on hospitality, righteousness, loyalty and bravery.
much of the war, now in its 18th year, Afghans have despaired that duplicity by
both sides has eroded Pashtunwali and its notions of honor and respect.
May, seven Taliban wearing police uniforms attacked a police headquarters in Pul-i-Kumri
in northern Afghanistan, killing 20 officers.
infiltrators have repeatedly joined government units, then spiked soldiers’ or
police officers’ food with drugs and shot them dead as they slept. In some rare
instances, government infiltrators have done the same to the Taliban.
disturbing for many Afghans is the Taliban tactic of burning the homes of
soldiers’ families while the men are serving elsewhere.
Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan, an army colonel, Zahir Jan Abdali,
said the families of at least seven soldiers and police officers had been
burned out of their homes in recent months.
them was Khano Slimanzai, a border police officer who said his unit retreated
from his village, Slimanzai, during a Taliban offensive. Officer Slimanzai said
he arranged for a relative to help his wife and children flee their home, in
their bare feet, to a dry river bed outside their village as the Taliban
than 30 minutes later, he said, Taliban fighters burned the home and destroyed
the family’s belongings, including Islamic religious texts. They burned the
homes of other police officers as well, he said.
don’t understand where the Taliban get this barbarism — it’s beyond
imagination,” Officer Slimanzai said. “They are so cruel it makes me cry.”
said he received no support from the Afghan government. “The government leaders
are just watching this with their mouths open,” he said.
effective Taliban tactic is dressing in army or police uniforms and driving stolen,
explosives-laden Humvees into government outposts.
May 5, seven Taliban wearing police uniforms burst into a police headquarters
in northern Afghanistan through an opening created by an exploding Humvee,
killing 20 police officers.
has long been endemic to Afghan warfare, with conspiracies, side-switching and
internal scheming all frequent players in the country’s history. But the
duplicity in today’s war still deeply offends Afghan traditionalists who
believe in Pashtunwali.
is against all rules and customs of Pashtunwali,” Mawlawi Sha Muhammad said of
recent Taliban killings of service members’ families. He is head of the Ulama
Shura, a body of Islamic scholars, in Khost Province.
says respect your guests, and in the Quran in many places it is mentioned that
women, children and guests should be respected,” Mawlawi Muhammad said.
expressed concern about eroding Pashtunwali values, but he declined to say
more. Many ulema scholars have been attacked by the Taliban for expressing
religious views contrary to those of the insurgents.
May 7, Mawlawi Amir Jan, a well-known Islamic scholar, was shot dead by gunmen
while praying inside his mosque in Logar Province south of Kabul. Habibullah
Stanikzai, head of the provincial council, blamed the Taliban.
the village of Salison Nawa in Kandahar Province, the Taliban bombed the family
home of Sgt. Habibullah Jan, a border police officer, late last year and burned
the family’s belongings, said his brother, Khan Jan. The officer’s five
brothers and their families, who all shared the home, were left homeless and
destitute, Khan Jan said.
Ghazni Province, the Taliban kidnapped and killed a local businessman named
Hajji Dawood because his brother worked at police headquarters in the province,
said Abdul Jamei, a provincial council member.
such things happen a lot in Ghazni,” another Ghazni council member, Hassan Reza
Yousufi, said with an air of resignation. He said the Taliban killed his uncle
because he served on the provincial council.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said reports that Sergeant Afghan’s wife
and son had been murdered by the Taliban were government propaganda. He called
it a criminal case that did not concern the insurgency.
Mr. Zazai, the provincial council head, said that the Taliban had arrested Mr.
Aziz, Sergeant Afghan’s nephew.
code of Pashtunwali permits revenge against someone who has committed a grave
offense, or even someone who has insulted or shamed another. In this context,
vengeance is a form of justice.
Afghan, a 15-year army veteran, said he had not considered revenge at this
point. He was overcome with grief and still mourning the loss of his wife and
son. He said he was trying to raise his three remaining children.
either have to go back to my job or I’ll have to take care of my children,” he
said. “I am very weak. I don’t know what to do.”
Shah contributed reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan.
leaders should only be Muslims, says cleric
trials set to begin and scores of Malaysia's former leaders facing jail for
corruption and financial crimes, a powerful Muslim cleric-turned-politician has
decried efforts to enforce the rule of law irrespective of the religious status
of the defendants.
Islamic Party chief, Hadi Awang, fighting a rearguard action to dispel growing
disillusionment and among his co-religionists over the morality and ethics of
the nation's former Muslim leaders, said their religion should be taken into
consideration when judging them.
a lengthy opinion piece titled "Rule of Law: Where is Allah?" on
Facebook where he has thousands of followers, Hadi stressed the importance of
Islamic laws in governing the country.
cleric, who is also an MP, argued that Muslims should continue to trust Muslim
leaders regardless of the crimes they may have committed.
the one leading is a Muslim, even if he were cruel, at least [others] can
become cattle herders," he wrote in a rehash of a quote attributed to a
medieval Muslim ruler following the fall of his kingdom that he often cites to
justify Islamic governance.
warned Muslims that they will end up in hell if non-Muslims are allowed to
participate in governing the Muslim majority country.
if the one who leads is a non-Muslim, even if he were the kindest, [others] can
work however they wish [but] without any limits of what is 'halal'
[permissible] and 'haram' [forbidden] they will still end up in hell."
his piece, Hadi stressed that Malaysia can only be saved by Muslims and Shariah
law, which he said is superior to man-made laws.
also claimed that only an Islamic party deserves to inherit Quranic teachings
to provide such guidance — a veiled reference to his own Islamist party —
rather than a party devoid of morals and faith to God and his prophet.
urged that the government leaders who were ousted in last May's election, be
pardoned for their crimes.
ever take the infidelic West as an example, because the best of them will still
end up in hell, since their kindness is without any faith to Allah," he
current prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, has stressed that no one is above the
law and civil and criminal statutes apply to all regardless of religion or
has long been a proponent of Malay-Muslim rule. In 2017, he pointed out that
Malaysia should be led by Malay-Muslims as they are the dominant community, and
suggested that the group holds the top decision-making positions in the
to independent research firm, the Ilham Centre, there is no widespread
condemnation by the Malay and Muslim community of the government of disgraced
former premier, Najib Razak, despite its alleged corrupt misrule that saw it
ousted in May last year.
is accused of corruption and money laundering in connection with $681m that was
found his bank account, allegedly from the 1MDB government economic development
a study conducted by the center, many in the community were also said to be
against the Mahathir's appointment of two Christians — Richard Malanjum as
chief justice and Tommy Thomas as attorney-general — and see it as an anathema
in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
people surveyed disagreed with non-Malays holding the top posts as they felt
such appointments threatened the position of Islam and Malay special rights.
continues to pursue extradition request of Zakir Naik with Malaysia: MEA
DELHI: India continues to pursue its request for extradition of Zakir Naik and
it has been informed by the Malaysian government that its appeal is under
consultation, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Thursday.
spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India is pursuing the matter not only through
the Malaysian government but also through its High Commission.
have requested for his extradition and time and again not only through our consultation
with the Malaysian government but also through our High Commission. We have
asked them to expedite the process. We have been told that it is under
consultation and it is a process that will take time," he said in response
to a question.
a 53-year-old radical television preacher, left India in 2016 and subsequently
moved to Malaysia, which has reportedly granted permanent residency to him.
that Malaysia has a right to not extradite Naik, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad was quoted as saying by 'The Star' newspaper on Monday that "Zakir
in general feels that he is not going to get a fair trial (in India)."
Malaysian leader also compared the situation to Australia refusing to extradite
former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who was sentenced to death in Malaysia
in 2015 for killing a Mongolian model.
was booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 2016 based on a National
Investigation Agency FIR that was registered under the Unlawful Activities
ED last month said Naik received funds worth crores of rupees in his and his
trusts' bank accounts from unidentified "well wishers" over the years
for his speeches that spread "hatred and incited Muslim youths" to
take up terrorism.
answering a question on decision on judgement of retired Indian Navy officer
Kulbhushan Jadhav, Kumar said a representative from the MEA will be there when
the verdict is announced.
have to wait for judgement...a representative from MEA will be there when the
verdict is announced," he said, adding India had submitted a statement on
September 13, 2017 with details about its arguments on the entire process.
International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to pronounce its verdict on July
17 in the case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death
row in Pakistan, official sources said on Thursday.
a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military
court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the
ICJ in May 2017 against Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav.
had also challenged the "farcical" trial by the military court of
Pakistan against the 48-year-old. The ICJ had on May 18, 2017 restrained
Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case.
accuses Iran of secret nuclear enrichment, threatens to increase sanctions
President Donald Trump accused Iran on Wednesday of secretly enriching uranium
for a long time and warned that U.S. sanctions will be increased soon, as the
UN's nuclear watchdog held an emergency meeting on Tehran's breach of the
used the session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation
board of governors to accuse Iran of extortion after it inched past the deal's
limit on enrichment levels while still offering to hold talks with Tehran.
offered no evidence for his claims. UN inspectors have uncovered no covert
enrichment by Iran since long before its 2015 nuclear agreement deal with world
says it is reacting to harsh U.S. economic sanctions imposed on Tehran since
Trump pulled out of world powers' 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic
last year, and all its steps were reversible if Washington returned to the
has long been secretly 'enriching,' in total violation of the terrible 150
Billion Dollar deal made by John Kerry and the Obama Administration. Remember,
that deal was to expire in a short number of years. Sanctions will soon be
increased, substantially!" Trump said on Twitter.
breaches key uranium enrichment limit in nuclear deal, UN watchdog confirms
should be 'scared' of Tehran's reaction to tanker seizure, cleric says
response to Trump, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA said all the country's nuclear
activities are monitored by the UN's atomic watchdog policing its nuclear deal.
have nothing to hide," Kazim Gharib Abadi told reporters.
won't reverse uranium enrichment plan
recent weeks, Iran has begun to openly breach limits on uranium enrichment set
by the deal in order to pressure European signatories to salvage it.
Iranian security official said Wednesday that Iran will not reverse its
decision to increase uranium enrichment beyond the limits set by the accord
until it achieves its "full rights" under the deal.
Shamkhani told a French envoy the decision to increase enrichment is an
"unchangeable strategy," and criticized European countries for their
"lack of will" in providing relief from U.S. sanctions, according to
the official IRNA news agency.
the U.S. urged the signatories to the nuclear deal not to give in to Iran's
demands by providing new economic incentives to get it to pull back from its
recent escalation of its atomic program.
Wolcott, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, told the gathering in Vienna that
Iran's recent moves to enrich uranium beyond the deal's limits amounted to
"nuclear extortion." She said Iran's "misbehaviour" should
"not be rewarded."
and other countries have called on Iran to go back to complying with the
nuclear deal. Emmanuel Bonne, a French presidential envoy, is in Iran this week
for talks aimed at resolving the crisis.
warns Britain of 'repercussions' over ship seizure
Iran's president says Britain will face "repercussions" over the
seizure of an Iranian supertanker last week that authorities in Gibraltar
suspect was breaching European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.
Rouhani was quoted by the official IRNA news agency Wednesday as calling the
seizure "mean and wrong" during a cabinet meeting.
are an initiator of insecurity and you will understand its repercussions,"
he warned the British government, calling for the "full security" of
international shipping lanes.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, denied the supertanker
belonged to Iran, saying whoever owned the oil shipment and the vessel could
pursue the case through legal avenues. Iran had earlier summoned the British
ambassador over what it called the "illegal interception" of the
is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, which is under
Western sanctions linked to attacks on civilians during the war.
Yusuf may be the token Muslim Trump’s administration needs
the esteemed scholar be trusted to speak truth to power, and should the public
intellectual be held accountable to a higher standard?
Pompeo, United States Secretary of State, announced the formation of the
Commission on Unalienable Rights this Monday. The 10-member panel chosen by the
former CIA director, will revise and supposedly reconceptualise "the role
of human rights in American public policy".
push to distinguish between original, unalienable human rights and others leads
many to believe that the commission will not only promote religious rights as
human rights, but also push issues important to conservatives in the United
what raised Muslims’ eyebrows the most was the inclusion, among its “varied
background and beliefs”, of the famous Sheikh Hamza Yusuf.
sheikh is arguably the most famous imam in America, and has been a polarising
figure of late within the Muslim community. Relations between him and his own sheikh,
Abdullah bin Bayyah to the United Arab Emirates, have, in the recent past, been
only did the duo hold their Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in
the United Arab Emirates, but Sheikh Hamza went so far as to praise the UAE for
its “ministry of tolerance”. The statement quickly became the subject of public
backlash, given the UAE’s active role in the Saudi Arabian-led coalition war in
Yemen putting 13 million people at risk of starvation.
Right’s Favorite Imam
Hamza’s appointment comes after years of relations with the right.
the September 11 attacks, the sheikh’s tone took on a much more reconciliatory
tone, particularly in contrast to his previous critiques against American
immortality and imperialism. In a matter of years, he established a number of
alliances with key religious leaders in the US seeking to build a broad
conservative base that would include Muslims.
in seeking to promote religious rights and freedoms and include Muslims as part
of the conservative agenda in the US, the sheikh has also had to make crucial
Trump’s election, the sheikh significantly downplayed his previous criticism of
Trump, arguing instead that the president was “God’s servant”, and simply an
agent of God’s will.
worryingly, while the Trump administration was pushing for its Muslim ban, not
only did the sheikh remain silent on the Muslim American community’s most
pressing issue, he also attended the National Prayer Breakfast to network with
religious leaders. The sheikh’s alliance with Jewish leaders also meant
accommodating such Zionist organisations as the Anti-Defamation League at the
Forum for Promoting Peace, at the same time that the Trump administration and
UAE are trying to bury Palestinian Muslims’ dreams.
enough, the same day the commission was announced that Pompeo and John Bolton,
Trump’s neoconservative National Security Advisor, were at the Christians
United for Israel summit, bragging of the Trump administration’s victories with
of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf’s supporters defend his appointment, as well as his
previous political gambits, by relying on a long tradition in Islamic political
history. In the past, ulema scholars would often give naseeha, or advice, to
only earlier this month, the sheikh defended himself with the exact same line:
Someone has to advise these governments.
however raises the question: is the sheikh truly in a position to give naseeha,
and does that in any way lower the bar of his complicity as a public
intellectual and spiritual leader? More critically, has this administration’s
actions displayed a willingness to listen to advice, especially with regard to
reality, the sheikh’s inclusion on the committee may have transpired for the
reason of presenting a “token Muslim”, providing a Muslim rubberstamp of
approval for programmes that would happen with or without him.
point many of the sheikh’s supporters use to defend him is that of Husn al
dhan, or the practice of thinking the best of a brother in faith. Where
however, does the informed public draw the line between thinking well and
calling out naivety?
his record and the good he has done Muslim communities around the world, his
recent actions have caused many a great deal of sadness.
is nonetheless a question that needs to be asked. Even if the sheikh were in a
position to give naseeha, can he be trusted to do so?
this regard, one can only recall the naseeha Sheikh Hamza gave Preisdent Bush
Jr. before the US campaign against Iraq. The sheikh was concerned that the
military operation name ‘Infinite Justice’, was blasphemously close to one of
Allah’s 99 names, and would offend Muslims.
Jr. readily changed it to ‘Enduring Freedom’. The name changed and Muslims were
this end, can we trust the sheikh to ask this administration to review the role
of human rights in American foreign policy against Muslims? More to the point,
can the sheikh be trusted to mention that Muslims too are human?
Nawaz's interview 'stopped forcefully' shortly after being aired: show host
interview of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of the PML-N, was
"forcefully" taken off air soon after it was run, it was reported on
came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif's interview has been stopped forcefully just
[a] few minutes after it started live," tweeted show host Nadeem Malik.
News, the channel on which the interview was aired for a few brief moments,
released a statement shortly after the incident, saying: "Hum News
believes in a free and responsible media. Protecting freedom of expression is
one of our core values. At the same time, we stand for the respect and dignity
of [the] judiciary in line with our ethical values and the Consitution."
development comes days after AbbTakk TV, 24 News, and Capital TV all had their
broadcasts cut after screening a press conference by Maryam Nawaz.
say the three channels were unavailable due to “technical issues”, but
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global media watchdog, described the outage
as an act of “brazen censorship”.
slammed the local authorities over the removal of three television channels
from the country's airwaves, saying the move was “indicative of disturbing
dictatorial tendencies” as pressure mounts on journalists in Pakistan.
Why media censorship is problematic
is the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — who is currently behind
bars for corruption — and a recent press conference she hosted featured a judge
reportedly claiming he had been blackmailed into convicting the former premier.
move came as Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration vowed to block any
media coverage and interviews of politicians “who are convicts and under
this month, Geo News TV abruptly took an interview with former president Asif Ali
Zardari off air shortly after it began.
to attach properties of more Kashmiri separatists
a major clampdown, the NIA is likely to question some more separatist leaders
in Jammu and Kashmir and attach more properties it knows have been bought from
funds meant to promote terror in the troubled state.
senior National Investigation Agency (NIA) official told IANS: “The agency has
identified the properties of different separatist leaders in the Kashmir
official said the agency had got several leads during its questioning of
several people in recent months.
NIA on Tuesday quizzed jailed Altaf Ahmed Shah aka Funtoosh’s son
Anees-ul-Islam about his financial transactions and role during protests in the
Kashmir Valley after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in
is the grandson of Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who
advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Islam’s father is married
to Geelani’s daughter.
official said Islam was also questioned about the players behind the financing
of terrorist activities, stone pelting on security forces, burning down of
schools and damaging of government establishments in the Valley.
was asked to show his financial transactions and give details of his families’
visit to foreign countries.
NIA last week also questioned the Editor and owner of English newspaper
“Greater Kashmir” Fayaz Ahmed Kaloo in connection with terror funding following
many articles published in the daily after Wani’s death.
agency registered cases of terror funding against several separatist leaders in
May 2017 on charges of stoking unrest in the Valley.
case named Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, a front
for the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, as an accused. It also names groups such as
the Hurriyat Conference factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the
Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat.
officials said they have got leads on how the money was routed to separatist
leaders through hawala operators.
agency has earlier arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali, who
acted as a conduit for foreign contributions to terrorist groups in the state.
officials claimed they had evidence against Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of
the Awami Action Committee.
NIA had questioned him on three consecutive days in April regarding terror
funding and sought answers regarding the documents seized from his residence on
NIA had recovered letterheads of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jammat-ud-Dawa, Hizbul
Mujahideen and other terrorist outfits from his residential premises.
officials said they were trying to identify Farooq’s movable and immovable
properties as well as those of his relatives in India and abroad.
Islam and Farooq, the son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Naseem Geelani, Mohammad
Ashraf Khan, Chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Masarat Alam, General Secretary, All
Party Hurriyat Conference, and Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir
Salvation Movement, are on the NIA radar.
agency on Tuesday attached the Srinagar house of the now jailed Asiya Andrabi,
who heads the Kashmiri women’s separatist group ‘Dukhtaran-e-Milat’ (Daughters
of Faith) in Srinagar.
month, Masrat Alam reportedly told investigators that Pakistan-based agents
routed funds raised abroad to Jammu and Kashmir through hawala operators.
were transferred to separatist leaders, including Syed Geelani.
Alam’s interrogation, the NIA confronted Shabir Shah with evidence about his
investments in hotels and businesses in Pahalgam as well as properties in
Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag.
NIA official said Shabir Shah was also shown evidence related to transfer of
money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of Hurriyat.
allegedly admitted that she had collected funds and donations from foreign
sources. She was also asked about the educational expenses of her son in
Malaysia from 2011.
Delhi, July 11 The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has alleged that Muslim parties
in the Ayodhya dispute are resorting to "delaying tactics" following
the Supreme Court''s decision to begin daily hearings in the case if mediation
fails to resolve the issue.
Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi
directed the mediation committee, formed by it to resolve the Ayodhya title
dispute, to submit its progress report by July 18, instead of August 15 as
the other hand, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) alleged that
no one other than Muslim parties in the case are keen for a negotiated
have maintained from day one that the mediation committee effort would be a
futile exercise. Muslim parties have used delaying tactics to prevent an
amicable solution to the dispute. They first complained that documents
pertaining to the case were in various languages and needed to be translated to
English for their perusal. They had objections to the size of the Supreme Court
bench as well as the constitution of its members. We are hopeful that the apex
court will soon deliver its judgement through daily hearings," VHP
national spokesperson Vinod Bansal told .
three-member mediation committee, led by Justice (retired) F.M.I. Kalifulla,
had earlier been set the deadline of August 15 to submit its report. However,
on July 9, an urgent plea was made by one of the claimants to the disputed land
that mediation proceedings were not working. The plea was filed by Rajendra
Singh, survivor of Gopal Singh Visharad, who had filed a title suit in the year
AIMPLB said that the apex court decision to begin with daily hearings is
perfectly in order as far as progress in dispute resolution is concerned.
is entirely the prerogative of the court to decide on the future course of
direction in the case. We fully co-operated with the mediation panel and
attended all its hearings. However, none other than Muslim parties are keen on
a negotiated settlement. The court has taken a step in the right
direction," AIMPLB member Kamal Faruqui told .
troops on Friday morning resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms
fire at various places along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir‘s
Poonch and Rajouri sectors.
to defence ministry spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand, Pakistani troops
“initiated ceasefire violation around 8 am with the firing of small arms and
shelling with mortars along the LoC in Mankote, Krishna Ghati Sector of Poonch
district, besides Nowshera Sector in Rajouri district”. “Indian Army was
retaliating befittingly,” he added.
Border Security Force (BSF) constable lost his right hand and was severely
injured while trying to intercept a group of 25 cattle smugglers in Bangoan
near Indo-Bangladesh border early on Thursday.
Anisur Rehman was attacked with bombs twice. He retaliated with a non-lethal
PAG gun when the smugglers were hurling bombs at him near the Angrail border
post in the North 24 Parganas district around 3:30 am.
to a BSF officer, a group of cattle smugglers had entered 200 metres inside the
Indian side to smuggle cattle into Bangladesh.
smugglers were equipped with sharp weapons and bombs. Rehman fired from his
non-lethal gun and they attacked him with two bombs. He suffered pellet
injuries to his legs, lungs and stomach due to the impact of bombs. They then
hurled another bomb which directly hit his right hand,” said a BSF officer.
jawan suffered grievous injuries and he fell unconscious. Reinforcement troops
controlled the situation. The smugglers, however, escaped to the other side
taking advantage of darkness and tall grass.
BSF has directed all its formations in the south Bengal frontier area to adopt
an aggressive posture against trans-border criminals and thwart their sinister
designs. Such attacks on BSF troops are taking place quite often,” read a BSF
smuggler is also suspected to have been injured in the firing by the jawan, a
senior official told PTI.
DELHI: Days before the Kartarpur talks with Pakistan, the ban on
Pakistan-supported extremist Sikh group, Sikhs for Justice, is intended to send
a message to Islamabad that India will continue to be vigilant on the
neighbour’s efforts to stoke Sikh extremism in India again. India and Pakistan
will hold talks on the Kartarpur corridor on July 14 at the Wagah border.
is important to understand that the vast majority of Sikhs in Canada and other
parts of the world share warm relations with India. They want better relations
with India and their country of residence and, frankly, we take no cognisance
of what the fringe elements have to say which is meant to create disharmony and
spread hate,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. He said the government had
reached out to other countries which give sanctuary to this group to desist
from doing so.
court orders return of ISIS members detained in Syrian camp
German court has for the first time ordered the government to bring home an
ISIS member and her children who are in a Syrian displacement camp.
German foreign ministry had initially said it would only allow the children,
aged eight, seven and one, to be repatriated to Germany because of the
atrocious conditions at the Al Hol camp.
the government had refused to allow the mother to return because she was deemed
too much of a security risk, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported. It was, however,
found by the court that it was impossible to send the children back to Germany
without their mother. The family is from Lower Saxony.
Dirk Schoenian, who initiated the proceedings, said the ruling showed the
foreign office could not shirk its “political responsibility and the legal
of foreign ISIS members and their families are languishing in jails run by the
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Several children have already been
month it was reported more than 160 Germans who travelled to Syria and Iraq to
join ISIS remain unaccounted for, while around another 120 were held in prison
British warship trained its guns on three Iranian vessels that tried to block
the passage of a U.K.-flagged oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz, the
country’s Defense Ministry said, a confrontation that comes amid heightened
tensions between Washington and Tehran.
three Iranian ships tried on Wednesday to impede the British Heritage as the
tanker carrying oil for British oil giant BP PLC traveled from the Persian Gulf
through the strait, but were turned away by the HMS Montrose, the ministry said
event followed British forces’ seizure of an Iranian tanker off the Gibraltar
coast last week, which Iran called an act of piracy.
U.S. and U.K. have accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of mounting
assaults on vessels carrying oil through the Strait of Hormuz in recent months.
However, Wednesday’s incident marks the first time since tensions flared
earlier this year between the U.S. and Iran that a Western warship has come
close to military engagement with Iranian naval forces.
denied any attempt to stop the tanker, according to Iranian news agencies.
British government didn’t identify the types of Iranian vessels involved and
didn’t accuse the ships of seeking to seize the tanker.
U.S. Navy P-3 surveillance aircraft was in the area at the time of the incident
and collected imagery that was given to the British government, U.S. military
officials said Thursday.
Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus commended the Royal Navy and said that
the U.S. would continue to work with the U.K. and other allies to prevent Iran
from interfering with commercial shipping through the strait.
to international freedom of navigation require an international solution,” said
Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command. “The world
economy depends on the free flow of commerce and it is incumbent on all nations
to protect and preserve this linchpin of global prosperity.”
incident could accelerate a U.S. attempt to build a coalition of states to
share the burden of protecting commercial vessels near Iranian waters. It could
also further rattle the oil market and destabilize shipping through the Strait
of Hormuz, through which about a third of the world’s seaborne crude moves from
countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
and the U.S. have been locked in a bitter standoff since the spring. The White
House last year pulled out of a 2015 agreement that sought to contain Iran’s
nuclear capabilities and in April said it would use sanctions to force “Iran’s
oil exports to zero.” The Trump administration has placed sanctions on Iranian
individuals and institutions, including the Revolutionary Guards, in an effort
to persuade Tehran to stop meddling in Mideast affairs and negotiate a new
has responded by taking steps to breach the 2015 agreement and modestly expand
its nuclear program.
officials have threatened to retaliate, with one senior official suggesting
seizing a British ship in the Persian Gulf after U.K. forces last week helped
commandeer an Iranian ship off the coast of Gibraltar. That ship was carrying
oil bound for Syria in what U.K. officials said breached European Union
sanctions on sales of oil to the country. On Thursday, Gibraltar said the
captain of the Iranian vessel was arrested for breaking EU sanctions on Syria.
has denied that the tanker was headed to Syria and called its seizure illegal
because Iran isn’t subject to a European oil embargo.
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday warned the U.K., according to Iran’s
Press TV. “You are the ones initiating insecurity, and will come to realize its
consequences in the future,” he said.
Thursday, Gen. Ali Fadavi, a deputy commander for the Revolutionary Guards,
said the U.K. and U.S. “will regret” detaining the ship carrying Iranian cargo,
according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.
the enemies would have done the smallest calculation, they would not have taken
such action,” he said.
U.K. government official said London was in “de-escalation mode” in an effort
to calm the situation.
British Heritage had been on its way to pick up a cargo of oil from Basra port
in southern Iraq when it changed course earlier this week, without loading,
over fears it would be seized by Iranian forces following Tehran’s threats. The
tanker stopped off the coast of Saudi Arabia, and was located off the coast of
Oman early Thursday morning, according to MarineTraffic.com.
the three Iranian ships approached the British Heritage, the HMS Montrose
trained its guns at the vessels and issued verbal warnings for them to back
away, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. The three ships complied. A ministry
spokesman added that the British Heritage has since left the Persian Gulf.
has maintained a naval presence in the region for years. The HMS Montrose has
been in the Persian Gulf since late 2018. The U.K. currently has four minesweepers
Defense Ministry spokeswoman said she wouldn’t comment on whether the
government planned to increase its naval presence in the Gulf.
is a partner in the development of Iraq’s Rumaila, the world’s third-largest
producing field, and it shipped around 50,000 barrels a day of Iraqi oil in
2018, via the Strait of Hormuz.
just got to be really careful about our ships,” BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley
said at an event at London-based think tank Chatham House on Wednesday. BP declined
to comment further on the event.
U.S. also has accused Iran of attacking tankers in the Gulf of Oman—which
Tehran denied—and said Iran shot down a U.S. spy drone in the area. Tehran said
the unmanned aerial vehicle was inside Iranian airspace when it was downed.
U.K. has backed the U.S. assertion that Iran attacked the ships. But London has
been at odds with the White House over its decision to pull out of the nuclear
deal, and British officials are working with European nations on how to salvage
attacks on tankers have roiled oil markets and increased the costs of
transporting crude and other products in and out of the Persian Gulf.
U.S. has worked in recent weeks on a plan for deterring attacks on tankers that
calls for ships from Arab, Asian and other foreign nations to stand watch in
the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman while maritime patrol planes fly
Arabia and the U.A.E., which export a large amount of oil through the Strait of
Hormuz, have backed such a plan.
idea has to be thought out,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist
and former professor in the U.A.E. “Gulf states would be happy to see this
internationalization of Gulf security.”
analysts say the threat is clear. The Revolutionary Guard is equipped to swarm
hostile vessels with fast boats armed with torpedoes and short-range missiles
and small patrol craft equipped with machine guns and rocket launchers.
escorts in the region have a precedent. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s,
the two countries attacked each other’s ships in the Gulf and Iran eventually
began targeting foreign-flagged vessels. The assaults subsided when the U.S.
escorted and reflagged foreign tankers under its ensign.
fighters are returning from the battlefield — not Islamists but the Americans,
Europeans and South Americans who fought to rid the world of Isis. But for all
their bravery, their homecoming is a tricky one because their home countries do
not want them back.
have now interviewed more than a dozen volunteers. Many of them share similar
stories of arrests and detentions. They have been stripped of their ability to
travel, have their movements monitored, their bank accounts closed. One of
them, an American, has since committed suicide.
fighter, who wishes to be known as Max, tells me in an email that he has left
his home country of Denmark. He had returned for a short while after enlisting
for a six-month tour in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of north-eastern
Syria where he fought to rout Isis from its de facto capital and caliphate.
Max’s time there, the Danish government issued a law that made his mere
presence in Syria illegal. He hadn’t heard about the change until he left
Rojava, the north-eastern semi-autonomous Kurdish region where the SDF is
based, to return home.
back in Denmark… has been mentally tiring and challenging, mainly because of my
fear of the police suddenly showing up on my doorstep,’ he says. ‘In Denmark,
we get treated like criminals when all we wanted was to help the Kurdish people
of Syria, to defeat a terrorist organisation that had been murdering innocents
all around the world.’
is not in hiding now, he tells me, but he has left Denmark. ‘It makes me sleep
much better when I’m out of the country,’ he says. ‘I am much less stressed
and, in general, more happy.’
is not alone. Similar restrictive and oppressive measures against former
fighters have spread across Europe. Laws — in Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark
and France, among others — meant to deter westerners from joining Isis or other
radical terrorist networks such as al Qaeda have since dragged into their nets
the volunteers who came to aid the Kurds in north-eastern Syria in their
desperate plight from all sides: Turkey, Isis and the Assad government in
Damascus. The Syrian Democratic Forces volunteers who return safely from the
defeat of Isis now find they’ve no real home any more. Their home was and
remains Rojava, their tired utopia, in north-eastern Syria.
my recent visits to the front line in Baghouz, to meetings with former People’s
Protection Units volunteers in Denmark and Britain, it was evident that these
people — fighters, but also medics and cooks — have found a strained life. They
no longer live in opposition to Isis but rather to their own governments.
Counter-terrorism strategies meant to allay the fear about radical Islamists
returning home have instead stripped the liberties of those who fought against
those very fundamentalists.
I first came back, after I spent about two weeks here… I was ready to go back
[to Syria],’ said Josh Walker, 28, a British former volunteer. ‘But obviously I
couldn’t because I didn’t have my passport.’
volunteered with the SDF, where he fought Isis and acted as a translator for US
Special Forces from June to December 2016. When he returned home to the UK, he
was detained at Gatwick Airport on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.
During a raid at his Aberystwyth University bedsit, where he was reading
international politics and strategic studies, officers discovered a printout of
The Anarchist Cookbook. All charges were dropped in October 2017, though only
after the trial did he start to deal with the trauma of what he had seen
was trying to hold myself together,’ he told me, as he struggled with the new
reality of working in warehouse or kitchen jobs. ‘Sometimes I am at work, and I
am sort of like, man, I wish someone would shoot at me. I am so fucking bored.’
was among several UK citizens who were accused and charged with terrorism when
they returned home, including Aidan James, 28, of Formby, Merseyside, who was
cleared in April of one of the three charges levied against him for his
participation with the SDF in Syria. Meanwhile, Isis fighters can return home
and face no penalties as harsh as those handed out to the SDF fighters. In
Denmark, former Isis fighters and sympathisers are sent to deradicalisation
programmes. In London, Gianluca Tomaselli, who travelled to Syria to fight for
Isis in 2013, returned home and now works at an NHS hospital as a parking
attendant, having received no jail time.
or not to prosecute fighters such as Max, Aidan or Josh is a difficulty faced
by many governments. Some countries see the SDF as having links to the
Kurdistan Workers’ party, or PKK. Turkey, the US, Iran, the Netherlands and New
Zealand have all designated PKK a terrorist group.
Helali, 30, who spoke to me from his home in Greece, said that fighters who are
either set free following court proceedings or are not prosecuted lack a
lot of people I was with over there tend to keep their distance from each other
to protect themselves from possible state action,’ he says. ‘Support systems
are visually nonexistent. In Europe there are some.’
chairman of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, said on Thursday
that Iran has no expectations from European countries, adding that Iran’s
“victories” across the region have “angered” the enemy.
we have [today] comes from resistance,” the semi-official Fars news agency
quoted Jannati as saying.
claimed that Iran has had “great victories” in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, which
have left the enemy “angry.”
emphasized the role of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the country, saying: “It
is he who knows where we should move forward, and where we should stop.”
are no expectations of these hypocritical Europeans,” said Jannati, adding: “We
must rely on ourselves and do our job in order to reach our goal, and we certainly
Revolutionary Guards said Thursday that the United States and Britain will
“strongly regret” the seizure of a tanker off Gibraltar, the semi-official Fars
News Agency reported.
the enemy had made the smallest assessment they wouldn’t have done this act,”
said Rear-Admiral Ali Fadavi, deputy commander in chief of the Revolutionary
Guards, referring to the seizure of an oil tanker late last week by Gibraltar’s
police aided by British Royal Marines.
does not intend to escort every British-flagged merchant vessel through the
Strait of Hormuz, a security source said on Thursday, after a Royal Navy
warship had to stop three Iranian vessels from blocking the passage of a
source added that Britain had raised its ship security level to 3, the highest
category, for British-flagged ships in Iranian waters early on Tuesday.
3 for shipping would be comparable to ‘critical’ and that is where there is a
much-heightened risk,” the British source said. “We went to level 3 for Iranian
waters at the start of this week.”
opposition urges Europe to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Tehran
European powers must reinstate sanctions against Iran in response to
Tehran’s breach of the international
accord to curb its nuclear program, the Iranian opposition in exile warned.
had been attempting to preserve the 2015 deal since Donald Trump withdrew the
US last year. But Iran has reacted to heightened tensions with Washington by
enriching uranium beyond limits set by the agreement.
escalation has placed European leaders in a difficult position as they scramble
to salvage the agreement.
to Arab News in London, Hossein Abedini of the National Council of Resistance
of Iran’s (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee, said the only choice now is for
Europe to ramp up pressure on Iran.
Europeans must immediately snap back sanctions,” Abedini said. “The brazen
actions to breach the nuclear deal ... clearly show that the mullahs’ regime
never abandoned its nuclear projects and it is trying to capitalize on a
placating policy to pursue it once again.”
NCRI, a Europe-based umbrella bloc of opposition groups that seeks an end to
Iran’s theocracy, has spent years warning about Tehran’s atomic ambitions.
its message now comes at a critical time as Iran demands that Europe must maintain
economic relations even as the US moves to isolate the regime.
diplomat sent to Tehran by Emmanuel Macron held talks Wednesday with Iranian
officials in a bid to stop the deal collapsing.
at a recent rally in Germany, the NCRI’s president elect Maryam Rajavi urged
Europe to stop appeasing the Iranian regime.
euro traded with the clerics is a euro for fueling the Khamenei repression and
war machine,” she said.
concession to Tehran, she added, increases the prospect of a “catastrophic war”
by the clerics.
2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was
designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and halt the country gaining a nuclear
weapon. In response, world powers removed sanctions that had crippled the
Iranian economy for years. But many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia,
said the deal had merely allowed Iran to accelerate its missile technology and
fund a foreign policy of stirring up trouble in the Middle East. Donald Trump
agreed, and swiftly withdrew the US after he became president.
reinstated punishing sanctions on Iran’s economy, reducing its main income of
oil exports to a trickle. In recent months the US also ramped up its military
presence in the region and accused Iran of attacking oil tankers near the
Strait of Hormuz.
President Hassan Rouhani warned European signatories of the deal last week that
Tehran would “take the next step” in growing its enrichment of uranium from
Atomic Energy Organization confirmed Monday that Tehran had enriched uranium to
4.5 percent purity, beyond the deal’s limit of 3.67 percent.
said the announcement proved the Iranian regime has never given up its nuclear
experience shows that the regime has always deceived the international
community about its real intentions,” he said.
is high time that the whole nuclear infrastructure of the regime is totally
sanctions have also targeted senior figures in the Iranian regime, including
the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
month, Trump said he was imposing hard-hitting new sanctions, including on the
office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in response to the shooting
down of a US drone.
least three mosques across Germany received email threats on Thursday,
prompting officials to evacuate the buildings and increase the security
mosques in the southern German state of Bavaria were evacuated after their
staff received emails apparently from a far-right group which threatened to
kill Muslims and demanded the release of its members from prison.
police searched the mosques in Pasing and Freimann, but did not found anything
mosque in the northwestern city of Iserlohn also received a similar email on
Thursday which claimed that explosives had been placed in the building.
evacuated the mosque, cordoned off streets in the area, and began searches with
largest mosque in the western city of Cologne had also received a hoax bomb
threats on Tuesday.
country has witnessed growing Islamophobia in recent years triggered by the
propaganda of far-right parties.
than 100 mosques and religious institutions were attacked in 2018.
recorded 813 hate crimes against Muslims last year, including insults,
threatening letters and physical assaults. At least 54 Muslims were injured in
presidential communications director on Thursday remembered the 1995 Srebrenica
genocide, which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people.
Srebrenica massacre, one of the most shameful tragedies in history which
unfolded before the world’s eyes, once again reminds humanity of the terrible
face of genocide,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
the 24th anniversary of the massacre, we commemorate our saintly martyrs and
wish patience for our Bosnian brothers.”
also called on the international community to take responsibility to prevent
further crimes against humanity.
a follower of the atrocities suffered by the people of Bosnia, will continue to
support them in their rightful cause,” he added.
a quarter-century ago, more than 8,000 people were brutally massacred in front
of the world, said Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin in a written
wish Allah’s mercy on our martyrs," he added.
have not forgotten and will not forget this genocide, its perpetrators,
supporters, bystanders, and those who turned a blind eye to it," he
Vice President Fuat Oktay also commemorated the genocide victims on Twitter.
remember our Bosnian brothers with mercy who were murdered in the middle of
Europe, in front of the eyes of the world, in Srebrenica,” Oktay said.
added that the world would not forget the genocide, and those who ignored it.
area' besieged and occupied
than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces
attacked Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked
with acting as international peacekeepers.
was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian
Muslims and Croats to form their own state.
UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the
spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic -- later found
guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide -- overran the UN
suicide bomber, 13, kills five and injures 40 more after blowing himself up at
a wedding in Afghanistan
ROSS IBBETSON FOR MAILONLINE and AFP
12:08 BST, 12 July 2019
13-year-old suicide bomber killed at least five people and wounded 40 today on
an attack at a wedding ceremony in eastern Afghanistan.
the Taliban nor Islamic State claimed responsibility for this morning's attack
in Nangarhar, a volatile province on the border with Pakistan.
those killed was Malik Toor, a commander of a pro-government militia who had
organised the wedding, police official Fayz Mohammad Babarkhil said. Officials
said he was likely the target.
morning at 8am, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a wedding ceremony...in
Pachiragam district', Attaullah Khogyani, the Nangarhar governor's spokesman,
told AFP. 'As a result, five killed, more than 40 wounded.'
Khan Khaksar, the Pachiragam district governor, put the toll at 14 killed and
14 wounded but he cautioned the figures might change.
Adil, the Nangarhar regional hospital spokesman, told AFP that two bodies and
11 wounded victims had been taken to the hospital in central Nangarhar city.
explosion comes just days after historic talks between Afghan representatives
and the Taliban wrapped up as part of a US-led effort to end the war.
the conclusion of the two-day summit in Doha, parties unveiled a joint
resolution pledging a 'roadmap for peace' in which they sought to reduce
civilian casualties to 'zero'.
talks between US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban also took place
rights watchdog Amnesty International said the Rakhine state of Myanmar is not
safe for Rohingya refugees to return to.
the ongoing 41st session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Amnesty said that
Rohingya population -- who are mostly Muslims -- continue to face systematic
denial of their rights, including to equality, to a nationality, to freedom of
movement, and access to adequate healthcare, education, and work opportunities.
rights to participate in public life and to manifest religious beliefs continue
to be routinely violated in what amounts to a system of apartheid,” Amnesty
told the UNHRC session in Geneva, Switzerland late on Wednesday.
Myanmar authorities have shut down internet access in the conflict-ridden areas
of Rakhine and Chin states since June 21.
rights watchdog said the situation raised “urgent concerns” about the safety of
civilians while the conflict continues.
State is not safe for the communities still living there, it is most certainly
not safe for refugees to return to,” Amnesty International warned.
to aid, media restricted
group expressed terror that some 128,000 people -- mostly Rohingya -- have been
confined in detention camps in Rakhine and “reliant on humanitarian assistance
for their survival”.
asserted that Myanmar is severely restricting humanitarian access and access to
independent journalists and human rights monitors.
and other Muslim communities are systematically discriminated against and do
not have freedom of movement.”
accused the administration of Buddhist-majority Myanmar for not engaging in
“genuine efforts to implement recommendations” of the Advisory Commission on
Rakhine State, led by the late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
authorities claim to be implementing 81 of the report’s 88 recommendations,
however the reality on the ground is very different,” it added.
rights group also said that the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar has
made no progress in restoring the Rohingya’s citizenship rights or reviewed the
deeply discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law.
International also said 2019 witnessed major escalation in fighting between the
Myanmar military and the Arakan Army -- an ethnic Rakhine armed group based in
the Rakhine state.
documented serious violations -- including war crimes -- by the military
against civilians from all communities, including the Rohingya,” Amnesty added.
new violations highlight the institutionalized and systematic nature of
military violations in Myanmar, as well as the consequences of ongoing
impunity,” the rights group said.
added that some of the recent violations have been committed by soldiers from
the same units who were implicated in atrocities against the Rohingya
population in late 2017.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed to Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, extending
the figure of the persecuted people here more than 1.1 million.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The
Afghanistan — America’s longest war may yet be inching toward a conclusion.
this week, senior Taliban officials and Afghan notables issued a “road map to
peace" after two days of talks in Doha, Qatar. Within hours, U.S.
diplomats resumed talks with the fundamentalist fighters. Soon after, the U.S.
envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, was jetting to China ahead
of a trip to Washington to report and consult on the process.
said the latest round of U.S.-Taliban talks, which began June 29, has been the
“most productive session” since they started last year. At best, these talks
represent the first steps toward ending the war, but withdrawing U.S. troops
would not guarantee an end to the fighting between the militants and the Afghan
end to decades of violence could not come soon enough for Qudratullah Zaki, a
former member of Parliament who says he survived a Taliban attack March 7,
2018, but is nonetheless eager to make peace with his attackers.
200 Afghans are dying every day in this conflict — as civilians, security
forces and also the Taliban,” he told NBC News. “We have to end this conflict —
how long can we continue and sacrifice sons of this nation?”
attack that almost killed Zaki is part of a web of violence that has afflicted
the nation for decades. Since 2001 when the Taliban was toppled after
sheltering 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, tens of thousands of civilians and
security personnel, as well as more than 2,400 Americans, have been killed in
militants currently control or contest more of the country than they have since
while there is a deep thirst for peace in Afghanistan, many fear the talks
between the United States and the Taliban will not halt the conflict but merely
see the end of American involvement. And even if a possible U.S.-Taliban deal
turns out to be a first step to peace, women and ethnic minorities in the
country wonder what peace with the Taliban would look like.
Haidari, the founder of an organization that aims to empower Afghan women, said
she was worried about the agreement’s pledge to uphold women’s rights “within
the Islamic framework.”
now we can do business, we can get an education, have financial freedom,” said
Haidari, who like many other activists fears that progress made since the end
of Taliban rule, such as ensuring that many girls can go to school and some
women work, is in jeopardy. “I run a business and a charity. According to the
‘Islamic framework,’ would I be able to do what I’m doing?”
Taliban violently enforce their strict and austere version of Shariah law in
areas they control, and when they ruled the country they prevented women and
girls from going to school or working outside the home.
Barr, acting co-director of the women’s rights division at New
York-headquartered Human Rights Watch, warned that women and girls could see
tenuous gains of the last 18 years threatened by an empowered Taliban.
Taliban remain fundamentally opposed to gender equality,” she said. “There is a
particular risk that the U.S. is now in such a rush to reach a deal that they
will be quick to minimize or ignore risks to women’s rights in this process.”
Taliban leaders now insist they have reformed and will not discriminate against
women, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, they privately appear to
confirm some of Haidari’s fears.
women’s rights “doesn’t mean we would allow women to work in offices like they
are doing today,” said one commander based in Helmand province who spoke to NBC
News on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the
media. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that future U.S. assistance to
Afghanistan could depend on the country’s treatment of women and minorities.
Still, analysts and experts agree that the U.S. priority is to make sure the
country is never again a launchpad for international terrorism, as well as the
orderly withdrawal of most of its some 15,000 troops.
terms of a U.S.-Taliban agreement could include a cease-fire and the start of
peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, former U.S.
officials, foreign diplomats and regional experts have told NBC News.
Taliban confirmed they met with the U.S. on Tuesday and said both sides would
now take a break to discuss the outcome of the talks with their respective
leaderships, according to the Taliban’s spokesman in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen.
officials said they believe Khalilzad went to China to seek its role as a
possible guarantor if an agreement is reached between the U.S. and Taliban.
momentum in talks, there is a long way to go to see an end to fighting.
Taliban has so far refused to meet with the government of President Ashraf
Ghani, which the group views as a puppet of the West.
members of the Taliban say they have themselves been sidelined from talks and
several field commanders had refused to agree with the joint statement issued
after the intra-Afghan conference, three Taliban officials said on the
condition of anonymity.
Afghanistan, July 11 (Xinhua) -- At least seven militants loyal to the Taliban
group were killed and eight others wounded following an ambush by security
forces in the southern Helmand province on Wednesday, provincial police chief
Abdul Salam Afghan said Thursday.
security forces launched the operation late Wednesday, when a group of
insurgents was going to attack a security post in Pul-e-Seyah area of the province,
killing seven fighters including their commander Mawlawi Shabir on the spot and
injuring eight others, the official said.
security personnel had been harmed during the fire exchange, the official
US, Chinese, Russians and Pakistani officials held key talks in Beijing, the
capital of China, on Thursday to coordinate the way forward in Afghan peace
process at a critical stage when the US and Taliban claim progress in peace
negotiations, according to Western sources in Doha.
special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad proceeded to China after he held talks with the
Taliban political representatives in Doha on July 9. He wrote on his Twitter
handle that he will later visit Washington to brief and consult the leadership
about the progress in the Taliban talks.
political spokesman Suhail Shaeen told Daily Times in the Qatari capital that
the seventh round will resume soon and that both sides can move towards a
possible agreement on two issues – complete withdrawal of foreign troops and
stopping Afghan soil from being used against the US in future.
four-party meeting, being termed a significant development, has now taken place
in Beijing which is also being seen as an important sign of speedy progress at
a time when important events are taking place in quick succession regarding the
Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
the important intra-Afghan peace conference, and significant seventh round of
direct US-Taliban talks in Doha during the past few days, China hosted the
third round of the Trilateral China-Russia-US talks on Afghanistan on Thursday.
As a notable development, Pakistan has now also been invited to this
fast-emerging important forum on Afghanistan. Earlier two meetings of the
trilateral grouping were held in Washington and Moscow.
Thursday’s four-party meeting expanded the forum to include Pakistan, given its
significant position and sincere role in taking the peace process forward.
contacted, Pakistani officials declined to comment on the Beijing meeting. They
said the four sides will issue a joint statement after the meeting, most likely
Premier Sheikh Hasina on Thursday highlighted the need to promote tourist
traffic within the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which
constitutes a collective population of over 1.8 billion.
the value of tourist traffic between these countries at a staggering $243 billion
by 2021, with an annual growth rate of 8.3%, she urged governments to ease visa
restrictions and build infrastructures in order to take advantage of the
tourism [travel within the OIC member states] is a possible sector, where all
of us have an opportunity to work together in achieving our targets,” she said,
while inaugurating a two day conference to promote the capital Dhaka as OIC
city of tourism.
many as 10 OIC member states, including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Turkey,
account for 36% of the tourist traffic from Muslim nations, a Singapore-based
Mastercard-Crescent rating agency reported recently.
the need to promote Islamic tourism as a global business brand, Hasina urged
the OIC to encourage the private sector to invest in tourism and develop
infrastructure and projects, either individually or in joint venture, with the
Muslim population globally spent a total sum of $151 billion on travel in 2015
[excluding pilgrimages]. Of the amount, OIC member states contributed $109
billion,” the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency quoted Hasina
calling for easing visa restrictions to promote tourist traffic, she also
emphasized the need for branding and standardization of tourist destinations.
She urged all OIC member countries to solve issues among themselves though
Abdus Salam had the internal fortitude to stand at the dais of a police media
center in Bangladesh to talk about the shocking rape and murder of his
urge the country's people to stay alert so that your daughters do not fall prey
to the brutality my daughter was subjected to," Salam said on July 7.
"I could not save my daughter. Try to protect your daughters."
man named Harun-Or-Rashid, who is aged in his mid-20s and was staying with a
relative in the same apartment block as victim Samia Afrin Saima, has allegedly
say Harun admitted to luring the child to the apartment building's roof on July
5 by promising to show her the view. After raping Samia, he strangled her with
a piece of rope so that she would not later be able to identify him.
said they arrested Harun about 100 kilometers southeast of Dhaka on July 7,
they same day Salam spoke at the police media center.
case has sparked public and media outrage in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which
has experienced an alarming rise in sexual assaults on children.
has recorded 496 cases of alleged child rape, including 53 involving gang rape,
so far this year, a national coalition called the Bangladesh Child Rights Forum
said on July 8. This compared to 571 proved or alleged cases of child rape in
the whole of 2018, the forum added.
rights group called for the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists
and identified factors behind the increase in such crimes as protracted trials,
inadequate punishments and a wider decline in social values.
leading women's rights organization, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, told a media
conference this week that there were 2,083 reported cases of sexual violence
against women and girls between January and June this year.
the period 2014-19, there were 25,222 reported cases of sexual violence
including rape and murder of women and girls in Bangladesh, the group said.
recent weeks, Bangladeshi police arrested four teachers including two madrasa
(Islamic school) principals for rape or other forms of sexual assault on minor
July 7, police apprehended an imam 120 kilometers north of Dhaka after an 11-year-old
girl told her parents that he raped her. The imam allegedly confessed to also
raping an 8-year-old girl and sexually molesting six others.
days earlier, police arrested the principal of a madrasa near Dhaka and charged
him with child rape and sexual assaults involving 12 students.
accused allegedly forced the victims to pledge on the Quran that they would not
complain about what he had done. A seized laptop allegedly stored clips of
offenses being committed but, while confessing, the madrasa principal claimed
to have been "possessed" by an evil spirit.
on July 1, police arrested a headmaster in Dhaka over the rape of a ninth-grade
student who was allegedly threatened with having her academic marks cut if she
did not stay silent.
June 28, locals in the city of Narayanganj in central Bangladesh beat up and
handed over to police a teacher accused of raping about 20 students.
and legal downfall
girl or woman is safe in a country where a 7-year-old child can be raped and
murdered,” said Rita Roselin Costa, convener of the Women's Desk at the
Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh.
cultural virus of rape has infected many teachers who are supposed to be role
models for young people, Costa, who has three daughters, told ucanews.com.
the failure of some teachers to infuse their students with a sense of human
values meant they could grow up to offend against women and girls amid a
culture of impunity.
ranged from rich men who could evade justice by using their money and
connections to people such as bus drivers, rickshaw pullers and day laborers,
Shah Ehsan Habib said that, for several decades families, schools, the legal
system and religions had not adequately fulfilled their purpose of nurturing
good human beings.
and affection for children are supposed to be inbuilt among men, but instead a
sexual aggression has developed," he told ucanews.com. "This is a
perverted psychology drove many men to consider females — women and girls of
all ages — only as sources of pleasure, Habib added. Unfortunately, there were
unethical madrasa teachers who read the Quran as a "mechanical act"
and then raped their students, he said.
and Habib agree that, amid globalization, the representation of women as
commodities has influenced some Bangladeshi men to quench their lust in
unethical and illegal ways.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday warned of Bangladesh’s
incapability to carry the burden of a huge Rohingya refugee group for a long
is not possible for Bangladesh to host such a large number of Rohingya for a
long time,” state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency quoted Moon as
saying while visiting a Rohingya makeshift camp in the southern Cox’s Bazar
was accompanied by Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and World Bank CEO
also criticized Myanmar for its visible reluctance to take back the forcibly
displaced Rohingya people to their home country.
to permanent solution of the crisis, Moon said that safe and dignified
repatriation of the displaced people is a must for the harmonious solution of
the Rohingya crisis.
government should do much more so that Rohingya can return to their homeland
without fear and persecution,” Moon said.
Bangladesh’s generosity to the persecuted Rohingya, World Bank’s Georgieva
said: “Bangladesh opened its border while its people opened their heart to
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, extending
the figure of the persecuted people here more than 1.1 million.
governor of Ghazni province Wahidullah Kalimzai has said that the security
forces have broken the backbone of enemy in this province.
made the remarks during a meeting of the security council (Security Shura)
said “Overall, the situation is good, the enemy’s back is broken.”
Kalimzai said “Unfortunately, the criminals harm and kill our people. But we
are well coordinated across the security forces.”
Afghan and U.S. defense officials including acting minister of defense
Asadullah Khalid, NATO Commander Gen. Scott Miller and deputy interior minister
for security Gen. Khoshal Sadat had participated in the meeting.
security forces conducted a series of airstrikes in Wardak and Ghazni provinces
killing at least 9 Taliban militants.
informed military officials said Thursday that airstrikes killed 6 Taliban
militants in Nerkh district of Wardak province.
sources further added that a similar airstrike killed 3 Taliban militants in
Andar district of Ghazni province.
Afghan security forces conducted 116 Joint and Special Operations against the
militant groups in the past 24 hours.
Ministry of Defense in a statement said the security forces conducted 12 joint
and 104 special operations to suppress the militant groups.
the Afghan Air Force conducted 32 airstrikes to support the ground forces.
statement further added that the security forces conducted the operations in
Ghazni, Faryab, Kunduz, Balkh, Maidan Wardak, Helmand, Nangarhar, Farah,
Paktika, Logar, Sar-e-Pul, Herat and Baghlan provinces.
the defense ministry said the security forces killed 45 militants and wounded
17 others during the same operations.
Ministry of Defense also added that the coalition forces also provided support
to the Afghan security forces during the operations.
Amid talk of a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the US envoy talking to
the Taliban said Thursday that America is not “cutting and running” from its
longest war and that women will continue to have seats in peace talks to end
nearly 18 years of fighting.
Khalilzad addressed an audience in Washington on a video link from Qatar where
a two-day all-Afghan conference concluded Tuesday with a statement that offered
a roadmap for the country’s future. The Washington event was heavily focused on
raising the voices of women who fear any peace accord with the Taliban will
rollback gains they’ve made and return them to the days of repressive Taliban
would like to leave a very positive legacy here,” said the US envoy, who was
born in Afghanistan. “We are not cutting and running. We’re not looking for a
withdrawal agreement. We’re looking for a peace agreement. And we’re looking
for a long-term relationship and partnership with Afghanistan.”
Taliban refuses to meet with the current Afghan government, but there are
ongoing discussions about peace.
has held eight rounds of US talks with the Taliban and there have been
all-Afghan meetings, including the last one in Doha, the capital of Qatar,
where Afghans from all walks of life met to discuss grievances and find common
ground about the future for their nation.
statement released at the end of the conference said that a post-war
Afghanistan would have an Islamic legal system, protect women’s rights “within
the Islamic framework of Islamic values,” and ensure equality for all ethnic
Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian Affairs,
who attended the event at Georgetown University, said no current or future
Afghan government should count on international donor support if it “restricts,
represses or relegates Afghan women to second-class status.”
his talks with the Taliban, Khalilzad said there has been progress on four
fronts: getting assurances from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not become a
staging ground again for militant groups like Al-Qaeda or the Daesh; the
withdrawal of US troops, which currently number 14,000; having an all-Afghan
dialogue to reach agreement on a peaceful future; and a permanent cease-fire to
end the fighting.
wants the US talks with the Taliban to reach fruition by Sept. 1, which would
allow the withdrawal of US and NATO troops. That would open the door to more
where the many sides of Afghanistan’s protracted conflict would sit down to
hammer out the details of what an Islamic system will look like, what
constitutional reforms would be made and what would become of the many local
militias affiliated with the country’s powerful warlords. Those talks also
would have to tackle how women’s rights fit into the definition of the “Islamic
Rahmani, Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United States, expressed
hope for peace, but said there’s still no dialogue between the Taliban and the
current Afghan government. She predicted tough periods of negotiation ahead and
said whatever deal is made needed to be implemented by a “strong central government.”
talks have created both optimism and anxiety, especially among women.
Haress, assistant professor of law at the American University of Afghanistan
who spoke via Skype from Kabul, said the Taliban must guarantee that the rights
of women and minorities, which currently are protected in the Afghan
constitution, are preserved.
we leave it to broad interpretation or to the broad idea of women’s ‘Islamic
values’ then we’re going to be in trouble as we have experienced it” under
Taliban rule in the past, she said.
Wardack, a member of the Afghan peace council who attended the conference in
Doha, said it appears the Taliban are embracing more modern views of women. Via
Skype from Kabul, she said she still worries that they have not changed their
hard-line ideology and claimed a deeper trust between the parties was needed
for the negotiations to be successful.
was the first time Wardack had met the Taliban negotiating team.
approached us. They didn’t shake hands,” she said.
Wardack said two of the Taliban representatives walked up to the women at the
conference and said they had heard that a group of “dangerous women” were going
to be at the meeting.
said on Thursday its treatment of ethnic Muslims in "happy" and
"secure" Xinjiang region was a model for other nations to follow
despite a bombardment of Western criticism.
two dozen nations at the UN Human Rights Council this week urged China to halt
persecution of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, where UN experts and activists say
at least one million are held in detention centers.
diplomat Jiang Duan told the council on Thursday a few hypocritical Western
nations were distorting facts to smear Beijing over what it describes as
vocational training centers in Xinjiang intended to combat extremism and
provide new skills.
the experience in Xinjiang in this field can be introduced to other
countries," Jiang added, saying the centers help reintegrate people
indoctrinated by radicalism.
the situation in Xinjiang is stable, and the people are united, and their
rights are fully respected ... During the past three years, there has not been
a single incident of a terrorist attack, and people in Xinjiang feel much
better and much more happy and secure."
three times the size of France, is a largely desert region in China's
of people have been killed there in the past few years in violence between
Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic
majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang.
has blamed the violence on Islamist extremists and separatists, while Uighur
exiles and activists point to frustration at Chinese controls on their culture
letter criticizing China was signed by the ambassadors of 22 countries,
including Australia, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland,
but not the United States which quit the UN body a year ago.
urged China to allow international independent experts, including UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, proper access to Xinjiang.
a former president of Chile, has pushed China to grant the United Nations
access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions,
particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.
representative said international organisations and media who visited Xinjiang
had found the situation was different from its portrayal in the West, and that
officials from countries behind the letter declined an invitation to visit.
accused Western nations of failing to show concern when Xinjiang suffered terrorist
attacks, then making irresponsible assessments after the population's lives had
allegations by a small group of Western countries and NGOs cannot do away with
the tremendous achievements that were made against terrorism and radicalization
and cannot change the fact that Xinjiang people are leading a happy life,"
continued use of sedition law draws flak after preacher jailed
LUMPUR - Members of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) have joined civil activists
in chastising the Malaysian government after Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin
became the first to be jailed by the Mahathir Mohamad administration under the
Sedition Act, despite repeated promises to repeal the controversial law.
Ji's appeal against a nine-month sentence imposed in 2014 for "insulting
the Sultan of Selangor" was dismissed by the High Court on Tuesday (July
9). In addition, the court extended the jail sentence to one year.
urge the public prosecutor to explain why they cross-appealed for a stiffer
sentence on Wan Ji, as this clearly goes against the PH's policy stand on this
cruel law," youth chiefs of all four PH parties said in a joint statement.
"We also urge the federal government to immediately abolish the Sedition
Act so that such violations of human rights do not recur."
Abdul Halim Aman also refused to stay execution of the sentence while Wan Ji
files a further appeal at the Court of Appeal, resulting in Wan Ji being
immediately imprisoned, with several dozen human rights activists holding a
candlelight vigil for him on Tuesday night. His application for a stay will
only be heard on Friday (July 12).
Ji is a member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the largest party in PH. He was
a religious adviser to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when the latter was the
Penang chief minister.
have claimed the Sedition Act is abused to stifle political dissent. PH had in
its election manifesto last year promised to do away with the colonial-era law,
and this planned repeal has been repeatedly affirmed, including by Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday.
are in the midst of structuring the new law and it will be concluded as soon as
possible," he told reporters in Parliament.
the continued arrests and prosecutions indicate otherwise.
a series of charges against activists and politicians were dropped after new
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas took office in June 2018, a moratorium on further
investigations put in place by the Cabinet in October didn't even last two
months before the government reversed the decision.
a result, politicians like PKR vice-president Tian Chua had to continue
defending sedition charges against him for criticising the government in an
election rally in 2013. He was acquitted after winning his appeal in November,
avoiding the heftier sentence prosecutors sought on cross-appeal, like in the
Wan Ji case.
January, police had arrested three people for allegedly insulting Sultan
Muhammad V of Kelantan after he became Malaysia's first King to abdicate.
Umno leader Lokman Adam was arrested for accusing the government of a cover-up
in the racially sensitive death of a Malay fireman following ethnic clashes at
a Hindu temple on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur last November.
PH struggling to win crucial Malay support in the face of the effective
cooperation between opposition parties Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia,
observers say the Sedition Act is being used by PH to allay growing anxiety
among the majority ethnic community.
would include their concerns that the royal institution - seen as guardians of
Malay rights and Islam - and Malay privileges should be protected from
criticism. Wielding the sedition law to allay these concerns, observers say,
could bolster Malay support for PH.
only difference between Wan Ji and others who were acquitted is that they were
critical of BN and the judiciary while his case involves the royalty," a
top PH leader told The Straits Times, referring to former ruling coalition
September, Mr Thomas, the Attorney-General, said repealing the law would
require the approval of Malaysia's royal rulers.
repeal) ... requires constitutional amendment because one of the sections in
the Act prohibits criticisms against the Rulers - what is regarded as the
privileges of the Conference of Rulers. They have to approve."
Attorney-General's Chambers did not respond to questions from The Straits Times
about the continued use of the Sedition Act.
Group Behind Bali Bombings Use Palm Oil Plantations to Fund Terrorist Activity
years ago, a Jakarta court banned Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) for ties to terrorism,
but the organization didn’t disappear. Just last month, the Indonesian police
force’s anti-terrorism Special Detachment 88 detained five JI members in
Bekasi, West Java. Among them was Para Wijayanto, a JI emir or unquestioned
leader, who has been a fugitive since 2003.
himself was involved in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings that killed 200 people,
as well as several other attacks. Despite his arrest however, JI remains a
significant threat not just to Indonesia, but the rest of the region. This,
especially after police discovered palm oil plantations owned by the group,
which they use to fund their operations. The group is said to run two palm oil
farms in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
Indonesian terror cells fund their operations through foreign donors and
donations. While JI is also supported by various educational and research
institutions, palm oil farms as sources of funding is a new development.
palm oil farm generates income to fund their activities and their officials’
salaries and other individuals in their network,” police spokesperson Dedi
Prasetyo said in a press conference. The discovery stoked fears of the group
regaining its strength.
Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC),
said JI remains to be an extremely strong organization. While the palm oil
plantations were discovered and may mitigate movements, she warned that JI’s
strength lies elsewhere.
legacy, family networks, and supporters, are their biggest strengths,” Jones
told VICE. “They have a long-term vision unlike other terrorist groups.”
is especially alarming because a resurgence in Indonesia could revive cells in
places like Malaysia or Singapore. After the second Bali bombings in 2005,
Densus 88 detained nearly all high-ranking officials in the organization,
effectively weakening its networks. In 2008, the remaining officials
congregated in Surabaya and selected Wijayanto as the new emir.
organization then began formulating a new strategy, which included a shift in
focus towards preaching and education instead of weapons and bombs. JI founded
the Islamic Preaching Council (MDUI) in 65 cities/regencies outside Java. In
2011, JI set up its military branch that was uncovered by the police when they
raided an arms factory in Trucuk, Central Java.
having a military wing and allegedly thousands of members, JI has strayed from
armed jihad doctrine. One source pointed out that JI is aware of how powerful
the Indonesian government’s role is in combating terrorism. JI also has become
more careful in their daily operations, barely using social media apps and SMS,
delivering messages via courier instead.
troubled by rise in Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia
U.S. voiced concern Wednesday to the UN's Yemen envoy over a recent uptick in
Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia.
of State Mike Pompeo thanked Martin Griffiths for his efforts to end the Yemen
conflict but "expressed concern over the recent increase in
Iranian-supported Houthi attacks into Saudi territory that exacerbate the
conflict and deepen mistrust," the State Department said.
Secretary and the Special Envoy agreed that parties must continue working
toward a political settlement and an end to the conflict in Yemen,"
spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Houthi rebels used a drone to strike Abha International Airport in southern
Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said Monday.
Houthis have increasingly used drones to target southern Saudi Arabia,
including Abha. Two drones previously hit the city's airport, killing at least
one person and wounding more than 30.
has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran
much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a
devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.
United States and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for
oil tankers through the Gulf, a top US general said Thursday after Iranian
military vessels menaced a British tanker.
Mark Milley, nominated to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
told a Senate hearing that the US has a “crucial role” in enforcing freedom of
navigation in the Gulf.
said the US was attempting to put together a coalition “in terms of providing
military escort, naval escort to commercial shipping,” he said.
United States has reportedly decided not to sanction Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that Washington is leaving a door open for
President Donald Trump on June 24 announced new sanctions against Iran
targeting Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top
commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Treasury Secretary
Steven Mnuchin said then Zarif would be blacklisted that week.
is seen as the architect of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, which the Trump
administration abruptly abandoned last year. The US reinstated its unilateral
sanctions against the Islamic Republic following its exit from the landmark
sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that the US has
reversed that decision but did not give specific reasons for it.
heads prevailed. We ... saw it as not necessarily helpful," said one
source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding
that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had opposed designating Zarif "for the
State Department's spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Thursday Washington wants
a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue and stated that President Trump is
willing to meet Iranian leaders "without preconditions."
seek a diplomatic solution," she told reporters. "We have asked our
allies to ask Iran to deescalate the situation, not to harass American allies
or interests, not to terrorize the region."
between Washington and Tehran escalated after Trump pulled his country out of
the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the
Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticisms.
tensions saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington's exit from
the deal as the US moved to ratchet up pressure on Iran by tightening its oil
sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft carrier
strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to
the Persian Gulf region.
IRGC Aerospace Forces downed a US Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk over the territorial
waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan.
unmanned US aircraft was shot down by Iran’s indigenous Khordad 3 air defense
system after it breached the country’s airspace on a spying mission despite the
IRGC’s numerous warnings.
the incident, Trump reportedly approved a military strike against Iran, but
cancelled it 10 minutes before the attack was going to be launched.
wrote to the United Nations in condemnation of the drone intrusion, calling on
the world body to confront Washington’s destabilizing actions.
Islamic Republic has repeatedly announced that Iran's military activities are
solely for defensive purposes and posed no threat to other countries.
Donald Trump administration officials are pushing sanctions against China
claiming the Asian power defied American sanctions when it imported more than a
million barrels of crude oil from Iran last month, according to three US
to Politico, the US State Department had considered of using an Obama-era
loophole to issue a waiver allowing Chinese companies to receive Iranian oil as
payment for their investment in an Iranian oil field, violating the Trump
administration’s earlier pledge to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero. But
the plan has been discarded.
officials on the US National Security Council are now considering imposing
sanctions on Chinese entities amid already worsening ties between the two
countries on trade issues, the Politico website reported on Thursday.
Trump administration has been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero to
increase “maximum pressure” on Tehran. It has had some success in persuading
several of Iran’s largest oil buyers like India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey
to curb their purchases but it could not achieve its stated objective of
bringing Iran’s crude exports to zero.
Iran’s largest oil buyer, China has defied the Trump administration’s demand
that it gradually bring the imports to zero. Some of the countries, which have
robust trade, diplomatic and security relationship with the US, are still
buying significant volumes of Iranian oil.
of the rhetoric from the State Department has specified that the US is
targeting purchases — rather than imports — of Iranian oil, a distinction that
will become important under the law if the department decides to give China a
US decided not to extend its sanctions waivers to eight importers of Iranian
crude after the exemptions expired at the beginning of May, but Iran is
operating in the shadows of the global oil market.
this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with top oil executives to
press them on following the Trump administration’s policy of reducing Iran’s
oil exports to zero.
to Reuters, executives from major companies including Chevron, Total, Royal
Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum had been invited to the
closed-door meeting in Houston.
US president withdrew Washington in May 2018 from the JCPOA, which was reached
between Iran and six world powers in 2015. Afterwards, Washington re-imposed
unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.
last month announced new sanctions against Iran targeting Leader of the Islamic
Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top commanders of the Islamic Revolution
Guards Corps (IRGC).
said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the Tehran's recent
downing of a surveillance US drone by the IRGC. He said the Leader was
ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the
Wednesday, Trump said in a tweet that “sanctions will soon be increased,
substantially,” accusing the country of violating the nuclear deal.
Trump administration said on April 22 that, in a bid to reduce Iran's oil
exports to zero, buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face
sanctions. The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight
biggest buyers -- Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and
Taiwan -- to continue importing limited volumes.
United States' insistence on zeroing out Iran's oil exports has cause many
problems in the global market, keeping confused both experts and buyers as they
look straight into what is shaping up to be a chaotic chapter for the petroleum
second-in-command of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) warns that
the United Kingdom and the United States will soon seriously regret the recent
seizure of a supertanker carrying Iranian oil.
from the central Iranian province of Isfahan on Thursday, Rear Admiral Ali
Fadavi dismissed the confiscation of the tanker carrying Iran's oil as a
worthless action, saying, “The enemies would have not undertaken such measures
had they chosen to exercise the least bit of prudence.”
also reminded that the vessel had been leased by Iran for freight purposes.
[the US and the UK], however, took such a move (seizure of the tanker), and
will seriously repent doing it,” the commander added.
1 was stormed and detained by British marines in the Strait of Gibraltar last
week. They alleged that the supertanker was carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria
in possible violation of the European Union’s sanctions on the war-torn Arab
Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani likewise warned the UK about the
“consequences” of the confiscation. “I remind [this] to the Britons,” he
cautioned, “You are the ones initiating insecurity, and will come to realize
its consequences in the future.”
cautioning messages came after the IRGC, which is Iran’s elite defense force,
shot down an intrusive American spy drone over the country’s southern
in his remarks, Fadavi said the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979
served to negate all the “devilry and hostility” exercised by the entire global
House of Representatives approved an amendment to the annual defense spending
bill Thursday to halt U.S. support for Saudi Arabia-led military operations in
has been growing on Capitol Hill to end support for the military campaign,
which has resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and exacerbated a
humanitarian crisis in what was the Arab world's poorest nation even prior to
passed in a 240-185 vote with strong Democratic support but opposition from
Republicans, who warned against curtailing President Donald Trump's ability to
fight militant groups in the region.
continuing to conduct intelligence sharing, the U.S. has been a co-belligerent
in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis," Congressman Ro Khanna, a
vocal critic of the war in Yemen and key sponsor of the amendment, said in a
U.S. cannot be an effective broker for peace if it continues to arm and
militarily support one side of the conflict. This is how we democratize
America’s foreign policy and reassert Congress’ role in matters of war and
peace," he added.
House is likely to vote Friday on a separate amendment offered by Khanna that
would prohibit Trump from attacking Iran without prior congressional approval.
It would not bar Trump from striking in retaliation for an Iranian attack,
waging the war on terror for nearly two decades, America has never attempted to
win the battle of ideas at home. The country has no federal level
counter-extremism programmes and no national model other than jail time for
handling American citizens at home who support the views of radical groups
around the world.
roughly 80 people convicted of supporting terror groups set for release between
now and 2024, there is no national system to reintegrate them into society or
ensure they no longer harbour dreams of joining militant groups.
Minnesota, many young people in the 100,000 strong Somali-American population
of Minneapolis have been targeted by online recruiters from groups like ISIS
and Al Shabab. Dozens have been arrested for supporting or trying to join the
though ISIS has been defeated on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, the draw
of the ideology still holds.
in Minnesota, a small programme is trying to work with young people drawn to
extremism to guide them away from dangerous groups and reintegrate them into
week, we hear from The National's reporter Stephen Star who spoke with those
running the programme about what they are trying to do and why.
read Stephen's full report, click here.
also hear from Nikita Malik, the director of the Centre on Radicalisation and
Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society in London, to talk about such programmes
and what to do about extremism.
also talk to Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Group in New
York and author of the book After the Caliphate, to talk about why the world
shouldn’t ignore ISIS’s enduring threat and what abandoning foreign fighters
session boycotted at London press conference
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was greeted by empty seats at a media conference
in London as journalists protested over ‘free speech concerns’ in Pakistan.
who is in the British capital on an official visit, attended the
#DefendMediaFreedom conference with journalists posting videos of a nearly
was questioned about the censorship in Pakistan.
you me, there is no question of gagging or controlling media,” he told the
conference co-hosted by Britain and Canada.
time has gone and with the new social media, the advent of social media, even
if you want to gag you can gag nothing.”
foreign minister also had a heated argument with a Canadian social media activist
at the event after the latter accused him of getting his Twitter account
blocked on Islamabad’s complaint.
the video footage, which went viral, it can be seen that the Canadian man says:
“You censored me, I had a Twitter account here [in Canada].”
tweet produced Pakistan’s blasphemy law and your government had my account
taken down, so can you tell me why your Islamic supremacy in Pakistan is
silencing my journalistic freedom in Canada,” he added.
sir should be ashamed, who are you to silence me in Canada… Answer? You don’t
like free speech,” the journalist roared at the foreign minister.
responded by saying: “First of all you want your sentiments to be respected but
look at the tone in which you are speaking… Is that the correct way?” The
minister said that he did not block his Twitter account.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that Senate
Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has lost majority in the house and the incumbent
chairman has now forfeited moral right to cling to the seat, especially after
all opposition parties have jointly nominated Hasil Bizenjo as their candidate
for the slot.
said at a press conference at Sukkur Press Club late on Thursday evening that
those who had once helped him become chairman had the right to remove him after
he had lost their trust.
said that when interviews of Gen Zia, Musharraf as well as those of “criminals”
present in the government could be aired on TV channels, why not the interview
of a former president and present member of National Assembly.
said that demand for midterm election would be advantageous if there was
agreement on improving election system before the polls. He reiterated that
there was no justification for deployment of army in polling stations.
said that at present media organisations and journalists were not working
independently. They were being strangulated financially and his party would
extend them all possible cooperation. He said that no opposition party had ever
demanded NRO while Imran Khan himself was extending the NRO by making an offer of
“pay money and go away”.
will not allow the prime minister to flee,” he said.
said earlier at a community conference of women who were beneficiaries of
Peoples Poverty Reduction Programme of Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO)
that the party would never bargain over peoples’ economic, democratic and human
said the party would bring real change by expanding the work of SRSO throughout
the country for the elimination of poverty. The government tried to scrap the
Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and promote Ehsas Programme but the
country’s women would not allow BISP to end at any cost, he said.
said that it was BISP which had helped women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Fata
and Kashmore to Karachi to stand on their own feet while “revolutionary”
programme of SRSO had been recognised by European Union which had raised its
contribution to the fund. Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah
said that the Peoples Poverty Reduction Programme of SRSO would continue despite
shortage of funds and limited resources.
said that they would spread the programme to every nook and cranny of Sindh and
help women stand on their own feet.
chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that Imran Khan was talking about new
Pakistan while PPP was talking about development.
PPP chairman and chief minister gave away laptops, certificates and cheques of
low-income housing schemes to women who showed better performance including
women office bearers.
Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and Noman Islam Shaikh, PPP Sindh president Nisar
Ahmed Khuhro, MNA Dr Nafeesa Shah, provincial minister Saeed Ghani, provincial
adviser Murtaza Wahab, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, provincial minister Syed Awais
Qadir Shah, Waqar Mehdi, Sukkur Mayor Arsalan Islam Shaikh, Jameel Soomro and
others accompanied the PPP chairman.
Pakistan on Thursday said it cannot "prejudge" the decision of the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the former Indian naval officer
Kulbhushan Jadhav's case on July 17.
48, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani
military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed
trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
moved the ICJ in May 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions
of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular
access to Jadhav.
cannot prejudge the judgment," Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson
Muhammad Faisal said at his weekly news briefing.
however, said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the Hague-based
ICJ has announced, in a statement on July 4, that it will deliver on July 17
its judgment in the Jadhav case.
public sitting will take place at 3 p.m. (local time) at the Peace Palace in
The Hague, during which Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of the Court,
will read the Court's decision," it said.
claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan on
March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.
from India, Pakistan to meet on July 14 to discuss modalities of Kartarpur corridor:
Experts from India and Pakistan will meet on Sunday at the Wagah border to
discuss the draft agreement for finalising the modalities of the Kartarpur
corridor and related technical issues, Pakistan Foreign Office said on
corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak
shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh
pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which
was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
Indian delegation will come to Pakistan for the talks to be held at
Wagah," Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said at his
weekly news briefing.
FO on July 2 said that Pakistan has proposed July 14 for the second round of
talks with India to discuss the draft agreement, which was accepted by New
first meeting of officials of Pakistan and India to finalise the modalities of
the landmark corridor was held in Attari in the shadow of escalating bilateral
tensions in March following the Pulwama terror attack by a suicide bomber of
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.
had conveyed its concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists
in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor.
November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking
Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith's
founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur
Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about
four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
days later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the
corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
this month, Pakistan government earmarked Rs 100 crore in the federal budget
2019-20 for the development of the much-awaited corridor.
Former cabinet minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has called on the government of
Pakistan to consider making a renowned Irish nun honourary Pakistani citizen in
recognition of lifetime of teaching and promoting interfaith relations in
Mary’s University has announced to award Sr Berchmans the Benedict Medal next
week in recognition of her services for the people of Pakistan.
Warsi, former Senior British Foreign Minister and a visiting professor at St
Mary’s University, said the government of Pakistan should acknowledge that Sr
Berchmans deserves this for her lifetime services to Pakistan.
Berchmans will be awarded at a ceremony in Westminster Cathedral next week.
Berchmans students include Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir, Hina Gilani, Nergis
Mavalvala, Sharmeen Obaid, Shireen Mazari, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Tehmina Janjua,
Sana Bucha, Nasim Zehra, Atiqa Odho, Jugnu Mohsin and many others.
said: “Sr Berchmans dedicated 70 years of her life to teaching and spent most
of her time in service of Pakistan. She taught Muslim, Christian, Parsi and
Hindu children at the Convents of Jesus and Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi
to promote education, empowerment and interfaith harmony. She deserves
recognition at all levels.”
added: “I had the privilege of visiting Sr Berchmans in Karachi and I saw at
first-hand how her work and presence has created a lifetime of interfaith
understanding. Like her students, colleagues and peers I am delighted that Sr
Berchmans is receiving the Benedict Medal from St Mary’s University as part of
their summer graduation ceremony at Westminster Cathedral. It will be a fitting
occasion for someone, who has given their life to education and to helping
young people achieve their dreams.”
medal, which is the University’s highest honour, will be presented to Sr
Berchmans by the Archbishop of Westminster and Chancellor of St Mary’s Cardinal
Vincent Nichols during a St Mary’s Summer Graduation Ceremony.
Berchmans was born in Ireland, Country Clare, in 1930 and joined the Convent of
Jesus and Mary in 1951 in Willesden, London. The award is in recognition of
almost 70 years of teaching, most of which was spent in Pakistan, where she
taught Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Hindu children at the Convents of Jesus and
Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi.
2012, whilst she was Principal of the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi, Sr
Berchmans was awarded the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, one of the highest civil
awards given by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The award
citation celebrated her “constant adherence to the call of duty over a span of
59 years, which has made Sister Berchmans a living example to emulate.”
Berchmans will become the fifth recipient, and the first woman, to be presented
with the Benedict Medal, joining previous recipients Bartholomew I, the
Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of Constantinople, Dr Richard Clarke,
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all-Ireland, Former Archbishop of
Canterbury Baron Williams of Oystermouth, and Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former
Chief Executive of Ofsted and alumnus of St Mary’s.
The future US military chief said on Thursday that the United States needs to
maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan, based on the shared
interests of the two countries.
Mark Milley, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, also warned at his nomination hearing that a premature withdrawal of US
troops from Afghanistan would be a strategic mistake.
confirmed as chairman, my objective will be to preserve the defence
relationship between the United States and Pakistan even as we press Pakistan
to take action on US requests,” Gen Milley told the Senate Armed Services
Committee at a hearing in Washington.
we have suspended security assistance and paused major defence dialogues, we
need to maintain strong military-to- military ties based on our shared
interests,” he added.
statement, coming 10 days before Imran Khan’s first visit to Washington as
prime minister, underlines a key element of the US-Pakistan relationship, the
long, and once, close partnership between the two militaries.
also highlights Pakistan’s support to the Afghan reconciliation process and
hints at the role Islamabad played in persuading Taliban leaders to join talks
with US in Doha. Pakistan is also believed to have cooperated with the United
States in arranging an intra-Afghan dialogue, held in Doha earlier this week.
think pulling out prematurely would be a strategic mistake,” the general added
while responding to a question about Afghanistan from one of the senators.
Milley, currently the Army’s Chief of Staff, has served in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Somalia and Colombia and is likely to be confirmed without any opposition from
either Republican or Democratic lawmakers.
Afghanistan, he served as the Commanding General, International Security
Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commanding General, US Forces.
Senate panel had sent him a set of written questions on sensitive issues, such
as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. His responses underlined the need to
maintain a defence relationship with Pakistan, the country’s importance as a
key strategic partner, Islamabad’s role in bringing peace and stability to
Afghanistan and the need for Pakistan’s cooperation in the fight against
forces target ISIS bomb factories in sweeping operation
Kurdistan Region – Iraqi forces have cleared several villages in Nineveh,
Anbar, and Saladin of explosive remnants left by the Islamic State (ISIS) group
and shut down workshops used to manufacture improvised explosive devices
(IEDs), the Iraqi defense ministry said Wednesday.
of IEDs were retrieved and destroyed on Wednesday as “Will of Victory” – a
combined operation of the Iraqi Army and Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias – enters
its fourth day, paving the way for displaced civilians to return to their
Iraqi Army’s brigade 60, supported by the Iraqi Air Force, destroyed seven
suspected ISIS hideouts in Nineveh, according a Ministry of Defense statement
IEDs were destroyed in a controlled demolition and 33 Katyusha rockets seized.
43 also destroyed 12 suspected ISIS hideouts in Nineveh, and disposed of six
IEDs, according to the statement.
al-Shaabi, with the assistance of Iraqi jets, destroyed an ISIS vehicle in
Nineveh and killed four ISIS suspects. Eleven IEDs were also recovered and
follows the killing of three ISIS suspects in the same province on Monday.
in Saladin province, the Iraqi Army destroyed several more suspected ISIS
hideouts and eleven IEDs. It also seized four Katyusha rockets and machinery
used to produce IEDs.
the Anbar village of al-Shwilly, the Iraqi Army destroyed three IEDs.
al-Askari, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Staff General, said Monday
the operation was initiated after an increase in ISIS activity and the
interception of messages from ISIS leaders in Syria telling cells to regroup in
western areas of Iraq, particularly Anbar.
operations will not end until they reach the last frontiers of Iraq,” Askari
Iraqi Ministry of Defense published a video on Wednesday showing brigade 60 and
brigade 28 meeting between Nineveh and Anbar having completed their sweep of
security forces launched the “Will of Victory” operation to target ISIS sleeper
cells in Nineveh, Anbar, and Saladin, military officials announced Sunday.
operation is being conducted by Iraqi army units, as well as large units of
Hashd al-Shaabi and Sunni tribal fighters known as Hashd al-Ahsairi,
accompanied by the Iraqi Air Force, according to Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer
Rasheed Yarallah, deputy head of Iraqi joint operations.
approached the US-led coalition for comment on the operation and to confirm its
involvement but is yet to receive a response.
was declared territorially defeated in Iraq in December 2017 and in Syria in
March. However, a sophisticated network of sleeper cells and remnants of the
group have since resumed their earlier insurgency tactics, ambushing security
forces, abducting village chiefs, and even burning crop fields.
ISIL, children try to catch up with school in Mosul
Iraq - It was the end of the school year and the students at Al Huda primary
school in Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul were as spirited as ever, running
around and playing with their friends. Many said they were sad to see school
break for the summer holidays.
of the 320 students at the school had missed out on their education when the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) occupied the city in June
armed group took over government offices and schools, introducing a new
curriculum focusing on their harsh interpretation of Islamic law and weapons
that were not able to flee before ISIL's advance on the city said they kept
their children out of school out of fear for their safety and that they might
be indoctrinated. According to the United Nations' children agency in Iraq,
thousands of children were deprived of formal education because of ISIL.
ISIL came, I thought I would never come back to school again. I can't believe
it," said 12-year-old Najd Ayad Hamdi, a student at Al Huda.
of Mosul's students returned to schools only after Iraqi forces recaptured the
city in 2017, but many are now struggling at school after missing three years
Rafh, headteacher at Al Huda, said only children from ISIL families attended
Mosul's schools during the group's reign in the city.
each grade normally there would be at least 40 students [at Al Huda], but the
kids all stayed at home, only the ISIL children went to school, maybe totalling
only four or five students in each grade," Rafh said.
fathers and mothers [of Mosul residents] helped the students at home, so they
didn't forget what they already learned,” he said, noting that most
homeschooling was limited to basic instruction.
trying to catch up
ISIL's defeat, the Iraqi Ministry of Education launched an accelerated learning
programme targeting children who had not been able to attend school. Under the
programme, 26 out of 650 schools in Mosul were selected to run classes on the
weekends to help students catch up on subjects they had missed. Al Huda was not
government also launched an exam for all students to decide if they should be
enrolled in a school grade that matched their age or if they should be held
spite of missing three years of their education, every student at Al Huda was assigned
a grade corresponding to their age, according to Rafh.
headteacher suggested this may have been “because the government of Iraq states
all students [in the same grade] should be of the same age”, adding that
pressure from parents could have played a role, as they would not have wanted
their children to study at a lower grade than their age.
Sameen, 12, was in grade one when ISIL occupied Mosul.
he returned to school after liberation, he was enrolled in grade four but was
not taught the content he missed.
first time I came to school, I didn’t understand anything,” he said.
years on, Sameen has completed grade five and claims he has no issues keeping
student, Abdullah Safa Rafa, also skipped two grades when he returned to school
after ISIL’s defeat, but said he feels comfortable with his grade now.
they opened the school I didn’t know anything, after that the teachers tried to
help us understand the higher-level work,” Rafa said.
however, expressed concern that the gap in students’ knowledge would affect
their ability to pass end-of-year exams and ultimately the final secondary
school exam in Grade 12.
Mansoor, Save the Children’s national child safeguarding coordinator in Iraq,
said the fact children were skipping multiple grades would affect them
“greatly”, noting that it would impact the children emotionally and socially as
well as academically.
the knowledge gap which reflects badly on the performance of the child … in
situations where they will struggle with the topics that have been already
clarified to their peers but not them,” Mansoor said.
said it is difficult for students who skip years of school to develop a certain
set of social skills, or they may have lost these skills when they had to stay
at home during ISIL’s rule.
can cause stress as the new student integrates in their class with children who
might be strangers to them.”
clarified that age groups between 12 and 17 are more affected academically
because they are at a level where studies become more “intense” and topics from
previous grades are mixed into the final examination to graduate high school at
the end of grade 12.
grade you will learn something that will stand with you in the future,” she
generally graduate high school at the age of 17.
in younger grades who are able to return to school after ISIL may be able to
catch up on what they missed by taking summer classes.
challenges to students’ education include managing the trauma of witnessing
conflict and the lack of facilities at schools.
Awad, spokeswoman for UNICEF in Iraq, explained the children had witnessed
violent and horrific experiences that no child should ever go through.
they’re back in school [now] but a lot of them are dealing with the impact of
the trauma they have witnessed,” Awad said.
said children’s trauma can be triggered or aggravated by changes in voices or
sounds, causing them to tense up or even attack people around them.
children have difficulty understanding and processing what they have witnessed
and experienced while living in a conflict zone, she added.
need a psychiatrist to work with them ... all of the things they need to get
over it are not available [in Iraq], like psychiatrists,” Mansoor said.
also said one in two public schools in Iraq require more resources following
damage suffered during the war.
lack of investment into the education sector is at crisis level,” Awad said.
only spends 4.1 percent of its GDP on education, whereas the global target
should be 5.8 percent, she said.
at Al Huda said returning to a destroyed school, without basic facilities such
as whiteboards, shocked them and discouraged them from learning.
I came to school and saw it destroyed, with no desks, I faced a lot of
issues... I couldn’t focus on the teachers,” said Sameen.
the challenges, teachers like Fatmah Mazen - a first grade teacher at Al Huda -
said the students were improving year after year.
The Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC) has announced a raft of new developmental and educational financial-aid
packages for several member states and Muslim communities around the world. The
beneficiaries include organizations in Niger, Thailand, Gambia, Sri Lanka,
Chad, Uganda, Senegal, Palestine, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the OIC, stressed in a statement on
Thursday that the aid packages emphasize the organization’s solidarity with
member states and the global Muslim community.
also praised Saudi Arabia for its donation of $9 million to the Islamic
Solidarity Fund to help implement its charitable programs.
More than 80 fighters were killed in clashes on Thursday between regime and
jihadist-led forces in northwest Syria, as violence raged on the edge of an
opposition bastion despite a September truce deal.
nearby Afrin, a car bombing killed 13 people in the latest violence to hit the
city that Turkey-backed rebels seized last year from Kurdish fighters.
civil war has killed a total of more than 370,000 people and spiralled into a
complex conflict since starting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government
raged on Thursday in northern Hama after a small advance by jihadist-led forces
overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
and bombardment since the launch of the attack late Wednesday killed at least
46 regime forces and 36 jihadists and allied rebels, the Britain-based war
fighting is ongoing as regime planes and artillery pound the area,” Observatory
head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
in Syria, eight civilians were among the 13 people killed in a car bomb near a
checkpoint outside Afrin, the Observatory said.
troops and Syrian proxies took control of Afrin from Kurdish forces they consider
“terrorists” in March last year after a two-month air and ground offensive.
killed also included four fighters. “Among the victims, at least six are
originally from Eastern Ghouta,” a former rebel bastion near Damascus retaken
by the regime last year, Abdel Rahman said.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but a commander with a
pro-Ankara faction accused Kurdish fighters.
bomb hits near church
A car bomb detonated near a church in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in
northeast Syria on Thursday wounding several people, an AFP journalist and
state media said.
metal gate of the church was slightly dented by the blast, but the building
otherwise emerged intact, the correspondent said.
was no immediate claim for the attack, which Syrian state television said
wounded 11 people and damaged nearby cars.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said only seven
people were wounded, and that three among them were in critical condition.
month, a car bombing near Kurdish security offices in the same city wounded
seven civilians, including a child, the Observatory said.
have included arson attacks on wheat fields and deadly car bombs.
(Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold thousands of Islamic
State fighters and their families. Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF press
office, told Kurdistan 24 during a recent international forum that the solution
is to set up an international court to try these foreign terrorists in Syria’s
200 people, including experts from different countries, attended the three-day
event on the so-called Islamic State which the Rojava Strategic Research Center
(NRLS) organized in Syrian Kurdistan’s (Rojava) Amude.
an interview with Kurdistan 24 on the sidelines of the conference, Bali said
the foreign Islamic State fighters who are held in SDF prisons “have asked to
be transferred to their respective countries, and be tried at home.”
these fighters have committed crimes against humanity on our soil, and not in
their countries,” he added.
to the SDF official, these foreign Islamic State fighters hope they will
receive short-term prison sentences if they face trial in their home states.
alternative that we have proposed since these fighters have committed crimes
here in Syria, was to establish an international court here – either under the
auspices of the United Nations or the [US-led] Coalition – provided that it
will be an official international court, and legitimately supported by the
the rule of such a court, each Islamic State fighter must be tried according to
their crimes, including fighters who have killed innocent people, children, and
women, Bali said.
hope this court will be founded here. Some practical steps have been taken; a
positive dialogue is ongoing between the respective states.”
Final ISIS Defeat
Bali said such a court would not result in the final defeat of the Islamic
State but would only put members of the terror group who have committed crimes
struggle against ISIS is not only a military or legal struggle; before
everything, it is a political challenge as well as an educational one,” he
said, warning that the group may remerge “under a new name.”
to Bali, the guarantee to defeat the Islamic State or any form of terrorism
requires two vital conditions to be realized.
the formation of a democratic system in the SDF-held north and east of Syria.
“Within this system, each and every component of the society must be able to
represent themselves under a decentralized system,” he told Kurdistan 24.
second condition is to “make sure there are long-term education programs that
the current and next generations will be taught to accept the diversities in
the region,” Bali said.
or national racism must be demolished, and all of these must lead to a
democratic society,” the SDF official added. “And, more importantly, economic
opportunities must be provided for the people.”
Threat to Turkey
from the ongoing threat of the Islamic State to the north and east of Syria,
Turkey has also threatened to attack the Syrian Kurds. However, Amb. James
Jeffrey, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the
Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, is continuing talks separately with the SDF
and Turkey to establish a safe zone.
Abdi, the SDF Commander-in-Chief, mentioned earlier that “Turkey’s concerns
must be taken into consideration” as well.
Jeffrey, along with the US military’s partnership in the region, is involved in
political dialogue and a close contact with all parties. They have some
proposals for us and other parties, including Turkey,” Bali said.
is a neighbor country of Syria, and indeed it is important that this
neighborhood is built on the base of brotherhood—that we would not be a threat
to Turkey, likewise, Turkey will not be threat to our region.”
said dialogue based on “mutual respect and acceptance” is necessary to end the
atmosphere of threats.
hope that these steps will interpret into political outcomes in the framework
of a joint dialogue,” he stated.
the meantime, the United States has asked several Coalition members, including
Germany, to deploy their forces on the ground. Most European countries,
however, are skeptical about such a proposal.
Diplomatic fallout over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder appears to be
slowing the flow of high-rolling Saudis to Turkey, as calls grow within the
oil-rich kingdom to boycott the holiday magnet.
year hundreds of thousands of Saudi tourists visit Turkey, thanks to its milder
climate, turquoise waters and status as a crossroads between East and West.
tensions over the journalist’s murder are feeding into growing calls by
nationalists and pro-government media to boycott Turkey, potentially hitting
its already strained economy.
go to Turkey” and “Turkey is not safe” are just some of the headlines that have
popped up, with multiple media outlets running hostile stories in recent
including Al-Arabiya, have splashed official warnings from the Saudi embassy in
Ankara about rising passport theft and petty crime.
apparent scaremongering seems to be working, since the Turkish tourism ministry
reported Saudi visitor arrivals dropped more than 30 per cent in the first five
months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.
travel agency in Riyadh reported a similar fall in bookings, although Saudi
tourism authorities did not respond to a request for comment. “I care about
safety,” a young Riyadh resident said, explaining why he was likely to avoid
who are also among the top property buyers and investors in Turkey, spend an
average of $500 a day as tourists in the country, significantly higher than
European visitors, according to a 2018 study by Riyadh’s King Faisal Centre for
Research and Islamic Studies.
for a boycott of Turkey are not limited to tourism. A video predating
Khashoggi’s murder that showed Riyadh’s influential governor Faisal bin Bandar
declining an offer of Turkish coffee recently resurfaced on social media,
triggering a call for a boycott of Turkish products.
al-Ajlan, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has been
particularly strident. “As the Turkish leadership and [President Recep Tayyip]
Erdogan continue their hostility and target the kingdom’s leadership, we call
more than ever before to boycott them ... in all areas — imports, labour and
dealings with Turkish companies,” Ajlan wrote on Twitter last month.
have drawn parallels with how Saudi Arabia flexed its financial muscle by
adopting punitive measures in recent diplomatic disputes with Canada, Germany
and neighbouring Qatar, now under a Riyadh-led economic blockade for two years.
Kurdish-language Hawar news quoted local sources in Afrin region in
Northwestern Aleppo as saying that a heavy blast occurred in one of Jibhat
al-Shamiyeh terrorist group's positions in the town of Tarandeh in Afrin,
killing 11 people, including the militants.
added that earlier another blast had also occurred in al-Filat street in
Central Afrin, noting that no report has yet been released on the tolls.
the Arabic-language al-Baladi news website affiliated to the militants reported
that at least 11 people were killed and 40 others were wounded in the first
blast, adding that a number of injured people are in critical conditions.
a relevant development earlier this month, at least 20 Turkish soldiers and
affiliated militants were killed and wounded in Afrin and the nearby areas
during the Kurdish operations in Northern Aleppo, Kurdish media reported,
adding that their positions and military vehicles were also destroyed.
news quoted the Liberation Forces of Afrin as saying that during the operations
against the Turkish army and Ankara-backed terrorists in the town of Marimin in
Shara region of Afrin, two positions of the Turkish army were smashed.
the operations, one Turkish soldier and a militant were killed and two other
soldiers were wounded.
2 military vehicles of the Turkish army were destroyed in an ambush by the
Kurdish forces near the town of Kafar Khashar in A'azaz region in Northern
Aleppo, killing and wounding 12 people.
during the Kurds' operations near the town of Mar'e in Northern Aleppo, a
military vehicle of the Turks was blown away, killing and injuring 4 Ankara-affiliated
car bomb detonated near a church in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in
northeast Syria on Thursday wounding almost a dozen people, an AFP journalist
and state media said.
was no immediate claim for the attack, which Syrian state television said
wounded 11 people and damaged several cars.
Kurds have led the US-backed fight in the war-torn country against ISIS, which
continues to claim deadly attacks despite its territorial defeat in March.
car bomb killed at least eight people and wounded many others on Thursday in
the Syrian city of Afrin which Turkish-backed rebel groups captured from
Kurdish fighters last year, medical sources and a war monitor said.
blast struck an entrance to the city, killing civilians including children, the
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitoring group
Observatory and the medical sources said many other people had been injured in
the explosion, some very badly.
is located north of Aleppo near the border with Turkey. It was held by the
Kurdish YPG militia until last year when rebels seized it and the surrounding
countryside in a Turkey-backed offensive.
major fighting has ended, for now, in many parts of Syria, there is still much
insecurity, with bombings and other attacks that have targeted civilians in
areas controlled by all sides in the conflict.
of Syrian refugees have returned to their homeland from various areas in
neighboring Lebanon after Syrian government forces and allied fighters from
popular defense groups managed to liberate their hometowns from the clutches of
foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups.
return of refugees took place under the supervision of Lebanon's General
Security in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported.
arrived at the Jdeidat Yabous, al-Zamarani and al-Dabbousiya border crossings
from Lebanese territories on Thursday. They returned home in buses sent by
underwent medical checks and vaccines were administered to them upon arrival at
the Dabbousiya border crossing.
number of cars and trucks with displaced Syrians and their luggage on board
also arrived at the Zamarani crossing. They received the required assistance
before heading towards their hometowns and villages.
this year, Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged world powers to “make all
efforts” to help the repatriation of Syrian refugees.
calls on the international community to make all efforts possible and provide
suitable conditions for a safe return of displaced Syrians,” he stated.
than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon.
Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands
at 1.5 million.
February, Lebanon's minister of state for displaced affairs said his country
would stick primarily to a Russian strategy for the return of Syrian refugees
to their homeland.
Russian strategy will be adopted as a basis for our approach towards the return
of Syrian refugees to Syria,” Saleh Gharib told China’s official Xinhua news
agency on February 6.
also did not deny the possibility of visiting Syria, or conducting a direct
dialogue with high-ranking government officials in Damascus to secure the
return of Syrian refugees.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri is very much aware of the sensitivity of this issue,
and all necessary steps will be taken in this regard,” Gharib pointed out.
strategy to help Syrian refugees go back to their homes was drawn up following
a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki on July 16, 2018.
specifies around 76 residential neighborhoods in Syria's central provinces of
Homs and Hama, the northwestern province of Idlib as well as Damascus to enable
the return of 360,000 Syrian refugees as a first step.
than a dozen people, including eight civilians, have lost their lives and
several others sustained injuries when a car rigged with explosives went off in
Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the car bomb exploded on
Thursday morning near a checkpoint, manned by Turkey-backed militants of the
so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), at the entrance to the Kurdish-populated town
of Afrin, where vehicles were gathering to be checked.
UK-based group added that 13 people were killed in the explosion, which shook Tirende
residential area south of Afrin center. More than 30 people sustained injuries
as well. The death toll is expected to further rise as some of the injured are
in critical condition.
were at least two children and four militants among those killed, the
the victims, at least six are originally from Eastern Ghouta” – a former
militant stronghold on the fringe of the Syrian capital, Damascus, which
government forces managed to retake its control in April 2018.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s attack, but such
assaults bear the hallmarks of those carried out by Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
blast was the latest deadly explosion to rock Afrin. Three people were killed
in January, when a bomb placed on a bus ripped through the town. A car bomb
took the lives of nine people last December.
January 2018, Ankara launched a cross-border military operation inside Syria,
code-named Operation Olive Branch, with the declared aim of eliminating the
Syrian Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin.
Turkish military and FSA militants entered the town center on March 18 that
at last 11 people have suffered injuries when a car bomb exploded near a church
in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on the border with Turkey.
to an AFP report, the metal gate of the church was slightly dented by the
blast, but the building otherwise emerged intact.
source said the force of the explosion damaged a number of shops and cars
parked in the area.
was no immediate claim for the attack.
Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense
groups, are engaged in fierce clashes with foreign-backed Takfiri militants in
the country’s northern province of Idlib to avenge troop casualties during a
recent ambush by the extremists.
Observatory said 41 government troops and 30 members of the Hayat Tahrir
al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group were killed late Wednesday, when the latter mounted
a surprise attack to take control of Hamameyat village and a strategic hilltop
head of the monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman, said fighting was underway as Syrian
air forces jets and artillery units were pounding the area.
envoy: Economic plan will not happen without Palestinian-Israeli agreement
President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, told Al Arabiya
that Kushner’s economic plan “will not move forward” without a political
agreement, reiterating his criticism of the Palestinian Authority's
unwillingness to discuss the plan.
Kushner and a very skilled team from the US government put forth this $50
billion plan to help Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and the Lebanese. But
none of it will work unless there’s a political plan that both sides, the
Israelis and the Palestinians agree to,” Greenblatt said.
US envoy also said that he thinks people are manipulating answers given by
officials about the Bahrain conference. “There are spoilers out there that are
saying that this is nothing other than a bribe to the Palestinians.”
the interview with Al Arabiya’s Nadia Bilbassy, Greenblatt wanted to send a
message to the audience: “I want to reiterate for your audience that we
understand there is no economic peace alone, but we also want to drive home the
point that there is no political peace without making sure the Palestinian
lives are improved economically.”
about the US peace plan, Greenblatt said that it is roughly 60 pages which will
be handed to the Palestinians and Israelis, calling on Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas not to make any preconditions just to come back to the discussion
was also opposed to the description of the US as a “mediator”, saying that his
country is rather a “peace facilitator”.
about his criticism of the Palestinians on Twitter, Greenblatt said that he
does not criticize ordinary Palestinians.
I sit with ordinary Palestinians, they may disagree with our US policy, they
may disagree with certain things that I say, but they are very realistic and
warm and welcoming to the discussion. The PA (Palestinian Authority)
unfortunately is not welcoming to the discussion. You can’t create peace based
on that attitude,” he said.
Yemeni government yesterday called on the United Nations to intervene “by all
means” and prevent the Houthis from executing 30 political activists in Sanaa.
a letter sent by Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Hadrami to UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet and UN Special Envoy to Yemen,
Martin Griffiths, the official discussed “the need to intervene by all possible
means to stop the Houthi militias from executing a group of civilian, activists
added that this was “part of a series of sham trials in which the militias are
blatantly violating the human rights guaranteed by all international covenants
Houthi militia’s mock trials and the issuance of death sentences against
innocent citizens mentioned in the prisoner exchange deal in the Stockholm
agreement, represent extrajudicial killings,” Hadrami said.
Tuesday, death sentences were issued against 30 detainees including leader of
the Islamic Islah Party Nasr Al-Salami and Professor of linguistics at Sana’a
University, Yusuf Al-Boab on charges of spying for Saudi Arabia and its allies
in the anti-Houthi coalition.
Israeli military says its troops have opened fire at two members of the Palestinian
Hamas resistance movement near the besieged Gaza Strip’s fence, killing one of
to a military statement, Israeli troops observed the two armed men approaching
the fence separating the Hamas-run enclave and the occupied territories on
Thursday and “fired in order to drive them away.”
Health Ministry in Gaza identified the Hamas officer as 28-year-old Mahmoud
al-Adham, who was killed east of Beit Hanoun in the northern strip.
appeared to have been shot as he was trying to stop two youths from approaching
Israeli military confirmed that the Hamas officer “approached the border fence
area following two Palestinians who were moving close to the fence.”
Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said in a statement that the
Israeli troops had deliberately opened fire to “hurt one of our fighters who
was carrying out his job in preventing [Palestinians] from breaching the border
brigades pledged not to let Adham’s death go “unpunished” and that Israel
“would bear the consequences of this criminal act”.
Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades has observation points close to the fence.
Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also strongly condemned the
killing and called it a "grave escalation" and threatened to
incident comes amid a relatively calm period along the fence after a ceasefire
brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations came into force between the
Israeli regime and Hamas in May.
least 295 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since
massive anti-occupation protests began along the restive fence area in March
2018. Most lost their lives during weekly rallies but others were killed by
Israeli airstrikes or tank fire.
16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
forces have evicted a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem
al-Quds near the Old City after a court battle that stretched for more than two
Israeli court ruled on Wednesday in favor of the Israeli Elad foundation, which
seeks to increase settler presence in the mainly Palestinian parts of East
Jerusalem al-Quds and which claimed it had long purchased the property, said
Israeli NGO Peace Now.
NGO, which is an anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the
occupied West Bank, said in a report that the apartment was located in the
Silwan neighborhood and was home to a 53-year-old woman and her four children
from the Siyam family.
the court ruling, Israeli police arrived in the neighborhood and evicted the
family from their apartment, the report said, adding that the family would
temporarily stay with their relatives.
take us from the house is like taking my heart from my body,” said Ali Siyam,
20, one of the Palestinian children evicted along with his family.
family had filed a legal appeal in an attempt to fight the eviction, but it was
rejected, and they were also ordered to pay 10,000 shekels (2,820 dollars) in
legal costs to Elad.
settlement in Silwan not only harms the prospects for a conflict-ending agreement
and stability in Jerusalem, it is also cruel and evil,” said Peace Now.
also said that the Israeli settlers were “using their power and money to
exhaust and impoverish the Palestinian families in legal proceedings so that
they will have to agree to sell them homes.”
Elad foundation, known in English as the City of David foundation, also
monitors a nearby archaeological site in Silwan that seeks to demonstrate Jews’
purported historical link to Jerusalem al-Quds.
believe the Israeli regime and groups such as Elad are on a systematic campaign
to force them out of Jerusalem al-Quds.
has been occupying the West Bank, including East al-Quds, since 1967. Ever
since, it has been building settlements throughout the land, in a move condemned
by the UN and considered illegal under international law.
Palestinians, however, view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their
future sovereign state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the regime will not evacuate the
settlements it has built in defiance of international law on the occupied
Palestinian territories under any conflict resolution deal with Palestine.
any diplomatic plan, I will not allow the uprooting of a single settlement or a
single settler, not a single settler,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
said the Israeli military would continue to operate in all of West Bank,
including the Jordan Valley, adding “we will continue to build and develop” the
at what we did in the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem [al-Quds]. To be continued,”
he said, referring to two territories the regime captured during the 1967 Six
Day War and later effectively annexed.
March, US President Donald Trump formally recognized Israeli sovereignty over
the occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights.
December 2017, Trump had also recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s
“capital” and later moved the US embassy to the occupied Palestinian city.
has over the past decades built dozens of settlements on the occupied
Palestinian and Syrian territories in defiance of international calls for the
regime to stop its illegal construction activities.
comments come as Trump prepares to unveil a controversial deal aimed at
resolving the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Palestinians have already rejected the deal, which is reportedly highly
last month held a conference in Bahrain, during which it unveiled the economic
portion of what Trump has called the “deal of the century.” That event was
boycotted by the Palestinians and all supporters of the Palestinian cause.
revelations say under Trump’s deal, the settlement blocs in the occupied West
Bank — which are illegal under international law and UN Security Council
Resolution 2334 — will remain under the Israeli regime’s control and will
expand to reach out to other isolated settlements.
May 7, Israeli Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom, which is close to
Netanyahu, published a leaked document circulated by the Israeli Foreign
Ministry, detailing the elements of the US back-channel “peace” plan.
Israel’s TV channel 12 reported that the regime had approved the construction
of 216 new settler units in a settlement south of Jerusalem al-Quds.
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
WALAJAH, Palestinian Territories: On one side of the Israeli separation barrier
sits the Hajjajla family’s home. The Palestinians’ house is cut off from the
rest of their village that lies on the other side, with only a tunnel
connecting the two.
trouble has followed, they say.
situation made the news again when Israeli authorities locked the gate leading
to the tunnel linking their home to their village of Al-Walajah in the occupied
more than a week, 10-year-old Mohammed Hajjajla had to walk six kilometers
(nearly four miles) in the blazing sun as part of his route to school due to
the closure, the family says.
authorities say the closure was because the family was suspected of allowing
illegal crossings into Jerusalem from the West Bank through the Israeli-built
family denies it and says it is another example of harassment from Israeli
authorities they have faced over the years.
already refused to bend. I will not be discouraged,” said the father of the
family, Omar Hajjajla.
brick house sits on a hill, across the valley from the Israeli settlement of
Gilo on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
problems date back to 2010, when construction of Israel’s separation barrier
cutting off the West Bank reached their area.
began constructing the barrier in 2002, during the bloody second Palestinian
Israel, the barrier is for security reasons. Palestinians see it as an
“apartheid wall,” a potent symbol of the Israeli occupation.
authorities gave the family a choice: leave or see their home cut off by a
fence. Other village land was also isolated by the barrier’s construction.
Hajjajla says they offered him large amounts of money to move, but he refused
and took the case to court.
2016, an agreement was reached with Israeli authorities on strict conditions
for his family’s use of the tunnel, whose gate can be opened by remote.
said he later installed an electric doorbell at the other side of the tunnel to
make it easier for family members to come and go, especially since his children
don’t have mobile phones.
an Israeli police officer spotted it in May. “They said to me, ‘This bell is in
the (Israeli military’s) security zone,’” the 53-year-old said. Hajjajla said
he was taken for questioning for four hours and the gate was padlocked.
eight days, the family was only able to get out by a clandestine side exit, he
said. Mohammed and his brother’s route to school included walking six
left very early in the morning and came back late,” said Mohammed. The family
threatened to take the case to court again and the lock was eventually removed,
the family says.
later Omar lost his Israeli-granted permit to cross a checkpoint into Israel
and Jerusalem, where he works.
time they invent a new excuse to force us to leave the house,” he said.
military referred questions on the issue to police, who did not respond to
requests for comment from AFP.
a statement to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, police said Omar Hajjajla “is
suspected of taking advantage of the gate to improperly bring Palestinians
through it and was therefore taken in for questioning.” “All investigations
that involve suspicion of security-related crimes of Palestinians result in the
revocation of entry permits into Israeli territory until the suspicions can be
clarified and/or an indictment filed.” Palestinians say the family’s situation
is another example of the troubles posed by Israel’s separation barrier.
barrier, a combination of up to nine-meter-high (30-foot-high) walls,
electronic fences and barbed wire, is now more than two-thirds complete.
complete, some 85 percent of it is to be built inside the West Bank, the
territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
cuts off nearly 10 percent of Palestinian territory, according to the UN.
Israeli settlement expansion has continued in the West Bank, construction the
international community considers illegal.
than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements and another 200,000 in
annexed east Jerusalem.
Joubran of Israeli NGO B’Tselem said “security is an excuse for all Israeli
violations, a pretext for denying Palestinian property on the land, justifying
the annexation and expansion of settlements.”
the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation, Al-Walajah village amounted to
18,000 dunams, according to Hassan Breijeh of the Palestinian Colonization and
Wall Resistance Commission, which campaigns against the barrier.
70 dunams now remain under the village’s control, he said.
for the Hajjajlas, the padlock has been removed, but the family say they remain
Somali Troops Retake Small Villages From Al-Shabaab Militants
senior Somali military commander says the troops have launched a massive
operation against Al-Shabaab militants in Bakool region, south of the country.
commander of the Army infantry division, General Odowa Yusuf Rageh told the
state media that they have pushed Al-Shabaab out of two areas near Hudur, the
region's capital during the operation.
Somali and AU forces intensified pressure on the Al-Qaeda-linked group as part
of efforts to regain control of the entire country which is set to hold first
one person, one vote polls in 2020-2021.
has been driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but, the militants still capable of staging
attacks in the government-controlled areas in Somalia.
ruling military council has foiled a coup attempt, a top general announced on
state television Thursday, saying that 12 officers and four soldiers had been
announcement came as the ruling military and civilian protesters had agreed to
end a political impasse after the army in April ousted longtime ruler Omar
al-Bashir on the back of a popular uprising.
and soldiers from the army and National Intelligence and Security Service, some
of them retired, were trying to carry out a coup,” General Jamal Omar of the
ruling military council said in a statement broadcast live on state television.
regular forces were able to foil the attempt,” he said, but did not say when
the attempt was made.
said of the 12 officers arrested, five of them were retired, and that security
forces were looking for the mastermind of the attempted coup.
is an attempt to block the agreement which has been reached by the Transitional
Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change that aims to open the
road for Sudanese people to achieve their demands,” Omar said.
late Thursday announcement came as legal advisors of the ruling military
council and protest leaders were going through the details of their agreement
at a luxury hotel in Khartoum.
landmark agreement that aims to form a joint transitional civilian-military
ruling body was reached last week after intense mediation by African Union and
forming of the new governing body is the first step towards installing an
overall transitional civilian administration in Sudan as demanded by
has been rocked by a political crisis since protests first erupted against
Bashir’s rule in December.
protests finally led to the army ousting him on April 11, but the generals who
seized power have so far resisted demonstrators’ demands to hand it over to a
had further soared between the two sides after a brutal raid on a longstanding
protest camp outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum that killed
dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds on June 3.
raid came after talks between the generals and protest leaders collapsed in May
over who should lead the new governing body -a civilian or soldier.
mediation by African Union and Ethiopian mediators finally led to the agreement
reached on the new joint governing body on July 5.
agreement proposes a little more than a three-year transition period, with the
president of the new ruling body to be held by the military for the first 21
months and a civilian for the remaining 18 months.
police have fired live ammunition and teargas at protesting Shia Muslims as
large crowds gathered in the capital city Abuja Thursday to demand the release
of ailing cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.
saw policemen firing shots at hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside
government buildings to demand the release of Zakzaky. Police also arrested at
least a dozen people at the massive rally.
threw stones as police tried to disperse them. They were carrying banners showing
pictures of the cleric as well as the people who lost their lives at the hands
of government forces.
protest rallies were held in the city of Kaduna, north of Abuja.
to an eyewitness, who was talking to Press TV, four brothers were shot and
wounded in Kaduna protest, although the figure may rise later.
witness added that two of the four brothers were critically wounded, needing
immediate orthopedic consultation.
Tuesday, security forces killed two protesters, who were members of the Islamic
Movement in Nigeria (IMN) headed by Zakzaky.
clashes erupted outside the National Assembly as protesters gathered there and
then sought to enter the building to register a demand for the cleric’s
release. At least 40 people were detained during the rally.
supporters also staged a rally on Wednesday in defiance of the brutal crackdown
Zakzaky lost his left eyesight in a 2015 raid by security forces that left more
than 300 of his followers and three of his sons dead. His wife also sustained
2016, Nigeria’s federal high court ordered Zakzaky’s unconditional release from
jail following a trial, but the government has so far refused to set him free.
to human rights groups, Nigerian forces have killed at least 400 members of the
IMN over the past four years.
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), based in London, said earlier this week
that the cleric’s health condition has further deteriorated since he was
reportedly poisoned in prison.
cleric’s son, Mohammad, told Press TV on Saturday that his father was in dire
need of medical treatment, as “large and dangerous quantities of lead and
cadmium have been found in his blood.” He said the authorities intended to
murder his father since they were denying him urgent medication.
The Red Crescent said 38 more bodies were recovered Thursday from the sea off
Tunisia, raising to 68 the number found since an Italy-bound boat filled with
migrants sank last week, the worst migrant boat disasters to date.
of the apparent victims were found close to Zarzis in southeast Tunisia and two
off the nearby island of Djerba, the Tunisian Red Crescent’s Mongi Slim said.
Malian survivor, one of only three to have escaped with their lives, has told
the UN’s International Organization for Migration that 86 people had been on
board the dinghy which capsized on July 1.
today, the Coast Guard recovered 38 bodies off the coast of Zarzis, bringing
the death toll to 58,” said Mongi Slim, an official of the Tunisian Red
boat, filled with mostly African migrants, tipped over shortly after setting
out from the Libyan town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, with the aim of reaching
fishermen rescued four people who were on board the same overcrowded boat but
one later died in hospital, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said last week.
ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) said late Thursday that it had
foiled an attempted coup.
a statement broadcast live on state-run television, it said the coup was
attempted in a bid to undermine the final agreement to be signed between the
military and opposition on sharing power for three years ahead of elections.
and soldiers from the army and National Intelligence and Security Service have
been arrested over the coup attempt, said General Jamal Omar, chairman of the
ruling military council’s Committee on Security and Defense.
that at least 17 people have been detained, including both retired and active
officers, Omar said the military council is still tracking down others that may
far, we have arrested 13 senior officers plus four junior officers from the
army," he said.
attempts may continue because many sides don't want the agreement between the
military and political parties to go forward.”
however, vowed that the TMC will continue the process of power sharing and building
of institutions of the transitional period according to the agreement that will
be signed soon.
heavy security measures are being enforced on Khartoum’s streets, eyewitnesses
is widespread deployment of joint forces of the army, Rapid Support Forces and
National Intelligence and Security Services in many important areas of
Khartoum, including the bridges," said Atif Ahmed, a local resident.
TMC and the Forces for Freedom and Change opposition alliance concluded an
agreement last week on power sharing.
least three people were killed when three blasts hit a military funeral
ceremony in Benghazi, eastern Libya, according to local media.
Libyan private channel 218 News quoted Ahmad al-Mesmari, a spokesman for Haftar
forces, as saying that three explosions occured during the funeral ceremony of
Maj. Gen. Khalifa al-Mismari, a military commander loyal to Khalifa Haftar
said dozens of people were injured and 17 of them were transferred to the
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.
UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday blamed
forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar for the tribal clashes taking
place in the town of Murzuq, southwestern Libya.
a statement, the GNA said that Haftar's forces were responsible as they
"were taking control over the town when the clashes erupted."
early June, fierce clashes have erupted between the tribes of Al-Tabu and
Al-Ahali in the town. The clashes have caused the deaths of handful of people
and injured dozens.
blame the clashes on “old disputes" between the two tribes.
GNA also called for an "immediate" halt to the clashes in the town and
a return to dialogue.
also called on the UN mission in Libya and the international community to
investigate the incidents with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable.
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.
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